Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church and our Holy Father. This "little work" is purely a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter


Monday, March 12, 2012

Holy Relic Visitation: Castle Hospital (Kailua), 3/11/2012

 
Yesterday, a holy relic in this ministry's custody was again enlisted for a hospital visit. This time around, it was a 2nd Class Relic - a piece of stigmata bandage - from the illustrious St. Padre Pio that was taken to Castle Hospital to bring consolation and blessings to a patient who may have suffered a minor stroke. St. Pio was renowned for his power to heal and work miracles so I was hopeful that his spiritual presence, through the relic, would not only bring the woman-patient a measure of peace during her illness, but also healing of body and soul.

"Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful
and will hear your prayer."  ~ Words of St. Padre Pio

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hail in Hawaii... Time to PRAY!


  
Dime-sized hail that fell in our Kailua yard and on my car (right).
Some of the hail stones that fell were reported to be as large as golf balls - yikes!

OK, the weather has been bad all week long; that's fine... but when hail starts falling in sun-loving Hawaii (some as big as 2" wide) then it means the weather is really, really bad!  Lightning, thunder, rain, strong winds, flooding... and now hail - this is definitely an unusual and potentially dangerous situation! It's time to start praying... so I'm posting the very powerful prayer shown below for readers - local and abroad - who discern the need to pray it.

Prayer Against Storms
 (make the Sign of the Cross with each "+")

Jesus Christ, the King of Glory has come in Peace. +
God became man, + and the Word was made flesh. +
Christ was born of a Virgin. +
Christ suffered. +
Christ was crucified. +
Christ died. +
Christ rose from the dead. +
Christ ascended into Heaven. +
Christ conquers. +
Christ reigns. +
Christ orders. +

May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning. +
Christ went through their midst in Peace, +
and the Word was made flesh. +
Christ is with us with Mary. +
Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the
Generation of Judah, the Root of David, has won. +

Holy God! + Holy Powerful God! + Holy Immortal God! +
Have mercy on us.

Amen. +

As I'm drafting this post, on this bleak Friday morning, solid chunks of ice are falling right outside my window and I can hear sirens blaring outside ('hope no one's seriously hurt); in all my 40+ years of life, I have never seen anything like this happen in Hawaii. It's amazing and frightening at the same time... and the local news has just announced that more of the same severe weather conditions are headed our way.  +++ More prayers needed +++

To my Hawaii neighbors out there, take care and may God bless us all!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony's Church, 3/3/2012

 
Our Lady's statue, solemnly dressed for Lent, stands above her Son's Relics
(the Fatima statue was brought to the meeting by a visiting friend)

Yesterday afternoon, with my Rosa Mystica statue veiled in black, we spiritually walked the path to Calvary in union with Jesus and our Blessed Mother, as we meditated on the Sorrowful Mysteries during March’s First Saturday Rosary. In our midst, on the altar, were two Sacred Relics from our Lord’s Passion: a particle of stone from the Scourging Pillar and a tiny splinter from the branches of the Crown of Thorns; both proved to be meaningful and appropriate focal points for our Lenten-themed reflections.

This time around, in addition to praying for World Peace, we also implored the Lord’s blessing for the conversion of sinners, especially lifting up the people dear to us who stand in need of spiritual healing. As I pondered the terrible sufferings that we, as sinners, had inflicted on Jesus during his Passion and death, I strove to keep my emotions in check as the prayers progressed. More so, during the times when my gaze fell upon the reliquary-frame and I was reminded that these relics were fragments from the instruments used to torture the Lord.  It really saddened me.

Prayer participants venerating the Sacred Relics of Christ's Passion,
before and after the Rosary for Peace

After the Rosary ended I think many of us left the Day Chapel feeling somewhat impressed by the solemn atmosphere that accompanied this month’s event. One parishioner even approached me afterward to report that she smelled a strong fragrance of roses emanating from the display altar when she approached it to kiss the reliquary-frame; perhaps it was a small gift from Our Lady to this devoted daughter of hers.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on April 7th. I again invite my Kailua neighbors - and even people from outside of Kailua - to come and join us for this special monthly prayer. Our Lady needs prayer warriors to intercede for peace and conversions - all are welcomed to participate!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Madonna in the Clouds?

Can you see the figure of Our Lady carrying Baby Jesus in the midst of the clouds?
(step back a little to see the image more distinctly or view the video below)

At the risk of being considered a fool, I’m posting this photo anyway... only because I was encouraged by the fact that I’m not alone in being able to see a blessed image in it, and also because of the set of circumstances that led up to me taking the picture. My hope is that viewers will also recognize the image, and find some hope and inspiration in it after reading this story...

It all really began after I attended a speaking engagement on February 16th by Vassula Ryden, a purported mystic of Greek Orthodox background. During her talk, one of the topics she emphasized was the need for repentance and prayers for the conversion of sinners. Readers who are familiar with the Blessed Virgin’s apparitions around the world should already know that this subject isn’t something new, but it’s been a major theme of Our Lady’s messages throughout history. According to Vassula’s testimony, Jesus and Mary are lamenting over mankinds’ lukewarm response to the messages that they’ve repeatedly given in the past. Most especially, there is now an urgent need to pray for the conversion of sinners because of the increased evil in today’s world. I was deeply impressed by this message and I left the presentation with a renewed resolve to work on my own continued conversion, and to pray more for the conversion of sinners. Now fast forward to February 28th…

This statue (minus the detailed
features) best reminds me
of the figure I saw in the sky.
As I was driving in to work, I prayed my usual morning rosary… and I offered it for the conversion of sinners. Being a sinner, myself, I consciously asked Jesus to accept my prayer intention in union with Our Lady’s prayers. I figured that if he wasn’t willing to accept the prayer from me because of my sins… he would at least accept it if it were offered to him through his own mother. So I prayed the rosary as I normally did, but when I was just about finished, I happened to glance up at the sky ahead of me and noticed a remarkable cloud formation – it looked like a giant silhouette of a woman holding a baby! I managed to take a couple of photos with my cell-phone, of which the above-photo turned out the best (it was much clearer when I saw it in person).

Me, and others, have discerned in the uncanny cloud formation Our Lady carrying the infant Jesus in one arm, while her other arm is extended downward towards the earth (see the short video below). Either the Blessed Mother is holding her hand out as an invitation for us to draw near to her and her Divine Son, or she is extending her hand out to offer us the Christ Child. However one interprets the gesture, the end result is the same: JESUS! I also perceived in this occurrence that Our Lady was making it known that she is reaching out in a special way to sinners... and on a more personal level, I felt assured that she had kindly accepted my prayer intention and had offered it to the Lord.

video
(enlarge the view by clicking on the button at the bottom-right)

In retrospect, it’s not so much the remarkable cloud-figure that I find so intriguing about this entire situation, but more so, it’s the timing of the sequence of events that led up to it: from Vassula’s testimony… to me offering my rosary in union with Our Lady’s prayers… and then the appearance in the sky of a highly symbolic image of the Madonna and Child at the end of the prayer. If that wasn’t enough… the day after, when I was having doubts over whether the Lord was truly involved in all of this, the priest who offered the Noon Mass in the Honolulu Cathedral preached, out of all topics... the need for us to pray for the conversion of sinners!  How cool is that?  God is truly AWESOME!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Saint of the Month: March 2012


Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka
A Courageous Woman of Faith ~ Memorial: March 30th

The events of World War II and the atrocities committed by Hitler’s Third Reich are a terrible darkness for our period of modern history. But shining brightly in the midst of all the smoke, chaos, and destruction were many souls of exceptional virtue, whose valiant examples of faith could not be extinguished by the evil around them… and who through the generous sacrifice of their own blood, gave powerful testimony to the light of Christ and the truth of the Gospel message. One such soul was Bl. Maria Restituta Kafka, a nun whose smile and spirit of joy were easily contagious.

Originally named Helene Kafka, she was the daughter of a humble shoemaker from Brno, Czech Republic; she was born on May 1, 1894. Prior to entering into religious life Helene trained and worked as a nurse, which prepared her for when she joined the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in 1914. She received the religious name of “Sr. Maria Restituta”, partly after an early Church martyr.

The Joy of God's Love!
The first 25 years of Sr. Restituta’s religious life were fairly uneventful with nothing by way of the extraordinary to report… she diligently fulfilled her duties as a highly skilled nursing sister in a hospital in Vienna, Austria, and earned a reputation for being charitable towards the poor, full of laughter, and very down-to-earth. According to an account, her usual way of winding down after a long day’s work was to head to her favorite tavern where she always ordered a serving of stroganoff, followed by a tall mug of beer to wash it all down! When the Nazis took control of Austria in April 1938, rather than keeping silent, Sr. Restituta became a vocal opponent of their regime, even going so far as to publicly call Adolf Hitler a “mad man”.

After a new wing was added in the Viennese hospital where she worked, Sr. Restituta hung crucifixes in every room, which drew the unwanted attention of the Nazis. The Nazis, who frowned on any exterior expressions of faith, ordered the immediate removal of the crucifixes, but Sr. Restituta firmly refused to comply with their demand. Being a woman of faith, she believed that an important part of healing the body was to treat the soul, as well, and she wasn’t about to deprive her patients of the hope they received from the visible symbol of salvation. Consequently, she was taken into custody by the Gestapo in 1942 and eventually sentenced to death for, “…aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason.”

While awaiting the fulfillment of her sentence, Sr. Restituta continued to practice charity by caring for sick prisoners and spiritually preparing those who were facing a similar fate as herself. Her exemplary conduct impressed many people, including those who had influence with the Nazis… Sr. Restituta was offered the opportunity to save herself if only she would renounce her religious vocation, but yet again, she firmly refused to comply with the Gestapo’s demands.

On October 28th, 1942, Sr. Restituta was guillotined, thus earning for herself the illustrious Martyr’s Crown. The Nazis hurriedly dumped her remains in a mass grave hoping to stifle any hopes of having her honored as a Martyr, but the Lord willed otherwise. Sr. Resituta’s faith and courage were not forgotten by her people, but rather her memory and courageous example continued to be revered in Austria. The Church officially recognized her Martyrdom by Beatifying her in June 1998.

A Reflection:
“I have lived for Christ; I want to die for Christ”. ~ The last words of Bl. Maria Restituta Kafka

A Short Prayer:
Lord, in the face of growing Christian persecution, grant us the same Faith and Courage that you instilled in Bl. Maria Restituta.  Amen.