Monday, July 21, 2014

And why not prophecy?

            The news is more unbearable than ever. Over at Facebook, there’s anger at Russian extremists downing a commercial flight, compassion for the genocide of Christians in Iraq, disbelief at Israel and Palestine’s violence, and rage over North Korea’s continuing nuclear tests. Locally, there’s resentment at the Supreme Court’s ruling on freedom of religion versus burgeoning discontentment for the current administration. There is an unstoppable war of cosmic proportions: good versus evil.

            It’s easy to wallow in despair.  I'm tempted to hide myself in lighthearted movies or pinterest projects, enjoy upbeat Instagram travel posts, or escape into another summer novel.  Or blog about yet another antic my children are up to on our sun and sand vacation.  But I catch myself.

             Just how did Jesus teach us to handle tribulations as they come?  He said: “Be watchful! I have told it all to you beforehand…”  Mark 13:23

            I don’t think that scripture passage means I should be glued to the news TV or social media commentaries. Rather, to be sensitive on a different, spiritual level… to be vigilant of how the unseen Holy Spirit is moving in the world and attentive to what corresponding actions are needed in my own smaller world. 

            And where exactly do I find this? Prophecy! Yes, prophecy, heaven’s messages to earth for this particular era that we live in.
            Pat Archbold from the National Catholic Register wrote an excellent piece entitled “Why Prophecy?”  He explains that private revelation (where Marian prophecy falls under) isn’t necessary for salvation, but we mustn’t despise it because it is for our own correction and hope.   (I’ll give you a few minutes to read it here.)

            Like Mr. Archbold, I am grateful for prophecy.  To be honest, the current political events on Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Israel, America and even the unexpected turnover of Popes were not a complete surprise to me.  I’ve been following various prophecies for a while now.  Many suspect ones I have discarded after discernment.  But quite a few, I have retained on my reader feed.  These are the ones that do not foster fear, but correct and have proven accurate (so far).    I read them not to stay abreast of what’s going to happen years or months before events actually happen, but because heaven’s words give me guidance and hope.

            Some people will argue that prophecies of tribulation  give them anything but hope.  I disagree.  In almost all the private revelations to which I’ve given the benefit of the doubt, there is a common thread of hope.  There is distinctly Mary’s motherly guidance for the souls that she calls to be in her army, in service to heaven during these crucial times for which we have been born and chosen.  There is caution on dangers we cannot see and tearful pleas for conversion for humanity. There is assurance for our eternal destiny if we choose to be on God’s side.  There is Mary’s obvious love for her children, whom she ushers to safety with promises of heavenly tools at our disposal:  repentance, prayer and fasting, repentance prayer and fasting, repentance, prayer and fasting!

             I see light in heaven’s prophecies, not darkness.   Yes, there is going to be difficulty up ahead for the world (Church schism, volcanos, earthquakes, persecution, wars, economic disaster to name some), and whether we like it or not, we are  caught in the middle of the battle of Armageddon.  But we have a choice to be on the winning side or the loser's, to be prepared or remain indifferent, to be part of Mary’s army or Satan's, to accept or ignore heavenly guidance, to despair or hope. 
            The final result of the prophecies I’ve read are better than today’s news. It’s the Son of Man coming on a cloud, a new heavens and a new earth, an era of peace where Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph and in the end, eternal happiness.   

            So why not prophecy?

            (If you are curious which prophecies I have been following its  {Volume 5 and 8 containing prophecies have been released}, and most prophets in )

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Theology from a Six Year Old Doing Laundry

“I hate doing laundry," says my 6 year old as glares at the two loads of fresh laundry in front of us.

“Me, too,” I confess. “But I’ll tell you a trick I do to make it worth my while.  I imagine all these clothes to be souls on earth who need conversion or souls in purgatory who need my sacrifice to make it to heaven.  For instance, this men’s dress shirt and cardigan, right here.  I think of a mommy and a daddy on earth who have problems and are thinking about divorce so I offer it up for their marriage so that receive graces to stay married.”

“I would be sad if you and daddy got a divorce.”  She sorts and picks up a stack of pajamas.  “I’ll pretend these are their three children and I’ll pray that they make it to heaven.”

I ruffle her hair.  “That’s a good one.”

She picks up a bundle of socks.   “These can be a classroom of kids.  Maybe they go to public school and they’re not learning about God from their teacher so I’ll pray that they will know God.”

I’m getting choked up here.  Remember, I have raging pregnancy hormones.  “You do that.”

"Where did you get this idea, Mama?"

"St. Therese of Liseux,"  I say.  "She offered up every little sacrifice to Jesus for souls*." 

“Mama, what are the steps to becoming a saint again?”

“First you become a servant of God, a venerable, a blessed and then a saint.”

She runs her soft hand through a yellow cotton dress.  “I’ll hang this up and then someone somewhere can become a blessed when I do that.”

I smile. “I never thought of that.”

She’s smiling now, too.  There is hardly a trace of scowl from five minutes ago.  “I’ll be right back.”  In her arms are two stacks of her sister’s clothes.

I’m folding up the rest of the basket contents when she returns.

“Mama, when I stuffed the shirts in the closet, I told them, ‘Have fun in heaven!’”

I laugh.  “That’s funny.  Do you know that the souls from purgatory that you help get to heaven will pray for you. Like right now, I’m sure those five shirts are praying for your toothache to go away.”

“I don’t want them to take my teeth though. Just help me carry the pain a little.”

My mouth is hanging open.  Who was teaching whom here?

She reaches for a stack of bottoms.  “I’m imagining that the closets are heaven and the more clothes I pile in there, the more souls are becoming saints. When we’re done, I’m going to organize the Tupperware drawer to get more souls in.”

She does. And oh my, doing chores with my six year old just became my favorite thing to do. Does that mean it's no longer sacrifice? ;)

*The long Theology version of redemptive suffering is in my last CS post if you are curious.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Secret to Converting Your Family and Friends

            This post is featured in Catholic Stand.

          There’s someone out there you want to see safely home in the Catholic Church, right? Someone you know would be the next St. Augustine if he found truth and decided to work for truth for the rest of his life.   You’ve been evangelizing him by buying books and videos, posting articles on social media, even speaking directly on the stuff he’s missing out on.  Still, he’s unmoved, probably accused you of judging, so you’re about ready to give up. 

            Please don’t!

            Instead, work harder and change tactics. The thing about conversion is that it isn’t entirely up to you.  The timing and the manner is purely an act of God’s grace.  However, there are things you can do to cooperate and further God’s will of performing miracles in changing hearts behind the scenes.  Here are five secrets to converting your family and friends:

1.  The Rosary. Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio declared the rosary as an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society.  St. John Paul II in Rosarium Virginis Mariae emphasized the importance of a family rosary for the spiritual safety of its members when he said “the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families… will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age.” Catholic speaker and author Kathleen Beckman attributes her son’s conversion with the daily rosary during Eucharistic Adoration as a deliverance prayer. Click here for article.

2.  The Divine Mercy conversion prayer: “O blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you.”  Jesus made a promise to St. Faustina in her Diary:  When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion.” Our parish has been saying this prayer at every Mass and our priest can verify the return of fallen away Catholics to Church.

3.  Fasting. Jesus taught in scripture Mark 9: 29, that there are certain demons in our lives that can “only be driven out by prayer and fasting.”  The USCCB’s Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence stress that “the need for conversion and salvation is unchanging, as is the necessity that, confessing our sinfulness, we perform, personally and in community, acts of penance in pledge of our inward penitence and conversion.”  The same Statement places first priority to abstinence from meat every Friday but also, fasting includes self-denial like giving up tasty deserts, favorite beverage, TV, internet, shopping. If you want proof of the effectiveness of fasting, look no further.  The recent Supreme Court decision affirming religious freedom was a direct result of the USCCB’s campaign on penance and fasting.

4.  Redemptive Suffering.  Redemptive suffering is the teaching that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one's sins or for the sins of another. St. John Paul II wrote in Salvifici Doloris "In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ." Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical on the Mystical Body revealed that the salvation (and conversion) of many souls depends on the prayers and voluntary penances offered by the Mystical Body for that intention. If you offer up your suffering, inconveniences and frustrations for the conversion of sinners and unite it with the Eucharist (the commemoration of the suffering of Christ), you can atone for the sins of others and give souls the opportunity to be opened up for grace to set in.  “Suffering,” said St. Therese, “converts more souls than sermons.”
5.  Marian Pilgrimage.  Pilgrimage is a personal act of devotion and sacrifice. Pilgrimage sites abound in graces.  If your future St. Augustine likes travel, bring him along on a Marian pilgrimage. There is a plethora of conversion stories through Mary’s intercession in pilgrimage places: models and nobility turned nuns, new agers turned Catholics, Atheist turned believers, drug addicts turned sober, actor turned revert (that would be Jim Caviezel).  If however, only you get the chance to go, pray for the graces from Mary’s intercession to live a life that will be an evangelization tool in and of itself.  St. Louis de Montfort wrote: “[Mary] attained an immense and inconceivable degree of grace. So much so, that the Almighty made her the sole custodian of his treasures and the sole dispenser of his graces. She can now ennoble, exalt and enrich all she chooses. She can lead them along the narrow path to heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life.”

            Conversion can occur immediately or gradually, during one’s life or the moment before his death.  But your prayers and sacrifices for conversion of souls are always in God’s will and will bear fruit at the appropriate time.  So don’t ever give up on your family and friends. Convert them in secret.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

FRQ, trashy movies and mermaid purses

Joining Kendra's Answer me this for some more fun and random questions (FRQ).  

1. What do you most often use for blogs and blogging: desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone?

For reading, I use the i-pad mini.  For writing, it's the Mac book.  My daughter used to think of it as a blank white canvass for crayon doodles.  Have a feeling she’ll be an artist, this one. Or maybe a future blogger.
Abstract resembles a penguin kissing a whale to me.  
2. Have you ever walked out of a movie?

In the period BC (before children), I could/should have walked out on a lot of movies but I wanted to get my money’s worth (which is funny since I now realize that trash is never worth my money). AC (after children), husband and I are more discerning with entertainment because we seldom have time for movies and its got to be worth our precious two hours. Before picking a movie (for us and for the family), we visit Focus on the Family’s reviews to get a heads up because, you know, those G- rated and PG 13s can be unacceptable by our picky standards.  Once in a blue moon, we rent from Redbox or check out videos from the library and have no problem turning off a movie when its blech.  The last good movie I saw was “Mom’s Night Out” with a bunch of mommas from Church. No walk-outs there. We stayed longer and used up another regular mom’s night out to discuss its awesomeness.

3. Have you ever had anything stolen from you?

Yes. I had a shiny gold scapular medal that I’d worn since I was 10 until a thief snatched it off my chain and took off running.  (This was in the Philippines). I was distraught but my mom finally let me wear the scapular medal that my grandparents bought me from Spain, and I made sure to tuck it safely inside my shirt.  No one has stolen it from me the last twenty-two years. (Shown with the miraculous medal).

4. Do you identify as a member of a particular ethnic group? 

Filipino,  with part Chinese and Spanish blood. Husband has Swedish, German, Irish blood so my kids have an interesting bloodline. Strangely, I've had tow-headed babies, which prompted a little old lady to ask my two year old blatantly, “Is that your momma?” I thought for sure she was going to call the cops on me. 

5. Do you abstain from meat on Fridays?

Yes, our family does because of statement 22, 23, and 24 on the US Bishop's Pastoral Statement on Penance.

  "Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year...Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year... freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ... first place absitence from flesh meat."

  Most Fridays (when I’m not pregnant or nursing), I fast on bread and water because Our Lady requested it. 

6. Seen anything weird lately?

These things are called mermaid's purses.

We found them in the Atlanta Aquarium and they are actually shark's fertilized eggs on a sea bed! When they hatch, they become little baby sharks.  Imagine that, no labor pains.

Also, I thought I'd seen all of a city's quirks having lived in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.  But Atlanta pulled the unexpected here:

I think its a shadow of a business man on a building,
my husband thinks it's an African American gent. 
Finally, at this annual fab 4th of July party, after the fireworks, our host and friends floated out 8 lighted paper lanterns into the night sky.  It was beyond cool.