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.
April 4, 2002
|April 5th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 2 Period I.
for April 5th is Sorrowful.
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 5, 6, 7, 2002
come to Clearwater, FLORIDA.
excerpt from March 3, 2002 message
Messenger: There will be a special gathering
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
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
Bookstore open after the prayer service.
April 7, 2002
12:00 - 1:00 Angelus, Discussion about materials (books, etc.)
(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
Bookstore open after the prayer service.
April 4, 2002
for the priests and the
renewal of the
Church and the world.
April 4, 2002 message continues
Messenger:Pray with us at
April 4, 2002 message continues
Church is so dear to us.
The Church is the bride of Christ.
Excerpt from Priestly Newsletter
2001 Issue #2
The Church is the Bride of Christ
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. (Jn 10:11-15)
As the bride of Christ we partake most fully in offering sacrifice with one another all day as we unite to the Mass and lay down our lives in union with Him.
The Church is sacrament. The Church is one with Christ. The Church is His Bride. As a body we unite in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and pray in union with Him. It is through His mediation that tremendous grace is released on the earth. We are the bride of Christ. He is the Chief Priest and Victim. We partake more fully in the sacrifice. We live the paschal mystery of death and resurrection in our lives. We tap the font of life. We unite to Him as His holy spouse. We are the members of His Church. We are the brides of Christ. We love Him. There is a holy union between us and our Spouse all through the day.
EVERY ACTION–EVERY PRAYER IN OUR LIVES IS UNITED TO THE MASS–IT IS A FONT OF GOD’S GRACE.
THE DIVINE BRIDEGROOM GAVE HIS LIFE ON THE CROSS AND HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD VICTORIOUS ON THE THIRD DAY. The sacrifice of Calvary is sacramentally made present in the Mass today. We unite to it pleading as a body for ourselves, the Church and the world. We beg for grace from our Divine Bridegroom. As members of the Church we live as His spouse our bridal union all day.
Christ is Chief Priest and Mediator. We are His flock, the ones He came to save.
EVERY PRAYER, EVERY ACT when done to serve our God should be united to the Mass, so that great grace will be released.
From the newsletter 1999 Issue 4:
The Son of God became Man for our salvation. Yes, He became incarnate. He took to Himself a real human nature. Because Jesus possessed a real human nature, He could die for us. As the Good Shepherd, He has laid down His life for us, His sheep.
There are indeed many thoughts which come to mind when we reflect upon the truth that the Son of God took to Himself a human nature and dwelt among us.
St. John puts it very simply in his Gospel: The Word was made flesh, he lived among us... (Jn 1:14) Yes, John states it so succinctly, yet these few words contain a wealth of meaning. We should expect nothing else, since this brief statement of the fourth Gospel points out the central event of all human history. These words sum up God’s creative and redemptive activity. They sum up God’s process of self-communication to us.
At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 17)
The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators. On the contrary, through a proper appreciation of the rites and prayers they should participate knowingly, devoutly, and actively. They should be instructed by God’s word and be refreshed at the table of the Lord’s body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn to offer themselves too. Through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever closer union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 48)
Through the Eucharistic Sacrifice Christ the Lord desired to set before us in a very special way this remarkable union whereby we are united one with another and with our divine Head, a union that no word of praise can ever sufficiently express. For in this sacrifice the sacred ministers act not only as the representative of our Saviour, but as the representative of the whole Mystical Body and of each one of the faithful. Again, in this act of sacrifice, the faithful of Christ, united by the common bond of devotion and prayer, offer to the eternal Father through the hands of the priest, whose prayer alone has made it present on the altar, the Immaculate Lamb, the most acceptable victim of praise and propitiation for the Church’s universal need. Moreover, just as the divine Redeemer, while dying on the Cross, offered Himself to the eternal Father as Head of the whole human race, so now, ‘in this clean oblation’ He not only offers Himself as Head of the Church to His heavenly Father but in Himself His mystical members as well. He embraces them all, yes, even the weaker and more ailing members with the deepest love of His Heart. (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis AAS. XXXV, 232-233)
Pope Paul VI instructs us in his encyclical, The Mystery of Faith: "The Catholic Church has always devoutly guarded as a most precious treasure the mystery of faith, that is, the ineffable gift of the Eucharist which she received from Christ her Spouse as a pledge of His immense love, and during the Second Vatican Council in a new and solemn demonstration she professed her faith and veneration for this mystery. When dealing with the restoration of the sacred liturgy, the Fathers of the council, by reason of their pastoral concern for the whole Church, considered it of the highest importance to exhort the faithful to participate actively with sound faith and with the utmost devotion in the celebration of this Most Holy Mystery, to offer it with the priest to God as a sacrifice for their own salvation and for that of the whole world, and to find in it spiritual nourishment.
For if the sacred liturgy holds the first place in the life of the Church, the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life by which we are cleansed and strengthened to live not for ourselves but for God, and to be united in love among ourselves...
"It is to be desired that the faithful, every day and in great numbers, actively participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass, receive Holy Communion with a pure heart, and give thanks to Christ Our Lord for so great a gift...5
Ephesians 1: 11-14
And it is in him
that we have received our heritage,
marked out beforehand as we were,
under the plan of the One
who guides all things
as he decides by his own will,
chosen to be,
for the praise of his glory,
the people who
would put their hopes in Christ
before he came.
Now you too, in him,
have heard the message of the truth
and the gospel of your salvation,
and having put your trust in it
you have been stamped with the seal
of the Holy Spirit of the Promise,
who is the pledge of our inheritance,
for the freedom of the people
whom God has taken for his own,
for the praise of his glory.
Days pass and we grow older.
Some of us wither and die.
Some are killed in car wrecks.
Today is the day to turn our lives over to God.
help us pass out these little cards to all souls.
I give you my life in union
These are available from Shepherds of Christ free of charge.
We include the following excerpt and explanation from the Spirituality Handbook. This was written by Fr. Carter.
A Way of Spiritual Life
The way of spiritual life proposed to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates is centered in consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. All aspects of the spiritual life discussed below should be viewed as means to help members develop their lives in consecration to Christ, the Sacred Heart, and to Mary, the Immaculate Heart.
An Overview of the Spiritual Life
The Christian life is rooted in the great event of the Incarnation. We must consequently always focus our gaze upon Christ, realizing that everything the Father wishes to tell us has been summed up in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It only remains for us, then, to strive to understand with greater insight the inexhaustible truth of the Word Incarnate: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, Whom He appointed the heir of all things, through Whom also He created the world." (Heb. 1: 1-2)
What was the condition of the human race at the time of Christ’s coming? In some ways, people were much the same as we are today. There were those just being born into this world of human drama. There were those who, in death, were leaving it, some of whom had grasped but little of life’s meaning. There were those who were healthy and vigorous. There were those who were sick and lame. Some especially felt the burdens, the grief, the suffering of the human condition. Others were ebullient and desired all the pleasures life could provide. There was some good being accomplished. Immorality, however, was rampant. What St. Paul tells us concerning the time that immediately followed Christ’s existence certainly could also be applied to the time of His entrance into the world. It is, in short, an ugly picture that St. Paul depicts for us (Rom. 1: 22-32).
Into such a depraved condition Jesus entered, with a full and generous Heart, to lead the human race from the depths of sinfulness to the vibrant richness of a new life in Himself. Through His enfleshment, this Christ became the focal point of all history. The authentic hopes and dreams of the human family, now so overshadowed by the ugliness of sin, came converging upon this Christ. He would gather them up in Himself, give them a new luster and brilliance and dynamism, and would lead the human family back to the Father in the Holy Spirit.
Christ was radically to release us from the dominion of sin and elevate us to a new level of existence. This life Christ has given us is not a type of superstructure which is erected atop human existence. Although nature and grace are distinct, they do not lie side by side as separate entities. Rather, grace permeates nature. The Christian is one graced person. The Christian is one who has been raised up, caught up, into a deeper form of life in Christ Jesus. Nothing that is authentically human in the life of the Christian has been excluded from this new existence. Whatever is really human in the life of the Christian is meant to be an expression of the Christ-life. The simple but deep joys of family life, the wonderment at nature’s beauty, the warm embrace of a mother for her child, the agony of crucial decision making, the success or frustration that is experienced in one’s work, the joy of being well received by others, and the heartache of being misunderstood--all these experiences are intended to be caught up in Christ and made more deeply human because of Him.
Jesus has come, then, not to destroy anything that is authentically human, but to perfect it by leading it to a graced fulfillment. This is the meaning of the Word’s becoming flesh, the meaning of the Incarnation. The more God-like we become through Christ, the more human we become.
We, through our incorporation into Christ which occurs at Baptism, are meant to relive the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In doing so, we are not only accomplishing our own salvation, but we are assisting in the salvation of others also. The Incarnation continues all the time. Christ, of course, is the one Who fundamentally continues the Incarnation. But He enlists our help. The world no longer sees Jesus, no longer is able to reach out and touch Him. We are the ones who now, in some way, make Christ visible and tangible. In union with the invisible, glorified Christ, and depending on Him as our source of life, we continue the Incarnation in its visible and temporal dimensions. This is our great privilege. This is our great responsibility.
The Christian is initiated into the mystery of Christ, into his or her role in prolonging the Incarnation, through Baptism. In the words of St. Paul: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6: 3-4).
It is not sufficient, however, that we be incorporated into Christ through Baptism. All forms of life require nourishment. So, too, our life in Christ must be continually nourished. How can we continually keep in contact with Christ? There are various ways. We contact Christ in a most special way through the liturgy, above all in the Eucharistic liturgy. Here the entire course of salvation history, as centered in Jesus, is sacramentally renewed and continued. Through our most special and most personal meeting with Jesus in the Mass, we are more deeply incorporated into Christ. Also, we should remember that all the sacraments make up part of the Church’s liturgy.
The reading of Scripture provides another special opportunity for meeting Jesus. This is true for both Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament prefigures the New Testament and leads to it. It is obvious, however, that we meet Christ especially in the pages of the New Testament. How true it is to say that not to be familiar with Scripture is not to know Jesus properly. We should resolve to read from Scripture daily.
We also meet Jesus in our interaction with others. Everyone we meet, everyone we serve, is in the image of Jesus. We have to take the means to grow in this awareness. If I truly believe that everyone has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, how should I treat everyone?
These, then, are some of the ways we keep in contact with Jesus. Common to the various ways of meeting Jesus is a certain degree of prayerful reflection. Our contact with Jesus in the liturgy, in Scripture, and in our interaction with others, and so forth, will not be all that it should be unless we are persons of prayer. The light and strength of prayer enables us to keep in contact with Jesus as we should.
We live out our Christ-life in an atmosphere of love. Indeed, the life Jesus has given us is centered in love. It has its origins in the mysterious love of God: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3: 16).
Our new life in Jesus has arisen out of God’s fathomless love. Christ, in His descent into human flesh, has established a milieu of love. The life He came to give can flourish only in the framework of love. Indeed, we can summarize the meaning of the Christian life by stating that it is our loving response to God’s love. The pierced Heart of Jesus, this Heart which shed its last drop of blood in the greatest love for each one of us, is the symbol of God’s tremendous love for us. Christ’s Heart also calls us to respond by giving ourselves in love to God and neighbor. Yes, Jesus invites us to respond to God’s love by giving ourselves in love to Him in an ever closer union. The more closely we are united to Him, the greater is our capacity to love God and neighbor. The more closely we are united with Jesus, the more closely He unites us to the Father in the Holy Spirit, with Mary our Mother at our side.
1. Scripture quotations are taken from The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, St. Ignatius Press, San Francisco.
We must turn ourselves over to Jesus. Jesus is our Savior. We should never doubt Him. He is with us. The days go by with such rapidness, if we loved and served God we will be with Him forever in heaven.
There is an end to all of this and our reward awaits. It seems hard to think of this as ever ending, but time is so short. Soon our life here will be over.
We need to fight a good fight for Jesus. We need to help all we can to know Jesus. Our days here will not go on forever, life is so short compared to all eternity.
Some day if we love and serve God we will be with Him in heaven. Our life is so short compared to eternity. Here today, gone tomorrow. All that remains is how we choose to live, for God or against God!
We are responsible for all our time and our actions and how we lived in service of God. It sounds simple but people alive on earth in sin cannot see anything else but what they are doing now.
Satan blinds men into thinking this life will go on and on when, in fact, it is so short compared to eternity, just a short while. It is so easy to see. Why do we get so caught up in this life here? It is so short. The batting of an eye, the dropping of a pin, and our life is over and eternity awaits. Do these short moments mean so much to us?
Time is so short. Our time is so precious because it determines our eternal life. So short, indeed. We must listen to the voice of our Savior. What we do, how we act, are so small when compared to eternity! This is no laughing matter. It is our soul that is at stake. It is our life forever and ever. Is a few years of life, holding on to such insignificant "stuff" worth all eternity? It is so simple. Love God, love one another. We must put Him first and everything falls into line! It is so simple, but so hard to live by for so many.
Sky and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Luke 21:33)
Here today, gone tomorrow. We must follow the Good Shepherd. He will lead us. He is the Light of the World. He makes the crooked ways straight and He nourishes our souls. We do not know the glories that await him who serves the Lord. We must hold tight to Jesus. We will receive a divine reward forever. May the name of Jesus be exalted in heaven and on earth. The trumpet blares and the Lord ascends His throne. All know His glory. Their lives were not in vain who served Him while in their lives. Their rewards are as golden gems whose splendor no one can comprehend.
Heaven and earth may vanish like smoke, but our deeds will not be forgotten. We must store up treasures in the life hereafter by doing good works. We must keep our eyes on our Father in heaven. Our Father loves us so much. All will be made open in the end and our life will be spent in the hereafter. What a reward for such a short test!
Oh, Jesus, praise to You from the heights. You are so good and loving. We trust in You and Your mercy. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Sing the song Turn to Me written by John Foley, S.J.
Through Him, With Him
and In Him
First Friday, March 6, 1998
My beloved Spouse, the Bridegroom of my soul,
The days go by with such swiftness, yet my focus is entirely on being one with Thee. The days fade in and out in shades of lights and darks, some days I receive immense insight into Your mysteries, some days I am left to tremendous suffering, wanting You so deeply in my soul and not experiencing Your favor.
On this First Friday, I recall vividly the vision of Your precious Heart I hold in my heart. I see it clearly, red and filled with fire, and I know the warmth and glow of Your sacred divine love.
Oh, my Sacred Heart, indeed, Thy love is most sacred. Yet even though I do not ponder as I should on the endless fires of love emitted from your treasured Heart, I have a constant awareness of this love which leads me to march forth in this battle of helping to win souls over for the Kingdom.
Little is accomplished if I nurse my wounds on those dark days and sit in a corner waiting for a great favor from You.
I walk those shaded days as You walked with the cross on Your back, but my awareness of Your Father and His plan for salvation is so limited, and I struggle tremendously as I am pressed on as I travel on my journey to the end of the day.
And then a day of glory comes and You look upon me, my Bridegroom, and give me great favors and allow me to have a day of resurrection from the doom and the struggle.
And how did He walk the earth? He walked it too, in dark and light days. Days in which they chased Him and wanted to kill Him, in which they called Him crazy, in which He sweat the saving Blood because of His anguish, in which He wept, in which He loved Mary His Mother and Mary Magdalene, in which He raised His dear friend Lazarus from the dead, in which He preached about the Kingdom to His followers.
Days of light, days of darkness, but He entered the tomb and came forth victorious in the end.
He rose to give us life, His wounds were glorified, the victory was won.
My Bridegroom, You give to me Yourself this day. I am one in the glorified Lord in the most intimate way. The banquet is prepared. The Lamb has been slain. Now we reap the glory of the risen Lord. We receive the gift of life in Him.
LIGHT and darkness. He is the Bread of Life, He comes to feed the starved soul with Himself. Our most treasured gift, our most treasured Friend, Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of our soul, gives Himself as a sacrifice that we will share in His life most abundantly.
I love You, Jesus Christ my Bridegroom, come and possess my soul.
Excerpt from Priestly Newsletter 2001 Issue #2
Excerpt from Response to God’s Love, Chapter 3
Consequently, let us consider three aspects—the world, the Church, and the individual Christian—all of which are in a state of becoming.
End of excerpt from Response to God’s Love
Excerpt from Response to God’s Love
Our incorporation into the mystery of Christ at baptism initiates us into a life that God intends to develop into full maturity. Our life in Christ as guided by the Spirit is not a static given, a life that is received in baptism and then simply clung to. It is not a life that we are merely to avoid losing through serious sin. Rather, it is our task to develop this life through a process of evolutionary growth. God has truly placed us in a situation of becoming. Our personal uniqueness is meant to gradually unfold into its full stature in Christ as we increasingly fulfill God's will in deepening faith, hope, and love.
For each individual, the process of becoming is intertwined with God's plan of growth for all creation. To understand the individual Christian's situation as one of process, of becoming, it is obviously helpful, then, to realize that he or she is part of a larger picture of becoming. Consequently, let us consider three aspects—the world, the Church, and the individual Christian—all of which are in a state of becoming.
The swirling pace of today's rapidly changing world is unavoidably evident. If we were tempted to think all this change might be an illusion, however, there are statistics to assure us that today's world is indeed undergoing change—or process—at a phenomenal rate. Some of these statistics include the following: Before the year 1500, Europe published 1000 books per year; by 1950, the rate had swelled to 120,000 per year; by the mid-1960s the overall world figure was 1000 titles per day. This affords us some idea of the vast knowledge explosion that has characterized our times and, indeed, is one of the most important influences in our fast-changing society. The following is another statistic: A period of 5000 years elapsed between the first shoeing of a horse by a blacksmith and the first guiding by an engineer of a different kind of horse—the iron horse, or locomotive; only 170 years elapsed, however, between that first locomotive engineer and the first jet pilot who shattered the sound barrier. These are a few of the numerous statistics that could be cited to demonstrate that our world is in rapid process.
The Church herself attests to a world in a state of profound becoming. Vatican II has stated: "Today, the human race is passing through a new stage of its history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world" (The Church in the Modern World, No. 4); and, "Thus, the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one" (No. 5).
God has called mankind to collaborate with him in the unfolding of creation. The fact that God has placed a creative urge deep within mankind is evidenced by the myriad achievements of the human race in the areas of science and technology, the humanities, art and culture, government, and so forth. Men and women constantly surpass themselves in what they are capable of achieving. Not too many years ago, landing a man on the moon was not even considered a serious possibility; now, however, it is just as possible as a jet flight to Paris. Contemporary mankind's capacity to develop the material world and other aspects of the temporal order is such that it staggers the imagination and makes one almost dizzy in an attempt to keep abreast of the latest advances.
This evolutionary process of the world, and the human capacity to increase its almost torrid pace, cannot be questioned. The fact that this capacity is a God-given talent likewise cannot be questioned. What can be questioned, however, is whether contemporary men and women will properly use this gift and thereby assist the temporal order to evolve to the authentic good of all mankind.
Today's Christian must take inspiration from the following words of Scripture:
Jesus replied, "Scripture has it:
'Not on bread alone is man to live
but on every utterance that comes
from the mouth of God.' "
Jesus reminds us that we must keep material progress in proper perspective. The material universe is a gift from God that is intended to serve men and women in the quest for their temporal and eternal destiny, a destiny that is centered in mankind's spiritual nature. To say this is not to falsely dichotomize humanity or to deny the bodily dimension; it is merely to insist that the total person is meant to be controlled by his or her spirit and, from this spiritual nature, is actuated to be—and to become—what the Creator has designed.
Human history is replete with examples of how men and women have, at times, abused material progress. An ungodly desire for the material has been the cause of unjust wars, murders, thefts, cheating in business, and the destruction of families by greed. The list could be extended, of course, but one final observation is sufficient, namely, that men and women have often allowed the inordinate desire for material gain to quench their innate desire for spiritual values. As often as men and women have done so, they have sold their souls for swine husks.
Christians can be a force in properly shaping the temporal order in its state of becoming. By carrying Christian principles into the marketplace, Christians can help correctly direct the material world in its evolution. Christians cannot afford to be thwarted by temptations such as, "What's the use? What difference does it make what I do or don't do?" The contemporary examples of certain groups or individuals who have had a profound influence on society by bringing to light injustices and deficiencies in the present structure of things have become legion. What is more, the efforts of these groups and/or individuals in actually achieving a change for the better is also a matter of record. Likewise, each Christian, in some way or another, can also be effective if he or she is willing to pay the price. The fact that his or her influence may often remain a very hidden one does not make it less effective.
The Christian, in fact, has a duty to help properly shape the temporal order in its process of becoming. The Christian also has a duty to witness to the ultimate point of destiny toward which this process is evolving—the omega point who is Jesus himself, the center and culmination of all human history. Through the Christian's proper encounter with the world in process, he or she is supposed to be a reminder, as Christ himself was, of the world's ultimate outcome in its evolutionary thrust. This final point of the world's development will be the entrance of the temporal order into the eternal age of things; the world will be swept up by Christ in his second coming and will remain, for all eternity, in the transformation that it will receive at this parousia.
In giving this particular kind of witness to the world in process, the committed Christian is a reminder, however silent, that, despite mankind's greatest genius, the secular order cannot develop into a Utopia on earth. People have so often had the false expectation that a secular city can be established that will amount to a heaven on earth. So long as people persist in such unrealistic expectations, they will be disappointed. It is interesting to speculate whether those who are living today, surrounded by the material comforts and advantages of an incredibly advanced technological age, are really any happier than those who had lived in ages when these material advantages were absent. If present material progress has not brought men and women closer to God and to one another, then it surely has not made them authentically happier. Yes, the temporal order is surely meant to evolve for the sake of our greater happiness; however, the temporal order can only evolve properly and thus achieve its true purpose, if it refuses to be closed in upon itself in an attitude of absolute autonomy. Rather, the temporal order can only achieve its true purpose if it opens up in evolutionary process to its God and to the God-intended completion of its evolution that is in the eternal order of things.
As we turn our attention to the Church, we again encounter the reality of becoming. In the post-Vatican II Church, we are all well aware of a Church that is in process, a Church that is reaching out toward that which is yet to be achieved, toward that more perfect realization of the ideal that Jesus has delineated for it. The Church is a mustard seed that is meant to gradually evolve into that full stature which Christ intends: "He proposed still another parable: 'The reign of God is like a mustard seed which someone took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest seed of all, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants' " (Mt. 13:31-32).
The concept of the Church as a pilgrim Church is closely allied with the idea of the Church in the process of becoming. The pilgrim Church is the fulfillment of God's people from Old Testament times. Under the leadership of Moses, the Jewish people traveled through the desert toward the Promised Land. The journey was, however, not always a smooth one; there were sufferings, both physical and spiritual, as well as numerous infidelities against God—which, occasionally, were extremely flagrant violations of his covenant law. Good prevailed, however, sufficiently for the promised goal to be achieved.
God's people of New Testament times are also on the way; their Promised Land is the heavenly Jerusalem. The distance thus far traveled, however, presents a mixed picture. There has been a dark and ugly aspect of the Church's history; there have been jealousies, for example, as well as power politics in high places, and material greed; disloyal popes, bishops, and priests; laity who have, in numerous ways, betrayed the name of Jesus in the marketplace; apathy and a lack of concern for the world's problems.
This evil dimension of the Church's history would be tragically disheartening if there were not a brighter side, but, through the grace of God, the good in the Church has been more powerful than the evil. There have been numerous martyrs who are definite proof that Jesus' love for an individual, and that individual's love for Him, can take such deep possession of the person that death, even a death that might be exacted through the most horrendous torments, can be deemed a privilege and even eagerly embraced as the passageway to complete and eternal union with Christ. There have also been many men and women of all vocations who wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to Christ and lovingly gave themselves in service to mankind. It is true that the good they accomplished was supported by both Christ's love and others' love for them, yet it was not always easy. Disappointments, misunderstandings, periods of agonizing suffering—these were also indelibly woven into the accounts of their lives.
The Church cannot content herself with the good that her members have accomplished. The Church is still in the process of becoming; she is still a participant in an ongoing pilgrimage. Her members must have a spirit of openness, a venturesome attitude; they can never afford to settle down in a posture of self-satisfaction. There is still so much good yet to be accomplished. But how is it to be accomplished?
We cannot be sure of all the future possibilities for achieving the work that Jesus has entrusted to the Church. Not too long ago, for example, how many would have thought that the principle of collegiality would today be such a dynamic element in the Church? That it is so is evidenced in many ways—through synods of bishops; priests' senates; diocesan councils composed of laity, religious, and priests; parish councils; and a more democratic process at work in religious orders and congregations. This is not to say that the principle of collegiality is being implemented in a perfect way; however, it is apparent that, relatively speaking, the Church has made giant strides toward the ideal. As for projecting into the future, however, we must be aware that there may be completely new experiences for which the Spirit is preparing us. We cannot, therefore, harbor a too static view of the Church. We should not think that the more unchangeable the Church is, the better she serves her purpose. There are both unchangeable and changeable dimensions of the Church. While we loyally hold true to the unchangeable aspects, we must at the same time give proper attention to the changeable dimensions. To do otherwise would actually be to refuse to be open to the Spirit in a proper fullness. A Church in the process of becoming—a pilgrim Church—must, then, balance her concern for both the changeless and the changing aspects of her existence. Only in this way can she be both stable and flexible enough to properly serve her own members and the entire human race.
In discussing both the world and the Church in a process of becoming, much has already been said about the individual Christian's state of becoming, because the Christian's life is inevitably caught up in the world's and the Church's existence. It is well, at this point, to more directly consider the individual Christian as a person who is in the process of growth, of becoming more what God destines him or her to be.
We are meant to be in a continuing process of becoming through a deeper radicalization of faith, hope, and love. True, one dimension of the grace-life is the fact that it is a stable given. It is not, however, a static given. We have to thrust toward that which is yet to be achieved. We are meant to be in a process of becoming the "more."
Full maturity in Christ is not suddenly achieved. Even after a relative maturity is attained, this maturity can always take deeper root. This gradual achievement in spiritual maturity can be viewed as a process of self-encounter, a process whereby we gain the proper, graced self-control amid many struggles. It is a becoming through an encounter with the true self, through a gradual achievement of that self-identity and uniqueness that God intends. This becoming is achieved through a path of progress that is not always perfectly upward: there is the reaching out for good, but also the succumbing to evil; there is the discovery of strengths and talents, but also the painful awareness of weaknesses and limitations. There are, in short, successes and failures. There is joy—sometimes intense joy—over what is achieved in personal growth; however, there are also periods of discouragement—sometimes moments of near despair—because further growth seems impossible. All this happens because the process of becoming has inherent within it a constant newness that is linked to a certain sameness. We are always the same persons, but always different persons, too.
Moreover, the process of becoming through a proper encounter with the true self takes place not in a vacuum, but rather, within the framework of an encounter with the material world, with human persons, and with God. The encounter with the material world—and, indeed, with the entire temporal order—is meant to be characterized by a correct use of creation, by periodic renunciation, and by a spirit of creativity. The correct use of material things enables the person to grow by respecting the fact that the bodily aspect of his or her being has situated him or her in a material world that is meant to serve the person's needs. The fact that persons are in part material beings means that one aspect of God's plan for men and women intends that they grow, that is to say, that they become, through the proper encounter with, or use of, the material.
As long as men and women are on this earth, there will always be in them both a sinful tendency and a thrust toward good, and, consequently, they do not always properly relate to the material. For an individual to achieve a correct use of material things and other temporal values, he or she must periodically renounce them. At times, becoming means not becoming in a certain way, not encountering this thing or this value.
Also, the material and temporal order offers wide possibilities for individual creative instincts. By shaping the raw stuff of creation through the various uses of one's creative forces, a person can become that which he or she was not. The imprint of one's creative image where it did not previously exist is a reflection of a certain development, or becoming, within the individual person.
As significant as the encounter with the material world may be, however, it is obviously not as important as the encounter with human persons. God intends that so much of our spiritual growth occur as a result of our proper encounter with others. So much of our growth toward mature personhood occurs in the give-and-take of personal encounter. Until rather recent years, spiritual teaching placed a great emphasis upon the correct performance of certain practices. That appeal, however, did not always properly emphasize the fact that those practices were important only to the extent that they deepened the Christian's personal relationship with God and his or her fellow men and women.
The selflessness that is required for authentic relationship to the other readily points out why encounter with persons is such an important contributing factor to true becoming. The Christian life is primarily a going out of ourselves to God and to human persons. This transcendence of self is not always easily achieved, however, precisely because it involves a process of overcoming the strong thrust of selfishness. Although going out of self to God is obviously the primordial relationship for the Christian, it is interesting to note that, through the words of Scripture, God tells us that our relationship to our neighbor is the criterion by which we are to judge our love for him:
If anyone says, "My love is fixed on God,"
yet hates his brother,
he is a liar.
One who has no love for the brother
he has seen
cannot love the God he has not seen.
—1 Jn 4:20
Going out to others, serving them, being for them, and loving them is a dynamic process. There is no set pattern that can perfectly serve all this. Surely there are certain established Christian principles and truths that govern our encountering and serving others; however, these truths have a certain flexibility built into them so that they can be assimilated to meet the particular situations of unique individuals. Our encounters with others—whether it be a case of relating to a partner in marriage or to a friend or to those who are recipients of our service or whatever—give proof to each of us, according to his or her own experience, that there can be no question of a static pattern of behavior to govern personal relationships. There is always the new, the unexpected, the surprising, or the significant change in behavior that must be considered along with the more stable elements that comprise personal encounter. Becoming by going out to the other truly is a dynamic process.
If an individual person grows toward Christian maturity through a proper encounter with material creation and other facets of the temporal order, as well as through encounters with others, individuals must especially grow, or become, through an encounter with God. Growth through encounters with both material creation and other persons is rooted in our maturing through the relationship with the great source of all becoming—namely, God himself. He himself is infinite being, and he constantly wants to communicate himself to us so that, drawing from his infinite source of life, we might become more what we are meant to be—more of what he desires that we become.
God draws us on to greater fulfillment according to the pattern of Christ's example and teaching. There is no other way according to which we progress to spiritual maturity. There is no Christian perfection that we can acquire, no possible development of our Christian personalities unless it occurs through Christ Jesus. The Spirit, however, does not superimpose this pattern of Christ upon us in an artificial way. The Spirit does not shape us according to the image of Christ without deep concern for our uniqueness; we are all different, and the Spirit supremely respects this fact. Furthermore, if the Spirit is of such an attitude, so must we be; we must not box ourselves in, all trying to fit into the exact same mold and maintaining that this is necessary because we must all follow the same Christ. The pattern of Christ is the creation of an infinitely wise God. He has arranged that the one pattern of Christ is also a pattern that has as many possibilities for unique assimilation as there are individual persons.
We all follow the one and same Christ and we must all have an attitude of complete openness, of expectancy concerning the unpredictable, an attitude that will allow the Spirit to lead us according to his way of forming us in the image of Christ. At times we might have a too minutely preconceived idea of how we will become in Christ and we are, therefore, somewhat rigid about the whole process. Although the following of Christ is basically the same for all, how can we be sure what particular path of imitation—mapped out in rather complete detail—the Spirit has prepared for each of us? We can certainly be tempted to think that we know with considerable certainty the way in which our becoming in Christ should logically evolve. We must learn, however, to balance an attitude of stability that is rooted in a certain way of life, a certain way of following Christ, with a spiritual freedom that makes us really open to what the Spirit wants of us, however surprising, novel, or unusual this may seem.
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.
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
talks to the Nursing Homes
12) Little People's Mass Book
13) Little People's Coloring Book of the Mass
February 15, 2002 message continues
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
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?
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.
MY VALENTINE FOR JESUS AND MARY
AND THE WORLD
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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click here to download The Story of the Crucifix video
Nursing Home Mass Video
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click here to download the Nursing Home and Homebound Mass video (12.3 MB)
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