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Posted by on Sep 15, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

September Ember Week 2020

Over the years, the September Ember Days have been special to me. And suddenly they are upon us again, starting Wednesday, September 16th and continuing September 18th and 19th on the Friday and Saturday. Some years We have retired to a private retreat, but that is not possible this year. Other years We have made some special considerations, which We have just begun although We did not realize We would this year, but God has other plans.

You may have wondered why you have not heard from Us in a while. When COVID-19 first hit and the recommendation was to shelter in place, we decided this was prudent. Then Mom’s place shut down to visitors, so We thought We would have leisure to pursue spiritual pursuits. That happened only one week, then things came up. We will not burden you with a tale of woe. It is enough to say, that We have been busy.

We did complete one project, a book We wanted to write and finally got together and published earlier this month, only a month and a half behind Our original schedule. This book is entitled ‘Will the Real Catholic Church Stand Up.’ We would like to thank all who assisted Us in this project, especially Almighty God. https://amzn.to/3hxOJTp

Let us proceed to a short consideration:

Dad said: “Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, you might learn something.”

We have been reading a lot of things lately in order to determine the direction the world economy may go. Some of these are informational sales pitches. We read for the information and write down the key points to compare with other things and build a bigger picture. At the end of one document recently they gave five pieces of advice. The fifth was to surround yourself with rich people. They begin with the following statement:

“You are the average of the five people you spend time with.”

When we read this, we start to think about who is on this list. Are we surrounded by people we want to be like? Soon they state:

“The people you surround yourself with are the biggest influence on your behaviour, attitudes and results.”

Later on they move to a sales pitch for their advice, which will come through a newsletter and videos from some rich people. Let us stop and think, that we are influenced by what we read, listen to and watch as well as the people we interact with personally. What are we surrounding ourselves with?

We do not need to surround ourselves with rich people, but with holy people. We need to immerse ourselves in holy thoughts. And there are several ways we can do this. Sacred Scripture should be a constant companion. The sacred words contained in Scripture should be in our hearts and on our minds constantly. http://www.drbo.org/

“Lay up these my words in your hearts and minds, and hang them for a sign on your hands, and place them between your eyes.” [Deuteronomy 11:18]

The Fathers of the Church and the other saints should also be our companions. Many of their works are available in reprint today. https://amzn.to/2FICohN

Also several of us work together to provide sermons of use for people today.

First we have the Olive Tree, which you should be notified about regularly. https://www.vaticaninexile.com/the_olive_tree.php

Also available are sermons. https://www.sainthelencatholicmission.org/

Check out the other links at the main website. https://www.vaticaninexile.com/links.php

Saint Alphonsus tells us to hear all of the sermons in our power, which is why we run the website Encouragement for Today. https://www.encouragementfortoday.com/

We also have a Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWaduOwfCDVxM9Qz02elAgw

And so We recommend that this Ember Week you start surrounding yourself with good things from reading material to podcasts. May God bless all of this Ember Week as we retire as much as duty will allow to prayer and fasting.

+Michael pp

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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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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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The Majority Is Always Wrong

Posted by on Nov 15, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In Numbers, chapter 13, we find that the Israelites came to Kadesh Barnea at the border of Canaan – the land that God had promised them. It was now two years since they left Egypt (Deuteronomy 2:14) and God told them to go in and posses the land. The Israelites sent twelve spies to survey the land. All twelve of them came back saying that the land was indeed a wonderful land. Ten of them however said, “But there are huge giants there and we cannot conquer them.” But two of them – Caleb and Joshua – replied saying, “The Lord will help us to conquer those big giants”. But the 600,000 Israelites listened to the majority.

What do we learn from this? First of all, that it is dangerous to follow the majority – because the majority is invariably wrong. “The way to life is narrow and very few find it,” Jesus said. The majority still go on the broad way to destruction. So if you follow the majority you may find yourself with them on the broad way to destruction. Don’t ever imagine that a large Parish is necessarily a sign of a spiritual Parish.

When ten leaders say one thing and two say the exact opposite, whose side will you take? God was on the side of the two here – Joshua and Caleb. Unbelief and Satan were on the side of the other ten. But the Israelites foolishly followed the majority – and that was why they had to wander in the wilderness for the next 38 years. They did not have the discernment to see whose side God was on! God and one person are always a majority – and that is where I want to stand always. We find in Exodus 32 that God is on the side of just one man Moses, when all the Israelites were worshipping the golden calf. But of all the twelve tribes, only the tribe of Levi could see that then. And now when God was with Joshua and Caleb, even the tribe of Levi could not recognize it!

All of this has lessons for us today. Catholicism in general is full of compromise and worldliness. Here and there, God raises up a few who stand for the truth of God’s word without any compromise. If you have discernment you will recognize that God is with those few, and you will stand with them against the majority. You will enter the promise land with them.

How do you identify the man with whom God is standing? He speaks the language of faith. Joshua and Caleb spoke the language of faith: “We can overcome.” We can overcome the giants of anger, sexual lust, jealousy, murmuring etc., we can overcome Satan. God will crush him under our feet. That is the language of the man with whom God stands. The man who is not with God says: “We must not take the Bible so literally, We must understand that the Apostles lived in a different time and did not understand things the way we do now.” “We have evolved since then.” What once was sin, those with in the Church are saying that it is not a sin anymore.

Many Christians go astray exactly like those Israelites- through human reasoning. God has hidden these things from the clever and the intelligent and revealed them to babes. If you use your human reasoning and your cleverness and your intelligence to study theology, I can guarantee that you will go astray. You need the revelation of the Holy Ghost. That’s why Jesus picked fishermen to be His disciples, and not professors like Gamaliel and his students. He did pick one of the students later – St. Paul. But the Lord had to take him into the desert for three years to bring all his pride to nothing before Paul could get revelation.

God was so angry with those Israelites who doubted His power that He told them “But yet all the men that have seen my majesty, and the signs that I have done in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now ten times, and have not obeyed my voice, Shall not see the land for which I [swore to give] to their fathers, neither shall any one of them that hath [provoked and despised] me behold it.” (Numbers 14:22). “Ten times” was not an exaggeration. They had actually rebelled ten times. God gave them nine chances. They took advantage of His forgiveness – just like many Christians do today – not realizing that the ninth chance was their last. God’s patience had run out and they were punished when the rebelled the tenth time. There was no way to go back then. They repented when they heard their punishment and asked for one more chance. But it was too late (Numbers 14:39-45). Many will also find one day that repentance also has a limit.

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What Are We Neglecting?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Yesterday we read: “This story also teaches us that we have to slay the enemies in our private life first, before we can face Goliath publicly.”

Two days before Father Francis Dominic wrote: “And let it start with in ourselves. Let us focus on the ungodly things that are in our own lives. If you think you have nothing ungodly in your life that needs to be dealt with, then you are part of the problem. If you think your sin is not what is causing the ungodly state of the Church and this country, then you are being deceived.”

And so the first proposition is that I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM. Rather than ask: “am I doing something wrong,” let us start with the premise that I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG. Let us examine our conscience very carefully as God’s people did so many centuries ago.

As we read Nehemias, we find that the people ask the law to be read to them, and then examined their own conscience. Then they repented of their sin and began doing what they had been neglecting. Once prompted, they did all on their own accord. And this is the first thing we are neglecting, getting serious about our sinful lives. Yes, we are sinners, and we are not where God wants us to be. Take this to heart and consider it well.

When we read of the miserable state Jerusalem was in at this time, we think on the state of the Church, which has been neglected and abandoned and left to fall into utter ruin. We salve ourselves with Jesus Christ’s promises to the Church that she will not fail, while doing nothing to help Jesus keep this promise. He did not build the Church alone, but with the Apostles, Disciples and the rest of the hundred and twenty faithful, who the Holy Ghost augmented with three thousand on Pentecost.

Jesus is looking to each and every one of us to get up off of our back-side and become active in the Church. Father Francis Dominic has given us step one, repent of our sins.

Ask yourself the question, “What does God want me to do?” And then consider, have you asked your superiors in the Church this question? God speaks to us through the superiors He has appointed over us.

And so, let us pray and repent of our sins. Then let us heed the advice to do penance for our sins. Let us also heed Jesus’ advice to two different people: “Go now and sin no more.” Then let us sincerely ask God: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)

 

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