Pope Michael

Coming down from the mountain

Posted by on Jan 21, 2019 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Father Francis Dominic wrote:

Matthew 14:23 And having dismissed the multitude, he went into a mountain alone to pray. And when it was evening, he was there alone.

There were times that Jesus separated himself from the multitudes, and there are times when we need to separate ourselves from our lives and ministry, and spend some time with our Lord.

I love how Jesus climbed a mountain. It made me think of an interesting analogy. Picture the shape of a mountain. It starts out wide at the bottom — the higher we climb, the narrower it becomes — and the more we must stay close to the center.

As we go even higher yet, there’s less room to move to the left or the right — and there’s less and less ground that can be compromised — the more focused we need to be and the less we can afford to be distracted. The higher we go, the less room we have to fool around!

Whatever you may be dealing with, you may just need to separate yourself and climb up to spend time with the Lord — get centered on Him and focused on what He’s calling you to.

God wants us to learn to climb to the top and focus all of our lives on His will! Let’s take out some time today to try it!

Dear friends,

We actually were able to clear three days last week to go up a mountain. Sunday We returned with Our Mass at Thornton Place on the other side of town. This week, We are back down with work and other obligations most of the week.

Today people are seeking solutions to the problems in the Church and the world in all of the wrong places. We seek to teach, preach and what is even more fruitless, debate.

“And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying:” (II Thessalonians 2:10) Recently, We have seen just how pervasive the operation of error can be. If we do not love truth, we will also believe the operation of error. And there I no earthly way we can convert someone who does not love truth. My friends, the solution to the problems of the Church and of the world will be found on the mountain in prayer. True, duty calls us down from the mountain, but we can bring the spirit of the mountain down with us. You may be able to take the man of God off of the mountain, but you cannot take the mountain away from the man of God. And so, let us pray.

+Michael pp

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What Is Wanting?

Posted by on Dec 15, 2018 in Catholic Action, Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Dear friends,
Recently We sent three things written by Father Fancis Dominic for your consideration. The first was on the wall of fire, which surrounds God’s Church, which Saint Alphonsus believes we must all go through. The second is an invitation to become truly like Jesus Christ, that is self-less. When we walk through the wall of fire, self gets burnt away. The third, which We added is on pride and the man, who came to Jesus to ask: “What is yet wanting to me?” (Matthew 19:16-25)
Father Francis Dominic wrote: “The fire of God does not fall on many today, because they have not placed everything on the altar. They are willing to give up everything for the Lord, except their jobs and their comforts. If anything on this earth is still valuable and precious to you, then you are not a disciple of Jesus.” Saint Paul says of the people of our time, and this includes many of us: “Men shall be lovers of themselves … lovers of pleasures more than of God.” (2 Timothy 3:2,4) Do we love our jobs or our comforts more than God? Jesus said: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27) If you were given a choice between doing God’s will and losing your family, or compromising in order to keep your family, what would you do? If you will or have compromised, then you are on the wrong side of the wall of fire. God demands for us to be all in.
Let us consider a couple of people and their stories. The first realized that he had been deceived (Matthew 24:24) by a Traditionalist group and that he must depart from them. Because he had taken a prominent position in the group, he also felt the duty to go public with the will of God. At one point, a very public opportunity was offered. He told his family, that if they believed they needed to distance themselves for their own safety, he would understand, but he said that he must take this opportunity.
Another person found themselves in a similar situation. When they spoke the truth, they found out that truth has a very ugly daughter, hatred. All of these people lived in or near a small town, which made things worse. For several years, he would be walking downtown doing errands and see someone he had known. He would then watch them cross the street in order to avoid him.
And yet another person realized God’s will would require him to take a very unpopular position with the world and many who call themselves Catholic, but do lie. (Apocalypse 3:9) He knew that he would lose family and friends, and indeed he did. In fact, part of his family refuses to have anything to do with him to this very day.
None of these were offered martyrdom, but consider what the martyrs suffered in the defense of truth and virtue. Are we ready to imitate them, if offered the same opportunity? If not, then we also say we are Catholics, but do lie. We may have all of the external marks, baptism, profession of the Faith, union with the Pope, but without the internal desire to do God’s will no matter what it costs our Catholicism is a mere facade.
Above we considered the man, who had great riches and came to Jesus asking: “What is yet wanting to me?” Let us go to the end of the story: “Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. And when the young man had heard this word, he went away sad: for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:21-22)
Let us all ask our own selves, what is yet wanting to me? What am I holding back from Jesus, that He is asking me for, either Himself directly or through His holy Church.
+Michael pp

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A Hedge

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 in Catholic Action, Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Dear friends,
Father Francis Dominic wrote another very good devotion, which we should all take to heart. We will follow with Our own thoughts in a few days:
The Lord says, “And I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favour of the land, that I might not destroy it: and I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30).
God is looking for men and women today, who will stand in the gap for the Church – selfless people, who are not taken up with just their own needs, but who are concerned about God’s work.
Many believers think that sanctification means just the refinement of their personal conduct and behaviour. But true sanctification makes a person selfless like God – or in other words, like Jesus.
No-one really knew what God was like until Jesus came to earth, and explained Him (John.1:18). And what do we learn of the nature of God, when we look at Jesus? We see that the Divine nature is one that is willing to give up everything, and to be inconvenienced to any extent, if as a result, sinners can be saved from their sin and brought back to God.
Jesus did not come down from heaven because He wanted to gain something for Himself. No. He came to earth totally for the benefit of others. He lived for others. He fasted and prayed and gave Himself – all so that others might partake of God’s salvation. It is this spirit that is so rare to find even among the leaders in the church today. Although many speak of partaking of God’s nature, very few actually partake of this selfless love for others.
Many are willing to deny themselves and take up the cross if that will bring them some benefit – perhaps some spiritual benefit such as a place in the Bride of Christ, but still something for themselves. But if we were to ask ourselves, “what have we denied ourselves purely for the benefit of others,?” we may discover that the answer is, ‘Almost nothing’.
There are many in our midst who despise the ideal of their child giving their life totally to Christ and His Church as a Nun, Monk, or Priest. But before you criticise them, it may be good to ask yourself whether YOU would be willing to resign your job in order to become a missionary in a rural area of the world. It is easy to despise others who don’t have as much light as we have. But despite all the light that we have received, we may still be loving our comforts and unwilling to give up anything costly for the Lord.
Jesus gave up His place in heaven in order to come and live on this earth for 33-1/2 years, without any of the comforts of modern civilization – only so that others might hear the gospel and be saved. He also resigned His job as a carpenter, so that He might devote all His time fully to the vocation of proclaiming the gospel to others.
It is this Spirit of Christ that has urged missionaries through the years, to suffer hardship and loss, so as to take the gospel to heathen lands, where the Name of Jesus had never been heard, to bring others to Christ. Those on the other hand, who travel and stay in 5-star comfort these days, and preach the gospel, are all tourists, by comparison.
It is good for us to read the biographies of saintly missionaries like Adrian of Dalmatia, or St. Pauls fellow worker Saint Urban who gave up everything for the Lord, so that we too can be challenged by their sacrifice and their devotion to the Lord. A holiness that does not lead to a sacrificial life is a deception – for true holiness is not just being free from sin, but being free from Self-love too.
The fire of God does not fall on many today, because they have not placed everything on the altar. They are willing to give up everything for the Lord, except their jobs and their comforts. If anything on this earth is still valuable and precious to you, then you are not a disciple of Jesus.
+Michael pp

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A Wall of Fire

Posted by on Dec 10, 2018 in Catholic Action, Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Dear friends in Christ,

Father Francis Dominic wrote the other day:

In Zechariah 2:1-13 the prophet “lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold a man, with a measuring line in his hand. And he said: Whither goest thou? and he said to me: To measure Jerusalem, and to see how great is the breadth thereof, and how great the length thereof.” (vs 1-2)

This vision symbolizes man determining the strength of the Church by the number of its members. But the Body of Christ in reality, has only one membership list – the Book of Life. And the Lord teaches us here how to really measure the Church.

Another angel comes and tells Zechariah, “And behold the angel that spoke in me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him. And he said to him: Run, speak to this young man, saying: Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls, by reason of the multitude of men, and of the beasts in the midst thereof.” (3-4) This was a smaller group of people without a wall,(other translations say towns, villages without a wall) and they were thinking, “Who will come and join this despised group of ours? The other Jews are all living so comfortably in the North, in Babylon. But here we are, a small, despised group trying to build God’s temple. Who is interested in what we are doing?”

The angel came to encourage them and said, “Don’t worry. People from here and there will hear about you and will come and join you one day. Today you may be small. All of God’s work starts very small. But if God can find leaders who will stay true and not compromise His principles, then even if they are small, one day from north, south, east and west those who have a hunger for godliness and reality, will gradually hear of your group, and come and join you because they will recognize that God is in your midst and that you have life.” (read vss 6-11)

The Lord then told them, “I will be to [Jerusalem-the Church], saith the Lord, a wall of fire round about: and I will be in glory in the midst thereof.” (Zechariah 2:5). Everyone has to come through that wall of fire if he is to become a part of the True Church. That fire will burn up all his earthly ambitions and his desire to live for himself. Only then can he become a part of the Body of Christ. Those in the True Church have been baptized, they have been confirmed, they are doing all the right things outwardly, but if they have not walked through that wall of fire and allow it to purge out Self. They would lose their life. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

Picture a city surrounded by a wall of fire. How can you enter that city? Only by going through the wall of fire. Everything that can be burnt will be burnt up by God as you enter through that wall. Only what cannot be burnt will go through the fire. “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). “Which of you can dwell with devouring [consuming] fire?” (Isaiah 33:14).

And then God goes on to say, “I will be the glory in the midst thereof.” (vs 5) If we want the glory of God to be in the Church, then we must allow Him to be a wall of fire around the Church. The two go together. If you say that God’s standards are too high and you throw water on the fire, then God’s glory will not be in the Church either. When the wall of fire goes away, the glory goes away too. The most important thing in a Parish is not how traditional it is but have its members gone through the wall of fire. Do they have the glory of God. Among them. If those two things are there, right doctrine and right Tradition will follow. If those two things are not there, mere Doctrine and Tradition alone are useless.

We would like to add some of Our own thoughts. Three and a half decades ago, We realized God had brought Us through a wall of fire. We were tested and with His help passed the test. Then We began considering this fact and realized, that if a person does not go through this trial, he is not truly a sincere member of Jesus Christ’s Church.

This Advent is a good time for you to ask God to bring you through this wall of fire, because very few of you have come through this wall of fire. Basically, we have two choices, come through the wall of fire, or go to eternal fire at the end of our life. Going through this wall of fire may be painful, but “Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John 16:20)

There are several of us waiting here on Christ’s side of this wall to welcome you, and to help you as you come home through the wall of fire.

Oremus,

+Michael pp

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Unity

Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Catholic Action, Pope Michael | 0 comments

Dear friends,

As We were completing a sermon on next Sunday’s Epistles (Romans 15:4-13), We read the following story about Saint John Vianney: “A Protestant once approached St. John Vianney saying, ‘though we are not together on earth, we shall be together in heaven’. The saint looked into the man’s eyes and said gently: “As the tree leans, so the tree falls. If we do not live together on earth, we shall not live together in heaven. Death makes no change in that”. The Protestant upon hearing these gentle words of the saint considered them, renounced his error, and became a Catholic.” We also should be together on earth, if we hope to be together in heaven. Let us go to the Epistle for a moment: Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind, one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: 6 That with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:4-5)

We should be of one mind. Saint Paul says: “But we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:16) Do we have the mind of Christ? Are we obedient to His will and follow His teachings?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches us: “The Church has but one ruler and one governor, the invisible one, Christ, whom the eternal Father hath made head over all the Church, which is his body; the visible one, the Pope, who, as legitimate successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, fills the Apostolic chair.

It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church. This St. Jerome clearly perceived and as clearly expressed when, in his work against Jovinian, he wrote: One is elected that, by the appointment of a head, all occasion of schism may be removed. In his letter to Pope Damasus the same holy Doctor writes: Away with envy, let the ambition of Roman grandeur cease! I speak to the successor of the fisherman, and to the disciple of the cross. Following no chief but Christ, I am united in communion with your Holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that on that rock is built the Church. Whoever will eat the lamb outside this house is profane; whoever is not in the ark of Noah shall perish in the flood.”

When the Fathers of the Church are in unanimous agreement on a point, the Church considers their opinion to actually be infallibly true teaching.

We are this visible head. Pope Boniface VIII teaches in the Bull Unam Sanctam: “It is absolutely necessary for salvation to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” The Roman Pontiff is also called the Pope and is the visible head of the Church. Just as the Pope should be of one mind with Jesus Christ the Church should be of one mind with the Pope. Father Francis Dominic has written on the necessity and beauty of authority.

We have heard Father speak on Matthew 8:9: “For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” He explains that Jesus is also under authority, the authority of the Father. We are all somewhere in the chain of command, and should discharge our duty where God has placed us. And so let us work together in the order God has established for us through Jesus Christ in the Church.

+Michael pp

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Finding the Will of God Part 5

Posted by on Nov 19, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Divine guidance cannot be considered by itself apart from our personal relationship with God. Many desire the gifts but not the Giver. If we long for guidance but do not thirst for God Himself, we shall not obtain the guidance we seek.

A person must be in fellowship with God in order to experience His guidance in his life. This implies, first of all, that he should have come into a vital relationship with Christ through the new birth. But this alone is not enough. There are certain other essential conditions to be fulfilled if we are to know God’s leading. These prerequisites are mentioned in two passages of Scripture, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New (Proverbs 3:5- 6; Romans 12:1–2). Let us consider these scriptures in detail. In Part 1-4 we discussed

4 prerequisites.

1. FAITH 2. SELF-DISTRUST

3. OBEDIENCE IN EVERY AREA

4. UNCONDITIONAL YIELDEDNESS

Our last prerequisite is:

5. A RENEWED MIND

And be not conformed to this world; but be [be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind], that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2).

Worldliness plugs our spirit’s ears preventing us from hearing God’s voice. Every person living in this world is affected by its spirit. No one has escaped its influence. From our childhood every one of us imbibes, day by day, either more or less of the spirit of this world into himself – by what we hear, see and read. This especially affects our minds and influences our thinking. The decisions we take then come primarily from worldly considerations.

The Spirit of God Who comes to live in us, when we are “born again” is opposed to the spirit of this world and therefore desires to renew our thinking completely. God’s ultimate purpose for us is that we might be conformed to the image of His Son.

This is the primary part of His will for all of us. Everything else – whom we should marry, where we should live and work – is secondary. All of God’s dealings with us are directed towards this end – that we might become like Jesus (see Romans 8:28-29). But this can be fulfilled in us only as we allow the Holy Ghost to renew our minds daily. The more our minds are in this way renewed, the more accurately shall we be able to discern the will of God at life’s crossroads.

Worldliness is not basically something external – such as movies, computers, television, wearing expensive and fashionable clothes and ornaments, or living extravagantly. These may denote a worldly person, but they are only outward expressions of his worldly thought-processes. Conformity to the world exists essentially in a person’s mind and shows itself in various ways, especially in his decisions. For example, when considering a job or a career, a worldly person will be governed by factors such as salary, promotion-prospects, comfort, ease, convenience, etc. And when contemplating marriage, he will be influenced by points such as family-status, position in life, physical beauty, or wealth.

A believer’s decisions, on the other hand, should be governed primarily by spiritual factors, although other considerations should not be neglected. The glory of God’s Name and the extension of His Kingdom should be our first concern. This is why the Lord taught us first to pray, “Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come”, and only then, “Thy will be done”.

The process of discerning and eliminating worldly motives is vital if we are to know the will of God. To say, “God led me”, when our motives were selfish, is blasphemy. Far better in such cases to say the decision was our own than to take God’s Name in vain and give a cloak of spirituality to our worldliness. We gain nothing by merely convincing others (or even ourselves) that we are doing God’s will. After all, God cannot be fooled. As the Bible says,

All the ways of a man are open to his eyes: the Lord is the weigher of spirits…..Every way of a man seemeth right to himself: but the Lord weigheth the hearts. (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2).

The renewal of our minds will result in our beginning to think as the Lord thinks and to view situations and people as He views them. Paul’s mind was so renewed that he could dare to say that he had the mind of Christ and that he no longer looked at people from a merely human point of view (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:16). His prayer for the Colossian believers was that they too might be thus transformed.

Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding: (Colossians 1:9).

Such a transformation of our minds will enable us to know what pleases God and what does not please Him, and thus we shall be able to discern His will easily in the different situations we face. God’s promise to us in this New Testament age is, “This is the new agreement (testament) …. I will give my laws into their mind, and in their heart will I write them ….I will give my laws into their mind, and in their heart will I write them .” (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).

Such a renewal will give us an understanding not only of God’s will, but also of His method and of His purpose – we will know, not only what God wants us to do, but also how He wants us to do it, and why. Doing the will of God can be drudgery if we do not appreciate God’s purposes. When we do appreciate them, the will of God becomes for us what it was to Jesus – a delight. It is because of our ignorance of God’s nature that we fear His will. If we knew Him better, we would rejoice to do His every bidding.

How can our minds be renewed? A wife living close to her husband in heart-companionship comes to know more and more of his mind and of his ways as the years go by. The same applies to the believer and his God. The new birth is like a marriage with the Lord Jesus. We should go on from that point to walk in close fellowship with the Lord, conversing with Him day by day.

We must also let Him speak to our hearts daily, both through His Word as well as through the discipline of trials that He sends into our lives. Thus we shall find ourselves growingly conformed to the image of our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). If we neglect daily meditation on God’s Word and prayer-fellowship with the Lord, we will find it extremely difficult to understand God’s mind. Meditation on God’s Word can straighten our warped and crooked ways of thinking and make us spiritually minded and sensitive to God’s Voice.

We can recognize the Lord’s voice only by becoming accustomed to hearing it. A new convert once asked a Priest why it was that though Christ had said, “My sheep know My voice”, yet he could not hear the Lord’s voice. The Priest replied,

“Yes, it is true that His sheep know His voice, but it is also true that the lambs have to learn it.”

A son identifies his father’s voice easily only because he has heard it so often. Even so, it is only by constantly listening to the voice of the Lord, that we will be able to distinguish it above the din and clamor of other voices that will ring in our minds when we seek God’s will. If you are habituated to listening to the Lord’s voice, then in times of emergency, His promise is, “And thy ears shall hear the word of one admonishing thee behind thy back: This is the way, walk ye in it: and go not aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21).

If, on the other hand, we turn to the Lord only in times of emergency, we are not likely to hear His voice at all. Some of God’s children are so busy that they have no time to listen to the Lord in their daily lives and yet in times of crisis they want to know His will immediately.

Daily fellowship with God in meditation and in prayer is vital, if we wish to have God’s guidance in our lives.

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