Before I, Jesus Christ, continue on the teachings I wish to give on the Beatitudes, I wish to return to a point My children do not understand.
I Who Am know all of your weaknesses and imperfections. I know if your temperament is prone to anger, to impatience, to frustration. I know if you leap to conclusions, speak too readily and if you gossip even unconsciously. I know of your dependence on worldly things; I know every anxious moment you have. I know your heart - your whole being.
To each I give My grace. Not in the same measure but as I know you need the grace so you may be mine for all Eternity.
Through this grace you recognize all of your humanness - and this is good. When grace prompts you to acknowledge your faults you begin to control your temper, speech, rash judgments, et cetera.
But so often what you do not understand is that I, your God, do not remove these faults overnight or even in a lifetime. I allow you to daily struggle, with My help, to overcome your nature which is weak.
Why do I do this? Because by your very willingness to overcome your faults you delight Me, you cause Me to send even more graces to you and you help countless souls who make no effort to overcome faults and failings.
These weaknesses, if left alone without any effort by aid of My grace to be improved upon, are not pleasing to Me. It is your willing effort that pleases Me abundantly. So, little children, you must work daily to overcome whatever it is in your nature that keeps you from total unity with Me.
But I want you to remember that often I leave you with them, because this humbles your heart and soul. When the heart and soul are humble do you know where you are? You are pressed against My Sacred Heart which is Mercy, which comforts. You are at the foot of My Cross, clinging to Me as My Most Precious Blood washes you clean.
No, you do not "feel" this, because My work of grace is silent. You do not need to understand it, My children. What you must do is believe this, trust Me, and continue to seek to improve your love for Me.
This is the road to sanctity - to holiness, to Heaven. Am I not God? Am I not capable of clothing you with the garment of Divine Mercy even at the instant of bodily death? When I do this, all you have valiantly struggled for in your life is transformed into holiness, and My Father sees not the faults and weaknesses, but the humble soul beating with love and clothed in My Mercy.
I tell you this because so many give up the fight to do better, when improvement does not appear to happen. Even more, when you stop fighting satan leads you first to lukewarmness, then to sloth and finally to despair.
No, little children, do not become lukewarm because you cannot understand how all I have foretold through My Motherís messages can and will be fulfilled in a short period of time. I Who Am can cause all to be fulfilled in one instant of human time. Is it not sufficient then for you to prepare as My Holy Mother continues to tell you, and to turn to Me in trust to provide for all your needs. Is it not sufficient to let Me know that instant in time, and to win the Victory by your humble, loving obedience.
I solemnly say to you: Do not cease the struggle. Rather, with renewed zeal follow Me as I have taught you and live all My Motherís Messages with your heart as best you can.
I Who Am will fill in all the weak spots of My children, because I am God, and you are My children whom I love with Infinite Love.
Do not put off the struggle. Do not justify your weakness, but plead daily for the grace to do better. And when you fail, come running to Me with contrite Heart, for this is My delight, My joy.
I am with you, My children, in these critical days for I will always tend My sheep.
Ponder upon these words and find in them reason to trust, to hope and rejoice in your Eternal Triune Divinity. My Peace I give unto you. Let nothing disturb you, for I am near. I Come!
NEXT WEEK: Lesson/Meditation #60:
Born in Pisa, Italy in the late eleventh century, he became a monk at Clairvaux in the 1130's due to the tremendous influence of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and remained there until Pope Innocent II asked Bernard to send Cistercians to Rome. Eugene was the first, heading a band of monks who settled at the Monastery of Saints Vincenzo and Anastasio just outside Rome. The fruits of his work were already evident in increasing vocations when Eugene was taken from the cloistered walls to the throne of Peter. Fearing reprisal from the Pierleoni mob and escorted by their rival - the Frangipani soldiers, the cardinals escorted Eugene to Farfa just north of Rome so that he could officially be consecrated Pope without incident. There he remained until Roman envoys offered a peace treaty, inviting him to return to Rome for they had come to realize that the Patrician Giordano Pierleoni was not living up to his promises and had let Rome fall more into ruin than before his takeover. The populace had turned against the brother of the now-deceased antipope Anacletus II. Hope sprung on the horizon when Eugene returned to Rome to celebrate Christmas in 1145 for it looked as though the Pierleoni power had run its course. Though the people were able to depose Giordano's office of Patrician, they were so unorganized with no one in charge that chaos eventually gained the upper hand. Less than a month later, seeking a more peaceful atmosphere, Eugene vacated Rome once again, opting to return to Viturbo. During his short stay in Rome Eugene received the alarming news that the Turks had captured the crusader stronghold at Edessa in southeast Turkey. Moved to respond, he issued a papal bull, sending it to King Louix VII of France and Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III of Germany, proclaiming the formation of a second crusade with St. Bernard commissioned to preach the crusade.
The word "Crusade" was taken from the Latin for "to mark with a cross" which was cruciare, and the French croisade as well as the Spanish cruzada. Hence the word "crusade" became a household word. In short it became a crusade to crusade for the Crusades. Every Crusader's emblem carried a cross emblazoned on their chest, shield and/or banner. The first stage of the Second Crusade had been initiated by Pope Celestine II but that ended in disaster when the troops, marching from Constantinople (Byzantium) in 1143 to Edessa, met their waterloo there in the early winter of 1145. Pope Eugene III felt that the first had not been properly organized and so he sought not only the military leadership and strength of France and Germany through the coaxing of St. Bernard, but also of South Italy in the person of Roger II of Sicily. The latter pressed to march on Byzantium and both Louis and St. Bernard shared his sentiments. Though Eugene was hesitant, feeling the crusaders would be spreading themselves too thin if they marched on Byzantium, he gave in. He should have rethinked his strategy. The result was disastrous. Though Louis and Conrad were capable rulers, they were terrible military strategists and suffered heavy casualties as the guerilla-like Turks took no prisoners. Both Louis and Conrad limped into Jerusalem in 1148, not victoriously, but baffled and battle-worn. Eugene's grand plan had met with grand disaster.
Godincidently, it was at the very time that Eugene was planning his crusade that the Mother of God was appearing to Saint Simon Stock in England, bestowing on him the Scapular for protection. If only Eugene's warriors had had the scapular earlier, the entire course of history might have been changed and reunion with the Eastern church might have become a reality. But alas, God had other plans and no human can perceive the omniscient knowledge of the Almighty.
Disallusioned by defeat, Eugene forsook the cause of the crusades. The next Crusade would not be launched for another forty years. Turning his attention to matters of the Church, Eugene returned to Rome in June 1148 and proved much more capable. Prompted by St. Bernard, Eugene was a crusader for reform in the fashion of Pope Gregory VII and staunchly defended Holy Mother Church against those who would undermine her including the radical reformer Arnold of Brescia who had denounced Eugene as the "blood pope." Eugene called the Council of Rheims, condemning Trinitarianism and also completed the institution of the Sacred College. Throughout his pontificate there were skirmishes with the Roman clans and finally, in 1149 Eugene summoned the help of Roger II to quell any uprising. However, all the warring within the city caused him to once again flee Rome. While waiting to return he carried on communications with Conrad III, seeking to reinstall dignity in the German emperor who had been badly humiliated from the defeat of the crusades. Eugene planned a huge celebration in the fall of 1152 where the Holy Roman Emperor would be feted and crowned king, but Conrad died in mid February of that year and there would be no celebration. Conrad's successor Frederick I Barbarossa followed up by sending word to Eugene and the two mutually agreed to protect each other's soveriegn rights at the Treaty of Constance on March 23, 1153. Frederick made plans to come to Rome to be crowned by Eugene but this time the Holy Father would not be there for his arrival. He died at Tivoli at the height of the summer - July 8, 1153. With him went the last vestiges of the reform popes and his close confessor and counselor St. Bernard, himself a staunch crusader for reform, also passed on to his eternal reward six weeks later on August 20th. Blessed Eugene was laid to rest in St. Peter's next to Pope Gregory III in the shadows of the new Papal Palace construction that Eugene had initiated. Soon after his death, countless stories began circulating as to miracles attributed to him for intercession. Seven hundred and nineteen years later he was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1872.
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.
The truth is that the Roman Catholic Church has never taught any of these things about Jews, their culture or their faith. Adolf Hitler hated the Catholic Church; he hated Jesus Christ. If, as Baer indicates, the Catholic Church taught that Jews were "alien, unworthy, even satanic," would not have Hitler championed them against the Catholics? What nonsense is this. The reasons for Adolf Hitlerís campaign against the Jews, as well as other ethnic and religious sects, has absolutely nothing to do with Church teachings. The historical reasons of Hitlerís actions have been documented; other reasons are speculative at best. The Holy Fatherís statement, which laid the blame where it belongs - on the apathy of many Christians who failed to act in the face of the the Jewish persecutions by the Nazis - was offered in humility and love. It must be accepted in like manner. If it is not, as Baer suggests by criticizing the Vatican for its refusal to open up confidential archives for Jewish groups to examine to root out alleged complicity with the Nazis is to deny the Holy Fatherís statement, to refute the love of God, and to continually dredge up the differences in the two faiths, the two cultures, and to allow hate-mongering to fester deep in the heart. God heals the heart. That is the message John Paul II gave. It is time we heeded it, and began to love as God loves, and leave the past where God can heal it. After all too much of a guilt complex can hinder healing and as we near the Third Millennium, healing is vital for all faiths and cultures.
Information for this article gathered from Associated Press and Catholic World News Service
Information for this article gathered from the Catholic World News Service
There has not been a consistory since November 26, 1994. There are presently 147 members of the prestigious College of Cardinals which is the main body for electing the next Pope. Out of that number, it must be pared to 120 to comply with papal election rules. Leaving out ill and retired cardinals, there are 13 openings to bring the number of eligible voters to the required 120. There has been much speculation as to who the Holy Father will appoint as cardinals, but many are sure of one thing: those he does select will be in full compliance with all he advocates. This bodes well for the next election that a conservative pontiff will be elected because well over three fourths of the current cardinals have been elevated by our present pontiff. Regardless of that, we echo what all good, loyal Catholics cry out: Viva la Papa!
Information for this article gathered from the Catholic World News Service