11/26/20

 MEDJUGORJE MESSAGE NOVEMBER 25, 2020

“Dear children! This is a time of love, warmth, prayer and joy. Pray, little children, for little Jesus to be born in your hearts. Open your hearts to Jesus who gives Himself to each of you. God sent me to be joy and hope in this time, and I am saying to you: Without little Jesus you do not have the tenderness or the feeling of Heaven, which is hidden in the Newborn. Therefore, little children, work on yourselves. By reading the Sacred Scripture you will discover Jesus' birth and joy, as in the first days, which Medjugorje gave to humanity. History will be truth, which, also today, is being repeated in you and around you. Work on and build peace through the Sacrament of Confession. Reconcile with God, little children, and you will see miracles around you. Thank you for having responded to my call.''

11/18/20

 

Fr. John Boughton: I came to Medjugorje as a Protestant and I became a Catholic priest

date: 30.10.2020.

Testimony of Fr. John Boughton was recently put on YouTube channel ‘Fruits of Medjugorje’. Testimonies of Sofia Gamiz and Fr. Johannes Rothärmel, as well as documentary film ‘Gift of conversion‘, were shown on this year’s Youth Festival. Recently this testimony was added of a priest who was born as a Protestant. He was studying medicine, later on he read a book on Medjugorje and decided to come here and that visit changed his life. He converted to Catholicism and became a priest.

Here, we give his story on how Medjugorje changed his life in fulness, and you can also watch his testimony on YouTube channel Fruits of Medjugorje. For more of the similar stories, please check our Facebook page Fruits of Medjugorje. If you still do not know about this project, you can find out more HERE.

 

I heard of Međugorje the first time in 1991, in the fall. I came in February or March of 1992 as a Protestant. I was studying to be a medical doctor, I was 28 years old and was going back to the university. A friend of mine from Texas, also a Protestant, I was raised protestant, saw the conversion of this other man, Jeff Reed who runs St. David's Relief Foundation now. He saw a change in Jeff and he said, he said literally, he went up to Jeff and said: Jeff, what happened to you? I want it! Because Jeff had this peace about him that Jeff had never had before.

My friend Robert and I were at his ranch in Colorado and talking and and he said: John, I don't know what to do about this, but I see this radical change in my friend Jeff and he gave me this book on Međugorje by Wayne Weible. Read it and tell me what you think. And so that's the first time I heard about it.

We grew up together, we were best friends all our lives, we never talked religion, we talked, we chased girls together, we hunted together, we drank together, but we never talked religion together.

We were even altar boys at the Episcopalian Church together, but never talked religion until he handed me that book. And he didn't know that at that moment I was asking the big questions at 28 years old. You know, why do I have such a big hole in my heart? Why do I have all the things the world promises and I'm on my way to medical school, why do I feel so empty?

And what's, what's happening here? And when he handed me that book, wow, it was a great beginning and we began to talk further about it and he said: What do you think?

I said, it's one of three things: it's either of the devil, they're crazy or it's real.

And I have a little bit of a military background; I was a naval officer in the reserves and I said, militarily speaking, it can't be of the devil because he would never tell his enemy, tell us to go to his enemy by going to confession, by going to church, by praying the Rosary, something I didn't know how to do. He would never tell us to do these things, so it can't be of him.

There's six of these kids, how could they all be crazy, that doesn't make any sense either. So it must be real and Robert looked at me, goes like: Dadgummit, I think you're right. That's what I thought, too.

We have to go! I was like: Okay, let's go! I can't say that I came with expectations because I really had no idea of what to expect. I'd read this book by Wayne Weible and all I knew was It was a very strange time to come as well.

It was early 1992 so it was like February, March of 1992 and Jeff Reed had said: Okay, well, let's go, but father Svetozar is asking if we can bring some medical supplies along because at that point in time he knew the war was coming.

And so we, with Jeff in a group of Mexican charismatics from West Texas, all gathered a bunch of medical supplies and carried them in suitcases through Belgrade down to Sarajevo and into Međugorje. So, basically we were smuggling, not basically, we were smuggling and it's an interesting story, we got caught but my friend Robert and I saw the power of the rosary worked that day.

And though they had Robert thrown in a holding tank ready to throw him in the jail, somehow that rosary worked, we saw these little "abuelas", these little grandmothers from Mexico and Texas, praying the rosary and the guard's boss came down and saw this letter written in English with a stamp that was raised; raised seal stamp saying in English on the letterhead of a veterinarian that we had permission to bring in these medical supplies and she ran her finger over that stamp and then lifted her finger and yelled at her her compatriot for holding us.

That was the first introduction to the power of the rosary, like there's something to this. I don't know what it is and then we came in to Međugorje. After a couple of days and of other stories, but it was an amazing experience to see, to see what the rosary does, to see, to meet, meet our Lady because as a Protestant we didn't know Our Lady.

But we, we got to know her there. And then to meet Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because they had adoration going on. Though there were hardly, I think we were the only pilgrim group at all in town.

There was still adoration and father Slavko was there and father Svetozar. Despite the fact that the threat of war was happening, it was a very peaceful place and you could note the difference. I came on that first pilgrimage asking God what he wanted me to do with my life, I was on my way to medical school, I was back in University studying, but I realized I needed to ask God and quit telling him what I wanted to do but asked him what he wanted to do and there was a particular moment upon Podbrdo where I finally just kind of signed a blank cheque to Jesus and said: Okay, Lord, I'll do whatever you want me to do, I'll even become, and I thought of the craziest thing I could think of, I'll even become a Franciscan in Bosnia, I don't know what they are, I don't know what they do, I just met one the other day but I'd even do that if you wanted me to.

In this peace descended upon me at that moment, I didn't think I was going to become a Franciscan, but in time when I went back home after that pilgrimage, I began to realize through spiritual direction that was indeed a real call to give my life completely over to the Lord, but I wasn't convinced of the Catholic Church yet.

Well, the first struggle was realizing that, being called to the Catholic Church, that I would have to give up my girlfriend if I was gonna really be a priest there. Like before I was Episcopalian, I'd think: Well I can do both things.

So this is a little bit more serious, but when I realized, I needed to act on the truth, then I said:  Okey, that's what you want, Lord, let's go! And by God's grace the Catholic Church and its wisdom doesn't allow new convert to come into any religious order or diocese for at least two years.

And by God's Providence and through our Lady's hand I spent that time, most of these two years, here in Međugorje running convoys during the war with the St. David's Relief Foundation, so I was under the tutelage of father Svet and father Slavko for almost two years here.

So my first two years as a Catholic were spent in this parish. And it was a beautiful thing because I could see literally day by day, sometimes multiple times in a day, the fruits of heaven and hell, side-by-side. We would leave this peaceful little envelope of Međugorje and hit the borders of Mostar and go all the way up as far as Zenica and Tuzla and points in and around and beyond Sarajevo and see the fruits of hell and then come back and see the fruits of heaven.

And then I watched as the Friars just operated through all this. One of my heroes, father Leonard Oreč, God rest his soul, I remember the day the Muslims and Croats had a peace treaty signed and that day he called me up and said John: Load up all your trucks and get some more, we're going over to the East side of Mostar to the Red Crescent and we're going to give them supplies and we're gonna show them we're about peace.

And I remember standing in East Mostar with father Leonard in his full brown habit and this little boy grabbing my hand because I was, you know, a civilian, going: This guy's crazy, there are snipers around here all over the place and he's in a habit!

This is... and it dawned on me, this is what friars are about and so this really formed me greatly, to see that spirituality. I had no idea what religious life was supposed to be about from the inside, had no concept of any of it, but I just knew in my heart that I was called to be a friar. I was invited to join the Province here, was honoured by that invitation, but I also knew in my heart somehow that I was called back to the United States. I had no idea where, so father Svet mentioned this bunch and as the war began to wane and dwindle down near the beginning of '95 we knew we were going to pull out, there was no need for us to be here anymore and I said:"Father, where should I go, you know..

And I know I'm not called to stay here. He says: Why don't you look at this little strange bunch of friars in the Bronx? And so that's how I was introduced to the community I now belong to. Anytime anybody says "yes" to Jesus through Our Lady, it breaks open a space for God to be able to act in their hearts and to move.

My theory, which is not so humble because I'm not so humble, but my theory is that Međugorje has a charism that our Lady is giving marching orders for her troops and placing them around the world to be able to do what God wants to do and be lights of the love of Jesus Christ in a very dark time.

And she's playing chess and she invites people and she gives them a job and that person can open their heart to that or not. And when they do, great things happen. A Dominican priest I know, father Giles Dimock from the United States, once said about Međugorje, he said and this was maybe 15 to 20 years ago, he said this to me: You know, Međugorje has got an interesting thing, 80% of the people who are active in the parishes, they're all, they've all been touched by Međugorje.

He said: And they also have another thing that's interesting, they seem to be scandal proof, they seem not to be devastated when they encounter the humanity in Jesus's Church. Boy, isn't that what we need in these times! People who work and people who can weather a storm, that's what I see, I've seen it in so many different ways. I could give so many different anecdotes of how it's happened, but that's what I see as particular graces of Međugorje.

Everybody needs to work on applying their faith, you know we're not given the gift of faith we're not given the tools of faith, the various things Our Lady invites us to do, the rosary, the confession, living the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures, fasting... We're not asked to do these things and to say: Oh, look what I do and hang, you know, it's like hanging a trophy on the wall.

Look at this, isn't it nice what I do? No, they are tools, they are weapons, we're intended to use these things and to go into the spiritual fight and to fight. And if anybody looks around and sees what's going on in the world right now and thinks there's not a fight, they've got their eyes closed and their ears shut.

We need to be active, we need to get out there, we need to proclaim the truth and love, the things that our Lady invites us to do. These five stones as father Jozo famously speaks of. They're tools with one goal in mind, to make space for Jesus Christ, to be put into the first place in our hearts so that we individually can, whatever way the Holy Spirit inspires us to do, go out and bring that light of Christ to other people.

For no other reason. If not, it's burying the talent in the soil and doing nothing with the gift that God has given us. We have to be active! As an individual coming home, getting a hug from mama is always much appreciated and needed. Coming back to the home base where it all started and remembering, we need to remember where God brought us from to hang on.

But then as a priest, you know, and as a layman coming to Međugorje going to confession is always so powerful. Now being on the other side of the confessional and being able to participate in that intimate way of Jesus's work in the souls, soul after soul, it's humbling, it's mind-blowing, it's energizing, it's an amazing thing to see.

People, a lot of big fish, as they say, you know, the little fish are the ones that go to confession every week or two. The big fish are the ones that have been away for 50 years. A lot of big fish coming here, you know. And what is that? It's that grace of conversion that's being pumped out over here in torrents.

It's beautiful! So as a priest it's energizing and it gives you hope. You see so many young people coming and giving their lives over to the Lord and hopefully signing a blank check and saying: Do with me what you will and obviously letting our Lady co - sign that check because none of us have enough in the bank accounts, but giving everything over to the Lord so I see that as I talk to young people and then the veterans who've been here many times.

And it's not just a vocation to religious life, it's secondary vocations, seeing as a priest, hearing people ask: How can I go back to my parish and get active; what can I do back home? They can fight all that and so again it confirms what I've seen the charism of Međugorje to be: It is Our Lady giving marching orders to her troops on every level sending them out.

 

15 Encouraging Saint Quotes to Give You Peace, Hope, & Strength in Difficult Times

Public Domain / ChurchPOP

The saints had so much wisdom!

During this stressful time in our country, I’d like to provide 15 saint quotes to help give your heart peace through anxiety.

Here’s 10 encouraging saint quotes to help provide peace in difficult times:

1) “Lay all your cares about the future trustingly in God’s hands, and let yourself be guided by the Lord just like a little child.”

– St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein)

2) “Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

“Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me and I in Him.'”

– Saint Francis de Sales

3) “Don’t spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety, and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit and love God.”

– St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

4) ”And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus. We have discovered what we have to do. Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that they cannot overcome us unless we so choose to let them. So we must fight courageously and mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross.”

– St. Catherine of Siena

5) “Do not have any anxiety about the future. Leave everything in God’s hands for he will take care of you.”

– St. John Baptist de La Salle

6) “Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others, peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.”

– St. Francis of Assisi

7) “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

– St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

8) “Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety, or pain. Am I not here who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

– Our Lady of Guadalupe

9) “Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
    rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
    God, whose very own you are,
    will lead you safely through all things;
    and when you cannot stand it,
    God will carry you in His arms.

    Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
    the same understanding Father who cares for
    you today will take care of you then and every day.

   He will either shield you from suffering
   or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
   Be at peace,
   and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

– St. Francis de Sales

10) “Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how it is loved by God, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Some day, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer. The present moment is ours.”

– St. Faustina

11) “Live in faith and hope, though it be in darkness, for in this darkness God protects the soul. Cast your care upon God for you are His and He will not forget you. Do not think that He is leaving you alone, for that would be to wrong Him.”

– St. John of the Cross

12) ”Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?

– St. Gerard Majella

13) “My Jesus, if you uphold me, I shall not fall.”

– St. Philip Neri

14) “The secret to happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.”

– St. Gianna Molla

15) “Live in faith and hope, though it be in darkness, for in this darkness God protects the soul. Cast your care upon God for you are His and He will not forget you. Do not think that He is leaving you alone, for that would be to wrong Him.”

– St. John of the Cross

10/26/20

 

Medjugorje Message: ‘Satan Is Strong’

October 25, 2020 “Dear children, At this time, I am calling you to return to God and to prayer. Invoke the help of all the saints, for them to be an example and a help to you. Satan is strong and is fighting to draw all the more hearts to himself. He wants war and hatred. That is why I am with you for this long, to lead you to the way of salvation, to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Little children, return to the love for God and He will be your strength and refuge. Thank you for having responded to my call.” 10/25/2020

10/13/20

 

Ray of Light: Father John Randall said, When the Holy Spirit is in the Church, he makes Jesus come alive in the Church.


RAY OF LIGHT: Father John F. Randall’s goal of illuminating the importance of the Holy Spirit in Catholics’ lives inspired him to write the book “No Spirit, No Church.” Father Randall said “When the Holy Spirit is in the Church, he makes Jesus come alive in the Church.”

Priest’s new book offers insight on Holy Spirit’s gifts
Posted May 21, 2009
Print this Email this
BY LAURA KILGUS, Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE, R. I. - Rhode Island Catholic Magazine

A new book written by Father John F. Randall offers theological and practical examination of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and aims to help people see the importance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Father Randall, pastor emeritus at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Providence, explained that the title of his book, “No Spirit, No Church,” comes from his early experience hearing the phrase "the poor and forgotten Holy Spirit."

"We knew the Father and Jesus fairly well, but we were not that well acquainted with the Holy Spirit," Father Randall wrote in the preface. "In 1962, Blessed Pope John XXIII called the second Vatican Council on, as he said ‘an inspiration of the Holy Spirit.' He wanted to open the windows and let a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit blow through the Church."
Father Randall said that the pope had delegated Western theologians to develop a first draft of “the Constitution on the Church.”

"When the Council opened, bishops from the East, who always had a living devotion to the Holy Spirit, read the draft and were horrified — there was little not mention of the Holy Spirit in it," said Father Randall "They said, 'No Spirit, no church!’ and rejected the document. Subsequently, the Council fathers came up with the new version giving the Holy Spirit his due — the beautiful ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: Lumen Gentium.’”
Father Randall explained that “Lumen Gentium” paved the way for a "mass infusion" of the Holy Spirit into the life of the Catholic Church.
“Lumen Gentium” states that, “When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church, and thus, all those who believe would have access through Christ in one Spirit to the Father.”

Father Randall began writing his book on the vigil of Pentecost three years ago, in 2006. He was recovering from hip replacement surgery and was watching EWTN when he saw Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square with 400,000 young people from different Holy Spirit movements.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow, the Holy Spirit is at the heart of the Church.’"
Father Randall explained that his spirit "had fallen to the cellar," the next day, on Pentecost Sunday, when he did not hear or see a single reference to the Holy Spirit.

"My sister Mary, a Sister of St. Joseph, asked me, 'What are you going to do about it?’" Father Randall recalled. "I've seen what the Spirit can do and what happens when he is present and I have seen what happens when he is not present."
Father Randall says that his goal was not to write a book, but to give the Holy Spirit his due in the Church.

Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries and the host of the weekly television program, “The Choices We Face,” said that he is grateful that Father Randall put a “lifetime of experience and wisdom into his new book.”
“It is truly a gift for the Church,” Martin said.

Father Randall expressed how pleased he was with how the book came out, released just in time for Pentecost — and as the well-known priest added — "in God's timing."
"The Holy Spirit makes things blossom and bloom," Father Randall said. "Where it is not, things die and wither. What the Holy Spirit does in the Church is the same thing he did to Mary. He implanted the Son of God into her womb so that Jesus come alive in her. When the Holy Spirit is in the Church, he makes Jesus come alive in the Church."
“No Spirit, No Church,” is available at all local Catholic bookstores in Rhode Island, as well as at the La Salette Shrine in North Attleboro, Mass.

10/12/20

 When Miracles Produce MIRACLES

By Greg Miller

     When "miracles" produce "MIRACLES"? What's the difference between "miracles" and "MIRACLES"? Arguably, every miracle deserves ALL CAPS emphasis. Yet Scripture emphasizes miraculous signs in nature that produce even more miraculous interior conversions in observing souls. At Cana, for example, Jesus' first miracle wasn't just to change water into wine, but to change His disciples' lives. Scripture says as a result of this miracle Jesus' "disciples believed in Him" (John 2:11). A physical "miracle" produced a greater interior, spiritual "MIRACLE". With that view, here are miracles from our family's Medjugorje trip in 1990 that produced still greater MIRACLES thereafter.
     OUR SON'S MIRACLE: What college student wants to celebrate his 19th birthday on a pilgrimage with his parents? Not our son. As his parents, we required him to do so, praying that this trip and birthday would occasion new spiritual blessings for him. Thankfully, he was obedient if not pleased. Our first full day in Medjugorje was his 19th birthday. It started with Mass (on a weekday) and his sarcastic groan: "WHAT A BIRTHDAY this will be!" Throughout Mass, I pleaded: "PLEASE, LORD, grant him a special birthday blessing!" Afterward, our family group (nine in total) began to pray the Rosary outside when someone cried, "Look! The sun's spinning!" (This miraculous phenomenon and others had reportedly been seen by many pilgrims in Medjugorje.) I and others in our family tried to look, but our eyes naturally kept closing. Providentially, ONLY OUR SON could stare at it without harm! Incredulous, he said, "Dad, certainly you can see it!" Nope. Here was his Special Birthday Blessing, a miraculous answer to our prayers! We all delighted as he described the miracle only he among us could see. His dreaded trip had become an unforgettable pilgrimage. His life was forever changed. Throughout college, he attended Mass faithfully. Later, as a married man and dad, he prominently displayed a Blessed Virgin statue in front of his home, and sent his children (at great expense) to Catholic schools. By God's grace, that birthday miracle produced life-changing MIRACLES for our son and his family.
     MY FATHER-IN-LAW'S MIRACLE: Just before we left home, my father-in-law ("Pops") was diagnosed with incurable cancer. His Alzheimer's had kept him from knowing and saying he needed help. On our second day in Medjugorje, we heard about and took Pops to a healing service there. Although skeptical about such things, we figured Pops and we had nothing to lose. When the "healing priest" (Fr. Peter Rookey) arrived, he began to pray over Pops and asked us to join him. As we prayed, amazing, observable signs and wonders began to happen...at least to us. Uncontrollable weeping, laughing, shaking, all as we prayed over Pops with Fr. Rookey. When the service ended, we knew God had done something for us, but what about Pops? Of course, Pops with his Alzheimer's couldn't verify that he felt any different. Back home 2 weeks later, his doctors declared Pops "cancer-free, a MIRACLE MAN". Pops' miraculous healing impacted our entire family. Moreover, his healing story was shared with 1500 people at another healing service led by Fr. Rookey near us in Ohio, bolstering their faith, impacting their lives

Fr. Rookey

Fr. Rookey

     MY DAD'S MIRACLE: Cynically, my Dad went to Medjugorje to protect Mom from "this obvious scam." At every opportunity, he scrutinized every "visionary" for any flaws. As the week wore on, however, Dad's cynicism seemingly wore out. Was he just tiring of being a doubting Thomas? No one knew. Finally, Mom confided that "your father asked me last night if I could see the lights streaming from atop Cross Mountain (a famous landmark in Medjugorje)." Mom saw nothing, and told him Cross Mountain (in 1990) had no lights on it. Dad mumbled to himself and that was it. At trip's end, when we were alone at the airport, I asked Dad: "So, what do you think now (about Medjugorje)?" His reply stunned me. "Greg, I'm 63 years old, and I've got to change." That was the most profound thing I ever heard my Dad say, and the most memorable moment we ever shared. He hadn't just seen miraculous lights streaming toward him personally from Cross Mountain. He had finally "seen the Light" and received the call to change his ways, his life. By God's grace, change he did. Dad only lived four more years, but he made the most of it. He became a daily communicant, a Legion of Mary member, a bold advocate of praying the rosary daily. Moments before his death in 1994, Dad apparently saw his own holy mother and sister (both long deceased) coming to greet him. He spoke to them aloud as though others could also see them. The lights from Cross Mountain had removed his shadowy doubts about believing in and following the calls to prayer, conversion, and holiness from Our Lady of Medjugorje. His MIRACLE was a blessing for us and so many souls touched by his dramatic conversion.
     WOE TO US, IF miracles DON'T produce MIRACLES: We all want miracles, don't we? But, do we want (and allow) miracles to measurably change our lives? If not, Jesus warns us about dire consequences: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles performed in your midst had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they (unlike you) would have repented long ago…" (Matthew 11:21). His message is clear: Woe to us if miraculous signs don't also produce lasting signs of repentance and change in our lives. By God's grace, our family saw "miracles" like the "spinning sun," supernatural healings, and inexplicable lights. More importantly, those Medjugorje "miracles" also changed our hearts, our lives, and others' lives. By God's grace, my wife and I have been used by Our Lord and Our Lady in the years since that first pilgrimage to lead others to Christ through other trips to Medjugorje, very fruitful Bible studies (over 1000 students), beginning Pro-Life ministries (saving hundreds of lives), and witnessing to our love of Our Lord and His Mother in many other ways. We can never repay Our Lord and Our Lady for all the miracles and MIRACLES we have seen and become. We offer this sharing of our family's "miraclesto- MIRACLES" stories as a partial THANK YOU to Them, along with our profound commitment to live our lives daily in accord with Our Lady's messages hopefully on route to a holy life that edifies others, honors Our Mother Mary, and in all things glorifies Our Good and Gracious God.
      Editor's note: Greg lives in Euclid, OH.

 

Offer It Up With Jesus Crucified: Redemptive Suffering

burden

“Offer it up.” Feeling concerned, stressed, out of sorts? Offer it up. Are you suffering physical pain? Offer it up. “Offer it up” is advice that many of us have heard since our childhood. But what does it mean? Can we actually turn our sufferings into something good, and take advantage of the graces the Lord gives us in the moment? How do we best offer it up when we face afflictions? Didn’t Jesus suffer and die for us once and for all?

Offer It Up, As St. Paul Suggests

For years, I’d understood that we should offer up to God whatever seemed to be bothering us. That appears to be pretty simple and straightforward. Yet, there’s more to it than that.  In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul tells us:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,” (Col 1:24)

Scripture scholars tell us clearly that this does not mean that Christ’s horrific suffering and death on the cross was somehow incomplete.  Rather, St. Paul is telling us that the Passion of Christ is continued in the members of His mystical body as they unite their sufferings to Jesus. What’s more, St. Paul is not necessarily rejoicing in the suffering per se, but in the fact that he can offer his sufferings for the Church, as an act of charity.

Our Culture Doesn’t Understand “Offer It Up”

How different this all seems compared to the manner in which our current culture views pain and suffering. Our secular culture focuses on feeling good, avoiding pain, seeking pleasure–on doing what’s best for me. After all, it’s all about me, isn’t it? Of course, that’s not the perspective from a Catholic world view. We should take care of our bodies, inasmuch as we’re made up of both body and soul. That means taking care of our health and seeking treatment for illnesses. Yet, as St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians:

“but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Sometimes we can’t avoid suffering. Even in those times when we do suffer, we can count on God’s grace to assist us in our weakness–in our pain and suffering–when we offer it up to God.

Offer It Up, With Jesus Crucified, for An Intention

Pulling these pieces together, when we offer it up, we should offer it up, united to Jesus Christ crucified. We should be joining our afflictions to His. It does not stop there, though. We ought to offer it up for somebody, for something–some intention or intentions. Uniting our sufferings to those of Jesus can result in very real benefits. During these pretty much insane times, each of us probably can think of any number of intentions to offer up our sufferings for. How about an end to abortion and euthanasia? Or perhaps strengthening of the family, selecting the best people for public office, or an end to violent riots? On a more personal level, do you know anyone who’s fallen away from the Church? Perhaps you’d like to obtain the grace of conversion for someone, or mend some relationships? When you’re afflicted, join that affliction to Jesus crucified, and offer it up for a specific intention.

Don’t Let Your Suffering Go to Waste!

When you suffer, don’t waste it! This goes beyond offering it up with Jesus on His cross for your intentions. What sort of attitude do you maintain in your suffering? Do you grumble? Do you fall into a self-focused perspective? Or instead of a pity party, do you give praise and thanks for this opportunity to partake in God’s passive mortification? The fact is that without some passive mortifications dished out or allowed by God, we likely won’t achieve the true unity with Him that we desire. Still, though, our fallen human nature makes it easy for you and me to look a spiritual gift horse in the mouth.

Jesus Is With Us in Our Suffering

As I write this, I face some physical torments that have been with me for months. Medical care professionals are working at discerning the various causes, diagnoses, treatment suggestions, and so on. To be fair, many, many people face far greater suffering than what the Lord’s given me. Even at that, there are times when it’s difficult to keep the spiritual upside in focus–to be grateful for some pruning and cleaning up here on earth before my particular judgment. As with so many things in this life, it’s easier to talk about than to carry out at times. My spiritual director tells me that the discouragement we face in such times is a sign of not really, totally surrendering it all to God. In times of affliction, we can find inspiration from many great saints who faced their own suffering with total surrender to God. St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and Blessed Herman the Cripple are just a few. You probably have one or more in mind as well. 

I know that the Lord abides in me–He is here with me–and He’s with you–in our suffering. We must never forget that. We can pray to Him: “Jesus, thank you for this opportunity for passive mortification. Please give me the grace and the strength to not waste it. Grant me the grace to grow in humility, patience, perseverance, faith, hope, and Your love for everyone with whom I come into contact. I offer up these sufferings to be united with You and Your sufferings on the cross, for Your greater glory, the conversion of sinners, and [my special intention]. And, Jesus, if it’s Your will, please provide healing and relief of these problems. I pray this in Your name, through the intercession of…”

“Fear nothing. On the contrary, consider yourself very fortunate to have been made worthy to participate in the sufferings of the Man-God.” – St. Padre Pio

10/6/20

 

The Mystical Life of Guardian Angels, Revealed by the Saints

Eddy Van 3000, FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0

How often do you call on your Guardian Angel?

The Catholic Church teaches that God assigns every person with at least one Guardian Angel. Several saints, including St. Padre Pio, St. Gemma Galgani, and St. Faustina had mystical encounters with their guardian angels.

Don’t forget to call on your guardian angel! He hears you and guides you at all moments!

Here’s 10 saint quotes about the powerful and mystical life of Guardian Angels:

1) “…What a consolation it is to know one is always in the care of a celestial spirit, who does not abandon us (how admirable) even when we disgust God! How sweet is this great truth for the believer! Who, then, does the devout soul fear who tries to love Jesus, having always close by such a great warrior?

“Know that he is still powerful against Satan and his satellites; his charity has not diminished, nor will he ever fail in defending us.

“Develop the beautiful habit of always thinking of him; that near us is a celestial spirit, who, from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us for an instant, guides us, protects us as a friend, a brother; will always be a consolation to us especially in our saddest moments.”

– St. Padre Pio

2) “Jesus has placed near you an Angel from Heaven who is always looking after you; he carries you in his hands lest your foot strike against a stone.

“You do not see him, and yet he is the one who…has preserved your soul…he is the one who removes from you the occasions of sin.”

Your Guardian Angel is covering you with his wings, and Jesus, the purity of virgins, reposes in your heart. You do not see your treasures; Jesus is sleeping and the Angel remains in his mysterious silence. However, they are there with Mary who is hiding you also under her veil!…”

– St. Therese of Lisieux

3) “One evening, when I was suffering more than usual, I was complaining to Jesus and telling him that I would not have prayed so much if I had known that He was not going to cure me, and I asked Him why I had to be sick this way.

My angel answered me as follows: ‘If Jesus afflicts you in your body, it is always to purify you in your soul. Be good.’ 

“Oh, how many times during my long illness did I not experience such consoling words in my heart! But I never profited by them.”

“From the moment I got up from my sick bed…My guardian angel began to be my master and guide. He corrected me every time I did something wrong, and he taught me to speak but little, and only when I was spoken to.

– St. Gemma Galgani

4) “Gemma saw her guardian angel with her own eyes, touched him with her hand, as if he were a being of this world, and would talk to him as would one friend to another.”

“‘Jesus,’ she once said, ‘has not left me alone; He makes my guardian angel stay with me always.'”

– Ven. Father Germanus C.P., The Life of St. Gemma Galgani

5) “One day, when I was at adoration, and my spirit seemed to be dying for Him, and I could no longer hold back my tears, I saw a spirit of great beauty who spoke these words to me: ‘Don’t cry — says the Lord.’ After a moment I asked, ‘Who are you?’

“He answered me, ‘I am one of the seven spirits who stand before the throne of God day and night and give Him ceaseless praise.’ Yet this spirit did not soothe my yearning, but roused me to even greater longing for God.

“This spirit is very beautiful, and his beauty comes from close union with God. This spirit does not leave me for a single moment, but accompanies me everywhere.”

– St. Faustina

6) “Then I saw one of the seven spirits near me, radiant as at other times, under a form of light. I constantly saw him beside me when I was riding on the train.

I saw an angel standing on every church we passed, but surrounded by a light which was paler than that of the spirit who was accompanying me on the journey, and each of these spirits who were guarding the churches bowed his head to the spirit who was near me.”

– St. Faustina

7) “With what humility should we assist at Mass, if we realized that our Guardian Angel was kneeling beside us, prostrate before the Majesty of God! With what eagerness should we not ask him to offer our prayers to Jesus Christ!”

– St. John Vianney

8) “When tempted, invoke your Angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.”

– St. John Bosco

9) “I was in bed suffering greatly, when on a sud­den I became absorbed in prayer. I joined my hands and, moved with heartfelt sorrow for my countless sins, I made an act of deep contrition.

“My mind was wholly plunged in this abyss of my crime against my God, when I beheld my Angel standing by my bed. I felt ashamed of being in his presence.

“He instead was more than courteous with me, and said, kindly: ‘Jesus loves thee greatly. Love Him greatly in return.'”

“Then he added, ‘Are you fond of Jesus’ Mother? Salute her very often, for she values such attention very much, and unfailingly returns the salutations offered to Her; and if you do not sense this, know that she makes a proof of your unfailing trust.'”

“He blessed me and disappeared.”

– St. Gemma Galgani

10) “My Guardian Angel told me to pray for a certain soul, and in the morning I learned that it was a man whose agony had begun that very moment. The Lord Jesus makes it known to me in a special way when someone is in need of my prayer. I especially know when my prayer is needed by a dying soul. This happens more often now than it did in the past.”

 – St. Faustina

My guardian angel, please pray for me and protect me!

[See also: St. Faustina’s Supernatural Encounter With Her Guardian Angel Saved a Dying Nun: “Pray for Me!”]