Revolution and Our Lady of Fatima

1917 saw one of the bloodiest revolutions in history: the Communist Revolution in Russia. That said, communism has never limited itself to Russia. When Pope Pius XI condemned communism in the 1930s, he wrote the encyclical in Latin – for the whole world (as opposed to the two encyclicals condemning Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany were written in Italian and German respectively).

1917 also witnessed the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three poor shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. On July 13, 1917 Our Lady showed the children Hell. She also spoke to them of the sins and offenses against her Son that had caused World War I and would possibly lead to another war if mankind did not repent of its offenses against Jesus. To avoid impending suffering, Our Lady asked the children to spread the following message (which is relevant today):

Mary said, “To prevent this I come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not she will scatter her errors through the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyrized, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.” (The First Saturday Communion of reparation is to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of each month in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)

In other apparitions Blessed Mother asked the children to pray the Rosary for the conversion of poor sinners.

Our Lady’s promise has come true as in 1984 St. John Paul II consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. It was soon thereafter that communism in Eastern Europe fell, beginning in Poland. The Catholic Faith is free in most of the former ‘Eastern Bloc’. Communism also fell as a political party in Russia, though there are many ‘former communists’ in power. The Catholic Faith is ‘mostly free’ to operate in Russia today.

Was there bloodshed in this Revolution of Our Lady? The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe was, for the most part, a bloodless revolution led by Our Lady

Herself through Pope St. John Paul II. It was this pope who consecrated himself to Our Lady as a 20 year old. He loved to pray the Rosary daily. He was miraculously spared by an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981 – the anniversary of the first apparition of Fatima. It was this saint who was ordained a priest in secret during the communist rule of Poland. He consecrated his papacy to Our Lady. He it was who led this revolution through the Rosary, his courageous teaching and courageous action.

In the midst of an attempt to a social revolution in our country to socialism and a removal of a government ‘by the people’, may we follow Our Lady’s words to pray the Rosary daily and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and peace! May we learn from St. John Paul II to use the weapon of Truth in action to shine on the errors of darkness that seek acceptance of immorality as well as limit our freedoms, especially our religious liberty!

God bless

FRVW

Revolution and Education

How does a revolution occur?  What is a revolution?!  Deus Vult was the rallying cry of Catholic crusaders in the 1200s.  It means God Wills It!  Re-volt then is a turning away from someone, some power, etc.

Most of us have studied in our basic high school history classes about the bloody, violent revolutions in France from 1789-1794 – 1000s and 1000s lost their lives, many of whom were priests and nuns; Or, the communists in Russia in 1917 (and following years) – millions lost their lives; Or, the communists in China in 1948 (and following years) – tens of millions lost their lives.

There are other ways to bring about revolution.  One effective way is through education – either for the truth or against the truth.  I will come back to the Truth.  Indoctrination through education is essential to any revolution.  (Hence, the need in every revolution against Truth to stop all Catholic education.)  The above revolutions would not have amounted to much, particularly the communists, if they had not indoctrinated their youth.  How?  There are a few basic agenda items:

~ Remove God and any objective moral authority (as well as those who would teach such)

~ Remove/rewrite history and the errors of history

~ Remove parents from teaching their children

~ Teach the youth a new (and false) ‘religion/way,’ ‘truth,’ and ‘life’

Can we see similar actions in our country?

~ Has God been removed from our school systems?  Is there any objective moral authority – i.e. Natural Law – taught as a basis for moral decisions?  Locally, it is the state department of education.  Fairfax County’s gender confusion education is permitted within the Va. Dept. of Education.

~ Is there a slant in teaching subjects, particularly history, against Christianity – i.e. oversight of persecutions in Mexico (1920s), Russia (1920s-1980s), Eastern Europe (1940s-1980s), China (1950s-present), care for European Jews in World War II by the Catholic Church, etc?

~ How many of our parents are given textbooks to peruse – especially regarding family life education?  In the social engineering education in Virginia, do parents have the right to opt their kids out of gender indoctrination classes?  How many parents are seen as the primary, original and irreplaceable teachers of their children – as St. John Paul II taught so clearly?

~ What are our youth being taught?  There are no absolute truths, except perhaps in math – forget science if you can now define whether you are male or female!  God is irrelevant – if He even exists.  You can decide what is the ‘truth’ for you.  You can decide how to live your life based on your definition of truth.  EXCEPT, if your Truth – Christian morality – is deemed ‘unloving’ and ‘bigoted’ by the established rulers – could be political, educational, entertainment, etc. – you are not allowed to hold these or live according to them!

If we do not recognize these shifts, we are behind the curve by about 40 years.  The non-Christian movers in education (and entertainment) have been at work for well over 40 years to bring about a social revolution.  We could add the political.  But, the political will only last if people’s beliefs and morals have been effectively changed.

Are there good Christian people in education? Yes.  But, presently their voices – if raised – are not being heard.  How crucial it is for every family to re-commit to learning, teaching and living the Truths of Jesus Christ!  He it is Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!  He it is Who reveals to man what it is to be man!  He it is Who has promised ‘the Truth will set you free’!

More on how the Truth, Jesus Christ, has brought about true, peaceful revolutions in recent memory – and will in the future.

God bless

FRVW

Fraternal Correction Points by Fr. Herbert F. Smith, S.J.

  1. Unless you are a model correction taker, be slow to give it.
  2. Correct like a friend and fellow sinner, not like an enemy.
  3. Knowing how you resent unjust correction, never inflict it.
  4. Harping on past faults is not correction but condemnation.
  5. Know that love wins over better than an army of accusations.
  6. Get help to correct when it is needed.
  7. Frame the correction so it will heal and not wound further.
  8. Decide first whether the person needs correction or help.
  9. Correct infrequently, and only the greater failings.
  10. Correction hurts, so don’t correct with a sledgehammer.
  11. Think how prayerfully Mary would correct, and imitate her.
  12. Put yourself in the culprit’s shoes and think about it.  You may end up congratulating him for not being worse!

St Gregory the Great

September 3rd is the feast of St. Gregory the Great who was pope from 590-604. During his reign as pope, he endured a plague in Rome. In bringing about an end to the plague he processed through Rome with the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. At the conclusion of the procession, he saw an angel in the sky sheathing his sword. It was at this point that he – with the angel’s cooperation – composed the ‘Regina Coeli’ prayer – ‘Queen of heaven rejoice, Alleluia! For He Whom thou didst merit to bear, Alleluia! Has risen as He said, Alleluia! Pray for us to God, Alleluia! Rejoice and be glad of Virgin Mary, Alleluia! For the Lord is truly risen, Alleluia!’

The castle over which the angel appeared is called to this day, ‘Castel San Angelo.’

As we continue to live through tumultuous times it is vital that we, as Catholics, realize and use the weapons of peace and unity that God has given us. In addition to the sacraments, it is His Mother’s Intercession!

One hundred years ago Our Lady gave the Rosary to the three children of Fatima for the world to pray as a weapon for peace. When was the last time you we prayed the Rosary? When was the last time our family prayed the Rosary?

If we want peace and unity in our country, Our Lady’s Rosary is the weapon against the Divider – the Devil. Every day, can I, can my family commit to five decades of the Rosary? Twenty minutes for God and His Mother? For the good of our nation and our families?

May we follow the example of St. Gregory the Great – and so many others – who have gone to Our Lady in trouble for her protection and intercession!

God bless

FRVW

Mother Teresa

We hope everyone is having a ‘peaceful’ return to school! It is encouraging to see many parents involved in the education of their children this fall, especially religious instruction.

Over the course of the last many months I have been trying to consider the lives of saints who worked with the poor and the sick. How many there are who cared for the sick and the dying without any of the advances of modern medicine! Their faith and trust in Almighty God’s protection and providence is an example worth considering in our present situation.

One recent saint who cared for the poor, the sick and the dying was Mother Teresa. She died September 5, 1997. On September 10, 1946, after seventeen years as a teaching Sister, she sensed a calling from Our Lord to live with and care for the poorest of the poor – in a predominantly non-Christian country: India. On December 21, 1948 she made her first visit to the slums of Calcutta. After daily Holy Communion and Rosary in hand, she went out each day to serve Jesus in ‘the unwanted, the unloved and uncared for.’ One by one, her former students joined her.

Mother Teresa’s new congregation, The Missionaries of Charity, was established officially on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, 1950. By the 1960s MCs were going out to other countries to care for society’s cast-aways. By the 1990s the MCs were in all of the former communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.

As a younger priest, I was given many opportunities to offer Mass for the MCs in Washington, DC at their Home for the Dying/AIDS House and their Soup Kitchen/Home for Mothers and Children. There is so much to learn from these humble yet capable consecrated women! Their joy and care for others – intermingling with their residents freely and without fear. Their sensitivity with their residents – physical touch is the language of love, especially to the terminally ill and dying. Their daily life of prayer that begins with early morning Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, hours of Eucharistic Adoration and devotion to Our Lady in the Rosary.

A few quotes from Mother Teresa worth considering:

· Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much great poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

· Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

· Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.

God bless

FRVW

Peace vs. Fear

How often in the history of our nation – indeed the world – has there been civil strife?  How often has there been threat of contagion and disease?  Who found peace in those times?  Where did they find true peace – in their own hearts?  The ones whose focus was Jesus Christ.

In our own country a few come to mind: Fr. Andrew White – who was taken from Maryland to England in chains for exercising his priesthood, St. Junipero Serra – who spread the Faith to over 6,000 Native Californians and defended them against Spanish oppression (his statue was just desecrated in California), Fr. Augustus Tolton – the first black Catholic priest in our country who had been born into slavery, St. John Neumann – who regularly had his parish church attacked when he was pastor in Buffalo, St. Damien of Molokai – who took care of the lepers on Devil’s Island in Hawaii, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini and Mother Katherine Drexel –who established schools, hospitals and missions for African Americans and Native Americans, and Fr. Vincent Capodanno – who laid down his life on a Vietnamese battlefield to give the final sacraments to dying Marines.  There are so many more in our country and throughout history.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).

It is only in Jesus Christ that we find peace – His freedom in our hearts.  Often I quote from Fr. Jacques Philippe who is a contemporary French writer.  In his book, Nine Days to Welcome Peace, he gives very practical guidance for obtaining peace and making decisions.  If you will permit me to again cite his wisdom for our times.

Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli, a 16th century spiritual writer, said: The devil does his utmost to banish peace from one’s heart, because he knows that God abides in peace and it is in peace that He accomplishes great things (p. 24-25).

Fr. Philippe continues,

Trying to keep the peace of our hearts and fighting against worry, trouble and spiritual agitation are indispensable conditions for letting God act, thus allowing us to grow in love and in giving our lives over to the fruitfulness to which we’re called.

I would add that it’s only in peace that we can discern rightly.  When we’re not at peace, when we’re filled with worry, agitation, or trouble, that’s when we’re at the mercy of our emotions, and we don’t have an objective or accurate outlook.

When a problem comes up that makes us lose our peace, the urgency is not in resolving the problem in the hope of regaining peace; rather, the urgency is in first recovering some minimum amount of peace, and then seeing what we can do with the problem (p. 26-27).

What is the predominant emotion in our country – maybe in the world – over the last few months?  How about FEAR: fear of disease, fear of my fellow man, fear of the future, etc?

Fear does not give peace.  It causes anxiety, worry, agitation and trouble.  Philippe’s words are good advice: . . . the urgency is in first recovering some minimum amount of peace, and then seeing what we can do with the problem.

And, how do we recover some amount of peace?  One has to re-focus on and love Jesus and not the problem that is causing the worry, agitation and trouble.  Get to Mass, Confession, Adoration, pray Mary’s peace plan daily – the Rosary,  etc.  And, SHUT OFF THE SOCIAL MEDIA!  How can you possibly think you will be able to focus on Jesus when you are bombarded with FEAR!

Then, focus on being a saint today in your vocation – marriage, single life, or consecrated life.

The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything (Philippians 4:5).

God bless

FRVW

Trying Times Surrounding Pentecost and Holy Trinity

Well, what a week it has been.

I was looking forward to our first public Masses since March 16, 2020.  It was terrific to have people back in the church for Mass.  It was the high Church Feast of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church:  the Holy Spirit coming down upon the Apostles.  The same Holy Spirit gave the Apostles the courage and wisdom to go into the world and spread the Truth of Jesus Christ; to endure hardship, suffering and even death for His Name.  What a glorious feast it is.

Thank you to everyone who helped with cleaning and preparing in various ways. (And have done so this past weekend.)

It would seem the lengthened Lent of COVID-19 without public Mass – and the various other restrictions placed upon us – was lessening.  Ah, but the devil does not give up so easily.

COVID engendered, and still does, fear, loneliness, isolation, sadness, frustration, discouragement, etc.  These are tools of the devil.  He also uses chaos, fear and hatred to separate man from God and man from man.

The headlines are no longer COVID, but racial tensions.  The tools are still the same as mentioned above. Satan is behind all the fear, sadness, discouragement, hatred, violence and chaos.

The headlines are of the tragic death of an African American man (George Floyd), riots and violence.  (Yes, there have been peaceful marches in the midst of the headlines.  We had one here in Gainesville.  But, peaceful anything doesn’t sell as well as crisis and chaos.)

I am still struggling with the question, ‘Why?’

Why the violence?  Why the fifteen people dead?  Why the simple businesses attacked?  (Agreed, there are professional agitators using racial tensions to cause chaos.)  Is there a solution to all of this unrest?

Yes.  His Name is Jesus Christ.  He Died to set us free; free from hatred, violence and chaos.  Free to forgive.  Free to love my neighbor as myself.

When we look at so many throughout our Catholic history we see many, many who have experienced prejudice.  When they were able to forgive, they were able to love.  They were able to become saints.

One that comes to mind is Fr. Augustus Tolton – the first African American priest in America.  He was born into slavery in 1854 and suffered greatly.  He later became a very holy priest after, he says, the priests taught him how to forgive.

More recently, I recall reading Justice Clarence Thomas’ book wherein he tells of racist Catholic seminarians.  It led to him leaving the seminary and losing his Catholic Faith for a time.  Thankfully, he returned to the Church many years ago.

Close to home, I am mindful of our local law enforcement – black and white – who have endured many insults – and injuries – over the last ten days: all silently as not many media are interested.  In speaking with them, they hold no hatred in their hearts.

Is my fellow man a child of God?  Does he have dignity from God?  Is he my brother?  Is she my sister?  Isn’t this one facet that makes us different as Catholics, as Christians?  Isn’t this the mentality that has converted empires?  To see Christ in my neighbor. To love my neighbor as myself!

How did St. John Paul II deal with prejudice from the communists in Poland and worldwide.  He spent hours each day with Our Lord Jesus.  He prayed daily to the Virgin Mary.  He spoke.  He wrote.  He met peacefully.  His presence brought about the greatest human revolution in the world – the downfall of one of the greatest forms of persecution the world has ever known, Communism.

Who is the One Who heals wounds?  Who reconciles?  Who brings peace?

Jesus Christ.

May we truly know Him that He may set us free.

Nine Days That Changed the World – Coincidence?

Pope St. John Paul II’s 1st Visit to Poland as Pope – June 2-10, 1979

(9th centenary year after the death of St. Stanislaus, Patron of Poland)

The following two paragraphs were part of Pope St. John Paul’s homily on the Eve of Pentecost, June 2, 1979.  Please be mindful that he was speaking to millions of Poles who had lived under atheistic communist dictatorship since World War II.  He was surrounded by communists and their military at this Mass.  They, who had tried for decades to silence the Catholic Church.  They, who had closed Catholic churches and attempted to limit Catholics’ access to the Mass and the Sacraments.  He did not begin his first visit to Poland with platitudes to the ruling party!

To Poland the Church brought Christ, the key to understanding that great and fundamental reality that is man. For man cannot be fully understood without Christ. Or rather, man is incapable of understanding himself fully without Christ. He cannot understand who he is, nor what his true dignity is, nor what his vocation is, nor what his final end is. He cannot understand any of this without Christ. (My emphasis).

Therefore Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude of geography. The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man. Without Christ it is impossible to understand the history of Poland, especially the history of the people who have passed or are passing through this land. The history of people. The history of the nation is above all the history of people. And the history of each person unfolds in Jesus Christ. In him it becomes the history of salvation.

St. John Paul ended his homily with the following prayer to the Holy Spirit in his homily on Saturday, June 2, 1979, the Vigil of Pentecost:

Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land. Amen.

Was it coincidence that this Pope from the Iron Curtain was to visit his country for nine days – the length of days the Apostles prayed from the Ascension to the Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; the first Novena?  Was it coincidence that his first public Mass was on the Vigil of Pentecost?  Communism was doomed at the conclusion of the above prayer by the Successor of St. Peter whom the Holy Spirit had chosen to be pope less than a year before.  In less than a decade Communism was all but gone in Eastern Europe beginning in Poland.

Nothing is coincidence with God.

How applicable are St. John Paul’s words to us.  How we can learn from his example and prayer.

It is no coincidence that we find ourselves nine days from Pentecost.  Let us learn from Pope John Paul to ask – implore – God, the Holy Spirit, to come upon our families, our parish, our diocese, our nation, our world during these times of crisis.  We can pray as he did:

Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land. Amen.

Please consider praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit over the next nine days (Friday, May 22 – Saturday, May 30) for a greater fervor for Mass and the Sacraments; for many to return to Our Lord and His Church; and for religious liberty of the Church wherever She is being persecuted.

The Novena to the Holy Spirit can be found at:

https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/novena-to-the-holy-spirit-for-the-seven-gifts-309

God bless

FRVW

(Please know that I hope to write a second post on Friday re: Holy Communion Outside of Mass and related topics.)

Happy Easter, and some “Wise Words”

Happy Easter, middle schoolers!
Wise Word Wednesday: “Embrace Your Test”

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