Even though Gregory's reign would be short-lived, he made it top priority to strive for the liberation of the holy land. To effect this, however, Gregory had to soothe the peace among the princes of Europe and to settle the long-standing fued between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines who were so stanchly pro-imperialist. By bringing both sides to a compromise and by calling on Richard of Cornwall to spearhead a campaign to elect a new German king, even though the Hohenstaufen line had been ended. This was done for three reasons, first, to unite Europe in an effort to drum up support for another crusade; two, to stem the power mongering of Charles of Anjou; and three, to reunite with the Greek Church. The latter was most important to Gregory who had studied at the University of Paris where he came under the steady influence of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Albert the Great. Before he became supreme pontiff, Gregory had extensive talks with Michael VIII Palaelogus, the Byzantine Emperor about reuniting the two Churches. The latter agreed for the specific reason of stemming Charles' advance to Constantinople. Thus, once Gregory became Pope, he dispatched envoys to Constantinople to invite Michael to attend the Fourtheenth Ecumenical Council which Gregory convened on May 7, 1274 at Lyons, France and is also called the Council of Lyons. It was this Council in which Aquinas died just before reaching it, but St. Bonaventure was present and played a major role in the dockett. Michael and his delegates arrived six weeks later and on July 6 an agreement was signed in which the Greeks agreed to the double procession of the Holy Spirit, and the primacy of the Holy See.
Though Charles had mounted a campaign to have Philip III elected king, he received little support and eventually had to succumb to the majority who elected Rudolf, Count of Habsburg. Charles was not invited to the Council but Rudolf was and at the Council Rudolf agreed to renounced all rights to papal territories and recognized the permanent seccession of Siciliy from the rest of his empire, leaving Charles with only Siciliy. Also during the Council the kings of England, France, and Aragon (Spain), as well as Michael of Constantinople all agreed to tithe toward another crusade and to recruit men for this holy war with the infidels. The Council Fathers also took care to prevent the kind of delays that occurred before Gregory became Pope by proclaiming the famous constitution Ubi periculum that mandated the cardinals must meet in conclave within ten days of the death of the previous pontiff and must be cloistered there until a new pope is elected and the longer the process takes, the conditions and amenities should become more austere, thus encouraging them to come to a decision. The Council also placed strict reforms and restrictions on religious orders with the exception of the Franciscans and Dominicans, largely because of their contributions and the presence at the council of such luminaries as Saints Bonaventure and Albert. Gregory was big on clergy reform and with the help of the latter two saints, carried out the reforms in the best manner possible.
After the Council concluded, Gregory traveled back to Rome and then to Lausanne, Switzerland where he met Rudolf and made arrangements with the king to crown him Holy Roman Emperor on February 2, 1276 at Rome. It would be just a few short months when Gregory left Rudolf in late October of 1275 but they would never meet again for Gregory, upon his return trip across the Alps while visiting several northern Italian cities on papal visits to settle disputes among the civilians, contracted a fever and died on January 10, 1276 in Arezzo, Italy.
Though Gregory's pontificate was short, he had recreated a trust and love in the Holy Father lacking in so many of his predecessors. All of Europe mourned and the villagers of Arezzo immediately offered his cause for canonization. He was buried in the Duomo there but sainthood was stalled until the mid 1700's when Pope Benedict XIV beatified him, adding Gregory to the Roman Martyrology even though he did not die a martyr and setting his feast day as January 10th. Gregory's accomplishments would seem to have gone unfulfilled in the short scheme of things, but in the long-run his policies had long-ranging effects. The crusade, which he had held so dear to his heart would not get off the ground after his death for Rudolf would not gain the power he had thought. The reunion of Rome and Constantinople would also be brief for Michael had authorized the agreement for political expediency only. Once that threat died down, there would be no holding the Greek church to their word and, as we shall see, the schism would once again become wide. But the policies instituted by Gregory went far in uniting mainland Europe in peace and reinstating the Holy See as a major force. Gregory was a power that would be hard to follow though the cardinals tried when they elected Pope Blessed Innocent V to succeed him as we shall see in the next installment: Blessed Innocent V: First Dominican Pope.
Today I will continue on the chief moral or cardinal virtues which must be fertile in the souls of all My children. Without these virtues, My children, you cannot claim to be Mine, and all you do is of little value because you do it for yourself and not for Me.
That Cardinal Virtue called JUSTICE is not complicated, though your world, your society, your laws and above all your ego have twisted this holy virtue into a complicated array of worldly rights and wrongs.
In this, My children, you are victims again of satan's snares and your own weakness. This Cardinal Virtue, while it does deal with exterior 'things', is more developed in the soul which sees Justice on the supernatural, mystical level.
In My earthly life I taught you to thank the Most Blessed Trinity for all graces and gifts received, and to acknowledge that all is given to you from the Providence of the Eternal Father. In this way, My children, you are constantly detaching yourself from "possessing" anything in the world, but 'treasuring' these worldly gifts as such-gifts from God Who watches over you in Love and Mercy.
What then must you do to fulfill properly the Cardinal Virtue of Justice? You must follow all I have set before you in Sacred Scripture. If you are asked for a coat, willingly give your coat to he who asks, and believing in his need, offer even more.
In your day of excess, many of My little ones possess a great abundance of material things., Thus, you must seriously reflect now upon all that you possess. Guided by Prudence and The Holy Spirit, you will more clearly discern that which is absolutely necessary for your own welfare, and that which exceeds true need and becomes for you a burden.
When you have discerned that you have excess in many things, then Justice requires that you dispense of your excess in a charitable manner that is pleasing unto Me, your Lord, God and Savior.
How many pairs of shoes do you truly need? How many changes of clothing? How many radios, televisions and other modern devices which give you leisure time that is spent idly and, often, sinfully because you do not find Me in your idleness.
If you are truly mine, then the object of your Love requires you to cut off any and all attachments to worldly things that keep you from unity with Me. Further, holy Justice requires you to share fully of your goods with your brothers and sisters who have not received from Me as much as I have given to you.
Justice that is animated by the Holy Spirit and thrives in your soul, prompts you to live in simplicity, trusting in My Providence, while you search eagerly to share your wealth of earthly riches with all who are in need.
Then, elevated to the supernatural level, Holy Justice also prompts you to share fully in all the heavenly gifts and graces given you. Justice propels you to evangelize-to proclaim Me before all men. Justice seeks to give faith to him who lacks faith. It invites trust in him who so lacks Trust in Me, and above all and uniting all to Me, Holy Justice is the Divine Love in your soul that attracts others to Me because they are drawn to love.
Holy Justice is not judgmental or self-righteous. The virtue of Holy Justice requires you to be lifted above all petty human notions of justice, and to view your brothers and sisters as My children to whom you seek to give whatever you can, so that they, too, may be satisfied.
The Cardinal Virtue of Justice helps you to fulfill more perfectly those Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy about which I have already spoken, while at the same time enabling you to turn to Me for every thing of body and of soul, and allowing Me to guide you in the proper way in order to sustain the life of the mortal body while enriching the supernatural life of your immortal soul.
Do not "posses" anyone or anything but Me! In this way you are free, and My Peace abides in you. View everything as a gift over which I have placed you as guardian on My behalf. When you do this, My Children, then the Virtue of Justice becomes for you a sublime act of charity and mercy, which consoles Me and causes Me to give to you in even greater abundance.
Therefore, in these end times you must fully examine every aspect of your life and discern if you live a just and holy life. I solemnly tell you "Blessed is he who practices Justice, for he shall be a beacon of light in the spiritual darkness of the antichrist, and to him who is just the Mercy of God will be given, for I solemnly tell you yet again: "I Come!"
You've probably noticed we haven't been running a graphics enhanced front page with photos, illustrations and color type and graphics against the galaxy black background for the issues of May. The reason for this is we need to pare back the meg space in our server because the UNIX server we currently have can only hold so much and we have exceeded that capacity, therefore we had to sacrifice something until we can pare back graphics in archive files. We hope to be able to return to the graphics front page for each day soon and to accommodate this, we will need to drop the archives files for A CALL TO PEACE. It is ashame since many features, articles and messages are continuous and began over two years ago and are contained in the nearly two-year file of the bi-weekly issues that ran from January 1996 until October 1997. In order to also meet our meg level, we are scurrying about in changing the HTML codes of graphics front pages so they will take you directly to the text version for articles you are clicking on to. Background will be the lagoon-like aqua with black type which so many have enthusiastically approved and which the text front page will always be. Naturally, when you print out the articles the background will not appear. We have narrowed the margins in the articles so they will fit on everyone's monitor regardless of size. It can be frustrating having to scroll horizontally to read something whereas scrolling vertically is more a natural reaction for browsers and much easier. However, since the margins are narrower and may read very easily on the screen, if you print them out it will take more paper. The solution and best course to take is to click on the entire text and print that out. These pages will fill the most space on paper - usually four to seven pages in one printing and there is seldom never more than two printings, sometimes all on one printing if the issue is short and you can then read each issue at your leisure later or share them with others.
Sharing is so important in these times when apathy is choking the life out of so many apostolic ministries, including our own. In studying trends over the past ten years, it's interesting to note that the public - or in this case the faithful - are fickle. They'll chase and support those apostolates promoting "current messages" but as soon as those messages stop, they go on to the next "current messenger" leaving the old messages and apostolate promoting them in the dust. More ministries have dried up because of this trend. Many of these people are what have been labeled as "message junkies" - the type who chase the latest messages or messenger, forgetting the messages they had heard prior in search of more "blueprints" of what is in store for them. This can be very, very dangerous. We ran into this in Arkansas when people descended on our ministry from all over smothering Cyndi in trying to coax from the Blessed Mother through Cyndi a personal blueprint for them. Some times Our Lady would convey a message through the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart but most often whenever a message was imparted, if it didn't fit with the preconceived message the person or persons wanted to hear, they would not respond anyway. The Mother of God has said over and over to so many of her children from Medjugorje on that she has said all she can say. That is why she ceased giving messages to the Hidden Flower, to Father Don Stefano Gobbi, to numerous other visionaries and messengers. Even in Medjugorje, where she has said all she can, people are turning away in droves. Why? Because there is nothing spectacular happening! These message junkies or fair-weather faithful rely on phenomena to prove their faith. That is the biggest mistake they make. God does not work that way and neither does His Blessed Mother. Jesus said the way is narrow and few there are who enter. Why? Because they are not willing to carry their cross. Our Lady has been pleading with us to carry our cross by living the messages - Total Commitment to God, Faith, Prayer, Fasting, Frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Nothing spectacular. In fact, downright routine day in and day out drudgery, but that is the only way to salvation. It is, as Saint Therese the Little Flower said, "not doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways."
It is truly extraordinary to stay the course and accept the everyday humdrum of living the messages. It's not easy turning one's will over totally to God. It's not easy fasting and praying daily without fail. It's not always easy to have expectant faith when things may look glum, but by living our faith, we can nurture that faith and be confident that God will come through if we're willing to do what He asks through His envoy extraordinaire - His Holy Mother. But because it is "unspectacular," man, being the curious animal he is, searches on, dismissing what he or she already heard. Rather than applying it, they cast their net upon an unknown sea seeking the exact answers that may not be forthcoming except in God's Own time. The great danger here is the lure toward knowing the future. Once they taste just a hint, they want to know more and clamor to personalize it, not just for the world, or the Church, but for them and their family. Evidently they feel they'll be able to make all the changes they need in time if they know when. This is not God's way but rather the scheming wiles of the evil one for Jesus has said "No one knows the day nor the hour except the Father". We look at it very simply: if God wanted us to know more, He would have told us in Sacred Scripture. As it is, which so many message junkies fail to realize, what Our Lady and her Divine Son have been imparting in private revelation is nothing new but just a "rehash" of all that is contained in Scripture and the Doctrines and Traditions of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Still we don't get it. It's high time we did, or we're all going to be shut out when the real signs manifest themselves because we cried "wolf" one too many times! We're going to miss the boat because we're looking for another sign. It is akin to the story of the man who was caught in a flood on top of his house as it floated down the river, sinking slowly. When they sent a ladder he declined saying "God will provide." When rescuers pulled a life boat up against the sinking structure, he politely told them he'd wait. And, as he was treading water with the house totally engulfed, and a helicopter hovering overhead with a welcome lifeline just a foot from his thrashing hand, he waved them off gluggling "God will..." Well, you know the rest of the story. He drowned and as he came before his Maker he asked the Almighty why He hadn't rescued him in his time of need. We all know God's response, "I sent you a ladder, a boat and a helicopter!" Are we going to be as dense as that poor man? We can wise up by living the messages and take the business of evangelizing seriously, very seriously as the Holy Father entreats. We can't always be sure what lies ahead, but we can be sure we're on the right track if we trust in Jesus and do all He asks.