Showing posts with label Spirituality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spirituality. Show all posts

Sunday

Powerful Words

Do you feel very weak sometimes and there is nowhere to go to ask for help? Are you feeling that you are carrying the world upon your shoulders and there is nobody to care? These are very powerful words if you only believe in it. I can say Yes I do! Remember have faith also! have a blessed evening to all!

Trust God

Even when you feel weak and powerless...

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV
__________________

"For affliction does not come from the dust,
Nor does trouble sprout from the ground,

For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward.

But as for me, I would seek God,
And I would place my cause before God;

Who does great and unsearchable things,
Wonders without number.

He gives rain on the earth
And sends water on the fields,

So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety.

Job 5:6-11 NASB
__________________

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God:
for unto thee will I pray.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee,
and will look up.

Psalm 5:1-3 KJV
__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.

Tuesday

The Filipino who saw, spoke, touched and embraced Jesus

This was forwarded in my email last month by a dear friend and former colleague in bank where I worked before. I was also want to share it to all of you. Honestly guys, I was touched by this story. I know I am a sinful person too and I always keep on trying to live a better life. I felt so sorry for all the wrong things I have done. If ever there are people whom I did wrong, I felt sorry for that...keep reading! I hope this will give us an insight on how to live a better and happier life. Have a great and blessed day to all!

Subject:The Filipino who saw, spoke, touched and embraced Jesus
Bro. Stanley Villavicencio

    * Note: The miracle that happened to him was recognized by Vatican .
    * In Washington DC , he spoke using his dialect, Visayan language, but what came out from his mouth was English.
    * In China , Chinese understood his testimony although he spoke in English while Chinese understand only their language.
    * In Rome , when he spoke before the Cardinals and bishops from all over the world, he spoke in English but what came out from his mouth was Italian.

    Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, many believers are being called by Jesus and Mary to deliver messages to the whole world, and Bro. Stanley is one of them. All messages will accompany a proof that they come from GOD himself. Bro. Stanley's case is no different. There will always be a specific time, date, and location accompanying the message. God gives us every proof that the messages delivered are truly from them. Even the Vatican , which seldom accepts supernatural events, has approved the messages. It is really God's grace that has brought these messages to our ears.

    In 1993, there was a miracle that is not well known. The events surrounding it are undeniable, and because of its nature it is surprising that it never made International front page news headlines. It should have done! It never left the tight knit Christian circle, when in truth, it is God and so every human being has a right to be told.

    Stanley Villavicencio was born in Bais, Negros Oriental in the Philippines . He was raised a Roman Catholic and had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart (Divine Love) of Jesus Christ. It is a devotion that started when he was in grade school at the Sacred Heart Academy in Bais, Negro Oriental. He married a nurse, Melissa Gantuangco Villar and moved to Cebu in Mambaling. Close to his house was a chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This had a great bearing on his decision to buy the house. Unfortunately, after moving, it was discovered that the chapel was portable, erected only during the fiesta celebration and was dismantled afterwards. In 1983, Stanley became Chapel President. A neighbor donated some land close by in order for a permanent chapel to be built for the Christian Community. Stanley was basically an ordinary man. In 1993, he was an employee of
    AVSECOM (The Aviation Security Command). He also became a member of the Perpetual Dawn Rosary Association in Cebu .
    In the Cebu Roman Catholic Community, there is a tradition that whenever a special family occasion occurs in a household, the head of the family receives into the home a large statue of the Virgin Mary. March 2, 1993 is the birthday of one of Stanley 's children, therefore, that morning, he was to receive the statue. However, when the statue arrived just before eight o'clock in the morning, Stanley was not up and so his mother-in-law received it. Being concerned, she entered Stanley 's bedroom.

    Stanley , the night before he retired, was perfectly healthy. But this particular morning his mother-in-law found him convulsing. was spurting from his mouth with incredible force. She felt his pulse which was too weak to detect. When she forced open his eyes, they were white. An ambulance was called and Stanley was taken to Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu . He was rushed to the Emergency Room. There, still bleeding profusely from his mouth and convulsing, he was injected with the maximum dose of Valium to try to stop the convulsions and slow down the huge quantity of pouring out from his mouth. The doctors ran all sorts of tests. They could not locate the source of the bleeding, nor any kind of illness. They took a test with the view of giving him a transfusion, but his count was normal which was medically impossible. It meant that his body was not short of , despite the fact he had lost so much . Stanley then
    slipped into a coma. His heartbeat became slower, his skin color turned gray and then he
    stopped breathing. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit, where a specialist inserted an Ambue Bag, the end - tracheal tube being placed through his nose, going down to his stomach. This was the only form of life support that the hospital had available. An I.V. drip was placed into a vein in his hand, running dextrose fluid into his system.

    However, very quickly, Stanley 's organs shut down. He was declared 'brain dead'. His family at first did not believe this. Mainly
    because Stanley had shown no previous signs of being ill and the doctors were unable to determine what was wrong. However, by the second day, the family prepared for Stanley 's funeral. His coffin was arranged, a burial plot, and a burial gown. By the third day Stanley 's had congealed at the bottom of his legs and feet and rigomortis begun to set in.

    Early in the morning on the third day, Stanley 's wife brought the burial gown to the hospital to prepare her husband. Neighbors gathered outside of the chapel to receive Stanley 's coffin. Flowers were laid out for the wake. A certificate was already signed. But Stanley came back from the , perfectly healthy, as if nothing had happened. While his heart was flat line and his brain , Stanley had in spirit met for the first time 'Jesus Christ of the Divine Mercy'.

    Now, the fact is, that all of Stanley 's medical records show that this had happened. He was first in a coma and then . Every sequence of his medical attention was, as is the custom, really documented. On investigation, these records were examined and all medical staff involved, questioned.

    Stanley came to England in the year 2001. Here, he very kindly gave an interview, in which he described the events and his experience during , and how after he was sent back with a mission. This is his testimony.

    No attempt has been made to edit Stanley 's account or accent: the way he speaks the English language.

    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----
    Stanley's words:
    'Before I will give my testimony, I just want to inform you that after what happened to me, I was just going around giving my testimony in my own dialect. You see, the Philippines is composed of more than seven thousand islands and almost every island has different dialect. The Philippines is divided into three major parts; Luzon , Mindano and Visayas. I belong to Visayas because I am living in Cebu . So I was giving my testimony in Visayas only, until one time Father Seraphim Mekalanco, the Spiritual Director of
    the Divine Mercy nationwide invited me to give a talk in Manila . At first, I am happy because I can go to Manila , but then a day before I was so worried because I do not know how to speak the dialect, because in Manila the dialect is Tagalog and I do not know how to speak Tagalog. I was worried and so I asked the Lord 'What shall I do?' Then the following day, early in the morning Jesus appeared to me, to my dream and said: 'Do not worry. Just do your best and I shall do the rest'. So I went to Manila and when I am holding the microphone to give my testimony, I am thinking my testimony in my own local dialect, and it came out in Tagalog. So they understand me.

    'And now comes Father Seraphim, the Head of the Divine Mercy International based in Stockbridge , Massachusetts , U.S.A. He invited me to give a series of talks in the United States , Canada and Mexico and the problem is, I do not know how to speak the English. So again I was worried and because in Cebu , the owner of the University is a Divine Mercy devotee, so he instructed the English Department to translate my testimony from our local dialect to English and after several months they finished the translation.

    'They give it to me and it is as thick as this! And they said to me, ' Stanley you memorize that'. And, I said 'No. I cannot memorize it
    anymore'. Then they said 'Ok you just read it' and I said, 'I cannot read it also because it is my testimony, if I will read it, it will be lifeless.' So I went to America leaving behind the translation and upon reaching the States I confided to Father Seraphim everything, so Father Seraphim was so worried because my first testimony will be at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington , D.C. And I will be speaking together with Mother Angelica, the audience is almost seven thousand. Father Seraphim was so worried, so I told him, 'Father don't worry. Anyway, I did not come to America to proclaim my mercy, I am here to proclaim God's Mercy'. So when I was holding the microphone, I am thinking of my own local dialect, but then it came out English and after that I already know how to speak English.

    'What I am going to tell you is what happened to me. About my own personal encounter with Jesus Christ of the Divine Mercy. When you hear my testimony, I hope it will increase your faith, and that you know that there really is a God and that God is a living God. What happened to me, happened on March 2, 1993. That was a Tuesday and a birthday of one of my children. By the way, I had ten children, but now I have thirteen. And by the way, I am a member of the Perpetual Dawn Rosary.

    'It is our practice that whenever there is an occasion at our house, we invite the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and it is also our practice that whenever the Virgin comes into our house it is I who has to receive the Virgin. But on that day, when the Virgin is already in our house, whatever they do to wake me up, I cannot be awaken, so it is my mother-in-law who received the Virgin.

    'At eight o'clock that morning, my mother-in-law said, she heard me moaning and moaning. So she tried to look at me in my room and she found me lying in bed. Trembling vigorously. coming out of my mouth forcefully. And it was the sister of my father-in-law, who is a nurse, was present, so attended to me immediately. And as she touches my pulse, she cannot find any
    pulse anymore - and as she touches my chest, my heart beat is already very slow. And when they open my eyes, both eyes are already in white, so they asked help from our neighbors and they brought me to Chong Hua Hospital . At Chong Hua Hospital , we have four specialist doctors and the doctor said that my chance of survival is one in a million, because my heart beat is already
    slow.'

    As I enter the Emergency Room I cannot breathe anymore, even with the help of oxygen, so they transferred me to I.C.U. or the Intensive Care Unit, so my breathing can be aided, or forcing oxygen inside. At the I.C.U. my trembling did not stop and the was still coming out from my mouth, so the doctor injected me with Valium to control everything.

    'Because Negros Island and Cebu are just very near, so that day my relatives arrive. Among them is my father who is a doctor and my sister who is also a doctor and the cousin of my wife were already present. By the way, my wife is also a nurse.

    'The following day, the doctors called up my wife and asked her permission to take me off of all the life support apparatus. So my wife called up our house and asked that my long sleeve shirt, for my burial be prepared. And my mother-in- law says she has a memorial plan and that her memorial plan is transferable. So she had it transferred to my name. Meaning, I will be the one using her coffin. And it also happened we had a reservation at the Queen City Garden Cemetery in Cebu, because when my father-in-law died in 1987, we bought three lots, so they process all the papers so they can bring me to the Queen City Garden . Meaning, everything is
    already ready. I have the long shirt to wear for my burial, I have already a coffin to sleep in, I have already a cemetery to live in.

    'But God had a different plan, because my wife did not agree to remove the life support apparatus attached to my body. In fact my relatives, they take in turns to watch over me. But it is only my body present at Chong Hua Hospital , because I saw a light, a very big bright light, but not glaring. You can stare at it. It is like a fountain. It is like a fog as it slowly evaporates, until I notice someone is standing in front of me. And when I look at His face, I recognize Him as Jesus.

    'As we are looking at each other, He raised His left hand and when He raised His left hand, the clouds above were sucked downwards and when they reach just above us, the clouds keep on turning and changes in color and when it stops it becomes like a video screen. And He showed me the film of my life, from my childhood up to my present. And I notice that every time I do good, it just goes on normally and I also notice that every time I commit a sin, suddenly it would go into slow motion as if He wants to show
    us that what we have done is wrong, as if He wants to show us that what we have done is a sin. And because I have also committed bigger sins, sins like what we call the mortal sin.

    'Every time it shows up, suddenly it would stop, came closer and enlarged it. Then I said to myself, 'Why should this be included? There must be no word of sin saw in Heaven, because it is just too bad to look at, but even if I closed my eyes I could still see it.

    'Also I notice that every time I commit a sin, I could feel the heaviness. I could feel the weight. The more I commit a sin, the more the
    heaviness, the more the weight. And I also notice that every time I do good, for example, if I give something to the poor, I could feel as if I were floating. So it is really true what is written in the Bible, 'That what so every you do to the less of your brethren, that you do unto Me.' 'And I also notice that the sins I did not confess to a Priest it is too heavy, and also I notice that the sins that I confessed to a Priest, it is lighter. And we cannot deny anything because the screen is so big and very clear and also the pictures are also big and below the pictures are written the day, the month, the date and the year. And below that it is also written the hour, the minutes and the seconds. So, we cannot deny anything, even the seconds are recorded. In fact, He reviewed my film three times and after our long conversation, He tapped my shoulder and as He was tapping my shoulder, He said to me, 'You go back now, because you still have so many things to
    do. You still have so many things to finish. If I have something for you or if I have a message for you, I will just appear to you in your dream.'

    'After He say that, I was at the I.C.U. of the Chong Hua Hospital . Suddenly I got up. I could feel my body so light and my head suppressed. That when I got up, I removed the oxygen from my nose. After removing the oxygen, there is a tube going down into my intestine, so I slowly remove the tube because it tickles me. And after removing the tube, I slowly remove the I.V. from my hand and because there is a nurse who saw everything, and that she was so afraid that she ran away. In fact, she said, one of the heels of
    her shoes was broken. 'When the nurse returns she has other nurses, doctors and the technicians, they are all running and when they reach me, they put me to bed again. And one of the doctors put on his telescope and examined me and after a short examination, the doctor put off his telescope, put it beside him and he asked for another. Meaning, he did not believe his telescope. He was given another telescope and he put it on and re-examined me again and after a long examination, the doctor looked at my E.C.G. because every bed in the I.C.U. has its own E.C.G. And he said, since I was admitted at the I.C.U. my E.C.G. was just a straight line, but now they were so surprised because my E.C.G. was working normally and because the technicians were already
    present, so they subjected me to X-rays, laboratory tests and brain scan. And now, all the results are in negative, meaning, I am not sick.

    'The doctors were all surprised and they asked permission to have another set of examinations, because they said there might be something wrong with the apparatus. We consented, and they subjected me again to another ultra sound, laboratory tests and brain scan, all except the X-ray. And again, all the results were in negative: meaning, I am not really sick. So the doctors said 'There is nothing now that we can really do, it is really a miracle.'

    When I woke up, I woke up at eight o'clock in the morning of Friday. If you will count from eight 'clock in the morning of Tuesday, to eight o'clock in the morning to Friday, that is exactly three days. And because of that, the media was alerted. The television, the radio and newspaper. And because our Church, the Roman Catholic Church do not easily believe in miracles, so it has to be investigated and the investigation was led by Cardinal Vidal of Cebu .

    'Cardinal Vidal leads the investigation in March. At the middle of September, Cardinal Vidal released a letter confirming what happened to me. And he gives me an endorsement letter, so that I could give testimony around the world.

    'One of the doctors who was assigned to me at the I.C.U. , he is not just an ordinary doctor because when he took his medical examinations, he got the highest score all over the country and when he entered the Chong Hua Hospital, he was awarded as the most outstanding P.G.I. doctor. He was assigned to me at the I.C.U. from the very beginning, until I woke up. And because he cannot sleep anymore, so he entered the Seminary to become a Priest, and now he is already a Priest.

    'From March 1993 up to now, Jesus keeps appearing to me to my dream. That is also accepted by our local Church. Because my Spiritual Director is Msgr Chris Garcia. He is one of the most holiest Priests in Cebu and he is also gifted. He has the gift of inner locution (inner telepathic voice), meaning he can also talk to Jesus. But he cannot see Jesus. But Jesus appears to me, to my dream, where I can see Him, where I can talk to Him, where I can touch Him, where I can even embrace Him. And what is best for
    us! Every time Jesus appears to me, He also tells my Spiritual Director, so there is a confirmation. That is why, whereever I go, it is embraced by the Church.

    'Also during my investigation, the doctors asked the Priest, 'Where does all that come from? ' The coming out from my mouth is with force and continuously for several hours and why there was no transfusion. (Blood count showed no reduced level of ). So the Priest prayed and after praying the answer that this coming out from my mouth is for cleansing. I have to be cleansed because I have to face the Lord - and they also said that is it also said in the Bible, that whoever sees the Lord will have to die, so I have to die. But because I have a mission, so I have to live again.

    'Also they ask me: 'Why you? Why did Jesus choose you?' So I answered them. 'Maybe because I am nothing. May because I have nothing to be proud of except for my sins.' So, when I have a chance to talk with Jesus, I ask the Lord, 'My Lord, my God, why me? I am a sinner. I am a sinful man.' And Jesus answered, 'You cannot appreciate the beauty of My mercy unless you experience the misery of sin.' And so I accepted my mission.

    'Also so many are coming to me, so I ask the Lord: 'My Lord, my God! So many are coming to me and entrust their problems to me, what shall I do?' And Jesus answered: Just let them pray the chaplet unceasingly and they will be guided.'

    'That is why now, in the Philippines , the chaplet is very popular, not only among the Catholics but also the other Church dominions because there are so many miracles that have been attributed to the chaplet. For example: Several months ago, my Spiritual Director, Msgr Chris Garcia, he had a slight stroke. So he was admitted at the Hospital, and the doctor said that he had a brain tumor and that there is a virus in his brain and that he cannot open his eyes because it is too painful. We went to the Hospital and
    we prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy, together with Msgr Chris, and after we prayed the chaplet, several minutes later, he asked for his laptop computer. So you see the power of the chaplet. The miracle of the chaplet.

    'The following day, we prayed again the chaplet. The doctors re-examined him and found him negative of everything. So on the third day he checked out of the Hospital as if nothing had happened. Do you see the power of the chaplet?

    'Also, one of our Divine Mercy leaders in the Philippines , his wife was ill early in the morning. So they brought his wife to Hospital. The doctors gave him a prescription to buy the medicine and because he has no money, so he has to sell his pig. And the buyer paid him for the pig, but the buyer said that he would get the pig the following day.

    'But that afternoon of that very day, the pig refused to stand up and refused to eat. So, he was so worried, because if something happens to the pig, they will be in trouble because, they buy the medicine. So he called all his children and explained to them everything; that they have to pray the chaplet for the pig. So they prayed the chaplet for the pig. But at the middle of praying the chaplet the children were laughing. They were all laughing because they said it was better to pray the chaplet for a human
    being, but not for a pig.

    'He explained it again to them. He explained it again and again. And on the third time that they prayed the chaplet, the children prayed intensely and they finished praying the chaplet. After they finished praying the chaplet, the pig suddenly stood up and one of the children ran and got some food for the pig and the pig consumed everything. And the lesson is, if Jesus answered our prayers for a pig, how much more if we pray the chaplet for a human being.

    'We have another leader of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines . He has several acres of rice fields and because he is poor he cannot afford to buy fertilizer, he cannot afford to buy insecticide. So, what he did every morning, he would roam around his rice field and pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy, everyday! Every morning! And also every afternoon. During the harvest time, his neighbors were all surprised, because during harvest time his harvest is much more than those using fertilizer and insecticide. So you see
    the miracle of the chaplet!

    'Where ever I go, so many would ask me how soon is Jesus coming back? Or is the three days of darkness really true? Is the chastisement really true? So I answered them. Jesus said to me 'Don't be afraid'. Jesus said to me, 'Don't be afraid because I will take care of your future. Blessed are those taking advantage of My mercy while it is still the day of mercy but beware, because the day of Judgment is nearer than everyone thinks.'

    'I asked the Lord, 'What are the sins that You cannot forgive?' Jesus said, 'All sins can be forgiven except if you refuse to believe that your sin can be forgiven.' That is the sin He cannot forgive, because Jesus said by refusing His mercy you are also refusing to believe that He is a God. (That is a sin against the Holy Spirit). That is why Jesus said, 'Before I come as Just Judge I will open wide the doors of My mercy'. But Jesus continued that it is also written in the Diary of St. Faustina, that 'he that refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy will have to pass through the doors of My Justice.'

    'Now, after a long while that Jesus is opening this door of mercy and after a long while He will close that door of mercy. Then He will open that door of Justice. And if He will open the door of His Justice who can enter Heaven? When Heaven is only for the pure, when Heaven is only for the clean. And who are the clean? And who are the pure? All of us are sinners. All of us are unclean. We can only enter Heaven through His mercy, through His love. Without God's mercy, without His love, it is too difficult to enter Heaven. That is why Jesus now is begging us to go out now and proclaim His mercy. Jesus also said, 'Proclaiming My mercy is not enough, you have to put mercy into action, by living as an example of My mercy.' He said, 'He who will save a soul will save his own.'

    'I am not allowed by the Church to pray or to do healing or lay hands on anybody because Cardinal Vidal said I would just do my
    evangelization, (tell people what happened to me), because he said, 'there are some who are given the gift of healing, they will also continue their healing.' But then it cannot be avoided that during my talk so many sick people are attending, so Cardinal Vidal arranged a veneration to the image of Divine Mercy, so the sick people will ask directly to Jesus their healing, not through me because I am only a human being. After that, this image becomes a miraculous image, because there are so many instant healings
    and also sometimes when I give my testimony, people see lights. Lights coming out from His body. That is why there are some ripples in His body (of the image). The light has a heat and the heat destroyed the plastic. Because so many people will say Jesus is emanating lights and sometimes they say that Jesus gets out from the frame, and He will transfer right behind me and they say He is taller than me. And they said each time Jesus gets out from the frame, the frame is empty. And it not only happens in the Philippines .
    It also happened in Hong Kong , China , in Rome , in New York , New Jersey , all over the States and in Canada and Mexico . So it also happened in Ireland and so during veneration, (showing respect and appreciation ) , you have to ask Jesus what favor you want. Because, if what you are asking for is not against His will, He will give it to you. Especially, if what you are asking for comes from the depth of your heart.'

    End of Stanley 's words.

    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

    It is an amazing testimony. But did it happen? If so, was it a miracle? There is no doubt that medically what happened to Stanley took place. This part of his story is true. He was convulsing, pouring , went into a coma and then died. No doctor wants to take a very ill person off of life support equipment. The thing is, medical treatment is not free in the Philippines and law determines that no doctor can remove medical equipment without permission from the next of kin. Stanley 's medical records were examined, all hospital reports regarding him, and all staff involved in his care, questioned over and over again. The investigation first began when peoples talk was picked up by the media. It was given more credence, when a well known doctor resigned to become a Priest, because of what he saw medically, which he deemed as 'Impossible, a miracle, an act of God'.

    A person from the Philippines sent a telegram to Father Seraphim Mekalanco - who is the Director of the John Paul Institute for the study of Divine Mercy, appointed by Pope John 11. Father Seraphim received the telegram in Rome . He launched an investigation. Medical records were studied by Cardinal Vidal, Cardinal Sin, and twelve Bishops. Another person who independently examined the medical records was Paul Regan from Malden , who is the founder of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy For the Sick and Dying
    Institute, in America . The fact that Stanley had died, and woke in full health, with no brain damage is against all the science of nature. So, yes, this part can be termed a miracle. Certainly one that had the main doctor leave his profession and become a Priest. Certainly enough to have a whole nation's television studios and radio stations, halt every day at three o'clock in the afternoon, to pray the chaplet publicly. To have people of all faiths stop in the street at this time to pray the chaplet.

    Now, what we have to look at is whether Stanley is being honest about his spiritual encounter. What is convincing is that Stanley described both rays coming from Jesus as white, and not one red and one white as is in the image. The white ray is described as a washing of sin, as in baptism. But Stanley's account would have been obviously more convincing if he described the rays as they are shown in the image and as seen by St. Faustina; but, I think the fact he described seeing the rays differently makes his account more authentic; who would deliberately want to complicate a con?

    The other thing than makes Stanley 's account believable is that he describes some of the sins he committed and saw. He was President of the Chapel to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He saw himself pass the chapel seeing people inside gambling. He saw another time his neighbors in the chapel drinking and gambling and did not stop them. Another time, he saw himself inside the chapel drinking with them. This is not someone trying to show a 'holier than thou' image. Quite the opposite.

    Stanley himself received a request sent on behalf of Pope John Paul II to go to Rome . When asked what language he spoke to the Archbishops, Cardinals and Bishops, given that they were from all over the world, but each would speak Italian, Stanley was very firm that he spoke in English, not a mystical Italian that rose from the Spirit of God.

    The profound effect that Stanley 's experience has had on a whole country is the largest mark of authenticity. In the conversation he said he had with Jesus, he was told that the chapel was not to be used for any other purpose other than that for which it was built. Jesus requested, that the chapel be extended, and a new door was to be placed on it, in the shape of a large heart, representing His Sacred Heart. All the people of Cebu and surrounding areas, contributed material and labor to comply with this request. People of many religious dominions joined together to fulfill this task.

    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----
    INTERVIEW
    While in England , Stanley offered to answer any questions asked of him.

    (Q) 'When Our Lord appeared to you, did He appear to you just as in the Divine Mercy Image. How did He look?'

    (A) 'When you are in front of Jesus, you cannot just totally describe Him, because He is everything. When you are looking at Him, you cannot describe your happiness, your satisfaction, the peace and everything. In fact, you forget your family when you are in front of Him. All of the pictures of Jesus, there is likeness, but not totally, not exactly, but there is likeness, but you cannot just totally describe Him when you are in front of Him.'

    (Q) 'How would Jesus like our future? What would He like us to be, a part from the Commandments? How would He like our future to progress as years go on? What does He want us to do with our lives?'

    (A) 'That is why He said that now is the time for mercy'.

    (Q) 'Yes, but with all the problems we have had in Society, with contraception and abortion?'

    (A) 'Contraception and abortion! All that is a sin. That is why Mary is crying with already. That's a sin. That's why for example,
    last night, four ladies approached me and they said after my testimony, they said they are planning for an abortion, but after hearing my testimony, they changed their mind, because they said they do not want to see their films, that the other one their own child.'

    (Q) 'Could I ask you, did you actually see Jesus at the gates of Heaven or did you actually see Heaven?'

    (A) Cardinal Vidal said that it is the Garden of Eden, because, it's a garden and in it all beautiful flowers. That is why Cardinal Vidal
    described it as the Garden of Eden.'

    (Q) 'Did you actually see that yourself, or just the clouds and the light?'

    (A) 'I see it yes. It is the Garden of Eden. By the way, Jesus said to me that we have to pray for His beloved Priests, because He said: 'They are My precious jewels and some of them cause My Heart to bleed. But I will bless them abundantly, in time, and in eternity; much more if they will stay longer in the Confessional, because it is in the Confessional that My mercy flows greater than all the sins committed by any living creature''.

    (Q) 'How do we ask our Priest to promote the Divine Mercy? Should we do it very quietly or should we implore him to promote Divine Mercy?'

    (A) 'Give the Priest some real stuff he can learn, because some of the Priests do not promote Divine Mercy because they do not understand Divine Mercy. You have to inform them, and give them some literature that will guide them. And, you have to pray and ask Our Lord's assistance because we cannot change a person, only God can change a person, so we have to pray'.

    (Q) ' Stanley , because of this Divine Mercy, especially in the Islands of the Philippines , is there a great change in the Philippines ? Do they now keep the Sabbath holy?'

    (A) 'In the Philippines , at three o'clock in the afternoon, all the television stations, pray the three o'clock prayer, and also all the radio
    stations. And, not only the Catholics are ringing their bells, but also the other Church dominions, because I have also given my testimony to other Church dominions, so at three o'clock every body is ringing their bells and also I find it surprising that the Malls especially in Cebu and Manila, at three o'clock, they would stop and pray that three o'clock prayer. The Feast of Mercy will be celebrated throughout the universal Church. Jesus promised that the souls who are in a state of grace (been to Confession) who receive Holy Communion on that day, at the Feast of His Mercy, will be granted complete forgiveness of sins including their punishment, meaning after the Feast of Mercy, whatever happens to you, you will go straight to Heaven. Because even the punishment is forgiven. Because, when we go to Confession, when we go to a Priest, our sins are forgiven, but the punishment remains. That is why when we die we cannot go straight to Heaven, we have to
    pass through Purgatory to pay for the punishments of our sins. But during the Feast of Mercy, all the sins and the punishments are forgiven, so that's a very wonderful grace.'

    (Q) ' Stanley , what does Jesus think about other religions and other non-Christian religions? Hindu's and al l different religions?'

    (A) 'Well, God's mercy is for everybody, not only for Catholics - because if Jesus is given the choice, He wants all mankind to enter Heaven. But only man loves so much the world, that he does not want to accept God's mercy. He does not want to return to the Lord. In fact, they are just denying their sins.'

    (Q) 'Does Jesus want us to approach people in our work places; strangers, non Christians, to tell them about Divine Mercy? If so, how does He want us to do it? Because it is very difficult to go up to a stranger who does not believe in God or does not know Jesus and try to tell him about Divine Mercy.'

    (A) 'We can do it. We can do it by being an example. We have to show them, that's why Jesus said: Put mercy into action. For example, you visit the prisoners and you explain to them God's mercy. And also at hospital, tell them and you give them the chaplet and you teach them how to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy. You can do it, because the chaplet is welcomed by other religions, because God's mercy is for everybody, not only for Catholics. That's why Jesus said that we have to multiply our prayer for the
    sinners because Jesus said that the sinners do not pray for themselves anymore. So we have to increase our prayer for the sinners because their salvation depends on us.'

    (Q) 'If those of us who have celebrated the Divine Mercy Sunday, in a state of grace, if our video is shown to us when we die, would it go back earlier or would it begin at the last Divine Mercy Sunday?'

    (A) 'Others would also ask me, if your sins are forgiven, it is also forgotten with the Lord, that is true! But during the of the film, you will see everything, because Jesus wants us to see how sinful we are. But then He will forgive us and that is a sign of mercy and it is mercy itself, our film, showing us how sinful we are, then forgiving us. That it mercy itself!'

    (Q) 'Does Jesus speak to you about His Mother?'

    (A) 'Yes! He always do. That's why He said we have to pray the chaplet and the rosary unceasingly, as our last weapon against the
    enemies'.

    (Q) 'One of the problems is the difference between the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and having the image over our fire places, and Our Lord asking for the image of Divine Mercy. Sometimes, the two seem to be in conflict and some prefer the Sacred Heart and some prefer the Divine Mercy?'

    (A) 'For me it is not conflict. Before what happened to me, since I was a kid I am already a devotee to the Sacred Heart, until I grew up, until I got married. In fact I built Sacred Heart Chapel, just in front of our house. That's why Jesus said, because I ask Him the difference: Love: Love is the Sacred Heart. Love is the flower. Mercy is the fruit. Because you do not have mercy if you do not have love. So love and mercy go together.'

    (Q) 'You talked about the time of mercy and there is obviously a time table, because seventy-years ago on February 22, this image was seen for the first time by Saint Faustina. The Holy Father himself is special because his mission on life is to bring in the time of mercy. Is there a time table that Jesus has for mankind? Because I have heard from radio shows in America, that's not to say prediction, because the time and the place is known only to God, but we are obviously in these final times. What is expected of society when the Holy Father decreed Divine Mercy Sunday in the year 2000, and the Bishops are indifferent to it, because the decree has gone out to the Bishops and therefore they are the ones to instruct the Priests and they wont. We people are basically having to listen to the Bishops and the Priests, but if they don't speak of Divine Mercy or follow the Feast for us to celebrate, how do we raise that up?'

    (A) 'We raise it up by giving more information to the Priests. Because some of the Priests do not understand Divine Mercy because they have not read about Divine Mercy, so we have to inform them. We can give them some leaflets, but before giving them information, we have to pray for them, that they will accept it, because, as I said, we cannot change a person. That's why we have to pray harder. And also, you see, Divine Mercy devotion is for salvation, saving life, saving souls. That is why the other side is also working the wolf. The other side, will also work double time because what you are doing is saving souls.'

    (Q) 'Does Jesus say anything about the Scriptures?'

    (A) 'He did not mention it to me.'

    (Q) ' Stanley , how long were you ?'

    (A) 'I was clinically for three days. 'By the way, because I am often asked about that three o'clock prayer in the morning and the three o'clock prayer in the afternoon. Because last year, when I give my testimony at the Vatican in front of all the Cardinals and Bishops, there were twenty-six Cardinals and fifty odd Bishops. One of the Cardinals asked me, 'What is the significance of the three o'clock prayer in the morning. Because there are so many answered prayers at three o'clock in the morning.' And I answered, 'That is the time of His Resurrection. ' And the Cardinal stood up and said that this was true, that in the Book, Jesus and Mary met
    at four o'clock in the morning. So they said, He must have resurrected at three o'clock.'

    (Q) 'Can you tell me, what was your illness? What did it consist of?'

    (A) 'Before what happened to me, I am just going good. I have no illness. I am very strong. This is why, after what happened to me, when I woke up, my wife was so stunned. She cannot believe it. So I went down to the billing section and paid the bill. Then I drive the car in going home. That's why one of the Bishops in the Philippines commented that what happened to me was just an emergency meeting with the Lord.'

    (Q) ' Stanley , when you were at the Vatican talking to the Bishops and Cardinals, was the Holy Father there as well?'

    (A) 'No! He was scheduled to attend, but he was so tired and ill at the time.'

    (Q) 'With the Cardinals and Bishops from all over the world, what language did you speak in? Italian?

    (A) 'English'.

    (Q) 'Italian?'

    (A) 'No! I said English'.

    (Q) 'When Jesus was preparing you for this trip to England , did He say anything to you about the people of England ?'

    (A) 'Yes. People of England are very dear to Him, but then much of them cause His Heart to bleed, because England is losing faith. That is why I am here, to increase faith. And now you heard from me. Do not keep to yourself, you have to multiply. Jesus said that if you save a soul, you save your own.'

    Stanley continues to travel around the world, telling of the amazing event that happened to him and fulfilling the mission that Jesus sent him back to earth to complete, That is, to teach the message of Divine Mercy.

    To His apostle, Saint Marie Faustina, Jesus made a promise in regard to both the image and the praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet. He gave conditions. What is prayed for, is prayed with a contrite heart. That it is not against His Will, in other words, it is doubtful this promise could be used to gain power and riches, which would be an abuse of His gift. He tells us that when the chaplet is prayed for a dying soul, that soul will receive His mercy and not His Justice. In away, when a promise is given to us from
    Heaven, then God because He is Just, is obliged to keep it.

    PLEASE PASS THIS TO YOUR FAMILY, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, FRIENDS ... even to your ENEMIES, etc...

In Him All Things Are Possible

I got some beautiful Words here to share before I will delete it..thanks to arcamax for sharing this...Take everyone!!

In Him All Things Are Possible

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.
Amen.

1 Timothy 1:17 ESV
__________________

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:12,13 ESV
__________________

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV
__________________

Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.

Monday

Bible Readings

PENTECOST SUNDAY

HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues. – Acts 2:4

During a mission trip to Vancouver, our hosts told us that God gave us a chance to rest first and have some form of recreation. So they toured us around the city.
I will never forget our day on Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain is the peak of Vancouver, just 15 minutes away from downtown, but with a 1,250-feet elevation. The place is fantastic. From the top, we could see the entire city, the mountains and the sea. Coming down from the spectacular spot, we had an additional treat — a cable car ride.

I noticed that all who were riding our car had a different nationality. People spoke in their own language. It reminded me of the scene at Pentecost. I felt like I was in the Upper Room with the disciples of Jesus experiencing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and everybody was speaking in tongues! It was a bit strange hearing all the unfamiliar sounds, but something deep inside me knew that everybody spoke of the beauty of God’s creation.

I looked outside, saw the splendor of God’s work and let my own spirit sing: “How great is our God, sing with me. How great is our God, all will see how great, how great is our God….” Arun Gogna

REFLECTION:
Let your heart sing today of how great the Lord is in your life.

Thank You, Lord, that I can speak and sing to You. Amen.

MORE THAN RELEASING A DOVE

Why are doves released during weddings? Most of the time, the response I got to my queries are shoulder shrugs and long stares. Some people sometimes manage to mumble incoherent and confusing explanations. Well, I am sure there could have been a very good explanation for this wedding ritual. It is just that along the way, the stories of origin and significance have been lost. The ritual was carried through and passed on without much thought about its true meaning. This is, of course, sad.

How about Pentecost? We know it to be the commemoration of Jesus’ release of the promised Holy Spirit to His apostles. In Christian art, this Holy Spirit has been portrayed as a dove. What difference does this have with the wedding ceremony of releasing doves?

The Church has always proclaimed in her kerygmatic — her core teaching — that the heart of the life of Jesus was His passion, death and resurrection. And in the Church’s renewed appreciation of the liturgy, the Church sustains that Pentecost, not Ascension Sunday, is the end of the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Sacred Scriptures is witness to this: that the end of Jesus’ ministry was that He might send us the Holy Spirit. The latest and most reflective of the Gospels – St. John’s – testifies that during Jesus’ last moments on the Cross, He did not only breathe His last — Jesus “handed over His spirit” (John 19:30). And when His sacred side was finally pierced, “immediately blood and water flowed out” (John 19:34).

The Holy Spirit is more than a dove. The Holy Spirit is the breath of the Father and the Son; He is the love without end between the Father and the Son. Therefore He is God as the Father and the Son, the power and dynamism of the Trinity. This is then what Pentecost brings us: the opening of heaven, the empowerment of every Christian with the very life and power of God. Pentecost is then known as our birthday as a Church — a community of believers charged and empowered to continue the task of Jesus. Fr. Domie Guzman

Reflection Question:
As you make your prayer time today, spend a good time asking Jesus for a renewal of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.

Blessed Albert of Bergamo, Dominican tertiary, pray for us.


1st READING

Mary is with the disciples at Pentecost. As Mother of the Church, it is appropriate for her to be there. Having given birth to the Son of God, He also chose her to be present at the birth of the Church. As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit today, let us be aware that we stand in a tradition of God’s work with a people who are His own. It is our privilege and responsibility to carry on that work.

Acts 2:1-11
1 When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. 2 And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. 3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. 6 At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? 9 We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, 11 both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

P S A L M

Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
R: Lord, send out your spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD, my God, you are great indeed! 24 How manifold are your works, O LORD! The earth is full of your creatures. (R) 31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD be glad in his works! 34 Pleasing to him be my theme; I will be glad in the LORD. (R) 29 If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (R)

2nd READING

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are many and varied. In fact, lists of the gifts appear in the Scriptures several times, particularly in the writings of Paul. These gifts are to be used for building up the Body of Christ. No one has a monopoly on all or even any one of them. They work best when used within the context of the Christian community. Let us seek to be generous in how we share our gifts with others.

1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
3 Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 there are different forms of service but the same Lord; 6 there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. 12 As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

G O S P E L

Jesus breathes the gift of the Spirit on His apostles. This act harks back to the scriptural text where the Spirit of God hovered over the chaos of the deep and brought forth the creation of the world. It give us an indication of the power of the Spirit who is being given to us. Through the Holy Spirit we partake in the power of God Himself — a preparation for union with Him in eternal life.

John 20:19-23
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

my reflections
think:Am I generous with my spiritual gifts?

kyregma.com

Saturday

FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIAL
“Choose seven men among you who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and we will put them in charge of this matter.” – Acts 6:3
Ricky is the head of an organization. He wants to lead by creating a positive image of his organization for his industry partners. Unfortunately, Ricky has a tendency to do micromanagement in all sectors of his company and ends up dictating decisions that his mid-level administrators should be doing.
But whenever a course of action does not go the way he wants it, Ricky blames everyone except himself. Soon enough, his subordinates began to feel a sense of incompetence and their morale started to deteriorate. Ricky eventually lost his influence over his people and their commitment as well.
Why? Because Ricky lost focus of what was essential: His leadership.
In today’s reading, we are reminded by the Apostles to focus on our primary mission — the preaching and living of God’s Word. They also emphasized the importance of delegating work to those who are wise and Spirit-filled, as well as knowledgeable, skilled and competent in their respective fields.
The Apostles knew the basics of organizational management.
The Apostles were leaders. Red Cerrer

REFLECTION:
What is my primary task at work? How can I be a leader to others?
Lord, teach me to lead as the Apostles did.

GOD, NOT GHOST
If you see someone walking on the water, you would think you are either dreaming or seeing a ghost. But Jesus is no ghost and seeing Him walk on the water is not a dream. To see Jesus walk on the water is to witness something rather ordinary for Him to do.
Recognizing Jesus as the one who walks on the water, however, is a different matter. It is an act of faith.
Interestingly, the disciples, who spent many days and nights with Jesus, failed to recognize Him when they saw Him walk on the water. Instead, they thought He was a ghost.
Water is a very powerful symbol for the disciples who were Jews. It symbolizes chaos as it was prior to the creation story in the book of Genesis. It reminds the Jews of the great flood during Noah’s time and, therefore, of death. It brings to mind slavery as well because the Jews had to cross the Red Sea to escape the Egyptians. For the Jews, water represents chaos, death and slavery. It was God who hovered over the water, caused the water to rise, and divided the water. God alone walks on water as God alone has power over chaos, death and slavery.
The Jews believed that anyone who sees God dies. Moses himself saw only the back of God. Coming from God’s presence later on, Moses had to put a veil over his face when he went down from the mountain because the Israelites could not look at the radiance of his face.
When Jesus walked on the water, could it be that the disciples were afraid that they were actually seeing God face-to-face and therefore they would die? If we were to see Jesus face-to-face today, it requires faith to believe that He alone can change chaos to order, death to life, and slavery to freedom. To see the presence of God in the midst of our personal and collective experience of chaos, death and slavery, we must have faith. Fr. Bobby Titco

Reflection Question:
Do I see God in the chaos, death and slavery inside and outside of myself?
Father, You have given us Jesus to put order in our chaos, bring life in our death, and give freedom in our slavery. Help us to see Jesus always with the eyes of faith and recognize Him as Lord forever and ever. Amen.
St. Vincent Ferrer, priest, pray for us.

1st READING
The apostles recognized that their primary mission was prayer and preaching the Gospel. Administrative tasks like the distribution of food to the widows and the poor are important but preaching and prayer are their priority. Let us pray that the bishops of the Church today will never neglect their primary mandates in the face of so many administrative demands.

Acts 6: 1-7
1 As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. 3 Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, 4 whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. 7 The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

P S A L M
Psalm 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19
R: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
1 Exult, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting. 2 Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. (R) 4 Upright is the word of the LORD, and all his works are trustworthy. 5 He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. (R) 18 See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, 19 to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine. (R)

G O S P E L
God’s perfect love casts out all fear. This is one of the principles of Christian life that we need to be constantly reminded about so that we can keep a proper perspective on the events around us. If we can approach life in the knowledge that God loves usand is with us we will never fear anything He asks us to do.
John 6: 16-21
16 When it was evening, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. 20 But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” 21 They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.
my reflections
think:God’s perfect love casts out all fear.

www.kyregma.com

Holy Saturday

In the primitive Church Holy Saturday was known as Great, or Grand, Saturday, Holy Saturday, the Angelic Night, the Vigil of Easter, etc. It is no longer, like Maundy Thursday, a day of joy, but one of joy and sadness intermingled; it is the close of the season of Lent and penance, and the beginning of paschal time, which is one of rejoicing.

By a noteworthy exception, in the early Church this was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted (Constit. Apost., VII, 23), and the fast was one of special severity. Dating from the time of St. Irenaeus, an absolute fast from every kind of food was observed for the forty hours preceding the feast of Easter, and although the moment assigned for breaking the fast at dawn on Sunday varied according to time and country, the abstinence from food on Holy Saturday was general.

The night of the vigil of Easter has undergone a strange displacement. During the first six or seven centuries, ceremonies were in progress throughout the entire night, so that the Alleluia coincided with the day and moment of the Resurrection. In the eighth century these same ceremonies were held on Saturday afternoon and, by a singular anachronism, were later on conducted on Saturday morning, thus the time for carrying out the solemnity was advanced almost a whole day. Thanks to this change, special services were now assigned to Holy Saturday whereas, beforehand, it had had none until the late hour of the vigil.

This vigil opened with the blessing of the new fire, the lighting of lamps and candles and of the paschal candle, ceremonies that have lost much of their symbolism by being anticipated and advanced from twilight to broad daylight. St. Cyril of Jerusalem spoke of this night that was as bright as day, and Constantine the Great added unprecedented splendour to its brilliancy by a profusion of lamps and enormous torches, so that not only basilicas, but private houses, streets, and public squares were resplendent with the light that was symbolic of the Risen Christ. The assembled faithful gave themselves up to common prayer, the singing of psalms and hymns, and the reading of the Scriptures commentated by the bishop or priests. The vigil of Easter was especially devoted to the baptism of catechumens who, in the more important churches, were very numerous. On the Holy Saturday following the deposition of St. John Chrysostom from the See of Constantinople, there were 3000 catechumens in this church alone. Such numbers were, of course, only encountered in large cities; nevertheless, as Holy Saturday and the vigil of Pentecost were the only days on which baptism was administered, even in smaller churches there was always a goodly number of catechumens. This meeting of people in the darkness of the night often occasioned abuses which the clergy felt powerless to prevent by active supervision unless by so anticipating the ceremonies that all of them could take place in daylight. Rabanus Maurus, an ecclesiastical writer of the ninth century (De cleric. Instit., II, 28), gives a detailed account of the ceremony of Holy Saturday. The congregation remained silent in the church awaiting the dawn of the Resurrection, joining at intervals in psalmody and chant and listening to the reading of the lessons. These rites were identical with those in the primitive Church and were solemnized at the same hours, as the faithful throughout the world had not yet consented to anticipate the Easter vigil and it was only during the Middle Ages that uniformity on this point was established.
adapted: Newadvent


Last Supper painting inside St. Bartholome Church in Frankfurt..
I personally took these photos last march 15, 2008 during our trip there.

Christ Crucified.. one of the Stations of the Cross Monument
inside the Imperial cathedral in Frankfurt..

Friday

Why Do The Station of the Cross

The most important reason for reviving the practice of making the Stations of the Cross is that it is a powerful way to contemplate, and enter into, the mystery of Jesus' gift of himself to us. It takes the reflection on the passion out of my head, and makes it an imaginative exercise. It involves my senses, my experience and my emotions. To the extent I come to experience the love of Jesus for me, to that extent the gratitude I feel will be deep. Deep gratitude leads to real generosity and a desire to love as I have been loved. First, just a note about the history of the stations:

The History:

From the earliest of days, followers of Jesus told the story of his passion, death and resurrection. When pilgrims came to see Jerusalem, they were anxious to see the sites where Jesus was. These sites become important holy connections with Jesus. Eventually, following in the footsteps of the Lord, along the way of the cross, became a part of the pilgrimage visit. The stations, as we know them today, came about when it was no longer easy or even possible to visit the holy sites. In the 1500's, villages all over Europe started creating "replicas" of the way of the cross, with small shrines commemorating the places along the route in Jerusalem. Eventually, these shrines became the set of 14 stations we now know and were placed in almost every Catholic Church in the world.


Why Put Them On the Web?

We do this for the same reason we have done the Daily Reflections and the Online Retreat on the web - accessibility. It would be wonderful if each of us would find the time to explore our church, or a classic church in town, and make the stations there, going from station to station. However, it is much easier to imagine almost anyone with a computer going through these stations, any time, day or night.
What if I have never made the Stations before?
Go to the page on "How to do the Stations" and see how simple it is. On the web, it's easy. I can do one a day, for two weeks. I can do several at a time, and just do them, when I get a chance. I can do all 14 at a time, and return to them in my prayer and imagination as I do them.

The most important thing to remember is that this can be as personal as I'd like it to be. One of our common religious struggles is to realize that we are not alone. The Good News is that Jesus entered into our life's experience completely - even suffering and death - and that he fell into the hands of a Loving God, who raised him from death to life. We can have complete hope that suffering and death have no complete hold on us. We will all share eternal life with him, if we can fall into the hands of the same Loving God. And, along the way, we are not alone. Jesus is with as one who knows our suffering, and the death we face. That can be deeply consoling.

So try the stations, and experience the consolation they offer. And return often, to be renewed in this intimate experience of Jesus' solidarity with all humanity in our way of the cross each day.

FAQ's About Holy Week

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is Holy Week So Important?
Holy Week is important because it commemorates the events of Christ's final days and passion. This includes the institution of the Eucharist and the crucifixion. Obviously, Christ's institution of the Eucharist and his passion and death are important in many ways, especially in terms of their importance in the reconciliation of God and humanity (the atonement). Holy Week commemorates these important events, and is therefore a very busy time in the life of the Church. For an article explaining why Catholics spend so much time at church during Holy Week, check out You're at Church A Lot During Holy Week...How Strange.

2. Why Doesn't My Church Observe Holy Week?
There are various possibilities. Perhaps your particular church considers Holy Week to be unbiblical (although the whole week is based explicitly on Scripture). Some denominations that came out of the "Radical Reformation" got rid of the Church Year, believing it to be a manmade tradition. Another possibility is that your church believes Holy Week is outdated and places too much emphasis on sin and guilt. A final reason may be that your pastor is not familiar with the rich meaning behind Holy Week, which means you should send him to this site.

3. What are the Western Catholic Fast Guidelines for Good Friday?
Fasting means eating only one full meatless (no animal flesh) meal on this day. However, one may still eat a breakfast and even a lunch in addition to a full meal if the two additional small meals do not add up to a second full meal. Snacking is not allowed. Drinking coffee, tea, juices, etc, between meals is permitted on fast days. The requirements are slightly different for those of certain ages. Fasting is only required of those from ages 18-59, although parents are expected to teach their children the reasons behind their fasting, etc. Those with health conditions are excluded. Note that some Western Bishop Conferences, Eastern Catholic Rites, and Orthodox Christians have different fasting guidelines, so it is wise to check with your local parish about expectations. These are simply the minimum expectations. Additional forms of self-denial, within reason, can also be spiritually beneficial.

4. What is the Paschal Triduum?
The Paschal Triduum, often called the Easter Triduum or simply the Triduum, consists of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. This includes the Great Easter Vigil, the high point of the Triduum. The word Triduum comes from the Latin word meaning "three days." It begins the evening of Maundy Thursday and ends at Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. Thus the Triduum consists of three full days which begin and end in the evening. The Triduum is not part of Lent (at least liturgically), but Holy Thursday and Good Friday are still reckoned as part of the traditional forty days of Lent. The Triduum celebrates the heart of our faith and salvation: the death and resurrection of Christ, and is thus the high point of the liturgical year.

adapted from: Churchyear

Thursday

to serve the Cause of riGht

God has a plan for each of our lives. It has something to do with being an example of righteous living for others. In this excerpt from Isaiah, we hear the prophet telling the people of God that they have been called to “serve the cause of right.” What do we think this might mean?
One thing for sure is that we can know that our task will not be easy. Every person who has lived a life of justice or a life fighting for the right of others will tell you that there are many obstacles that have to be overcome in such tasks. Making justice the goal of our lives is a choice that will bring suffering to us. Such a choice will always involve confronting sin in one way or another. Sin is fundamentally unjust, thus to live a just life will mean overcoming sin in our lives and in the world. It will mean that we have chosen to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. It will mean that the life we have chosen is one of discipleship with Jesus as our Lord and Master.
Isaiah’s prophecy is seen as one of the four Servant Songs of Yahweh — passages speaking prophetically about a figure who is to come to restore the moral reign of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes this figure seems to be an individual and at other times he seems to have a corporate personality. Thus it is not a matter of living a just life on our own — we do it with the help and support of others. It is as a member of the Church we strive for holiness and justice and the Church is not true to herself unless she is fully given to this task. Neither the Church nor any disciple of Jesus can be seen to be one with the world and its values. We must always stand as a counter-cultural witness that points to the deeper realities of the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than becoming consumed with the passing realities and pleasures of this world. This is our mission as men and women who have chosen to follow Jesus. Fr. Steve Tynan

Reflection Question:
Do I realize that the path of a disciple of Jesus is one filled with difficulty and suffering as well as joys and happiness?
Holy Spirit, help me always to look beyond the present moment of hardship to see the reward of eternal life You offer to those who remain faithful to Your call.

St. Patrick, bishop and apostle of Ireland, pray for us.

LibERTY TO CAPTiVES

“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives…” – Luke 4:18

“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” I glanced at the audience to acknowledge their applause. I took a bow and left the stage.
I joined elocution contests in grade school. I won a lot of them. But not this one. The judges said I did not deliver the piece with much conviction. Can you blame me? I was a Grade 4 student then. The word liberty didn’t mean anything to me at all. At that time, the only liberty I knew was condensed milk. “Give me liberty or give me death” is a famous quotation from a speech made by Patrick Henry in 1775 to the Virginia House of Burgesses that convinced them to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the war.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus bringing liberty to captives means more than just physical freedom; He has come to set our spirits free. He assures us that through Him, we have been empowered to break free from the clutches of sin and death. This makes us all victors rather than victims. We are captives no more! “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Le t us celebrate our freedom. Randy Borromeo

REFLECTION:
What are the areas of my life that are still in bondage to sin?

Lord, thank You for freedom. Thank You for setting us free. Thank You for the promise of a year of favor from You. Amen.

G O S P E L
Mary anoints the feet of Jesus. This is a rather unusual act as anointings are usually done to the head. Perhaps we have a symbol here of the humility of Jesus? Perhaps Mary is harking back to the text of Isaiah that speaks of the beauty of the feet of those who bring good news? As we reflect upon Mary’s act, let us ask God to reveal to us its significance for our lives.

John 12:1-11
1 Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 3 Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 Then Judas the Iscariot, one [of] his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, 5 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” 6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. 7 So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” 9 [The] large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, 11 because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.

my reflections
think:Do we serve selflessly or with self-interest?

Wednesday

Bible Readings

This prophecy of Ezekiel is rather amazing in that its content speaks specifically of the resurrection of the dead – God will raise his people from their graves. This is precisely the hope that we are given through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As we reflect upon the words of Ezekiel, let us marvel at how God has prepared His people for this truth from centuries before the sending of Jesus, His Son, to bring it about.

Ezekiel 37:12-14
12 Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! 14 I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

P S A L M
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; Lord, hear my voice! 2 Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. (R) 3 If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? 4 But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. (R) 5 I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. 6 More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the LORD. (R) 7 For with the LORD is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; 8 and he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.