Welcome family to our e-Newsletter.
August 2010 Online Issue #6
"May God Bless America"
From My Pew
Beloved family, we need to pray. We know this is not the first time we’ve said this, but there is an urgency to plead for the power from above to help us in these times of darkness. We must pray to come out of the darkness into the light.
We Christians are the most blessed people on earth, what with our Founder (Jesus Christ) and our history passed down by the Apostles and our Saints, who have preceded us. We must not allow anyone to take it from us. For the valuable treasures they can abscond with, are our very souls. Thank God for our country, land of the free and the home of the brave. I cannot see our flag waving in the breeze without choking up. This is our flag, flag painted with the red of blood which was shed for this our land of the free.
We hear today a warped interpretation of the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, which was the protection of the individual’s freedom of religion from interference by the government. The First Amendment was created to protect religion from interference by the government, not vice versa. The actual words of the first amendment are:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”
Our nation is a nation founded under God! The United States is the only country consecrated to “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.” The first Council of Baltimore in 1846 proclaimed Our Mother Mary:
“Mary, in her Immaculate Conception,
Principal Patron of the United States.”
The Bishops of the United States on February 7, 1847 affirmed it by”…unanimously placing the Catholic Church under the special patronage of the Blessed Virgin.”
We love you and our country, the United States of America. Our country has allowed itself to fall into a period of darkness. The most powerful weapon we have to combat this is prayer! Let us join hands and pray for our country for ourselves and the generations to come after us.
We can pray our country
out of the darkness into the Light!
What’s new! We find it difficult to believe it’s already time to prepare for our trip to Europe to begin videotaping new programs for our series, “The Many Faces of Mary” and “Super Saints”. The days seem to fly faster and faster, leaving us with the question, “Where has the time gone?” We thank Our Lord for the privilege to serve Him by serving you. You are the joy of our hearts, the reason for our being.
The Lord put on our hearts to go to France, “our eldest daughter of the Church.” She is a part of our history, our Catholic history. Researching the Saints and the newly accepted apparition of Mother Mary in Laus, in the French Alps, has awakened in us the impetus, the fire to bring you yet another part of our history that, like us, you may not have known. We are particularly excited to bring you the only accepted apparition in France, by Mother Church, of St. Joseph. Happening in the seventeenth century, like all authenticity which never grows old, but instead has a message for generations to come, it touched our hearts and inspired us to learn even more about our Church, now in France, and bring you the happenings that have colored our lives.
We can learn from the past!
We must learn from the past!
Let us go to Cotignac, France. The Lord, not desiring us to center solely on our beloved St. Joseph, but rather on the entire Holy Family, He has an apparition of Our Lady come about near the spot where St. Joseph appeared. Wanting His Church to touch all the citizens of France, and knowing the tragic times the faithful would suffer, He sent His Mother and His adopted father St. Joseph to come and bring Good News! Learn how Our Lord got involved with the King and Queen of France, having His Mother, Our Lady of Grace, intercede and be an instrument of bringing a male heir to the crown, when after twenty-two years of marriage, the Queen could not conceive.
We will be taping the life of another Blessed Margaret of Castello, St.Germaine of Pibrac, France, who too was unwanted and mistreated all her life by her family; but who found her consolation in Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
We continue on to Laus and a newly approved apparition of Our Lady, which took place over 400 years ago, and although it has been recently approved, it has been in the hearts of the faithful of that region and surrounding regions, from the very beginning, non-stop, with Our Lady bestowing upon Her children .the gifts that they have needed to survive. We believe it is time for all the faithful of the world to get down on their knees and pray for Our Lady’s intercession...
Last but not least, we will be taping the fascinating life of St. Peter Julian Eymard, who founded a community devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. We will follow his life from La Mure, where he was born and died, to his many pilgrimages to Our Lady of Laus. Then on to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, in Lyons, where St. Peter Julian Eymard received the mandate by Our Mother to found a community dedicated to honoring and fostering devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. We will end our videotaping with our last stop in Paris, to St. Peter Julian Eymard’s Shrine, where his body is interred. Again there are those who would wonder why now, why a program on this Saint. We have good news! We have Our Lord present among us to hear us. We can speak to Him, seek Him out for consolation. He is our only hope; He has always been our only hope. We find in tracing the history of our Church, we are not alone! We have faced the enemy of God before and we are still here, stronger than ever, armed with the Truth and the resolve that Our Lord reigns and He loves us. And as before in our history, He will not let us down. We just need to turn to Him and follow His command!
Thanks to the generosity of our Production Angels, Brother Joseph and we, Bob and Penny, will set out for this journey of faith and love, traveling the French Alps and videotaping this portion of the Church in France. We will be traveling and videotaping nine days, staying in the shrines’ guest houses, a little more modest than the accommodations we have prepared for our pilgrims, who we will be meeting up with in Rome on the tenth day of our trip. Brother will fly home to the Mission and Luz Elena will lead the pilgrims, along with our Spiritual Director, Father Jerry La Patka. It is hard to explain the feelings we have. We are blessed by dear friends who have been pilgrims with us before and two special friends from our prayer group, who come from the neighboring village. I cannot begin to tell you how very excited we are! Each pilgrimage, for us, is a new experience, seeing and sharing all the treasures of our Faith.
We will be praying for you and specifically our nation, the United States of America.
If you have petitions you would like us to place at the Shrines we will visit, please send them at once.
We love you!!
Prayer to Our Lady of Laus
Our Lady of Laus, Refuge of Sinners,
Look down with kindness and compassion
Upon the physical and moral miseries of our age!
Have mercy on they children
and deign to convert us all
entirely to the love of thy Divine Son!
Our Lady of Czestochowa
The Virgin of Jasna Góra
We did not think it possible for anyone to show a greater outpouring of love for Our Lady than the Mexican people, the first time we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. There is such a love for Our Lady in that country, it defies description. We have witnessed the honor and tribute paid to the Morenita (the Dark One) by people from all walks of life. From the Pope, to the president of the country, to the poorest citizen, all pay the greatest respect possible to the Mother of God, their Mother.
But after having gone to Poland, in particular, the Bright Hill, as Jasna Góra is called, we stutter trying to describe in the slightest, the outpouring of emotion given to their Lady, Our Lady. There’s not a time you go to Czestochowa that it is not packed with pilgrims. From the youngest to the oldest, they are in tears as they go before the image of Our Lady, this most beautiful Mother of theirs. The first time we went, children who had just received their First Holy Communion were presented to Our Lady. There had to be three hundred of them from all over the area. The girls were dressed like little brides. The boys were dressed in suits. They couldn’t wait until our host, Fr. Stefan, removed the barrier so that they could run up and present themselves to Mother Mary. They flocked around the Altar of the Chapel, where the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa waited for them.
We weren’t sure what we wanted to tell you about first. Should we begin with stories from its magnificent tradition, which are filled with accounts of major battles won through the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and of the generals who dedicated their troops and their battles to Our Lady, who wore the breastplate of Our Lady as they went into battle, and then came back after their victories to thank Our Lady, and give Her complete credit for their conquest?
Or would you like to know about Lech Walesa, who had been the head of Solidarity, and became the first president of Poland after the fall of communism? He was originally in charge of the workers’ union. For organizing the workers against communism, he was imprisoned by the communists. When he was released, he lost his job and took on odd jobs, continuing to fight against communism. He became the leader of solidarity and was again imprisoned in 1981. In 1982, he was released and in 1983, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, which he presented to Our Lady at the Shrine. A very pious man, we had the privilege of attending a private Mass with him in the presidential palace.
Or should we begin with the miraculous tradition by which this painting found its way from a little home in Jerusalem to Czestochowa, Poland, 1300 years later? Where do you start? I guess the beginning would be best.
Tradition tells us that St. Luke painted the original image of Our Lady on a table top in St. Joseph’s workshop in Nazareth. We truly believe that St. Luke sat at the feet of Mary and listened to Her tell about the Miraculous Conception and Birth of Our Lord Jesus. St. Luke is the only one of the four Gospel writers who describes in detail the events from the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Our Lady, through the Visitation, the Birth of Jesus, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Finding of Our Lord Jesus in the Temple. Where would he have gotten this information if not sitting at Her feet, listening in awe to this, the most beautiful Woman the world has ever known?
And why not, while he was listening to Her, could he not have painted a picture of Her, or drawn a sketch which later could become a statue of Her (Our Lady of Loreto)? There are many writings which justify this theory. From the early days, writers such as Sixtus of Siena and Nicefar (a Roman writer) both wrote that St. Luke painted the image of Our Lady.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of images of Our Lady, most of them created through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by the hands of mankind (men or women). All are limited in their ability to capture the beauty of the Mother of God, except two. One is the image which was painted by the Divine Artist, brought to earth by the Angels and deposited on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico in 1531. This is undoubtedly the truest image of Our Lady we will ever see. The Artist was God.
The second image was made firsthand by a person who was standing or sitting or kneeling in Her presence as he put the image on canvas, or in this case, on a table top, which, according to tradition, was made by Our Lord Jesus as a young Man. It is believed, the artist was St. Luke, the physician, the Evangelist, the artist. To our way of thinking (and now, don’t take this as church teaching, this is Bob and Penny Lord), he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. To repeat, to our way of thinking, what gives it away is Our Lady’s eyes.
There are expressions and expressions on images of Our Lady. But none that we have seen have the pain and suffering Our Lady experienced in Her lifetime. Nor does any other image of Our Lady depict the overwhelming sadness which cries out in that painting by St. Luke. Not even the re-creation of the scene at the foot of the Cross, where Our Lady holds Her Beloved Son’s limp, bleeding Body in Her arms - the Pieta, captures the anguish of Our Lady, painted by St. Luke. Not even those images of Our Lady standing at the foot of the Cross, painted by some of the most gifted artists, who have attempted to capture those moments, have the depth of sadness in the eyes of Our Lady depicted by St. Luke.
It had to be done while he sat in front of Her, listening as She recounted Her life story to him. There were most likely moments when Her eyes lit up, and She smiled, remembering special times in Her life with Her Son and St. Joseph. Perhaps the very occasion He made the table, upon which St. Luke was painting Her portrait, was a joyful moment. But then there were other times, when St. Luke could almost see what She could see - the Passion, Crucifixion and Death of Her Son. How sad, how overpoweringly sad it had to be, for Her to look out at the world with such agony coming from deep within Her heart, rising up into Her eyes, and then spilling out for all the world to see and know.
As we’ve said before, there have been many portraits of Our Lady made over the centuries. She is the most popular Woman the world has ever known. And of those paintings, there are so many diverse expressions on Her face, you can’t count all of them. But there has never been a painting made of Our Lady which begins to compare with the raw, naked emotion of the painting of Our Lady in Czestochowa. And because the artist had so profoundly personal a relationship with Our Lady, we concur that it could very well have been St. Luke. Why not?
What you have read is a short excerpt
of the chapter on Our Lady of Czestochowa from Bob and Penny Lord’s book,
September Conference 2010
which will take place
on the weekend of September 24-26.
These are always special times, but we believe this year, we have exceptional reason to bring you here to Our Mission, to share the Eucharist, Adoration, and inspired talks by our speakers. We have a lot of good news to share with you, and some not-so-good news, but in the final analysis, and our final word on the subject will be, “God is in Charge”, and to quote a TV talk show host,
“Never underestimate the Power of Prayer.”
We were quite honestly shocked when we heard him say that. We have been telling you that for at least 20 years now, but to hear it on Prime Time secular television, (well ok, it was Fox News, but still…) we shouted a Halleluiah to the Lord. We are not hopeless; we are not helpless. But if this was not a wake-up call, we’ve never heard one. Never underestimate the power of prayer. When someone other than EWTN or Christian television preachers tell you to go back to your church, and if you don’t have one, go up on a mountain and pray, it’s time to pay attention to what the Lord is saying through this person.
We are super-blessed in that we do have a Church to go to, one that was given to us by Our Lord Jesus 2000 years ago. He’s given us tools to help us walk through our pilgrimage of life. He’s given us weapons against the enemy. All we have to do is use them.
The thrust of this Conference is the Scriptural passage, “Out of the Darkness into the Light.” We have had so many scripture passages this last month in the Magnificat that refer to that very saying, “Come out of the darkness into the light.” It’s not too late, but we must not wait. To quote St. Peter Julian Eymard, “Tomorrow will be too late.” There is a feeling of depression out there. We spoke to one of our very special people, inviting him to the come to the conference. He told Luz Elena, “I’m so deep into the darkness; I can’t see any light to come out to.” We’re not saying that refers to you. We pray it doesn’t refer to you. But we all need to be lifted up.
We want to share with you some of the times in the history of our Church, that things looked darker, and more hopeless than they do now. There have been times when we thought all was lost. We want to share with you battles won, in which we were unbelievably outnumbered by the enemy, and the battle was won through the Rosary.
Our Lord Jesus has given us so many ways to rise up out of the darkness, but we have to make the first step. We have to look in the direction of the light, not wallow in the despair of the dark. This weekend we want to praise Our Lord Jesus for all that He has given us, and continues to give us. How do we do this?
Inspired Talks – Three
Praise and Worship –
Opportunity to Walk the Stations of the Cross and the Mysteries of the Rosary
Spend time with
Get back to your Catholic Roots!!
It doesn’t get better than this. We want to give you that feeling of good times on this weekend. Think positive. Give yourself the gift of this weekend.
The Time is now!!
Don’t’ wait. Don’t say, “Well, maybe I’ll go next year. I have a wedding to go to. There’s a county fair somewhere, in some county in the state, or not.” We have so many things to share with you. We have lined up very special people to share with you, and give you some of the good news Jesus wants you to have. If you can’t come for the whole weekend, come on Saturday and Sunday. Or just come on Saturday. But then you miss a great free lunch on Sunday. You have heard the expression, “There are no Free Lunches.” Well, there is a Free Lunch on Sunday afternoon at Holy Family Mission, brought up especially for us from the finest chefs of Louisiana. In the midst of their suffering, they will put together a feast for us. And it’s your reward for having come to the Conference.
If you can’t afford the admission price, speak to Luz Elena or Brother Joseph.
They will work something out. No one will be turned away. All are welcome!!
The Time – September 24-26
The Place – Holy Family Mission, Morrilton, Arkansas
Don’t cheat yourself out of this gift!!
We love you!!
Perspective is the word we want to focus on first in this article.
Perspective is derived from latin roots meaning to see through. We want to discuss how we must change our perspective and see through the events of these days and hopefully gain some perspective.
We believe there are forces all around the globe trying to blind us.
Blind us, to sin by telling us sin does not exist.
Blind us, to live by telling us life is not worth living.
Blind us, to God himself by telling us that God is not relevant and does not exist.
The list goes on and on.
Now that we are aware of these forces and the situation we find ourselves in, how do we get our vision back?
If you compress the whole mess down, you will find ultimately we are facing a worldwide struggle for power.
Pope John Paul II repeatedly instructed us about three major forces struggling for complete control and power.
Those three are: Christianity led by the Roman Catholic Church, secularism led by the socialist and power hungry, and militant Islam.
We believe he was a prophet for our times. Fortunately, he did tell us Christianity would win in the end after a long hard fight.
So what are we to do now?
In order to speed this victory along, we must get more and more Christians (Catholics and Protestants) off the list of doing nothing. They must now be motivated to evangelize, at home, in the work place and in the public places 24/7.
Why, because that is what our enemies are doing!
We believe God has inspired us to create tools for this fight.
First: Understanding of the central facets of our Faith - The Eucharist and Mother Mary
The tool for this is of course the books and dvds on the Miracles of the Eucharist and the Many Faces of Mary. These are the two pillars in the famous dream of Saint John Bosco about the future. Pope John Paul II led us closer to the Eucharist and Mary by proclaiming Years of the Eucharist and the Rosary.
Second: Wisdom of the Saints.
God has placed Saints among us to give us greater wisdom and insights into proper perspective of what is important or not.
Bob and Penny were inspired from the beginning of their ministry to focus more on the lives of the Saints. In fact they have now authored 8 books on the Saints. They have even been dubbed, "Experts on the Saints!" They have produced over 200 dvds on the Treasures of the Church.
We urge you to study the Saints and glean how they fought the battles of their times.
Yes, we will win this war! Our goal is to provide you with the tools you need to arm yourself to fight the good fight!
Thanks for your support and prayers.
Come to our conference - go to page 9!
We encourage your feedback to our e-newsletter.
The Catholic Experience:
A Clown who became a Priest, -who became a Martyr, who became a Saint.
On September 25, 1988, a fairly large group of Mexicans, led by a Priest, walked to the National Lottery building, located on a busy thoroughfare in Mexico City, and celebrated Mass there. The crowd was large enough to attract the attention of the police, and we believe they did notice.
But the faithful were not stopped, or hindered in any way. We were very surprised to hear of this, until we were told of a little bronze plaque on the wall of that building. It reads very simply, “This is the spot where Padre Miguel Pro was executed on November 23, 1927.” The day Mass was celebrated was the day Miguel Pro was beatified by Pope John Paul II, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
In 1927, the execution of Miguel Pro, and the publicizing of that execution, was a huge mistake on the part of the Mexican government, which they have never been able to live down or sweep under the carpet. It highlighted the persecution of the Church by the government. Padre Miguel Pro just refused to go away, and based on his recent beatification, he never will.
Who is Padre Miguel Pro?
Miguel Agustín Pro, God’s clown, was born on January 13, 1891. Miguel was of the upper class, but he never thought of himself that way. His greatest love, as a child, was to be with the workers. To Miguel, this was the best way to spend his life. He delighted in bringing some sunshine into their overworked hearts.
One talent Miguel acquired early in life, which would be extremely important to him later on, was as a caricaturist. He was able to capture, in exaggerated form, the peculiarities in people’s faces. He would embellish noses, thick bushy eyebrows, long chins, funny eyes, buck teeth. This ability to disguise himself was to prove crucial in later years.
From 1872 to 1913, tensions between the Church and the state had cooled, somewhat. The fact that Miguel Pro attended a Jesuit seminary in Mexico, is proof of this. But the fire between Church and State was never put out. In the years to come, it would rekindle into a roaring blaze. As it was developing, the attitude of many people was, the country had been under some form of revolution since before their birth; they had survived thus far; they would continue to survive. But we always say, how many dead bodies would be left to lay in the wake of this new revolution. The common man would see the balance of power affect him in a devastating way. Miguel’s father had to flee from his home, as did his mother, and his younger brothers and sisters. Financially, they had lost everything. The Revolution of 1910 would cause suffering that equaled or surpassed the holocaust of the past.
Miguel put all his trust in the Lord. He had made a commitment to become a Priest, and he was going to live by it. While he was able to keep in focus with his mind, his body began to give way. He contracted an agonizing illness which would be with him, the rest of his life. But being who he was, he never let on that he was ill. He was the jester of the seminary. Very few knew what lay behind his cheerful exterior. Although on the surface, he was a clown, he was very firm on his observance of the Rule, and his studies.
The Persecution intensified
Conditions in the country were approaching disaster proportions. Law was virtually non-existent. The military ruled by intimidating landowners, confiscating their possessions, and then shooting them. Miguel spent much of his spare time at the outer edges of the seminary, listening to stories from passersby of how bad things were going in the rest of the country. In addition, it became very obvious that a new wave of persecution was being aimed at the Church. Pope Pius XI termed this period in Mexico as “exceeding the most bloody persecutions of the Roman emperors.”
War stories of Religious being beaten, and strung up to die, found their way back to the seminary. The possibility of becoming a Martyr for the Faith, became very real to Miguel, for the first time. A fellow student testified that Miguel expressed “that ardent wish, which he felt, to suffer persecution for justice’ sake.”
A heavy blanket of tension covered the Seminary, towards the end of the school year. The superiors were aware of the atrocities that were going on all around them; but were not saying anything to the students, in order not to frighten them. The students, for their part, were aware of the problems; but said nothing to their superiors, in order not to alarm them. A band of guerrillas attacked the neighboring town. They did not stop at pillaging and destroying. As they barraged the innocents of the village, with violence upon violence, the general in charge of the guerrillas killed the head of the village. Finally, what the seminary feared most, came about. One night, these pistol-shooting, drunken, vicious men found their way into the seminary. They broke down doors, chopped up furniture, shot up the building, and generally terrorized the superiors. No one was beaten, or hung, or shot; but the seminarians and their superiors knew their days were numbered. They didn’t have to wait long; shortly after, wholesale persecution of all religious orders went into full force, once again. The superiors determined, it was best they all abandon the seminary and flee for their lives. All were given civilian clothing to wear.
On the Feast of the Assumption, they left the seminary. The Priests and novices went by twos, sporadically, in different directions, to avoid attracting attention. Miguel went to the nearest town, Zamora. The plan was for all of them to mix with the local population, and stay undercover until they could regroup as a community. For some reason, everyone in Zamora knew that Miguel and his companion were Priests, or about to become Priests. This didn’t present a problem until a few days later, when the Churches were closed; and everyone who had anything to do with the Church, from a sacristan to a Bishop, had to appear before the head of the town. Miguel and his friend didn’t go. All who did were thrown into jail, manhandled and tortured.
But for Miguel, a very important chapter of his life began. He knew that he had to fool the soldiers and police. In order to do this, he began to practice his art of elaborate disguise. This was to be his salvation during his active ministry; no one could identify him. One evening, he disguised himself as a peon, dressed in cotton pants, wrapped in a serape, with a large sombrero on his head. He walked casually through the town, past all the armed revolutionaries, who were on the lookout for religious. According to the plan set by his superiors, he made his way to Guadalajara, to meet up with the rest of the community. There, he found his mother and his brothers and sisters, living in the poorest of conditions. But they were alive; that was all that mattered. Word came to him that his father was definitely alive and safe, though they didn’t know where.
Risk-taking became a way of life for religious in Mexico. At one point, the Bishop met with a group of five hundred faithful on private property, and celebrated Mass. During the service, the house was surrounded by armed revolutionaries, and all were placed under arrest. However, their plans were foiled by a huge group of people who surrounded them, and demanded they free the Bishop. The revolutionaries backed down, in the face of such a mob.
It was becoming more and more difficult to function, under the suppressed circumstances. Finally, word came by code for Miguel and the other seminarians to leave Guadalajara for Los Gatos, in California; there they were to continue their studies. It was very a heart-breaking experience for Miguel at the Guadalajara railroad station. His mother and brothers and sisters saw him off. He knew he was leaving them in an impossible situation, but he had to continue in his commitment to the Lord. He knew, as he bid his mother good-by, that he would never see her again on this earth. He never did.
Miguel in exile
Miguel and sixteen other companions, from the Jesuit seminary in El Llano, traveled together through Mexico, which was now enemy territory for them, across the border at Nogales, Mexico, and up through California to Los Gatos, some fifty miles south of San Francisco. Although he had never visited this country before, he knew that at one time, it had belonged to his beloved Mexico, and now, he was a foreigner here. But he was an outcast in his own country, an outlaw, a deserter from the cause, whatever that cause might be at any given time. Still, it was his country; his mother and father, his sisters and brothers, were still there. The people, the Lord had commissioned him to minister to, were there.
The Jesuits at Los Gatos were extremely hospitable. Though they were filled to capacity, they found room for their sixteen Mexican brothers. Language, however, was a major problem. The Americans didn’t speak Spanish; the Mexicans couldn’t speak English. They had complete access to the library, although there was only one book in Spanish, which they could use. They felt out of place. It was extremely difficult for them to study. In addition, bad news from home was followed by worse news, always leveled at the Church. Carranza had written the devastating Constitution of Querétaro in 1917. In it, no foreigner was allowed to possess anything in Mexico. Religious vows were forbidden. All ecclesiastical property was to belong to the State. Priests could not practice their ministry. They had absolutely no rights, at all. Hundreds of Priests, a number of Bishops and Nuns were expelled from the country. Two thousand Catholic schools were closed.
The situation in Los Gatos was not working out for the Mexican students. They decided to send the Mexican students to Spain to finish their studies. After all, Spain was the home of the Jesuits. And so, the sixteen packed up again, made the long trip to New York by way of El Paso and Miami, and boarded a ship for Spain. They arrived in Granada, in July of that year.
What you have read is a short excerpt on the life of Blessed Miguel Pro, Mexican Martyr.
From Bob and Penny Lord’s book,
How can you help us?
In 1945, the Nazi war machine was finally crushed and cities and countries all over Europe were being liberated by the Allied Forces. Great shouts of joy could be heard. Young girls in Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, and other cities across Europe kissed young G.I.s and other liberating forces. Churches were filled with Masses of Thanksgiving. Prayers of gratitude were offered up by the tens of thousands to Our Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary for finally ending the hell to which these dear people had been subjected for the last six years. It was a new beginning, a new world for Europe.
But not quite all. East of Germany and west of Russia, the little country of Poland was not liberated by anyone. It just changed tyrants. It was evacuated by the Nazi troops, and just taken over by a different monster, the Soviet Union. At the end of World War II, when Hitler knew the end was inevitably close, he had initiated his “Scorched Earth” policy, which, stated simply, meant, “Burn everything to the ground. Don’t leave anything for the Allies to capture.” Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was almost completely destroyed. We’re told that 85% of the city burned to the ground. When Eisenhower came through some months after the war ended, he wept at the all-out devastation he witnessed. And yet, while this ruination was being inflicted on the people of Poland, the Russian Army, which was supposed to be our allies, sat on the other side of the Wisla River and just watched. Then, when it was finished, they simply marched in and took over, according to a pre-ordained agreement made by Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference in February, 1945. The Communists continued the rule of tyranny over these dear people for the next forty-five years. There are many martyrs of Poland. We chose to share with you in this Good Newsletter, one who was instrumental in the downfall of Communism in Poland.
Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko
Martyr of Solidarity - 1984
Fr. Jerzy’s last homily was “Conquer Evil by doing good!” This was the final straw for his adversaries. They had to kill him. That sounds a little ridiculous, but there’s more truth to it than meets the eye. That statement, and all it implies, is very dangerous and threatening to all that Communism holds sacred. How does an opponent fight against that philosophy. It reminds us of something Jesus said:
“You have learned how it was said, `an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say this to you; offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.
“You have heard it said, `You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say this to you; love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”_
Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko was a victim of an angry, dying dinosaur, lashing out at the very One who killed him. It would take almost six years after Jerzy’s death for the dinosaur, Communism in Poland, to breathe its last, but the turning point began with the murder, the martyrdom of Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko.
Jerzy was born on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, September 14, 1947. He would prove to be a super-strong catalyst in bringing about the Triumph of the Cross in his life, and in the lives of the people of Poland. He was born in the northeastern part of the country. He had the influence of two important role models, which tyrannical governments have been trying to destroy from the beginning of civilization, his grandmother, and a good Priest. In this instance, the Priest was St. Maxmilian Kolbe.
You see how the Lord works. The martyrdom of Maxmilian Kolbe in Auschwitz has been considered by many, the waste of a brilliant mind. And while the Lord doesn’t cause these things to happen, the Lord has been able to use the murder of Kolbe by the Nazis to work in His favor in many ways. The fact that he was a role model for Jerzy Popieluszko and many other young men was only one facet of how our Saint Maxmilian has worked diligently for the Lord as a result of his Martyrdom.
As for the grandmother, they have always been God’s way of teaching the young about their Faith. They have been soldiers of the Lord, and bad enemies of the evil one. In Communist China, one of the first things that is done to a child is to remove him from any contact with his grandparents. As a boy, Jerzy found many issues of the Franciscan magazine, “The Immaculata” at his grandmother’s home.
As much as Jerzy felt drawn to the Franciscan community at Niepokolanow,_ he entered the Diocesan Seminary in Warsaw in 1965. A standard part of the Communist propaganda where seminarians were concerned, was to draft them into military service at the beginning of their seminary training. For Jerzy, this took place in his second year of training for Theology and Philosophy at the seminary. They jammed their minds with anti-clerical teachings, and anti-religious propaganda. They subjected them to the worst hardcore elements the military had.
Jerzy fought the program with all he was worth. He openly professed his Faith, and made a point of observing all religious observances, even though he paid a heavy price of persecution from his communist superiors. Possibly because of ill-treatment in the service, or because of living conditions in Poland in general, he came out of the army with heart problems, thyroid and other infirmities. But that didn’t hold him back. He was on fire for his Church. He wanted more than anything to be a Priest, and serve Our Lord Jesus through his brothers and sisters.
He was ordained on May 28, 1972. He threw himself into his priestly duties. This was why he was born; this is what he lived for. He worked in various parishes, as well as taking on many other activities, such as the National Consultation Group for Health Services in the diocese of Warsaw. Among other things, this entailed recruiting, training and scheduling medical students to handle the thousands of people who came to Warsaw during Pope John Paul II’s visits in 1979 and 1983. It was a mammoth undertaking, which would give ulcers and premature gray hair to anyone else. But to Fr. Jerzy, it was exactly what he wanted. Although he was very quiet and reserved, he enjoyed being with people, ministering to people, defending the rights of people.
He was transferred to the parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Warsaw in May of 1980. But the Lord was just gearing him for the major job He had for him. In August, 1980, Solidarity, the workers’ movement, was born in Poland. All over the country, there were mass anti-government demonstrations.
We have to take a moment to clarify the semantics of “mass demonstrations”. Word went out all over the world that these Polish anti-government super-activist demonstrations were going on. What was really happening was that thousands of workers at the factories went on strike and prayed the Rosary, or attended Mass. They had giant prayer meetings. The communist propaganda machines translated that into massive anti-government rallies. They sounded just like the American media who twist accounts of people praying the Rosary, outside abortion clinics, into mass demonstrations of raving activists, trying to block the way for innocent pregnant little girls from getting abortions.
This is a short excerpt on the life of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish Martyr
From Bob and Penny Lord’s Book,
Martyrs – They Died for Christ.
If we deny the gift of Purgatory, we open the doors to despair, we sin against the Holy Spirit and we allow ourselves to be trapped in a hopeless situation. Eternity consists of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. If we remove Purgatory from the equation, all we have left is Heaven and Hell; and since we all agree that we are sinners, and none of us are worthy of Heaven, then all that is left is Hell. With Purgatory out of the equation, we are denying the mercy and love of our compassionate God; we’re hopeless and helpless, and we fall into the hands of Satan and his cohorts. This is why Purgatory has been under attack, argued, denied and disavowed from the earliest days of our Church.
This travesty against the innocent lambs of God started centuries before the priest Luther betrayed his vows to his Church, to his priestly community and to his Sacrament of Holy Orders. It began with the Gnostics of the first centuries who claimed that the soul is purified on earth by going through degrees of purging solely before departing this world. In this way, they believed the soul would release itself from what they called “the dominion of sensualism,” what they termed, the domineering tentacles of the flesh on earth, the subhuman nature to which we are all subjected.
Part of the lie, these apostates espoused was that when one went through the earthly purging of the body, the soul became free from the body, and the soul returned to God on earth, with the full awareness of God, while everyone else was engulfed in eternal darkness. The apostasy they were selling was that under this new awareness, the soul would see and know the Lord on earth, as (we will) when we are in the Presence of God in Heaven, experiencing the Beatific Vision. It is so ridiculous, we often wonder how anyone could have bought into this strange philosophy. How can some have Heaven in the same place (earth) where the impure dwell in the darkness of Hell? That was their teaching! We believe and know that in Heaven, only the pure may enter; there you will find only light, the Light Who is God!
As this sick heresy denied most, if not all of that which Our Lord Jesus left us through the Apostles, it had no problem discarding the Dogma of Purgatory, that which was believed by the Jews before us.(II Machabees 12:39:46.) With these heretics we see, back to the very beginning of the Church, the enemies of God claiming that man can be a god. [Sounds like the new/old heretics of today who are telling us that the concept of “we can be gods” is new. However this story from the “father of lies” is as old as Lucifer in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-7))
These heresies were condemned, only to have them resurface with a new name but the same old lie. In the fourth century, a follower of Arius and Arianism, whose name was Aerius, condemned the Dogma of Purgatory as immoral. He twisted the teaching of Purgatory to mean that man could commit all sorts of sins and with money buy his way into Heaven, through others’ good works and prayers. They had to be ignorant of the Church’s teachings about the requirement to have true remorse and a firm purpose of amendment for our sins and the sincere promise to sin no more, in order to be forgiven. Without forgiveness, the next stop is Hell, not Purgatory; and no money, no prayers; no good works can release us from this land of eternal darkness and misery.
The attack on Purgatory in the Sixteenth Century
Down through the centuries, one enemy after another, preceding and including Luther, and after Luther, have tried and continue to try to destroy the fabric of what makes up the Church. Luther never told the people they were no longer Catholic and at one point, he said he had tried to do away with one Pope only to find he had created one hundred popes. And so, he had failed! But the enemy of God never sleeps, so up from the mire of Luther came one even worse, Calvin!
One of the most vicious “reformers” and instigators of the Sixteenth Century holocaust, Calvin rejected the teaching on Purgatory, though he admitted that it had been a widely-held belief among Christians from the very beginning. The harm done by such as Calvin has been perpetuated for four centuries, causing our brothers and sisters in Christ to be deprived of the consolation of God’s Mercy through Purgatory, even though Protestants have admitted that the concepts of purification after death and the custom of praying for the dead were scriptural and universal in the Church for fifteen hundred years.
Blessed Catherine Emmerich said, among the most heartbreaking visions she had of Purgatory, were those of the Poor Souls who linger and wither more than others, because they have no one to pray for them. She further said that it was revealed to her that Protestants, who have had a sincere and heartfelt remorse for their sins, but have not made restitution for their offenses against God, will have to spend time in Purgatory. They will have the benefit of God’s Mercy in Purgatory whether they believe in it or not.
We see Purgatory confirmed by the graffiti in the catacombs. A number of these markings can be seen on tombs of such Saints as Sts. Peter and St. Paul, St. Priscilla and St. Domitilla, dating back to the First Century, in the various Catacombs of Rome.
You can go as far back as the Council of Carthage_ which recommended praying for the dead.
Therefore, the belief in Purgatory is affirmed by the Early Church Fathers, inscribed on the tombs in the catacombs and made Dogma by the decrees of the different councils, down through the history of the Church. There is a warning to those who would deny this truth and lead others to do so:
“By rejecting prayer for the dead and the doctrine of temporal punishment of sin, they disrupt one of the most sacred bonds with which faith has encircled mankind that is the Communion of Saints.”
How men could, after so much authentication and fifteen centuries of ongoing tradition, justify robbing the faithful of their due heritage is an abomination that has to cry out to Heaven.
The Church Militant (those who are still alive), the Church Suffering (Poor Souls in Purgatory), the Church Triumphant (those who are in Heaven) make up the Mystical Body of Christ who has for its Head - Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when you attack any part of the Body, you attack the entire body, you attack the Head, and you attack Jesus Christ Himself.
As we know that there are no dead atheists, because when they die, they know there is a God; we believe that there are no dead Protestants because when they die, they will know the whole truth and be one with the Truth.
The Saints speak out
There have always been those who have put themselves above the traditions and teachings of the Church and, bitten by the viper of Pride, have dared to deny this Dogma of Consolation, the ancient belief of our Judeo-Christian heritage in Purgatory. Sadly, it seems that bad history repeats itself, man making the same mistakes over and over again, and falling prey to the enemy of God. To combat these elements, whose goal is to destroy the Church, the Lord raises up powerful men and women to defend the Church.
The great Spanish soldier who turned his fire and bravery towards the defense of the Church and the successors of Peter, the Popes, St. Ignatius of Loyola said that those arrogant men who put on an air of elitism, an air of all-knowing superiority, and with this convincing deception, challenge and in their challenge, lead many astray, are “like the fallen angels.” For as they (the angels) were brought low because of their pride and damned because of their failure to be faithful to the great exalted position they had received from God, so these men became enemies of Christ as they, betraying the trust passed along to them from the Apostles, attacked His Church and its Magisterium._ He said that by using poor science and unfounded theories, they sunk below “the most uncultured nations” where reason was concerned._
St. Thomas Aquinas said that while real science shows man as a humble servant, and defines all things except man, great; false science worships man and shows all things, small and insignificant by comparison.
He wrote that the good Angels escort the departed to Purgatory to begin their new life which will culminate with their triumphant entry into Heaven. He also said:
“The same fire that punishes the damned in Hell, chastises the Suffering Souls in Purgatory; and if you were to take the greatest pain we can suffer on earth, it would not compare to the smallest pain we will suffer in Purgatory.”
A Poor Soul appeared to St. Mechtildis_ and shared that the greatest pain suffered by the souls in Purgatory, is that they cannot be with God, and if all the desires of mankind could be grouped together, they would not equal the all-consuming desire of one soul for God.
But, there is good news in Purgatory! We know that there is the pain of separation from God and family, and a yearning, a hunger for eternal life with the Triune God. But the good news is that God in His Infinite Mercy does not leave those who are being detained in Purgatory, alone to suffer. One theologian_ wrote that when the soul leaves the body, it is granted all the necessary senses to communicate with other souls and the Heavenly Angels that may come to this temporary stopover.
According to St. Catherine of Genoa, the Poor Souls can comfort and support one another to the fullness of their own love and charity, to the degree they are empowered by Almighty God.
St. Bridget had a vision during one of her ecstasies of a soul who had received a triple sentence: (1)an inner and outer fire that almost consumed it, (2) extremely bitter cold, accompanied by (3) callous, rapid, repetitious bombardments from the devil.
St. John Chrysostom said in one of his homilies that it was not without solid reasoning that the Apostles passed down the remembrance of the departed during the Sacrifice of the Cross, for it makes sense that, as the priest offers the Victim, Jesus Christ, to the faithful Father, on the Altar of Sacrifice, the Father would be moved to show mercy toward the departed souls who have died in the Faith.
We repeat St. Monica’s last words to her son, St. Augustine: “Lay this body anywhere; be not concerned about that. Only this I beg of you, that wherever you may be, remember me at the Lord’s Altar.”
St. Augustine affirmed St. Paul’s teaching on Purgatory by writing:
“Punish me in Thy wrath, that I may be cleansed in this world, and so transformed that I shall not stand in need of the purifying flames, like those that are `saved as if by fire.’ Why this? Because they built on the foundation (walls made of) with wood, hay and stubble, here below. Had they built (them) with gold, silver and precious stones, they would be safe from both fires, not only from the everlasting one_ that shall torture the wicked forever, but also from the one_ that purifies those that are saved by fire.”
St. Augustine based this on St. Paul’s dissertation to the Corinthians_ where he teaches that there are those who attain Heaven by fire._ He also explains that there are those who build on the Foundation Who is Jesus Christ Himself, but they build a house of wood, hay and stubble; that is, they believe in Christ but soon temptations overshadow good works. The Church Fathers teach that gold, silver and precious stones stand for good works; and wood, hay and stubble for venial sins and failings.
St. Augustine clearly states the Church’s position on Purgatory when he points to St. Paul, for those he mentioned are not only examined but made to burn, so that they suffer by fire. The fire of which he writes cannot mean the fire of Hell, because the one that suffers by the fire is saved after suffering. It can only mean the purification by fire, after death, called Purgatory.
And so, the battle rages on, but we will all know the truth when we depart this earth.
From Bob and Penny Lord’s book,