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As we lounged on the sand, we had to dodge a few diving seagulls and the sorts. But nowhere was there to be seen a swallow. Of course not, they don't return until a week from today eighty miles up the coast at Mission San Juan Capistrano. They have returned faithfully every year for God knows how long, possibly ever since Father Junipero Serra oversaw the construction of the Mission - one of a series of twenty-one Franciscan edifices that grace the California coastal areas from San Diego to north of San Francisco. As the thoughts flittered on every wave and soared like the great gull, Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus and chaste protector of Mary came to mind, more so than usual. For it is his feastday that we celebrate next week. So little is known about good St. Joseph, the silent saint, who patiently taught Jesus the crafts of carpentry and aided the Blessed Virgin in every way he could. After Mary, Joseph was the first to receive the Living Eucharist for he nurtured the young Christ-child Who was obedient always to his earthly parents while knowing He must fulfill what His Heavenly Father had sent him to do. Never did St. Joseph stand in His way, always encouraging and guiding, knowing one day He would leave their modest, spartan-like home in Nazareth that was probably no bigger than a postage stamp. But size didn't matter for love ruled. Fast forward to today where so many, if not all, have bigger domiciles and much, much more modern - most with all the latest conveniences available today. That's because we regard them as necessities! But they really aren't. They're really traps, albatrosses that keep us from focusing totally on God. But few are those who can chuck it all and retreat to a hermitage. Worse yet, try to tell your kids the TV's go, no more microwaves, radios, cd's the works are off limits. Talk about rebellion: "But, Dad, Ma, everyone's got 'em!" or "That's not fair!" We've all heard it, but what's not fair is the way satan has taken hold of our younger generations and turned them into soft, spoiled, procastinators. For the most part, the work ethic which we were weaned on, is non-existent. Get it done as quickly as you can at the last minute and don't worry how good it is. It's a chore that's "not fair!" Forget pride in being the best you can be. No wonder the Marines are getting fewer and fewer good men! So many times we discuss late into the night, "where did we go wrong?" "What could we have done to enrich our sons more?" The answer is that we have done everything we could. We've brought them up in the faith with a deep respect for the Holy Eucharist, tried to instill in them a fearful respect for authority, and tried, oh how we've tried, to censor the things they watch and the companions they associate with. But no matter how much we've hammered away, the world still wins out. How many parents lament the same thing? Thought so. At least eighty to ninety percent. You could call it "misery loves company" but we prefer to call it striving to fulfill God's Will in the face of the onslaughts of His greatest enemy - lucifer and his legions of doomed ones. Think about it. If the evil one can't get to the parents directly, he goes through the backdoor by tempting the kids. What a better way to get to the parents than tormenting their offspring. Ninety percent of the arguments between husband and wife evolve from something to do with the kids. Usually the Mom, the heart of the family, is more lenient - the "dove" , while the Dad, the stern head of the family, calls for stricter measures as the "hawk." It's a constant struggle as the kids play one against the other. Guess that's an inborn trait, because we don't ever remember the manipulation game with our parents. If our parents said to do something, or gave us a command, it was "Yes, Sir." "Yes, Maam." Teens are great at bargaining and cajoling. They get what they want by using the guilt trip in such subtle, intelligent ways that one wonders why they are not all Rhodes Scholars at the age of fifteen! It's a common malady that probably afflicts every family household in America and beyond. Why is it that nearly 2000 years ago this wasn't a problem in Nazareth whereas today it is a major roadblock to growing closer to God? We could probably write countless tomes on this subject, but suffice it to say, dads everywhere should take notes on the example of St. Joseph; moms on the attributes of the Blessed Mother. That, of course, in this day and age is easy to say but nearly impossible to implement. But God understands this, yet He doesn't condone just rationalizing it with "Oh, well, everyone's doing it so it can't be all bad!" That's one of satan's favorite ploys, to wear us down where we compromise to the point of surrender. How many times have we exclaimed, "the inmates are running the asylum?!?"
The horned one has succeeded phenomenally well in deceiving all of us. He's convinced so many that he doesn't exist, that hell is a figment of our imagination, something the Church cooked up to keep the faithful in check. That truly sounds preposterous, doesn't it? But do you realize that there are a vast majority out there who actually believe that garbage??? Look how he's slithered into the sanctuary and changed our precious Church into something few recognize today as "Roman Catholic." Look how he's taken the good and turned it to the realm of disgusting in our entertainment, our daily lives, our work places, in our homes, and even in our church activities. That's his methods and the only antidote is prayer and exemplifying the lives of saints. That's where St. Joseph pops up again for no one is a better role model for dads than this humble, accepting foster father who took on the responsibility of a family with none of the marital privileges of a husband today. But he willingly accepted it in joy and love and fulfilled his duties with never a complaint. To be perfectly human, we must say it: He had to be a saint to have lived with such a beautiful woman as Mary for those many years with nary a temptation of the flesh! Actually, being human, he did have temptations, but he was always able to overcome them through self-denial, prayer and prudence, not to mention keeping himself busy. Probably the comment from non-Catholics that chaps this writer's hide the most is when they claim Mary had many other children after Jesus with Joseph. Bullcrap!!! Mary was ever-virgin, always Immaculate! God did not choose His perfect human vessel to conceive His Only-begotten Son and then tell Mary and Joseph to "go at it!" Protestants, so quick to jump on the fact that the bible doesn't say anywhere that Mary was always a virgin and Immaculately conceived, forget the fact that no where is it mentioned that Mary and Joseph had other children. They always conclude that when Jesus says, "these are My brothers and sisters." They don't realize Jesus didn't mean blood brothers and sisters but rather that all are His brothers and sisters who follow His Holy Will. Isn't it amazing how they take one thing out of context in one passage, but refuse to see the obvious in another passage?
We've rambled a bit in this piece, but that's the way the thought pattern has been today when so many things waft through the brain waves under a high sun as the surf laps the sand on an absolutely pristine spring day that defies description. It was quality family time that we treasure. Had we had a laptop, we'd probably still be on the shore taking in the spectacular sunset, but alas, duty beckons and it's time to get back to work. Even though three of our four computers have been wiped out by last week's virus, we're still limping along on the mainframe and the Daily CATHOLIC must continue. Because of our little "vacation" today, this editor didn't get the on-going series on the Church today "WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?" written completely, so we'll save it for next week. Such are the perils of journalism for today was a reminder for this editor, which many can appreciate, regarding those special moments in life. Amid the deadlines, the chaos of computer crashes, and satan's shenanigans, we took time to enjoy God's gift of nature. We think St. Joseph would approve! The feature article can wait another week for, afterall, family time is too precious to put off. For those who are still thawing out, wringing out or digging out, it won't be long and soon everyone will have the same opportunity to bask in that perfect spring day. When you do, here's some loving advice to parents and workaholics everywhere: be sure to take time to smell the flowers!
I look up to see the Comforting Angel who is close to Jesus, and who guides Jesus’ lips to a cup which the angel has brought from Heaven. Jesus drinks and His parched lips give thanks to His Father Who, at this moment, strengthens His Son.
I, too, behold this heavenly being who has come as comfort and I wonder what heavenly drink has been given to Jesus. Now, the angel has departed, but Jesus is still kneeling, His hands folded in prayer. His eyes are clearer and He gazes intently to a point just beyond and slightly above the rock.
Once more I gaze in the same direction. And I understand more clearly that the cup contained a countless multitude of souls who would forever share eternal joy because of His sacrifice.
Unlike satan’s nightmare of souls like dying embers, this is truly a glorious vision which Jesus is given. Before His loving gaze passes every soul that, having accepted Him and followed Him, has been purified by its sufferings and enjoys the Beatific Vision. These souls are not faceless, as were those which I saw as dying embers. These souls are reunited to the body, and, thus passes a veritable parade of every saint who shall be with God forever.
Jesus’ lips move. I can hear no words but I understand He is calling each one by name. And from this glorious vision comes a continual cry of joy and praise: "Glory to God in the Highest! Glory to the Son Who has wrought our salvation! Glory to the Spirit, the Love so pure. Endless praise to God, One in Three!
Jesus’ face is serene, composed. The vision fades, but it is sufficient. Jesus rises from His knees. He does not rise easily, but painfully. It is evident that this silent, secret agony has already done much physical damage to His Sacred Body. He leans upon the rock till his legs are steady. He looks down the hill and sadness deepens the circles around His eyes. With some difficulty He reaches for His mantle which lies upon the ground, and He wipes the excesses of blood from His face, hands and arms. He then carefully folds the mantle and leaves it upon the rock, to be watched over by the lone olive tree.
Then, testing His footsteps, He leaves His place of silent agony and makes His way down a twisting path. I follow behind until Jesus has come to a small clearing. He looks so sadly upon Peter, James and John who have not kept watch with Him, but have succumbed to sleep—a sleep of such depth that I am given to understand it was imposed upon their weak flesh by the evil one himself.
Jesus calls out their names. His voice is weaker than I have ever heard It. But He calls again, more loudly and He penetrates the sleep. The three apostles scramble to their feet, tying mantles about their shoulders, trying to find words to ask forgiveness for their laxity. They do not notice Jesus’ blood-stained garments, for the moon has gone behind the hill and their own small fire is but a tiny burning ember.
Jesus looks at the embers of their fire and sees again in them all the souls who will reject His sacrifice.
"Come. It is time. Let us go!"
It is an order, but not unkind. Jesus is fully in control of all His humanity and He now goes forward, heart already bursting with infinite love to fulfill the Divine Will. Somewhat dumbfounded, the three apostles trail behind.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Three of Lesson 6: Our Lady's meditation on IN THE GARDEN AT GETHSEMANE
`Many of my children do not come to me. They cannot in their finite minds, conceive of the beauty, power and Love of their Heavenly Father Who bestowed upon me such graces. That is why He gave them to me. so that through His merits I might give also to all my children graces of Heavenly dew to light their path.
Today on this beautiful feast all Heaven rejoices. And I come among my children in many places. Yes, I am with my little ones both in Denver and in Conyers. God is infinite. It is by His Power and Authority that I come, and I am not limited by time or space.
I come to give you God's peace and love. He desires to draw all of His children back through the arms of their Immaculate Mother. Please come, my little ones. I am waiting for you. I wish to imprint my Immaculate Heart upon you, to mark you as my own in these last days.
I come to pour out graces and blessings to my little ones. Yet so many are filled by doubt. They cannot grasp how much God loves and gives, and how very little man gives back.
Listen to me now while yet there is time, while I remain among you. Great shall be the graces to assist in the time of great darkness.
I love you. I bless you. Come to me, your Heavenly Mother. I announce the Second Advent. I call you to prepare!
Thank you for responding to my Call!
Because of your Total Consecration vowed before God this day; because of the Holy Vow of Poverty you will take on my feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, know satan's fury is excessive against you. Those who are weak, are his victims and he, the evil one, uses each defect of faith and moral character to destroy all goodness.
My beloved ones, I sincerely ask you to pray for sublime charity. Condone no evil, but judge not the person, only the action. Draw around yourselves my Immaculate Mantle, and above all the Mantle of the Precious Blood of Jesus, that you may not be assaulted by satan. Be gentle, loving, mild and patient.
Pray constantly for all who can't or will not pray for themselves. Pray! For the chastisement shall increase and all my children shall suffer in heart, mind, body and soul, each as God ordains. Believe. Love and have compassion as Jesus taught.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!