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It is late. I am no longer with Jesus. I am in a small room where the furnishing are sparse, a simple bed against the far left wall, a small slit of window in the adjoining wall. There is a chair in the room. I see nothing else. Then I hear the sound of crying and I look toward the bed. There, at the foot of the very uncomfortable-looking bed by our standards, I see the Mother of God.
She is on her knees, head bent toward her chest, and her whole being is shaken by sobs. Around her I am given to see a golden light which glows, one moment dimly, the next brighter.
I want to run to the Blessed Mother, to fall upon my knees beside her and, throwing my arms about her, I desire to comfort Her. O! To hear the Mother of God cry!
But I do not move and in that moment I am given to understand that our Blessed Mother is being shown by heavenly vision all that is happening to her Son. Her soul, pure and spotless, sees also the demon’s mockery and the demon’s mockery and the dying embers of souls lost for all eternity. She sees also all who shall have eternal life because of her Son’s infinite sacrifice.
Her tears are at once very human - she is truly Mother - and also very holy for as each drop of blood falls from the Sacred Body of her Son, do so Mary’s tears fall. Mingling thus in the sight of the Father, they create a torrent of mercy, forgiveness and love.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Two of Lesson 7: THE MOTHER SUFFERS WITH THE SON
Regarding mission, women and men are equally called to evangelization and building up the Church within. Women cannot be ordained, according to the clear will of Christ. But though this function is not open to them, they are equal to men in dignity and holiness. This "theoretical" assertion must be lived "in practice." Women must be more part of the consultation process in dioceses and parishes. Their role in catechesis and formation, always strong in the past, must be fostered even more. Also, women need to fight against certain current trends which degrade them. The dignity of motherhood must be defended. Women must fight harder in the public arena for moral values in places like schools, media, business, and the like. And women, who have a special sensitivity for caring for all persons, male and female, have a unique ability to combat the dehumanizing trends of society today. Lay men also must take more responsibility for the Church, letting women do "religious things," as though this were unmanly.
Next week: Chapter Four continued: The Role of the Sick and Suffering and the Basic States in Life.
The site itself, operated by webmaster Tom Sullilvan, is basically a "sell site" where one can purchase audio and video tapes and normally we don't review such a site, but the caliber of material they provide, why they do, and the fact they offer CD-Roms that you can just pop in your computer makes this an exception. Their collection of software CD-Roms is impressive and unique. They offer volumes on Church History, lives of the saints, the approved Catholic bible with expert commentary, even an illustrated Catholic bible with maps, countless illustrations, and a Hebrew tutor that helps us all better understand the evolution of words, passages and what they truly mean. In addition they offer works by noted apologist and convert-extraordinaire Scott Hahn as well as works by Father Joseph Fessio, SJ and other notables. They even offer liturgical music on the CD's. Speaking of music, they provide the hard-to-get, but sought-after music by the group Radix popular with the teens wherever they perform. They offer stunning books on tape by such renowned authors as Monsignor Klaus Gamber and Blessed Josemaría Escrivá.
The St. Joseph's Communication site also provides a list of conferences that might not be found on the Marian Conference docket such as the National Family Conference in Long Beach, California in July which encourages family participation and sports a tremendous line-up of speakers. In addition they list sites for combined parents and teen retreats, something that can be very, very beneficial in these days of miscommunication between the generations. This site offers much for the teens in their Youth Outreach section, specifically tapes on the sixth and seventh commandments by Radix which hits homes with teens that they can relate to. It is a great evangelization tool, combined with their excellent and moving, rocking music that communicates with the young adults. In fact, as one of our teenage sons would say, "they have rad t-shirts, too, dude!" The other would pipe in, "they're the bomb!" If you've never heard this outstanding group as well as the music of Eric Genius you can get a sneak feel of the beat by clicking on their audio previews. The latter also offers excerpts of Scott Hahn and his wife Kimberly Hahn, also a convert and powerful speaking force on the conference circuit. They even offer a free tape for first time users and provide a direct e-mail, if you wish to submit your e-mail address, to alert you of their latest releases. There are many other tapes and videos they offer and one has to peruse the site to get the full feel of what is available. The site itself is very simple to navigate and loads quite quickly for even the slowest of modems. They offer frames and non-frame format. As we mentioned earlier, even though it is a commercial site promoting tapes, videos, t-shirts and CD Roms, what they offer is unique and necessary, prompting us to therefore present the St. Joseph's Communication site with the "Golden Chalice Award" and confer THREE Hail Mary's to this site, dedicated to St. Joseph, head of the Holy Family for it is family this site caters to in promoting tools to help all emulate the ideals of that humble Threesome who lived in Nazareth nearly 2000 years ago and lives today in our hearts.
Reconciliation is not a thought, it is an experience. As an experience, it is lodged deep within the human heart, and not only within the human heart, but within the Divine Heart as well. Were it a mere thought within the Divine Mind, mankind would never have had a Redeemer. As it is a mere thought within the minds of so many of today’s generation, human hearts find no craving or need for a Redeemer.
Within the Divine Heart there are found both justice and mercy. When our first parents were tricked by Satan and turned on God in favor of establishing an independent domain within their own human hearts, the justice of God exiled them to the vale of tears, sweat and blood. It ultimately turned out to be a felix Culpa, a "happy fault" in as much as it obtained for them and for each one of us, a Redeemer through the mercy of God. Through the suffering and excruciating death of Jesus, God was reconciled to man, and man to God.
Reconciliation, as an experience, is based upon the fact that God, the Creator as well as God, the Loving Father, wishes order in the universe. Despite the fact that the world knows earthquakes, cats chasing mice, spiders catching flies, in the complete picture of creation, it all tends towards unity as conceived in the Divine Mind and experienced within the Divine Heart. In creating the angelic and human person, the loving Father left it up to each person endowed with a free will, to maintain a union with Himself and amongst one another. Lucifer and his legions chose to go their own way. For them, because of their angelic nature, there was no possibility for reconciliation; for human beings, because of their human nature, God has given and continues to give each an opportunity to choose to be in union with Himself. The nature of the angel is such that once a decision is made, it cannot be changed; the nature of the human being is such that, because he is created with a less perfect nature, not ever knowing the full consequences of his decisions, he is given unlimited opportunities to return to a union with God after he has estranged himself from Him.
Though God the Father in His mercy has sent to earth His Son as our Redeemer, it nonetheless remains with each individual human being to make his/her own way back to a union with Him. As a continued expression of His mercy, it is God Himself Who must give help to each, first to be put onto the path of reconciliation, and secondly, to receive necessary graces to be reconciled over and over again as each estrangement takes place. This mercy expresses itself through Jesus’ establishing the Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation. These are direct aids to the attaining of a union with God. The other Sacraments help to maintain oneself in that union.
In my next installment, I will delve into how reconciliation with self is just as important in the healing process with others.
To review Father Valenta's previous columns in this series, go to Archives beginning with the August 18, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 16.
The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I marries Bianca Sforza, the daughter of Italian powerbroker Francesco Sforza
Close of the Fifth Lateran Council by Pope Leo X where the Council Fathers declared nul and void the Council of Pisa. Events in the aftermath of this council and Leo's actions led to Martin Luther's revolt.
Ferdinand Magellan discovers the Philippines and declares them for Portugal and Holy Mother Church. The faith has remained strong in these islands on the northern edge of Oceania.
Martyrdom of Jesuit missionaries in East Africa