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April 8, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 70

HOLY WEEK On the Way to Calvary

The Kiss of Death!

     Wednesday in Holy Week treats the betrayal of Judas Iscariot who was handpicked by Jesus as one of His Twelve Apostles. Jesus had so much hope for this son of Simon who was the only one of the twelve who did not hail from Galilee. It was Judas who dared to rebuke Our Lord when the Master allowed Mary Magdalene to pour expensive ointment over His feet, claiming that money could have gone to the poor. But Christ knew what was in the Iscariot's heart and was greatly saddened. So much sadder He must have been when the betrayer approached Our Lord at the edge of the Garden of Gethsemane with a cadre of Romans and Sanhedrin following. Consider that Jesus was even sadder that Judas would not repent and went to his death in despair. These are the lessons of today's Mass. For today's readings, lesson and liturgy as well as tomorrow's Mass of the Lord's Supper, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY FOR HOLY WEEK

WEDNESDAY, April 8, 1998

What price is it worth to jeopardize Eternal Life?

     Would we chance failing to gain Eternal Life for a million dollars? How about a billion dollars? After all Judas Iscariot forfeited his opportunity to experience everlasting bliss for a mere thirty pieces of silver. We might say 'no way would we ever do anything like that...there's no earthly price we could be paid to betray Jesus.' Yet do we realize we do everyday when we opt for worldly pleasures over the rigorous but rewarding task of daily prayer, sacrifice, fasting and daily Mass. When we choose to see this movie or that television show which we know in our heart offends Jesus and His Immaculate Pure Mother Mary do we realize we are contributing to our own demise and growing closer to being Judas-like than Christ-like? When we speak against others or rudely to others do we realize we are pawns for satan? When we put our own interests before God's do we realize we are heading down the primrose path toward hell?

      Unfortunately, the politically correct thing today is to downplay hell and the devil, to play up that God is all merciful and will allow anything. Wrong. True He is all merciful and will forgive anything, but He will not allow anything. This is where we have to be on our guard. Too many are advocating that this is okay, or that is okay. Turn the clock back thirty years. What would we have said if we heard there was nudity and illicet sex in the movies, even on TV? Would our stomachs be turned with all the violence on the tube or on the Hollywood celluloid today? What would our reaction be to the idea of advocating abortion and condoms, of embracing homosexuality as normal...even to accepting same-sex unions which they brazenly call "marriage?" We would be indignant and in shock. Then why aren't we reacting the same way today? Because it's not politically correct to correct others. We can't rock the boat...just let bygones be bygones and all that garbage psychobabble that is definitely taking our society into a Sodom and Gomorrah-like culture...the culture of death as Pope John Paul II calls it. The Holy Father is one pillar who is not afraid to go against the wave and rock boats the world over. And we need to follow his example and join him for his way is Christ's way...the only way! True that way leads straight to the Way of the Cross but that's what being Catholic is all about. It's not the rewards and adulation of this life that counts, but the acceptance and pleasing of God that highlights our itinerary as we map out our Heavenly destination.

      But this rendezvous with Christ and His Church Triumphant can only be achieved if we take seriously our role as the Church Militant and speak out against atrocities and apathy toward God's Laws and His Holy Church which has become the prime target for bashing in the late 90's. We must ask ourselves when confronted with this movie or that song, this person or that situation, would Jesus and Mary approve? Would they sit and watch it with us? If not, what are we doing there? When we give in to the world's ways, when we blame everyone but ourselves we are contributing to the purse that betrayed Christ. We make ourselves no better than the Iscariot. Let us not be the ones whom like Judas said "Surely it is not I, Rabbi" and then hear the fateful words of Jesus confirming our worst fear: "It is you who have said it" (Matthew 26: 25).

HOLY THURSDAY, April 9, 1998

Why the HOLY EUCHARIST is the BLESSED Sacrament!

     No feast better exemplifies Catholicism than Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper for it was at the Last Supper Jesus Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament when He turned the bread He offered His disciples into His Own Flesh and the wine into His Precious Blood. Though the physical properties of the bread remain the same, when He pronounced the words "Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is My Body which will be given up for you." it became His Body. Then, as the Canon of the Mass says, "When supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples, and said: 'Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of My Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of Me.'" At that very moment the wine, still wine in all aspects, became His Precious Blood.

      Jesus used bread for He is the "Bread of Life" (cf. John 6:35) and wine for He is the "true Vine" (cf. John 15:1). The fruit of the vine becomes the fruits of Redemption, made possible by Christ's death, a death which totally made it possible for every one of God's children to be redeemed. The only difference between the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass is that on the former Jesus physically shed His Blood, while in the latter there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death because Christ has already been immolated once. By His death He gained for us the merit and, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, applies to us that merit and reward of His Bloody Death through the unbloody oblation of His Body and Blood during Mass. It is very similar to what one would see on video tape. What was taped happened at the moment it was being filmed. When it is being played over and over, no matter how many times, it is a re-enactment of the event. Though it cannot happen again, we are reliving it as though it were. So also the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Jesus continues to offer Himself as a Sacrifice in order to unite us with Him, to give us a gift worthy to be offered to God (cf. Mal 1:11), "a clean oblation" and allow us the opportunity to share in the merits of His eternal sacrifice on the Cross. The fruits of attending Mass worthily and in the state of grace are that He not only answers our heartfelt prayers, but we gain even more of the merits of Christ for our souls as well as gaining temporal blessings.

      When we consider these things, isn't it sad that so few attend Daily Mass? Isn't it even sadder that so many Catholics attend Sunday Mass without truly realizing what they are partaking in? We need to re-emphasize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to instill in all the Catholic faithful the value of the Mass which is infinite because it is the renewal of Christ's death. Therefore to attend Mass devoutly is the greatest prayer we can offer. There is no more holy and divine act that can be performed here on earth than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We need to let all our brothers and sisters know that all who participate in the Mass, both here on earth and in Purgatory, reap the general fruits since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for everyone. This not only includes all who are present, or assist, especially the priest who represents Christ, but also the person for whom it is being offered as well as the souls in Purgatory - the Church Suffering.

      Our Lady is constantly reminding us of the importance of Holy Mass, always drawing us closer to her Divine Son Who is ever present in the Tabernacle but never closer to us than during Mass and at Holy Communion for this sacrifice is accomplished at this special time when the species of bread and wine, now Our Lord's Body and Blood are consumed just as His Sacrifice was accomplished when He cried out, "It is Consummated!" and then expired on the Cross. It is so vital to remember that the Mass is not a remembrance or memorial of His death as our protestant brethren assume, but an actual renewal, in the separate consecration of the bread and wine, of the death of Jesus - the separation of His Body and Blood. Isn't it interesting that our protestant brethren waited sixteen centuries before denying the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. They denied it and introduced a different doctrine, one which goes against all that Christ intended. We can't help but wonder how, then, they can explain the powerful meaning of Christ's Own words in John 6: 54-59.

      That is also the principle of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the word "sacrament" signifies a means unto holiness. "A Sacrament," the Catechism tells us, "is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." Of all the Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist is the most outward sign instituted by Jesus and which we can receive daily. Shouldn't that prompt us to commit to receiving Him more frequently? After all, it is the greatest Sacrament. That's why the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Soul and Divinity, is called the "Blessed Sacrament!"

The Final Words

     Today we skip ahead to bring you the Meditative Lesson #22 "IT IS CONSUMATED!" - the climactic chapter of Our Lord's Passion and Death. Tomorrow we will bring you the Blessed Mother's Meditation on this chapter. These words by Jesus "It is consummated!" or "It is finished! preceded the words "Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit." before the Son of Man expired on the Cross. At that moment the earth was rent asunder and all knew He was truly the Messiah. These meditative lessons, imparted by Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart during Lent of 1993, are meant to inspire and prompt a greater understanding of the season of Lent, especially during Holy Week on the eve of the Easter Triduum, and help us all prepare for His Passion and Death, and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. Click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

part one

     Dear Father, How much I am made to see my absolute wretchedness. How profound my weakness. How I long to embrace Him, my Beloved Savior. How often I have turned away! But now I come running. He is there. It is not too late. The world must do the same. Time is running out. All must come to Jesus Crucified to behold Him as the King of Kings.
"They are multiplied above the hairs of my head who hate me without cause. My enemies are grown strong who have wrongfully persecuted me; then did I pay that which I took not away."
Psalms 68: 5

      The darkness has become so intense that it is impossible to see the edge of the mount. Jesus, having taken the vinegar soaked sponge, and being reviled by its bitterness, now enters upon His final death agony.

      O! There can be no words to describe what His Sacred Body endured for us. Deathís grip squeezes life from Him. His Body contorts in awful spasms leaving each muscle and nerve lifeless. His feet convulse, and the convulsions spread up His limbs, pass to His abdomen and distort His chest as every bone is made visible. The arms, too, tremble and convulse, and His head is thrown back against the cross, driving the thorns even deeper.

      The wave of convulsions leaves Him hanging lifeless upon the cross and I hear the Blessed Mother sob, "O! Son!" Jesusí head lifts. His eyes now covered by deathís veil look upward toward Heaven. And now there is one breath left, one ounce of will which collects and is released in one awesome cry of power, love, obedience, and victory. Into the darkness Jesus Christ cries out, "It is consummated!

      Immediately His head bends forward, leaning slightly upon the right shoulder, and upon the chest which no longer struggles to breathe. And Mary, with John, moves even closer, embracing now the feet of Jesus, and the other Marys now come and begin the anointing of His Sacred Body with their holy tears.

      This all occurs in a few seconds, before any Roman soldiers can protest. And even then, seeing the women and John gathered around Jesus, they cannot intervene for Godís Awesome Power strikes at that moment. I see the soul of Jesus leave His Body. It appears to me as a light more dazzling than the sun, and its movement is so swift that words cannot describe it.

      All the heavens are opened. The earth and all nature revolt at the deicide. There is a sound of awesome power and the very mount is shaken as a terrible earthquake strikes. Large fissures split the hard ground, and bolt down the side of the mount into Jerusalem itself. Wind whips at the people who scream and throw themselves upon the ground in hysterical fear. Rain and hail strike everywhere, while great peels of thunder and awesome streaks of lightning completely rent the sky and reveal in a luminous moment of stasis, the Crucifix, the Mother, the Disciple, and the Holy Women in vigil at the feet of the Master.

      All else is chaos. Screams of terror, even cries of pain can be heard in the far distance. I do not leave Calvary. Rather, our Heavenly Mother says to me: "Scripture is fulfilled, that the sign be given to testify to His Kingship. Come, watch and pray, for the Font of Mercy is now opened."

      And as I look again upon Jesus I am able to see Him more clearly for the thick blackness has dissipated somewhat, although the sky still thunders, and lightning flashes are intense, sending torrents of rain upon the ground now awash in blood.

      One Roman soldier, truly at witís end because of the awesome display of power from Heaven and Earth, motions to the captain. "This one (meaning Jesus) is dead. Let us dispatch the others quickly and be quit of this place, for by gods of Olympus, it is a bad omen."

      The mounted officer considers. He summons a fellow officer on horseback. "Report at once to Pilate. Inform him of the situation, and return with written approval to be done with the remaining criminals. Be quick!"

      As one soldier rides off the other now rides closer to the cross. He surveys the Corpse of Jesus. Nothing stirs except His hair blown by gusts of wind, yet the officer must be certain. This Man - criminal or not - was no ordinary human. This officer is in charge and so he must discharge his duty with care and certainty, lest he himself face Romeís justice.

      He draws his lance and aims it expertly, taking the perfect angle to strike from horseback. And with power and deftness he drives the weapon deep into Jesusí right side. The spearís point emerges from between the ribs on the left side having made its way through the Sacred Heart.

      The soldier is satisfied. There is no gush of fresh blood, but a stream of blood and water which the heart had not passed through before its last beat. This, then, is true mortal death. No trickery here. This "King of the Jews" has expired, and the Roman is grateful because he, too, has grown uneasy because of the earthquake, storm, wind, rain and hail at the moment when the Man expired. He wants to understand, but does not know where to begin.

      It is as he is turning away that our Heavenly Mother, who has caressed her Sonís feet, sees the lance being pulled from her Sonís side, leaving a gaping wound on the right and a smaller hole where the lance point exited.

      I am given to see that from this gaping wound into which I could place my hand, rays of light - golden and intense - flood forth and spill upon the Holy Women and John, who look upon Jesus through their tears and seek to comfort themselves by comforting His Mother.

      This, then, is the font of Divine Mercy. Opened for all whose own hearts are opened to receive it.

FINAL INSTALLMENT: Part two: Our Lady's Meditation on IT IS CONSUMMATED!

The Cardinal Rules

      We're talking about the flak the White House is spewing against Cardinal John O'Connor for stating unequivocally that what President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary did in receiving Holy Communion at a Mass in South Africa on March 29th was wrong in no uncertain terms. Rather than admitting they knew not what they were doing, Clinton sent his spinmeisters out to denigrate the Cardinal by implying he doesn't know doctrine! We can't let that pass without a strong editorial on this abrassive gall. For our rebuttal The White House has truly violated the Cardinal Rule!, click on today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

The White House has truly violated the Cardinal Rule!

     Here we go again! But did we expect anything different out of the Clinton White House than an outright impenitent, reckless disregard for the Roman Catholic Faith? We're speaking of course about the report in today's Catholic World News release (in the right column - top story) that Bill Clinton"has no regrets about receiving Communion at a Catholic church in South Africa last week, despite violating Catholic doctrine." The controversy arose over the pastor of Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, South Africa giving the Clintons permission because, according to the priest Father Mohlomi Makobane "he did not want to risk embarrassing him [Clinton] by declining to do so." Didn't Fr. Makobane give any thought to embarassing His Lord and Master Jesus Christ Who is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist?

     We hadn't planned on writing another story about the Clinton debacle in South Africa after the Vatican released a stern reprimand to Makobane and the Bishops Conference of South Africa declaring that no local conference can override Church doctrine. But then word comes that not only is Clinton unrepentful, but his public relations man Mike McCurry is now telling one of the great Princes of the Church that he doesn't know his faith or doctrines. Please, please, give us a break! We're talking about McCurry accusing Cardinal John O'Connor of not being "familiar with the doctrinal attitude towards the Holy Eucharist that the conference of bishops in South Africa brings to that question." Whether the good cardinal even had an inkling of what the South African bishops conference supposedly contained makes no difference. The point is Cardinal O'Connor knows what Catholic Doctrine states and he stands by that firmly, defending Holy Mother Church and making no bones about the fact that what Clinton did was wrong and an affront to Catholics everywhere.

     Now most non-Catholics would say they didn't realize and express their sincere apologies to the Church and her faithful, and then just go on, forgetting the matter. But not Clinton! You see we have a different animal in the oval office, a species different than any before. Apologies are an anathema to this man and his administration. Rather than saying "I'm sorry," he sends out his witch-hunters to attack and cover-up. That is why McCurry, who the White House paraded out daily during the Monica Lewinsky lurid affair, has transferred that flippant "who cares" attitude to the Roman Catholic Church by accusing the cardinal of "misapplying doctrine." What does McCurry know about Doctrine? Whether its the Monroe Doctrine or Roman Catholic Doctrine we suspect he knows very little. To intimidate that this man who heads up the largest Archdiocese in the United States, if not the world and who has served as Secretariat of State as well as various Vatican commissions and positions with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, is ignorant to his own Church. That is totally absurd and points out even further the utter ridiculousness of McCurry's comments. It also highlights the inherent problems with the Clinton administration who seem to think the rest of the American citizens are ignorant and can't think on their own. Their platitudes and subliminal condescension of ammoral lifestyles has permeated into families and homes from sea to shining sea. Because of this brain-washing McCurry may think that he can say "Clinton was right, the Pope was wrong" by attacking one of Pope John Paul II's most trusted allies in Cardinal O'Connor. Perhaps McCurry also overlooked the fact that, unlike his boss who was a draft-dodger, Cardinal O'Connor served as chief of Chaplains in the United States Navy. You see O'Connor is a man of discipline and ethics; the same cannot be said for McCurry's boss or, for that matter, McCurry himself.

     Another twist to this is that while the White House is using the ruling of the South African Conference of Bishops as their excuse, the fact of the matter is the bishops there assert Fr. Makobane merely assumed without asking permission. That is also a stipulation of the Conference document according to a spokesman for the South African bishops who stated, "The local bishop had not been asked, as required by Church practice, whether in his opinion it would have been appropriate under the circumstances, to administer Holy Communion to the presidential couple." The problem is that whether Fr. Makobane asked or not, he should not have assumed. We all know what happens when one assumes. It makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me" and that braying you heard is emanating from South Africa where the Bishops conference and Fr. Makobane have been sternly reprimanded by the Holy See. And speaking of donkeys, the biggest one of them all among Democrats has burroed in with no regard for other faiths or feelings unless it is expedient to his agenda. This was made all the more evident in Clinton's refusal to apologize for offending the Church and then placing the blame on others. Talk about passing the buck. Talk about having things bassackwards!

     Perhaps the Clintons thought this was just proper protocol and "something to do" similar to what this editor's sister assumed when she returned to a Catholic church to attend an Easter Mass with the family several years ago. She fell away from the Church at an early age and embraced the "born-again" cult spewing biblical platitudes without really knowing the full meaning of the Scriptures. At Holy Mass this editor tries to block everything out around me and focus totally on Christ on the Altar. Thus, when it came time for Holy Communion, I had no idea she was behind me to receive Our Lord. I didn't find out until after Mass and when I did I was livid. "You can't do that! It's not right! Do you know what you did?" Her reply was, "Yeah, so what's the big deal? We receive communion in our church. It's a symbol of Christ." I reminded her in no uncertain terms that Holy Communion is not a "symbol" in the Roman Catholic Church, but rather dogma that Christ is truly present. She didn't buy that and I didn't buy her indifference to our most cherished treasure of Holy Mother Church. I proceeded to read her the document outlining why she could not receive and, to her credit, she apologized for she did not realize the severity of what she had done, and promised never to do that again. I appreciated her honesty and commitment not to do it again, though secretly I pray for her every day that she will receive again - but as a Roman Catholic who has come in from the cold when she can truly appreciate Who she is receiving, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, with no doubts whatsoever!

     So why can't Clinton do the same? He's been apprised of the severity of what he did from a global public relations standpoint, not to mention being informed of the Catholic Dogma of the Transubstantiation in which unleavened bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood of the Son of God. Instead of admitting he didn't know and apologizing, vowing never to do it again, he unleashes the dogs much in the same manner the White House attacked the latest White House "closet caper" - the Kathleen Willey affair - by trying to discredit the victim. It's a typical ploy of the liberals, and should come as no surprise to anyone. After all the cardinal virtues are the four chief moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. These moral virtues, as the Catholic encyclopedia states, "are those, in the exercise of which, our moral life or conduct is brought to conform with right reason and the Commandments of God and the Church and the duties of our vocation in life." These, it would seem, are foreign to the White House who don't always conform with right reason and the Commandments of God are sorely lacking. Even the duties of the President's vocation in life don't seem to be important to him unless it advances his own personal needs. Conservative Christian Republican Dick Armey stated yesterday that "Clinton is merely out to fulfill his own physical needs with very little concern for the people he serves." His actions on that Sunday and subsequent rebuttals seem to verify this. Isn't it disappointing that one cannot trust and depend on honesty and forthrightness, not to mention contrition? On this, the eve of the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, it is so sad that, by flaunting such arrogance by questioning Cardinal O'Connor's credentials, the White House has truly violated the Cardinal Rule!

Michael Cain, editor

Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

Apri1 8, 1998 volume 9, no. 70         DAILY CATHOLIC