Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sacramental Eyes...

sacramental eyes are needed
to see Christ in the priest
who sits across from me and
hears my confession and who
then absolves me of my sins

sacramental eyes are needed
to see that the wine and bread
are no longer wine and bread
but the very body, blood, soul
and divinity of Christ

sacramental eyes see that when
all hope is gone, all hope is
only a breath away - escaping in
an urgent gasp of a prayer that
only God the Father understands.

sacramental eyes are the eyes of
faith that see hope and find love
in the most obscure places and in
the worst of trials or sufferings
because the Eyes of Christ saw first

susie melkus

Friday, February 23, 2007

Gianna Jessen...

Abortion survivor tells story


Gianna Jessen came into the world as a surprise. Her 17-year-old mother knew she was pregnant. She also knew she didn't want to be. She underwent an abortion procedure, having toxic saline solution injected into the womb during the third trimester.

Jessen, then in the womb for 7½ months, spent 18 hours in the solution. "It burns the baby inside and out," she said. "(The mother) is to deliver a dead baby within 24 hours." But when a 2-pound Jessen emerged, she was alive.

"I did not die that day," Jessen said. "I was delivered alive in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic in a room full of teenage girls who had already had the saline injections and were feeling their children die inside of them."

Jessen will tell her story Friday at a Sanctity of Life Rally in Modesto sponsored by the "11th Hour" TV program.

Raised in California, Jessen lives in Nashville, Tenn. She has traveled the world since she was 14, telling of her experience.

Jessen spent her first three months in a hospital incubator. Doctors at the hospital did not expect her to live, she said. But she did. She was then put in emergency foster care, before being placed at 17 months with a foster mother who would become her adoptive grandmother. Afflicted with cerebral palsy resulting from lack of oxygen in the womb, Jessen was "32 pounds of dead weight," she said. She wasn't expected to hold up her head, sit up, crawl or walk.

Her foster mother worked with Jessen, who at age 3½ began to walk with a walker and leg braces. Today, she walks with a slight limp in her left leg.

Jessen has done indoor rock climbing and is training for the Music City marathon in Nashville in a few months. She plans to take swing or tango dance lessons after that. Jessen also writes and performs songs, ranging from love ballads to social commentary.

"Never say never," she said in a recent phone interview. "A person and God always have the opportunity to progress. No matter what point you are at, you can always do something, even if it is just the tiniest thing."

On Christmas when she was 12, Jessen learned she had survived an abortion attempt. Before, when she had asked why she had cerebral palsy, her adoptive mother — the daughter of her foster mother — told her hers was a traumatic, premature birth. But that day when she asked, her mother decided Jessen was ready to hear the truth. She told her that her biological mother was young and without hope.

"I was aborted, right?" Jessen asked. Her adoptive mother confirmed it. Jessen was calm.

"It must have been the Lord, because I didn't freak out," Jessen remembered. "I totally believe that the Lord Jesus spared my life and I would not be walking today if it were not for the grace of God and the power of Christ. I know that when you need God to walk every day, you know that God is real."

Jessen said she never dwelled on feelings of rejection, and someday wants to have or adopt children herself.

Louise Shatswell, producer of "The 11th Hour," said she hopes those who hear Jessen will be touched by her story and "that their eyes will be opened to the reality of life at that stage of life."

The rally will include a question-and-answer session with Jessen, as well as counselors and literature from the Modesto Pregnancy Center.

It's impossible to know exactly how many babies survive abortion procedures, but it is rare, said Jessen, who met 11 others — ranging in age from young children to 65 years old — at a conference about 10 years ago.

Shatswell thinks Jessen's appearance brings another view to a society that endorses the idea that "if you don't want it, get rid of it," she said. "I don't believe the majority of people who get abortions are really informed about what they are doing.

"She is a living example of an unborn child being a child and not being a thing, a glob, an unidentified piece of nothing," Shatswell said. "It's a real-life living baby … and the sanctity of life that the Bible gives doesn't sanction killing a child, whether in the womb or outside the womb."

If a woman told her she was considering an abortion, Jessen said she would listen to her, then lead her to a pregnancy crisis center for tests and counseling.

"I would say that choosing to have an abortion is something she would never forget," said Jessen, who advocates adoption.

"Can't we just give a little and say, 'I may not be the best mother for this child, but I love this child enough to sacrifice for it'?" she asked. "Isn't that the ultimate love?"

Jessen is conscious that examples speak louder than words. She often talks to young people about the value of chastity, modesty and honor. She wants to remind people that all of their choices have consequences.

"My biological parents made some really poor choices," she said. "I forgive them for what they did (but) I live every day with the result of the 'choice' that my biological mother made 27 years ago. So it's ridiculous to think our choices on a moment-by-moment basis only affect us. They always affect someone else, for good or ill."

Jessen is sometimes unprepared for the grief that pours out from others when they hear her story. "Women who have had abortions have come up to me crying, saying, 'I wish I had never done this. I had no idea the pain I would live with for the rest of my life,'" she said.

Men, too, have talked to her of feeling powerless or regretful about supporting an abortion. "At the end of the day, I do a lot of listening," Jessen said.

It's not all listening. She met President Bush in 2002 and has appeared before Congress, including speaking against partial-birth abortion in 1999 and in support of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2000.

She said she doesn't often think about her mother's abortion. "I just spend my life trying to smile and overcome," she said. "Sometimes, it does hit me, 'Oh, my gosh, I was aborted; that's huge.' There are days I think about it and I think, 'This is amazing.' But my whole life has been, so far, kind of an adventure. I really look at life that way."

Rich and I record Life on the Rock and watched this morning last night's episode and we were profoundly touched, completely amazed and in total awe to witness this lovely miracle speaking with Fr. Francis. Gianna was a guest on Life on the Rock this past Thursday night. And some suggest that we 'kill the unborn' if they might have a defect???

I know where the defect is, and it's not with the baby diagnosed...but with the murderous "culture of death" of the so-called elite and professionals who "know best" what to do with babies, or the elderly. Their answer? Kill them, as they might not 'live a complete, full life' and they might not "amount to anything" other words, they think they won't have a productive life to add to their wallets or retirement funds. Amazing Grace...look at Gianna and tell me she's not 'living life' or hasn't anything to offer us "normal" folk.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Frozen World...

Rain spattering on the sidewalk
An empty soda can rolls and clanks
Against the wet pavement,
Moved by a cold, curling finger of wind
To the other side of the street,
Where it becomes inert at the curb,
Its sporadic dance is over.
Will it now be washed away
Into the sewer if these rains don't cease?
The last of lifeless leaves, dangle precariously
From a tree made bare in preparation
To be "fitted and dressed"
By winter snows.
Its branches stark, sparse, prickly
Reaching vainly upward,
So black against a pale, gray sky
Like ebony, skeletal hands, scratching
Frantically in the air, as if
Giving up "the ghost" of life
They knew only weeks before.
When arrayed in summer's green,
They held homes built by various birds
That have since flown away,
Departing for their "vacation nests"
In balmy, tropical destinations.
Those same branches,
Bedecked in brilliant oranges and reds,
That were so gloriously resplendent
Against a crisp, brilliant blue Autumn sky
Now hold only a few brown,
Withered leaves, clinging feebly
In futile desperation
To those dark, long, black, damp fingers
As if waving a sad and lonely goodbye
To a cruel, gray world.
As a brutal, biting bone-aching chill
Begins to seep through my
Too few layers of clothes,
My heart pierced and shattered
By news I never thought I'd hear.
I shiver,
Feeling more alone and afraid than ever.
No one knows the pain that has
Stabbed my heart,
The near suffocation of shock,
Making it so laborious,
So painful to breathe.
Gasping out a forlorn prayer,
From lips long ago
Turned blue from the cold.
On this face where frozen tears
Fall silently and mingle with the rain
That my friend,
Would be the world everyday -
A perpetual "shadowlands"
Of desolation gray -
Though not nearly as lonely,
As desolate, as lifeless, as cold,
As monotone, as painful, or as chilling
As the world without...

The Eucharist.

susie melkus

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Turn the Other Cheek

By Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

“Love your enemies and turn the other cheek.” “Judge not, lest you be judged” (Lk 6: 27-38). It sounds admirable to some, but preposterous to others. The 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche thought such doctrine breeds a society of weaklings. Karl Marx thought these words helps keep the oppressed under the thumbs of the capitalists.

Does Jesus want us to be doormats, suckers who allow ourselves to be taken advantage of by every bully, dictator and gangster that comes down the pike?

Let’s look at a few examples. David did not kill Saul, the Lord’s anointed (1 Sam 26). But neither did he give himself up. He resisted the injustice of his insecure king even while he respected his sacred office. When the citizens of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus over the brow of the hill, he slipped through the crowds and escaped (Lk 4:29-30). His time had not yet come. When Henry VIII divorced his wife, married another, and declared himself head of the Church, his Chancellor, Thomas More, quietly did everything he could ethically do to avoid execution (see the movie A Man for All Seasons).

But when false testimony finally led to the death sentence for Jesus and his 16th century disciple, Thomas, it was time to give witness to the truth with their blood. It was time to turn the other cheek. Notice the attitude of our Lord towards his persecutors – “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Lk 23:34).” And Thomas Moore’s words to the executioner, after giving him a tip: “Do not hesitate to do your duty, for you send me to God.”

Tough love sometimes demands we say tough words. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites and publicly exposed their sophistry (Mark 7). After sentence was pronounced, Thomas More loudly proclaimed to the packed courtroom that the King had no right to make himself head of the Church of England.

But wait a minute. Isn’t that judging? Didn’t Jesus say not to judge?

What no human being can or should do is judge the ultimate standing of a person before God based on the hidden motivations of the heart. People can do some abominable things based on fear, hurt, or misinformation. Recall the words of Jesus: “they know not what they do.” But what they do is abominable, nonetheless. Though God alone is competent to judge the heart, we can and must judge whether objective behavior is bad or good, right or wrong. Sometimes it is even our duty to tell people that it is wrong and condemn it.

Abortion is wrong. But that does not mean that a particular woman and her abortionist are totally alienated from God, bound certainly for hell. And it does not mean that I am better than the particular woman or physician who is a party to an abortion. Jesus said “from those to whom much has been given, much will be expected.” Maybe the woman and the physician coming home from the abortion clinic have done more with what they’ve been given than I. That’s not for me to figure out. That’s God’s call. My call is to love them and care enough about them to speak the truth to them, and help them get the support they need to live according to that truth.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, notorious abortionist, and Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe vs. Wade, are prolife activists today. Why? Because they met prolifers who, while hating the sin, truly loved the sinner.

Such love is supernatural. It is possible only for God and for those who let His love work through them. Will such love change everyone? The example of Judas and the Pharisees would argue not. Yet Norma McCorvey and Dr. Nathanson show that for those whose hearts are open, such love is often irresistible.

Susie adds: "Beauty will save the world. The very ugly is atheist." Dostoevsky

Trust Me...


Trust Me when dark doubts assail you,
Trust Me when your strength is small.
Trust Me when to simply trust Me
Seems the hardest thing of all.
Trust Me, I am ever faithful;
Trust Me for My Will is best,
Trust Me for My Heart, dear child,
Is the only place of rest.
Trust Me, then,
Through rain and sunshine;
All your cares upon Me cast,
Till the storm of life is over,
And your trusting days are past.

How I would love to say that I wrote this, but alas, I don't know who did. I came across it on line and can't find the author. How remarkable and timely to find this now. My heart has been burdened and doubts have rolled in on what seemed like an Ocean of Tears at "high tide." Thank you, whoever wrote this. Thank you so much!

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore...

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore — also known as the Basilica di Santa Maria della Neve and Basilica Liberiana in the Italian language and Saint Mary Major Basilica or the Liberian Basilica in the English language — is an ancient Catholic basilica of Rome. It is one of the four major basilicas, and one of the five Patriarchal basilicas associated with the Pentarchy: St. John Lateran, St. Lawrence outside the Walls, St. Peter and St. Paul outside the Walls, and Santa Maria Maggiore. The Liberian Basilica is one of the tituli, presided over by a patron—in this case Pope Liberius—that housed the major congregations of early Christians in Rome. Built over the pagan temple of Cybele, Santa Maria Maggiore is the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its original structure, left intact despite several additional construction projects and damage from the earthquake of 1348.

The name of the church reflects two ideas of greatness, both that of a major basilica as opposed to a minor basilica and also that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the true Mother of God. In the Greek language this doctrine is called Theotokos, officially adopted at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest and most important place of prayer dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After the Avignon papacy formally ended and the Papacy returned to Rome, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore became a temporary Palace of the Popes due to the deteriorated state of the Lateran Palace. The papal residence was later moved to the Palace of the Vatican in present-day Vatican City.


Listen to a brief interview with Mike Aquilina on our pilgrimage to Rome, titled:

"Behold your Mother, and the Church of Rome."

If ANY of you are interested in going, it's not too late to sign up. Do it SOON and join Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Mike Aquilina and Kris McGregor of KVSS,
Spirit Morning Show
...and me, "susiefromOmaha" as I've been dubbed affectionately by Kris.

You can go to KVSS and find out more.


Church is Alive and Young....

As I read the following prayer, of our beloved Papa, Benedict XVI it reminds me that Our Lady of Trust (feast day tomorrow) is ever with us, drawing us to her side, so that she can "clean us up" to meet our Lord, Her Son, Jesus. You know how it is with Mothers, they are busy cleaning us if we've tarried too long at play, wiping the smudges off our faces, sometimes with nothing more than a tissue and their own saliva. Mary no doubt had to do that to her own Son from time to time on their way somewhere. Now we, her spiritual sons and daughters, are always in need of a cleansing touch from our Mother aren't we? I love to go to Her now, especially before Mass, asking her to pray for me that "I may be made worthy of the precious promises of Christ." She is so "present" and is ever ready to "dab my face and my heart" not with saliva but with the graces only a Mother such as she, the Mother of God, could give. I also trust in Our Lady of Trust, as she says to me, "Trust my Child, Trust my Son."

This is a lovely prayer by our Papa. I can hardly wait to get to Roma and see him in person! I would covet all of your prayers for our safe travels and this upcoming pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. Since it's a Marian pilgrimage, that my relationship with my Blessed Mother, Mary, will grow more intimate so that I may grow more intimate with my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you all. I will pray for all of you there at the Vatican during Mass and Audience.


Pope Says Church Is "Alive and Young"
Composes Marian Prayer for Italy's Youth

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 16, 2007 ( The Church is alive and full of youth, Benedict XVI said when presenting a prayer he composed for the young people of Italy.

The Holy Father recited his composition Wednesday when meeting in St. Peter's Basilica with bishops of the Marche region in Italy, on the occasion of their five-yearly visit.

The prelates were accompanied by pilgrims of the dioceses in the region, many of them young people. When the youths applauded the Pope, he responded: "We see that the Church is alive and young!"

The Holy Father then invited young people to a meeting Sept. 1-2, in Loreto, where Italy's national Marian shrine is located.

"We will see you in Las Marcas, in Loreto," Benedict XVI said as he bid them farewell.

Here is a translation of the prayer the Holy Father composed.

* * *

Mary, Mother of the "Yes," you have listened to Jesus,
And know the tone of his voice and the beating of his heart.
Morning Star, speak to us of him,
And tell us about your way following him on the path of faith.

Mary, who lived with Jesus in Nazareth,
Etch your sentiments in our lives,
Your docility, your listening silence,
And make the Word flourish in genuinely free choices.

Mary, speak to us of Jesus, so that the freshness of our faith,
Shines in our eyes and warms the heart of those who are with us,
As you did on visiting Elizabeth,
Who in old age rejoiced with you for the gift of life.

Mary, Virgin of the "Magnificat,"
Help us to take joy to the world and, as at Cana,
Lead every youth, committed to the service of brothers,
To do only what Jesus says.

Mary, look upon the agora [gathering] of youth,
So that it will be fertile terrain of the Italian Church.
Pray that Jesus, dead and risen, is reborn in us,
And transforms us into a night full of light, full of him.

Mary, Virgin of Loreto, Gate of Heaven,
Help us to raise our eyes.
We want to see Jesus, to speak with him,
And to proclaim his love to all.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007



I took this of a picture at the home of a priest friend. I thought it came out pretty good, almost looks real. I want to thank Papa John Paul II for praying us Home to Holy Mother Church, and for all the new converts he's praying in still... THANK YOU, POPE John Paul! We love you, and know you're still praying for the priests and religious, and all the new Catholics craving to grow in holiness, and hungry for nothing but the TRUTH.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

St. Benedict...


Saint Benedict, pray for us! Keep us from the evil one and his schemes.

This is the statue of St. Benedict at the Saint Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, NE. This is

Benedict in the morning light of a January day, dusted with snow, praying for all of us across the Heartland and the world.
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Big Buddy Is Watching....


Fr. John Andrew's dog, Buddy.

Paws out,
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Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hideous Abortuary...Bellevue, NE.

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Sparrow at the Window....

Yesterday Rich and I went to pray all four mysteries of the Rosary at the abortuary in Bellevue, NE. with Fr. Weslin. Then we had Mass for the aborted and about to be aborted babies of that day. It is a very moving 2 + hours. The people drive in, with the young woman in the car....and we name the baby and pray for him/her, and the mother and father. Fr. Weslin has been doing this since the early days of Roe vs. Wade. Just before praying the Sorrowful mysteries, I looked up at the hideous building where these murders take place, and noticed the sparrows chirping and flying around, and one sparrow was at the window busily flapping its wings and chirping loudly. It was there, at the window for a pretty long time, but not long enough for me to get a photo. I will go ahead and photoshop one tomorrow when I return from Norfolk, NE.

It was as if this little bird was "pleading" with the young women, and girls in that waiting room: "Don't kill your babies!" It was a profound moment for me. Nobody else noticed it that I know of. I told Rich about it on the way home. For our God knows of every sparrow who falls to the ground, how much more valuable are these little humans, these helpless little ones that are taken to their deaths by their very own mothers!!. These poor young women and teens are being coerced and forced by their husbands/boyfriends/even parents to do this...and it was as if this sparrow, this tiny creature, knew what was happening and crying out to them to leave and give their babies life.

Maybe I "read into it?" I am sometimes prone to do that. Maybe that's the poet heart in me? There were two larger black birds, perhaps Starlings, on the other side of the building that seemed not to care at all what was around. They were busy preening and rubbing their beaks on the edge of the roof. The contrast seemed actually "evil" to me. I know that the blackbirds mentioned in the bible are usually an omen or evil sign... it was just one of those surreal moments in time. The sparrows were busy fluttering about, maybe mating or finding nesting places. Not being knowledgeable about the ways of birds, maybe this is too early in the year for that? However, Spring is just around the corner, so maybe I'm correct. Anyway, the difference was like night and day and it was eerie, yet hopeful. The air of death hanging around that place still showed that life is near.

I'll post some pictures of the grotesque and hideous abortion mill and the incredible difference between it and "A WOMAN'S TOUCH" pregnancy counseling center a block up the street. Understand that this is on MISSION street in Bellevue NE and St. Mary's Catholic Church is across the street. Yes, Our Mother has a MISSION - we all do! Our Lady of Guadalupe is there always to pray for these lost souls and with us for the dying and the dead, whether walking or lying in a bloody pool, torn to pieces, at the hand of a "doctor" no longer caring about a Hippocratic oath as much as money and this "business." Please pray for the little ones and today especially for Portugal!

Peace of Christ to all,

Sparrow At the Window

while praying yesterday, for babies bound to die
I noticed a tiny sparrow, chirping as if to cry,
"Please don't kill your babies!" while flapping
frantically its wings
"Give them life and let them live...for they have
songs to sing"
This sparrow who will only live, a short while on
this earth,
seemed to know and seemed to pray
for these mothers to give birth
to the little babes inside them, who God's called
and knows by name,
This little sparrow at the window, chirping
at the window pane
is heard by God as we are, and our prayers
are not in vain.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Our Lady of Fatima...

PLEASE read the post below this one! Please pray your rosary tonight and tomorrow, Saturday, Our Lady's Day, for the country of Portugal voting to allow "murder on demand" of babies in the womb. Lord have Mercy! Christ have Mercy! Lord, have Mercy!

Litany of Our Lady of Fatima
Feast Day: May 13

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for our beloved country.
Our Lady of Fatima, Sanctify our clergy.
Our Lady of Fatima, Make our Catholics more fervent.
Our Lady of Fatima, Guide and inspire those who govern us.
Our Lady of Fatima, Cure the sick who confide in thee.
Our Lady of Fatima, Console the sorrowful who trust in thee.
Our Lady of Fatima, Help those who invoke thine aid.
Our Lady of Fatima, Deliver us from all dangers.
Our Lady of Fatima, Help us to resist temptation.
Our Lady of Fatima, Obtain for us all that we lovingly ask of thee.
Our Lady of Fatima, Help those who are dear to us.
Our Lady of Fatima, Bring to Holy Catholic Church those who are in error.
Our Lady of Fatima, Give us back our ancient fervor.
Our Lady of Fatima, Obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.
Our Lady of Fatima, Bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child.
Our Lady of Fatima, Obtain peace for the world.

O Mary conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Let Us Pray: O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

URGENT: prayers needed...Our Lady of Fatima pray for us!

I just received this from a friend of mine and thought it worth posting. Please pray for Portugal. From Human Life International

Fr. Euteneuer's video message on Portugal

Dear friends and co-workers of HLI:

This coming Sunday the citizens of Portugal will vote on whether or not to legalize abortion on demand up to ten weeks of pregnancy. We are asking for intensified prayers and sacrifices for those who are on the front lines of the battle to preserve that country from their own Roe disaster.

Please click on the video link above and listen to the three minute message. Then send this video prayer request to all you know to help us surround Our Lady of Fatima's beloved Portugal with prayer and preserve Portuguese babies from the demon of abortion.


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer

President, Human Life International

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Below is a post found on Prodigal Daughter's Blog. She nails it here. I can only add a fervent 'amen' to her thoughts. The understanding about the real blessings of suffering was pretty much "off the books" and not really spoken about in most of the places we were foraging for "scraps of truth falling from the Master's table." We gathered many good bits & pieces of truth, taught by some excellent preachers over the years, and for that, we'll be always grateful. However, no matter how enticing the menu, how tantalizing the pictures, with descriptions of various mouth-watering dinners, breakfasts and lunches, it is the Meal itself in the end which sates a famished stomach and even more, a starving soul. That is the difference between where we were and Where we are.

Suffering in all forms can best be coped with when it is 'embraced' as "from God." Not that we become 'masochists' by any means and not that we don't take medicine or try to thwart suffering in others, I'm not saying that at all, please don't misunderstand me. This is what we do know: Jesus had to succumb to a bloody, cruel death, and his own Mother had to suffer right along side Him, all the way to the Cross, with a "sword piercing her heart" as Simeon had predicted at the Presentation of our Lord. Surely we can't presume to think we'll be exempt, God forbid! [I think here in America we're more prone to refuse to accept suffering, and sadly, that thinking has crept into our places of worship and it almost seems that we then "worship" health, more than the God who gives it to us and the God who, for greater purposes than we attempt to acknowledge many times, sees fit to "take it away."] We are not immune, as followers of Christ, from the "trail of blood and tears" - (no servant is not above his Master) and if we follow Him, we will surely suffer to various degrees as God permits - mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually ...the Bible tells me so.

Romans 5

2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.


Happy Those Who Suffer With Him

After spending years in churches that refuse to accept sickness as the will of God, and then watching the faith of families and friends shatter as their prayers for healing go unanswered, I find much comfort in the words of Brother Lawrence.

"I DO not pray that you may be delivered from your pains; but I pray GOD earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases. Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to the cross: He will loose you when He thinks fit. Happy those who suffer with Him: accustom yourself to suffer in that manner, and seek from Him the strength to endure as much, and as long, as He shall judge to be necessary for you. The men of the world do not comprehend these truths, nor is it to be wondered at, since they suffer like what they are, and not like Christians: they consider sickness as a pain to nature, and not as a favour from GOD; and seeing it only in that light, they find nothing in it but grief and distress. But those who consider sickness as coming from the hand of GOD, as the effects of His mercy, and the means which He employs for their salvation, commonly find in it great sweetness and sensible consolation.

I wish you could convince yourself that GOD is often (in some sense) nearer to us and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in health. Rely upon no other Physician, for, according to my apprehension, He reserves your cure to Himself. Put then all your trust in Him, and you will soon find the effects of it in your recovery, which we often retard, by putting greater confidence in physic than in GOD.

Whatever remedies you make use of, they will succeed only so far as He permits. When pains come from GOD, He only can cure them. He often sends diseases of the body, to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself with the sovereign Physician both of soul and body."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

HW Crocker, Freedom in the Catholic Church...

February 10, 2004
HW Crocker III Discusses Freedom in the Catholic Church

Author H.W. Crocker III delivered a lecture entitled "The Catholic Church: Defender of Freedom?" to an attentive audience at Christendom College on February 9.

"Wherever one looks in the modern world, one finds massive confusion about the nature of freedom. For example, Catholics say you can smoke cigarettes, if you want to, that's your choice," began Crocker. "Secular liberals say, no, smoking is bad. On the other hand, secular liberals say, you can kill a baby if you want to, that's your choice, because that baby is dependent upon you; you have power over it so use it and kill that baby if it's inconvenient."

Harry Crocker holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and American Literature from the University of California at San Diego, and a Master's Degree from the University of Southern California's School of International Relations in London, England.

Among his many books, Crocker is the author of Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, A 2,000-Year History about which Christendom College founder, historian, and author Dr. Warren H. Carroll said is "the best one-volume history of the Church that [he] ever read."

"Catholics say that freedom begins with the right to life, and that freedom cannot be defined as the right to kill those who are dependent on us; freedom cannot be defined as the abolition of responsibility," he said. "Let's step back for a moment and distinguish two realms of freedom, because the Catholic Church is attacked on both – the personal and the political."

According to Crocker, who, when not writing, works as a book editor at Regnery Publishing in Washington, DC, the Catholic Church is generally seen by outsiders as "a repressive institution that wrongly inhibits harmless and natural desires, inculcates unnecessary guilt, and is hypocritical in any event, full of sodomite priests, doddering bishops, and brutal nuns who attempt to force their minions to march in lockstep rote recitation of a rather gruesome and intolerant fairy tale."

Harry Crocker with Christendom StudentsCrocker explained that the Church affirms man's freedom through the doctrine of free will – a doctrine that puts the Church at odds with the world. It is generally the world that talks of the fate of nations and individuals as being determined by race, economics, history, psychology, genetics, fate, astrology, the will of Allah, or even, predestination. The Catholic Church stands alone in radical defense of man's free will and his God-given right to that freedom, he said.

"Catholics have never tried to ban human nature," continued Crocker. "Instead, if we understand authentic freedom as freedom in the truth we understand that creation is good, the natural law is written on men's hearts, and happy are those who march beneath the sign of the Cross – but there is a Cross, and our lives are a drama, a lifelong journey of sin and redemption."

Crocker then talked of the fact that it is an often said, although incorrectly, that the Western world didn't taste of freedom until the Protestant revolt of Luther. In fact, said Crocker, the Reformation Protestant critique of Catholicism was that it was too free. Catholics were seen as "drunks, layabouts, and party animals," insistent on celebrating every possible saints day with booze and brawls. The Church was full of art and luxury and pagan-book-loving sensualists who forgave all rather than condemned all, Crocker said.

"On which side is freedom: celebrating life, the joys of creation, the nativity, or banning everything to abolish sin and improve economic productivity?" questioned Crocker.

"And who today, stands for the freedom of every unborn child to the right to life?" he asked. "Who stands today for the absolute integrity of every individual life against genetic or other engineering of the human person? What institution in the United States is the greatest non-government provider – that is, non-coercive provider – of education, medical care, and aid to the poor? And even here, the freedom for which the Church stands is under threat by interest groups and bureaucrats who would compel the Church to turn its hospitals into abortuaries, to force its insurance providers to cover the costs of artificial contraception that the Church considers sinful, and even potentially to dictate what is taught in Church schools."

But Crocker warned that there are more insidious ways to penetrate and secularize the Church from within. An institution like the Church, he said, is always an attractive target for certain revolutionary types who leave everything standing but cunningly empty it of significance.

"Today, one is less likely to find a French Revolutionary shooting priests, abolishing the Church of Christ and replacing it with the Church of Reason, throwing out the Gregorian calendar and starting again with the Year Zero. Yet just as dangerous, if not more so, you will more likely find men and women in Catholic institutions and in priestly and religious vocations who are at one with the secular world and who are content to leave everything standing but to cunningly empty it of significance," he cautioned.

He continued to explain to his captivated audience that we can all find and defend freedom if we pursue the truth. "When modern men adopt the cynicism of jesting Pilate, saying ‘What is truth?' we can tell them. We have not washed our hands of the responsibility of searching for it." Through reason, Revelation, and in our free will acceptance of truth through the gift of the Holy Spirit we are able to find freedom, he said.

"The spirit of Catholic freedom will always be vibrant, because it is a key to the faith. The true Catholic is someone who believes in loyalty to persons and institutions, fidelity to the faith, and otherwise letting the good times roll. I have confidence that this is also the spirit of Christendom College. You have a great slogan that I've seen: ‘To change the culture, it helps to have one.' You can be sure you have the right one," he concluded.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Visit Jesus...He waits for you...

Here you'll find the Blessed Sacrament exposed Live on line. Visit our Lord and share this website with others, who may not be able to get to Mass or Adoration. Jesus is here, waiting on line LIVE to be adored by you. Jesus is Lord of All! And "all" includes the internet. May our God be praised and our Lord be adored...turn your gaze upon our Blessed Savior, even for a moments repose during the day here. He waits for you.

Adventure or Cautious Mediocrity?

February 2, 2007
by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Peter. Paul. Isaiah. Frodo Baggins. They have more in common than meets the eye.

Of course there are differences, too. Peter is a small-business man, trying to eke a living for his family out of a lake in Hicksville. No one expected much from Galilee. Its inhabitants had a thick country accent that gave them away every time, like when Peter denied Christ in the high priest's courtyard (Mt 26:73). Saul, on the other hand, was cosmopolitan, highly educated, well traveled, and even a Roman citizen. Isaiah lived seven centuries before them, in a very different social context. Frodo Baggins lived in Middle Earth, which is to say, in the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkein, and now lives in the imaginations of millions.

But here's what they have in common. They were all minding their own business, intent on their own careers, when they were abruptly interrupted. They each had an encounter with something — Someone — much bigger than themselves, and were invited to embark upon a Great Adventure. The same vision was revealed to each of them. That behind the appearances of the humdrum of everyday life, there was a battle going on, a drama with very high stakes. People were in bondage, but D-day had come. The forces of salvation were on the move. And each of them, Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and Frodo, were called to enlist.

None of them would have been voted most likely to succeed. Isaiah thought he'd die. Peter felt so unworthy that he begged Christ to leave. Paul lamented the blood that was on his hands. Frodo staggered under the burden of his appointed task.

But they all said yes. And though they met hardship, withering resistance, and had to face the bitter disappointment of their own sin, they kept going. They left behind the familiarity of the lake, the synagogue, the Shire, and embarked upon a Great Adventure. That Adventure brought them through suffering to everlasting glory and made them men that they never imagined they could be. Isaiah's words have been sung by innumerable choirs of men and angels over two thousand years of Masses. Peter's successor now reigns amidst the ruins of the empire that tormented the martyrs. And Frodo, the pint-sized Hobbit, completes his mission, despite his weakness, and brings down the power of the Dark Lord.

They all illustrate the words of Jesus that the last shall be first, that the least shall be greatest, that God chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Our hearts are warmed by the Gospel story. We applaud at the conclusion of The Lord of the Rings.

And then we go back to business as usual, never suspecting that we may be called, just as they were called; that the battle rages around us, as it did around them.

We are just like them. Imperfect. Unworthy. Busy with other things. The reality is that each one of us is called to the heights of sanctity, to become something beautiful and mighty for God. God has destined each one of us to change the course of history, to leave an everlasting mark on the destinies of countless people. There are different roles to be played, of course. Mary's role was different from Isaiah's, the Magdalen's, Paul's, and Peter's. Frodo, Aragorn, Pippin, Sam — all had different though equally essential roles.

But most of us will prefer reading about others' exploits rather than answering the call, prefer staying in the Shire where it is comfortable, safe, predictable. The word "pagan" means non-combatant. "Christian," on the other hand, means anointed for combat. There really is no room for the spiritual couch potato in the Kingdom of God. Being a Christian is not about getting to heaven by the skin of your teeth after a life of cautious mediocrity. It's about an adventure that leads to glory, but only through perilous battles. You can choose to be safe if you want. But the thoughts of who you could have become and whose lives you might have saved will always be there to haunt you.

Dr. D'Ambrosio studied under Avery Cardinal Dulles for his Ph.D. in historical theology and taught for many years at the University of Dallas. He now directs, which offers Catholic resources for RCIA, adult faith formation, and teens, with a special emphasis on the Year of the Eucharist, the Theology of the Body, the early Church Fathers, and the sacrament of confirmation.

Divine Mercy like you've never seen before...

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Something about Mary...

Mary was chosen by God the Father,
espoused to the Holy Spirit,
and carried within her the presence of God in the flesh.
No other human being knew God so well
or was as close to God as Mary.
Not even Moses.
If you contemplate that,
then ANYTHING the church believes about Mary
is small potatoes and easy to embrace. (Pam Williams)

Thank you Pam. So well put in just those few brilliant sentences.

I can't believe it took me almost 50 years to give Our Lady, Our Blessed Mother, the credit due her, as the MOTHER OF GOD. Jesus as the 2nd Person in the Trinity, became Man, did he not? He entered into humanity by being born to save us, because he "so loved the world." He was born a baby in a stable, by natural means. Mary, bore him, and nursed the Savior at her breast. Jesus is "God with us." Jesus had a Mother. Many say we're his brothers and sisters as "children of God" so doesn't that make Mary our Mother, too? Of course it does. UNLESS, one is prejudiced and anti-Catholic, it most certainly means she is our Mother, too. It makes so much sense...but I guess it's the 'it's so simple, that's why it's so hard to understand' conundrum.


Going the distance Rocky Balboa

Rock Balboa...Tough and tender.

Rich and I went to see this movie a couple of weeks ago. The only movie worth seeing in a LONG LONG time. We thought it was well written by Stallone, a wee bit long, but a movie worth seeing/renting. Not a big, powerful movie by any means. Just a good story and worth patronizing your movie theater letting them know that movies don't have to have a lot of sexual scenes, innuendo, or over-the-top crude language. We give it a 4 thumbs up.

‘Rocky’ Stallone back in church as new movie in theaters

By Mark Pattison

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Sylvester Stallone grew up Catholic, stopped going to church after he tasted fame and fortune, but now considers himself a churchgoing Catholic again.

Stallone's shift back to church started when his daughter Sophia was "born sick," Stallone said in a Dec. 7 telephone interview from Dallas to promote his new movie, "Rocky Balboa."

In November 1996, at age 2 months, Sophia underwent open-heart surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.

The operation went well, and Sophia, now 10, is doing "great," Stallone said. "She's the No. 1 athlete in her class."

Stallone tried to find the words to describe what brought about his self-imposed exile from Catholicism.

"I don't know. Life," he said. "Your career is going, you're not communicating with your family."

The weight of celebrity was "very heavy," he added. "I didn't have any strong foundation behind me of people that would keep my feet on the ground. I was extremely seduced by the newfound freedom."

Things started turning around for Stallone, he said, before his marriage in 1997 to his third and current wife, Jennifer Flavin.

"When I got married everything changed," he said. "When my daughter was born sick, and I realized I really needed some help here, I started putting everything in God's hands, his omnipotence, his all-forgivingness."

Stallone added that being Catholic "puts me where I should be. I was alone in the world. I thought I would have to handle things in my own way."

But then "I thought if I put myself in Jesus' hands and asked for insight and guidance I am basically taking the yoke off of me and using his intelligence and wisdom to make the proper decision," he said.

It's a process Stallone uses not only in life, but in his profession. "I really feel that in the writing of (the first) 'Rocky.' I felt my hand was truly guided," he said.

And so it is for "Rocky Balboa," which opened Dec. 20. "Let me put this way," Stallone told CNS. "He's coming in there this way, buoyant, being pushed by a different kind of energy – Jesus energy. At the end of the movie, he points his finger up and shows respect (to Jesus)."

If you're rolling your eyes at the prospect of a 60-year-old Stallone playing an aging boxer, that's OK with him.

"I actually embrace that, and the rolling of their eyes (is) a 100 percent natural valid reaction. I rolled my eyes when I thought of it," Stallone said. "You can't judge anything until you see it. When you see the film, it's about actually being able to listen to your heart and not so much your mind, following the guidance of someone much more powerful than you: Jesus.

"In 'Rocky I,' the first person we saw was Jesus," he said, referring to an opening scene of the boxing club where there is a big mural of Jesus on a back wall.

And if a sixth "Rocky" movie isn't enough, there's "Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra" in the works.

"It's also a Christian movie," Stallone said. "Here's how it is. I believe that you can have a Christian theme but you can't hit it too heavy. You can't hit 'em over the head with a hammer. You have to be subtle about it."

Stallone described the plot to "Rambo IV," now in pre-production: "Rambo is a borderline atheist. He doesn't believe in anything anymore. His job is to bring a group of Christians upriver into a very hostile territory, and they're there to bring the word of God and medicine and dentistry to these natives. He has conversations with some of these Christians and he doesn't see it their way. They get captured, and ... he starts getting influenced by their faith in the face of such incredible odds.

"I think it may work," he added.

John Hiatt - Perfectly Good Guitar

Re: Dissidents....

It could be the sub-zero cold in Nebraska... Brrrrrr...perhaps it has affected me thinking processes(?)...but here goes:

It's a "long shot" perhaps, but my thoughts while watching and listening to this song, performed by John Hiatt, reminded me of the Catholic Church and what dissenters try to accomplish with their disparaging remarks as they try to rewrite Church history, or attempt to make the Church "conform to their image." An organization to placate their heretical teachings, their political agendas, etc.

"There ought to be a law, with no bail, smash a guitar and you go to jail, with no chance of early parole, you don't get out until you get some soul." Excommunication is the Church's way to "purge" out sin, here on this earth, in hopes that those in darkness will 'see' and come to the Light of the World and be transformed to bring others to Christ, becoming "stars" or lights to the world, with the Fullness of Truth.

And: "but he's still trying to break his momma's back" Dissidents are trying to "break their Mother's back" too, so that she'll be what they want her to be. Not gonna happen folks. Not gonna happen.

"It breaks my heart to see those 'stars' smashing a perfectly good guitar, I don't know who they think they are, smashing a perfectly good guitar." The Church Jesus founded is perfect, as far as moral teaching, etc. but it is made up of sinners, imperfect souls. Peter denied Christ, but repented and was forgiven. Judas despaired of hope...and we know what he ended up doing. I'm not saying where his soul is, I'm not God. Dissidents aren't God either, and when they start telling the Church what She should be and what She should do, then they're playing God, and playing God badly! The Catholic Church's doctrines and her dogma is perfect, handed down by Jesus to those he placed in authority to guide us in this world and in the Faith on our journey to Heaven.

The Church and the Magisterium are given to us from Christ. It takes faith, however, to believe that. Will Jesus find faith when He returns to earth? Will that faith have grown in us and become perfected by our adherence to His Church and Her Teaching? Or will he find angry dissident children, clamoring against His Church, and railing against Him, due to a prideful desire to be "inclusive" as dictates our current, P.C. culture - i.e. being liked by everyone because of fear of standing on and for Truth? We all want to be liked, I battle that daily. I don't want to be hated and I don't have some masochistic desire for pain and suffering, either mental, or physical. Jesus was hated by most of the culture of his day, so am I to think I will have it easy and be loved by all? Do I desire the praise of others more than I desire to please God at the cost of even my own life?

These dissenting groups and factions in the Church today (just as they've cropped up since the gnostics) are in effect 'smashing' the Church because they don't like this or that teaching, doctrine, dogma. They then need to be "expelled" until they come to their senses, and confess rebellion and repent of their sins. They don't get excommunicated (as was done recently in Lincoln NE.) by a "Authoritarian Church" or a "Bully Bishop" but they excommunicate themselves by their very actions. It's not the Church being cruel or insensitive,as some would have us believe, but only a Mother exercising "tough love." As many of us know from raising kids, a very necessary means is "tough love" at times, to be implemented for the good of the child, as his or her very life might depend on such punishment. God, our Father, chastens those he loves...and I for one, am very glad He does so. I needed to be chastened many times in my life, and am only filled with gratitude now, that His Severe Mercy (a great book by Sheldon Vanauken by the way but I digress) was "planted on my backside." Depending on how recalcitrant, rebellious or defiant a child might be, will determine the severity of discipline implemented.

These "cafeteria Catholic" groups are taking their anger,allowed to fester inside them, to a level of trying to conform the Church to their culture. The Church need not and will never conform to the culture. Her purpose on earth is to bring Christ to people and people to Christ. She is to LOVE the culture enough to not let it remain as it is, when it has become darkened by sin and is choosing death over life. Conversions of sin-sick souls need to take place i.e. in "jail" for purgation. "Go and make disciples of all nations" was the mandate to the Early Church. So I ask, do we do that by becoming exactly like what the culture dictates us to become? Or do we become Christ to others, loving them enough to pray they not remain in sin, but to tell them to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and be forgiven. Jesus didn't say, "I forgive you," to the woman caught in adultery, with this addendum "But hey, if you wanna keep on in your adulterous behavior, who am I to judge? It's really okay with me, because I don't want to appear to be like a big ol' bully, you know?"

Jesus was NOT CONFORMED to the culture, he didn't use "inclusive" language to "not offend" people. His pure LOVE did NOT permit sin to continue, but He transformed lives and hearts and souls, so that the desire to sin became less and less in these souls as they were changed more and more into "little Christs." His mercy and love changed hardened sinners into shining vessels to reflect His image to a sin-sick culture and world.

If it breaks my heart to see those "stars" (Catholics who've been given the light of Christ to be the light of the world, yet remaining bent on making the Church bow to their ideologies and agendas) then what does it do to the Sorrowful Heart of our Mother, Mary, and the precious Sacred Heart of Jesus? Can you picture Mary Magdalene thanking the Lord for his mercy in forgiving her sins, having dried her tears on his blessed feet, then turning around and demanding of Him to allow her to be a priest? I surely can't. Yet, isn't that what so many have done, and continue to do with their bashing and smashing Church doctrine? I certainly don't have hate lurking in my heart for dissenting folks, but I do have pity, and feel very sorry for them. What is the day like in the life of a dissenter that is filled with such anger for the Church as to devote their lives trying to change what will never, (happily) change? I don't find them all that pleasant to be around. When I go off on my own tangents, I'm not very pleasant to be around either! Just ask my husband! I just pray to keep getting off my own "high horse" and running to the Father for Mercy and Grace while it is yet "today" and not be caught in the end, at my death with a fist raised in anger at Holy Mother Church...for that is a fist hurled in anger against Jesus Christ Himself. I don't want to be in that number
when the Saints go marching in!