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


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Relic Visitation: Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group, 3/26/2016


A family that prays together, stays together!

That familiar adage was on my mind at tonight's prayer meeting in the Gruber Home in Mililani.  Our Prayer Group had the joy of welcoming and praying with three of my cousins this month!!!  Me and my cousins get together on occasion to catch up and have quality family time, but it's never in a spiritual setting... so tonight was, indeed, a very special night for me - for our entire family tree, in fact; an answer, I believe, to my continued personal prayer that the Lord convert and touch the hearts of each and every one of my relatives, even if it's just a few members at a time.

So, as it turned out, this Holy Saturday evening I got to witness Jesus' healing and unconditional love touching members of my family in a very powerful way.  We offered the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary so it was quite a heavy mood, at first, with many of us shedding tears of heartfelt sorrow in remembrance of the Lord's terrible sufferings that the entire Church just commemorated yesterday... but there was also recognition that the Holy Spirit was effecting the healing of inner wounds in the hearts of some of us present, including my cousins.  It was one of the more intense prayer meetings we've had in a long while.

The after-effects of spending quality spiritual time with
two of my three cousins who joined tonight's prayer.

After all the prayers were finished, the potluck dinner and fellowship followed, ushering in the Lord's spirit of Joy. Our meal consisted of a wide range of delectable dishes: chili, fried chicken, shrimp with vegetables, Thai noodles, salad greens, and corn bread.  Light-hearted conversation and laughter flowed while we feasted together and then more joy followed when dessert was finally served - passion fruit cheesecake, Filipino sticky mochi-rice, and homemade pecan pie with vanilla ice cream!

I left the Gruber Home, again feeling content and extremely grateful over having been able to spend this most holy evening in quality spiritual and social time with people who mean so much to me - my blood-family and my prayer group family.  God is good!

Wishing all a very blessed and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: March 2016


O Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on March 25th:
  "Dear children! Today I am carrying my love to you. God permitted me to love you and, out of love, to call you to conversion. You, little children, are poor in love and you still have not comprehended that my Son Jesus, out of love, gave His life to save you and to give you eternal life. Therefore pray, little children, pray so that in prayer you may comprehend God's love.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Annual Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on March 18th:
  "Dear children, with a motherly heart filled with love for you, my children, I desire to teach you complete trust in God the Father. I desire for you to learn by an internal gaze and internal listening to follow God's will. I desire for you to learn to boundlessly trust in His mercy and His love, as I always trusted. Therefore, my children, cleanse your hearts. Free yourselves from everything that binds you to only what is earthly and permit what is of God to form your life by your prayer and sacrifice so that God's Kingdom may be in your heart; that you may begin to live proceeding from God the Father; that you may always strive to walk with my Son. But for all of this, my children, you must be poor in spirit and filled with love and mercy. You must have pure and simple hearts and always be ready to serve. My children, listen to me, I speak for your salvation.  Thank you."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on March 2nd:
  "Dear children, My coming to you is a gift from the Heavenly Father for you. Through His love I am coming to help you to find the way to the truth, to find the way to my Son. I am coming to confirm the truth to you. I desire to remind you of the words of my Son. He pronounced words of salvation for the entire world, the words of love for everyone - that love which He proved by His sacrifice. But even today, many of my children do not know Him, they do not want to come to know Him, they are indifferent. Because of their indifference my heart suffers painfully. My Son has always been in the Father. By being born on earth He brought the divine and from me received the human. With Him the word came among us. With Him came the light of the world which penetrates hearts, illuminates them and fills them with love and consolation. My children, all those who love my Son can see Him, because His face can be seen through the souls which are filled with love for Him. Therefore, my children, my apostles, listen to me. Leave vanity and selfishness. Do not live only for what is earthly and material. Love my Son and make it so that others may see His face through your love for Him. I will help you to come to know Him all the more. I will speak to you about Him.  Thank you."

Saturday, March 5, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 3/5/2016


The Day Chapel at St. Anthony of Padua
Church decorated for Lent 2016.
Perhaps it was because the Church is currently celebrating Lent, but the line for confession overflowed from the small Blessed Sacrament Chapel (where the confessional for St. Anthony of Padua Church is located) into the larger Day Chapel where we pray the First Saturday Rosary.  In the past five+ years that we've been holding these monthly rosary meetings, I've never seen the confessional as busy as this - it was awesome!  And what made things even better was the fact that many of the penitents came into the Day Chapel after their confession and joined us for the Rosary, making for a well-attended prayer meeting this month!

The mood is generally serious whenever we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries, which is normal given the nature of the reflections... but Lent tends to amplify the somber mood.  This time around, though, I also recognized another "vibe" in the chapel while we prayed - it was a powerful sense of what I can only describe as relief.  I knew that it was directly related to the exceptional number of penitents sitting among us, who had just come from the confessional. Many were receiving healing in their souls, which includes the lifting of heavy spiritual burdens that had been carried for whatever period of time.  Release!  

I don't know why these people decided to stay and pray - I didn't recognize most of them - but I sure am glad they did.  I believe most of them were glad, too, because many did leave looking relieved - "lighter" - than when they first came into the chapel... but, at the same time, it seemed as though most of them were unexpectedly discovering, for the very first time, the healing power of the Rosary Prayer (in addition to Confession) despite the fact that it's something that Our Lady has been trying to telling us all along, via her many appearances throughout the world. I hope these people will continue to come and pray with us...

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on April 2nd in the Day Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua Town. All are welcome to make a confession prior to praying the Rosary at 4:30pm.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - March, 2016: Blessed Aniela Salawa

Blessed Aniela Salawa
A Servant to Servants ~ Memorial:  March 12th

The lovely name of this month's featured holy person - Aniela (or Angela) - is derived from the word "angel", and she certainly lived up to the word.  Aniela Salawa was a humble domestic servant - inconspicuous in the society of her time - yet, now, she is honored in the Church as a Blessed; paid special honor throughout all of Poland. Literature in English, about this holy woman, is very limited, but whatever I could piece together about her life from various English and translated Polish sources, I share below...

A youthful Aniela.
Born in the town of Siepraw (Krakow, Poland) on September 9, 1881, she was the 11th child (out of 12), born to a faith-filled family of modest means.  The Salawas owned a farm and her father, Bartholomew, was also a blacksmith.  According to her biographers, Aniela was sickly all her life but was, nonetheless, an attractive young woman; petite, and also clean and meticulous in the way she dressed.  Her childhood was typical for people of her time and social status - she did manual chores on the farm and helped her mother with domestic work; formal education was very limited.

At age 16, her father suggested marriage, but Aniela resisted the idea because she had aspirations of one day joining a religious order.  So to avoid any prospects of marriage that her father was planning, she followed one of her sisters, Teresa, to Krakow, where Teresa worked as a maid.  There, Aniela also found employment as a servant in various homes... and for a time, her spiritual fervor waned because of the worldly influence of the city-surroundings and the allure of her now-steady income.

Teresa, who was deeply pious, made efforts to reel her younger sister back to her former spirit, but it was only after Teresa unexpectedly died from illness that Aniela began to seriously reflect on where her life was headed.  She rededicated herself to Christ rather than allowing herself to get caught up in the world again. In fact, at around 18-years-old, she applied for entrance with the local Carmelites but was politely declined because of her chronic poor health.  Resigning herself to living the lay-state, she made a private vow of virginity and diligently applied herself to living a more committed faith-life.

“I love my work because it enables me to endure suffering, work harder and pray often;
other than that I have no other desire in the world.”

~ Words of Bl. Aniela

For the rest of her years, Aniela appeared to have a rather uneventful life.  She continued working as a servant, moving from one family household to another due to various adverse circumstances.  In one home, her master made inappropriate advances towards her causing her to promptly resign; in another, the other servants mistreated her out of jealousy for the high opinion their mistress held for Aniela.  Regardless what her challenges were, she conducted herself with dignity and was an admirable example of forgiveness and virtue to her fellow domestics; some were even inspired and converted by her.  

In May of 1912, Aniela was admitted into the Franciscan Third Order (a branch of the Franciscans for the laity) and professed in August 1913.  Prior to her profession, she was already well-prepared for it by her daily attendance at Mass (since 1903) and frequent personal vigils in front of the tabernacle.  Unrealized by most (except for her confessor), Aniela had also began receiving extraordinary favors from the Lord - she experienced ecstasies during prayer; locutions from Jesus and visions of him in his sufferings; the special presence of her guardian angel who aided in her spiritual growth.  For example, on one occasion, she got to church late for her usual Eucharistic prayer vigil and was told by the caretaker that she could only stay for a short time since he was preparing to close the church.  Aniela knelt in prayer in a corner of the church and when the time came for the man to lockup, he could not find her anywhere.  Upon his return in the morning, to his surprise, he found her kneeling in ecstasy in the same corner. When reporting the matter to her confessor, the maiden explained that she had asked her guardian angel to somehow arrange things so that she could remain in overnight prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and, in response, her angel simply made her invisible.

"I want you [Jesus] to be adored as much as you were destroyed."

~ From the diary of Bl. Aniela

The last five years of Aniela's life were marked with immense suffering, offset by the joy of daily Holy Communion and spiritual consolations from Heaven.  She was evidently, a victim-soul, who offered her devotions and personal trials to God for the salvation of sinners, particularly priests. I read from one source that the onset of her final illness actually began when she compassionately prayed to Jesus to take on the sufferings of two sick people - a partially paralyzed young man who was contemplating suicide and an elderly, incurable cancer patient (a poor man) who was dismissed from a hospital.  I'm not certain about what happened with the cancer patient but the paralyzed man miraculously recovered.  In the meantime, Aniela was suddenly plagued by new bodily pains and she eventually developed cancer.

As her health steadily deteriorated Aniela came to a point where she could no longer work and was forced to move to a small, rundown basement apartment.  She was sustained through the charity of the Society of St. Zita, a pious association of domestic servants that she was a longtime active member of.  Despite her illness and poverty, she cared for the sick, in and around, Krakow until she, herself was incapacitated by her cancer.  Because of Aniela's many works of charity and mercy, some people referred to her as the "holy lady".

Left: The tomb-shrine of Bl. Aniela in the Basilica of St. Francis in Krakow.
Right:  A 1st Class [bone] Relic of Bl. Aniela in this ministry's custody.

Aniela Salawa died peacefully in the hospital of St. Zita, Krakow, on March 12, 1922. A cultus developed around her memory and healing miracles were reported at her grave, leading to Aniela's beatification on August 13, 1991.  Her shrine and relics are venerated in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Krakow, Poland.  May the Lord see fit to quickly raise her to Sainthood.

A Reflection:
"While connected to the spirituality of St. Francis, she (Aniela) showed an extraordinary responsiveness to the action of the Holy Spirit."  ~ Words of Pope John Paul II at the Beatification of Bl. Aniela Salawa

A Short Prayer:
Lord, through the inspiration of your servant, Bl. Aniela Salawa, I ask for the grace to be continually open to the action and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Amen.