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TUESDAY

March 10, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 49



Calling all Catholics!

     In acknowledging the 122nd anniversary of the invention of the telephone, we look into the mind of Alexander Graham Bell and wonder if he ever imagined what would develop globally and beyond from a pair of tin cans! For today's commentary which encourages us to use these tools for evangelization and for good, entitled Alexander Graham Bell had no idea his invention would ring in a chip off the ol' block!, click on today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Alexander Graham Bell had no idea his invention would ring in a chip off the ol' block!

     Today is a significant anniversary, the 122nd occasion of the famous command, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you." It signaled the first phone call ever made when Alexander Graham Bell, known to all today as "Ma Bell," summoned his assistant from another room in the same house in the city of Boston, Mass. It was the beginning of an evangelization tool that has surpassed all Bell ever conceptualized. Think about it, in six to eight thousand years of known civilization, it has only been 122 years since the telephone was invented. Since that time the technology has advanced to such a degree that it defies description. You're receiving this message over a phone wire that Bell could not have imagined. We send faxes, talk for hours on end over modern contraptions that have far surpassed the tin-can tied to a string. Today there are no strings, cellular reigns and cable is inventing new fiber optics as we write that will eventually render the wire obsolete. We wonder if Bell ever gave a thought to satellites. It has to amaze all at the leap society has taken over the past century, specifically the last three decades. This editor first learned typing through the patient tutoring of Father Clarence Zachman, OMI in 1958 in the fifth floor tower of the seminary in Carthage, Missouri pecking away on antique Underwoods and Royals. Less than ten years later I bought my first portable Brother typewriter, and in 1982 we splurged and bought a Correcting Selectric that was supposed to have all the gadgets. It didn't and it cost a pretty price of over $2,000. Today computers have dropped to well over half that price and can do everything, including make coffee. It is amazing what one little chip can do and to think we owe it all to Alexander Graham Bell. Or do we? Actually, we owe it all to God if we use these technologies the way the Almighty intended. He knew of computers long before He questioned the disobedience of Adam and Eve, long before He summoned Noah to construct an ark, gave Moses the Ten Commandments, or sent His Only-begotten Son to earth two thousand years ago.

      Many have said computers are the invention of satan, just as they sent out the alarm about the telephone over a century ago. But that is not true for God created man and man created these inventions. It is the use that we utilize them for which determines the attributes or demerits of it; the same with phones and computers. In the hands of one who is intent on following his own agenda, giving in to the seven deadly sins, it can be a tool of avarice, greed, lust, you name it as society has seen from "phone sex" and shady dealings via the phone. The same for the internet where pornography is quite prevalent; but on the other side of the coin look at the advantages to both when used for the honor and glory of God. Everything but the Sacraments can be achieved on the phone and over the internet. It is the greatest, fastest evangelization tool ever created. It is the quickest and most efficient way to reach millions in striving to follow Christ's command in Mark 16: 15 , "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature." Jesus said "whole world." This includes all seven continents - every corner of the earth. We know for a fact His apostles were not able to reach these but over the next two centuries His missionaries would reach most places, but often there were pockets or countries where they were not able to penetrate. Now, if they have a modem, God's Word can reach them in seconds. No dusty sandals and months or years of travel but rather the Word and teachings of Holy Mother Church can reach someone on the other side of the world in milliseconds - all through the thin optic fiber and a computer chip that has launched this generation into the future in ways no one would ever have dreamed. Certainly not Alexander Bell, who might have been scared away if he knew the abuse his name would receive from customers so used to having things immediately. He created a monster, but it is up to us to soothe this monster and to turn any negative stigmatizing the phone or computer into a positive for the good of God - for His Honor and Glory.

      We hear so often the complaint, "There's so much bad stuff on the internet." We can't argue with them, there are a lot of filth, hate and satanic things out there, but conversely there are just as many good things out there as well. Just as a library has many bad books - you know, the kind that are "banned in Boston" - there are many, many more good books on the shelves that far outnumber the bad ones. The same with the internet. Frankly we have never seen a pornographic site or a hate site, but then we don't go searching for it. The same holds true for those who are looking for evil - even to trying to identify the antichrist: be careful what you're looking for, you could find it! If we look for the bad, we're sure to find it - either on the internet or in our fellow man. Conversely, if we maintain the goal to always look for the good both on the web and for the God-given qualities in our brothers and sisters, we'll more readily find it and be happier, more content for our efforts. We must remember that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, and a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. If we search for the good trees no matter if it's person-to-person or when on Bell's invention or sitting in front of our monitors, then we're guaranteed to find the good fruits and benefit from them. So the next time that phone rings, you begin to dial someone, or click the browse and/or search button, say a little prayer that God will keep you on the straight and narrow information highway that will not detour to decadence or anything not of God. If we can keep that in focus and continue to consider everyday "Prayday" as we practice what we preach, then we can indeed "preach" in a good sense over the phone and web through our example and prudence. With this in mind, we can be assured of special graces for the success of each one of our particular lay ministries God asks of all of us. Consider His words in Luke 11: 13, "Therefore, if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Good Spirit to those who ask Him!" We are all sinners, but if we call on the Paraclete - the Consoler - the Sanctifier to aid us in our evangelistic ministry as communicators, then we can be assured we will be touched by the Spirit and convey to those we meet whether person to person, via phone, or through cyberspace all that God intends for good. That is the purpose for these modern contraptions - spawned from a tin-can for, though maybe "Mr. Pentium" did, we doubt Alexander Graham Bell had any idea his invention would evolve into a chip off the ol' block!

Michael Cain, editor

Receive the Eucharist with Love and Reverence

     In Meditative Lesson 5 today, we bring you the Blessed Mother's meditation on THE LAST SUPPER as she counsels us to show extreme reverence for this greatest of Gifts that was given out of true Love for all. She asks us to return love for Love by receiving her Divine Son worthily. These lessons are brought to you specifically for Lent to help us all prepare for His Passion and Death, and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. For part three of Lesson 5, click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 5:

THE LAST SUPPER

part three - Our Lady's Meditation: RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST WITH GREAT LOVE AND REVERENCE

      My Little Ones, I draw you here to this holy room and ask you to meditate upon your own belief in the Blessed Sacrament.

      Consider, my Little Ones, that my Divine Sonís Passion had already begun at the moment when Judas, his heart filled with evil, blasphemously ate and drank of the new covenantóthe very body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The small morsel of bread repulsed him, and the sip of wine against his impure tongue tasted of blood and burned like fire.

      And only in eternity shall the Father reveal the extreme suffering this caused my Divine Son Who, rather than seeking to be comforted and consoled by His apostles, sought only to comfort and console them in the hour of His agony. He, God Incarnate, willed to be in the bread and wine, in order to remain always the light and life of His faithful ones. He, God, chose to be a prisoner of love in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, waiting upon all of His children to cast themselves into His embrace, there to be nourished, strengthened and brought ever closer to home - to Heaven.

      Meditate upon the selfless Love which propelled my Divine Son in His final earthly moments to think only of you. He would not only suffer and die a cruel death beyond any cruelty ever inflicted upon man, but His infinite love caused Him to give His very self over and over again throughout the ages.

      Place yourself in this room, my Little Ones, and believe in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine at each Mass validly said by the priest. And he who is consecrated is truly a priest as ordained by my Divine Son, and through this succession, unbroken, beginning with Peter as the first vicar of Christ on earth, continues to this present day.

      My Little Ones, how much God has done for you! How great are His gifts to you! I implore you now to examine again the state of your soul and the measure of your faith. I implore you to pray and seek His forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance, that you might return to a devout, holy reverence for Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

      O! My Little Ones. He is God, the promised Messiah. The Redeemer. And in your hearts there must be for Him such a holy fire as to consume all other thoughts and desires when you receive Him.

      The evil one has stripped you of your reverence for the Eucharist and has caused such laxness among the people and the consecrated priests that there are many countless Judases who receive Him, and cause His crucifixion to be renewed again, while my own sorrowful heart is pierced by countless swords when I behold my Divine Son so abused and defiled.

      I ask each of you to renew the fervor of your faith. Come before my Son well-prepared by the sacrament of Penance. Receive Him upon your tongue, for you have not consecrated hands that might touch Him, the Spotless Lamb. I call each one of you, without fear or doubt, to kneel in humble reverence when receiving Him, for this privilege was never denied you. Rather, the evil one cleverly concealed his evil plot and allowed your own posture of body and soul to grow lax, lazy and indifferent.

      In these end times it is the Eucharist that is your Refuge, your Mercy your Light and Life. At what cost did Hew give Himself to you? Will you therefore not give unto Him all reverence, and count not the cost from those who have forsaken reverence for modernism?

      Come, receive Him and be one with Him for all Eternity!

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part One of Lesson 6: IN THE GARDEN AT GETHSEMANE


The creation of the Conclave results in a short papacy and then a vacant one

     Many do not realize that the word and concept for conclave, which is the modern procedure for electing a supreme pontiff, was not established until 1241. It was instituted out of necessity when bickering and thinned ranks prompted the Roman Senate to sequester the cardinals in hopes they would swiftly select the next Pope. But alas it took two months, 45 days longer than the pontiff they elected would live. It was time, after the glorious early years of the thirteenth century when the Church was once again thrown into political turmoil as factions jockeyed for the spoils. For the sixtieth installment of our on-going chronological mega series on the Church through the ages, click on THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH

INTRODUCTION:

      After four decades of strong, action Popes that helped foster the rise of monasticism and missionary activity and nourish saints for Holy Mother Church, the Holy See hit a roadblock with the death of Pope Gregory IX. Over the next two years only one pontiff would sit on the throne of Peter and then that one - Pope Celestine IV, who we cover today - fell ill two days after assuming the tiarra on October 25th and never recovered, dying on November 10, 1241. With Celestine's choice of name it began a string of five straight pontiffs who would choose a name with "IV" after it, similar to the run of seven of eight previously who had selections requiring "III" following their chosen names from Pope Alexander III in 1159 to Pope Honorius III who died in 1229 with only Pope Gregory VIII interrupting that skein.

Pope Celestine IV: The Fifteen-Say "Conclave Pope"

     Though Pope Gregory IX died on August 22, 1241, it wasn't until October 28th later that year that a Pope was finally selected. The reasons are many. First of all, Gregory's stand against the Emperor Frederick II came to an end with his death but not the fear. Frederick had marched on Rome and was ready to overthrow the Holy See when he learned of Gregory's death. Since his quarrel had been solely with Gregory, he spared the Vatican and pulled back to Southern Italy. But he had wreaked enough damage to throw a scare into the College of Cardinals, many of whom Frederick had incarcerated rather than allowing them to travel to Rome for the synod called by Gregory before his death for the specific purpose of enforcing his excommunication ban against Frederick in hopes the word would get out to all nations and the people would either overthrow the rascal or he would repent. Neither happened at the time because Frederick had played his cards right and trumped when Gregory died of old age. With the College of Cardinals depleted by prison and detainment, there were only ten available to meet to choose the next pontiff. However these ten men were so divided in who they thought should lead the Church that they could not reach a decision. It was divided into two camps - those who favored Gregory's harsh punishment of Frederick for his disobedience and military tricks that had caused the deaths of many in the crusades when the Emperor did not come to their rescue; the second were sympathetic to the Emperor, feeling Gregory was too rough on him and greatly jeopardized Rome's position in Europe. Thus a stalemate was the result. Time and again they tried, but no results. Some traveled back to their dioceses during this time and that prevented a quorum, thus no vote, no Pope. The time allowed Frederick to gain strength and his troops to recoup from any injuries they had suffered. Fearing a reprisal, the Roman Senate, headed by Matteo Rosso Orsini who was the strong no-nonsense leader of Rome at the time, ordered the cardinals to stay put and he put them under lock and key in the Setizonium - crumbling palace whose conditions were less than ideal. He borrowed the idea from religious orders who sequestered their voters in a monastery with just the bare necessities in order to reach a quick decision. This was Orsini's rationale for bringing them all together once and for all so they could elect a pope. On the first ballot more voted for one who was pro-Frederick, but not enough to make it a majority quorum. On the second ballot, still no success. They discussed electing someone now within the ranks of the college but Orsini shot that down as a cop-out on the cardinals' part. Orsini pestered them and deprived them day and night until their pride was broken and they finally came together, agreeing on Cardinal Goffredo da Castiglione of Milan who had been made a cardinal by Gregory. Some even believe he was a nephew of Pope Urban III as well as having been a Cistercian monk. Nevertheless, this aristocrat was well-versed in theology and politics and because of these attributes, was finally a compromise choice among the cardinals. Because he was the first pontiff elected in this "conclave" fashion, he is forever called the "Conclave Pope." From this time on, except for a few exceptions, elections of the next Vicar of Christ have been conducted in conclave, most recently in the last few centuries in the Sistine Chapel. After sixty days in confinement, white smoke finally curled up from the chimney and the cardinals emerged worn and temperamental. Many feel they chose Castiglione in order to escape their two month conclave prison, knowing that Castiglione was getting on in age and the most ill of all cardinals in attendance. They felt he would not last long, but at least it would give them time to recoup and to find other candidates for the next election when it occurred. They also felt they could add to their numbers with a new conclave, something Orsini would not allow with this one. Castiglione took the name Pope Celestine IV but he wasn't in office two days when he fell seriously ill. Though there was a Pope in name, in all likelihood things didn't change since no official act had been enacted by Celestine other than his coronation Mass. Celestine died fifteen days after taking the tiarra, succumbing on November 10, 1241.

     Once again the Holy See had been thrown into turmoil as the crown was vacant. That vacancy would last for one and a half years as the cardinals, fearing to get sucked into "conclave" again and with no strong candidate in mind, and totally forgetting or letting the Holy Spirit guide them, opted for cowardice and catering to Frederick II. Their patronizing of the Emperor was for a two-fold purpose; one, that they could entice the German king to release some of their colleagues in order to form a more cohesive group of voters, and two, to get his assurance he would not retaliate against them or their constituents after a Pope was elected. On the other side of the coin, Frederick, who never did anything quickly, dilly-dallied for a year, playing the cardinals for everything he could. Yet at the same time he had an invested interest in having a pope elected that would be sympathetic to his cause and lift his extradiction which he had hoped Celestine would do, but he died before any negotiations could begin. Thus, he cajoled all the cardinals into being as understanding of his cause as possible, even feigning repentance so that when they went into conclave they would be influenced subconsciously toward one of Frederick's choices. In the next installment we shall see who the cardinals chose and whether the results were favorable to Frederick or went against the Emperor's ambitious agenda.

Next installment: Pope Innocent IV - outlasting Frederick while initiating the Council of Lyons and the Seventh Crusade

To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.


"Do whatever He tells you."

     Those words, uttered by Our Lady to the stewards at the Wedding Feast at Cana are meant for us today as well as she implores us to follow her Divine Son in total obedience to Him and His Holy Church He has left us. That is the essence of her message today in Lesson/Meditation #76 as imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in a series of 100 Meditative Lessons. Click on THE HIDDEN WAY

Lessons/Meditations from Our Lord and Our Lady to


the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart

Lesson/Meditation #76:

"DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU"

(Imparted on February 6, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lord)

      Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, I am with you. I see your suffering and I comfort you, for to you my Divine Son gives His strength, His Love and Mercy as your mission becomes one of total redemptive suffering on behalf of and through Divine Mercy.

      My Divine Sonís words to you to "admonish the sinner" are very clear and simple to those whose faith is childlike.

      As your Heavenly Mother I wish to tell all of My little ones that in "admonishing the sinner" you must always seek first to "Do Whatever He tells you."

      These words, recorded in Sacred Scripture, sprang from my pure soul because The Holy Spirit uttered them not only for the people at the wedding in Cana, but also for all future generations until the end of all time.

      And what is it My Divine Son told you? Read Sacred Scripture, for His Perfect Words are there. To all He said: "Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as you love yourself."

      Not human love, my children. Not human feelings and emotions. You must love with the Spirit of Divine Love which is far above all human frailties, for it comes from God, sees and moves and speaks with God.

      In my own earthly life I, who by grace and my own perfect willingness to be one in union with Godís Will, saw sin all around me. Through my life of prayer, of obedience, of perfect discipleship to my Divine Son, I admonished the sinner by example, by loving word and heart-felt deed. I brought sinners to Him Who is the Savior of the World, and I did so in love as a mother and as a disciple of my Divine Son, the Only-Begotten Son of God.

      He Who is God made Man suffered every cruelty in His earthly life, and my Motherís Heart, Immaculate and Pure, felt the intensity of His Suffering. I could not alleviate it; I could not take it from Him, for such was not the will of the Father. In accepting the Perfect Will of The Father, I united my will to His and became by His Power and grace an instrument through which many caught in the snare of sin came to my Divine Son that they might have Life.

      All of you, my children, whether you are young or old, man or woman, are called by God to nurture the True Light and Life of God in your own soul, and to carry this Eternal Light and Life to all whom you meet, and by virtue of my Divine Sonís Infinite Merits, to carry this Light and Life to all the world by union with the Passion of my Divine Son.

      You must not restrain your soul in its love for God. To admonish the sinner and to lead the sinner back to God, is so pleasing before the Throne of the Triune Divinity that God will so shower you with grace that you shall quickly mount to perfection.

      My children, I have said to you: Pray! Pray! Pray! In this way you will learn to admonish the sinner with charity, you will become, as it were, a merciful magnet through whom my Divine Son will draw countless souls into the Refuge of His Sacred Heart.

      O! If you are to persevere you must be in the Refuge of the Sacred Heart through my Immaculate Heart.

      Therefore, I solemnly tell you in these critical days: "Do whatever He tells you" and live your faith fully and openly. You shall be called Children of God, and you shall see Him for Whose sake you admonish the sinner.

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

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Lesson/Meditation #77:INSTRUCTING THE IGNORANT



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


March 10, 1998 volume 9, no. 49         DAILY CATHOLIC