Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe

[A GRAMBUS post.]

Our Lady of Guadalupe tilma.
I don't know why, but I have been very impressed by the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe this year, ...which is today!  I love this story and the beautiful outcome of it in so many souls converted to Christianity.  So, I've been reading a lot and have come across something I'd like to share, written by someone who has studied this historical event and its meaning for some time.  I hope that his insights bring the value of this event ever more radiantly to your mind and heart.

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE by Monsignor Eduardo Chavez Sanchez

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on Saint Juan Diego’s humble tilma manifests two of the most important dogmas of Mary:  that she is ever-Virgin and, at the same time, that she is the Mother of God.  In fact, the encounter that took place in the winter of 1531 is an encounter with God himself, whom our Lady carried in her immaculate womb.  It is a real encounter with Jesus, who has taken the initiative to meet man through his Mother.
…Since our Lady carries the Lord in her womb, she appears as a pregnant woman, an expecting woman, a woman of Advent.  The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe depicts a dark ribbon above her womb, indicating that she is a woman anticipating the birth of God’s only Son.  In fact, the Spanish expression for “pregnant” is encinta, or literally, “adorned with ribbon.”

The original tilma of Saint Juan Diego,
which hangs above the high altar of
the Guadalupe Bascilica.
Before a priest celebrates Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, the people tell him: “Focus on the womb of this woman, who dances with the joy of the feast, because she will give us her Son.  With the harmony of the angel holding heaven and earth [referring to her mantle and gown], a new life is extended.  This is what we received from our elders:  that our own life does not end, but has a new meaning, and as the Great Book of the Spaniards (the Bible in Revelation 12:1) says: there was a sign in heaven, a woman dressed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of stars, and she is about to give birth.  This is what we are celebrating, Father: the arrival of this sign of unity, harmony and a new life.”

With Our Lady of Guadalupe, this sign [Jesus] has finally arrived.

Monsignor Chavez was the postulator for the cause for canonization of Saint Juan Diego, and is co-author of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love (Doubleday). 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"OMG, He's Hot!" A.H.A. Elevation of Immorality as Virtueous

obamacare ads
As if some of the coverage and rules of the Affordable Healthcare Act weren't obviously immoral enough, here's proof. This ad is clearly the output of a degenerate mindset, without moral formation ... EVEN IF it's intended to joke about promiscuity as foolish. Why? Because few people will take it as foolish but rather as wise.

The ad (and others like it) elevate stupidity, immoral behavior, and promiscuity as a virtuous. The liberal agenda figures most Americans are like the idiots represented in these ads.  Sadly, I think they're right, which explains their rise to political power.  The liberal progressive agenda says, "people are too stupid to take care of themselves, so the government has to take care of them."

But these ads (like some aspects of the AHA) are like talking about a kid's bad behavior as if it is entertainment— such behavior encourages bad behavior. You promote idiocy by showcasing it and laughing at it. The result? Societal virtues plummet. In this way, AHA helps to deprive a nation of its integrity and moral rightness and invites the rest of us to join the reverie in the gutter.

While a few of the ads are appropriate at, most reveal a sick mind behind this law and it's promotion. Welcome to Degenerate Nation brought to you by so called "Progressives." As the ads say, "Thanks, Obamacare!"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Inspirations in the Mass

[A GRAMBUS post.]

St. John Cantius Church - Chicago
Nearly15 years ago now, when I was still arguing with the priest leading RICA (Rite of Initiation for Christian Adults), he would tell me, “Come to the Mass.  Just come to the Mass,” as if that would answer all my questions about the things I didn’t understand about the Catholic Church.  It didn’t make sense to me then, but lately I see the wisdom of his words, and they have come back to find lodging in my soul.  I’ll tell the story of my journey into the Church another time.  Suffice it to say, I did become Catholic and faithfully attended Mass each week—and happily so.  I would say, I had an above average understanding of what the Mass was all about, until…

One year and two months ago, I retired from teaching.  I decided that one of my priorities would be to attend daily Mass whenever possible.  I can’t tell you the day or date when something miraculous first occurred, but it was during an ordinary morning Mass, very unexpectedly, the words of the priest suddenly jumped out at me.  The first time it happened, it was these words:
Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.
You know that part of the Mass, when the priest holds up the consecrated host?  I’d heard it a hundred times.  But, at that moment, I knew those words were FOR ME.  I had been CALLED.  I had been drawn to come to the mass/The Supper of the Lamb.  For so many years, before I was Catholic, I had not been called—50 to be exact.  I didn’t even know about the Catholic Mass, but now I do and I am  …called to it.  What a blessing!  And, every time I go to mass, those same words pop out at me again and again, and fill me with love and joy for the Lamb of God, who called me to come.

The next time the words of the Mass jumped out at me was just as unexpected as before.  It happened as the priest said the words of remembrance from Our Lord at the Last Supper with His disciples.  The priest was saying: “taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples, saying…”  All of a sudden, as the priest looked out at the people and said, “gave it to His disciples,..” I had the thought, “Wait a minute!  I’m one of His disciples!”  In that moment, I knew Jesus was right there saying those words to me that followed:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My blood.
I felt like I was right THERE at the Last Supper WITH Jesus, and he was saying those words to me.   In the Mass, the priest recites the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples, but as I hear the priest, I am actually hearing JESUS speak those words to me!  …as His disciple …NOW, in this current generation.  In the Mass, Christ speaks those words TO US! His disciples TODAY!

Well, this just kept happening.  Words kept jumping at me with more and more meaning each time I went to the Mass.  In the Eucharistic prayer, the priest is thanking God the Father through His beloved Son who
 …stretched out His hands as He endured His Passion, so as to break the bonds of death and manifest the resurrection.  And so, with the Angels and all the Saints, we declare your glory, as with one voice we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy…
As I joined in the Holy, Holy prayer of praise, I felt like my voice was being added with all the Heavenly Hosts in giving God praise.  I looked up and imagined (no, not just imagined… I knew) I was participating with the Angels and the Saints in heaven to proclaim the holiness and glory of God.  I felt that sense of wonder and UNIFYING BOND between heaven and earth during the Mass.  Now, I remember that every time we sing or say the Holy, Holy.  Amazing!  Praising God through Christ in union with the Angels and the Communion of Saints!  That’s the unity that we experience in our worship at the Mass.  

It does not seem to end...  Just recently another phrase in the Mass has grabbed my attention, where 
Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you.
Starting with the word “held” to the end, the words have continued to amaze me, because we are NOT worthy.  But, quickly I became aware that God meets us where we are, (as unworthy people) and through Christ’s worthiness, seats us with Him to “minister to”/worship Him in the beauty of the Supper of the Lamb/the Mass.  —The same Mass that has been celebrated around the world and over all the centuries since Christ left His authority and keys of the kingdom with His Apostles, to today!  

…Blessed are those who are called—and are still being called—to that Supper!

Come to the Mass.  Just come…

Friday, November 8, 2013

John Paul The Great Catholic University

I highly recommend John Paul The Great Catholic University for students interested in affecting society with high moral values through influential disciplines like motion pictures. Read more about it HERE.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today is Priesthood Sunday

[A GRAMBUS post.]
Today, October 27th this year, is Priesthood Sunday.  I did not know that we could write a letter of appreciation that would be published in The Michigan Catholic Newspaper until I picked up an edition in our Church foyer at Holy Family yesterday.  I would have written about my priest in a heartbeat.  How could I have missed this opportunity?  But, why not make an opportunity to publish my heartfelt thanks?

Dear Fr. Bob LaCroix,

Since becoming Catholic 15 years ago, I have had the privilege of being under the pastorship of 4 wonderful priests, and each one was right for the particular time of my journey to understand and love the Church I had been estranged from for the first 50 years of my life.  You were saved for my most needy years.  Years of vocational conflict, familial challenges, and most recently, my transition into retirement.  Your council and pastoral help has kept me on track in my relationship with God and those I love.

Retiring last year allowed me to begin attending daily mass, and that is where I have come to enjoy the closest relationship I have ever had with God.  I get fed every day through His Word, the Holy Eucharist, and your "personal" homilies.  Every day, I look forward to how you will bring the scriptures for the day alive to me.  You don't just speak about them.  You ask sweet but pointed questions of those gathered together, that cause us to examine our thinking and decisions and understanding of the scriptures focused on.  I feel like I am with Jesus and He is guiding me through my own personal life.  I discover things about myself and about Him every day that help me to live my life a little closer to His holy will.  I can't thank you enough for being a priest, and a holy one. You challenge all of your parishioners to think critically about ourselves, our lives with God and with others.  I am never disappointed.  Your message is always on target to me.

In addition, I know you have given the mass thousands of times as a priest, but you take the time—every time—to say it as if you are right there, at the Last Supper with Jesus, inviting us to join you at the very Supper of the Lamb.  I am so blessed to be in this holy place at this time in my life. Thank you for being a priest.  Thank you for being Christ to me and for bringing Christ to me every day.

In humble gratitude,

Pam Williams

Monday, October 21, 2013

What is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth?

[A GRAMBUS post.]
Jesus IS Truth!  But, How Do We Know His Truth Today?

Opening Session of Vatican II
I have a friend who keeps debating me on the validity of Sola Scriptura—the position held by non-Catholic Christians, that the Bible Alone is the source of Truth for Christians.  Whereas, Catholics claim that the Truth of Christ was revealed all the way up to the death of the last Apostle, and the Apostles’ teachings were carried on through Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition includes the written Word—Holy Scriptures/the Bible, as well as Tradition passed down orally.  The Jews very carefully preserved their Oral Tradition, which helped give support to the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures in the Old Testament.  The same is true after Christ!

Furthermore, non-Catholic Christians sometimes forget how the Bible came to be.  Historically, the Bible wasn't even in existence until the Roman Church Council of Nicaea in 325.  The books of the Bible were not gathered into one place even until then.  There were hundreds of letters floating around, and the Council had to assess which were reliable as authentic sources, worthy of placing within a Holy Canon of “New Testament” Scriptures.  The 73 (Old and New Testament) books chosen by the Council of Nicaea happen to be the same books that are in the Catholic Bible today.  After 1,500 years of the Scriptures’ guidance in the Church, the Reformation of 1534 instigated the removal of 7 of those books from the Canon.  (But for you real history buffs), …even though Luther’s excommunication was is 1521, Luther’s translation of the Bible in 1539 still contained all 73 books.  (I know.  Stan and I held it in our hands at the Newberry Research Library in Chicago.) It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Protestant publishers finally changed the Canon by removing 7 of the books.  On whose authority, I don’t know.

Now, whether the original 73 or the secondary choice of 66, ALL Christians hold these Scriptures to be the infallible Word of God, and they are!  But, most Christians are NOT aware that they have the Roman Catholic Church (under the leadership of the Holy Spirit) to thank for the very existence of the Holy Scriptures they hold so dear.   If all Christians were aware, maybe they would also believe the Churchs claims that She is the Church Christ said the Holy Spirit would lead into ALL Truth.

The Bible is just one piece of that Truth, but a very important piece. When unfortunately, in the 1500s (1521 ff) some split from the Roman Church during the Reformation, the Bible was the only Truth those who left could tangibly take with them.  Though fortunately, SOME of the Roman Church’s doctrines WERE kept, even though they are not FOUND in the Scriptures—like the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the Doctrine of Christ’s Nature being totally human, and (at the same time) totally divine. Those are Truths the Original Church was lead into by the Holy Spirit.  I’m so glad to say that in matters of Faith and Morals, the Church has stood strong against heresies and cultural pressures (ie. Pressure in modern times to accept contraceptive methods.)

So, my second point is that Truth needs more than just a book (of 66 or 73 books) of writings.  Truth needs an infallible body to interpret and proclaim right doctrines from those writings that are based on the Mind of Christ through the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

Truth is not determined with just the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and you, as Stan and I used to think.  That’s how over 33,000 different denominations of churches have been started.  Stan and I thought we knew it all.  We had studied the Bible, memorized it, and formed our own opinions on what it all meant.  Yet, it was next to impossible to find a church that agreed with us 100%.  Once Stan and I realized it was not about US finding a church that agreed with OUR interpretation, but about God founding a Church, that He had promised to be lead into ALL Truth by the Holy Spirit, we suddenly realized we had things backwards.  That’s when we stopped church hopping and started trying to line ourselves up with that One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  And that has made all the difference.  We are now ready to give our lives for that Church, because Christ founded Her and kept His promises all the way through Her gnarled history up to the present day.  She has not been perfect in Her people or in Her practices.  She and her members have needed reform and received it—a little later than the Protestant Reformers would have liked.  But, Her doctrines have never changed.  And, Christ will never abandon Her, because His promise is true that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Holy Church and that He will never leave Her nor forsake Her.  She continues to grow and to promote infallible Truth in matters of Faith and Morals. 

In conclusion, I'd like to quote a hymn that is familiar to ALL Christians:
v1.  The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ Her Lord.
She is His new creation* through water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought Her to be His Holy Bride.
With His own blood He bought Her.  And, for Her life He died.
*[The Church was founded/created by Christ.]

v2.  Elect from every nation, yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name She blesses.  Partakes one holy food.*
And to one hope She presses.  With every grace endued.
*[The Holy Eucharist]

v4.  Yet She on earth hath union, with God, the Three in One.
And mystic sweet communion* with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!  Lord, give us grace that we.
Like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with thee.
*[Communion of Saints]

BTW, according to I Timothy 3:15, the Pillar and Foundation of Truth, …is the Church...  (not the Bible).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Give Special Honor to the Mother of Jesus?

[A GRAMBUS post.]

Maybe You Didn’t Know this Before about Mary

This blog is in answer to a friend of mine who wrote: 

"Personally I think Mary would be appalled at the place the Catholic church has given her. Where is the Scriptural teaching that Mary, while clearly blessed to be the servant that the Father used to bring His Son into the world, is anything more than that, let alone be Revered as she clearly is by the Catholic church."

She is honored more than any other human being because she is the Mother of God.  She was chosen by God the Father to bear His Son.  She conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit.  That is a very special role/calling/choosing from the Holy Trinity.  And, God, being a holy and righteous God, required that she be sinless/set apart/holy.  Why wouldn't Almighty God want a holy vessel for His holy Son?  Why would the God who demanded holy vessels for the tabernacle in the Old Testament not demand that of the vessel who would carry the holy Son of God in her womb and heart?

In Revelation,  at the end of chapter 11, when John is looking into heaven he sees that, "...the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of the covenant..."  As chapter 12 begins, you might think that John’s vision of the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple is at an end, but what if it's not?  What if John is continuing to describe what he sees, ...only it is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Ark?  Chapter 12 begins to describe "...a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."  Why, does John describe a woman?  Because, that woman IS the Ark of the Covenant he saw—the living arc of the New Covenant.  What did the Ark of the Old Covenant contain?

      1. Manna, that God provided the Israelites to eat for 40 years in the desert
      2. Tablets carved with the Ten Commandments, received by Moses from God
      3.  Aaron's rod that budded

What are those types of/symbols of?  Christ!
      1.  The Living Bread, come down from heaven
      2.  The Word of God made flesh
      3.  The Resurrection & the Life

So, if the contents of the Old Covenant Ark were symbols of Christ, then the Ark itself was a symbol of Mary.  Mary IS the TRUE Ark of the New Covenant, and John rightly described that Ark as a woman.  And, that woman is The Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Now, let’s take a side journey and think of why she is called the Virgin Mary and why the Catholic Church believes that means it was a Perpetual Virginity.  The most obvious reason was that the angel’s announcement/proposal from God said that she would not conceive from man but by the Holy Spirit.  This is a marriage proposal, and the intended Spouse for Mary is the Holy Spirit.   But, let’s go back to the Old Covenant Ark again.  If you recall, no man could touch the Old Testament/Covenant Ark.  It had to be transported on poles carried on the shoulders of the priests who never touched the Ark itself. Likewise, no man could touch the New Testament Ark of the New Covenant—Mary.  She was holy, set apart, full of grace, sinless/spotless, as the vessel that would carry the Christ child, God’s Son.  God the Father chose Mary to be his Spouse.  When she answered His proposal, with her beautiful “[Yes]…be it done to me according to Your word,” she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in such a way that she conceived Christ in her womb.  Though she was betrothed to Joseph, her union with him was not ever to be consummated, thus making more sense of Mary’s question of being able to conceive when she “…[knew] not a man.”  Otherwise, she would have assumed Joseph would become that man.  Oral Tradition says that her parents dedicated her at the Temple to be set apart for God as a virgin.  Joseph’s betrothal was understood from the very beginning, to be for the protection of a virgin in a society where women did not venture "out" alone.  According to Oral Tradition, Joseph was also many years older than Mary, and a widow with sons from his previous marriage.  So, that makes sense why other scriptures refer to Jesus’ brothers—even though it was also common to call cousins "brothers" in that culture, as well. ...thus, another explanation for the reference to brothers of Jesus.  But, the greatest reason to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity is that God chose her as His Spouse, so He had exclusive claim to her, and no man could touch her.

Getting back to John's vision, the woman is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.  That's how you would describe a person who has great honor in heaven, so why not on earth?  With a crown containing 12 stars?  I guess she's pretty much looked up to as a queen, …the Queen Mother!  And, all of the Apostles (12 stars) would agree.  That is why she is revered!  Because, heaven agrees with her crowning, by means of Holy Scripture in Revelation, and because Jesus’ closest disciples, who are the foundation of the Church agree as the very stars in her crown.  So, who are we to disagree with all of heaven? If God ordains the crowning/the honoring, we should, too!

Plus, the 4th Commandment tells us to honor our father and our mother.  And, Jesus as the perfect Son, knows how to honor better than anyone.  Shouldn't we follow His example?  It is his desire that his mother be honored as Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Again, the Father God chose her for His Spouse.  No one else comes near her status among human beings.  The Catholic Church did not make this up, and they would never ask anyone to worship her as a god.  But, honor her?  Yes!  Ask for her prayers to her Son on our behalf?  Yes.  (Don’t you ask people on earth to pray for you?  How much time have your friends spent with Jesus?  Mary spent 30 years—ten times more time than any of his disciples, as I heard someone recently say.)  Pray the rosary—which highlights all the high (and low) points of the life and mission of Christ on earth and heaven for prayerful contemplation?  Yes.

So, get to know the most humble, most holy woman to be born on earth.  And, don’t be afraid to honor this “Holy Mary, Mother of God!”  And, ask her to “Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Catholic Church is a "Woman"

[A GRAMBUS post.]

Pope Francis: Women called to service, not servitude

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday spoke about “the vocation and the mission” of women on Saturday when addressing participants of a study seminar organized by the Women’s Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on the 25th anniversary of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem. The letter was the first in papal teaching dedicated entirely to the theme of the woman, and the study seminar in particular discussed the point which says that God entrusts man, the human being, to woman in a special way.

“What does this ‘special entrusting’…of the human being to woman signify? It seems evident to me that my predecessor is referring to maternity,” said Pope Francis. 

“Many things can change and have changed in our cultural and social evolution, but the fact remains that it is the woman who conceives, carries in her womb and gives birth to the children of men,” the Pope continued. “And this is not simply a biological matter, but carries a wealth of implications for the woman herself, for her way of being, for her relationships, for the way in which we lend respect to human life and to life in general. Calling a woman to maternity, God entrusted the human being to her in an altogether special manner.”

The Pope warned that there are two dangers always present when speaking about this topic, calling them “two extreme opposites that destroy woman and her vocation.”

“The first is to reduce maternity to a social role, to a task, albeit noble, but which in fact sets the woman aside with her potential and does not value her fully in the building of community. This is both in the civil sphere and in the ecclesial sphere,” explained the Holy Father. “And, in reaction to this, there is the other danger in the opposite direction, that of promoting a type of emancipation which, in order to occupy spaces taken away from the masculine, abandons the feminine with the precious traits that characterize it.”

Pope Francis also spoke about the special gifts given to women in the Church.

“ I would like to underline how the woman has a particular sensitivity for the ‘things of God’, above all in helping us to understand the mercy, tenderness and love that God has for us,” he said. “ And it pleases me to think that the Church is not ‘il Chiesa’ [‘the Church’, masculine]: it is ‘la Chiesa’ [feminine]. The Church is a woman! The Church is a mother! And that’s beautiful, eh? We have to think deeply about this.”

The Pope said the document Mulieris Dignitatem arises in this context and offers a profound, organic reflection, with a solid anthropological base, enlightened by Revelation. 

“From here, we must restart that work of deepening and of promoting, for which I have already hoped many times. Even in the Church, it is important to ask oneself: what presence does the woman have?” he said.

“I suffer – speaking truthfully! – when I see in the Church or in some ecclesial organizations that the role of service that we all have, and that we must have - but that the role of service of the woman slips into a role of “servidumbre” [Spanish: servitude]. . . But when I see women that do things out of “servitude” and not out of service,” said Pope Francis. “And that it is not understood well what a woman ought to do. Can she be valued more? It is a reality that is close to my heart and for this I wanted to meet … and bless you and your commitment. Thank you, let us move this forward together! May most holy Mary – a great woman, eh? – the Mother of Jesus and of all God’s children, accompany us. Thank you!”

Answering Atheists and Pro-Choicers

[A GRAMBUS post.]

…Woke up with a story on my mind from last winter and saw a parallel train of thought for those who might call themselves atheists and/or pro-choice.

Last winter I was sitting in my daughter’s family room surrounded by windows overlooking the backyard, enjoying watching the play of those in the room as well as those playing in the snow outside.  All of a sudden Anna, about 7 years old, playing inside, let out a scream, staring outside, and cried, “That’s my Pookey Bear!”  Outside I could see Noah, her cousin, smashing a 2-foot high miniature snowman.  “I made that!  He’s my Pookey Bear!,”  Anna--screaming with tears streaming.

Her mom, of course sprang into action, calling out the back door a reprimand toward Noah, and calling him in.  I could tell by Noah’s face and knowing his otherwise good character, for a boy of 8, that he was clueless as to his fault, as his tears began to become visible.  I tried to explain to my daughter that he was not the malicious type and that he just didn’t understand the gravity of his actions at the time.  His mom, my other daughter, was not present at the time to defend him, as he was in my charge. So not only was I speaking my heart about what I saw happen, but I felt it my duty to take up his cause.  So, with two cousins heartbroken and emotionally upset, the adults in charge came to the conclusion that Noah had come upon the lumps in the snow with sticks (arms) coming out at different angles and seen it as a small hill to be conquered (from behind), whereas we from within the house had seen the cute little face and semblance of snow body Anna had carefully constructed on the side that faced the windows.  My daughter and I explained to Noah that snowmen, no matter how big or small, were always made by someone, and you had to have the permission of that person to change, alter, or destroy it.  A mound of snow so carefully constructed has to be respected as someone else’s creation, because naturally snow just falls to the ground and does not form into shapes except by some person’s hand.  He understood then, and apologized.  Anna put on her snow garb and, with the help of her friend set out to make her Pookey Bear again.
Now I’m sure some of you have seen the parallel already.  For the atheist, the message is: It is obvious to people who are Christians, who sit within the house of God, that any person/human being, so wonderfully and complexly constructed, is not just a product of chance in this world… this universe.  And, for the pro-choice people, the message is:  Every person so carefully and thoughtfully constructed is created in love by a loving God, who genuinely cares for the wellbeing of that creation.  Just because we did not see the face of that new miniature creation hidden in the womb, did not mean that with closer examination it wasn’t there.  It was in the DNA and only took time to become visible.  But, wait!  In this day of high tech fiber optics, we HAVE seen the face of that new creation as early as 3 weeks—when you can also detect a heartbeat, by the way—before most women even know they ARE pregnant.  So, what is our excuse now?  If an 8 year old boy can understand the heartache of his 7 year old cousin over the destruction of her creation, why can’t we understand the heartache of our God—yes, our God, Creator of all things—when we destroy life in the womb?  Or, when we say, “It was just a glob of tissue,” when we have EVIDENCE of it being so much more? ...the very beginnings of a new person, created by God himself, with the cooperation of a woman.  We have scientific evidence of what has heretofore been hidden, and yet people still reject the truth.
In this analogy, the recreation of the snowman by its maker (Anna) is paralleling the way God sent Christ to recreate us back into His own image after the fall of sin.

And, what shall we say to those who say we have no evidence of the existence of God? Well, let's use the evidence of life in the womb as a window of understanding.  Just because we didn’t have scientific evidence of life (a living, heart-beating, human being) in the womb before the presence of cameras and audio equipment that could detect it, did not mean it was not a baby in the making.  So too, just because some people have not, to their satisfaction, seen/heard/experienced evidence of God’s existence, is that proof that He does not exist?  What evidence are they looking for?  It's all around us.  King David expressed it this way in Psalm 19:
But, in addition, we have historical proof/evidence that Jesus (who came to show us the Father/God) really did exist in time.  We also have the very words of Christ written by eye-witnesses, that have been handed down to us in the Holy Scriptures/the Bible—The Old Testament, pointing us to Christ the Redeemer, and the New Testament giving witness to the actual coming of the Savior into the world.  We have the writings of the Early Church Fathers who were the first generation of those disciples of the Apostles themselves.  And, more close to our history today, there is evidence that many of the Saints through the ages have seen visions/apparitions of Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, (try Googling “Our Lady of Guadalupe” or “Our Lady of Fatima”—where the 3 shepherd children were also taught prayers by an angel) or Saints who have seen the child Jesus or the Divine Mercy Jesus, (see Saint Faustina).  The Divine still breaks through to the Human world.  God is active in the lives of men and women, when they acknowledge/believe Him and His Word.
It all comes down to whether people will accept the evidence, whether that evidence be scientific, or natural (in nature), or spiritual.  Bottom line, I think that most people who do not accept the evidence of God and the miracle of human creation, refuse to accept the truth, because it might mean they would have to change their mind-set or life-style in some way.  They think their search for happiness and pleasure and fulfillment in life is hindered by God, when those are the very things God offers us:  true joy, pleasures forevermore, and transformation into the best person you can be.  It all comes down to TRUST.  Do you trust the God who made you to know what will truly fulfill you?  Will you trust that He loves you enough to give you a free will to choose Him? Will you believe that the very things you are seeking are the things He has to offer you, and you didn’t even know it?  ...Or, will you continue to believe the lies of the enemy that the pleasures of this world (that are ultimately empty and unfulfilling) are all there is?

The heavens declare the glory of God;the sky proclaims its builder’s craft.One day to the next conveys that message;one night to the next imparts that knowledge.
It goes on to say that even without uttering a “word” or “speech” nature speaks to us of who God is, and every person on earth, no matter what their language can understand it.  So nature itself—the plants, animals, the seas, the celestial universe—all with one voice, one constant message, is ALWAYS telling us of the existence of God, if we listen.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Development of Doctrine

The Development of Doctrine
 October 11, 2013
Divine Office - Second Reading
From the first instruction by Saint Vincent of Lerins, priest

[I copied and pasted the following from my iPad's Divine Office app during my daily prayers. - SW]

Is there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ? Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale.

Who can be so grudging to men, so full of hate for God, as to try to prevent it? But it must truly be development of the faith, not alteration of the faith. Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.

The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one and all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import.

The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. Though bodies develop and unfold their component parts with the passing of the years, they always remain what they were. There is a great difference between the flower of childhood and the maturity of age, but those who become old are the very same people who were once young. Though the condition and appearance of one and the same individual may change, it is one and the same nature, one and the same person.

The tiny members of unweaned children and the grown members of young men are still the same members. Men have the same number of limbs as children. Whatever develops at a later age was already present in seminal form; there is nothing new in old age that was not already latent in childhood.

There is no doubt, then, that the legitimate and correct rule of development, the established and wonderful order of growth, is this: in older people the fullness of years always brings to completion those members and forms that the wisdom of the Creator fashioned beforehand in their earlier years.

If, however, the human form were to turn into some shape that did not belong to its own nature, or even if something were added to the sum of its members or subtracted from it, the whole body would necessarily perish or become grotesque or at least be enfeebled. In the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.

In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.

On the contrary, what is right and fitting is this: there should be no inconsistency between first and last, but we should reap true doctrine from the growth of true teaching, so that when, in the course of time, those first sowings yield an increase it may flourish and be tended in our day also.

We are Closing Nineveh's Crossing

NOTE: This never really happened. Before we closed VISION VIDEO called and took over our inventory. Then 15 months later they sent some of it back for my daughter, April, to fulfill. Both movies allow me (Stan) time to crate new product and make films, which we are doing as of 2016.

After years of consideration and months of prayer we feel God's tug on our lives to discontinue operating Nineveh's Crossing. Our core products will still be available, but through others. [We've signed a distribution agreement with VISION VIDEO.] Our last day of normal operation will be November 1, 2013. If you want product, better order now. Much of it is on sale in one form on another.

Thank you to all our wonderful customers over the years. It's been a good journey filled with much learning and (I'm proud to say) a considerable bit of world evangelization. In addition to the U.S., we've shipped product to Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and points inbetween.  On both sides of my family and Pam's there were preachers and missionaries that traveled the world and in the U.S. with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, we're glad to have been part of continuing that legacy.

But, we're not done. Pam's going to run for U.S. House of Representatives in the not too distant future (my opinion), and I'm going to make cultural altering motion pictures (that's my opinion, as well).

Blessings to all of you.

I'll keep this blog kicking ... now and then. Stay tuned.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Obama's Dictator Mentality. He's not a Victim

My husband, bless his living soul, sent me this link:

about how Obama may be the consequence of a pschosis known as "Victim Mentality."

I read the whole thing.  I don't think Obama has a victim mentality, I think he has a dictator mentality.

I think he is purposely trying to destroy America by building up our debt and tearing down our moral code.  He's trying to make people dependent on government, while making it impossible for government to fund the programs required.  He's taking away the American spirit of working hard and being proud of that work and the honest paycheck, and turning Americans into greedy entitlement-seekers.  Our place of honor in the world has fallen.  He has snubbed our allies and negotiated with the enemy.

He is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a liar, a deceiver, a charmer with no intention of following through on his flattering claims.  He's divisive, a cheat, a destroyer... especially of Christian morals and the Catholic Church.  His Hope & Change message was intended to leave us hopeless, devoid of freedoms we hold dear, and meant to change America into a government-dependent nanny-state.

I just can't believe he has gotten so far in his agenda in the 5 years since he became president.  If we don't take back the Senate and keep the House in 2014, we will not recognize America in another 2 years.  He is not a victim.  He has an agenda, and it doesn't have our best interests in mind.  I think he wants to rule the world, and he either is the puppet for the anti-christ or is himself.

That's what I think, and if I had the guts, I'd tell him so.    :  )

But, actually it is very sad, unless we get off our duffs and win next year.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pope St. Gregory's Pastorial Advice for Bishops

From Divine Office app 10-6-2013 - Office of Readings. If only bishops  did this....things would be different in the U.S.

Second reading
From the Pastoral Guide by Saint Gregory the Great, pope

A spiritual guide should be silent when discretion requires and speak when words are of service. Otherwise he may say what he should not or be silent when he should speak. Indiscreet speech may lead men into error and an imprudent silence may leave in error those who could have been taught. Pastors who lack foresight hesitate to say openly what is right because they fear losing the favor of men. As the voice of truth tells us, such leaders are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears.

The Lord reproaches them through the prophet: They are dumb dogs that cannot bark. On another occasion he complains: You did not advance against the foe or set up a wall in front of the house of Israel, so that you might stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord. To advance against the foe involves a bold resistance to the powers of this world in defense of the flock. To stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord means to oppose the wicked enemy out of love for what is right.

When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent? Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel. Therefore, the Lord again says to his unfaithful people: Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins. The name of the prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and thereby lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.

The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop: He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For the same reason God tells us through Malachi: The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Finally, that is also the reason why the Lord warns us through Isaiah: Cry out and be not still; raise your voice in a trumpet call.

Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge who follows. If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter? It was to bring this home that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues on the first pastors, for he causes those whom he has filled, to speak out spontaneously.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Malaysia & Latoya Deliver "What Catholics Really Believe"

We've sold over 2,100 copies of the book version of "What Catholics Really Believe" and after some heart searching and prayer, Dr. Ray and I decided that we were not ready to let this beautiful book go out of print. The origional print order was just over 2,500 copies.  The book is popular, and it's being used around the world for Catholic studies. We print it in Malaysia (via Imago) so that we can sell here it at a reasonable price. I don't mind defending that decision:

a. After polling over a dozen printers here in the U.S. none could provide us with the special "flex binding" that we think is a great feature for a study book of this kind.

b. The prices we did receive for U.S. side printing of this book (with normal binding) would have forced the retail price of the book to nearly $90. But, now we can sell it for a suggested retail list price of $24.95 -- and the street price, especially in bundles is much lower.

c. I'm sure, now with the second printing delivered, that more than a few copies of the book have found their way into the Malaysia public, and thus we've covertly been able to do a little missionary work in a country the other side of the world and is mostly non-Christian.

LaToya Delivers. 2,628 WCRB Books from Malaysia
So, the other day, after a 6-week trip by container ship across the Pacific and then trucked from Long Beach, CA local Road Runner logistics truck driver LaToya delivered another 3 pallets of the book (2,628 copies) at our door step.

She also holds a copy of Deacon Alex Jones' latest effort, WISDOM FROM ABOVE, the 13 part DVD series currently playing on EWTN and a few other networks. Both gifts from us.

If you haven't seen the inside of this volume, it is truly stunning and educational. Here's the link to a page that has sample pages. (Scroll to the bottom of the left-hand column and click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Single and Celibate - The Benefits

Eight Great Reasons To Be Single and Celibate

Stanley D. Williams, PhD

[An article published in 2002 ... was lost, now re-found.]

A recurring objection to the Catholic priesthood is the requirement of remaining single and celibate. Our culture tends to look on singleness as a curse rather than a potential blessing. To bring some balance to the dialogue, here are eight great reasons to be single. As a Catholic you’ll find some of these reasons interesting, if not ironic, because they do not come from the pen of a celibate Catholic theologian, monk, or priest cloistered in a Mongolian monastery. Instead, they come from a Protestant-Evangelical minister, John Piper in his book RECOVERING BIBLICAL MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD. John is married to Noel and together they have four children.

1. Marriage in not the final destiny of any human being.

Christ reminds us in Mark 12 that in heaven there will be no marriage, but we will be like the angels in heaven. If our ultimate goal is heaven, as opposed to marriage, then we must see that our ultimate state is as an angel who is not married.

2. Jesus Christ, the most fully human person who ever lived was not married, and he never once had sexual intercourse.

Modeling our life so completely after Christ’ singleness of life and the words of Luci Swindoll “leads into a wide world of wonder and freedom and joy and love.”

3. The Bible celebrates celibacy because it gives extraordinary opportunity for single-minded investment in Ministry for Christ.

An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world —how he can please his wife.

An unmarried person cherishes his or her freedom for flexible scheduling and for the ability to take risks that you could not take if you were a husband, wife, mother or father. The single life-style enables one to get the most out of the time God gives for His work. One missionary said, “One of my chief delights is that I don’t have to fit my ministry around a family schedule. I don’t have to be home at a certain time each night. My time is the Filipinos’ time.”

4. The Apostle Paul and a lot of great missionaries after him have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God as Jesus. (c.f. Mt. 19:12)

Ada Lum, a single woman working with an Evangelical mission in S.E. Asia tells of sitting next to a nun while flying from Rome to Munich. Ada was impressed by the youthful enthusiasm of this nun who had been in the mission fields of the Philippians for 30 years and spent part of that time in a political jail. For the first time this single Evangelical missionary, who had considered marriage, saw the plain gold ring that most nuns wear, inside of which was inscribed, “Wed to Christ.” To the Evangelical the concept was new and exciting. Imagine being married to the creator of the universe.

5. The Apostle Paul calls singleness a gift from God.

“I wish that all men were [single] as I am. But each man has his own gift from God." (1 Corinthians 7:7) Although God created all of us for relationships we can have many healthy and fruitful relationships without marriage.

6. Jesus promises that forsaking family for the sake of the kingdom will be repaid with a new family, the Church. (Mark 10:29-30)

Singles have discovered the hundreds of family members in the body of Christ. April, our single daughter who is now 28, always wanted to have a lot of children. She thought she could only do that through marriage. But April is not married, yet she has a rich relationship with 20 children that she nurtures and calls her own where she teaches elementary school. We are regularly inundated with pictures and stories about “her kids” which have in turn become our grandchildren.

 7. God is sovereign over who gets married and who doesn’t. And He can be trusted to do what is good for those who hope in Him.

The Psalmist says, “no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11). Ann Kiemel Anderson wrote this poem: Jesus -- if this is Your will -- then YES to being single. -- In my deepest heart, I want to marry, -- to belong to a great man -- to know that I am linked to his life -- and he to mine.-- following Christ and our dreams together.-- But you know what I need.-- If I never marry, -- it is YES to you.

8. Mature manhood and womanhood are not dependent on being married.

We are either man or woman by nature. God gives us sexuality and a temperament to match. Who we are is based on his creation, not on our vocational decision. We are not made more fully man or woman by being married, or having sex, or having children. Your roleas a single person is different than as a married person. But, don’t confuse your role with your sexual identify. Regardless of marriage, you are a full creation, with unique and particular passions, gifts, skills and talents. God, through Christ and the Church, has promised you a full life. All you have to do is respond to his call and say yes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Attend The Cross and The Light

Facebook Link.

March 24-31, 2013.
11 Performances. Musical Hall, Detroit, MI
Kelly Neito

My friend and tour de force producer-writer, former Miss Michigan, comedian, writer, and composer --  Kelly Neito has been producing a version of this spectacular for the past 12 years. It starter in her parish as the Living Stations of the Cross. Each year she added something to it. Three years ago it was a full fledged musical presentation staged at the Detroit Cathedral with union talent that attracted tens of thousands.

But now they've out grown that, as well. This year for the first time they've moved  to a professional venue,  on a legitimate stage, and added a full Act. This is the most dramatic passion play (with the Resurrection and beyond that the Midwest has seen). If the last year was any predictor, this production will be on Broadway soon. It's that good.

There are only 11 performances at the Detroit Music Hall during Holy Week. Well worth the money and effort. A great musical, written and produced by a Catholic with stage chops to spare, in Detroit's best venue by any measure.