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


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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


Thank you for having responded to my call...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on July 25th:
   "Dear Children! Be prayer and a reflection of God's love for all those who are far from God and God's commandments.  Little children, be faithful and determined in conversion and work on yourselves so that, for you, holiness of life may be truth; and encourage each other in the good through prayer, so that your life on earth may be more pleasant.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on July 2nd:
   "Dear Children, thank you for continuing to respond to my invitations and for gathering here around me, your heavenly mother. I know that you are thinking of me with love and hope. I, too, feel love for all of you, just as my most beloved Son also feels it: He who, through his merciful love, is always sending me to you anew; He who was man; He who was and is God - one and triune; He who suffered in body and soul for your sake; He who made Himself bread to feed your souls and thus to save them. My children, I am teaching you how to be worthy of His love, to direct your thoughts to Him, to live my Son. Apostles of my love, I am covering you with my mantle, because as a mother I desire to protect you. I am imploring you to pray for the whole world. My heart is suffering. Sins are multiplying, they are too numerous. But with the help of those of you who are humble, modest, filled with love, hidden and holy, my heart will triumph. Love my Son above all and the whole world through Him. Never forget that each of your brothers, within himself, carries something precious – the soul. Therefore, my children, love all those who do not know my Son, so that through prayer and the love which comes through prayer, they may become better; that the goodness in them could win; that souls could be saved and have eternal life. My apostles, my children, my Son told you to love one another. May this be inscribed in your hearts and with prayer, try to live that love.  Thank you."

Announcing... the Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference

ATTENTION: All Fellow Catholics

Mark your calendars for this special conference coming up in October 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii...

Saints for Life:
Damien and Marianne Catholic Conference

With its line-up of wonderful and diverse speakers, the many spiritual activities planned, and entertainment for the whole family... this conference will surely be a memorable, Holy Spirit-filled event!  So save on the admission fee by registering early.  For more information, click on the flyer below.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

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


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends."

~ Words of Jesus, John 15:13

The Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara, Spain (L to R): Sr. Teresa
of the Child Jesus, Sr. Maria Pilar, and Sr. Maria Angeles.

The short scripture passage cited above is perfect for describing the three brave women we honored at today's First Saturday Rosary. They died as innocent victims of the anticlericalism that was rampant during the "Red Terror" at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936; mercilessly shot dead only days after each of them [separately] offered their lives to God, as sacrifices to end the civil war and the violence against the clergy, religious, and steadfast Catholics. It was a collective self-oblation that had its roots in the greatest of virtues - LOVE - and God heard and accepted. (Also read about the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne here).

So today, inspired by the example of these holy women, I reminded the group gathered in the Day Chapel about the value of offering personal sacrifices - the act of selflessly giving of oneself.  In today's society the word 'sacrifice' has become almost alien, it seems, as people generally seek more and more self-gratification rather than giving something up in favor of the next person.  But the spiritual practice of offering sacrifice is still relevant and can be a great boost to our prayer life.

"And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

~ Ephesians 5:2

Of course, not everyone is called to offer the ultimate sacrifice like how the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs did... but all of us are capable of giving a measure of our personal Time (e.g. lending a compassionate ear to someone in distress), Talent (e.g. baking for the parish bake sale), and Treasure (e.g. donating money to a charitable cause). Consciously offered with faith and a loving heart, an oblation - no matter how small - never fails to imbue our prayer with power!  Try it the next time you pray for a special intention - remarkable results often follow.  This was our inspiration and faith-lesson this month from the lives of our Saints of the Month and it was a beautiful message.

"Once again I have been able to obtain mercy, and Jesus has sent me, therefore, again
to Montichiari to bring you the grace of His Love.  It requires Prayer, Sacrifice, and Penance
in order to save mankind..."

~ Words of the Mary, the Rosa Mystica, in Montichiari, Italy (May, 1966)

... and my Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue was back in the church today after an absence of three months... and it looked radiant!  I hadn't been able to bring this particular statue because of some recent back issues I've been having (the statue is heavy), but today I felt like I had to bring it for some reason.  From almost the start of the Rosary Prayer, its face noticeably changed and it appeared 'transfigured', as I refer to the unusual transformation it often undergoes; bright and beautiful, dewy features (the above-photo does not do it justice).  I felt the special presence of the Blessed Mother with us through the statue and I think a few others did, too.  I was so grateful.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be offered on Saturday, August 4th, beginning at 4:25pm in the Day Chapel of our Kailua parish church of St. Anthony of Padua.  Come... and allow Our Lady and the Saints to touch your spirit.  All are welcomed!

Saints of the Month, July 2017: The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne


The Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne
A Song of Triumph at the Scaffold ~ July 17th


At the height of the French Revolution in the late 18th Century, during the infamous Reign of Terror, the National Assembly (the governing party that deposed the monarchy) adopted the spirit of anti-clericalism. The revolutionaries aggressively campaigned to wipe out Christianity throughout France by confiscating Church property, and suppressing convents and monasteries. Furthermore, they proclaimed the “abolition” of the Sunday Obligation and the various feasts of the Catholic Church, as well as, the validity of monastic vows.

In 1790, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was enacted, which required priests to pronounce an oath of loyalty to the government that was in direct conflict with any loyalties directed towards the Pope and the Catholic Church. Those who refused to comply with this law were either exiled, imprisoned, or executed as traitors.

It was in this climate of open hostility towards any faith-expression that 16 heroic, consecrated women bravely met their end… for simply refusing to betray Jesus, their Divine Spouse.  Their names were, as follows:

   +  Mo. Therese of St. Augustine, Prioress (age 41)
   +  Mo. St. Louis, Sub-Prioress (age 42)
   +  Mo. Henriette of Jesus, Novice Mistress (age 49)
   +  Sr. Marie of Jesus Crucified, Choir Sister (age 78)
   +  Sr. Charlotte of the Resurrection, Choir Sister (age 78)
   +  Sr. Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception, Choir Sister (age 58)
   +  Sr. Therese of the Heart of Mary, Choir Sister (age 52)
   +  Sr. Julie Louise of Jesus, Choir Sister (age 54)
   +  Sr. Therese of St. Ignatius, Choir Sister (age 51)
   +  Sr. Marie-Henrietta of Providence, Choir Sister (age 34)

   +  Sr. St. Martha, Lay Sister (age 52)
   +  Sr. Marie of the Holy Spirit, Lay Sister (age 51)
   +  Sr. St. Francis Xavier, Lay Sister (age 30)

   +  Sr. Constance, Novice (age 29)

   +  Catherine Soiron, Extern (age 52)
   +  Thérèse Soiron, Extern (age 46)

In August 1790, officials of the National Assembly raided the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Compiegne with the intent of coercing its occupants into submitting to their anti-clerical agenda. The community was comprised of 10 nuns, 1 novice, 3 lay sisters, and 2 externs (vowed laywomen who acted as helpers to the nuns). All were bribed with promises of freedom and money if they would only renounce consecrated life – not one accepted, but rather, the Prioress, Mo. Therese of St. Augustine, was inspired to lead her community in a “vow of martyrdom”, offering themselves collectively as a sacrifice to God to obtain the end of the tide of violence that engulfed France and the local Church.  They repeated their offering daily.

On September 14th, the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, the nuns found themselves out in the street after their monastery was closed and looted. They were forced to remove their habits, the wearing of which was outlawed, and donned cast off civilian wear since they had no money to buy clothing. But despite their uncertain predicament, the sisters continued to practice their strict routine of devotion and prayer while sheltering in small groups within the homes of sympathetic neighbors. 

In June 1794, government officials again appeared in Compiegne and, upon finding a portrait of King Louis XVI and a prayer for the king to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in one of the improvised convents, the Carmelites were all taken into custody. The religious were then jailed in the town of Cambrai where they were imprisoned along with a community of 17 Benedictine Nuns that had originated from England during the religious persecution launched by King Henry VIII. These Benedictines were witnesses to the daily self-offering heroically made by the Carmelites to the Lord.

On July 11th, both groups of religious were transported to Paris where they were to be “tried” for treason. It wasn’t a surprise that, on July 17, 1794, amidst the mockery of a hostile crowd, the 16 Carmelites were accused of various absurd charges that included the hiding of weapons in their monastery. To this the Prioress responded by lifting a crucifix and saying, "This is the only weapon we have had in our house." 

Pilgrims praying at the mass grave where the remains of the Carmelite Martyrs were interred along
with other victims of the Reign of Terror.  The grave is located in the Picpus Cemetery in Paris, France.

Needless to  say, the Sisters were all found guilty and sentenced to be guillotined on the very same day as their trial. Providentially, on the day before they were summoned to Paris, the nuns had washed their secular clothing so they had to appear at trial garbed in the habits they were prohibited from wearing. Thus, they were poised to meet their Divine Spouse appropriately - dressed as true brides of Christ! So as the nuns were led to the scaffold, they jointly renewed their vows and sang the Veni Creator Spiritus.

Mo. Therese of St. Augustine then stepped forward and requested to be the last to die so she could prayerfully encourage her spiritual daughters. The novice, Sr. Constance, was the first to advance and before ascending the scaffold, she knelt before Mo. Therese to kiss a ceramic figure of the Madonna and Child that the prioress held in her hand. Sr. Constance then asked of her the permission to die to which the prioress responded, "Go, my daughter." The novice then made her way up the scaffold, singing, and with solemn dignity befitting a spouse of the King of Heaven and Earth.

One by one, each sister repeated Sr. Constance's final act of obedience before ascending the platform as the others sang hymns; their countenances were suffused with joy and peace. Even before the last nun died - the prioress - it was reported that the unruly jeering had ceased and a hush had fallen upon the crowd.

Incidentally, the Reign of Terror ended just 10 days after the execution of the Carmelites of Compiegne. The English Benedictines, who had shared imprisonment with the Martyrs, survived the massacre and eventually returned to their own country. They attributed their survival and the unexpected end of the revolution to the heroic offering made by their Sisters in Christ. Upon their release from prison, the Benedictines were wearing the civilian dresses left behind by the Carmelites and they treasured them as relics from henceforth.

A plastic devotional leaflet enclosing moss taken from the grave
of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne.

As far as other relics go, unfortunately no bodily relics of the 16 Carmelite Martyrs are available for the veneration of the Faithful, as their remains were thrown into a mass grave along with other executed victims. However, their legacy of courage and faith endures… and is still relevant today, especially as the spirit of anti-clericalism is again rearing its ugly head in our very own times. The 16 Martyrs of Compiegne were Beatified as a group on May 13, 1906, by Pope Pius X.  May they pray for us Christians, and for the whole world.

A Reflection
"Give over our hearts to joy, the day of glory has arrived..."  ~ Words of a hymn composed by the Carmelites of Compiegne in preparation of their deaths. 

A Short Prayer
Lord, in the midst of the growing persecution of Christians, grant us the faith, courage, and joy of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne.  Amen.