Posts by popemichael

Two Kindle books for free

Posted by on Oct 20, 2018 in Pope Michael | 0 comments

I am offering this Kindle for free, Sunday and Monday. It was published online over ten years ago. In that time it was downloaded thousands of times. Two minor corrections were made. One a missing phrase in a prayer, and the other an error in a footnote.

Truth Is One

https://amzn.to/2PLgfj4

 

I am also offering the Kindle edition of my second published book, 54 Years That Changed the Catholic Church, for free Sunday and Monday.

https://amzn.to/2QYkrMw

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The Sovereignty of God

Posted by on Oct 20, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Abraham’s two sons Ishmael and Isaac grew up in the same home with the same father. Yet God chose only one of them – Isaac (Romans 9:7). That was not because God was partial, but because He is sovereign. He has the absolute right as the Creator of the universe to do exactly what He likes and to choose whomever He likes for any task. No-one can question His right, because He created all things for His pleasure, and as Paul says (at the end of these three glorious chapters), “For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things” (Romans 11:36). Isaac had two boys, Esau and Jacob who grew up in the same home with the same parents. Yet God chose only the younger Jacob. “For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand,) Not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said to her: “The elder shall serve the younger.”” (Romans 9:11-12). There was nothing unjust in this action of God’s, for He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe.

Moses and Pharaoh both lived in Egypt at the same time and in the same palace. Yet God raised up Moses to be a prophet of His. And Pharaoh was raised up,”that I may shew my power in thee, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Romans 9:17), through the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart and the judgments that God would send on him as a result.

In all these three examples, we see the sovereignty of God in choosing people. We need to see the same sovereignty at work in our salvation as well. Why did God chose you and not some of your relatives – your brother, your sister, your uncle etc.? Was it because you were better than them? Certainly not. Perhaps you were a greater crook and a hypocrite than them (like Jacob was). Yet God chose you. It is sheer mercy and grace.

What shall we say in the light of all this? We can only bow before this Almighty Sovereign God and worship Him with all our hearts, and acknowledge that He alone is worthy, and that our salvation is entirely (100%) due to His grace. It is true that we accepted what He offered us. But the work was entirely His.

There is nothing that so humbles man to the dust as the fact of God’s sovereign choice of His children. That is why clever people find it difficult to accept it, and fight against it, and try to twist the Scriptures to make them mean what they don’t mean.

It is not because a man determines to be a child of God (or to be holy), or because he decides to run faithfully, that he is saved. It is only because God has shown him His mercy. It is God Who has “given us repentance unto life” and it is He Who “worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.” (Acts 11:18; Philippians 2:13). What can we glory in then?

Here is what Romans 9:16 says: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy”.

And here is what 1 Corinthians 4:7 says: “For who distinguisheth [or sees anything different] in thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory [boast], as if thou hadst not received it?”

Memorize these two verses and keep them always in your heart. They will help in keeping you small in your own eyes at all times.

The new birth does not come through not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh (human determination), but of God (Divine determination) (John 1:13).

Jesus told his disciples, “You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you” (John 15:16). Do we realize that fact?

It is good for us therefore to remember that it was God Who chose us. And He chose us in Christ before we were born – in fact, even before He created the world!! (Ephesians 1:4).

From start to finish, our salvation is from God – so that no man might boast in God’s presence at any time.

Have you done something wonderful for the Lord and for His kingdom? If so, then try your best to forget about it. Recognize that you could have done nothing if God had not given you health, strength, intelligence, gift, talent, opportunity, knowledge of His Word and of Himself etc., etc., The list is endless. How can you glory then?

When we are taken up with how spiritual we have become or how much we have done for the Lord, we are already Pharisees. A true disciple is one who is taken up with the Person of the Lord Himself at all times.

There are many things God does for which he gives us no explanation. There are many prayers for which His answer is “No”, and we don’t understand the reason why. It is as impossible for God to explain all His dealings to us as it is to fill the Ocean into a cup. God’s wisdom is like an ocean. But our minds are only like a little cup.

Scripture says, “who art thou that repliest against God?” (Romans 9:19-20 ). When we are small in our own eyes we don’t have any complaints about God’s ways. We just submit to God, even when we don’t understand His dealings, because we accept His sovereignty.

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Baptismal Anniversary

Posted by on Oct 18, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Today is the 59th anniversary of Our Baptism, a day during which We reflect on the promises made so many years ago.

“What do you ask of the Church of God?” The answer is Faith. We begin with Faith. Saint Paul says: “the just man liveth by faith.” (Galatians 3:11) We should therefore be living by the Faith. WE are invited into the church and then recite the Apostle’s Creed and the Our Father. We are professing our faith and learning how to pray. We recite the Apostle’s Creed daily, but do we take to heart what we are professing to believe? We recite the Our Father often, but do we take the various petitions to heart?

Now it is time for some questions. “Do you renounce Satan? And all his works? And all his pomps?” We are separating ourselves from the world and its maxims, which come from Satan. Have we made this total renunciation of the world, or have we come back into a compromise with the world?

We are then asked three questions about our Profession of Faith to confirm that we truly do believe. Then we are asked if we will be baptized. Then we are baptized. What a wonderful day and a day worth remembering. Each year we should return to our Baptismal promises on the anniversary of our Baptism.

Do you know when you were baptized?

With the Lord’s Prayer in mind, Father Francis Dominic wrote this the other day, which has been fruitful for Our own meditations:

A brief glance at the Lord’s Prayer reveals that there is one word that characterizes the first half of the prayer and another word that characterizes the second half of the prayer. The word for the first half is “your”-Your name, Your kingdom, Your will. The word for the second half of the prayer is “us”-Give us, forgive us, lead us. By arranging things this way Jesus is teaching us that we are to begin with God’s concerns. We are to pray to God about the things He is most concerned about. When we have done that, we are to pray for our own concerns-Our daily bread, our forgiveness, and our protection in the moment of temptation. We start in heaven and then come down to earth, which is the pattern of all divine revelation.

In the second half of this prayer God is brought directly into the very tiniest details of our everyday lives.

Let’s take a look at the second half of the prayer and analyze it a little bit more. It contains three petitions- “Our daily bread”, “forgive us our debts”, and “lead us not into temptation.” That covers provision, pardon and protection. If you think about those three things, they take care of all the needs of life. Not only that, it takes care of every part of you personally. Provision takes care of your body. Pardon takes care of your soul. Protection takes care of your spirit.

The second half of the Lords prayer begins with a petition for provision: “Give us this day our daily bread.” There are two words we need to think about before we consider the deeper meaning of this petition. First, this is a prayer for bread, not for cake. “Give us today our daily bread.” The Greek word for “bread” refers to common, ordinary bread. It doesn’t mean anything fancy. It just means normal, everyday bread. Jesus is telling us that when we pray, we ought to pray for ordinary, normal, everyday bread.

This is a prayer for food. When was the last time you actually prayed to God, “O God, please give me a meal?” Most of us ought to pray the opposite, “O God, prevent me from eating another meal, I have already eaten too much.” This petition sounds like it ought to be a prayer uttered by someone living in Haiti or Bangladesh. It’s sad but true. We have so much food we take this prayer request for granted.

In the broader spectrum, it also includes clothing and shelter. St. Augustine points out, “we ask for these temporal things not as our goods but as our necessities”. We should not be seeking luxuries. Rather, “having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content” (1 Timothy 6:8). As Solomon wisely prayed: “Give me only the necessaries of life” (Proverbs 30:8)

But the bread mentioned in this prayer means more than just physical bread or physical necessities; it’s also a reference to our spiritual bread-the bread of life!. Luke when, speaking of the Lords prayer, says “our daily (Latin: quotidianum) bread”, which means “the bread of our necessity” or “the bread that suffices for each day”. But in Matthew the same Greek word is translated “supersubstantial (Latin: supersubstantialem) bread” which means more than substantial; being more than substance.

This petition,… also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but … by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4), that is, by the Word He speaks and the Spirit He breathes forth. There is a famine on earth, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11). For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life, the Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.

Jesus compares the gift of faith to bread. After the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus told the crowd: “Do not labor for food that perishes, but for that which endures unto life everlasting, which the Son of Man will give you. … My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. … This is the labor of God that you believe in Him and in Him Whom He has sent” (John 6:27).

The crowd understands that Jesus is demanding faith, but they demand the labor of bread for their bellies. Jesus responded: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. … whoever beholds the Son, and believes in Him, shall have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:27,32,34,40).

Therefore, we may conclude that Jesus, as the object of our Faith, is our daily bread for which we pray.

Jesus is more than our bread of faith; He is our Eucharistic bread. Only after they first believe in Him can they believe in His presence in the Eucharist: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert, and have died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that if anyone eats of it, he will not die. … If anyone eats of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:48-51).

Many disciples grumbled at this, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” Note how Jesus confirms that they have understood Him properly, declaring solemnly, “Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of His blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:52-54).

This great petition “Give us today our daily bread” is more than just a prayer request. Properly understood, it describes an entire way of looking at life. This petition suggests something about a truly Christian lifestyle. You could call it Daily Bread Living. That is to say, if you are going to pray this prayer with understanding, it’s going to lead to a certain attitude, or a certain way of life. If this prayer is ever going to become reality it must first affect the way you live. Therefore I want to suggest four steps to Daily Bread Living. Each step comes from the very words of the text itself. These four steps to daily bread living are really four qualities that need to be in your life if this prayer request is ever going to become a reality.

1.The First Step to Daily Bread Living is Gratitude to God for All His Blessings.

The first step comes from the very first word. “Give us today our daily bread.” This prayer request teaches us that everything we have comes from God. Everything. The clothes, the food, the friendships, the education, the mind we use, the words we speak, everything comes from God. We are put in the position of those who are praying, “O heavenly Father, give us what we need.” Surely this must be the central teaching-that gratitude to God is to mark our lives and we’re to be grateful to God for all he’s done.

2. The Second Step to Daily Bread Living is Contentment with What God has Already Provided.

The key to the second step is in the very last word: “Give us today our daily bread.” We are invited to ask for bread, not for cake. We are to pray “give us today our daily bread,” not “our daily dessert.” Jesus encourages us to pray to God for our needs, not for our greed’s. We are to pray and ask God for what we really need, not for every wild desire that comes into our mind. The text says “bread,” not “chocolate eclair.” We are to trust God for the things we really need.

3. The Third Step to Daily Bread Living is Confidence That God Will Meet My Needs Day by Day.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread living means believing that God will provide what you need on a day by day basis. God is willing to supply our needs, but only on a day to day-to-day basis. We don’t like to live like that. Most of us have freezers at home filled with food. Maybe we have a side of beef and some vegetables. We have plenty of food. A freezer filled with food makes it more challenging to pray this prayer sincerely. We mutter our prayers instead of saying them from the heart because we already know we aren’t going to go hungry. Maybe we should be considering giving some of that food, that is in the freezer, to those who have a daily need. You may be the answer to someone’s prayer-”give us this day our daily bread”

We don’t like to live the way Jesus is talking about here. We don’t want to live day to day. We’d rather have pension plans and stocks and bonds and options. We would rather have life insurance policies that guarantee a secure future. If we had our way, this prayer would read, “Give us this week our weekly bread.” Or “Give us this month our monthly bread.” Or better yet, “Lord, give us this year our yearly bread. Just give it to us all at once and we’ll be all right. Then we’ll trust you.”

God does not work that way. He works by teaching his people moment by moment dependence upon him.

4. The Fourth Step to Daily Bread Living is Generosity Toward Those who are Less Fortunate.

This principle comes from the little word “our” – “Give us this day our daily bread.” It does not say, “Give me my daily bread. That’s a completely different prayer. You’re never invited to pray for yourself alone. Every time you pray this prayer you are invited and encouraged and even commanded to pray in concert with your brothers and sisters. We all eat from the same table. This petition imparts a bigness, a vastness, a broadness to your prayers. It takes you out of the narrow focus of your own problems and it opens you up to a whole world of people all around you. This thought runs against the grain of modern society. In the marketplace only the tough survive. You’ve got to look out for yourself and make sure no one is gaining on you. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Whoever works the hardest gets the most. The world says, “Get to the top any way you can.” How different that is from the words of Jesus in Luke 6:38, “Give and it shall be given to you.” It is a jungle out there and the business world runs by the law of the jungle. Only the tough survive. You’ve got to look out for “number one.” It is open warfare and you have to be willing to stick someone hard if that’s what it takes to get to the top. It’s totally opposite of what Jesus is suggesting here.

So what is daily bread living? Let me summarize. Daily bread living is:

1. Gratitude to God for all of his blessings.

2. Contentment with what God has already given you.

3. Confidence that God will meet your needs day by day by day.

4. Generosity toward those who are less fortunate than you.

Gratitude. Contentment. Confidence. Generosity. That’s what Daily Bread Living is all about. If you pray this prayer enough, that’s where you’ll end up. It’s not a bad place to be.

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Let George Do It

Posted by on Oct 16, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

We looked this up and it was a radio show over a half of a century ago. Here was the notice the lead placed in the paper: “Personal notice: Danger’s my stock in trade. If the job’s too tough for you to handle, you’ve got a job for me. George Valentine. Write full details!” We came to hear of it as the way many people act. They wait for George to do it, rather than do the work themselves. And we have a lot of excuses why we think this is some one else’s job rather than our own.

This is not the attitude of the saints. No, the Saints got busy doing whatever God asked them to do. In fact true devotion consists in doing whatever God asks of us. This is simply conformity with the will of God.

And Elias coming to all the people, said: How long do you halt between two sides? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.” (III Kings 18:21) If Francis is Pope, then let’s all join hands and march down to the Novus Ordo. If Michael is Pope, then let us support the work of the Church under him. If you haven’t figured things out, then get to work becoming a saint, because that is the only way you can understand thes the principles involved.

Recently We opened an old file, The Practice of Love and Silence, written by a Carthusian. It is excellent and forms the basis of the spiritual book We have longed to see compiled for many years. We have long realized that only the spiritual can truly understand the crisis in the Church, as Saint Paul writes: “Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man.” (I Corinthians 2:12-15)

The Douay Rheims Bible has a footnote: “”The sensual man”: The sensual man is either he who is taken up with sensual pleasures, with carnal and worldly affections; or he who measureth divine mysteries by natural reason, sense, and human wisdom only. Now such a man has little or no notion of the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth.”

And so We repeat Father Francis Dominic’s question: “Who wants to start the revival?” What answer will you give? Remember your salvation depends on the right answer.

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Who Wants To Start?

Posted by on Oct 15, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Father Francis Dominic concludes: “All of us have had a hand in where the Church and our country is today. We all need revival! Just as revival started amongst the Jews beginning with only Ezra and Nehemiah, so revival can start with a few individuals among us. Who wants to start?!?!” We all need to start in reforming ourselves, as we have been considering. However, revival like charity, begins at home, but does not stop there.

Saint John Chrysostom says: “He who is content with saving himself and neglects the salvation of others cannot secure his own salvation.” The Church is evangelical in that all members are called on to spread the good news of the Gospel to those who have not heard it. True, not everyone is called on to do this full time, but all are called to participate in the salvation of souls. Our own father was brought to repentance through a colleague at work.

And Saint Thomas Aquinas writes: “In cases of necessity where faith is in danger, every one is bound to proclaim his faith to others, either to give good example and encouragement to the rest of the faithful, or to check the attacks of unbelievers.” Although not all of us are called to the full time ministry of converting the world, all of us are called to support those on the front lines. What do the support troops in the Church Militant do? They provide encouragement. They provide provisions in the form of food, clothing and shelter. They send up weapons and ammunition. Above all all of the Church must pray together. Saint Peter says: “But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

There are many lessons to learn from the Patroness of Missions, Saint Therese of Lisieux. She never got near a pagan and never talked to anyone about the Faith to bring them to conversion. Each nun in her convent was assigned a missionary priest to support by prayer and encouragement. They would correspond with their priest and pray for his mission.

God is calling some of you to full time work in the His vineyard. He has been preparing you for this vocation, since before you were born. “And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremias 1:4-5) All of you are called to support us spirituall through prayer and encouragement and materially.

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