Monday thru Friday on the
CATHOLIC-INTERNET NETWORK at
See why so many consider the
Daily CATHOLIC as the
"USA Today for CATHOLICS!"
December 7-8, 1998
SECTION TWO vol 9, no. 237
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION THREE and SECTION ONE
What makes each of us unique? Only God has that answer!
As we prepare for Christmas, we continue to bring you the signature feature of Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. who constantly preaches living in the heart. That is what God intended from the very beginning - starting with Adam and Eve and then, through the goodness of His Own Heart, sending His Only-begotten Son to redeem every man and woman - each of whom is unique in the makeup of God's masterpieces. But He has given us all the same thing, a soul and a heart and we need to utilize those for His honor and glory in order to realize the true makeup of our heart and soul. For Father's column How to pray with the heart part three , click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
How to Pray with the Heart part three
The fact that I am a person gives me dignity. When God created me, He created me according to His image and likeness. God is a Person; so am I. God is a Spirit; I have a spirit which is my soul. It is in my soul that I have a likeness to God. Faith tells me that, as a person, I have more value before God than all of the other creatures on earth. This indeed gives me importance. This means, too, that as a person, I can have a person to Person conversation with God.
What is so captivating is that, because God made me unique, meaning that I was not made by mass production, there is no other person like me in all the world. In fact, through the power of God, I have been made in such a way that there has never been anyone just like me in all of history and that there will never be anyone just like me of all the persons that God will still create in the future. Knowing this makes it possible for me never to be burdened by pain that usually comes when I compare myself with any other person. It is not ever necessary for me to do this, in fact to engage in such a practice is a waste of time. God put into me a potential to flower in a way that He had Himself already pre-ordained at the time when He conceived of me.
Because of the Infinite Dignity of Him Who created and creates every single person, and because each person is created to God's image and likeness, no one needs to look outside of him or herself to establish one's own dignity and importance. It is there from the first moment of every single person's conception. It can thus be easier understood why even after the fall of our first parents, the Lord God went so far as to send His Own Son into the world, to win back for Himself what was snatched from Him by satan even at the excruciating expense of the horrible suffering and painful death of His Incarnate Son. What value must each person have to have necessitated putting His Only-Begotten Son through such an ordeal!
In the next installment I shall continue in this same vein, treating dignity.
"The moment is closer than your finite mind can grasp when the Justice shall purify and bring the Age of the Divine Will."
Those powerful words were conveyed by Our Lord to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in mid-March of 1993 in her messages 304 and explained in 305 and followed up in message 306 by the Blessed Mother. Jesus' pulls no punches in entreating His children to adhere to His Holy Will and offers some suggestions that will expediate the Triumph of His Mother's Immaculate Heart. He warns over and over that if we are not rooted in His Sacred and Merciful Heart, aligned with His Mother's Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart and not totally in tune with the Divine Will we will be swallowed up in the vortex of satan's tornadic assault on our souls. For messages 304 through 306, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages Three Hundred-five, Three Hundred-six and Three Hundred-seven
Message Three Hundred-five, March 14, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, I desire that all of My children be fully prepared. I solemnly tell you the moment is very close when My Mother shall no longer come among you through her many apparitions. She, My Holy Blessed Mother has prepared her little army. Now shall the battle of good against evil be waged in all its fury. Now shall the wheat be separated from the chaff. Now shall all who are My faithful little ones be persecuted for their humble, loving obedience.
Now does satan approach the height of his reign. He, My adversary has infiltrated his treachery to the highest ranks of My True Church.
Be alert. Pray and be consecrated to My Sacred Heart through My Mother's Immaculate Heart.
Give to Me, your God and King, all honor and reverence. I ask of all my children to stop the abominations, committed against Me in the Holy Eucharist, by receiving Me on the tongue. I ask all to genuflect and to seek the permission of their priests to receive Me, their God, humbly upon their knees. I ask this that you might preserve My True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. By your loving obedience you shall hasten the Triumph of My Mother's Immaculate Heart. Do not be afraid for you shall be scorned and rebuffed. Yet I, your God, your Savior and King, demand such obedience, for only in the Blessed Sacrament shall you receive fully all necessary help to persevere in the Time of Darkness.
The time has come! My Mother has prepared you. I shall come quickly. Therefore, do not grow weary or lax. Seek all opportunities to surrender your will for the Divine Will. Soon all shall be asked to do this, and if you are not secure in your faith you will be swept away into the abyss!
Listen to Me. I am Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. I am no longer asking. As your God, your King of Kings, give to Me all homage and reverence.
Pray for My beloved Pope John Paul II. He is in grave danger and his is a daily martyrdom. Be obedient to him, who is My true Vicar, and be meek and humble of heart.
The moment is closer than your finite mind can grasp when the Justice shall purify and bring the Age of the Divine Will.
I bless you. I love you. Heed My Words now while there is still time!
Message Three Hundred-six, March 14, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
(Words given by Jesus following the preceding message)
Jesus has given me to understand that this is not meant to cause disruption or disobedience but rather, by the people surrendering themselves to God by being on their knees - this will help evoke a change in the interior dispositions of the priests so that His shepherds can and will validly consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ and, through this conversion of heart, preserve the True Presence in the Eucharist.
Message Three Hundred-seven, March 17, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart)
(Feast of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland)
Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, hear my words given to all of my children.
Satan has entered the hearts of many who have worked to spread my messages. These, my little faithful ones, have closed their hearts and a closed heart can not receive God's graces. Each one of my faithful little ones, at the moment of their conversion of heart, was entrusted with a mission. But for all the root of the mission was to help you advance toward greater graces, infused knowledge of the Divine Will.
How saddened I am that now there is division among my faithful little army. How I weep to behold my chosen ones refusing to accept new graces and to thus bring about my Immaculate Heart's Triumph!
Little ones, seek always to be humble. You are nothing. God is all. If He has chosen you, it is the measure of your willingness to continually say 'yes' to the Divine Will.
Therefore, let all disunity, slander, malicious gossip and idle rumor cease. Let all work as one to bring about my Immaculate Heart's Triumph.
Be ever on watch lest pride creeps in. Be humble, little, obedient children and hear and understand all I have spoken through the grace of the Holy Spirit.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
LITURGY FOR MONDAY AND TUESDAY
Monday is the Feast of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church and Tuesday is the Solemnity of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. Wednesday, besides being the Second Wednesday of Advent is also the Feast of Blessed Juan Diego, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe. For the liturgies, readings, meditations and vignettes on the above feasts for this time period, click on LITURGY
Monday, December 7, 1998
Monday December 7:
Feast of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
First Reading: Isaiah 35: 1-10
Psalms: Psalm 85: 9-14 and Isaiah 35: 4
Gospel Reading: Luke 5: 17-26
December 7: SAINT AMBROSE, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
This Doctor of the Church was born in 340 in Trier, Germany and rose swiftly through the secular ranks as the son of a praetorian prefect of Gaul. When his father died, he was taken to Rome where he was afforded the best education and soon became a renowned oratorian and was sent to Milan. There he began to be exposed to Christianity and plunged in to studying the faith. But before he could be baptized the bishop died and a bitter struggle broke out between Catholics and Arians for control of the bishopric. When Ambrose sought to mediate the fracas, his golden voice prompted the people to unanimously elect him Bishop of Milan even though he was not ordained, let alone baptized. Though he refused at first, the Emperor adhered to the vox populi and enforced the election. Thus he was baptized on this day in 374 and consecrated a bishop the same day at the age of 34. He took his position seriously and his golden voice converted countless souls to the faith as he became one of the staunchest defenders of the faith against Arianism. As the great Roman Empire began to crumble, Ambrose built from these decaying ruins hope for the Church through his dedication to Christ and His teachings. Despite insidious politics between the emperors of East and West, and the threat of Arianism and paganism, Ambrose persevered and, through his leadership and example, paganism was defeated and Christianity rose to new heights after three centuries of persecution. Ambrose, an exemplary example of what a bishop should be, is best known as the man who brought Saint Augustine back to the faith and baptized him. Ambrose died in Milan on April 4, 397 ten years after welcoming Augustine into the Mystical Body of Christ.
TUESDAY, December 8, 1998
First Reading: Genesis 3: 9-15, 20
Psalms: Psalm 98: 1-4
Second Reading: Ephesians 1: 3-6, 11-12
Gospel Reading: Luke 1: 26-38
SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: December 8
This feast was established for the universal Church by Pope Pius IX when He proclaimed that from all eternity, the Triune Divinity chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the tabernacle of the Son of God. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed once and for all that it was unthinkable that Mary be defiled in any way by sin in any manner whatsoever. Thus, in that infinitesmal second that God created Mary He made her Immaculate. This grace, like all other graces since Adam and Eve's fall, was given to Mary through the merits of her Divine Son Jesus. She stood alone as one free of the stain of original sin, redeemed not from the evil already present at birth, but from any evil that threatened this sacred temple known as the Mother of God. This was confirmed in the infallible words of Pius IX, "The most holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin." Saint Ephrem first held this belief in the fourth century. Seven centuries later the crusaders brought this belief back to the Western Church from the Eastern Church in the Holy Land where, since 750, it had been celebrated on December 9 along with the feast of Saint Anne who had conceived the Blessed Mother. In 1050 a feast honoring Mary's conception was offered by Pope Leo IX. In the twelfth century the Franciscan Father Duns Scotus defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and was listed in the Roman Calendar in the year 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. In 1708 Pope Clement XI made the conception of Our Lady a feast of obligation. Nearly 150 years later in 1854, Pius IX proclaimed it the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This interestingly followed the lead of the United States Bishops eight years earlier who had decreed in 1846 that the U.S. was consecrated to Mary's Immaculate Conception and assigned December 8 as the official feast of their Heavenly patron. Four years after Pius IX's infallible pronouncement, Our Lady herself confirmed this dogma at Lourdes when she proclaimed to the visionary Saint Bernadette Soubirous, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Wednesday, December 9, 1998
Wednesday December 9:
Second Wednesday of Advent and
Optional Memorial of Blessed Juan Diego, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe
Violet and White vestments
First Reading: Isaiah 40: 25-31
Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8, 10
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 28-30
December 9: BLESSED JUAN DIEGO, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe
Ten years after Hernando Cortez conquered Mexico for the world, Our Lady began her conquest of Mexico and all of the Americas for her Divine Son's world when she chose a simple peasant to convey one of the greatest miracles in the history of apparitions. On a frosty December morning in 1531 Blessed Juan Diego, a 51-year-old Aztec peasant. Juan and his wife, whose name is not recorded, were recent converts to Catholicism due to the influence of the Spanish evangelization which Cortez brought with him from Spain. Juan, a recent convert to Catholicism from the pagan Aztec traditions and practice that had taken its toll in the human sacrifice of hundreds and hundreds of thousands reaching into the millions. This was one of the main reasons Our Blessed Mother came in 1531, to stop the human sacrifice; both with the pagan Aztec traditions and the senseless slaughter of the Conquistadors who had cut a swath of blood across Mexico on Cortez' march to Mexico City from the Gulf. By exemplifying a gentler, Christ-like nature, not only would the native peoples understand what the missionaries were conveying, but also remind the Spanish soldiers of their roots and prompt them to repent of their warring ways. Into this atmosphere Our Lady chose Juan Diego to impart her message and give to him the on-going miracle of the miraculous tilma worn by Juan on the day of the apparition. In the nature of replacing the ridiculous with the sublime, Blessed Mary asked Juan to have a chapel or church built on the site where there had been an Aztec shrine. This site was the hill of Tepeyac. She asked him to go to the local bishop with this request. One can imagine the bishop's first reaction when he encountered this poor Indian approaching him...and then telling him why he was there. No one should be surprised at the Bishop's response. Bishop Zumarraga demanded a sign that this message Juan brought was truly Heaven-sent. Needless to say, Juan was intimidated and disheartened. He didn't even want to go back to the hill, but through the grace of the Holy Spirit there he was again the next day - December 12th, trembling on Tepeyac Hill both from the winter chill and in trepidation of what he would tell the Blessed Virgin and what, in turn, she would ask him to do. In the custom of the people of his day, Juan was dressed in simple pants and a shirt, sandals, a straw short-visored sombrero and a tilma, which was a scapular-like garment made from a versatile and strong-fibred cactus plant indigenous to this region. Shivering as he waited, he almost did not notice the light and the gentle whisp of wind as Our Lady hovered near the top of the hill. He moved closer and Our Lady sought to allay his fears, bidding him come closer and tell her the Bishop's reaction though she already knew. Juan related his encounter and the need for an outward sign. Our Lady responded with the request that he pick the roses growing out of the rough, semi-frozen tundra of Tepeyac. Juan was aghast to find rich red roses in full bloom and he quickly stooped to pick as many of these rich beauties as he could, gathering them in the full of his front tilma, then pulling it up against his chest to protect them in a pouch-like fashion; then scurrying off to present this "sign" to the Monsignor Zumarraga. Panting and nearly out of breath, he reached the Episcopo alerting the guards outside. His insistance to see the Bishop brought rebuffs from those in the outer circle who thought it odd that an Aztec peasant should be so bold, yet through the grace of God Juan was admitted to the Bishop's chambers and there excitedly exclaimed, "I have the sign, your Excellency!" Impatient, doubting and yet curious, Zumarraga beckoned Juan to approach him. Blessed Diego came near the foot of the Bishop and knelt in reverence as he unrolled his tilma. Juan's eyes were fixed on the fresh petals that tumbled to the floor and did not see the shock and amazement on the Bishop's face as his vision was transfixed on the image he beheld emblazoned on Juan's poor, fragmented tilma. To this day one can see at the Shrine an mega-sized enlargement of Our Lady's eye on the tilma. In the eye, one can see the reflection of the Bishop and his entourage as they stared in disbelief. While transfixed in this incredibility, Juan straightened up and, at once, realized the true miracle Our Lady had endowed. There on his tilma was an image of how she had appeared to him just hours before, in full color. She had appeared to Juan not as Our Lady of Grace, or as a European-kind of visage, but as an Aztec woman standing on the moon, dressed in a finely detailed full-flowing dress or garment that symbolized many of the Aztec traditions. It was an image that would be accepted by the native Indians of this land moreso than the European icons of the Virgin the Spanish had brought with them. As always the Mother of God has a method to her message and the message conveyed stirred the Bishop to a reconversion and a rededication to evangelizing and serving the Indians while preaching the reason for Our Lady's visit. The results, guided by God, spread faster than the December wind blowing across the Mexican terrain. Within a short time, countless native Indians had been brought into Holy Mother Church's fold. To top that, almost instantly the people realized the error of their ways in the ancient Aztec ways of human sacrifice and abandoned the practice. The population flourished and as the Church dwindled in the Old World due to the erosion of the Protestant Reformation, the pendulum of plentitude swung to the New World in graces and conversions. It was the beginning of a reverence and veneration that would be carried through every generation up through today. Many expect Blessed Juan to be canonized, possibly as early as this coming January at the close of the Synod of the Americas in Mexico City.
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
For the special Novena Prayers for Monday and Tuesday for this time of preparation during Advent, click on ADVENT
ADVENT NOVENA PRAYER
O Triune Divinity, we come to you through the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever-Virgin, and St. Joseph, her chaste, holy spouse. In this season of Advent we desire to obtain the grace of purity of intention, that through our obedience to Your Heavenly Will, we, too, can transform our poor, miserable lives into the resplendent stable at Bethlehem where You Only-begotten Son was born.
Through the intercession of Mary, and all the hosts of Heaven, we beseech You, through the merits gained for us by Jesus Christ, Your Only-begotten Son, to help us convert our hearts, to live the messages of Your Mother, and to ardently beseech You to bring about the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart now, that the Reign of the Sacred Heart might be upon the world.
Heavenly Father, we trust in Your goodness and beseech You to hear us, not because of our worthiness, but because of our willingness to be Your little children who kneel in adoration to their God. Come, let us adore Him!
PRAYER for December 7: Second Monday of Advent
Heavenly Father, with what Love did you send Your Only Begotten Son to earth. With what Love did You watch over Your beloved daughter, Mary, who carried Jesus in her Immaculate womb. Heavenly Father, as we begin the second week of Advent, we ask You to help us to sweep away the cobwebs of lukewarmness from our minds and our hearts by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us, and upon all the world.
PRAYER for December 8: Second Tuesday of Advent - SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Blessed Mother, today we remember and celebrate your Immaculate Conception, by which you were preserved from the stain of original sin, and remained ever sinless throughout your life. Let us learn from you, dear Mother, that we too can rise above sin, even the least occasion of sin, so that we too might hear the angel voices raised on High as the Christ Child is born unto all the world.
Events in Church History
December 8th is the 33rd and 36th anniversary respectively of when Pope John XXIII, author of Vatican II, closed the first session of this 21st Ecumenical Council which had opened on September 11, 1962. His successor Pope Paul VI would close the final session on this date in 1965, appropriately calling for the Council Fathers to increase their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially the Immaculate Conception which Pope Pius IX declared Dogma on this date in 1854. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on December 7th and December 8th, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 7:
(Feast of Saint Ambrose)
Death of Pope Saint Eutychian, 27th successor of Peter. Born in Rome he was elected on January 5, 269. During his 14-year pontificate he ordered that martyrs' remains should be covered with a "Dalmatic" which was similar to the cloke worn by the Roman emperors. This has evolved to today it is worn by deacons at solemn religious functions. Pope Eutychian also instituted the blessing of the crops.
Death of Pope Innocent IV, 180th successor of Peter. This celebrated canonist's papacy lasted ten and a half years. His election took place at Anagni after a two year vacancy. He called the 13th Ecumenical Council and instituted the feast of the Visitation as well as undertaking the 5th Crusade with Saint Louis IX, king of France.
Birth of Giovanni Bernini, the celebrated Italian sculptor of the baroque era, famous for monuments in St. Peter's Square and the statue of Saint Teresa in Ecstasy.
Pope Paul VI and the Orthdox Patriarch Athenagoras I simultaneously lift the mutual excommunication interdicts they had placed on each other in 1054, the year of the Great Schism of East and West.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 8:
(SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION)
Death of Mary, Queen of Scots, Catholic Queen who was persecuted by the English for her faith, and was put to death at the order of her sister Queen Elizabeth after nineteen years imprisoned by the latter. Elizabeth, fearing Mary would be elected Queen of England because her claim was more valid, did the dastardly deed.
Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX asserting that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without Original Sin. For more on this, see LITURGY.
Pope Pius IX publishes his 24th encyclical Quanta cura which condemned errors of that time.
The First Vatican Council, also known as the 20th Ecumenical Council, is convened by Pope Pius IX at St. Peter's in Rome.
Pope John XXIII closes the first session of the Second Vatican Council, the 21st Ecumenical Council. He would not live to reconvene Vatican II which would be left to his successor Pope Paul VI.
Pope Paul VI brings the 21st Ecumenical Council, Vatican II, to a solemn close after a three year run incorporating four sessions in which sixteen documents were promulgated.
Click here to go to SECTION THREE or return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
December 7-8, 1998 volume 9, no. 237 DAILY CATHOLIC