Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Glorious Bastard: The Witness of Alec Guinness

A Glorious Bastard: The Witness of Alec Guinness

Alec GuinnessIn Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing the illegitimate Don John plots to spoil the happiness and prosperity of all. His skullduggery springs from the brooding dark moods, resentment, and bitterness at his bastard status. From time immemorial illegitimacy was understood as a dark stain, breeding a bitter character and a doomed fate—as if the character carries a curse.
There is no need to propose a supernatural aspect to such a curse. Too often the struggles that accompany illegitimacy of poverty, a broken home, an absent father, and an insecure childhood result in the very bitterness, resentment, and inability to succeed that perpetuate the idea of a bastard being cursed. All the more encouraging then, when a boy from a broken and dysfunctional home rises above it and goes on to succeed. When he not only achieves fame and fortune, but also becomes a truly gentle and wise person the victory over fate is complete.

A perfect example of such triumph over an inglorious beginning is the story of English actor Alec Guinness. Famous for his role as the monastic mentor Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Guinness was first known for his work as a Shakespearean actor on stage. After gaining prominence working with Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, he moved successfully to cinema. After gaining wide acceptance in British comedies The Man in the White SuitThe Lavender Hill MobLadykillers, and Kind Hearts and Coronets, Guinness took roles in notable literary based films just after the second world war. He starred in Carol Reed’s version of Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, and The Fall of the Roman Empire, before teaming with legendary director David Lean. He won an Academy award for his portrayal of resolute British officer Colonel Nicholson in Lean’s The Bridge Over the River Kwai and took parts in Lawrence of ArabiaDoctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India.
In each of his parts there was a vulnerability and uncertainty that made Guinness a great star. No matter how confident, insouciant, hilarious, or insane the character, there seemed to be a sad, little emptiness deep within. He never spoke about this quality explicitly, but it echoes in the title of his autobiography My Name Escapes Me. Guinness’ name did escape him and with his name his own identity.
He did not mind telling people that he was illegitimate. His mother was a flighty and insecure young woman named Agnes Cuff. His birth certificate does not carry a last name. Instead “Alec Guinness” is listed as his two forenames. His mother later married a violent, shell-shocked veteran who would terrify the sensitive child. Guinness was sent to boarding school in Bexhill on Sea and then Eastbourne, and he once met an “uncle”—a banker named Andrew Geddes who he guessed paid his school tuition and who Guinness assumed was his father.
Detective-GuinnessSearching for the Father is doubtless one of the things that brought Alec Guinness through the doors of the Catholic Church. He recounts his conversion story in his usual modest and understated way in the first volume of his life story Blessings in Disguise. He explains how, while playing Chesterton’s Father Brown, he was walking back from a day’s filming through a French village still in costume. A small boy ran up and took his hand, walking along, and chatting happily in French. Finally he scampered off waving a cheerful, “Au revoir, mon pere!” Guinness was smitten with the experience, wondering that the mere costume of a priest could inspire such childlike trust and joy.
Beneath the innocent story one can see Guinness the fatherless child finding a father in God, and the connection cannot be missed that before too long Guinness himself would take the Father’s hand in the form of a heartfelt Christian conversion.
When his son Matthew was stricken with a serious illness Guinness tells how he found himself in a Catholic Church doing a deal with God. He promised the Almighty that if his son was healed he would allow the boy to become a Catholic. The boy recovered and some years later, asked his father if he might become a Catholic. Soon after Guinness and his wife Merula entered the church and were faithful to the end. I have visited the church in Petersfield where they attended Mass each week, and the great man used to make retreat at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight where I once spotted him minding his own business in the guest house.
While Don John and many other bastards brooded over their less than illustrious beginnings, allowing the vacancy in their heart, their lost love, and absent father to be the seed of depression, despondency, dependency, and evil, Alec Guinness, by some wondrous mixture of talent and grace turned that same open wound into the unique sign of his genius, thus becoming a glorious bastard, and ultimately the adopted son of the Lord on high.
In doing so he communicated to the world a truth that was never made explicit, but which was incarnated in his art. His life was founded on a blessing in disguise—his illegitimacy—and so he revealed the hidden gift, teaching us that the very wound we carry can become our red badge of courage, and that the worst beginnings can have the best endings if only we gather the courage to wrestle with “the dark side” and demand a blessing.
Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Medjugorje: model, Ania Goledzinowska had vision of St. Pio

Medjugorje model had vision of St. Pio
"I woke up because my dog was barking. And by the side of my bed stood this man, older, with a beard, and he was looking at me, shaking his head. I thought that it was some kind of hallucination because of the alcohol or drugs – no, this is not possible, I thought. Then I turned on the light, and this man was still standing by my bedside, shaking his head and my dog was still barking at him.”

“It was only five months ago in Medjugorje that somebody gave me a book about the life of Padre Pio, and for the first time, after eight years, I could give the name of the person who eight years ago came to admonish me." 

Sept 12, 1012 - Reported in Spirit Before her conversion in Medjugorje, the Polish model Ania Golędzinowska lived a life of celebrity, substance abuse, and hostility toward the Catholic Church. One night a mysterious stranger came to admonish her. Only in Medjugorje did she recognize him as Saint Pio. Eight years ago Polish model Ania Golędzinowska woke up in the middle of the night in her Italian home to find a mysterious man standing by the side of her bed, shaking his head at her in disappointment. It was only years later when she moved to Medjugorje in 2011 and was given a book about Saint Padre Pio that Golędzinowska recognized the man’s face. When she experienced the mysterious encounter, Golędzinowska was leading a far from virtuous life.Though a successful model, an actress in Italian sitcoms, and a TV presenter, she admits to struggling with substance abuse, lacking faith in God, and even developing a strong resentment toward the Catholic Church. Saint Pio, she believes, came to warn her to change her ways. The former model recalls the day when she finally identified him: “For years, I did not know who he was. Even in my book I reported this incident but did not include the man’s name” Ania Golędzinowska told Brother Marcin Radomski in an interview she gave earlier this year in Łomża, Poland. This is the first time this part of her story is being told in English.
“It was only five months ago in Medjugorje that somebody gave me a book about the life of Padre Pio, and for the first time, after eight years, I could give the name of the person who eight years ago came to admonish me, to warn me that if I would continue leading my life this way then I would not go far.”Golędzinowska was very open about how far away she strayed from the Church in those years, to the point of developing a hatred for all things Catholic.
“I was far from the Church. If I would get a chance, I would shoot all priests and nuns. Whenever I saw a church, I would cross to the other side of the street. I abused drugs. I drank.” Then one night a warning came. Even her dog, Golędzinowska recalls, sensed the presence of a stranger in the room, suggesting to her that this was no hallucination.
“A certain day, a certain night I woke up because my dog was barking. And by the side of my bed stood this man, older, with a beard, and he was looking at me, shaking his head. I thought that it was some kind of hallucination because of the alcohol or drugs – no, this is not possible, I thought. Then I turned on the light, and this man was still standing by my bedside, shaking his head and my dog was still barking at him.”
Though Golędzinowska believes Saint Pio came to her with an important message, he did not need words to convey it. “He did not say anything, but he was looking at me as if he wanted to say: ‘Ania, what are you doing?’”Ania Golędzinowska made much news last year when Catholic Herald published a popular interview with her. The interview centered around her life-changing conversion in Medjugorje and its consequences. She made the decision to leave the life of glamour and fame in high Italian society behind for a simple, peasant life of prayer and service in Medjugorje, where she has been living since 2011 with Pure Hearts, a Marian community of priests and nuns.
For the Polish model, this required ending a prominent relationship with her boyfriend Paolo Enrico Beretta, the nephew of then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Lately, Golędzinowska has spent much time touring Poland, as a Polish edition of her autobiography was recently released, translated by a priest.
Her book, Ocalona z Piekła: Wyznania byłej Modelki translates to “Rescued from Hell: Confessions of a former Model.” A section in the book describes Golędzinowska’s encounter with the visitor who appeared to her in the middle of the night years ago to give her a helpful warning. Now readers may know that Ania Golędzinowska has identified the mysterious visitor as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Medjugorje visit cured boy from 19 tumors

In God's Company 2: Medjugorje visit cured boy from 19 tumors:
Medjugorje visit cured boy from 19 tumors

Medjugorje - Putignano ( For eight months, 2 years old Joshua battled a last stage cancer with a transplantation, 80 chemotherapy cures, and 17 radiotherapy sessions. When nothing worked, his parents took their son to Medjugorje. Back home, tests showed 19 tumors and all bone metastases to be gone as the beginning of Joshua’s now complete recovery.

Before he turned three years old, Joshua de Nicolo had experienced more hardships, drama, and obvious grace than many people do in an entire life.

The boy from Putignano in southern Italy was born with an un-discovered neuroblastoma, the most common form of infancy cancer, in February 2007. It took 22 months for Joshua’s true condition to be found in January 2009 when the illness had progressed to its last stage, 4D, where long-term survival rates are poor despite aggressive multimodal therapy.

Doctors gave Joshua only days or weeks to live when his parents took him to Medjugorje in June 2009. Just before departure, the boy’s white blood cell numbers dramatically improved, and Joshua immediately felt well in Medjugorje, his parents testify. Joshua felt even better after Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo’s apparition on July 2nd 2009 when he was placed beside the visionary. After that, he seemed relieved from pain.

Upon the family’s return to Italy, clinical tests showed that Joshua’s bone metastases as well as 19 tumors spread throughout the body had disappeared. The only remaining tumor had been reduced in size from 7,5 to 3 centimeters, enabling doctors remove it altogether. Since this operation took place, in November 2009, Joshua has been completely healed.

Most ever since Joshua’s parents, Elizabeth and Manuel de Nicolo, have witnessed of their son’s illness and healing.

Early symptoms were mis-diagnosed

Joshua was born with one eye half closed, and his head tilting to the left. Several doctors told the couple it was nothing serious, Elizabeth de Nicolo testified to an article carried by the Italian blog Quotidinamente. Likewise, the boy was initially mis-diagnosed when a ball no bigger than a kernel appeared on Joshua’s left temple where doctors saw it and judged it non-malignant.

It was not, and it was far from, it showed when Elizabeth and Manuel took their son for more thorough tests at the hosptal in San Giovanni Retondo, by the shrine of Saint Padre Pio.

“After the CT scan, the primary oncologist Dr. Xavier Ladogana told us that Joshua was suffering from mediastinal neuroblastoma in the fourth stage D, and that the tumor was attached to the pelvic bone, the bone marrow, the bones of the skull, the back of the left eye, and the lymph nodes of the neck, penetrating the left side of the brain, and that this, unfortunately, explained Joshua’s head tilt since birth” Elizabeth de Nicolo tells.

A total of 22 tumors were found, according to her husband’s testimony.

“We immediately started a medical treatment attack, a veritable bombardment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a transplantation” Elizabeth de Nicolo tells, her husband counting 80 chemotherapy and 17 radiotherapy sessions.

“Nonetheless, the doctors gave our son little hope of survival. It seemed to be a matter of weeks or maybe days” Manuel de Nicolo remembers.

Cultural Christians in search of a hope

While none of the parents were practicing Christians, it was in this direction they looked when little hope was left in June 2009. The couple say they felt directed all the way to Medjugorje, and beyond. On their way, they perceived to experience several signs.

“In the blackest desperation, we thought of bringing Joshua to Lourdes. It was the only Marian shrine I knew. But one day while we were in San Giovanni Rotondo, in a moment of desperation, I went into the crypt of Padre Pio and asked him straight to his face: “Why my child? Give me a sign to restore my hope” Manuel de Nicolo tells.

“Then I went back to the hospital and as I walked down the corridor of the ward, I suddenly saw an open computer with the Madonna’s face as background image. It was like a flash that deeply troubled me. When I entered the room, I found Elizabeth who told me that Joshua had not wanted to sleep, but had found serenity and calm with some Marian songs, and had fallen asleep.”

“They were songs dedicated to Our Lady of Medjugorje.”

Journey into unknown land

Prior to June 2009, Elizabeth and Manuel de Nicolo had never heard about the Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Medjugorje.

“We did not even know of the existence of a village called Medjugorje. But Our Lady called us there and we immediately received another sign. Among the magazines scattered in hospital waiting room, there was a special edition of the magazine Oggi, about the Virgin appearing to six local people since 1981, and miracles of healing. After reading this article, we decided to leave immediately” Joshua’s father testifies.

But Joshua was weak, and obstacle seemed to come on top of obstacle:

“The doctors advised us against this trip because Joshua had very low white blood cell numbers, about 5,000, but we were very determined. And on the day we left, our son’s blood cell number went up to 160,000″ Manuel de Nicolo further says.

“Already in this, I saw the first miracle. The child could not face the journey in these conditions. But the rise of his white blood cell numbers in a very short time was a first sign” Elizabeth de Nicolo said live on major Italian tv channel RaiUno on February 28th 2010.

In front of the Madonna

From early on, Joshua felt well in Medjugorje. His parents noted a difference almost from the moment he first set foot in the village:

“Once in Medjugorje, we only just got off the bus when Joshua seemed to be mysteriously, but strongly attracted to this holy place. As a result of the tumors, the child could hardly walk anymore. But he seemed to get better” Manuel de Nicolo has testified.

Meeting the converted Italian journalist and tv personality Paolo Brosio paved the way for Joshua to be placed next to the visionary, right in front of the Virgin Mary, during Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo’s apparition on July 2.

“After the apparition, to our surprise, Joshua began to feel even better, and he did not seem to experience pain anymore” the father tells.

“But we had the biggest suprise when we came home.”

Doctor: Joshua’s healing is miraculous

Elizabeth and Manuel de Nicolo returned the hospital at San Giovanni Rotondo, finding doctors who could not explain what they saw:

“The clinical tests underlined the fact that 19 tumors spread throughout the body had disappeared, and the bone metastases were completely healed. Only behind the lung, a neuroblastoma had remained but the size of the tumor had been reduced from 7,5 to 3 centimeters” Manuel de Nicolo tells.

“The doctor told us that Joshua “was miraculously healed”. And Dr. Xavier Ladogana, the director of the oncological department, went further: “What happened to your child is scientifically inexplicable. With the resources and knowledge we have at our disposal, we cannot give an accurate and incontestable medical explanation. We can only say that the child no longer has the same disease he had before the pilgrimage” Elizabeth de Nicolo quotes the doctors to have told the couple.

Joshua has more mystical experiences

The decrease in size of Joshua’s last remaining tumor allowed doctors to operate it. This took place on November 17th 2009:

“The surgery was fully successful and the doctors even said that this was, in a sense, itself a miracle because it was so inexplicable: The operation lasted less than one hour and was expected to last four to six hours” Manuel de Nicolo tells.

“After the surgery the child had to spend several days in intensive care, and actually spent less than half an hour because he woke up immediately and began to breathe without problems, far beyond the most optimistic forecasts. For us, this intervention was a second miracle.”

“Upon awakening from the operation, he told me that he had been in Heaven with Jesus, and that he had received a big, great gift, the gift of life” Elizabeth de Nicolo has testified.

One year after their first visit, the family returned to Medjugorje to give thanks. For Joshua, that meant one more unusual experience:

“After twelve months, we returned with a cured child” Elizabeth de Nicolo tells.

“There I saw Joshua lift up his eyes and smile. I knew something special was taking place. When I asked him why he smiled and looked at the sky and said “Have a peaceful and joyful Christmas”, he told me he was seeing the Madonna and beside her was Padre Pio who was smiling at him.”

“We are sure that the saint of Pietrelcina is the guardian angel of our son who protected him from the beginning of this ordeal, and will continue to watch over him forever.”

This article originally appeared

Foto of Joshua de Nicolo with his mother: (c) Medjugorje Today

Temptation: 12 Things to Know

Temptation: 12 Things to Know

 As we read in the Catechism, “Temptation is an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God. Jesus himself during his life on earth was tempted, put to the test, to manifest the opposition between himself and the devil and the triumph of his saving work over Satan (CCC 538). The Catechism also teaches that the so-called capital sins: pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth/laziness, are the root of all temptation. These vices replace the vision of the good (God) with the illusions of self-fulfillment, self-power, and self-advancement. Some temptations seem harmless and others are truly perverse. All temptations should be resisted with God’s grace or they will lead to sin, and the pain that accompanies sin.
On February 17, 2013, commenting on the temptation of Christ in the desert, then Pope Benedict XVI said in his Sunday Angelus Address (the second last Angelus Address that the Pope gave before his retirement on February 28, 2013),
“Man is never wholly free from temptation… but with patience and true humility we become stronger than any enemy. The patience and humility required to defeat the enemy come by following Christ every day and from learning to build our life not outside of him or as if he did not exist, but in him and with him, because he is the source of true life. In contrast to this is the temptation to remove God, to order our lives and the world on our own, relying solely on our own abilities. This is why in Jesus God speaks to man in an unexpected way, with a unique and concrete closeness, full of love, because God has now become incarnate and enters the world of man to take sin upon himself, to overcome evil and bring man back into the world of God.”
This echoes St. John’s teaching, “For love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:3-5).”
The gift of faith is dynamic. It leads us into God’s victory over temptation and sin. Faith is a difficult thing also. Why? Because it means we are to be poor in spirit, that is, to regain the attitude of a child who believes and relies in God. The opposite of such faith in God is pride because a proud person thinks that everything depends on him, as if God did not exist in his life. Self-reliance in the face of temptation and sin is folly.
Knowing the tendency we have to pride, egoism, self-reliance, independence, and impatience, the evil one entices us to rely on our own calculations. This is why we often miss the God-given way out of temptation. God desires our childlike faith so that, in him and with him, we have confidence that he fights for us. The Word of God teaches us this lesson.
St. Peter exhorts us in 1 Peter 5:8-11, “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you suffered a little. To him be dominion forever.”
Every Christian knows what it is to experience temptation and to suffer from sin, both ours, and those of others. But we believe that God restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes us after we suffer for a while because he is merciful to repentant sinners and brings good out of evil. I’ve seen this repeatedly in the loving way that God liberates his people –even those poor souls who suffer the painful condition of severe diabolical obsession or complete possession. Yes, even those poor souls who at some point in their life became so desperate so as to sell their soul to the devil—God loves and liberates them when they turn to him with repentance and faith! One Rome exorcist told a classroom of priests, “Possession can be a school of holiness, for the victim and their family.” How? Faith! The faith of an evangelical child manifests in the desperate cry for help, and their humble dependency upon God’s priest and the prayers of the Church.
Fr. Tadeusz Dajczar writes,
“The unusual love that God has toward sinners and God’s pedagogy toward us is shown in the parable of the Prodigal Son. If our faith becomes lukewarm and has no expression, God can allow us to fall. God does not want evil but may want its consequences, since the consequences of evil impart grace and the call to be converted. This can be seen very clearly in the example of the Prodigal Son… After we fall, we should not feel down in spirit, since we hurt God more in this way, than by the sin itself. Moreover, saints say that after a fall we are to expect graces greater than before the fall.”
This is the reality of Divine Mercy.
The most powerful encounter with Divine Mercy can occur in confessional. Catholics have recourse to the sacrament of reconciliation. The experience of sacramental Divine Mercy brings me to understand that I am beloved of God. When we dare to believe that, our bond of love for God is strengthened. Then my spiritual armor is fortified for resisting temptation because love is the sum of the armor of God.
On February 18, 2014, in his morning mass homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis stressed,
“When we are tempted, only the Word of God, the Word of Jesus saves us. Christ is always willing to teach us how to escape from temptation. Jesus is great because he not only brings us out of temptation, but also gives us more confidence. The Lord waits for us, …trusts us who are so tempted, who are sinners…He always opens horizons. Where does temptation came from? How does it work in us? The Apostle tells us that it is not from God, but from our passions, our inner weaknesses, from the wounds left in us by original sin.”
The Holy Father warned, “Temptation begins with a tranquil air, and grows. It grows, and it grows and if one does not stop it, it fills everything. Temptation is contagious and closes us in an environment where you can’t get out easily.” At times of temptation, he said, “We do not hear the Word of God, we don’t hear. We don’t understand. Temptation closes us in, takes away the ability to see ahead, closes every horizon and in this way leads us to sin.” Pope Francis said that, “The Lord tells those who are tempted,  “Lift up your eyes, look at the horizon, do not be closed, do not close in on yourself.” The Pope stressed, “this Word will save us from falling into sin in the moment of temptation.” This reminds us of the Psalmist who wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).”
12 Things to Know About Temptation: A Summary
  1. Temptation is an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God (CCC 538).
  2. The capital sins: pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth/laziness are at the root of all temptation.
  3. “Man is never wholly free from temptation… but with patience and true humility we become stronger than any enemy” (Pope Benedict XVI).
  4. “The patience and humility required to defeat the enemy come by following Christ every day and from learning to build our life not outside of him” (Pope Benedict XVI).
  5. The victory that conquers the world is our faith (1 John 5:4). When we fall, begin again in faith.
  6. The gift of faith is dynamic. It leads us into God’s victory over temptation and sin.
  7. The opposite of faith in God is pride because a proud person thinks that everything depends on him, as if God did not exist in his life. Self-reliance in the face of temptation is folly.
  8. Temptation closes us in, takes away the ability to see ahead, closes every horizon and in this way leads us to sin” (Pope Francis).
  9. Christ is always willing to teach us how to escape from temptation. Jesus is great because he not only brings us out of temptation, but also gives us more confidence (Pope Francis).
  10. If our faith becomes lukewarm and has no expression, God can allow us to fall. God does not want evil but may want its consequences, since the consequences of evil impart grace and the call to be converted (Fr. Tadeusz Dajczar).
  11. “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength, but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
  12. When our bond of love for God is fortified by sacramental confession, our spiritual armor is strengthened for resisting continuous temptations from the world, the flesh and the devil.
Kathleen Beckman


Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S., serves as Co-founder and President of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests ( She is an author, radio host and retreat director who frequently speaks about the spiritual life to priests, seminarians, religious and laity in the United States and abroad. Often featured on EWTN TV and radio, Kathleen hosts the weekly program Living Eucharist, which airs internationally on Radio Maria. She serves on the Advisory Boards of Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women and the Pope Leo XIII Institute. Her new book Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization has a Foreword by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. and is published by Sophia Institute Press.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Juicing your way to a new YOU

Fresh made green juices are the most potent form of nutrition. When we juice vegetables and dark leafy greens all their goodness is released from the indigestible fiber and we are able to drink their highly concentrated nutrients. These nutrients are then able to enter our bloodstream very quickly bypassing most of the normal digestive process. This gives our digestive system a rest conserving massive amounts of energy which can then be used for regenerating, living, and healing.

Since juicing removes the indigestible fiber, nutrients are available to the body in much larger quantities than if the vegetable or leafy green was eaten whole. For example, because many of the nutrients are trapped in the fiber, when you eat raw vegetables and leafy greens your cells are only able to assimilate about 1% of the available phytonutrients such as beta carotene. When that same vegetable or leafy green is juiced, removing the indigestible fiber, nearly 100% of that same beta carotene can be assimilated into your cells.

Juicing breaks open the cell walls of your produce make it easy for your cells to quickly assimilate the high quality nutrients found in your vegetables and especially rich in your dark leafy greens. Very few people eat enough raw vegetables and dark leafy greens. Juicing provides a quick and easy way to increase your consumption of these important foods. When you juice produce you concentrate all the nutrients found in your food.

Other co-factors such as fructose in fruit are also concentrated. For this reason I recommend avoiding fruit juices, carrot juice, and beet juice as the fructose content in these juices is too high. This can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and can become a challenge for your pancreas to regulate your blood sugar levels. Juicing green vegetables and dark leafy greens is a much better choice.

Fresh green juices provide us with minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins and much more. Green juices provide your blood and body with the essential nutrients and purification that they require. The nutritional essence of plants is best derived from their juice. Sunlight infuses all life; plants are the storehouses of nature’s captured and distributed sunlight. Drinking green juices is like drinking liquid sunshine!

Fresh wheatgrass juice is nature’s finest medicine. It is our signature elixir here at Hippocrates. It is the icon in our logo. A two ounce shot of fresh wheatgrass juice has the nutritional equivalent of five pounds of the best raw vegetables! It is both a concentrated liquid nutrient and a powerful detoxifier. I recommend a two ounce shot of fresh wheatgrass juice twice a day.

Juice fasting is the best remedy for colds and flu’s. This supplies nutrients and removes the burden of digestion of fiber which saves energy that can then be used to heal the body. Juices can flush toxins from your body, are good for your weight, heart, circulation and overall well-being. Juices contain no saturated fats or added sodium and can be helpful in lowering your cholesterol. Drink fresh juices within fifteen minutes after it has been extracted to obtain all of its multifaceted nutritional benefits. Juicing is better than smoothies because excessive oxidation often occurs if your smoothie is blended too long and at high speeds.

Here are more reasons to juice in 2015:
Cleansing your body of toxins
Strengthened immune system
Increased energy
Increased strength
Clearing your mind
Lose weight
Beautiful skin, bright eyes, and shiny hair
Experience overall improved health, increased energy and clear thinking
Easy to digest
Glowing complexion
Stronger bones
An excellent vehicle for fasting
Building and maintenance of the electrolyte, kidney and respiratory systems

So start this new year off right, and toast with some nutrient rich fresh juice! 2015 and your body will thank you!

Hippocrates Health Institiute
1466 Hippocrates Way
West Palm Beach, FL 33411

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I Was a Pagan AND TUNRED Catholic. This Is My Story

I Was a Pagan, Hedonistic, Man-Hating Feminist. But Now I’m Catholic. This Is My Story - Aleteia

Growing up, I wasn't exposed to God, or the Catholic Church. I knew that my grandparents were Catholic, but no one talked about this, and I didn't know what "Catholic" even was.

Due to terrible abuse, I was removed from my home at nine. I lived in an asylum for a weekend, an orphanage for eight months, and then once a space became available in a foster home, there until I was twelve.

The courts ordered my mother to take me, and this was how we met. After moving in with her, I came across a group of Christians in the park one day. They said nothing, but simply invited me to Church. Curious, I went. I met the pastor's wife, and she told me about Jesus. At this time, I didn't even know what a Protestant was. I didn't know what an atheist was, but when I came home and told my mother about Jesus, I found out right away that she did not approve of God - at all.

Despite continual ridicule, I continued to go to church. I was mesmerized, and so happy in God and had hope I would be able to press past my bad experiences at home. I wanted to hear more no matter what.

At the age of fourteen, with no warning it was happening, I was told that I was being sent back to my father's home. No chance to say goodbye to friends from school or the church I loved. My mother didn't want to be a mother, and so I was sent back.

At my father’s house, I had no church, I couldn’t have friends over, and the abuse continued, escalating to sexual abuse.

It changed me. I became angry at God for not answering my prayers, for not helping me. I became angry at my father. I was unhappy again. At seventeen, I couldn't take it anymore. So I ran away.

I met a group of people who believed in pagan deities, which was also new to me. I became exposed to feminist ideology as well.

Among them, I never felt the joy I had felt with Jesus, but I was intensely informed that he did not exist. Christianity was a false religion built on the pagan faith, they told me, and it disempowered and hated women. Catholics, they claimed, were the worst of offenders. I was referred to writers like Simone de Beavoir, Gloria Steinem, Camille Paglia, etc.

For a lost girl at seventeen, this was the beginning of a long and destructive spiral. No real moral law existed. "Don't harm another, but do whatever else you please" was the sole guideline. But even this was not actually abided by. Everything was permissible. Without limit. Homosexuality was okay, sexual immorality was okay, contraception was okay, abortion, anything you pleased. Further, traditional lifestyles were frowned upon.

Women did not support one another, but routinely and regularly obliterated one another, all the while subscribing to Matriarchal rule. Men became less. Divorce, open relationships and a slew of other choices were the norm. Consequences weren’t considered in the least bit, rules did not apply, and nothing was asked of you. It was a hedonist paradise.

By the sole grace of God, I did not engage in many of these things, but I saw them on a continual basis. And I slowly began believing the lie, with disastrous consequences for my soul, as well as my mental and emotional health.

When I was 34 - almost 20 years down this path - I came across the writings of Margaret Sanger. They made me feel ill. I never did agree with contraception or abortion. Eugenics and her outlook on women who chose to remain with their children also went against my way of thinking. This was when I finally began to slowly disconnect.

I looked at my life, and I wasn't happy. I wasn't growing, and I felt alone.

When I looked around, no one seemed to actually love one another. It was rife with in-fighting, ego, and every woman for herself. I began to question the feminist ideal. I remembered my time with Jesus as a child and sadly remembered how happy I had been despite circumstances around me. I was "empowered” now, but felt miserable and alone.

I had developed a hatred of men, patriarchy, and what I thought Catholics represented. I thought they were thieves and oppressors of women. They were the worst kind, and I swore I'd never go near them.

As a lover of history, I wondered about Henry VIII. I couldn't believe someone so reportedly terrible could really be all bad. He had to have some humanity somewhere, right? I decided to dig and find it. He was maligned, I was convinced of it.

During these studies, I finally truly became aware of what Protestantism was, or so I thought. I also couldn't understand why Katherine of Aragon or any self respecting woman could tolerate his behavior. Then I discovered she was Catholic and cringed. Still, why was she also so unswervingly loyal to an oppressive church that hated women?

I kept digging, and was mightily surprised to find that the Catholic Church's teachings regarding social justice issues, contraception, and abortion matched my own. I was also very surprised to discover their view of Mary, women, and the importance of the traditional family unit. I started to feel something that I couldn't describe, but resisted. And then there was Jesus in the center of everything. I was so overjoyed to know that Jesus existed there. I failed to even notice that a year had gone by and I'd left behind my old friends for this new information.

Finally, I decided that I wanted to find out what a Mass actually entailed. This entire time, a Catholic Church stood at the end of my street. I had stared at it for one year in earnest but had never set foot on the property. I walked inside, and they were getting ready to hold a Mass. It was Easter 2011. I watched, mesmerized. I held my tears, my emotions, all of it inside. I started to feel that pull once again.

I went home. I kept wondering. Finally one day I marched into a building in the back, running straight into a woman who asked what I had come looking for. I told her I needed an education. She laughed, informed me that she was the director of religious education and signed me in for RCIA classes.

The parish priest came and spoke with me, and said "I have never heard of someone coming into the Church via Henry VIII before," and handed me a book to take home.

As classes began, I fell more and more in love. I got to know my parish priest, and a couple who would sponsor me.

At the washing of the feet I cried quietly. I met our bishop and I cried again.

The Church was the reverse of every single thing I had ever thought it was.

When I announced that I was joining the Church, my friends were aghast and my mother said "why would you do a thing like that", but my husband brought me my first statues of Mary and Saint Jude.

At my baptism, April 7, 2012 I was so happy that I cried. I then spent time alone with Jesus' body and cried in gratitude. After all my years of searching for the truth, I had found it.

When I was unbaptized I had been  taught do whatever I chose. I spent years angry, stubbornly defiant in my right to choose as a feminist and a pagan. Now, I chose to be baptized into God's Church. I gained a worldwide family.

Amazingly, my husband is signing up for RCIA. My mother finally says a God exists and reads the Bible. My son was blessed and laid to rest a Catholic, by the very priest who baptized me.

I finally found my friend Jesus again, in his absolute fullness and origin.

I learned the value and true beauty of being a woman. In the purest sense I discovered my real right to choose. I love my church. I love my family. I love my parish. I love my priest. And I am so very, very thankful to be home.

Catherine Quinnis a phlebotomist and Laboratory Technician. Married nearly four years, she is the mother of one child in heaven and a Sidewalk Counselor.

PRAY FOR THE WORLD--Repentance or Chasetisment! The Choice Is Ours To Make!

“Alas, Alas for the Great City!” An Urgent Plea for Prayer at the New Year!

 We are very close to the new year, 2015 AD. And most of us at the new year have it in mind to pray for the future year not only for ourselves, but also for our family, country, and culture. With that in mind, there is something of an admonition to us all that I would share from Scripture. For while we look to the new year with hope, we do well to soberly assess the warnings of God that are seemingly more applicable than ever. Above all we must pray so as to avoid the otherwise necessary chastisements of God and the inevitability of ruin at our own hand if we do not soon repent.
We have good reason to have concern for what we have come to call Western culture.  Our last century was nothing less than a blood bath of world wars, cold wars, killing fields, mass starvations, abortion, and euthanasia. It is conservatively estimated that 100 million were put to death for ideological purposes (e.g., in Hitler’s camps, Stalin’s mass starvations, Pol Pot’s killing fields, Mao’s camps, Rwanda’s genocide, the Balkan genocides). Add to this the war dead and the victims of abortion and the number easily reaches 200 million.
In the middle of that period in the West, we threw in many social revolutions:the sexual revolution, the revolution against authority, the widespread use of hallucinogenic drugs, radical feminism, abortion on demand, contraception, and no-fault divorce. The solitary boast of the tainted 1960s was the civil rights movement, largely granted to it by the 1950s.
It is no surprise then that Americans, still reeling from these selfish and egotistical revolutions, find that most baby boomers are now in various combinations of drug rehab, AA, SA, Overeaters Anonymous, or even jail. Add to this situation vast amounts of psychotherapy, psychotropic drugs, and a self-esteem-driven culture with endless distractions to keep the revolutionaries and their children sane. Then throw in large amounts of antibiotics to treat the sexually transmitted diseases … would someone please call in the exorcist?
We have sown the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind. Enter now the desperate confusion of the “rainbow,” a once beautiful sign of hope that now only bespeaks sexual confusion of a colossal degree. And let no heterosexual gloat until he ponders rampant fornication, easy divorce, abortion, and the disgraceful lack of self-control that has helped usher in the sex-is-just-about-pleasure-and-means-whatever-I-say-it-means culture. Confusion, from top to bottom!

So here we are in 2015. And if we have any sense and any faith at all, we need to fall on our knees and pray for miraculous conversion. I love this country and Western culture. I do not think anything finer has ever graced this globe. But we have become collectively corrupted. Our freedom has become licentiousness; our sense of human dignity has been debased; our comforts have made us lazy and inimical to the Cross and to discipline.
And thus we do well to heed God’s warnings of old to other cultures that had become similarly corrupted.
A little over a week ago, as we wrapped up Advent, Isaiah uttered a warning to a pompous and self-secure empire (Babylon) that its might and power, its wealth and poise, were soon to come to an end. Of special mention was the scorn that God had for Babylon’s arrogant presumption that she would never fall or suffer loss and that her power would be forever. And yet too often this same arrogance besets us today. Listen to what God says to ancient Babylon at the zenith of her power:
Come down, sit in the dust, O virgin daughter Babylon; Sit on the ground, dethroned, O daughter of the Chaldeans. No longer shall you be called dainty and delicate. I will take vengeance, I will yield to no entreaty … Go into darkness and sit in silence, No longer shall you be called sovereign mistress of kingdoms …
Now hear this, voluptuous one, enthroned securely, Saying to yourself, “I, and no one else! I shall never be a widow, or suffer the loss of my children”—Both these things shall come to you suddenly, in a single day: Complete bereavement and widowhood shall come upon you For your many sorceries and the great number of your spells; Because you felt secure in your wickedness, and said, “No one sees me.”
Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, And you said to yourself, “I, and no one else!” But upon you shall come evil you will not know how to predict; Disaster shall befall you which you cannot allay. Suddenly there shall come upon you ruin which you will not expect (Isaiah 47: 1-15 selected).
Be soberly attentive, dear reader, and pray. For it is hard to read words like these and not see how they apply precisely to an age like ours! And before you exultantly say, “Bring it on!” please consider how instantly different our lives would be. Are you really ready for a world with no electricity, no Internet, and no central government with a Bill of Rights? Are you ready to live without roads, running water, and trash collection? Repentance is a far better solution. So pray for a miracle!
What was (is) Babylon? At one level, it is an historical nation-state at the time of the ancient Jews. There were others: Egypt, Assyria, Medo-Persia, and later Greece and Rome. But all these powers, though real historical places, also symbolized the world and all its glories arrayed against God and His kingdom.
  1. Egypt with its power, its fleshpots, and its leeks and onions was something the ancient Jews were always pining after. Abram ran there during a drought instead of trusting God to sustain him in the Holy Land. When Moses led the people out, they were always looking back, forgetting the slavery and remembering the fleshpots. They loved the world and trusted it more than God.
  2. In their fear against invaders, the Jews were ever succumbing to the temptation to make alliances with Assyria and Egypt (i.e., with the world and its power). “Trusting God is too risky. Let’s trust in Egypt or Assyria. Let’s trust in the world to come through for us.”
  3. In Babylonian exile, the Jews left, singing that they would never forget Jerusalem. But after 8o years in Babylon (a symbol of the world and its empires) most had no interest in returning to the Promised Land (a symbol of Heaven) when they were allowed to do so. They preferred Babylon and its hanging gardens to God’s kingdom. Only a small number returned. “Why should I go back to Israel? I have a pretty nice little jewelry shop I run here in Babylon on the corner of Tigris and Euphrates Avenues …”
And thus places like Babylon, Egypt, Sodom, Assyria, and later Greece and Rome, were not just city-states; they were symbols of the world arrayed against God and vying for that place in our heart that belongs to Him. The prophets often accused Jerusalem herself of having become Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon.
But no kingdom of this world can or will stand. In the age of the Church, and even prior to that in the Old Testament period of the Church, kingdoms came and went. Nations rose and fell. Empires emerged and collapsed. Where is Nimrod now? Where is Pharaoh Necho? Where are Cyrus the Persian, Alexander the Great, Caesar Nero, Napoleon, Stalin, and Chairman Mao?
But what of us? All those ancient kingdoms fell not merely because their time was up, but because of sin and the collapse that pride and sin bring. And as for us, how can a nation or culture stand that is increasingly permeated by pride, godlessness, corruption, fornication, abortion, sexual confusion, families in crisis, lack of sexual self-control, gluttony, drug use, alcoholism, rampant pornography, and ridicule of authority, tradition, and faith?
Consider a similar passage from the Book of Revelation (Chapter 18) warning the faithful about “Babylon.” (By 90 AD Babylon was actually long gone. Thus “Babylon” here is a symbol for the world and its tendency to fall into corruption.) John was saying that the “Great City” (Jerusalem – the great city which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified – Rev 11:8) had become Babylon. And he develops this theme in Revelation 18. Sadly, by 70 AD, having been given 40 years to repent, Jerusalem was sacked, burned, and utterly destroyed just as this prophecy had warned.
Have America and the West become like Babylon? Does the chilling judgment that came on Jerusalem and many other ancient cultures now apply to us? It would seem so unless repentance comes quickly. Hear and heed the warning given to ancient Jerusalem (which had become like Babylon) on this eve of the new year. Babylon is
I. Dominated by Demons - The text says,  After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!  It has become a dwelling place of demons,  a haunt of every foul spirit,  a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion,  and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,  and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,  “Come out of her, my people,  lest you take part in her sins,  lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven,  and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered,  and repay her double for her deeds;  mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed (Rev 18:1-6).
And as ancient Jerusalem was said to have the abomination of desolation (Mat 24:15), so too has our age embraced and even celebrated many abominations:abortion, fornication, homosexual acts, and the greed that becomes injustice to the poor. Scripture speaks of four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance: murder (Gn 4:10), homosexual acts (acts of sodomy)  (Gn 18:20-21), oppression of the poor (Ex 2:23), and defrauding workers of their just wages (Jas 5:4). There are also sins against the Holy Spirit, sins that harden a soul by rejecting the Holy Spirit. Six sins are in this category: despair, presumption, envy, obstinacy in sin, final impenitence, and deliberate resistance to the known truth.
Welcome to America after the social revolution. Pre-revolution America (prior to 1968) was no paradise, but there was more of a sense of basic right and wrong. Now everything is up for debate, and what used to slink around in back alleys now parades down Main Street in broad daylight.
To all this demonic influence, celebration of depravity, and excessive passion comes the plea, “Come out of here, my people!” Otherwise we will share in Babylon’s punishment. Make no compromises with this modern age, which has become the dwelling place of demons. Celebrating its secularism, our age, in rejecting God, has delivered itself to the machination of demons and all sort of human foolishness.
Stay sober, my friends, and see this age for what it is becoming: the dwelling place of demons, the haunt of every foul spirit, impure passion, and wanton desire. Have custody of your eyes and guard your heart!
II. Defiant in Depravity –   As she glorified herself and played the wanton,  so give her a like measure of torment and mourning.  Since in her heart she says, ‘A queen I sit,  I am no widow, mourning I shall never see’  (Rev 18:7).  
Yes, no matter how high the body count rises from abortion, from the broken lives of children raised without fathers, from exposure to pornography, from the celebration of greed and whatever is base or decadent—the modern West is too drunk to notice the harm she inflicts on herself. 70 million abortions, more than half of children raised in fatherless homes and in chaos … never mind all that! We are liberated. We will do as we please. We will not be told what to do!
And thus defiance and even the celebration of what is wicked and cries to heaven for vengeance continues apace. Despite all sorts statistics that say we are in real trouble, most go on calling “good” or “no big deal” what God calls sin. But God will not be mocked and ultimately we cannot avoid the consequences of our increasing depravity. At some point, God will have to end it if we do not repent.
Sadly, our defiance makes it seem unlikely that we will repent.
III. Destined for Destruction So shall her plagues come in a single day,  pestilence and mourning and famine,  and she shall be burned with fire;  for mighty is the Lord God who judges her … Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!  In one hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more; and a craftsman of any craft shall be found in thee no more; and the sound of the millstone shall be heard in thee no more; and the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more;  and the voice of bridegroom and bride  shall be heard in thee no more;  for thy merchants were the great men of the earth,  and all nations were deceived by thy sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,  and of all who have been slain on earth” (Rev 18:8, 19-24).
Jerusalem, the great city, the holy city, was utterly destroyed. 1.2 million Jewish people lost their lives in the conflagration. Jerusalem was burned, and when the Romans were finished, not one stone was left on another. Jesus had warned of this day in the Mt. Olivet discourses  (Mark 13Matthew 24Luke 21) and had wept over Jerusalem: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (Matt 23:37-38).
And what of us? Will we repent? Or will we be defiant and destined for destruction? Pray for America. Pray for the West. Pray for our culture, which still has great goodness but has succumbed to much corruption.
IV. Depressing in Desolation – And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and were wanton with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon!  In one hour has thy judgment come.” And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo any more, cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. “The fruit for which thy soul longed has gone from thee, and all thy dainties and thy splendor are lost to thee, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! In one hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out,  “Alas, alas, for the great city” (Rev 18:9-19).
Here’s the bottom line: Satan sails a sinking ship. Nothing of this world can stand except on the firm foundation of Christ and His Church. Too many Christians are in a compromised state with a sinful world. Scripture says, For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Heb 13:15-16).
In this new year, pray for our Western world as never before. We have brought great gifts to the world through our marriage with Christ. But now, acting like an angry divorcée, we have forsaken Him and turned to great wickedness. But God still seeks us and wants to renew His covenant with us.
Pray. And before you exultantly say, “Bring on the destruction!” please consider that this is no “made-for-TV movie.” Think about how instantly different our lives would be! Please consider the bloodshed and loss of life. Again, would you be ready for a world with no electricity, no Internet, and no central government with a Bill of Rights? Are you ready to live without roads, running water, and trash collection? Repentance is a far better solution. So pray for a miracle! It doesn’t have to end in destruction. Jerusalem could have repented, and we still can.
The Church will survive. God’s will shall prevail. But what of our beloved country and the West? That is up to us.
So pray at this dawn of the new year. Pray a lot. Only then will it be a “Happy New Year!”

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!
Originally posted at:  blogadw