Sunday, July 21, 2019

👑 MARIAN EUCHARISTIC CONFERENCE 👑

👑 MARIAN EUCHARISTIC CONFERENCE 👑
Winnipeg, Manitoba - August 23, 24 & 25
  
As usual, there will be Mass, Adoration, Benediction, Confession, and an array of Amazing Speakers!!

For more info, visit www.MarianConference.com,
email: loreto@gmail.com, phone (204) 268-2046

If you cannot attend, please consider a donation to help out with the cost of putting this amazing experience together year after year.

Monday, June 3, 2019

ST. JOSEPH: A SON OF DAVID


From Part One, Chapter Four of THE BOOK OF JOSEPH

 
As Joseph works and lives in Jerusalem, a decree goes out from the temple to all the unmarried male descendants of King David: All sons of the royal House of David are to report to the Jerusalem temple in order that a suitable husband for the temple virgin, Mary, daughter of Heli (Joachim), be chosen from among them. Joseph, being a son of David, is required to report. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich writes:

When the Blessed Virgin had reached the age of fourteen
and was to be dismissed from the Temple, I saw that the
messengers were sent throughout the land and all
unmarried men of the  line  of  David
were summoned  to  the  Temple
(A. Emmerich, 1953, pg. 81).

JOSEPH’S DAVIDIC BIRTHRIGHT

In the Book of Genesis, the prophecy of Jacob states that the kingdom will be taken away from God’s chosen people when the arrival of Jesus, the Redeemer, is at hand. The loss of the Davidic crown was the sign of the coming of the Christ.

The sceptre shall not be taken away from Judah,
… till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the
expectation of nations (Genesis 49:10 DRV).

This removal of authority had already happened by the time Joseph was born into the world as the foreign King Herod of Ascalon had usurped the throne of the sons of King David. Nevertheless, Joseph remained the rightful heir of the kings of Judea. However, in the Divine plan, Joseph was meant to serve the Lord as a worker and to hide and humble himself in domestic life, while at the same time being a nobleman. St. Joseph would have had perfect claim to the throne. St. Peter Julian Eymard and St. Bernardino of Sienna comment that though the throne was taken from Joseph’s family, he was no less a king because of it:

Therefore, since Christ was King, of the line of David,
He made St. Joseph to be born of this same royal line. He
wanted him to be noble, of earthly nobility. In the veins of
St. Joseph, therefore, flows the blood of David and Solomon,
and of all the noble kings of Judah. If his dynasty still sat on
the throne, Joseph would be the heir and would have sat on the
throne in his turn. Injustice had expelled his family from the
throne to which he had the right. For this he is no less a
king, the son of these kings of Judah, the greatest, noblest and
richest in the world. Thus, in the census records of Bethlehem,
St. Joseph was inscribed and recognized by the Roman
governor as the heir of David: therein lies his royal title,
which is easily identifiable, and bears the royal signature
(P. Eymard, 1948, pg. 60).

St. Joseph was born of a patriarchal, royal and princely race in
a direct line. The Gospel of St. Matthew establishes the direct
line of all the fathers from Abraham to the spouse of the
Virgin, clearly demonstrating that all patriarchal, royal
and princely dignity came together in him
(B. Albizensci, 1956, pg. 20).

The Sovereign Lord had deigned to make St. Joseph of royal blood, placing in him all the honour and glory of the House of David. Though St. Joseph’s family no longer sat on the throne, he was still a continuation of this nobility. He carried this heritage as though it were a secret between himself and his Lord — a sacred bond between an earthly prince and the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. St. Joseph’s royalty was not shown with an outward crown, but one which was hidden within his heart — a heart in which the Lord took great consolation and great delight.

Friday, May 17, 2019

ST. JOSEPH: PERFECT ADORER OF OUR LORD JESUS

 
 
Excerpts from the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard
 
In profound adoration St. Joseph united himself to the special grace of each one of the  events in the life of Jesus.  He adored our Lord in His hidden life and in His Passion and Death; he adored in advance the Eucharistic Christ in His tabernacles: there was nothing that our Lord could hide from Saint Joseph. Aside from the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph was the first and most perfect adorer of our Lord.

How greatly the Word Incarnate was glorified by the adoration of Mary and Joseph as they atoned for the indifference and ingratitude of His creatures! Saint Joseph joined with Mary in adoration and united himself to Christ, Whose heart surged with sentiments of adoration, love and praise for the Father and of charity for men. 

Saint Joseph’s adoration kept pace with every stage of our Lord’s life, drawing upon the grace, the spirit, and the virtue of each mystery.  In the Incarnation he adored the self-annihilation of the Son of God; at Bethlehem, the poverty; at Nazareth, the silence, the apparent weakness, the obedience, and all the other virtues of Christ.  He knew them well and he grasped clearly the reason why Christ practised them—for the love and glory of His Heavenly Father.

Faith, humility, purity, and love—these were the keynotes of his adoration.  No saint ever vibrated with a more ardent faith or bowed down in deeper humility; no angel ever glistened with brighter purity; and as for his love, neither saint nor angel ever has or ever will come within range of his burning charity which expressed itself so fully in devoutness.


Because his faith was so strong, Joseph's mind and heart bowed in perfect adoration. Imitate his faith as you kneel before the humble Christ annihilated in the Eucharist.  Pierce the veil which covers this furnace of love and adore the hidden God.  At the same time respect the veil of love and make the immolation of your mind and heart your most beautiful homage of faith.

Among the graces which Jesus gave to His foster-father—and He flooded him with the graces attached to every one of His mysteries—is that special to an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament.  That is the one we must ask of St. Joseph. Have confidence, strong confidence in him.  Take him as the patron and the model of your life of adoration. From close union with this holy adorer I shall learn to adore our Lord and to live in intimacy with Him.  I shall then be the Joseph of the Eucharist as he was the Joseph of Nazareth.
 
 
 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

OUR LADY OF PEACE - BARRAL, PORTUGAL


Though not St. Joseph related, I am posting this little known apparition  of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from 1917, because I feel the simplicity of this apparition is important for us to reflect on in these complicated times we find ourselves.


WHAT HAPPENED IN BARRAL, PORTUGAL ON THE 10TH & 11TH OF MAY, 1917

This case involved a poor little shepherd named Severino Alves, ten years old, the son of a poor and virtuous widow, and brother of six others, all of them very God-fearing. 

On May 10, 1917, at eight o'clock in the morning, this boy was on his way to the mountain, praying the rosary, as he usually did while making his way, he saw a flash of lightning that surprised him as it was a clear day, stopping him in his tracks.

He then took a few more steps and suddenly beheld a Lady, seated, with her hands clasped. Her face was beautiful like no other, and she radiated light, covering her head with a blue mantle and the rest of her body in a white dress. 

As soon as the little seer saw her, he fell to the ground startled by what he saw. Bringing himself back up he exclaimed in awe, "Lord Jesus Christ!" At that moment the vision disappeared. 

The boy later went to the parish priest to tell him what he had seen. The priest listened carefully to the young man. Severino, who had a good reputation in the town, being well behaved and loved by the locals, was not at first believed by the priest. However, given the sincerity and precision with which he reported everything he saw, the parish priest finally advised him to return to the place of the apparition and ask this vision to inform him who she was. 

The next day, May 11, 1917, on a Friday, it was again eight o'clock in the morning when Severino was walking with his sheep to take them to the mountain. It was a clear day, just as it had been the day before. As he walked he encountered the same Lady, who was sitting in the same place as the previous day. 

On that day, May 11, 1917, the face of the apparition was smiling radiantly. When he saw her, the little boy fell to his knees and, being brave, asked what the parish priest had advised him: "She who did not speak yesterday, let her speak today." 

Then the apparition with a voice that was a mixture of laughter and singing, a voice unlike anything he had ever heard, reassured him, saying: "Do not be afraid, boy, it is I." And she added: "Tell the shepherds of the mountain to always pray the rosary, let the men and women once again sing the “Star of Heaven” hymn, which has been long forgotten, and to approach me in prayer, that I shall come to the world and placate the war." 

After saying this, without the child having more time to answer anything but: "Yes, Lady", the vision, looking to the side, commented: "What beautiful buds.” 

As soon as the little boy had looked in the same direction, turning his head, the vision was gone. The privileged seer went and immediately told the mothers who had sons in the army what the beautiful Lady had said, that she would end the war if people prayed the Rosary and once again sang the “Star of Heaven”. 

To the questions asked, the little boy always answered in the same way: "If you want to believe, then believe. If you do not want to believe, then don’t," he added: "I did my duty, telling you what the Lady told me." 

A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF SEVERINO ALVES

Severino Alves was born in Barral, Parish of Vila Chã S. João, Ponte da Barca on June 21, 1906. He was the son of António Alves and Cecília Francisca Valente. 

When the apparition of Our Lady occurred, Severino was 10 years old. On the day of the first appearance, he spoke with the parish priest. The next day, May 11, he announced what the Vision told him to say. 

In the same year of 1917, Severino Alves was interrogated by various priests of the Archdiocese of Braga, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Amparo, about the apparitions of Our Lady of Peace. "Of course, they tried to make me admit to lying. When I refused to recant my story they then began to threaten me with a beating. They then put their hands on me. I told them, ‘You can be assured that what I saw is what is said. And what was told to me by the Lady is what I said. Now go ahead and do as you please." (Severino Alves, 1917). 

Later that year, Severino was advised to deny everything he had seen, otherwise he would be arrested. "Oh! Never! Our Lady told me to tell everyone to pray the Rosary and to sing the “Star of Heaven” to bring an end to the war, and I will now say I did not see anything?! Never will I deny these words she spoke to me! Never! If you want to arrest me, go ahead and arrest me. If they want to kill me, let them kill me!" (Severino Alves, 1917). 

Severino Alves was collected by the Archdiocese of Braga, in the Major Seminary of Braga, not to study, but simply to be there. He was regularly subjected to interrogations about what he had seen and told about the apparitions of Our Lady of Peace. He was then sent to the Jesuit Fathers' College in La Guardia, Galicia. He was there for two years against his will. They wanted to force him to become a Brother in the Society of Jesus. Since he did not feel a vocation, Severino begged a friend to help him escape and returned to Barral. 

Then, like most of Barral's youth, Severino went to Lisbon looking for a job. He got a job at a drug store. Then came the time to fulfill the Military Service. His mother accompanied him to Ponte da Barca. He had the typhus. The doctor said to the mother that the boy would die soon. His daughter says that "He prayed to Our Lady and she appeared to him and said 'Drink a tea of nettles and I will do the rest!' He drank this tea and the next day he recovered." 

He married Delfina Alves, who was a native of the Parish of Sampriz, Ponte da Barca. Six months after the birth of their first daughter, they left the city of Lisbon and returned to Barral, where they lived for ten years. 

Around the 1950’s he was again questioned about what happened on May 10 and 11, 1917: "I swear by my daughter's health that what I said in 1917 has to be said now, because it was all true" (Severino Alves, 1954). 

He returned to Lisbon, going to work for the same employer who despite having enough employees, accepted again Severino Alves. Severino and his wife had a small vegetable garden. It was tended by Severino. The vegetables were to make some little income, and the profit was added to offer to Our Lady of Peace. It was Severino's custom, before going to work to participate and to commune in the Church of S. Domingos, in Lisbon. They left Lisbon at the time of the Reformation. 

He was interrogated one last time on January 3, 1985, Severino being already very weak and bedridden. He died ten days later, on January 13, 1985 at the age of 78. His remains are buried in the Parish Cemetery in Lugar do Barral. 

(Click image to enlarge)


Thursday, May 2, 2019

HOW I CAME TO JESUS THROUGH MARY AND JOSEPH



I. All my life, even in childhood, I was a stranger to Jesus. I didn’t understand who He was. I confess I didn’t even know that Jesus was God until the question was raised in the fictional book “The DaVinci Code”, which I read in 2003. Growing up, all through my catechism years it was never taught to me, that Jesus was indeed God. I knew that He was the Son of God, a holy man, who worked miracles on Earth. I tried reading the Bible several times to get to know Jesus, but I found it boring, so I stopped. I wasn’t ready to learn that way. I knew that He died for my sins and so I felt obligated to love and worship Him (though I didn’t know how to love or worship Him.) Jesus eluded me and I didn’t know how to treat Him. Enter Mary.


II.  “WHAT HAVE THE SAINTS EVER DONE FOR YOU??!!!” he thundered from above; his wild, piercing black eyes daring me to answer his sarcasm, as to provoke an even greater rage. “Why can’t you be normal like other guys your age??!!”


I sat silently. I fought with all I had in me to not let him see me shake. Too afraid to cry, I bit down on my lower lip to keep it from trembling in the slightest, my body tense and rigid to the point where I thought my neck would snap, my adolescent eyes were locked on his. He continued his tirade.


Though the moment may have only lasted no more than two minutes, it felt to me as though time were suspended. I will never forget it. The booming voice was my father’s. My mom was at work. I was sitting at my desk drawing an image of the Virgin Mary.


As a child, adolescent, and young man, I was always attracted to the Blessed Virgin. I was a lover of art, and what first drew me to Mary was a statue depiction of her as Nossa Senhora de Fatima. I was captivated by her beauty. I was mesmerized by her.


Becoming familiar with the Virgin of Fatima, Portugal, and not being supported spiritually by my mother, who had an aversion to the Virgin Mary, I felt spiritually loved by our heavenly mother whose eyes looked down at me with such tenderness, and I in turn loved her. I began to relearn my Catholic faith through her apparitions of 1917 (which summarize much of the Catechism), and I placed my heavenly mother both on a pedestal, and cornerstone of my Faith.  In relearning my Faith, I began to understand who Jesus was. Mary taught me so much about Jesus that I didn’t know before: Her son, Jesus, is God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God in three persons. The bread and wine at Mass become the real presence of the body, blood, soul and divinity of her Son. Heaven, Hell, and even Purgatory, are all real. The Pope is indeed the Vicar of Christ and must be supported by our prayers. Sinners can convert through the penance of the faithful. I learned all of this from the Virgin Mary. I learned more about her Son through the Rosary she kept urging me to pray. While learning all that I did, I still preferred the comfort and familiarity of Mary, loving her more than Jesus. But she planted a seed in me that would grow with love for her Son and give me a new appreciation of Who He is. 


The time eventually came for her to cut the apron strings and she pushed me forward, a little closer to her Son. But I still could not approach Him on my own – I wasn’t ready. Enter St. Joseph.


III.  Growing up, I’ve looked back and I’ve realized that I didn’t have a close relationship with my father. Like some men, I didn’t feel loved by my father in my boyhood, nor did I feel guided by a paternal hand into manhood. I didn’t have the close father-son bond that a lot of other guys had growing up. Of course, God was and is ultimately everyone’s father, but when I was young, I couldn’t figure out who God the Father was, I couldn’t establish that connection that I felt I needed. I saw Him as a distant parental figure, unapproachable. But as I grew, I discovered another heavenly father, though he was not equal to God: St. Joseph.


Here was a man who loved, nurtured, taught, and moulded his son from boyhood into manhood – as every father should. And not just any son, but the very Son of God, Jesus, who I was trying to reach. I needed St. Joseph for a father because what I longed for in my life was the close father-son relationship that I could not have. I also felt I could relate to him in a way as he always seemed to be ignored by people, left unnoticed. And so, I felt a bit of a connection there for I never fit in either and was easily dismissed by others, just as I felt Joseph was.


I remember I would sometimes go to Mass at Ste. Amelie church, in Manitoba, and on either side of the altar were two niches: one had a beautiful statue of Our Lady holding the Child Jesus – there were flowers and banners around her. But on the other side of the altar was a niche with St. Joseph which looked to be almost desolate – there was nothing there to adorn it. The saint looked forgotten. I was an ignored son in my own life and so I wanted to reach out to the “ignored father” and become a “Son of St. Joseph”. As I did with the Blessed Virgin of Fatima, I felt a familial connection, I felt loved by Joseph. As a son who loves his father, I was all too eager to talk about him – non-stop at times. He was my hero-Dad whom I looked up to.


Joseph taught me that though Jesus was God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, He willed to be fragile like us. Jesus, though all powerful, allowed Himself to be under the authority of one of His own creatures! Joseph taught me that Jesus was not just some “know it all”, adolescent-God-child, aloof from the rest of us, but a boy who grew into a man appreciating affection and friendship just like anyone else.

Again, the question: Did I love St. Joseph more than Jesus? Yes. But, reminiscent of my time with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Joseph knew when to push me forward, to his Son. Just as a father introduces his son to another boy, in hopes that they will become good friends, Joseph did this for me. Enter (finally) Jesus.


IV.  Through the guidance and teachings of Mary and Joseph, my heavenly parents (and yours’ too I hope), I have come to the point in my journey where I am finally comfortable with Jesus. I see Him as my friend and companion who looks out for me, listens to me, gives me a hard time while at the same time being a shoulder for me to lean on. I now see Him not as an unapproachable figure, but as an older brother who would do anything for me – even give His life to spare mine.


I am now closer and more familiar with Jesus than I ever have been before, and I feel a sense of pride in my Lord whom I dare to call “brother.” I am comfortable with Jesus, yet my soul is still learning how to love and worship Him as much as the saints did. For the most part, I can balance my relationship with Him: the informality of friendship and brotherly love, with the reverence and holy fear deserving of God.


My heart is still trying to discern the unfathomable love He truly has for me. I know I will never fully understand His love and mercy for me, at least not while I walk this earth. Now, do I love Mary more than Jesus? No. But I still love her above all women. Do I love Joseph more than Jesus? No. But I still love him above any man. Do I love Jesus above His blessed parents? Finally, the answer is a resounding “yes”. Do I fully understand it? Not yet, but that’s okay. 


I sometimes think of how my heart would yearn for someone I loved and how it seemed to beat in union with theirs’, as though ours’ was one, shared heart. Then I think to myself “why don’t I love Jesus that way? Why doesn’t my heart yearn for Him, why doesn’t it hurt when I am distanced from Him?” When I am in love I don’t have to “try” to feel this way. I am simply in love, and love comes from God. I didn’t choose love, it just is – just as God is (the “I am”).


I am greedy. I love Jesus, yes, but now I want to fall deeply in love with Him, as though each beat of my heart relied on His to sustain it. I’ve read the writings of the saints and learned that many of them were blessed to attain this union with Christ while still on earth. But, more than likely, I will have to wait until Heaven for this intimacy with my Lord, if He permits me, but even so I won’t stop striving for it.

- joe 



Saturday, April 6, 2019

ST. JOSEPH IN GOD'S TIME -- FOR *OUR* TIME!


Excerpt from The Book of Joseph
 
... one day with the Lord is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years is as one day (2 Peter 8 ESV).

For centuries, St. Joseph has remained hidden in the background of the greater picture, only periodically emerging when he was needed. But everything is done in God’s time and ultimately His Divine Will is accomplished exactly when He sees fit.

One could say that the first millennium was reserved for the sole exploration of who Jesus Christ was and continues to be for His followers. It was a time for discernment and meditation on the Word of God, Who came to save humanity from sin so that eternal life may be given. The Church was given insights into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to understand God’s plan for mankind and the realization of the person of God in Him, as the second person of the Most Holy Trinity, defined as truth. Jesus is the New Adam who came to fulfill what was written in the books of the Prophets and to lead His people into new life. He gave the Church the gift of the Holy Spirit to continue His saving work on earth, to sustain His Mystical Body, the Church.

For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just
(Romans 5:19 DRV).

The next millennium would be focused on knowing Christ more intimately through those closest to Him. Who better to show the Church how to love Jesus than His own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary? These years were given to teach how to emulate her, and to be led by her example of humility, in true love for Christ. She is not a stumbling block on the way to Christ — she leads straight to Him. Our Lady guides the faithful to her dearly beloved Son, who is always ready to receive sinners, especially from His mother’s hands. Let it be known that Jesus is the only mediator between God the Father and man. Since Jesus is the only one begotten of the Father as both God and man, Mary’s role is to draw His people to closer to union with Him, for she is His greatest disciple. Her intercessory role echoes that of Queen Esther who pleaded before the king for her people in the Old Testament. In the Gospel of St. Luke, someone from the crowd praises Mary for giving birth to Jesus, but Jesus says instead that she is blessed because she has heard the Word of God and has held true to it. Jesus says this to show that anyone among them may be called “blessed,” but only in holding steadfast to the Word of God as she does.

“Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts that nursed You!” But (Jesus said) “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it (Luke 11:27-28 NRSV).”

The current millennium seems to be open to St. Joseph, the Guardian of the Redeemer, who up until recently was hidden in a way. The faithful are discovering his role not only within the pious walls of the Church, but also within the story of Salvation! Why is this important? Why does one need Joseph? Why should the faithful honor him? Because Jesus does.

Joseph has remained hidden up until now because now more than ever a human father is needed to teach mankind how to live. A human father is needed to show what life really is and how to respect it. It is in this millennium that the ethics of life are under attack more than ever. Abortion is rampant and is seen by many as an acceptable alternative to taking responsibility for one’s actions in creating a life. If by Divine Providence God hadn’t willed the safety and protection of Jesus, by the person of Joseph, then Jesus would have died as an infant. In current times, children are being murdered not only right after they are brought into this world, as it happened in Herod’s day, but now even before they are born! Who protected the unborn child within Mary’s womb? Joseph, by the grace of God. Who made sacrifices for his family and put their needs above his own? Joseph. Now more than ever, the “just man” is needed to lead by example, how to live in the truth. These excerpts from the Proverbs of Solomon describe the just man, which well represent St. Joseph:

The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of the just … He
that walketh sincerely, walketh confidently … The work of
the just is unto life … The expectation of the just is joy … The
strength of the upright is the way of the Lord … Where pride
is, there also shall be reproach: but where humility is, there
also is wisdom. The simplicity of the just shall guide them.
The justice of the upright shall make his way prosperous …
The just is delivered out of distress … The fruit of the just
man is a tree of life: and he that gaineth souls is wise
(Proverbs 10, 11 DRV).