Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Are Peter, And On This Rock I Will Build My Church

A priest's response to the original rap video titled " Why I love Jesus, but hate religion.". 

A special thank you to my sister Mary for sharing this with me.Her son goes to Servite High School and his theology teacher shared both videos with the class. Afterwards, the class discussed both.

I would love to read your thoughts on them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let Prayer Become A Joy For You

Dear children! With joy, also today I call you to open your hearts and to listen to my call. Anew, I desire to draw you closer to my Immaculate Heart, where you will find refuge and peace. Open yourselves to prayer, until it becomes a joy for you. Through prayer, the Most High will give you an abundance of grace and you will become my extended hands in this restless world which longs for peace. Little children, with your lives witness faith and pray that faith may grow day by day in your hearts. I am with you. Thank you for having responded to my call. January 25, 2012, BVM, Medjugorje

Our Lady's words are both strong and tender as she beckons each one of us to come and open our hearts, to heed her call, to turn away from all that keeps us from embracing her Son.

 As the psalmist  said long ago, "Only in God is my soul at rest, in him comes my salvation".1 

In prayer we find  shelter and relief from all that the world has to offer; in prayer we experience what God has to offer......

Prayer brings peace. Peace brings joy. Joy cannot be kept to itself, joy can only be shared.

 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.~ John 15:11

1 Psalm 62

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Help Peace to Reign

The followers of Christ have been called to peace. … And they must not only have peace but also make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. … His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce hatred and wrong. In so doing they over-come evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945
The Cost of Discipleship

Making peace is not always an easy thing to do. Sometimes certain people or certain situations just rub us  wrong. When conflicts arise our first reaction is  usually to fight or flight. In both scenarios the pride of self is initially chosen before anything else. 

Peace demands a mentality and a spirit which, before turning to others, must first permeate him who wishes to bring peace. Peace is first and foremost personal before it is social. And it is precisely this spirit of peace which it is the duty of every true follower of Christ to cultivate. ~John Paull VI

Cultivating peace, like cultivating a garden requires some work. But the fruit of the labor is worth price.

"Dear children, today I call you to pray especially for peace. Dear children, without peace you cannot truly experience the birth of Jesus in your daily lives.
Therefore, pray to the Lord of Peace that he will protect you with his mantle, and that he may help you understand how important it is to have a great peace in your hearts. Having this, you will be able to spread the peace of  your hearts throughout the world.
I am always with you and intercede to God for you. Pray, for Satan wants to destroy  my plan for peace. Be reconciled with each other and, by your lives, help peace to reign over the entire earth."  BVM, Medjugorje, December 25, 1990

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Holy Father specifically cited the "grave threats" to the freedom of the Church in America

This morning President Obama called New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to break the news.

Secretary of Health and Human Services and pro-abortion Catholic Kathleen Sebelius just announced that the proposed mandate requiring all insurance plans to pay for contraception, sterilization and some abortion drugs is official -- and Catholics cannot escape.
...and the fig-leaf exemption for religious groups will not be modified, apart from allowing some groups an additional year to comply.

Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan responded minutes ago, saying: “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”
Beginning August 1, 2012 (less than eight months from today), the insurance premiums we pay, including the insurance premiums paid by Catholics for employees of churches and schools -- will be used to cover drugs and procedures that are in direct conflict with the teachings of our Church.

That's right. Our government will now force us to pay for insurance coverage for birth control, sterilization and even some abortion drugs.

President Obama ignored the organized efforts of Catholics across the country, including bold statements from the Bishops, university presidents (including Notre Dame's Rev. Jenkins), and even his Catholic allies like Sr. Carol Keehan.

Instead, President Obama stood with his real friends -- Planned Parenthood.

Make no mistake, this decision is a direct attack on you, our Church, and the religious liberty of all Americans.

Just yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the bishops from the United States who were completing their "Ad Limina" visit in Rome. The Holy Father specifically cited the "grave threats" to the freedom of the Church in America, and urged the Catholic community to respond, especially with "an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity."

He's talking to you and me. The Holy Father's brief address is a must read (link below).

Finally, today marks exactly one year from Inauguration Day. In exactly 12 months, America will welcome a new president, or usher in four more years of Barack Obama and his assault on our liberties. This irony is not lost on us.

We built CatholicVote into a movement to advance the cause of life, family, and freedom. Today's decision is an assault on all three. And it MUST be defeated.

You have our pledge that we will do everything possible to educate and mobilize the Catholic vote in 2012.

For on a day such as this, we realize that elections indeed have consequences.

The Catholic vote must rise up like never before.  1.

1.Brian Burch, President :

U.S. Bishops Vow to Fight HHS Edict

Read the Holy Father's Address to the US Bishops:

Read the text of the HHS Announcement:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In Adoration you meet Jesus

Adoration of Jesus in The Blessed Sacrament is a paramount source to keep going at a difficult time, visionary Ivan Dragicevic says in a new interview. Ivan also confirms the seers to share a number of identical secrets, tells to be half finished writing his book, and calls the relationship between New Orleans and Medjugorje “important and significant”.
ivan dragicevic medjugorje visionary
Ivan Dragicevic

It is urgently needed for man to follow and live the Virgin Mary’s messages from Medjugorje. It is not always easy, particularly not when times are difficult. But there are sources to turn to for strength, and meeting with Jesus in The Blessed Sacrament will make everything easier, Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic says in the January issue of The Medjugorje Star.

“Our Lady told me a couple of times,“I know my children are trying to live my message”. If people are trying, this is a very good step.” Ivan says.

“Living in this world today especially at this time, sometimes it is hard, even for me. I am trying every day. We need to be following, following Our Lady’s messages. We need to always be fighting to live the messages.”

medjugorje adoration jesus blessed sacrament
Adoration in Medjugorje

The struggle is spiritual in nature, and it is not intended for man to fight it alone:

“Everything will be easier if we put Jesus first. Our Lady recommends going to Adoration of Jesus. In Adoration you meet Jesus; and when you meet Jesus, Jesus tells you everything you need. After you start Adoration of Jesus, everything else is easier” Ivan tells The Medjugorje Star.

“Joy, joy, joy can only be in Jesus. Nobody can give joy except Jesus. Reading the Bible, you will see joy. That is what Our Lady is asking, to read the Bible. Our Lady asks for confession to cleanse ourselves of sin. When the Holy Spirit and grace comes in your heart, there is a river of love. A river of joy then becomes your heart. Remove all negative and you will be open for the Holy Spirit.”

Seers share a number of secrets; book half finished

jesus saint louis cathedral new orleans
The statue of Jesus outside Saint Louis Cathedral, New Orleans. Ivan calls the city's relationship to Medjugorje significant and important

During the interview, Ivan confirms the Medjugorje visionaries to share a number of the same secrets entrusted to them by the Virgin Mary. Visionary Vicka Ivankovic said the same in the mid-1980s but later the notion sprung up that The Permanent Sign is the only future event known with certainty by all the visionaries:

“Our Lady does not give six visionaries 60 different secrets. Some secrets are the same. When I stay in Medjugorje in the summer when most of the visionaries are there, I talk to some of them during coffee time, especially Jakov and Mirjana. We talk of the same secrets.” Ivan tells The Medjugorje Star.

Two other noteworthy bits from the interview deal with the book that Ivan says he is writing with The Virgin Mary’s help, and about Medjugorje’s relationship to New Orleans where the interview was conducted by Mimi Kelly of The Mir Group in early November 2011:

“I am working for a long time on my book. The book is half finished. I need more time. So many papers stay on my table. The last couple of years I have been so busy with traveling and speaking in churches. Privately, Our Lady gives me things especially for priests, young people, family, and children” Ivan says.

And about New Orleans:

“I think New Orleans is my second home. I come one or two times a year. New Orleans is a foundation for Medjugorje. After the apparitions began in 1981, some of the first pilgrims came from New Orleans. The relation between Medjugorje and New Orleans is important. It is significant.”
Spirit Daily is circulating this article

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Likeness of Christ

Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday,  Pope Benedict XVI invited the faithful, “as individuals and in communities, to participate spiritually, and where possible practically in the Week of Prayer, to ask God for the gift of full unity among the disciples of Christ”. 

Thank you to Deacon John for sharing this video. 

As the beautiful lyrics of  the Gospel song "One Bread, One Body" by John Foley remind us.....

One bread, one body
One Lord of all
One cup of blessing which we bless
And we, though many
Throughout the earth
We are one body in this one Lord.

Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues

 Father Robert Barron has another engaging presentation concerning the Seven Deadly Sins, those great spiritual blocks that inhibit our flourishing in relationship with God and one another.   Based on Dante’s writings, the seven deadly sins correspond to the seven stories of Dante’s Mt. Purgatory.    Pride, envy, anger, sloth, gluttony, avarice and lust are all presented as patterns of dysfunction within us that lead to unhappiness.

You can catch  part of the series on EWTN. Check their program guide for times in your area. Or, you can also order this great series from Word On Fire

  Every judgement of conscience, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, is obligatory, in such wise that he who acts against his conscience always sins.  ~ Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brick Walls

I am going to try and tell you what happened to us on January 10, 2012, in the conference room in the Nephrology department at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

We arrived for our regular Nephrology visit with Amelia’s doctor who has seen her for the last three years. She examines Amelia and sends us for labs. I ask about the transplant and she says we have about six months to a year until she needs one. She tells us she reserved the conference room and when we get back from labs, we can meet with the transplant team and he can tell us about the transplant process.

After the labs, Amelia falls asleep in her stroller and we are called back to a large room with a screen and about sixteen chairs. Joe and I get comfortable and leave a space between us to fit the stroller. After about five minutes, a doctor and a social worker enter the room. They sit across from us but also leave a space between the two of them.

The doctor begins to talk and I listen intently on what he is saying. He has a Peruvian accent and is small, with brown hair, a mustache and is about sixty five years old. He gets about four sentences out ( I think it is an introduction) and places two sheets of paper on the table. I can’t take my eyes off the paper. I am afraid to look over at Joe because I suddenly know where the conversation is headed. In the middle of both papers, he highlighted in pink two phrases. Paper number one has the words, “Mentally Retarded” in cotton candy pink right under Hepatitis C. Paper number two has the phrase, “Brain Damage” in the same pink right under HIV. I remind myself to focus and look back at the doctor. I am still smiling.

He says about three more sentences when something sparks in my brain. First it is hazy, foggy, like I am swimming under water. I actually shake my head a little to clear it. And then my brain focuses on what he just said.

I put my hand up. “Stop talking for a minute. Did you just say that Amelia shouldn’t have the transplant done because she is mentally retarded. I am confused. Did you really just say that?”

The tears. Oh, the damn tears. Where did they come from? Niagara Falls. All at once. There was no warning. I couldn’t stop them. There were no tissues in conference room so I use my sleeve and my hands and I keep wiping telling myself to stop it.

I point to the paper and he lets me rant a minute. I can’t stop pointing to the paper. “This phrase. This word. This is why she can’t have the transplant done.”


I begin to shake. My whole body trembles and he begins to tell me how she will never be able to get on the waiting list because she is mentally retarded.

A bit of hope. I sit up and get excited.

“Oh, that’s ok! We plan on donating. If we aren’t a match, we come from a large family and someone will donate. We don’t want to be on the list. We will find our own donor.”

“Noooo. She—is—not—eligible –because—of—her—quality– of –life—Because—of—her—mental—delays” He says each word very slowly as if I am hard of hearing.

“STOP IT NOW!” The anger is taking over. Thank God. Why did it take so long to get here?

The social worker is writing some things down. Not sure what. She casually gets up to take a call. My eyes follow her to the phone and I see Joe’s face. His mouth is open, his face is pale and he is staring straight ahead of him at the white board.

Rage fills the room. I point in his little, brown pudgy face. “Do not talk about her quality of life. You have no idea what she is like. We have crossed many, many road blocks with Amelia and this is just one more. So, you don’t agree she should have it done? Fine. But tell me who I talk to next because SHE WILL HAVE IT DONE AND IT WILL BE AT CHOP.”

I see the social worker quickly writing down what I just said. Joe hasn’t moved. Amelia is still asleep.

The social worker decides to join the conversation. “Well, you know a transplant is not forever. She will need another one in twelve years. And then what? And do you have any idea of the medications she will need to take to keep her healthy?”

I speak through gritted together. “YES, I HAVE DONE ALL MY RESEARCH.”

She smirks a little. “Well, what happens when she is thirty and neither of you are around to take care of her. What happens to her then? Who will make sure she takes her medications then?”

In a voice that mimics hers, I snort, “Well, what happens if you die tomorrow? Who will take care of your children? Your responsibilities at work?” She breathes in and her eyes widens. “Right!” I throw at her. “Neither of us can predict the future and we shouldn’t try. But if Amelia does not have this transplant she has no future!”

The doctor interrupts. He puts his hands up and tries to take a stern voice with me. “These medications she has to take after the transplant, they are very dangerous. They can cause seizures. We have to get the dose exact. They may cause brain damage.”


“Yes, but it is different for her. She is already brain damaged and mentally retarded.”

He pauses as if he is choosing his words carefully. “I have been warned about you. About how involved you and your famliy are with Amelia.”

The devil himself could not have produced a more evil laugh. “Ha! Warned! That is funny! You have no idea…”

I am beginning to realize I want this over with so I can move onto the next person who will help me with the transplant. So I say the words and ask the questions I have been avoiding.

“So you mean to tell me that as a doctor, you are not recommending the transplant, and when her kidneys fail in six months to a year, you want me to let her die because she is mentally retarded? There is no other medical reason for her not to have this transplant other than she is MENTALLY RETARDED!”

“Yes. This is hard for me, you know.”

My eyes burn through his soul as if I could set him on fire right there. “Ok, so now what? This is not acceptable to me. Who do I talk to next?”

“I will take this back to the team. We meet once a month. I will tell them I do not recommend Amelia for a transplant because she is mentally retarded and we will vote.”

“And then who do I see?”

“Well, you can then take it the ethics committee but as a team we have the final say. Feel free to go somewhere else. But it won’t be done here.”

They both get up and leave the room.

I look at Joe who is sobbing trying to get the stroller and Amelia’s backpack. I break down with him before we head to the parking garage.

I hope you are disturbed, troubled, distressed, and pissed off when you read this. I hope you share it with many, many people. Although I did not know this yesterday, this is very common and happens across the map. I have researched and researched and researched transplants and the MR, as they are called in the medical journals, and it is appalling. We are in the year 2012 and my child still does not have the right to live, the right to a transplant, because she is developmentally delayed.

 “You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.”
Desmond Tutu

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fixing to a Cross

Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi ; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, "Who do people say that I am ?" They told Him, saying, "John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets." And He continued by questioning them, "But who do you say that I am ?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." Mark 8:27-33

The Christ, the Messiah, the long awaited one. He would deliver Israel, He would gather the tribes together. Jesus, Son of God, our Redeemer.  He was heralded  as a king while he rode into Jerusalem on a colt. But it seemed shortly after that  all darkness and evil went out to meet him when he  was arrested and handed over to Pilate, accused of plotting against the Roman Empire.

 Jesus, the Son of God, who gave his life as a ransom for the many, was sentenced to death by means of crucifixion.

Crucifixion, or in the Latin, "crucifixio", literally means, fixing to a cross. 

Crucifixion, as we know, is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead. This mode of putting someone to death was largely used among the Greek and Roman  Empires from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. The threat of the "cross" was a way they used to warn off any possible heretics, criminals or other offenders. It was a way of saying, so to speak, that if you "cross us", this will happen to you.

But Jesus changes all of that because while he is  on the cross he does the unthinkable. He looks at his perpetrators, the very people that have done this to him,  and he asks the Father to forgive them. Jesus interrupts evil with forgiveness from the cross.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christians looked at the cross in a different way. For them, the cross had become victory,  something no longer to be feared. The cross became the symbol of Jesus Christ, the one that ransomed his life for many.
 "Dear children! Also today I call you to
prayer. In this time of grace, may the cross be a sign-post of
love and unity for you through which true peace comes. That is
why, little children, pray especially at this time that little
Jesus, the Creator of peace, may be born in your hearts. Only
through prayer will you become my apostles of peace in this world
without peace. That is why, pray until prayer becomes a joy for
you. Thank you for having responded to my call."BVM, Medjugorje,
November 25, 1999

Monday, January 2, 2012

Open Yourselves to the Father

Message of January 02, 2012  
"Dear children; As with motherly concern I look in your hearts, in them I see pain and suffering; I see a wounded past and an incessant search; I see my children who desire to be happy but do not know how. Open yourselves to the Father. That is the way to happiness, the way by which I desire to lead you. God the Father never leaves His children alone, especially not in pain and despair. When you comprehend and accept this, you will be happy. Your search will end. You will love and you will not be afraid. Your life will be hope and truth which is my Son. Thank you. I implore you, pray for those whom my Son has chosen. Do not judge because you will all be judged."

Many of us have wounded pasts that have lead us to close our hearts to God and to those around us.  Some wounds are caused by others, especially in the vulnerability of our youth. Yet, some wounds are caused by us and the paths that we alone choose to follow; maybe we could call it our incessant need to do things our way rather than God’s way.

I did a quick little search on the word “incessant”, it means continual - unceasing - continuous – ceaseless. Immediately I thought to myself, this is how Our Lady is with us. She incessantly pleads with us to live her messages; the messages  which lead us all to her Son.

As the deer yearns for running streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?
Psalm 42:2-3

“Jesus is a way that can be traveled, open to everyone, He is the path of peace. Today the Virgin Mary points him out to us, she shows us the way. Let us walk in it!” Pope Benedict  XVI , Vatican City, Jan2, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

 It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.
– St. Louis de Montfort

I am the Mother of God and Queen of Peace....BVM, Medjugorje, October 12, 1981

There could be no better way to start the new year than to honor Our Blessed Mother,the Mother of God and Queen of Peace.

 "Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721

"Dear children, today, the first day of the New Year, I invite all of you to live the messages which I give you. You know, dear children, that because of you, I have stayed here this long in order to teach you to walk on the road to holiness. Therefore, dear children, pray constantly, and live all the messages which I give you. I do it with a great love for God ~ and for you." BVM, Medjugorje, January 1, 1987

You have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. Col 3:9-10

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new. 2 Cor 5:17

Our Lady calls us today to live her messages anew, for she knows that are the key to the spiritual gifts we so desire, an abiding peace and happiness, a spirit of love.

As Our Lady gave her humble "yes" to God, today we pray that we give our "yes" to living the messages of prayer, peace, penance and fasting.

On this feast of Mary, the Mother of God, let us recommit ourselves to her messages and her plan of salvation.

Adapted from: