I would like to offer one of my experiences less than a year ago, but first I would like to offer a few thoughts as an introduction to this experience.
As we know, each one of us has received a call from God, a vocation, together with the responsibility of that assignment as well as the graces of God to be able to accomplish that beautiful design for each one of us. The greater the responsibility, the more talents God gives to each one of us (Mt 25,14-30), the greater are the consequences, positive or negative. A bishop is like a general in this “dour combat” (CCC 409) of life; perhaps a priest would be like a colonel.
Today, very few people realize (or rather they do not want to realize) the gravity of the situation today. In my last email I cited:
“Cardinal Ivan Dias often cited the phrase of Pope John Paul II: “We are standing before today the greatest fight that humanity has ever seen. I do not believe that the Christian community has totally understood this. We are today before the FINAL CONFRONTATION between the Church and the anti-Church, between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel” (http://www.lastampa.it/2007/12/13/blogs/san-pietro-e-dintorni/lotta-finale-all-anticristo-VjY7tBXJk6gNU3YmWcyOvN/pagina.html).”
“By some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God (Pope Paul VI on June 29 1972; http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/homilies/1972/documents/hf_p-vi_hom_19720629_it.html).
Saint Michael the Archangel at Garabandal (Spain, 1965) said: “Many Cardinal, many Bishops and many Priests are on the road to perdition and with them they are bring many souls”!
“SCANDAL is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense” (CCC 2284).
“But let us have no misunderstanding about this, my brothers. No man who is responsible for defiling a household can expect any share in the kingdom of God. … Such a wretch in his uncleanness is bound for the unquenchable fire, and so is anyone else who gives him a hearing” (St. Ignatius of Antioch; Breviary, Monday OT, Week 2).
“So everyone who lives evilly in the sight of those over whom he is set, as far as in him lies is killing even the strong. The one who imitates him dies; the one who does not imitate him goes on living. Yet as far as he is concerned he is killing both. ‘You slaughter the fatlings’, the Lord says, ‘but you do not feed the sheep’ (Ez 34:3). (Breviary; Sermon of St. Augustine on the Shepherds; OT 24, Thursday). (See also: Mk 9:42-49).
The responsibility of bishops and priests is so great that the saints John Chrysostom, John Eudes and Athanasius said that the road (or the floor of hell) to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path! Behold why Our Lady asks us continually to pray for the priests and the bishops! No one goes to heaven nor to hell alone; the greater the responsibility of the vocation, the more people one brings with him to heaven or to hell!
I THINK THAT WE ARE IN AGREEMENT THAT TODAY IT IS NOT EASY! Our enemy, “the father of lies” (Jn 8:44) does not sleep and is very intelligent! We are all called to this “dour combat with the powers of evil” (CCC 409), but a great number of people today have neglected prayer and thus they have justified themselves in not continuing the combat and slowly they end up as the proverb tells us: “If you do not live as you believe, you end up believing as you live”, precisely in the spiritual blindness to believe that all is ok!
“A Damned Priest Warns About Hell” explains to us that the beginning of his fall into hell was precisely the negligence to prayer! (http://spir-food.blogspot.it/2013/12/damned-priest.html).
MANY OF US, as also myself, persevering in prayer, perhaps at a certain point or gradually, we came to realize how far away we are from God and from His law, after having been born in a very secularized culture which has slowly slid far from God, with many compromises with the law of God, in which we too many times have fallen into. When God confronted us, in one way or another, about how far we were from God in the current and environment of our Godless society, we were each before a choice, to continue the easy way of going along with the crowd, or take the risk to ask questions and seek answers that might lead us to discovering that we must change our lives and suffer with Jesus in order to save our very souls!
THE SITUATION TODAY IS SIMILAR TO CHILDREN WITH PARENTS WHO DO NOT PRAY and have nothing to do with God, but even so, the children must save themselves. But at the same time they must maintain humility and thus respect for their parents, which is not easy. If the children do not do this, they end up doing as so many other youth today who rebel against their parents and all authority, as in the French Revolution, and they end up worse. In the past the rebellious children left the house of their parents, and afterwards, some of them discovered how difficult it is to maintain a house and they matured even to the point of having gratitude for their parents and for God Who gave them everything they have. But in the last decades, the rebellious children have thrown out the parents, and with the help of the puppets of the prince of the world, Satan, in particular the many groups under the Freemasons, have taken control of the motors of the culture – the mass media, the schools, the religious institutions – in order to brainwash the societies in the direction of socialism, secularism, relativism, in other words, “the culture of death” (Evangelium Vitae).
In the Catholic Church, 400 years ago the protestants protested and left the Church. Instead in the last 50 years, at least, THOSE WHO PROTEST AGAINST THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH, with patience, have taken control of the motors of the Catholic Church at all levels, from the seminaries to the Catholic Universities.
As I wrote in past emails, Our Lady revealed to Father Stefano Gobbi (Feb. 9, 1985): “Darkness, with A THICK, COLD FOG, has entered the Church, obscuring it in the splendor of its truth. For this reason, every day, my word is forming you to the spirit of wisdom, that you may always see, in the light, the truth which my Son has taught you and proclaim it with courage to all in its integrity.”
Cardinal Burke says confusion is spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’! (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/exclusive-interview-cardinal-burke-says-confusion-spreading-among-catholics; http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/03/exclusive-cardinal-burke-interview-with.html).
By neglecting prayer, there is a great tendency today, pushed by Satan and the Freemasonry, TO SEEK SOLUTIONS AMONG MEN AND IN THE COMMUNITY RATHER THAN FROM GOD. As I wrote in the last “Spiritual Food” (http://spir-food.blogspot.it/2015/02/the-neocatecumenal-mass.html), often in the history of the Church, while the great majority was sliding into mediocrity with compromises accompanied by blindness, swinging away from God, God gave rise to saints who detached themselves from the herd in order to find union with God. Moses went to Mount Tabor; Saint Antonio Abate went into the desert; Saint Benedict went to Subiaco; Saint Francis of Assisi went to Laverna!
In an exclusive interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the World Over Live (EWTN, 2003; “Conversations The World Over - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Pt. 1”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TO6mzCPWbg), Raymond Arroyo asked Cardinal Ratzinger what did Pope John Paul II mean by “a new springtime in the Church”. Cardinal Ratzinger replied:
“This does not mean that there will be great masses of conversions; this is not the way of God. Essential things in history begin always with small but convinced communities. The Church began with the 12 apostles. And even the churches of Saint Paul diffused in the Mediterranean with little communities, but these communities had in themselves the future of the world, because they had the truth; and the force of true conviction. I think also today it would be an error to think that now in 10 years in a new springtime all people will be catholic. This is not our future or our expectation. But we will have really convinced communities. This is the springtime, a new life in very convinced persons with the joy of the faith. But from these small numbers we will have a radiation of joy, an attraction.”
Jean-Baptiste Chautard in his classic book, “Soul of the Apostolate”, also explains how the parishes are renewed by small convinced groups with the truth and on fire for the Lord.
Instead today, not doing as did the saints such as Saint Anthony Abate, Saint Benedict and Saint Francis of Assisi, one seeks first to go to the peripheries, without putting first God in the heart, capable of living the First Commandment: “You shall worship the Lord you God and Him only shall you serve” (Ex 20:2-5; Deut 5:6-9; CCC 2084). By now the world is so far from God that many religious leaders believe that the only way to evangelize is to compromise the 10 Commandments, to put aside the fullness of the means of sanctification, the sacraments above all the Eucharist, and the fullness of the Truth with the guidance of the Magisterium of the Church (Lumen Gentium 8) in order to evangelize the non Catholics. This is false ecumenism, which leads us to the reduction to the lowest common denominator of all the religions, to forfeit our spiritual defenses and weapons against the forces of evil. In the name of (false) love, in the name of (false) mercy, in the name of (false) ecumenism, the Catholics are lead to be deprived of their greatest treasures of grace and truth, which are precisely the most powerful means of salvation for us, for the others and, in effect, for the whole world! In this way one goes ever more toward mediocrity seeking to receive and to please everyone, with compromises after compromises, to the point of loosing all the true values of Jesus Christ.
More than 14 years ago I welcomed the invitation of the Servant of God, ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN, for priests and bishops, to make everyday a holy hour in church before the infinite God in the tabernacle. In the past few years I had encouraged other priests in my diocese to do the same, but they all said: “I do not have time”. I replied to them that if I did not make a holy hour everyday, I would end up giving to others a poor priest named Father Joe instead of Jesus Christ. We forget so easily the words we say every year at the beginning of Lent: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
How many pastors and how many youth animators do not put God first, as did Saint John Bosco and all the saints, in order to attract the parishioners and the youth toward our Eucharistic Lord with Mary, and they ends up creating a community to try to be happy together, but in reality human beings or the community are at the center instead of God.
In the “Spiritual Food 1501”, I wrote that the three founders of the Neocatecumenal Way defended their “way of doing the communion”. “They underline that to do the communion “in this way” is an essential instrument to convert the ones further away from the faith: to abandon this would compromise their mission. On this crucial point of the communion they indicated that they want to follow their way.”
But after neocatecumens become accustomed, after a few years, of this way of putting the community at the center of the Mass, as if it were only a meal together, instead of the substantial sacrifice of Jesus Christ, they do not want to change the direction to feel less important in the community and in the liturgy, in order to adore the infinite God in the Eucharist in true humility as the liturgical books of the Church instruct us to do. Thus, the motive to not want to do the communion “in this way” is not just for the “ones further away from the faith” but above all for all those who have tasted the sensation of being protagonists without putting our Eucharistic Lord first absolutely, and they want to continue in this direction, this sliding further and further away from the cult of God. They do not realize that slowly they are overturning everything, that the religion, and even God, exist to serve us instead of religion existing to help us serve and adore God! This happens often also with many groups in the parishes, especially youth groups, who do not go toward the cult of God, towards adoration of our Eucharistic Lord, toward Calvary with Mary at the foot of the cross, but ever more toward the cult of man, in the community. Behold why Pope Benedict considered the situation as “alarming” and of “great urgency” for the whole Church.
In the same exclusive interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the World Over Live (EWTN, 2003; “Conversations The World Over - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Pt. 1”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TO6mzCPWbg), Raymond Arroyo asked Cardinal Ratzinger about the concrete actualization of the reform of the reform that Cardinal Ratzinger had often spoken about:
“Generally I would say that the liturgical reform was not well implemented because it was a general idea now that the liturgy is a thing of the community; it is the community representing itself, and so with the creativity of the priest or of the groups, they create their own liturgy. It is more the presence of their own experiences and ideas than meeting with the presence of the Lord in the Church. The essence of liturgy is that we can go over our own experiences and see what is not of our own experiences but a gift of God. So I think we have to restore not so much certain ceremonies but THE ESSENTIAL IDEA OF THE LITURGY TO UNDERSTAND THAT IN THE LITURGY WE ARE NOT REPRESENTING OURSELVES BUT WE RECEIVE THE GRACE OF THE PRESENCE OF LORD WITH THE CHURCH OF HEAVEN AND OF EARTH. The universality of the liturgy is essential. The definition of liturgy and the idea of restoration of the liturgy will also help us see obedience to the norms not as a juridical positivism, but really as sharing, participating in what is given to us from the Lord in the Church. “Versus Orientem” (toward the East), I would say could be a help because it is really a tradition from the apostolic times; it is not only a norm but it is an expression also of the cosmic dimension, of the historical dimension of the liturgy. We are celebrating with the cosmos, with the world. It is in the direction of the future of the world, of our history represented in cosmic realities. I think today this new discovering of our relation with the created world can be also understood by the people better than perhaps 20 years ago. Also it is a common direction that priests and people are oriented to the Lord. External gestures are not simply a remedy in itself, but it could be a help because it is a very classical interpretation of what is the direction of the liturgy.”
When thinking about “THE DREAM OF ST. JOHN BOSCO”, precisely in this period of crisis in the Church and outside of the Church, the idea came to me that the man in white at the helm of the ship in a great storm, attacked on all sides by other boats, represents not just one pope but two popes. A very fundamental impetus of Pope John Paul II was Mary, the Mother of God; for Pope Benedict, the Eucharist. These two popes have offered us very important guidance in these very difficult times, in the direction between the two pillars: on the top of one there is our Eucharistic Lord in the monstrance, on the top of the other one sees Our Lady.
The temptation is so strong for us to look at the creatures instead of looking at the Creator that Jesus tells us: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:5-6).
It is difficult to turn around and go back after getting used to a way of doing things that we like or is an easier way. After the Second World War, with the arrival of the “pill” very few Catholics were willing to obey the constant teaching of the Church, at all levels of the Church, that the use of artificial birth control, and the use of the natural method not for grave just reasons, is an objectively grave, mortal sin. Jesus is always ready to offer mercy, for those who ask for mercy for their sins according to the criteria of God for sins, a criteria that is imprinted in the soul of every creature; Jesus never offered compromises as do so many religious leader today, which leads to more compromises in the slide down and away from the laws of God, the thus from God Himself! For many Catholics today, at all levels of the Church, to be coherent with their false “contrition”, they will have to change the words of the Act of Contrition, and exclude: “I promise with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin”! If we do not go with the saints to Subiaco, or to Laverna, or in the desert, or to Mount Tabor, that is, before our Eucharistic Lord in humble adoration with Mary, it is impossible to not slide more and more into compromises, especially today in a world totally secularized in the arrogance and blindness of relativism. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gommorah, after many years of sliding away from the law of God, had no idea that their cities were about to be destroyed (Gen 19). With the governments of Europe and the USA promoting the culture of death around the whole world, even the principle sin of Sodom and Gommorah, homosexuality, very few people realize that: “If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead.” (The Blessed Virgin, in the final message of, October 13, 1973, Akita, Japan; http://www.miraclerosarymission.org/akita.htm).
Also Jesus, in the beginning of His public ministry, attracted many people with miracles and healings, but afterwards He explained more and more clearly what it means to follow Him all the way, to put God first; in the end the group of true Christians, ready to die for Jesus, was very small, even though Jesus offers the graces needed to be true Christians.
And so, I offer you my experience, for the motive of helping us to not slide into the cult of man, slowly without realizing it, especially when so many pastors neglect their great vocation to protect and to warn the sheep of the underhanded and hidden deceptions of the very astute and shrewd wolf disguised as an innocent lamb! One cannot substitute for the vocation of another person. For this reason Our Lady asks us always to pray for the priests and bishops!
- - - - - - -
Since I ran out of time this month, I will offer my experience next month in the “Spiritual Food 1505”.
In the meantime, I offer you the following:
- - - - - - -
An Experience of Life:
For some time now in our neighborhood we are in a very critical situation due to many homeless Romanians who first established themselves in the former Enel central (electric company) and in other abandoned buildings, and then after the forced eviction by the police for security and degradation reasons, even under the arches of the church and in other places transforming the places around in open latrines. At the same time bicycle theft and other problems increased. Every time I go out of my house I feel anxiety out of fear of being subjected to theft. In this situation, "to love everyone" really put me in crisis!
I talked about this with those who guide me spiritually: but why continue to give aid to these people who in most cases are criminals, who take advantage of the situation and refuse the "official" aid such as the Charities. And she said yes it is true; most of the times it seems that it is all for nothing ..., but every now and then thanks to these helps someone succeeds in rebuilding their lives with dignity and within the law, maybe one in a thousand , but he succeeds. And for that one it is worth continuing.
The next morning, meditating on this, I asked Archangel Michael to help me fight that "evil" that I felt in me. Shortly after on the street I saw in the distance the usual homeless Romanian which I run into every morning in front of the supermarket, but I realized that on that day he was walking barefoot, without shoes! There and then, even though I immediately felt very sorry for him, I tried to distance myself from his image and I continued on my way, but, as soon as I had this thought, I suddenly remembered that in the rectory, left there a year ago, there were a pair of sneakers that no one had come to claim: it was useless to still keep them there when there was someone without! So I went over and gently asked him why he was without shoes: he replied that he no longer had any shoes.
Thus I went to get them and I gave them to him , they were just his size.
In the present time , in the moment of need, I loved him.