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March 27-29, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 62



He was scourged for and by our sins

      With less than two weeks from the Easter Triduum, we bring you the stirring and disturbing scene of the inhumane way Jesus was treated after leaving the trial of the Sanhedrin. The first part of Lesson 10: THE SCOURGING AND THE CROWNING OF THORNS, encompassing the Second and Third Sorrowful Mysteries will give us meditation food for our souls and hearts to pray ever more for those who continue to persecute Christ's followers and denigrate the Son of God. 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 in helping us all prepare for His Passion and Death and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. Click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 10:

THE SCOURGING AND THE CROWNING WITH THORNS

part one

      Dear Father, It is Sunday evening and I am comforted in my prayer by Jesus who says: "Peace, My Dear One. My Mother will now speak to you. Yes, you are hidden in My Sacred Wounds and you are nailed there with Me, your God. Write what is given to you, for I want all of my children to come to Me, their crucified Savior, to be washed clean in My Sacred Blood. No repentant heart will be rejected, no matter the immensity of the crime. For I am God and Mercy is Mine. Come, learn My Way - the Way of the Cross." And I begin.
"Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed." Peter 2: 24
      It is now daylight, with a clear, cloudless sky, and I am so grateful for the warmth and the light. At least it seems that the demonic shadows which danced and leaped throughout Jerusalem have become less visible. I say "less" because it is true that the air is still permeated with an uneasiness, a feverish restlessness propelled by hatred!

      I am moving, weaving my way in and around people who are beginning to crowd the street; many headed for the Temple. Many vendors, many buyers. In short, all of Jerusalem has begun to move and it is truly a crowded, noisy and dirty city!

      As I move I understand from the Mother of God that Our Dear Lord is now before Pilate for the second time. She tells me that all night Jesus has been maltreated. He has been beaten going to and from the Sanhedrin to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and back again to Pilate.

      During the eternity of the long passage from dark to day, Jesus was thrown into a prison cell while the Temple guards and Pilateís Roman guards verbally argued over custody of the prisoner. The Temple guards had demanded their rightful duty under the law to "protect" the prisoner because the Roman governor had not yet made any ruling in the case. And here, in a prison cell, in Herodís court, these Temple guards abused our Lord and God dreadfully, pulling him this way and that. They yanked out his long hair in places, and even part of His beard. He was knocked against every stair, drug deliberately through every pile of filth, and when thrown headlong into a cell, hit His Sacred Head with such force that, had God not sustained Him, the blow would have killed Him.

      The verbal abuse has been continuous and no less cruel to Jesusí ears which were made only to hear heavenly music. And His garments, once clean and pure, reflect His treatment for it is shredded in places where His sacred body has been pulled across the rough stone streets and down deep stairwells and back up again.

      Exhausted in body from His agony at Gethsemane, our Lord has had no rest, and no one has given Him even a sip of water or a dirty rag to wipe His face.

      I come into a courtyard where I see many Roman soldiers of varying ranks standing. They are in uniform, but not all wear their full dress uniforms.

      Off to my left there is a barracks where most of the soldiers live, and another building that is detached and set off to the back in the stable for the mounted soldiers.

      There has gathered a small crowd of people, those citizens of Jerusalem who, living elbow-to-elbow with the Romans as they do, know when something is taking place. These people, not unlike many today, spend their time idly watching the justice of Rome being carried o out and then spreading the gory details among all the people.

      Although it is an open courtyard and sunlight spills everywhere, except under those porches which lead into the lower regions of Pilateís court, I shiver, finding it a sinister place.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Two of Lesson 10: THE SCOURGING AND THE CROWNING WITH THORNS


The demons of insanity and havoc swirl all around - too close for comfort!

     In contrast to yesterday's upbeat editorial, we are prone to sadly focus on the downside of the news this past week and how it hits home all to close to all of us. We're speaking of the tragedies in Jonesboro and Daly City; we're speaking of the media circus aroused by the false claims that "God would appear" in Garland, Texas. Craziness rules today and if we do not keep our wits and our Rosaries near, we could get caught in this vortex of venom the evil one is spitting today. For our editorial entitled Events hitting too close to home for our comfort!, click on this weekend's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Events hitting too close to home for our comfort!

     In yesterday's editorial we talked about the good events that have happened this week that bode well for all God-fearing citizens and loyal Catholics. Today, we must bring you the other side of the coin out of necessity for Jesus said in Matthew 24: 23-24 "Then if anyone say to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'There He is,' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise, and will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the desert,' do not go forth; 'Behold, He is in the inner chambers,' do not believe it." We bring this passage of the Gospel into focus because of the events this week and the anniversary of another that shows how the false prophets have found believers in the media who cover them. We're talking of the one year anniversary yesterday of the mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult in the Eucalyptus-lined cul-de-sacs of the ultra-rich covenant known as Rancho Santa Fe in Southern California. This community, just fifteen miles south of the Daily CATHOLIC offices, is so exclusive that no mail is delivered to the homes. Instead they receive their mail at the local post office in the "Ranch." Few areas are more well-guarded and treasured for privacy than this verdant parcel of land between Del Mar on the coast and La Costa to the north where more millionaires call this their home than any other place in the world. You can imagine their shock when they discovered the tragedy of the 28 deaths of those who did not take Christ's words to heart and followed a false prophet to their death.

      The anniversary of these suicides coincides sadly with the first "legal" case of doctor-assisted suicide in Oregon on Wednesday. Bob Castagna, spokesman for the Oregon Catholic Conference remarked, "This is a tragic and sad day for Oregon and the United States. May God have mercy on all of us." Amen. What is this country and world coming to? In Michigan Jack Kervorkian has gained international notoriety as the "suicide-doctor," assisting at over 100 planned suicides. And we're less than a month away from another suicidal event, the Waco catastrophe. With all this violence, there is still fresh in our memories the tragic killings of students and teacher in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Our Blessed Mother said at La Salette that children would kill children and turn on their parents, parents on their children. We can see this happening more and more as the news reports these abnormal behaviors more and more on a regular basis - from Daly City, California to Jonesboro, from Pearl, Mississippi and Padukah, Kentucky to San Marcos and Escondido, California where just a few months ago a mother shot her children to death and last month a younger brother killed his sister. Violence permeates our senses and dulls our consciences today.

     Referring back to Our Lord's words in Matthew, we add to the words, Behold, He is in the inner chamber, do not believe it.": Behold, He is on Channel 18, do not believe it. But enough members of the media believed that they gave the ballyhoo publicity to Chen Heng-ming, a self-proclaimed Taiwanese True Way leader who set up shop in Garland, Texas, managed to grab the media's attention that God was going to appear on Channel 18 at midnight yesterday to announce He would be arriving on earth at 10 a.m. this next Tuesday. It reminded us of the Oh God movies with the late George Burns playing the Almighty One in very human terms. Exclaimed the also-late John Denver to Burns (God), "Who'd believe it?" Well, we believe it was P.T. Barnum who said, "There is a sucker born every minute!" There were plenty of suckers crowding the Garland streets Wednesday night, but what were they expecting to see? We have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Everyone is looking for the spectacular. The more outlandish, the more ink or air time it receives. The more bizarre or violent, the more headlines and news bulletins they get. Didn't Jesus say "and will show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray"? He knew. Over the centuries we have had many false charlatans, but never of the quantity and diversity of today. And while gridlock was the situation in Garland with so many clamoring to "see" God, only a handful were actually "seeing" Him...but they were about ten miles away in North Dallas at Saint Monica's Catholic Church where perpetual adoration was in progress in the quietude of the chapel in the round with huge mosaic angels standing guard over the tabernacle. There, the few in prayer, knew without a doubt that God was truly present in the Tabernacle and they could "see" with their hearts through faith. This adoration is something that began about a year ago and was promoted vigorously by two close friends of ours Jack and Susan Towle who are endeavoring to spread it to other parishes throughout the Dallas area. But the fact God was truly present in the Tabernacle at St. Monica's, as well as other tabernacles in Catholic churches throughout the world, meant little to the media, meant little to the "signs and wonders chasers." It only proves the fact that the media is not interested in uncovering truth, but rather the sensational.

      It has not been lost on us that the events in the news over this past few days encompasses three states we have lived in, many in close proximity. Having spent three and a half years in Bella Vista, Arkansas we can attest to the native mentality of guns being a way of life in that state. We can also see how kids would have easier access to the munitions because they are so prevalent. We can also see, not just in Arkansas, but all over, that children's psyches are very fragile and we don't realize how we, as adults, and especially the media can influence these young minds and hearts. We can place the blame on this or that, but the truth of the matter is hearts have been hardened because people are selfish and not willing to place themselves in God's providence. How many realize that self-esteem always suffers when one is rejected? How many realize that if one is not rooted in God and His laws, that low self-esteem can transfer into revenge and vendetta and create havoc such as the killings in northeast Arkansas and Daly City, California where a mother suffocated her three children this past week or countless other accounts of family murders or mass killings where the accused "went off the deep end." Can we see satan's signature in all of this? To use my Minnesotan upbringing, "You betcha!" And speaking of upbringing, this editor constantly has to say, "there but for the grace of God, go I." We cannot be immune to what is happening; we cannot close our ears to the poor and the oppressed; we cannot say it won't affect us or happen to us, because we are human and subject to the temptations and wiles of the devil. Therefore, more than ever we have to lean on God's Mercy and implore Him to protect us and our families. Our family has been exposed to all sorts of scams, been enticed to soften our stance on morality, and been in the eye of the storm more than a few times. We have lived within a few miles of Garland, Texas where many of our fellow Saint Pius X parishioners worked and lived. We have lived and visited areas that have been devastated by manmade as well as natural disasters from tornadoes to hurricanes, from floods to draught, from earthquake to fires. We cannot remain immune to what is happening, we cannot remain neutral, we cannot be flippant about the ridiculousness of the behavior patterns in the world today. Rather we must be totally committed to making a difference, totally committed to spreading the message Jesus and His Blessed Mother want imparted to all. We have to realize that it is not time to worry about being comfortable; rather seriously realize what will make God comfortable. Lent is the perfect time to get out of our worldly "comfort zone" and zone in on God's Will totally. It makes sense, at least to us, because the events in the news today are hitting too close to home for our comfort.

Michael Cain, editor

He was lost, now he's found
...and now an enlightened priest has discovered the fallacies of the liberal cause

     This weekend we bring you the second part of Sister Mary Lucy Astuto's column on Father Richard Simon, a Chicago pastor who, in his own words to his parishioners admitted his mistakes of following the modernists' liturgical itinerary and has returned to the truth as Jesus has asked for His Church. Sr. Lucy shares his follow-up letter to his parishioners with all of us in the second installment of True Story of a Priest's Conversion. Click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

TRUE STORY OF A PRIESTíS CONVERSION - Part Two

      On June 24, 1997 a Chicago priest, Pastor of St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, sent out a letter to all of his parishioners, concerning reverence for the Holy Eucharist which I was able to share with you last week. In that letter Fr. Simon expressed his desire to place Our Eucharistic Lord at the center of attention in his Church. In other words, Father wrote about a personal conversion he had experienced.

      Three months later, Father Simon again wrote a letter to his parishoners. I wanted to share it with you, as well. It is as follows.

         

    St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish
    4827 North Kenmore Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60640
    (773) 878-5507
    September 16, 1997

          Dear Friends,
          You cannot imagine the response that I got to the letter I addressed to my parishioners on June 24. I have gotten so many calls and letters that I am reduced to saying thank you in a form letter. Still, I simply have to write to say thank you for your support and prayers. So many people thought I was brave to do what I did.

          Brave!? I simply read the Catechism and moved a few pieces of furniture. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In the parish, some people even wept for joy when they saw the change. I am still kicking myself and asking why I didn't do this years ago. The response has been so supportive. Many wrote and expressed their sense of loneliness in the battle for Catholic orthodoxy. Well, you are not alone, neither among the laity nor the clergy.

          Perhaps you have heard the definition of a neo-conservative: He is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. That certainly describes me. I was in college in the late 1960s and went the whole route--beard, sandals, protests, leafletting for feminism, and all the rest. I was nursed back to sanity by some Trappist monks and by genuinely Catholic charismatics. All my ministry has been in the inner city and mostly in the Hispanic apostolate. I teach in a seminary, part time, I am the diocesan liaison for Spanish-speaking prayer groups, and the pastor of an inner city parish. Our very poor parish in Chicago's Uptown gives away food and clothing about 4,000 times a month through a soup kitchen, a pantry, and a clothing room. We use six different languages in the liturgy: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Lao, Korean; and we have a monthly Mass in the Coptic rite, in the Gheez language for the Eritrean community. When I arrived here, the parish was controlled by feminists and radical leftists. So I had pretty good liberal credentials.

          My point in all this, is that if a parish like this and a person like me can be turned from foolish liturgical experimentation, it can happen anywhere to anyone. Don't give up! For instance, if they have taken the kneelers out of your church, go to the front and kneel on the hard floor. You'll be amazed how many will join you. That's what happened here. If your pastor tells you to stand, respectfully ask the bishop for permission to kneel. Let your light shine and pray unceasingly, and as you do pray for me and my little parish of faithful poor. I have leaned so much from them.

                          In the Lord,
                          Father Rich Simon

      People have asked if they might share it or copy it (These letters June 24th, and Sept 16th that are reprinted with permission here and in my column last week). Please do! As Pilate said, "What I have written I have written." Should I be ashamed to hold the faith of two thousand years? I not only don't think so, I know so! Reproduce it and share it with all. May God bless you.


PRAYERS & DEVOTION

Today's prayer is the Opening Prayer for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

      Father in Heaven, the love of Your Son led Him to accept the suffering of the cross that His brothers might glory in new life. Change our selfishness into self-giving. Help us to embrace the world You have given us, that we may transform the darkness of its pain into the life and joy of Easter. Granth this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the readings, meditations and liturgy of the last two days of the Fourth Week of Lent and the first two of the Fifth Week of Lent, including Sunday's liturgy, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

FRIDAY, March 27, 1998

      First Reading: Wisdom 2: 1, 12-22
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34: 17-21, 23
      Gospel Reading: John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30


SATURDAY, March 26, 1998

      First Reading: Jeremiah 11: 18-20
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 130: 5, 7
      Gospel Reading: John 7: 40-53


SUNDAY, March 29, 1998

      First Reading: Isaiah 43: 16-21
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126: 1-6
      Second Reading: Philippians 3: 8-14
      Gospel Reading: John 5: 31-47


MONDAY, March 30, 1998

      First Reading: Daniel 13: 1-9, 15-17, 19-20, 22-62
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: John 8: 12-20


PROVERB OF THE DAY

"Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice; down the crowded ways she calls out, at the city gates she utters her words: 'How long, you simple ones, will you love inanity? "

Proverbs 1: 20-22

Medjugorje Monthly Message for March 25th

     Dear children! Also today I call you to fasting and renunciation. Little children, renounce that which hinders you from being closer to Jesus. In a special way I call you: Pray, because only through prayer will you be able to overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things. By your daily life, little children, you will become an example and witness that you live for Jesus or against Him and His will. Little children, I desire that you become apostles of love. By loving, little children, it will be recognized that you are mine. 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 27:


Historical Events in Church Annals for March 28:


Historical Events in Church Annals for March 29:


644 - 643 - 642 and counting, hoping and praying..



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


March 27-29, 1998 volume 9, no. 62         DAILY CATHOLIC