The Greatest of These Is Love

St. Paul enjoins us: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

An idea of excellence has been on my heart since Charlie came down with the latest nasty virus which roundly smacked him during his travels. Too, additional trials and challenges, not surprisingly, popped up along the way. Serving the Lord as Charlie does costs. (I’d wager that each of us has experienced such episodes in some fashion as we have taken our own next right steps in response to God’s call.) Now, as Charlie makes his way back home to Denver, this is an opportune moment to ask: Would you join me, then, in some concerted praying for Charlie, his mission, his work and all his needs? I’m particularly asking each of us, who can do so, to request a Mass – or Masses – for Charlie. Oh, the value of the Mass!

The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross.” ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas

It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.” ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina

There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.” ~ Saint Jean Vianney

Pope St. John Paul II

I know many, likely most of us, remember Charlie in constant, if not daily, prayer and there are certainly numerous, beautiful and worthy ways of praying to intercede for him. Still, as Pope St. Paul VI said: “The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer.” And his successor, Pope St. John Paul II, a patron of this site, affirmed this Church teaching:“The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” If it’s not possible to have a Mass – or Masses – requested for Charlie, then offering your prayers and reception of Holy Communion at Mass is a sublime, precious gift.

*******

Fr. Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko

The honorable, pure, and brave heart of one of Pope St. John Paul II’s countrymen, Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, has once again been brought to our attention via the writings of many as it has been announced that he will soon be canonized. Rod Dreher, who posts nearly daily at the American Conservative, has been visiting several eastern European countries this summer to do research for his upcoming book on the lessons that we in the US and Europe can learn from the experiences of those who resisted Communism. Early this month, Rod was in Poland conducting interviews. He spent his last morning in Warsaw visiting the grave of Blessed Fr. Jerzy and the small museum next to it celebrating his life and death.

As Rod writes: “The museum is connected to the Warsaw parish, St. Stanislaus Kostka, where Father Jerzy was serving at the time of his 1984 murder by the Communist secret police… Father Jerzy – soon to be St. Jerzy Popieluszko… is one of the keys to this book I’m working on…” It is the interview with Pawel Keska, the manager for the development of the museum and of documentation of the life of Father Jerzy, which enfleshes how Fr. Jerzy is key to Rod’s book.

From Rod piece, again: “‘I’ve been working here for two years. I’m a journalist and a theologian. And I have been thinking for two years why this person is important,’ Pawel said. ‘And I see how important he is. Since Father Popieluszko’s death, his grave has been visited by 23 million people. Why? It’s still a mystery to me that I try to solve…’

The first witness to the priest’s life that he met told Pawel that a million Poles turned out for the murdered cleric’s funeral there at St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. (Official estimates are 250,000, but many Poles say that’s an official number released by the Communist regime, which vastly underestimated the number for political reasons; the museum maintains that the number is between 250,000 and one million.) The Communist regime sent soldiers to Warsaw to ensure that the funeral wouldn’t turn into a revolutionary insurrection. Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the nation’s primate, said the funeral mass and Solidarity trade union leader Lech Walesa was one of the eulogists.

‘The witness told me in that massive crowd he saw a police car,’ said Pawel. ‘People were slamming their hands down on the car, shouting, ‘We forgive! We forgive!’ In that is an answer for the situation that our world is in now.’”

Pawel then had a second story for me [said Rod]: In a big city like Warsaw, a big city of big crowds and big historical events, it’s easy to forget the potential significance of tiny places, far off the beaten track. Two weeks ago, he accompanied a group of young pilgrims to the small rural village in eastern Poland where Father Jerzy was born. The district is so poor that when the priest, who was born just after the Second World War, had to study by candlelight, because there was no electricity … ‘The village is very ordinary – there’s nothing spiritual there,’ said Pawel. ‘In the home where Father Jerzy lived, there’s one room that has been set apart as a kind of museum, but all the items there are under a thick veil of dust. By the wall is a small table, covered with a kind of plastic sheet. There was a small piece of paper with handwriting on it, written by Father Jerzy’s brother. It said: ‘Every day near the table we were praying with our mother.’ There was a photo of that mother as an old, tired woman. On the other side of that piece of paper was a reliquary with Father Jerzy’s relics.’

The country road on which Jerzy Popieluszko walked to mass as a boy

‘And that’s the answer,’ Pawel concluded, speaking of both stories. ‘The whole strength of that man, and what we need today for our identity.’”

[Rod]: What he meant was that Father Jerzy became a figure of enormous historical significance for the Polish nation and the Catholic Church – and indeed will soon be canonized – but it all started there in a dull village in the middle of nowhere, with a faithful family that prayed every day together…

[Rod continues and I have emboldened text, highlighting lessons for us to contemplate]:Father Jerzy was often weak and suffering from ill health. Near the end of his life, he was particularly exhausted. Cardinal Glemp asked him if he would like to go to Rome to study – this as a way of getting him to a place of rest and safety. Even though he believed that his murder was fast approaching, Father Jerzy declined the offer of exit.

He was suffering terribly, but said that he simply could not abandon the people who trusted him,’ said Pawel. ‘He was not loyal to abstract ideals. He was loyal to the people in his life. Pain is not a value, but fidelity itself sometimes causes pain.

Once when laborers at the Warsaw iron works went on strike, they invited Father Jerzy to say mass for them. Said Pawel: ‘He was a simple man, they were simple men, so they understand each other well. It wasn’t long after that that martial law was imposed, and a lot of the men who participated in that strike were sent to prison. Father Popieluszko supported them. He sent them packages in prison. He defended them in his sermons. He went to their court hearings, so he could look the judges right in the eye. These weren’t political activities; this was just human relations…’

Fr. Jerzy presides at a funeral Mass for a teenager killed by the state police

There was one man who came to bring [Father Jerzy] a package. After that meeting, he stayed with Father Jerzy for three years, until his death. He was an atheist, but he started to be interested in church affairs, and he asked Father Jerzy something about the Bible. Father Jerzy told him to buy the Bible, but now, in this moment, to tell him how things are going in his family. When it comes to survival, maybe what’s most important is simple fidelity: not by evangelizing people directly, but by developing honest relations with one another – not looking for whether one is good or bad, or judging them by their ideology. Father Jerzy was constantly monitored by the secret police, who parked right in front of his home. During the severely cold winters, he would bring them hot tea to warm them up. Because they were people. That’s how he was.’”

My heart soared when reading the whole piece, Fr. Jerzy Popieliszko’s Long Road. As fellow TNSRers, I think you’ll love the article too. Soon to be Fr. St. Jerzy is one of us. He is ready to intercede for us. He intimately knows what we’re up against and what we’re living. Oh Fr. Blessed Jerzy, pray for us to forgive, forgive and forgive, as we harness our anger for good and as the bad actors are held to account.

*******

Finally, have those of you who attend, view or read the daily Mass Readings noticed the focus on Exodus in these last few weeks? As daily lector, I have been prompted by these readings to reread the entire Book of Exodus which is inspirational, true and lovely material upon which to meditate, for we are modern day Israelites who, like our ancestors before us, are making our passage, the transition to a new land of milk and honey. How I encourage you to revisit Exodus! You might pay particular attention to the ways Abba tends to His people in all their trials as they make the very difficult journey.

Oh how I hope and pray we can learn from the original Israelites that it is plain old stupidity to complicate our journey, unnecessarily adding difficulty via our incessant whines and complaints. Venting is often good and therapeutic, yet, after a certain point, I wonder if God sometimes has His Own lamentation verse: “How long My people? How long will you moan and groan instead of leaning on My abundance of promises given you through My Son, such as, ‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’”? Too often, we hyper focus on the problems which keep us from fulfilling the Gospel dictum that our existence be a Life of Thanksgiving to God. Our stubbornness in feet dragging or running ahead of Him or freezing rather than acting only prolongs our suffering. Our meddling in His Plan by trying to improve it with our own foolish designs reflects how control freakish we can be.

In Chapter 10 of Exodus we read about the plague of darkness (highlight mine): “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days; they did not see one another, nor did any rise from his place for three days; but all the people of Israel had light where they dwelt.” WOW! Can you imagine not even being able to see each other?! But the people who followed God had light where they dwelt! Suffering as we now are – and I believe we have much yet to suffer – I am not afraid, for with ironclad surety I know Christ’s Light, One with the Father and burning with the Holy Spirit, will glow for us. The Flame of Love will.

Those of you who read comments know I have often mentioned Sonja Corbitt – the Bible Study Evangelista as she has dubbed herself. She presents Bible study online (I cycle in the gym with her weekly podcasts.) and she usually prepares a series around a theme. Currently she’s presenting the “I AM Series.” The segments include: I AM the Bread of Life, I AM the Light of the World, I AM the Gate for the Sheep, I AM the Good Shepherd, I AM the Resurrection and the Life, I AM the Way the Truth and the Life, and I AM the True Vine. The segment, I Am the Light of the World, weaves beautifully into the ideas in this post. If you prefer reading a transcript, it’s usually posted later than the podcast release.

106 thoughts on “The Greatest of These Is Love

  1. Dear Beckita, So many wonderful things to respond to in this post. First, I will work on getting a Mass said for Charlie. Our opportunities in my parish are quite limited now, but I have been working on getting some said for family members, so I will add Charlie to that list. I won’t be able to be in attendance, but I can also offer my Communion and Adoration time. Second, it is so wonderful to read about soon to be Fr. St. Jerzy Popieluszko. I am also excited about Blessed Cardinal Newman being made Saint and Venerable Fulton Sheen being made Blessed soon. Our intercessors multiply. I have been following Exodus too. The line in the Invitatory Psalm 94 (95), “Do not harden your hearts
    as you did at Meribah, on the day of Massah in the desert, when your fathers tested me – they put me to the test, although they had seen my works,” always gets to me. They had crossed the Red Sea, been given water, manna, and quail, and still they grumbled. Please help me, Lord, to learn to praise you, thank you for your gifts, trust you, and hold my tongue. Thank you for all you do for us, Beckita. I pray Charlie recovers quickly and has a good rest back home. God’s blessings to all of the ASOH community. Ave Maris Stella!

    Liked by 12 people

    1. So true Des. Said often in the Invitatory prayer. It is amazing how folks have a front row seat watching spectacular miracles of God, yet rebel. We humans can be stubborn folks.

      Like

  2. Dearest Beckita,
    I’ve just had this knawing feeling Our Charlie was not feeling well. I just came off a round of antibiotics myself. Tell CHarlin to go to the dr and get on an antibiotic. I started feeling better quickly. All that heat and in and out of ac is tough on our semsitive lungs. I will be offering up my sufferings and sacrifices at Mass and prayers for him even more than now. We love you, Charlie. We suffer with you dear friend of God. Get well soon and someone please bring him to the dr for antibiotics? ?? Thank you Jesus for antibiotics 🤗😇😘 Beautiful article Beckita..I’ll be reading and re-reading this one all day for I didnt know about Fr. Jerzy….fascinating!!!
    PASSION OF CHRIST, PLEASE STRENGTHEN CHARLIE💞

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you, Sweet Linda. Beautiful. Actually, Charlie is feeling much better already. I just know we need to support him with prayer – especially when he’s on the road, but, of course, constant prayer support for him is our best way of expressing gratitude for what he’s done for us and so many. And be sure to listen to Sonja Corbitt. You’ll feel you’ve got a soul sister as she’s got a lot of bubbly energy as do you! 🙂 Her research on the Scriptures leads her to sharing dynamic insights. A PMT for your complete healing.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Linda, here’s a short video clip about Fr. Jerzy; every fall EWTN usually shows the entire documentary which is excellent. Thanks, Beckita for the update/article on him. One of his well known statements was “Overcome evil with good”.
      May St.Charbel Makhlouf, (feast day 7-24),intercede for Charlie and all here who need healing whether of body, mind or soul.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Thank you Beckita! This is beautiful and challenging too. Praying for the grace to know and do what God wants. Yes prayers for Charlie and you too. There is a site called Seraphim Mass Association that does Masses and they can even do a Novena of Masses if anyone here wants to schedule Masses and can’t find an available Mass.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for your prayers, Thankful. The cool thing about the Seraphic Mass Association is it was favored by Blessed Solanus Casey. Whenever he met with someone regarding their pressing need(s), he prayed for them and advised them to have a Mass said through the Capuchin Seraphic Mass Association.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh Timothy! Please be sure to listen to Sonja Corbitt. I thought of you when I first listened to the particular talk to which I linked. First of all, she is a convert to Catholicism and brings a looooong history of loving and studying the Scriptures. But this podcast, in particular, has Scriptural references galore about the priesthood and how it was prescribed by Abba from the very tender beginnings of salvation history. I think it would bring a rich dimension of understanding to your research and pondering about the Catholic priesthood. God bless you.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I listened to one of her talks on suffering today Beckita and it was funny. ..she is funny and bubbly just like you say…but in this talk, she had a candle lit and her cat jumped up on her and then behind her and almost went up in a furry flame…she was hilarious 😲😺🔥

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Thank you for sharing … indeed we are in seasons of change as God calls us to deeper conversion . I will offer many masses for Charlie. We must hold up his arms with prayer and numerous masses as we walk by faith and not by sight. Sonja Corbit is a woman of God who is not afraid to speak into the darkness of our lives and reveal those areas of our hearts which desperately need the light and love of His tender mercies . I am in a necessary transition of sorts . I am learning to be “selfish” by stepping down.
    Not sure where it will lead, but like those serious days of darkness from long ago, experienced by the Israelites , the wonderful warmth and flame of His love keeps me taking the next right step , even in my many stumbles as I lay on the road, waiting, praying and dragging myself , by His Grace, I continue limping down the road with my eyes fixed on Him and not the bleeding wounds within. Death by a thousand internal cuts has been my little hidden suffering over the last decade . I may wear the mask , but the mask does not wear me. God is calling me out of the darkness to His light while those around me in my faith community , have become silent tongue waggers . “In my deepest wound, I saw His glory and it dazzled me.” Much Prayer and love to my distant TTNRS but always near in the crevices of my battered heart, as I grab my cane and continue to hobble down the road towards His light sometimes feeling His presence and even when He feels deeply distant.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Boy I sure understand you Vanessa…I tremble to think what would have happened to me and my (somewhat) sound mind without Charlie giving us the heads up all this would happen…yikes

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am reminded that Charlie had told us how his angel admonished him about praying that the Storm not happen because it was necessary in God’s plan to purify and renew. I long ago learned not to tell God how I wanted things fixed or healed after I could see that His solutions were better than mine and I merely prayed that He fix what was threatening or needed according to His will. I pray mostly that we know the will of God for us and that we may have the strength, the courage, the grace, the help, the protection and the guidance we need to carry it out. My continued prayers, jas.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. Thank you, Beckita! A beautiful post! I will attend Mass for Charlie’s intentions. May he recover quickly, and be given strength to endure his various many sufferings. So happy to hear of Fr. Jerzy’s upcoming Canonization! I first heard of him when I rented the movie “To Kill A Priest” around 1991 from Blockbuster. Thank you for the additional information & link about him. Will also re-read the book of Exodus. Thank you for your invites on Exodus. It will be very heartening in this time! Betty

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Joining with everyone here who is praying for Charlie and all those in the Vineyard of our Lord. Thanks be to God for the tireless efforts to help save souls. God bless.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Please pray for our SteveBC who, with the people in his area, experienced a weather event yesterday which left them without internet, TV, land phones and power with no known date and time for restoration.

    Hang in there, Steve. We’ve got your back in prayer!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Thank you, Beckita! I’m happy to report I’m fine, as are my mother and my house. We were struck a glancing blow by a tornado, something that happens on Cape Cod about once every 30 years or so. The Cape sustained some pretty substantial damage to trees and wires. Fortunately, only a few people had some minor injuries and nobody died.

      It was quite an experience, I will say that! After, we were on generator for almost a day and a half, and I had to go through internet withdrawal! I thank all who sent prayers for me and for my Cape neighbors. I’m hoping this is a metaphor for The Storm we are about to go through – 8 minutes of wild weather and then a fast recovery, with no deaths. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Beckita, I am so grateful for all you, Charlie and Steve BC do. You will continue to be in my prayers. I will make a Holy Communion for Charlie and do what else I can (prayerwise) for the 3 of you. I have been listening to Sonja Corbitt. She is great. Grateful to God and all of the saints. Just when everything looks lost, He (God) comes around with a plan even better than you could have planned. I need to be reminded many times of this. “Not My will but Yours, God”. Blessings and prayers, Cheri

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Beckita: Praying for Charlie as I always do.

    Thank you for the word on Fr. Jerzy. Being half Polish on my mother’s side I have heard much about him and his faithfulness to God and the Polish people. However, I had missed that his canonization is coming up soon. I had no doubt it would happen but I will rejoice to see it.

    Maryjo, Matko Boża, módl się za nami.

    Liked by 7 people

  11. God is good! I needed to hear this today. I have been feeling very downtrodden lately, not advancing in my spiritual life, moaning and groaning. I begrudgingly went to daily mass and wow!!! right between the eyes the homily hit me, and now I get home and read your post and WHAM!! another heavenly blow that I so much was in need of.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Laughing, JT. (Google translate was my tool to translate your Polish.) The toughest language I’ve ever tried is Chinese! Every time we travel to China, I brush up on conversational lines. Each syllable changes meaning based on four tones and some involve speaking with tongue curled to the roof of the mouth. But I tell you, wherever we go in China, with groups big and small, people LOVE to hear me make the effort. I’m a real joy-bringing when I botch it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. So sorry to read that Charlie is not feeling well. Thank you, Bekita, for the prayer suggestions for him. Today I attended daily Mass at Incarnation church in Charlottesville VA and offered it for Charlie.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. So true: …” maybe what’s most important is simple fidelity: not by evangelizing people directly, but by developing honest relations with one another – not looking for whether one is good or bad, or judging them by their ideology. ”
    Not judging them by their ideology is so hard to do.

    Here are some of Sonja Corbitt’s videos
    https://www.biblestudyevangelista.com/sonjas-video/
    (there is a video of “Journey Home” and “Jim and Joy” from EWTN too)

    Liked by 3 people

  14. latest medjugorje message
    https://www.medjugorje.ws

    Latest Medjugorje Message, July 25, 2019
    “Dear children! My call for you is prayer. May prayer be a joy for you and a wreath which binds you to God. Little children, trials will come and you will not be strong, and sin will reign but, if you are mine, you will win, because your refuge will be the Heart of my Son Jesus. Therefore, little children, return to prayer until prayer becomes life for you in the day and the night. Thank you for having responded to my call. ”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Me too Doug, but not till next year. All four of my grandparents came from Croatia so I’m going over again to spend some time with all my extended family. They are great people and loads of fun. We’ll journey over to Medjugorje while I’m there. So for now I’m envious Doug. Enjoy…

        Liked by 5 people

            1. My pleasure Diane! Yours is the first to go into my 2019 Medjugorje prayer folder of which I will print out and bring with me in my back pack of which I will bring with me to all the prayer locations. I will be “back pack guy”. You you have seen the latest Jumanji movie, there is a character called back back guy. It is such a funny movie and one of my favorites now.

              Liked by 3 people

  15. Beckita, I am having a mass said for Charlie at the parish I attend, St. Anne and St. Jude on September 5th, 8:15 a.m. As far as Sonja Corbitt, she is very enlightened about the bible. I’m listening to Fearless, which is a book she wrote. I’m holding all up on this site in prayer. God bless everyone.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Margaret. Sonja is dynamic, brimming with insights, diligent researcher and has been immersed her whole life long in both studying herself and teaching the Bible studies. Loved Fearless. I discovered Sonja in 2015 with her first book, Unleashed and have followed her ever since.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. A big thank you to Charlie for all he has done to help us in this time period we are living in. Beckita, thank you also for all you have done to help us. May God bless you both abundantly.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Get well Charlie.Your writings have been an inspiration for me. It is all the simple things. There you will find Him, and believe He writes straight with crooked lines. Thanks Bechita for your wonderful post. Love conquers all!

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I read some of the bible almost every day, weekdays always as part of adoration and it takes about a year to read the whole thing (skipping over the begats.) I am currently reading from Jerimiah and I had seen before how the cycles of God’s dealing with His people in the Old Testament is basically continued throughout the New Testament times that we are living in. In the times of Jerimiah, just before the Babylonian exile, the majority of God’s people had fallen away from true belief and worship and despite Jerimiah’s warnings and call to return to God, too few repented and the Jews were conquered and exiled. We are facing a similar Storm and how many are responding to the modern day prophets such as Charlie? How close are we to total collapse? Yet we have been assured that the process of the Rescue we are in will Triumph in the Immaculate Heart, a first in Salvation History. The real key is our individual help and cooperation in order to make it happen. We need to intensify our efforts in our own prayer and fasting and in our evangelizing others in these hyper critical times. May God through the Holy Spirit, continue to bless and guide us, lead us to all holiness and TRUTH. jas

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I thought so too, Doug. While David Carlin speaks of the American scene, this civil war struggle is being played out in countries all over the world. Hmmmm…. Seems to be a worldwide civil war being fought on cultural lines. I remember a guy who brought that idea to our attention when I first showed up at TNRS. The article also echoes the prophecy of Pope St. John Paul II given Philadelphia waaaay back in 1976 when he was Cardinal Wojtyla.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply to Linda Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.