Holy Saturday: The Wait

What does a tomb sound like, in the peaceful deadly evening,
While a burial ends quickly before the close of day?
It sounds like heavy footsteps fading away,
Mingled with sobbing of a childless mother.
The tears being sucked dry by the thirsty ground,
And echos of the same through rock rebound.
It sounds like the flutters of a final heartbeat,
A centurion’s armour as he leans on a lance,
Spirits writhing and the thoughts of angels waiting,
And the clouds and stars in a deathly dance.

What does a tomb smell like, as the light fades to dusk,
And stars glow brighter in spite of the sorrow?
Like blood – so much blood – and ancient rites,
Of new-turned soil and hard-bought sweat,
Of heated metal, death and thunder,
Battles and slaughter, loot and plunder,
Hard-won victory in spiritual fights,
The bone and the blood together abiding,
Pulled back to the soil, under darkness hiding,
And tremours of hope and new unknown life.

What does a tomb taste like, with the full moon rising,
When the sun has vanished and the soldiers are sleeping?
Like the smoke from Hell’s contract enkindled by Love,
And the soft breath of wind rising, pulling and creeping,
It tastes like the fear of the body, soul leaving,
The tear-drops of each of the countless dead grieving.

What does a tomb feel like, in the cold and voiceless night?
Like anticipation, and pulse quickening,
Soldiers sleeping, blood thickening.
Mossy rocks and frozen bone,
Of unhurried flight where thorns ingrown,
There trap the dew and freeze in frost,
The crown there, black with gore and fright.

What does a tomb look like, in the hushed silence,
Moments before another day?
A place of holy dread and dwelling,
Mound of ennobled dust and rocks,
With deep red stains embalming chains,
Where Life and death have come together,
Awaiting tomorrow to be sundered again,
And like the stable, the door for new Hope
From whence Love is to rise forever.

Good Friday

With slow, heavy steps, a man walks from the Holy City towards a hill, blood dripping, marking his path. He carries a burden that all men should have borne save this one – the weight of which would crush humanity to unending fire. He has been roughly treated all night, taken from governor to king and back, beaten relentlessly with heavy whips, mocked and insulted, and now he has forced on him the instrument of his death, a cross.

Why did we send our King to die? He lived His life in perfection and now goes to die for the crimes of humanity – innumerable sins, sins of blood, sins of the flesh, black souls with their midnight minds, curses of damnation, those that were, and each one that has not been yet, all heaped in a mountain so fell and grievous that only God could overcome it.

He reaches the top and there offers Himself on the altar of the Cross to His Father.
Cold iron driven through hands and feet, muscles and bone racked and stretched, splinters buried in wounds made fresh again when the clothes were pulled from clotting blood, hard dead thorns beaten into the head.

Do we weep for the suffering Christ or our sins which made Him so?
We ask: What have we done? but do we question ‘What are we doing?’
In the millennia since this moment, have we changed? Are we going to change, or continue to strike God with ingratitude?

In all this infinite injustice He prays for us still, “Father, forgive them . . .”

Do not let this Death be for nothing. When someone sacrifices for us we take notice, but how long will Christ be ignored?
There He stands, a mediator between Heaven and Earth, suspended by the sins of men, praying for us all – the Priest, the Sacrifice. A worse crime can never be conceived, no better act imagined. By a death of Love, unending death ceases unless we make it again.

And now, when ‘it is finished’, He willingly dies.

The sky which darkened in anger swells, the earth, baptized in Blood groans with pain and writhes, crying out for vengeance, tombs are shivered and dead men rise against Creation’s darkest moment – but this is the Hour of Mercy. Justice has been satisfied and the Cross stands dark, drunk with blood against the seething heavens. The murderers’ hatred is full. They go now, back to their idol, not knowing what they have done.

Silence falls with the tears of the few who loved Him enough to bear the moment. No heart can break more than our Lady’s did this day. She followed her Son, saw His pain and shared it; counted the bloody steps, heard the iron on iron through flesh. Her child, whom she once gave birth to, cared for with all the love a mother can have – she watched helplessly all the offenses hurled at Him, unable to protect or console Him. All she could do was surrender to the sword of flame that was thrust into her Immaculate Heart, and weep for the sins of her children.
Forgive us, dear Lady, for what we have done.

Evening is growing and a wave of darkness encroaches on the horizon of tomorrow’s sun. The Church has nothing left to say. Christ is dead.

We bury Him now in the heart of the earth, and turn away.

Where to go . . . how can one hide from the pain, the sorrow?
The only Love is dead, the Heart broken, the body exhausted from weeping.

No, there is no place to run, to hide. There is only an empty soul wanting for God.

And this is why we were given a Mother. Mary, the Morning Star – follow her now, in sorrow, in peace. Follow her, go to her as you would your mother. Fall into her arms and let her comfort you as she would have Christ in His agony – yes, weep for your sins and ask her to forgive you for wounding her, to pray for you to her Son that He have mercy on you.

We depart from the tomb now, and wait for the Rising.

Saviour of the world,
Give to me the strength
To carry my cross with you,
And the courage to embrace it to the end.
Let me die with you,
So that I may rise with you to life.

Have mercy on us and on the whole world, O Lord, and remember me when You enter into Your Kingdom.

Holy Thursday

The sun has set, Mass is ended and the Blessed Sacrament has been moved from the tabernacle to the altar of repose.
This night we remember the Last Supper of Jesus with His apostles, His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, betrayal and arrest.
We watch and pray as He asked His companions to . . .

At the Passover the Israelites sprinkled the blood of a lamb on their doorposts as a sign that their household belonged to the Lord.
Do we do the same? Is the Blood of Christ in our hearts, is it around the door guarding against evil entry? Too often, I think, we consume the Sacrifice without truly taking Him into our hearts, or worse, have our wills directed contrary to our actions as Judas did – giving Our Lord a kiss to identify Him to His enemies, bringing Him into unloving company.

Jesus was bleeding before His enemies laid hands on Him. The Blood was not sprinkled over a door, but signed the very earth itself and the legions of angels which could have executed justice on the world waited over it for their King.

If you’re one of those to whom nights of little sleep are not foreign, try offering one of those hours each night in reparation for the sins which He bled for then. Be a companion now, since there was no one when He wished for someone to be vigilant with Him, to pray with Him, to comfort His torn Heart.

We continue to follow Him tomorrow to the Death . . .

The Badge of Christian Warfare

We’ve almost reached the mid-point of Lent. Hopefully we have taken the past 20 days in reflection and prayer – and ACTION. Perhaps we have discovered and looked at our faults and flaws, but not done much about them yet.
Reaching the base of a mountain is good, but (tell me if I’m wrong) nobody has surmounted a peak without actually moving upwards – climbing.

Pope Benedict XIV has said:

“The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls.”

Frighteningly strong words, are they not? In observing Lent, we ‘prove ourselves not to be enemies of the Cross of Christ‘. In other words, to hide or shun this holy season, to neglect prayer and penance, to run from suffering, would be to declare ourselves enemies of the Cross.

How does one observe Lent?

“If any man” Christ says, “would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

In Lent, we have 40 days in which to put extra emphasis on carrying our cross. Some can, by extra sacrifices, take bits of others’ and add to their own, while many (if not most) have to spend much of the time just learning how to pick it up, let alone carry it, and even then we tend to wander off the well-beaten path.

As there are two possible ends of our lives, Heaven and Hell, with God or Not With God, (though some argue otherwise) there are two and only two ways to live. For God or Not For God. The former is to follow Christ, carrying your cross, the latter is to do neither, and to go away from Him.
Some say there are other ways to approach sanctity, alternate routes, but Jesus has said that he is “The Way, the Truth and the Life”. ‘The’ – there is ONE.

Carrying is not enough. “FOLLOW ME” He commands. Setting your own goal of perfection is guaranteed to fall short of God’s. We have to “be perfect as the Father is perfect.”

How does one do all that? We are told to be as perfect as God is, to carry a cross, and to follow Jesus wherever He goes. Seems rather impossible. It is – alone, at least.
If you think that your burden is too heavy, it’s probably because you are hauling your own around and left His on the ground a few miles back. What He gives us to carry is “Easy and…light”. He took everything on in His Cross, and now gives us a splinter to carry in proportion to our strength.

Use the rest of Lent to look to God for guidance in all things, never be satisfied in where you are in relation to Him, and stop following your ideas and standards – drop them all – take what He gives you and follow HIM up the mountain.

Memento Homo Quia Pulvis es, et in Pulverem Reveteris.

Thus begins the holy season of Lent – with ashes and a reminder that we are dust, and will return to dust after our death.
Remember! You are nothing but dust! It is a call to Humility, the root of all virtue. Remember! You will return to dust! You will be nothing but dust once you die! Humility.
Too often has man tried to set himself up as something eternal, to replace God. Too many still do the same. Nothing will be left of us after this life, indeed even now we are nothing but dust to be blown to the winds of history. Be humble!
Simultaneously the sign of the Cross of Ashes on our heads is a reminder of the fact that we will die, and die twice unless we act on the warning.
It is carried on our foreheads for a few brief hours; we need to willingly carry it in our hearts for a lifetime. We have the ashes placed on our heads; We need to burn a cross onto our soul.

This Lent, pray for the Humility to better understand your worth without God. Aspire to repay the immeasurable debt of your soul, sacrifice for those who will not, do penance for yourself and all other sinners.

Forty days – but a short time truly, and we will be celebrating the victory of the Risen Christ. Lent and Easter are a little taste of the life now and in eternity – but a short life and then when all is finished, if we have journeyed, lived, suffered, and tasted death and the grave with Christ, we will rise in triumph over Death to live in perfect communion with our God for the everlasting day of Paradise.

As you travel this little time, pause for reflection, look down the road and determine your route – Far, far forever into the unknowable stretches of timeless existence, there are two ends, and one way to each: Calvary to climb, or the easy and dreadful leap into the cracks of Hades.

How are you going to use your Lent?

‘Trust the Past to the Mercy of God, the Present to His Love, the Future to His Providence.’ ~ St. Augustine

Why are we told to trust the ‘Past’ to ‘Mercy’, ‘Present’ to ‘Love’ and ‘Future’ to ‘Providence’?

The Past is filled with failings of our own, acts based on weakness and lack of Charity. Trusting in God’s Mercy, we have Hope of a holy future.

The Present can be a time of doubt, of spiritual blindness, uncertainty, fear. With Faith in the Love of God – belief of It though we can not always see it – we know that He will guide us in Love, we have only to follow.

The Future is more clouded oftentimes than the Present. Similar to the difficulties of the Present, we have to let all things fall into the masterful hands of the Creator and by living our lives based on what is required now, set the path for a Future agreeable to Him.

Faith comes through prayer. At all times, when in doubt – Pray. If you can not mentally pray, do so physically. Be in the presence of God, for you are at any moment, every place. If possible find the Blessed Sacrament and be with Him as He suffers for sinners. Keep mutual company in the spiritual loneliness.

In any difficulty, if you need to act, to speak, to do anything, pray for guidance first that all you do may be with, in and for Love.

What is Time, to Eternity?

“O life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain! When I look at everything with the eyes of faith, no two hours are alike, and the dullness and monotony disappear. The grace which is given me in this hour will not be repeated in the next. It may be given me again, but it will not be the same grace. Time goes on, never to return again. Whatever is enclosed in it will never change; it seals with a seal for eternity” (Diary, 62).

Oh life, of such little time composed, yet how great a privilege that we be given one. No hour is like another, indeed no second. If only men would view with Faith every moment of their lives, what a world of beauty would be here! So live in the present time! We should live each second with habitual Love, and in looking back in the Judgment of your soul we will see a lifetime spent well, through the Mercy of the Sacred Heart.

Find the opportunity of a lifetime not monotonous, nor consider it dull. Life should be a taste of eternity.

What is a splinter of time?

Certain Fashions Threaten to Retard Mary’s Triumph and World Peace

By the former Director of the Purity Crusade of Mary Immaculate
Father Bernard Kunkel

(Our Lady of Fatima & Modesty)

Is it a sin to wear shorts, strapless dresses, short skirts, pants, modern swimwear, etc.?

These questions continue to disturb even so-called conservative Catholics almost a century after the disrobing trend began in feminine attire at the close of the First World War. True traditional Catholics, mindful of the virtues of Christian modesty and purity, refuse to be stampeded by “the crowd” into accepting the hedonistic fashions.

They know that the Blessed Virgin Mary will never approve of these pagan styles which are so contrary to Christian tradition on modesty.

Our Blessed Mother knew in advance the moral havoc that would follow the introduction of these unholy fashions. This is why she came personally at Fatima in 1917 to forewarn us.

At the same time she gave the answer in advance to the question, “Is it a sin to follow these fashions?”

To little Jacinta, aged seven, Our Lady entrusted this prophecy, which embodies her theology on the modern fashions:

“Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much.”

Let the Modernist pseudo-Theologians realize that they are in serious conflict with this heavenly message when they condone the aping of these “certain fashions” by so many Catholic women and girls. They cannot sanctify these sinful fashions by sprinkling them with holy water.

Our Lady’s verdict is that they are mortally sinful.

For, in theological language, to “offend Our Lord very much” means mortal sin.

How sad Our Blessed Mother must be when so many ignore Her maternal warning!

“Men must cease offending God, Who is already too much offended,” She pleads.

Instead of heeding Mary’s pleas, “the crowd” rejects Her as their model of modesty and looks for its models in the camp of Her archenemy, Satan.

How can Catholics be so blind?

They Follow Like Sheep

How sad, too, must have been the Vicar of Christ Himself, Pope Pius XII, as he lamented this blindness in his allocution to the Sodality convention in Rome on July 17, 1954!

These are the Holy Father’s own words:

“You live in a world which is constantly forgetful of God and the supernatural, where the only interest of the crowd seems to be the satisfaction of temporal needs, well-being, pleasure, vanity. . .”

“How many young girls there are who do not see any wrongdoing in following certain shameless styles like so many sheep. They certainly would blush if they could guess the impression they make and the feeling they evoke in those who see them. Do they not see the harm resulting from excess in certain gymnastic exercises and sports not suitable for virtuous girls? What sins are committed or provoked by conversations which are too free, by immodest shows, by dangerous reading. How lax have consciences become, how pagan morals!”

The Prophecy of Fatima Is Fulfilled

The stern condemnation of modern fashions by Christ’s Vicar shows that the prophecy of Our Lady of Fatima, “Certain fashions will be introduced”, had already been fulfilled in the Marian Year of 1954. Especially since, a little over one month later, on August 21, the Pope startled the world by his reference to the modern fashions as “a most serious plague”; and directed the Bishops throughout the world to “take action against this most serious plague of immodest fashions”.

To emphasize still more the seriousness of “certain fashions”, Pope Pius XII asked the Sacred Congregation of the Council to make a forceful appeal to all Catholics, but especially those in authority, to “leave no stone unturned which can help remedy the situation.” Thus, he repeated the action of his predecessor, Pius XI, who had asked this same Sacred Congregation to send out the “Special Instructions” in 1930 directing that the Roman Standards of modesty in dress (Marylike Standards) be followed.

The Pope Confirms Fatima Warning

What could be more condemnatory of these “certain fashions” than this second stern letter of the Sacred Council, which was sent on August 21 through its Prefect, Pietro Cardinal Ciriaci! Read carefully the excerpts from this letter which here follow, then resolve to redouble your “prayers and sacrifices” so that Mary Immaculate may extirpate that accursed heresy of Modernism which refuses to heed the appeal of both the Mother of God and the Vicar of Christ:

“Everyone knows that during the summer months particularly, things are seen here and there, which are certain to prove offensive to anyone who has retained some respect and regard for Christian modesty. On the beaches, in country resorts, almost everywhere, on the streets of cities and towns, in public and private places, and, indeed, often even in buildings dedicated to God, an unworthy and indecent mode of dress has prevailed.

“Because of this, the young particularly, whose minds are easily bent towards vice, are exposed to the extreme danger of losing their innocence, which is, by far, the most beautiful adornment of mind and body. Feminine adornment, if it can be called adornment, feminine clothing, if that can be called clothing which contains nothing to protect either the body or modesty, are at times of such a nature, that they seem to serve lewdness rather than modesty . . . Well did the ancient poet say of this matter, ‘Vice necessarily follows upon public nudity.'”

The Bishops are Asked To Take Action

“But you especially, whom ‘the Holy Ghost has set up as Bishops to rule the Church of God’, must by all means consider that matter carefully and take under your care, and promote with all your power, everything which has to do with the protection of modesty and the furtherance of Christian morals.

“Therefore, it is altogether imperative to admonish and exhort, in whatever way seems most apt, people of all stations, but particularly youth, to avoid the danger of this kind of vice (immodest dress), which is so directly opposed, and potentially so hazardous to Christian and civic virtue. . .

“It is the earnest desire of the August Pontiff that this cause be taken up enthusiastically, especially during the present Marian Year. He desires that Bishops in particular leave no stone unturned, which can help remedy the situation; and that, with their counsel and leadership, the rest of the clergy work prudently, assiduously, and earnestly, within their own jurisdiction, toward the happy attainment of this goal. . .”

Vain Excuses For Shameless Fashions

In spite of the many discourses of various Popes condemning the modern “certain fashions,” many women and girls stubbornly persist in “following certain shameless styles like so many sheep.” (Pius XII) And how do they justify their immodesty? In many cases, by parroting this sophistry, which can only be Hell-inspired:

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing? It doesn’t bother me. Evil to him who thinks evil. He must have a dirty mind. To the pure, all things are pure.”

It is obvious that many of the female sex do not understand the workings of the mind of man, and how it fits in the plan of God for the procreation of new human life. Otherwise, to re-quote Pius XII, “They would certainly blush if they could guess the impression they make and the feeling they evoke in those who see them.”

All Sense of Modesty Is Lost

Why do they not blush? God gives to each girl a special innate sense of modesty which causes her to blush when appearing in public in immodest attire. This instinct is intended by God for the protection of her own chastity, but especially to help the male, whose helpmate she is called to be, to keep in check his fiery passion. If she no longer blushes she has lost this precious “sense of modesty”. At this point, she is literally “asking for trouble”.

“My Conscience Is Clear”

Some women and girls justify their immodest attire by the sophism, “My conscience is clear. It tells me that there is nothing wrong in wearing shorts, strapless dresses, swimsuits, etc.”

“Follow your conscience” is a safe rule, provided you add, “Under the guidance of the Church.” Otherwise you are following the modern sophism, “Everybody his own Theologian.” This is nothing but the principle of “private interpretation,” essentially the same as the error held by the Lutherans of the 16th century, which led to the Protestant revolt against the true Church.

“Sister Says They’re Modest”

Still other women and girls appeal to the authority of a Priest or even a Sister. They shop around until they find one imbued with Modernism, or one who is either not too well acquainted with the recent pronouncements of the Popes, or not inclined to take them seriously.

How often does one hear, “Sister So-and-so says there is nothing wrong with shorts, strapless dresses, swimsuits”! Unfortunately, some Sisters do usurp the role of Theologian, without ever having had a course in Theology. Even with such a course, the Church does not authorize Sisters, Religious, or teachers to make decisions on such vital and intricate questions as modesty in dress.

Even if you can give the same quotation as coming from a Priest, you may not follow such a decision. If you do, you are still guilty of wrongdoing. For, not even a Priest is authorized to make such decisions which contradict the official statements of the Vicar of Christ, since he is only a “delegated authority” in the Church. You are still guilty of sin by following “certain shameless styles like so many sheep”, unless, through no fault of your own, you are ignorant of the recent Papal statements.

“Blind Leaders of the Blind”

Pastors, teachers, parents, and all who exercise authority over others, have a grave responsibility to promote modesty in dress according to the “mind of the Church.” Otherwise they may fall under this same condemnation spoken by Christ against the Pharisees: “Let them alone: they are blind and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.” (Matt. 15:14)

Pre-Requisite For the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart

How can we expect Mary’s triumph and world peace in an unchastened human society? And how can the reign of purity be established as long as these “certain fashions” continue to fan furiously the flame of passion in the hearts of men? Is it not evident from Our Lady’s messages at Fatima that modesty in feminine attire is a prerequisite for Her triumph and for world peace?

Let’s use our God-given faculty of reasoning. Our Lady tells us “Men must cease offending God. . .” In the next breath, as it were, she reminds us that one way in which God is offended “very much” is by those “certain fashions.” The conclusion should be plain. These semi-nude fashions retard Mary’s triumph, and are one of the chief causes bringing the world to the brink of annihilation.

Our Lady further revealed that “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh, than for any other reason.” Who can count the millions of mortal sins of the flesh that are daily occasioned by immodest attire — evil thoughts and desires, touches, impure embracing, kissing, raping, etc. How can the Immaculate Heart of Mary triumph as long as “more souls go to Hell” through shameless fashions?

Again, a Christian society would never tolerate the current flood of indecent literature, movies, and television if it had not first tolerated the public appearance of semi-nude women and girls in the flesh. As Pius XII points out, “vice necessarily follows upon public nudity.” Which implies: when public nudity is tolerated, innumerable sins against purity necessarily follow, and the corruption of mankind.

Yet, who will convince our Catholic women and girls that their shameful attire is responsible that so many “souls go to Hell. . .”?

It will take a miracle to save a world which has forgotten God to such an extent that even many Catholics have turned to the worship of human idols in the form of body cult and sex worship. Our Lady of Fatima has promised this miracle that will save us from the “greatest catastrophe since the deluge,” (Pius XII) if we do our part.

Listen to the Virgin Mary’s pleas for “prayers and sacrifices.”

There can be no doubt that one of the sacrifices that is very acceptable to Our Lady is the sacrifice required to become ever more Marylike ourselves*; and to promote energetically in others the “Marylike Way of Life” which will restore Marylike chastity and modesty to the world.

This will hasten true world peace, which is promised only through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

*Slight commentary: This is directed towards the virtue in light of women,  but should be taken into consideration by men as well in light of how they  themselves affect others – How do you portray yourself to the world?

The White Rose

One silent evening, towards Summer’s close,
I walked alone through darkening fields,
Saw by chance, hidden by trees
A group of bushes, gnarled and thorned,
But looking closer, was pleased to see,
On each thorned branch rested a rose.

Several rose-trees together growing,
One flowering blood-red, another gold,
But the one upon which I rested my sight:
The rose of shimmering, pure white.
Reflecting in it’s simple hue,
All colours bound and intertwined,
Symbolic of every virtue:
A rose of white, for purity,
For courage and eternal love,
Reverence and humility.

I heard as though it spoke to me,
And knew then, what I ought to be.
I shed a tear for my past sins,
Asked our Lord from me to take,
The thorns ’round my soul,
Their roots to break.

Long stood I there in fading light,
Pondering over this simple flower.
A gift from God, precious and sweet,
Growing from the ground at my feet.
Breaking rock, barren and dry,
Reaching out to sun and sky,
Growing, climbing towards God’s throne,
Doing that which His men will not,
Living always, Heaven to own,
While His great love, we all forgot.

It still is wonderous to me,
That man to make a choice is free;
That we alone, of all God’s creatures,
Have ever sinned and shunned His love;
That I see proof of Virtue’s power,
By looking at this little flower.