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TUESDAY

March 24, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 59



Ignorance denies great expectations

     Those great expectations are what Our Lord and His Blessed Mother encourage us to aim for, but we need to be aware, to be spiritually smart, for ignorance leads to a spiritual void which can consume us and, like a whirlpool catch us up in the swirling vortex and suck us under. Intellectualism will not do it. We need to be educated to what God wants and prayer and obedience to her Divine Son are our best study guide. That is the essence of Our Lady's message Ignorance leads to Spiritual Darkness today in Lesson/Meditation #78 as imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in a series of 100 Meditative Lessons. Click on THE HIDDEN WAY

Lesson/Meditation #78:

IGNORANCE LEADS TO SPIRITUAL DARKNESS

(Imparted on February 7, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lady)

      Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, I love and bless you and all your family. Pray very much, for the world is at the brink of the abyss and I am so very sorrowful!

      My little children, do you truly seek my Divine Son? Do you understand His Way?

      In Him was never found pride, arrogance, uncharitableness. He, the Only-Begotten Son of God lived among His people in poverty and humility. He suffered from cold, hunger, fatigue. He labored ceaselessly always with Divine Love in His Heart which sought only the Eternal Will of the Father!

      O! Little children, behold all I have said to you over these years in the many places where I have appeared. God, in His Mercy, has sent me among you so that as His Instrument I might further instruct you in the Way of Holiness.

      I, your Mother, have asked for prayers, for sacrifice. I have asked you to read Sacred Scripture and to know and live your faith. I have sought for renewed reverence for my Divine Sonís True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I have urged you to be reconciled first with God and then with your neighbor if you are to know His Peace!

      Have you done these things, and have they come from your heart? O! I, your Mother, know it is often difficult and that often you fail! But my Divine Son carefully picks you up and helps you to start again on the only path to Eternal Life. As your Mother I remain with you to help you always, because my Immaculate Heart burns with pure love for all my little ones.

      What I have constantly asked of you, my little children, is the sure road by which, as humble obedient children of God, you are able to instruct all of your brothers and sisters in the Way of Life!

      Your own soul must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Your prayers must be ceaseless, yet filled with Trust in God; above all you must yearn to love God with Perfect Love, for that is the Love He has for you.

      It is not as difficult as you think! It is difficult because you make it so by confusing your mind with worldly knowledge, and leaving no room for Infused, Divine Knowledge to fill the intellect of your soul.

      This is why in these end times there is so much chaos, confusion, doubt, despair and even hatred among many who proclaim the name of my Divine Son. You rely only upon your own human intellect, and leave the superior intellect of your soul barren and lifeless. How, then, can anyone of my little ones cooperate in the Spiritual Work of Mercy to instruct the ignorant?

      Because you lack love, prayer comes from your mind and is not of your heart. When you act or speak without the soul, then you are easily satanís prey and he, the father of lies, twists the words of Sacred Scripture so each believes it to mean a different thing. The evil one plants jealousy even among my little ones, and causes disputes between one prayer group and another, until only the human will full of pride is left.

      This is a sign of the end times, my children, and is etched not only in Sacred Scripture but also in the Secret of Fatima. Spiritual darkness is rampant because you remain spiritually ignorant while satan feeds your human intellect.

      I do solemnly tell you that the Spiritual Darkness shall be devastating, trapping so many of my little children. And it shall be that the Holy Spirit shall raise up from among the poor, weak and unlearned those messengers who shall be for you beacons of light in this total Spiritual Darkness. Behold, I solemnly tell you that in these days you will find my words rebuffed, my messengers scorned, persecuted and many killed by word, by deed, and by the exhaustion of their human bodies given over to all manner of physical suffering.

      But they shall not have labored in vain, little children! No, the words they give come from God, and therefore the words shall not die but live and glow and be a light to instruct the ignorant. O! Woe to those who are of little faith and who persecute my little messengers. You shall know the error of your ways! But for all who hear and live my messages, you shall be instructors of the ignorant and blessed shall you be for all Eternity. The body will perish but the soul is immortal. You cannot wipe away the Face of Truth, for It is Eternal.

      Follow the Way of The Cross and live as my Divine Son taught you. In this way you live my messages, and the Spiritual Darkness of Ignorance shall not find you, for you will be as a light, secure in the Refuge of my Divine Sonís Most Sacred Heart.

      I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Lesson/Meditation #79:TO COUNSEL THE DOUBTFUL


The Greatness of the Annunciation is just around the corner!

     Today we commemorate weekday in Lent but it is also the vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation which we celebrate tomorrow. For today's readings, meditations and liturgy as well as a preview of tomorrow's special feast, we invite you to click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

TUESDAY, March 24, 1998


WEDNESDAY, March 25, 1998

SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD

     This special feast is the first in the cycle of the life of Jesus and the particular attribute is submitting totally to the Will of God as evidenced by Our Lady's reply, her fiat: "Thy will be done" (Luke 1:26-38). The feast commemorates both the Archangel Gabriel's announcement to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would be the Mother of God if she would accept and the Incarnation of the Son of God. Celebrated as the first Joyful Mystery, this feast was firmly established in the Liturgical Calendar as early as the the fifth century with its date being determined in light of the nine month pregnancy period by the date of Christmas on December 25. In the revised Liturgy, this feast of the Blessed Virgin is considered a solemnity feast.

Medjugorje Monthly Message for February 25th

      Dear children! Also today I am with you and I, again, call all of you to come closer to me through your prayers. In a special way, I call you to renunciation in this time of grace. Little children, meditate on and live, through your little sacrifices, the Passion and Death of Jesus for each of you. Only if you come closer to Jesus will you comprehend the immeasurable love He has for each of you. Through prayer and your renunciation you will become more open to the gift of faith and love towards the Church and the people who are around you. I love and bless you. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Events today in Church History

      For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history, click on ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for March 24:


647 and counting, hoping and praying..


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

HEADLINES:

FACTS DO NOT SUPPORT CRITICISM OF PIUS XII WHO POPE JOHN PAUL II CALLS A GREAT POPE

      VATICAN (CWN) -- In a press conference held aboard the airplane as he traveled to Nigeria Friday, Pope John Paul II, responded to questions about the record of Pope Pius XII by characterizing his predecessor as "a great pope."

      In further response to the question-- prompted by the recent renewal of controversy over the role played by Pius XII in opposition to the Nazi persecution of Jews -- said that all such questions have already been adequately answered. "One must read Father Blet," the Pontiff said.

      Father Pierre Blet is a French Jesuit, the only survivor among the four historians commissioned by Pope Paul VI to study the archives and provide an exhaustive evaluation of Vatican actions during the Holocaust. The Jesuit team produced a 13-volume study. Last week Father Blet wrote a new article in the Italian Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica, defending Pius XII against his accusers.

      The Pope appeared healthy and relaxed throughout his meeting with the press, bantering with reporters in Italian and joking about the last such in-flight press session, which had occurred during his January trip to Cuba.

      In a related story from the Vatican, Father Pierre Blet, SJ, one of the authors of the definitive study of Vatican activities during World War II, has indicated that the recent resurgence of criticism regarding the alleged "silence" of Pope Pius XII in the face of the Holocaust is completely refuted by the facts. Father Blet said that "every piece" of evidence in the Vatican Archives proclaims the "pure and simple" fact that Pope Pius did his best to protect Jews from Nazi persecution.

      In a new article published in the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica, Father Blet says that the "legend" of a weak Church reaction cannot withstand the evidence. "A calm consultation of the documents makes clear" that Pius XII was forthright in opposing the Nazi regime and heroic in his efforts to save Jewish lives. The record, the French Jesuit added, shows "the inanity of the attacks directed against his memory."

      "Every possible item [in the historical record] is opposed to the myth, and the historical reality is established on incontestable evidence," Father Blet continued. He even said that there is "no evidence" to support the widespread perception that Pius XII-- who had once served as papal nuncio to Germany-- was particularly fond of German culture.

      Father Blet sharply criticized writers who today criticize Pope Pius XII without having studied the historical record. He pointed out that several self-proclaimed experts have ignored clear evidence which was produced in the 13-volume Vatican compilation of archives from the World War II era.


IN NIGERIA, POPE CONFRONTS AUTHORITARIAN REGIME

      VATICAN (CWN) -- Arriving in Nigeria on Friday, March 21, Pope John Paul II began his three-day visit to Africa's most populous country by commenting on his "profound concern" for Nigeria in particular and "for Africa in general."

      In his first address at the airport, the Holy Father called for "honest and joint efforts to promote harmony and national unity, to guarantee respect for human life and human rights, to promote justice and development, to combat hunger, to give hope to the poor and suffering, to resolve conflicts through dialogue, and to create a real and lasting solidarity among all sectors of society." He continued to elaborate on that theme throughout his weekend stay.

      President Sani Abacha warmly greeted the Pontiff at the airport (dressed in traditional attire rather than his customary military uniform), and said it was an "immense honor" for Nigeria to host the Pope. In his welcoming remarks Abacha insisted that the country offers equality for Muslims and Christians. But the Pope kept his distance from Abacha, whose regime has been widely condemned for human-rights abuses and especially for failure to allow open elections.

      When he met privately with Abacha on Friday evening, the Pope asked for the liberation of political prisoners. At the same time, in a meeting with the Nigerian foreign-affairs minister Tom Ikimi, Cardinal Angelo Sodano presented a list of 60 prisoners for whom the Holy See sought clemency. The Nigerian government reportedly "welcomed" the list, promising to study it and respond promptly.

      The Vatican declined to identify the individuals on the list, saying only that their names were "already known in public opinion." Informed sources said that the list had been prepared upon the basis of reports from the families of individuals who have been detained, other governments, and international organizations. It is believed-- but not confirmed-- that one name on the list is that of Moshood Abiola, the former presidential candidate, who was arrested in June 1994 and whose wife was assassinated in 1996.

      In his homily during a Saturday Mass in Onitsha, in the south of Nigeria, the Pope explicitly condemned the human-rights abuses of the Abacha regime. He spoke of the urgent need to correct "all that offends the dignity of man and the rights of man." Although he did not explicitly name the Abacha regime, the Pope left no one in doubt of his meaning when he said that there is "no place for intimidation and oppression of the poor and weak, for the arbitrary exclusion of individuals and groups from political life, and for the abuse of power and authority."

      The most important focus of the Pope's trip to Nigeria was the beatification of Father Michael Tansi, who died in 1964. The first Nigerian native to be beatified, Blessed Michael Tansi worked as a priest in his native land, and became especially involved in efforts to set up Catholic schools, before becoming a Trappist monk. The Pope cited him as an example for today's Nigerians: a pioneer on the road to progress through reconciliation.

      Before concluding his second apostolic voyage to Nigeria, the Pope also met with the delegation of Muslim leaders, headed by Sultan Maccido de Socoto. (Muslims compose roughly 50 percent of Nigeria's population; Christians are 40 percent.) In a friendly exchange of greetings, the Pope told the Muslim group: "We share faith in one merciful God, who will judge men at the end of time." He called for an increase in collaboration between the two faiths.

      "Respect for every human person-- in all his dignity, with all his rights-- should always be the main basis of your efforts to strengthen democracy and reinforce the fabric of society," John Paul told the people of Nigeria in the last message of his weekend trip. The Pope issued a special call to the Christians of Nigeria, to take up their responsibility in the country's development, encouraging a peaceful transition to more democratic rule.

      The Holy Father presided at a Mass in the capital city of Abuja, attended by an estimated 700,000 people. Despite temperatures in the 90s, the Pontiff maintained his strength throughout a three-hour outdoor ceremony-- as indeed he showed no signs of flagging despite the steamy weather that prevailed throughout his stay in the equatorial country.

      At mid-afternoon today, the Pope boarded the plane which will bring him back to Rome for a late-evening arrival. Before the final farewell ceremony at the airport, he had lunch with the bishops of Nigeria, and asked them to lead the drive for a just, peaceful society, in which many ethnic and religious groups live in harmony. He referred to Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, as a "family of nations," and said that as with a human family, each member should care for the needs of others-- particularly those who are most in need.


SUPREME COURT REJECTS ABORTION APPEAL, PRAYER CHALLENGE

      WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - The Supreme Court refused two separate appeals on Monday, refusing to reverse a lower court ruling that an Ohio ban on partial-birth abortions is unconstitutional as well as a separate challenge to prayers or moments of silence at Tennessee State University's graduation ceremonies.

      The justices decided 6-3 to let stand the appeals court ruling that the 1995 Ohio law is unconstitutional because it would unduly interfere with the Supreme Court-mandated right to abortion. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals said last November that the law was too broadly worded. But the high court's decision sets no national precedent and does not bode ill for federal legislation that has been twice vetoed by President Clinton and will be brought before Congress for an override vote.

      The court also turned away, without comment, an argument by mechanical engineering professor Dilip K. Chaudhuri of Tennessee State University that prayers and moments of silence at graduation ceremonies violate his right to practice Hinduism. A federal appeals court rejected Chaudhuri's argument that the moments of silence were intended to encourage prayer. The nonsectarian prayers appeared intended to "solemnize the events" and not to indoctrinate the audience, the appeals court said.

      A 1992 Supreme Court decision banned clergy-led prayer at public elementary and secondary school events, but has not ruled on whether such prayers are allowed in public schools if led by students.

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PRAYERS & DEVOTION

Today's prayer is taken from tomorrow's Gospel in preparation for tomorrow's Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord: Luke 1: 28, 30-33, 35, 38

      "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women...Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His Father, and He shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end...The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God."

"But Mary said, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word.'"

For more devotions of Lent, click on
WAY OF THE CROSS

For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives



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


March 24, 1998 volume 9, no. 59         DAILY CATHOLIC