Welcome family to our e-Newsletter.
Christmas 2010 Online Issue #7
Christmas special offers
Free book Holy Innocence
From My Pew
Satan conceals; but God reveals
We are on a giant high! Praise God! As we have often said, we asked for a cookie and God sent us a bake shop! We are back in the United States reporting on our trip in September where we taped yet more segments on the Super Saints, our precious Mother Mary and St. Joseph.
Our Church is like one great gift box filled with endless surprises. Like a good mother, Mother Mary, our general, does not allow us to discover all the gifts she has in store for us. Just when we think we have hit the bottom of the box and there are no more surprises, she tells us to dig deeper. We are so in love with Jesus and Mary, so in love with our Church! We could spend another lifetime and not run out of history of our Church! We, the mystical body of Christ, are so rich! We have a Treasure! We Catholics, are the most blessed people in the world. But we have an obligation to spread that blessing that the Good News that Jesus is alive and He loves us, and He wants us to tell the world, but first our beloved country.
Thanks to our Production Angels, we were able to tape Shrines, heretofore precious gems hidden away for as much as 400 years. We landed in Toulouse, France and quickly, excitedly drove to the small town of Pibrac, never dreaming the treasure we would find there. We became so in love with the town, and the Shrine, and the people, we included it and shared the whole experience with our pilgrims journeying on our Many Faces of Mary Pilgrimage. We have never done that before! But that will give you an idea how touched we were. We met people in France, who are descendants of family and friends, who, following in the tradition of those who came before, have kept this Shrine and the story of this Saint alive for 400 years. How would we describe our experience? Something Divine happened there, and is happening, and it will not be buried. We are praying as it has been the best story hidden (with the exception of pilgrims in the neighboring villages of southern France), that it will not only touch the rest of France and then Europe, but most importantly, the United States of America.
This is only one of the Shrines and stories we will be sharing with you on EWTN. And for those of you who would like to share this story with others, we are making DVD’s of the programs we made, beginning with St. Germaine of Pibrac.
The enemy conceals; but God reveals!
How many times have we recognized that truism in our lifetime? Sometimes, as in the instance of our trip to France to tape shrines, we discover a hidden gift of brothers and sisters, passionate over their Saint and the Blessed Mother and stoically faithful to Mother Church. As we dug deeper into our appointed task, we not only fell in love with these brothers and sisters through Jesus and Mary, once again we discovered all that the liberal media has been feeding us that the Faith is dead in Europe is not true; and the news that same media is telling our brothers and sisters in Europe about us Americans is not true.
We have said, over and over again, after we have visited Lourdes, that if what the propaganda machine (called the media) says is true, about the French and the Italians to mention a few Europeans, no longer practicing their Faith, then they are all here at the Shrines petitioning and/or offering thanksgiving to Our Lord through the intercession of Mother Mary (and/or the Saints). We give Lourdes as an example, but this is no less true at other shrines we have visited.
Our family in Europe believes in their Faith in Jesus and our brothers and sisters in Europe are banking their lives on that belief! They now know the promise that was given them of a new, unified Europe with all its great perks was either not true or does not show any promise of happening in the immediate future. All the gifts given to the different countries, they now find were not gifts, and now they are discovering the bill they owe. All the special programs (for instance Health Care) have a greater price tag than they are willing to pay.
And if that is the greatest problem and they cannot see an end to it, it is because as we have repeatedly told them, we Americans, are a free people- our nation founded under God! We have not allowed anyone to take God out of our lives and we will not. We are powerful because God is our King and we have no other. We have been battling to keep God in our country against great odds for many years. It is an ongoing battle, but if we keep our focus, God will be triumphant. We’ve allowed the agents of the devil to try to take God out of our lives, little by little. First it was the schools, with liberal elements twisting our beliefs. At the same time, these interests were trying to take God out of our text books, and teach our children that we were not a great country, but a very flawed country, not founded under God. But we have awakened. I will admit, for a time, it appeared as if we were drugged – we couldn’t see – we believed in an impossible dream. We have come to realize these utopian promises were just so much pie in the sky. We should have known, because the goals presented to us were not God-centered. But we do know now.
We have a great deal of faith in our brothers and sisters here in the United States. We have never fought a battle we have not won. As God is our Judge and there is no other, we are prepared to follow Him, with Mother Mary and defend our dear country, founded under Him.
We love you
A special note of thanks to our Production Angels.
As soon as we finish our first new Super Saint production, you will be the first to receive a DVD of our program, St. Germaine of Pibrac.
Brothers and sisters in Jesus and Mary,
Won’t you join us as a Production Angel, by making donations,
To help offset the cost of going overseas to make these programs as we continue to bring you more Shrines of the Blessed Mother
(the latest one at a four hundred year old Shrine in the Alps) and Saints well known and heretofore unknown here in the United States, some dating back to before we were founded in 1776.
Journey in Faith with us in your living room or if God permits come away with us on pilgrimage,
as we seek more and more history about our family,
the Blessed Mother, the Angels and the Saints.
We have a treasure!
Remember always, we have nothing to fear.
The Lord told us to fear not; He is with us.
The European Union, which is supposed to be fashioned after the United States of America, decided to write a history of Europe, but leaving the Catholic Church out altogether. That would seem like an impossibility, but we recall the words of Joseph Pulitzer, who at the time was publisher of the New York World. He wrote “If I don’t write about it, it never happened!” Scary, but it could be true. If the children of Europe grow up without any knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church, very possibly they will forget about it. Or their children and grandchildren will forget about it.
Without knowing about the plot of the European Union to exclude Catholicism from their history, we made a vow early on that we would write about Jesus and His Mother, and His best friends, the Angels and Saints, in an effort to glorify the name of Jesus, so that it would never be forgotten. When we began this Good Newsletter, with our first Lenten issue, January of 1989 we didn’t know the full import of the standard we had chosen to go across the banner of our newspaper: One Heart, One Mind, One Spirit, with One Vision.
When we founded our Community, that same year, we adopted this teaching as the life we would live for the Kingdom and the Glory of God. This became our ongoing prayer and battle cry from the inception of our Community. It has strengthened us, as we have walked through the deepest valleys and climbed the highest mountains. When it seemed we might be called to walk through the shadows of death, we became more One - in heart, mind, and Spirit, fortified by our daily prayer: “Lord, make us one in You, as You are One in the Father.”
When we wrote our Mission Statement, in 1986, we spoke of books, videos, a newspaper, a fund for needy priests and religious and a Communication Center as a means to glorify the Name of Jesus.
Our Father has such a grand sense of humor! When we included books in our Mission Statement, we had no idea that we would write books, but the Father knew! We thought we were called to distribute other people’s books. We are kept so busy, we find we can only carry and distribute books written by our founders Bob and Penny Lord who continue writing books and making programs.
When we included videos, we had no professional video cameras, no editing studio or plans to set up one. Our idea had been to distribute other people’s videos. Our Ministry only carries videos that we have made or been involved in. At this writing, we have 200 videos; most of them Documentaries filmed overseas, all produced by our Ministry.
By the Grace of God and your generous acceptance of our books and videos as well as your contributions, we have been able to supply priests, seminarians and religious with books and videos, and aid some to go on Pilgrimage.
The next step in our Mission Statement was to open our Evangelization through Communication Resource Center. What did we envision this center would be?
It would be a Munitions Factory. We were at war then; we are at war now! About that, there is no question. We are fighting for our children, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for our Church, for our country, for the souls of God’s children. We want, no we must give the Lord the gift of souls, the souls He came to save, the souls He died for! With our books and videos, we believe the Faithful will be able to put on the armor of God and fight the enemy who would, with his subtleties, rob us, and those who follow us, of all that we hold dear, all that has been passed down to us by Our Lord, His Mother, the Apostles, and our family the Saints.
We envisioned a Retreat Center. The Center would have a place where brothers and sisters could come and stay, sharing with people who felt the way they did, who spoke the same language, where one can unashamedly speak about his/her love for the Lord, His Mother and His Church. This would be a place, a quiet place where it’s you and the Lord together, where you can listen to the Lord, spend time on Pilgrimage here in the United States, away from home but not far from home. A place to be silent and hear the Lord. “Your servant is listening, Lord.”
We would have Seminars on the Eucharist and the part that the Miracles of the Eucharist have played in the Defense of the Church fighting heresies. You would view the videos on the Miracles of the Eucharist and learn how you can facilitate action at home where family and friends would gather and not only watch these Documentaries but learn how to conduct an open discussion, getting them involved, encouraging them to show the videos and share the Good News of our Catholic Faith, bringing them to a deeper awareness of Who it is Who comes to life on the Altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist after the Consecration.
We would teach about Mother Mary from the Annunciation, through the Crucifixion, up to the Coronation, on to the 2000 years of her reaching out to her children by her apparitions. Saints and other Powerful Men and Women of the Church – Pope Benedict XVI has been preaching about our family of Saints who the Lord used to save His Church, who loved Him so, they willingly carried the Cross.
We have been blessed many times over in that the Lord has allowed us to see most of the Mission Statement come to fruition. We have here in Arkansas, the Holy Family Mission, where we continue to write books and make television programs. We have retreats and days of recollection, which our neighbors from near and far participate in. What goes on at the Holy Family Mission has become like the social event of the season. Whatever goes on here, everybody wants to be involved in. We built a replica of the Holy House of Nazareth, which is in Loreto, Italy. We have special prayer times in the Holy House. We have an annual Conference, and a St. Joseph’s Table in March.
Family, Pope Benedict XVI is pleading with Christians all over the world to “Spread the Christian Culture.” He is desperately trying to combat the already strong movement to eliminate Christianity and all things Christian, especially Jesus, from the face of the earth. Christmas is the most obvious time of the year when this battle becomes apparent. All year long, we let the anti-Christian movements out there beat up on Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, and we don’t complain much. We let Bill Donohue of the Catholic League do it for us. But at Christmas time, oh no, don’t touch Christmas time. Christ has to be in Christmas. But why does He have to be sacred at Christmas, and not worth fighting for the rest of the year? Brothers and sisters, we cannot let Jesus disappear from the face of the earth. We cannot let our Christian culture be eliminated from the pages of our text books all over the world. Spread the Christian Culture. Bring Jesus to the forefront of our lives. Give Christian books and videos for Christmas. And be sure to put Christ back into Christmas. We love you.
Have a blessed Christmas.
There are so many stories and traditions surrounding the giving of gifts at Christmas, as many as there are countries in the world. Christmas is the only birthday I know of that the One Whose Birth we are celebrating gives the gifts rather than receives them. For all we receive comes from Our Lord. It is He Who moves and molds men’s hearts. Through a Little Child, God comes to us to bring out the best in us. Who can resist a Baby, no less the Child Jesus?
Christmas in Brooklyn
For those of you who do not know our story, Bob was born in the Bronx and I in Brooklyn. We were city children who lived in a small town called a neighborhood. Customs from different parts of the world filled and permeated our little world. Often a neighborhood became like a little country unto itself, as members of families and friends from the “old country” moved close to each other. My family was originally from Sicily, Italy, as were most the people on our block. Many of our neighbors did not even know the English language, so out of necessity we were a multi-lingual society. But we were more like a big family, our traditions making us one.
Christmas, like all holidays and Feast Days was a neighborhood thing, a shared experience, what with doors open, the fragrance of sauce and pizza filling the air, the freshly baked Italian cookies on a plate by an open door for one to bring home to share with the family. We were all poor, but I never felt poor. I always felt like a princess in wonderful wonderland. Christmas in my life was filled with, you might say, two days of gift giving and receiving. I opened gifts on the morning of Christmas and again on the Feast of the Epiphany. My parents striving to be American, adopted all the customs of their new land and gifts were placed under the tree, Christmas Eve. But my grandmother, clinging to the customs of her people, exchanged gifts on the Feast of the Epiphany.
Early in the evening, Christmas Eve, we were told we had to go to sleep or Santa Claus would not stop at our apartment and bring us gifts. I never questioned why the Santa who visited us, early in the evening, looked different each year. I believed in Santa Claus and that was enough for me. Now, one of my brothers, a sophisticated giant, who was tall while I was petite, with six years on me, decided he would burst my balloon and expose Santa Claus as a myth. Needless to say, this brought about much wailing and torrents of tears in its wake. My mother, who plainly adored him, gently challenged him, “Oh, you don’t believe in Santa Claus. Well let’s see what he brings you!” Now, although there was no question about my mother’s open affection and preference toward her little boy, a lesson had to be given and brother received coal in his stocking and nothing else. Needless to say, the subject of Santa was never brought up again.
I never questioned why my Nana (grandmother) brought gifts on the twelfth day of Christmas, the sixth day of January, rather than on Christmas Day. No one told me about the Magi; they got shoved out of the way by Christmas Trees and Santa Claus coming down the chimney bearing gifts in his sack. Although in our cold-water flat, we had only a coal stove in the kitchen to warm us in the daytime and a kerosene space heater in the front room to provide heat in the bedrooms in the evening, I never questioned which chimney he was going to climb down.
To those of us who grew up in the North, Christmas and snow were synonymous. When I think about it now, how awesome and wonderful is our Father, to place that Bundle of Joy in our midst amid the gloom of winter. We speak of Spring as new beginnings and it is, especially with the new hope of Easter. But the new beginnings began at Christmas with the Baby Jesus. Our Hope was born into the world. Do you ever meditate on why God chose to come as a Little Baby into the world? Why not a grown Man? What was God trying to tell us? Was the Omnipotent God showing us the way, through His Son Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, that the way to know eternal happiness is in becoming as innocent and vulnerable as a little child fully dependent on the Father’s Will?
The Feast of the Child Jesus
It was not till I returned to Jesus and Mother Church that I learned about the Magi and the reason my ancestors gave gifts during the Feast of the Epiphany. They were truly reliving the days of the first Christmas! It was then that Bob and I began our long journey to understand the full meaning of Christmas. As we got closer to understanding the Treasures of our Church, Christmas became to us the Feast of the Christ Child, the Babe born to die for our sins, the Feast of our Heavenly Mother who said Yes and brought Our Little Savior into the world. The awe and wonder of that much love alone brought a touch of sadness mixed with great joy. We knew we were loved and we would never be alone again. This was a truth no one could take away from us. Jesus chose to be born a Helpless Little Child, He became One with us His creation in all things but sin. All for us, for you and me.
The time between Christmas and Easter seems to fly faster and faster, as we grow older. No sooner have the Christmas decorations been safely stored away, than the days swiftly pass till Ash Wednesday begins our forty days of Lent. I remember one year, at our parish, the children enacted a Passion Play on Good Friday in our church hall. The curtain opened up to the Crucifixion scene, which showed our little ten year old grandson playing Jesus dying on the Cross. Our eyes, fixed on this little boy, bleeding and wounded, were filled with tears. But it wasn’t until our eyes followed a dim light off to the side - Mother Mary and the newly born Infant Jesus - that the stark truth came to us that Our Lord, the Baby Jesus began His walk to Calvary the night He was born. Or was it the day Mother Mary said Yes to the Angel Gabriel and Incarnation came about!
The gloomy, rainy days of Lent pass and the sun comes out on Easter Sunday and with it new hope, new life and new beginnings. And if we are not careful we soon forget the price paid for our new springtime, by the One born in the cold of winter, the One Who would die on the Cross. Those who plant harvests and flowers know that in order to have new growth, a plant must die and produce a seed for life to go on. With our change of climate, the cold and rainy weather changing to sunny and balmy, we forget the One Who died that we might live.
And what has this to do with the Child Jesus and Christmas? If we meditate on why He was born, and contemplate the price He paid, alone having to witness His dear Mother’s suffering at the foot of the Cross, we look at Christmas and we think of what the word means, Christ - Mass, the same Mass that is the ongoing Sacrifice of the Cross, the reenactment of the Birth, Death and Resurrection of Our Savior Jesus Christ.
We go full cycle. At the Annunciation, it all began and on the Cross it was finished. At Christmas, a Baby was born, Who would be the God-Man Who came to save the world, and at Easter we celebrate the hope He left us that we too would rise - Christmas and Easter interwoven - the ongoing circle of life eternal.
There is something about Christmas that changes men’s hearts, even for a day. It is truly a time of Joy to the world and Peace to all mankind. For a short time, out of our busy lives, we pause and think of others. We take time to try to bring happiness into the world. During war time, even battles cease during Christmas Day. Even those who do not believe in Our Lord Jesus respect the solemnity of Christmas. Or is it that our love and more importantly the Love of Our Savior somehow breaks through the tough, hard shell the world has formed on our hearts, and we take time to love, to care. And think of it, it is in the Form of a Baby that such metanoia comes about.
Take Christ out of Christmas
Two strong anti-Christ movements have been insidiously polluting our society and sadly at times our parish churches: One, Take Christ off the Cross and Two, Remove the Creche and the Baby Jesus. Why has the enemy of God been so dedicated to removing these two life-giving symbols? It is said that one of the reasons Lucifer said He would not obey and took One third of the Angels with him, was that God was going to become One of us, One with those He had created - a Creature. And insults of all insults, he, Lucifer, top Angel, would have to have as his Queen another creature - Mary. His pride could not handle it and he left. But he was not satisfied with having taken one third of the Angels with him, to spend an eternity in the nether world. He has spent the rest of his time on earth trying to woo God’s beloved creatures away from Him. One way: The proud one who would fill our heads with Pride, would take away any reference to the Birth of our Savior, remove any evidence of Jesus choosing to be born under humble circumstances.
I still remember parking on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica and walking past the living scenes of the Birth of Jesus, with live animals keeping watch with Joseph and Mary. Here in a town not far from downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, Christ was remembered, Creche and all. On every corner where there was a church, the Nativity scene was there, more often than not, a living enactment. Families made elaborate Nativity scenes on their front lawns. Then the enemy of God was able to use a few (it’s always a few) to end this awesome tribute to the Child Jesus. Now, it may be only where we now live. I don’t know what came first, but it appears after September 11th and that disaster, that there is barely a church or a home that does not have a Nativity scene on the front lawn. Along with our American flag that had been at best put away and worse burned, the Baby Jesus returned and became the Reason for the Season! After September 11th, you could not see one home or car without an American flag flying bravely for all to see. And so it was with the Creche and the Nativity Scene. God was back for all to see, as was our love for our country.
The second movement Lucifer was hell-bent on eradicating was the Price Jesus paid for sinful man, His weak creation - take Jesus off the Cross. As we recall, Lucifer, right up to the last seven words Jesus uttered, did all he could to get Jesus to come down off the Cross. Why was this so important to him? He promised Jesus anything, he would do anything if He would only come down off the Cross. Why? Lucifer knew that the only way man could be redeemed was through the Cross. No Cross, no suffering, the Gates of Heaven would not be opened and we would be lost. Another reason Lucifer did not want Jesus to die on the Cross is that this One Act showed man how very loved he was, how very precious he was.
But man has forgotten how precious he is in the Eyes and Heart of Jesus. In the lunacy of the topsy turvy world we live in, where one can barely tell a man from a woman, at times; where often confusion reigns and sin spreads like the lava of an exploding volcano, a battle rages between God and Lucifer, all for our souls. That’s how very important we are to God and His enemy. There is nothing as angry as a person who has lost his soul. He will do anything to make you lose yours. He needs the company; he doesn’t want to go to Hell alone.
We saw a movie the other evening, and at the end, the soldier died because he wouldn’t allow someone to take the flag from him. His words were: “No one can take the flag away from us; it is our flag.” And with that he hoisted the flag on high, as bullets ripped through his body. No one can take our flag from us. It is our flag, the red stripes signifying passionately the price the generations have paid for that flag and the right to fly that flag over our land. Likewise, no one can take God away from us; He is our God. The Father sent His only Begotten Son to the world as a tiny Baby. They can take our Nativity Scenes from us; they can take Our Lord off the Cross; but they cannot take Him from us. He dwells in the deepest caverns of our hearts, His Love permeating our entire existence, crying out “I love you.”
Christmas in a communist country without Christ
In many of our European countries, gift-giving happens twice in December - once on December 5th, when St. Nicholas (who resembles Santa Claus), comes the night before his Feast Day; and then on Christmas Eve, when the Child Jesus comes bearing gifts. Because of the many pictures depicting Santa Claus and his reindeer landing on roofs, climbing down chimneys, it is only natural that the children would accept St. Nicholas as the one who would bring them gifts on Christmas; but with the Baby Jesus it is another story. Although that is true, no one has ever questioned how the Baby Jesus, lying in a Creche, manages to fulfill his Christmas mission.
And so it was for the Czech people. This tradition of gift-giving was passed down from one generation to the next. That is until the Soviet Union marched in and took over in 1948. With the Communist takeover, the Czech people not only lost their liberties as a nation, they lost their right to worship God. And along with God went their Christmas tradition of gift-giving. Instead of St. Nicholas or The Infant Jesus bringing gifts, all Christmas cards sported the Russian Deduska Moroz (or Grandfather Frost). Out of sight, out of mind, the plan was that with each passing generation, the old traditions would get lost and Grandfather Frost would take over.
They marched in and occupied their country. But the Communists could not occupy the hearts and souls of the Czech people. How to solve this real problem? The Czech people had a holy obstinance, faithful to God and His Church. How could the Communists take over with this pervading attitude and loyalty? Do as they have done in countries all over the world: Take away Jesus and the Church! Without the Sacraments and the Word being extolled, right would become wrong and wrong become right. If they could rob them of their Lord and King, they could reduce them into becoming dependent puppets doing their will and not that of their Lord Jesus Christ.
Outward signs of reverence cost the Czech people in one way or the other. They dared not show any sign of religious affiliation with the Church. The new regime frowned harshly on any outward show of worshipping the Lord. Those who dared to go to church found, if they were spotted going into church, they lost their jobs along with other benefits. Any chance their children had of entering a university went out the window. By offering special dispensations to those loyal to the new regime, many lost their souls, as they traded in their loved ones and The Loved One for these false gods and their promises.
St. Augustine said, Those who sing well, pray twice. No more Christmas Carols announcing the Birth of Jesus, no more praying. The heart went out of Christmas, as the Baby Jesus was cast aside. December 25th was just a day to receive gifts, but not for those who dared to silently remember. Mundane shopping tried to fill the void in their lives. Secular socialism took Jesus’ place! But as always, the temporary pleasure of gift exchanging soon could not fill the emptiness their hearts felt. There was no longer the joy they once knew, the growing anticipation of the Advent Season leading up to that Eve when the world was changed. The Czech people longed for the sounds of traditional Christmas Carols filling the air, streaming forth from the Catholic churches, bringing joy and peace to all, promising a new beginning and an end to the oppression that permeated their lives. As a soul longs to be free, so the souls of the Czech people longed for all that represented life as they had known it. They longed for the Baby Jesus and all Christmas once meant to them.
The day finally came! They were no longer under the yoke of Communism. Their hearts no longer needing to wait, Baby Jesus returned to their homes bearing gifts. The world outside could forget, but they had been through that and they would not chance sacrificing their traditions and the Baby Jesus, ever again. Not even the new threat, Santa Claus of the West, Ho Ho Ho, reindeer and sled, and the pervasive publicity emphasizing gift-giving and gift-exchanging, could woo them away from Baby Jesus. Christmas Eve, a Tiny Baby will come, His little Arms laden down with gifts of the heart. Santa Claus will continue to be relegated mostly to stores and newspapers. Their country was taken from them and, along with her, their Lord, the Baby Jesus. Will this new attack eventually pose a threat to all they had known? Will they get swallowed up by the lures of clever merchandising? Will they allow someone again to take away from them, their Treasure, the Baby Jesus? We pray not!
At some point in our lives when all seems lost and we feel helpless, we have to surrender.
We are talking about surrendering to God's Will not surrendering to anything else.
Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus was a master at surrendering to the Will of God at the age of 5.
It seems that God loves a soul totally committed to His Will. In reading about the lives of the Saints throughout the centuries, God has been using surrendered souls to accomplish His Will on earth.
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort insisted that surrender to the Will of God was part of the equation to get to Heaven. For example, he would receive a letter from a Nun and she would list a litany of trials and tribulations and he would write back to her and tell her that he praised God for her situation and it revealed God loved her.
Furthermore, Saint Paul writes that God wants us to do His Will for us and that is for us to become Saints.
There it is in a nutshell. God may use what is happening in our lives to allow us to become fertile ground for a total surrender to His Will.
If that is so, with all that is happening these days, God must be raising up an army of Saints. Everyday, we come in contact with someone that is literally at their wits end and they do not know how they can go another day. We receive reports of financial disasters, family disasters, relationship disasters and natural disasters wreaking havoc on the people involved.
Thank God these disasters are not the end of the story but possibly the beginning of a new relationships with our Lord.
In conclusion, we highly recommend studying the Saints to really understand how to deal with trials and tribulations. They have already been through a lot of this and they are certainly the light in the darkness for us now.
Christmas is an excellent time to put surrender into practice. Let us rely on Our Lord Jesus to guide us through these times.
Think about what God may want from you and us this Christmas. What gift can we give Him considering what he has given us - eternal life with Him in Heaven?
Maybe it is time for us to reflect on what Christmas is really all about. Do we celebrate the birthday of Jesus or what have we turned Christmas into.
At Holy Family Mission we accept the challenge of these times and offer ourselves surrendered to the Will of God. May He simply use us to do His Divine Will in all things most especially with regard to what He want done here at the Mission.
We pledge to continue to bring you information through media on our Catholic Faith.
We will continue for pray for your families and your needs.
We thank you for your continued support of our Ministry.
Stay tuned to this newsletter and visit www.bobandpennylord.com often to keep up with all the events at Holy Family Mission including the new DVD and book realeases.
We encourage your feedback to our e-newsletter.
The Catholic Experience:
“My only fear is that I may have passed up an opportunitythe Lord has presented me.”
“I just see God wants me to do something,or God permits something in my life,
and it doesn’t enter my mind to say, `Why?’”
Family, what you are reading is an excerpt from a biography Bob and Penny Lord wrote on Mother Angelica, which began in 1989, and has been adjusted and added to, as Mother has added to the Network, the habits of the sister, and the Shrine in Hanceville. Most of it comes from interviews with Mother Angelica, Mother Raphael, and various priests and nuns who have known her intimately. To read the entire biography, get our book, Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church. Ordering information is on page 18
Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation
In the eyes of the world, the power behind Eternal Word Television Network in Birmingham, Alabama, is a huge white satellite dish in back of the studios. Large white pipes contain the cables which send the message from the studio to the satellite dish, beaming it up into the sky, to a satellite in space, spreading the Word of God all over the world. It has an awesome look of power about it.
But the energy force which feeds life into the studio, the cables, indeed, into everything that lives and breathes at EWTN is another White Sphere, much smaller in size, but much more powerful, located inside the Chapel. It is Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist.
Mother Angelica maintains that the overpowering force that has made things happen in Birmingham since 1962, the Monastery, the Community of cloistered Sisters, their printing press operation, WEWN Radio, and on a much grander scale, the only Catholic Cable Television Network in the world, is the Eucharist, the Lifeblood of everything.
While the world knows this woman as a down-home, straight-shooting, tell it like it is, caring but outspoken television personality, who bucked all the odds to create a Catholic television Network in the suburbs of Baptist Belt Birmingham, the Sisters in the cloister know her as their spiritual mother, their teacher, their friend, their role model. And although Convents are closing all over America, the Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery are alive and well and growing under the tutelage of this powerful woman in our Church.
Everyone who has touched and been touched by this lady has their own story to tell. How I met Mother Angelica; what Mother Angelica said to me; how Mother Angelica has been a part of my life. Our story is no different. The Lord has worked in our lives through Mother Angelica, and we will never be the same.
The Mother Angelica we know and love
Our first encounter with Mother Angelica was a good friend making the suggestion, “Why don’t you go on `Mother Angelica Live!’ with your book, `This is My Body, This is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist’?”
We had never seen Mother Angelica or EWTN as we were not privileged to receive her on our cable, but we had heard many good things about her. We also had no idea how we would go about getting on Mother Angelica’s program.
One day we just happened to see a copy of a book order that had been sent to Mother Angelica’s Nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Birmingham. We called and who should we speak to but Sister Antoinette. The patron Saint of our book ministry is St. Anthony (her patron Saint.) We asked her if Mother Angelica had read our book, to which she replied, “Yes, Mother has read your book and made it available to the Nuns.”
“Do you think there might be a possibility we might be able to go on Mother Angelica’s TV program?” we asked Sister, not daring to hope. Sister told us to pray!
Our prayer was answered at a time when we thought our world was coming to an end. It was late 1986. Terrorism struck! Nobody was going on pilgrimages, and we were broke. All we had left was our house, and it was in jeopardy. Through the grace of God and some of His earthly Angels, we had published that first book, “This is My Body, This is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist.” We were receiving just enough orders to keep us afloat day by day, but just day by day.
As part of our ongoing financial crisis, the phone was turned off because we had failed to get our payment in on time. Penny called the Telephone Company, and actually convinced them the check was in the mail at which point they promised they would turn the phone back on at 1 P.M. The minutes ticked away slowly into hours. The sounds of silence were deafening. Finally, at noon, the phone rang …..
“Hi! This is Lori Andrews of EWTN. Would y’all like to appear on Mother Angelica Live! and talk about your book?”
Sometimes we judge God waits until the eleventh hour, but He is there for those who trust in Him! The whole idea of living on faith was fairly new to us. We weren’t used to it.
EWTN sent us our plane tickets and we were on our way! A slight, freckle-faced, red-haired girl, filled with the Holy Spirit, met us at the Birmingham airport. When the beaming smile spoke with a familiar Southern accent, we knew this was Lori Andrews. After we unpacked at the guest house we were going to stay in, Madonna House (our Mother Mary telling us she was there with us), the three of us started out for the Network.
The grounds proclaimed Church! In front of the Network, was a statue of Our Lady surrounded by Angels.
I shared with Bob, “We’re home! Mother Angelica feels the way we do about Jesus and His Mother.”
“Don’t get excited,” he answered in his inimitable Irish way, “statues don’t mean anything, just as buildings don’t a Church make. Let’s wait and see!”
“Would you like to stop in the Chapel before going to the Network?” It was that Southern voice again.
As we entered the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Bob and I went down on our knees and as if a powerful hand pressed us downward; we were prostrate before our God, our King. There He was, our Lord Jesus in His Blessed Sacrament in a shining, gold-plated Monstrance. He was here and we were home! We were in love with God and His people and they were here at EWTN.
And here we were, Bob and me, on live television, not only telling our brothers and sisters who were not Catholic about the Heart of our Church, the Living Jesus, but our brothers and sisters of the Roman Catholic Faith, some of whom have had doubts in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. God bless Mother Angelica! Before we were two minutes into our interview, she was generously asking us back to do a television series based on our book, “This is My Body, This is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist.”
Mother Angelica is a voice bringing Christ’s Love to a world starving for love, proclaiming His Word to the hopeless giving them hope, calling God’s children by a new name, lovable and loved. When Mother opens her programs, you are reminded of St. Paul. She speaks to her family, to the family she never had. She tells them she is so glad to be back with them and how much she missed them, her smile radiating her love for them. We have compared her to Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa’s work was to provide a happy death for the poor in body. Mother Angelica’s is to provide a happy life to the poor in spirit. Here is a woman in our time, faithful to the promise she made to her Spouse Jesus, to love His children as He loves her.
Bob and I feel so blessed to know, to love and to be loved by a Saint in our time. We have been touched by Mother Angelica, and we and the world will never be the same. We love you, Mother Angelica. Thank you for your ongoing “Yes” to the Father.
“Someday the whole world’s going to know this woman,
because she has such a deep knowledge and relationship with Our Lord.”
….Mother Mary Raphael
In the history of the world, there have always been great gaps, separators which isolate one land mass from another. As a result of these natural boundary lines, countries have been formed; ethnic cultures have developed; physical and social separation were created. Whether mountains or rivers, or lava from a volcano spewing out a separating line of black rock, or a crack in the earth severing the terra firma deep into its core, from an ancient earthquake too violent to be measured on the Richter scale, the bottom line results have always been the same, complete and utter division.
The religions of the world have not been spared from this inundation of separativeness. The earthquake that occurred on that first Good Friday, after Jesus had uttered His last cry, “Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit”, tore apart the curtain in the temple, and fractured the temple area. The rumble from that outrageous act of murder against the Body of the Son of God could be felt around the world. It caused a split high up on a mountain in Italy, called Alverna, at the moment of Jesus’ death. This same mountain is where St. Francis of Assisi received the wounds of the Stigmata, some twelve hundred years later.
Perhaps a worse crack formed when the Christians split from the Jews. Granted, it was a spiritual or emotional fissure, but a devastating break nevertheless. Originally, it was clean; deep, but clean. The Jews would not accept Our Lord Jesus as their Messiah. That was it, pure and simple, the only line of separation. Other than that, everything about the new way of Jesus was on a parallel with Judaism. Christians even went to the temple to worship; then they would gather together at someone’s home to break bread, and share about the Messiah. This is the ancient beginnings of our Mass.
But when the Jews refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah, the Gentiles were evangelized and converted. Changes began to work their way into the Christian religion, and away from the Mosaic laws, (i.e. circumcision and some Kosher dietary laws) causing the gap to widen and deepen, until eventually, it became too wide and too deep, too impossible for humans to cross without help. As time went on, it took more than accepting Jesus as the Messiah for a Jew to join the Christian movement. There were Jewish laws which had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, and so they were not observed. This was something Jews who had joined the church, could not obey; at first they fought and then they left.
And so separation came about! This separation was obviously a plan of the evil one to form a deep and permanent gap between Jews and Christians, which was never meant to be. Jesus had come for His chosen people the Jews, dying for them as well as those who would come later, the Gentiles. Lucifer’s plot was designed for Jews and Christians to kill one another, eventually destroying the Church.
But it does seem strange that the perpetrators of the plot, the fallen angels, should have failed to consider the one entity, God had made strong enough to foil that plot, to bridge that gap, to cross that great chasm separating the old and the new, without fear of falling deep into the ravine, was their brothers, the good Angels. This bridge would stand for all time, as Jesus stood on the other side of the water, waiting for His beloved people to cross over to Him and His Church.
Angels have been a major factor in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, from the very beginning. While Bible Scholars of different Christian denominational persuasions disagree on just about everything in Scripture, as do our brothers and sisters of the Hebrew belief, there has always been one area where there has never been a disagreement, and that is the Biblical recognition of the authenticity and role of the Angels.
That Angels bridge the gap between the Old Testament and the New Testament is a well-known fact. Their existence and activities can be traced as far back as Genesis, and continue up through the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, where they play a major part in the prophecy of the endtimes. Through Scripture, we see their roles as varied, as are their powers and charisms. Because of these special qualities of leadership, we believe the Angels have distinct personalities, to perform individual tasks. But no matter how we view the Angels personally, they are always there in Scripture, at crucial times, and they play important roles. They are right up there standing in attendance with God.
The Angels themselves are mentioned no less than 320 times in the Old and New Testaments, as well as, in every main event in the Life of Jesus. The Angels are mentioned in the Garden of Eden. After the expulsion of Adam and Eve, God put Cherubim as guards of the gates of Eden. “He drove out the man; and at the east of Eden He placed the Cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
By the time Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, the battle between the good Angels and the followers of Lucifer, had already been fought and decided. Lucifer was given the form of the serpent. So even then, before what we humans consider the dawn of creation, battle lines had been drawn. Sides had been taken; roles had been allocated; the good Angels trying to help man; the fallen angels trying to destroy man. But even that early in the game, it was very obvious that man was just a tool, a scorecard in the hands of Satan, to show God how powerful he was, and what a waste of God’s time mankind was.
The Angels were appointed right from the beginning, by God Himself, to watch over us, to guide and protect us.
“For to His Angels He has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways.
“Upon their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
“You shall tread upon the asp and the viper; you shall trample down the lion and the dragon.”
Although these words from the Psalms, are prophecy of the Angels’ protection first and foremost to our Lord Jesus, they are no less meant for us, His children.
Our Faithful God promised His chosen people protection for their long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land:
“See, I am sending My Angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.”
But Loving and All-Wise Father, He also warned them:
“Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him. If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to all your enemies and a foe to all your foes.”
“My authority resides in him.” The Lord’s authority resides in His Angels! When we know that our Angel is guiding us to go one way and we choose the other path, we are not only defying him, but God Himself! Defy God Himself? When I believed with the mind of a child, I used to think the God of the Old Testament was an angry, punishing God who wasn’t very loving. As I began to grow up spiritually, I began to recognize how involved He has always been in His people’s lives, always faithful even in their unfaithfulness. He was always with them, never leaving them alone, even when they rejected Him and tried to block Him out of their lives. Always loving, He was ready to take them back, like the father of the prodigal son. That’s when I realized the God of the Old and the New Testament were of One Heart and one Mind. Father and Son and Holy Spirit in One God, One Love.
God, our Father, the One Who created us, knows us perfectly; He knows what makes us happy, what is best for us. He does not punish us here on earth; we punish ourselves. We suffer because we go against His Will; His Plan for us is peace and joy. Throughout Salvation History, God sent His Messengers to help us live in this world.
In the Old Testament, Angels appeared to humans seventeen times. Although the Old Testament does not refer specifically to Guardian Angels, there is no doubt who accompanied Jacob on his journey: “While Jacob was going on his way, Angels of God encountered him, and on seeing them he said, `This is God’s Camp...’” Travel was perilous in those days. Terrorism is not a new thing, but a very demonic and old horror. It was especially necessary then, as it is now, to have the protection of the Angels.
As the Lord sent His Angels to accompany and lead His people out of Egypt, freeing them from slavery, so He did once more with Judith, a Jewish woman who would free her people once again from captivity, only now from another tyrant. She definitely needed the strength and the cover of the Angels to be able to subdue and slay the powerful and dreaded Holfernes, general of King Nebuchadnezzar’s army.
In the New Testament, Angels appear thirteen times, the first one to Zechariah, announcing the birth of John the Baptist, and the last in the Book of Revelation, as the Angels of the seven churches of Asia Minor. Angels are described as Spiritual beings, created beings, a Heavenly Army, immortal, holy, innumerable, wise, powerful, of the elect, obedient, possessing emotions, invisible. Peter tells us they are concerned with human affairs; we know that, at times, Angels have taken human form, as when they visited Sara and Abraham, and predicted the birth of their son Isaac, just before they destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
Angels have very definite roles, where it concerns the children of God, in that they are supposed to guide us, direct us, provide for us, protect us, deliver us, direct our activities, comfort us in time of sorrow, and minister to us in time of need. They have been known to be the voice of our consciences. They also have very clearly defined jobs with regard to the enemies of God. They destroy, curse, persecute, kill, cause pestilence and sudden death. This could all be put under the category of “Smite”. God used Angels often to smite. And while it’s true that most of this took place in the Old Testament, there are some accounts in the New Testament, especially in the Book of Revelations, where the Angels put on their heavy armor to do battle with the enemies of God.