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Our God is not a weak God. Our Father is not a wimpy Father. 

He is, rather, an awesome God, a strong God, a loving Father who creates, gives and bestows without measure. Indeed He is a Father of tender goodness and mercy, but not a God of “handouts”. 

Our God tests our faith, proves our wills and our loyalty; and it was so from the beginning. 

 

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Once the mighty stone rolled over the entrance of Jesus’ tomb, the silence of the small group that witnessed His interment mirrored that of the corpse within. Indeed, He was truly dead.

He who had restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, movement to the lame, and life to the dead, was now Himself dead. 

After a gruesome passion and crucifixion, He had cried out: 

“Father! Into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” 

And as He breathed forth His divine/human soul, His bruised head fell heavily on His sunken chest.

PietaThe corpse that was lovingly lowered from the cross, and laid in Mary’s arms was scarred beyond recognition, and ghastly pale, the last drops of blood spilled when His side was pierced. 

He had given all. And now He was dead. 

Back when He had first predicted that He would die, Peter, just constituted first Pope, was badly shaken. He tried to dissuade the Son from the Father’s will, only to receive the scathing rebuke, “Get behind me Satan! You are a scandal to Me because you understand not the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16:23.

Peter was thinking along human lines, hoping for an earthly kingdom in which Jesus would be universally acclaimed. He hadn’t fully understood that integrity such as his Master’s is never permanently crowned on this earth of sin and compromise. He hadn’t learned to trust God’s decrees even when they spell apparent death for, in the end, they always give life. He hadn’t fully understood that this life’s test is the test of confidence in the divine, not the human. 

And now, His Master was dead. 

Doubt flickered in all but one heart, a heart that knew not the shadow of sin, the heart of Mary. She who so penetrated God’s higher reasons that she had stood by the cross, alone knew that He would rise again as He had said. 

As Jesus’ corpse lay in the cold sepulcher, the fullness of faith was reduced to one heart. 

All was quiet that Sunday dawn. Mary prayed, and the apostles gathered behind closed doors.

As Mary Magdalen and other holy women visited the tomb, they found the stone rolled, and an angel who showed them the empty place where His body had been, and announced to them that He had risen!

Our LordAnd all those that had seen Him dead and buried, saw Him alive. Thomas even placed his doubting finger in the Lord’s open side. And one after the other, the apostles and first disciples, testified to His resurrection; and one after the other of the twelve, excepting John, sealed their witness with their blood by later dying as martyrs. 

Indeed Christ’s resurrection is the divine stamp on all He said and did.

And his bride, the church, born of His pierced side, and confirmed at Pentecost came forth to conquer the pagan world. Hers would be fierce battles against persecution, heresy, and the very gates of hell, as her Bridegroom predicted: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt.16:18.

And so it is. Through the ages, like Him, at times seemingly buried, the church always bursts forth in the splendor of her Truth. She is like the moon that only wanes to come back to full glory time and time again. 

In these days of seeming triumph of so much evil and flaunting immorality, in these times when chaos and confusion have infiltrated even the bride, let us stay with Mary, and our faith will not flicker.

At the apparitions of Fatima in 1917, as Our Lady of the Rosary, she predicted war, chaos, calamities and persecutions, but also said, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”. 

Let us pray and meditate on her Rosary, and we will not faint or fear, for Her Son’s word endures through the ages, “Have confidence. I have overcome!” John, 16:33.

 


By M. Taylor
Photo Attributions: 
Pieta - Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica.
Christ the Consolator - New York City Productions

 

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DAILY QUOTE for January 19, 2019

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out wit...

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January 19

 

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent!
Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues.
I see that the world is rotten
because of silence.

St. Catherine of Siena


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Wulfstan of Worcester

The citizens of Bristol would kidnap men and sell them into...

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St. Wulfstan of Worcester

Wulfstan (Wulstan) was a native of Warwickshire, England.  After his priestly ordination, he became a novice at the monastery of Worcester where he edified all by the innocence and sanctity of his life. He was assiduous at prayer, often watching all night in church.

The first task assigned to him at the monastery was the instruction of children, then treasurer and eventually - though against his fierce resistance - he was made prior. In 1062, he was elected Bishop of Worcester.

Wulfstan was a powerful preacher, often moving his audience to tears.

To his vigorous action is particularly attributed the suppression of the heinous practice among the citizens of Bristol of kidnapping men into slavery and shipping them over to Ireland. St. Patrick who became the great apostle and patron of the Irish was such a slave in his youth.

After the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror was initially uncertain about Wulfstan. But acknowledging his capacity and uprightness, Wulfstan was the only bishop William retained at his post under the new rule.

For the next thirty years Wulfstan rebuilt his cathedral, cared for the poor and put forth great effort in alleviating the harsh decrees of the Normans upon the vanquished Saxons. Whenever the English complained of the oppression of the Normans, Wulfstan told them: “This is a scourge of God for our sins, which we must bear with patience.”

The saintly bishop died on January 19 at eighty-seven years of age after washing the feet of a dozen poor men, a humble ritual he performed daily. He was canonized in 1203.

Photo by: Christopher Guy

WEEKLY STORY

Mary and the Muslim

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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