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November 19, 2009

November 20th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 7 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for November 20th are Luminous.

  
  

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November 19, 2009
 

 

Fr. Carter had a dream.

  

Life in the Spirit

Fr. Carter says:

    St. Paul tells us, "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God" (1 Cor 2:12). This particular text admirably serves the discussion of mysticism. Mysticism is the lived awareness, to a highly developed degree, of what it means to live the God-life. It is a profound realization of what it means to participate in God's life through grace. The above text reminds us that the Holy Spirit has been given to us to teach us how to live this God-life, this Christ-life. The Spirit perfectly understands the life of God, and he perfectly understands our participation in that life. He is the perfect teacher who instructs us how to live and develop this life, ideally to its mystical heights.

    The Holy Spirit, consequently, is with us to guide us in our life in Christ. He continually desires to deepen the Christic, Trinitarian image within us. While by no means pretending to be exhaustive, let us consider some of the truths and practices pertinent to life in the Spirit.

    The Spirit desires that we constantly seek out Jesus. Whatever the Spirit wants to tell us, along whatever path he desires to lead us—all this in some way is contained in the mystery of Christ.  To be formed in Christ under the gentle but sure touch of the Spirit means that we must be open to the spiritual lessons contained in the various mysteries or events of Christ's life. This is especially true of the two central and summary mysteries, Christ's death and resurrection. We must consistently strive to have the proper perspective concerning these two key events. Spiritual writing has not always presented such a perspective. For many years a considerable portion of spiritual writing and teaching seemed to present the cross dimension, or dying with Christ, as if it were to receive almost exclusive attention. That we should be living resurrection upon this earth, as well as looking forward to its culmination in eternal life, was often not properly emphasized. To live resurrection in the here and now means to increasingly partake of resurrection peace, joy, happiness and fulfillment. Our incorporation into Christ's passion and death is a means to a life of resurrection here on earth as well as in eternity.

    Today, we must guard against the opposite danger—incorrectly emphasizing resurrection with the consequent effect of removing the cross aspect from its proper place in Christian consciousness. We must always be aware of the words of Paul: "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning" (1 Cor 1:17).

    The Spirit, then, desires to lead us to a consistent and balanced contact with Christ. Some of the means we should use to assure this contact are participation in liturgy, reading of Scripture, and prayer.

    The mention of prayer easily leads us to another important aspect of life in the Spirit—how the Spirit guides us in making the proper decisions in the following of Christ. Among the various purposes of prayer is seeking such guidance from the Spirit. In prayer the Christian asks for the necessary light to make decisions according to the teaching and example of Jesus. In prayer one asks for the grace to see persons, places, things, circumstances, according to a Christian perspective. Prayer, then, is necessary for proper decision-making because it is a special source of light for the intellect. Prayer is also a special source of strength for the will. Prayer gives us the strength and courage to make correct decisions even though these at times are very difficult or unpopular ones, ones which may make life unusually demanding for a period of time.   

    As we seek the light of the Spirit during prayer, we must be aware that not everything we originally think is an illumination of the Spirit actually is such. In other words, there are false lights or illuminations. We must, therefore, be able to distinguish between true and false lights. As St. Ignatius of Loyola tells us, we must consider the entire course of what we think are the enlightenments of the Spirit.1 We must consider their beginning, middle, and end. If the entire course is good and directed to what is right, then we have assurance our lights are according to the Spirit. A false light could begin by presenting us with a good, but the end point, and possibly also the middle point, discloses the false light in its true character. Such a light would lead us to what is evil, or less good.

    As we prayerfully consider the various options involved in a decision-making process, we begin to experience a sense of peace and clarity relative to one of the options. This usually seems to happen in a more gradual manner, but it also can occur rather suddenly. This experience of peace and clarity is one of the great signs pointing to the decision which the Spirit desires we make.

    Just as we can be subjected to false lights, we can also experience false peace. For example, we can experience a certain peace because the decision we are about to make will relieve us of a considerable burden. The peace, however, is short-lived. We begin to feel dissatisfied with the prospective decision, ill-at-ease about actually choosing this particular action. Recognizing the briefly experienced peace as a false sign, we then continue the discernment process.

    We must also realize that the experience of true peace in in the decision-making process does not guarantee that all anxiety is removed. In choosing a certain option, we are indeed guided by the experience of peace, but there can also be certain fears attached to our choice. There can also be aspects of the decision not to our liking. The experience of peace, however, remains dominant, giving us reasonable assurance we have chosen correctly in the Spirit.       

    In striving to make decisions in the Spirit, we must also be aware of another important principle: as far as possible, we should never make decisions, especially important ones, when we are in a state of desolation. In such a state we are in danger of making decisions which are not in accordance with the Spirit. Let us consider some of the words of St. Ignatius concerning desolation: "I call desolation ... darkness of soul, turmoil of spirit, inclination to what is low and earthly, restlessness rising from many disturbances and temptations which lead to want of faith, want of hope, want of love ...."2

    As we progress in our discussion of principles and practices regarding life in the Spirit, let us now consider the concept of spiritual freedom. Growth in this freedom is one of the great signs of spiritual progress. Spiritual freedom is the ability to relate to persons, places, things, circumstances, and all else according to God's will. It means we are free enough to live in the manner God desires. Spiritual freedom means we are not wrongfully attached to this or that—an attachment which prevents us from following the lead of the Spirit.

    As we are using the idea of spiritual freedom, a lack of such does not imply a person is not responsible for wrongful action. It simply means one abuses freedom, that one is here and now attached to a particular attitude or desire which leads one to go against the Spirit's lead.

    St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. John of the Cross are two of the great masters regarding growth in spiritual freedom. They do not use the same type of language, but their message is basically the same—one must take whatever means are necessary to put oneself at the disposal of God. One must labor at breaking the inordinate attachments which lead one to go against God's will. One must develop the spiritual freedom necessary to decide according to the Spirit's guidance.

    The more the mystical process develops, the more this spiritual freedom takes deeper root in a person. Growth in mysticism includes a growing desire to be possessed by God, to do whatever he wants, to accomplish his will at all costs. All this describes a person who is truly free, a person who uses freedom to accomplish one's God-given destiny.   

    Growth in spiritual freedom is accompanied by growth in spiritual peace. Here, then, we wish to expand upon this concept of peace which we earlier discussed in connection with prayer and its decision-making process. For we should cultivate spiritual peace not only relative to discernment, but also as it pertains to all aspects of our lives.

    To maintain oneself in a state of peace is extremely important for life in the Spirit. We can best listen to the Spirit and respond to his lights when in a basic peace of spirit. We may speak of three different kinds of this peace.

    The first type is not of everyday occurrence. It is that feeling of peace which permeates all aspects of our being to such an extent that we can, as it were, almost taste the peace. We seem to feel it flowing through the total person. Again, this experience is not the ordinary fare.

    A second type of peace is one which is our more customary companion on the spiritual journey. It is of a calmer nature, sometimes even accompanied by considerable spiritual dryness. It is that kind of peace which we experience on a rather daily basis. It is present amid the ordinary successes, troubles, joys, and anxieties of everyday existence. If it does not raise us to the ecstatic level of the first kind of peace, it is, nevertheless, a welcome companion. It enables us to go about our life in the Lord with a basic joy, enthusiasm, trust, and optimism.   

    The third kind of peace is, as is the case with the type first described, of a more rare occurrence. It is that peace which we should strive for even though we are presently experiencing very significant—perhaps even severe—suffering of one kind or other. This mode of suffering has the capacity to disturb us mightily, to confuse us, to narrow our perspective. We must, then, make very special efforts to go deep down to the center of our being where there is that peace which even deep suffering cannot remove. When we reach this centerpoint, when we actuate this deep-rooted level of peace, we are in a position to confront the suffering as the Spirit desires. We are in a position to allow him to guide us through the suffering in a manner which promotes the pattern of death-resurrection. We rise from the experience more spiritually mature, persons capable of deeper love of God and neighbor.

    As we progress to other attitudes necessary for life according to the Spirit, it is of great importance that we mention love of neighbor. A dynamic awareness and loving concern for our neighbor is an extremely important sign that we are truly alive in the Spirit. This seems so theoretically obvious to us, but in the day-in and day-out existence of even committed Christians this criterion does not always receive the attention it should. In his first epistle, St. Johnappeals to love of neighbor as a special sign of our walking in the Spirit: "Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall" (1 Jn 2:9-10). Another passage: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us" (1 Jn 4:11-12).

    Flexibility of will is another indication we are properly listening to the Spirit. To determine rigidly to adhere to certain courses of action no matter what is contradictory to the concept of being open to the Spirit. A word of caution, however, is necessary here. This flexibility of spirit does not mean instability. There is a basic stability necessary in the following of Christ. This stability is itself a sign we are corresponding to the Spirit's guidance.3  Flexibility of spirit does not mean departing from our basic way of life in Christ. The flexibility we are describing is rather an aspect of openness to the Spirit's guidance. This flexibility is a disposition which excludes a preconceived pattern of life in Christ which is hostile to the legitimate changes, modifications, and adaptations which one is called to make at certain junctures of the spiritual journey.

    In discussing our life in the Spirit, we should say a few words concerning spiritual direction. The term itself basically gives its own definition. Spiritual guidance helps us lead our spiritual life—life according to the Spirit.

    The role of spiritual guidance is rooted in the communal aspect of Christian existence. We do not go to God alone. In so many different ways, we are meant to help others achieve their destiny. In turn, we are meant to receive assistance from our brothers and sisters in the human family. Receiving spiritual guidance is one implementation of this social dimension of the Christian life.

    There are numerous ways we receive guidance in our Christian existence. Receiving instruction through homilies and retreat conferences, attending seminars, workshops, and lectures on various aspects of the spiritual life, pertinent and sound advice received from a friend or marriage partner—these are some of the ways in which guidance comes our way.

    There exists, consequently, this more general mode of spiritual direction. However, we can also greatly profit from the more individualized mode. According to this framework, one chooses a spiritual guide with whom one meets on a more or less regular basis. The frequency depends on various factors. Beginners in the spiritual life usually require more frequent meetings until they become solidly grounded in fundamentals. Times of particular trial offer another occasion for more frequent sessions with a guide, as do times of critical decision-making.

    The fundamental task of the spiritual guide is to help one discern the action of the Spirit. To achieve this, the guide must be a good and patient listener. As one commentator says, "A lot of people expect us to question them, but it is important to accustom them not to count on our questions, but to talk on their own accord. It is only after we have listened to them for a long time like this that we shall be able to ask the essential question."4 

    Listening is of such importance because it allows the guide to see how the Spirit seems to be leading this particular person. Knowing this, the guide can, asking the proper questions and making pertinent comments,
intelligently make his or her contributions in aiding the person's ongoing openness to the Spirit. The guide, consequently, is not out front, as it were, leading the person according to a preconceived path of how he or she is to follow the Spirit. Of course, there are certain fundamentals of the spiritual life which are the same for all, and a good guide will operate according to these. Since each person is unique, however, the Spirit leads each according to a pattern which will in various ways differ from that of others.

    It is obvious, then, that a person should choose a guide with whom one feels comfortable and with whom one is willing to share the basic essentials of one's interior life. Unless the guide knows these, he or she cannot properly aid the person in following the lead of the Spirit.

    Besides being a good listener, a guide should possess other basic qualities. One should obviously possess requisite knowledge of the spiritual life. Requisite knowledge is a relative concept. For example, the knowledge required to direct a beginner in the spiritual life is obviously less than that required to direct one who has entered the mystical state. A good guide should also possess considerable prudence—to know how and when to apply spiritual principles to particular individuals. Knowing how to point out errant ways is also of obvious importance. To possess not only a theoretical knowledge of the spiritual life, but also that knowledge gained through one's own living of the ways of the Spirit is a desired characteristic. These, then, are some of the qualities a good spiritual guide should possess.

    As we near the end of our considerations regarding life in the Spirit, it is most appropriate that we make mention of Mary. Just as Mary cooperated with the Holy Spirit in bringing Jesus into this world, so is her cooperation with the Spirit present regarding each of us. Under the Spirit she desires to bring us to a maturity in Christ. Her concern, her care, her love for us is beyond our full comprehension. Under her maternal protection, we go to the Father with Christ and by the Spirit. Truly she is our spiritual mother: "Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother,'" (Jn 19: 25-27).

    As we surrender more and more to the Spirit and Mary and become increasingly formed in the image of Christ, our lives become more mystical. We grow in the awareness that truly to live is to live the God-life in Christ. Increasingly we live by God's love, by his wisdom, by his strength. Our awareness, and indeed, our entire persons become increasingly transformed in God. An aspect of this awareness is a growing realization that, "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God" (1 Cor 2:12).

Notes

                    1. Cf. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, translated by L. Puhl (Westminster: Newman Press, 1951), Nos. 332-334.
                            2.  Ibid., No. 317.
                            3.  Cf. St. Francis de Sales, On the Love of God, translated by J. Ryan (New York:  Doubleday, 1963), Bk VIII, Ch. 13, pp. 84-87.
                            4.  Jean Laplace,  The Direction of Conscience (New York: Herder and Herder, 1967), p.173.

                   

 

 

   

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From Death/Resurrection Chapter

we meditate in this Rosary

 

    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.

 

Sorrowful Mysteries

 

 

                Agony in the Garden

                (1) Christ suffered for His precious souls that
                    would be lost because of their sin.
                    Christ was in such anguish He sweat blood.

                (2)

    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.

(3)

    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.

(4)

    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.

(5)

    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

(6)

    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.

(7)

    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.

(8)

    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.

(9)

    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.

(10)    

    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.

    

 

Scourging at the Pillar

(1) Jesus was whipped for our sins.

    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.

(2)

    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.

(3)

    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.

(4)

    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.

(5)

    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.

(6)

    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.

(7)

    A common form of suffering is the experience of loneliness.

    There are two basic kinds of loneliness—that which need not be and that which cannot be avoided. The first type of loneliness results from the fact that we are not in proper touch with our true selves, with God, or with others; the second type results from our existential situation as wayfarers, as pilgrims, who have not yet arrived at our final destination. The pain that results from the first type need not be, and we should work to eliminate its causes. The suffering and dying that are related to the second kind, however, are inevitable. As Christians, we should use this suffering and dying to grow in various ways, among which is the maturing realization that we have no lasting home here on earth.

(8)

    There is, in addition, the very prosaic type of suffering that is involved in the proper living of each day. There is nothing dramatic about this form of pain, and, precisely because it seems so uneventful, it is very difficult to properly relate to it in a consistent fashion. On particular occasions, we might feel that a quick death by martyrdom would be preferable to the daily dying that involves all sorts of little sufferings. But this daily dying is a precious type of suffering, and to grow in the realization of its importance is a significant sign of spiritual progress. It is a sign that we have the spiritual keenness to comprehend that God so often situates the cross within the ordinariness of everyday life.

(9)

    Crucial decision making is also a distinct form of dying. Making a decision, we realize, is extremely important for both ourselves and others. There might be two possibilities or three or even more. We might seek advice from others, but in the last analysis, we know—oh, how well we know—that, ultimately, we alone must make the decision before God. We pray for light and strength, for we realize that we need help not only to make the proper decision, but also to properly deal with the pain that is inevitably involved.

(10)

    The experience of failure is another suffering that we encounter in various degrees along the path of life. Some fail in their attempts to achieve the type of employment they so much desire; others fail to perform properly once they have been so employed. Some are not very successful in initiating interpersonal relationships; others are not very successful in maintaining the ones in which they do become involved. Some experience failure because they strive to accomplish too little; others experience failure because they strive to do too much. Some encounter failure because they have not given the proper effort; others feel failure's pain despite their conscientious perseverance. In these and in other types of failure there is a double pain—the pain of having failed and the pain in having to begin over again. The pain of having failed, however, must not be wasted; we must use it to become better persons. If we do use it, we are able to cope more maturely with the effort that is involved in beginning afresh.

       Experiencing various types of transition along the path of life also produces its own kind of pain. Periods of transition from one age of life to another are numerous, and some are obviously much more radical than others. The transitions from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to young adulthood, from young adulthood to middle age, from middle age to old age produce various, and sometimes rather intense, kinds of sufferings. There is the classic kind of pain that adolescents experience, for example, as they grope for some kind of self-identity, as they try to cope with various types of peer pressure, as they struggle for a new kind of relationship with parents because their childhood relationship no longer suffices. These periods of transition, or life-stages, also involve changing interests and goals; that which held our interest at one stage of life leaves us bored at another. To establish a new set of interests and challenges is sometimes painful, but not so painful as the boring vacuum that we must exist in if we fail to replace those now-dead interests and goals with new ones.

 

 

  

The Crowing with Thorns

(1)

    Rejection, in various forms, is another pain not uncommon to human experience. Rejection because of race, religion, or ethnic origin has been, sad to say, a rather prominent part of our country's history. Blacks, in particular, have felt the wrath of racial rejection and discrimination. Others, too, have not been immune—this group includes, among others, American Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Mexican-Americans.

(2)

    Although we ourselves might not have suffered racial, ethnic, or religious rejection, we are certainly susceptible to other types. We may have experienced, for instance, a certain ostracism in not being accepted—or being only reluctantly accepted—by this or that group, by this or that organization. When our ideas and opinions are not accepted by others, we feel the sting of yet another type of rejection. Further still is that very painful yet all too common rejection of not feeling loved by the person whom we dearly love.

(3)

    The type of rejection that we experience—no matter what it might be—carries with it its own kind and degree of suffering that we can neither deny nor instantaneously cause to go away; we can, however, profit from its painful presence. One of the things we must do in order to grow from the rejection that we experience is to refuse to harbor bitterness against the person or persons who have caused us pain. Not to be bitter can be difficult—at times, it can be very difficult. If we do remain bitter, however, our suffering is increased by a type of pain—the pain of bitterness—that is not growth promoting, but is, rather, pernicious to the well-being of our personality.

(4)

    The experience of various kinds of uncertainty is another type of suffering, or dying. The list of examples of human uncertainty is a long one. There is the uncertainty that is connected with the approach of a first experience: the young doctor who is still in training, for example, is understandably apprehensive as he or she prepares for his or her first surgery. There is the uncertainty of the young man and the young woman who are about to marry. Both begin to realize the uncertainties that are attached to marriage: Am I really marrying the right person? Will the children be normal and healthy? Will my partner love me over a lifetime, or is it possible that love will turn to coldness or even hatred? Likewise, the young businessman wonders whether the financial investment that he is about to make will result in increased earnings or ultimately lead to bankruptcy. There is also that common uncertainty that has plagued men and women of our contemporary age—namely, the question of whether life as we now know it on this earth will suddenly end in a nuclear holocaust.

    Christians, of course, experience these same uncertainties to the same extent that non-Christians experience them. Christians, however, precisely because they are Christians, should react to uncertainty and assimilate it in a manner that will differ from that of non-Christians. The Christian life is, after all, supposed to extend to all the dimensions of authentic human existence—including the experience of uncertainty.

(5)

    There is, however, a way in which Christians experience uncertainty in a manner that differs from non-Christians. There are specific uncertainties that explicitly arise out of Christian practices. Let us consider a few examples. In deciding one's basic state of life, the doubt, confusion, and anxiety that can temporarily accompany a choice of vocation can be agonizingly painful for some people. There are, in addition, the uncertainties and obscurities that, at times, accompany spiritual development in general. In the practice of prayer, for instance, there can be dryness, or an apparent inability to encounter God, even though God is really present to the person. There can also be a certain repugnance as one feels the demanding effort that is required to pray in present circumstances, as well as the bothersome uncertainty that makes us wonder whether our prayer is the proper type for us here and now.

    What is more, various uncertainties surround the seemingly contradictory manifestations of God's will. There might be, for example, a certain indication that God would have us act in a particular way, yet his will, as it is channeled to us from a different perspective, seems to suggest another course of action. Of course, God never contradicts himself; the contradiction is only an apparent one. We are not without pain, however, as we work through the confusion and uncertainty.

(6)

    How should we Christians act in times of uncertainty? We must be conscious of the two great realities of love and trust. First, we must try to be particularly conscious of how much God loves us in Christ. This deepened realization, in turn, will lead us to return that love in such a way that our love will be characterized by an abandoning trust in God's providence for us. Consequently, times of uncertainty can be times of tremendous growth. For we are creatures who all too often can become self-complacent before God; we are prone to forget just how weak and helpless we are without God. The discomfort of uncertainty, then, can help arouse us from this false sense of security because at these times we become more conscious of our helplessness and we approach God for guidance, strength, and consolation.

(7)

    When we experience uncertainty we should also be aware that, although we do not possess all possible light, we do have enough light to properly cope. The general pattern of Christ's life is always before us as an example and can be lived out in circumstances of uncertainty as well as at any other time. We can also utilize particular means that can lessen or even dispel the uncertainty, or that will at least help us to properly cope. Examples of such means are prayer and the seeking of advice from competent persons—if the particular uncertainty indicates that the counsel of another or others would be helpful.

(8)

    We have been discussing some of the specific ways in which we experience suffering. Let us now end this discussion in the same way that we began—by reminding ourselves of suffering's purpose in God's overall plan. Suffering, when it is properly encountered, leads us to a more mature Christian existence, that is, to an increased participation in Jesus' resurrection. If it is unchristian to flee the suffering that God intends for us (we are, of course, allowed to take proper means, as indicated by God's will, to dispel or alleviate suffering), it is also unchristian to view suffering out of perspective. We should view suffering, or dying with Christ, in relation to growth in the life that Jesus came to give us in abundance. As we properly encounter suffering, we are more and more cutting through the layers of the false self and increasingly coming in touch with the true, Christic self. If we live according to this true self, we become more capable of loving God and our fellow human beings. We become more vibrant personalities, more sensitive to the true, the good, the beautiful. We concentrate on the good that God's love has put in creation rather than on the evil therein that results from man's sinfulness.

(9)

    Although we might endure suffering with a proper Christian perspective, this is not to say that we find it easy to suffer. We need constant motivation for the proper assimilation of the suffering that daily faces us. This motivation, in turn, must be centered in the remembrance of the one who has suffered before us:

                Though he was harshly treated, he
                             submitted
                       and opened not his mouth;
                Like a lamb led to the slaughter
                       or a sheep before the shearers,
                       he was silent and opened not his
                             mouth.
                Oppressed and condemned, he was
                             taken away,
                       and who would have thought any
                             more of his destiny?
                When he was cut off from the land of
                             the living,
                       and smitten for the sin of his people,
                A grave was assigned him among the
                             wicked
                       and a burial place with evildoers,
                Though he had done no wrong
                             nor spoken any falsehood.
                                                                 —Is 53:7-9

(10) Read Shepherds of Christ Rule

  

Given August 23, 2008 

Religious Life
 
and life in the Shepherds of Christ Movement for Servants, Handmaids and Apostles

 

                    We were created to love  God — we are
                to love others — We are to follow Christ —
                especially religious being faithful to God. We are to
                be witnesses for Christ. It is a special gift from God
                a special calling from God when one is asked to serve
                in religious life. The religious most of all is to follow
                in Christ's footsteps — to live humbly and to be
                a person following the Virginity of Mary, Mother of Jesus.
                Christ lived a virginal life, a life He elected for Himself.
                    In the religious life one is the Spouse of Christ — He
                is the bridegroom of their soul. One lives seeking
                deeper intimacy with God living as St. Paul says —
 

Galatians 2: 19-20

...I have been crucified with Christ and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me.

     

                    The religious is a real witness, showing the
                world and the Church in a powerful way their lives as
                witness to Christ alive in them. The religious is
                dedicated to building the Kingdom of God — living
                a holy life of praying for the priests, the Church and the
                world — being other-focused — praying for the souls
                Jesus gave His life for — in this they are more and more
                identified living the mystery of Christ's life, death and resurrection.
                    It is not a life of cold service, but one of being so on
                fire for love of God — the religious is wed in a special
                way to Christ — deeply yoked to Him in the mission
                of helping to lead souls to heaven for all eternity and
                preparing themselves for a sharing most abundantly
                in the love of the Trinity in heaven.
                    Martyrs in the Church lived especially lives
                of great service to the Church — dying for their
                faith and following Jesus in a special way by
                shedding their blood for Him, the Church and the
                world.
                    Christ rewards those abundantly who live a
                consecrated life to Him — a special life of giving
                them their life of virginal love and service
                for His honor and glory. God will not be out done in
                generosity. This life of love given to Christ to
                help build the Church and for the world is most
                pleasing to the Father and this oneness with Jesus,
                is also oneness with the Father in the Holy Spirit.
                    The Church needs these beautiful witnesses who
                see themselves as married to Christ and loving the
                children of the Church in a way as a mother
                and father of a family love their own children.
                This calling is a calling to love — special spousal
                relationship with Christ and His Church. Loving
                a life that is modeled after Mary, spotless Virgin —
                Spiritual Mother of the children of the Church, Mother
                of Christ, Mother of our Christ-life, this sharing
                given to us at baptism.
                    It is love God calls the religious to —
                this means vigor, energy, dedication —
                modeling oneself after the love Christ had
                for His precious souls — when He sweat blood
                in the garden, as He walked the passion,
                died on the cross and rose the 3rd day —
                He was consumed with love so much He
                died for me and you — His precious souls —
                Vigor — witness — consumed with love for
                The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Religious serving freely
                giving themselves to Christ and the Church — a
                present of their lives — given to God to
                build the Kingdom.
                    Reach for the heights for God has chosen His religious
                for His honor and glory to take them to Himself —
                to live in a special spousal union with them —
                They give themselves body and soul to God — for
                His love and His purpose —
                In following Jesus —
               
                Jesus gave His body to the precious souls —
                He died on the cross — He shed His Blood and
                from this gift of Himself — His bride the
                Church came forth from His pierced
                side — His Sacred Heart — Blood and water —
                Blood for the Eucharist where by our Christ-
                life is nourished and Water for baptism —
                giving to us this special sharing in His
                life —
                The religious follows Christ — lives likened
                to Christ in being a virgin for sake of
                loving Him in a pure, spiritual love
                and not taking another for their husband/wife.
                The religious imitates Christ faithfully —
                giving their entire life to God — living
                out their Baptismal vow ever deeper —
                in their marriage to Him — their yes to
                His service, their witness to the world —
                in dressing in a way to show the world —
                they are married to Christ — a great gift —
                a holy honor. They then realize how they
                have a special responsibility to be pure
                before others, service to others and love
                for the Church — for the children of the Church —
                praying in their lives for the priests, the Church
                and the world.
 

 

 

                Their gift of their lives in holiness is to
                give honor to the heavenly Father.
                    With the greatest love of the Word of
                God and the Eucharist they are fed with
                the Bread of Life — filled with His grace and in
                love with God — they are witnesses for
                those in the world interested in the religious
                life, for families, for the laity, for people
                of the schools.
                    The individual Christian, the world and
                the Church are always in the state of
                becoming. In loving God uniquely as only
                one can — a religious has a deep relationship
                with God — loving the priest, the Church and
                the people as only they can love them for
                they are more and more the beautiful human
                creature — being more and more saturated with
                His grace — living as the Father desires
                in love. They answer freely to the call
                of the Holy Spirit and they live a life
                filled with the fire of God's love.
                    They give themselves entirely to God — they
                live under the authority of the Church —
                they obey their superior and rules of the
                order. They have TOTAL DEDICATION TO GOD.
                This is an act of greatest love — to give
                themselves to their vocation to God and live
                as religious. They seek greater perfection as
                Mary — handmaid of the Lord —
  

Luke 1: 46-55

                The Magnificat

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims
    the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit rejoices
    in God my Saviour;
because he has looked upon
    the humiliation of his servant.
Yes, from now onwards
    all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty
    has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his faithful love extends age after age
    to those who fear him.
He has used the power of his arm,
he has routed the arrogant of heart.
He has pulled down princes
    from their thrones
        and raised high the lowly.
He has filled the starving with good things,
    sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the help
    of Israel his servant,
        mindful of his faithful love
—according to the promise
    he made to our ancestors—
of his mercy to Abraham
    and to his descendants for ever.

   

                    They seek fruit for the Church.
                They seek to be more perfected as their
                heavenly Father is perfect —
                They seek to live a life of greater love of
                God, of others, of themselves as religious,
                of the Church and the world —
                A dedicated life to God
                A dedicated life in service of the Church
                Celibacy and obedience —
                They give freely of themselves and in great love —
                for the sake of the Kingdom of God — to
                help lead souls of the Church and on the
                earth to heaven —
                they beg God for greater capacity to love —
                    to grow in greater knowledge of
                    Him
                Loving God — because they love Him —
                    not for selfish gain
                Loving God with a heart consumed
                    with love as He deserves to be loved
                    by all the souls of the earth —
                    They lavishly empty themselves
                        in love for God and service for
                        His honor and glory to help build
                        the Kingdom and lead souls
                        to Him.
                This is the primary focus of the vocation
                    of a religious — TO LOVE God for His sake!!
                To love God to help build up, strengthen
                    the body of Christ — to be a living sign
                    of strength — love and unity because
                    of their relationship with God.
                They show to the world — the goodness of God —
                    living in them — they show the Light
                    of Christ to the world alive in them —
                They freely show this witness — living
                    obediently and in chastity for this
                    pleases God.
                In the Shepherds of Christ we are contemplatives-in-
                    action — living lives as servants and
                    handmaids — in deep service to God
                    before the Blessed Sacrament and
                    service to others in the world —
                    praying in love and giving our lives
                    for the priests, the Church and the
                    world.
                    We take seriously our mission besides
                prayer of spreading deep devotion to the
                Eucharist — love so much for the Church —
                frequent confession ourselves and telling
                others about these gifts and
                spreading the Good News about baptism —
                the Word.
                    Telling others the power of prayer,
                especially before the Blessed Sacrament —
                frequent prayer — all through the day — spreading
                devotion to the rosary, meditations
                in the Mysteries of the rosary and helping
                people, priests — all to live deeper lives
                of Consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and
                Consecrating Churches, Schools, Houses,
                Countries, the World to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart.
                Apostolic Life —
                    In Shepherds of Christ spreading the Priestly Newsletter
                (6,000,000 in 14 years), spreading prayer
                chapters praying for the priests, the Church and the
                world — rosary making ministry, spreading
                250,000 rosaries, consecration cards,
                rosary aves to schools yearly, teaching
                people through the books, about the love of
                Jesus, the Eucharist, Consecration, Prayer —
                Our mission to lead people to greater love
                of God — unity in communities, Churches,
                nations, world, the family. We want the
                world, the family to have this deeper Christic
                image to be witnesses for Christ and
                building His Kingdom. We live Christ's
                life, death and resurrection in our lives —
                We live in unity — pray in unity — united
                so deeply in all our lives praying
                for the priests, the Church and the world.
                    Every duty is done in service to God —
                Our deep love for God is at the root of our
                success — for we never do anything
                except in oneness to God, for God, with
                God —
                    God be before me, behind me, in
                me, with me and for me always in
                all I do for Your honor and glory.
                Our strength comes in our loving union
                with God. We are empowered in Him —
                We seek God before everything else —
                Our work is done in love to serve God —
                We cling to God in our mind and heart.
                We do this work to lead souls to heaven —
                    to spread the Kingdom of God. We live
                    in the truth of Jesus, to spread
                    the truth of Jesus, to live pure
                    and holy lives honoring Jesus and bearing
                    witness in our lives to Him.
                    We are faithful in the Shepherds of Christ to the
                vision of the Movement, the spirit as God designated to the founders
                Fr. Carter, founder and Rita Ring, co-founder —
                serving Jesus, Our Lord, for His honor
                and glory.
                    The vision here for the Shepherds of Christ is
                spreading the love of Jesus to hungry souls so
                they will grow in deeper intimacy with
                God — living as St. Paul says
   

Galatians 2: 19-20

...I have been crucified with Christ and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me.
 

   

                Spreading the Consecration to the hierarchy, and priests
                that is devotion to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart
                in our lives — greater devotion to the
                Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart in Churches, schools and
                    families
                    We spread the Priestly Newsletter every
                other month if possible to 80,000 priests
                and hierarchy, centered in Consecration to
                the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart — The Priestly
                Newsletter is written in the vision of the Father
                using scripture, writings of the popes,
                prominent theologians, wisdom of the
                saints, and the editors writings
                on deep spiritual matters for our spiritual
                life.
                Our second important mission beginning
                prayer chapters praying for the priests,
                the Church and the world to hierarchy,
                priests, religious people, youth etc.
                The school rosary  program — spread
                now to 250,000 school children a year has
                a 13 year history.
                Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart pray
                    2 hours a week before the Blessed Sacrament for
  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.

   
                There is a family consecration, images and
                    statues, rosaries for use in
                    prayer —
                Numerous videos, discs, prayer books
                    etc.
                We help to spread the knowledge to the people of the
                    tremendous gifts given in the Catholic Church —
                We have constant — 24 hour prayer
                    before the exposed Eucharist praying for
                    the priests, the Church and the world
                We attend daily Mass as our prayer life and
                    do one hour of adoration before the
                    Blessed Sacrament.
                We have a Nursing Home Ministry —
                    communion ministry
                    rosary for nursing home people
                    spreading the consecration to the Sacred Heart
                    and Immaculate Heart
                We have Junior Shepherds of Christ
                We have Prison Ministry
                We have Prayer Apostles
                We want to build unity in the Church
                    and world by doing these things —
                Our mission to help renew the Church and
                    the world culminating in the
                    Reign of the Sacred Heart and triumph of
                    Mary's Immaculate Heart
                In the Shepherds of Christ
                    we live out this response to God's
                    call to us as Servants, Handmaids
                    and Apostles in this Movement.
                We are aware of every human person
                    on the face of the earth as we
                    pray and the souls in purgatory.
 

Excerpt from Response in Christ
        by Fr. Edward J. Carter S.J.

       e) Relationship with Members of the Church
There is but one true Church of Christ. Yet this one Church has three different states of existence. There is the pilgrim Church, the Church of this world, composed of members who have received the grace of Christ and strive for its development. They have not yet obtained the goal of their efforts, as have the members of the heavenly Church, who enjoy God in eternal happiness. The Church suffering is an intermediate state of existence necessary for those who had not achieved the required purification as members of the pilgrim Church. Although there are these three phases of the Church's existence, there is a profound union existing between all the members. All these members possess the same basic life of grace in Christ, and this common life establishes the most intimate bonds of love. In our preceding chapter, we discussed the pilgrim Church. Let us now consider the Church suffering and the heavenly Church.

   The members of the Church suffering are those who have departed from this life in an incomplete state of Christian development. Their development is incomplete in the sense that grace has not fully taken possession of them, and, as a result, they are yet closed in upon themselves to a greater or lesser degree. They as yet cannot open themselves out in complete love to the Triune God in the beatific vision. They must undergo a further purification, a purification which could have been achieved upon earth with merit. Now the purification must be achieved with no merit attached. The pain of this purification is mixed with the certain expectation of achieving the vision of God. We can hasten the advent of this vision for this people by the offering of prayers and other good works. Scripture itself refers to our action on behalf of those in purgatory in Chapter 12 of the Second Book of Maccabees beginning with verse 38.

   The members of the heavenly Church are those in whom the life of grace has taken full possession and has reached its completion in the life of glory. Faith now is unnecessary, as the light of glory gives the human intellect a new strength and capacity for seeing God face-to-face. While the Christian was a wayfarer, he received the imprint of the indwelling Trinity as he shared in God's own life. Now in heaven that grace-life and possession of God reaches its completion—the absolute completion is not achieved, however, until the resurrection of the body. The divine persons give Themselves to the beatified in a profound union far surpassing that of the indwelling of the Trinity experienced here below.

   This life of heaven is still the Christ-life, for just as we possess a share in Trinitarian life here below as mediated by Christ, and exercise this grace-life as structured by Him, so also in heaven is the mediation of Christ present. In the words of Rahner, "One always sees the Father through Jesus. Just as immediately as this, for the directness of the vision of God is not a denial of the mediatorship of Christ as man."
13 And not only does the humanity of Christ unite the blessed to God, but also, in some way, to the whole of creation. This is merely a completion of what is begun here below, namely, the union with Christ in His humanity establishing the Christian in a special relationship with God, with other men, and with the whole of creation. We have a glimpse, therefore, of the fullness of life which members of the heavenly Church possess.

   The heavenly Church, as St. Thomas says, is the true Church.
14 The Church of this earth and the Church of purgatory are, each in its own way, reaching out in loving hope for the heavenly Jerusalem. Vatican II puts it very simply: "The Church, to which we are called in Christ Jesus, and in which we acquire sanctity through the grace of God, will attain her full perfection only in the glory of heaven."15

   The members of the heavenly Church can help us in living our life of grace until we too share its fullness with them. Their power of intercession on our behalf is but another ramification of the communal aspect of Christianity. We are meant to help others grow in Christ. We, in turn, are intended by God to receive aid from others—yes, from members of the heavenly Church, as well as from those with whom we dwell here below.

   Not only can we be aided by the saints' intercession, but the example of the canonized saints can also be of great value to us. They have concretely proved that full holiness is possible. Such an inspiration is of real worth when we are tempted to think that Christian sanctity in its higher degrees is impossible of attainment. Moreover, the canonized saints, in their diversity, teach us that there are many authentic versions of Christian holiness. They can be innovators in showing us that there are numerous possibilities in assimilating the mystery of Christ, although the basic assimilation remains the same for all Christians of all times. In the opinion of Rahner this is one of the chief roles the canonized saints exert in the life of the Church.
16

_____
   13Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations, Vol. III (Baltimore: Helicon, 1967), p. 44.
   14
Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In Ad Ephes., c. 3, Lect. 3.
   15Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Church, No. 48.
   16Cf. Karl Rahner, Op. cit., pp. 100-101.

  

                Our work is for unity IN God on Earth —
                We pray the Morning Offering —
                    have prayers for the whole Church
                    with the Imprimatur from
                    Nursing Home people, priests,
                    families to pray the Morning
                    Offering —
                This is, that, great grace will be outpoured
                    on the earth —
                We pray 8 or 9 days a month
                    in all-day-retreats,
                    5 of those days Mass is celebrated —
                    begging for grace for the
                    priests, the Church and the world —
                    praying as intercessors —
                    to help make reparation for the
                    offenses against God
                We follow Christ
                    beg for grace for the priests, the Church and the world
                    Unite with all the Masses going
                        on around the world
                Our lives are very simple and our
                    money is used to send these materials
                    to the hierarchy, priests, schools,
                    families, individuals — for
                    prayer and deeper union in the
                    Mass
                Living out deeper and deeper our
                    membership in the body of Christ
                We live like this because we love God —
                We want the hungry world to know
                    this!!
                We see ourselves dwelling in the
                    pure and holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
                We give ourselves —
                We seek peace in the world
                We want to help bring about this
                    great era of peace
                We are one with Christ and the Church —
                Servants and Handmaids live lives of chastity
                We love to give ourselves to Christ
                We live more and more that likeness
                    of Christ —
                    living and loving in deeper and deeper
                    lives In Him
                Celibacy is the free gift of self to God —
                    in overwhelming love of the
                    servants and handmaids
                We follow the teachings of Jesus,
                    the Word of God, the life
                    of the Virgin Mary, the perfect
                    disciple
                The gift of celibacy — God has
                    called the servants and handmaids
                    to give to God — it is a precious
                    gift to God
                We do not live fancy lives — our
                    lives are lived to spread the
                    Priestly Newsletter, Prayer Chapters, Consecration
                As far as monetary things we give our simple
                    lives for this —
                We answer the call of the "hungry souls"
                    crying to be fed with the love of God —
                We identify with Christ in giving our
                    lives more and more as a sacrifice
                    for this work —
                    dying to self to be more likened to Him.
                This is a call to love God and love our
                    neighbor as ourselves and love
                    the priests and the Church and
                LOVE our Vocation in the Shepherds of Christ
                    Movement
                We do not seek for ourselves
                But seek to help renew the Church
                    and the world with our lives
                    dedicated in prayer and service
                We are, by our lives, to show how
                    we are to be united in oneness
                    in God's truth.
                Prayer to Holy Spirit Novena (said daily)
                    4 languages, Church's Imprimatur
 


 

                Shepherds of Christ Prayers (said daily)
 

                We work to earn our living —
                    to do this work for the world —
                    maintain our centers and homes and
                    to live in community life —
                Centered around St. Anthony's China, Indiana 

 

 

                        where the Eucharist is exposed
                            24 hours
                        retreats of constant prayer
                        the Priestly Newsletter is sent
                Clearwater, Florida
                        Center
                Religious Store
                        Daily Prayer
                        Grottos and retreats
                        etc.
                open every day 10:00am - 10:00pm
                Our mission to spread greater oneness to the world
                    heart-to-heart — Loving union with Christ
                Help bring about era of peace promised
                    by Mary at Fatima
                Help bring about era of love
                    Age of the 2 Hearts
                Enjoyment of one's vocation in Shepherds of Christ
                Loyalty of one's vocation in the Shepherds of Christ
                Freedom in love given to serving Shepherds of Christ
                Obedience — love of Christ
                                    respect for order
                                    love of Shepherds of Christ Vision
                                    Willingness to serve
                The Church is the People of God —
                     the hierarchy live to help the
                     members of the Church —
                     united in love
                Obedience in living the Pascal
                    Mystery of death - resurrection
                The more we die to self — the more
                    we live in Him —
                The more we die to the ways not
                    likened to Jesus — the more
                    perfected we become
                Obeying authority and
                    freedom for self go together —
                We are to live according to God's will
                There is to be in the religious life
                    obedience to the superior
                Agitation can be constant in community
                    life of one who fails to recognize
                    the importance of being
                    obedient to superiors —
                This must be lived every day —
                    living in accordance to the
                    needs of the moment —
                The time one is told to do something
                    is to be obeyed as the superior
                    sees the vision of the whole
                    community and the outcome of
                    the mission to be accomplished
                    to do the work for the honor and glory of God.
                A servant and handmaid enters to
                    serve the mission under the
                    direction of a superior.
                There is to be work accomplished as
                    one as team players —
                    heads together in loving
                    union to accomplish the
                    work for the good of the
                    Movement —
                    as directed and seen through the
                    eyes of the superior
                These conditions must be respected.
                Some are expected to have certain
                    duties that are understood
                    will be accomplished by
                    that individual, at that center.
                In loving obedience one complies
                    with their job description or
                    job expectation whether written,
                    spoken or understood.
                Work accomplished should be the work
                    in compliance with the
                    institutes vocation
                The spiritual life in the Shepherds of Christ is
                    never ignored —
                    growing to live more deeply
                    the vocation of
                    servant, handmaid and
                    apostle as God intends
                The Community has a mission —
                The Community has jobs to accomplish
                    this
                We have a responsibility to the
                    — mission
                    — the superior
                    — the community
                We lose our life to follow Him
                You are to do what the superiors
                    tell you to do —
                You dedicate your lives to Jesus and
                    ask God to help you in your
                    vocation to be obedient.
                Fr. Carter prayed every day to be a good
                    Jesuit —
                In giving one's especially to this
                    vocation — you take a deeper commitment
                    to obedience — a person in the
                    spiritual life submits to God's will —
                A person in a religious order has a special
                    giving of one self — therefore their
                    commitment entails obedience to
                    the superior of the community
                This helps one to be free more to
                    live their vocation in greater
                    maturity in the obedience
                    in the religious life.
                The person is to obey the superior
                    even if they would rather do
                    it a different way over matters
                    that are matters not involving
                    any moral wrong on the part of the
                    superior.
                    If the direction is contrary to the law of God
                that is different but for ordinary
                directions - one is to obey their superior.
                It may be a point of view the one under the
                superior doesn't like the way they were
                asked to do it — they are to obey the superior —
                Lack of obedience can affect the common
                    good of the community —
                Christ obeyed His Father —
                The Cross showed us Christ's love —
                Christ obeyed His Father
                As religious one is striving to be holy.
                This means obedience
                This means celibacy for the religious
                This means joy in serving, this means
                    accepting the difficulties of work
                    in love —
                    This means living with others in
                        harmony
                    You are filled with fervor
                        recognizing the cross of Christ
                We are always following Christ
                We are always following Christ's example
                It is living in humility and simplicity
                It is living in loving harmony
                It is living in peace with others
                It is being free and obedient
                It is being spontaneous
                It is being obedient
                It is living in Faith
                Jesus will give the grace for these things —
                    the religious must seek it
                God the Father wants religious to serve the
                    Church
                The inner man in the religious life is
                    there to be more like Christ —
                    He is to be always developing spiritually
                The person in religious life must be spontaneous
                The person in religious life must be flexible
                Rigidity won't work if one is to obey and
                    respond to the needs of the
                    community and mission.
                Disorderly outbursts are wrong and
                    offend the community —
                Likewise provoking others in community
                    to anger is totally unacceptable
                    for one growing in holiness and
                    acting in love —
                Passive-aggressive behavior are games
                    not acceptable in community life
                Fr. Carter examined his conscience two times
                    a day for 10 minutes — this was his
                    Jesuit training
                Efforts must be made to die to selfish
                    outbursts or passive-aggressive
                    ways, provoking others in religious
                    life —
                    so a life of love and care for the community
                        is observed in a life of holy love
                Retreats are necessary and community prayer
                Living according to the prayer life
                Hospitality to visitors is to be expected
                    on occasions when they are invited.
                Guests too, to the community are not to
                    violate routines or deviate
                    so the community is led away
                    from deeper union with God
                Daily Mass is required for Servants, Handmaids and Apostles
                One Hour daily adoration
                Shepherds of Christ prayers prayed
                Daily Rosary
                Morning Offering
                Praying throughout the day
                    many hourly
                Reading the Daily Message and Blue Book
                There is to be a unity — in holiness and
                    living according to the beatitudes —
                    charity toward one another in
                    community
                There is to be a life of living a more
                    perfected life as Christ desires —
                    with deeper unity in community —
                    living according to God's will
                    in love — being a team player —
                    living in obedience to the superior —
                    observing the prayer life
                Men in religious community should be
                    growing in the spiritual life
                    with deeper love of God and neighbor
                Every one is working to be more perfected,
                    more holy, more loving.
                Every Christian is imperfect, but we
                    are trying to become more perfected —
                    dying to selfish ways
                We must become more one with Jesus —
                There must be a simplicity, understanding,
                    unity and love in community —
                    simple charity
                Hope to be more holy — to foster greater
                    love, unity, be more a team
                    situation — more a holy family
                The spirit of love and consideration is
                    present — relationship,
                    friendship, loyalty —
                    cooperation in love for the Apostolate,
                    support in community life,
                    for serving God — better and
                    better — learning better every day
                Our mission in the Shepherds of Christ is to reach the
                    world —
                    to reach the communities in cities
                        with prayer chapters
                    to form a community in loving
                        cooperation
                    to serve Christ
                    to help build stronger families, parishes,
                        schools
                    to help strengthen priests with
                        love and prayer and the Priestly Newsletter and books
                We live to make God more known to men and
                    strengthen our love relationship
                    with God
                Prayer is at the center of the Shepherds of Christ
                We want intimacy with God
                We do adoration
                We are deep intercessors in prayer for
                    the priests, the Church and the world
                The more we pray united in retreats,
                    daily prayer services,
                    the more God outpours His love and
                    reveals Himself to us through prayer
                    as a community
                We pray to the Holy Spirit to understand and love God
                    and be filled with the fire of God's
                    love
                The Holy Spirit works in the Heart of Mary molding
                    us more and more in the image of God.
                The Holy Spirit fills us with wisdom
                The Holy Spirit gives us grace for community prayer
                We can pray deeply united in the Mass
                    what a gift
                We give ourselves to the service of the "Word"
                    this is a light to men
                Silence is needed for love of God —
                    Prayer alone in silence
                We need silent prayer to have intimacy
                    with God — especially before the Blessed Sacrament
                    after communion
                God intends us to pray together and to
                    pray alone —
                Look at the Mass — the greatest prayer
  


  

A Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

    Let me be a holy sacrifice and unite with God in the sacrament of His greatest love.

    I want to be one in Him in this act of love, where He gives Himself to me and I give myself as a sacrifice to Him. Let me be a holy sacrifice as I become one with Him in this my act of greatest love to Him.

    Let me unite with Him more, that I may more deeply love Him. May I help make reparation to His adorable Heart and the heart of His Mother, Mary. With greatest love, I offer myself to You and pray that You will accept my sacrifice of greatest love. I give myself to You and unite in Your gift of Yourself to me. Come and possess my soul.

    Cleanse me, strengthen me, heal me. Dear Holy Spirit act in the heart of Mary to make me more and more like Jesus.

    Father, I offer this my sacrifice, myself united to Jesus in the Holy Spirit to You. Help me to love God more deeply in this act of my greatest love.

    Give me the grace to grow in my knowledge, love and service of You and for this to be my greatest participation in the Mass. Give me the greatest graces to love You so deeply in this Mass, You who are so worthy of my love.

-God's Blue Book, December 27, 1995

 

 

Prayer for Union with Jesus

    Come to me, Lord, and possess my soul. Come into my heart and permeate my soul. Help me to sit in silence with You and let You work in my heart.

    I am Yours to possess. I am Yours to use. I want to be selfless and only exist in You. Help me to spoon out all that is me and be an empty vessel ready to be filled by You. Help me to die to myself and live only for You. Use me as You will. Let me never draw my attention back to myself. I only want to operate as You do, dwelling within me.

    I am Yours, Lord. I want to have my life in You. I want to do the will of the Father. Give me the strength to put aside the world and let You operate my very being. Help me to act as You desire. Strengthen me against the distractions of the devil to take me from Your work.

    When I worry, I have taken my focus off of You and placed it on myself. Help me not to give in to the promptings of others to change what in my heart You are making very clear to me. I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Come and dwell in me now.

-God's Blue Book, January 17, 1994

   

                We pray the Holy Spirit leads us and helps
                    us to be on fire for love of God —
                We pray for Faith, Hope and Love
                The Center of the Church life is the
                    Eucharistic Liturgy
                Going to Mass together as a community
                    is vital
                We offer ourselves in our vocation —
                    so deeply at every Mass — in
                    emptying ourselves at the Consecration
                    of the Mass
                Being together at Mass helps renew the
                    Community together
                Receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus
                    Christ is the primary source
                    of renewal
                We empty ourselves in our vocation
                    at Mass
                We offer ourselves
                Our lives as a sacrifice at Mass
                The Mass is the greatest sacrifice of
                    God's love
                We have the Church in China to do this —
                We go through Christ's death/resurrection
                    in the Mass —
                    we have trials in our mission —
                We live the resurrected life
                    in our vocation
                We offer ourselves to the Father
                    at Mass, united to the sacrifice
                    of Jesus in the Holy Spirit with
                    the angels and saints and the
                    souls in purgatory —
                    through the intercession
                    of Mary our Mother and St. Joseph.
                We pray for the priests, the Church
                    and the world —
                We live a life of greater unity in Him
                        CONCLUSION
                We give ourselves more deeply united
                    in the Mass
                We live the same vision as
                    members of the Shepherds of Christ
                We have the same mission
                We are constantly being renewed
                    more and more in living the
                    consecrated life in Him
                We live deeply the Word in our hearts —
                Our mission spreading the Daily Writing,
                                        Fr. Pasquini's homilies,
                                        Fr. Joe's homilies
                                    all Priestly Newsletters and
                                        Fr. Carter's Books —
                                        Fr. Pasquini's Books
                We spread the Priestly Newsletter and prayer chapters,
                        — pray deeply
                        — Books on the Eucharist
                        — Consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
                                to the world
                        — The rosary - books
                We live to pray for the priests, the
                        Church and the world and help get
                        souls to get to heaven
                We spread the Morning Offering —
                        Mass Book, Medicine of Immortality, etc.
                We live to have this Movement
                        Shepherds of Christ more deeply unite
                        the world in deep oneness
                        in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
                Having the Priestly Newsletter strengthen the
                        priests and hierarchy spiritually,
                        lift them up and send our
                        love
                Having a network of prayer
                        chapters around the world
                Spreading the Rosary as Mary
                        said at Fatima
                Spreading the Consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
                We want a deep intimate relationship
                        with Jesus for everybody in
                        the world —
                        a mystical marriage
                Love of the Sacred Heart
                Love of the Immaculate Heart
                The Holy Spirit filling the world with
                        the fire of God's love
                JOY, PEACE —
                        UNITY, LOVE
                ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC
                        AND APOSTOLIC
                Growth in the servants and
                        handmaids and apostles
                        because of joy and love —
                        unity and
                        committedness to the mission
                        obedience, chastity
                Seeing the vision Jesus gave to
                        me, Rita Ring and Fr. Carter
                To follow Jesus
 

From the Shepherds of Christ

Prayer Manual

10. Prayer for Priests. "Lord Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the Flock, we pray that in the great love and mercy of Your Sacred Heart You attend to all the needs of Your priest-shepherds throughout the world. We ask that You draw back to Your Heart all those priests who have seriously strayed from Your path, that You rekindle the desire for holiness in the hearts of those priests who have become lukewarm, and that You continue to give Your fervent priests the desire for the highest holiness. United with Your Heart and Mary's Heart, we ask that You take this petition to Your heavenly Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen"

11. Prayer for all members of the Shepherds of Christ Associates. "Dear Jesus, we ask Your special blessings on all members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. Continue to enlighten them regarding the very special privilege and responsibility you have given them as members of Your movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates. Draw them ever closer to Your Heart and to Your Mother's Heart. Allow them to more and more realize the great and special love of Your Hearts for each of them as unique individuals. Give them the grace to respond to Your love and Mary's love with an increased love of their own. As they dwell in Your Heart and Mary's Heart, abundantly care for all their needs and those of their loved ones. We make our prayer through You to the Father, in the Holy Spirit, with Mary our Mother at our side. Amen"

12. Prayer for the spiritual and financial success of the priestly newsletter. "Father, we ask Your special blessings upon the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ. We ask that You open the priest-readers to the graces You wish to give them through this chosen instrument of Your Son. We also ask that You provide for the financial needs of the newsletter and the Shepherds of Christ Associates. We make our prayer through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, with Mary at our side. Amen"

13. Prayer for all members of the human family. "Heavenly Father, we ask Your blessings on all Your children the world over. Attend to all their needs. We ask Your special assistance for all those marginalized people, all those who are so neglected and forgotten. United with our Mother Mary, we make this petition to You through Jesus and in the Holy Spirit."

14. Prayer to St. Michael and our Guardian Angels:

"St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."

"Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen."

15. Pause for silent, personal prayer. This should last at least five minutes.

16. Act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"Lord Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the flock, I consecrate myself to Your most Sacred Heart. From Your pierced Heart the Church was born, the Church You have called me, as a member of Shepherds of Christ Associates, to serve in a most special way. You reveal Your Heart as a symbol of Your love in all its aspects, including Your most special love for me, whom You have chosen as Your companion in this most important work. Help me to always love You in return. Help me to give myself entirely to You. Help me always to pour out my life in love of God and neighbor! Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You!

"Dear Blessed Virgin Mary, I consecrate myself to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, this Heart which is symbol of your life of love. You are the Mother of my Savior. You are also my Mother. You love me with a most special love as a member of Shepherds of Christ Associates, a movement created by your Son as a powerful instrument for the renewal of the Church and the world. In a return of love, I give myself entirely to your motherly love and protection. You followed Jesus perfectly. You are His first and perfect disciple. Teach me to imitate you in the putting on of Christ. Be my motherly intercessor so that, through your Immaculate Heart, I may be guided to an ever closer union with the pierced Heart of Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the flock."

end of rule

 

 

  

Carrying of the Cross

(1) Christ carried His cross with our sins.

    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.

(2)

    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.

(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.

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!

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.

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.

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)

    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).

(5)

    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.

(6)

    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.

(7)

    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.

(8)

    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.

(9)

    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.

(10) February 27, 1997

         Rita Ring
       
 After the Death, There is the Resurrection

My love affair is with You, my crucified Lord. I kiss Your cross and caress You tenderly. I smoother You with kisses and I know Your love.

This is love - to kiss the cross of Christ. I cursed the darkness and the light came across the sky, ever so gently as if it grew in intensity to a bright brilliant shade of glistening light. And in this I beheld my Beloved. I saw His glory in the wonders of the earth and I embraced Him, the divine, all-powerful, all Almighty Lord!

He took away those things I was attached to. I held on with a gripping hand. Oh, I cried out in pain and I heard the words in my heart: beyond the surrender is the real gift.

Is it not after the death there is the resurrection, after the dying, there is the glory?

Oh, my Divine Lord, I feel as if my eyes have crusted over. I laid down on the floor and pounded my fists to the earth. I did not see the miracle in the grass that touched my hand. I did not see the power and the might behind the work of endless beauty. A blade of grass, you say? Oh, yes indeed, for it lives and is not life the real miracle? For I am not a rock, but a living creature, created in the image and likeness of God and oh, you say, how much do you share in the life of the Divine Being? And I say, "I share through Baptism. He, God, gives me a sharing in His divine life!"

I pounded the earth and I cursed the darkness. I scoffed and I complained and beyond the horizon the sun slowly stole across the sky and the light appeared in glistening glory. The darkness was black and the night was cold. I heard the clamor of fear in my heart. I felt like screaming in that night and oh, I beheld the crucified Lord. He spoke no words to me, the Holy Spirit filled my heart with light and I saw the glory. I saw the resurrection, not with my earthly eyes, but with the awakening of a joyous heart within.

I saw the glorified wounds, the wounds once covered with blood, inflamed and red, gushing with deep, red blood. I saw the glistening wounds in the hands and feet and I knew behind His robe was the most tender of all wounds, the piercing wound to His side. It was there, the pierced wound of His most precious Heart. It was the wound of glory, from which His divine life would pour forth to a hungry Church. It would rain and fall as gently as the new fallen snow. It would go across the sky like the light and the souls would be transformed into the whitest light. The graced soul, oh, the glory of this soul, the soul that is filled with His divine life!

Oh, need I say more, my Lord? I see the life in a blade of grass. I see the tiniest potato bug with its dots and beauty and I behold the face of God. I behold life, His life, alive in us and in the world.

Well, the night was black, as black as black could be and the cold pierced my bones. I felt its chill go through my entire body and I wanted to scream and it happened—He gave me an outpouring of His life in my soul and my darkness was truly turned to light, another light, not the light of the eyes, a light of knowing God, the joy of beholding His heavenly embrace, the great illumination of another mystery. Oh, sweet gifts He gives when He gives me new knowledge of Himself. Sweet gifts He gives when, in an instant, I pray my rosary and the Holy Spirit fills my heart with lights and the mystery lights up and I know, I just know and I experience a great insight into God.

This is the reason for this letter, for I laid in my bed and I wanted to cry and I was deeply afraid for the devils pressed in as rocks poking at me and hurting my precious skin. I laid in bed and I went into the womb of my Mother and I asked for the Holy Spirit to flood me with His light and it came. I speak His words to you, they are the words He gives: death-resurrection, darkness-light, sorrow-joy, suffering and pain, but oh, the joy of His light, the joy of His glory, the sacrifice I offer to Him that He turns into blessings and I experience His glory. It is in the death there is the resurrection. It is in the anguishing days of lent we come to the glory of Easter.

So, my dear brothers, I walk the road to Calvary. I mount the cross and I die. I offer sacrifice and in the morning when the night is done I see the glory of the resurrection. I experience His joy in my heart.

So I went to bed and went into the womb of my Mother and the Holy Spirit flooded me with light and I united deeply to my precious Jesus on the cross. I knew Him and His love. I reminisced on all the places of deepest intimacy I had shared with Him and my heart burned. I wanted Him so close and I loved Him so much. I cried out, "I love You, I love You, I love You." In that moment I knew and wanted only Him. He had removed my bonds and set me free to be engulfed by His divine love. I then knew Him as never before, the most Holy One, in this union with Jesus.

I felt my great love for God the Father. I have been experiencing my littleness as a child and knowing my Father, seeing myself real little and knowing my Father and wanting, as a little child, to please Him. Then tonight I realized more His Fatherly love. I see myself depending on Him, needing Him, crying to Him, loving Him and then I realized His power and might and love coming to me.

So I knew in an instant. He just gives you a light and you know, you experience—I knew, I experienced the Trinity. I loved Them, all three Persons, so much and I loved Them as one, my heart, being consumed with the presence of God and sharing the love of each Person—love beyond all love, and I stopped to be in this embrace, wanting it to never end, for in this embrace I felt peace, a peace I had not felt before, so different from the days that proceeded this moment, the days of suffering and trial.

I mounted the cross. I felt the nails press deeply into my hands and feet. I felt the crown of thorns on my head. I said to Him, "Oh, why, my God, if You love me, do You make it so hard?"

And then I saw Him on the cross. I saw His mouth with blood running from the corner of it. I saw the body of a man, close to death. I saw His wounds, blistery and red, pouring out His precious blood. I saw the hollowness of His cheeks and the exhaustion of a body ready to expire in death. I saw the anguishing Lord who came to show us His way. His way is death and resurrection. His way is pain and glory. His way is the way to eternal life.

    

 

  

                The Crucifixion

                (1) Today's Readings

1 Maccabees 2: 15-29

The king's commissioners who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein for the sacrifices. Many Israelites gathered round them, but Mattathias and his sons drew apart. The king's commissioners then addressed Mattathias as follows, 'You are a respected leader, a great man in this town; you have sons and brothers to support you. Be the first to step forward and conform to the king's decree, as all the nations have done, and the leaders of Judah and the survivors in Jerusalem; you and your sons shall be reckoned among the Friends of the King, you and your sons will be honoured with gold and silver and many presents.' Raising his voice, Mattathias retorted, 'Even if every nation living in the king's dominions obeys him, each forsaking its ancestral religion to conform to his decrees, I, my sons and my brothers will still follow the covenant of our ancestors. May Heaven preserve us from forsaking the Law and its observances. As for the king's orders, we will not follow them: we shall not swerve from our own religion either to right or to left.' As he finished speaking, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein as the royal edict required. When Mattathias saw this, he was fired with zeal; stirred to the depth of his being, he gave vent to his legitimate anger, threw himself on the man and slaughtered him on the altar. At the same time he killed the king's commissioner who was there to enforce the sacrifice, and tore down the altar. In his zeal for the Law he acted as Phinehas had against Zimri son of Salu. Then Mattathias went through the town, shouting at the top of his voice, 'Let everyone who has any zeal for the Law and takes his stand on the covenant come out and follow me.' Then he fled with his sons into the hills, leaving all their possessions behind in the town.

Many people who were concerned for virtue and justice went down to the desert and stayed there,

 

Luke 19:41-44
Lament for Jerusalem

As he drew near and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, ‘If you too had only recognised on this day the way to peace! But in fact it is hidden from your eyes! Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all round you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you, because you did not recognise the moment of your visitation.'

 


 

                        To do our best
                        Jesus prayed over the city of Jerusalem
                        Not want power for our vain glory
                        Not want money as a god, God wants us to live more the
                        resurrected life.

                (2) To die to those ways not like Jesus —
                        Fr. Joe said his mom said
                        "Even if I don't see you - God does see you" —
                        In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we are to die to our impure ways,
                            to have a contrite heart, to want to die to those sinful habits in our lives,
                            to live according to God's will, like Jesus showed us on the cross
                            to live more the resurrected life in Him.                           

                (3) Cleaning in the Mass — Penitential Rite —
                        God wants a Contrite heart — God wants us being sorry for our sins —
                        We come to offer a holy sacrifice, a more pure offering of ourselves —
                        united to Jesus — offering ourselves to the Father in the Holy Spirit.
                        Having the right interior disposition at church —
                        At the Preparation of Gifts we prepare our gift for God
                        The priest washes his hands —
                        A drop of water is put into the wine —
                        Christ's Divinity mixes with our humanity —
                        We give ourselves as a sacrifice
                        an offering united to the sacrifice of Jesus to the Father —
                        We want our sacrifice to be pure —
                        We give our hearts to Jesus and Mary —   
                        We want to die to our tainted ways —
                        We are sorry for offenses against God and others —
                        We want to offer a holy offering of ourselves
                        and die to our ways not likened to God —
                        Jesus is the unblemished Lamb of God
                        We are sorry for our sins
                        We have a contrite heart

    Christ's redemptive activity can be placed within the framework of sacrifice, a framework that had been developing over the centuries before the coming of Jesus. The theology of sacrifice can be summarized according to five elements: (1) the interior offering; (2) the external, ritual offering centered around a victim; (3) the immolation of the victim; (4) the acceptance of the sacrifice by God; and (5) the sacrificial meal.

    In Jesus' sacrifice, the same five elements occur, although not exactly in the same order. There is the interior offering; Christ as priest offers himself to the Father in love for the purpose of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and satisfaction for sin. This interior offering is then externalized at the ritual of the Last Supper. The victim, Jesus himself, is immolated upon Calvary. The Father gives a miraculous sign that he accepts Jesus' sacrifice through the resurrection. Finally, there is the sacrificial meal at the Last Supper.

The Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary sacramentally made present through the consecrated hands of the priest.

       The last element of the eucharistic sacrifice, the meal, is, obviously, a very important part. The Eucharist as meal is a rich reality. It is the sign of Jesus' complete self-giving and, consequently, a sign of Jesus' fathomless love for us. This sign actually contains what it signifies. In the Eucharist, Jesus comes to us in his entirety. There is no holding back on his part; his boundless love for us results in boundless giving.

       If the Eucharistic meal is a sign of Jesus' self-giving, it is also a sign of our self-giving. In receiving divine food, we pledge ourselves to a deeper God-like existence. We pledge that, in love, we will strive for a more radical giving of ourselves to both God and others. Each eucharistic meal that we participate in is a new opportunity for a more perfect assimilation to Christ and his mysteries, especially the mysteries of death and resurrection. Each eucharistic meal that we participate in increases our responsibility to live Christ, that is, to more fully incorporate the Gospel ideal in all that we do.

       The fact that our participation in the eucharistic meal is a sign of our self-gift not only to God in Christ, but also to one another leads us to a consideration of the communal aspect of the meal. The eucharistic meal is a great sign and cause of our unity in Christ. Rahner maintains that "insofar as everyone participates in the same meal of Christ, who is the giver and the gift at the same time, the Eucharist is also the sign, the manifestation and the most real actualization of the church insofar as the church is and makes manifest the ultimate unity of all men in the Spirit, a unity which has been founded by God in grace" (Foundations of Christian Faith, p. 427). We are therefore to receive the one and same Christ, the implications of which are far-reaching. In receiving the one and same Christ we are actually pledging ourselves to unity both among ourselves and with all mankind. We are pledging ourselves to uproot from our hearts those attitudes that work against the building up of community in the Church and in the world. We are pledging ourselves to look upon others with a sense of respect, love, and even wonder as we marvel at how God's love has created and redeemed each one, at how the blood of Jesus has salvifically touched each one. Our participation in the eucharistic meal truly pledges us to these ideals. We, for our part, must ask ourselves whether we are actually assimilating these ideals. We must ask ourselves whether we are allowing the Eucharist to transform us into more loving and concerned persons, persons less and less influenced by forces that disrupt and tend to weaken and destroy communal unity.

    The discussion of the communal aspect of the eucharistic meal reminds us that the entire eucharistic sacrifice is a covenant act. What is covenant? In the context of salvation history, a covenant is an agreement, a bond, a union, a life relationship both between God and his people and among the people themselves. At the Last Supper, Jesus emphasized the covenant aspect of the Eucharist: "During the meal Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. 'Take this and eat it,' he said, 'this is my body.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. 'All of you must drink from it,' he said, 'for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins' " (Mt 26:26-28).

       When Jesus speaks of his blood as "the blood of the covenant," we are reminded that blood sealed or ratified the Mosaic covenant at Mt. Sinai. Moses sprinkled blood upon the altar, which represented God, and upon the Jewish people. Because blood was a distinctive symbol of life for the Jews, such an action had a deep significance for them. This action of Moses symbolized the sealing or ratification of the covenant—a new life relationship between Yahweh and the Jews.

       The blood of Jesus has also formed a covenant—the new covenant. In the shedding of his blood, Jesus has established a new life relationship between his Father and mankind. Forming a core focal point of redeemed mankind are the people of the new covenant, namely, the members of the Christian community, the Church. The Eucharist, in recalling and sacramentally re-enacting the shedding of Jesus' covenant blood, is the Church's great covenant act. The Eucharist sustains the life of the covenant, nourishes it, causes it to grow to greater maturity. Through participation in the eucharistic liturgy we should be growing in covenant attitudes—in a sense of community, in a deep love of the Church, in a desire to contribute our share to the building up of this Body of Christ. We should be learning to curb our selfishness because it deadens a dynamic concern for the Christian community and makes us a burden to the brethren. Participation in the Eucharist should also be curbing divisive jealousy, forming us more and more as persons who want to deeply love one another so that it can more often be said of us, "See those Christians, how they love one another." The Eucharist can more radically shape us according to these covenant attitudes if we allow it. We repent concerning the times we have resisted; we rejoice concerning the times we have opened ourselves to the Eucharist's transformative power.

                (4) Jesus' body was pierced for our sins —
                        Say we are sorry for our sins —
                        Death/Resurrection
                        I am sorry Jesus —
                        Know our sins — be sorry

                (5)

John 19: 25-27

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.

                (6)

John 19: 31-42

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 immediately 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.

                (7)

Lamb of God

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

 

                (8) Jesus taught us to do God's will.

                (9)

John 6: 48-58

I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate manna in the desert
and they are dead;
but this is the bread
   which comes down from heaven,
so that a person may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread
   which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread
   will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give
is my flesh, for the life of the world.'

    Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' Jesus replied to them:

In all truth I tell you,
if you do not eat
   the flesh of the Son of man
and drink his blood,
you have no life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh
   and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise that person up
   on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
Whoever eats my flesh
   and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in that person.
As the living Father sent me
and I draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me
   will also draw life from me.
This is the bread
   which has come down from heaven;
it is not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread
   will live for ever.

                (10)

From the Mass Book

January 2, 1997

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

"The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

God pours out His grace in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is the greatest gift when God gives Himself to us.

We share with God His life, given to us abundantly in the Mass.

He gives Himself to us, and we give ourselves to Him. The great love affair between God and man: His Holy Mass.

The priest is another Christ to us. It is Christ present, through the priest, celebrating the Mass. We must see Christ in the priest, see Him celebrate the Mass, see His beautiful brown hair, His gentle face, see Him, Our Savior. This Jesus Christ that came was born an infant and gave Himself to His death on the cross that we would share His life. See Him now in the Mass, giving Himself in the greatest gift of all. He gives us His divine love and His divine life.

Oh, we thank You for Your life. We know He died and rose and gave us a sharing in His holy life. His life is now abundantly poured, as a fountain to us, especially in the Mass.

Then we hear His Word. Let the Word of God penetrate our being. Let us feel this Living Word of God. As a two-edged sword, it comes forth with such conviction and love and it penetrates the souls of the faithful with such love. It is food indeed, food for our soul.

He is the Good Shepherd. He speaks to us. He gives us all we want. "There is nothing I shall want." (The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. Ps. 23:1).

He gives us green pastures, and His water pours out and refreshes us. He outpours His grace as a fountain to feed us with His life.

He is a just God, good and kind, all loving, for He is love. We want for nothing for He outpours His love and His life to us in the Mass. We feast on His Body and Blood and are fed with His Word. We become one in Him and He shares Himself with us.

It is through the Mass celebrated by the hands of a holy pries that we will experience the Mass the way Christ intends. These writings are insights which hopefully will help lead you to the spring of life-giving water, the fountain of love and life He outpours in the Mass.

There will be a new earth when men will see with the light of seven suns. They will know God. A people walking in darkness will see a great light. They will no longer be blind, they will be enlightened, they will love God with the greatest love in the Mass. They will feast on His Body and Blood and will be united as one body in His holy Church through His life given to us in the Eucharist.

We will drink copiously from the fountain of grace which He pours out in the Mass. We will be filled with His love, absorbed with the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and feasting on His divine life.

We see with the vision of God. We partake in such a union with God. We see with the light the Spirit gives to us. The priest celebrates the Mass and we know God with such an intense knowing in this union. We are saturated with His life flowing from the hands of His consecrated priest.

And I look at Him, the priest, and I see Jesus there. I see Him giving Himself to me. I see the new and Holy City. I see with such clarity the great gift that God gives to us in the Mass!

We learn how to love in the Mass, for we unite to God. He gives us such an intimate sharing in His divine love that we carry His love out to the world. In this union we know His loving to an intense degree and we carry this love out to others. We share in an intense way in His divine act of loving. He, Who is Love, gives Himself to us and we are absorbed in His love and we know intensely how God loves. We are filled with love for God and for each other, for, in the oneness He is loving through us. He gives us lights into His loving capacity and we know His loving power in an intensity we did not know before.

We then pray. We offer up our intentions for this Mass. It is now we who intercede to Him to outpour His grace on us and help us with these intentions.

We pray for this reign of peace when the Sacred Heart of Jesus will reign and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph and men will fervently love and adore God with burning love. We pray for all souls and the Church and we beg for His help, His love, His grace.

We offer ourselves as a sacrifice. We offer the bread that will become the Bread of Life.

The priest mixes the water and the wine and we realize how His Divinity mixes with our humanity.

We offer the wine that will become our spiritual drink—His Blood.

I give myself to Him and I beg to be cleansed of my sins with the washing of the hands.

"May the Lord accept the sacrifice of your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His Church."

We ask Him to accept the gifts we want to give Him, we give Him thanks, we lift up our hearts in thanks and praise and we sing out:

"Holy, Holy God, of power and might..." we sing Him praise and thank Him, "Oh, God we love thee so much."

My heart is so filled with such awe. I cry because I love Him so much.

Every word in the Mass, I love. The priest consecrates the Host and changes it into the Body and Blood of Christ. Hear Christ say to us: "This is My Body", "This is My Blood".

Oh, it makes me cry for I am so struck with awe at what happens at the Consecration. I unite in the oneness with the priest, with Christ and with all present, with heaven and earth. I am one in that moment, united in the sacrifice of Christ giving Himself to the Father.

This is the moment when I unite in such oneness with Christ in the purity of Mary's heart. I give myself as a sacrifice. I offer myself to the Father.

The Father looks down and He sees us united to His Son's Sacrifice. It is in this oneness that His grace is outpoured on us, that we die to that which is not like Him and that the Holy Spirit works in the heart of Mary and fills us with His life.

I am in ecstasy as I realize more and more the great gift of love that God gives us in His holy Mass. I am taken to such heights, being wrapped in the presence of God. It is rapture, this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is a great gift, experiencing this intense presence of the Almighty God: Through Him, With Him, and In Him.

We pray to the Father the prayer as Jesus taught us and beg, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

We pray: "For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, now and forever."

We beg for peace in our hearts. We share this peace with one another. Then we beg of the Lamb of God. I want to get down to the ground and beg for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness for our sins.

Please, God, I see us as a sinful people. I want the grace and mercy to flow abundantly.

He raises the Host and says: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to His supper."

We respond: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

I receive the Almighty God in Communion. All I want is Him. Oh, God, I want You, I adore You, I worship You, I love You.

Oh, for this moment when God gives Himself to me. Oh, God, words do not express this time—this intense presence of You within my being. Oh, sweet Savior, I love You!

You share Yourself so intimately with me. You imprint on my soul a knowing of Your Divine Being that is so intimate in this Communion when You give Yourself to me.

Oh, let our hearts be open to His grace that we may know this great gift more, that we will partake more fully in this greatest act of love with Divinity.

He shares Himself with us, the Almighty God, in such oneness. This is the greatest way to bind us with each other, to unite with each other in the Mass and Communion.

And so I sing the love of God, the love of His Mass. I beg you to pray for the grace that He can teach you in these writings about His most intimate love affair with man, the gift of Himself—the gift He gives us in the Mass.

The Holy Sacrifice, the sacrifice of Calvary, sacramentally-made-present in the Mass when He gives Himself to us with the greatest love!

And what does He ask in return? He asks that we love one another, that we give Him the glory, the thanksgiving, the adoration that is His due as the Almighty God.

He sends us forth with His blessing to share His most intimate love with all. We go forth as other Christs in the world. For He is alive this day and He lives in us and He gives His love to others through us. We act as channels of His life to one another.

The Mass is the richest source of His life. His life flows through the body, the Church, especially through the sacraments and the Mass.

Oh Jesus, from the fountain of life that pours forth from your pierced Heart, give us holy priests whose hearts are consecrated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to celebrate the Mass—that there is such oneness between the priest and Christ that His grace will flow copiously.

We thirst for the fountain of life pouring forth from the pierced Heart of Christ. It is His life we seek and find in the Church. It is His love we want and we experience the greatest love affair with God in the Mass.

These books on the Mass are accounts of my intimate love affair with our Almighty God. Many experiences were enlightenments I received in the Mass.

I strongly advise all to pray, to say the Holy Spirit Prayer, the consecration prayers, and the Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, before Mass.

This book is the journey into the red room, the inner chamber of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the gateway, the pure and Immaculate Heart of His Mother.

It is in the Mass we give ourselves in such love to our Holy God. He gives Himself to us and we give ourselves to Him.

end of January 2, 1997

 

A Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

    Let me be a holy sacrifice and unite with God in the sacrament of His greatest love.

    I want to be one in Him in this act of love, where He gives Himself to me and I give myself as a sacrifice to Him. Let me be a holy sacrifice as I become one with Him in this my act of greatest love to Him.

    Let me unite with Him more, that I may more deeply love Him. May I help make reparation to His adorable Heart and the heart of His Mother, Mary. With greatest love, I offer myself to You and pray that You will accept my sacrifice of greatest love. I give myself to You and unite in Your gift of Yourself to me. Come and possess my soul.

    Cleanse me, strengthen me, heal me. Dear Holy Spirit act in the heart of Mary to make me more and more like Jesus.

    Father, I offer this my sacrifice, myself united to Jesus in the Holy Spirit to You. Help me to love God more deeply in this act of my greatest love.

    Give me the grace to grow in my knowledge, love and service of You and for this to be my greatest participation in the Mass. Give me the greatest graces to love You so deeply in this Mass, You who are so worthy of my love.

-Mass Book, December 27, 1995

    

         

December 27, 1995

LET US LOVE THE TWO HEARTS OF JESUS AND MARY
IN THE RECEPTION OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST.

HE GAVE HIMSELF TO US ON THE CROSS. HE GIVES HIMSELF TO US IN THE EUCHARIST.

How great was the act of love, God gave to this world, when He gave Himself and died on the cross. He gives Himself to us this day in the Holy Eucharist.

The greatest commandment is that we must love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole being. This is a commandment. If we are to enter heaven, we must follow the commandments. They are commands given by God for us to follow.

The greatest act we can do on this earth is an act of loving God. The reason for our existence is to love God. In the sacrament of His greatest love, He gives Himself to us. This is an act of love on His part. We are called to respond by giving ourselves in love to Him.

This is the purpose of the Holy Eucharist: to unite in such oneness with our Holy, Loving God. Our all consuming passion should be that of loving God. How many go to the Eucharist with the sole purpose of giving great love to God? He wants us to love Him. He wants souls to tell Him how much they truly love Him. This is the most intimate act of love when Jesus gives Himself-Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to man. If it is such an act of love, how are we receiving Him in Communion? We should beg God, in this most intimate union with Him, to help us to love Him with greatest love.

Jesus is a Person. He wants our love. The Holy Spirit wants such intimacy with us. Our Father wants us to love Him. In the Eucharist, we unite with God. In this intimate act of uniting with our beloved God, with Divinity, we must pour out our love to God. We must pour out our heart to the most adorable Heart of Jesus. Jesus is so unjustly treated by many of His beloved souls He loves so much. Let us help make reparation to the Almighty God by loving God with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole being in the sacrament of His greatest love. This is the Gift of Himself.

Think of how it is to love someone and give your all for that person, to pour out your heart to him or her and then be treated with coldness and neglect. It hurts our heart so much more when we deeply love someone to be rejected by that person. Jesus loves us with the deepest love. We cannot fully comprehend this love. Let us love Him with the deepest love. Let us love Mary and her Immaculate Heart. Let us love her as the Mother of God. Let us love her as the virgin who bore the Son of God. May we, in the reception of the Eucharist pour out our love to Him, to this adorable Heart. May we pour out our love to His Holy Mother.

Mary said at Fatima that Jesus wants His Heart venerated next to the heart of His Mother. Let us love these two Hearts as we receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Then we are so deeply united with God. We see Their two Hearts surrounded with thorns for the injustices against Their Hearts. Let us help make reparation daily as we receive Him in the Eucharist. This is a special time to help make reparation to Their wounded Hearts.

Let us remember how He poured His love out to us on the cross and how He pours out His love to us now when He gives us Himself in the Eucharist, the Eucharist which contains His Heart of burning love. His Heart was pierced with a lance. Her heart was invisibly pierced with a sword. As the wounds in Their Hearts are deep, so too is Their love so deep.

He does not want "surface love". He wants hearts filled with deep burning love.

end of December 27, 1995

   

Prayer from St. Ignatius

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labor and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing
                    that I am doing your will.

 

        Prayer of St Ignatius

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Permit me not to be separated from Thee
From the wicked foe defend me
at the hour of my death call me
and bid me come to Thee
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee
For ever and ever. Amen.

 

From The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
    by Louis J. Puhl, S.J. p. 12

                        23. FIRST PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION

                            Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God 
                        our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

 

p.11

21.                     SPIRITUAL EXERCISES

    Which have as their purpose the conquest of self
    and the regulation of one's life in such a way that
    no decision is made under the influence of any
    inordinate attachment

  

From the Priestly Newsletter Book III - 2000 Issue 3

The Father's Will for Us  - Our Source of Peace

  • Pope John Paul II instructs us: "The Church, as a reconciled and reconciling community, cannot forget that at the source of her gift and mission of reconciliation is the initiative, full of compassionate love and mercy, of that God who is love (see 1 John 4:8) and who out of love created human beings (see Wisdom 11:23-26; Genesis 1:27: Psalms 8:4-8)…He created them so that they might live in friendship with Him and in communion with one another.

"God is faithful to His eternal plan even when man, under the impulse of the evil one (see Wisdom 2:24) and carried away by his own pride, abuses the freedom given to him in order to love and generously seek what is good, and (instead) refuses to obey his Lord and Father. God is faithful even when man, instead of responding with love to God’s love, opposes Him and treats Him like a rival, deluding himself and relying on his own power, with the resulting break of relationship with the One who created him. In spite of this transgression on man’s part, God remains faithful in love.

"It is certainly true that the story of the Garden of Eden makes us think about the tragic consequences of rejecting the Father, which becomes evident in man’s inner disorder and in the breakdown of harmony between man and woman, brother and brother (see Genesis 3:12 ff; 4:1-16). Also significant is the Gospel parable of the two brothers (the parable of the ‘prodigal son’; see Luke 15:11-32) who, in different ways, distance themselves from their father and cause a rift between them. Refusal of God’s fatherly love and of His loving gifts is always at the root of humanity’s divisions.

"But we know that God…like the father in the parable (of the prodigal son), does not close His heart to any of His children. He waits for them, looks for them, goes to meet them at the place where the refusal of communion imprisons them in isolation and division. He calls them to gather about His table in the joy of the feast of forgiveness and reconciliation.

"This initiative on God’s part is made concrete and manifest in the redemptive act of Christ, which radiates through the world by means of the ministry of the Church." 13

13. Pope John Paul II, as in Celebrate 2000!, Servant Publications, pp. 140-141.

 

 

Picture of the Sacred Heart of JesusI Died for You

February 23, 1994

Jesus: I want this emotion in the letter I told you to write. I, Jesus, Son of God, talk to you with such emotion! I am He Who died a brutal death for love of you. I died for you! I love you this much, to give My Life! Yet you couldn't even write when I asked you. You must do exactly as I say. I do not want you ever to say no to Me!

I have such emotion! I am telling you how I died a brutal death and you, My child, did not write for Me! What more can I do? What more do they want? You put others before Me or you would do as I command. I want you to do as I tell you every moment.

I am the Lord. I am the Son of God. Such emotion I let you feel for My death. I died. I am a person. I was human and I died for you. Think of yourself giving your life for someone and they do not care. What can I do to shake you? What more can I say? I am here and I am loving you and pleading with you to listen to Me with this emotion that God is telling you. I am Jesus. I died for you. I gave My life for you and do you even listen, My little sweet one? You didn't want to write it for My children. When I give you a command, you write. When I say do, you do. Selflessness! I am pushing you because I need your total surrender. Do not ever deny My writing to My loved ones. You have a responsibility. I don't care where you are when I talk. I am God and I talk to you. I am so present to you.

Listen. I need your selflessness. I need your surrender. I need your life, given for love of Me and Me alone. I need you to be the light that shines on the hill, that does not go in and out but is constant in My love. I need your commitment. I need your attention at every moment. I am feeding you My words every moment on paper and in your hand. You must obey Me exactly as I command. No questions, only action. I want action. Now! You write when I say write. I don't care where you are. You worry not for others. I am giving you the mighty medicine. Would you tell the doctor to wait? I am God and I do not ever want to wait while you play a safe game with Me. When I say do something, I want you to do it. You are My beloved and I am filling you with fire.

I am pushing you to do that which I need done. Do not ever stop to look around. Keep your focus on Me and My commands for you. I am using you every moment. I must be able to count on your constant consent to do My will immediately! I am calling you to this work and I want you to comply. I love you ardently. I am so full of love for you. Focus on this and this alone. I am Who am. I am God, child. Do not ever hesitate. Do not doubt or think. You must act as I act in you or My work will not be done.

Be selfless about My commands. You will do My work. You will spread My words of love and create emotion with My songs and I will use you to bring My flock to My love. I love every soul! You must spread My love.

Note: (Meditating on the Crucifixion) Going to Mass at the seminary at 8:00 a.m. was rushed. He said to me, "Where are you going, child. Do you not feel My presence with you?" A calm came over me. Then He started lamenting how He died for us, how He is a true person and He loves us so much. He said, "I died for you."

R. He gave His life for us. He is the little lamb led to the slaughter out of love for us. He said, "I need you to do this work now and I am pushing you." He was so upset! He died for us. He loves us so much as to give His life.

He begged me to spread His love, to tell others how He, bloodied, bruised and beaten, gave us His life.

Jesus: I am God. I am God. I died. Spread My love now! Now! Now! Now! Now! I am begging you not to hold back! Read these letters now, read and learn about My love. I beckon you to speak of My love. Shout it from the high roof. Proclaim it in the cities. Jesus Christ died for love of you and He is risen! I am He Who is God and I died for you!

Listen and preach My love and emotion here. Priests will create little cities, little cities in each church to spread the light of Christ to this sick world. Each priest can create his own little city, a powerhouse of God's love. God has all the power. His power is endless. It never runs out. It is might. You have no power except through Him. Churches filled with the intimate love of Jesus will be powerhouses.

I am God, My little ones. God can do all things. I can make your cities light up the darkness. I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. I am the light of life. I am God! I can do all things. I want to act in you. You need to be in constant union with Me. My priests, you need to be selfless. My soul and yours are one. I want to act in you.

Hold not back. Pray the Prayer for Union with Me.

end of February 23, 1994

 

13 Years Ago

Available for $10.00 plus postage

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shipped from the printers
December 17, 1996

Mary appeared
December 17, 1996

 

Excerpt from the Talk of February 13, 1997

by Fr. Edward J. Carter, S.J.

She’s referring to a book which Shepherds of Christ Publications came out right around Christmas time. Hopefully all of you have received it in the mail, Rosaries from the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as given to Rita. Now here’s the point I want to make here and now. Notice how she links up the apparition site with the circulation of her Rosary Book, and we are circulating the book there. But to me, there’s a very great phenomenon connected with the colors on the window, bank windows and the Rosary Book. And Rita herself pointed this out to me. Now this cover on this book-it was designed by Hal K. weeks and even months before the apparition of Our Lady on the bank in Florida. When did you start to design that Hal? (question asked to Harold K.) Almost, two years ago. And the colors were already selected months ago, right? Well if you’ll take the picture of the bank of the apparition of the bank on Florida, and this Rosary Book, you will notice that the colors are the same. To me, that’s a miraculous confirmation of the fact that Our Lady is connecting the apparition site on the bank in Florida with the Shepherds of Christ Ministries in a special way with the rosaries. It’s just phenomenal. You can check the colors out one by one. They’re a little bit brighter on the book, but because of the photography involved I think you can see how they wouldn’t be quite as bright on this. But check out the colors. They’re the same on the Rosary Book and on this. And these colors, as I say, were picked by Hal months and months before the apparition. You can take it for what you want, but for me it’s a miraculous confirmation of this message, that Our Lady chose those same colors which are on the front of her Rosary Book, to show the same colors relative to her apparition there on the bank in Florida.

     

 

 

Prayer for Union with Jesus

Come to me, Lord, and possess my soul. Come into my heart and permeate my soul. Help me to sit in silence with You and let You work in my heart.

    I am Yours to possess. I am Yours to use. I want to be selfless and only exist in You. Help me to spoon out all that is me and be an empty vessel ready to be filled by You. Help me to die to myself and live only for You. Use me as You will. Let me never draw my attention back to myself. I only want to operate as You do, dwelling within me.

    I am Yours, Lord. I want to have my life in You. I want to do the will of the Father. Give me the strength to put aside the world and let You operate my very being. Help me to act as You desire. Strengthen me against the distractions of the devil to take me from Your work.

    When I worry, I have taken my focus off of You and placed it on myself. Help me not to give in to the promptings of others to change what in my heart You are making very clear to me. I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Come and dwell in me now.

-God's Blue Book, January 17, 1994

 

  

Come to Florida Retreat December 2nd - 5th
 

Florida 13 years — come and pray for the
                priests, the Church and the world
                December 17, 2009
 

China Retreat
                Mass December 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th
                Come and pray
 

 

  

 

 

Prayer Cards available

     
Holy Spirit Prayer Act of Consecration to
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Act of Consecration to
Sacred Heart of Jesus
Prayer for Priests

 

Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
 

Prayer for Union with Jesus

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Prayer Card  4" x 6"

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size 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
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  Statues  

     

Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass - 18

Our Lady-Guadalupe w/glass - 12
Limpias - 8
     

Immaculate Heart w/glass - 18

I Heart - Ivory w/glass - 18

Our Lady of Grace w/glass - 18

     
Our Lady-Mt. Carmel w/glass - 18

Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass - 18

Infant of Prague w/glass - 24

     

Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass - 24

Sacred Heart -Blessing w/glass - 24

Sorrowful Mother w/glass - 24

 

 

 

I Heart - Ivory w/glass - 24

I Heart of Mary w/glass - 24

Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass - 24
   

 

  

 

Our Lady-Guadalupe w/glass - 28

Our Lady of Grace w/glass - 24

Our Lady-Mt. Carmel w/glass - 24
     

Fatima w/glass - 11

Pilgrim Virgin w/glass - 12

Pilgrim Virgin w/glass - 15

 

  

 

Fatima w/glass - 18

Pilgrim Virgin w/glass - 18

 

Pilgrim Virgin w/glass - 27

St. Padre Pio

St. Joseph

St. Therese

   

 

 

St. Francis

St. Anthony

St. Claire

 

  

 

Limpias

St. Jude
 

Divine Mercy

 

  

 

Holy Family

Angel

St. Philomena

 

 

 

Pieta - Marble

Pieta - Color

Holy Family

 

  

 

St. Anthony - 18

St. Francis - 18

St. Joseph - 18

 

 

 

St. Therese - 18

St. Rita - 18

St. Clare - 12
 
     

St. Rita - 12

St. Padre Pio - 12
Divine Mercy - 12

 

       


Shepherds of Christ Ministries
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web: www.sofc.org
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 24"

$125

 

 St. Francis

 24"

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 St. Joseph

 24"

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 St. Jude

 24"

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 St. Padre Pio

 24"

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 St. Therese

 24"

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22"

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22"

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20"

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16"

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18"

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18"

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18"

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 St. Rita

18"

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18"

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12"

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8"

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12"

$40  

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12"

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12"

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8"

$25  
 Our Lady of Guadalupe w/glass

28"

$500  
 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel w/glass

24"

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 Immaculate Heart of Mary w/glass

 24"

$500  

 Immaculate Heart - Ivory w/glass

 24"

$500  

 Infant of Prague w/glass

 24"

$500  

 Our Lady of Grace w/glass

 24"

$500  

 Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass  

 24"

$500  
 Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass

 24"

$500  
 Sacred Heart -Blessing w/glass

 24"

$500  

 Sorrowful Mother w/glass

 24"

$500  
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18"

$300  
 Immaculate Heart - Ivory w/glass

18"

$300  
 Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass

18"

$300  
 Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass  

18"

$300  
 Our Lady of Grace w/glass

18"

$300  

 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel w/glass

18" $300  
 Our Lady of Guadalupe w/glass

12"

$200  

 Fatima w/glass

11"

$150  

 Fatima w/glass

 18"

$250  
 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass

 12"

$160  
 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass 15" $200  
 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass 18" $250  
 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass

27"

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Shepherds of Christ  
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Fr. Joe's Homily Books  

Guiding Light -
The Word Alive in Our Hearts

$10.00


Guiding Light -
Focusing on the Word

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Fr. Carter's Books
  

Priestly Newsletter Book I

12 Newsletters
July 1994 - June 1996

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Priestly Newsletter Book 2

17 Newsletters
1996 - 1999

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Priestly Newsletter Book 3

4 Newsletters & Prayers
2000

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Spirituality Handbook
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Messages given
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Tell My People
$10.00
 


The Pain and the Joy

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Priestly Newsletter on CD
2000 - Issue 1

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Authenticity


 
Prayers and Meditations

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In Imitation of Two Hearts

For those suffering or
in Nursing Homes
 
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Light, Happiness and Peace

Journeying through traditional
Catholic Spirituality

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Medicine of Immortality

Prayers and Meditations - will assist the reader in growth toward a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Eucharist

$10.00


Ecce Fides - Pillar of Truth

Ideal for RCIA, Adult & Youth Bible Study, Homeschooling, Catholic
Identity Studies

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Shepherds of Christ Newsletters
9 Newsletters
2006 - 2008

$36.00

  

DVDs and CDs by Fr. Pasquini
 


 

Authenticity DVD
Prayers on the Ocean

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Nursing Home Mass DVD

$10.00

Consolation DVD

$10.00

Medicine of Immortality
Read by Rita Ring

2 CDs - $17.00

In Imitation of Two Hearts DVD

$10.00


 

Consolation CD
by Fr. John

$8.00
 


 

Nursing Home Mass CD

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Holy Spirit Novena DVD

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God’s Blue Book 1
Teachings to Lift You Up

    $10.00


God’s Blue Book 4
The Love of the Hearts of
Jesus and Mary

$5.00
 


God’s Blue Book 2
The Fire of His Love

$10.00
 

God’s Blue Book 5
So Deep Is the Love of His Heart

$5.00


God’s Blue Book 3
Love God, Love One Another

(Fr. Carter's favorite)
$10.00
 


God’s Blue Book 6
He Calls Us to Action

$10.00
 

  

 

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Rosaries from the
Hearts of Jesus and Mary

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Rosaries from the
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Mysteries of Light 1

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Mysteries of Light 2

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Little People & Elderly Rosary Book

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Coloring Book
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Coloring Book
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Coloring Book
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Coloring Book
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Coloring Book
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Coloring Book
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We are trying to get

Response to God's Love

and the Mass Book out.
 

Anybody who wants to help us

with a donation to get these 2 books

out in the Priestly/hierarchy mailing —

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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)

 

  

 

  


 

The China Church is over 140 years old

and we pray in there 24 hours a day.

It needs stucco and so does

the community building.

Can you please help us?

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Likewise the priest house

is 150 years old.

Jesus told us to repair it

which we have been doing.

We need $13,000.00 for this work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can help put the Blue Book V

in the hands of 1,000 people

we need $1,200 postage for this

It is ready to go

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You can help put Fr. Joe's homily

book in the hands of

1,000 priests — it costs $1,100

This can help 1,000 parish priests

talk about Covenant for Lent 

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Crucifix — hand carved by Felix

   

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