It takes Courage to speak the truth


Tonight as I was doing a little reading I happened upon a statement made by Pope Emeritus Benedict. He said “The courage of the truth is, in my eyes, a criterion of the first order of sainthood in these times”. ( Hence, the title of this post.image

That statement convicted me because there are a number of issues which I know I am being asked to speak about, and I did to some degree already, but the Lord wants more.  It can be kind of scary which is why we need to pray for courage to always speak the truth when the Holy Spirit places it upon our hearts to do so.    You, I am sure, know what I mean.  There are probably many things you would love to say to others but don’t because of the abuse or rejection that follows.  I guess that is probably what makes me cringe inside when I am being asked to talk about various issues.  But then, Jesus always says “Be not afraid”. 

From the beginning of my conversion I knew I had a mission….and that mission involved the Eucharist.  I do not know the details but I do know that I am to give people the truth of what I know and not be afraid.  At first, I was not afraid….but then, after speaking of what I knew to my new Catholic friends and Priests, I became fearful.  I became hesitant to speak about it again.

It was in December of 1998 around midnight when I fell into a light sleep.  I was praying for peace in our world when all of a sudden my dream changed to something I will never forget.  Everything was erased from my mind…it was totally blank.   Then I saw a golden yellow screen come down- like at a theater.  Only it was golden in color.  I looked and saw a figure coming towards me from way off in the distance.  Once this figure came close I saw that he was dressed in beautiful armor, from head to toe.  I did not know who this was and still don’t.  ( Although, I am thinking it could be St. Michael the Archangel since he is the guardian of the Tabernacles in all Churches).  But, once he stood directly in front of me, he opened a door on the chest of his armor and in it was baby Jesus in the Eucharist.  I immediately fell to the ground and adored Him.  He then showed me that I was to lead others to the truth of His True Presence in the Eucharist.  There was more, but this is all that I need to relate at this point.

The two truths  that I must once again speak about is in regard to the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Only this time God has made it easy on me.  I have been sent a really good video by Rev. Schneider  in regard to the Eucharist, entitled “Reverence Matters” and  a recent posting by Charlie Johnston in regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Charlie grew up in a Protestant Family but after receiving messages he became Catholic.  He explains how he really had trouble praying the Rosary and asking Mary to intercede.

Information is powerful and information can lead us to or away from God, depending on where it comes from.    If you stop at this point and ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit and speak to your heart, before you listen to the video or read the article, and that you would have an open heart, I am quite sure the Lord will oblige.  Remember Pilot at the Crucifixion when he said to Jesus “What is Truth”?  The truth is meant to set us free.  We should love truth more than our love of what we want to believe is truth, or of what we may have grown up with.    Coming to terms with the truth can be painful and very uncomfortable.  It really does take us out of our comfort zones.


Article related to the above video can be found here.

And now for the article on the Blessed Virgin Mary, I repost it here below.

Mary and the Saints – For Protestants

imageBy Charlie Johnston

I was in my early 20s when I went to my first Catholic Mass as a worshipper. Oh, I had been to many in my teens as a hired trumpet player, but the musicians in the choir loft don’t follow the same rules as the regular worshippers as far as standing, kneeling and sitting. For a lifelong Protestant, attending your first Mass is a very baffling disorienting affair. People just spontaneously stand up, or sit down, or kneel, or talk back to the priest in unison for no reason you can quite fathom. Within about 10 minutes of the beginning of Mass, I found a woman near the front row who seemed to know what she was doing – so I just determined to watch and do whatever she did.

A few years after my conversion, I was at a wedding Mass where there were a lot of baffled Protestants. About 15 minutes in I realized, with a little irony, that some of them were carefully watching me. Now, apparently, I was the guy who looked like he knew what he was doing. I must confess, every time I am at a Mass that I know has drawn a lot of Protestants out, I have to fight back the temptation to do a cartwheel in the aisle – just to see how many do one with me.

Cradle Catholics cannot imagine how disorienting and baffling even the liturgy is to lifelong Protestants. Even more puzzling is the Catholic devotion to various saints and to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. Even the language of faith can be perplexing, for often the two camps mean different things while using the same words. Throw in that Catholics often have a hard time explaining what, exactly, they believe, much less why they believe it – and that many Evangelical Protestants have often been told some pretty absurd caricatures of what Catholics profess and it is a wonder the encounters are not even more awkward and confused.

Now, I am not going to discuss everything that Catholics do not believe here that many think we do. I will also note from the outset that some Catholics abuse what the Church teaches in ways that help foster misconceptions about what the Church actually teaches. I am only going to focus here on Mary and the Saints – and what the Church actually proclaims.

Many Protestants believe that we worship Mary, in particular, and the saints to a lesser extent. I know – that’s what I used to believe, because that’s what everybody said. To the contrary, when we pray to a saint, including Mary, we are asking them to pray for us, usually for specific intentions. Everyone of faith, Protestant or Catholic, asks their friends to pray for them. It is so common and well-accepted no one disputes the propriety of it. Many Protestants only count those on earth among the communion of the faithful and, thus, properly to be asked for prayers. Catholics consider all the faithful, both in this world and in the next, to be among the communion of the faithful. If it is proper and fruitful to ask friends here to pray for you, how much more fruitful to ask those who already behold the Face of God?

Some argue, though, that it is improper to ask those who are dead to pray for us. Yet in Luke 20:38 and Mark 12:27, Jesus notes that Moses called God the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all are alive to Him. If all the faithful are alive to God – and Jesus says they are – then it is at least as good to ask St. Peter to pray for you as it is to ask your cousin, Peter, to do the same. That is properly what Catholics are called to do.

We do not worship any of the saints, including Mary. Rather, together with all the saints, we worship the One God alone, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Contrary to the belief of many, including many Catholics, the Catholic Church has no power whatsoever to “make” saints. That power belongs to God, alone. The power the Church does have is to recognize infallibly a small handful of the saints God has made. A person is not honored by being recognized as a saint here. If he is a saint, he already has received all the honor he may ever receive by being called to join the heavenly host. The honor is less meaningful to the saint than it would be to give a King a participation certificate for attending a pancake breakfast. That does not mean it is a matter of indifference to the saint involved, for his love still calls him to the same thing it did while he walked this earth: call his fellows to the joy and peace which is in Christ. That takes us to why God chooses to reveal some saints to us in the first place. It is not for their sake, but for ours.

Saints come in all shapes and sizes. There are those whose lifelong purity and steadfastness are breathtaking and astounding. But to limit saints to icons of improbable virtue is an error, if a common one. More often, their sanctity is demonstrated by their transcendence of their own flaws and limitations through their love of God, manifested through their love of those around them. Oh, how I would that people would read good biographies of the saints! St. Francis, that great icon of poverty, purity and love of the poor, was once a wealthy, reckless dandy. St. Augustine was a cynical manipulator of public opinion and a lusty rake in his early life. St. Mary Magdalene was once a prostitute. Saints are often portrayed as universally soft-spoken, gentle souls. But many were lions – and often irritable lions at that. St Teresa of Avila was known for her tart tongue. St Catherine of Sienna was not shy about directing and cajoling Popes, though she was discreet about it. That popular modern saint, St. Padre Pio, was often abrupt and scathing – even as he submitted with humility to errant efforts by his superiors to suppress his spirituality and charges of fraud and humbug from critics.

Among the saints can be found virgins and those notable for the abundance of their progeny, peasants and kings, pacifists and warriors. In fact, saints are to be found from almost every walk of life. Some New Age commentators have used this fact as evidence that there are many paths to God, which is a trivialization of what is true. What is true is that there are many trails to the single path that leads to God, which is the way of love. Love is the only motivation strong enough to sustain a noble purpose through trials, hardships and even martyrdom. God gives each person a unique personality, then intends that authentic personality to be used for a unique mission in His service to His people. For each fundamental quality of a man, there is a disordered and a properly ordered manifestation of that quality. God has uses for a passionate man, but passion can easily manifest itself as cruelty or lustfulness. God has uses for a soul of notable purity, but even that can degenerate into self-righteousness and an arid sterility. Weighted down by the burden of original sin, we are constantly tempted to use our talents to serve ourselves and our own appetites. Transformed by love of God, the saints use those talents in service of their neighbor, which they love in the image of God. They often struggle with the old disorder, but progressively live service with ever greater fortitude and resolve. The sinner constantly asks, “What about me?” The saint constantly seeks to hearten those around him. A pretender can – and often does – use the forms of piety for mere self-aggrandizement, a species of blasphemy. A saint does not hesitate to get his hands dirty to bring the hope of God to those furthest from Him. A pretender is sensitive to any hint of insult to his imagined dignity. A saint is impervious to any slanders seeking to keep him from caring for those around him. Whatever he says, a pretender is always looking inward, concerned about what events mean for him. A saint is always looking upward to God and outward to the needs of those around him.

The great variety of saints can help hearten us that whatever the nature of our authentic personality, God has use for it. We can find friends among the saints, people who shared trials and temptations similar to our own. We can ask for their prayers and guidance just as we would a trusted, bosom friend. We can find inspiration in how they handled similar troubles – and hope in how they transcended them by trusting to God.

If there is so much variety among the personalities of authentic saints, what is the heart of sanctity, the visible sign? I long contemplated that. The focus I settled on was St. Joan of Arc. Technically, she was not a Christian martyr. She fell into the hands of an enemy power. Though a corrupt Bishop was used as the means to condemn her, she was condemned for having defeated England, not for her faith. She was often prophetic, but her prophecies were wrong almost as often as they were right. Oh, the ones that were right were so improbable it was comparable to choosing the exact right lottery numbers six out of ten tries – a margin of error anyone would gladly accept for such stakes. So what was it that revealed her sanctity?

I came up with an answer that struck me in considering the great prayer of Mary, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). In most English-language Bibles, the first line is translated as, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” Think of that. At its most basic, every saint ultimately becomes a pure lens through which our vision of the Lord is magnified more clearly. The holier the saint, the more pure the magnification.

The French people were disheartened, dispirited, given over to despair as the 100-Years War appeared it would end in the extinction of the Nation of France. When Joan appeared, this dispirited rabble was infused with new heart, new hope, new resolve. Her soul magnified the Lord – and the people felt the effects of it. But there were others who felt it, too, the self-promoters, those whose field of vision never rose above their own temporal ambitions and covetousness. Some of those, even, were to be found in the French Court. They all hated Joan with an irrational fury, constantly trying to pull her down. There is nothing that so infuriates a fraud as to be confronted with the real thing. That is the heart, the visible evidence of sanctity. A saint’s soul magnifies the Lord, giving new heart to those who have lost heart, while infuriating those who are absorbed in themselves and their petty ambitions. The Lord speaks through His saints. His sheep recognize His voice in them and rejoice. But satan’s goats recognize His voice in them, too, and rage at them.

No one is closer to Our Lord than His Mother. She lived the sorrow of His passion with Him, at His feet – and a sword pierced her soul. (Luke 2:35). As Jesus was dying on the Cross, He committed His Mother to His beloved disciple, John – and committed John, the Church, to the care of His Mother. (John 19:26).

Throughout the ages, Mary has prayed unceasingly for her children, the Church – and all of her children have recourse to her. She busies herself constantly running out to greet people, encouraging them to come on in, come in to the warmth and safety of Her Holy Son. Most Protestants think the Rosary is a worshipful devotion to Mary. It is not; it is an extended contemplation of the Life of Christ alongside Mary, through her loving heart. A full Rosary goes through four sets of mysteries, each of which contemplates some aspect of the life of Our Lord.

As I studied the history of Christianity in depth I was surprised to learn that the line, “Holy Mary, Mother of God…” was not incorporated into the Hail Mary to underscore Mary’s motherhood. Rather, there was a great heresy raging that claimed that Jesus was just a man, a created being Who achieved divinity by His righteousness. Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is True God and True Man. The Eternal, Uncreated Son chose to take on our humanity at a particular point in time, to suffer and die in that humanity, that all might be saved. People often note that Jesus is the Son of God. That is absolutely true, but because of our limitations, it sometimes blinds us to the fact that it is equally true that the Eternal Father is the Father of God. They are One. We also stumble because our experience tells us that the child proceeds from the parents. This is true except in the case of Christ, the one case in history in which the parents proceeded from the Son. The phrase, “Holy Mary, Mother of God…” was incorporated into the “Hail Mary” to underscore Christ’s divinity, not Mary’s motherhood.

Even knowing these things, and even having fallen in love with the Catholic Church, my old Evangelical Protestant training filled me with dread at the sound of the phrase, “Holy Mary, Mother of God…” in the “Hail Mary.” Intimations of blasphemy would fill my head and whiffs of brimstone fill my nostrils at it, choking it off in my throat, so I had decided that would not be a devotion I practiced. But at my reception into the Church, one of the gifts was a beautiful, elegant Rosary. I knew that a sense of dread was often God warning us away from something sinful. But I also knew it could be used by satan to keep us from something fruitful. So I added a new tool of discernment. I prayed, telling God that He knew I loved Him…that this Church had been such a wonderful and unexpected gift that I was going to pray this Rosary for three weeks – and depend on Him to show me whether it was proper or not. If it was not, I would quietly refrain from ever saying it again. Those next three weeks were an unprecedented period of extravagant and improbable graces and blessings. Ever since, like the beloved disciple, I have joyfully followed the Lord’s command to take His Mother into my heart as my mother.

And that is why I say, with profound gratitude and joy,

Hail Mary, full of grace,

The Lord is with you.

Blessed are you among women,

And blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

Pray for us sinners,

And spread the effect of the grace of thy flame of love,

Over all humanity,

Now, and at the hour of our death.


Testimony for the Miracle Prayer

I have a testimony of one of the prayers I put up a few months back….It is the Miracle Prayer of Trust.   You can find it here.

A few weeks ago I was driving up North to visit a friend of mine when I reached for the rosary I keep in the car and found it was gone.  It was a very special rosary from Medjugoree.  I wracked my brain to think of where I would have put it and began retracing my steps  of where I had been.

Finally, after agonizing over it, the thought that came to me was that I should pray this Miraculous Prayer of Trust.  (I am sure it was my Guardian Angel whispering this in my ear). I immediately decided to do just that.  I abandoned the whole situation to Jesus through our Blessed Mother.  This means you can’t think about it anymore and you need to let it go.

A few days later I returned home and decided to go through my emails.  One was from a friend of mine.  I had been at her place the day before I went out of town.  She asked me if I was missing a rosary from Medjugoree.  I was so excited I could hardly stand it.  When I told her that Yes, I had lost my rosary and was so thankful she had found it, she told me something quite miraculous really.

Her son had been driving their four-wheeler in the driveway doing “donuts” and her daughter found the rosary in the tracks of the four-wheeler totally unharmed.

So how can that be…. whatever the case, however it happened, obviously the Blessed Mother obtained a beautiful grace for me – the return of my rosary unharmed.   I am so grateful to God and the Blessed Mother.

I do believe all things happen for a reason and quite possibly one of the reasons is that I was being given the opportunity to trust in small matters and to abandon the outcome to the Lord, not knowing if I would ever see it again.   Another one is to increase my faith and trust in this beautiful prayer  so that I could share it with others so they too might try abandoning all their situations to Jesus through Mary.

God will always give us opportunities to Trust Him.  There are probably many instances in your own life, big and small, where you are being given the opportunity to Trust the outcome of certain situations to God so that He can show you that you can Trust Him and trust that the Blessed Virgin Mary intercedes for us continuously.

I received a testimony from someone the other day about their experience with the green scapular.  I posted their comment just now.  It really is quite powerful.  This person received  spiritual and physical healing.  That is exactly what the green scapular is noted for.  Praise God.

Many Blessings to all.

False Prophets


Since the beginning of time false prophets have come and gone.    So how do we know who is from God and who is not.    Often times we don’t, not for awhile anyway.    When I was in prayer I was asking the Lord about one particular so-called prophet…I wanted to know if I could believe this person and was He speaking through this person.  After five days of prayer, suddenly the Lord spoke and said “by their fruits you shall know them”.  This takes time which is why it also takes the Church many years sometimes to determine whether or not an Apparition or Visionary is from God.   In Acts 5:34-39 we are told:

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. [a]But he was killed, and all who [b]followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who [c]followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or [d]action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

if this plan or [d]action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”  Important words of advice which the Church adheres to in many cases of alleged visionaries around the World.  There are two very important Apparition Sites which the Church is currently looking into and they are Garabandol and Medjugoree.   As one may expect, you have many good faith-filled individuals who claim these are not from God, and many faith-filled Christians who say YES they are from God.   The Garabandol messages speak about these times we are now in…..claiming that we will go through an Illumination of Conscience called the “Warning;  the great Miracle, and the Tribulation period”.  If these incidences do occur, then the Church will proclaim them to be valid.

I was in Garabandal and Medjugoree in the year 2000.  Both are very poor communities high in the mountains with very sparse populations.  I guess I certainly do believe they are from God but we will all have to wait and see.

The reason I am bringing this up is because there is a controversy brewing between two men who are “in the know”.   It is in regards to Pope Francis.   Dr. Kelly Bowring contends that it is highly plausible that he is the False Pope for these times, and Charlie Johnston contends that No, he is our Pope for these times – a good Pope.  What I find really interesting is that you are finding people taking sides with one or the other, and Charlie Johnston stated that Dr. Kelly Bowring is blaspheming God by putting forth his reasons as to why he believes this Pope is the False Pope.

I find this quite interesting and I guess as scripture states:  If he is indeed the false pope then he will be overthrown, but if not, then he shall be vindicated by God.

Dr. Kelly Bowring is in good standing with the Church, a Catholic Theologian who has written a number of books on these days, based on Scripture and Prophecies already approved by the Church…..And, Charlie Johnston is also in good standing and is being guided by at least three Priests these last 20 years.  He, I believe, is receiving lessons from the Lord and is doing his best to relay those messages to us to help us get through what he terms the “storm”.

However, One is correct and the other is wrong.   If Dr. Kelly Bowring is wrong then I am wrong.  His reasons for suggesting this possibility are the very same reasons that I have been struggling with since Pope Francis walked out on stage to greet everyone in 2013.   The Lord said “By their fruits you shall know them”.  I continue to go through all of this in my mind trying to discern but at the same time knowing that God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and who can know the mind of God.

Dr. Kelly Bowrings thoughts on this matter can be found here.  He penned an open letter to Pope Francis which I think you may find interesting.  He questions him quite pointedly and I cannot believe that he would be guilty of blaspheming God for questioning his statements and intentions.

Here is what Charlie Johnston had to say about Dr. Kelly Bowring.

I am getting a lot of mail from people shaken by the writings of Dr. Kelly Bowring. He was once fairly orthodox, but after being deceived by the fraud who was Maria Divine Mercy, instead of humbly repenting, he has taken up her mantle of trying to defame the lawful authority of Pope Francis – and so lead people away from the safety of the Church and the faith. What he is doing is execrable…and there are European former Catholics (I call them former because, while claiming they are Catholic, they too are trying to pull people off the ship into the Storm-tossed sea) doing the same and mounting an even more furious assault than Bowring. I warned of this last year. These things must come. YOU keep to the safety of the ship which is the Church. As this grows, I will consider other things to do, but for now pray and boldly proclaim your faith – and your fidelity to the Barque of Peter.

So, here you have it.  Two faithful Catholics doing their best to serve God and for various reasons totally disagree with one another on something very important.  This is very important because prophecy states that the Church will undergo great persecution, satan will enter into the very summit of the Church, and it will look as though the church has died.  The faithful will have to go underground to celebrate Mass.  The Church will be divided and the False Pope will be in union with the Anti-Christ to bring about a One-World Church, which will be built in Rome.

We may need to make a choice very soon….and that choice is whether or not we should follow Pope Francis.  I do think this is extremely important.  So, we need to pray, pray, pray that we follow the true leader of the Church and not be misled and stray from the truth.  The Lord said many will be deceived and only a small remnant shall be left at the end who follow the Truth.  I, personally do not want to be deceived and I pray everyday that I never, ever deny God.  This is one of the reasons we absolutely must know our Scriptures.

Before I forget there is also another very important attribute of a false prophet vs a true prophet.  Jesus said that those who are of Him will follow in his footsteps.  They will be persecuted just as He was persecuted.  So…..the False Prophet will be adulated while the true prophets are persecuted.  Take a look at Pope Benedict….He is and was very persecuted and the mainstream media did not like him at all…they spoke very ill of him.  However, the moment Pope Francis walked on stage someone from CBS said, He was a Saint.  They didn’t even know the guy and they were already making comments that he was a Saint.  Pope Francis gets a lot of media attention and he is not being persecuted in the least bit by anyone that I know of.   This is one of the things I am looking at and also we must look for humility.

Now I know everyone and I mean everyone is saying how humble Pope Francis is….well, if everyone is saying this, even the media, then you know something just is not right.  False humility is pretending to be humble and doing things to get noticed or attention.

These are just a few things I am looking at and trying to discern.  All of us need to do this and ask for the Holy Spirits guidance into this matter.  Do not just assume all is ok.  satan is a clever one and he is much more brilliant than any of us will ever be.  I know I have been fooled many times so I am much more cautious these days…..Sometimes the Lord will allow us to be deceived to keep us humble and to let us know that we don’t know beans about many things.  These are invaluable lessons.

I pray you will receive many blessings this day and be given the gift of discernment.  We all need it.

The Year of Mercy

I felt it was important to repost this article by which Pope Francis has declared this year as a year of Mercy for those who have had abortions.   If you know of someone who is in need of God’s Mercy and forgiveness, please let them know.

All priests will be able to forgive sin of abortion during Jubilee for Mercy

by Elise Harris

Vatican City, Sep 1, 2015 / 06:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a new set of pastoral guidelines for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has made some significant moves, allowing all priests to forgive the sin of abortion and granting SSPX priests the faculty to forgive sins.

“One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life,” the Pope said in a Sept. 1 letter addressed to Archbishop Rino Fisichela, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, charged with organizing the jubilee.

In today’s society, “a widespread and insensitive mentality” has become an obstacle to welcoming new life, with many who don’t fully understand the deep harm done by the “tragedy of abortion,” he said.

However, Francis also noted that there are many women who, despite thinking abortion is wrong, feel that they have no other choice.

“I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision,” he said.

A woman who obtains an abortion automatically incurs a “latae sententiae” excommunication, along with those who assisted her in the process. Because of this excommunication, the sin of abortion can normally only be absolved by a bishop, or certain priests appointed by him.

For specific occasions such as Advent or Lent, some bishops extend this faculty to all priests within their diocese. In the U.S., the faculty to absolve abortion has already been delegated to all priests.

However, Pope Francis is taking it to a universal level. He said that the forgiveness of God can’t be denied to a person who has sincerely repented, especially when the person comes to the Sacrament of Confession in order to be genuinely reconciled with the Father.

Because of this, Francis said, he has allowed all priests for the Jubilee of Mercy “to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”
In another significant move, Francis has also allowed priests from the Society of St Pius X to “validly and licitly” hear confessions during the Holy Year.

“This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” the Pope said in his letter, explaining several bishops have informed him of the society’s “good faith and sacramental practice,” albeit combined with an “uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint.”

The Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 to form priests, as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Church following the Second Vatican Council. Its relations with the Holy See became strained in 1988 when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II.

The illicit consecration resulted in the excommunication of the five bishops; the excommunications were lifted in 2009 by Benedict XVI, and since then, negotiations between the Society and the Vatican to re-establish full communion have continued.

In his letter, Francis expressed his confidence that solutions to recovering full communion with the priests and superiors of the Society could be found in the near future.

In the meantime, “motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition,” he declared that those who approach priests of the Society for confession during the jubilee “shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.”

Pope Francis also turned to those who, due to reasons of age, illness or incarceration, will not be able to walk through the Holy Door in order to obtain the plenary indulgence connected with the jubilee.

Each of the four major basilicas in Rome has a holy door, which are normally sealed shut from the inside so that they cannot be opened. The doors are only opened during jubilee years so that pilgrims can enter through them in order to gain the indulgence.

In May, it was announced that as part of the Holy Year for Mercy, holy doors will for the first time be designated in dioceses, and will be located either in the cathedral or in a church of special significance or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages.

For the elderly and sick, often confined to their homes, the Pope said that living their illness and suffering with “joyful hope” and attending Mass, receiving communion and participating in community prayer, “even through the various means of communication,” is a way that they can receive the jubilee indulgence.

In regards to prisoners, Francis said that they will be able to obtain the indulgence in the chapels of the prisons.

He said that directing their thoughts and prayers to God each time they cross the door of their cell would signify their passage through the Holy Door, “because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.”

The Pope also pointed to how a jubilee indulgence can be obtained for the deceased, and encouraged faithful to pray to the Saints for them during Mass, that “the merciful Face of the Father” free them of the remainder of every fault.

Francis then turned to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, explaining that the experience of mercy “becomes visible in the witness of concrete signs as Jesus himself taught us.”

Therefore, each time that someone personally performs one or more of the 13 works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, burying the dead, willingly forgiving offenses, comforting the afflicted or praying for the living and dead, that person will “surely obtain the Jubilee Indulgence.”

For all those who will celebrate and experience the grace of the jubilee either as pilgrims in Rome or in their individual dioceses, Francis prayed that the indulgence would be “a genuine experience of God’s mercy” for each one.

He affirmed that in order to receive the indulgence one must make a pilgrimage to the Holy Door, either in Rome or in their diocese, “as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion.”

In addition to the cathedrals and shrines where the Holy Door of Mercy will be opened, the Pope also designated that the indulgence could be attained in the churches traditionally identified as Jubilee Churches.

He stressed the importance of remembering that the reception of the indulgence must be linked “first and foremost to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy.”

It will be necessary, he said, “to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.”

Trusting in God rather than ourselves is vital

Jesus with us during the storm
Jesus with us during the storm

I spent the last few days with a very dear friend of mine.  We had several late night discussions in regard to what is coming.   My friend doesn’t know what to think or believe and is fearful and rightly so.  For when you begin to contemplate the enormous changes that will take place, not knowing what is going to happen,  we naturally begin to fear.

I tried to speak to her about how we need to forget about what we think we will lose (our retirements, etc) and what we will gain.   How we cannot trust ourselves, but must put all of our trust in God to get us through these next few years.

Again, in Exodus, the Israelites complained to Moses when they thought back to what they had….even though they were in great misery, they  believed their living conditions were better than what  God had in store for them.    They did not realize that even though they were struggling and having a tough time during their sojurn in the desert, God was preparing them to receive His gift of bringing them out of slavery and into a land of milk and honey.  This is the same thing many are going through today.  We hang on to what we have, what we know….even though it is nothing compared to what God has planned for us in the near future.  I, too, have bemoaned the fact that we will lose everything we have worked for (retirement), but then I began to see how wrong this kind of thinking is.    Now I focus on the great gift of life God is going to be giving us in the New Era of Peace.    We have been so desensitized, that we prefer the filth and suffering to the beauty, purity, and health of mind, body, and soul that God is promising us.

I then read Charlie’s posting today, which I am reposting.  He speaks so eloquently about this.  Hope you enjoy it as I did.

Live It

By Charlie Johnston

It is striking to me that many of those who should worry least about the Storm worry the most while most of those who don’t worry at all have a lot to worry about.

Imagine you have outfitted a canoe to navigate through a chain of lakes and streams. It is best to lay out a plan on how to steer through the various streams and what direction to take in order to reach your desired destination, for you are in control…you are driving, as it were. That is normal life. Now imagine that same canoe at the beginning of a great series of rapids you are not familiar with. The first thing to understand is that you are not driving, but being driven. In this case, having a plan on where to steer and what direction to take will likely cause you to capsize – for you do not know what turns and dangers are coming or when they will appear. Instead, you are called to react quickly and skillfully to whatever turns and obstacles arise as they arise. Survival depends on how well you respond to challenges in the present moment.

Right now we are in the early stages of an intensifying series of spiritual rapids. I get a host of letters and comments these days telling me, with great grief, that no matter how someone plans something, it is not coming out right…or about deepening divisions in families…or in shock at the latest outrage perpetrated by the ruling and chattering classes. As St. Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal, which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”-I Peter 4:12,13. I have told you that these things must come – and so they have begun. I have told you that your only source of security is to abandon yourself to God, then do what is right in front of you, trusting that He will ultimately bring all things to right. Yet some have used what I have said to devise their own plans to avoid the consequences of all this – and now are frightened that their plans are not working out. If you are in that place, be thankful it is happening to you now, for it is simply God gently relieving you of the illusion that you can rely on your efforts rather than His Grace. Do not think I am chiding you: I had decades to learn this. As I have occasionally said, I hope you are all quicker learners than I was, for events have reached a pass where you must be. But if you have such sorrows now, be thankful that you are close enough to what you should be that God finds it profitable to reprove you and bring you along to a real trust. Save your sorrow for those who have no idea there is anything to be sorrowful about, for by the time many of them learn, it will be too late for them to correct their course without a heroic effort.

Are there painful divisions in your family and among your friends? There are the same in mine – and in almost every family I know. And those divisions have ratcheted up dramatically this year. But I told you late last year that they would. You will not convince anyone by becoming more manically insistent on what you believe. Rather you must imitate the farmer.

Consider the farmer: he plants a seed, then must wait up to a week for a sprout to appear. It is a month before a real plant takes shape – and even longer than that for fruit to appear. He conjures neither the plant nor the fruit, but merely waters the ground – and in due time, God raises up a plant which bears fruit. When you speak with confident joy about what you believe, you plant a seed. Once you have done that, simply live what you say you believe with the same joy. When you do that, you water the ground. But to continue to try to push on the unwilling what you believe is to constantly root around where you planted, disturbing the ground and perhaps choking the tender plant before it can take firm root. The farmer must trust God for the increase after he has planted the seed. So must you. Every day that you spend arguing the faith instead of living it with confident joy after you have planted the seed, you are actually withholding water from that tender plant even as you dig around its roots. Stop trying to frantically conjure fruit and trust God for the increase.

I will tell you now something that may seem like a boast, but if it is, it is a boast on the sure confidence we can place in the Lord’s providence. Only once in my life have I ever encouraged someone to become Catholic or Christian. I just don’t do that. My friends and family know what I am and how I live. I meet people where they are and, if they are of good will, share ordinary joys and conversation with them. All know what I believe in, but we are more likely to talk about sports, politics, movies or whatever than God at any given moment. (If you truly believe in God, all good things you discuss are ultimately about God, whether you name Him or not). Even before I went public with these things, when God was mentioned it was brought up far more often by my friends – even those who do not believe – than by me. This was simply because all people knew they could talk to me and get a conversation or an explanation without a harangue to go with it. I truly believes God reads hearts – and if there is good will there, He will bring it to fullness in His time. My task is to encourage the good will that is already there, not to stifle it by haranguing my friends. Even so, there are dozens – at least a hundred I know of from before I ever spoke openly of this – who cheerfully and spontaneously credit me with a major role in their conversion. Why? Because however peculiar I might have seemed at any time, I always lived what I spoke with cheery confidence. I meant it, not just spoke it…and many wanted some of that cheery confidence for themselves. Long faces and strident arguments make for meager evangelization.

So it is all the more critical that as things get darker, you live your joyful confidence visibly and lightly. If you speak of joy but your countenance is ever clouded with worry or panic, your life gives the lie to your words. Live it. That is the witness that transforms lives. When you feel it, live it. When you don’t feel it, live it. When you are exuberant, live it. When you are exhausted, live it. If I had a dime for every convert who told me that my consistent easy confidence drew them into the faith, I would not be rich – but I would have a LOT of dimes. Live it.

Your friends hear what you say, but they also see your face. In the midst of the Storm, while Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on the water, too. When he was distracted by the terrors of the storm, he began to sink. Your friends see your face and know whether you have confidence in the Jesus you speak of, or whether you have been panicked by the storm around you. If it is the latter, know that however polite they might be to you, they have already decided the peace they seek is not here. Live it – and you will be a true evangelist. In these times, every time you give way to panic or stridency, you dishearten those you are called to evangelize. Your serene and joyful confidence IS the lifeline for multitudes around you.

I know this is hard. Even now, I often say to the Lord, along with the father of the troubled son, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.”–Mark 9:24.

Love those around you and live it always.