Living in the End Times ~ Part 12

Living in the End Times

Being a Christian people, we are filled with a hope which is strengthened through both prayer and Sacrament. We have a God who has gifted us with a faith in His unfathomable Love and limitless Mercy, made known to us through Sacred Scripture and the teaching Magisterium of our Catholic Church.

In our last episode (Part 11), we reflected upon those special prayers given to us from both Heaven and the Church itself, prayers which strengthen and prepare us for all that will one day unfold upon the face of the Earth.

In this continuing series on “Living in the End Times”, I would like to spend time today reflecting upon those subjects which you asked for through past comments or in private messages.

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THE HOLY ROSARY

There was a request for knowing more about the history and Scriptural basis for the Rosary. The Eternal Word Television Network, on its webpage, presents a very detail history of this favorite devotion for many of God’s faithful.

The Rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Divine Office (the Breviary, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), during the course of which, early in Church history, the monks would pray each day the 150 Psalms.

The laity, many of whom could not read at the time, substituted 50 or even 150 Avé Marias (Hail Marys) in place of the Psalms. This prayer, at least the first half of it being biblically based, seems to date from as early as the 2nd century, as ancient graffiti at Christian sites has shown archeological researchers. Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Avés.

The first clear historical reference to the Rosary, however, is from the life of Saint Dominic (who died in 1221 A.D.), who was the founder of the Order of Preachers, or what is also called the Order of Dominicans. He preached a form of the Rosary in France during the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the faith in medieval Europe. Tradition reveals that it was the Blessed Mother, herself, who asked for the practice of praying the Rosary as an antidote for heresy and sin.

Saint Dominic de Guzman

One of St. Dominic’s future disciples, Blessed Alain de Roche (1428-1475 A.D.), began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the Rosary. The form of the Rosary we have today is believed to date from his time.

Over the centuries, many saints and popes have highly recommended the Rosary as the greatest prayer in the Church, only after the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, its most active promoters have been Dominicans.

Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. the Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys or Franciscan Crown, the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church.

Finally, in English it has been called “Our Lady’s Psalter” or “the beads”. This last term is derived from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).

The Rosary has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied with the prayers (it can and should be prayed silently when necessary so as not to disturb others), the mind meditates on the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ, from the Incarnation through His youth, through our Lord’s ministry, His Sorrowful Passion and the Redemption He earned for us, and finally His Glorious Resurrection and Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit together with the Assumption and Coronation of Mary – all represented by the different decades, most of which are found throughout the New Testament.

Meditation is the form of prayer by which the person who is praying uses the mind and imagination to consider a Divine Truth and uses the will to love it and form resolutions to live it. In this way, the heart, mind and soul of the Christian is formed according to the Gospel examples of our Savior and His first disciple, His Mother.

In God’s own time, when this purification of the heart, mind and soul has advanced sufficiently, our Lord may give the grace of contemplative prayer, that special Divine insight into the truth which human effort cannot achieve on its own.

Why pray the Rosary today? Most certainly, it is to grow in holiness in one’s daily prayer life. The following are a few others reasons why the Rosary should be prayed often, even daily:

  • “Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.” (Pope Pius IX)
  • “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.” (Our Lady of Fatima)
  • “There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessings upon the family…than the daily recitation of the Rosary.” (Venerable Pope Pius XII)
  • “We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times.” (Ven. Pope Pius XII)
  • “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary.” (Bishop Hugh Doyle)
  • “The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world.” (Pope St. John XXIII)
  • “The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel.” (Pope St. Paul VI quoting Ven. Pope Pius XII)
  • “Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary…can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [e.g.. the Mass] and can also become a continuing echo thereof.” (Pope St. Paul VI)
  • “My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God.” (Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima)
  • “How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening.” (Pope St. John Paul II)
  • Pope St. John Paul II has called the Rosary his “favorite prayer”, after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, and
  • Saint Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance: “…the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God.”

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THE ROSARY and SACRED SCRIPTURE

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”

  • Luke 1:28:  “And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.’” The Greek word kecharitomene means favored by grace, graced. Its tense suggests a permanent state of being “highly favored”, thus full of grace. Charity, the Divine Love within us, comes from the same root. God is Infinite Goodness, Infinite Love. Mary is the perfect example of created goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with the grace or charity.

“Blessed are you among women”

  • Luke 1:41-42a:  “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women…’”
  • Luke 1:48-49:  “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
  •  “Among all women” is a way to say the highest/greatest etc. in Semitic languages (these words would likely have been spoken in Aramaic). Mary is being called the greatest of all women, greater than Ruth, greater than Sarah, greater than EVE!
  • Since Eve was created immaculate (without original sin), Mary must have been conceived immaculate. And, although Eve fell into sin by her own free will, Mary must have corresponded to God’s grace and remained sinless. She could not otherwise be greater than Eve. Thus, as the Fathers of the Church unanimously assert, Mary is the New Eve who restores womanhood to God’s original intention and cooperates with the New Adam, her Son, for the Redemption of the world!

“Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

  • Luke 1:42b:  “and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
  • Jesus is Mary’s fruit. Good fruit does not come from anything but a good tree (Mt. 7:17-18)! The All-Holy Son of God could not be the fruit of any other tree than the Immaculate Virgin!

“Holy Mary, Mother of God”

  • Luke 1:43:  “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
  • Kyrios is the Greek word used by the Jews in the Septuagint Bible (Greek translation) for YHWH, the Divine Name of God. In her greeting of Mary, Elizabeth is saying: “How is it that the mother of my God should come to me.”
  • Against the heresies of the 4th and 5th centuries which tried to split the Person of Jesus into two, Divine and human, denying one or the other, the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. proclaimed Mary Theotokos (God-bearer, i.e. mother of God).
  • Jesus is a single Person, a Divine Person, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. To be mother of the Person Jesus is to be mother of a Person who is God. Mary’s title protects this truth against errors which emphasize or deny either the Divinity or the humanity of the Lord.

“Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

  • Luke 2:35:  “…and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
  • John 2:5:  “His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
  • Mary sees a need and appeals to Her Son to satisfy it. He does. We turn to Mary to ask her to intercede with her Son in our daily spiritual and material needs, but especially at the hour of our death. At that moment, our salvation hangs in the balance as the devil makes his final foray to deter us from the path to God (Rev. 2:10). It is not surprising, therefore, that both the Hail Mary and the Our Father conclude with an appeal to be delivered from the Evil One.

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Prayer is the raising of one’s mind, heart and soul to God. It is how we give Him glory by showing our complete dependence upon His Presence in our daily lives, humbling ourselves before His Divine Majesty and embracing His providential Love for each of us. Prayer then truly becomes our intimate conversation with the God who created us and loves us beyond all human understanding.

In Part 11, we covered several different types of prayer. The Rosary, in which we have gone into more detail today, is a very important prayer available to us and which we can offer to God from the very depths of our hearts.

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CLOSING COMMENT

Next Friday in this continuing series of “Living in the End Times”, we will prayerfully discuss in more detail the facts surrounding the Third Secret of Fatima and how it impacts us in these times in which we live today.

Again, I ask that you please pray that I may be able to continue to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in all that He wishes for you to learn, in all that He wishes for you know through this Evangelization Apostolate of God’s Divine Love and Mercy

– so that I may be able to continue to evangelize the fullness of His Truth, remaining ever faithful to the True Bride of Christ and the Magisterial teaching of His Holy Church, and guiding each of us into a more loving, holier and a more intimate relationship with our Creator, our Savior and our Enlightener – a Most Loving and Merciful God who calls each of us into oneness with Himself.

And as we begin to live in these final days of the “End Times”, may we take to heart always the words which our Lord spoke, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you.

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Previous Posts:

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, § 1731)

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“Lord God, Heavenly and Eternal Father, You not only have blessed us with the gift of life, but also with the gift of faith in Your Divine Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ;

– may the Eternal Word Incarnate bring His Kingdom to forever rule within our hearts and master our souls, so that, as Your children, we may never turn away from Your Truth, but always be opened to the inspirations of Your Most Holy Spirit, thereby enabling us to become true and faithful disciples, all for Your greater honor and glory and for our salvation. We humbly pray this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

April 15 ~ At the Hour of Death

Theme:  The Chaplet of Mercy

“When I entered my solitude, I heard these words: ‘At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the pardon is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God’s anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy are moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son.’

“Oh, if only everyone realized how great the Lord’s mercy is and how much we all need that mercy, especially at that crucial hour!” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 811)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, thank You for the promises You and Your Father made about praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the dying. Help us to make use of it for family members and friends. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

[Editorial – I have personally witnessed the effects of God’s graces given through the Chaplet, and the wonderful peace which fills the soul of the one dying. ]

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

April 15 ~ Hide Me in Your Mercy

Theme:  Struggle, Satan, Spiritual Warfare

“I know well that the greater and the more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 1401)

“Jesus, hide me in Your mercy and shield me against everything that might terrify my soul. Do not let my trust in Your mercy be disappointed. Shield me with the omnipotence of Your mercy, and judge me leniently as well.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 1480)

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Meditation for the Day

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, April 15

Do We Close Our Minds to All That Our Faith Gives Us, or Do We Open Our Hearts and Souls and Embrace All That the Holy Spirit Teaches Us through the Church, the Bride of Christ?

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life.”

Jesus’ words which we read in today’s Gospel are very powerful and also very sobering. John is telling the people for whom He is writing this Gospel that belief in Jesus Christ is a life-and-death issue!

In other words, it is essentially a matter of eternal life versus eternal death – and it depends upon the choices we make in this life. And by virtue of the gift of free will, God has given us the freedom either to respond to His invitation or to turn away and reject it.

In our Lord’s continuing discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus is teaching him that God’s Son has come from Heaven, and that He testifies to the Truth which comes from God, and that He, Jesus, is filled with the fullness of God’s Truth when He says, “For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.”

The meaning of this is that John the Baptist and all the other prophets who preceded him were given only a part of God’s Truth to be shared with His children. Jesus, however, being of God, testifies that He, Himself, is Truth Personified! He is Truth Incarnate! And, as such, He is the fulfillment of all that was spoken about and prophesied in ages past!

And this is the Truth to which Peter and the other Apostles are testifying in our First Reading today. These same men, who once were timid and afraid but now filled with great courage, having received the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, were giving testimony to Jesus, to the Eternal Truth whom the Jewish religious and political authorities had crucified.

They proclaimed to the face of the high priest, together with the rest of the assembled Sanhedrin, “We must obey God rather than men.” And they go on to say, “We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.”

These Apostles were ordinary men, just like you and me. It is believed that some of them had wives and probably family. And yet, they were called upon to do the extraordinary.

There are times in our own lives when Jesus reaches out to each of us, also asking us to do the extraordinary for the sake of His Kingdom here on Earth. We find examples of this in the lives of the saints, and also in the lives of untold numbers of faithful Christians who may never be recognized in the calendar of saints, but are nonetheless enjoying the fruits of their labors in God’s Heavenly Kingdom for all eternity.

And we find, in the words of our psalmist today, echoes of our Lord’s promise to Nicodemus, when he says, “Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him.”

How you and I respond to the gift of faith with which each of us has been blessed will determine our future, our ultimate destiny. We do not need to be experts in theology to speak about love and humble service to the needs of others. Sometimes living our faith is the best way of giving testimony – of giving witness to what we say we truly believe.

And we can take note of the words which Saint Francis of Assisi, when instructing his followers, once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” What it implies is that our actions, in giving witness to our faith, oftentimes speak loader than our words.

And our Catechism teaches us that “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it.”

In a culture which has chosen to ignore the teachings of Christ, our Lord gives to each of us a very sober warning, “…whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.”

Our Lord’s warning should make each of us sit up and take notice! In our individual walks of faith, we can choose to either close our minds to all that our faith gives us, or we can choose to open our eyes, our hearts and our souls to all that the Holy Spirit teaches us through the Church, the Bride of Christ – and become witnesses to our faith.

We can choose to live selfishly, or we can choose to love SELFLESSLY. We can choose Hell or we can choose to embrace the gift of Heaven. Choosing to love, choosing to give witness, choosing to give testimony to our life of faith can truly become a great source of joy and satisfaction!

In the end, we know that God will reward us with the gift of eternal life for the righteous choices we make and the desire to embrace and truly live the faith with which we have been blessed.

How we respond to His invitation in this life is ultimately left up to each one of us. †

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.” (John 3:34)
  • “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” (John 3:36)
  • “Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:20)
  • “Every one who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 10:32-33)
  • “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
  • “For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 3:8)
  • “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27a)
  • “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

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Prayer for the Day

“Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy affection may drag downwards;
Give us an unconquered heart,
which no tribulation can wear out;
Give us an upright heart,
which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.

“Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God,
understanding to know You, diligence to seek You,
wisdom to find You,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace You.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint of the Day ~ April 15

BLESSED CÉSAR de BUS (1544-1607), priest and founder
Patron saint of catechists

Today, the Church honors Blessed César de Bus, who, after experiencing disillusionment with choices he had made in the secular world, embraced a life serving the Body of Christ, committing himself to catechizing the faith to those who were in most need of learning about and developing a relationship with their Savior.

César was born in Cavillon, France on February 3, 1544. He was the seventh of thirteen children and devoted his youth to wild and frivolous living. Like so many of us when young, César struggled with the decision about what to do with his life. After completing his Jesuit education, he had difficulty making a decision between a military and a literary career. He wrote some plays but ultimately settled for life in the army and at the king’s court.

For a period of time, life was going rather smoothly for the engaging, well-to-do young Frenchman. He was confident he had made the right choice – that was until he saw firsthand the realities of battle, including the injustices and atrocities of war.

He fell seriously ill and found himself reviewing his priorities, including his spiritual life. By the time he had recovered his health and leaving the military way of life, César had resolved to become a priest. Following his ordination in 1582, he undertook special pastoral work: teaching the catechism to ordinary people living in neglected, rural, out-of-the-way places. His efforts were badly needed and well received.

Working together with his cousin, Father de Bus developed a program of family catechesis. The goal was to ward off heresy among the people, an effort which met the approval of local bishops. Out of these efforts grew a new religious Order – Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a congregation of priests who would devote themselves to the preaching of Christian doctrine to the many people who badly needed catechesis. This congregation was approved by Pope Clement VIII in 1597.

On Easter Sunday, April 15, 1607, at the age of sixty-three, Father César de Bus died in Avignon, France. He was beatified in 1975 by Pope St. Paul VI, and his remains are interred in the church of Saint Mary in Monticelli in Rome, Italy.

We commemorate his feastday on April 15.

(From saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ pastor)

“God our Father, in Blessed César de Bus, You gave a light to Your faithful people. You made him a pastor of the Church to feed Your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example. Help us by his prayers to keep the faith he taught and follow the way of life he showed us.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, § 1731)

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“Most Loving and Eternal Father, with the help of Your grace, may we forever open our hearts and recognize the profoundness of Your Love which You hold for each of us, and Your indescribable desire to embrace us for all eternity;

– in our personal walks of faith, may we always be Your faithful children, giving to You our most heartfelt gratitude and sincerest thanksgiving for this wondrous gift of faith which fills our hearts and souls, and may we live this faith daily with true courage, never being ashamed of who we are and who we are called to be as a Christian people. We proclaim this gift of faith proudly in the Most Holy Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.”