The Longest Night

full moon on longest night

I don’t really want to write anything until after Christmas. Maybe just a few notes to tide you over.

In the last month I have spoken to about a dozen people I much respect who have had their faith shaken badly by events of this last year. Some have abandoned faith almost altogether, hanging on only by a thread – hoping that something will spark new hope and new resolve in them. One of the easiest ones to deal with is my friend, Kassi Marks, of Texas. I mention her publicly only because she has now spoken of what happened on her own Blog. Kassi is a deep, profoundly pro-life lawyer. She has spent years writing against Texas’ hideous “Advanced Directives” law, which allows hospitals to take control away from patients and their families in life and death situations with no right of appeal. She has fought the Texas Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which supports this law in direct contravention of Catholic teaching. (I should note that the Conference is the political, rather than a doctrinal, arm of the Bishops, but boy, is it offensive to see any Bishops formally undermining Catholic teaching in any venue. Small wonder their credibility is at an all-time low and still sinking.)

Kassi’s case is easy for me because she has not given up on God. She has converted to Russian Orthodox. Her fine, legal mind decided that if settled doctrine can be changed at a pontiff’s whim, or if it can contradict prior settled teaching, it cannot be reliably true – and, thus, it cannot be God’s Church. I told her if I believed that to legitimately be the case, I would have to agree with her. But despite the histrionics of some Bishops (including the Bishop of Rome) who want to replace 2,000 years of Magisterial teaching with what they believe to be their own sovereign will, I am convinced that this trial, too, will pass. Kassi has found a place where she can keep faith in God even as her faith in the Catholic Church has been shaken. Sadly, I have encountered many others I care about who question whether there is any abiding truth at all – or whether God really is. While I sympathize with those who are shaken, who feel betrayed by too many of those they trusted to be guardians and defenders of truth and the faith, I could NEVER join their ranks.

I told you on the old website – and on this one as well – that we were headed for a “global civil war fought on cultural lines.” I was saying the same thing a quarter of a century ago to my Priests – and in my private writings to them. I told you that this would be the worst crisis in the history of civilization. The only thing worse will be when we approach the actual end. As recently as a few years ago on these sites, I was mocked by many for stating it in such bald terms. The process was rickety. I made a couple of flubs along the way, but I told you true on the fundamental heart of the matter – and even the harshest of my old critics would have a very hard time explaining why we are not already in a global civil war fought on cultural lines. The crisis has not degenerated into the worst ever yet, but the battle lines are almost fully revealed.

But I also told you something else, quite forcefully: that this is NOT the end, that God is NOT done with us, that the only reason for me to tell you of the Storm at all was so that when it came you would have confidence that I had also told you true that all this darkness is only prelude to our renewal in God. And I told you to prepare for these times, not by stockpiling and hoarding, as if you could become an island and sit out the troubles that would come upon all mankind – but by this simple formula: Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. No matter what happens around us, we can keep faith. Each of us has to choose in this great winnowing. God calls us to participate with Him in resurrecting the culture.

I am convinced that we now enter a year of judgment. It was no coincidence, I don’t think, that we had a full moon on the longest night of the year. The winds and waves have risen, but they are not yet howling with wild abandon. Don’t be surprised when they do. People still ask me occasionally about specific scenarios. Who cares whether it is by fire or ice that we are humbled? That is just a detail. The reality is that we will be humbled. So I have a few things to ask those who follow this website.

Make your stand both with charity and unshakeable resolve. If your faith is shaken, you may have entered the dark night of the soul. You can still acknowledge God (even when you don’t feel Him), take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Both St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Calcutta struggled with this darkness most of their lives, as their private writings later revealed. But they lived their faith despite that interior darkness. That is absolutely heroic – saintly, you might say. You know, however much you are shaken, that that is the only path to joy, the only path that builds up those around you, the only path that can give your children a hope and a future. Ask both St. Therese and St. Teresa to pray for you and help you to get up off your mat and walk when you get discouraged.

When the darkness comes fully, the people who will be most distressed will be those who have done the most to summon it. Those who now think themselves masters of the universe have no clue how to survive without services – and servants – at their beck and call. The time will come when they will be baffled and in terror of what they have called down upon all of us – and they will come to you for help and succor because, even though you, too, are in need, you will be in better shape than they are. Will your resentments – and your own needs – prevent you from ministering to them? How will you bring them back to the path of faith if you behave as these heathens among us do, with resentment, malice, and low cunning? I do not say to let them govern your assemblies; they have shown they cannot safely be entrusted with authority. Rather, treat them with charity as the supplicants that, soon enough, they will become. Show them a better way – the way of faith, family and freedom. Treat them as brothers if they can accept it. If they spurn your help even then, then shake the dust off your feet in witness against them – but not until you have offered the better way. These things you must do when you, yourself, are in need and in fear.

Do not be quick to condemn a Bishop or a Priest. Yes, we have more corruption and loss of faith than perhaps at any time in Church history. But neither you nor I can pilot this ship. It is the Lord, Himself, who left that to the hierarchy. If a cleric rejects the Gospels of Christ, let him be anathema to you. Treat him as the irrelevant dandy that he is by ignoring him. But do not treat all clerics as corrupt because some are. Even now, there are heroes rising among the clergy. Some who wear the collar are good men who are peacetime consiglieres in a time when war has come. These are not bad men. Do not treat them as if they were. Help build each other up as brothers in the Lord – including (and maybe even especially) those who have taken religious orders. When you find an honest cleric, let your heart overflow with reverence for, obedience to, and love for him. In a time of great corruption in Israel, Jesus told His followers to do what the authorities commanded, but not what they did. He was speaking of the law of Moses. We have the Gospels and the ancient Magisterium. This is what the Church says. Do this and you will endure and give heart to those around you.

If your friends and your family don’t have faith, have faith for them. If they don’t make reparation, make reparation for them. When they are completely shaken and trembling with fear, you put on the confidence that is from Christ, confidence that abides even amidst terrifying times. In September of 1917, Our Lady said at Fatima that many go to hell because they have no one to pray for them. Let us all endeavor to be spiritual philanthropists, so that none lack people of faith praying for them.

I am sorry I am not saying this as well as I had hoped. I think we are entering what may prove to be the longest night in the history of Christendom. As people panic at the strife that comes upon the world, carry the light of Christ with you to light the way of both you and your panicked neighbors. Gather and worship in your parish churches with confidence that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, as He has promised. Be watchful for those around you who need an encouraging word or gesture, and ask the Lord to inspire you to give that encouragement effectively. Remember that fear often presents as anger, so respond to the actual need rather than the stated complaint.

A little over 2,000 years ago, wise men came from a far country, following the light of a star that carried them to the Lord of the Universe, hidden in vulnerability in a crib. It was surely a long, dark journey. In spite of the darkness, wise men still follow that light.

356 thoughts on “The Longest Night

  1. Happy Christmas Everyone!

    I survived “the longest night” and was blessed to attend a midnight Mass in the EF. It was beautiful and once again “cleansed” my soul from the anguish that transpired earlier in the day! I wasn’t entirely successful in putting myself aside, hiding my pains and heartaches though. My poor husband is the only one these days that witnesses that character defect, thank you Jesus! But because we are “one”, its “almost” like putting myself aside(?). This Christmas Season I pray that it may be only me to suffer the pains of watching my godless family on the road to perdition. I will continue to pray and make reparation for them. I want them all to come home to Jesus. Lord have mercy.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Merry Christmas to my “cyber” family!
    My Christmass Eve day started at 3:20 AM as I drove clients to and from their Dr appointments and clinics. As I spent the day talking with and listening to the poor, the lowly, the infirm and the downtrodden, I contemplated Jesus born in a manger and the lowly shepherds who came to him. It was a day filled with Christmas music, long hours before the light of dawn, and the sights and sounds of those who’s Christmas would be spent in a nursing home, hospital bed or wheelchair.
    After some 11 hours driving, my day ended and after a short power nap, my wife and I took my second oldest daughter (our Christmas Eve present from three decades ago), out for her 30th birthday. We talked about parenting (she has 5) and how some of the behaviors of the grandkids are similar to her and to us. It was a whimsical, funny, serious look at the last 30 years.
    After dinner, I enters the music pit at the church to play my drums before the Midnight mass to 15 Christmas songs. I prayed so Our Lord would take my hands and edify His church through them. To His claim, an organ/drum only rendition of The Little Drummer Boy was divinly inspired as we did not have a chance to rehears it.
    As we moved along through the High Mass I could not help but reflect upon the recourse of the day having started some 2o+ hours earlier in the middle of the night starting with the poor of humanity crescendoing with my place among the Holy of Holies.
    It was like the experiences of a full lifetime all in one magnificent day!
    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Love it, Phillip. One of my coordinators in Texas, a young mother, put up a meme about the little drummer boy that made me laugh out loud. It read: “I know just what this exhausted Mother and sleeping child need right now – a drum solo. – The Little Drummer Boy”

      Liked by 7 people

    2. Phillip, I wish there was a ‘love” button to click ! I always find it so amazing that God stretches the hours at this time of year or when we are the most busy – AND He gives us rest. My husband and I have had a marithon of busyness since mid Novermber, when our daughter in law died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage, in Seattle. Our Christina did not have a formal belief in God but she died with the scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel on her neck….our son uses his scapular when he came in handy for his wife’s heavenward flight.(Jesus I trust in You is my mantra!)
      We hoped to sleep during the seven hour flight from eastern Canada. Our seats were beside a young pregnant mother and her 18 month old daughter who fussed/cried most of the five hours on that flight from Toronto to Seattle. We were happy to help ..we were used to fussy babies..we had nine and only two slept well. Our ninth cried for 2 &1/2 years. As we were aproaching Seattle the flight attendant made a comment about our calmness in helping our granddaughter. We said they weren’t related. The flight attendant was amazed…I guess many people would have requested other seating arrangements. We were happy to help and we wished them well and hoped to see them in Heaven.
      Returning home we learned that ALL nine new windows we ordered came in 3 inches smaller. House renovations in November is usually fine..but this past Nov. winter came early..20 inches of snow…testing our patience! We now have a almost too warm house after new windows, doors, a mini split and 1&1/2 syrofoam insulation. It seems that Kent’s Building may suppy all nine windows with new blinds, since our old blinds are too small..I think this is the silver lining..getting top of the line new blinds ! I used to say that our basement was like Florida, with a wood stove, our main level like Canada and the second story like Greenland.
      Then came Christmas shopping ..for the 32 in our immediate extended family…and taking our 97 year old friend to her doctors appointments and to Mass, babysitting grandchildren so our adult children could go to Christmas parties and shopping…I am amazed how God provides for all our needs. Today Christmas Day was so very different than the past 47 years of our married life…we had the afternoon off..the family will come tomorrow for dinner and gift opening. We have a key to the adoration chapel, which was closed on Christmas day:( So we opened it and went to pray with our Italian friends who later insisted we join them for a meal. God is so good! Thank Heaven for daily Mass ,helping us to meet the daily challenges with JOY.
      Mary Christ Mass to all !

      Liked by 9 people

      1. I have offered a prayer for the repose of the soul of your DIL and for comfort especially during this time of the year for all who love and mourn her. Bless you for living your faith with such charity. Merry Christmas! ❤

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I listened to a meditation on the shepherds who the angels called to come see Jesus at his birth. The speaker stated a tradition that these were no ordinary shepherds but they were the guardians of the sheep being raised for the yearly Passover offering. If so it would have been fitting for them to have been called to briefly inspect and to watch over the “True Lamb” who was just born for us. Merry Christmas to all once again.

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  4. Merry Christmas friends! As I’ve come to know this community – you are courageous prayer warriors, benevolent grace wranglers and you put love into action every day. My prayer is that you all feel wonderfully spent and peaceful in the warm blanket of God’s Perfect Will this Christmas.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Knowing what is ahead, I am blessed to be a part of this community. Holding all of you in prayer. Blessed Christmas to each and every one of you and yours.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you for your prayers, PrayerPartner. Merry Christmas to you. Please, let us know when you might be returning to the tomb of our dear friend Blessed Solanus. How is your healing journey going?

      Liked by 5 people

  6. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I get the impression that the hardships we’ve faced in recent years are like God’s refining fire for preparing the faithful for the future event(s) to come.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. It got me thinking on how many of us would survive, if the full intensity of “the storm” happened quickly & suddenly without the lesser trials to help us build our faith & God-strength for what’s to come? Would not many of us just give up and let ourselves die in hopeless or adopt everyone else’s “survival of the fittest” strategy?

        Hoarding resources make one acceptable before God for not being charitable, and it shows a lack of trust in God.

        If we change the mindset to “live like we’re dying” then everyday is a gift where we try to make the most of the daily opportunities of Christian living in hope & faith of Christ’s promise of eternal life in Heaven.

        Liked by 8 people

        1. Al, it is like a woman in labour, no woman could handle the usual pains of birth if it came very quickly without the labour pains which increrase gradually, preparing a woman for the greaster of physical pains, next to crucifixion. Granted there are a few who excape some of the normal process and have quick and relatively easy laboirs and deliveries…but they are few and far between, says this mother of nine and a former labour and delivery nurse. I think the later fall under the realm of God’s Mercy…even the weakest among us may get through the time of trial more easily because of God’s Mercy and the prayers of others.

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          1. I will go for the C section😎

            Seriously though, that is a very good thought Canada. This is why I think there is a dramatic up tick and frequency in apparitions of the Blessed Mother; Akita, Medjugorje, Betania, Garabandal, etc. God is warning his people to get ready.

            Merry Christmas!

            Liked by 4 people

              1. Wow! Packed full of wisdom Jen and Canada! Great way to see this and sheds interesting light on slower birth pangs which gives us fair warning.

                Liked by 3 people

  7. You said it best Charlie! “If your friends and your family don’t have faith, have faith for them. If they don’t make reparation, make reparation for them. When they are completely shaken and trembling with fear, you put on the confidence that is from Christ, confidence that abides even amidst terrifying times. In September of 1917, Our Lady said at Fatima that many go to hell because they have no one to pray for them. Let us all endeavor to be spiritual philanthropists, so that none lack people of faith praying for them.”

    Liked by 8 people

  8. I pray that all in this ASOH community receive our gracious God’s abundant blessings in this holy season and beyond. May your family and friends be likewise blessed. May the Christ Child bring each one the gift of His heartfelt peace amidst the crashing waves of these stormy times.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. My realization this Christmas…
    I am God’s little runt. I am the smallest, I am the weakest, but I am a fighter. The runt must fight in order to survive. I will fight the good fight. In my smallness I will be mighty. In my weakness I will be strong. I am God’s little runt.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Love it! I consider myself as Saint-in-the-making, of the Holy Heel of Jesus. Ya know, How some saints are named for various parts of Jesus, like the Holy Face, etc. Well, I am at the bottom facing away from the face of Jesus, because I am not worthy to look upon His face. And, go clopping through the dirt, mud puddles, etc. of life. Just as long as I am a member of the body of Christ I am blessed.

      Liked by 6 people

  10. Merry Christmas Charlie, Beckita, SteveBC and all the TNRS ASOH Gang… Today was very troubling indeed… the culture is really affected everyone to a very deep level. Oh my gosh it was very hard not to just shout at everyone to WAKE UP!!! ugh… Can’t wait to get back to normalcy..daily Mass… quiet Jesus time. is this bad on my part??? ugh…

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Ahhh..yes, Beckita…exactly right on!!! I too my eyes off of Christ, and heard the attacks of “why did u home school me?” “Why should we have babies & change our adventurous traveling lifestyle?” “So why is it so wrong that they show twould men in a sexual act on netflix tv show? Some people like that kind of stuff!!!” You bet I had some very strong feelings…so I held it all in & had dear Michael run through out the house with a tiNY crucifix giving the demonic spirits left behind the rooty toot boot… (learned from Fr Ripperger ) God save us all…we r in a mess

        Liked by 9 people

          1. Yes, Charlie, he does it often for me when I feel shaken… (Fr Ripperger says husband can kick the Satan out😄) He’s so cute…”Devil, you get the boot…rooty toot you get the boot…basement too..out you go…we worship God in this house…rooty toot…you get the boot🏃…”and he says it all through the house…it’s amazing the calm & peace that comes after that😏

            Liked by 5 people

              1. Http, I would recommend his book: Deliverance Prayers, For Use by the Laity.
                I requested, (from Dolorans email), but was denied permission to post a few paragraphs. So just very briefly, a married couple can pray deliverance prayers over each other and their children, (preferably the husband as head of the household). Also, he suggests we pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in asking her to reveal the nature of the demon in our families.
                (The Kindle edition is half price of print. fyi-Amazon sends free samples from requested e-books to your kindle app)

                Liked by 3 people

        1. Linda, I have often called myself a successful failure, having raised nine children in the faith and homeschooling the last five, leaving a career in nursing behind. MEANwhile and it often has been mean, most of my adult children have left the Faith behind. I believe God gave me many graces on pilgrimages to Medjugorje, five times, the first in 1985 then not until 25 years later.. to Kracow for the Feast of the Divine Mercy, to Fatima and Lourdes and several times to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbride Mass. He knew I needed them to” keep on keeping on” as Ralph Martin has often said. If you haven’t been able to go on any pilgrimage then God knows He gives you what you need in the duty of the moment and adoration, Mass etc…you already know that, as everyone does here on TNRS. After my first pilgrimage I kept my nose to the grindstone for 25 years before I was able to be on the road of pilgrimages again. I am reminded that Mother Theresa said that God doesn’t expect success, He asked for faithfulness…I hold Him to that knowing that if we have been faithful, success will come-someday. Jesus I trust in You during this crazy time of history! I wonder how I ever homeschooled since I can’t spell well anymore..and no spell-check here! But that is the least of my reasons for which to pray. Linda, my children who loved being a homeschool ed have also turned the tables on me for homeschooling. I have kept some of their Mother’s Day’s cards which remind me of what they used to think of me…and what they will again when they are back on Jesus’ Team- full time. I love Fr Ripperger, I see him on YouTube. God collects all our tears…so all is good! I live in a very liberal RC community, with no support from the pulpit in having a large family and much criticism for homeschooling. The criticism has tamed down now that my children have done very well in education beyong home. It has been swimming against the current all these years, as we all do here. The tide will change and we will be able to rescue others who are swimminmg with the current current 🙂

          Liked by 7 people

          1. Canada1nw thank you so much for ur words of encouragement. are awesome. .. today I felt called to open up to “the calls” Our Lady of Fatima words to Saint Lucie….it was all about forgiving 7 x 70 and not to hold gruses on those when I myielf have been forgiven so much which I have…haha..God always puts things in perspective doesn’t He? 😘😘😘

            Liked by 3 people

  11. I just scrolled back to watch the incredibly powerful video that Crew Dog posted on the previous page.
    Here it is again in case you missed it too.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Merry Christmas, everyone!
    For a musical holiday treat today, tune in to Women of Grace on EWTN at 11:00 a.m. EST. Today’s program, titled “Christmas in Song and Hymn”, features the wonderful Kitty Cleveland!! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  13. MILINET: Articles for Christians – 26 December
    Dwight Eisenhower’s Christmas Eve prayer to Prince of Peace

    Britain commissions review of Christian persecution worldwide

    Crisis of faith: Tibetan Catholics face modernity in China village

    Dems challenge Trump judicial nominee over Knights of Columbus membership

    ….. and it seems that the above K of C despising Democrats have much in common with their Muslim and Red Chinese Pals in the below …. of course, most here have figured that out since the “Glory” Days of Billary 25 years ago ;-(

    ‘Everything is gone’: trees, lights and bells vanish amid China’s Christmas crackdown

    Christians at risk of extinction in land where Christmas began


    Let’s PRAY that the below is a Good News Sign!:

    New Hope: Iraq Officially Declares Christmas a National Holiday


    Liked by 6 people

    1. Crew Dog: M Hirono’s -D-HI and K. Harris’s -D-Ca attack on judicial nominee B. Buescher’s membership in the Catholic charitable organization, the Knights of Columbus is just a veiled attack on his being a Roman Catholic. It smacks of the century old cry “No Catholics need apply”. The attack is without knowledge aka ignorance. Their specific objection was on the basis of the church’s position on life and gay marriage. (However God knows how long this position will hold.) The day I read this article a priest friend sent me a comment. He’s a retired military chaplain who is a friend of a friend. We speak on line every so often but have never met. I send him articles often, he replies with a short comment ever so often. It is rare for him to write an extensive comment. He is a parish priest and I figure he is way busy with parish duties. We did write once to each other about our family background and we discovered we once attended the same parish church in Perry Hall MD at the same time. In any case he referred to a Jesuit priest from Germany caught up in the Nazi regime. Father Rupert Mayer received the Iron Cross for heroics during World War I. But now he was faced with the political arm of Hitler’s Germany (the NSDAP) and its conquest to destroy the Catholic Church in Germany. I was immediately interested because Father was from Bavaria and so too are all my fraternal ancestors. Bavaria stayed hugely Roman Catholic even as the rest of Germany fell under the spell of Luther. I always wondered how Germany could go so astray with Hitler with so many practicing Christians? (I did mentioned to father the resilience of Pope Benedict’s parents, which sent me on course to understand the constraints on the citizens of Germany at that time. We do not understand how persecuted Christians especially Roman Catholics were at that time. So who was Father Mayer?
      So I read the above Wikipedia bio on Father Mayer. And what struck me are the tactics the NSDAP used to try to shut him up. The Hirono/Harris comment and tactics are the same. So here we are at a place in our country I never thought possible. Tactics used by Congressional members just like Nazi Germany to silence, diminish, marginalize a person for his faith. History repeats itself. But we know why they do it- they fear it. It threatens them because we say “no” you are not walking with the light. They think if they could just suppress us, all would be well. So they attack a social/charitable institution as in the Knights so it appears they are not attacking religious freedom. But we all know like Blessed Father Mayer, that you cannot change truth. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I just wonder if they will soon suggest re education camps like the ones instituted in China first for the Muslim Chinese but now being increasingly used against Roman Catholic Chinese.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. A belated Merry Christmas to the ASOH community. Very busy the last few weeks. Now preparing to put the kids on a plane back to Boston. Things are quieting down once again. Two new books on the 1st Century Christians in Rome and Jerusalem to read. Anticipating but not fearing the coming New Year in salvation history. Meditating on “I am the light of the world”. The people living in darkness saw a Great Light. Something we can all focus on in the months ahead. God bless everyone here!

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Latest Medjugorje message:

    Latest Medjugorje Message, December 25, 2018

    “Dear children!
    I am carrying to you my Son Jesus who is the King of Peace. He gives you peace and may it not be only for you but, little children, carry it to others in joy and humility. I am with you and am praying for you in this time of grace which God desires to give you. My presence is a sign of love here while I am with you to protect you and lead you towards eternity.
    Thank you for having responded to my call. ”

    Latest Medjugorje Message, December 25, 2018 – Annual apparition to Jakov

    At the last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12th, 1998, Our Lady told him that henceforth he would have one apparition a year, every December 25th, on Christmas Day. This is also how it was this year. The apparition began at 1:38 pm and lasted 9 minutes. Our Lady came with little Jesus in her arms.

    Through Jakov, Our Lady gave the following message:

    “Dear children,
    on this day of grace, I am calling you to love. Little children, God loves you immeasurably and that is why, little children, full of trust and without looking back and without fear, completely surrender your hearts to Him so that God may fill them with His love. Do not be afraid to believe in His love and mercy, because His love is stronger than every one of your weaknesses and fears.

    Therefore, my children, full of love in your hearts, trust in Jesus and say your ‘yes’ to Him, because He is the only way which leads you to the Eternal Father. ”

    Liked by 10 people

  16. More articles that may be of interest to you.

    MILINET Articles for Christians – 27 December

    Scripture Scholar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, SJW–Jeannie DeAngelis

    The Democrats’ Anti-Catholic Bigotry–Daniel John Sobieski

    Religious Liberty and Religious Exemptions: A Response to Yoo and Phillips–VINCENT PHILLIP MUÑOZ

    Pope’s initial blind spot on sex abuse threatens legacy

    … and other places:

    Dear Pope Francis

    A Christmas Classic: Handel’s Messiah

    Christmas in the Aftermath of Loss

    Merry 3rd day of Christmas 😉


    Liked by 3 people

  17. Well my ASOH family,
    Today begins my writing ministry to those sexually abused by members of our church.

    It will be an apology letter. I tried to get the Diocese on board. But crickets. So….here I go. Please pray for me to hear cleary the words from the Holy Spirit to write to these hurting people.

    Thank all of you for each of your parts in helping me form this resolution!

    Praise be to God!!!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I have offered a prayer for your next right step, littleone. You are a sign of hope.

      Here is the prayer we pray aloud for victims of clergy abuse, from the USCCB:

      Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse

      God of endless love,
      ever caring, ever strong,
      always present, always just:
      You gave your only Son
      to save us by the blood of his cross.

      Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
      join to your own suffering
      the pain of all who have been hurt
      in body, mind, and spirit
      by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

      Hear our cries as we agonize
      over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
      Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
      soothe restless hearts with hope,
      steady shaken spirits with faith:
      Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
      enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy.

      Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
      heal your people’s wounds
      and transform our brokenness.
      Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
      so that we may act with justice
      and find peace in you.
      We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

      and another by Father Frank Pavone:

      Prayer of Reparation

      For crimes of abuse committed by clergy

      God and Father of Mercy,

      We your people come before you today in deep humility,

      Aware of our own sins and asking your forgiveness.

      Lord, we trust you to take care of us.

      Time after time, you have rescued your people from power of their enemies,

      You have renewed Your covenant when your own people have broken it,

      And You have healed the wounds which sin and unfaithfulness have unleashed on your sons and daughters.

      Father, today we come before you invoking your mercy,

      And offering you our prayers and sacrifices of reparation

      For the scandalous crimes that have been committed

      By some of those appointed to proclaim your Word and lead your Church.

      Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

      We pray for the victims of these crimes, both known and unknown.

      Protect them with your mighty hand,

      Heal them with the soothing balm of your Spirit,

      And console them with the loving presence of our heavenly Mother.

      We pray for those who have committed these crimes.

      Give them sincere repentance

      And the humility to accept the consequences of their actions.

      We pray for those responsible to correct the abuses that have occurred.

      Give them wisdom, a desire for authentic reform, and courage to carry it out.

      We pray for those who have been scandalized by these crimes.

      As your Son Jesus calmed the winds and waves,

      Let him speak his Word again to calm the confusion and concern in their souls.

      Renew the faith of us all –

      A faith which acknowledges that you have appointed shepherds to lead us

      And a faith that likewise acknowledges that we have only one Master, the Christ,

      And all of us are brothers and sisters.

      Father, at the beginning of time,

      Your Spirit hovered over the darkness and chaos,

      And brought about light and life, order and beauty.

      After the chaos of Good Friday and the darkness of Holy Saturday,

      Your Spirit again breathed on the apostles,

      And brought about a new wave of grace for the world.

      Send that Spirit now

      Upon our souls, upon our Church, and upon our world.

      Keep our eyes fixed on you,

      And renew our commitment to follow your Son,

      In holiness of life,

      And with the joy and peace that come only from you,

      And that nobody can take away from us.

      We pray with humility and with confidence,

      Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

      by Fr. Frank Pavone

      Liked by 5 people

  18. My Goodness, what a mess!

    The CDF has been marginalised. Will Archbishop Scicluna’s appointment reverse that?
    Fr Raymond de Souza
    20 December, 2018

    The CDF is an essential organisation in the fight against sexual abuse, but it has had its wings clipped in recent years

    If there was a Catholic “man of the year” for 2018, many people’s candidate would be Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta. Or perhaps “fireman of the year”, as he was deployed to extinguish the conflagration ignited by the Holy Father’s incendiary trip to Chile in January. He put out the fire threatening Francis, but saving the Pope left the Chilean Church in smouldering ruins.

    It is an indication of how all-consuming the sexual abuse crisis is now in Rome that when Scicluna – while keeping his day job as Archbishop of Malta – was appointed in November the adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it was widely hailed as a positive sign.

    There was nary a raised eyebrow that the third most senior official at the CDF holds a view of conscience incompatible with the previous prefect (and likely the current prefect too) of the same congregation. In relation to Amoris Laetitia, Scicluna went far beyond the ambiguities of the original text. He issued guidelines for Malta – the most radical in the world – in which he presented an understanding of conscience which directly contradicts Veritatis Splendor. But now that it’s “all sex abuse all the time”, a bit of dubious doctrine at the CDF is – for some – a small price to pay when desirous of employing Scicluna’s credibility in the disciplinary section.

    And that is what the November appointment of Scicluna to the CDF was meant to do: to lend his credibility to Pope Francis on the abuse file. If the CDF actually needed Scicluna, because there is no one else in the Church who could get the job done, then he would be appointed full time, not flying in from Malta on a part-time basis. Sex abuse is not a part-time crisis.

    Scicluna’s credibility is considerable. He was brought to the CDF in 2002 by Joseph Ratzinger as the congregation took on its new role of supervising all cases involving minors. As Promoter of Justice – the CDF’s chief prosecutor – from 2002 until 2012, when he returned to Malta, Scicluna led the team that handled thousands of cases. He led the practical implementation of Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (SST), the 2001 reforms of St John Paul II that centralised canonical prosecutions of sexual abuse at the CDF. Moreover, in 2010 he helped to strengthen the provisions of SST, and was instrumental in the CDF instructing all bishops to report allegations to civil authorities. Finally, in 2011 the CDF gave all the episcopal conferences in the world a year to establish protocols like the Americans did after the Boston scandals of 2002.

    Now Archbishop Scicluna is one of the four chairmen for the Vatican’s sex abuse summit in February. His presence is meant to reassure a newly sceptical media that Pope Francis is engaged on this issue. Indeed, at the recent synod, a hostile media put the question of the Holy Father’s commitment directly to Scicluna.

    “Give him time,” was Scicluna’s loyal response, but it served only to undermine the Pope with faint praise.

    What then does Scicluna’s return mean? When he speaks of the February summit as being “a very important start of a global process which will take quite some time to perfect”, does that mean that in February 2019 the Holy Father will ask bishops’ conferences to do what the CDF told them to do when Scicluna was there in 2011?

    In June 2015, Pope Francis announced a special tribunal in the CDF to adjudicate the cases of bishops who had mishandled sexual abuse cases. Who was to lead it? Many assumed that Scicluna would; he had already been put in charge of a special appeals tribunal in the CDF for sexual abuse cases some months beforehand.

    But the CDF tribunal for bishops never got established, partly because Pope Francis never asked the CDF whether it was a good idea. CDF officials read about it in the newspapers. In any event, the Holy Father himself abandoned the idea the following year.

    Does the return of Scicluna mean a return to the 2002-2012 years when Ratzinger/Benedict was devoting resources and resolve to moving definitively through thousands of cases? Or is he going to the CDF in the same way that he went to Chile: a part-time, ad hoc response to the latest crisis swirling around the Santa Marta?

    Scicluna left the CDF less than six months before the election of Pope Francis. Under Francis, the CDF has had its wings clipped in the investigation of bishops, had its personnel arbitrarily fired, suffered the dismissal of its prefect and been accused of foot-dragging in the matter of the surprise on-and-off special tribunal.

    The CDF, a strong ally of John Paul and Benedict in the fight against sexual abuse, has been marginalised. Is the part-time appointment of Scicluna sufficient to reverse that? Much of what will unfold in 2019 depends upon the answer.

    Fr Raymond J de Souza is a priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario, and editor-in-chief of

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Thank you Doug for recommending the 12 year St. Bridget prayer to me, Sean for sharing that you have been saying it for 3 years now, and Beckita for finding it for me so fast. I haven’t missed saying it for a day since then. I was saying it for a 21 yr old grandchild especially who was waiting to go into the Special Forces. In the meantime he was waiting on tables for a little extra cash. He was the kindest, sweetest, child. Never a bad word, and helped everyone. Last night after work at midnight, he was riding his bike the one mile home on a busy highway, and was hit by a car. He was killed instantly, and is waiting surgery to donate his organs. His parents, my daughter, ate at his table, and spent an hour with him just hours before it happened. He has 3 siblings, and there are 5 aunts and uncles, and 15 cousins. Several of them are flying in right now. Please, please pray for our family. As you can imagine the pain is unbearable. I truly hope I make it right now as it is giving me chest pains, and I feel like my head is going to explode. My only consolation right now is knowing the promises of the 12 yr. prayer, and that his soul was being prayed for daily. Pray especially for my daughter. Thank you my ASOH family, I know you will pray hard that she can find some peace.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Oh Dolordee! I’m so sorry to hear this news. Praying for the repose of your dear grandson’s soul and, yes, praying for his nuclear family and all your heavy-hearted family. May Our Mother of Sorrows console you and each of your dear ones in these days of mourning.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Dolordee, I too am so sorry for the loss of your grandson. I have been praying for you and your family since I read this yesterday but didn’t have time to comment. Continued prayers from my heart to your aching heart and for all the family…15 cousins…we have 15 grandchildren, so I can appreciate the collective pain in your family. xoxo ❤

        Liked by 4 people

    2. My Heartfelt condolences, Dolordee. Will say a Divine Mercy chaplet for his soul, and for you, your daughter’s family to be enfolded by Mary’s mantle.

      Liked by 9 people

    3. Dolordee,

      I will offer up my Eucharistic Hour tonight for you and your grandson. I know he is resting in the perfect love and peace of Our Lord. May the Lord console you and your daughter and the rest of your family during this time of great sorrow.

      Liked by 8 people

    4. dolordee, my heart felt condolences to you and yours. I have prayed for the repose of his soul. May he serve proudly in Spiritual Special Forces from the Kingdom of Heaven.

      Liked by 8 people

    5. Dolordee, I shall offer my evening prayers (Liturgy of the Hours) for your family. If any condolence may be had, he did die on a powerful Saints Feast day: St. Stephen, Apostle or the Beloved Apostle St. John. Along with the intercessory prayers of St. Bridget, I’d say he has a pretty good escort team on hand.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. I agree Sean. I think Dolordees prayers have made a big impact. It must be hard to wrap her head around this. All I can say is trust, trust, trust.

        Liked by 6 people

    6. Dearest Dolordee, I am so sorry about your grandson. I’m joining all here in praying for you and your family. May your grandson be with God and all the angels and saints.

      Liked by 7 people

    7. I am so very sorry, Dolordee. How incredibly difficult. Sending you hugs. Will be praying for you all in this very sad loss. I’m so sorry.

      Liked by 8 people

    8. Prayers going Out for You and Yours, Dolordee.
      Not only a great loss for your Family but a great loss for our Country.
      May Our Lord hold close all of our departed dear ones and console those struggling here. AMEN!


      Liked by 10 people

    9. Dorolee,
      Thoughts, prayers and heartfelt condolences are with you. I cannot begin to imagine what your family is going through. I pray our Blessed Mother sends a multitude of graces to ease your broken hearts.

      Liked by 7 people

    10. OH DOLORDEE, I am heartbroken to read these words of yours…what a tragedy! Prayers for you and all of your family. Love to all of you.

      Liked by 8 people

    11. My heart, my eyes are filled with tears, Doloedee, at hearing of the death of your dear grandson. Praying for his soul and that you and your loved be enveloped in God’s mercy and consolation.

      Liked by 5 people

    12. Oh Dolordee, I am so sorry to hear about your grandson. I cannot begin to imagine the pain. Words escape me. We will most certainly pray for his soul as well as for consolation for you and your whole family. God knows the state of his heart and I trust in his mercy.

      Liked by 6 people

    13. Dear Dolordee, my heart and prayers are with your family. I am heartbroken to hear your news. May God help you all through these difficult days and bring you out into light and peace as only He can do. My prayers will continue for you all.

      Liked by 3 people

    14. Dolordee, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss of your dear grandson. I will pray for the repose of his soul; and I will pray for your family, especially for your daughter.

      Liked by 3 people

  20. Thank you from the bottom of my heart my ASOH family for all of your prayers and condolences. They are greatly appreciated. He was the kind of person who always wanted to help people. A college grad that wanted to continue helping troups as an EMT in the special forces. And he gave the best hugs of all my grandkids. Sorry to go on so about him, but he was a very, very special person. He was the one that was there to help any time I asked, to sweep the leaves, or fix any problem with my computer. I am going to miss him greatly.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Thank you, dolordee, for sharing this beautiful tribute to your grandson. Please, always share with us when your heart is so moved. Sharing memories is a healthy way to mourn and we’re always here for you.

      Liked by 10 people

    2. Dolordee, you are soo strong to continue posting… thank you.

      “…helping troups as an EMT in the special forces…”

      In the big picture, he is ‘the’ special force in our lives for the better!

      Cheers, !

      Liked by 7 people

  21. Dolordee, I will offer my evening prayer for the repose of the soul of your dear grandson, and I will ask Our Blessed Mother – the Mother of Sorrow – to console the whole family in their grief.

    Liked by 10 people

  22. Words simply fail in times like these. What doesn’t fail is God’s love. I pray and we all here pray that God’s loving embrace of you and your family and especially your grandson brings peace and consolation. Charlie says that God saves for eternity. And so He does. Praying for you Dolordee.

    Liked by 7 people

  23. A Good Verse for These-Days and some articles from my inbox-n- web:

    HeartLight Daily Verse – 28 December

    Matthew 11:28
    [Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

    Thoughts on today’s verse:
    At the end of the year, it sure is nice to be invited to rest in Jesus. So before we begin a new year, let’s pause and place our hopes, our future, our dreams, and especially our burdens down at his feet and let him give us rest.

    Teach me, O God, to learn to rest in your grace and providence more and to worry less. I want to surrender my burdens to Jesus and let him teach me his way and how to find his rest. Sometimes I am so tired and weary I don’t think I can continue, so please, dear Father, let me find rest in Jesus. Through whom I offer this prayer. Amen. Visit for more

    MILINET: Articles for Christians – 28 December
    Student Found to Have Violated Title IX by Asking Another Student on a Date–Katherine Timpf

    The #MeToo War on Males–Elise Cooper

    Five monks assaulted, held captive in Austria church

    Archbishop says Pope ready to visit North Korea if Kim sends invitation

    Shooting suspect surrenders after SWAT negotiator sings ‘White Christmas,’ authorities say

    The world must stand against China’s war on religion

    … and:

    What If Christmas Is Belief in a Personal God Who Lived Among Us?

    I Believe These Things Are True


    Liked by 7 people

  24. Well, I’m a little late in my Christmas greeting to dear friends here at TNRS/ASOH. OK, Merry and Blessed 4th day of Christmastide. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for so many messages of Faith, encouragement and Hope, even amidst our sorrows and disasters. You are a wonderful family of faith!
    Thank you and God bless and keep you in His peace.
    The Light is coming!

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Dolordee,
    No words can express the horror and pain. We are all so truly sorry. Like St Theresa, your grandson may be so good he will continue to do good in heaven for you all. We will include you and your family in our prayers. May God give you comfort.

    Liked by 9 people

  26. I would suggest that the below might give some credibility to the notion that the next two years might well usher in a Period of Judgement. This CTH Post just speaks to Domestic Politics but in this Age of Globalism, I have No Doubt that nefarious Foreign Entities are working with The Radical Democrats to destroy our One Nation (Republic) Under God. The simple proof is the history of the past 50 years … the very same period that The Church has been hijacked by the very same Usual Suspects ;-(

    Mick Mulvaney Highlights Nancy Pelosi Position to Weaponize Government Shutdown as Part of Coordinated Resistance Agenda…


    Liked by 4 people

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