| Shepherds of Christ
March 28, 2008
March 29th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 9 Period I.
The Novena Rosary Mysteries
for March 29th are Joyful.
March 28, 2008
Excerpt from Mother At Our Side
By Fr. Edward Carter, S.J.
24 And the angel said to the Fatima visionaries: Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners.25 All our good actions, including the enjoyable and pleasant ones, can be offered as sacrifices. In the stricter sense, our sacrifices include those actions which involve doing that which is difficult or which involves acts of renunciation.
The Cross Leads To Life
. . .and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Lk. 2:35).
Our incorporation into the mystery of Christ at baptism, and our growth in this life, is centered in the pattern of death-resurrection: Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3-4).
The theme of death-resurrection is at the heart of salvation history. It is a recurrent theme in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
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, the Jews experienced a religious transition; they passed over to a higher level of religious existence—to a more intimate union with God.
This religious transition contained death-resurrection. For the Jews to become people of the covenant, to remain so, and to grow in the life of the covenant, it was necessary that they undergo a mystical or spiritual death. In short, they had to be willing to pay a price. They had to be willing to bear with that which was difficult in covenant life. 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 for the purpose of resurrection.
Christ perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament theme of death-resurrection. In doing so, He 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 resurrection. He achieved this life not only for Himself, but for us also. To achieve this new life of resurrection, Jesus was willing to pay the price. He was willing to suffer, even unto death. That it had to be this way—that the only way Jesus could have achieved resurrection was through suffering and death—was pointed out by Jesus Himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (Lk. 24:25-26).
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. Mary, as Mother of the Church and our mother, is in a most advantageous position to show us our own individual roads to Calvary and support us as we carry the cross, each of us on our own as well as the Church as a whole. She already traveled that road in perfect acceptance of the death-resurrection struggle as she was always most closely united with the work of her Son. Individually and collectively, we are meant to continually die in Christ so that we may continually rise in Christ. We thus 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 culmination 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.
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 of us seems to be an accumulation of ordinary hardships and pains. At times, more penetrating suffering—even suffering of agonizing proportions—can enter our life. Whether the sufferings are either of the more ordinary variety or the rare and extreme type, Christians must convince themselves that to properly relate to the cross is to grow in resurrection.
The great tragedy regarding human suffering is not that there is so much of it, but that apparently so much of it is wasted. Apparently many do not relate to suffering properly—according to God's will. Consequently, they fail to use suffering as a means to growth. Again, our mother's fiat can be a vivid reminder to persevere through even our most difficult trials.
As the opening Scripture passage tells us, Our Lady was no stranger to suffering. As we well know, her life of suffering culminated in her extreme agony beneath the cross. Who can fathom the depth of her grief as she watched her innocent Son suffer the excruciating pain and death of crucifixion? In the church of San Domingo in Puebla, Mexico, there is one of the most striking representations of Mary that I have ever seen. Near the front of the church, and to the right as one faces the altar, there is a figure of our Blessed Mother seated in a chair. She is dressed in a black robe with gold trim. Atop her white veil is a black lace veil of mourning. On her lap is Christ's crown of thorns. Mary gazes down at this crown which had been so cruelly and derisively placed upon Jesus. The expression on Mary's face is one of the most moving I have seen. It is a combination of grief, dignity, and beauty. It is indeed easy to shed tears as one beholds this figure of Mary. It tells us so much about Mary. It tells us that she not only is the Mother of Joy, but also the Mother of Sorrows.
Yes, our dearest Mother Mary knows what it is like to suffer. She knows so well the purpose of suffering in God's plan. By asking her to obtain for us the grace to grow in wisdom, we can increasingly understand the role of suffering in our own lives. Asking her for the grace not to waste suffering, we can learn to use it as a means of growth for ourselves and others.
One of the most traditional forms of the experience of the cross which spiritual masters have always discussed is self-discipline or asceticism. People in all walks of life require 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 vigorous demands of the medical profession.
The Christian life, too, has its own form of discipline, and it is necessary for the greater assimilation of our total being to Christ. Christian self-discipline, or asceticism, helps us grow in the Christ-life. It extends to all aspects of the person—intellect, will, imagination, memory, sight, hearing, taste, touch, and so forth.
Renunciation is another form of dying with Jesus, which, over the years, 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 Jesus' message of renunciation—a message which Jesus Himself lived. Renunciation was obviously not 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 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 ours.
Acts of renunciation are life-promoting regarding ourselves and others. Let us always remember what Our Lady of Fatima has said: Pray, pray, a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them.
Our Lady's Peace Plan, op. cit., back cover.
Ibid., p. 1.
September 4, 2004
February 27, 1997
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.
end of February 27, 1997
Prayer of St. Francis --
make me an instrument
of your peace.
Where there is hatred
let me sow love
Where there is injury/pardon
where there is doubt/faith
where there is despair/hope
where there is darkeness/light
and where there is sadness/joy.
O Divine Master
grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving
that we receive
it is in pardoning
that we are pardoned
and it it is in dying
that we are born to eternal life.
Luke 1: 46-55
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.
Divine Mercy- Sunday
How to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Our Father..., Hail Mary..., The Creed.
On the five large beads:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement
for our sins and those of the whole world.
On the ten small beads:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us
and on the whole world.
Conclude with repeating three times:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Acts 2: 42-47
These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
And everyone was filled with awe; the apostles worked many signs and miracles
And all who shared the faith owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and distributed the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed.
Each day, with one heart, they regularly went to the Temple but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.
1 Peter 1: 3-9
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into a heritage that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away. It is reserved in heaven for you who are being kept safe by God’s power through faith until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the final point of time.
This is a great joy to you, even though for a short time yet you must bear all sorts of trials; so that the worth of your faith, more valuable than gold, which is perishable even if it has been tested by fire, may be proved—to your praise and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. You have not seen him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him you believe in him and so are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described; and you are sure of the goal of your faith, that is, the salvation of your souls.
John 20: 19-31
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, 'Peace be with you,' and, after saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, 'Peace be with you.
'As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.'
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive anyone's sins,
they are forgiven;
if you retain anyone's sins,
they are retained.
Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, 'We have seen the Lord,' but he answered, 'Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.' Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:
You believe because you can see me.
Blessed are those who have not seen
and yet believe.
There were many other signs that Jesus worked in the sight of the disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
Rosary coloring books are available.
The Family that prays together
Excerpt from the Spirituality of Fatima
by Fr. Edward Carter, S.J.
October 13, 1917
In her message that day, Our Blessed Mother told the children:
I am the Lady of the Rosary. I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and to ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day.(17)
17. For background material on Fatima, I am particularly indebted to
Our Lady of Fatima's Peace Plan from Heaven (Rockford: TAN
Books and Publishers, Inc., 1983). p.7.
end of excerpts from The Spirituality of Fatima
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