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PRAYER OF GENEROSITY
Teach us, good Lord,
To serve Thee as Thou deservest:
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward;
Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.
Ignatius of Loyola 
November 20th, 2009 by Patti Maguire Armstrong
Vatican Slams 'Deviant' Twilight
ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK PROMOTES NEW DEVOTION FOR 'OUR LADY, UNDOER OF KNOTS'
In a new book, Archbishop Timothy A. Dolan, of New York, promotes the relatively new devotion known as "Our Lady Undoer of Knots."
In the book, entitled Doers of the Word, the archbishop says:
"I'm always fascinated by the different titles Mary has in the Church.
"The abundant names we give her serve as testimony to the influence she has in our life.
"These descriptions can describe an event -- the Annunciation, the Assumption, Sorrowful Mother -- or can almost be at times a 'job description' of her duties in the Church -- Refuge of Sinners, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, Gate of Heaven, Perpetual Help, or Star of the Sea.
"Then there are the titles that come from her apparitions -- Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, or Knock come to mind. And different countries honor her under various banners, such as Our Lady of Czestochowa or Our Lady of Pompeii.
"Just when I thought I had heard them all, I learned a new one: Mary, Undoer of Knots! The friend who introduced me to this one travels the world helping people undo the knots in women and men tied up emotionally after the horror of abortion and testifies to Mary's efficiency under this intriguing title.
"Listen to how one booklet describes her:
"'With the infinite love of a mother and moved by her extraordinary power of intercession with her Son Jesus, Mary, the one who unfastens the knots of our life, comes to you today and she comes beautiful, triumphant, splendid, and gracious to meet you, bringing with her the heavenly court to unfasten the knots in your life.
"How great is her love and the love of her Son for you. He wants you to discover this love because it will dry the tears from your eyes and move the gracious hands of Mary to undo all the knots which afflict you so.'"
"Ah, the knots in our life!" continues the archbishop. "How they suffocate our soul, beat us down, betray our heart's joy, and even bind our will to continue living. Knots separate us from God, chaining our very being and strangling our faith, keeping us from flinging like children into the arms of God, our loving Father.
"The Virgin Mary does not want these knots to continue anymore in your life. She comes to you today asking you to give her these snarls to undo them one by one.
"Today, recognize the greatness of your mother, undoer of knots, and let her lead you to know the wonders that will be done for you. Come close to her now. See her beauty. Entrust your afflictions to her, knowing that she will unravel all the knots in your life."
Archbishop Dolan -- who heads one of the country's largest archdioceses -- said the basis for calling Mary "Our Lady, Undoer of Knots" probably dates back to Irenaeus, who wrote in the second century that "the knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; for what Eve bound by her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith."
Pope John Paul II a Step Closer to Sainthood
Saturday, December 19, 2009
File photo of Pope John Paul II.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI moved two of his predecessors closer to possible sainthood Saturday, signing decrees on the virtues of the beloved Pope John Paul II and controversial Pope Pius XII, who has been criticized for not doing enough to stop the Holocaust.
The decrees mean that both men can be beatified once the Vatican certifies that a miracle attributed to their intercession has occurred. Beatification is the first major step before possible sainthood.
Some Jews and historians have argued Pius should have done more to prevent the deaths of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. As a result, the German-born Benedict's surprise decision to recognize Pius' "heroic virtues" sparked immediate outcry from Jewish groups.
The Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee said the move was premature given the Vatican still hasn't opened up to outside historians its secret archives from Pius' 1939-1958 pontificate. The Vatican says the 16 million files won't be ready until 2014 at the earliest.
"While it is obviously up to the Vatican to determine who its saints are, the church's repeated insistence that it seeks mutually respectful ties with the Jewish community ought to mean taking our sensitivities into account on this most crucial historical era," said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee.
Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the Anti-Defamation League's national director, said he was disappointed that the pope had taken the decision while the historical jury is still out on Pius' record.
"I can't understand the rush, especially while there are still survivors who are alive who feel the issue very, very deeply and are being told the files need time to be processed. What's the imperative?" Foxma told The Associated Press.
The Vatican insists Pius used quiet diplomacy to try to save Jews.
Pius, a Vatican diplomat in Germany and the Vatican's secretary of state before being elected pope, did denounce in general terms the extermination of people based on race and opened Vatican City up to war refugees, including Jews, after Hitler occupied Rome in 1943.
But he didn't issue scathing public indictments of Jewish deportations, and some historians say he cared more about securing a concordat with Nazi Germany than saving Jewish lives.
The Vatican argues that Pius, who officially maintained neutrality during the war, couldn't publicly denounce the Holocaust because he believed public outcry would only enrage the Nazis and result in more deaths.
The Rev. Peter Gumpel, who has worked for two decades shepherding through Pius' cause and has long championed him as a great defender of the Jews, said he was "delighted" with the pope's decision.
"I'm glad that the truth has been professed," Gumpel told The Associated Press.
He said he had read "every scrap" on Pius that is in the Vatican archives and said "the accusation that he was anti-Semitic or anti-Judaic is absolute nonsense."
Last year, Jewish leaders asked the pope to speed up the opening of the archives on Pius' papacy to settle the issue of what he did or didn't do to save Jews.
According to participants in the October 2008 meeting, Benedict had said he would give "serious consideration" to their request to freeze the sainthood process until the archives were opened.
As a result, Saturday's announcement about Pius came as a surprise, whereas the decree on John Paul was expected.
In contrast to Pius, John Paul is greatly admired by Jews. During his 27-year pontificate he forged diplomatic ties with Israel; prayed at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site; and was the first pope in history to visit a synagogue.
Benedict, too, made an official visit to Israel, already has made two visits to synagogues and has a planned visit to Rome's main synagogue next month. But his decision to take a step forward in Pius' long-delayed beatification process sparked further outrage among Jews still incensed over his rehabilitation earlier this year of a Holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson.
"Less than a year after the so-called "Richard Williamson affair," we are left bereft in our feelings and appeal to the Vatican to prevent the inevitable blow to interfaith relations which will follow from this," said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
No dates for the beatification ceremonies were announced, but Italian and Polish media widely reported that John Paul could be beatified as early as October.
Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his April 2, 2005, death, heeding the calls of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately!" that erupted in St. Peter's Square during the funeral of the much-loved pontiff.
Benedict waived the customary five-year waiting period and allowed the investigation into John Paul's life and virtues to begin immediately.
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, who has spearheaded John Paul's cause, told Polish reporters at the Vatican that this was a moment of "great joy and satisfaction."
"An important stage in the process was closed, but we still need to complete the procedure concerning the assumed miracle," he said.
Panels of doctors, cardinals, bishops and other experts must still sign off on a purported miracle concerning the cure of a young French nun who suffered from Parkinson's disease and prayed to John Paul.
Two months after he died, she woke up free of the same disease that had impaired the late pontiff himself.
In Poland, word of John Paul's saintly progress was greeted with joy Saturday.
"This is necessary to the church, but to me he is already holy," said Jakub Tomica, 22, a seminarian in Krakow who said he already prays to John Paul but now can venerate him officially.
The decision, said the Rev. Adam Boniecki, chief editor of the Catholic Tygodnik Powszechny weekly, is a "response to the expectations of millions of people."
John Paul's cause has moved ahead at record speed and his beatification could be the fastest in modern time, if the miracle is approved soon. The Vatican had only waived the five-year waiting period once before, for Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, and was beatified by John Paul in 2003.
In addition to John Paul and Pius, the pope also declared that a young Polish priest, Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, was a martyr for the faith after he was kidnapped and killed in 1984 by Poland's communist-era secret police. The martyr designation means he can be beatified without a miracle.
That will give Poland a local beatification ceremony next year since the Polish-born John Paul will most likely be beatified in Rome.
Benedict approved a second miracle for an Australian woman, Mary Mackillop, paving the way for her to be declared Australia's first saint.
Pope Pius XII Declared Venerable
Today in Rome, Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II were both declared venerable by Pope Benedict XVI — the first step on the road to canonization as saints for both men
By Robert Moynihan
, reporting from America
In a dramatic move, after long hesitation, Pope Benedict XVI has signed a decree declaring Pope Pius XII -- the Pope who led the Church during the Second World War and has been repeatedly accused by many Jewish and progressive Catholic groups of not doing enough to help the Jews during the Nazi persecution -- as "venerable," the first major step on the road toward canonization as a Catholic saint.
In the same decree, Benedict has declared Pope John Paul II, known for his friendship with the Jewish people and his dramatic visits to the synagogue of Rome in 1986 and to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2000, as also worthy to be called "venerable" in the Church.
Benedict's decree, published today in connection with the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation for the Cuases of Saints, recognizes the "heroic virtues" of the two Popes, paving the way for their beatification and canonization, which can come with the approval of first one, then a second miracle attributed to their intercession.
Also approved were the martyrdom of the Polish priest Fr Popielusko and a miracle attributed to Mary McKillop (Australia).
Pius XII, the Pope who led the Church during the Second World War (he was Pope from 1939 to 1958), and John Paul II (Pope from 1978 to 2005) are now officially to be called "Venerable" (meaning able to be venerated), because Benedict XVI has confirmed that their lives displayed "heroic virtues,"
that they were heroes because of their remarkable virtue.
This is particuarly dramatic with regard to Pius, because he has been accused, not only of not being a hero, but even of being evil, of being "Hitler's Pope." (A book under that title was published several years ago by British author John Cornwell, who later retracted much of what he had written.)
The attacks on Pius seem to have given Benedict pause. Not because he believed their truth, but because he knew that many did believe they were true, and would be scandalized if Pius was declared "Venerable" without clarifyinf that the charges against him were false.
This explains why the documentation to sign the Pius XII decree was given to Pope almost two years ago, and not signed until now.
Many Vatican observers had noted that Benedict was taking his time before signing the decree. Senior Vatican officials told me that he was waiting until Jewish and progressive Catholic groups themselves recognized that the charges of anti-Semitism raised against Pius XII were without foundation.
And this is what has occcurred.
Over the past several years, due in large measure to the work of committed Catholic and Jewish scholars and activists ranging from Sr. Margherita Marchione, an American Catholic nun, to Gary Krupp, an American Jewish businessman, clear evidence that Pius XII worked heroically "behind the scenes" to save nearly 1 million Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps has now been discovered and published. (We have printed much of this in the pages on Inside the Vatican magazine.)
In fact, this evidence even suggests that Pius XII did more to help victims of the persecution than virtually any other single person in Europe during the war years, making his denigration all the more unjust.
And because an increasing number of scholars have come to conclude that the charges raised against Pius XII were a calmny, the opinion about Pius in the world's Jewish community has slowly been transformed from an absolutely negative one to a far more positive one.
"I received a call from Rome just now to inform me that the Holy Father proclaimed Pius XII as venerable," Krupp emailed to me this morning. "Congratulations to all of you for the hard work over the years to right a terrible wrong perpetrated by the historical revisionists."
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints today published a series of decrees in which the pontiff recognizes 5 miracles attributed to several people (including the venerable Mary McKillop, Australia) and also recognizes the "heroic virtues" of a further 10 people, among them the two Popes.
These decrees pave the way for their beatification, as soon as there is the recognition of a miracle attributed to them.
Another decree recognizes the martyrdom of the Polish priest, Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, killed by the communist police in 1984.
Benedict XVI met with all the members of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints for celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the dicastery.
In his address, citing the various stages leading to the canonization of a candidate, the Pope said: "In the first instance, the People of God are invited to look at those brothers who, after an initial careful discernment, are proposed as models of Christian life; the a cult of veneration and invocation confined within local churches or religious orders is urged; finally, we are called to rejoice with the whole community of believers in the certainty that, thanks to solemn papal proclamation, a son or daughter has reached the glory of God, where they participate in perpetual intercession of Christ in favor of his or her brethren (cf. Heb 7:25)."
We will have a more complete report on all the implications of this decision for Catholic-Jewish relations in future reports.
Five of the December 19 decrees testified to the authenticity of miracles attributed to candidates who have already been beatified, and are now qualified for canonization. They are:
Bl. Stanislaus Soltys (Kazimierczyk) (1433-89), whose liturgical cult was formally recognized by Pope John Paul in 1993.
Bl. André Bessette (1845-1937), a Canadian renowned for his devotion to St. Joseph who developed a reputation as a miracle worker in his lifetime.
Bl. Mary MacKillop (1842-1909), who founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart and will become Australia’s first canonized saint.
Bl. Giulia Salzano (1846-1929), foundress of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
Bl. Camilla Battista da Varano (1458-1524), a Poor Clare nun.
The Congregation also approved miracles for five other candidates who, like Father Popieluszko, will now be scheduled for beatification:
Father José Tous y Soler (1811-71), a Capuchin Franciscan.
Brother Leopoldo de Alpandeire (1866-1956), a Capuchin Franciscan.
Manuel Lozano Garrido (1920-71), a Spanish layman.
Teresa Manganiello (1849-76), a Third Order Franciscan.
Chiara Badano (1971-90), a laywoman of the Focolare Movement.
In addition, the Congregation declared the heroic virtue of Bl. Giacomo Illirico da Bitetto, a Franciscan.
The Congregation also proclaimed the heroic virtue of nine others, who now qualify for the title "Venerable" and may be beatified with the approval of a miracle:
Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) (1876-1958).
Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) (1920-2005).
Father Louis Brisson (1817-1908), founder of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales.
Father Giuseppe Quadrio (1921-63), a Salesian.
Sister Mary Ward (1545-1615), an Englishwoman who founded the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters).
Sister Antonia Maria Verna (1773-1838), foundress of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea.
Sister Francesca Farolfi (Maria Chiara Serafina of Jesus) (1853-1917), foundress of the Missionary Franciscan Clarists of the Blessed Sacrament.
Sister Enrichetta Alfieri (1891-1951).
Giunio Tinarelli (1912-56), a layman and member of the Silent Workers of the Cross.
Benedict XVI confirms a miraculous healing due to the intercession of Brother André
This week we are celebrating Catholic Schools Week with a variety of programs and activities in our Spiritus Sanctus Academies here in Michigan, and also in the schools where our mission Sisters teach. Catholic education is at the heart of our apostolate, and we always seek to remind our students that this earthly life is not our final destination. We are called to eternal life in the Beatific Vision, and all that we do in this life should help us arrive there someday!
2010 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Speaking of life, more than half of our 98 Sisters participated in recent events marking the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Twenty-nine Sisters (all of our Postulants, seven Professed Sisters from the Motherhouse, our South Carolina Sisters, and two of our Florida Sisters) were at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 22nd. The following day, our eight Texas Sisters participated in the Texas Rally for Life in Austin, and our Sisters from California and Arizona marched in the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco. The crowds at all of these events were young, enthusiastic, and large!
Cardinal O'Connor with the four Foundresses in 1997
Finally, we are looking forward to marking the 13th anniversary of the founding of our Community on Tuesday, February 9th. We are filled with gratitude as we reflect on all that God has given us in the thirteen years since our four foundresses made their “Fiat!” Please join us in giving thanks to God for his abundant grace and blessings.
In Jesus and Mary,
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
WELCOME TO JIM & JOY PINTO
MAJOR SAINT WARNED ON HOW SUBCONSCIOUS AND DEVIL CREATE FALSE LOCUTIONS AND VISIONS
When it comes to locutionists and apparitions (or when we ourselves seem to "hear" something), how do we tell the legitimate ones?
On this point, the great Teresa of Avila -- a doctor of the Church, as well as a major mystic -- gives us powerful advice that we should take to heart (and ear). A few pointers from her experiences:
When St. Teresa heard something that was truly from God, said this saint, she remembered it forever; it was indelible. It blazed itself in her memory. And while it was occurring she couldn't divert attention from it if she wanted (as she could when it was just her own mind or subconscious "understanding" talking).
A real revelation isn't just a series of words streaming to mind. Many times, warned St. Teresa, we imagine things. We think up "locutions." When the brain talks to itself, energy has to be spent by the one "hearing" it. With a Divine locution, on the other hand, said St. Teresa, there is no such feeling of strain or forcing it -- of it originating in one's own thought pattern. It "costs me no labor," was the way she put it in her autobiography (The Life of Teresa of Avila). When we strive too hard, she warned, the devil is only too eager to comply with locutions or visions.
"The Lord impresses His words upon the memory so that it is impossible to forget them, whereas words that come from our own understanding are like the first movements of thought, which passes and is forgotten," is the way she put it. "The Divine words resemble something of which with the lapse of time a part may be forgotten but not so completely that one loses the memory of its having been said.
"A further indication, which is surer than any other, is that these false locutions effect nothing, whereas, when the Lord speaks, the words are accompanied by effects, and although the words may be, not of devotion, but rather of reproof, they prepare the soul and make it ready and move it to affection -- give it light and make it happy and tranquil."
It is "very wrong," said Teresa of Avila, for a person to "pretend to have received this favor," or to say he has understood something he has not. Divine locutions do not come on command.
"I may listen for many days, and, although I may desire to hear them, I shall be unable to do so; and then, at other times, when I have no desire to hear them, I am compelled to," she said. "It seems to me that anyone who wishes to deceive people by saying that he has heard from God what comes from himself might equally well say he heard it with his bodily ears."
"When a locution comes from the devil," she said, the soul "suffers a disquiet" and is left in a state of "great aridity." When something is supernatural and from God, the words "are understood much more clearly than if they were so heard, and, however determined one's resistance, it is impossible to fail to hear them."
"If it is something invented by the understanding, subtle as the invention may be, he realizes that it is the understanding which is making up a speech or as if he were listening to what someone else was saying to him," wrote this saint.
"The understanding will realize that it is not listening, but being active; and the words it is inventing are fantastic and indistinct and have not the clarity of true locutions."
Most suspect, she said, are those who have false humility and lack a gentleness of spirit. Damage, she warned, can be caused "by slow degrees."
The devil "can play many tricks," said St. Teresa, "and so there is nothing so certain as that we must always preserve our misgivings." The fruit of falsity is fear, confusion, and division.
No one has a corner of the truth. And few things are as difficult as discernment.
When there is pride, there is a blind side. Many deceive, first themselves.
The good news? "I consider it quite certain," added St. Teresa, "that the devil will not deceive -- and that God will not permit him to deceive -- a soul which has no trust whatever in itself, and is strengthened in faith."
EPIPHANY STUDIO PRODUCTIONS
Incorrupt Bodies of the Saints
Father Donald Calloway, Mic
Keeping the Faith