Addendum…

As providence would have it, after posting I listened to Fr. Iannuzzi’s July 11, 2020 podcast on Radio Maria. He explains how this kind of message from Luisa’s writings must be interpreted in light of the context. He explains that when Luisa describes the sufferings she carries for Jesus, it is because she has longed to suffer with him for the world and that is why he would, for example, thrust a spear into her heart. He does not impose suffering on us if we are not called to it. If we are called to it, we long for it in a holy way.

For most of us, we are more likely to pray like Jesus in the garden, “Lord if it is your will, let this cup pass from me.” On a good day we will add, “Yet, not my will but yours be done.”

God is love and comfort. Glory and praise to our God! Alleluia!

This topic is not the main theme of the podcast but it certainly speaks to it. I invite you to listen to the podcast. It is very rich.

Some excerpts to challenge and encourage us…

Blessings dear friends. I have come across a few items that I found challenging, yet encouraging. God be praised in all things. He is near! Alleluia!

Divine Mercy Daily

Help Us to Reach Sinners

Meditation:

Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands. Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart … when will it beat for Me? Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. And if they bring all My graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want (Diary, 1728).

My Prayer Response:

Lord Jesus, since no one can escape Your hand, teach us and help us to reach sinners with the good news of Your hand of mercy rather than Your hand of justice. Help us to reach the world desperately in need of Your mercy.

*The words of Jesus appear in boldface type

TheDivineMercy.org/dmdsignup

Catholic Exchange recently featured an article titled Padre Pio on the Battle of Prayer, by Kathleen Beckman in which she excerpts some of Padre Pio’s letters and uses them to launch a prayer. Here is a small sample. I have included the first few below but there are eight excerpts in total and I invite you to read the whole article for your edification.

1. Do not turn in on yourself as so often happens, unfortunately. In the midst of trials which may afflict you, just place your confidence in our Supreme Good in the knowledge that He takes more care of us than a mother takes of her child. (Pg. 260, Letter 36, Pietrelcina, 26-11-14)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I am tempted to self-reliance in the spiritual battle, please help me to refocus on your victory. When I resist being lifted onto the cross with you, graciously let your strong arms uphold me. Teach me sacrificial love by devotion to your cross. Kindly strengthen me in all trials so that my faith, hope and love prevail by grace.

2. Don’t allow any sadness to dwell in your soul, for sadness prevents the Holy Spirit from acting freely. If ever you insist on being sad, then let it be a holy sadness at the sight of the evil that is spreading more and more in society nowadays. How many poor are every day deserting God, our Supreme Good! (Pg. 260, Letter 36, Pietrelcina, 26-11-14)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the reason for my joy, and will never abandon me to my enemies. When the oppressive darts of sadness, darkness, doubt, discouragement, or fear come at me, stir up the Holy Spirit within me that I may be filled with the light of love, prayer, praise, gratitude, and remembrance of the joy to which I am called with you.

3. To refuse to submit one’s own judgement to that of others, especially to those who are quite expert in the field in question, is a sign that we possess very little docility and an all too obvious sign of secret pride. (Pg. 260, Letter 36, Pietrelcina, 26-11-14)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to honor those people whom you have placed in authority. Protect me, Lord, from secret pride; make me sensitive to its poison. The height of pride is when my heart withdraws from you, my Maker. Kindly, preserve me Lord, from folly and vice.

4. The soul that is destined to reign with Jesus Christ in eternal glory, then, must be remodeled by the blows of hammer and chisel. But what are these blows of the hammer and chisel by which the divine Artist prepares the stone, the chosen soul? These strokes of the chisel are the shadows, fears, temptations, spiritual torments and agitation, with a dash of desolation and even physical pain. (Pg. 97, Letter 8, Pietrelcina, 19-5-14)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant that in tests of faith, and trials of love, I cling to you in faith because you are with me. I desire to entrust myself entirely to your goodness and protection. I ask only for the grace to never displease you. When I fall into temptation, I plead for the grace to get up and start again.

I give the last word to Luisa…

Book of Heaven, Volume 12, April 7, 1919
Effects of the Divine Will. Threats of chastisements.

Continuing in my usual state, my sweet Jesus came all tired, in the act of asking for my help; and leaning His Heart on mine, He made me feel His pains. Each pain I felt was capable of giving me death, but Jesus, sustaining me, gave me the strength not to die. Then, looking at me, He told me: “My daughter, patience. In certain days your pains are necessary to Me, more than ever, so that the whole world may not be reduced to a flame. Therefore, I want to make you suffer more.” And with a lance which He had in His hand, He ripped my heart open. I suffered very much, but I felt happy, thinking that Jesus was sharing His pains with Me, and pouring Himself out with me He could spare the peoples the imminent and terrible chastisements that will burst out. Then, after some hours of intense pains, my lovable Jesus told me: “My beloved daughter, you suffer very much. Come, then, into my Will to take refreshment, and let us pray together for poor humanity.”

I don’t know how, I found myself in the immensity of the Divine Volition, in the arms of Jesus, and I repeated after Him all that He was saying in a low voice… I will give some idea of what He was saying, because it is impossible for me to say everything. I remember that in the Will of Jesus I could see all of His thoughts, all the good He had done to us with His Intelligence, and how all human intelligences received life from His mind. But – oh God, what abuse they did – how many offenses! And I said: ‘Jesus, I multiply my thoughts in your Will, to give to each one of your thoughts the kiss of a divine thought, an adoration, a recognition of You, a reparation, a love of divine thoughts, as if another Jesus were doing it. This, in the name of all and for all the human thoughts, past, present and future; and I intend to compensate even for the intelligences of lost souls. I want that the glory on the part of the creatures be complete, and that no one miss the roll call; and whatever they do not do, I do it in your Will, to give You divine and complete glory.”

Then, looking at me, Jesus was waiting, as if He wanted a reparation to His eyes. And I said: ‘Jesus, I multiply myself in your gazes, so that I too may have as many gazes for as many times as You have looked at the creature with love. I multiply myself in your tears, to cry, me too, for all the sins of the creatures, to be able to give You gazes of divine love and divine tears in the name of all; to give You complete glory and reparation for all the gazes of all creatures.’

Then, Jesus wanted me to continue the reparations to everything – to His mouth, to His Heart, to His desires, etc., multiplying myself in His Will, such that It would be too long to say everything, therefore I move forward. Then Jesus added: “My daughter, as you did your acts in my Will, many Suns were being formed between Heaven and earth; and I look at the earth only through these Suns, otherwise the earth would be so disgusting to Me that I would not be able to look at it. But the earth receives little of these Suns, because the darkness that creatures spread is such that it places itself in front of these Suns, and they cannot receive of all their light, nor their heat.”

Afterwards, He transported me into the midst of creatures. But who can say what they were doing? I will just say that my Jesus, with sorrowful tone, added: “What disorder in the world! But this disorder is because of the leaders, both civilian and ecclesiastical. Their self-interested and corrupted lives did not have the strength to correct their subjects; so they closed their eyes to the evils of the members, since they already showed their own evils; and if they did, it was all in a superficial way, because, not having the life of that good within themselves, how could they infuse it in others? How many times these perverted leaders have put the evil before the good, to the extent that the few good have been shaken by this behavior of the leaders. Therefore, I will have the leaders struck in a special way.”

And I: ‘Jesus, spare the leaders of the Church – they are already few. If You strike them, the rulers will be missing.’ And Jesus: “Don’t you remember that I founded my Church with twelve Apostles? In the same way, those few who will remain, will be enough to reform the world. The enemy is already at their doors; revolutions are already in the field; nations will swim in blood and their leaders will be scattered. Pray, pray and suffer, so that the enemy may not have the freedom to reduce everything to ruin.”  

Good News on the battlefront…

Here are a few items to give you hope. Remember always, the battle is the Lord’s!

1. The Flame of Love grace

On July 2, BBC news posted a news story describing that the UK’s National Crime Agency, in collaboration with forces across Europe, had successfully hacked into a top-secret communications system used by organized criminals. The operation resulted in some 800 arrests including major crime figures, as well as the seizure of millions of euros worth of drugs, weapons, and cash. They also gained access to the details of planned murders and kidnappings. In addition, the communications system used by the criminals, now compromised, suddenly became useless. A huge win for the forces of good!

I woke up in the night thinking about that story and the thought came to me, “This is what it looks like to blind satan.” The Lord seemed to be highlighting a real-world example of what our Flame of Love prayers are accomplishing in both the earthly and the spiritual realms. It seemed to me that our Lord wished to encourage us to continue to pray the Flame of Love prayers which Our Lady promised will “blind satan”. Our Lady told Elizabeth once after she had prayed the prayers:

“Because Satan is now powerless and blind, the evil spirits are set and inert, as if they have fallen into lethargy. They do not understand what is happening. Satan has stopped giving them orders. Consequently, souls are freed from the domination of the Evil One and are making sound resolutions. Once those millions of souls emerge from this event, they will be much stronger in their resolve to stay firm.’”

Just as in this news story, the Flame of Love prayers render the diabolical communication system useless. Praise God!!! Clearly the extra five minutes that the Flame of Love prayer adds to the recitation of the Rosary is well worth it! But we must keep it up. Our fight is against principalities and powers, but the effects are felt in the real world as well.

If you’re just hearing about the Flame of Love for the first time, more information may be found at www.flameoflove.us/ or the Canadian site: http://www.theflameoflove.org/

2. The Rounds of Creation in the Divine Will

I recently listened to the July 4, 2020 podcast by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi on Radio Maria on the Divine Will teachings of Luisa Piccarreta. In this particular podcast he explains how essential the Rounds of Creation are today, and how they are a sure remedy for the world. Fr. Joseph explains what the “rounds of creation” are, and also gives an example within the podcast.

A scriptural example of the rounds is found in the book of Daniel Chapter 3 in which the three young men sing the praises of God from within the fiery furnace. (“Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord, Praise and exalt him above all forever…”) If you want to learn a simple version to sing in the car or even while vacuuming, try O Will of God by Hugh and Maria Owen. 

For a brief explanation on the Divine Will and a list of resources see my blog post titled The Gift of All Gifts. It is not an exhaustive explanation but you will find plenty there to keep you growing in the Gift. Daniel O’Connor has some excellent resources on his website including videos, a free book of his, and not least a pdf of Luisa’s 36-volume diary. See also https://www.queenofthedivinewill.org/.

God bless us all! Fiat!

Uh-oh…we woke up Dad…

Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling. (Zechariah 2: 13)

The above scripture verse came to me the other night. It reminded me of when I was a kid. My Dad was loving if a bit stern with his eight children. For the most part he put up with our racket and shenanigans, but every once in a while we heard those heavy footsteps booming down the hallway after the fun and games had gotten out of hand. “Dad’s coming!” and the assumption was, “We’re in for it now!”

To give credit, Dad was a fair man and the punishment always fit the crime, usually a sharp word was enough. For some reason we felt the weight and the authority of it. Mom we could wheedle, but Dad? We didn’t even try!

Now, today. The Blessed Mother has been calling and calling and calling us to repent, pray and do penance. She has warned us repeatedly that the time was short, that she would be unable to hold back the Mighty Arm of Justice much longer. She went above and beyond to get through to us, but too many of us wheedled. Now the clock has run out. It’s Dad’s turn.

I was watching a talk by Peter Herbeck of Renewal Ministries a few nights ago. In it he described of once having had a brief vision of God the Father getting up from his throne. He said he knew in that moment what it meant to “fear God”. It was not the usual kind of fear, but the profound and holy fear of realizing, in the face of the Almighty, how infinitesimal he really was. In other words–wonder and awe in God’s presence.

As for us, we have gone too far for too long. Our Father is awake—and on the move. Too late we are realizing that things would have been much easier on us if we had just walked through the door of mercy our Mother held open for us.

Yet, even as the booming footsteps near, we have nothing to fear. Peter Herbeck went on to remind us that, yes, God the Father disciplines his children, but it is a redemptive discipline. It is not meant to punish but to draw out from his wayward children the “peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

God does nothing that is not for our ultimate good. His justice is as merciful as it is righteous. Through the grace of redemptive discipline, our loving Father means to renew the face of the earth! The days of this evil age are numbered.

Let our hearts not quake in fear, but quicken in love and holy anticipation. Our Dad’s bigger than anyone’s dad! Fiat! Alleluia!

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children—
‘My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
   or lose heart when you are punished by him;
for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves,
   and chastises every child whom he accepts.’
Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:4-11)

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)

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Don’t worry-don’t worry-don’t worry…

“Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.” These words came to me in a dream last night. They were said in a tone that implied, “How many times do I have to say it before you actually do it?” Mea maxima culpa!

I need to remind myself that God’s gifts are ready, they are manifold, and they are multiplied in our time because of our urgent need. It reminded me of something I read in 1998 when a friend gave me a book entitled Prophecy in the Local Church, by Anglican Bishop David Pytches. In it there was a story of a man who had a vision of an angel on the roof of a church. There was a hole in the roof. The angel was shoveling what appeared to be gold leaves onto the congregation, but no one was picking them up. The man asked the angel what this meant. He replied that the leaves were God’s gifts and that no one was bothering to pick them up.

It was a story worth pondering all on its own, but then God gave me an extraordinary confirmation of it. On the same day that I read it, we visited the cemetery where our son is buried. Normally I am very unobservant, but as I walked among the graves I happened to notice something shiny on the ground. I picked it up. It was a woman’s earring, in the shape of a GOLD LEAF! Real gold and a real leaf! A friend explained that this type was made by pouring molten gold onto a real leaf. The process burned away the membrane and left only the delicate gold-covered veins of the leaf. Breathtakingly beautiful! I took this photo today so you can see it and believe in the gifts God is waiting to shower upon you.

Friends we are called to be holy heroes, and already many are stepping up to that calling. Fr. Mark Goring has featured some of those priests and parishioners who have defended holy statues from mobs. His short videos are very uplifting.

But we can’t be holy heroes it without a basket-full of gold leaves pressed to our hearts. The good news is that all we have to do is pick them up! Yes, that is all! They are at our feet and you can bet that the ones you need most are closest to you. Don’t be choosy, don’t be stingy—God isn’t! He wants you to have MORE than you can ask or imagine. Bend your knee and with humility, joy, trust, and gratitude, gather to your heart all the gifts you can reach. If it’s not enough, move over a bit and take those too! Don’t worry! Gratitude, trust, courage, joy, peace, material needs, faith, health, detachment, surrender, encouragement, holiness, contemplation, the Gift of Living in the Divine Will…all are there for the taking.

Gold leaves come in many shapes and sizes. And if the gifts have a different shape or texture than what you were expecting, it will come with a bonus gift of surrender to the Divine Will. Fiat!

Here are a few links and resources in the shape of encouragement.

Again I say, pray daily the Novena of Surrender to the Will of God by Don Dolindo Ruotolo.

Two priests that always pick me up are Fr. Mark Goring and Fr. Jim Blount.

Pray More Novenas sends simple novenas to your inbox if you subscribe: https://www.praymorenovenas.com/

Divine Mercy Daily emails also come to your inbox containing short excerpts from the Diary of St. Faustina. :

Here is today’s DMD email message, very timely as today is Canada Day and Saturday is US Independence Day:

Prayer for Our Native Country

Meditation:

Once, after an adoration for our country, a pain pierced my soul, and I began to pray in this way: “Most merciful Jesus, I beseech You through the intercession of Your Saints, and especially the intercession of Your dearest Mother who nurtured You from childhood, bless my native land. I beg You, Jesus, look not on our sins, but on the tears of little children, on the hunger and cold they suffer. Jesus, for the sake of these innocent ones, grant me the grace that I am asking of You for my country.” At that moment, I saw the Lord Jesus, His eyes filled with tears, and He said to me, You see, My daughter, what great compassion I have for them. Know that it is they who uphold the world (Diary, 286).

My Prayer Response:

Lord Jesus, give us a great concern for our native country. Hear our prayer for those who attempt to live without You or those afflicted with poverty and injustice. Especially protect the children — the innocent ones — in our secularized nation.

*The words of Jesus appear in boldface type

Lastly, I loved this article titled, “Pope Francis emphasizes the need for unity and prophecy in the church”.

Gifts and graces abound. Don’t be shy friends!

Let us continue to pray for the priests…

In this podcast by Fr. Robert Young from 2011 he discusses the entry in Luisa’s diary dated January 8, 1919. This was written in the final days of the First World War, but could so easily be applied our time:

Continuing in my usual state, I was all afflicted, deprived of my sweet Jesus. But all of a sudden He came, though tired and distressed, almost searching for a refuge inside my heart, to extract Himself from the grave offenses which He received. Heaving a sigh, He told me: “My daughter, hide Me; don’t you see how they persecute Me? Alas!, they want to put Me out, or give Me the last place. Let Me pour Myself out; it has been many days since I spoke to you about the destiny of the world, and the chastisements which they pull from Me with their evils. This pain is all concentrated in my Heart. I want to tell you about it to make you take part in it; so we will share the destiny of creatures, in order to pray, suffer and cry together for their good.

Ah! my daughter, there will be fights among them. Death will claim many lives, including Priests. Oh, how many masks dressed as Priests! I want to remove them before the rising of the persecution against my Church, and of revolutions. Who knows if they might convert at the moment of death. Otherwise, if I leave them there, during the persecution these masks will remove their mask, will unite with the sectarians, will be the fiercest enemies of the Church, and their salvation will be more difficult.”

All afflicted, I said: ‘Ah, my Jesus, what pain it is to hear You speak about these blessed chastisements! And the peoples? How will they do without Priests? They are already few enough – and You want to take away more of them? Who will administer the Sacraments? Who will teach your laws?’ And Jesus: “My daughter, do not afflict yourself too much. The scarce number is nothing. I will give to one the grace and the strength that I give to ten, to twenty; and one will be worth ten, or twenty of them. I can compensate for everything. And then, the many Priests who are not good, are the poison of the peoples; instead of good, they do evil, so I will do nothing other than remove the prime elements who poison the peoples.”

We are certainly seeing this fulfilled again today both in the priests who are poisoning the people, but also in the many faithful ones who are living their priestly life with boldness, generosity, and self-sacrifice. Praise God that he is pouring out his abundant graces on those faithful priests for our sake! But woe to those who are poisoning the flock! Let us pray for their conversion, and for many more faithful priests, that all priests grow holier and more fervent, so that as the persecution intensifies they will be true champions of Our Lord and Our Lady. Fiat!

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Matthew 4:4…

In 2008 I had the following dream:

A wise priest was pointing out to me a very important Scripture passage. He called it 4:4. I thought he meant Ephesians, because Ephesians 4 is about unity and I have felt called to reflect on it often, but he said, no, that was not the passage he was referring to although unity is a very important theme. He wanted me to look up this other passage.

Unfortunately, I woke up not knowing which passage he was referring to. One night several weeks later, during adoration, I was given Matthew 4:4 (Jesus) said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”

I wrote this in my journal: As I meditated on this before the Blessed Sacrament, it came to me why this passage was the “very important passage” referred to by the “wise priest” in my dream. I believe that in the not-too-distant future we too will be tempted as Jesus was tempted in the desert. When we are at our most vulnerable point, “bread” will be tantalizingly put before us; perhaps we will be made to accept the “mark of the beast” if we want to purchase necessities. My dear friends, it is crucial that we remember and reflect on how Jesus handled this kind of temptation.  We will be given great graces if we imitate him. As you recall, when Jesus had resisted temptation the angels came and ministered to him. If we trust in him and persevere to the end he will not deny us great consolation, strength, and help.

That was more than 10 years ago and seems more relevant today than ever. It has been coming to me more and more how much we need to rely on the Word of God to get us through the days of trial that are here and coming. I recently read about a woman who was infected with COVID-19 and soon became gravely ill. She had a strong prayer team on her side—including herself. She related how through her many hours alone, awake, and suffering, she repeated all the Scripture verses she could remember that had to do with healing. Against all odds she pulled through and she credits her healing to her trust in the Word of God.

Familiarity with the term, “Word of God”, can tempt us to gloss over it, but it is a mistake to do so. The Word of God itself tells us that the Word of God, IS GOD (John 1:1). Also, the Word of God tells us that “all Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Tim 3:16) God has given us his real presence, in a unique way, in the Word, so we know we can trust in it.

I have been watching more videos of Fr. James Blount, charismatic priest with a healing ministry. He is also an exorcist and a passionate priest on fire for the Lord. God be praised! I have learned from him a deeper appreciation for the living Word of God, and how dependable it is.

It is critical to understand this if we are to live well what is here and coming. Already we have had the Bread of Life taken away from us temporarily. May God grant that this not happen again. However, if God allows it, let us remember that our daily bread can also come to us through the Word. Jesus himself quoted the Word when he told the devil, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)

Dear friends, now is the time to become more familiar with Jesus in the Word, and to memorize some key passages, so that as we continue to be tried, we will continue to be sustained. The book of Psalms has so many words of encouragement for us. Not only that, but many of our most familiar hymns are based on the Psalms. If you find memorizing Scripture difficult, then find out which hymns are based on Scripture and memorize those. For example, “Taste and See” is from Psalm 34, and “On Eagles’ Wings” is from Psalm 91. I think we all have more passages memorized than we think, and the Holy Spirit is more than willing to bring some to mind if we call on him. Let the Word be always in our hearts and on our lips.

Our God is a God of wonders and his Word is full of them. Our rationalistic society is out of the habit of turning to God for miracles. Perhaps the reason we do not see miracles more often is because we do not ask, or as Scripture says, we “ask wrongly” (James 4:3). I suppose on a certain level, we have stopped expecting daily miracles, but Fr. James Blount says he sees them every day.

It would be good to go back and read the book of Acts. The very same Spirit who filled the Apostles with holy zeal and gifts of healing, lives in us. Believe it!

So, let us remind ourselves often that the Word of God IS GOD. I found a website that allows one to search for passages on a specific topic, such as healing or trust. It might be good to collect a few to print off and memorize. Some time ago I put together this Prayer of Trust in Hard Times using a compilation Scripture passages. Feel free to print it out or pass it on as you wish.

There are also many hymns that can helps us through tough times. Praise God! Try singing this hymn with all your heart: “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”. Sing it till you mean it!

We have learned over the past few months of deepening crisis that we should take nothing for granted. We are used to a time of plenty, but it is now time to get used to “making do” like so many of our ancestors did—even in spiritual matters. If they take away the Eucharist, we still have the Word. If they burn our bibles, we can still be sustained by what we memorize, and what songs are in our hearts. Let us not forget what Jesus told his disciples, “‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me.” (Jn 4:34)

Remember, the Word of God IS GOD, and he is true to his Word. What he says, IS. He is just waiting to be asked. Here are a few verses to get your list started. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section for the good of all.

“There was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Mt 8:2-3)

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are  accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom 8:35-37)

“For God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26)

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)

I bow my knees before the Father…

I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. (Ephesians 3:14-15)

Blessed Father’s Day to all the beautiful, faithful fathers who do their best to pattern their fatherhood after our glorious Abba! I know it’s a struggle most days and at times your efforts seem to be fruitless. But if your desire is to be like your Father in heaven, know and believe that he is pleased with you.

Think of your own little ones. You love them and encourage them, even when the outcomes are less than perfect, even when you need to reprimand or punish them. You know that, like all of us, they are works in progress. What would you not do for your beloved little ones? God is with all fathers in a special way, and those who desire to imitate him as the spiritual head of the family are especially dear to his heart! Bless you all!

Tragically, the critical importance of fatherhood has been vastly undervalued in our day. It is under diabolical attack from every direction resulting in many children being raised without fathers or with fathers who are emotionally or physically unavailable much of the time. Even more tragically, the men who honestly desire to pattern their lives after our heavenly Father are discouraged or demeaned. How the enemy hates fathers! He is intent on destroying families and he has, up to now, had a lot of success. How much we need to pray to St. Joseph for them all!

Several years ago I had this dream:

I was in the basement of a house. One of the walls was open and I could see that the house next door had a basement wall missing. (Mine was open, but theirs was missing.) An elderly woman was working, trying to rebuild the wall with cinder blocks. Her husband sat nearby, too weak to assist. It was all up to her. I went over and looked at what she was doing. She had already completed three of the four walls. She was very tired, but she had to keep going. As I inspected the walls, I could see she had not staggered the blocks, but had stacked them straight up. The whole foundation was very unstable. I thought, “If there’s an earthquake, this place is going to crumble!” I thought of asking members of our youth group to help her.

I was very puzzled by the dream. Later on, as I prayed, it came to me that it referred to the Church, but as I wrote this reflection on fatherhood and families, I realized that the two are intertwined. As fatherhood is devalued, families crumble, and so too the Church.

It seemed to me that the dream was illustrating that much of the spiritual work in the world is being done by women–in the Church it is often older women. They are desperately trying to keep the foundation of faith from crumbling, but they are not equipped to do it all and are becoming exhausted.

So too with the spiritual health of families. Too many men, who should have been helping, have become too weak from spiritual inactivity to even lift a finger. While the women have done what they can, they could not fill in for the men. Man’s strength and expertise were his to give and he has squandered them. Now the foundation is unstable. Very soon it will crumble.

The dream ends with the promise of the youth whose faith and strength are needed for the rebuilding of the church. It is a dream of hope for the future of the family and the Church.

Already there are many signs of hope. Someone recently sent me this video with testimonies of fathers who have come to believe in their critical mission and divine calling. Powerful!

Again, thank you dear fathers for your sincere desire to hand down the faith to your children. May God give power to your efforts, prayers, sacrifices, and tears. Each one has been counted by our beloved Abba. God bless you!

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God has a plan…

And now a softer message. Remember, friends that God has put the remedies in place ahead of time, and he has equipped us for these times. Pray for more of the Holy Spirit, for it is His era that these times anticipate. You can be sure that God will not give you a scorpion or a snake if you ask for the Holy Spirit. He WANTS to give you more. Remain in a state of grace, pray, and rejoice! Our Lord is so near, so near…

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