Our Lady says to read the Acts of the Apostles very carefully, for here we shall discover how beautifully the Holy Spirit works. How He, the Sanctifier comes and enables that which is only weakness, faults, and failings, and leads the soul back to the Father. Therefore, she tells me that in these Lessons I am receiving, she will only ask all of her children to read the Acts of the Apostles and to recognize that in our own time, we are to do as they did, but how much harder for us who, by having advanced so far in technology, we have fallen far from God's holy light and are thus as blind men trembling in darkness.
All that one must do to reach Eternal Life, Jesus taught, and after His Ascension, The Holy Spirit developed in the hearts of all, according to his or her calling, thus completing the Redemptive Act by sanctifying the soul unto unity with the Most Blessed Trinity.
Now, our Heavenly Mother would have me now that she remained upon this sorrowing earth, Mother of the Church, for over twenty years after her Divine Son's Ascension. Her role will never be fully understood while we remain part of the world; but as we seek only the Divine Will, we will gradually come to understand and realize the depth of God's Infinite Love, so structured as to have The Almighty God, Our Father, nourish us through the intercession of Mary, the spotless creature, the perfect disciple, the perfect example of womanhood submissive to God and the prayerful power behind all men who are God's children called to a specific role.
Therefore, tonight, as I am drawn into interior vision, I understand that the Infant Church has now spread beyond Jerusalem and Palestine proper. The Word, blown by the breath of The Holy Spirit, has caught soul after soul, and its life has been given from one to another, until Word of Jesus Christ, Messiah, Son of God, has reached the depths of the existing Roman Empire and beyond to lands where bondage to Rome is unknown.
A common link is revealed now to all men: we are children of God, redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, Only-Begotten Son of God, the Word made Flesh in the Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
No court of law, no power on earth can silence this news. No cruelty can crush its Truth, nor impede its growth, for the fervor of the first Christians is beyond that of our modern world which has lost God by making itself god.
Unless we return to our True Roots of the Roman Catholic Faith, we shall cause God's full Justice to come. If we hear her messages and respond, then we participate in the Redemptive Act and permit God'' Holy, Perfect Will to reign upon earth. I am at tremendous peace knowing the voice is of God, I write:
It appears to me to be about mid-afternoon for the shadows where sunlight filters into the larger main room are longer, gentler than the bright light of early day. This light lends a celestial atmosphere to the dwelling, and it is as if I have entered into the Holy Tabernacle in church, so close is our Dear Lord's presence.
I find that I move from the main room, which serves as kitchen and meeting area into a room off to the left. This, I understand, is our Blessed Mother's room where many long hours of deep prayer and contemplation have linked Heaven to earth by her pure and selfless love.
I see that it is not a gloomy place. The window faces west and through half-closed shutters, the sunlight enters and gives radiance to the Mother of God who is kneeling upright before the image of her Divine Son'' Suffering Countenance as given to Veronica during the Passion. Also present I behold the nails, hammer, tongs, the lance, which pierced the Sacred Heart, and also several scourges, which were used to torture the Son of God.
Wordlessly does Mary venerate these holy, sacred relics and her tears anoint each one as, gently and reverently, she kisses each object before she replaces it in a trunk, which stands at the foot of her small bed.
When the last relic has been replaced, Our Lady bows her head in prayer and it is now that I become aware that the light in the room has grown brighter. I look to see if the shutters have somehow been opened, but find they are unaltered.
This light which permeates every corner of the room surrounds Mary, the Mother of God. She is caught up in it and seems to dissolve in its brilliance. I do not see anyone else, yet I hear with great clarity the voice of Gabriel. I recognize the same voice, which, so many earthly years before, had announced to Mary God's Will for her to be the Mother of God's Son.
It is a voice beyond human understanding or description. It sings to her, this voice, and I am allowed to hear the words.
"O Holy Mother of God, I have come again at God's command. He would have you prepare now to come to Him for all eternity. The moment of His Summons draws nigh. The Apostles have already been summoned that you may glance upon your beloved sons yet one more time. Know, O Holy Mary, blessed of all women, that soon they shall be with you, for it is God's own Mercy to them, and witness to His power, which He grants to you, the Immaculate One. Rise now to greet your sons, for lo, they come in haste and in sorrow, for the Spirit has enlightened them; the angles of God have brought them."
At once, the celestial light fades and the Mother of God rises to her feet and turns in profile toward the door leading to the outer room. I am privileged to see her face and there is no trace of age upon it. She appears to be no more than thirty, and there is no sign of wrinkle, of lack of strength. In truth, her beauty is exquisite and there can not be detected any trace of illness or lack of strength which would certainly be present upon any other person nearing seventy yeas of age; one who had endured all that she, the Spotless Virgin, the First Tabernacle, had endured. Serenity, peace, love, joy, trust all etch her face and radiate from her being. She is calm, as if preparing to receive an expected, welcome guest.
Her obedience to God's Will remains ever perfect. The moment of the reunion with her Son, a moment long-awaited and lovingly endured, is soon to be granted her. But her only ceaseless prayer is that God's Will be done, not hers. And I hear the outer door open and the heavy footsteps approach. A knock, gentle, and Our Lady bids her first visitor to enter. I turn from her to see John come in and fall to his knees. John has aged considerably, but it is his eyes, which are as pure and filled with Divine Love as the first summons from Jesus so many years before.
"Holy Mother, I have come. I have been told," he says. It is enough: they say no more, so closely woven are their souls. Together they give praise and thanks to God in the wordless, pure prayer of their hearts. But holy tears soon well in John's eyes and at once Our Lady crosses and comfort him tenderly. "O, faithful servant, Apostle of my Son. Let your tears be those of joy only, for God's Plan is perfect. Though I go now at His Summons to receive the reward He has prepared for me, and of which I am not worthy, but for which all honor, all glory belongs to Him alone, I assure you as a good mother, you shall not be left wanting."
"May God be forever praised, O Holy Mother of God."
St. John, now much calmer rises to his feet and escorts the Mother of God to her little chair where many hours of prayer accompanied by sewing have passed.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part two: The Blessed Mother prepares to be reunited with her Divine Son
During the Eucharistic Celebration, the Pope stressed the fact that a bishop's mission is to serve, and also commented on St. Paul's words in Acts, "I don't consider my life worthy of esteem, provided that when I finish my race I've carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me -- and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God's grace."
Many chiefs of state and other public figures from all parts of the globe sent their birthday wishes to the Pope throughout the day.
L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's daily paper, greeted the Pope with a front page wish: "May the Lord of history fulfill the future you have opened in your visit to Romania," referring, of course, to the Holy Father's long desire to be the first Roman pontiff to visit Russia, the seat of the largest Orthodox church in the world.
On his 79th birthday, John Paul II received congratulations from German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who was visiting the Vatican for the first time as head of state. According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Director of the Vatican Press Office, the discussion concerned "a panorama of the principal current issues, paying particular attention of the dramatic situation in the Balkans and the possibility to obtain a just and honorable solution to the problems in this region as soon as possible."
After his 25-minute meeting with the Pope and the traditional photo session, Schröder met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State. The German Chancellor presented the Pope with a Dutch painting of the Cathedral of Krakow, and the Holy Father gave him a plaque with medallions from his pontificate.
The German Chancellor came to Rome after his meeting in Bari, Italy, with the President of the Italian Council of Ministers, Massimo D'Alema. As expected, the Kosovo crisis was also the central topic of their conversation. In the closing press conference, D'Alema and Schröder admitted that they had been unable to prepare a common document to serve as a proposal for a rapid solution. This decision was made, in part, to avoid "confusions" and the multiplication of documents. The two leaders indicated their preference to work for a consensus on the recently drafted G8 document, which calls for U.N. involvement. ZE99051806
An article published in the May 18 issue of L'Osservatore Romano charges that the government of Rwanda is attempting to make the Church "appear responsible for the campaign of genocide" directed at the Tutsi tribe in 1994. The newspaper report is attributed to an official source in the Holy See.
The article points out that Bishop Augustin Misago was arrested on April 14, and charged with aiding the killing, after being personally accused by Rwanda's President Pasteur Bizimungu. L'Osservatore Romano continued that Bishop Misago had been the subject of brutal media criticism, much of it clearly initiated by government officials. Similar campaigns had been undertaken in the past against the bishops of Kigali and Kabgayi, the newspaper pointed out.
The propaganda campaign against the bishops, the article said, was a deliberate effort to "reduce or eliminate the role that the Church has played in the process of reconciliation in Rwanda-- in the past and continuing today." This in turn is a ploy by the government, intended to shore up its own public image, L'Osservatore argued.
In an effort to recapture the truth of the situation, L'Osservatore observed that there were two different campaigns of genocide: one directed against Tutsis, quickly followed by a vicious backlash against Hutus. "Both of these genocides were horrible," the article says, "and both must be remembered." Any effort to ignore one set of killings and accentuate the other would be an obstacle to reconciliation and to the cause of peace, the Vatican newspaper argued.
Since May 9 in a neighboring town of Beirut, Lebanon, the first Congress of Patriarchs and Catholic Bishops of the East is taking place these days. According to Italian newspaper Avvenire, it is the first meeting in thirteen centuries that congregates the Catholic family of the Middle East and Northern Africa. The congress has gathered more than 200 participants belonging to the several Catholic rites: Maronite, Melchite, Armenian, Caledonian, Syrian, Coptic and Latin.
"This congress takes us back to the times in which the shepherds of the Church met in this part of the world, a center of Christianity, to discuss about ecclesial, dogmatic and disciplinary topics. Who could ignore the councils of Jerusalem, Antioch, Nice, Ephesus, Chalcedon and Constantinople?" reminded Patriarch Sfeir upon inaugurating the congress.
The Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, has pointed out in declarations to "Avvenire" the necessity of returning to the roots for an effective proclamation of the Gospel. Also, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, affirmed that the Church in this region wants above all to ask itself on the role, the duties and the contribution that it can give in these times. In fact, along the meeting, one of the points of reflection is actually the role of the Church in the Middle East in the evangelization towards the third millennium.
Crossroads, a pro-life student organization based in Steubenville, Ohio, organized the walks that begin in San Francisco and Los Angeles and end in Washington, DC on August 14. In between, the walkers will cover 3,400 miles in 28 cities and 21 states, speaking to groups on chastity, abortion, and the "culture of death."
"Almost all of the students in Crossroads were born after 1973, and that means that they could have been 'legally' destroyed while living in their mothers' wombs. It's time people in our generation understand this horrendous fact," said Crossroads founder Steve Sanborn.
"We're out there to peacefully gain attention for the pro-life movement. We also wish to ask the American Catholic bishops to do all in their power to end the scourge of abortion," said Northern Walk leader Mark De Young. "The influence of the American Catholic bishops in our nation could stop abortion, and we will pray for them daily while on this pilgrimage for life."