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The cardinal released a letter to be read at all Philippines' churches on May 10, the day before the election, in which he calls on the people of his country to choose a leader worthy to lead the people into the new millennium. However, he alluded to the probable win of front-runner Joseph Estrada, in whom the cardinal has expressed his dissatisfaction. But the cardinal remained focused on the need for a fair election. "There is nothing that would hurt our people more than that these elections be subverted through massive cheating," he said.
"The people, working from the streets, the churches, the religious houses, the factories, the farms, the business offices, the banks, the villages, the cities and the mega-cities, must resolutely exercise (their) sovereign power to restore to (themselves) free disposition over public office," he warned. Cardinal Sin has said in recent interviews that he expects Jose de Venecia, the chosen candidate of the current administration, will cheat. The cardinal also warned the military not to become involved in any corruption. "Collusion by the military in any such fraudulent intervention betrays the sacred trust the people place in their military to defend their sovereignty, and not the interests of any ambitious faction," he said.
Cardinal Sin was one of the leaders of the 1986 People Power peaceful revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos from power when millions of Filipinos rushed to streets at the urging of the cardinal and other leaders.
This came at a time when the waning of Eucharist faith with the consequent neglect, doubt, denial, contempt, abuse, and sacrilege had scarcely commenced. For centuries the Church had nurtured a protective hedge around her most precious Treasure, the Eucharist, inestimable donum-the Gift beyond price.
Yet, in the past few chaotic decades, this hedge has been dismantled piece by piece until now the Sacred Species stands exposed to the whims and foibles of everyone. The doctrine of this Mystery of Faith has been all but lost to most of our generation. The practical results: few signs of reverence, let alone of adoration, of what is often casually treated as mere bread and wine, impotent symbols more of secular themes than of sacred realities.
Here the Message in a few words rescued my conscience. The loss of Eucharistic adoration has become a constant and increasing suffering in my priestly life. All pastors are commissioned to be custodians of the Eucharist. I find myself engaged in a daily front-line combat to protect Our Lord and kept my people in their instinctive reverence and faith. I have been blessed with deeply devout people who give me much consolation.
Yet the general atmosphere they often meet elsewhere, and the disedifying example of some visitors, is perplexing to them. The Message itself seems to be negative, but taken as a verdict from Heaven, it has confirmed my own assessment of what is perhaps the gravest threat to Catholic life.
And the Eucharist can never be separated from the priesthood. This is another major motif of Garabandal - deep concern for priests. Conchita remarked that almost every day, Mary spoke of priests. While many priests were agonizing over an "identity crisis," in a remote village, Heaven was proclaiming, in words and deeds, the grandeur and dignity of the priestly character, its true identity.
Mary showed a personal maternal love for all priests because they are her sons, other Christs. I cannot here elaborate on what most readers know so well. I will mention only the fact that the angel distributed Holy Communion to the girls only when the Priest, the ordinary minister, was not in the village. When Conchita, prompted by observers, asked how the angel obtained Hosts, since only priests could consecrate, the angel confirmed that indeed only priests could consecrate. The Hosts were taken from earthly tabernacles.
Mary repeated to the girls that traditionally admonition; if they met a priest and an angel at the same time, they should first reverence the priest.
But after all this, we hear the shocking lines of the final Message: "Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them." We can understand the reluctance of Conchita to divulge these words. Had not Mary herself formed the girls in loving reverence for priests?
There was even a pious temporary evasion on Conchita's part. The first version mentioned only "many priests." When the bishop asked her whether this was exactly what the Archangel said, she then added: "Many cardinals, many bishops…" When asked why she had not included this fuller formula, Conchita replied," Aren't they also priests?"
How can we reconcile the contrast? The words of the Message give us the very reason why the sublimity of the priesthood needs to be emphasized and why the faithful must pray fervently for the shepherds of their souls. While the words are so indicting and seem so negative, they rendered a special service to me. I, too, had experienced the reluctance of Conchita. In the early days, I struggled to explain the drift of so many brothers and priests in matters of doctrine and discipline. Was I misjudging after all?
But then the bitter realization; priests were now divided into two groups traveling along two divergent roads. And despite accumulating evidence, it was several years before I could force myself to the fuller truth. Indeed, cardinals and bishops were also priests, and like their priests, they too, were divided on the two roads: allegiance or alienation.
Throughout the apparitions, Mary, Mother of Church, underscored the supreme unifying authority of the papacy. The two roads we have spoken of, in the final analysis, are those of allegiance to the Pope or alienation from him. The Pope is the rock, the keybearer, the vicar, the universal shepherd, and all who dissent, even the highest pastors, are "on the road to perdition..."
It is this defection that is mainly responsible for the phenomenon of confusion which Mary foretold would intensify until the time of the Miracle. When the shepherds are stricken, the flock will be dispersed. The mysterious "countdown" on the recent popes ending with John Paul II, will signal el finale de los tiempos, literally "the end of the times" but variously interpreted. This prophecy does, however, give us consoling notice that the present anarchy will not endure. "There will be a time limit to Satan's illusory triumph.
One of the greatest challenges in prayer is to ask for things with real expectancy, not mere urgency in begging the Lord. "Do not have anxiety about anything, but present your needs to the Lord in supplication and thanksgiving. Then you will have the peace that passes all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).
I often give people this test of faith: Suppose you receive a call asking you to come to the emergency room at the hospital because your child has just been hit by a car. He's dying, his skull is crushed. Do you play the radio and sing a song on the way to the hospital? Of course not; your entire attention is on prayer. What are you saying while praying on the way? "God, don't let that child die!" You're begging, pleading for Him to save that child's life. There's anxiety there, and that is what Paul tells us to avoid. Rather, you should be saying, "Lord, you know what I want-I want to save that child's life, but Lord, if you want to take that child to heaven, go ahead. Not my will, but thine be done. And thank you for your decision in this matter." You've presented your need without begging, but with real supplication and thanksgiving. There is no anxiety in that prayer. A truly critical situation like this will provide an acid test for your faith and trust in God and His goodness-no matter how the situation turns out.
What would our prayer have been had we been in St. Stephen's sandals when he was stoned to death? Undoubtedly most of us would have felt justified in asking to be delivered from the murderous mob. Ours might even have been the prayer of panic, "Oh God, help me! Save me from death!"
But what was Stephen's prayer? "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59)-expressing calm assurance of the Lord's welcoming embrace like Jesus on Calvary ("Father, into thy hands…"). And then he had the faith-filled love to pray for his executioners! "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge"-the mighty prayer of faith that acknowledged the belief that God was in control; Stephen truly believed he was about to be ushered through the gates of Glory. It was not a panic-prayer, but an anxiety-free faith-prayer that Paul-0one of his executioners-would later describe, after his conversion, in Philippians 4:7.
Expansive confidence is another characteristic of deep faith. Paul says in Ephesians 1:19, "How incredibly great His power is to help those who believe in him." Two chapters later (Ephesians 3:20) he says, "This mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes!" But we don't usually tap into that power because we don't pray with faith-spawned confidence. We're going to this spiritual billionaire and we're saying, "God, can you spare a dime?" God has limitless riches and power and wants to give us so much and we, in effect, embarrass Him by asking for so little. It is not only a kind of insult to God, but an implicit acknowledgment of just how weak our faith really is. We don't develop our faith by being reluctant to lean on Him. Prayer itself should manifest an act of faith, not a lack of faith.
The beloved disciple Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist is thrown into a boiling vat of oil by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, but emerges unscathed through the Mercy of God. Though he was given the mantle of martyrdom, God chose to spare the one who was charged to look after His Mother.
Birth of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II son of Otto II during the reign of Pope Benedict VI.
The magnificent Cathedral of Rheims in France is destroyed by fire. Arson is suspected but never proven. One year later to the day in 1211 the cornerstone would be laid on complete reconstruction of the new Cathedral of Rheims.
Pope Clement V convenes the Fifteenth General Council or the Council of Vienne in which the Church abolishes the Knights Templar and that all their property be turned over to the Hospitallers who were the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
The Lutheran army led by the German emperor Charles V sacks Rome, kills 147 of the elite Swiss Guard protecting the pontiff, and captures Pope Clement VIII, imprisoning him for six months. Clement, though favored by Charles, opted to throw his support behind Francis I of France and that irked Charles to no end whose conquest ended the High Renaissance in Italy.
Saint Francis Xavier arrives in Goa, India in his quest to bring the faith to the Far East.