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


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: January 2017


Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on January 25th:
   "Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray for peace: peace in human hearts, peace in the families and peace in the world. Satan is strong and wants to turn all of you against God, and to return you to everything that is human, and to destroy in the heart all feelings towards God and the things of God. You, little children, pray and fight against materialism, modernism and egoism, which the world offers to you. Little children, you decide for holiness and I, with my Son Jesus, intercede for you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on January 2nd:
   "Dear children, My Son was the source of love and light when he spoke on earth to the people of all peoples. My apostles, follow His light. This is not easy. You must be little. You must make yourselves smaller than others; with the help of faith to be filled with His love. Not a single person on earth can experience a miraculous experience without faith. I am with you. I am making myself known to you by these comings, by these words; I desire to witness to you my love and motherly care. My children, do not waste time posing questions to which you never receive an answer. At the end of your journey on earth, the Heavenly Father will give them to you. Always know that God knows everything; God sees, God loves. My most beloved Son illuminates lives, dispels darkness; and my motherly love which carries me to you is inexpressible, mysterious but real. I am expressing my feelings to you: love, understanding and motherly benevolence. Of you, my apostles, I am asking for your roses of prayer which need to be acts of love. To my motherly heart these are the dearest prayers. I offer these to my Son who was born for your sake. He looks at you and hears you. We are always close to you. This is the love which calls, unites, converts, encourages and fulfills. Therefore, my apostles, always love one another and above all, love my Son. This is the only way to salvation, to eternal life. This is my dearest prayer which fills my heart with the most beautiful scent of roses. Pray, always pray for your shepherds that they may have the strength to be the light of my Son.  Thank you."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1/7/2017


It felt nice to be back in our Day Chapel today praying the Holy Rosary as a group; our first First Saturday Rosary for Peace in 2017.  There's always something very comforting about starting off an important endeavor with prayer; having God bless it... and this year could be very important, indeed, for all of us, especially with a new [and often controversial] American President being inaugurated soon and the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady's apocalyptic appearances in Fatima looming just around the corner in May. Continued prayer and blessing for the world was definitely in order.

So today we did just that - offered a heartfelt prayer for the world... and there was a big turn-out in parishioners, which is always a welcomed sight. As with all our monthly rosaries here at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, our gathered participants prayed in spiritual union with Our Lady and a "Saint of the Month".  This month our featured Saint was St. Charles of Sezze, whose relic was also present with us in the chapel (read about him here).  Being that he was a profoundly Eucharistic Saint, in a particularly unique manner, the lesson I emphasized to the audience had to do with the true and miraculous presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

You see - St. Charles of Sezze had once prayed fervently to God for the grace to experience Divine Love on a much deeper level and, significantly, the Lord chose to answer the saint's prayer during a Mass; when the priest elevated the Eucharist during the consecration, a blazing beam of light shot forth from the Host into the saint's chest.  The experience not only opened a stigmatic wound on St. Charles' torso but it also left him delightfully filled with an overwhelming sense of God's love for him, as well as inflamed with love towards our Savior.  Surely, from this remarkable event from our saint's life, we are reminded that the Lord communicates his Divine Love to the rest of us, too, in just as real a manner through the Blessed Sacrament.  There shouldn't be any doubt about it.

So with the Lord's grace and permission we hope to continue praying every month of this year, as we head towards our 7th year prayer anniversary in October.  In the meantime, all are welcome to pray with us - the next Rosary for Peace will be offered on Saturday, February 4th, beginning at 4:25pm.

Happy New Year to all and may God grant us a peaceful and prosperous 2017!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Saint of the Month - January 2017: St. Charles of Sezze

Saint Charles of Sezze
The Angelic Lay Brother ~ Feast: January 6th

Generally not well-known outside of his home country of Italy, I am very pleased to feature this lofty mystic of a man as my first Saint of the Month for this new year of 2017.  Born in the town of Sezze on October 19, 1613, his secular name was Giancarlo Marchioni and his parents were deeply pious farmers. According to several biographies, Giancarlo was a sickly child; so much so, that his chronic ill health interfered with his elementary education. In his early youth, he was employed as a shepherd and assisted his parents in farm work. At seventeen he made a private vow of perpetual chastity in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and inspired by the faith-examples of two holy Franciscans - St. Salvator Horta (d. 1567) and St. Paschal Baylon (d. 1592) - he joined the Order of Friars Minor in Rome in May 1635. His parents had wished for him to enter the priesthood, but in his humility, Giancarlo remained firm in his decision to become a simple lay brother "for the love of God".  From thence he was known as "Bro. Charles".

Bro. Charles was professed a year after his entrance into the monastery. During his lifetime, he was stationed at several houses of his Order - Nazzano, Ponticelli, Palestrina, Carpineto Romano, etc. - where he served at various menial positions such as cook, porter, gardener, and alms collector. He eventually ended up back in Rome in the friary of San Francesco d'Assisi a Ripa where he spent the rest of his life.

The Saint's simple room in his friary in Rome
As a friar, Bro. Charles became noted for his remarkable spirit of obedience, piety, love and charity towards neighbor... and, of course, his deep humility. When faced with adversity and misunderstanding he modeled the example of Christ Crucified, quietly and calmly resigning himself to whatever trials God sent his way. What was not obvious to others was the great spiritual battle that was being waged behind closed doors, deep within the young man's soul. Shortly after joining the Franciscans, he was assailed by severe temptations to vainglory and impurity... and, as if those weren't enough, he also began experiencing diabolic attacks during the night in the form of hideous visions and physical harassment, which caused him fatigue during the day.

To combat the devil's influence, Bro. Charles intensified his prayer and practiced mortifications to bring his corporal passions into submission - he abstained from meat and fish; slept on a thin straw mat laid out on wooden planks; and he scourged himself daily. Eventually, he managed to overcome the temptations that plagued him and, towards 1640, God began granting his faithful servant many extraordinary favors, which included Ecstasies and Divine Visions; the Reading of Hearts; Prophecy; and the gift of working Miracles.

Fabric stained in blood from
the heart-wound of St. Charles
Perhaps, of the many mystical graces received by our Saint from the Lord, the two most sublime were Infused Knowledge and the Sacred Stigmata.  Through the miraculous knowledge and understanding of the truths of Science and Faith that he acquired from God, he became a prolific writer of several volumes expounding on the mystical life.  As for the Stigmata, it was impressed on his body as a single wound on his chest, which appeared after a ray of light from the Eucharist struck him during a Mass he attended in October 1648.  The wound was reportedly so deep, it reached into his very heart and remained open and bleeding for three years before it mysteriously vanished; reopening shortly before the Saint's death. It was witnessed by the other friars when his body was prepared for burial and thoroughly examined by a medical commission that declared it inexplicable. Incidentally, the miracle of the stigmatic heart was one of two miracles cited for Bro. Charles' beatification, which took place in 1882.  

With the passing of time Bro. Charles' spiritual charisms did not go unnoticed.  In particular, his Infused Knowledge and gifts of Prophecy and Spiritual Discernment attracted many to his Roman monastery.  High-level Church authorities were among those who sought his inspired counsel and, amazingly, he accurately predicted the election of several Cardinals to the Papal Throne: Fabio Chigi (Alexander VII), Giulio Rospigliosi (Clement IX), Emilio Altieri (Clement X) and Gianfrancesco Albani (Clement XI).  At least one of these Popes - Clement IX - summoned Bro. Charles to his deathbed to receive the comfort of his prayer and blessing.  On another occasion, he was ordered to the town of Montefalco to discern a certain nun who was causing a stir there because of her alleged mysticism; the friar correctly unmasked her as a fraud.

The reliquary of St. Charles of Sezze, enclosing his skeleton in a simulated figure of the Saint.

Bro. Charles' exercised his ministry of charity and spiritual guidance in Rome until his death on January 6, 1670; he was 56-years-old when he passed into his eternal reward.  Pope John XXIII proclaimed the humble lay brother a Saint on April 12, 1959, and today his hallowed remains (enclosed in a representative wax figure) are venerated in the church attached to his monastery of San Francesco d'Assisi a Ripa.  May St. Charles of Sezze intercede for our personal needs and the needs of the Church throughout the world.

A Reflection:
"The prayer of the sick person is his patience and his acceptance of the sickness for the love of Jesus Christ."
~ Words of St. Charles of Sezze

A Short Prayer:
Lord, help me to patiently carry my cross of illness in union with your Passion; transform my suffering into a fruitful prayer of atonement for the good of my soul and for others.  Amen.