I just finished reading the book The Faith of Mr. Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth and just can’t help posting a short passage from the very end when she interviews him one last time.
Amy: If you had one final broadcast, one final opportunity to address your television neighbors, and you could tell them the single most important lesson of your life, what would you say?
Mr. Rogers: I would want [those] who are listening somehow to know that they had unique value, that there isn’t anybody in the whole world exactly like them and that there never has been and there never will be.
And that they are loved by the Person Who created them in a unique way.
If they know that and really know it and have that behind their eyes, they could look with those eyes on their neighbor and realize, ‘My neighbor has unique value too; there’s never been anybody in the whole world like my neighbor, and there never will be.’ If they could value that person – if they could love that person – in ways that we know that the Eternal loves us, then I would be very grateful.
I, just like Mr. Rogers, cannot see the faces of most of my middle school science students since they elect to keep their cameras off, but I can still imagine their face behind the colored circle in the video class and know that there is a real person there who needs a teacher who cares. So I speak to them and try hard to focus my eyes on the camera so that they feel that my gaze is on them. That is one thing that Mr. Rogers did that really impressed me as a child. He was looking at me and speaking to me, or so I felt. And in a way he was because he was letting God use him as a tool to spread His love.
It is well-known that Mr. Roger’s favorite quote, which he had framed in his office, was from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. During the Prince’s encounter with the lonely fox, the fox tells him his secret:
“…it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
This is what I wish to keep in mind as I interact with all, especially my students and my own children; that they are so precious in the eyes of God and He causes me to “see rightly what is essential” in them so that I can come to love and appreciate them with His Love if I only fuse myself with it.
‘ “There’s no such thing as a dragon”, said his mother. And she said it like she meant it.”
So begins the children’s story by Jack Kent. As the mother continued to ignore the small dragon that her son, Billy had pointed out, it grew and grew until the father came home and, finding his house has been carted down the street on the dragon’s back, he rushes after it and calls up to his family in the top floor window. He asks how this has happened. Billy, who had been following the authority of his mother, now is confident that he had been correct all along and the family, together, acknowledge the presence of the unruly dragon in their home. As they begin to confront the fact of its presence and pay attention to it, it shrinks down once more to a manageable size.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, the famous (or infamous, depending on your ideological leanings) psychologist from the University of Toronto, gave a lecture in 2002 that was broadcast on TV Ontario as part of the Big Ideas Lecture series. The message of this story, in his words is:
Pay attention — or else
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
In the Roman Catholic Church we have, for the most part, avoided acknowledging the existence of the Dragon for the last century or so. Through the protracted process of change under the guise of “progress”, the Dragon grew in our midst. In the name of liberation from many of the world’s oppressions, our leaders were desensitized to him and, when some of us pointed him out with alarm, they told us there was no such thing, so we trusted them and his tentacles subtly continued to weave their way throughout the whole of the Bride of Christ.
“The smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God…” Pope Paul VI, in 1972, warned us but even way back in 1884, Pope Leo the XIII was granted a vision in which Satan asked the Lord for 75-100 years to wreak havoc on the Church, to destroy her. He asked for power over “those who would give themselves over to my service.” The request was granted. Thus began the slow and steady infiltration of the Dragon’s presence.
The Dragon grew and grew, invading each room in the Church with deceptions clothed in light: liberation theology, feminism, iconoclasm, clericalism, paganism, globalism, irreverence and atheism. He now to carries the Church around where he wants it to go. It puts me in mind of what Jesus told Peter:
… another will fasten your belt for you and carry you where you do not wish to go.
Many of us are like the boy, Billy, worried about where we are being taken, trying to stay in the precariously perched house, but respecting the authority we are trying to honor and obey. We are awaiting the return of Our Father who will decry the Dragon, cleanse the Church of his malice and send Our Mother to crush his head to institute the Era of Peace.
We know that it will not be easy. Hard work that matters never is. Praise God that we have all the legions of angels, the saints in Heaven and the souls in purgatory on our side, cheering us on through these trials.
May Our Mother’s Immaculate Heart triumph and may our Father’s Will be done as it is in Heaven with the establishment of the Kingdom of the Divine Will on Earth.
Draw near to your servants, O Lord, and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, for those who glory in You as their Creator and guide, you may restore what You have created and keep safe what You have restored…
Collect from 18th week in ordinary time
Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans chapter 8 verse 22 “that the whole creation has been groaning with labor pains together until now”. Looking around me, I can see the effects of the fall of man probably much more clearly than in the times of Paul in the dire circumstances which have been accumulating their tragic results on all of creation.
We humans, in our hubris and selfish ambition, in rejection of God’s love and provision, have wreaked havoc on this beautiful planet that He fashioned for our delight and existence. The pollutants from our industrialization and focus on material pursuits cause spiritual and physical collateral damages that are unsurpassed.
There are millions of us living and working in unsafe, demeaning conditions for the profit of the few. Materialism’s ruthless march forward has resulted in the neglect, abuse, sale and murder of humans, especially our children, whether before or after birth. Our rejection of the Divine order of God also has caused too many to turn to mind-numbing, soul-crushing entertainment and pursuit of pleasure which keep us distracted from more important things like the condition of our souls, our right relationship with each other and the root causes of the environmental problems we have fomented. So many look to the government to put into place policies and assistance to try to remedy the social and corporate problems, but we are now seeing how wrong that can go with authoritarian saftey-ism ramping up around the world.
I look around and I hear the cries for help to clean up all the by-products of our “advances”; the accumulations of plastics, toxic tech wastes, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and pesticides, etc, etc…I hate to have to say it, but, no matter if all the volunteer clean-up organizations get all the “good” people to work 24 hours a day for a year, the minute they think they’re finished containing the waste, they will turn around and see that it was all replaced with more as soon as they turned their backs.
Until our God “restores what [He] has created”, nothing will get and stay better. We all must repent and turn to Him, changing our ways spiritually and physically but, at this point, just as in the past, He must intervene in a drastic way that will shock us out of our God-less stupor and recognize how far we have strayed from Home. Then and only then will He be able to restore us and His beautiful world with our cooperation.
The cataclysmic physical changes from the natural galaxy-wide, solar and planetary cycles that are to come will probably be the means through which the renewal of the physical environment will come. They will result in the loss of countless lives, many of whom, through God’s mercy will be saved when they cry out to Him. Those who stay behind will be able to focus once again on the just stewardship of creation and the renewal of the spiritual environment through the simplicity of life that will allow for more focus on faith and family and, hopefully, a better collaboration with our Lord to help Him to “keep safe what He has restored”.
In the mean time, as we continue careening towards the precipice of the global elites’ plan for the “Great Reset“, we still have a lot of work to do with evangelization and education about the faith. We all need to deepen our spirituality and relationship with our Lord and each other.
Personally, I have found that the writings that Our Lord Jesus inspired St. Faustina, Elizabeth Kindlemann and, most of all, Luisa Piccarreta to write, are the ones that guide my growth and relationship with Him best. St. Faustina’s emphasis on the Father’s Mercy through Jesus’ passion, Elizabeth’s focus on the Flame of Love prayers for unity with Him through Mary’s heart and the completion of this unity by the fusion of our acts in the Divine Will, explained in the messages Jesus gave to Luisa in The Book of Heaven, all nourish my soul’s path to sanctification.
I pray for everyone the rapid progress which has happened in my life over the last seven years or so. All it takes is a willingness to sacrifice those things which are passing: like an immaculate house, gourmet foods, binge-watching/reading trivialities, buying the latest fashions, playing endless video games, excessively obsessing over your appearance, etc… Give up all these things in exchange for silence, prayer and spiritual reading. If you are willing to make these changes, little by little, He will help you make big strides along the path to complete union with Him so He can restore a little corner of His creation in your heart and keep it safe.
But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.
“Some went down to the sea in ships…Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and He brought them out from their distress; He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.”
Ps. 107:23a, 28-30 NRSV
Today’s Gospel reading from the fourth chapter of Mark tells of the disciples and Jesus getting in boats to cross the sea of Galilee. When the storm rose they panicked and woke the exhausted Jesus from His much-needed sleep. He immediately rose and rebuked the storm, bringing quiet and calm so they could continue on to “their desired haven” on the other side.
The disciples were surely familiar with the passage from Psalm 107 and knew that only the Lord God could have performed this miracle. Thus their bewilderment at the possibility that this flesh-bound human could possibly be God; the Great One extolled in the Scriptures for all the wondrous works that their forefathers experienced. How could it be? What does it all mean? Is He really the Promised One they had been longing for?
“And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey him?
O my Sweet Jesus, I thank You, I bless You, I praise You and adore You!I kneel before You with all the gratitude of my sinful heart for revealing Yourself to me as God in the flesh, the One Who is the most humiliated of all persons, Who calls me in Love to follow in Your footsteps along the painful Way of Redemption.
From a biography of a holy priest who was imprisoned in the Soviet labor camps from 1939 – 1958 Father Arseny 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father a narrative from servant of God Alexander concerning his spiritual father. Translated by Vera Bouteneff
In the evenings, after the work was done, even though the prisoners were exhausted beyond belief, they would sit in groups and play games or converse, sometimes breaking in to ideological, philosophical or theological arguments.
One night, a group began to bicker about the origins of the current communist misery. Most of them blamed the government for all of their pain and misfortune. When they started on the subject of the destruction of churches and suppression of the faith, they dragged Fr. Arseny into their midst, insisting that he opine.
This is what he said:
“…you say that the communists have arrested the believers, closed churches, trampled on faith. Yes, it does look that way, on the surface, but let us look into this more deeply, let us glance at the past. Among us Russian people many have lost the faith, lost respect for our past, we lost much of what was precious and good. Who is at fault? The authorities? No, we are at fault ourselves, we are only reaping what we ourselves have sown.
Let us remember the bad examples set by the intelligentsia, the nobility, the merchants, and the civil servants. We in the priesthood were the worst of them all.
Children of priests became atheists and revolutionaries, simply because they had seen in their families lies and a lack of true faith. Long before the revolution, priests had already lost the real right to be the shepherds of their people, of their conscience. Priesthood became a profession. Many priests were atheists and alcoholics.
He listed the names of the few monasteries that were “real beacons of Christianity:, the others “became communities with no faith in them”. He went on to say:
“We did not raise our people right, we did not give them the basics of strong faith. remember this! Remember! This is why the people were so quick to forget all of us, their own priests; they mainly forgot their faith and participated in the destruction of churches, sometimes even leading the way in their destruction.
Understanding all of this, I cannot point a finger at our authorities, because the seeds of faithlessness fell on the soil which we ourselves had prepared. And from there comes the rest: our camp, our sufferings, the wrongful deaths of innocent people.”
This is message is for us, in the continuing story of infidelity and failure of God’s people to follow His law. It began with the chosen people, the Israelites in the desert, God having warned them of the consequences of falling away from the straight and narrow path: the leaders would be the first to falter, getting carried away with sins of the flesh and power and wealth and then the people would follow, becoming abominable in His eyes. He even predicted its coming, telling Moses,
“…when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.”
There would always be a faithful few, however, who were steadfast and true. Even these, nevertheless, would suffer the consequences of their leaders’ folly.
“Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD.
Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.”
We are facing a repeat of this right now. Our leaders, for the most part, have become weak and wimpy in the faith, concerned with the opinions and pressures of the anti-theist world about them instead of the everlasting knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the Holy Trinity in the deposit of Faith.
God help us remain faithful to His Truth and call on the Holy Spirit for strength to speak it and act on it with Love.
God’s new world order was made necessary when Adam sinned and the Father put in motion the plans for our redemption. He waited for the “fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) and the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin as the Father looked on in Love to see the Son begin His life in her womb. What a contrast to what is being planned for us by the evil one and his followers who hate us for having been made by the Father in His image!
In the Old Testament, the story of the tower of Babel parallels what is going on today with the desire of man to be God, rather than realize that he already is the actual image of God. Men want to become the Creator and manipulate the creation to supposedly improve upon it and bring it to it’s highest fulfillment. They wish to climb as high as they can to try to surpass what God made.
The funny thing is that the actual path to improve ourselves lies in stooping low and getting into a position where we must look up: up to the Father. When we do this, we see our true purpose in His loving gaze directed down upon us. If we can humble ourselves, this is when He lifts us up to the highest heights of Heaven so that we can reach down our hands to pull others up with us. The striving must be focused on self denial and sacrifice.
Now, the Deceiver always does the opposite of the Father. He whispers into men’s hearts the discontent that breeds division. He cannot help himself. He tells us that we must strive to climb up and over the backs of others, trample them and force them to choose what we think best: that we must look down on them from above. But, his arrogance works against him, and his confidence grows through the pride of men who blatantly boast of their plans to make the world a better place, exposing his lies to all who would humble themselves to look through the lens of true Love.
Woe to those who let man’s New World Order take over their souls! We must reject the Father of lies and his human order, embracing instead God’s new world order if we are to survive the onslaught , confident that our souls are more important than our bodies (Mt. 10:28).
O Lord, protect us from the vengeance of the evil one and Your just Justice! ~Amen
My husband normally serves at the masses in our parish and now, because of the shutdowns, makes his appearance in the YouTube stream of two masses each weekend. This past weekend, he began his vacation time off and sat down with me to “attend” the mass.
At the beginning of this time of isolation and shut downs, he had compared attending a televised mass to watching pornography, but now that he actually had the experience of attending a live-streamed mass, he has changed his mind. He now agrees with me that it is more like watching a chef prepare a scrumptious feast on a TV show and you are a starving person that is forced to watch instead of being present at the actual meal. You are only left salivating, undernourished and longing to participate in the banquet being prepared before you. It would almost seem better if you hadn’t watched the mass at all sometimes since it leaves you so unsatisfied and grieved.
The reason my husband thought it was like pornography at first was because a person is watching the most intimate relationship possible between two humans but it is done in an acted out way with no participation or fulfillment in person on your part; you are just an observer. In the mass the most intimate interaction between God and a human takes place with complete participation and fulfillment on both parts when one receives the Eucharist with the proper disposition.
He changed his mind, however, after watching the live-stream mass, because he saw that, in pornography the watcher does not have an obligation to be a participant but even so, gets satisfaction from watching. In contrast, with remote “participation” in mass, the faithful Catholic viewer who was joyfully under obligation to participate in weekly mass comes expecting some sort of participation, but there is really no consummation or satisfaction whatsoever. However much we are reassured that spiritual communion is adequate, we are still observers who long for actual, physical communion with our Lord and He with us. As Jenny Uebbing wrote in her post this week, An Incarnate Jesus Necessitates an Incarnate Worship:
Jesus doesn’t make telehealth visits. He spits in the mud and touches ears and pulls hands into bloodied wounds and He rests on our tongues and in our bellies.
True, complete, satisfying participation in the mass requires us to be physically present. We must take him onto our tongues, chew Him up and swallow Him as He told His followers:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.”
Jesus humiliates Himself daily, allowing Himself to be confected into the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine for the nourishment of His bride. How could we have left Him waiting on the altar all those times when we had every opportunity attend mass freely?
The sign of the cross is the entry-way into the Christian faith -in baptism it is the first sign we use- a cross traced on the child’s forehead by the priest, parents and godparents.
St. Reneé Goupil, in making the sign of the cross, over a sick Huron child purchased his entryway into heaven. ”One of the natives, certain that he had cast a spell, attacked him that very night with a tomahawk.” (from Saint Who? 9-13-2019 Magnificat).
As he died, he was given last rights by St. Isaac Jogues and passed through the pearly gates.