Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy On Us

Sacred Heart of Jesus Have mercy On Us

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We all fall short of the glory of God, and for some it involves an obscene amout of money.

The United States Attorneys Office - Eastern District of Pennsylvania



 


                                    
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group of five Charged in $200 million tax fraud scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 23, 2013

 
PHILADELPHIA – A superseding indictment, charging five people in a complex, multi-million dollar tax fraud scheme, was unsealed today following the arrest of one of the defendants. The indictment alleges that the conspirators caused more than $200 million in losses to the United States through a massive scheme. Named in the 49-count indictment are: Samyak Veera, 39, of Singapore, Aviel Faliks, 39, of New York City, Chandrakant Shah, 65, of India, Donald Stevenson, 56, of North Palm Beach, Florida, and Eric Merl, 61, address unknown.  Faliks was arrested this morning in New York City. John Ivsan, 44, Andrew Ahn, 39, and Helen Del Bove, 53, have pleaded guilty in related cases and are awaiting sentencing. The indictment and informations filed against these defendants were also unsealed today. The charges were announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Tax Division Kathryn Keneally, and Chief of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Richard Weber.
The defendants named in the superseding indictment are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws. In addition to those charges, Veera is also charged with 11 counts of tax evasion and 19 counts of wire fraud; Faliks is also charged with five counts of tax evasion and eight counts of wire fraud; Shah is also charged with 11 counts of tax evasion; and Merl is also charged with four counts of making materially false statements to government officials. The indictment contains a notice of forfeiture for up to $150 million from Veera and Faliks.
Between at least 2003 and 2011, the defendants allegedly designed and implemented a scheme to evade more than $200 million in corporate taxes by purchasing companies with taxable gains and using fraudulent losses to wipe out the gains. The defendants then allegedly pocketed the corporations’ cash, filed fraudulent returns, and, in some instances, fraudulently sought and obtained refunds from the IRS for prior years. According to the superseding indictment, the defendants implemented their fraud scheme through four basic steps: (1) initial purchasers - including MidCoast Financial Inc., a company owned by Chandrakant Shah and operated by Samyak Veera - purchased target corporations with cash assets and large anticipated corporate income tax liabilities; (2) the initial purchasers next transferred these target corporations to straw buyers controlled on paper by Andrew Ahn and Aviel Faliks; (3) the defendants then evaded the corporations' income taxes through the use of fraudulent transactions designed to create the illusion that the corporations had incurred capital and ordinary losses; and (4) finally, the defendants distributed proceeds of the scheme through disguised means.
Defendant Donald Stevenson was the head of the acquisition team at MidCoast Financial and its successor and allegedly led the effort to identify ripe targets for the conspiracy. Helen Del Bove provided bookkeeping services to Veera, Ahn, and Faliks, tracking the target corporations purchased, the gains that needed to be eliminated, and the losses used to wipe them out.  She allegedly provided this information to a tax return preparer so that the false returns could be prepared and filed. It is further alleged that Del Bove attempted to destroy key evidence after the IRS began to investigate the transactions. Eric Merl and John Ivsan both served as counsel to Veera and MidCoast Financial and other entities used to implement the fraud.  Later, after the IRS began to look into MidCoast Financial's transactions, it is alleged that Merl and Stevenson started and operated Private Capital Resource Group Inc. (PCRG), a new company to carry on the scheme. Aviel Faliks allegedly served as the straw buyer of the target corporations identified by PCRG, but he also played an instrumental role in setting up the fraudulent options transactions used to wipe out the corporations' gains.
If convicted of all charges, the sentencing guidelines call for a minimum sentence of at least 188 months imprisonment for Veera, Shah, and Stevenson, at least 151 months for Faliks, and at least 121 months for Merl. For Ivsan, Ahn, and Del Bove, the maximum years of imprisonment are ten years, eight years, and three years, respectively.
The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick J. Murray and Nancy E. Potts, and Tax Division Trial Attorney Andrew P. Young.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525





Thursday, July 4, 2013

Experience teaches far more then mere knowledge.

I have come to understand one thing, through my most exasperating and desperate of conditions and experiences. I realize why the majority don't get it, and judge mercilessly and inappropriately. It is not enough to identify a problem, you must identify with the problem through hardcore experience; and only then do you become part of the solution, and are qualified to determine the remedy.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen







     " The psychological reason for the cruelty in the modern world is this:  those who have a deep hidden sense of guilt, feel the need of making some reparation for it. But since they refuse to face their own moral guilt, they inflict on others a punishment which should have been inflicted on themselves."

-  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I love this Pope Francis. He tells it like it is! He is confronting his own church people.


» 06/27/2013 13:02
VATICAN
Pope: there are "so many" Christians who are "not Christians, but who disguise themselves as Christians"
During morning Mass, Francis highlights two categories of believers who do not rest their faith on the "rock" of Jesus: the superficial, who live floating on the surface of the faith and the "rigid", for whom "being Christian means being in perpetual morning”. "Neither " know Christian joy. They do not know how to enjoy the life that Jesus gives us, for they do not know how talk to Jesus. They do not feel they rest on Jesus, with that firmness which the presence of Jesus gives."


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Many" Christians "are not Christians, but they disguise themselves as Christians," because their faith does not rest on the rock, which is Jesus: there are "superficial Christians who believe, yes God, Christ, but too 'popular': Jesus Christ is not the one that gives them foundation. They are modern Gnostics "and there are those who believe that the Christian life is to be taken so seriously that end up confusing solidity, firmness, with rigidity. They are rigid! They think that to be a Christian they must be in perpetual mourning".
This is how Pope Francis commented the passage from the Gospel of Matthew on houses built on rock or sand at this morning's Mass celebrated in Casa Santa Marta. These are two - in a sense opposite - "houses",  in which two categories of believers live and which are both seriously flawed: they are grounded in a Christianity made of words and fail to rely on the "rock" of the Word of Christ. Pope Francis identified both groups in his comments on the Gospel of the day, the famous passage  from Matthew of the houses built on sand and rock. "In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words - those" Lord, Lord, Lord "- and Christians of action, in truth. There has always been the temptation to live our Christianity not on the rock that is Christ. The only one who gives us the freedom to say 'Father' to God is Christ, our rock. He is the only one who sustains us in difficult times, no? As Jesus said: the rain falls, rivers overflow, winds blow, but the rock is safe, words, the words take flight, they are not needed. But this is the temptation of these Christians of words, of a Christianity without Jesus, a Christianity without Christ. And this has happened and is happening today in the Church: being Christians without Christ. "
There is a first type - which he defined as "gnostic -"who instead of loving the rock, loves beautiful words "and therefore lives floating on the surface of the Christian life. And then there's the other, who Pope Francis called "pelagian", who leads a staid and starched lifestyle. Christians, the Pope ironically added, who "stare at their feet" . "And this temptation exists today. Superficial Christians who believe, yes, God, yes Christ, but not 'everywhere': Jesus Christ is not the one who gives them their foundation. They are the modern gnostics. The temptation of gnosticism. A 'liquid' Christianity. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the Christian life should be taken so seriously that they end up confusing solidity, firmness, with rigidity. They are rigid! This think that being Christian means being in perpetual mourning. "
 The fact is that there "are so many" of these  Christians.  But, he argued, "they are not Christians, they disguise themselves as Christians." "They do not know - he added - what the Lord is, they do not know what the rock is, do not have the freedom of Christians. To put it simply 'they have no joy".
"The former have a 'superficial' happiness. The others live in perpetual state of mourning,  but do not know what Christian joy is. They do not know how to enjoy the life that Jesus gives us, for they know not to talk to Jesus.  They do not feel that they rest on Jesus, with that firmness which the presence of Jesus gives.  And they not only have no joy, they have no freedom either. They are the slaves of superficiality, of this life widespread, and the slaves of rigidity, they are not free. The Holy Spirit has no place in their lives,. It is the Spirit who gives us the freedom! Today, the Lord calls us to build our Christian life on Him, the rock, the One who gives us freedom, the One who sends us the Spirit, that keeps us going with joy, on His journey, following His proposals. "

Pray for Father John Corapi's vindication

    
As you may well know, it has been approximately two years since the Tamra Sexton, false accusation scandal. I say the Sexton scandal, because provocation and slander is in her nature; the two main ingredients of the grave sin of calumny. I refuse to attach the word scandal to the noble and innocent name of Fr. Corapi, because he was the true victim.  I personally feel strongly that the Spirit of God is at work to reinstate his good and genuine name. We must continue to pray for him vigilantly.
     A beautiful lady, by the name of Juliette Girouard, had been daily posting novenas, prayers, and encouraging words for over two years. Amazingly faithful woman, devoted to Fr. Corapi's innocence and vindication. Another woman by the name of Pat Jones, has equally yet differently, been a daily and investigative advocate for Father.  It is people like these that make all the difference in the spiritual outcome of an innocent man; including all the others who support him in their daily devotions. Keep up the noble work. He deserves his reinstatement, and I do believe it will come in due time, according to God's perfect will. Keep praying. God bless.

P.S.
 Every one that defended Father Corapi , and consequently has kept him secured in heart, mind and prayer,  is relevant to his vindication process. God will prevail through the team of hidden and known soldiers.  May God reward them for defending  a holy, yet severely victimized man of God.  God knows the people that he chose to facilitate Father Corapi's vindication. May God continue to  bless them, and to reward them with  eternal paradise. May they one day hear the words, "Well done my faithful servant, come and enter into my Father's House..."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We love you Fr. C!

Revisiting Father Corapi

Birthday Cake Anyone?


The Jezebel Spirit

     I am re-posting this article, because I think so many are affected by this principality. My biggest learning experience regarding this evil spirit arose via a biological relationship, within my own family.  What should be the closest relative to myself, had actually proven to be the greatest open door to evil torment in my life. My ultimate freedom from suffering came when I cooperated with God's grace to terminate the relationship, and to close the door to the evil manifest in this particular individual. I hope you find it educational.

Jezebel, the Marian Counterfeit.




Peace of the Lord be upon all brothers and sisters of Him. I am busy working and growing in Him which means blog time must be set aside. The lesson of balancing priorities and discipline can be tough at times and perhaps excruciatingly painful, but we must master our passionate disorders if we are ever to grow and to progress. Sometimes creating written communication can be like giving birth, exhausting and draining, and so we need moments to regroup and gain the stabilizing ground of His comfort. In moments of growth which indeed involves prayer, we are never really far from the cross, if we are genuinely seeking His will. I am currently creating some items concerning Marian intercession because it is good to focus on lighter moments of spiritual reality at times. Yet in my prayer time I will casually pick up a book, flipping through pages dog-eared years ago, and something captivates my attention. So I will not go too deep or intellectual for the moment but underscore certain basic insights provided by others over the years.

Consider this checklist: Red Flags
1) "I just want to be your friend." More than likely, people who say these things will have expectations that you will never be able to meet.

2) " I just want to help you get to where God has called you." In other words, "you cannot get to your destiny without me." Beware!

3) " There are no strings attached to my help. I just want to serve." However, you'll find lots of hidden strings.

4) "You can trust me. I will always support you." Such people will support you as long as you do what they say!

5) "You do not acknowledge my gifting." People like this are asking you for more authority in the church.

I am showing five points worth contemplating when faced with opposition or hardship as we tread down the narrow path, found in a very interesting book I acquired years ago, and this book is not for the fainthearted, arrogantly disbelieving, or self-deceived. If you frequent the confessional I suspect you will see an element of yourself at one time or another in your life, in this particular text. Gut level self-examination is rare and that is why so few ever go to confession because they have deluded themselves into believing a lie. The lie is we are not sinful and ,of course, not in need of reconciliation, yet we will hold our head's up high in the communion line and receive the Lord's body unworthily thinking we can fool Him and perhaps steal a little grace. The exact same posturing individuals will spread other's sins throughout church cliques and parishes. I will give this warning once, if an individual takes it upon himself to accuse a person of sin that is under the seal of confession, you are treading dangerous ground and you are operating in a spirit of Satan. No, you are not momentarily weak or gravely mistaken, temptingly cajoled by an isolated demon, you are in fact under the influence of a powerful, high ranking, but clearly fallen principality. This is a fact.
"Accusation's power is satanic. It sows fear in an individual's heart. It causes people to run. Satan is the accuser of the brethren(Revelation 12:10), as well as the father of lies. A spirit of accusation has no truthful rationale behind it. Therefore, it cannot be reasoned with. It can only be dealt with as the Holy Spirit enlightens those in leadership. As with Korah, there will always be something to camouflage the real issue, which is a spirit of lawlessness. Those who walk in an accusing spirit are actually agreeing with the doctrine of demons. Therefore, God will hold them accountable, no matter what situation they are trying to correct. This is why the apostle James says that wherever you find slander and accusation, there also exists every evil thing (James 3:16).
-Excerpted from the writings of John Paul Jackson

Accusation is closely interwoven with the grave sin of calumny. The lack of appropriate reverence and obedience to authority has manifested in this lawlessness in church communities. I gave up on most group activities years ago because they were dens of gossip and slander. It escalated to a point where I could not even sneak a quiet moment with the Lord during adoration without overhearing someone slandering the local priest. One daily mass frequenter whined in the sacristy for all to hear in passing, complaining that she was sick of hearing the Bishop talk about Mother Teresa all the time. To bemoan the example of a saint makes me wonder what daily mass avails such individuals.
I appreciate that we would all rather bang a tambourine and be entertained with the guise of charismatic praise at Mass. Personally, it is much easier to live in the delusion and listen to mariachi music or catholic rap, and deem it higher worship. I am waiting for the moment they start serving cocktails during sacred liturgy because people cannot seem to function without their flesh being entertained. We want to recreate 'Sister Act' grand standing, drawing attention to ourselves and away from the sacrifice of the Mass. Jesus doesn't need our applause for our feeble praise adds nothing to His glory, but He does desire our reverence, our obedience, and hitting the pavement on our knees in worship. And I believe obedience begins with the submission to authority. Pastoral authority, magisterial authority, doctrinal authority, and Papal authority. Embracing all elements of church teaching is fundamental to being a genuine Catholic and anything less is lack of true communion with Our church. To attack this authority is not to be under the direction of the Holy Spirit. So where is my chatter leading? I could give more examples but I have been around long enough, and seen enough over the years, to experience true exasperation at times but the bottom line is this ,Jezebel.
Her name is Jezebel and think of her as satan's girlfriend. Behind all lawlessness, accusation, calumny, gossip, slander, disobedience to and disrespect for all hierarchy of Church authority, and irreverence and the ultimate division it breeds, there she lurks. Her manifestation which is becoming so active and prevalent is a palpable smoke and bad stink lingering in our sacred places. This is why I revert to Mary, Blessed Mother, for I need her swift kick interceding for me in my journey.

"Individuals with a Jezebel spirit are skilled in getting their way. They may use strategies of flattery, persuasion, sexual seduction, slander, lying, accusation, intimidation, secrecy, persecution, framing another person for a wrong done, or generating emotional and/or spiritual dependency in someone... If a situation is not resolved to their satisfaction, Jezebel will malign, insinuate, badmouth, smear their target and plant libelous doubts in the minds of others. They will coyly violate disciplinary instructions, in an attempt to garner misguided sympathy and support. This tactic seems to satiate Jezebel's false sense of justice."
- Excerpted from the writings of John Paul Jackson
I think what fascinates me about the formation of creation by our Creator is the mere process and consequent offspring of the spoken word. God spoke and all that we see created including ourselves is the result of His Word. The same Word becomes incarnate and Jesus enters humanity. Words are mysteriously powerful for they create life and being. On the other hand, we can literally murder the human heart and contribute to the psychological and spiritual demise of others via the unrestrained utterances falling from a vapid tongue. Filthy and destroying words fall out of our mouths like drool at times, and it really only reveals in the end the disfigured and darkened condition of our soul. Words can kill. The same individuals who stake out holy houses and ingratiate themselves in every group imaginable, defiling one brother or sister after another, under the masquerade of Christian concern yet deeply intent on calumniating every and any unsuspecting victim, are much further away from Christ than the most violent drug addicts and prostitutes roaming the drudgery of the streets. The sad reality is all of the fallen away Catholics I have met over the years, denying themselves the grace of the sacraments, and it always is because some militant tongue spoke poison to them and the wounds were disastrous.
In the end we see the results of a deeply embedded spiritual wound misguiding and ultimately contaminating the healthy psychology of the human soul. These wounds become festering and open doors in our soul, affecting the human mind, and oftentimes avail the opportunity for deeply entrenched strongholds to manifest. And what is a mental stronghold? It is not a chemical reality or psychotic disturbance but a severe spiritual condition that can lead to our own demise and misfortune.
" A stronghold is an area of the mind where darkness reigns. It is a system of logic, rooted in a lie, that an individual has come to accept. This system of thought is formed behind and habitual response, addiction, fixation, compulsion, obsession, and/or inordinate fear. As such, a stronghold is any though pattern alien to the Word of God. it serves as a mental or emotional " command post " to which the enemy has access. This mental or emotional word or thought system is designed to create misinformation and thereby affect and individual's decision-making ability. Consequently, a stronghold keeps a person from embracing true Christ likeness."
-excerpted from the writings of John Paul Jackson
Read the old testament and learn the lessons of the spiritual castration of God's given and appointed authority, ministerial or spiritual or even prophetic, and look at the fate of one who is so arrogant to rise above it. We need prayer, penance, and sacrifice so desperately today. The challenge is to seek the avenues of prayer that avail us so much grace because without such we are impotent and crippled in the warfare raging in our world today. I am so sick and tired of dealing with this one for her infection plagues too many to number, and it is a deadly spiritual poison to be avoided. Commit yourself to avoid those occasions or persons completely who operate in the fallen realm. If you belong to a study or prayer group and more time is wasted gossiping or calumniating, rather than praising the Lord and edifying His brethren, that is the evidence of instruction to evacuate quickly. Disengage from the persons and situations that attack and undermine any structure or assignment of true Church authority. Always pray and intercede but do not fall into the deceptive temptation toward unwarranted mercy for those who proactively reject God's commands and engage in unchecked and continuous evil. Most importantly never trust any person walking in such a spiritual condition lest you be caught in the line of fire.
The book I reference is called 'Unmasking the Jezebel Spirit,' by John Paul Jackson. I learned about such malevolent activity primarily from contending with so many individuals under its influence, but I found direction through a holy lay woman and a wise priest far more learned that anyone I hope to meet again. Pray. Peace of Him.

Have you been baptized with the mystical fire?

Have you been baptized with the mystical fire?
Mary untie our knots.

Jesus I Trust In You

Jesus I Trust In You

Fr. Herman Jayachandra

Fr. Herman Jayachandra
" Brothers and Sisters, I have met and prayed with this man personally and He is a true man of God, obedient to Rome and dedicated to the Blessed Mother and Eucharistic Jesus. He is a warrior in the Kingdom."

Suffering and the Cross part 1

Suffering & Cross What can we learn from suffering? Sometimes we get stuck asking the question “Why do we suffer?” instead of asking “What can we learn through suffering?” When we ask this question, we realize that God allows the things he hates (e.g., sin and suffering) so that the things he loves (e.g., virtues, compassion, love, and new life) may grow. Sometimes suffering is necessary to achieve some good. In the Gospel of John (16:21), Jesus speaks of the suffering of a woman in labor. Although her pain is great, her joy is complete with the birth of her child. Sometimes when we are in the midst of suffering, it is difficult to see the good that can come out of it. However, whether it is the birth of a child or the development of a virtue, good often does follow from suffering. Suffering helps bring us closer to others. Through our own sufferings and heartaches, we come to understand the pain of others. Just as Jesus shared in our sufferings, we too are called to share in the sufferings of others. Suffering helps us to be better Christians and more Christ-like. In many respects, suffering is a gift, as it can teach us to be better Christians by teaching us about patience, humility, and compassion. Think about Job in the Old Testament. Job was a wealthy and revered man who was blessed with good health and a large family. And, in the eyes of the Lord, Job was good and righteous. However, Satan stripped Job of his earthly possessions, his family, and his health. Although Job endured great suffering, he remained steadfast in his faith in God. Moreover, his great suffering helped to purify and strengthen his love for God. Recall too the lives of the saints and martyrs. In Philippians 1:12-13, we read that St. Paul was not concerned with his own suffering; rather, he was pleased that his “imprisonment in Christ’s cause worked out to the furtherance of the gospel.” Likewise, St. Stephen and thousands of other martyrs not only grew closer to God in their suffering, but they chose a life (and death) of great suffering for their love of Christ. In their suffering, they remembered the Lord’s promise that “Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12). And, most importantly, recall the passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As St. Francis de Sales reminds us, “Look intently and frequently on Christ Jesus, crucified, naked, blasphemed, slandered, forsaken and overwhelmed by every kind of weariness, sorrow and labor. Remember that your sufferings are not comparable to his in quality and quantity, and that you can never suffer for his sake anything equal to what he has suffered FOR YOU.” How amazing is God’s love for us! Our powerful, all good, and everlasting Lord – the Creator of the entire world – humbled Himself to take on the form of a man, and not just any man, but a slave. And, He obediently accepted death – death on a cross – because of His infinite love for us (Philippians 2:7-8). Suffering reminds us to look ahead to our eternal life with God. Sometimes, suffering forces us to take a time-out from this life. When we suffer, we are forced to ask the hard questions in life. We are forced to examine the meaning of life, and the meaning of death. And, we are forced to consider that this world makes no sense at all unless there exists some greater plan for us. Through it all, suffering inspires us to look ahead to the possibilities of eternal life – a life of truth, beauty, justice, and love – with God. The Lord reminds us to “Have no fear of the sufferings to come . . . remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10).Through our own sufferings, then, we are called to remember the sufferings of other Christians and of Christ Himself. Through our sufferings, we are called to be faithful to God, and to turn to Him for comfort. And, we are reminded that true peace and happiness can NEVER be found in this world; rather, as Christians, we must set our sights on the next world – and our eternal life with God. How are we to endure suffering? In modern society, we are taught that happiness is the ultimate goal. And, moreover, happiness is equated with immediate gratification, pleasures of the body and the palate, and possession of the “conveniences” created by modern technology. In this conception of happiness, suffering doesn’t seem to have a place. Yet, as Christians, we know that we are called to a life of holiness, and that the path to holiness often involves suffering. We believe that Christ saved us by His suffering, and that “we must work out our salvation in the same manner, through suffering and afflictions, enduring the injuries, denials and discomforts we meet with all possible meekness” (St. Francis de Sales). For Christians, then, suffering does have its place. If we are to be holy, we must endure our trials in accord with God’s will. When an evil happens to us, we must do all we can to remedy the situation. If we are at fault, we must humbly admit our transgression. And, if the evil is caused by another, we must bless that person and “never repay injury with injury” (Rom. 12:14, 17). We must be patient in our suffering – we must not complain or seek pity from others. We must consider the suffering of other Christians before us – and of Christ Himself. We must offer up our suffering to Christ. We must remember that our time on this earth is short and our trials shall quickly pass. Above all, we must pray. The great mystic Thomas à Kempis said that we should always let Christ’s promises strengthen and console us. Receiving Him will be a reward beyond all measure. Thomas à Kempis “speaks” for Christ as follows: “You will not labor here for long, nor will you always be burdened with sorrows. . . . The hour will come when blood, sweat and tears will be no more. All that passes away with time is of little importance, and it passes away quickly. Whatever you do, do it well . . . bear adversity with courage. Eternal life is worth all these battles – and more ... Oh, if only you could see the everlasting crowns of the saints in heaven and how much glory they now enjoy – those same saints who, when they were alive, were held in utter contempt by the world and were thought unworthy of even drawing breath . . . Are not all painful labors to be endured for eternal life. It is no small thing to lose or gain the kingdom of God! So, lift your face to heaven. Look at me and all my saints with me, they who in this world have had great contention. They are now joyful, they are now consoled, they are now safe, they are now at rest, and they will forever remain with me in my Father’s kingdom.” What is meant by redemptive suffering? Pope John Paul II wrote: “In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his sufferings, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ” (Salvifici Doloris). St. Paul likewise realized that his sufferings had redemptive power: “I find joy in the sufferings I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” (Colo. 1:24). Some people are concerned that St. Paul’s words imply that Christ’s passion was insufficient for our redemption. Before Christ died, He cried out, “It is finished,” meaning that He had accomplished our redemption. But, as Pope Pius XII said in his encyclical on the Mystical Body (Mystici Corporis Christi): “In carrying out the work of redemption Christ wishes to be helped by the members of His Body. This is not because He is indigent or weak, but rather because He so willed it for the greater glory of His spotless Spouse (Church). Dying on the Cross, He left to the Church the immense treasury of the Redemption. Towards this she (the Church) contributed nothing. But when those graces come to be distributed, not only does He share this task of sanctification with His Church, but he wants it, in a way, to be due to her action. What a deep mystery . . . that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body offer for that intention, and on the assistance of pastors of souls and of the faithful…” Jesus wants to honor us, the members of His Mystical body by participating in His redemptive mission (Colo.1:24). Compiled by Fr. Herman (Feb. 11’07--the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes).

Suffering and The Cross part 2

Suffering & The Cross The Shrine at Lourdes was chosen last year for the World Day of Prayer, because it was the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In fact, it was on Dec. 8, 1854, that Blessed Pius IX, affirmed that “the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from every stain of original sin.” At Lourdes, Mary, speaking in the local dialect, said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” With these words, did not the Virgin perhaps wish to express the bond which joins together health and life? Just as death entered the world through original sin, so through the merits of Jesus Christ, God preserved Mary from every stain of sin, and salvation and life came to us (Rom. 5:12-21). The original plan of God for creation was thereby restored in Christ. The great work of Redemption, accomplished through the precious blood of Christ, began with the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In Jesus, every person is called to the fullness of holiness (Col. 1:28). Just as Jesus is the source of life which overcomes death, Mary is the solicitous mother who comes to the assistance of her children, obtaining for them health of body and soul. This is the message that the Shrine of Lourdes constantly presents to devotees and pilgrims. This is also the meaning of the physical and spiritual healings that take place in the grotto of Massabielle. From the day of her apparition to St. Bernadette Soubirous, Mary’s prayers “cured” pain and sickness, restoring health of body to so many of her children. However, her intercession achieved even more surprising miracles in the souls of believers, opening their hearts to re-encounter her Son Jesus, the true response to the most profound aspirations of the human heart. The Holy Spirit, whose power overshadowed her at the moment of the Incarnation, transforms the souls of countless sick people who turn to Him. Even when they do not obtain health in body, they can always receive something even more important—conversion of heart, the source of peace and of interior joy. This gift transforms their existence and makes them apostles of the cross of Christ, vessels of hope even when confronted with the most difficult trials. Suffering is part of the human condition, and man has to learn to accept and overcome it. But how can we do that, if not through the cross of Christ? In the death and resurrection of the Redeemer, human suffering finds its most profound meaning and its salvific value. The entire weight of the tribulations and sufferings of the human race is condensed in the mystery of a God who, assuming our human nature, denied Himself even to the point of making Himself “sin on our behalf” (2 Cor. 5:21). On Golgotha, He was weighed down with the sins of every human creature and, in the solitude of abandonment, cried out to the Father: “Why have you abandoned me?” (Mt. 27:46). From the paradox of the Cross flows the response to our most unsettling questions. Christ suffers for us. He takes upon Himself the suffering of all and redeems it. Christ suffers with us, giving us the possibility of sharing with Him our own sufferings. United to the sufferings of Christ, human suffering becomes a means of salvation. That is why the believer can say with St. Paul: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). Sorrow, accepted with faith, becomes the door for entering into the mystery of the redeeming suffering of the Lord. This is a suffering which does not take away peace and happiness, because it is illuminated by the splendor of the Resurrection. At the foot of the Cross, Mary suffers in silence, participating in a very special way in the sufferings of her Son. She became the mother of all people, ready to intercede so that every one can obtain salvation. It is not difficult to understand this singular participation of Our Lady in the salvific role of Christ. The miracle of the Immaculate Conception reminds believers of a fundamental truth. It is only possible to attain salvation by participating with docility in the plan of the Father, who willed to redeem the world through the death and the resurrection of His only-begotten Son. He wanted to show how He loves us. He wanted to show the horribleness of sin and the displeasure we earn by our disobedience to His commandments. He wanted us to know the costliness of attaining heaven. He also wanted to tell us how sin is infectious, like a ripple in a lake. With Baptism, the believer is inserted into this salvific plan and is freed from original sin. Sickness and death, although they continue to be present in our earthly existence, nonetheless lose their negative meaning. In the light of faith, the death of the body, conquered by the death of Christ (Rom. 6:4), becomes the obligatory passage to the fullness of immortal life. I recall what Mother Teresa said when she visited our seminary in Madras in the year 1963: “You are to become apostles of joy, to console the Sacred Heart of Jesus through joy. You have heavy crosses waiting for you in your future ministry. Remember the passion of Christ ends always in the joy of Resurrection; so when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the Resurrection has to come, the joy of Easter has to dawn. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ.” I know this has been repeatedly told to her sisters. God is love, and we are truly called to become instruments of His love on earth, not to become apostles of compromise of God’s teachings for the sake of peace. We do a disservice to our fellow man if we do not point out their error and ignorance. We are called to lift the veil of untruth and error and show the beauty of God and His plan for human beings. At Christmas in the Eastern Church, there is a practice of embroidering the swaddling clothes with the Sign of the Cross. Also, the figure of the Divine Infant is presented with arms extended, as he would be on the Cross. We have the same kind of baby Jesus in our parish. In those symbolic ways is presented the unity of the mystery of redemption, joy, and sorrow. From the wood of the crib to the wood of the cross, the mystery is one. The poverty, the abandonment, the rejection which Jesus suffered on the Cross, He already experienced at His coming. We need to understand that life should be the same. Just as beneath the Cross there was the comfort of loving hearts, so at Bethlehem He was greeted with the joyful welcome of pure hearts and the song of the angels. When we celebrate His coming every year with special solemnity, we greet Him with the age-old song, “Venite adoremus”, “Come let us adore Him.” Beneath the Cross, our prayer of worship is the same: ‘We adore thee, O Christ, and praise thee.’ In our lives, punctuated by the interplay of Bethlehem joy and Calvary sorrow; we are certain that the same love that made Him come and made Him die for us, is always beside us. This is the mystery of the Cross. Pray to Our Blessed Mother of Perpetual Help that she may help every Christian witness to the fact that the only authentic response to sorrow, suffering, and death is Christ, our Lord, who died and rose for us. Compiled by Fr. Herman April 11, 2004