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July 2-5, 1999
SECTION ONE vol 10, no. 128
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
The Mystery of the Most Precious Blood should never be watered down!
In this weekend's editorial, we remind all that July is not only known for fireworks and Fourth of July celebrations and summertime, but for Catholics should be remembered as the month of the Most Precious Blood Which was shed for all of us for the remission of sins. We also tackle the sticky issue of the habitual behavior of so many who take for granted Who they are receiving and why. Our Independence Day began on the day of our Baptism and continues with the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist - the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Without Him we can never be free.
For the commentary, We are freed through His Most Precious Blood - the Elixir of exctasy!, click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT
We are freed through His Most Precious Blood - the Elixir of ecstasy!
As we celebrate our final Independence Day of the 20th Century, it gives cause to stop and think what independence means and to realize that for Catholics, July should not be remembered so much for fireworks, hot dogs, picnics, soda and beer but for another libation that is our life-blood...rather His Blood. We are, of course, talking about the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. Though many receive under both species at every Mass, we are required to believe that Christ is present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in either the Host or the wine. Holy Mother Church has always preferred that we receive the Host, holding aside the Most Precious Blood for very special occasions. With the new liturgical rubrics so relaxed many now regularly receive His Most Precious Blood along with the Body of Christ at every Holy Mass. It is so precious, however, that when we receive Holy Communion we, as a family, are very careful to only receive under both species on special feast days so as to remind ourselves how special and precious is the Cup of the Lord and so that we don't take this precious and sublime Gift for granted. Too often all of us fall into the habitual ritual of traipsing up to the front and receiving in rote style this very, very precious gift that should consume our every thought day and night. But being the human creatures we are, these sublime thoughts often are crowded out by things of the world, whether it's material matters or everyday concerns like paying bills on time, getting the kids to school, rehashing our perceptions of what someone might have said and what they meant. In a word, daydreaming during Mass. We all have done it. God realizes this. He created us that way. That is not to condone allowing our minds to wander, but rather to recognize this failing and then resolve to try harder to curb our imaginations. That is another reason the Church has always placed such a high priority on meditation and contemplation for it takes us closer to the realm of spirituality. But there's always those other voices, those subconscious demons who try to interrupt our concentration of higher things with worldly thoughts.
So what are we to do when our mind wanders?
A wise and holy priest once told us it is very simple. When temptations arise, when impure thoughts, ideas of hate or resentment, jealousy, envy, etc. come into our minds - and there's not one person on this earth who hasn't experienced these distractions - there is a very simple, logical way to dismiss them without missing a beat and offering a sublime prayer at the same time, thus gaining greater graces. Just ask Jesus to take these thoughts, these feelings and wash them in His Most Precious Blood purifying them into bouquets for Heavenly purposes. You'd be amazed how easy this is and how well it works. It defuses satan for rather than saying "don't think about it" - which can virtually be impossible when you consciously try - it neutralizes the temptation for when we are tempted we often experience feelings of guilt and, like Adam and Eve want to hide from God. By acknowledging our faults and giving them back to the Almighty, we have conquered 85% of the battle. When we get into the habit of doing this we can literally feel like we have just gotten out of the shower. In other words, we are clean all over for we have bathed ourselves in the Precious Blood of Jesus. That is what Jesus means when He says He wants to wash us in His Font of Divine Mercy for His Most Precious Blood, spilled on Calvary, has become the flowing stream of Mercy that He pours over the world.
Now, on the brink of a new millennium, His Most Precious Blood is overflowing. The cup of chastisement is at hand! What it will be only God knows for sure, but we do know it is inevitable - for we must walk the way of Calvary and die with Jesus in order to rise with Him forever. As the sands of time sift to the final grains, satan is more active than ever, more vehement and vicious than ever, unleashing every weapon he has in his vast arsenal of hell. His days are numbered and he knows it and he is throwing everything he has in total desperation for souls. That is why temptations and trials will increase in the coming days, even more reason to understand how we can be soothed amidst all the turmoil by immersing ourselves in His Most Precious Blood and allow It to run free, cleansing our souls through the inclusion of the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist in order to remain totally clean and dressed in the victorious garment of sanctifying grace. That is what we should savor this weekend and realize that is what Independence Day should mean to all faithful Catholics. It should be truly a celebration of independence; not just in remembering what happened 223 years ago but what occurred nearly two millenniums ago on Good Friday and Easter morning. Because of these wondrous events nearly 2000 years ago we can claim our dependence on God, which translates into a state of everlasting independence for we are freed through His Most Precious Blood - the Elixir of ecstasy!
There's never a busy signal when we call on God!
In her column this week, Sister Mary Lucy Astuto relates how blessed we are that God does not have one of those nagging automated answering machines where one can never get through to someone, causing constant frustration as we shout and stew waiting to talk to someone, anyone. God's line is never busy and we need no technology to reach Him. He'll always answer immediately and we need not shout, a whisper will do for He hears us before we speak. She points out that many of us haven't been calling Him enough and as we enter the second half of this final year before the new millennium - in the Year of the Father, we should make a concerted effort to realize His availability and dial Him up with our soul in simple prayer at every opportunity we have. For her column this weekend, click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
WHAT IF GOD HAD AN ANSWERING MACHINE?
We have all made phone calls wherein an automated voice informs us to
press a series of numbers to receive a particular answer or person. Suppose we had to reach God via
such phone connections. Perhaps the call would go something like the following ... (which was sent to
me by a friend)
+ + +
Thank you for calling My Father's house. Please select one of the
following four options: Press “1” for requests; press “2” for thanksgiving; press “3” for complaints; and
for all other inquiries, press “4.”
What if God used the familiar excuse: “All of the angels are helping
other customers right now. Please stay on the line. Your call will be answered in the order it was
Can you imagine getting these kinds of responses as you call on God
in prayer ... “If you'd like to speak with Gabriel, press “1” For Michael, press “2.” For any other angel,
press “3.” If you'd like King David to sing a psalm for you, press “6.” To find out if your relative is
here, enter his/her date of death and listen for the list that follows. For reservations at My Father's House,
simply press the letters J-O-H-N, followed by the number 3-16. For answers to nagging questions about
dinosaurs, the age of the earth and where Noah's ark is, wait until you get here!
Our computers show that you have called once today already. Please
hang up immediately. This office is closed for the weekend. Please call again Monday.
+ + +
We can thank the dear God, that we don’t have to go through those
trying calls to reach Heaven. Actually, each of us has a straight line to God and to each of His angels and
A modern mystic has said that as soon as we call God’s Name, He
answers “I Am!” and presses His Ear to our lips.
God sees us and loves each one of us as though we were the only
person living. Isn’t that marvelous? God gives us His total and complete attention every minute of
every day of every year of our lives. We are not a stranger to God. As Scripture says: “You have knit me
in my mother’s womb.” He knew us before we were born. He knows every fiber of our being and He LONGS
for us to talk to Him which IS prayer.
We don’t have to light fire crackers to get God’s attention. A mere
whisper ... a thought in our mind catches His awareness.
We are entering into the second half of this year of 1999.
If we have not been praying as we should, let’s begin now. Let’s
call on our Eternal Father even with the call of His Name. Let’s tell Him we love Him and ask Him to help us
know and do His Will.
Happy 4th of July everyone! And God bless you!
Last week's top hit "Big Daddy" is a disgrace in the year we honor the Father!
For the Top Ten Films in the final week of June the phenomenal success of another Adam Sandler vehicle of scatological humor "Big Daddy" proves there's no accounting for good taste. But then, this may sadly be a trend since "South Park - the Movie" was released on the public this week! Meanwhile, "Tarzan" kept swinging high in second followed by that other swinger of ill repute - "Austin Powers: the Spy who...". Another sleaze-filled film "The General's Daughter" came in fourth while the megahit Star Wars' "Episode One - The Phantom Menace" continued to lose speed, dropping to fifth ahead of "Notting Hill" and "The Mummy" which is still wrapped in 7th place followed by "Instinct", then "An Ideal Husband", and holding up the rear in this week's sad commentary on what the public wants to see: "The Matrix." For the Top Ten reviews for the final week of June prepared by the NCCB, click on MOVIES AND MORALS
TOP TEN MOVIES FOR THE FINAL WEEK OF JUNE
1. BIG DADDY
$41.5 million in one week:
Because of implied affairs, coarse expressions and gestures, some profanity and fleeting violence, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In "Big Daddy", Adam Sandler plays an irresponsible 32-year-old temporarily taking custody of a motherless 5-year-old boy to impress a girlfriend, but in the process he learns parenting is more than just hanging out and goofing off. The one-joke movie lurches from toilet humor to blatant brand-name product placements to increasingly sappy sentiment as Sandler's character predictably matures.
2. TARZAN $24 million last week/ $77.5 million in two weeks
Because of intensely menacing hunting scenes, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and
adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Tarzan" is Disney's animated tale about an orphaned baby boy raised by jungle gorillas who grows up before encountering his first humans, including a duplicitous hunter intent on capturing his beloved ape family and spunky Jane, who tempts Tarzan to return to civilization. The classic characters of Edgar Rice Burroughs are appealing, the animation splendid and the music tuneful but some action scenes of predatory violence are too intense for younger children.
3. AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO... $18.3 million last week/ $150.6 million in three weeks
Because of comically intended violence, frequent sexual innuendo, crude references, rude gestures and a few instances of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" is a mindless sequel to the '97 spoof in which the swinging British secret agent (played by Mike Myers) time travels back to the '60s to recover his libido and joins forces with a comely CIA agent (Heather Graham) to again save the world from the wacky machinations of a madman and his miniature clone. Silly shenanigans alternate with gross toilet humor and lame sexual innuendo for a mixed bag of goofy, truly tasteless entertainment.
4. THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER
(Paramount) $15.1 million last week/ $46.8 million in two weeks
Because of sporadic intense violence including rape, full nudity, videotape of a sadistic sexual encounter, frequent rough language and intermittent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The General's Daughter" is a lurid military thriller in which an Army criminal investigator (John Travolta) assigned to solve the brutal strangulation of a promiscuous female captain (Leslie Stefanson), is pressured to participate in a cover-up after he unravels a widespread criminal conspiracy of many years standing.
Despite sleek visuals and some strong performances, the movie plays like a cynical and at times grotesque potboiler.
5. STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE - THE PHANTOM MENACE $14.1 million last week/ $351.6 million in six weeks:
Because of sci-fi swordfights and
battle sequences, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is A-II - adults and
adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental
guidance suggested. "The Phantom Menace" is a disappointing prequel to the "Star
Wars" trilogy in which two Jedi knights (played by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor)
intent on saving the planet Naboo from Federation invaders enlist the help of a young
boy who will eventually become the evil Darth Vader. By emphasizing fantastical
creatures and myriad special effects, writer-director George Lucas loses much of the
movie's human dimension and ends up achieving mostly visual spectacle. May 1999
6. NOTTING HILL
$5.5 million last week/ $89.5 million in five weeks:
Because of an off-screen sexual encounter, some crude references,
occasional profanity and minimal rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference
classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13
-- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children
under 13. "Notting Hill" is a gauzy romantic comedy in which a Hollywood movie star
(played by Julia Roberts) and a timid London bookseller (Hugh Grant) fall in love but he
finds himself too intimidated by her fame to pursue the relationship. The contrived
crowd-pleaser is long on stunning smiles and sugary sentiment but short on realistic
romance. May-June 1999.
7. THE MUMMY
$2.1 million last week/ $146 million in eight weeks:
Because of recurring stylized violence and fleeting partial nudity, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association
of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be
inappropriate for children under 13. "The Mummy" is a spirited horror adventure set in
1920's Egypt where a treasure hunting Yank (played by Brendan Fraser) is confronted
by a revived 3,000 year-old mummy whose evil powers seemingly know no bounds.
The lavishly shot action movie is stuffed with spooky special effects and comical
moments that downplay horror in favor of rousing, old-fashioned entertainment. May
$1.9 million last week/ $30.6 million in four weeks:
Because of intermittent violence and a few instances of rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Instinct", psychiatrist Cuba Gooding, Jr. must uncover why imprisoned American anthropologist Anthony Hopkins chose to abandon civilization for life among
Ruwandan gorillas which led to his killing two park rangers a few years later. Balancing out a simplistic script and formula scenes of prison brutality are the steely performances of the two intense actors. June 1999.
9. AN IDEAL HUSBAND $1.1 million last week/ $1.4 million in two weeks
Because of fleeting nudity and sexual innuendo plus references to fraud and deceitful behavior, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "An Ideal Husband", Oscar Wilde's 1895 drawing-room comedy of manners, finds a rising London politician (Jeremy Northam) in danger of losing his career and adored wife (Cate Blanchett) unless a spoiled bachelor ally (Rupert Everett) can outwit a blackmailing femme fatale (Julianne Moore). The streamlined adaptation is visually and verbally elegant with an able ensemble cast skewering the era's social pretensions.
10. THE MATRIX $1 million last week/ $165.6 million in thirteen weeks
Because of excessive violence and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic
Conference classification, O -- morally offensive. Motion Picture Association of America
rating, R -- restricted "The Matrix" is a convoluted sci-fi tale in which a tiny band of
cyber rebels led by Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne do battle with virtually
indestructible humanoid killers from the 22nd centry. The action movie's violence is
glorified, glamorized and made to look exciting with a dazzling array of eyepopping
special effects. April 1999
SIMPLY SHEEN: Seeing God in everything
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".
"Blessed is the one to whom the universe is not opaque like a curtain, but transparent as is a window, and to whom reason's Author is seen behind every true act of reasoning."
Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky, the head of all Ukrainian-Rite Catholics, guides a peoples who have had more than their share of suffering and martyrdom
We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our seventy-third red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky , Archbishop of Lviv and head of all Ukrainian-Rite Catholics. A U.S. citizen since 1952, he was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in the Consistory of May 25, 1985. For more on Cardinal Lubachivsky, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION
73. Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky
Though Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky was born in Dolyna in the Ukraine on June 24, 1914 in the Eparchy of Ivano-Frankivsk, he has been a U.S. citizen since 1952. He entered the seminary in Leopoli, of the Ukraine at the age of 19 in 1933. He continued his major seminary in Innsbruck, Austria and then Sion, Switzerland because of Communist suppression of the faith in his own country. He was ordained on September 21, 1938 in Rome where he continued his studies, obtaining a degree in Sacred Scripture from the Gregorian in the eternal city in 1942. After various assignments by the Eparch in and around Rome, he relocated in the United States in 1947. After twenty-years of pastoral work with Ukrainian parishes in the U.S. he returned to Rome in 1967 to teach at the Ukrainian Pontifical College of San Giosafat for a year. In 1968 he returned to America, becoming Spiritual Director of the Ukrainian Seminaries of Washington and Stanford. On September 13, 1979 Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of the Ukrainian-rite archeparchy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he was installed two months later on November 12, 1979.
A year later the Holy Father named him coadjutor Archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians on March 27, 1980 and the acting Archbishop of Lviv on September 7, 1984. A year later the Pope included him in the Consistory of May 25, 1985 elevating him to the cardinalate with the titular church of St. Sofia on the Via Boccea. At the same time he was appointed Major Archbishop of Lviv and appointed head of all Ukrainian Eastern-Rite Catholics. His compassion has been legendary with his flock who have undergone decades of suffering and martyrdoms for the faith brought on by the heavy hammer and sickle of atheistic communistic regime. Now, with the fall of communism in the Ukraine he is able to minister more to his people who have suffered so. But, like the fruits of the early martyrs who shed their blood to spread the faith, so also in the Ukraine are vocations on the increase and the fruits are manifesting themselves greatly as we head into a new millennium. Cardinal Lubachivsky, now 85 and ineligible for the Sacred Conclave, resides at Sobor Sviatoho Jura, Ploshcha Sviatoho Jura 4, 200000 Liviv, Ukraine.
June 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Today I thank you for living and witnessing my messages with your life. Little children, be strong and pray so that prayer may give you strength and joy. Only in this way will each of you be mine and I will lead you on the way of salvation. Little children, pray and with your life witness my presence here. May each day be a joyful witness for you of God's love. Thank you for having responded to my call.
The DAILY WORD
"'Peace be to you!' Then He said to Thomas, 'Bring here thy finger, and see My hands; and bring here thy hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.'"
John 20: 27-29
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July 2-5, 1999 volume 10, no. 128 DAILY CATHOLIC