Having given my Rosary to the young singer at the Conference, I was once again without a Rosary. But I still had a few left from my trip to Medjugorje, and chose a black and silver one. I used it constantly and, yes, it, too, turned gold eventually. I was deeply grateful to God and my spirituality grew.
The next couple of years were very prayerful. I was "on top of the mountain," so to speak. I did a lot of spiritual reading from 1990 through early 1996. I read several books on the saints, the complete works of "Poem of the Man-God"(excellent), the Holy Bible and many publications, such as Wayne Weible's Medjugorje Newsletter. I made friends of many priest and Religious Sisters. I developed a friendship with someone who has great knowledge of the lives of saints.
My son met and married a very beautiful lady and gave me a grandson four years later.
My stay on the mountain top, however, was to come to an end. In early June 1996 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctor said I needed to have the breast removed and I opted for reconstruction. Before my surgery, my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the base of her brain. She had begun to lose memory of things and falter. I went to visit her at the hospital. I took my black and silver Rosary that had turned gold. Silently I prayed for her. My sister had married into a Greek Orthodox family, so she was more understanding of my conversion to Catholicism. In the few moments that I could speak to her, I explained my Rosary and then gave it to her, letting her know that the Blessed Mother would watch over her.
Thanks be to God my sister's tumor was a very rare type of cellular distortion, but it was NOT cancerous.
Three days later, I had my surgery. I should tell you that I have another affliction called Fibromyalgia Syndrome, which affects the muscle tissue. In post surgery, I suffered very much from the reconstruction, as muscle was involved.
I had read how the saints offered all of their sufferings to God. I did so, but God wanted even more suffering so that more souls would be saved.
In August of 1996, my surgeon advised me to start chemotherapy. I was devastated. During the time of my recuperation, I had a great deal of time to pray. I had picked out a large crystal Rosary I had brought from Medjugorje. Yes, and very soon, it, also, turned gold. How I thanked Our Lord! This was my little piece of Heaven and I needed it now more than ever. Yet my suffering was not to end.
One Friday evening, I received a call. My Dad had had a stroke. Dad was very special to me. The thought of losing him was very hard.
But that's yet another story for next time when I will continue. Until then, God bless you, dear reader.
This fire-like suffering comes from the knowledge the Holy Souls have of God, of having experienced for a fleeting second, as it were, that incredible Love which is God, and then being separated from that All-Consuming Love. Pat Ludwa wrote an excellent article on this last Thursday in Hell, the fire of God's Love! If we recall when we were most homesick or lonesome and magnify it a million times, we would then arrive at some understanding of the suffering of these Holy Souls in Purgatory.
We can never outdo God in generosity. Let us, then, resolve to amend our own lives and become generous benefactors for our departed brothers and sisters, fully confident that at the moment of our death, this very Heroic Act of Charity will gain for us a speedy entry into Eternal Joy where we can finally unite with the Church Triumphant. This is the true "communion" of the Communion of Saints which is the very backbone of the Church and something we should be ever mindful as we prepare during Advent and this upcoming final year of the second millennium...as we prepare for His Coming, not just at Christmas but when He returns for the second time for we say every day at Holy Mass: "Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again!"
After all it will be the ultimate Advent for the word comes from the Latin ad meaning "to" and veni which means "come." Yes, many things are yet to come but none more important as the reason for our very existence - Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. It is time for all of us to take our roles seriously as "soldiers of Christ" as members of the Church Militant and, as soldiers begin to attempt to do heroic acts for others beginning with the "Heroic Act of Charity" and to do unto others as we would have done unto us.
Like any good soldier, we're going to fall often; but there is no shame in falling, only in failing to bounce back up. For the sake of the souls in Purgatory we all need to bounce back up, to pray and prepare during this season of Advent, which signals the beginning of the Church's liturgical year. Our Lady is preparing us in her boot camp of motherly love by reminding us of her Divine Son and of the realization that we are coming to the end of an era and that Christ is "to come" soon after God has recleansed the earth as He did during the time of Noah, 2000 years before sending His Only-begotten Son to redeem mankind. Now it is our turn to help redeem the Holy Souls.
In 1958 he served as head of the Holy See delegation to the UN under first Secretary of State Cardinal Domenico Tardini and then Cardinal Amletto Cicognani. In 1973 Pope Paul VI appointed him Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Public Affairs of the Church and on May 4, 1979 Pope John Paul II made him titular bishop of Novaliciana with the personal title of archbishop and promoted him to Secretary of the same curial office of which he had been under secretary for six years. Through the Holy Father's Pastor Bonus this office became the Second Section of the Secretariat of State and his headed today by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran. He remained there until the Consistory of June 28, 1988 when he was elevated to the cardinalate and received the titular church of St. Benedict Outside St. Paul's Gate and appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura until 1991 when the Pope made him Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, drawing on his many years of experience with Southeast Asia and Eastern Churches in union with Rome. He was also appointed Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.
In addition to his current duties, he also serves membership in numerous curial offices including the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the Congregation for Catholic Education in addition to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. At 76 he continues in these duties while residing at Palazzina decca Zecca at 00120 Vatican City State.
Death of Pope Anastasius II, 50th successor of Peter, who had been elected on November 24, 496. During his two year pontificate he brought about the conversion of Clovis, King of the Franks, and of his people. It was the beginning of a long faith relationship with France. Unfortunately Anastasius was weak with the schismatics and was even accused of heresy. It was this Pope who the poet Dante Alighieri placed in hell in "Dante's Inferno" but it was unfair for Anastasius was a good man who the opposition painted as weak and incompetent.
Pope Boniface VIII issues his famous "Unam sanctam" Papal Bull on the supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal power. It would have had even more impact had it not been for Boniface's bitter fued with Charles IV, equally stubborn king of France.
Cardinal Giulio de' Medici is chosen 219th successor of Peter, taking the name Pope Clement VII. This Firenze-born pontiff would go on to reign for 11 years, but was unable to curb the bitter struggle between Catholics and the Lutherans of the Protestant Revolt. He would excommunicate King Henry VIII and the faith would be lost in England with the establishment of the State-run Anglican Church. Clement celebrated the 9th Jubilee in1525.
Pope Paul III, 220th successor of Peter, officially announces the landmark 19th Ecumenical Council, also known as the Council of Trent in the Tridentine mountain village in northern Italy.
Birth of Francisco Castiglioni in Cingoli, Italy. He would go on to become a priest and cardinal and on April 5, 1829 be elected the 253rd successor of Peter taking the name Pope Pius VIII. His greatest strength was expanding missionary activity throughout the world.
Pope Leo XIII issues his 36th encyclical Catholicae Ecclesiae dealing with slavery in the missions in declaring it totally against God's Holy Will.
Pope Pius XII releases his 12th encyclical Mediator Dei on the sacred liturgy.
Death of Pope Saint Gelasius I, 49th successor of Peter. During his four-and-a-half-year papacy he instituted the Code for the uniforming of ceremonies and rites. Because of his charity he was called the "Father of the Poor." He maintained the supremacy of the Church over that of kings and inserted the "Kyrie eleison" into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.