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

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: March 2023

Monthly Message received by Marija, 3/25/2023:
  “Dear Children!  May this time be a time of prayer for you.”  **

Special Message received by Mirjana during her annual apparition, 3/18/2023:
  “Dear Children, I am calling you, through prayer and mercy, to come to know my Son all the better; to learn to listen with a pure and open heart; to listen to what my Son is saying to you in order to come to see spiritually.  That, as one people of God in communion with my Son, you may bear witness to the truth with your life.  Pray, my children, that, together with my Son, you can bring only peace, joy and love to all your brothers and sisters.  I am with you and am blessing you with a motherly blessing.”

** A commentary on the 3/25 message: This author has been closely following the messages from Medjugorje for over 30 years now and this particular one is highly unusual.  The fact that it's very brief and abruptly ends without Our Lady’s customary, "Thank you for having responded to my call..." raises personal concerns.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Memento Mori

"So teach us to number our
days, that we may present to
You a heart of wisdom."

- Psalm 90:12

I'm trying something new for this Lent - I'm thinking about my death.  I got the idea after I saw an unusual devotional item in the catalog of a popular Catholic goods vendor - it was a small resin human skull on which was printed the Latin words "Memento Mori"... and it caught my attention right away.

Doing online research on it, I learned Memento Mori is the pious exercise of doing exactly what the phrase directs - "Remember you will die" - and it's actually a longstanding tradition within Christianity.  Many Saints pondered it, particularly those inclined to asceticism, and some of them are still commonly depicted with human skulls as part of their iconography (e.g. St. Mary Magdalen, Jerome, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Rosalia of Palermo, St. Mariana of Quito, etc.).

Depictions of St. Francis of Assisi and
St. Mary Magdalen with skulls.

Inspired, I decided to utilize the practice as my primary reflection for this Lenten Season.  I even molded my own version of a small Memento Mori skull using clay (top photo), which I placed near my home altar.

Now before I continue, allow this author to make a few things very clear - the Christian tradition of Memento Mori and the devotional use of replica skulls have absolutely nothing to do with the Hispanic tradition of the Day of the Dead with its colorful sugar skulls, or the diabolic Santa Muerte cult; they're completely separate.  Nor is Memento Mori intended to be an unhealthy fascination with death and the macabre.  Instead, what I've learned since starting this sobering reflection is that, in effect, this is a highly fruitful spiritual experience - one that I might just continue indefinitely.

"In all thy works be mindful of thy
last end and thou wilt never sin."

- Ecclesiasticus 7:40

So how does one do this?  There are several online articles that give direction, but for me, personally, I simply take a few minutes each morning (and sometimes in the evening, too) to ask myself the following:

If I were to close my eyes in
death today, where will I open
them in the next life?  Will it
be in Heaven or in Hell?

After honestly answering these two questions, I then follow-up by asking God to forgive my sins/faults before going about my day trying to do things that serve Him and my neighbors, while avoiding things that could potentially drag me down to Hell (yes, Hell does exist).  That's it.

I can honestly testify that this pious exercise has made me more conscientious of what I think, say, and do; strengthening me against temptations and other spiritual attacks... plus, I noticed that certain things that used to annoy or inconvenience me somehow don't amount to much anymore.  And, last but not least, it has considerably lessened any anxiety I have about my inevitable passing, which is a major plus in my book!

St. Mariana of Quito dressed in black
and often reflected on her death.

As for those little skulls, they're not necessary to this process, but for the one I made, I like glancing at it, which helps to keep me focused.  One may have noticed the rose on the side of the skull - I put it there to further encourage me that my death has the potential to be beautiful and sweet like the blessed passing of many Saints; that, for faithful Christians, dying is just a gateway to wonders beyond our wildest imagination rather than something to be feared... and I think I made some progress towards that mindset.  Again, a major grace for me.

So, Dear Reader... Lent is the perfect time for Memento Mori, if one hasn't decided yet on something extra to do for this holy season of spiritual renewal.  Sadly, many people today are going through life as if they'll live forever and don't have to answer to God for anything; don't be one of them!  The truth is - we will all eventually die and be judged by our Lord according to our faith in Him and how we personally applied His Commandments.  Unpleasant as it may seem, have you ever given your final days, hours, or minutes of life any serious thought?

Take just a few moments now and ask yourself one or more of the following?

💀  Am I ready to meet God?

💀  What will my death be like?  Will it be a peaceful passing in the loving embrace of God, or will I be tortured by fear and guilt?

💀  If I were to die today/now, where will I spend my eternity?  Will I end up in God's joyous company, along with Our Lady, the Angels, and the Saints... or forever separated from them in misery?

💀  What do I need to do to ensure I reach Heaven?

If you don't like any of your answers, it's not too late to make changes.

Reflect... Pray... then take Action!

🌹 M E M E N T O 💀 M O R I 🌹

"For this reason you also must be ready;
for the Son of Man is coming at an hour
when you do not think He will."

- Matthew 24:44

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Holy Rosary... a cloud... and a mysterious voice

After leading this past Saturday evening's Rosary at my Kailua parish, I arrived at my aunt's house to be greeted by an awesome sight - the image of the Holy Virgin within a cloud, directly over her property.  It was all so distinct to me... and to say I was happy and excited would be an understatement.  

I'm not sure if it was simply mere coincidence, though - instances I like to refer to as "spiritual serendipity" - because this time around, it seemed that I heard a voice  too.

Gazing up at the figure, I snapped a couple of photos (shown below) while two questions spontaneously came to mind - I asked Our Lady: "What is it Blessed Mother?  What is it that you want to say?"  In response, I heard a single sentence before the image faded; a maternal affirmation of the tender love our Heavenly Mama has for each of us.  I relay it below for the reader's discernment.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Holy Relics Pilgrim Visitation: Nakamura Residence, 3/4/2023

A long-time friend of this ministry requested the special presence of Saints and Relics for a private prayer gathering she hosted this evening in her Kailua Home.

Several of her invited guests were actually not familiar with our Saints and, more so, the Church's teaching on relics... and she wanted to expose them to it.  This author was happy to oblige.

Relics brought by this ministry to the
meeting (L to R): St. Faustina Kowalska,
True Cross, Our Lady's veil, and St. Padre
Pio (the relic of Luisa Piccarreta belongs
to the host)

One of the attendees had recently lost her husband and was understandably going through a difficult period of mourning.  I directed our host to place the reliquary with the True Cross in her hands to hold during the Rosary, and the poor woman began weeping silently as we prayed.  By the time our prayers ended, her face bore a visible look of relief.

At the end of the night, all the attendees left the meeting uplifted and grateful to God and our host for the meaningful prayers, the presence of the relics, the lively faith-sharing... and for the delicious spread of homemade Korean Food that she prepared for us!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Saint of the Month - March 2023: Saint Katherine Drexel

St. Katherine Drexel
American Saint of Racial Justice
Feast: March 3rd

This author enjoys reading about those certain Saints who come from a background of wealth and privilege, yet gave it all up to serve Jesus and the cause of furthering the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  Their sacrifices witness to the tremendous love they have for God and their fellow man, which never fails to inspire.  The most well-known of them usually come from Europe where they were members of royal or noble houses (e.g. St. Aloysius GonzagaSt. Catherine of BolognaSt. Clare of Assisi, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, etc.) or prominent business families (e.g. St. Angela of Foligno, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, etc.).  Not as celebrated as some of the listed names, in the USA we have a similar Saint - a wealthy heiress named Katherine Drexel.

Katherine, was born on November 26, 1858 to Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy Philadelphia banker, and his first wife, Hanna.  Sadly, unable to fully recover from the birth, Hanna died five weeks later.  A little over a year after, Francis marries Emma Bouvier, a woman of solid Catholic Faith and, together, the new couple set about being worthy examples to both Katherine, her older sister, and a third sister born of their union.  In addition to providing their children with the best education their wealth afforded, the Drexels made it a point to come together every evening in family prayer.  Furthermore, Emma often took her daughters with her when she exercised works of charity to instill in them the urgent need to assist those less fortunate than themselves.

In 1979, Emma was diagnosed with cancer and it was Katherine who primarily nursed her.  As she was during her healthy years, Emma was a model of faith in her affliction, deeply impressing her girls up until her holy death in January 1883.  Katherine was so deeply effected by her step-mother's conduct, she developed a growing desire to dedicate herself to the service of God.

A youthful and lovely Katherine

After Francis passed in 1885, Katherine and her two siblings each inherited significant amounts of money from their father.  Katherine, who was particularly concerned over the biased treatment of the Native Americans and African Americans, started using her influence and wealth towards charitable causes on their behalf.  Things escalated after she met Pope Leo XIII in 1887 during an audience in Rome.  She boldly entreated the pontiff to send more missionaries to Wyoming where a prelate-friend of hers - Bishop James O'Connor - was in need of help in his ministry.  Pope Leo reportedly replied with his own question: "Why don't you become a missionary?"

Initially surprised by the Pope's reply, Katherine prayed and reflected for a period of time, while also seeking guidance from Bishop O'Connor; he encouraged and supported her budding vocation.  In the end, despite her privileged status in society and proposals for marriage, Katherine decides to give herself completely to the service of the Native Americans and freed slaves through the founding of a new religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.  The year was 1891... and when the news broke, one newspaper headline sensationally read: "Gives Up Seven Million!"

Thirteen women followed Katherine to Cornwells Heights, Pennsylvania, where the new foundress turned the Drexel summer residence into the first motherhouse of her congregation.  Moving forward, Mother Katherine was tireless in systematically establishing charitable missions and rural/boarding schools, using her near-celebrity status and savvy people/negotiation skills to meet and gain approval from local Indian/Civic leaders; funding her various endeavors with her own inheritance.  By the time of her death, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament had grown in membership, and had over 100 mission centers and schools for Indians and African Americans across 16 states.

St. Katherine dedicated her life to
educating and serving the needs of
Indians and African Americans.

Despite her success, Mother Drexel's life was not without trials, she and her nuns endured intense opposition from Segregationist groups (one of her schools in Pennsylvania was burned to the ground)... and she was disabled for 19 years by a heart attack she suffered at age 77.  In this period of extended downtime, the foundress guided and prayed diligently for her community from a room that overlooked the Sanctuary of her convent chapel.  Like her step-mother, Emma, she was a model of profound faith and resignation to the Will of God during her long illness.

Katherine Drexel went to her eternal reward on March 3, 1955, at age 96.  Her legacy of self-sacrifice, charitable service, and faith was not forgotten by the communities she ministered and she was considered a Saint by many, even during her lifetime.  The Church Canonized her in October 2000.

St. Katherine Drexel, 
pray for our personal needs and
for the needs of the universal
Catholic Church!