Mary has requested that the daily message be given each day to the world. It is read nightly at the prayer service from her Image Building in Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A. This is according to her request. All attempts will be made to publish this daily message to the world at 11 p.m. Eastern time, U.S.A.

We acknowledge that the final authority regarding these messages rests with the Holy See of Rome.

I appear my children on this former bank building in Florida, Our Lady Clothed with the Sun.

April 2, 2002

April 3rd Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 9 Period II.
The Novena Rosary Mystery
for April 3rd is Glorious.


A Prayer for Intimacy with the Lamb,
the Bridegroom of the Soul

    Oh Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, come and act on my soul most intimately. I surrender myself, as I ask for the grace to let go, to just be as I exist in You and You act most intimately on my soul. You are the Initiator. I am the soul waiting Your favors as You act in me. I love You. I adore You. I worship You. Come and possess my soul with Your Divine Grace, as I experience You most intimately.



April 2, 2002

Messenger:   Fr Carter received his first public message April 2, 1994,
                            Holy Saturday night.




April 5, 6, 7, 2002

come to Clearwater, FLORIDA.

Easter week

excerpt from March 3, 2002 message

Messenger:   There will be a special gathering the
                        weekend of April 5, 6 and 7 First Friday—
                        of Easter week, First Saturday of Easter week
                        and Divine Mercy Sunday. This will end with 
                        the Divine Mercy being said Sunday at 3:00 P.M.
                        under the image.
                     The Divine Mercy novena will be prayed every
                        day at the site.

end of excerpt of March 3, 2002 message 



Excerpt from March 29, 2002


                Here is the schedule of events at the image building April 5, 6 and 7.

                April 5th schedule

                  4:30 - 5:30 Nursing Home ministry
                                    (under the image)


                               The highlight of all three days is this 
prayer service on the 5th at 6:20.

                                These pictures were taken during the 
                                        prayers last month March 5, 2002.



March 5, 2002

March 5, 2002

                                   (under the image special 5th service at 6:20)
                                       1) Holy Spirit Novena 
                                       2) Shepherds of Christ prayers
                                       3) Special Rosary

                  There are special prayers and singing all evening.

                  Book Store open after the prayer service.


                  April 6, 2002

                  12:00 - 1:00  Rosary ministry

                  1:30 - 2:30    Levels of Commitment
                                        (discussion and witness)

                            3:00    Divine Mercy (under the image)

                            3:30    Discussion on Prayer and discussion on the Mass

                            6:00    Description of 6:20 prayers (under the image)

                            6:20   1) Holy Spirit Novena
                                      2) Shepherds of Christ prayers
                                      3) Rosary

                 Bookstore open after the prayer service.

                 April 7, 2002

                 12:00 - 1:00    Angelus, Discussion about materials (books, etc.)

                                         Blue Books

                                         Rosary Books

                                         Daily Messages


                              1:15    Follow-up

                                         (a) Prayer services on the 5th of the month

                                         (b) Retreats in China on the 12,13,14 of the month
                                                (before the Exposed Eucharist) 

                                         (c)  Sidney Rosary

                                         (d)  Broadcast and special travels

                            3:00    Divine Mercy prayers

                            6:00    Discussion about the Junior Shepherds

                            6:20    Junior Shepherds pray the prayers

                                        1) Holy Spirit Novena
                                        2) Shepherds of Christ prayers
                                        3) Rosary

                 Bookstore open after the prayer service.




We are studying Christian life and how we live it.

Our object is to establish a comprehensive view of what is necessary for the maintenance and development of full Christian living.


Response to God's Love is a book written by Fr. Carter and used as a text book for about 16 years at Xavier University. He taught there for over 30 years. He has authored some 17 books and written six years of priestly newsletters which have been circulated around the world.

Jesus desires this section to be included. This book is so important to Jesus. You will have greater insights into the Divine Mysteries if you read slowly as Jesus requests and pray for vision and grace. Oh God, thank You for this great work.

The moment Fr. Carter took his pen in hand God was giving the world a great body of knowledge to help renew the Church and the world.

Fr. Carter has spiritually directed all of us through his writings and Jesus has directed him his whole life to help renew the Church and the world.

St. Claude de la Colombiere, St. Margaret Mary, St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Ignatius and St. Xavier intercede for us, especially for the Jesuits to help us do this work to help bring about the Reign of the Sacred Heart and triumph of Mary's Heart.


Messenger:  In the study of Theme IV - Death-Resurrection it is necessary to read the following material.

Response in Christ - Chapter 1

Response to God's Love - Chapter 4

Mother at Our Side - Chapter 9    

Pain and the Joy - Chapters 2, 15, 26, 31, 32


Six days after Father Carter helped me with this outline.



This is an outline from Father Carter's class.
It is not complete - it is only an outline.



Theme IV - Death and Resurrection

A. Concept of Death-Resurrection in Salvation-History

B. The greatest tragedy of suffering is not that there is so much of it but so much of it seems to be wasted

C. Old Testament

D. Jesus

E. Church: Life of Death-Resurrection

F. Individual Christians

G. Some Particular forms of the Cross (Suffering)



Theme IV - Death and Resurrection
Brief Outline

A. Concept of Death-Resurrection in Salvation-History

1)  Purpose of suffering

2) Suffering leads to greater life if we cooperate with God's plan for us

B. The greatest tragedy of suffering is not that there is so much of it but so much of it seems to be wasted

C. Old Testament

D. Jesus

E. Church: Life of Death-Resurrection

F. Individual Christians

Romans 6:11

2 Corinthians 4:7-11

G. Some Particular forms of the Cross (Suffering)




Crucial decision making - (am I doing the right thing)


Transitions in life (hardships)


Other (Physical and Mental sicknesses)




Shattered Dreams



Theme IV - Death and Resurrection
Expanded Outline

A. Concept of Death-Resurrection in Salvation-History

1)  Purpose of suffering in God's plan

We live in a world of human beings whose human natures have been damaged by sin

Suffering entered the human condition because of sin

God uses suffering for good if we cooperate with His plan for us

The supreme example of this is Jesus' suffering and death

Everything Jesus did contributed to our redemption

His will was perfectly formed to His Father's will

...let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.' (Mat. 26:39)

2) Suffering leads to greater life if we cooperate with God's plan for us

When families go through suffering, 

 — if they react properly, 

 — if they ask for God's help, 

at the end of suffering they are usually brought closer together

Suffering embraced properly leads to greater life

The greatest tragedy of human suffering is not that there is so much of it, but so much of it is wasted.

Suffering can lead to greatness

ie.    Helen Keller 

        Helen Keller became deaf, blind and mute

        She was a shining example for all of us

B. The greatest tragedy of suffering is not that there is so much of it but so much of it seems to be wasted

C. Old Testament

NOTE: Old Testament prefigures New Testament


Exodus 24: 1-18 (From the Old Testament)


He then said to Moses, ‘Come up to Yahweh, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel and bow down at a distance. Moses alone will approach Yahweh; the others will not approach, nor will the people come up with him.’
    Moses went and told the people all Yahweh’s words and all the laws, and all the people answered with one voice, ‘All the words Yahweh has spoken we will carry out!’ Moses put all Yahweh’s words into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing–stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent certain young Israelites to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice bullocks to Yahweh as communion sacrifices. Moses then took half the blood and put it into basins, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then, taking the Book of the Covenant, he read it to the listening people, who then said, ‘We shall do everything that Yahweh has said; we shall obey.’ Moses then took the blood and sprinkled it over the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has made with you, entailing all these stipulations.’
    Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders of Israel then went up, and they saw the God of Israel beneath whose feet there was what looked like a sapphire pavement pure as the heavens themselves, but he did no harm to the Israelite notables; they actually gazed on God and then ate and drank.

Moses on the mountain

Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the stone tablets—the law and the commandment—which I have written for their instruction.’ Moses made ready, with Joshua his assistant, and they went up the mountain of God. He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you; if anyone has any matter to settle, let him go to them.’ Moses then went up the mountain.
    Cloud covered the mountain. The glory of Yahweh rested on Mount Sinai and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day Yahweh called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the watching Israelites, the glory of Yahweh looked like a devouring fire on the mountain top. Moses went right into the cloud and went on up the mountain. Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.



The Old Testament prepares the way for new covenant established by Jesus.

For years the Israelites lived under Egyptian enslavement.

They escaped by the parting of the Red Sea.

This parting of the Red Sea prefigures Baptism.

The Israelites under Moses went down into the parted waters and they came up.


Our founder considered the following Scripture passages with regard to these subjects.


Romans 6: 1-11  (From the New Testament)


What should we say then? Should we remain in sin so that grace may be given the more fully? Out of the question! We have died to sin; how could we go on living in it? You cannot have forgotten that all of us, when we were baptised into Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life. If we have been joined to him by dying a death like his, so we shall be by a resurrection like his; realising that our former self was crucified with him, so that the self which belonged to sin should be destroyed and we should be freed from the slavery of sin. Someone who has died, of course, no longer has to answer for sin.
    But we believe that, if we died with Christ, then we shall live with him too. We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and will never die again. Death has no power over him any more. For by dying, he is dead to sin once and for all, and now the life that he lives is life with God. In the same way, you must see yourselves as being dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.


Luke 24: 13-27  (From the New Testament)

The road to Emmaus

Now that very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. And it happened that as they were talking together and discussing it, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but their eyes were prevented from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What are all these things that you are discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped, their faces downcast.
    Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ He asked, ‘What things?’ They answered, ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth, who showed himself a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have now gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they could not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
    Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.


Exodus 12: 1-26  (From the Old Testament)


Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ‘This month must be the first of all the months for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, "On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock for his family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small for the animal, he must join with his neighbour nearest to his house, depending on the number of persons. When you choose the animal, you will take into account what each can eat. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may choose it either from the sheep or from the goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter it at twilight. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on both door–posts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh must be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with the head, feet and entrails. You must not leave any of it over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you must burn. This is how you must eat it: with a belt round your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You must eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover in Yahweh’s honour. That night, I shall go through Egypt and strike down all the first–born in Egypt, man and beast alike, and shall execute justice on all the gods of Egypt, I, Yahweh! The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood I shall pass over you, and you will escape the destructive plague when I strike Egypt. This day must be commemorated by you, and you must keep it as a feast in Yahweh’s honour. You must keep it as a feast–day for all generations; this is a decree for all time.

The feast of Unleavened Bread

"For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you must clean the leaven out of your houses, for anyone who eats leavened bread from the first to the seventh day must be outlawed from Israel. On the first day you must hold a sacred assembly, and on the seventh day a sacred assembly. On those days no work may be done; you will prepare only what each requires to eat. You must keep the feast of Unleavened Bread because it was on that same day that I brought your armies out of Egypt. You will keep that day, generation after generation; this is a decree for all time. In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty–first day, you must eat unleavened bread. For seven days there may be no leaven in your houses, since anyone, either stranger or citizen of the country, who eats leavened bread will be outlawed from the community of Israel. You will eat nothing with leaven in it; wherever you live, you will eat unleavened bread." ’

 Injunctions relating to the Passover

Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and choose a lamb or kid for your families, and kill the Passover victim. Then take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and with the blood from the basin touch the lintel and both door–posts; then let none of you venture out of the house till morning. Then, when Yahweh goes through Egypt to strike it, and sees the blood on the lintel and on both door–posts, he will pass over the door and not allow the Destroyer to enter your homes and strike. You will observe this as a decree binding you and your children for all time, and when you have entered the country which Yahweh will give you, as he has promised, you will observe this ritual. And when your children ask you, "What does this ritual mean?" you will tell them, "It is the Passover sacrifice in honour of Yahweh who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, and struck Egypt but spared our houses." ’ And the people bowed in worship. The Israelites then went away and did as Yahweh had ordered Moses and Aaron.

The tenth plague: death of the first–born

And at midnight Yahweh struck down all the first–born in Egypt from the first–born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first–born of the prisoner in the dungeon, and the first–born of all the livestock. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up in the night, and there was great wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead. It was still dark when Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up, leave my subjects, you and the Israelites! Go and worship Yahweh as you have asked! And take your flocks and herds as you have asked, and go! And bless me too!’ The Egyptians urged the people on and hurried them out of the country because, they said, ‘Otherwise we shall all be dead.’ So the people carried off their dough still unleavened, their bowls wrapped in their cloaks, on their shoulders.

The Egyptians plundered

The Israelites did as Moses had told them and asked the Egyptians for silver and golden jewellery, and clothing. Yahweh made the Egyptians so much impressed with the people that they gave them what they asked. So they despoiled the Egyptians.


Excerpts from Response In Christ, by Father Edward J. Carter, S.J.

... Here the covenant between Yahweh and His People was sealed with sacrificial blood. ...

... Moses sprinkled with blood both the altar, representing Yahweh, and the Jewish people. ...

... Since blood signified life for the Jews, such an action had deep meaning for them. It symbolized the sealing of the covenant, the establishment of a new life-relationship between Yahweh and themselves.

(End of Excerpts from Response In Christ)



D. Jesus

E. Church: Life of Death-Resurrection

F. Individual Christians


Romans 6: 1-11


What should we say then? Should we remain in sin so that grace may be given the more fully? Out of the question! We have died to sin; how could we go on living in it? You cannot have forgotten that all of us, when we were baptised into Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life. If we have been joined to him by dying a death like his, so we shall be by a resurrection like his; realising that our former self was crucified with him, so that the self which belonged to sin should be destroyed and we should be freed from the slavery of sin. Someone who has died, of course, no longer has to answer for sin.
    But we believe that, if we died with Christ, then we shall live with him too. We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and will never die again. Death has no power over him any more. For by dying, he is dead to sin once and for all, and now the life that he lives is life with God. In the same way, you must see yourselves as being dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.


2 Corinthians 4: 7-11

The hardships and hopes of the apostolate

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


G. Some Particular forms of the Cross (Suffering)




Crucial decision making - (am I doing the right thing)


Transitions in life (hardships)


Other (Physical and Mental sicknesses)




Shattered Dreams

Definition Escapism is unhealthy or immature flight from painful reality.


Topics for discussion:


One person should be the leader of the discussion.

One person should be the recorder for the group.

You should have a good discussion going at all times.

They do not have to be discussed in order. You can discuss those of particular interest to you.



Questions on Loneliness

1) Some experts say loneliness is as prevalent or common in the U.S. as in anywhere in the world? Is this true? If so, what are the reasons for it?

2) What do you think are some of the most common forms of loneliness?

3) What is the most common kind of loneliness for

1) adolescence

2) young adults

3) middle aged

4) elderly

4) Is there a difference between being alone and being lonely?

    Is there a possible connection between the two?

5) What is the Christian response to loneliness in myself and others?

(What can I draw on to help myself with loneliness? How can I help others that are lonely?)

6) If you were counseling a person afflicted by loneliness what advice would you give?

Shattered Dreams

7) What advice would you give to a person having more than ordinary difficulty recovering from shattered dreams?


8) What advice would you give to a person having more than ordinary difficulty recovering from failure?

ESCAPISM - is unhealthy or immature flight from painful reality

9) Suicide in younger generation is increasing now.

    Suicide is the ultimate form of escapism.

    What do you think are some reasons for this increased rate amongst the young?

10) What do you think is the most common type of escapism for

1) adolescent

2) young adult

3) middle aged

4) elderly

11) What do you think are some of the most common types of escapism in our modern culture?

12) What are some of the Christian principles escapism violates?

13) If you were counseling a person particularly given to escapism practices, what advice would you give?


Selected Readings


Excerpt from Response in Christ, by Father Edward J. Carter, S.J.

ONE    The Concept of
  the Christian Life


There are various points of departure for a treatment of the Christian life. Our particular choice consists in giving a general, panoramic view of this life in this chapter with a consequent deepening of ideas in the pages to follow. Inevitably the themes put forth here will receive only a sketchy treatment, and to this extent the chapter will not give complete satisfaction. However, such a procedure allows for an immediate view of our complete life of grace in Christ. This preliminary glimpse can consequently serve throughout as a constant, unifying frame of reference.

    The Christian life essentially consists in God's loving self-communication to us with our concomitant response to Him in love. One peculiar characteristic of this communication of God to man is that it has centered itself within a concrete historical framework. God's gift of Himself therefore establishes the process of salvation history. This process began with man's creation and elevation to the supernatural life, a life which is a participation in God's own divine life. This participation is real and, therefore, somewhat similar to life as it is in God Himself; however, since it is only a created sharing, man possesses it in an infinitely less perfect manner than God who is Himself this life.

    Man rejected this self-communication of God in original sin. Yet God's desire to give Himself to man was not withdrawn. He determined to save man from his sinfulness, and thereafter the divine communication centered around the promised Redeemer. Salvation history preceding the advent of this Redeemer became a preparation for the Redeemer's coming. From the time of His coming, salvation history was and is the establishment and continuation of His redemptive work.

         1. The Christian Life as Prefigured in the Mosaic Covenant

In the age prior to the coming of Christ, salvation history was rooted in the Mosaic period. At the heart of this Mosaic era was the great salvific event of the exodus (Ex 15:1-18). Through this event Yahweh led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and under Moses formed them into His People. The history of the Jewish people previous to this exodus event was merely a preparation for this central happening. Thus Israel in recalling its ancient traditions could see that Yahweh's covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was a preparation for the great covenant definitively established through Moses on Mount Sinai.

    God, then, within the framework of salvation history has determined to communicate Himself according to a covenant. What is covenant? In reference to salvation history it is a mutual life relationship in love between God and His People, and among the People themselves. God on His part communicates His own life through grace, and man in return gives himself to God and his fellowman in loving service. There are various laws governing the multiple aspects of this life-relationship. There is a formal worship with its determined ritual. Yet everything centers around the essence of covenant, the life relationship.

    As mentioned, the Mosaic covenant dominated the Old Testament period. At the heart of the formation of this covenant there was a transition process involved as the Jews were led forth from Egyptian slavery to freedom under the leadership of Moses. The Egyptians had finally consented to this departure of the Jews under the pressure of the last of the plagues inflicted upon them. Under this plague the Egyptians' first-born were slain. The Jews escaped this deathblow of Yahweh by marking their doorposts with the blood of the paschal lamb: ". . . I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am Yahweh! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt." (Ex 12:12-13).

    As the Jewish people escaped from Egyptian bondage they experienced a transition which was essentially religious in nature. This transition was from a less perfect to a more perfect type of existence, for in being released from slavery they were gradually formed into Yahweh's People. The definitive event of this formation occurred on Mount Sinai. Here the covenant between Yahweh and His People was sealed with sacrificial blood. Moses sprinkled with blood both the altar, representing Yahweh, and the Jewish people. Since blood signified life for the Jews, such an action had deep meaning for them. It symbolized the sealing of the covenant, the establishment of a new life-relationship between Yahweh and themselves. 

         2. Life in the New Covenant

This Mosaic covenant prefigured the covenant which was to be established in Christ. Yahweh had given himself to the Jews in a special way. He was their God and they were His People. This life relationship was highly imperfect, however, if compared to that instituted by Christ. The covenant life between God and man established by the Incarnate Word is of the most intimate nature. We see this if we consider the new covenant as being contained in a perfect way in Christ Himself. He is radically the new covenant.1 Covenant, remember, has various dimensions of love. Out of love God shares His life with man, and man in community responds in love by giving himself to God and relating in love with his neighbor. In Christ we perceive these relationships achieved in the most perfect manner possible. First of all, Christ in His humanity receives the divinity's gift of self in the highest degree – to such a high degree, in fact, that we have the hypostatic union as a result. In other words, the human nature of Christ is recipient of God's self-communication in such a perfect manner that it does not exist by reason of its own personal act of existence, but rather by the divine existence of the Word, the second person of the Trinity.

    Christ as man – in the name of all men, for all men – perfectly receives God's communication of Himself in grace. This is the first movement of covenant life, downward from God to man. In the second movement of covenant, man's response, we again see Christ as central. As man, Christ makes the perfect response to God for all men. This response of Christ includes both His love for His Father and His relationship in love with men. His entire life was itself this perfect response. His life, submerged in a constant, loving conformity to His Father's will, was and is the perfect incarnate response which man is called upon to make to his covenant God.

    The response which Christ made was centered in His death and Resurrection. These two events contained the whole of Christ's life and are intimately united. Everything which Christ did previous to Calvary was a preparation for Calvary and consequently shared its redemptive value. The Resurrection was in one way or another the completion of the work of Calvary. Since Christ's perfect response to the Father culminated in His death-resurrection, it is evident that Christ's life involved a transition just as did the life of the Jewish people in the old covenant. This transition of the Israelites was manifested in the exodus from Egypt. In fact, Christ's transition in death-resurrection was a fulfillment of the Jewish exodus; and just as the transition of the Jews marked a passage from a lower to a higher type of existence, so did Christ's transition or passover have this characteristic.

    What was Christ's transition? Before Christ experienced death, He was limited by the sinfulness of the world into which He had immersed Himself in His Incarnation. He loved men, and He loved to be in their midst, and in the midst of their world. But He did suffer from the sinfulness of this world. Sinless though He Himself was, He was in certain ways affected and limited by sin. Indeed, sin destroyed Christ in his mortal existence. This shows us the degree to which Christ was limited by or "hemmed in" by the world's sinfulness. But through the passageway of His death, Christ passed beyond the limitations He had experienced in His mortal life. He conquered sin, and He rose into a more perfect type of life, that of the Resurrection. In such a life He could no longer suffer, He could no longer be "limited" by the sinful aspect of the world.

    There is another similarity between the Jewish transition or exodus and the transition involved in Christ's death-resurrection. We saw the part that sacrificial blood contributed to the passover or transition of the Jewish people in two instances. The blood of the paschal lamb freed the Jewish homes from the deathblow of Yahweh immediately before their departure from Egypt, and ultimately it was sacrificial blood which sealed the Mosaic covenant upon Mount Sinai.

    Sacrificial blood was also essential in Christ's passover or transition. It was through the shedding of His blood that He passed through death to Resurrection. It was thus His blood which made the transition possible and which sealed the new covenant. This new covenant, supplanting the old, is the new life relationship between God and His People, and the People themselves. Christ, in achieving new life through death-resurrection, gained it not only for Himself but for all His members.

    The Christian, then, shares in the life of Christ's Resurrection. But if he participates in the Resurrection of Christ he must also share in Christ's death, since death is the way to Resurrection. St. Paul tells us: "We are dead to sin, so how can we continue to live in it? You have been taught that when we were baptised in Christ Jesus we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might live a new life." (Rm 6:2-4).

    Through Baptism therefore the Christian is incorporated into Christ's death-resurrection. Baptism pledges the Christian to die to sin and ideally to all that is not in accordance with God's will, even though sin is not involved. Baptism also pledges the Christian to live vitally his new life in Christ, his share in Christ's Resurrection. As he is incorporated into Christ through baptism, the Christian is also made a member of the Church. Awareness of this simultaneous incorporation into both Christ and the Church emphasizes for the Christian the fact that his life of holiness in Christ is to be lived out in community. In other words, the Christian lives in Christ within the People of God, within the Church. This stress of contemporary spirituality upon the communal aspect of Christian holiness is firmly rooted in God's revealed truth. Throughout salvation history God has lovingly communicated Himself to man within the covenant framework with its communal dimension. He has also asked for man's response in love within this same covenant framework.

    The Church in union with Christ is the new covenant. Since Christ is the Head of His Church, it follows that the Church with her members must live out the covenant life according to the structure which Christ gives her. The Church has no life, no pattern of life, except that which Christ gives her. This basic pattern or structure is death-resurrection. Christ established the Church by His paschal mystery, His death-resurrection. In so establishing the Church by such an event, Christ also determined how the Church essentially lives out her covenant life down through the ages – through death and Resurrection.

    The Church, then, continues Christ's death-resurrection. She consequently continues the entire mystery of Christ, since Christ's entire life is contained in His passover event.2 We see therefore why the Church can be referred to as the continuation of the redemptive Incarnation. Indeed the Church is Christ, the mystical Christ. Because she is the earthly continuation of Christ, the Church has everything within her structure needed to be the source of salvation and sanctification for men of all times. For instance, in reference to the presently much-discussed theme of the Church's relevancy to modern man, we know from theological reflection that the Church has this relevancy radically structured within her very existence. This is simply an application of the reality that the Church actually does prolong the mission of the Incarnate Word; since Christ was relevant to His age, the Church has the capacity to be relevant to all ages.

    What do we mean by saying Christ was relevant to His age? Christ revealed the Father and communicated the Father's life to men by adapting Himself in a fundamental way to the life situation which existed at that particular time in Jewish history. Since Christ through His humanity adapted His message to the people of His times, so the Church must use her innate capacity to be relevant for the men of this or that age. She must in a sense be constantly reincarnating Christ, for she is the only visible Christ which this world now has. This reincarnation largely means being relevant.

    As the Church is the continuation of Christ, so is the life of the Christian. Just as the Church centers her life in Christ's death-resurrection, so does the life of the Christian. Both Church and Christian then are continually dying with Christ, dying to all which is not of Christ. At the same time Church and Christian are meant to rise more and more with Christ, assimilating ever more perfectly His life through grace. This life of grace is the Church's and the Christian's share in Christ's Resurrection. It is true that this life of grace will have its completion only in eternity. Nevertheless, it does have very real beginnings here in this life.

    It is therefore apparent why the Church's life is directed to the liturgy, especially the eucharistic liturgy.3 For it is within the liturgy culminating in the Mass that the death-resurrection of Christ is constantly renewed in a special manner. In the Mass the People of God have the constant opportunity to assimilate the death-resurrection of Christ more and more into their lives. As they do so collectively and individually, the People of God are continuing Christ's life and mission upon earth.

    The Christian life, then, is a response to God's gift of Himself. God in love gives us a life of grace, a share in His own divine life. We respond in love by giving ourselves to God and our fellowman, by dynamically living out this life of grace, this Christ-life, in the pattern of death-resurrection. This life of grace is meant to be exercised constantly, as the Christian loves God and man, in Christ, according to the will of the Father. Also, to reiterate, God intends that our life in Christ be lived out in the community of the Church. The Christian life can never solely be an individual's response to his God.

    As the Christian lives out this life of grace in community, he is offering Christ a new humanity through which He can reincarnate Himself. It is not only through the Church as a whole that Christ reincarnates Himself, but also, ideally, through each Christian within the Church. Each Christian has a special responsibility and privilege. No one else can offer Christ the unique opportunity of reincarnating Himself as can this or that particular Christian. For each Christian is a unique, created imitation of God never again to be repeated. Each Christian has a unique humanity to offer Christ. To the extent that he fails to do so, to that degree Christ has lost this opportunity to reincarnate Himself through this humanity.

    Consequently, the Christian life can be conceived as the Christian permitting Christ to live more and more through his total person. Christian holiness is continual growth in the assimilation of that great thought of St. Paul, ". . . I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me." (Ga 2:20).

    There are many ways in which the Christian can permit Christ to live in and through him. Love of the Father and love of all men, of course, are the two great themes which will channel this reincarnation of Christ. These were the great driving forces in Christ's life, and consequently they will be so in the life of the Christian.  

    If the Christian is to grow in projecting Christ through his Christian personality, he must be aware of the many various ways in which Christ loved His Father, and His will. He must be aware of the various ways in which the Father's will comes to him, and thus he will realize the multiple ways in which he is to love the Father in embracing that will. The Father's will can come to him in joy and happiness or in pain and sorrow; in work or in relaxation; in a life of great obscurity as well as in a life which commands public attention; in frustration or in success. These and many other channels of the Father's will offer the Christian the opportunity to continue this witness of Christ's life: no matter how easy or difficult, the Father's will must be lovingly embraced in all things. This is how Christ radically saved the world. This is how the Church, living according to the same principle, cooperates with Christ in furthering His redemptive work.

    Christ's great love and concern for men must also be continually reincarnated through the Christian. Contemporary spirituality makes considerable use of personalism.4 One basic way we can apply personalism to our present theme is as follows: God revealed His love to men in a concrete way, through a Person possessing a tangible, visible human nature. Although this tangible, historical Christ is no longer with us upon earth, the basic plan of the Father continues. To a considerable degree He still continues to give Himself, His love, through tangible, visible human natures. It is through the Christian united with Christ that God continues in many ways to make His love tangible, visible – and human – to mankind.

    Through these brief indications we can realize the various and many possibilities through which Christ lives again in the Christian. As the Christian in this manner projects Christ to his contemporary world he relives the total mystery of Christ. All the mysteries of Christ's life will be apparent somehow in such a Christian existence. But as the Christian puts on Christ more and more, death-resurrection will be especially apparent. For the Christian will be more and more going out of a self-centered existence, dying to that which is not really life at all, and increasingly passing over into a greater existence, into the life of Christ Himself. In this manner the Christian continues that transition process of passing from a lower to a higher mode of existence. We have seen this transition process to be at the heart of salvation history. We saw it in the exodus-event of the Jewish people. We saw it in the death-resurrection of Christ. We continue to find it in the life of the Christian as he prolongs the paschal mystery of Christ.

    Yes, we live a new life in Christ. Christ, therefore, wants to share everything relating to our existence – sin alone excepted. When He united us to Himself in assuming human nature, He united to Himself all our authentic concerns, values and interest. He is truly a man, and He wants to share with us all our truly human experiences. He and His grace want to touch these experiences. Nothing which is really human is alien to our life in Christ.

    We enjoy the freshness of a bright clear day, the stillness of the night, the innocence of a little child, the companionship of a friend, the relaxation or stimulation of a good movie. Christ wants to share these joys with us. In our daily work there is a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and joy – there also can be pain, disappointment and misunderstanding. Christ wants to be there in the midst of all.

    A strong, young American, the pride of his father, and full of promise, goes off to war. One day he fights his last and is no more. His father is in anguish and sorrow, and we sympathize. We observe the hatred and suspicion which exists between many white men and many black men, and our hearts grieve. Science achieves a great new discovery, and we are glad for this progress of the human race. A young man and woman are deeply in love, they marry, and their joy is great. And we rejoice with them. All these human experiences Christ wants to share with us, for He, too, is a man. The Christian actually is in Christ, and we must be bold enough to apply this reality to all the authentic areas of our existence. Christ wants it no other way.

    The chief source of strength for the Christian as he lives in Christ is the liturgy, for this is the heart of the Church's life. Yet participation in the liturgy alone will not make certain the Christian's progress in holiness.5 The Christian must be constantly living out his previous participation. His life in Christ necessitates various types of activity which complement his liturgical life.

    One such form of Christian endeavor is Christian asceticism. Karl Rahner says that our present age is very much in need of a sound asceticism.6 There are various reasons for asceticism in any age. Because of original and personal sin, the Christian has within himself many tendencies which are not in accord with Christ. Whether these involve the exterior senses or the interior senses and spiritual faculties, these tendencies must be controlled; otherwise, the Christ-life, the life of grace, cannot dominate the total person of the Christian as it is meant to do. Christian asceticism therefore embraces the traditional concept of mortification, namely a constant, reasonable control of the total person. Asceticism also includes the idea of organized effort in the spiritual life; it includes moreover the idea of renunciation and penance. These are traditional meanings of the term.

    Yet Christian asceticism as contemporary thought conceives it goes further than mere control, organized effort, renunciation and penance. It embraces the reality of selflessness, a gradual going out from self-centeredness. As the Christian grows, his existential frame of reference becomes more and more Christ and others. To live means increasingly to love Christ and men. Paradoxically, the more the Christian goes out of himself, the more he authentically becomes himself, the more he becomes a true person. Viewed in terms of death-resurrection, Christian asceticism is seen to be more concerned with the death aspect of the paschal mystery. However, Resurrection is also present in a proper asceticism, for, among other reasons, Christian asceticism carries with it its own joy – a share in Resurrection joy.

    Asceticism and other expressions of the Christian life involve the exercise of the infused virtues, both theological and moral. These virtues can be conceived of in terms of supernatural faculties which give expression to our life of grace in Christ. These virtues, the chief of which are faith, hope and love, give the Christian all the capacities he needs to form meaningful, graced relationships with God, man and the rest of creation. (The horizontal dimension outward to man and creation is receiving special attention in the contemporary treatment of faith, hope and love.) Although the death aspect of the paschal mystery is present in the exercise of the virtues, we more easily identify these virtues with the Resurrection aspect of the paschal mystery. For the life of grace, with the infused virtues playing a dominant role, is our share in Christ's Resurrection.

    The life of the Christian must also involve prayer. Why? Our life of grace is a created participation in Trinitarian life. What is life in God? It is essentially a life of knowledge and love. The life of the Trinity consists in the knowledge and love which exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then it is from the Trinity that the knowledge and love of God also goes out to creation.

    Our life of grace is structured in the same manner. In union with Christ it essentially consists in knowing and loving God and in knowing and loving His creation, both on a supernatural level. Because this life of grace is centered in God, prayer is an absolute necessity. For prayer essentially is an interpersonal dialogue between God and the Christian. Without prayer the knowing and loving of God will never be what it should and neither will be the knowledge and love of God's creation. For one cannot envision, one cannot love man and the rest of creation without the intimate contact with God which prayer gives. This is because it is God's vision and God's love of His creation which the Christian shares in the life of grace.

    The Christian, however, must not only pray. He must also externalize his life of knowledge and love in various ways. Today's spirituality with its incarnational trend stresses this fact.7 The Christian's life of Resurrection in Christ must to a considerable extent express itself in the daily world which surrounds him. This Christ-life must be expressed in the Christian's concern for the problems of the inner city and in his concern for a more just distribution of the world's wealth. It must manifest itself in the Christian's solicitude for the diseased and the poverty-stricken the world over. This life we have in Christ must incarnate itself in a concern over the spread of pornographic literature and other forms of godlessness. It must manifest itself as solicitous regarding the hatred which often exists between black man and white man. Our Christ-life must also express itself by our showing a tangible, warm love and interest toward those with whom we come into direct encounter.

    This list of love and concern on the part of the Christian could be extended on and on. To what extent the Christian will manifest his concern in any of these areas will depend upon his vocation, the graces he receives and other circumstances. Our main point is this: the Christian through his life of grace in Christ has been called to further the creative and redemptive effort of God. He must, therefore, intimately involve himself in the affairs of this world. (Even the cloistered contemplative is called to involvement through such means as prayer.)

    We have briefly indicated that the life of the Christian involves liturgy, asceticism, the exercise of the infused virtues, prayer and action. Rounding out such a list are other traditional aids to holiness, for example, spiritual reading, examination of conscience, spiritual direction. All of these are means of expressing our life of grace in Christ. They are also ways of growing in that life. All these should be seen in their connection with the Christian's participation in the passover mystery of Christ, His death-resurrection.

    This first chapter has purposely centered the reality of the Christian life around the death-resurrection of Christ. In the remaining chapters we will expand upon the essentials we have treated briefly in these first pages. As we progress, we hope to show in detail that Christian holiness is life in Christ, for our life in Christ contains everything – our love of God, our love of men, our love of all creation. We hope to portray the Christian as one who believes from the depths of his being that to live is Christ.

        1.  Cf. Bernard Cooke, "Synoptic Presentation of the Eucharist as Covenant Sacrifice" in Theological Studies, Vol. 21, (1960), p. 36.
        2.  The Mystery of Christ is essentially one reality. Any of the individual mysteries implicitly contains the others. For a treatment of this, cf. L. Bouyer, Liturgical Piety (Notre Dame, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press, 1955), pp. 189-190.
        3.  Cf. Second Vatican Council, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 10.
        4.  Cf., for example, E. McMahon and P. Campbell, Becoming a Person in the Whole Christ (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1967).
        5.  Cf. Second Vatican Council, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 12.
        6.  Cf. Karl Rahner, Spiritual Exercises (New York: Herder & Herder, 1965) pp. 66-79.
        7.  Cf., for example, Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, No. 34.

(End of Excerpt from Response in Christ)



Excerpt from Response to God’s Love by Edward J. Carter, S.J.


                                                        Death and Resurrection


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       A common form of suffering is the experience of loneliness. Trying to cope with loneliness, in fact, seems to be one of the major problems of our day, and some think that the problem is perhaps greater in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Loneliness, of course, is not limited to urban centers, but it does seem to haunt our crowded cities in a special way. Ironically, it seems that the more populated an area becomes, the more possibilities there are for 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.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       Another type of transition involves our work-life. During the past decade, people have increasingly experienced the necessity, and sometimes the desirability, of making work or professional changeovers. Whereas in the past a person would more or less be expected to remain in the same skilled labor or professional position for the duration of his or her working years, today it is not uncommon for a person to embark upon several or more career changes. These changes, even when the desire for a change rather than a circumstance of necessity has been the catalyst, involve the inevitable difficulties that accompany the adjustment to new surroundings, different coworkers, and different responsibilities.

       Furthermore, work or professional changeovers sometimes demand a change in residence, not only to vastly different parts of the country, but even to other parts of the world. The transition that involves a change of residence, in fact, is a growing characteristic of our times. We are definitely becoming a much more mobile and transient population; however, even when persons freely seek these changes in residence, they can experience considerable hardship. One must die a bit—one must separate himself or herself from people, places, customs, landmarks that he or she has perhaps cherished over a long time. Not to feel this jolt, this separation, this dying, would mean that one possessed less than a sensitive heart.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       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.

       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
                       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
                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
                       and a burial place with evildoers,
                Though he had done no wrong
                             nor spoken any falsehood.
                                                                 Is 53:7-9

(End of Excerpt from Response to God’s Love)



Excerpt from February 15, 2002 message 

Jesus speaks:      Make a list of things that are needed so people
                                can help if they so desire.

Messenger:           A small list is this
                            1) Priestly Newsletter Book II Foreign Mailing Postage

                            2) Mass Book II  

                            3) Rosary Meditations for Little People and Elderly

                            4) Blue Book I  printing 

                            5) Prayer Manuals printing  

                            6) Holy Spirit Novena Booklet printing 

                            7) Rosary beads 

                            8) Image rosaries to sell

                            9) Pictures (photo's) to make available


                           10) Blankets of Mary's image


                           11) Videos for nursing  home program

  Mary talks to the Nursing Homes
  Video Session #3

Shepherds of Christ Ministries

P.O. Box 193, Morrow, OH 45152
toll free 1-888-211-3041
fax: 1-513-932-6791
Rosary Meditations received before the exposed Eucharist
(Instruction for Leaders Included)

                           12) Little People's Mass Book

Little People's
Mass Book

                           13) Little People's Coloring Book of the Mass


February 15, 2002 message continues

Mary speaks:               I ask you to pray for these needs on the list. Those
                                who can, can pray hourly. 

end of excerpt from February 15, 2002




February 7, 2002


To whom it may concern,

    We circulate the Priestly Newsletter that goes to 75,000 priests in the world. This has been circulated since 1994 at the direction of Fr. Edward Carter, S.J. who had a doctorate in Theology and taught at Xavier University for over thirty years and author of eighteen books on the spiritual life and many other various publications.

    Our primary purpose is to circulate this Newsletter. We are now sending three years of Newsletters in a book of 342 pages to 75,000 priests in the United States and 90 foreign countries. A special Newsletter is enclosed with Father Carter's powerful writing on Grace (2001 issue 1). This writing is also available on tape and on disc.

    Our coequal purpose is to circulate prayer manuals Father Carter compiled for prayer chapters praying for the priests, the Church and
the world.

    All of our printing and postage costs so much money.

    We operate from the Virgin Mary building in Clearwater, Florida, pictures are enclosed. We use the building to spread materials and rosaries
to encourage people to pray for the priests, the Church and the world.

    We also have a church we received from the diocese in China, Indiana where we distribute our materials and pray before the Blessed Sacrament hourly and about two hours or more at 6:20 every day. Monthly adoration before the exposed Eucharist is held for our members for 48 hours on the 12th of each month to the 14th.

    We have a third center in Morrow, Ohio which is our communication center and mailing address.

    We circulate rosaries handmade to Catholic schools all over the United States and meditation sheets and consecration cards. We try to send scapulars too when we have them. We supply many beads to our rosary makers for this.

    We had difficulty all last summer securing funds for beads for our rosary makers. We were not able to send the 100,000 or more rosaries we usually send in October and May because of funds.

    We need $10,000 every month for the loan on the Virgin Mary building. We pray nightly there usually for about two hours or more at 6:20. We pray all through the day there, hourly, many times before the image. A big prayer meeting is held on the 5th of the month. Prayers are prayed for about 4 hours for the priests, the Church and the world. We broadcast to at least 8 states and all join in the prayers, including Morrow and China.

    We have a nursing home ministry and a prison ministry. We supply coloring books of the rosary mysteries and the Mass to children.

    We desperately need funds for the printing and the rosary making operation and all the postage. Bishops from foreign countries beg for rosaries and prayer sheets with the Shepherds of Christ Prayers.

    Now we are struggling with the monthly rent on the building and the postage for the foreign mailing of the Priestly Newsletter Book II.

    We always need money for the rosary beads for the schools and the Virgin Mary building.

    We also do a Holy Spirit Novena, but the little book has been out of print for some time because of lack of funds. Teachers like to use it for confirmation. We have prayer chapters using it daily all over the world.

    We want to circulate pictures of the crucifix and Mary's image on the building, we are unable to do this because of lack of funds. Enclosed are pictures of the crucifix and the Virgin Mary building.

    A very important part of our Movement is trying to get people to say the Morning Offering. Here is a card we distribute extensively, especially to Nursing Homes and school children.


    Here is a short form of consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that we circulate extensively.


    Can you help us. It is a real shame to not even have rent on the building Mary appears on.

    We need to tell the world about the Mass. This is another important aspect of our ministry. We have so many writings about the Mass. Mass Book I with the Imprimatur—and all Fr. Carter's writings and many other writings discerned by Fr Carter before his death. 

    It is a shame with all the money in the world not to be able to get the rosary beads to the rosary makers for school children who want them to pray the rosary.

    Our movement is trying to do what Our Lady told us to do at Fatima for peace in the world.

    Can you help us?

                            Rita Ring
                            Shepherds of Christ Ministries




Messenger:  Jesus wishes that we give our hearts to Him and Mary. 

The following Valentine can be given to Jesus and Mary any day of the year. It is an act of love that would greatly please Him.

Use the following Valentine to fill in your name and the date you gave it to Him.


I _________________ give my heart to
You Jesus and Mary on this day

I promise to help spread the devotion to
the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.





The Story of the Crucifix Video

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Nursing Home Mass Video

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connection, you should be able to watch the movie live.

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click here to download the Nursing Home and Homebound Mass video (12.3 MB)



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SofC LogoCopyright © 2002 Shepherds of Christ.
Rights for non-commercial reproduction granted:
May be copied in its entirety, but neither re-typed nor edited.
Translations are welcome but they must be reviewed for moral and 
theological accuracy by a source approved by Shepherds of Christ Ministries 
before any distribution takes place. Please contact us for more information.
All scripture quotes are from the New Jerusalem Bible, July 1990, published by Doubleday.
April 2, 2002
Contact Information for Shepherds of Christ

Shepherds of Christ Ministries
PO Box 193
Morrow, Ohio 45152-0193

Telephone: (toll free) 1-888-211-3041 or (513) 932-4451
FAX: (513) 932-6791