Wednesday, May 22, 2019

ANOTHER PET PEEVE!


These days I find it hard to even read Catholic news due to the way Bishops, priests and religious are addressed.  In my days of writing, there were standards of respect.  I have in the past done a Blog on women being called “guys” (Blog 8/26/15) . Interestingly enough, young women today do not like to be called ”ladies”  but they have no problem with guys”?  Are we just not thinking straight?



I recently read an article on Bishop Robert Barron (see previous Blog)  and the writer (from the Catholic News Agency) kept referring to him as Barron. So getting off my soapbox, I decided to do a little research.

According to  Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.
“the tumultuous and leveling aftermath of Vatican II spelled a death to formalities in the religious sphere. Priests, monks and sisters began to adopt the ways of a world that were becoming increasingly vulgar and egalitarian. Distinguishing titles and marks of respect were considered alienating and only for old-fashioned “establishment” people who were afraid to embrace the “signs of the times.” 

Protocal  states:
When writing about a Bishop he should be referred to as  His Excellency, The Right Reverend Robert Barron, Bishop of Santa Barbara.

A priest should be addressed with his full name: The Reverend  Father James Smith or Father James Smith.  If he is a religious the initials of his order are added, as S.J.  for a Jesuit.  Would you greet Father after Mass ad say “good morning Smith”?

A religious woman should be addressed Sister Benedict Jones, OSB. or in the case of an enclosed nun often the title Mother is used, hence Mother Hildegard George, OSB.

I am making it my mission to write to some of the so-called Catholic news people and give them some hints regarding proper Catholic writing! Perhaps if we begin to have more respect for those who represent Christ to us, there will be an increase in respect for all in our society!

Fraangelico


Sunday, May 19, 2019

YOUNG CATHOLICS- FUTURE SAINTS



One of my favorite people, Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles Archdiocese, recently gave the Commencement address at Thomas Aquinas College in California.  Some of our favorite interns have graduated from this great school of learning.  Here in part are some of the Bishop’s words from his talk, titled “Greatness of Soul”. Note his emphasis on daily Holy Hour.




But it is my conviction that this is not the time to leave; this is the time to fight. And here I call upon every magnanimous graduate sitting here before me today. Fight by entering the priesthood or religious life and live up to the dignity of your calling; fight by your very holiness of life, becoming the saint that God wants you to become; fight by doing a Holy Hour every day for the purification of the Church; fight by calling for real reform; fight by insisting that the guilty be held accountable; fight by doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; fight by evangelizing in your everyday life; fight by ordering your life according to the virtues; fight by playing your priestly role in the sacrifice of the Mass.

And more to it, fight by sanctifying your family, your workplace, the market, the political arena, the world of high finance, the realms of sports and entertainment. In other words, be what the Church is supposed to be in the world. In the second book of Samuel, we hear that David’s corruption with Bathsheba commenced precisely when the King, instead of going on campaign as was his wont, lingered at home, indulging his private desires. As Pope Francis has often reminded us, when the Church fails to go on campaign, when it turns in on itself, corruption is never far behind. Don’t wait for other reformers to arise; this is your moment to meet this crucial moral challenge. And no pusillanimous people need apply!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

HOLY CHEMIST- UPDATE


Sharing a birthday with me  (December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) is a soon to become Spanish saint. (see BLOG 8/19/2017)
On May 18 in Madrid, GUADALUPE ORTIZ de LANDAZURI a laywoman, will become the first numerary of Opus Dei to be beatified. A chemist, university teacher, and close associate of St. Josemaría Escrivá, she was known for her strong character, big heart, and cheerfulness.

Opus Dei was made a personal prelature by St. John Paul II in 1982. It was founded by St. Josemaría in 1928 and teaches that everyone is called to personal holiness in and through their ordinary lives.
Bl. Guadalupe met St. Josemaria in 1944. She later said, “I had the very clear idea that God was speaking to me through that priest.” From that point she felt a calling to serve Christ through her life and work, and several months later, at the age of 27, she became a numerary  (someone who makes  herself fully available to the work of the prelature).
In 1950, St. Josemaria asked her to bring Opus Dei to Mexico. While there, she enrolled in a doctoral program in chemical sciences. She and her associates emphasized concern for the poor and service to the Church and society.
Among the initiatives they spearheaded was a mobile medical clinic which went home-to-home in the poorest neighborhoods providing free care and medicine. She also promoted education among poor, indigenous Mexicans.
Six years later she was asked to go to Rome, but not long after arriving she began to suffer conditions of a heart condition which meant she had to return to Spain. Despite the symptoms of the condition, including tiredness from walking and climbing stairs, she never complained.
She was known to make frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament to speak with Christ and was also devoted to friends and students and those with whom she lived.
In 1975, doctors decided to operate on her heart. The operation, at the university clinic in Navarra, was successful, but several days afterward she died..





Her brother and sister-in-law  are also up for canonization- 
(Venerable Eduardo Landazuri and Venerable Laura Otaeguri-  BLOGS  8/2017)

Monday, May 13, 2019

THE SMILING CATECHIST




The next young woman being considered for canonization could become the patron saint of young people with eye disorders. 

SERVANT OF GOD REBECA ROCAMORA NADAL  was born in 1975 in Granja Rocamora, a tiny village south of the Spanish province of Alicante. One of four children, Rebecca grew up in a profoundly religious environment She was  a typical child but, at the same time mature and reflective, with a marked inclination for the spiritual life.

At  age 10, a pituitary tumor gave her an insidious form of diabetes, causing ocular paralysis.  The ordeal of radiotherapy  did not alter her sunny disposition, but rather she gave courage to other children in the hospital.  She developed a great love of  Our Lady and gratitude for her suffering even when  the therapy weakened her body.


 At  age 16 she become a catechist, preparing children for their first  Communion with much joy and enthusiasm. As a true lover of Jesus, she succeeded in infecting the little ones with her same love.

Rebeca grew to like sports, crafts, books and adventure films, music, dancing, as any young woman of her age, yet she delighted in making others happy.

In 1995 she was diagnosed with  a tumor  on the optic nerve, which was to prove fatal.   She became bed-ridden  yet still managed  to transmit peace and serenity to anyone who approached her, even more than before. For this reason, whoever visited her  left  consoled. “Faith in the Holy Cross is my strength", she would say. The cross united her more and more to God and to the desire to accept His Will.  Daily Mass was celebrated in her room. She dies at the age of 20.


Today she is still remembered in her region of Spain as the "smiling catechist".



Friday, May 10, 2019

A LIFE GIVEN WITH JOY



SERVANT of GOD MARIACRISTINA CELLA MOCELLIN was born in Monza, Italy on August 18, 1969, the first child of Giuseppe Cella and Caterina Smaniotto, followed by her brother Daniele. 

While attending the "Regina Pacis" linguistic high school in Cusano Milanino, she began to consider the possibility of joining the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joan Antide Thouret, whom she knew in the parish. In the summer of 1985, on vacation in Valstagna (Vicenza), she met Carlo Mocellin. Their friendship soon became love.   

She recognized that her true vocation was to form a "truly Christian" family, and in August 1986, she and Carlo became engaged.

Just a year after the engagement, a tumor appeared on her left thigh, but the couple did not let this hinder their plans. Her treatments were successful, so on February 2, 1991 they were married. The new family established their residence in Carpanè, in the Veneto region, the area where Carlos came from.  Ten months later  their son,  Francesco was born,  followed a year and a half  later by their daughter Lucia.


In the autumn of 1993,  while pregnant with her third child, Maria Cristina was again attacked by the tumor, at the same point where it occurred five years earlier. She and Carlo decided that she would have surgery, but not do the chemotherapy, in order to save the life of their unborn child.  After the birth of Riccardo, on 28 July,  she undertook medical treatments, which were not as successful as before. 

Due to the delay of treatment, the tumor proved fatal. The words of her diary, a sign of constant and progressive growth in faith and humanity, exude an irrepressible love, making  her last days serene.. 


Preparing to accept, once again, God's will, the young mother prepared to leave her loved ones , which she did October 22, 1995, in Bassano del Grappa.

Her testimony, in particular through a letter she had left for Riccardo, began to circulate among the faithful and led to the opening, in the diocese of Padua, of the canonical process for ascertaining his heroic virtues. 

Certainly this brave young woman followed in the footsteps of another great Italian saint, Gianna Molla, who gave her own life that her child would have life.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

UPDATES MAY 2019



May 4 MARIA CONCEPTION  de ARMIDA, known as CONCHITA  (see BLOG 4/19/17) was beatified. She was born during the Mexican Civil War and  grew up during the Revolution and the religious persecutions that were a part of it. She was married and  widowed at age 39.  She had nine children.


As a mystic, she reported that she heard God telling her: "Ask me for a long suffering life and to write a lot... That's your mission on earth". She never claimed direct visions of Jesus and Mary but spoke of Jesus through her prayers and meditations.

She was foundress of many religious organizations which included the Apostolate of the Cross and the Congregation of Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus founded in 1897,
and the Congregation of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit founded in 1914.
 
Though her children claim they rarely saw her take the time to write, she left 65,000 hand-written pages of mystical meditations.

She is the first Mexican lay woman to be beatified.

"I carry within me three lives, all very strong: family life with its multiple sorrows of a thousand kinds, that is, the life of a mother; the life of the Works of the Cross with all its sorrows and weight, which at times crushes me until I have no strength left; and the life of the spirit or interior life, which is the heaviest of all, with its highs and lows, its tempests and struggles, its light and darkness. Blessed be God for everything!"


The New York Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal of an earlier judgement allowing VENERABLE FULTON SHEEN’s  (see BLOG 3/22/12)remains to be moved to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria, in accordance with his family’s wishes.  The May 2 dismissal of the Archdiocese of New York’s appeal could pave the way for the Illinois-born archbishop’s beatification, after almost three years of litigation


 “Although the New York Archdiocese may technically have legal options remaining, they are contrary to the wishes of Archbishop Sheen and his family, and would serve no genuine purpose except to delay the eventual transfer of Archbishop Sheen’s remains,” it added.

Archbishop Sheen served as host of the “Catholic Hour” radio show and the television show “Life is Worth Living.” He authored many books, with proceeds supporting foreign missions. He headed the Society for the Propagation of the Faith at one point in his life, and continued to be a leading figure among Catholics in the U.S. until his death.

The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonization in 2002 after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtues of the archbishop.

However, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended the beatification cause in September 2014 on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese.

The Archbishops’s will had declared his wish to be buried in the Archdiocese of New York Calvary Cemetery. Soon after he died, Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York asked Joan Sheen Cunningham, the Archbishop’s niece and closest living relative, if his remains could be placed in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and she consented.

Later  the niece has since said that her uncle would have wanted to have been interred in Peoria if he knew that he would be considered for sainthood. In 2016, she filed a legal complaint seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria.




If I had a relative up for sainthood, believe me nothing would get in the way of their canonization.  Let’s  hope this is the end of the feud and the process can rapidly continue to give this great man  of prayer his due!

Archbishop Sheen’s intercession is credited with the miraculous recovery of a pronounced stillborn American baby from the Peoria area. In June 2014, a panel of theologians that advises the Congregation for the Causes of Saints ruled that the baby’s recovery was miraculous – a key step necessary before someone is beatified.

HE LIVED THE BEATITUDES


 A great Catholic humanitarian has died today. JEAN VANIER, age of 90, spent his whole life giving hope to suffering people: "The message of the Gospel is to become men and women of compassion. If you become a man or a woman of compassion, you will be like Jesus".



Jean Vanier, founded L'Arche (1964), a community which supports people with disabilities (see BLOG 2/26/14). The community is active all over the world with about 150 centers. Jean had been suffering from cancer and was being cared for at a L’Arche in Paris.

Jean was born in Geneva on September 10, 1928 of  very devote parents, Georges and Pauline Vanier (see BLOG 2/13/14) Jean was a former officer in the Canadian Navy and received  the Templeton Prize in 2015, one of the highest awards given every year to persons from the religious world.

"Our mission  is to encounter a world of extreme weakness, poverty and suffering, people who have often been rejected... L’Arche is a place of reconciliation where people of very different religions and cultures can meet and this transforms the lives of people with disabilities, but also transforms the volunteers. L’Arche, after all, is a place of celebration where the aim is for everyone to be happy... We want to be a sign of the importance of people with disabilities, because they have a message to give, but few know it: they, in fact, were chosen to be the great witnesses of God.”

Jean felt that people with disabilities lead us to God and whoever has compassion for the other is similar to Jesus.


I believe strongly that today it is necessary to create communities that live the values of the Gospel: to live together, to live the Beatitudes and to discover that the life of the Beatitudes, the life of the Gospel can be lived very simply by living together. The message of the Gospel is to become men and women of compassion. If you become a man or a woman of compassion, you will be like Jesus.

Jean Vanier emphasized the importance of joy: "I think the whole vision of evangelization is joyful, because we have received the Good News! The world is not only a world of violence, but the Word made flesh, God came to tell us something. God loves humanity, God is present. This does not mean that there is no struggle against evil. There is violence in the world; there is violence in me and in all of us. But Jesus is stronger and we keep the hope that He will help us.”

Jean Vanier was a man who truly practiced what he preached.  He always had a twinkle in his eye ad a smile for everyone.  May the angels carry him to his well earned place with the saints!


Friday, May 3, 2019

SECOND MARTYR FOR CHRIST




SERVANT of GOD MARTA OBREGÓN RODRÍGUEZ is the second young woman who was martyred. She was born in 1969 in  La Coruña, Spain.

She was the second of four attractive and energetic sisters.  Her mother is a supernumerary in the Opus Dei, but Marta decided to join the Neocatechumenal Way after leaving behind a rebellious adolescence.  She believed she found the love of her life in her boyfriend Francisco Javier Hernando, yet before her death they broke up..

“Marta attracted you like a magnet. Whatever place she went to she immediately made friends. She triumphed wherever she went. Everyone wanted to be with her, talk to her and know about her,” Hernando recalled. She was very athletic excelling in tennis  and also loved to play the guitar. According to her mother she was very impulsive and spontaneous yet very affectionate and attentive. Friends say she was willing to help and encourage anyone.
 
With her family


Marta studied journalism at the Compultense University of Madrid, where she lived at a house run by the Augustinian Missionaries. In 1990 she went to Taize in France, where every summer thousands of young people meet for prayer and fellowship. She has a great conversion at this event, and wrote to a friend: “God is the most important thing in my life, He is my love. Life is awesome, but it is shorter than we think.”

On the night of January 21, the feast of St. Agnes (the martyr of purity), Marta was returning home from the Arlanza club of Opus Dei.  A friend of hers had taken her to her apartment, because she had been suspecting for a few days that someone was following her. She entered the main door of the building but she never reached her apartment. Her murderer was waiting for her in the stairs from the parking lot, in front of the elevators, an area not visible from the street. She was abducted and taken to an open field where he intended to rape her. Marta defended herself as long as her strength endured, which was a while. Her nails were broken and there were marks all over her body caused by metallic objects.

According to the police and medical declarations, Marta resisted until the final moment. Fourteen stabs were necessary to end her life. Marta miraculously died a virgin. In the trial of Pedro Luis Gallego, the so-called “elevator rapist”, other girls who had been raped by this man declared that, if they did not resist, he simply raped them. Yet Marta preferred to die before losing her virginity. The forensic doctors stated  Marta had a horrible and very painful death due to the fact that her murderer vented his anger terribly on her. Her naked body was found  six days later in a field, covered with snow.

Marta led a very strong spiritual life, received spiritual direction and prayed daily. She was strengthened by Jesus and, without doubt, learned the value of purity from His Mother.




Marta had the desire for a life of total dedication to Christ, and curiously some of the friends with whom she gathered most are now cloistered nuns . Up to five girls  are scattered in convents of Caleruega, Soria or Palencia.   She used to do half an hour of prayer every day, almost always on her knees, before the Tabernacle, and she spoke frequently with the director of the Club. She remembers that "she was a woman who had found God, but she kept looking for Him with more and more intimacy. 

Marta had written in a notebook: "If I could set an example with my life.”  Marta is already setting an example with her life. You can live a life of piety, like Marta, being in the world and being modern. God had plans for her and hope they are fulfilled, " concludes Marta's mother.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NEW MARTYRS


The Vatican  has recently announced 6 young lay women who are being considered for canonization.  Two are martyrs- an example to all young women today that one can be “a normal youth”, yet still be in love with the Lord and willing to die for Him. They were born a year apart and died a year apart.

The first young woman is  SERVANT of GOD SANTA SCORESE who was born in Bari, Italy in 1968 and murdered in 1991. Santa attended university studying education. She Santa  was very active in Christian apostolate and also worked with the Red Cross, especially involved  with children who had suffered from polio  and muscular dystrophy.   

She also became a member of the Focolare Movement and became a "Gen". In 1985, at the age of 17, she went to Rome to the Genfest, the gathering of the members of the movement of  Servant of God Chiara Lubich (foundress).

Santa lived the Gospel by dedicating her  life to the poor, the suffering, the lonely, making herself completely available to others. She was a member of the pastoral council, taught catechism and sang in the choir and participates with commitment in the initiatives of the Catholic Action.

Available to others, understanding of friends and ready to help those in difficulty, she became  a reference point for everyone.

At first she  decided to  consecrate herself to Christ and to the Immaculate Conception at the Institute of the Missionaries of the Immaculate "Father Kolbe" of Bologna, but over time she felt called to live in a very personal way her relationship with the Lord, and to continue her commitments to study and live a Christian life at home.

Meanwhile, a deranged young man begins to undermine her, persecute her, threaten her. For  several years he does not give her respite, he follows her everywhere, phones her, and threatens her, all of which takes away her serenity.

Late in the evening of Friday 15th March 1991, upon returning from a catechesis meeting, the irreparable happens. Sheltered by the night, that young man waits for her under the door of the house and  beats her to death.

With parents and sister

Santa  was no different from any other girl.  She loved life, yet was extraordinarily eager to seek after the "Truth”.  She fought an "inner struggle", alternating serenity and sweetness with lack of feeling and desolation. Her struggle was full of questions, graduated achievements and awareness leading to the joy and the increasing gratitude to the Lord who loves without reservations.

Santa wrote on December 30th, 1988: "Oh my God, I am in front of You, your power and your boundless love. Thank you!  You called me and I answered; now I can see all great things You have done and You still do every day in myself. Little by little You are reaching the bottom of my heart and my soul looks for You every time it needs to revive.

With friends (in middle)
Please, teach me to love, to be a kindhearted person for You and all the world.

Let me sing my Magnificat reminding everything You have done in myself and allow me to walk with Our Lady along the way leading to the endless life!" 

She was longing to involve most people in her Love for Christ.

"Thank You for loving me, for making me feel Your presence in me. I’m experiencing Your love in sorrow and in joy. Really, I feel I’m growing up, but the most beautiful observation is that I’m doing it with You."
                                                                   Diary: 10th August 1986








Sunday, April 28, 2019

DIVINE MERCY






Jesus speaks to St. Faustina:

On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. 

The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. 

Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

ALLELUIA



Egino Weinert- Cologne_ (2012)


ALLELUIA  ALLELUIA  ALLELUIA

HE IS RISEN

AS HE PROMISED!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

SACRED REFUGE





Rogier Van der Weyden


Oh! Sacred Feet, all gashed and torn,
   Bruised by the hammer's cruel blows,
Bathed in the life-blood dripping down
   From anguished Heart in bitter throes;
I press You to my lips in tears,
   With contrite sorrow, fervent sigh.
Dear precious Wounds, God's bleeding prayers,
   Ah! plead for me when death draws nigh.

Oh, Mangled Hands, transfixed and wan,
   in suppliance raised to Heaven above,
Pierced by the nails that torture wrung,
   From breaking Heart of burning love;
I press You to my lips in tears,
   With contrite sorrow, fervent sigh.
Dear precious Wounds, God's bleeding prayers,
   Ah! plead for me when death draws nigh.

Oh! Sacred Refuge, tender Side,
   Rent by the lance with cruel thrust,
There, where His Heart is, let me hide,
   There, where His love is, let me trust.
I press You to my lips in tears,
   With contrite sorrow, fervent sigh.
Most Holy Wound, allay my fears,
   Receive my soul when death draws nigh

--"Prayer to the Five Wounds," The Little Treasury of Leaflets,

                                                                           vol.IV (Dublin: Gill, 1914) 893-894.


Carravagio

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

FROM THE SIDE OF JESUS


 Why did blood and water flow from Christ's side? 

Many physicians such as those at the Mayo Clinic, posit that the water was the fluid located in the pericardial sac surrounding the heart:
Clearly, the weight of historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death.

                        (On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ by William D. Edwards, MD, et al)




.
It is clear by historical and medical evidence that Jesus was dead before the wound to his side was inflicted and supports the traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death. 

If the spear pierced through the outer pericardium wall and into the heart, then the watery fluid and blood could have poured out through the wound. It emphasizes the reality of Christ's death and His very humanity. The idea of the Resurrection was very important to the early Christian community. Paul specifically wrote: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:17) 

The blood and water signify two important matters: redemption (blood) and the imparting of life (water). Jesus' redeeming death accomplished  redemption for us, giving us the forgiveness and washing away of our sins that we might have life.  As we are cleansed by His blood, we can receive more of the divine life by drinking of Him, the fountain of life.


"If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced His side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it."
                                                           From the Catecheses by St. John Chrysostom , bishop 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

THE FINAL BLOW


Jesus’ death after only three to six hours on the cross surprised even Pontius Pilate.  The fact that Jesus cried out in a loud voice and then bowed his head and died suggests the possibility of a catastrophic terminal event. What exactly was the final blow? 



Eugene Delacroix, "Christ on the Cross," c 1853-56, pastel

Jesus’ death may have been hastened simply by his state of exhaustion and by the severity of the scourging, with its resultant blood loss and pre-shock state.

He even needed help carrying His cross, yet there is never any evidence in the Gospels to even hint that He was less than a normal man of good health.

One must remember why He was on that cross -  the weight of the sins throughout human history- which continues to this day, most probably was more then His Body could take.

While death on the cross may have been caused by any number of factors, and likely would have varied with each individual case, the two seemingly most prominent causes of death probably were hypovolemic shock -
a condition in which severe blood or fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body,  
and exhaustion asphyxia.  The ability of Jesus to cry out with a loud voice indicates that asphyxia was probably not the major causative factor.

The finality of death upon the cross often was accomplished by the breaking of the legs of the victims, which caused still more traumatic shock and prevented an individual from pushing up in order to fully respire. In an effort to get the bodies off the crosses before the Sabbath day, the soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with Him: but when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already.  When the soldier pierced His side “there came out blood and water” (John 19:32-34).

The traditional view that the spear, thrust between his right ribs, probably perforated not only the right lung but also the pericardium and heart and thereby ensured his death.


Much speculation has centered on the exact location of the puncture wound and thus the source of the resulting blood and water. However, the Greek word (pleura) that John used clearly denotes the area of the intercoastal ribs that cover the lungs. Given the upward angle of the spear, and the thoracic location of the wound, abdominal organs can be ruled out as having provided the blood and water.

A more likely scenario would suggest that the piercing affected a lung (along with any built-up fluid), the pericardial sac surrounding the heart, the right atrium of the heart itself, the pulmonary vessels, and/or the aorta. Since John did not describe the specific side of the body on which the wound was inflicted, we can only speculate about which structures might have been impaled by such a vicious act. However, the blood could have resulted from the heart, the aorta, or any of the pulmonary vessels. Water probably was provided by pleural or pericardial fluids which surround the lungs and heart.

St. John Paul:  From the very beginning the Church has contemplated the pierced heart of the crucified Christ from which came blood and water, the symbols of the sacraments which constitute the Church; and, in the heart of the Word incarnate, the Fathers of the Christian East and West saw the beginning of the whole work of our salvation, the fruit of the love of the divine Redeemer, whose pierced heart is a particularly expressive symbol.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

ALL OR NOTHING


Yesterday was the third anniversary of the death of a young Irish nun who perished along with 5 postulants of her order in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Ecuador, killing 480 people in 2016.


As we like to say:  there are no coincidences in heaven  When our Abbess was here recently she told us how  the youngest novice at our Abbey was given her name. Have you heard of SISTER CLARE CROCKETT, Mother Abbess asked us?  Just the week before I had told the community how I had chanced on a movie recommended  by Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland (see Blog 3/5/19 on sacred music). It turns out Lisa, as Sister Chiara ( the Italian for Clare) is now called, was a friend of Sr. Clare of the Order of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, and like all who knew her, the death of the 33 year old nun greatly affected her.
 Her Order stated: “We discovered that her loss afflicted us, while her memory filled us with joy.” It became obvious that the 33-year-old had left a lasting impression on everyone she met; the Irish “live wire” was infectious with her energy, joy, and love of Jesus. Soon the Servant Sisters were inundated with messages revealing how Sr. Clare had helped them: “Strangers who spoke to us of conversions, vocations discovered or recovered, and special grace.”
As a result the Order decided to gather testimonies and stories relating to the life of Sr. Clare and make a documentary. The young Clare had a passion for acting and desire to become famous. Then as she grew older she shared with great enthusiasm how “Jesus Christ stole my heart.”
It is no surprise that everybody loved her. She resonated joy and love  for Christ, and a desire to share this love with everybody she met. While people gravitated towards her, one participant in the documentary simply states: “She didn’t want them to come to her but to the Lord.”
One girl says: “I owe a lot to her for the salvation of my soul.” The testimonies of the teens she worked with are gripping, as she obviously gave the youth a love of the Lord. 
The documentary, All or Nothing: Sr. Clare Crockett can be found now on Youtube. It is well worth watching and very fitting for Holy Week-  a body given for her people.



Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A CHURCH BORN FROM BLOOD



Thomas à Kempis, in the Imitation of Christ, speaks of resting in Christ's wounds.  "If you can not soar up as high as Christ sitting on his throne, behold him hanging on his cross. Rest in Christ's Passion and live willingly in his holy wounds. You will gain marvelous strength and comfort in adversities You will not care that men despise you. . . Had we but, with Thomas, put our fingers into the print of his nails and thrust our hands into his side! If we had we but known ourselves his sufferings in a deep and serious consideration and tasted the astonishing greatness of his love, the joys and miseries of the life would soon become indifferent to us."

Theologically, the wounds were the channels through which Christ's blood was spilled.  This "precious blood" sealed for Christians a new covenant to replace the old covenant of Moses.  Whereas once a sacrificial lamb was offered to God in atonement for sins, now divine blood from the only victim pure enough to atone for all of humanity's transgressions was offered.  Thus, Christ's death was a perfect sacrifice that destroyed the power of sin, and therefore death, over humanity. 



The blood is linked with the Eucharistic blood received at Mass and the water with the cleansing of original sin at baptism (the two sacraments necessary to achieve eternal life).  Thus, the Church, just as Eve issued from the side of Adam, is considered to be mystically born of Christ's wounds via the sacraments.  The blood of Christ's sacrifice will wash and therefore purify and redeem the Church.


“A suggestive word was made use of by the Evangelist, in not saying pierced, or wounded His side, or anything else, but opened; that thereby, in a sense, the gate of life might be thrown open, from whence have flowed forth the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance to the life which is the true life. That blood was shed for the remission of sins; that water it is that makes up the health-giving cup, and supplies at once the laver of baptism and water for drinking.”  (St. Augustine, Tractates om John 120.2 ca.
406 A.D.)