Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, 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 & Blog Administrator


Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Sojourn in the Desert


"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was
led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days
he was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during
those days, and at the end of them he was hungry."

‐ Matthew 4:1-2

The Lenten Season is always an intense and meaningful time for me and I think it's the reason why I had another vivid dream, which haunted me for several days.  It happened last week but I only recently decided to put it down on paper because of how impressed I was by it.  The drawing below, which I call "Sojourn in the Desert", is the end result.

So in my dream I found myself immersed in a desert.  It was night time but the light of the moon was unusually bright and I could clearly see the rocky landscape (it reminded of the Grand Canyon). Wandering around for a bit I came upon a wide ravine and an amazing sight...


There, ahead of me, was a large cat.  It was definitely a lion but with a weird-looking mane, which to me, looked too short. Behind the animal was a man leaning against a few boulders and I sensed almost immediately it was our Lord... and he looked haggard.

Poor Jesus - he was fast asleep and looking so lean; I heard him lightly snoring, too!  I was saddened because I could see that he was obviously weak and exhausted; worn out.  On his head, covering his brow, was a cloak that flowed down and wrapped tightly around his body so it must've been chilly although I couldn't feel the cold.  At that very moment, seeing Christ this way gave me a solid visual of how human he truly was; how, despite being Divine, he didn't exempt himself from any of the physical weaknesses and discomforts the rest of us mortals are subjected to: hunger, fatigue, cold, snoring, etc.  It was also somehow endearing.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot
sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all
points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

... but what made this dream especially intriguing for me was not just the imagery of the Lord fasting in the desert, which I'm already familiar with... rather, it was the lion.  I know Jesus is referred to as the "Lion of Judah" because of Revelation 5:5 and Mark 1:12-13 mentions him as being "among wild beasts" in the wilderness... but I've never read or heard anything specific - anywhere - about an actual lion keeping him close company in the desert.  Where in the maze of my brain did that come from?  What was it supposed to symbolize, if anything?

Furthermore, although the lion looked quite formidable, it showed no signs of aggression.  Instead, it just lay quietly beside Jesus - like an oversized pet kitty - in direct physical contact with his legs.  Based on my observations, I speculate that the lion was really keeping Christ warm, as well as, watching over him as he slept.  After thinking about it over and over, it kinda made sense, considering all the potential dangers lurking in the wilderness: venomous scorpions and snakes; bandits; and even other lions.  A lion would make for an ideal guard animal in Jesus' situation.

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.

– Psalm 3:5

Incidentally, I did online research, afterwards, about lions in the Middle East and discovered there was a species of big cat - the Asiatic Lion - that is still found there... and guess what?  Male Asiatic Lions have a physical trait that distinguishes them from their African counterparts - shorter manes... like Jesus' furry bodyguard in the desert!  Now that's what I call uncanny.

The Asiatic Lion - note its short, sparse-looking mane compared to the
African Lion (inset), which is a more familiar image of the big cat.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Light of Lourdes


The oddest things can inadvertently get captured on live webcams; sometimes things that don't have an easy explanation. The amazing photos on this particular blog may just be an example of this phenomena. I did not take the pics myself, but a brother-in-Christ did, and he shared them with me to get my opinion on them.  I truly believe they're a genuine sign and, because the pics and the backstory are so inspiring, I felt the need to share them.

So just a bit of background concerning these photos - the man who took them ("Albert") is a personal friend who frequents Mass; is a strong devotee of the Blessed Virgin and St. Michael the Archangel; and a daily Rosary / Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer warrior. I recently introduced him to the Lourdes Shrine's live webcam - accessible in YouTube - and he's taken to doing his daily round of prayers every morning, while viewing the grotto of Our Lady's apparitions.

About a week ago, while praying the Rosary, Albert was surprised to witness the sudden and unexpected appearance of golden orbs of light "swirling" around in front of the statue in the upper niche of the Sacred Grotto (the exact spot where the Holy Virgin stood in her 18 appearances to St. Bernadette). He counted three large globes, which he said intermittently faded and reappeared throughout his prayer... and moved about too!  Below is a cellphone photo Albert snapped of his TV screen.  It's impressive and beautiful... and the story doesn't end there.

Two large golden orbs are captured in this photo.  Compare this pic to the
last image at the very bottom to see how truly unusual this is.

A few days after... again, while praying the Rosary, Albert saw another manifestation of light, which was more astounding than the first incident. According to the man, he was on the 5th Luminous Mystery, meditating on the Institution of the Eucharist, when he saw the grotto's crucifix begin to "sparkle" brightly before radiating streams of light down upon the altar... and significantly, the lights were reddish and bluish - the colors of Divine Mercy!  If that weren't enough, orbs of light again appeared and moved around in front of Our Lady's statue.  The entire manifestation lasted until the end of the Rosary and, fortunately for us, Albert had the presence of mind to take more pics, which he texted to me soon after - see them below.  Again, they're clear and beautiful!


Light can be seen in these photos emanating from the crucifix.


In these close‐up shots, the red and bluish lights are clearer.


In the photos below, orbs of light are also captured as they descend
to the hallowed niche where Our Lady once stood.



I frequently view the same Lourdes livecam at different times of the day and I've never seen anything like this before, nor any sort of solar lens flare on the camera, so I know the pics are not due to sunlight... and how appropriate is the light - representing the Precious Blood and Water - streaming from the crucifix to the altar at exactly the same moment Albert was contemplating the Lord's gift to us of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist?

I'm convinced these events are a sign from Jesus and Mary to Albert; special affirmation he's on a good spiritual path and should continue walking it.  Plus, Lourdes is a place well-known for miracles so why couldn't this be possible?  I'm glad Albert shared his experiences because not only is it extraordinary, but there's an underlying message in the pics for all of us, too, especially the illuminated crucifix photos.  As I like to say at times: pictures are sometimes worth a thousand words.

A screenshot of what the Holy Grotto usually looks like on the live
webcam (that's a priest in the grotto entrance, not Our Lady).

... and I almost forgot to mention one final and  important detail - Albert also told me that when the crucifix began streaming light, he touched its image on the television and immediately felt a mild "shock" flow into his hand then throughout his entire body, which left him elated with JOY.  He was still very excited when he later described it to me over a phone call - he said it felt as though Jesus had "moved" through him.  Amen.

For those reading who'd like to access the Lourdes Shrine webcam,
you can do so by clicking here.

Monthly Message of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: February 25th, 2021



   "Dear children! God has permitted me to be with you also today, to call you to prayer and fasting. Live this time of grace and be witnesses of hope, because I repeat to you, little children, that with prayer and fasting also wars can be suppressed. Little children, believe and live this time of grace in faith and with faith; and my Immaculate Heart does not leave any of you in peacelessness if you have recourse to me. I intercede for you before the Most High and I pray for peace in your hearts and for hope for the future.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Why, St. Michael?


My admiration for St. Michael the Archangel has grown significantly since the start of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic last year.  Besides taking the necessary health precautions recommended by the CDC - quarantining, mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing, social distancing, etc. - I also take "spiritual precautions", which includes carrying a theca (round reliquary case) containing small stones from St. Michael's Cave/Grotto on Mt. Gargano in Italy.  Since doing so, I've experienced manifestations of the Archangel's presence, which I sense have broader implications than for just me, alone - one was a remarkable dream last November that I interpreted to be a warning of some sort... while the other involved the cave stones.

The interior of the Sacred Grotto of St. Michael 
the Archangel atop Mt. Gargano, Italy.

For those not familiar with the history of this singular grotto, it's the hallowed site of a series of Church-approved apparitions of St. Michael beginning in 490 AD.  At the very first appearance, the Archangel showed himself to the local Bishop and claimed possession of the cave with these words:

"I am the Archangel Michael and I am always
in the presence of God.  The cave is sacred to me.
I have chosen it."

When the bubonic plague ravaged the region in 1656, the people had recourse to the great Archangel while doing public penance.  In response, St. Michael returned and directed the current bishop to distribute stones taken from within his cave, marked with crosses and the initials "M.A." (for "Michael Archangel").  St. Michael added:

"I am the Archangel St. Michael.  Anyone who uses
the stones of this grotto will be liberated…"

Needless to say, the prelate followed the Archangel's instructions and the plague soon ceased in the towns around Mt. Gargano.  This miraculous intervention started the tradition of the shrine distributing "St. Michael relic stones", which is still continued today by the Congregation of the Michaelite Fathers who are the present custodians of the holy cave.

Since late 2018 I've obtained several grotto stones, encased in gold-colored metal thecas by the Mt. Gargano Shrine.  I gifted them to loved ones and priest-friends, and kept two for myself; placing one on a home shrine and the other is what I carry with me for physical and spiritual protection whenever I leave my house (a big comfort in this time of pandemic).  It's the stones on the altar that recently manifested unusual phenomenon.

As already mentioned, the St. Michael stones are in golden thecas.  Well, imagine my surprise when I went to pray at my altar and found the theca had turned from gold to silver!  This happened in late September 2020 and I know for sure the theca was gold when I first received it... and it looked the same the last time I saw it just a day or two before.  I did not do anything to change the theca and I was completely perplexed, and I still am... especially because it was followed not long after by that impressive dream of the Archangel; the two events seem closely related.

The theca on the left mysteriously changed from a
golden color to silver, as compared to the theca on the
right, which is what it originally looked like.

Since this occurred, I've often prayed to St. Michael asking him, "Why? Why the color-change? ... because Heaven never gives us signs without a good reason.  So what exactly was the Archangel trying to communicate through these seeming signs, particularly the theca, which is something quite tangible?  I've heard of, and seen, silver-colored sacramentals changing to a gold color, or actual gold (e.g. medals and rosary links) - which would be easier to interpret - but not the other way around.

To date, I haven't received further spiritual experiences in response to my prayers, nor do I expect any... but still - Why, St. Michael?  What's going on that I or the world need to know about?

In my search for a possible answer I recently googled the significance of silver in the Bible and found these passages from the Psalms.  Perhaps they provide a hint of what St. Michael is trying to convey through the sign in silver:

"The promises of the LORD are pure, like silver
refined in a furnace and purified seven times."

‐ Psalm 12:6

"You have tested us, O God.  You have refined
us in the same way silver is refined."

- Psalm 66:10

Interestingly enough, and maybe a bit concerning, both Scriptures have something in common - they speak of the process of silver being "refined"... which, significantly, is another word used for purified or cleansed.  So is the theca's change to silver a symbolic affirmation that the world is currently undergoing a period of intense testing and refining?  Or, is it an indication of a worldwide purification that's still to come?  Or, still, perhaps it's an invitation for just me to continue working on areas in my life that need cleansing?  Whether this little sign is intended to signify refinement, or not, spiritual purification is something worth reflecting on especially during this upcoming Lenten Season.  I do know one thing for certain, though - regardless what, I'm standing with St. Michael.

St. Michael the Archangel, help us
and protect us!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Saint of the Month - February 2021: Venerable Anne de Guigne


Ven. Anne
Ven. Anne de Guigne
Transformed by God's Grace

If you ever questioned whether you could reach a measure of sanctity in your personal life, just keep reading - Anne de Guigne died at the young age of 10-years-old and, yet, she's up for Sainthood... and she didn't start off being a Saint - she was a veritable tyrant of a child, based on what several biographies commonly say.  So who was this Anne and what made her "venerable"?

Anne de Guigne was born on April 25, 1911; the oldest of four children granted to a French count and soldier named Jacques de Guigne and his wife, Antoinette. Up to age four she was described as strong-willed and self-centered, which only grew worse as her siblings arrived one by one. She was simply terrible, at times, and one particular incident gives us a good example of just how bad she could be, prior to her "conversion" - during a temper tantrum triggered by a fit of jealousy over her one and only brother, Anne threw dirt in the toddler's eyes, which must have been extremely painful for the boy!  That's how rotten she was.

But, thankfully, Anne changed... and it happened after the tragic death of her beloved father who was killed in July 2015 during a war between France and Germany. Madame de Guigne was naturally devastated when she got word of her husband's passing and, when Anne attempted to comfort her mother, Antoinette reportedly told the little girl, "If you want to comfort me, you must be good.”  From that moment on, Anne resolved to be a model daughter to her grieving mom.

De Guigne Family
Anne (upper-right), with her brother and sisters.

Anne's transformation was like night and day; almost over night the wolf became a docile lamb... and everyone who knew her noticed it. Not only did her temperament reform but so did her soul. The youngster suddenly exhibited a marked interest in spirituality and began in earnest to please both her mother and Jesus, too!

When the 5-year-old Anne expressed to her mother a desire to make her First Holy Communion, Madame de Guigne immediately enrolled her in catechism classes at a nearby convent. There, the highly precocious child eagerly absorbed what was taught her by the nuns. She advanced with uncommon speed in love of God, love of neighbor, and in personal virtue... and, it appears the Holy Spirit was working in a special way in the girl, as evidenced by some of her recorded sayings:

  • When Anne's grandfather asked her what wheat Hosts become, she replied: "Little Jesus comes and hides Himself in the white Hosts, which become Jesus."
  • To a priest who asked Anne where the Holy Spirit lived, her response was: "In the souls of the Just."
  • Prior to her First Holy Communion, the priest examining Anne asked her, "When does Jesus obey?" to which she gave this remarkable reply: "At Mass... He obeys the priest when he says: ‘This is My Body, this is My Blood.’"

Anne celebrated her First Communion on March 26, 2017 - a month shy of her 6th birthday - and notes she jotted down after the event further speak of the profound depth of her spiritual growth in spite of her young age.  For example:

  • "I will give my sacrifices to Mary, so that She may give them to Jesus."
  • "My Jesus, I love You and to please You, I resolve to obey You always."
  • "My soul is destined for Heaven. People are very preoccupied with their outward appearance and hardly at all with the soul... My soul was made for eternal life, to be infinitely happy or infinitely unhappy.  The good Lord wants it to be eternally happy.  That depends on me alone."

One can also sense in some of Anne's words that she possessed a solid comprehension of self-sacrifice.  She actually developed childhood rheumatism, which caused chronic inflammatory pain in her joints, but she accepted the discomfort without complaint.  Rather, when one of her nun-teachers once asked her what brought her joy, Anne said, "My greatest happiness is to suffer much for our gracious God."

A devotional prayer card with a relic
taken from Anne's clothing.

Furthermore, Anne's love for God motivated in her a desire to not just become saintly for the sake of her own soul, but she also offered many prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, too... and displayed affection and generosity towards the sick and the needy in an effort to draw them to God.

Now don't think that all of Anne's spiritual progress came easily to her because it didn't - in the beginning she had to fight hard against her selfish inclinations. There were many times she had to bite down on her tongue or clench her fist in silence in order to hold back one of her infamous tantrums... but consistent practice makes perfect and, through sheer will-power mixed with faith, she ultimately succeeded in overcoming the worse of her personality traits.

Towards the end of December 1921, Anne suffered from excruciating headaches, which was diagnosed as being due to Meningitis.  She was taken to bed and lapsed in and out of consciousness.  She was never heard to complain when she was  lucid but rather she stated peacefully: "I wish to offer my sufferings as Jesus did on the Cross."

Anne died on the morning of January 14, 1922. Shortly before her passing, she fixed her gaze at a spot in the room and asked the nun attending her, "Sister, may I go with the angels?" After the nun replied in the affirmative, Anne responded joyfully, "Thank you, Sister.  Oh, thank you."

Anne de Guigne
Little Anne de Guigne, pray for us!

Presently, Anne is a Venerable in the Church and awaits a verified miracle worked through her intercession to be declared a Blessed; a second miracle could make her a Saint.  Her body was also discovered miraculously incorrupt during an exhumation conducted in October 1922.  Let us pray for Anne de Guigne's speedy Canonization.  The world - especially our youth - needs her faith-example.

Anne's Hymn to Mary

Lend Him to me, O Mary, my dear Mother...
lend me your Son, if only for a second.  Place Him in
my humble arms.  Allow me, Mary, to kiss the feet of
your dear Son who has given me so many graces.
How I desire, O Mary, to receive your Son in my
arms, give Him to me, give Him to me!  How happy
I am now for I have Him with me!