Pray The Rosary!

I happened across a website, not by accident I am certain, titled, Michael, For the Triumph of the Immaculate.

Posted on this website was an article titled, The Secret of the Rosaryposted in Prayers and Rosaries, March 1, 2003. Author unknown.

In this post were six (6) brief references, mainly related to St. Dominic or Blessed Alan de la Roche about just how efficacious daily recitation of the holy Rosary is, and why ALL Roman Catholics should propagate and pray daily this beautiful prayer that is pleasing to heaven and which shakes the very foundations of hell.

Read post #6 below where a demon was forced to speak about devotion to Our Lady:

When Saint Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone, an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. Saint Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him preach.

During the exorcism, the demon was forced to speak the following about devotion to the Mother of God:

Saint-St-Michael-Archangel-Defeated-Lucifer-Statue-Sculpture-_1“Listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is all-powerful, and She can save Her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles. It is She who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares, and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual.

“We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in Her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that She offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires, and aspirations of all the saints.

“We fear Her more than all the other saints in Heaven together, and we have no success with Her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon Her when they are in the hour of death, and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards, are saved by Her intercession.

“Oh, if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called Her) had not pitted Her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this, and we would have seen to it that all of the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder.

“Now that we are forced to speak, we must also tell you this: nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because She obtains for Her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins, and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.”

Still think you don’t have time to pray the Rosary or that it is a tradition that has past it’s usefulness? Think again!

J.M.J.

Thoughts on June 13, 2017

cropped-44f901b8c1bf09eb3caa4003cce7d172_2.jpgYesterday marked the 100th Anniversary of the second apparition of the mother of God to three shepherd children (Lucia and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta – now saints of the church), in Fatima, Portugal, 1917. Known today as Our Lady of Fatima, Mary would appear to the children for six (6) successive months between May and October of that year. A miracle was predicted by the white lady of peace so that all may believe, which took place in October, 1917. It is known today as The Miracle of the Sun. It was reported that over 70,000 believers and non-believers were present on the day the sun danced over Fatima.

Some will ask, “How can you believe in such nonsense — the sun dancing in the sky, a lady appearing in a cloud standing atop a holm oak tree, etc. How can you believe this!?

The only answer I can give, which may not be satisfactory to those individuals asking the above questions is this, “Because I believe in God. And because I believe IN God, I then believe that ALL is possible WITH God.”

There is another quote I read at the beginning of the 1952 Warner Bros. Film, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatimawhich says, “To the believer, no explanation is necessary. To the unbeliever, no explanation is possible.”

One cannot refute the testimony of over 70,000 people whom on the day of the supposed miracle (I use the word supposed for the sake of those who do not believe or doubt said events), said they saw the sun “dance” as it were, which was also seen several miles from the location in all directions.

All I can say is that I am truly blessed and thankful; humbled as well, that Jesus has allowed me to be part of this momentous occasion — the centennial anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, the canonization of the two youngest visionaries (Francisco and Jancinta), and to be part of the movement of prayer through the recitation of our Lady’s Rosary that will bring the people of the world back to God.

I may not live to see the day of the promised triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but I believe absolutely that day will arrive. I further believe, despite where I am at the moment, I know in the end, I will be in the proper state of grace to be with my Jesus and His mother for eternity.

Second Apparition: June 13, 1917

o_10935213_188ec9cfb470352afca499ed812be9a3“O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children, Fatima, Portugal, July, 2017.

What does the above quote have to do with the June 13th apparition?

Well, let’s see …

First, I like to believe all six apparitions are connected to each other, therefore, every word spoken by our Lady is relevant regardless of the month we are currently honoring.

Second, the above quote has more to do with yesterday (Monday, June 12th), than today (the 100th anniversary of our Lady’s second apparition to the children of Fatima in June 1917), or with the July apparition.

I will explain momentarily.

Regarding today’s anniversary of the second apparition, rather than repeat what is already so eloquently written and spoken about in Catholic media around the world, allow me to direct you to this article written by Joseph Pronechen of the National Catholic Register titled, What You Need To Know About the June 13 Fatima Apparition.

If you are Roman Catholic and aren’t doing so, I strongly recommend you heed these words spoken by our Lady in her June apparition to the children when she said:

o_10935213_188ec9cfb470352afca499ed812be9a3“I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day,”

After which she added:

“And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.’”

Do not take up the Rosary and merely recite the words; nor pray out of desperation because of events happening globally or locally; or because we want something (an answer to a prayer) for ourselves ….

Pray the Rosary and consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary because it is the most intimate way of drawing yourself closer to the Hidden Jesus (a reference to Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto regarding Jesus in the Holy Eucharist), and to loving Him completely through His mother.

It just makes sense to love Jesus through Mary in the same way we love God through Jesus!

I do not mean to imply that in loving Jesus through Mary, we are loving the mother of God on the same level that we love God through Jesus. What I am saying; what I believe to be true, is this — loving Jesus through His mother only amplifies or makes greater our love for God through Jesus.

Our Lady wants nothing for herself that does not come from God nor does not lead us to her Son. In all her apparitions, every word spoken or request made has always been about or directed by or toward Jesus.

Even the Rosary, in the presence of the four mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous, we honor Jesus first by focusing on his life, death and resurrection followed by His mother through the words spoken by her cousin Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), “Hail full of grace. Blessed are thou among woman…” 

 Now, back to the quote at the beginning of this post …

The reason I began with that quote spoken by our Lady to the children in July, so as to serve as a reminder that all our experiences in a given day, be they positive or negative, should be offered to Jesus, as an act of love, first and foremost to our Lord and in reparation for those offenses being committed against our Lady’s Immaculate (motherly or maternal) heart.

I almost forgot that lesson with an experience I had yesterday related to my youngest son. As a result, I prayed my Chaplet of Mercy prayer with the focus being on me (feeling sorry for myself) rather than on my Savior – whose body, blood, soul, and divinity I was offering to His Father; Our Father who art in heaven.

Thankfully our Lady conked me on the head (in her own tender motherly way that only a mother can do), that brought me back to my senses. Glory to God!

This morning I consecrated myself to the white lady of peace; the Queen of heaven and earth; the woman who is clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars placed atop her head. My mother. Our mother. Jesus’s mother. Perhaps it is time for you to renew or do the same.

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Beginning The Day.

AngelOfFatima“What are you doing?” The Angel suddenly appeared at their side. “Pray! Pray a great deal! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you! Offer unceasingly to the Most High prayers and sacrifices!”

The Angel of Peace Second Visit (1916), The True Story of Fatima, p.16, Fr. John de Marchi, 1929

How do I begin each day?

Most likely the same way many apostles of Fatima do — giving God all glory and praise, while honoring and loving Jesus through Mary.

I begin each morning by acknowledging the presence of God while making the sign of the cross as I exit from my bed. This is followed by the pardon prayer taught to the children by the angel of Portugal (1916) …

AngelOfFatima“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee, do not love Thee.”

I prefer to recite the pardon prayer three times in order to praise the Holy Trinity and to honor the three visionaries: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. This is followed by the prayer our Lady asked the children to say in her second apparition (June, 1917) …

44f901b8c1bf09eb3caa4003cce7d172_3“I want you to come here on the thirteenth of the next month. Say the Rosary, inserting between the mysteries the following ejaculation— ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.’ I want you to learn to read and write and later I will tell you what else I want.”

After bathing and making myself presentable, I spend just a bit over an hour each morning (between 5:30 and 7:00 A.M.), with my Jesus and His mother by reciting the Rosary while meditating on all four mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous. When I remember, I follow this up with spiritual reading (e.g., Bible, anything I can get my hands on Fatima related, and books from other Christian authors as well).

And that is how I begin [and end] each day … with God always as my first and last thought.

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Basking in the joy of receiving the hidden Jesus!

o_10935213_188ec9cfb470352afca499ed812be9a3Our Lady used these words regarding the First Saturdays: “I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an our while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

Confession. Rosary. Mass. Holy Eucharist. First Saturday Devotion.

These (and more) were the joy of my experience this weekend as I humbly sought to exercise my willingness and desire to put into practice the devotion of the First Five Saturday’s as requested by our Lady at Fatima in reparation for the many sins being committed around the world.

My only setback — the sadness I felt when I realized my scapular had fallen apart and that I possessed no current replacement. However, I also took joy in the fact that this temporary separation from my scapular is an opportunity to console our Lord and offer as a sacrifice for those sinners in danger of going to hell. Why a sacrifice? Because being separated from my scapular causes me to feel incomplete.

June 3, 2017, was the first time in many years that I was able to go to confession (after thoroughly examining my conscience), and receive the hidden Jesus (as Francisco and Jacinta used to say), for the sole purpose of fulfilling our Lady’s First Saturday request.

I attended Mass with my friend, Gary (a Lutheran who is considering joining the Catholic Church), in Tulsa (Oklahoma) at the parish of Christ The King.

God continues to call and answer prayer. In this case, where Gary is concerned.

Not since my visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, or Sacred Heart Church in Covina, California, have I experienced such a mighty and noble parish that is (no pun intended), fit for a king!

I don’t even know how to describe the experience of being in the presence of God through such a spectacular church. It is just something you must experience for yourself. What I can describe is how terrifically wonderful it felt and how tickled I was at being physically present before the altar of the Lord and the Blessed Sacrament, waiting for Mass to begin in anticipation of honoring my Eucharistic commitment to our Lady, thus honoring our Lord more, through the First Saturday Devotion.

Vector-JesusWhen I received the hidden Jesus, I felt something take place inside at the moment I received.  It was as if my soul had jumped for joy — grateful, yet humbled at being in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

It matters not how long I had been separated from the physical presence of my Savior in the person of the Sacred Host — a host I truly believe becomes the body of Christ upon the consecration of the priest. What matters is that I am present now.

No wonder the two saints of Fatima (Francisco and Jacinta) loved Him so — the hidden Jesus! There is no greater joy than thatOur Lady used these words regarding the First Saturdays: “I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an our while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.” of receiving Jesus, while in a state of grace, in the company of His great mother, Mary and His church.

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“Blessed are thou among woman. And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!”

 

The Presence of God

irma_lucia“He left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence. The presence of God was so powerful and intimate that even among ourselves we could not speak.”

The Angel of Peace First Visit (1916), The True Story of Fatima, p.16, Fr. John de Marchi, 1929

Imagine being enveloped so intently in the presence of God, that you become unaware as Lucia described it, of your own existence. What an absolutely beautiful experience and privilege that would be.

Glory to God!

According to beginningcatholic.com (2016): Awareness of the presence of God is one of the foundation stones of the spiritual life.

Beginningcatholic.com (2016), goes on to say: Being in the presence of God is simply living in union with Christ. Developing an awareness of the presence of God simply means recognizing that ‘God dwells within us’ (St. Thomas Aquinas), and that everything we do is done in the presence of God.

Everything I do throughout the day, even those events, circumstances, people, or situations that challenge me, I do my best to experience them while in the presence of God by saying something as simple as …

“Father, let this be to Your honor and glory through Mary to Jesus; through Jesus to you. Amen.”

Say it often enough and you will soon find yourself constantly enveloped in the presence of God. Perhaps not in the way the three shepherd children of Fatima were following the visit of the Angel or our Lady, but enough to always put God first in everything we do.

REFERENCE:

n.a. (2016). Beginning Catholic: A Stronger Prayer Life: The Presence of God. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://www.beginningcatholic.com/presence-of-god


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Saved By Grace … Twice!

Vector-Jesus“I want you to embrace [or accept] the gift of chastity!”

When I first heard these words spoken to my spirit in late March/early April (2017), I knew my life was going to change. Not just in a small way, but on a level so grand, it could only have come from above.

This act of self-mastery; this voluntary denial of the flesh and the subsequent mortification of the senses, could only have occurred through the grace of God. Left to my own devices, I never would have given such a beautiful virtue a second thought.

It wasn’t until sometime later when I received the following understanding in my spirit — I was receiving a second opportunity at redemption. To be more precise, I viewed this was a direct intervention from above — the second of two experienced during my lifetime. The first occurred in 1984.

I say intervention because what else could it be?  I said I was going to do one thing, heaven said, “No, I don’t think so!”

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of my first experience, please allow me to recap. To those familiar with the story, I beg you indulge me one last time with your patience and understanding.

Here is the abbreviated version of the story …

Between late 1982 and 1984, I was a postulant of a religious community known as the Society of Divine Vocations or Vocationist Fathers, located in Newark, New Jersey.

During the course of my time with the order, I befriended a fellow seminarian (Alex Di Carlo). Alex joined our order after spending time in Italy with an order founded by Fr. Gino Burresi — a priest who like Saint Padre Pio, bares the wounds (stigmata) of Christ.

Alex, whose face and voice I can still see and hear to this day, confided in me almost a year following the beginning of our friendship, that he was experiencing a crisis of faith. Alex stated that his mother (who was living in Canada with his sister), was dying from cancer. This weighed heavily upon Alex’s heart. I believe his father had already passed away. In addition to his concern for his mother, Alex could not understand why God would allow innocent children to suffer hunger and violence around the world, especially in Africa.

I remember him saying specifically, “Brother Carlos, at least you have a family and job to go home to if this (seminary) doesn’t work out. I have nothing to go home to!”

His words broke my heart as I did not know how to help my brother in Christ, other than to pray for him. Not long thereafter, Alex left the order taking his life three days later.

It was late summer of 1984.

Unable to process Alex’s suicide, I requested time off. I asked permission to return to California to be with family. I was approved for a two-week leave.

At this point I had pretty much given up on the idea of becoming a priest. I knew once I boarded the Greyhound bus I would not be returning to Newark.

I was deeply angry with God for two reasons: 1) the manner in which Alex died, and 2) that I was not allowed to move into the novitiate — the next phase of one’s priestly journey.

As a result, I wanted absolutely nothing more to do with God. A point I made clear to mother when she invited me to have dinner with her at a local restaurant.

When I went to bed that night I all but said to God, We’re done! I want nothing more to do with you!”

I was ready to write God off. However, something happened during the course of the night that caused such a monumental shift in my spirit that I awoke feeling like Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas day following his visit from the three spirits. It was as if everything I had said and felt the night before had been wiped clean.

I believed in my heart and spirit that God had intervened and saved my soul that night by His grace. Much in the same way He did recently when I was asked to embrace or accept the gift of chastity.

Why is that important?

Well, in the context of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, who said to Saint Jacinta sometime between 1919 and her death in 1920, “More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” 

I was living and engaging in a lifestyle that is both sinful and offensive to God. There are no two ways about it. Mary mentioned it at Fatima. Jesus spoke to it when He said to Mary Magdalene, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and SIN NO MORE!

Marriage can only be between a man and woman. The power to procreate can only be achieved when there is a joining of both a man and woman. Any sexual act(s) outside the sanctity of marriage is not of God. It is sinful.

The opposing side, to which I belonged for 21 years, may argue the point all they want. I can certainly empathize with one’s desire to rationalize that homosexuality is as much an occurrence of birth rather than a choice born out of lust.

For years I argued quite passionately that I did not choose the lifestyle, it chose me.

However, after giving my behavior over the years a second glance (hindsight is 20-20), I am inclined to agree with my sister who once said, “Perhaps you did not choose to have an attraction to someone of the same sex, but you do have a choice. You can choose not to act on that attraction or go against what you know to be true in our belief as Christians, that any sexual act outside the sanctity of marriage is wrong!”  (C. Hernandez, 2007)

It was not difficult to surmise (following the call to accept the virtue of chastity and return to the Catholic church); failure to respond (to the invitation) and seek penance, prayer, and amend my life, I was definitely headed down a path of eternal damnation.

The prospects of spending an eternity in hell is bad enough. However, the very idea of being in the complete absence of God — horrifying!

In the context of the message at Fatima, heaven intervened and saved my soul a second time. For if I had persisted one day further in the sins of the flesh, there is a real probability that my soul would have been lost forever. Not because of God, for He has provided a way out for me through Jesus first and Mary second. But because of my desire to put myself first over the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In accepting this virtue or gift, it meant that I would have to completely abandon myself and embrace the suffering Jesus. In other words, carry my cross as Jesus did to Calvary, not for myself, but because of love.

I would have to toss aside the feel good, do it because you can, there is no God logic or narrative of the world and embrace a lifestyle that is uncomfortable, demanding, and hard. Then again, Jesus did say that following Him would not be easy — and it shouldn’t be.

I am not condemning, judging, or alienating those who choose to embrace the lifestyle I have recently been called to abandon. Condemnation and judgment I leave to Jesus.

I am simply stating that, like Saul who was knocked of his horse on the way to Damascus, I have been knocked off my horse on the way to hell and made blind to my former self. I choose in its stead to embrace Jesus through His holy mother, the Rosary, the brown Scapular, the five first Saturday devotions, confession, the Catholic church, penance, prayer, and most especially, the Eucharist and Mass.

God bless!


Our Lady at Fatima, during all six of her apparitions told the children they must pray, especially the rosary. The three children responded generously to Our Lady’s requests. What is keeping you from doing the same thing? Do not say, ‘I do not have the time!’ Because if you are too busy to spend time with God in prayer, then you are busier than God intends you to be! Meditate upon the following words of Our Lord, ‘What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?’ (Matthew 16:26).”

D.A. Marie (n.d.)

Reference:

Marie, D. A. (n.d.). The Message of Our Lady of Fatima. Retrieved May 21, 2017, from https://archive.org/stream/TheMessageOfOurLadyOfFatimaWithPicture/fatimaSelectionspic_djvu.txt