Shepherds of Christ  
       Daily Writing        


January 4, 2010

January 5th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 8 Period I.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for January 5th are Glorious.


January 2nd - 5th

1:30pm & 6:20pm each day

Please come and pray
in reparation.


Please pray for a special intention.



              January 4, 2010  

                R. Our desire to grow more in faith —
                to see with the vision of God — to
                admit the truth about our faults
                that keep us stuck and not hold on
                to them like trophies — hurting ourselves
                and offending God and hurting others

                God the Father

                    A man was on a 'rickety' raft 


                My son here is a good boat for you —
                    your raft is rickety and you act
                    on your way with patterned
                    behavior from your wounded human
                    nature you need to change —
                    Satan is deceiving you, too —

                (1) but I show you
                    reality through My eyes —
                    You see with the vision of faith
                    through My eyes (not seeing blindly)
                    with scales on your eyes

                (2) You see as never before your
                    patterned behavior that
                    is from your wounded human
                    nature — your emotional wounds
                    of the past

                (3) You see reality — you see how
                    satan is deceiving you

                You see through My eyes

                I give you this set of
                    binoculars to see like
                    this and
                You see reality —

                You see satan's deception —
                You see My plan for you —

                You see your patterned behavior
                    that never worked and you did

                You see not with scales on
                    your blinded eyes, but
                    through My eyes

                So I say — throw the rickety
                    blinded raft aside —
                    I give you command of
                    the high sea —
                    My boat and you see and
                    come aboard and let the raft crash!!

                So I say this

                    (1) You wanted to change
                        and pray for the grace to change

                    (2) You surrender to My will
                        (Blue Book II)

                    (3) You pray for the grace to
                        see through My eyes and
                        the grace to change

                    (4) Your vision shows you
                        My plan for you
                        - your vocation

                    (5) You embrace it and say "yes"
                        You love pleasing Me
                            your heavenly Father
                        You see My vision
                        You pray for greater faith

                    (6) You see reality through
                        My eyes

                    (7) You see your wounded
                        human nature — admit it
                        and want to change
                        your patterned behavior
                        that needs to change

                    (8) You see satan's deception

                I am God the Father —
                    I give you greater vision
                        because of your
                        desire to change and
                        do My will —
                    You want to please Me


January 5, 1997


Bare, Bare Baby, Laid Bare

Open yourself, Oh Jerusalem, your time is come you will be a light to the people in darkness, many will walk whence you come and the earth will be shakened and the light will come across a dark sky and enlighten their minds.

Oh stiff-necked people, you are so stiff in your ways, let the Spirit envelope you and lead you on your way.

A country of stiffs, a people of planning and prodding, of deliberating and wondering—you lack faith, Jerusalem, you lack faith in God.

Oh walk naked into the cold night, you are cold in your hearts and naked in your clothing—I clothe you with glory, I light your face with light, but you turn your cheeks to the darkness and stay stiff-necked in your hearts. Oh cold and dark hearts, reach for the light that you may know the glory that awaits the sinners and enlightens their minds.

end of January 5, 1997


                    (1) Recognizing your dignity
                        as My creation —

                    (2) Knowing how I love
                        you that I sent
                        Jesus into the world

                This should help you to
                    live according to
                    My plan

                You are so precious to Me —


                You were created in the image
                    and likeness of God


John 3: 16

For this is how God loved the world: 
he gave his only Son, 
so that everyone who believes in him 
    may not perish 
but may have eternal life.


Picture of the Sacred Heart of JesusDie to Self

November 20, 1993 - 4:45a.m.

Jesus: ...Pray, oh My children. Pray for these children in darkness! How do I reach them? Do they need a bump on their head to know that My kingdom waits and it isn't of this world? I bring My curtain down and your life is over. So sad, he who chooses to live only in this world! I have given him so many chances but he continues to sin and delights in harming his brothers. I make ready a place for all My children, so they might come and be saved. I pursue them as a treasure in the field. I open My gates. I give them every opportunity to be saved but some choose to remain indifferent to Me and caught in themselves and their sins. They make themselves their gods and are miserable inside. Only I give them what they crave. To try to fill yourself with this world is not a happy life because the soul thirsts for only that which I can give and the body holds all things of Me at an arm's distance from the soul.

The soul in its pain laments while the devil whispers words of the ego and doing one's own will in their ears. What a sad thing, to be run by Satan and not know it, to live in misery but do exactly as you want. Like blind and dumb sheep, you run into walls and keep running into the same walls. Does this feel good, little tender sheep?

Why do you do it? The things of this world give instant gratification. Then it wears off quickly. A good meal-pleasure while you eat it. Sex-an instant of pleasure-then it is gone. Drink numbs your brain and makes you depressed. Television brainwashes your mind and you go to bed the victim of those on the set who made your moods and fashioned your thoughts. This is happiness? This is emptiness.

I feel so sad for My sick ones. I want their love so much. I want to hold them and tell them all My secrets. I want to bestow on them My gifts-real gifts, not a scarf, not a piece of clothing or a muffin. I want to give them a gift of knowledge. I want them to have love in their hearts. I want to give them peace in their souls. I want to give them a relationship with Me. To know a friend who would die for you-what else could I say? I lament their souls.

Life is so short and eternity never ends. I am a loving God. Your soul craves Me like a magnet, but you fight and turn away. Such emptiness! You will never know! I am the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My heart shines bright for all My children, not a few, but you are blinded by your own wills. You are prompted by Satan to listen to his evil words. You think of your own egos and how you must do exactly as you want.

I call you to life with Me and you say no. I must be the ruler. That is why you do not turn to Me. The more you focus on yourself, the farther you move from Me. The more you focus on Me the more you rid yourself of you and the closer our union. Die to yourself that we might live. In your emptiness, you cried out and I came and your hearts were made full and you knew that you had sought your treasures down empty paths and you knew that I could fill the soul.

Pray hard for all those lost in sin. They need you today. Keep praying and offering sacrifices that they will turn their wills to Me. Only prayer will work. I love each soul and I am working for its conversion. Only prayers will help. What a beautiful reward to think you helped someone to turn his life to Me. This is all that matters. All else is useless.

R. Amen. Alleluia.

end of excerpt


Sorrowful Mysteries

                Agony in the Garden

                (1) Matthew 26: 30-46

After the psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away from me tonight, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered, but after my resurrection I shall go ahead of you to Galilee.’ At this, Peter said to him, ‘Even if all fall away from you, I will never fall away.’ Jesus answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the disciples said the same.

Then Jesus came with them to a plot of land called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And he began to feel sadness and anguish.

    Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and stay awake with me.’ And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour? Stay awake, and pray not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.’ Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!’ And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy. Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words. Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and have your rest. Look, the hour has come when the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! Look, my betrayer is not far away.’ 

                (2) Mark 14: 32-44

They came to a plot of land called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I pray.’ Then he took Peter and James and John with him. And he began to feel terror and anguish. And he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here, and stay awake.’ And going on a little further he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, this hour might pass him by. ‘Abba,  Father!’ he said, ‘For you everything is possible. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ He came back and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Had you not the strength to stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.’ Again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came back and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy; and they could find no answer for him. He came back a third time and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and have your rest. It is all over. The hour has come. Now the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is not far away.’

And at once, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came up and with him a number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the traitor had arranged a signal with them saying, ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Arrest him, and see he is well guarded when you lead him away.’

                (3) Jesus took Peter, James and John
                        He prayed 3 times to His Father
                        Jesus said
                        "If it be possible let this cup pass
                            from me, yet not as I will
                            but as thou wilt."

                (4) Jesus' agony was such agony in the
                        garden, He sweat Blood — He sweat
                        blood so much St. Luke says
                        "His sweat became as drops of
                        blood falling down to the ground"

                (5) Jesus said:
                        "My soul is sorrowful unto death"

                (6) Think of Jesus, think of His garments
                        full of blood — blood He shed for
                        us — seeing the sins of the world —
                        knowing all things and how so many
                        would go to hell despite His suffering —

                (7) Mary's Message - from the Rosary of August 27, 1996

Mary:  I stood beneath the cross of my Son, and my Heart was in such pain for I saw Him before my eyes. I saw Him covered with blood. I saw Him die. My Heart, my children, my Heart to watch my Son, but my Heart, my Heart, how I suffered for my little children of the world that give in to this world and give up the love of my Son. O my little children of light, I give you this message. Carry this light into the darkness for your Mother Mary, for I stood beneath the cross and I cried. I cried for the little ones. I cried for the young ones, the ones that do not care and will lose their souls. How do I make you see for you will not listen to me? What can I do? I come. I appear. I beg. I plead. I give you these gifts from my Son, and you reject me. I do not deliver messages very often anymore for I have been ignored. The message is the same. You do not read the messages I have given to you. Please help me. Help the little children. I appear. I appear. I appear, and I am ignored. I stood beneath the cross, and I cried. I cried, and my Heart was in such anguish for my little children, for I am searching for them this day as I searched for the Child Jesus. Please, please help me. I cannot hold back the hand of my Son any longer. I am Mary, your Mother. I ask you to help my children. You are my children of light.

end of Mary's Message, August 27, 1996

                (8) Jesus was kissed by Judas —
                        Judas, loved so by Jesus, betrayed him
                        like this — to sell Him for 30 pieces of silver.

                (9) We nurse our wounds, about who we think
                        betrayed us — look at what Judas
                        did to Jesus — but Peter, in contrast,
                        and John and the other Apostles loved
                        Jesus —

                    For those who betray us in life — think
                        of all that God sends us and loves
                        us so much —

                    Jesus shows us that some people can
                        hurt us, but others love us

                (10) Fr. Carter says

Excerpt from Response to God's Love - Chapter 8

Early in our discussion of the Christian's encounter with others, we should obviously say a few direct things concerning the core attitude of love, a trait that should permeate all other attitudes. It is well to begin by observing a phenomenon of our culture concerning love: Many persons who choose marriage say they do so out of a desire to be loved. Notice, they say that they marry out of a desire to be loved, not to love. In fairness to these persons, perhaps we should presume that they realize they in turn must also offer love. Yet, is it not revealing that they explicitly mention as the reason for marrying a desire to be loved? Could there be a close correlation between this phenomenon and the extraordinarily high divorce rate that prevails in our culture? If it is common that both partners enter marriage more from a need to receive love than from a desire to give it, do we have to look further for the reason to explain why so many marriages are plagued with various degrees of unhappiness?

We should realize that all of us are in danger of falling into the above temptation. Whether we are married people, celibates in the priestly and religious life, or single persons in the world, all of us have to be aware lest we be more concerned with receiving love than in giving it. God wants us to receive love, and we have a need to receive love; however, we must not allow this legitimate desire to degenerate into a morbid preoccupation whereby we always enumerate all the different ways that others should be manifesting love toward us while, at the same time, we ourselves might be guilty of neglecting numerous opportunities for loving them. If our main concern is to love others rather than to be loved by them, I think we will more often than not be surprised at the love others show us over a lifetime. Nonetheless, even in the event that we might feel slighted in this regard, our vocation as Christians is eminently clear: we ourselves must continue to love even when it is extremely difficult to do so, thus following the example of Jesus who loved even those who nailed him to the cross.

As maturing Christians we should be assimilative individuals. In various ways, we must be able to absorb from others, not in an artificial way that does violence to our uniqueness, but in a manner that actually enhances our uniqueness. Our wonderful privilege is to assimilate ever more and more the truth, the goodness, the beauty of God himself by, among other ways, realizing that God is variously reflected through all the human persons he has created. Just as we are created in God's image—and thereby are reflective of his perfections—so also are all others. When all humans are true to God's designs, all do indeed provide various opportunities to one another for personality growth. All of us, I am sure, can recall more than one instance in which we felt especially inspired to become better persons because we have encountered certain individuals....

Communication is obviously a very important element as people deal with one another. A dominant problem plaguing numerous marriages and families is a lack of communication between the spouses themselves, between the parents and children, and among the children themselves. Obviously, a lack of communication also causes problems between friend and friend, between employer and employee, between teacher and student. There is no need to continue the list—your own experience can add example after example....

Each one of us, then, has many reasons to thank God for the wonderful gift of friendship, for, indeed, friendship has in so many diverse ways helped us to be and to become. In so many diverse ways, the gift of friendship has helped us live the paschal mystery of death and resurrection. Truly, it has helped us bear the dark, the difficult, the worrisome aspect of life with greater equanimity and courage; likewise, it has helped us experience the bright, the pleasant, the exuberant side of life with greater joy....

God calls us to share in his love for his creation. The Christian should have a deeper love for the world than the nonbeliever. All that is good and true and beautiful, all that we humans reach out for in authentic hope, all the possibilities for our earthly progress, all the worthwhile and enthusiastic dreams of the human heart for a better world—yes, the Christian should yearn more deeply for all this than the nonbeliever. Why? Because the Christian knows that mankind and this world belong to Christ. The Christian knows that mankind's pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful is ultimately a pursuit of Christ. The Christian knows that any authentic step forward that mankind takes marks a deepening of the Christic evolutionary process whereby mankind and this world are more fully united to the center and crown of the universe—Christ himself...

People of today live in an age that affords wonderful opportunities for deepening the bonds of world brotherhood, of world community. International systems of communication, travel, and commerce are promoting a growing sense of mutual interdependence among nations. At the same time, however, there are signs of division—there are wars between nations and internal forces of division within the same nation, that is, division between the rich and the poor, the young and the old, and division between the races....

This brief glance at modern men and women and their world allows us to quickly view the complexities of our contemporary society. We see bright rays of brilliant accomplishments accompanied by unmistakeable signs of serious failure. We see that there are wonderful possibilities for growth and progress, possibilities that modern men and women can transform into actual accomplishments. We also see, however, the very real and stark possibility that all this could end in a cosmic heap of ashes—if there should occur that deadly combination of the following: lust for power and domination, hatred, misuse of freedom, irresponsibility, and disregard for human life and dignity.

This is the world in which we contemporary Christians live—a world that is an amazing mixture of that which is good and beautiful and brilliant, and that which is sinful and ugly and dreadful. We have the privilege and responsibility of shaping this contemporary world according to its Christological imprint. Jesus put this image of himself upon the cosmic order by the way he lived his life among us. We have to aid in directing our fellow humans and their values along the path that has been made by the footprints of Jesus of Nazareth—a task that is not always easy. There are so many forces in today's world that work against Christ, his message, and the order he came to establish. But are we going to shirk the challenge? Are we going to allow present possibilities for a further pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful to be thwarted by the forces of evil, diverted along paths that are not worthy of men and women?

As we labor with Christ in helping him bring the work of creation and redemption to completion, we should not become discouraged by the fact that mankind and the temporal order seem to be less Christian than they were previously. We should not be disheartened at the signs that Christianity seems increasingly to be a diaspora religion. We should not become fainthearted in our efforts for Christ because of the possibility that official Christianity might become less influential in today's world.

Although we see these and other signs that seem to portend difficult times for Christianity, let us not become discouraged. We must realize that there is an external and obvious manifestation of Christianity in the world, and there is a hidden or anonymous dimension. Men and women who are not publicly professed Christians can be coming closer to Christ without actually realizing it. In fact, the entire temporal order can mature in its Christianization process in a very quiet and hidden way—so quiet and so hidden that even we Christians can hardly recognize what is actually happening. There is, then, what can be called an anonymous Christianity.

There is only one world order, and it has been established in Christ. Every person is offered salvation, but this is Christic grace, Christic salvation. The temporal order of mankind also comes under this Christic influence. If there is to be the authentic progress of this order, it must be a progress in Christ. The Christic influence, then, reaches out and touches every human person, every authentic human value. Regardless of how many persons realize what is happening in Christ to themselves and to the entire world order, it is definitely happening. Consequently, our Christ-oriented efforts for mankind and this world are really effective, even though they are so hidden and mysterious at times.

We each contribute to the shaping of a better world according to a variety of circumstances: the young, for example, contribute their enthusiasm; the elderly contribute their mellowed wisdom; the conservative contribute their concern for timeless values; and the progressive contribute their penchant for change and adaptation to contemporary exigencies. Some work within the confines of a clean and quiet office; others work amid circumstances charged with potential explosiveness. Some perform, claiming the attention of the public eye; others labor in hidden ordinariness. Some must fight the boredom that routine work tends to generate; others must maintain high-level awareness amid the dangers of high-risk occupations. Whatever the task and its circumstances in the secular city might be, however, the imperative is the same for all of us—namely, to be where God wants us. Only in this way will our encounter with others and the world truly produce growth for all concerned.

end of excerpt


                    Christ suffered for this
                    Jesus paid for our sins
                    Jesus commissions us in baptism to
                        spread the Good News


July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

"I will use the newsletter and the chapters of Shepherds of Christ Associates as a powerful instrument for spreading devotion to My Heart and My Mother's Heart.

"I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)


Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus

My dear fellow Associate Members,

Jesus is calling special apostles to join a new division of the Shepherds of Christ Movement. Here is a message from Jesus given to Father Carter:

    My beloved priest-companion, I am requesting that a new prayer movement be started under the direction of Shepherds of Christ Ministries. I am asking for volunteers who are willing to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for one hour, twice-weekly. Members of the Shepherds of Christ prayer chapters, as well as others, are to be invited to join this movement.

    These apostles are to pray for the intentions I am giving you. For part of the hour they are to use the prayers of the Shepherds of Christ Associates Handbook. They may spend the rest of the hour as they so choose.

    I will use this new prayer movement within My Shepherds of Christ Ministries in a powerful way to help in the renewal of My Church and the world. I will give great graces to those who join this movement. The name, Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, is to be given to this movement.

    I am inviting My beloved Rita Ring to be coordinator for this activity.

    I pour out the great love of My Sacred Heart to all. I am Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the flock.

    This is indeed a special calling for us to unite in one heart with His Eucharistic Heart and pray for the following intentions:

    1. For the spread of the devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary culminating in the reign of the Sacred Heart and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
    2. For the Pope.
    3. For all bishops of the world.
    4. For all priests.
    5. For all sisters and brothers in the religious life.
    6. For all members of the Shepherds of Christ Movement, and for the spread of this movement to the world.
    7. For all members of the Catholic Church.
    8. For all members of the human family.
    9. For all souls in purgatory.

end of Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart message



                Scourging at the Pillar

                (1) St. Peter cut off the servant's ear —
                        Jesus tells Peter to put back His sword —
                        Jesus is meek and tender of Heart

                (2) Peter denied Christ while Jesus
                        was suffering so much —
                        Peter denied Christ while Jesus
                        was suffering so much —

                (3) Peter wept for what he did denying
                        Christ — Peter loved Jesus

                (4) Jesus was blasphemed
                        mocked —
                        spit on
                        whipped and tied to the pillar

                (5) Jesus suffered for our sins —
                        Jesus already paid the price for
                            our sins —
                        who do we fool when we think God
                        doesn't know our hearts, our motives,
                        our anger, our pride, our inability
                        to forgive and help the souls Jesus
                        loved so and was whipped for their sins.

                (6) Oh Jesus, we are senseless many times and
                        unaware even how blind we are — open our
                        eyes to see how limited our vision
                        really is — dear Holy Spirit help us focus on
                        how we have limited vision about
                        our habits and we need to pray for the
                        virtues — especially faith, hope and

                (7) Jesus was bound for our sins —
                        We stay bound when we stay
                            stuck in our pride —
                            God gives us the sacraments,
                            God gives us confession
                            God gives us the Mass
                            We are so richly blessed

                (8) Read Matthew Chapter 27

                (9) Read Luke Chapter 23

                (10) Read Mark Chapter 15


                Crowning with Thorns

                (1) They gave Jesus blows —
                        They mocked Jesus —
                        They whipped Him with hatred
                        They made a crown of thorns and placed
                            it on His head —
                        They put a purple cloak on Jesus
                        They said
                            "Hail King of the Jews"

                (2) Pilate said "Behold the Man!!"
                        leading Jesus out before all
                        with the crown of thorns and
                        purple garment.

                (3) The people released Barabbas
                      The people said
                        "We have no king but Caesar"

                (4) John Chapter 19

     Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ and slapping him in the face. 
     Pilate came outside again and said to them, ‘Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case against him.’ Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, ‘Here is the man.’ When they saw him, the chief priests and the guards shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him: I find no case against him.’ The Jews replied, ‘We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to be put to death, because he has claimed to be Son of God.’
    When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, ‘Where do you come from?’ But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him, ‘Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?’ Jesus replied, ‘You would have no power over me at all if it had not been given you from above; that is why the man who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.’

From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.’ Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ said Pilate to the Jews. But they shouted, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him.’ Pilate said, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’ So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side, Jesus being in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’. This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, ‘You should not write "King of the Jews", but that the man said, "I am King of the Jews". ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’

                (5) John Chapter 19 continues

When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another, ‘Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.’ In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled: 

    They divide my garments among them 
    and cast lots for my clothes. 

That is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said: 

    I am thirsty.

    A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the wine he said, 'It is fulfilled'; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies’ remaining on the cross during the Sabbath—since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity—the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediatedly there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it—true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true—and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture: 

    Not one bone of his will be broken

and again, in another place scripture says: 

    They will look to the one 
        whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus—though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews—asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well—the same one who had first come to Jesus at night–time—and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

                (6) Jesus: I was crowned for your sins of pride —
                        My eyes were full of blood for
                            your blindness
                        My Head whipped for your hatred —
                        My face spit on for your wanting
                            to save face and be so
                            unloving persecuting
                            others and lying about
                            your ways — your deception
                        Did you spit in My face, too —
                        What you do in deception — you
                            do to Me —
                        I know your sins
                        Scarlet red sins I saw when I bled
                            for them
                        The Blood of infants — God the Father

                (7) From Blue Book II

Picture of the Sacred Heart of JesusCould I Die on a Cross? - March 14, 1994 Before Mass

R. Could I see myself giving willingly as Christ did, allowing people to do to me what they did to Him, and be silent? To be led away, when He had all the power? To see myself put on a cross and let people nail me there when I could have stopped it? Could I see myself giving my body over like that?

He does not ask this of us. He is asking for our surrender and to do His will. To think of giving my body over and having someone nail me to a cross, with little clothing, then hanging in midair! And He did it willingly, for love of us and in obedience to His Father!

What does He ask me to do that I hold back? What does He ask me to surrender? What is He calling me to?

After Mass:

R. The world is numb to God's existence. He is totally here with us this very day. The things of God are all that matters. It is so sad to see the people walk around, so blind to God's existence, as if they are here and this life is the end in itself.

Jesus: It hurts My aching heart to watch men go about their busy lives and pay no heed to Me. They see this world as an end in itself. They have become self-centered and mean. I am love. I come to ask you to die to yourself. It is as though the world and God are on opposite ends of a pole: Selfishness/World--Selflessness/God. There is no middle. To go to the world is to be sick. It is with such sadness that I disclose this to you. I am so upset at the ways of many men. I have been totally left out of their lives and those who go to church do not even comprehend love of God. They have a motionless religion. Love is action. It is on fire. It is from the heart. It has energy! I call you to love of God and love of one another. My death is the way I taught you how to love and be selfless. Look to Me. Meditate on My Passion.

I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am with you, My sweet one. My hand is in everything you experience. Let go and surrender to My love. I am by your side. You are being strengthened for what will come. Let go of your anger and focus only on My love. My hand is in all you experience. Little one, little one, I love you so. Hold tight to My love and do not fear. I am your strength. Surrender to all and know you do not have to do anything. I will act for you.

The devil is taunting you, but I love you immensely. Oh, My little sweet one, surrender to My love. You operate only for love of Me. Satan knows your weaknesses. He aims to trip you up and watch you abandon Me. You will never abandon Me, nor I you. Just surrender and let go. My love is in your heart. I am your strength. You go not alone and you do nothing on your own. I hold you up. I kiss your wounds and you go about My work. Let go of yourself and put yourself in My care. Surrender. Surrender from selfishness. Live only in My love every instant.

I am ever with you, oh, little one. Surrender to My love.

end of excerpt

                (8) From Blue Book I - Excerpt

Picture of the Sacred Heart of JesusStudy My Passion - November 20, 1993 10:00a.m.

Jesus: ...They beat My body, My beautiful body, God-made-man. They tied Me to a pole and they beat Me. There were more than one beating Me. They took turns. I was the victim. They in their hate and anger lashed at Me, My beautiful body, tore My flesh over and over. They laughed and taunted Me. They were so happy to be so guileful. Oh, the laugh of the great deceiver! Like a thief in the night, he steals your hearts and you wonder why so hard. Where did their gentleness go? The great deceiver who laughs at hurting others.

It is the devil operating from the hearts of man! The heart is no longer kind and gentle, but merciless and debased in behavior. Oh, the great deceiver! To beat God-made-man and to laugh at his own ill deeds, to watch the blood of Jesus fly in the air and to laugh. It is by this blood that they and all others who abuse others and laugh will be made whole. I, in My love, forgave them for their deeds. They beat Me. They tore My flesh and I loved them. Can you not love your brothers when they are cruel to you? Can you forgive them and love them as the soul created by God, but dead in sin by the devil's hands? If I could love those who spit and laughed at Me and tore My flesh, who crowned Me with a piercing crown and hit Me on My head, can you not forgive him who offends you with a nasty word?

The way to Me is to study Me, to model yourself after My behavior. You must take up these crosses I give you every day. It is your love for your brothers that might save their crippled souls, dead in sin. See Me in them. Look beyond their deeds and see the God Who made them. Do not focus on their sick ways. Study My passion with Me. Study how I loved the unloving, how I loved those who persecuted Me. Study Me and My ways. Don't waste your time thinking about Satan and how he is taunting you through your brothers. He uses them to get you away from Me. ...

(9) From Blue Book I - Study My Passion (excerpt) - November 20, 1993 10:00a.m.

Jesus: The thorns in My head cut through to My skull. How to describe such an experience? And I was God! Blood trickled down My face all day. It didn't dry up because, as My heart beat, it would open the wounds. Think how tender your head is if you pull a hair! The thorns pulled My hair, like the tightness of curlers, but they cut Me and when they put them on, they hammered them into My skull. This was for the sins committed in people's minds. The hatred, the anger, the sex signs, contemplating evil deeds, sneering and envy of your brothers-ugliness! The eyes are the windows of the soul. What you look at you reflect on your soul. If your eyes look at evil things, your soul is dirty. If you look on others with hatred and anger and getting even, on dirty pictures, sinful stories, bad TV and movies, what you, through your will, take in with the beautiful eyes created by God, sparkling and full of light, reflects in your soul.

Keep your eyes light and sparkling, full of love. Relax the area around your eyes so you are not looking hard and anxiously at your brothers. Let your eyes reflect My light in your soul.

My eyes were stained with the blood that poured down My head. My vision was blurred with blood and My eyes were matted with dryness. Blood came from My mouth from the blows to My head and blood came from My nose from the hitting on My head. I was beaten on My head with the crown of thorns. I was spat at in My face. Oh, such ugliness in men's hearts! It was their minds that thought such ugly thoughts and why I suffered such brutality to My head. It is paradoxical I suffered for that which they did....

end of November 20, 1993

                (10) From Blue Book I - Excerpt

Picture of the Sacred Heart of JesusI Love You to Death, Today! - November 15, 1993 - After Mass

 Jesus: ... Oh, My passion, My child! Meditate on this every day. Think of My agony to know what would happen, to see only as God could see every detail of every event that would follow. To feel the pain before it happened and know how horrendous it would be. All the kickings, whackings, not to mention the names and slanders against God. They were doing this to God! In all My dignity and honor, I would experience such vileness and take it for love of you.

My passion is a wealth of material to study. But I will reveal such things to you. The bottom line is what I suffered for love of you. I would do this today. I love you just the same. Oh, if you only knew! It feels good to tell someone when you are wronged. I was so silent. The incredible things they did and I was silent. My mother suffered so with this. She watched her beautiful baby in such anguish. She was silent. Her agony was so great. She endured this for love of you. You are so loved, child. Why do you ever think you need to go anywhere for this little human love? It is nothing. My love is all encompassing. My mother loves you intently. Forget those who shun you. Who cares? You need My love. You don't need their love. Come, get My love and then give it to the unloving. Don't worry....

end of excerpt



                The Carrying of the Cross

                (1) Jesus is the King of heaven and earth —
                        He was mocked as a King —
                        Jesus carried His cross — when He
                            could do it no longer
                            Simon of Cyrene was made
                            to help —

                (2) They crucified Jesus between 2
                        thieves — Jesus, the Son of
                        God — The title they put over
                        the cross read
                        "Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews" —

                (3) August 23, 1993 - On His Passion

Jesus: My dear child,
I was condemned to death, death on a cross. They gave Me a big cross and made Me carry it. They stood around and glared at Me. It weighed on My shoulder and I pulled at it until it finally moved. Every step was almost impossible as I dragged it, weighing so heavily on My shoulders.

My shoulder felt as if the bones inside would crack and the cross would fall through to the ground. I couldn’t drag it any more. I tried, I fell. I fell and its weight fell on Me. A guard hit Me with something sharp. It really hurt because he wanted Me to move, and fast! People were watching — on with the show! How dare I fall in the middle of the show! He hit Me again and the blow really stung Me. I got up because it hurt so badly. I tried to walk on.

                (4) August 23, 1993 - On His Passion - continues

My Mother was in the crowd. She looked at Me and her face looked red and hurt. Tears rolled down her cheeks like rain and as her eyes met Mine, I was hurt so by her sorrow! She was always by My side, silent and loving. She was My mother of love! She is always there next to you when you suffer.

I fell again and he (the guard) really hit Me. It (the cross) was so heavy that he and I together could barely move it. It seemed as I walked, heavier with the sins of the world heaped on it. My hands were bleeding. Blood ran from the wounds of My thorns and My head throbbed, seeming to make the wounds in My head bleed even more. Some of the Blood was dried, some of it running all over My Body. I had so many cuts and bruises — and people watched and laughed!

                (5) August 23, 1993 - On His Passion - continues

I am Jesus, Son of the Living God, and they laughed and mimicked Me! Oh, such hardened hearts! How vile can men’s heart become? The devil’s grip is paralyzing and crippling.

The walk was so long up a hill and over rocks — the cross had to be lifted over the rocks. My Body was bleeding so badly! My heart was pounding. I knew that the salvation of all men depended on My love. Therefore, I went through such agony.


                (6) August 10, 1994 After Mass, Fr. Smith’s Chapel

And Their Eyes Peered Into One Another's Eyes

R. See Mary as she beholds the baby in her arms. She looks at Him so tenderly. His sweet baby eyes look up at the eyes of His loving Mother. Such tenderness between Mother and Son, such oneness to hold her infant Son so lovingly in her arms. Oh, do we ever know the tenderness between a baby and his loving mother?

A life of close union between this Mother and this Son, a life of her looking into His loving eyes. Such silent, but strong and loving communication! Such a strong bond-Their eyes meeting-from one soul to the other soul.

Song: See the Eyes That Look at Mary (Verse l)…

R. Deep, deep communication, a deep bond, indescribable in words, a touching of the souls! And the peering look between Son and Mother on the road to the crucifixion. What a peering look, what communication between this Son and Mother. Seeing the other suffer was as agonizing as each's very own suffering-suffering and oneness between a Son and His Mother. A peering look, deep into the very souls. Such an intimacy between Them!

How can one describe in words this oneness, this union between the Son and His Mother? The perfect love between Him and her. Total giving of each person in such love to the other. To see the suffering of the other was as agonizing as-if not more than-each's own suffering.

How His passion and crucifixion were intensified by the sufferings of His dear Mother! How her sufferings were such a sharing in our redemption, the swords that pierced her Heart! The eyes of Mary that invisibly bled as she watched such brutality to the beloved Baby she once carried in her womb and held in her arms!

Song: Little Baby Hands and Feet…

                (7) August 10, 1994 - And Their Eyes Peered Into One Another's Eyes continues

R. Mary held the Child Jesus when He was a baby; she watched Him and cared for Him as a little boy; she was so attentive to the needs of her little Son. Will we ever know this connectedness between Their loving Hearts? Do we know this oneness? The peering eyes on the way to Calvary tell the story. They tell the story of this oneness. They tell the story of her watching this horrid event of her beautiful baby Son and His horrible passion and death.

Her eyes! Oh, Mary, help me to see the love of Jesus through your eyes! You watched Him as a baby, you watched Him as a child. You watched Him grow into the beautiful Man He became and you, Mary, watched Him all through this bitter passion and death. Your eyes saw the love that He gave for us. Now you come, Mary. You appear to tell us to go to this Son. You knew more than anyone His love to suffer so for us. You come and appear with blood in your eyes and tears running down your cheeks. You show me your sorrowful face, your young face, your old face, your joyful face. This was the face Jesus peered at as He walked His walk to Calvary. This was the face that appears now to tell us the story of His love this very day. I see your parade of faces, Mary, old and young, sorrowful and joyful. I see these faces that Jesus beheld. Your face tells the story of His love for us.

Mary: This is my beloved Son. This is my Baby. This is the Child I bore in my womb. He came to give you love. He came to be God-made-Man among you this very day. He is, my children, no less present in the Eucharist than He was at Calvary and you go after such incidental things. My Son loves you. I show you my face so you can tell the world of our love. Live our lives in the rosary. Let our lives live in your day. The way to eternal happiness is to be likened to my beautiful Son.

I watched my Son. I lead you to the ardent love of my Son, Jesus. His Heart burns for love of you. Come to Him this day. Give Him your love. Spend time with Him. He is alive and in your midst in the Eucharist.

R. Note: I smelled roses very strongly throughout this message.

Song: See the Eyes That Look at Mary (Verse 2)…

R. This is the Son of the Father, the Son of God, born of Mary through the Holy Spirit, and He lives this day in your hearts. Share His love for you. Go to Him through Mary's Heart. She who is so closely united to Jesus! Their Hearts are so close to one another! As their eyes were joined in such oneness, Their Hearts are joined in such intimacy. Go to Jesus' Heart through His beloved Mother, through her who bore Him in her womb, her who watched Him give Himself for love of you.

 end of August 10, 1994


                (8) Sing: Little Baby Hands and Feet

                (9) Sing: See the Eyes that Look at Mary

                (10) Sing: The Rosary Song




                (1) Song: A Song from Jesus

                (2) August 23, 1993 - On His Passion - continues

I thought of My intense love for you — that many would go to heaven because of My suffering — and I continued to the top of the hill. At the top they laid Me on the cross and with a big hammer nailed My hands to it. It was the worst (suffering) yet. My hands were nailed with big nails and the big hammer. Oh, it was unbelievable! Then, as if that weren’t enough, with a big nail they nailed through both feet.

Then they lifted the cross and banged it into (a hole in) the ground. My shoulders ached from how I hung. My head bobbed and My neck ached and they laughed and said, "Now save Yourself." I hurt so much! I suffered this way for hours — which seemed like forever — and they glared at Me and laughed! My Mother watched in such agony.

                (3) August 23, 1993 - On His Passion - continues

For love of you, to My death I gave you My Body. My child, I shed My Blood and gave you My life that you might be with Me forever in heaven — not for a day, a month or a year, but forever with Me in heaven.

I am the true Bread come down from heaven. He who eats My Flesh will have life forever. For the drink I give you is My Blood and food you eat is My Body. Who would lay down his life for a friend? I did, for you. I love you this much, child. Forget about those who reject you. You have My life that I gave you and I give you life eternal.

I am the One true God. I am the Light of life. He who abides in Me will have life eternal, for the drink I give is My Blood and the food I give is My Body. Drink and eat and have everlasting life.

My child, that is all you need to know. Love one another and be good that you may enter into My kingdom.

end of August 23, 1993

                (4) Priestly Newsletter 2000 - Issue 2

Suffering: A Source of Life

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. (Jn 10:11-15)1

Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying, while we thought of him as someone being punished and struck with affliction by God; whereas he was being wounded for our rebellions, crushed because of our guilt; the punishment reconciling us fell on him, and we have been healed by his bruises. We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and Yahweh brought the acts of rebellion of all of us to bear on him. Ill-treated and afflicted, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep dumb before its shearers he never opened his mouth. (Is 53:4-7)

  • He hung upon a cross on a hill called Calvary. Death was near. How much Jesus had already suffered! He had been derisively crowned with thorns. In a terribly weakened condition, He carried the heavy cross to the hill of Golgotha. There He was stripped of His garments and mercilessly nailed to the cross. After all this brutal and agonizing suffering, Jesus finally died.

Truly the Good Shepherd had laid down His life for His sheep. That magnificent Heart, overflowing with love for His Father and all of us, had beat its last.

On the third day, Jesus rose: ‘Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple: are you going to raise it up again in three days?’ But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what he had said. (Jn 2:19-22)

Yes, the Good Shepherd died and rose for our salvation. Behold, the paschal mystery of Jesus!

When we are baptized we are incorporated into Christ's paschal mystery of death and resurrection. St. Paul speaks of this marvelous union with Jesus: You cannot have forgotten that all of us, when we were baptised into Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life. (Rm 6:3-4)

Christ has structured the Christian life by the way He lived, died, and rose from the dead. It is obvious, then, as Paul tells us above that the pattern of death-resurrection must be at the heart of the Church’s life. Individually and collectively, we continually die in Christ so that we may continually rise in Him. Thus we pass over in a process of ongoing religious transition to a greater participation in Christ’s resurrection. It is true that our participation in Christ’s resurrection will reach its completion only in eternal life. Nevertheless, we begin the life of resurrection here upon earth, in the here and now of human life, in the midst of joy and pain, in the experience of success and failure, in the sweat of our brow, in the enjoyment of God’s gifts. As Christians, we should have a sense of dynamic growth concerning our here and now life of resurrection.

We cannot maintain the life of resurrection or grow in it without a willingness to suffer. This does not mean that we need to feel overwhelmed and heavily burdened in our lives. The greater portion of suffering for most Christians seems to be an accumulation of ordinary hardships, difficulties, and pains. At times, however, deep suffering, even suffering of agonizing proportions can enter into one’s life. Whether the sufferings one encounters are of the more ordinary variety or of the more rare and extreme type, Christians must convince themselves that to relate properly to the cross is to grow in resurrection, and growth in resurrection means we will also have an increased capacity to help give resurrection to others.

                (5) Priestly Newsletter 2000 - Issue 2 - Suffering: A Source of Life - continues

  • Pope John Paul II speaks of the role suffering plays in the Christian life: "Every man has his own share in the redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the redemption. Thus each man in his suffering can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ…

"Those who share in Christ’s sufferings have before their eyes the paschal mystery of the cross and resurrection, in which Christ descends, in a first phace, to the ultimate limits of human weakness and impotence: Indeed, he dies nailed to the cross. But if at the same time in this weakness there is accomplished his lifting up, confirmed by the power of the resurrection, then this means that the weaknesses of all human sufferings are capable of being infused with the same power of God manifested in Christ’s cross. In such a concept, to suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open, to the working of the salvific powers of God offered to humanity in Christ. In him God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptiness of self." 2

                (6) Priestly Newsletter 2000 - Issue 2 - Suffering: A Source of Life - continues

  • Dom Hubert Van Zeller observes: "Men and women who might be turning their afflictions over to God, who have only to unite themselves in spirit with Christ’s passion, are found so often to stop short, and even to make of their trial further matter for selfishness. Even if we do not rebel positively against God’s providential will, we can become so preoccupied with our troubles as to leave God out of account.

"Instead of making us compassionate for others we can squander compassion on ourselves. Suffering is meant to enlarge our hearts, not shrink them. With suffering goes the grace of patience, peace, fortitude, penitence and love. All this can be missed if we make the mistake of turning in upon ourselves as the result of our trials.

"To the Jews the cross was a stumbling block, and to the gentiles foolishness. What is it to us? Often it can be an emblem merely, the significance of the symbol forgotten. The cross is something in which we are, by reason of our Christian inheritance, inextricably involved. Do we yield to it or harden ourselves against it? The cross is not just two planks fitted together on a certain day in the history of the world, and of all the relics which we venerate the most sacred, but a fact of our human experience which may or may not be sacred according to what we do about it." 3

                (7) Priestly Newsletter 2000 - Issue 2 - Suffering: A Source of Life - continues

  • Contrary to what many think, Fr. Edward Leen reminds us that suffering is compatible with happiness: "If men are prone to err in conceiving the nature of happiness, they will necessarily err in judging of its opposite. They commonly think that a man cannot possibly be happy if he is a prey to constant sickness; if he is condemned to experience habitual poverty and to be buried in obscurity; if he fails to take an important part on the world stage; if he is unsuccessful in his enterprises; if he is deprived of the opportunities of intellectual or aesthetic development; and finally, if he fails to gain the applause and the esteem of his fellows. Now though all these things mean grievous sufferings for men, neither singly nor in combination have they the power to rob him of essential happiness.

"Apart from the consideration of the life of the Redeemer, certain undeniable facts of history justify this contention. The saints, in all ages, have been persons whose lot it was, generally speaking, to undergo greater trials and sufferings than others are called upon to endure. Yet they were habitually happy, buoyant and joyous human beings…

"The saints were not violently wresting words from their literal meaning when they proclaimed themselves happy. For the happiness they enjoyed was that which is proper to, and satisfying for man…

"God planned an unbroken life of happiness for man. The Fall modified, but did not prevent the realization of this plan. Suffering, but not unhappiness, becomes the condition of the earthly portion of men’s existence. God does not make unhappiness here to be the price to pay for happiness hereafter. To be happy, in the minds of all men, is to fare well, that is, to live excellently... The Saviour Himself suffered intensely, but He lived the highest life possible for men. He was, therefore, happy. He assured men that He could share His own blissful experience with them. It may appear paradoxical to associate happiness with the mental image of One Who is called the Man of Sorrows. But an analysis of the nature of happiness will show that it was fully realized in the earthly life of the Saviour…" 4

                (8) Priestly Newsletter 2000 - Issue 2 - Suffering: A Source of Life - continues

  • Caryll Houselander writes with great sensitivity regarding the second station of the Way of the Cross: "They put His own garments on Him again, and Jesus comes out from the judgment hall of Pilate to receive His cross.

"He comes to it gladly! This is a strange thing, for the cross is a symbol of shame, and it is to be His deathbed. Already He sees the very shape of His death in the wide-spread arms. From this moment He will be inseparable from it, until He dies on it. He will labour and struggle under the weight of it… Yet Christ welcomes the cross. He embraces it. He takes it into His arms. He lays His beautiful hands on it tenderly, those strong hands of a carpenter that are so familiar with the touch of wood." 5

                (9) Priestly Newsletter 2000 - Issue 2 - Suffering: A Source of Life - continues

  • Henri Nouwen tells this story: "I would like to tell you the story of a middle-aged man whose career was suddenly interrupted by the discovery of leukemia, a fatal blood cancer. All his life plans crumbled and all his ways had to change. But slowly he was able to ask himself no longer: ‘Why did this happen to me?’ but instead: ‘What is the promise hidden in this event?’ When his rebellion became a new quest, he felt that he could give strength and hope to other cancer patients and, that by facing his condition directly, he could make his pain a source of healing for others. To this day, this man not only does more for patients than many ministers are able to, but he also refound his life on a level that he had never known before." 6

  • St. Paul tells us: But we hold this treasure in pots of earthenware, so that the immensity of the power is God’s and not our own. We are subjected to every kind of hardship, but never distressed; we see no way out but we never despair; we are pursued but never cut off; knocked down, but still have some life in us; always we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus, too, may be visible in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are continually being handed over to death, for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may be visible in our mortal flesh. (2 Co 4:7-11)

                (10) Sing: I Love You Jesus



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Call Shepherds of Christ


From Response to God's Love by Fr. Edward J. Carter, S.J.

 Death and Resurrection (excerpt)

    Our incorporation into the mystery of Christ at baptism, and the gradual maturing of that life in the process of becoming, is centered in the pattern of death-resurrection. Indeed, the theme of death-resurrection is at the heart of salvation history. Let us briefly consider its place in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, and in God's ongoing self-communication, always remembering that any form of death—that is, any form of suffering—is meant to lead to greater life, greater peace, and greater happiness.

       The theme of death-resurrection is at the heart of Old Testament history. The Jewish people, under the leadership of Moses, experienced death-resurrection as they were formed into the people of the covenant—Yahweh's people. In the great Exodus event, they escaped Egyptian slavery, went on to Mt. Sinai where the covenant was ratified, and then progressed to the Promised Land. As members of the Mosaic covenant—as Yahweh's people—the Jews experienced a religious transition; they passed over to a higher level of religious existence, to a more intimate union with God.

       This religious transition contained death-resurrection. For the Jews to become people of the covenant, to remain so, and to grow in the life of the covenant, it was necessary that they undergo a mystical or spiritual death. In short, the Jews had to be willing to pay a price; they had to be willing to bear with that which was difficult in covenant life; they had to be willing to die to that which was not according to Yahweh's will. This mystical death, however, had a very positive purpose; it was directed at life in the covenant and at growth in that life. This spiritual death, in other words, was aimed at resurrection.

       Christ perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament theme of death-resurrection. In doing so, he, too, was experiencing a religious transition. He was passing over—gradually, at first, and then definitively in his death—to a new kind of existence, to the life of his resurrection, which he achieved not only for himself, but for all mankind. To achieve this new life of resurrection, Jesus was willing to pay the price; Jesus was willing to suffer, even unto death. That it had to be this way—that the only way Christ could have achieved resurrection was through suffering and death—was pointed out by Jesus himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: "Then he said to them, 'What little sense you have! How slow you are to believe all that the prophets have announced! Did not the Messiah have to undergo all this so as to enter into his glory?' Beginning, then, with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to him" (Lk 24:25-27).

       Christ has structured the Christian life by the way he lived, died, and rose from the dead. It is obvious, then, that the pattern of death-resurrection must be at the heart of the Church's life. Individually and collectively, we continually die with Christ so that we may continually rise with him. Thus, we pass over in a process of continued religious transition to a greater participation in Jesus' resurrection. It is true that our participation in Christ's resurrection will reach its completion only in eternity. Nevertheless, we begin the life of resurrection here upon this earth, in the here and now of human life, in the midst of joy and pain, in the experience of success and failure, in the sweat of our brow, in the enjoyment of God's gifts. As Christians, we should have a sense of growth concerning our here-and-now life of resurrection. Some Christians seem to have a rather static view of the Christian life. They do not seem to have a vital and efficacious realization that the Christian life, centered in death-resurrection, should become more conscious, more experiential, more dynamically relative to daily existence.

       We cannot maintain the life of resurrection or grow in it without a willingness to suffer. This does not mean that we need to feel overwhelmed and heavily burdened by the suffering in our lives. The greater portion of suffering for most Christians seems to be an accumulation of ordinary hardships, difficulties, and pains. At times, however, deep suffering—even suffering of agonizing proportions—can enter one's life. During these oppressive periods of suffering, a person's sense of anguish can become so great that the prospect of continuing life becomes an agony in itself. Whether the sufferings of Christians are of either the ordinary variety or the rare and extreme type, Christians must nevertheless convince themselves that to properly relate to the cross is to grow in resurrection—and for an individual Christian to grow in resurrection means that he or she will also have an increased capacity to help give resurrection to others.

       One of the most traditional forms of the experience of the cross—that is, of dying with Jesus—that spiritual masters have always treated is self-discipline or asceticism. All forms of life demand self-discipline: The athlete must subject himself or herself to rigorous training; the musician must endure long hours of practice; the doctor must be willing to order his or her life to the rigorous demands of the medical profession.

       The Christian life, too, has its own form of discipline or control that has as its comprehensive purpose the greater assimilation of the Christian's total being to Christ. Christian self-discipline, or asceticism, allows for the proper development of the Christ-life in all its dimensions. Like all forms of authentic discipline, it is at the service of life; when it is properly exercised, asceticism helps us to grow in our capacity to love God and others.

       This proper, grace-inspired control over the complete person is necessary because the various sense and spiritual faculties do not automatically follow the lead of grace. Because of original sin and personal sin, there are various tendencies within us that, if they are not properly controlled, will lead us away from Christ and our spiritual development. The Christian, therefore, must be willing to exercise a reasonable self-discipline despite the difficulty that is involved. Moreover, this control must extend to all of the person's faculties.

       Regarding our intellectual lives, there are various tendencies inimical to the spiritual life that must be disciplined. There can be a laziness, for instance, that might prevent the proper pursuit of study that is necessary for our own particular role in the Church. There can be an unwholesome curiosity that might lead us to want to know that which is pleasing, rather than, first of all, that which is necessary. There can be an intellectual pride that might manifest itself in various ways; some people, for example, find it extremely difficult to be open to the ideas of others or to admit their own mistakes.

       The will, the decisive faculty of the human person, must receive special attention. It must become both supple and strong: supple in order to be open to the varied movements of the Holy Spirit; and strong in order to guide the entire person, including those forces that can so powerfully lead away from God. Concerning concrete decision making, there are two extremes that must be avoided: On the one hand, we must avoid precipitous action that is devoid of reflection that is rooted in an appropriate openness to the movements of the Spirit; on the other hand, we must not fall prey to the habit of indecision. Some people are prone to spending an excessive amount of time in making decisions about even the simplest matters. Life is short, and we must condition ourselves to make decisions after appropriate reflection, which, in many of our ordinary actions and decisions, is practically instantaneous. Unhealthy fear and other factors that are responsible for indecision must be curbed despite the great pain that this can, at times, cause for certain temperaments.

       The faculties of memory and imagination must also be controlled. These can be of great value if properly guided; if they are not properly guided, however, they can, in their unruliness, become great obstacles to spiritual progress. An undisciplined memory and imagination can, for example, seriously interfere with our prayer life. Similarly, memory and imagination that are not properly controlled can also give rise to numerous temptations against the various virtues.

       We must also properly control the emotions. A considerable portion of past spiritual literature has not given due allowance to the role that God intends the emotions to exercise. When we speak of controlling the emotions, therefore, we are not suggesting either an aggressive repression or an inhuman rigidity; rather, we speak of a control that permits the emotions to contribute to the richness and overall value of our actions. We must remember that the emotions, when they are properly integrated with the movements of the intellect and will, enhance the goodness of our acts.

       It is obvious, however, that we must strive to discipline the emotions' evil tendencies if these emotions are to contribute to spiritual growth. The emotions can cause havoc if such a discipline is lacking. At times, they can reduce a person to an almost brute existence; at other times, they can seriously constrict a person and, consequently, seriously impede the proper exercise and development of the Christian life.

       It is equally obvious that a person's bodily nature should also be the subject of proper discipline. The body is essentially holy, partaking in the holiness of Christ's body; however, the body is also subject to numerous evil tendencies that are at war with the spiritual life and must be controlled with a sound asceticism. St. Paul reminds us of this: "I do not run like a man who loses sight of the finish line. I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. What I do is discipline my own body and master it, for fear that after having preached to others I myself should be rejected" (1 Cor 9:26).

       Renunciation is another form of dying with Jesus that, over the ages, has been given much attention in the teaching of the spiritual masters. Indeed, the New Testament itself attests to the undeniable role that renunciation plays in the Christian life. The gentle St. Luke, for example, teaches with a peculiar intransigence Jesus' message of renunciation—a message that Jesus himself lived. Renunciation was by no means the only aspect of Christ's life, but it was an undeniable one. Christians, because they are followers of Christ, must also include renunciation in their lives regardless of their individual vocations. Again, it is well to remind ourselves that the cross is always intended to be connected with life and love. Paradoxically, then, we embrace renunciation for the sake of life. This was the purpose of renunciation in Jesus' life, and it must have the same purpose in the Christian's existence. Let us now consider some of the various ways in which the principle of renunciation applies.

       Self-discipline or asceticism, which we have already discussed, does not necessarily include the aspect of renunciation. A person can exercise self-discipline in the positive use of created goods, and renunciation would not be involved; rather, the person would be relating to a created good according to God's will. Renunciation is, however, sometimes related to the practice of self-discipline; a person cannot always properly relate his or her total being to God's creation unless, from time to time, he or she is willing to renounce particular goods and values. Consider this example: A person will not always properly employ his or her external senses in using God's creation unless, at times, he or she denies the senses what they naturally desire. If we are not willing to admit this, we are being falsely optimistic about human nature. There is a sinful element within us that inclines us to a misuse of creation. To control this tendency toward misuse, we must exercise renunciation of those goods toward which our various spiritual and sense faculties are oriented.

       In addition to being an aid to self-discipline, there are other uses of renunciation. The choice of a particular vocation or life's work, for instance, demands a renunciation of various other created goods and values. A person who chooses marriage has to be willing to sacrifice certain values and activities that might well be appropriate for a single person, but are incompatible with the married vocation. The Christian scholar, who is called by God to make his or her contribution to the life of the Church in the academic sphere, must also learn the lesson of renunciation; such a person cannot be true to the demanding work of scholarship unless various human values—all of which are good in themselves—are nevertheless sacrificed.

       Another use of renunciation is its special witness to the transcendent aspect of the Christian life, one element of which is that our life of grace is a participation in the transcendent life of God. This life has a radical thrust of desiring God as he is in himself; this particular desire will not be completely satisfied until we achieve the beatific vision in which we will possess God as he is in himself, without the mediation of the world. Here on this earth, however, we can, to a certain extent, go out to God as he is in himself. Among the methods for achieving this goal is the practice of renunciation. Speaking of this kind of renunciation, which is expressive of transcendent love of God, Karl Rahner observes: "For such renunciation is either senseless or it is the realized and combined expression of faith, hope and charity which reaches out toward God precisely insofar as he is in himself, and without any mediation of the world, the goal of man in the supernatural order" (Theological Investigations, vol. 3, pp. 51-52). God, then, wants us to seek him not only as he is immanent in creation, but also as he is transcendent in himself. To reiterate, one way to achieve this is through the prudent, periodic renunciation of created goods and values.

       We have been discussing two main forms of dying with Jesus, namely, self-discipline, or asceticism, and renunciation. These traditional forms of the Christian cross actually permeate the experience of numerous and various kinds of pain, suffering, hardship, bearing with the difficult—whatever name one wishes to apply. Let us consider some of these ways in which we are daily called to mystically share in the death of Jesus....

end of excerpt



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