Thursday, January 29, 2009

A summary of Demonic Activity

This is a summary of demonic activity as taught by Fr. Armoth, the exorcist of Rome. As Catholics we must be aware of this activity. However we must remain also aware, first and foremost, of the power to overcome evil through Christ, "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). The first type of demonic activity is called ordinary. This is "temptation", which is the most common activity of the demons, and it is directed against all men. Even Jesus allowed Satan to tempt him, he accepted our human condition.
The second kind of demonic activity is called "extraordinary", and can take place as the first one only if God so allows, but not all humans experience any of the forms of this extraordinary activity. It can take six different forms:
1. External physical pain caused by Satan. We know of this from many lives of the saints. We know that Saint Paul of the Cross, the Curé of Ars, Padre Pio, and many others were beaten, flogged, and pummeled by demons. This external form of persecution does riot affect the soul; therefore with this type there has never been the need for an exorcism, only for prayers.
2. Demonic possession. This occurs when Satan takes full possession of the body (not the soul); he speaks and acts without the knowledge or consent of the victim, who therefore is morally blameless. It is the gravest and most spectacular form of demonic afflictions, and it attracts the attention of producers of movies such as The Exorcist. According to the Ritual for exorcisms, some of the signs of possession include: speaking in tongues, extraordinary strength, and revealing the unknown. The man of Gerasa is a clear Gospel example of possession. To fix a set "model" for demonic possession would be a serious mistake; the affliction runs the gamut of symptoms and severity. For instance, Fr. Armoth has exorcised two totally possessed persons who remained perfectly still and silent during the exorcism.
3. Diabolical oppression. Symptoms vary from a very serious to a mild illness. There is no possession, loss of consciousness, or involuntary action and word. The Bible gives us many examples of oppression; one of them is job, He was not possessed, but he lost his children, his goods, and his health. The bent woman and the deaf and dumb man who were cured by Jesus were not subject to total possession, but there was a demonic presence that caused physical discomfort. Saint Paul was most certainly not possessed by a demon, but he had a demonic oppression that caused an evil affliction: "And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me" (2 Cor 12:7). There is no doubting the evil origin of the affliction.While possessions are still relatively rare today, we exorcists run into a great number of people who have been struck by the devil in their health, jobs, or relationships. We must make it clear that to diagnose and heal an oppression-related illness is not any easier than to diagnose and cure a person afflicted by full possession. The degree of gravity may be different, but the difficulty of the diagnosis and the amount of time involved in healing are the same.
4. Diabolic obsession. Symptoms include sudden attacks, at times ongoing, of obsessive thoughts, sometimes even rationally absurd, but of such nature that the victim is unable to free himself Therefore the obsessed person lives in a perpetual state of prostration, desperation, and attempts at suicide. Almost always obsession influences dreams. Some people will say that this is evidence of mental illness, requiring the services of a psychiatrist or a psychologist. The same could be said of all other forms of demonic phenomena. Some symptoms, however, are so inconsistent with known illnesses that they point with certainty to their evil origins. Only an expert and well-trained eye can identify the crucial differences.
5. Diabolic infestation. Infestations affect houses, things, or animals. Fr. Armoth does not use this term in referring to persons.
6. Diabolical subjugation, or dependence. People fall into this form of evil when they voluntarily submit to Satan. The two most common forms of dependence are the blood pact with the devil and the consecration to Satan.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Attributed to Blessed Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and joy, some may be jealous. Be joyful anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Orthodox Icon of Mary Weeps in Russia

It has been reported that the "softener of evil hearts" Icon depicted on the right, located in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow wept miraculously during the election process of the new Patriarch Kirill. This Icon is also called the "Simon’s Prophecy" Icon.

According to the Evangelist Luke, the Holy Spirit told righteous Elder Symeon, the God-receiver, that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. And thus, forty days after the Divine Infant's birth His parents brought Him to the Temple of Jerusalem, and Symeon "was inspired" to come there as well, and took the Infant into his arms (hence the title "God-receiver"), and pronounced those famous words that we use in the Night Prayer Liturgy in the West "Now Master you can let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled...." (Lk. 2:29). After that, he blessed St. Joseph and the Most-pure Mother of Our Lord, and addressed Mary with this prophecy: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:34).

Just as Christ would be pierced with nails and a spear, so the soul of the Most-pure One would be pierced by a certain weapon of sorrow and pain in the heart, when she saw her Son's suffering. After that, the hidden thoughts of the people regarding the Messiah would be revealed, and they would face a choice: to be with Christ, or against Him. Such an interpretation of Symeon's prophecy became the subject of a number of icons of the Theotokos. All those who turn to the Icon in prayer sense that with the softening of evil hearts comes an easing of spiritual and physical suffering. People come to recognize that when they pray for their enemies before such icons, their feelings of enmity are softened, and that strife and hatreds abate, giving way to kindness. The feast of the softener of evil hearts is celebrated in the Russian Church on February 15th.
Congratulations to the Orthodox Church on this day when they have elected their new Patriarch. May this be an oppotunity to work for unity also with the Catholic Church and to build the fraternal bonds that were sadly broken 10 centuries ago. Perhaps this new election is a sign of hope indeed as the icon is a sign of hope, and a continuation of the fulfillment of the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima.

The truth behind the miracle in the Hudson

Monday, January 26, 2009


Fr. Hardon during his lifetime wrote an interesting piece on Satanism. I think one of the reasons why satanism is growing in our days is precisely because people are trying to fill the void left by a culture that is secular and materialistic, devoided of all spirituality. The prevalent materialism, hedonism, secularism are perfect seedbeds for satanism to flourish and appeal to the inordinate passions of the human being. According to Fr. Hardon there are three main forms of satanism. The first one is philosophical, that is the kind of satanism by which evil is deified, such was the case of the Manicheans. St. Augustine himself was a Manichean before he converted to Christianity. In this kind of satanism one does not offer worship to the Deity per se, but it is more about a matter of beliefs, where one sees that there are two uncreated deities that are in opposition to one another, the good god and the bad god. The other kind of satanism is the one prevalent in most polytheistic religions whereby a person offers sacrifices to the deities that represent evil, mostly out of fear, so the person tries to appease them by different rituals. Fr. Hardon mentions that in Africa is very difficult for Christianity to make inroads because the people in Africa after becoming Christians blame any evil or accident to the anger of the evil deities that somehow are not being satisfied in their thirst for offerings and sacrifices. The third kind of satanism is the cultic type that involves the recognition of satan as powerful and shrewd, and as a being that is to be worshipped for personal gain or in order to bring an evil on another person.
Satanic churches are growing in number and also in membership. More young people have more experiences with the occult than ever before, and satan uses many ways to attract young people into his abode. Some of those means can include the promises of material rewards, and the rewards of sensible pleasure under the forms of uninhibited sex, drugs, even sadistic and masochist practices. All is fair game, and satan appeals to our wounded nature and our desire for immediate gratification. Another common by which satan continues to enter into the minds of many young people is through the porn industry by which satan continues to corrupt the minds and the hearts of many young people, in many cases creating such powerful addictions that these young people cannot follow the call of the Lord to the consecrated life or the priesthood, nor can they remain faithful to their spouses and their commitments. Satanic influence is also seen in the cult of freedom, undetermined freedom, my choice is my god. The worship of choice can imply the death of my own son or daughter in the womb. Indeed there is something very diabolical about the whole abortion industry. The cult of choice can also entail the type of sexual relationship I am going to engage, from bestiality to homosexuality and anything in between, is the cult of indulgence which is one of the premises of the satanic manifesto. Heavy metal music is also another means that satan uses to corrupt the minds of young people. Fr. Gabriel Armoth, the exorcist of Rome wrote about the fact the heavy metal music recordings are consecrated to the devil in particular acts, and that many music bands such as Black Sabbath, Deicide, and others are openly satanic in nature. Finally books that delve into the occult like Harry Potter are also seedbeds for the potential opening of the soul of the child to the fascination with witchcraft, incantations, or any other desire to manipulate others and control others through the power of evil.
Satanism oddly enough is growing by leaps and bounds in Italy. In fact the largest followers of satanic sects are found there. Colombia is the second country with the largest number of satanic followers and the USA comes third with the greatest concentration in the state of California, particularly the city of San Francisco, no surprise there either. So this is the phenomenon that we must face constantly, St Paul reminds us "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6:12).
As Christians we cannot be afraid of the devil, but we must be aware of his treacheries. In fact as long as we remain in Christ we have power over all evil spirits, thus, the evil spirits are the ones that should be afraid of us. However, the devil is real, and we cannot underestimate his cleverness and power, although his power is limited and ultimately the devil remains a creature, entirely dependent on God from whom he derives his existence and power. God is the only one that is Almighty, God is the only one that is to be worshipped, and it is in God that we find peace, joy, love, and all the other fruits of the Holy Spirit. We rejoice in Christ because as Scripture tells us "For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:10-11).

Expect God to come, but not in a certain way!

".....Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him. That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way...........Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes."

Oswald Chambers Died 1917 while working as a Chaplain during World War 1

Unbiased Reporting on the Walk for Life 2009?

As I was googling the Walk for Life in San Francisco, 2009, most of the sites that came in my search had to do with the Counter-protesters, that is the pro-abortion people that came to the walk and stood on the sidewalks shouting all kinds of things to the peaceful prolife walkers. Noticed that I googled specifically Walk for Life 2009, and walk for life was listed fifth, right after all those counter-protestor sites. What amazed me the most was the fact that most of the pictures in the reports in the San Francisco area websites had to do with the counter-protesters

even this video

The idea that you get from this site is that the walk for life was not really about life but about the counter-protestors, like of the walk itself never took place. And then we talk about unbiased reporting in the media, what a joke!!

I also wonder if there is not only a bias in reporting, but also even a bias in the search mechanisms like google itself, just a question, not an affirmation!

Anyway, here was what I found for the official site of the Walk for Life:

Certainly a very different story.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Scripture passages that refer to St. Paul's conversion:

"Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
Acts of the Apostles 9:3-6

"And I said, "Who are you, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles - to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. "
Acts of the Apostles 26:15-18

In 1 Corinthians 9:1, Paul asks an emphatic question,

"Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?"

In 1 Corinthians 15:8-9, Paul relates,

"Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the Apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

He writes in Galatians 1:11-12 that

"the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."

He adds in Galatians 1:15-16,
"When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles."

"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’ My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.  I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’ The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.’ Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus."
Acts of the Apostles 22:6-11

Friday, January 23, 2009

Poem by Pedro Arrupe, SJ

I love this quote by Pedro Arrupe, SJ:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination,will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love; stay in love,and it will decide everything.
Pedro Arrupe s.j.

Priestly Ordination

Tomorrow on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales Deacon Sean Morris, OMV a member of my community will be ordained to the Priesthood. What a tremendous gift for him, but even more so for our Congregation and for the whole Church. Each priestly ordination is a true sign of hope, that reminds us of God's fidelity towards His Church, I cannot stop thinking about Jesus' words "And behold I will always be with you until the end of time" (Mat 28:20), and also "the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it" (Mat. 16:18). Each new priest renews the presence of Christ in the Church and the world, each new priest open the gates of Mercy towards the whole world. To think that tomorrow our newly ordained priest will be able to celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist and to make Christ present at the altar so that the faithful can be sanctified is simply mind boggling. To think also that this newly ordained priest will be able to hear confessions and bring the Mercy and Healing power of God to all the people of God is also beyond our comprehension, indeed like Isaiah the prophet said "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts." (Is 55:8)
This is a day of rejoicing, when we sing the Mercies of God.

New Headlines

Headlines On This Date 4 Years Ago:
1. "Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops Die in unarmored Humvees"
2. "Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"
3. "Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, Ordinary?Americans get the shaft"

Headlines Today:
1. "Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $120 million"
2. "Obama Spends $120 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"
3. "Everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate"
4. "Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration"
Nothing like fair & unbiased coverage of the news !!!? Welcome to the NEW and Unbiased World Order where every ... oops( I mean only Democrats) man is created equal. Just Liberal Democrats are created more equal than others.
Wake up America! There is equality for the Liberal, but God help the middle class and the Conservative.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gay Marriage - Next Poligamy - Next .....

Canada's parliament extended full marriage rights to same sex couples in 2005. And today I heard in the news that a man named Winston Blackmore is being charged in Canada for several counts of polygamy. Blackmore happens to have an independent sect of about 400 followers in Bountiful, and he once ran the Canadian arm of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he was ejected in 2003 by that group's leader, Warren Jeffs. Jeffs himself is in jail awaiting trial in Arizona on four counts of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor. There you go!
What is interesting in this case is that Blackmore's lawyer who is trying to get his client off the hook from these charges, is advancing the argument that marriage standards in Canada have changed. Thus, "If (homosexuals) in Canada can marry, what is the reason that public policy says one person can't marry more than one person?" If marriage is defined by public perception or acceptance then why not accept also polygamy, after all if a man has the "right" to be joined to another man (man applies to male and female), then why not marry several other men or women or any combination and number whatsoever. As many homosexuals have claimed in California, that their rights are being violated, would not polygamists have the same claim? After all, they also fell in love with each other, and who is going to stop two or more adults from loving each other? Once you opened the door to homosexual marriage, you have opened the possibility indeed to accept polygamy, and any other type of marriage arrangement that fits the whims of the fallen human mind dominated by the passions and the sensual appetites. No surprise here, and indeed this lawyer has a good chance of winning his case!! Sad though!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some Clever Church signs

1. Give God what's right.....
not what's left.
2. Man's way leads to hopeless end ......
God's way leads to an endless hope .
3. A lot of kneeling will keep you in
good standing.
4. He who kneels before God can stand
before anyone.
5. In the sentence of life, the devil may
be a comma, but never let him be
the period.
6. Don't put a question mark where God
puts a period.
7. Are you wrinkled with burden?
Come to the church for a face-lift.
8. When praying, don't give God
instructions. ..... just report for duty.
9. Don't wait for six strong men to
take you to church.
10. We don't change God's message..... .
His message changes us.
11. The church is prayer-conditioned.
12 When God ordains, He sustains.
13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may
prevent burning.
14. Plan ahead......It wasn't raining when
Noah built the ark.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King

In August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King gave his famous speech "I have a dream" at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. A historic moment indeed, a witness to the power of prayer, the power of unity, and ultimately a testimony to the inner thirst in the heart of every man for justice and dignity. What a tremendous speech. Here is an excerpt:

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true."

And what a dream indeed it was and continues to be. The dream has been in part been fulfilled in the change of attitudes of the American people to be more open, to see beyond the color of the skin of people, and a witness to that is the election of Obama who will be inaugurated tomorrow. But the other half of the dream remains unfulfilled, we have learnt not to judge people by their skin color, but we continue to fail to judge people by their character. And this is the sad part of America, our crisis is not a first and foremost a financial one, the most important crisis is the moral crisis of this country, a crisis that is destroying the very freedom that we claim to uphold and even strive for, a crisis that is trampling on the dignity of the people that this alleged freedom is supposed to serve, a crisis that is creating other forms of discrimination and even the violation of the human rights of certain members of our society including the unborn, the elderly, etc. MLK would not be satisfied with the placement of a black man in the presidency as good as that is in terms of breaking the racial prejudices of the American people, MLK if he is true to his word, would have sought the recognition of the dignity of all human beings, MLK would have defended the right to profess our own faith and the recognition that any greatness in our country is due primarily to God's blessing upon our land and our people. MLK would have defended the right to pray and to wait for that day when the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Day

As we approach inauguration day I experience a certain feeling of dread. Perhaps I am one of the few that is not so enthused with Obama becoming president. I am amazed to read about the numbers that are expected for his inauguration, it is something amazing, if we talk about popularity, this is perhaps the most popular president in the history of the US at least at the beginning of his presidency. And I give him credit for that, he is certainly charming and that has attracted a lot of people, who have prefered charm to values. But as the day approaches I am reminded of the stark reality that is approaching all of us, the people of this country, and in fact the rest of the world. If he stands on his word, and follows through with his proposed policies to promote legalized abortion and fund all efforts to promote it, then we will be facing one of the darkest periods in human history. I have offered all sorts of prayers for him, one never knows, conversions are possible, but there is always that mystery called free will, and God will never force anybody to love Him or to love somebody else including the unborn. That is a mystery! Yes, I continue to pray, I also know that I need God's mercy as much or more than Obama does, we are all in need of Christ's grace to rescue us from the power of darkness. So I do not judge him, that is God's job, but I cannot remain silent before his proposed plans to continue to eliminate the most vulnerable in our society. God as always is triumphant no matter what happens, yet we invoke His mercy on us and on the whole country!

Miracle in the Hudson

Reports arrive that about 155 passengers and crew included survived the landing of flight 1549 in the Hudson River. The passengers, the authorities and all those involved in the rescue refer to it as a miracle. And it is indeed a miracle. A miracle for several reasons: first, because when they struck the group of geese, the pilot realized that the engines were dead and asked the passengers to brace for a crash, but according to some passengers, they began to PRAY, I guess there are no atheists in foxholes. Second, the pilot in a miraculous way was able to place the plane on the river without breaking the plane, or submerging the plane, in fact he was able to put it almost perfectly close to land preserving the integrity of the aircraft. Third, people were able to leave the plane in a relative orderly manner, and even those who had to stand on the wings that were submerged, were able to do so without suffering from hypothermia since the freezing waters only covered their ankles. Fourth, due to the intense commercial traffic in the river, it was a perfect spot to place the plane since immediately many of the vessels navigating the Hudson river came to the rescue and were able to remove all the passengers to safety in a prompt manner. Miracle? You bet. And remember the basic definition of miracle as given in wikipedia: A miracle is a visible interruption of the laws of nature, such that can only be explained by DIVINE INTERVENTION! Yeap, Divine intervention, thus, the credit goes primarily to God and also to the pilot that allowed himself to be guided by the HOLY ONE in this amazing adventure. What is amazing is that even the newscasters cannot avoid being reminded that there is indeed a God who is over all and in all :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

St. Paul's life

This is a helpful timeline of the life of the Apostle St. Paul in this year dedicated to him :


-Born at Tarsus (in modern Turkey) sometime between 7 and 12 AD of Jewish parents who are Roman citizens and traced their ancestry to the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5): 7-12 AD
-Arrival in Jerusalem to study with Gamaliel (Acts 22:3): 30 AD
-Sent as an officer of the Sanhedrin to arrest Christians in Damascus & CONVERSION (Acts 9; 22:6-16; 26:12-18): 36 AD
-3 year sojourn in Arabia and mission to Damascus (Galatians 1:17): 36-39 AD
-Visit to Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18): 39 AD
-Arrival in Antioch in Syria to serve the Christian community (Acts 11:25): 43-44 AD
-1st Missionary JOURNEY (Acts 13-14); name change to Latin “Paulus” : 45-49 AD
-Visit to Jerusalem for the 1st Great Council of the Church (Acts 15): 49-50 AD
- 2nd Missionary JOURNEY (Acts 15:36-18:21): 50-52 AD
-wrote 1 &2 Thessalonians: 51-52 AD
-3rd Missionary JOURNEY (Acts 18:23-21:14): 53-58 AD
-wrote Galatians: 54 AD
-wrote 1 Corinthians: 54 AD
-wrote 2 Corinthians: 57-58 AD
-wrote letter to the Romans: 57-58 AD
- Return to Jerusalem (Acts 21:15-23:22) : Spring of 58 AD
- Hearing with Roman Governor Felix / 2 year imprisonment at Caesarea. (Acts 24-25): 58-60 AD
-4th JOURNEY: Voyage to Rome & shipwreck off the coast of Malta (Acts 27): 60-61 AD
- Paul’s first imprisoned in Rome (Acts 28) : 61-63 AD
-wrote letters to the churches at Colossus, Philemon, Ephesus, Philippi: 61-63 AD
*Voyage to the east and the west (Spain? Voyage to Britain?) letters 1 Timothy & Titus
63-67 AD
Final Roman captivity: 2 Timothy letter: 67 AD
Martyrdom by beheading: 67 AD

Medjugorje and the Plan of Peace from our Lady

Although Medjugorje has not been approved by the Church and there is currently a commission from the Vatican in charge of investigating the alleged apparitions there, I continue to follow in the footsteps of the spiritual tenets of the messages delivered there by Our Lady. The reason? well, I was converted or brought back to the Catholic Church through Medjugorje, and I will gladly accept any decisions the Church will make in regards to the authenticity of such private revelations. So my point in this little blog entry is basically to remind myself and others who may read this blog, of the five pillars of the Medjugorje Message. Many have said that in the same way that David was able to bring down and kill the giant Goliath with five stones he had in his pocket (he actually used only one of the five), so we have been given five weapons to attack the strongholds of the enemy and to overcome the powers of darkness. These five weapons or pillars are:

1. Prayer of the Heart, which includes the recitation of the Holy Rosary

2. The daily reading of Holy Scripture and meditation on the Word of God

3. The worthy reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist as often as possible

4. The practice of renunciation and penance, especially the practice of fasting

5. The need for conversion and ongoing transformation, especially by the frequent participation in the sacrament of confession.

I think these five pillars are very important, and although one may add others, these are certainly fundamental to any solid Christian spirituality.

Worldwide conflicts

As most of the attention in the news goes to the conflicts in the middle East, Israel, Gaza, Afghanistan, and Irak, there is the risk of forgetting about the many other major conflicts going on throughout the world. The following link provides a great summary of other worldwide conflicts, and reminds us of our duty to pray for peace and to strive for justice, solidarity and charity.

Monday, January 12, 2009

OMV Provincial Assembly

Many of you may be wondering what on earth I am doing these days in Boston. Asides from experiencing freezing temperatures :-) :-) :-) I am gathered here with some of my Oblate brothers of my province as well as with the Rector Major of the whole congregation. We are gathered here to provide input to the precapitular commission for the General chapter of the Congregation of the Oblates what will take place in France in the month of July. This chapter will elect a new Rector Major and will provide a vision and plan for the congregation for the next 6 years. The provincial assembly will also provide a vision for our province that is in harmony with the vision of the whole congregation. It is an important period of prayer, reflection, discernment, and decision making. So please pray for us as we begin tonight the whole process that will last till the late hours of Sunday January the 18th. I should be back in the Parish on the 19th of this month. Blessings to all of you!

Getting along

I love this video. If animals can get along, why can't we do the same as human beings? why so much hatred, discrimination, injustice and simple prejudice?

More on Tebow - College Football

I was amazed after reading more about the life of Tim Tebow, the great Christian QB about whom I have written before. What struck me this time is an article in Lifenews about him. According to the article Tim Tebow could have been aborted if his mother would have followed doctor's directions to abort her baby. Pam Tebow and her husband were Christian missionaries in the Philippines in 1985 and they prayed for "Timmy" before she became pregnant. Pam entered into a coma after she contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in a contaminated food or drink. The treatment for the medical condition would require strong medications that doctors told Pam had caused irreversible damage to Tim -- so they advised her to have an abortion. Pam Tebow refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and, eventually, gave birth to a health baby boy in August 1987. Is not that amazing? How many babies continue to be aborted that could have been perhaps governors, priests, doctors, perhaps even the Pope. When we will get through our thick skulls that ALL life is sacred and must be respected and loved from the moment of conception till the moment of natural death? May the Lord have mercy on us, stubborn and selfish creatures!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saints: Martyred mother and 4 daugthers in Spain- 1936

Martyred mother and four daughters role models for World Meeting of Families
Taken from

Mexico City, Jan 10, 2009 / 02:28 am (CNA).- Among the five families Pope Benedict XVI has chosen as role models for the upcoming Sixth World Meeting of Families is the family of Maria Teresa Ferragud Roig, who suffered martyrdom along with her four daughters during the Spanish Civil War.
According to the AVAN news agency, Maria Teresa, who was born in Algemesi, was 83 years old when on October 25, 1936, the feast of Christ the King, she asked to accompany her four daughters, all cloistered nuns, to their executions. She also asked their captors to be executed last in order to encourage each one her daughters to die courageously for the faith. The five women died that day in Alzira (Valencia) and were beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II, together with 229 other martyrs of the religious persecution of 1936.
Ramon Fita, an official from the diocesan commission for the causes of the saints, told the AVAN agency that the selection of the Ferragud family as a model of the Christian family by Benedict XVI is “a joy for our diocese and for the universal Church.”
The four daughters of Maria Teresa Ferragud had taken refuge at home once the Spanish Civil War broke out. Militants arrested the nuns, but the mother “wanted to follow them and not leave them abandoned,” telling the executors: ‘Wherever my daughters are going, I’m going too,’ Fita said.
Three of the nuns, Maria Jesus, Maria Felicidad and Maria Veronica were Poor Clares, while the fourth, Josefa, was a Discalced Augustinian.
The other four families selected to be role models for the World Meeting of Families include the Basilio and Emilia family, who lived in 4th century Turkey and had nine children, four of whom became saints; Senator Gordiano and his wife Silvia, the parents of Pope Gregory the Great, who lived in the 6th century; Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quaatrochi of the 20th century, the first married couple to be raised to the altar; and Blesseds Louis Martin and Marie Zelie Guerin, who lived during the 19th century and were the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.
The Sixth World Meeting of Families will be celebrated January 14-18 in Mexico City.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Israel and Hamas

The conlfict between Israel and Hamas is not a new one. Unfortunately it has led to the situation which we observe in the news. Many would agree that Israel has a right to defend itself from the attacks by Hamas. Many would also say that Hamas is a terrorist group. And although I would not disagree with the last two statements, I have a problem with the way that Israel seems to be conducting this war, which begins to bring back memories from the war in Lebanon in 2006. The Catholic Church has spoken about the need to end this conflic, and it is now speaking boldly on behalf of the Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war it seems like the amount of civilian casualties increases day by day at alarming proportions. The living situations for the Palestinians are described as inhuman, no water, no electricity in many places, no food, and no medical supplies. The world cannot simply remain quiet and again not speak on behalf of our Palestinians brothers, and yes, we must remember that not all Palestinians are members of Hamas, and that not all Palestinians are terrorists. In fact many of the victims in this war have been defenseless children and women, innocent victims. But the world is afraid to criticize Israel for its inhuman actions. Many Catholic Bishops suppported by the Pope are traveling right now to Bethlehem to speak on behalf of the innocent. Violence as they say is specially evil when it blocks humanitarian relief efforts badly needed to provide for the most basic needs of the Palestinians. We cannot ignore the unjust attack of Israel to a school under the care of the UN that has bombed by Israel killing about 40 children, because according to Israel some men from Hamas had sought refuge there. We have lost the sense of justice, and we cannot remain blind to some of the atrocities being committed in the name of self-defense. To fight terrorism we cannot become terrorists ourselves and destroy the lives of innocent people as terrorists do. That is a contradiction. And again, unfortunately, it seems like Israel did not learn its lesson from the Lebanon war. We must pray for an end to this conflict and for and end to all violence and unjust aggressions both from Hamas side and the Jewish state as well.

College Football

After the win of Florida over OU, a lot of debate is going on about what team should be number one. Certainly Florida is a great team, but a lot of people are feeling unhappy especially in Utah after their team went undefeated and beat Alabama in their last game. But one thing is for sure the QB for Florida is one of the best men in the field, again not only for his athletic abilities that have already given him a Heissman Trophy but more importantly because of his commitment to his faith, a person that has helped the poor in many places and even lived among lepers for a while, to be another Christ to these people. He also had the audacity of playing while making a statement about his faith placing the JOHN 3:16 on his eye black for everybody to see. That requires courage and conviction. No matter what happens Tebow is a real winner, he chose the best, to be a man of God, a disciple of Christ.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Holocaust of the Unborn

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit the Holocaust memorial in Boston. At the end of the exhibit there was a plaque with a poem written by Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niem̦ller (14 January 1892 Р6 March 1984) a prominent German anti-Nazi and Lutheran pastor. The famous poem says:

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I was not a communist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up because I was a Protestant; Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up for me. "

It is one of the most amazing poems, and I have often reflected on how similar it is to our situation today when many of us continue to be silent about the continual holocaust that is taking place in our midst. Just in the US over 4000 babies die daily to this heinous and horrifying action of the abortion industry. And how many of us continue to be silent and/or uninvolved. We do not see the faces of these babies, we do not hear them screaming, we do not smell the crematory ovens, nope, we have learnt to avoid the awful reminders of massive holocausts, we have become more sophisticated technologically to avoid painful reminders that may make us feel uncomfortable, and we remain silent, silent when the blood of our brothers and sisters continues to be spilled all over our land every minute of our lives. May the Lord have mercy on us! Talk about devotion to the tears of our Lord!!!

More on the US Economy

This video is hilarious. Spend yourself into prosperity! Goes along with my comment on the economy below :-)

Devotion to the Tears of Our Lord

Recently I read an article about the Devotion to the Tears of Our Blessed Mother. I had never heard about such devotion, obviously is linked to Our Lady of Sorrows. What really amazed me is that I have been preaching in quite a few retreats about the fact that I never noticed anybody mentioning or having any devotion to the tears of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly as Scriptures tell us Jesus wept. When I went to the Holy Land many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit a chapel that is shaped in the form of a tear in the Mount of Olives, Dominus Flevit, where our Lord wept at the sight of Jerusalem and the hardness of hearts of its inhabitants. Certainly we can also think that if our Lord perspired drops of blood in Gethsemani during His agony, then it is also very likely that He also wept at that moment. Oh precious tears, who could collect those tears. We have a tremendous devotion to the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and rightly so, since it continues to be the source of the efficacy of our redemption. But why not a devotion to the tears of our Lord, He who wept out of sorrow and compassion for each one of us. If He shed His blood for us we can certainly be sure that through His passion and crucifixion He also shed His tears to the last drop, in sorrow and pain. If only we could understand how precious those tears are, they are symbols of the Merciful heart of Jesus and His tremendous love for each one of us, and they are also a reminder of the pain that our sins have truly inflicted upon the fullness of the humanity of Christ. Certainly a devotion has to speak to a person, and where that person is at in his/her spiritual journey, I am just surprised that I have never read anywhere about such devotion, in fact I never heard of such a thing from any priest or religious throughout my whole seminary formation. Perhaps such devotion already exists, I am simply unaware of it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

US Economy

I read in another column the following stats:

By the end of last month, Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had engineered loans, pledges and guarantees of more than $7.4 trillion to the financial elite that was responsible for creating the economic crisis in which we find ourselves today:
March 11: $200 billion in loans to financial institutions
March 16: $29 billion in loans to J.P. Morgan Chase
July 30: $300 billion housing bill
Sept. 7: $200 billion for the U.S. Treasury to assume Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's debt
Sept. 16: $85 billion to AIG and $70 billion injected into the financial system
Sept. 19: $50 billion pledged to support Money Market funds
Sept. 29: $150 billion made available to U.S. banks and $330 billion made available to foreign banks
Oct. 3: $700 billion in Paulson's bailout package
Oct. 7: $1.3 trillion in purchase debt from companies
Oct. 8: $38 billion in additional loans to AIG
Oct. 14: $1.4 trillion in FDIC guarantees of interbank loans
Nov. 24: $20 billion loaned to Citigroup with the Treasury Department assuming responsibility for 90 percent of Citigroup's $306 billion in debt
Nov. 25: $600 billion in loans for mortgage-backed assets and $200 billion in loans for consumer-backed assets

There's likely a lot more of this on the way.
Is any of it working? Is the economy better off today than it was before this spending spree?

This is amazing, and yet we still want to think that everything is going to be O.K. It is simply a matter of allocating more government money somewhere else and things will eventually fall into place. The new elect president is calling for even more money packages.

The Pope has however given us the way out of this financial crisis that would eventually lead us to hope. His formula is simple, three ingredients: justice, sobriety/simplicity, and solidarity. If we really want to address the financial crisis then we must address these three issues. Justice is needed so that greedy people will not take advantage of those who are most vulnerable, people should try to avoid by the Golden rule and we would avoid so many headaches. A sense of simplicity is needed, we have too many things and most of them are superfluous, we live in a materialistic society that incites us to consumerism and to believe that the more we have the happier we will be, and we have bought into this lie. What people need to realize is that money is not everything, that perhaps God and family are the greatest treasures they have and they must learn to live simply and with a spirit of solidarity that considers the needs of those who are truly suffering and living in need. Our self-centered mentality is closed to the reality that in many countries people are starving and dying because of lack of basic vital resources, we simply lack sensibility and a sense of compassion. Even within our own borders we have many people that need our hand and support but we are too concerned with our own desires and whims that we have not time to go beyond ourselves and reach out to those who are in need and especially those who suffer. I think the Pope has give us a great formula to solve the crisis, it is a formula that implies the transformation of the hearts and minds of the people and not simply the pouring of more millions of dollars here and there, especially when most of that money will actually go to those same greedy people that got us into this mess to begin with.

College Football

I have to admit that I really like College Football. I am a Longhorn fan all the way and this year I could not avoid cheering for the Texas QB as he played in some of the most exciting games of the year. What amazed me about Colt McCoy was his commitment to his faith as well as his determination to do his best in the field. I was amazed to see the interview right after Texas defeated Ohio in the Fiesta Bowl. The first words that came out of the MVP of the game had to do with this recognition of God not only as his personal Lord and Savior but also as the One who deserves the credit for the victory. It is great to see young people willing to stand for their faith and their values in the midst of a society that keeps mocking Christianity and its adherents. Today is another day, and today is Florida's QB who is in the spotlight. I happen to like OU's QB simply because he is a great passer, but I have to say that Tebow is not only one of the greatest QBs I have ever seen, but also another man that is openly committed to his Christian faith. And that is what distinguishes Tebow and McCoy from the rest, their excellence as athletes in two of the top football programs in the nation, but even better their open commitment to their Christian faith inside and outside the field.