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

~ Peter, Ministry Administrator

Friday, October 28, 2011

Healing our Family Trees...

"…Yet He [God] does not leave the guilty
unpunished; He punishes the children and
their children for the sin of the fathers
to the 3rd and 4th generation."

~ Exodus 34:7

I recently read a few very intriguing articles about the concept of “generational curses”, which implied that the sins of our ancestors, especially the most serious sins, have a spiritual impact on the lives of their descendants. I'm not saying that every bad thing that ever happened to us was the effect of a curse, but perhaps in certain extraordinary circumstances, it may be plausible. In fact, the concept has gained popularity in recent years and many healing ministries (including Catholic ones) have been founded to help individuals and families.

I stress the fact that this subject matter is still debatable and that the Church has yet to officially rule on it, but proponents of generational healing - which include learned and respectable priests - cite the scriptural passage above as one of its scriptural foundations, and also testify to the positive results received by people who have sought healing of generational curses... and interestingly, the saintly mystic and stigmatist - Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich - had also alluded to this concept in a few of her recorded revelations. In fact, one of her most controversial visions relates how Noah (who built the Biblical Ark) had placed a curse on Ham, his youngest son, after the young man grievously offended him:

"I saw the curse pronounced by Noah
upon Ham moving toward the latter like a
black cloud and obscuring him.  His skin lost
its whiteness, he grew darker.  His sin was
the sin of sacrilege, the sin of one who would
forcibly enter the Ark of the Covenant. I
saw most corrupt race descend
from Ham and sink deeper and
deeper in darkness..."

To give a few more examples… parents who involve themselves in occult practices (e.g. the use of ouija boards, witchcraft) may inadvertently attract demonic entities and other evil forces to themselves and their children. Less extreme, but still serious afflictions, may include addictions (alcohol/drugs), social issues (marital problems/phobias), and chronic illness that consistently occur in a “Family Tree”, resulting in conflict and other devastating effects.

A painting representing the cursing of Ham.
In the same line of thinking, but on the opposite spectrum, parents who live highly devout lives are said to pass on grace, blessing, and other spiritual gifts to their children and descendants. Again, citing the private revelations of Bl. Anne Catherine, the mystic attributed many of the signal graces bestowed on her and on her relatives to the positive spiritual influence transmitted through her family line by highly pious ancestors, including two saintly nuns, who like herself, were marked with the Sacred Stigmata.

As a remedy to generational curses/afflictions, the recommendations I’ve read about from subject matter experts have all been consistent: Prayer (especially the Mass), ConfessionPenance, and the practice of Virtue are all effective in healing an afflicted Family Tree. For readers who may discern the need for generational healing in their families, I urge the diligent practice of the above spiritual regimen... and I share the prayer below, which I personally wrote and often pray for my own family. The prayer is strictly for private use only and may also be offered for the benefit of our dearly departed relatives, as it was written to also include the deceased.

Those familiar with the Divine Mercy devotion will notice elements of that devotion in the prayer, which I purposely intended because of my own faith in the healing power of Our Lord's Divine Mercy - hence, the title I gave to it. As the prayer has been a blessing and a comfort to me, may it also be a blessing to others who pray it with faith...  Jesus, we trust in you.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Holy Relics Visitation, 10/15/2011: Rosary Prayer Rally

Today, I was invited by the Vargas family to participate in a Rosary prayer rally at their residence in Kailua, Oahu. The matriarch of the family - “Auntie Patty” - is a designated rally captain for “America Needs Fatima”, a national organization that promotes the Fatima Message.

Every year, on the Saturday following October 13th, America Needs Fatima organizes hundreds of Rosary prayer rallies throughout the United States with the intent of drawing down God’s blessings upon our troubled country. The Vargas residence is one of about three homes in Kailua that annually participates with the nation-wide rosary rally campaign.

A makeshift devotional altar in the Vargas
Home... and a closer view of the relics of
Blds. Francisco and Jacinta displayed for
public veneration.

In addition to welcoming me into their lovely home, the holy relics (1st and 2nd Class) in my personal custody of the Fatima visionaries - Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto - were also welcomed by Auntie Patty and her family. A makeshift altar was set-up in their living room on which the relics were displayed for the participants to see and venerate after the end of the prayers. The presence of the child-seers through their relics was definitely a special addition to this event, which commemorated Our Lady's urgent message that they delivered and lived so worthily.

My sincere Aloha to the Vargas Ohana for their warmth and hospitality!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Speaking Presentation & Pilgrim Visitation, 10/7/2011: St. Anthony of Padua School, Kailua

Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I was invited by the faculty of St. Anthony of Padua School in my Kailua parish, to speak to their student body about the significance of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Rosary. So this morning, I conducted three separate presentations to students of different age groups... sharing with them about the Church's devotion to Mary, the origin and significance of the Rosary Devotion, as well as introducing the children to the lives and relics of a few "Rosary Saints": St. Bernadette of Lourdes, Bl. Bartolo Longo, and Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto of Fatima.

The much younger students - Kindergarten
through 2nd Graders - were well- behaved
and displayed interest in the pictures I
showed them in my slideshow.

The presentations were tailored to the suit the different age groups, but all three appeared to have been well-received by the students and teachers. I was most surprised by the enthusiasm shown by the Kindergartent to 2nd Grade students who were very engaged and responsive to my questions.  The look of awe on all the children's faces when they viewed my pilgrim statue and the holy relics up close was also priceless. 

The second group of students - 3rd to 5th
Graders - also displayed interest in the
presentation and Our Lady's statue and the
relics received well-deserved attention.

It was later shared with me by one of the teachers that another teacher had reported seeing a glow - an "aura" - around the Blessed Mother's pilgrim statue. Perhaps it was a small confirmation from Our Lady that she was present in a special way with the precious little children.  Ave Maria!

The lives of a few "Rosary Saints" were
also shared with students of various ages,
and after the talk, they were invited
to view their respective relics up close.

The "Rosary Promises" of the Blessed Virgin Mary

October is the month especially celebrating the Holy Rosary and today, 10/7, is the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. So with that said, I thought this would be an opportune time to remind our readers about the “15 Rosary Promises” that Our Lady reportedly made through St. Dominic de Guzman and Bl. Alan de la Roche for those who faithfully practice the rosary devotion. The promises of the Blessed Mother are full of power and hope, and are worthy of consideration for any person devoted to Mary.

1.  Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.

2.  I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.

3.  The rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

4.  It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the heart of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5.  The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary shall not perish.

6.  Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying themselves to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise them in His justice, they shall not perish by an unprovided death; if they be just they shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8.  Those who are faithful to reciting the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the Saints in paradise.

9.  I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

10.  The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

11.  You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

12.  All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

13.  I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

14.  All who recite the rosary are my children, and brothers and sisters of my only son, Jesus Christ.

15.  Devotion to my rosary is a great sign of predestination.

How to Pray the Holy Rosary
(from a brochure published by the Priests of the Sacred Heart)

(click on each panel to view larger images)

The Rosary Confraternity

If one is already a Rosary Devotee, consider joining the Rosary Confraternity.  The spiritual benefits of becoming a member are listed below.  Click here to enroll - it's free and easy!

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary,
pray for us!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony's Church, 10/1/2011

The afternoon sun brightly illuminated
Our Lady's Pilgrim Statue and Relics in

Our Kailua parish welcomed the start of October - the month of the Holy Rosary - with the First Saturday Monthly Rosary... our group of regular participants came together to offer the Rosary for Peace, and as always, Our Lady's statue looked radiant from her place in front of our Day Chapel.  New faces - an entire family - again were seen in the pews, which is always encouraging since our goal is to spread devotion to the Rosary to as many parishioners as possible.

A devotee of the Blessed Mother stayed
few minutes after the prayer ended to
venerate Our Lady's relics

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed on Saturday, 11/5/2011 at 4:30pm. The regularly scheduled Saturday evening Vigil Mass will follow at 5:00pm in the main church.  All are welcomed to join us!

Saint of the Month - October 2011: Saint Therese of Lisieux

"I will spend my Heaven doing
good on earth..."

St. Therese Martin of Lisieux
The Little Flower of Jesus - Feast: October 1st

Born in Alencon, France, on January 2, 1873, Marie Francoise-Therese Martin (Therese) was the youngest daughter of Louis and Marie-Azelie (Zelie) Martin.  The couple originally had nine children but only five daughters lived past their childhood.  These worthy parents were such excellent examples of piety to their daughters, all of them entered into religious life (4 were Carmelites, 1 became a Visitation nun)... and Louis and Zelie were eventually declared “Saints”, themselves, by the Catholic Church in October 2015; the first married couple to ever be canonized.

The miracle statue of Our Lady
of the Smile
Going back to St. Therese, she was self-described as somewhat stubborn and overly-sensitive as a child, traits which became more pronounced after her mother passed away from breast cancer when she was a little girl of 4.  A few years later, at 10-years-old, a debilitating illness brought the child to the brink of death, but she was miraculously cured through the intercession of Our Lady after a family statue of the Holy Virgin (right) smiled at her.

Three years later, a Christmas conversion experience instilled in Therese a new-found maturity and a sense of reflection, and she resolved to join two of her older sisters - Pauline and Louise - who had entered the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Lisieux.  She pleaded repeatedly with her father, and after finally obtaining a special dispensation to do so from her bishop, Therese entered the monastery in April 1888 at the age of 15-years-old; she professed vows on September 8, 1889.  (A fourth sister - Celine - later entered the same Carmel)

Therese acclimated fairly well to religious life but faced challenges with a few of the other nuns who treated her condescendingly because of her age. Her sister, Pauline, was elected prioress (superior) of the monastery, and this particular sibling had a sense that there was something special about her younger sister.  The prioress ordered Therese to write her autobiography, which the novice reluctantly did.  It proved to be providential, as it was through this document that the world came to know of the greatness of Therese’s soul.

In her writings, Therese referred to herself as a “little flower of Jesus”, and she laid out her personal plan on how she was going to sanctify her soul.  Fully aware of her limitations and frail health, she resolved to be childlike in her spirituality; to grow in holiness not by aspiring to do grand things for her divine Spouse, but rather, by conscientiously doing “little” things for Him and accepting suffering in its various forms with all the love that she had to offer Jesus.  Therese once wrote:

“Love proves itself by deeds, so how
am I to show my love?  Great deeds are
forbidden me.  The only way I can prove
my love is by scattering flowers and these
flowers are every little sacrifice, every
glance and word, and the doing of the
least actions for love.”

The nun's autobiography is filled with many examples of her day-to-day efforts to live out her “little way” such as times when she returned harsh criticism from other nuns with kind words, or endured some sort of discomfort or suffering without complaint.  By the time Therese’s early death occurred from painful tuberculosis on September 30, 1897, her soul was completely ablaze with the fire of Divine Love.  Her final sentence before dying was a heartfelt, “My God, I love you.”; words that summarized her manner of living.

"My mission - to make God loved -
will begin after my death."

The radiant face of a Saint in death: a photo 
taken shortly after St. Therese died.

Therese was just 24-years-old when she died, but her writings revealed a wisdom and maturity that was far beyond her youthfulness.  Her sister, Pauline, was convinced that her autobiography - “The Story of a Soul” - needed to be published and it was - one year later, on the anniversary of Therese's death.  It was first distributed within the network of Carmelite monasteries, where it quickly became a spiritual success before spreading outside the walls of Carmel and throughout the world.  Countless readers - past and present - found encouragement through Therese’s innovative mode of spirituality, which essentially reaffirmed the notion that holiness is indeed attainable for all.

"Holiness consists simply in doing
God's will, and being just what God
wants us to be."

Prophetically recognizing the profound, positive impact Therese's teaching was having on souls during his time and would have in the future, Pope Pius X (d. 1914) was prompted to acclaim her, "The greatest saint of modern times."

Moreover, as Therese's life story began to circulate, her fame of sanctity also grew and the Carmel of Lisieux was inundated with reports of favors and cures attributed to her intercession.  This wave of wonders eventually led to the Little Flower being declared a Saint in 1925 and further recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1997.  Arguably, she remains one of the most popular Saints in Church history... and the favors she obtains from Jesus, her Divine Spouse, show no signs of abating even in our time.  It's become quite apparent that the Saint kept her word... and is spending her Heaven "doing good on earth".

A beautiful stained-glass window, depicting
St. Therese, in the Cathedral-Basilica of Honolulu.

"... I will let fall a shower of roses."

A Reflection
“…Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love at which we do them.”  ~ Words of St. Therese

A Short Prayer
Dear St. Therese, help us to follow your holy example through the little way.  Amen.