Posts by popemichael

Coronavirus

Posted by on Mar 17, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thursday morning, We awoke, knowing that the coronavirus existed. By evening several had asked what was going on and someone had panicked. Friday saw Us out purchasing a few things and then again on Saturday. We actually got to see a store being mobbed peacefully and quietly. The stores here have been hit and are out of a a few things. There are empty shelves. Most noticeable are the produce and meat counters, although there is probably not a roll of toilet paper on a store shelf near me. (No one has explained to me why we should stock pile toilet paper.)

This is Monday morning, and many decisions have and are being made. In this area (Topeka, Kansas and surrounding area) Government schools have been closed for two weeks as well as Community Centers in the county parks for the same time period. The City Council has not made a decision on Tuesday night’s meeting. Other facilities have closed public areas, and Mom’s place is considering doing so, although it was open with more stringent cleanliness protocols in place for over a week.

Many decisions are being made at all levels, and unfortunately there is much discussion of some of these decisions. Great grace is available, but unfortunately great sins will be committed, during this crisis. And we need to apply Christian principles to the current situation.

“By me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things, By me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice.” (Proverbs 8:15-16) God has instituted authority in all areas of our life, and subjects are obliged to respect lawful authority. Unfortunately in this democratic world, most authorities are judged and criticized rather than being humbly obeyed by their subjects.

And here is Our point. “And Samuel said: Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams.” (I Kings 15:22) Everyone reading this has taken some position in regard to the current condition of the Catholic Church. Our actions must be consistent with our position. Novus Ordo Bishops among others have ordered their churches closed to prevent spread of the coronavirus. If you believe this man is your bishop, accept the closure humbly and silently. This includes the Society of Saint Pius X, who believes that the Novus Ordo Bishop of the diocese truly possesses the office. They include his name in the Canon, which reminds me of a story I was told in Econe. In the late 1800’s the Catholic bishop of the diocese was at a gathering where there were also Anglican priests and bishops. It just so happened that both the Catholic and Anglican diocese had the same city for their seat. An Anglican priest came up to the Catholic Bishop and told him that he celebrated the same Mass that the Bishop did. The Bishop then asked whose name he inserted for Pope, and the Anglican said Pius (IX). Then the Bishop asked him, which Bishop’s name he inserted. The Anglican said: “Why you, My Lord.” Then the Bishop said: “Then I suspend thee.” Soon after the Anglican priest converted to the Catholic Faith. By naming a man’s name in the Canon as our Pope or our Bishop we are admitted they have authority over us in spiritual matters as Pope or Bishop as the case may be.

In most of the world, the State is separate from the Church. The State will be taking action to protect the common good. And no matter what they order, many will begin complaining. What is the Christian attitude to both authorities? If we agree with their decision, obedience is simple, but what if we disagree. In the Church situation, there is a whole position, recognize and resist, which has changed, “Rome has spoken, the case is closed,” to “Rome has spoken, the debate is on.” This attitude reigns in many hearts today and we see its application to some of the decisions various authorities have made.

When we disagree with an authority we can do one thing, appeal for a change of mind, obeying until our appeal is heard. If our appeal is not heard, our other recourse is prayer. Complaining about an authority’s decision is not an option. One of the saints observed that he who complains, sins.

There will be temptations to sin, during this time, temptations that are not ordinarily there. One is the temptation to hoard, that is to purchase items, depriving others of their needs. We have a duty to help our neighbor, when he is in need. With the exception of the run on toilet paper, We have not seen any hoarding. True some items are not available in some places, but people are calmly stocking up, not hoarding.

“And that no man overreach, nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified.” (I Thessalonians 4:6) As things become scarce the temptation is to raise prices of goods we possess, taking advantage of their scarcity. This also is a sin.

We admonish all to be charitable and just in these trying times. We also ask all to pray for a swift end to this crisis. Later today We will offer a Mass in time of Pestilence. Throughout this crisis, We will be praying for all of you.

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Saint Stephen and some thoughts on ministry

Posted by on Dec 26, 2019 in Catholic Action, Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Dear friends in Christ,

Yesterday Our thoughts in meditation led Us to the sixth chapter in Acts. This morning (Feast of Saint Stephen), the first nocturn Scripture is taken from the same chapter of Acts.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) There is much fruit in this for all Christians, but especially for those in the clergy called to the Office of preaching. Notice that the Apostles appointed deacons, so that they could give themselves continually to prayer. Prayer is mentioned first, because all Christians are called to constant prayer. “And he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint,” (Luke 18:1; We recommend reading the parable that follows.)

The Vulgate refers us to the first chapter of Acts (1:14): “All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” As Christians we should also be persevering together in one mind, as the Christians were before the first Pentecost. The Apostles were awaiting the Holy Ghost and were observing the first Novena (nine days of prayer) between the Ascension and Pentecost. The balance of the Christians were praying, asking God’s blessing on the Apostles, just as all Christians are called to pray for the Pastors, God has appointed over them, the Pope, the Bishop of their diocese and the Pastor of their parish.

The Vulgate also refers us to the second chapter of Acts (2:42): “And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” After Pentecost, the early Christians were persevering in three things, the doctrine of the Apostles, the Mass and in prayers. Jesus told the Devil: “It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Notice the order here. The doctrine of the Faith comes first. And we learn this doctrine by the teaching and preaching of the Apostles and their legitimate successors in the ministry of the word.

“And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:27-28) Saint John Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars comments on this passage from Sacred Scripture: “Perhaps it seems to you, my brethren, that Jesus Christ teaches us that he who hears the word of God with the earnest wish to profit by it, is more pleasing to God than he who receives Him in Holy Communion. Yes, without a doubt, my brethren, we have never really understand what a precious gift the word of God is.” Without the word of God, we are not properly prepared to appreciate the Holy Eucharist, and thus receive it but coldly at best. The word of God coming in the written form from the Holy Ghost in Sacred Scripture, and taught to us orally by those God has sent to us through His holy Church prepares us to properly receive the Holy Sacraments.

The prophet Amos (8:11) tells us of a time to come: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.”

Let us return to Acts: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) Only after those, who possess the Office of preaching have become men of prayer, devoting themselves constantly to prayer, then they devote themselves to the ministry of the word. “If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (I Corinthians 13:1) Charity only comes through prayer and without charity (We recommend spending much time in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and in reading Saint Alphonsus work on this chapter. https://amzn.to/2t07kUG) our preaching will be worthless.

There are two stories where a pastor approached another priest for advice. Both pastors started enumerating all of the preaching and projects they had done in order to make their flocks more fervent, but saw no success in their work. Both pastors were asked by the other priest: “Have you fasted? Have you prayed? If not you have done nothing.” We, as Pastors, are tempted to begin with the ministry of the word without the necessary preparation of prayer and fasting. Pray that pastors do not fall into this trap. Remember that your Pastors NEED your prayers and sacrifices as well. We all have responsibility for the Church, our Diocese and our Parish and the Pastors God has placed over us.

How can we sit idly by, when there is a famine of hearing the word of God. (Amos 8:11) Yes there is a famine of hearing the word of God. We see the evidence every where.

In Acts we read that the Apostles appointed deacons to take care of the simpler chores of ministry to free them for prayer and the ministry of the word. Today, pastors are constrained even to take secular employment in order to support the ministry of the word, and this takes us away from prayer and the actual ministry.

“But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.” (I Corinthians 7:33) In the early ages of the Church, the Bishop of a diocese was considered married to his Church. If a Pastor must take secular work in order to support the ministry of the word in his parish, his diocese, or in the case of the Pope, in the world, then he also feels this division. Let us pray and work that this necessity may be lifted from pastors.

Above all, let us acquire the spirit of prayer, so that even when we are divided and distracted by worldly concerns, we are still close to Almighty God,

Have a blessed Christmas season,

With Our Apostolic Blessing,

+Michael pp

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The Real Meaning of Penance

Posted by on Dec 5, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

John the Baptist said: “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) A footnote in the Bible says: “Penance: Which word, according to the use of the scriptures and the holy fathers, does not only signify repentance and amendment of life, but also punishing past sins by fasting, and such like penitential exercises.”

Dear friends,

Before we consider the above, We would like to remind everyone that Saturday, December 7th is the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception, a day of fast and partial abstinence. Wednesday, December 18, is Ember Wednesday with the customary fasting and partial abstinence. Friday and Saturday (20 and 21) of that week are also Ember Days with the Customary fasting. Abstinence is full on Fridays as it is on all Fridays, and partial on Saturday.

Penance here consists of three things. The first is repentance of our sins, which is a good things to remember in this penitential season of Advent. And so repent of your sins and confess them to a priest sent from God. The next essential step is amendment of our life. The Fathers of the Church tell us that conversion is a complete change of customs and habits. Go now and sin no more, Jesus advised two different people in the Gospels.

Once we have repented and asked God to help us change our customs and habits in order to amend our life, then we are ready to undertake penitential exercises. These go beyond the weak fast laws of today and should be tailored to bring our body into subjection. (I Corinthians 9:27)

When we read the word penance let us remember what it truly means.

Have a Blessed Advent,

+Michael pp

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A Sacred Moment

Posted by on Oct 26, 2019 in Sanctification | 0 comments

A Sacred Moment

Dear friends,

Yesterday We had a sacred moment. While reading and taking to heart some material, We had a sacred moment. Recently we closed down the VIE Catholic radio station and replaced it with podcasts, flowing from programs we produced here to make these podcasts. The new format makes it easier for people to hear what they want to hear, when they want to hear it, which is a great improvement over the internet radio station approach. The project is called Encouragement For Today, and don’t we all need encouragement in our Christian walk? https://www.encouragementfortoday.com/ One of the podcasts is Sacred Moments, and We believe is an important concept. We all need to have sacred moments, whether from a podcast or from something we read, something that comes to mind, an event in our life, etc. If we are not returning to God spontaneously on occasion, then we need to check into our spiritual life. We pray you find the podcasts inspiring and look forward to your feedback.

+Michael pp

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September Ember Week

Posted by on Sep 15, 2019 in Sanctification | 1 comment

I could use two secretaries. I do almost nothing during the day but write letters. I am a conventual preacher, reader at meals, parochial preacher, director of studies, overseer of eleven monasteries, superintendent of the fish pond at Litzkau, referee of the squabble at Torgau, lecturer on Paul, collector of material for a commentary on the Psalms, and then, as I said, I am overwhelmed with letters. I rarely have full time for the canonical hours and for saying Mass, not to mention my own temptations with the world, the flesh, and the Devil. You see how lazy I am.”

In looking at Our own life, We could rattle off a list of things as this man did in a letter above over five centuries ago. In fact, as We were writing this, an interruption came in, and We see a squabble brewing elsewhere, that We will have to deal with. Actually this man omitted something very important, setting aside time for prayer. (I will tell you who he was in a moment.) Four times a year, we are given three days to bring us back on course, the Ember Days. This year in the fall, they are Wednesday, September 18, Friday September 20 and Saturday, September 21. In addition to the customary fasting the Ember Week is ideal for focusing on our spiritual life and getting back on track, if we have wandered off. And consider the distractions of summer, that can take us from what is truly important. We are entering fall. It is time to tune up our spiritual life and restore prayer to the first place, if it has slipped from there.

This man was Martin Luther, and this letter written before he defected from the Faith. A fall from a serious life of prayer leads to apostasy. Pray or die are our options. This Ember Week, we plan on spending Our spare time in considering some changes in Our life. This week sees Us occupied every day with something that would go on the list above.

“But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.” (I Corinthians 7:33) As we can see from Martin Luther, our lives can become divided even without having a wife. Our own division is caused in part by Our wife, the Church. In the early centuries of the Church, Bishops were considered to be married to their own church, which we call a diocese today. So, when a man became Bishop of a diocese, he was Bishop until death did part him from his diocese. He was not transferred to another.

“But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42) Let us also choose to be at the feet of Jesus as much as duty will allow. Today’s sermon is on Spiritual Communion, and although We leave in thirty minutes for two Masses and 350 miles traveling, it is not yet printed out. We hope to prepare it also for the new podcasts, which are replacing the internet radio station, which became too much of a burden with our limited resources here. Also for the Olive Tree.

Let us withdraw from the world as much as duty will allow this Ember Week and enjoy the best part. Let us make Spiritual Communions as well: “I believe that Thou, O Jesus, art in the most Most Holy Sacrament! I love Thee and desire Thee! Come into my heart. I embrace Thee; oh, never leave me! Never let me leave Thee!”

Oremus,

+Michael pp

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