Renew the Face of the Earth

(I first stumbled upon this piece on Our Lady of Guadalupe three years ago. It was written by Dr. Peter Howard and first appeared at Dr. Howard is an authority on Bishop Fulton Sheen. He currently is based in Peoria and is a popular speaker on Bishop Sheen, Mariology, and the renewal of the family. I have come to think that the titles, Tepeyac and Guadalupe, are equally important, for in this image she is a profound sign of unity, uniting the Old World and the New World, and encompassing almost all of Christian history. Dr. Howard marvelously connects the dots in a concise way here. This is the finest short piece on Our Lady of Guadalupe/Tepeyac I have ever read. May she once more come and renew our poor, bleeding world.-CJ)

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Renaissance of Civilization

December 12, 2015 by

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Renaissance of Civilization


“The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.”

These words of Venerable Fulton Sheen echoed across the radio waves back in 1947 when he spoke about the effects of communism on modern womanhood and the decision our age must make whether or not it will accept the gift of woman, which produces the strongest societies, or reject that gift and live with the catastrophic consequences that come with that. Who can better reveal to the world the unique gift of womanhood that will make or break modern civilization than “the Woman” herself, who in her usual style of beauty and mystery left the world a timeless revelation at Tepeyac Hill on 12 December 1531, forever memorialized under her title “Our Lady of Guadalupe”.

The global significance of Mary’s appearances in Guadalupe cannot be underscored enough. What took place in 1531, and the Marian revolution which followed for the next eight years, is a message for all the world! Let’s briefly look at the history of this event in order to appreciate its more important spiritual significance. It is a history contextualized between the seemingly endless conflict between Christianity and Islam and, more broadly, the culture of life versus a culture of death.

Our reflection takes us back to the 8th century when the Moslems swept through Spain and the Christians there hid a highly revered statue, given to them from Pope St. Gregory the Great, of Mary who held the Christ Child. It was a statue referred to as the Divine Motherhood and to protect it from the Moslems, it was buried in the ground in the Extremadura mountains. When the Moslems were driven out six centuries later, the statue was miraculously recovered by a humble RoyalMonasteryOfSantaMariaDeGuadalupeshepherd and later enshrined in a Franciscan monastery next to a river called “The Wolf River” (“Guada” = river, “lupe” = wolf) a name derived from Arabic during the Moslem occupation. So, the statue of the Divine Motherhood became known according to its Islamic name Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is an interesting fact considering Our Lady would do this again centuries later by becoming known as Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 – a name connected with Mohammed’s daughter.

What our secular history books do not include about Christopher Columbus were the predominantly Catholic roots of his inspiration to discover what was later called “the new world.” Even less known is that the Franciscan monastery now located where the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spain) is currently enshrined was where both Columbus and Hernán Cortés came to pray before setting off to the Americas.

Fast forward to 1531 . . . the Church of the “Old World” in Europe is being torn to pieces by the Protestant Revolution and the impact of the early Franciscan evangelization into the New World is sparse as they encounter a diabolically inspired Aztec religion which was characterized by human sacrifice. From a Catholic point of view, things are a disaster on both fronts. You also have the growing threat of Islam returning to western Europe. Is heaven just passively watching the beginning of the end of Christendom? 9 December 1531 gave us the answer.

Most are familiar with the story of St. Juan Diego and the visitations he experienced from

St. Juan Diego
St. Juan Diego

a woman whom he learned was the Mother of Jesus Christ. I’d like to dial in on the deeper significance of the events and revelations.

First, let’s reflect on the significance of the date. The visitations to St. Juan Diego began on December 9. Some may say, “Oh! just one day off from the Immaculate Conception date!” Well, historically, the first feast celebrated in honor of Mary’s conception was in the East and goes back perhaps as far as the 5th century in Syria . . . and it was celebrated on December 9. It was called “the Feast of the Conception of the Most Holy and All Pure Mother of God.” A few centuries later the feast was celebrated in the West on December 8. Is there any connection here that Our Lady was trying to make? Do Mary’s visitations beginning on this date even have any connection with her being the Immaculate Conception? This is where it really gets interesting, but because we have such limited space in a blog post, I will attempt to be brief in summarizing it.

During Mary’s apparitions, she appeared to the uncle of St. Juan Diego, Juan Bernardino, and mediated a miraculous healing of a life-threatening illness. During her apparition to Juan Bernadino, Our Lady revealed that she wished to be known as “the ever-virgin Holy Mary of Guadalupe”. Catholic historians believe that Mary would have spoken this in the native Aztec language of Juan Bernardino, which would have communicated “Guadalupe” as coatlaxopeuh, which is pronounced “quatlasupe” (sounding very much like Guadalupe). This is indeed significant because the breakdown of the word coatlaxopeuh is the following: oa means “serpent”, tla means OurLadyofGuadalupeHolyCard“the”, xopeuh means “to crush or stamp out.” Putting this all together, you have the name “Quatlasupe” meaning “the one who crushes the serpent” (and the Aztecs worshiped a serpent-god Quetzalcoatl). This allusion to Mary as “the woman” of Genesis 3:15 is remarkable as it is also used by the Church as one of the Scripture references supporting the dogma and feast of the Immaculate Conception.

If that isn’t already awesome, we fast forward to the miracle celebrated today of St. Juan Diego’s tilma bearing the miraculous image of what one can say is Revelation 12 woven, literally, into the very fabric of civilization’s vestiture. There is the woman of Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12 depicted [pregnant with Christ] in all her humility and glory at the same time: “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child . . .” [Revelation 12:1-2].

And this “woman” who revealed herself as Our Lady of Guadalupe amidst one of the most violent cultures of death came as the Advent of Christ, pregnant with her Divine Son, ready to bear Him as the Mediatrix of Divine Mercy, to a civilization lost in darkness and death with the tenderness and power portrayed in that miraculous image. Historians report that within eight years, Our Lady of Guadalupe achieved the impossible — that approximately nine million Aztecs (basically a Pentecost a day for eight years) were converted to the Christian faith. Some even say that the number of Aztec conversions equalled those souls lost to the Protestant revolution.

MiraculousMedalFront2What Our Lady of Guadalupe accomplished in the heart of the Americas reveals that she indeed is the bridge-builder par excellence as she connected and expanded a fractured Church in the Old World with the budding Church in the New World (since Mexico was known as the “New Spain”). Mary appeared at the geographic center of all the Americas as the Immaculate Conception (compare Mary’s appearance on the tilma with how she is described by St. Bernadette in Lourdes when she said “I am the Immaculate Conception” — they are basically identical). So, we have the Church of the East and West being united under Mary’s Immaculate Conception on 9 December, the Church of the Old World and the New World being united by the Blessed Mother bringing her Son to New Spain under the title “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, which also connects Mary with the Christian-Moslem problem. So, we’ve got North – South, East – West, Old World – New World, Christianity’s response to Paganism, Christianity’s response to Islam (In the battle of Lepanto, in 1571 Admiral Doria of the Holy League carried a small image of Our Lady of Guadalupe into the battle against the Moslems), Christianity’s response to the culture of death — all these represented in Our Lady of Guadalupe (aka Our Lady of the Divine Motherhood)! To what does Our Lady of Guadalupe not relate? Now we begin to see why in 1999, at the dawn of the new millennium St. John Paul II pointed to Our Lady as the Patroness not only of the unborn, but as the patroness of the new evangelization . . . because she is the Advent of Christ in every way. Or, to put it another way, as Venerable Fulton Sheen did, she is the spiritual Trojan horse who gets Christ, hidden within her (as we see in the Tilma), behind the most fortified walls (beginning with the walls of our own soul).

So, what does this all of this have to do with womanhood? Wherever Mary enters, she crushes the head of the serpent and recalibrates a disoriented society according to its worship, its womanhood and its “yes” to life! When womanhood rediscovers this is their genius, we will have a renaissance of culture the world has never seen! And we men better be the ones fighting for this!

As we enter the Jubilee of Mercy through the holy “door” of Mary let us take to heart the tender words that she spoke to her “Juanito” [her nickname for St. Juan Diego] during her visitations in 1531:

“Know and understand well . . . that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live . . . I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; [I listen] to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows . . . Hear me and understand well . . . that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish?”

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mediatrix of Mercy and Patroness of the New Evangelization, pray for us!

Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Mercy, pray for us!

110 thoughts on “Renew the Face of the Earth

    1. Love this title the more at this juncture: Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Renaissance of Civilization. Phillip has claimed the title Renaissance Man for life in Maryville. All well and good, however, in a very real sense we’re all Renaissance Men and Women as we proclaim and build the Kingdom anew… and we do not do it alone. All You Holy Men and Women who have gone before us, remain by our sides, inspiring, interceding and igniting our fire.

      Now, in the spirit of Blessed Solanus Casey’s advice the we express gratitude to God when seeking graces and favors – even before they fully flower – let us sing Thanksgiving to God as we work with the people of Heaven – the Angels and Holy Souls too – for, God shall surely rule!

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      1. Absolutely true and beautiful, Beckita! This must be our response….because Our Great God and the Communion of Saints in heaven are sooooo with us!!!

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  1. It’s definitely ironic that the Catholic Church gets accused in her operation and moral teaching of being “anti-woman” when we have such a devotion to Mary as the greatest of all created Beings. It’s a testament to the importance of not losing control of a narrative. The obsession we have in the West with economic success, wealth and political power being the end-all of existence definitely devalues motherhood. In a related irony, the feminist focus on “career” actually plays right into the “patriarchal” structure created by the very people that feminists despise. We would be well-served to listen to Our Lady and model our feminism after her rather than the empty ideological feminism the progressives like to force upon us.

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    1. Indeed, Lake, and the great St. John Paul II gave us an extraordinary gift in 1988: MULIERIS DIGNITATEM OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II ON THE DIGNITY AND VOCATION OF WOMEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE MARIAN YEAR. An online copy is here.

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    2. Shout it from the mountain tops, Lake. I love your wisdom and pray for eyes to be opened and the love of Our Blessed Mother to be seen and felt among all of our brothers and sisters in Christ and in Creation. ❤

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  2. Consider the contrast between the fundamental character of what we learn from the OT with what the Koran advocates. The OT gives us the Golden Rule as our primary guide for social interaction. The Koran requires that a faithful Muslim convert all infidels, and subjugate them until they convert (when there is the power to do that), and eventually put to death infidels who refuse to convert.

    One version of God is he provides by His love that mortals exercise with their free will the opportunity to voluntarily come to the light, while the other demands outward compliance at penalty of death. One version is about a heartfelt love as the motivation for social behavior, and the other is about the threat to obey or forfeit life.

    One version takes motherhood as a model for social interaction, whereas the other elevates masculinity as the role model for proper conduct.

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    1. Jack, try to tell our local imam this. Better yet, send a letter to the editor of our local paper who has the local expert on Islam (the one and same imam) review it for mistakes. Then the editor will explain why he won’t post your letter because, according to the local expert on Islam, you don’t know what you are talking about. Then try to explain ‘taquiya’ to the local editor and have the same imam respond to your question only to be told that since you don’t speak or read classical arabic and are not even a male you have no business commenting on Islam.

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      1. Your comment is, unfortunately, accurate about what to expect. As is my habit, I do not post without the benefit of “thorough” research, and have spent considerable energy on the general topic before writing. I have a good friend formed as a long time work colleague who is Moslem (heritage from Turkey), and writes brilliantly on God and morality, but when I brought up the issue I had with this aspect of Islam, his answer was that those parts of the Koran are old and need to be disregarded, as he sees the religion as one of love, just as Christianity is based in love, not hate. He remains my good friend, and I trust his good intentions.

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        1. You are a good friend, Jack. God knows our hearts and minds. ❤

          For years now, I have been struck by the USAF Band Christmas performances. This seemed like a good place to share one of my favorite numbers from this year.

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        2. Jack, thank you for your calm input and the time you have taken to reply. To be sure, cultivating friendship rather than alienating people is part of being a sign of hope in our time. The difficulty that I have with the few but thoroughly researched topics upon which I have spent considerable energy is that my voice is silenced. It is then I groan and with St. Catherine of Siena I say, “We’ve had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues–I see the world is rotten because of silence.”

          I suspect that you know that chronologically those “unloving old parts of the Koran” that many Muslims and non-Muslums would like to be disregarded are actually the newer Medinan verses which, according to all the schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, have abrogated the older less unloving verses. You probably also are aware that the da’wa that promotes the non-violent aspects of jihad is even more dangerous because of its purposeful insidious pervasiveness in all matters of non-Muslim civilization. Like “the long march of socialism/communism” into our institutions, so too Islam continues to make its insertions as history shows it always has done and always will do. Islam’s hegemony is a “divinely” ordained command; thus, whatever promotes Islam is not only accepted but divinely mandated.

          Wrestling with when and how to speak truth in charity, perhaps even cry it out as St Catherine exhorts, is what each of us deals with sooner or later. It is a mystery of grace to be able to still my own timing and silence my own voice while I watchfully wait for both the Holy Spirit’s prompting and words. For me, I seem to groan without ceasing, but I hope that some part of the groaning counts as prayer. ; )

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          1. Given the contrast between the love for God and for each other conveyed by the NT, but the harsh treatment of enemies conveyed by the Koran, it naturally raises a question about which source is authentic, because of that stark contradiction, the one espousing a loving heart, and the other duty to a stern task master. I have read well over 4000 NDE, and related Out of Body reports happening even without trauma, and saw how religion is reported. First, once consciousness separates from the body so that it recalls that it came to the body and is now returning to its heavenly home, the primary feeling is of love and immersion in all of God’s knowledge; the needs of the body and ego evaporate.

            Second, God is often felt as background, but at times experienced directly as a personality, with the core of that personality love. Jesus Christ is personally met too, although I had not thought to count times. Third, the religions we learn on Earth are regarded as containing mistakes of human interpretation, but the love of God and His desire that we love each other is reliably validated. Fourth, even from Moslems reporting these supernatural experiences, they never report any experience with Muhammad, but Christ does appear in some of their reports.

            So then, why does God tolerate different religions, and even critical mistakes in doctrine? I suppose it comes with the gift of free will, and the clashes in belief systems do themselves create the opportunity for spiritual growth. After all, we all have the gift of God given conscience to guide us thru conflict even before we lean religious doctrine. Learning and practicing toleration is surely an important characteristic of spiritual growth. For those of us who believe the core principles in the Gospels, we have a head start on our journey here.

            By the way, I have no doubt that my Moslem friend has a good heart, as I routinely saw him naturally treat others with kindness as his way, and he raised a wonderful, loving family.

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            1. Jack, In some of your previous posts, you’ve mentioned NDEs. My 28yr.old son wondered if there’s any report of those who were not raised with any religion, yet still encountered a Supreme Being in their NDE? What basic book would you recommend for a casual reader as myself; and what more advanced book would you recommend for my ‘doubting- thomas’ son with a adv.scientific background? Thanks in advance; and anyone else is more than welcome to chime in.

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                1. Hear Hear, Nancy! Marie, Fr. Spitzer says he particularly utilized the NDE studies and developed the rest of his material available at the Magis Center to capture the attention of kids who had been abandoning the faith as teenagers because of a lack of presenting faith AND reason as a way to seek God. Great stuff happening via The Magis Center!

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              1. Marie, Hope this helps:

                About religion, the NDEs generally describe their experience with the heavenly realm, and sometimes directly with the Creator, as I mentioned, but in general do not have contents concerning any religious doctrine as such, although their content is entirely consistent with what Christ tells us in the NT.

                My favorite text for thorough coverage, with scientific theorizing about their nature, is by the Dutch Cardiologist Pin van Lommel, ( Consciousness beyond Life, ).

                Dr. Lommel has positively reviewed my two main technically oriented papers which explain how the seemingly bizarre features of the Out of Body Experience (OBE) are actually consistent with principles from quantum mechanics and Relativity Theory. These two papers, which have the virtue of brevity, Frozen Time Theory, and Universal Consciousness, along with two notes, one explaining why we ordinarily perceive time to be running, but during the NDE/OBE we know that time does not run, and another note that laments that we are unable to construct any rational explanation for Creation, are all posted on NDERF; if you send me an email on my gmail account at jh7138, then I will reply back with the four papers as attachments for your technically minded son.

                There is an excellent secular presentation providing evidence for discarnate consciousness ( the OBE is such) on you tube by one of the research pioneers for the NDE, Dr Bruce Greyson ( ) .

                The cofounder of the NDERF website, Jeffrey Long, MD, has an excellent text describing what people experience ( Evidence of the Afterlife, ).

                There is a well constructed text that maps what people report from their NDEs to what Christ told us about the world by John Burke, Imagine Heaven ( ).

                A number of in-depth experiences are presented by the Exceptional Experiences section of the NDERF web site, available at ( )

                You may peruse the many NDE books available from Amazon at ( )

                For my own research, I found Lommel’s text valuable along with the best seller by the neurologist Eben Alexander describing his experience ( ). Alexander’s description of perception during his OBE provided the clue for me on how normal, everyday, perception actually works (conscious perception is based on what the brain receives by the senses but is not produced by the brain, it is produced by the attached immaterial soul)

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                1. Thank you so very much Jack for taking the time to list the extensive resources! Will peruse them and pass along the recommendations to my son. Blessings to you and all here.

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                  1. Jack,
                    Just my 2 cents.
                    Scripture says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
                    (1 Corinthians 2:9).
                    If this be so, and it is understood that means and includes those who have had NDE, than what a person perceives as truth during a NDE still falls completely short of the true understanding of heaven and heavenly things. They are still dealing with an incompleteness of union with God and in their understanding of Him.
                    The complete metamorphosis of a living, breathing, thinking human being in its final death is transformed to a condition and “thought” process that in this life is completely unknown and even impossible to imagine. It is only through this final death that we become “one” with our God and “know Him (and ourselves) as He truly is” . (1 Corinthians 13:12).
                    The “dim light” we now know God through is only a shadow of what will be revealed and it is just a plain fact that according to Scripture we will NEVER guess it right while here on earth….period.
                    So, our most terrific guesses, NDE and the like are still lit dimly and have very little (actually nothing concrete) to tell us about heaven.
                    Heck, even Jesus used parables to tell us about the Kingdom (more about what it is like) since its true experience is unimaginable.
                    So a person during a NDE is still understanding what is revealed through the veil, even if it has been thinned a bit and dimly, even though the light is a bit brighter. Their experience is still not what heaven will be like but only a clearing of the more cluttered aspects of life to help their faith move them forward.
                    When St Don Bosco visited St Dominic Savio in Heaven, Savio told him that the way he looked and the way Heaven looked was so he could understand it.
                    He said that both he and heaven did not really look like what he was seeing.
                    The action of being removed from our fallen nature and brought into the totalness of God’s light is impossible without a full death of the old self and the soul then reuniting with its Creator. And even after this final death a cleansing period will ensue before it can become fully and completely united.

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                    1. And isn’t it exciting and enticing, Jack and Phillip, to have both kinds of knowledge? That is, to have a glimpse, however a shadow it may be, of the reality of the Beatific Vision and our Heavenly Home *and* to know what has been revealed about our True Home via scriptures, such as you quote from Corinthians, Phil. For me, the most awe-inspiring aspects of the reports from those blessed with NDEs are the descriptions of how visions of Christ in His LIGHT – however dim – filled them with deep, abiding PEACE and LOVE. Being blessed by these reports, grows within a greater depth and breadth the truth of scriptural verses like Psalm 84:2: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Contemplating such realities and being gifted to be able to receive and adore Christ, truly, bring Heaven to earth, in ways that Light the current darkness fills us, even now, with His PEACE and LOVE.

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                    2. Phillip, I agree with the gist of your observations here. Not only do those having the NDE surely fail to “see” all of God’s wonders, but virtually all report that their memory of what they experienced is intentionally selectively blocked for their return to Earth living.

                      This statement is, however, likely untrue, for God would otherwise be playing a trickster during the NDE:

                      ” So, our most terrific guesses, NDE and the like are still lit dimly and have very little (actually nothing concrete) to tell us about heaven.”

                      Actually nothing concrete? To the contrary, the NDE reports are consistent with what we are told about Heaven and God by Christ (read Imagine Heaven by John Burke for extensive corroboration of NDE reports with the NT text), so the NDE must be God’s way of providing hope for a better “world” for those who need encouragement in this hard life (such as myself). I see too that my positive interpretation of the NDE is likewise championed by Fr Robert Spitzer.

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                    3. I received this NDE as an email…

                      The “wisdom” that the Mother Superior shared was not a result of years and years of formal training. Her wisdom came from her gut and the fact she was able to recognize a good thing even when it came from an unconventional source. And yes, it may have been a “heavenly message”.

                      In a convent in Ireland, the 99-year-old Mother Superior lay quietly. She was dying. The Nuns had gathered around her bed, laying garlands of flowers around her and trying to make her last journey comfortable. They wanted to give her warm milk to drink but she declined. One of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen.

                      Then, remembering a bottle of Irish Whiskey that had been received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.

                      Back at Mother Superior’s bed, they lifted her head gently and held the glass to her lips. The very frail Nun gave in and drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had finished the whole glass down to the last drop.

                      As her eyes brightened, the nuns thought it would be a good opportunity to have one last talk with their spiritual leader.

                      “Mother,” the nuns asked earnestly, “Please give us some of your wisdom before you leave us.”

                      She raised herself up very slowly in the bed on one elbow, looked at them and, pointing at them with a very thin, shaking finger, said:

                      “DON’T SELL THAT COW

                      Merry Christmas:)

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                2. Gosh , Jack. I’ve come back to reread this whole thread and now realize your reference of regard for the work of the cardiologist, Pin van Lommel, is shared by Fr. Spitzer. Interesting! Too, please forgive my inconsistency in clearing your long comment here with the resources which include the video you reposted last evening while not clearing the link from last night. My goal is to responsibly read and/or view at least a majority of a video link to get a picture of what is presented before clearing a comment. While certainly not perfect, I do persist. 😊

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                  1. Beckita, Yes, some of Dr. Bruce Greyson’s work is also referenced by Fr. Spitzer (and I would encourage all to watch Greyson’s video presentation describing the multiple sources of evidence showing that consciousness functions even when the brain itself cannot function).

                    Your posts and your work at keeping our comments wholesome are wonderful– a source of joy. May you have the best Christmas season ever!

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            2. What comes to my mind is the saying, “Satan tempts us to the lesser good.” Such as not always tempting us directly to evil but to a religion that is lacking in the fullness of the teachings of Christ, the fullness of the scripture, and the fullness of the sacraments given us by Christ as a source of divine succor and grace.

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              1. Sojourner, Pray tell, is your invocation of Satan’s temptation to a hollow religion a reference to the NDE phenomenon? I know of no one who characterizes these experiences as any sort of religion. Quite the opposite for the Christian faith, because, as Beckita well said, these experiences serve to confirm scripture about the nature of Heaven. More broadly, the NDE reports are consistent with the OT and NT, and even modern physics, about the nature of God and HIs Heaven — there is a tangible harmony from the NDE reporting across Christianity and modern physics–so what’s Satan got to do with it?

                I responded to your post here, because in numerous previous earlier discussions I’ve had with my Christian friends, a common initial reaction was that, because the Bible does not explicitly refer to the NDE (although certain reported Biblical experiences are clearly forms of the OBE, what has been termed Spiritually Transformative Experiences, with some of these currently recorded at ) these experiences must be the work of the Devil. However, after their reviewing samples of NDE reports about experiencing the love of God and the joy of Heaven, they softened or dropped their stern dismissal.

                If anything, the NDE reports favor God as our Creator being essentially pure love, and Christianity as accurately communicating God’s will for the spiritual growth of all individuals as individual personalities(Socialism and Communism logically are anathema to the goal of individual spiritual growth, although their brutality does provide a wealth of opportunity for overcoming evil).

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                1. The folks over at the Magis Center, with the brilliant Fr. Robert Spitzer (who is also an astrophysicist!), have many articles about the evidence of the soul and heaven which can be gleaned from Near Death Experiences. Both beautiful and exciting! Here’s one link for our perusal. As I mentioned earlier, most exciting to me are the catechetical materials developed by Fr. Spitzer and team which use NDE evidence to decidedly catch the hearts of our teenagers who were formerly considering leaving the faith for lack of evidence that God exists. Our awesome God knows the needs of our time and He’s always doing something new. Blessed be His Infinite Imagination!

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                2. Jack H Hiller, I am sorry that you saw that possible connection in my simple comments. I most certainly did not intend that. I know that Beckita remembered that allusion to the Catholic faith from one of my earlier comments some days prior and was comfortable in giving it a “like.” I am a man of few words, sometimes too few necessitated largely by my two fingered typing in my old and increasingly feeble hands.
                  The Catholic faith does not so much stand in opposition to other religions as to focus on teaching the truth entrusted to us for our salvation. All who are connected to Jesus Christ, are connected to His Church in some way for only through Him is salvation won. God loves all people especially us sinners who struggle to return that love. Knowing is necessary for true and deep love. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” What I said was simple truth and stands by itself. It is ours to look for the depth in that truth, In NDEs that I avidly read, I see that God reaches out in the broadest way and sticks to the very basics, never supporting a particular religion. My reply was posted as a reply to a particular comment and so I see that the connection was lost as I see it appeared far beyond that original comment I meant to reply to.. I specifically mentioned your name in the opening in this reply so that the connection will not be lost here.
                  May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us and protect us, to lead us to all holiness and truth as we seek to discern the Next Right Step as the Rescue continues to unfold and we impatiently progress toward the triumph of the Immaculate heart. Watch and pray, pray and watch. TRUST in the Lord.

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              2. Jack,
                I still contend we are only edified in this life during a NDE by these two things:
                Faith and Hope, both of which cease in heaven.
                The NDE only peels back a veneer of our fallen nature and like grace, allows a more intimate connection. Even St Francis after his ecstacies was unable to relate what he experienced for his ability to elucidate even a his “glimps” of heaven was impossible.
                Job experienced the same phenomenon during his trip into the whirlwind, he just placed his hand over his mouth as it was “too big” for him to even comment on. Nothing was written by either visionary other than how they were transformed by it.
                Like Charlie said, “we don’t get heaven until we get heaven”.
                NDE are a much closer, deeper and more intimate revelation
                (not as high as a mystical union though) but according to Scripture itself, is still not “what we get, can see or understand” until our fallen nature is fully transformed in the afterlife.

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                1. Phillip, as I read about NDEs, I see that the people experiencing them *are* in a mystical experience and there is more than faith and hope in them, there’s actual evidence of the soul and heaven. Too, LOVE – an overhwelming love – and transcendence are a *huge* and common component of them. From one piece at the Magis Center:

                  “Transcendence: There is a dimension of beauty, joy, and paradise—ultimate fulfillment—in many accounts of NDEs as well as in Christian revelation about the Kingdom of Heaven… Jesus told us love was central in the Kingdom of God, and NDE patients describe overwhelming love as their dominant experience in the realm of light. For example, one patient describes her experience of coming into contact with the loving white light. The following case resembles hundreds of others reported by researchers…”

                  What a gift are NDEs! Here’s more:

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                  1. I like stories of NDE’s…as they have the feel of my experiences. Intense, but almost always somewhat enigmatic. When I had my spinal surgery, they lost and revived me on the table several times (the scheduled 2 1/2 hour operation took 8 1/2 hours). Afterwards, one of my Priests asked if I had an NDE. I told him no, not a thing. I figured God thought, “Well, Charlie has had a bit of a rough go of it here. I’ll just let him sleep and talk to him when he wakes up.”

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                  2. Yes, love remains, but my point Backita is that few, if any, who have a NDE are mystics but just regular people.
                    A Mystic is a person with a charism and vocation while those with a NDE mostly receive knowledge fitting their need and edification and is understood through their particular personality and state of holiness/ spiritual level at the time.
                    Everyone can be a witness to some miraculous event in their life, including those with a NDE, but public and some private (mystical) revelations are authorised by the church to be taught to the faithful as they have the authority to judge these things.
                    I am not diminishing the NDE, I think it is a further effort by our God to arouse His church from slumber and renew the face of the earth. But because of the very simple examples of heaven and heavenly things which are told by many who have had a NDE, ( “-but in general do not have contents concerning any religious doctrine “, Jack H Hillner), that we should not try too hard to interpret them without the light of authorised revelation since most of those who come back have not been given a mandate to do so but are only relating their personal understanding and experience and have no authority to translate truth because of this.
                    Gathering evidence of the reality and facts of a NDE is commendable but they can only be properly understood through the revealed and accepted truths set down by the authority of the church (Matt 8:18) as to what they mean or if they are truth. I think this is the point Sojourner was making in his comment about the enemy’s trickery as he uses sophistry to twist truth and not on NDE themselves.

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                    1. Phillip, with good will, you wrote, ” Gathering evidence of the reality and facts of a NDE is commendable but they can only be properly understood through the revealed and accepted truths set down by the authority of the church (Matt 8:18) as to what they mean or if they are truth. ”

                      Well, it was this kind of reasoning that placed Galileo under house arrest, with threat of a heretic’s death, for employing his astronomical observations to challenge the church authorized geocentricism with his heliocentric model for Earth movement around the Sun. From the wiki, ” The matter [about Galileo’s views] was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.”[11][12][13 ” Thus, this sort of reliance on church authority relegated the development of empirically based science to the threat of heresy– Aristotle’s views were authorized to be true, even if contradicted by observational evidence.

                      In the case of the NDE’s, the virtuous Catholic Fr. Spitzer, an astronomer, has adopted the NDE phenomena as helpful for teaching students about the reality of God and His Heaven. He makes clear that he is suffers no nonsense about accepting fanciful reports about NDEs. He relies on refereed journal research reports demonstrating validity for the experience of a disembodied, yet highly functional, consciousness. As do I, he recognized that the ability of folks having the NDE to report accurately about events too far distant from the body for normal sight and hearing argues decisively for a disembodied consciousness/soul. I urge you to consider evidence for an immaterial consciousness, for the soul, existing without a functioning brain, such as presented in this you tube video from Dr. Bruce Greyson (edited out the link – sorry, Jack, but I just don’t have the hour and a half to vet this before clearing your comment but I share this tip for those who wish to view it: Search You Tube with the title of the video: “Dr Bruce Greyson Consciousness Independent of the Brain.” The opening frame poses the question: Is Consciousness Produced by the Brain?) The Bible does not describe in detail ALL of God’s wonders. Instead, He provides us with wonderful opportunities to employ our curiosity to explore this world as our adventure of life.

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                    2. Surely, great care must be taken when considering NDEs, Phillip. Fr. Spitzer, himself, has written:
                      “I cite the evidence of near-death experiences with caution, because there are many books written on this subject that are not scientific or based on any clinical, cross-cultural, long term study, but rather on a few anecdotes taken to the extreme. Some of these nonscientific books have rather manipulative agendas, and some are quite cultic in character.”

                      At the same time, Father goes on to say: “These problematic accounts do not mitigate the excellent longitudinal studies that have been carried out by Parnia et al. at Southampton University (2014), van Lommel et al., reported in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, the two studies carried out by Kenneth Ring on near-death experiences, and his later study of near-death experiences of the blind, and Dr. Janice Holden’s analysis of veridical evidence in NDE’s from thirty-nine independent studies. Science, Medicine, and Near Death Experience.

                      There are additional careful longitudinal studies cited in this Chapter, as well as many studies reported in the Journal of Near-Death Studies published by the International Association for Near-Death Studies (peer-reviewed).”

                      In truth, I have not read extensively on this topic but I have listened to Fr. Spitzer expound on it for many years now. I trust his priestly authority and the great care he has taken to dismiss the sensational accounts, particularly, those he mentions in the quote I used in the opening of my reply here.

                      Jack, I wish I had some time to read your resources, but my plate runneth over with duties and the work of yet recuperating at this time. So, while the caution you express, Phillip: “that we should not try too hard to interpret them without the light of authorised revelation since most of those who come back have not been given a mandate to do so but are only relating their personal understanding and experience and have no authority to translate truth because of this.” is true. It is also true, in the words of Fr. Spitzer: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn’t have any specifics on the topic, but there are parallels between Church teaching and near death experiences.” In other words, in my view, NDEs result in much more than just someone simply relating their story.

                      Some of the changes experienced are described at the Magis Center site after asking the question:
                      “Do near death experiences change a person’s life?
                      There are many reported spiritual/psychological changes and even physiological ones. Spiritual/psychological changes include a loss or decrease in a fear of death, an increase in generosity and charity, an increased desire for knowledge, the resolution of issues from childhood along with an increase in child-like wonder and joy. Physiological changes include different patterns of thought-processing, becoming more creative and inventive, increased light/sound sensitivity, changes in food preferences, lower blood pressure, increased metabolism, and the person may even become younger looking.”
                      (With a link to more details given.)

                      God is doing something wonderful with NDEs and He is allowing them for people of different ages, religious backgrounds and cultures. Might this be yet another way He is calling us back to the Covenant while integrating NDEs in the process of forming us as One Flock under One Shepherd?


            3. Jack, I observe from your comments that along with thorough research you also use precision in your word choice. So I wonder if rather than your question, “Why does God tolerate different religions, and even critical mistakes in doctrine?’ you may have meant to use permit or allow. I think you would agree that it goes against the nature of God to tolerate anything against His moral law. Also, you and your very dear friend (which I do NOT doubt or mock) would likely also agree. Tragically, as you and your friend have noted, significant Islamic scripture as well as significant examples of Islam’s prophet oppose moral law. God may permit Islam and other religions, but according to His nature He cannot tolerate them.

              As I’ve explained elsewhere in this blog’s comment boxes, and this is of paramount significance, while there are peaceful, moderate Muslims–like your good and undoubtedly loving friend–there is no peaceful or moderate Islam. That is why I have chosen Islam Is Islam for my moniker. Just as Catholicism Is Catholicism so is Truth Is Truth. Neither Relativism nor Modernism can be tolerated although their existence may be a part of God’s permitting will, the evil they inculcate can not be tolerated. I think you would agree. Perhaps not.

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                1. “For all to be one as You, Father, and I am One.” Yes, freely chosen communion in the Beatific Vision with all the Heavenly Catholics that Charlie has written about. I think that is worth shouting from the rooftops! Joyful Sunday, to you and all of yours, Jack.

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                2. Backita, your quotes from Fr Spitzer pretty much corroborate my points.
                  His statement of not putting up with any silliness just solidifies my point about the the experiences being private in most cases. Jack’s point about them paralleling revealed knowledge also solidifies my point in that these things ARE being balanced against revealed knowledge and that nothing “new” is being revealed just a “new way” of revealing it. And I must add revealed “knowlege” has always been authorised to be so by the church, that a NDE must be vetted before it can be accepted regardless of supposed ignorance by the magesterium such as Jack’s Galileo comment. Spitzer was not remiss on one of his shows in pointing out many a reason Galileo was repudiated then and Jack may want to look into the churches history of that event.
                  But the argument of the day was not mainly the science but the “centrist” idea of
                  what was the Center of the of the Universe- God or the Universe? Did this “hidden knowledge” come out too soon and without charity to roil the church by her enemies?
                  The main trust of the enemy has always been the alure of hidden knowledge.
                  Adam and Eve were tempted by it to the fall of mankind.
                  Soothsayers, diviners and the like are anathema in the church because they seek it. Science seeks hidden knowledge and their choices sometimes enter abominal territory such as we are seeing with abortion and human cloning. Most hidden knowledge is finally revealed but in its proper place and time.
                  We may see a time when ethical abortions are used to SAVE the life of the baby and cloning for the same reason.
                  So many scientists wanting to be the first to discover something may be introducing it to the world before we are ready and without a
                  full understanding to its ethical use. It’s potential is still hidden and current scientific advances not far along enough to research it clearly and ethically.
                  My point about the Scripture passages like “no one has seen the father except the son” and
                  “No eye has seen nore ear has heard” only point out that some hidden knowledge is undescernable in this life even by NDE because of the fallen condition of man and the truth held in Scripture about the final revelation of such things only accuring once we finally get to heaven.


                  1. Well, gosh, Phillip, I usually agree with you, but I suspect you and Jack are arguing at cross purposes past each other. I think Jack is interested in NDE’s as a phenomenom, NOT as private revelation. You are absolutely correct that all private revelation must be submitted to the Church. That is not what is going on here. I have heard no one ever suggest that the experiences from NDE’s are binding on anyone in a theological sense. They can give us a glimpse of eternity, perhaps, just as any other objectively examined natural phenomenon can.

                    You got my attention in your defense of the Galileo trial. First of all, the idea that the Church should have the authority to deny what is objectively true because we can’t yet handle the truth is downright creepy and offensive to me. Second, St. John Paul candidly apologized, with no excuses, for the Church’s abuse of authority in that case. Third, St. Robert Bellarmine, who was the Church’s chief prosectuor in the matter, privately warned the hierarchy before it began that it should not be pursued, for it was probable that Galileo was objectively correct on the matter and that would ultimately be proven, causing a blow to be struck against the Church’s authority and credibility. He also was dubious about the Church pretending to authority on what was, fundamentally, a scientific matter no matter how hard some prelates wanted it to be a matter of faith and morals. (Bellarmine did make a public statement to that effect, as I linked to here. His private warnings were more dire and blunt.)

                    The actual history of the episode is a cautionary tale against too close a collaboration between Church and state and against the hubris of trying to exercise authority outside legitimate institutional scope. Church officials WERE angry at Galileo, but not because of his heliocentrism. It was because Galileo had the hobby of writing treatises on theology. He was a very good scientist – and a very bad, muddled, amateur theologian. Unfortunately, some people imputed theological sophistication to him he did not deserve because of his obvious scientific acumen. Many in the hierarchy did think striking a blow at his scientific reputation would help discredit his actual bad theology. Bellarmine had it right – it would ultimately diminish confidence in the Church’s legitimate authority. Even this would probably NOT have been enough to get the Church to act. It was the secular authorities that objected strongly to Galileo’s heliocentrism. They thought it could erode confidence in the “divine right of kings” and ultimately destabilize the states’ power. It was truly an unholy alliance between Church and state authorities – in which the overtly stated objections of each were not the actual objections they stated privately. More evidence that when you try to manipulate things to “get” someone who is a thorn in your side, you end up getting yourself.

                    I think you are worried that NDE’s could be treated as private revelation. I don’t think that is what Jack or anyone else intended. They are an interesting phenomenon that, I think, are worthy of examination. If they should produce any serious theological claims, then the Church could (and probably should) examine them. Otherwise, they largely confirm our hope that there is life after death and that it is a loving God who greets us. If I am mistaken in understanding your legitimate concern, please correct me.

                    But if I have to wonder when the Church makes a Magisterial statement whether it is objectively true or whether it is a lie that is “for my own good,” I know of few better ways of collapsing confidence in the Church – and it would collapse mine as well if the Church actually claimed that authority. Fortunately, that is not the case.

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                    1. Yea Charlie, this has gotten tiny bit bloviated!
                      The Galileo point was a ricochet of the main point.
                      That “we don’t get heaven until we get heaven” and the like. I believe the church should never loose its authority over truth as it is transcendent and we may find that which is now scientific fact all whoey in the next life. Why can’t weak men in the church be given the same pass as weak scientist?
                      After all, most of these theories are mathematical equations and new formulas come about every couple of decades or so to rock the “accepted” reality of the day (like Galileo did).
                      Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out in the next life that our sun is the heart of God shining down His love on the center of the Universe…us!
                      Spiritually, this may be so and our ancient concepts of the sun being “god” may be more accurate than the new science which still can only theorise (guess) how the sun actually works.
                      I know this is more whoey, but bantering ideas is what a blog is for. If I can accept mere human precepts of “facts” based on scientific theories this is a type of “faith’ for me to believe in an educated guess for the sake of seeking truth.
                      Is there any less credibility (maybe more) in “faith” in a mystical revelation about creation especially when it’s main Author said “I am the way, the “truth” and the life?

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                    2. Ha! More than a few times I have seen (and gotten into) arguments that weren’t really arguments at all…where after a while you figure out that you didn’t really disagree about much with the fellow you were jousting with, but just emphasizing your emphasis on the subject. When dealing with friends, I often feel like the late, great Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Asked his position on a controversial issue, he said, “Some of my friends are for it and some are against it.” With great intensity he concluded, “It has always been my firm policy to stand with my friends.”

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                    3. I was about to comment this morning that varying emphases had developed in this conversation, including being cautious about NDE reporting and rejoicing at what has been revealed, for its implications on faith-building for those who might need this. Peace and Good Will to us all.

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                  2. If there ever was an opportunity to talk about such things in the Gospel, surely the time Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead would have been it. What do we read there about Lazarus’ experience (for days) in the nether realm? Oddly enough, or appropriately enough (however you look at it), nothing. Unbind him from the death clothes and let him go.

                    Humans being humans, you’d figure someone would have grilled Lazarus about his experience and made a record somewhere. Nope. Not a word.

                    I can understand this NDE matter maybe catching someone’s attention (someone of no, little or struggling faith) and leading to something further, but does it have sufficient ‘depth of soil’ for anything to flourish?

                    Either we believe Jesus or we don’t, and surely the authentic Catholic/Christian is at peace with what He had to say about His Kingdom. And for that matter, every single word of Sacred Scripture points to His Kingdom.

                    I was really intent on following and understanding this thoughtful thread, but I’m afraid the treatment of the topic had little impact other than to make me hungry for something of substance.

                    Fortunately, I found the substance in the dynamic at play.

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                    1. MP,
                      Substance, hmmm.
                      I always believe that we humans get fed by grace, no matter where it comes from. There are so many different areas in life that we can receive grace from: nature, church, prayer, food, family, friendship, books, suffering, etc.
                      “Our hearts do not rest until they rest in thee, oh Lord” is the mantra of every man whether he realises it or not.
                      Creation, in its reflecting of some aspect of our God, is still far short of the longing, but it gives us hope.
                      The love He is and has established within us conjures up the faith and hope of our desire (His desire or “being”) within us. We are His, always have been, always will be.
                      Hell is our forceful pull away from what we actually are made to be into a condition we were made not to be.
                      “To be or not to be” is the essence of this fate (as if the Fates had anything to do with it). The funny thing is we become a most perfect pile of incomplete. Every nuance of our being will be perfect but looses its completeness in its union with its Creator by a simple act of the will…” I will not serve”.
                      It is the work of the Holy Spirit to go out and convict.
                      Some are convicted to do good and some are convicted by doing evil.
                      Conviction is a two edged word.
                      No substance there my friend for the Holy Spirit is like the wind and we know not where it comes or where it goes. (John 3:8).
                      But find your will It will.

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  3. “The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.”
    Oh my gosh—I have maintained that forever. The beauty of the difference between men and women is profound. The job of women is to civilize men. Women control sex. Women must demand respect –that leads to creating a family unit, which is the foundation of a culture. I yearn for the days when the purity of women was so cherished that a woman was chaperoned until she was married. Instead of women civilizing men, they have become uncivilized themselves. This musing is the height of political un-correctness, I know! It may be an over simplified explanation for our condition. I have thought that it is the fault of women that our culture is in such disarray, but I guess men and women can share in the blame! Where were the fathers when the girls were going crazy!?

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    1. No worries about politically correct garbage, Kim. Speaking truth is our goal around here. Your points are well taken and I DO think there is culpability for both genders. Child sexual abuse stats for this country say 1 in 5 girls are victims. The good, solid counselors in the field of helping people heal from life’s traumas tell us that, so often, the child buries the pain of being abused while the subconscious will seek to resolve it in ways that play out so that the victim relates to men in sexual ways until a healing process ensues wherein the former victims gain knowledge about healthy boundaries and insight into why they do what they do. Toss into this sick stew the ingredient of a high divorce rate which finds both boys and girls in fatherless homes. Such children are robbed of a role model of what a man of faith strives to be: a husband who treats his wife, their mother, with love and respect while working side by side with his spouse to nurture and raise the children while providing for the family. And how many families look intact from the outside while living in secret turmoil due to substance abuse (alcoholism and opioid addiction among others), pornography addiction and other sicknesses? And how many are the writings – of both priest and laity who are leaders in evangelization – which focus, today, on “healing the father wound.” Such a wound not only stunts personal development, it interferes in developing a healthy relationship with the Father of fathers, our Abba.

      We have been rotting as individuals and families for too many generations now. The good news is that these scenarios are not permanent conditions. Christ is actually attracted by our weaknesses!: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Another of my favorite Scripture verses is Jesus Promise: “Behold! I make all things new!” From the days when I first found TNRS, I have said that I believe a HUUUUUUUGE area of rebuilding the culture will be in the field of facilitating personal healing of individuals and families. To repent, confess and return to the Lord is foundational. Still, sin has consequences in the natural order which must be healed and resolved. God expects us to do our work as described in a hymn from the Divine Office: “We all have secret fears to face and minds and motives to amend.” Most often, a good ambulance or lighthouse is needed to guide one along the way of the healing journey.

      Oh what a lot of wood to chop! And oh what a wonderful time to be alive!

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        1. I worked in the field as you may have also. But my experience is that the girls around me having abortions were due to failure of, or lack of, birth control. I can see a line of demarcation between the late 60’s and early 70′ s before abortion was legal and post 1973. A larger than normal number of “nice girls” became pregnant in the late 60’s due to the sexual revolution, and they married their boyfriends. These girls, btw, were mostly in their early 20’s and they were marrying their college boyfriend or high school sweetheart. A great number of these marriage did not survive the guys mid life crisis but that is another story.
          Post 73, their younger sisters also became pregnant and they had abortions. At that time, people truly did not know the conception was life other than ” a blob of tissue”. Tragically, more than one girl has come to the conclusion years later, when married, having children, that OMG, I killed my child. Ultrasound has come a long way.
          Now does this mean that some of these girls were abused as children and I never knew it? Could be, but I would argue it has more to do with the easy sex and everyone was “doing it” which allow a great number of pregnancies. It is these now middle age woman who the church should be reaching out to. They are silent and devastated.

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          1. ” Tragically, more than one girl has come to the conclusion years later, when married, having children, that OMG, I killed my child. ” That was painful to read, and in fact made me cry to contemplate the horror and sorrow of their realization of having killed their own child. We can only pray that God will be forgiving of the liberal Democrats and feminists who not only argue for abortion rights, but profit by votes for rotten politicians and by making Planned Parenthood doctors rich from murder.

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    2. Good points, it shows us the depth of the rot. Many women feel that “acting like men” is empowering in the sexual realm, the business realm, the cultural realm. They feel that blurring the lines between the genders (or denying them entirely) is going to somehow lead to equality. No, it’s the entire structure that is corrupt, and yes much of that corrupt structure was created by men in power. But it is certainly not the answer to devalue femininity and womanhood in order to conform to the corrupt structure. The answer is to challenge the structure. When our society lost our identity as children of God, we developed an identity crisis which has subsequently been filled with a bewildering array of racial, cultural, sexual, gender identities that people can’t even define anymore. The only thing in common is misery and unhappiness. The only answer is to recapture our true identity as children of God.

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      1. When my grandmother first saw the feminist movement taking hold she declared, “what are they doing?! We just got out of the fields!”

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    3. Kim, your words echo those in the excellent book, Men and Marriage, by George Gilder. That book should be a must-read in every high school and college in America.

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  4. “The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.”
    We can see where our current civilization is when we look at all the preborn who have been aborted.

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    1. It is a wonderful book! Dr. Howard and I were speakers together at a retreat conference a few years ago. He kindly gave me one of those books. He is a marvelously insightful man. He and his wife are absolute delights.

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    2. —– The more I read about Our Mother, the more I want to know about her and the more she brings me to Jesus. —-

      Me too. Mary is the mystery woman who was closest to and who ushered Jesus through life. Practical and profoundly religious all at the same time. Born in Bethesda just outside the wall of the Temple in Jerusalem. Reputed to have died in Jerusalem probably around the year 50 AD during the time that all the Apostles remaining alive at the time were called back to the Council of Jerusalem. It was there that Paul and Barnabas brought the collections taken up by gentile believers in foreign lands to aid the suffering Jerusalem based Jewish Christians. Mary was a leading figure of that post Crucifixion and Resurrection Church. She was living as a devout Jew attending the Temple feasts and adhering to the Torah and the Mishna. As was the rest of the Jewish Christian Community. The Council of Jerusalem was to discuss the critical issue of whether the Gentile believers should be compelled to be Judaized by means of circumcision and by adherence to Jewish customs and laws. Not an easy issue for the Jerusalem based Church of the 1st Century.

      “Council of Jerusalem, a conference of the Christian Apostles in Jerusalem in about 50 CE that decreed that Gentile Christians did not have to observe the Mosaic Law of the Jews. It was occasioned by the insistence of certain Judaic Christians from Jerusalem that Gentile Christians from Antioch in Syria obey the Mosaic custom of circumcision. A delegation, led by the apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas, was appointed to confer with the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

      The ensuing apostolic conference (noted in Acts 15:2–35), led by the apostle Peter and James, “the Lord’s brother,” decided the issue in favour of Paul and the Gentile Christians. From this time onward Gentile Christians were not bound by the Levitical ceremonial regulations of the Jews, except for the provisions of the so-called apostolic decree: abstention “from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity” (Acts 15:29). The Council of Jerusalem thus demonstrated the willingness of apostolic leaders to make compromises on certain secondary issues in order to maintain peace and unity in the church.”

      It is said that the Apostles were present at Mary’s death which the Eastern rites call a “deep sleep”. Apocryphal writings have an account that Mary received an angelic visitation announcing that she was going to be taken to heaven in 3 day and to prepare. She bathed and dressed herself as a princess and took to her bed and prepared to die. I dunno. But why not? The Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem is said to be the site of this event. I visited the Dormition in Jerusalem on my pilgrimage last February. There is a sculpture that is venerated of Mary lying in this state of repose. You can see it in this vid.

      The view of the apse over the main church has a VERY special meaning for me. Take a close look at the child Jesus. “I am the light of the world”.

      You find that the more you read and learn about Mary the more Mary brings you to Jesus. I find that the more I try to learn about Mary the more Mary brings Jesus to me. I find this to be a bit mind blowing. Think about it. Advent. It’s always Advent. Emmanuel. Christ coming to us.

      I hope we all continue to learn more. Try reading Bargil Pixner’s books. Well illustrated with maps and archeological discoveries. All in glossy pages with amazing illustrations and all written for the layman. Pixner was a Benedictine archeologist based at the Dormition Abbey.

      Hope you like the vid Nancy. It’s nice to know I have company in my interest in knowing more about the historical Jesus and the historical Mary.

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      1. Ed, thank you for the video. I agree with you that it’s always Advent–the coming of our God to dwell with us (and my favorite liturgical season). We can’t be redeemed unless He comes in obedience to the Father’s will.
        My need to learn about Mary began with a book my grandmother gave me for my first Holy Communion: The Simple Story of the Blessed Virgin by R. Bastin. I wish I could say that I always felt this yearning to know her and her son but, in truth, she did not give up on me. So here I am, detaching myself from so many worldly things (with her help) so that I can truly yearn to yearn for the Lamb of God who loves me and saved me.
        I hope your Advent is as joyful as it is meant to be. 🙂

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  5. December 9 of 3 BC was the 2nd of Tevet on the Jewish Calendar and thus was the 8th Day of Chanukah, the little Celebration of Light. It was a feast that celebrated the new beginning in the Jews relationship with God after the completion of the re-dedication of the temple in 139 BC. It is closely associated with the Great Celebration of Light on Tishrei 15 on which 4 75′ Menorahs were constructed in the court of Women in the temple for the Feast of Tabernacles “God with Us” which celebrated God’s physical presence in the pillar of fire (light) during the Exodus. The Feasts of the Lord are all Messianic prophecies and December 9 of 3 BC is most likely the day of the Incarnation. Interesting that the Birth of the Light of the World occurred on the Great celebration of Light which celebrates God’s physical presence with the Jews. Oh and that for the Incarnation there would have been 8 candles lit in every one of at least a half a million households (4 million candle power) to celebrate the new relationship between God and Man! For details on the above see

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  6. HELP! I cant get the url to come up- it works when i send an email- is there any way to post it?
    perhaps you just have to wait til I am Your Mother plays and it will play next.
    Thank you for your patience while i kept practicing- Hope sprang eternal.

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    1. This should work, sorrowful passion: (edited out link)
      PS Love your persistence. 🙂 We’ll all continue to need a lot of persistence and perseverance.
      PPS My Goodness that took a little extra fiddling to figure out but the song, Tilma, is now up, as well as, I’m Your Mother.

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  7. Yes, I’ve made the same observation Charlie, the symbology of Revelations 12 does go all the back to Our Lady Guadalupe, was the image of Our Lady a prophetic prediction of a future event? or did the head crushing event(s) begin back then, and maybe more than one step on the serpent’s head will be done until the final step that finally defeats the serpent, and the serpent is locked away until the events of the end of world.

    Our Lady of the Apocalypse uses similar symbology does it not?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was watching the classic version Charlie referenced of Baby It’s Cold Outside, when my daughter said there’s a cute clip featuring a couple of Star Wars’ actors singing the intro. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it; short but sweet. ( Reassuring that some millennials are still classy.)

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  8. There is a complete copy online of Bishop Sheen’s book ‘The World’s First Love’. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 12: Man and Woman, that dovetails with Marian theme.(The entire book can be found if you google :Bishop Sheen archive The world’s first love)

    ‘This does not mean that woman has kept her qualities of
    [154] soul untarnished; she would be the first to admit that she,
    too, has failed to live up to her ideals. When the bow is broken,
    the violin cannot give forth its chords. Woman has been
    insisting on “equality” with man, not in the spiritual sense,
    but only as the right to be a competitor with him in the eco-
    nomic field. Admitting, then, only one difference, namely, the
    procreation of species, which is often stifled for economic rea-
    sons, she no longer receives either minor or major respect
    from her “equal” man. He no longer gives her a seat in the
    crowded train; since she is his equal in doing a man’s work,
    there is no reason why she should not be an Amazon and
    fight with man in war and be bombed with man in Nagasaki.
    Totalitarian war, which makes no distinction of combatant
    and civilian, of soldier and mother, is a direct consequence
    of a philosophy in which woman abdicated her peculiar su-
    periority and even the right to protest against the demoraliza-
    tion. This is not to condemn women’s place in economic life,
    but only to condemn the failure to live up to those creative
    and inspiring functions which are specifically feminine.

    In this time of trouble, there must be a hearkening back
    to a woman. In the Crisis of the Fall of man, it was to a Woman
    and her seed that God promised relief from the catastrophe;
    in the crisis of a world when many, blessed with Revelation,
    forgot it and the Gentiles abandoned Reason, it was to a
    Woman that an angel was sent, to offer the fulfillment of the
    promise that the seed would be Word made flesh, Our Di-
    vine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is a historical fact that,
    whenever the world has been in danger of collapse, there
    has been re-emphasis of devotion to the Woman, who is not
    Salvation but who renders it by bringing her children back
    again to Christ’.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Woman: “Behind every successful man is a Woman!”

    Gn 3:15
    “Woman” in Gn 3:15 is Mother of Messiah and People of God

    Jn 2:3-4
    Mary addressed as “Woman” by Jesus in Cana Wedding Banquet
    Symbolic reference to “Woman” of Genesis 3:15

    Jn 19:26
    Mary addressed as “Woman” by Jesus on the Cross
    Symbolic reference to “Woman” of Genesis 3:15

    Rv 12:1
    St. John identifies Mary as the “Woman”
    clothed with sun, Mother of Messiah and Messianic People
    Mary is Mother of Jesus Christ and New People of God, the Church

    Jesus Christ, Messiah, New Adam, addressed His Mother as “Woman” and made symbolic reference to Mary as the “Woman” of Gn 3:15. Mary is New Eve, Mother of Christ’s Body, the Church. St. John, author of Gospel of John and Book of Revelation, consistently identifies Mary as the “Woman” who, with her offspring, Jesus Christ and Christians, will crush the head of satan and his minions in a decisive victory in the apocalyptic battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

    Foundations for a Marian Devotion in the New Testament, By Joseph Fazio

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Finished up the nine day novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe and took a mound of petitions/intentions with me today to the Adoration Chapel, as well as the special prayer intentions (even if it’s sometimes little more than sighing and such) of all here. Was getting ready to leave but paused for a minute and whipped out the camera phone because it struck me how important it is for all to feel connected in these disconnected times.

    First, it’s a beautiful Adoration Chapel with Beauty Himself.

    Second, I share this particular kneeler with some old time prayer warrior gals who have practically worn it clean through to the wood. Know that there are many more like ’em out there who have our back. Really, my boots just added some dirt to the floor.

    Third, I was slipping my phone back into my pocket and accidentally took a picture. Here it is is in the original form. Make of it what you will, but we all know She has our backs.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Our Lady clothed with the sun…
    These days many worship the sun — the solstice — at Christmas. This could be more menacing than it seems since the Aztecs worshiped the sun, and sacrificed anything blocking it; and to it: consider, are our solstice-loving peers sacrificing in abortion and euthanasia to that sun?
    I hope when it comes up I’ll say ‘ ya know, the Aztecs….maybe we better be careful what we worship.’


  12. A weakness I see in the postings and comments is that later replies and comments are inserted out of sequence and I have to watch the dates to ascertain that some comments have no connection with the previous comment though at first glance, some seem to. Also in making sure I do not miss any new comments, I have to peruse all the comments each day so as not to miss any new ones. I tried requesting to be emailed any new comments but that too was too laborious and overloaded the volume of my email account. Sorry, I have no solutions to recommend. Thank you all in the community for your important inputs, especially Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was rereading this post from the Ruth Institute on the abuse crisis and the role of homosexuality:
    And I came across this link from the Southern Poverty Law Center on the Ruth Institute. It is sad how the left has distorted truth and what a coup on the side of evil. I am only posting it so we can see how these folks think.
    and their response to these sad accusations:

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Some thoughts on NDEs: Unlike prophesies and celestial messages which usually contain elements of doctrine and dogma, NDEs seem to deal with very basic insights of the existence of God, heaven, and the great LOVE that envelops it all. Other various elements are minor in nature. God seems to be deliberately avoiding the complications of the human element that tends to cloud prophesies and celestial messages due to often present mysteries by sometimes prideful personal interpretation and personal lack of understanding. NDEs are much more simple and direct, more clear and obvious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the other issue is proof of conscious existence apart from the body, as proved by persons blind or unconscious seeing things they could have not seen while in their body and persons being able to verify the veracity of what they saw.

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