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TUESDAY

March 17, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 54



On Saint Patrick's Day...Let's hear from the man himself!

     And that's what we do through his "Confessions" which the Apostle of Ireland wrote around 452 A.D. Today, on his glorious feast, we bring you the second installment of this three-part feature from our MITERS THAT MATTER series. In this second installment Patrick reveals the private revelations he received and his reactions, as well as his gratitude to God and the people for this "humble, unworthy servant." For part two of SAINT PATRICK SPEAKS, click on MITERS THAT MATTER

ST. PATRICK SPEAKS
Part Two "Confessions of St. Patrick"

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, we offer the second of this two parter on the state of Ireland at the time of Saint Patrick in the Apostle of Ireland's own words.

      I did not proceed to Ireland of my own accord until I was almost giving up, but through this I was corrected by the Lord, and he prepared me so that today I should be what was once far from me, in order that I should have the care of-- or rather, I should be concerned for-- the salvation of others, when at that time, still, I was only concerned for myself.

      Therefore, on that day when I was rebuked, as I have just mentioned, I saw in a vision of the night a document before my face, without honour, and meanwhile I heard a divine prophecy, saying to me: 'We have seen with displeasure the face of the chosen one divested of [his good] name.' And he did not say 'You have seen with displeasure', but 'We have seen with displeasure' (as if He included Himself) . He said then: 'He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye.'

      For that reason, I give thanks to him who strengthened me in all things, so that I should not be hindered in my setting out and also in my work which I was taught by Christ my Lord; but more, from that state of affairs I felt, within me, no little courage, and vindicated my faith before God and man.

      Hence, therefore, I say boldly that my conscience is clear now and hereafter. God is my witness that I have not lied in these words to you.

      But rather, I am grieved for my very close friend, that because of him we deserved to hear such a prophecy. The one to whom I entrusted my soul! And I found out from a goodly number of brethren, before the case was made in my defence (in which I did not take part, nor was I in Britain, nor was it pleaded by me), that in my absence he would fight in my behalf. Besides, he told me himself: 'See, the rank of bishop goes to you'-- of which I was not worthy. But how did it come to him, shortly afterwards, to disgrace me publicly, in the presence of all, good and bad, because previously, gladly and of his own free will, he pardoned me, as did the Lord, who is greater than all?

      I have said enough. But all the same, I ought not to conceal God's gift which he lavished on us in the land of my captivity, for then I sought him resolutely, and I found him there, and he preserved me from all evils (as I believe) through the in-dwelling of his Spirit, which works in me to this day. Again, boldly, but God knows, if this had been made known to me by man, I might, perhaps, have kept silent for the love of Christ.

      Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently over my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that you appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that today among the barbarians I might constantly exalt and magnify your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in him, implicitly and forever, and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives.

      But it is tedious to describe in detail all my labours one by one. I will tell briefly how most holy God frequently delivered me, from slavery, and from the twelve trials with which my soul was threatened, from man traps as well, and from things I am not able to put into words. I would not cause offence to readers, but I have God as witness who knew all things even before they happened, that, though I was a poor ignorant waif, still he gave me abundant warnings through divine prophecy.

      Whence came to me this wisdom which was not my own, I who neither knew the number of days nor had knowledge of God? Whence came the so great and so healthful gift of knowing or rather loving God, though I should lose homeland and family.

      And many gifts were offered to me with weeping and tears, and I offended them [the donors], and also went against the wishes of a good number of my elders; but guided by God, I neither agreed with them nor deferred to them, not by my own grace but by God who is victorious in me and withstands them all, so that I might come to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure insults from unbelievers; that I might hear scandal of my travels, and endure man persecutions to the extent of prison; and so that I might give up my free birthright for the advantage of others, and if I should be worthy, I am ready [to give] even my life without. hesitation; and most willingly for His name. And I choose to devote it to him even unto death, if God grant it to me.

&nbps;     I am greatly God's debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon a after confirmed, and that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth, just as he once promised through his prophets: 'To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught hut lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.' And again: 'I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of' the earth.'

      And I wish to wait then for his promise which is never unfulfilled, just as it is promised in the Gospel: 'Many shall come from east and west and shall sit at table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.' Just as we believe that believers will come from all the world.

      So for that reason one should, in fact, fish well and diligently, just as the Lord foretells and teaches, saying, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,' and again through the prophets: 'Behold, I am sending forth many fishers and hunters, says the Lord,' et cetera. So it behoved us to spread our nets, that a vast multitude and throng might be caught for God, and so there might be clergy everywhere who baptized and exhorted a needy and desirous people. Just as the Lord says in the Gospel, admonishing and instructing: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the end of time.' And again he says: 'Go forth into the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be condemned.' And again: 'This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached throughout the whole world as a witness to all nations; and then the end of the world shall come.' And likewise the Lord foretells through the prophet: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days (sayeth the Lord) that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophesy.' And in Hosea he says: 'Those who are not my people I will call my people, and those not beloved I will call my beloved, and in the very place where it was said to them, You are not my people, they will be called 'Sons of the living God'.

      So, how is it that in Ireland, where they never had any knowledge of God but, always, until now, cherished idols and unclean things, they are lately become a people of the Lord, and are called children of God; the sons of. the Irish [Scotti] and the daughters of the chieftains are to be seen as monks and virgins of Christ.

TOMORROW: The third and final part of this MITERS THAT MATTER - Patrick's own words.


The legend of St. Pat is all about faith!

     The top o' the day to ye on this foine St. Paddy's Day that has lost its meaning amidst the secular hubbub of green beer and parades with no concept of what this glorious Irish saint stood for. That is the topic of today's editorial entitled, "A bit o' legend, a bit o' lore, a lot o' faith!" Click on today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

a bit o' legend, a bit o' lore, a lot o' faith!

     Ah, sure n' begorrah, saints be praised, today is the wearin' o' the green. St. Patrick's Day over the years has been a source of pride for Irishmen everywhere. There's a saying that on St. Paddy's Day there's only two kinds of people - the Irish and those who wish they were Irish. Fortunately, our ancestors hail from County Mayo and this editor is third generation removed from the Olde Sod. In fact, me stepmother is first generation Irish-born from County Wicklow. Yet, truth be told, the closest this editor ever came to kissin' the ol' Blarney Stone or seeing the silent shrine of Knock was at Shannon Airport both coming and going from Rome and Medjugorje. Ah, Ireland, the stuff of legends - like the time a British immigrant who became a bishop lo many years ago returned to the Emerald Isle with one purpose in mind - to convert these beloved people to Jesus Christ and bring them into the fold of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Legend says Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Everyone knows there are no snakes in Ireland today, nor are there snakes in Hawaii, another island half way around the world. We doubt good ol' Patrick set sail for the luau isles, so there must be another explanation. There is. That is the fact there never were actual snakes across the Irish Sea from England, they could not survive in the peat moss and cold climes. So as for actual reptiles that crawl, there were none. But he did extract the serpent - the same serpent that tormented Adam and Eve and who God promised would be crushed beneath His heel through His emissary - His Blessed Mother when her Immaculate Heart triumphs. That is what Patrick strove to do, eliminate the serpent from Erin back in the fifth century where the druid spirit ruled, where superstition was the order of the day. He used as his prop, a tiny shamrock, a three leaf clover, if you will, to illustrate the unenlightened inhabitants of this tiny, craggy, verdant-carpeted isle how the Most Holy Trinity truly existed by being "Three Persons in One God." They are the eternal edition of the "Three Musketeers" - All in One, and One in All. Omnipresent is another way of putting it, Omnicient is another. And the Triune Divinity knew Patrick's goal and assisted greatly in his mission as his Confessions reveal in our three part installment on MITERS THAT MATTER - ST. PATRICK SPEAKS begun yesterday and continuing through tomorrow.

     Just as Patrick faced many adversities during his crusade to convert the Irish, so also his beloved land has faced their share of hardships - from plague to famine they have been devastated, but yet this tiny isle remained loyal to Holy Mother Church for fifteen hundred years. However, of late there seem to be cracks in the emerald armor as abortion creeps steadily into Ireland. On top of this no one can discount the terrible conflicts and violence in Northern Ireland where the battle with the Brits continues as the lines are drawn in Belfast between Catholic and Protestant. Here in America we eat, work and play with members of other faiths and think nothing of it, but in Northern Ireland it is a culture that runs deep and both sides perceive the other is wrong. We carried the passage yesterday from Proverbs 17: 14 that says, "The start of strife is like the opening of a dam; therefore, check a quarrel before it begins." How many times have we all forgotten to plug the leaks, and let the anger swell over its banks and drown our hearts in hate and resentment because we were hurt by someone, most of the time someone close to us? It happens in marriage, it happens in parishes, it happens in the workplace and it happens in the home. It is all part of the agenda of the evil one - that pesky serpent who slithers into our minds and conjures up shadows of doubt, mistrust, jealousy, and you name it. Oh, that slippery snake is clever and we have to be ever more clever, taking the advice of Christ in Matthew 10: 16, "Be therefore wise as serpents, and guileless as doves." Now snakes are not known for their intelligence, but Jesus wasn't referring to the reptile per se, but rather to His greatest adversary for He knew the serpent was clever and would use every wile against God's children. But Jesus also knew that satan's "cleverness" could entice us to retaliate in kind and this is not His way; that is why he admonished us to be "guileless as doves" for the one weapon the demon cannot tolerate is love and kindness. No wonder Christ preached this so often, no wonder His Blessed Mother asks us to love and forgive. Satan hates forgiveness, he hates harmony. He had to hate good ol' St. Patrick and Patrick himself confirms this in the encounters the good saint had with satan. Yes, the devil truly exists, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. That is his ploy - to convince the world he doesn't exist. He's done a pretty good job of it and we have to be on our guard all the time. St. Patrick knew this and passed it on to generation after generation.

      Today St. Patrick's Day is not affiliated with the accomplishments of this great Apostle of Ireland, as much as it is the secular side and an excuse for a drunken binge in the middle of Lent. Tis a sad day when the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade features only a handful of Knights of Columbus while scores of Masonic Shriners, stretching out for blocks, cavort along the parade route in procession with no clue as to why we truly celebrate this day. Tis a sad day when those who you wouldn't catch inside a church, make fools of themselves gulping down one green beer after another. Tis a sad day when abortionists and gays demand to march in a parade honoring a man who stood strongly against these vices in favor of the culture of life and God's Holy Laws. None of them have a clue who St. Patrick was and what he stood for and taught. If they did, they would realize the Most Holy Trinity is Three Persons in One God - a God Who has set down the laws of life and given us all a blueprint for following them in His Ten Commandments and in His Holy Church which the Son established when He gave the keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter in Matthew 16: 17-19 and which is guided today by the Third Member of the Holy Trinity - the Holy Spirit - the Sanctifier. We pray that more understand and accept this, including the Irish whom Patrick loved so much. So as we all celebrate this glorious day, remember to show restraint, temperance, and charity for all, and while you're at it, take a page from good ol' St. Pat and bring up the reason for celebratin' the shamrock - the Trinity. That's the best reason to celebrate and pass it on. If we can all do this in the midst of Lent, we'll be contributing to the mission that dedicated bishop began fifteen centuries ago that since has evolved into a bit o' legend, a bit o' lore, and a lot of faith!

Michael Cain, editor

A sword pierces Mary's heart

     The joy of today's celebration of St. Pat must be tempered with the mission we still have ahead of us during Lent and in today's second part of Meditative Lesson 7 THE MOTHER SUFFERS WITH THE SON we get a glimpse of what Simeon foresaw in the temple when he prophesied that Mary's heart would be pierced by seven swords. This, then, is one of those swords when the reality of what is happening has set in and Our Lady, rather than lashing out bitterly, seeks counsel from the Father for herself in acquiescing to the Divine Will in accordance to all her Divine Son has foretold and promised. It is a touching moment which the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart shares with all. Click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"
INTRODUCTION: These Meditative Lessons on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary which encompass the Passion and Death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ were imparted via both interior visions and interior locutions to Cyndi Cain, the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart from the Blessed Mother of God during Lent in 1993. Cyndi relates that, "while I saw many details in these interior visions, only certain details were to be written down. Therefore, these lessons are not meant to be a detailed geographical or historical account, nor are they meant to pinpoint all the intricate details one might wish to have knowledge of regarding the Passion of Our Lord...for the importance of each lesson lies not in the descriptive passage or dialogue, but in Our Lady's own meditations which follow each interior vision. These meditations are meant to strengthen us in our faith during this our exile - particularly in these end times when the Holy Catholic Church will be ripped apart by apostasy and schism...for Our Blessed Mother wants our faith to be as strong as an anchor. For our faith to be such, we must have the faith of a simple, little child." During Lent we bring these to you and ask the Holy Spirit to give all the enlightenment and discernment to learn and grow from these meditative lessons that all may persevere in the time of the Great Darkness which looms ever closer. For those who would like the complete works of "It is Consummated!, as well as the books on the Joyful Mysteries - "Come, Let us Adore Him", and the Glorious Mysteries - "My Lord and my God!", click on BOOKS.

Meditative Lesson 7:

THE MOTHER SUFFERS WITH THE SON

part two

     Suddenly Mary lifts her head and I am able to see her beautiful face. How is it possible to find words which describe the sorrow upon her features? It is a profound, utterly moving sorrow that, while making her appear a little older, takes nothing from her beauty which comes from her pure heart and soul.

      Her hand, until now hidden beneath the folds of her dark blue mantle, comes suddenly to her mouth as she stifles a gasp. I realize that it is the moment of Judasí betrayal. Her Divine Son has been handed over to His enemies.

      "Son!" The word is a prayer which takes flight like a fiery dart and I see the dart leave the room and know it goes directly, instantly to her Sonís Sacred Heart. Thus do they comfort and strengthen each other, these two hearts which have always beat as one. She, the Mother - she, the Handmaid of the Lord, must also fight off satanís attacks. Her faith, her hope, her love, her humility and obedience cannot fail. She, too, from all eternity,. Has been called you suffer along with her Divine Son. He, God made Man, will not fail. She, the creature immaculately conceived, must be so united to God as to remain steadfast as His Son suffers cruelties beyond description. This she understands. This she has known from the moment of the Annunciation. This, also, has been her earthly life.

      And it is prayer - pure from the heart, which sustains her at each moment. The prayer is constant, rising always to the Father. It is a prayer of humility, of absolute obedience and utter faith in Godís holy will.

      She joins her hands together and her eyes raise to Heaven and there is no sound from her lips. The tears flow unceasingly but her entire being is joined to God - to her Son.

      I, too, fall to my knees and pray a wordless prayer asking forgiveness for every single thought, word, deed, omission of my life which has caused such pain to infinite love. It is also, again, a heart-felt prayer of thanksgiving for all that Jesus endured for me; for the loving sacrifice of His own tortured Mother who, throughout the great trial, never faltered in doing Godís Will.

      I remain here, in prayer with our heavenly Mother, and the silence of the night deepens. O! Jesus forgive me! Where are you now? What are they doing to You, Who are my God? Our heavenly Mother sees and knows. It is her strength at this moment which sustains my own poor prayer.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Three of Lesson 7: Our Lady's Meditation on THE MOTHER SUFFERS WITH THE SON


Patrick unlocked the heart of God for the Irish people. The key: faith!

     That is what Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. constantly hammers home as he continues with his thirtieth installment of his series "Faith: Key to the Heart of God." Today he deliberates on developing "bold faith in the Lord" as advised in Timothy and assures us faith is a gradual process that must be nourished in order to grow. Click on KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL

Thirty Installment: Vertical Growth: Fertilizing Faith part two

     We sometimes feel as if we should be able to do all kinds of miracles at once, like laying hands on the sick to heal them instantly; and if we donít have 100 percent success in getting our prayers answered, we may feel that there is something wrong with our faith. There probably is a defect or limit, but that is no reason to get discouraged. Some people fret because theyíve never worked a miracle and thus feel that they must have little faith. They are fearful that their faith is actually failing. That is the time to open ourselves humbly to the power of God to develop that faith, as described in I Timothy 3:13: "Develop bold faith in the Lord."

      If your faith is very weak and you lack boldness in using it, your hesitancy is probably rooted in your fear of failure. That fear could prove fatal to the little faith you might have. Very few people would dare to pray over someone to be healed of blindness, or to pray for the suppression of crime in a particular city, or for the salvation of every prostitute in the nation, but theyíll pray for the relief of a headache. They are afraid of becoming discouraged by failing in the big requests, and thus of losing the little faith they have; they then fear they may become unable to obtain even small favors from God that would require less faith.

      Yet the Lord does not expect us to attain to mature, fully formed faith all at once (thatís why Jesus prayed for Peterís growth in faith). What He does expect of us is a readiness and willingness to grow in faith. A cooperative attitude is a minimum requirement to "develop bold faith in the Lord." Without our cooperation, we could become spiritually apathetic, and that can be a real problem. The "donít-rock-the-boat" attitude, or general disinterest in faith-growth, is not merely a mental state of mind, but a disastrous prelude to spiritual deterioration, for "all that is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).

Next Installment: Vertical Growth: God's Operation



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March 17, 1998 volume 9, no. 54         DAILY CATHOLIC