Yes, this is truly a landmark day as we wish His Holiness all the best and continue to pray ardently for his health and welfare for it coincides with the health and welfare of the Church. Over the first half of his pontificate he was a major force in bringing down the walls of the iron curtain and during the second half he has been totally dedicated to defeating the culture of death as well as striving to bring peace between all countries from Albania to Zanzibar. In addition, he has dedicated the last ten years to firming up the hierarchy within the Church, setting in place conservative, orthodox cardinals and bishops to replace liberal ones so that his legacy will continue in being true to all Jesus asks and more of the faithful will be prepared for the Third Millennium which he refers to as a "new beginning." During this second year of the Jubilee 2000 countdown the emphasis has been on the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity - the Holy Spirit and this pious Pope has been filled with the Spirit for he truly feels the Spirit and is tuned into the Spirit. Many have no doubt he is a mystical pontiff who receives messages and guidance from Heaven and lives the Gospel like few popes before him. He is truly a man for the ages, the man who commands respect not just from a billion Catholics around this globe but from every other denomination and atheists as well for he is one of the most important and influential men of this century! God has had a very good reason why he has kept this precious Pope with us an additional 17 years. While Jesus and Mary are the architects who have presented us the blueprints for the Reign of the Sacred Heart - the Era of the Holy Spirit - the Age of the Eucharistic Presence - the Third Renovation of the Third Fiat or the New Pentecost, which will come to fulfillment after the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart, John Paul II is the foreman who will bring these plans to reality. During these past twenty years he has been building the foundation. The beams and pillars are in place and strong. Girded by grace and perseverance, the fittings are solid, but before the structure is finished and the lawn of selfless souls preened and nurtured, the stones and weeds and other refuse around it must be cleared away. These discardable items are those who opt for a Church the way they want, not the way God wills. It is the schism and apostasy Our Lady has foretold from La Salette on and it is happening today, but rather than weakening Holy Mother Church she is strengthened because of the countless prayers and sacrifices offered by those who remain loyal to Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and His beloved Vicar on earth who He has chosen as the man for all seasons for all of God's reasons!
This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school. But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn't want to. But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd get to play when he became a senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor a game but remained a bench-warmer all four years. His faithful father was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.
When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a "walk-on." Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did.
The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul to every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed. The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games. This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in a game.
It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big playoff game, the coach met him with a telegram. The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?" The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, "Take the rest of the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday."
Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon. "Coach, please let me play. I've just got to play today," said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game.
But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in. "All right," he said. "You can go in." Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked, and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown. The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you never heard. Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that this young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone The coach came to him and said, "Kid, I can't believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?" He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?" The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, "Dad came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!"
Until next week, God bless you!
To all of my little ones I say: Please pray. When I ask you to pray more I am not asking you to find yet more and diverse prayers, so that you are burdened by a continual litany of words. I am asking you to lift up your hearts to God by means of Mass, Penance, Holy Communion, the Holy Rosary. These are the weapons that assist faith to grow stronger, and the means by which satan shall be defeated.
Dear children, reflect deeply upon the season. Is this not a time when nature's beauty is silenced in preparation for winter's chill? Have you not yet understood that you are in the time of change? The harsh spiritual darkness grips the world and you refuse to believe. Every where on many countless tongues, blasphemy is spoken and believed. Heresy is rife in the world, and appears justified because of man's superior intellect.
I solemnly tell you man's intellect will be crushed by the Justice of God. For how many years have I spoken! For how many days have I prepared you. Yet many deny the signs of God's Presence; even more deny the signs of His anger.
Therefore, I solemnly tell my children to be on guard for the world shall experience many disasters. Countless lives shall be lost, and the ego of man will destroy even more lives by cunning treachery. O! I weep. How many sorrowful tears have I shed for all of my little ones. Will you not, each one of you, come running now to God? Reflect and meditate upon the coming of Christmas. I invite all of my children to prepare themselves by means of prayer and fasting, that on this Christmas Day I might present to you the Divine Savior, the Christ Child, as I did to the holy shepherds in Bethlehem.
Behold, the hour of Sorrow has come. Behold, the way is prepared for my Divine Son's return. Behold, I shall lead you to Him, your God and Savior if, like the shepherds, you are of good will. O! Heed my words, for the world trembles on the brink of the abyss and soon the cries of sorrow and anguish shall pierce the universe. Know, my little ones, that I speak by God's Will.
Come home, now! I love and bless you. I give you God's peace. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Beloved child, do not become discouraged by your children. Often God conceals how His graces are at work. Indeed, all of Heaven rejoices now that evil's moment is drawing to a close. Each child has a great capacity to love, but the evil one has buried this love under greed, beneath selfishness.
The time of great suffering is here. Already many parts of the world tremble beneath natural disasters and the fury of man's pride. I tell you that yet more of my little ones shall come beneath the veil of sorrow. Know my Immaculate Heart is saddened and I weep for all of my suffering children.
I desire each of you to willingly offer to God all of your lives, becoming thereby living Flames of Charity. The world has lost charity. It has sought to extinguish all charity. What charity exists is often a false god, a self-righteous justice. My little children, do you not yet understand why I ask this sacrifice of your very lives? It is because the moment has come when the Justice of God can no longer be held back. By Flames of Charity burning brightly there will yet remain sufficient light for the faithful to persevere. These Flames of Charity shall light the path for my Divine Son's return.
On this the Feast of the Holy Rosary, I exhort all of my children everywhere to pick up the rosary, to pray it from the heart, for it embodies the life and doctrine of my Divine Son. By means of the Holy Rosary the Flames of Charity are made brighter, stronger and my Divine Son will come more quickly.
This, my little ones, is Mercy. Therefore, I ask you to pray the rosary every day. I beseech you to gather your children, all members of your family together, to pray with one heart, one voice. Do not neglect prayer, my children. Prayer is power for it brings you into union with my Son.
Prayer is strength to suffer. I need your willing sacrifices to present to my Divine Son, that He shall bestow the grace of conversion on many souls.
O! My little ones. I am weeping and it is as if no one hears, as if not one of my little ones cares. Who shall wipe away my tears by their love for my Son? Do I not stand ready to dry your tears?
Therefore, pray, pray, pray for the Hours of Sorrow is at hand.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Pope Clement V convenes the 15th Ecumenical Council at Vienne.
Death of the Italian antipope Nicholas V, who was pardoned by the legitimate Pope John XXII and stepped down on July 25, 1330. He retired to the Franciscan church in Avignon where he is interred today.
Death of French mystic Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. For more on this saint, see THIS WEEKEND'S LITURGY.
Death of Saint Gerard Majella, religious and mystic who is the patron saint of expectant mothers. He died at the young age of twenty-nine from tuberculosis.
Pope Benedict XIV releases his thirteenth and final encyclical Ex omnibus on the Apostolic constitution Unigenitus.
Cardinal Karol Josef Wojtyla of Poland is chosen to succeed Pope John Paul I as the 264th successor of Peter becoming the first non-Italian Pope since Dutch-born Pope Hadrian VI in 1523 - 455 years ago. For the chronological story of this great Pope and the twenty-year highlights of his pontificate, click on TWENTY-YEAR ANNIVERSARY.
Pope John Paul II beatifies Blesseds Bernardo Maria Silvestrelli, Charles Houben and Honoratus Kozminski on the tenth year anniversary of his papacy.
Cardinal Cosimo Gentile de' Migliorati is chosen the 204th successor of Peter. He would be elevated on November 11th as Pope Innocent VII, the third of the Roman popes during the Great Schism between 1378 and 1417. Because of his weak character he was unable to achieve any lasting results in his efforts to solve the schism and the difficult conditions in which the Papal States found themselves. His papacy would last two years, dying on November 6, 1406.
Death of Pope Gregory XIV, 229th successor of Peter. His papacy lasted less than a year. He was a man of upright and ascetical nature who was swindled and cheated by his dishonest counselors. He confirmed the right of sanctuary in embassies accredited to the Holy See and is the pontiff who excommunicated King Henry IV of France.
Birth of Albino Luciano at Canale d'Agordo near Belluno, Italy. He would go on to become a cardinal and on August 26, 1978 be chosen to succeed Pope Paul VI taking the name Pope John Paul I. Unfortunately his pontificate lasted only 33 days.
Death of Pope John VII, 86th successor of Peter. This Greek Pope was elected on March 1, 705. During his two year pontificate he refused to consent to the ambiguous claims of the Emperor Justinian II who initiated those massacres which drove the Latin peoples to separate themselves more and more from the Eastern Empire.
Death of Pope Gregory XII, 193rd successor of Peter. This Venice-born Pope's papacy lasted eleven years and it was the saddest period of the Western Schism. It came to a point during his pontificate that there were three contemporaneous claims to papal obedience: Rome, Avignon and Pisa. The Emperor Sigismund called the 16th Ecumenical Council druing which Gregory renounced the throne.
Birth of Enea Silvio Piccolomini at Pienza near Siena, Italy. He would become a cardinal and be chosen the 210th successor of Peter taking the name Pope Pius II on September 3, 1458. His ponticate would last six years.
Death of Pope Pius III, 215th successor of Peter who was Pope for only ten days. Even though the conclave knew he was deathly ill, they insisted he accept. The gout that he had contracted prevented him from celebrating his coronation Mass standing and so he was allowed to be seated throughout. He was, needless to say, an interim pontiff so the conclave could elect a younger man after more deliberation.
Pope John Paul II canonizes Saint Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, the first Filipino martyrs and saints.
Pope John Paul II celebrates the beatification of Brazilian Blessed Pauline of the Heart of Jesus in Agony during his papal trip to Brazil.