August 25, 2006

Seeing beyond spiritual disturbance to the goodness of people

Thank you, Spirit Daily, for this insightful article.


You know how it is. There are simply people with whom you have trouble getting along. Sometimes, it's right there in the open -- in confrontation, in tension, in bickering.

More often, it's something that's below the surface: You're feeling great and then when you enter into the presence of someone, or a group, your spirit is suddenly -- inexplicably -- agitated.

You lose your peace. You feel antagonism or simply don't feel "yourself." You feel arid. For no reason, you become angry.

These are warning signals. There are people who rub each other the wrong way -- who seem nearly allergic to one another -- and often there is a spiritual component behind it.

We know such from Scripture.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places," St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 -- which we should all read on a regular basis.

December 07, 2005

...We even boast of our afflictions (Romans 5:2b)

In today's gospel reading from Saint Matthew 11:28-30 , Jesus tenderly asks us to partake in the rest that only He can give:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

And to the extent that our sufferings bring us ever closer to that eternal rest, we can even boast in them:

Saint Bede the Venerable (around 673-735), Monk, Doctor of the Church
Homily 12 for Pentecost Eve

“Take my yoke upon your shoulders… Your souls will find rest.”

The Holy Spirit will give the righteous perfect peace in eternity. But already now, he gives them very great peace when he enkindles the heavenly fire of love in their heart. For the apostle Paul said: “This hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5:5) The true and even the only peace of souls in this world consists in being filled with divine love and animated by the hope of heaven to the point of coming to consider the successes and failures of this world as unimportant, of being completely stripped of the desires and lusts of this world, and of rejoicing in the offenses and persecutions suffered for Christ, so that one can say with the apostle Paul: “We boast of our hope for the glory of God. But not only that – we even boast of our afflictions!” (Rom 5:2)

The person who imagines that he will find peace in the enjoyment of the goods of this world, in riches, is mistaken. The frequent troubles here below and even the end of this world should convince that person that he has built the foundations of his peace on sand (Mt 7:26). On the contrary, all who, touched by the breath of the Holy Spirit, have taken upon themselves the very good yoke of God’s love and who, following his example, have learned to be gentle and humble of heart, begin now to enjoy a peace, which is already the image of eternal rest.

December 06, 2005

Oh Lord, Thy will be done

Spirit Daily


When we're sick or in some kind of trouble our first inclination is to call out for help. "Heal me, Lord. Heal me," we cry when we are sick, and there's nothing wrong with that. The Lord hears our pleas (every one of them).

But often we have to remember to frame it differently. Instead of focusing on the problem, we have to focus on the solution -- and we have to be open to the Will of God.

"Oh Jesus, may Your Will be done in my life."

December 05, 2005

"Merry Christmas, ACLU"; join WMCA radio host Kevin McCullough's Christmas card campaign

During this second week of Advent, a time of prayer and reflection on the birth of our Savior, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Christmas.

But the ACLU keeps acting like the Grinch who stole Christmas---trying to remove any reference to Christmas in the public square.

Now we have a golden opportunity to fight with the love of God against the ACLU's misguided actions by joining Kevin McCullough in his "Merry Christmas, ACLU" Christmas card campaign.

Sending out those "Merry Christmas" cards to the ACLU along with a heavy helping of prayer could do wonders.

See also my other posts:

"Help disarm the ACLU with Christ's love; send 'Merry Christmas' cards to its national office," in "Pope Benedict XVI Blog," my blog on the Pope and the Vatican.

"Swamp the ACLU, the Grinch who stole Christmas, with 'Merry Christmas' cards," in "An Anglo-Irish Convert in 'the City'," my Christian screenwriting and media blog.

November 28, 2005

Bishop Gemma of Naples, a leading expert on exorcism: The devil hates Latin

Editorial: The demonic horror of Latin

Web Posted: 11/27/2005 12:00 AM CST
San Antonio Express-News

Bishop Andrea Gemma of Naples is the enemy of the devil and hero to schoolchildren everywhere.

Gemma is best known as one of the Roman Catholic Church's leading experts on exorcism. He performs several rites each week and has written and spoken extensively about his experiences.

In Rome, Gemma serves as a lecturer in the class on "Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation" at the Pontifical Academy Regina Apostolorum.

To view comments on this story as well, go to

November 22, 2005

Statue of Virgin Mary in Sacramento appears as if exuding "bloody tears"

As is right and prudent, such unusual phenomena must be carefully monitored, scrutinized and validated. And, as always in these instances, we Christians must prayerfully discern and follow the Church's final judgement.

Nov 21, 2005 12:52 pm US/Pacific

Virgin Mary Statue Seen Crying Tears Of Blood

(CBS 13) SACRAMENTO There are often reports of statues or paintings of the Virgin Mary crying. There are even websites that chronicle the occurences. But it's not often there are sightings in your own backyard.

Overnight, some parishoners say they witnesses a 'miracle' saying they saw the statue of the Virgin Mary crying tears of blood at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyr's Church in Sacramento County.

We sent a crew there this morning, and you can clearly see some kind of red streaking on the face of the statue. A steady stream of parishoners came to see and worship in front of the statue. For many it was a very emotional experience. Many were crying, others were praying the Rosary.

CBS 13's Marcy Valenzuela will have more on this story tonight on KOVR 13 News At 5:00.

If you'd like to see the Virgin Mary statue yourself, the church is located along Highway 16 at 10371 Jackson Road just east of Bradshaw.

(© MMV, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

November 20, 2005

A theologian in Rome teaches on exorcism: "The devil exists, but we must not be afraid"

On the Devil's Doings
Theologian Delivers a Lesson in a Rome Pub

ROME, NOV. 18, 2005 ( Rome's Theology on Tap series for English speakers resumed with a talk on angels and devils.

Father Pedro Barrajón, a professor of theological anthropology, explained to a group of young people, who gathered Monday in an Irish pub near the Piazza Venezia, how an exorcism is carried out.

He recommended that one should not be afraid of the devil.

"The devil exists, but we must not be afraid," said the Legionary priest who lectures in the course on exorcism and the Prayer of Deliverance at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

November 14, 2005

That we might have the eyes of our souls opened to Christ, the light of the world

As Saint Symeon the New Theologian, an Orthodox monk who lived around 949 to 1022 said in Ethics 5:

“Son of David, have mercy on me”
My friend, you have learned that the Kingdom of Heaven is in you (Lk 17:21), if you wish, and that all the eternal goods are in your hands. So hurry to see, to take hold of and to obtain within yourself the goods that are reserved… Groan, prostrate yourself. Like the blind man in the past, you now also say: “Have mercy on me, Son of God, and open the eyes of my soul so that I might see the Light of the world that you are, oh my God (Jn 8:12), and that I too might become a child of that divine light (Jn 12:36).

November 12, 2005

We are created for God; we are created to love Him and our fellow man

Jeff Pioquinto,SJ has created a blog, "Photography and the Spiritual Exercises," which links evocative photographic images with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Especially evocative is his post of November 5, "The End of Man":

Text of St. Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises:

Man was created for this end: to praise, reverence, and serve the Lord his God, and by this means to arrive at eternal salvation.

This meditation comprises three great truths which are the foundation of all the Exercises: I come from God; I belong to God; I am destined for God. That is to say, God is my first principle, my sovereign Master, my last end.

God is in pursuit of us; He is a God for whom we are created.

Knowledge without God can breed arrogance; humble knowledge with God can breed wisdom

Spirit Daily


The other day a priest was speaking about the Book of Wisdom and recalling a meeting he'd had with a physician.

He was startled, said this priest (who was born abroad), at the haughtiness of the American doctor.

Asked this priest: what caused this arrogance?

The answer was knowledge. The physician was knowledgeable (at least about the human body) and was intent on letting everyone know it.

Such knowledge was undeniable but was not to be confused, noted the priest, with wisdom.

The doctor was knowledgeable but he was not very wise. No one arrogant is.

November 11, 2005

We must watch for the Son of Man to return and detach ourselves from illusory realities

According to today's gospel reading, Luke 17:26-37, we are to wait and watch for the Son of Man to return for,

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will
save it (Luke 17:33).
In like vein, in our commentary today, St. Gregory of Nyssa asks us to save our life by abandoning our "illusory dreams":

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (around 335-395), Monk and Bishop
Homily 11 on the Song of Songs

“They ate and drank, they bought and sold”

The Lord gave his disciples important recommendations so that they might shake off like dust everything earthly in their nature and might thus be raised to the desire for supernatural realities. According to one of these recommendations, those who turn towards life on high must be stronger than sleep and must always remain watchful… I am talking about the drowsiness that arises among those who are plunged in life’s lie through illusory dreams such as honors, riches, power, pomp, the fascination of pleasure, ambition, the thirst for enjoyment, vanity and everything that their imagination leads superficial people to seek madly. All these things pass away with the fleeting nature of time; they belong to the domain of appearances… Hardly have they seemed to exist when they disappear like the waves of the sea…

So that our minds might be free of these illusions, the Word invites us to shake this deep sleep from the eyes of our soul, so that we might not slip away from the true realities by becoming attached to that which has no consistency. That is why he suggests that we be watchful when he says: “Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamps be burning ready.” (Lk 12:35) For when the light shines before our eyes, it chases sleep away, and when our kidneys are held tight by a belt, they prevent the body from succumbing to it… The person who has fastened the belt of temperance lives in the light of a pure conscience; the trust of a child illuminates his life like a lamp… If we live like that, we will enter into a life that is like that of the angels.

November 09, 2005

We are to be the temple of His body--the resting place of God's eternal throne

In today's commentary from St. Hilary:

Saint Hilary (around 315-367), Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church
Treatise on Psalm 64

“He was talking about the temple of his body”

The Lord said: “This is my resting place forever,” and he “chose Zion as the place where he will dwell.” (Ps 132:14) But the temple is destroyed. Where will God’s eternal throne be? Where will his resting place be forever? Where will his temple be for him to dwell there? The apostle Paul gives us an answer: “You are the temple of God, … the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor 3:16). That is the house and temple of God. They are filled with his teaching and his power. They are the dwelling place for the holiness of God’s heart.

But it is God who builds this dwelling place. If it were built by human hands, it would not last, not even if it were founded on human teaching. Our fruitless work and our worries are not enough to protect it. The Lord goes about this in a different way: he did not found it on earth or on moving sand, but it rests on the prophets and the apostles (Eph 2:20); it is built constantly out of living stones (1 Pet 2:5). It will develop to the ultimate dimension of Christ’s body. Its construction continues constantly. Many houses go up all around it and they will resemble one another in one big and happy city (Ps 122:3).

November 07, 2005

Blessed are the persecuted who suffer for Christ



Tortured for Christ
The extraordinary story of 1 man's victory over Communism

Posted: July 16, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

By Ron Strom© 2005

He was an outspoken anti-communist with the scars to prove it, a man raised Jewish who embraced Christianity with uncommon devotion, and a visionary whose life was dedicated to helping believers who suffer for their faith.

He was Richard Wurmbrand, founder of leading Christian-persecution organization The Voice of the Martyrs.


November 04, 2005

The Eucharist is the strength of martyrs

Eucharist as the Strength of Martyrs
Pontifical Academy's Congress Focuses on a Sacramental Bond

ROME, NOV. 3, 2005 ( A congress held for the close of the Year of the Eucharist pointed out the relationship that Church martyrs have always had with the sacrament of Jesus' real presence.

The Pontifical Academy of Devotion to Martyrs organized a day of study Oct. 27, at the Teutonic College of St. Mary in Camposanto, on the theme: "The Eucharist: Strength of Martyrs, Source of Christian Witness."

One of the congress's speakers, Monsignor Pasquale Iacobone, a member of the martyrs academy and an official of the secretariat of the Pontifical Council for Culture, spoke with ZENIT.


Life is a challenge to go beyond ourselves

Spirit Daily

Do What You Least Want And You Will Find Yourself In A Place Of Grace

By Michael H. Brown

Life is such that when we do what we least want to do, joy is often the result. Life on earth is a challenge to go beyond ourselves. Contradictory, isn't that?

But considering the Crucifixion, could anything be more in line with Jesus?

Crucifixion was followed by Resurrection and so we have a most crucial lesson: Life is a series of tests, and when we approach it as such, we transcend it.

Day after day -- year after year -- we face challenges that we can face or shirk. When we face them, we conquer them. And doing that often means doing what we don't want to do. It means doing what is difficult. Here you will find some of life's sweetest grace!

Take weight loss. It's enjoyable to eat. It's one of life's greatest pleasures. But when we overindulge with no effort at reining in the flesh, it ends up being a misery (and even the death of us).


November 02, 2005

Exorcist: Women are more open to the spiritual world and therefore more prone to possession

Women prone to demonic possession, says exorcist

First posted 05:52am (Mla time) Nov 01, 2005
By Christian V. Esguerra
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the Nov. 1, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND looking a little peaked? Are her eyes red? Can she do a 360-degree head turn, accompanied by flying green vomit?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

According to a certified Filipino exorcist, women are prone to demonic possession because they are generally more “psychic and intuitive” than men.

“They are more open to the spiritual world,” said Fr. Jose Francisco Syquia, a professor of spiritual theology at the San Carlos Seminary and one of the few “designated” exorcists in the local Catholic hierarchy.


October 31, 2005

Our suffering becomes redemptive when we unite it with Christ's suffering on the cross

"Unite yourselves spiritually to the Crucified Christ..." says Pope Benedict. As we unite our suffering to His suffering on His way to Golgotha, gloriously and mystically, we participate in the redemption His suffering merited.

Deanna Aikman, ill with Lou Gehrig's Disease, testifies: "It is Christ who gives our suffering meaning." For this reason, we can even rejoice in our suffering; as St. Paul exclaimed, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Colossians 1:24 [RSV]).

For, as we unite ourselves spiritually to Him in His suffering, God graciously allows us to participate in His affliction on behalf of His body, the Church. Our suffering, thereby, becomes redemptive. In this, I find great comfort.

Jesus’ cross helps us understand suffering, Pope tells young hospital patients

Vatican City, Oct. 26, 2005 (CNA) - Following today’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict addressed a group of children from the "Citta di Speranza" (City of Hope) hospital in Padua, Italy, telling them encouragingly, that, Christ’s cross “helps us to understand the true meaning of suffering and pain.”


October 30, 2005

Hiding in the wounds of Christ

Fr. Tom Connolly in his Sunday 18th April 2004, "Message from a Parish Priest" acquaints us with this beautiful meditation from the pre-Reformation Church:

...The Sacred Wounds was the object of great and tender devotion in the pre-Reformation Church. Folk would carry with them–-printed on linen cloths, the five wounds and pray before them. Saints would talk of “hiding” in the wounds of Christ. They were marks of his tremendous love and the cost he bore to make up for our offences. The price paid for us was paid not in silver and gold but in the blood of that precious and spotless lamb-–Jesus Christ. The Hymn “Soul of my Saviour” prays: “Wash me with water flowing from thy side” and “deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me.” That hymn was written by Pope John 22nd (1249 – 1334).

Religious belief can have a positive effect on bodily health

The body and mind are inextricably linked. And prayer helps to keep one healthy:

Religion's Impact on Bodily Health
Some, But Not All, Studies See Positive Effects

NEW YORK, OCT. 29, 2005 ( Religious belief may not only be good for our spiritual health; it may also bring positive effects for the body. With certain regularity, studies appear on the scene indicating that prayer or regular participation in religious services can assist believers' health.

Not everyone agrees with such studies. Some researchers point to methodological failures in various studies that purport to show a correlation between religion and health benefits. Even the studies themselves warn that it is hard to pinpoint the precise relationship between the two.

Still, the number of reports showing positive effects is substantial. On June 9 the Web site Science and Theology News reported that Canadian and Israeli researchers found that religious practice may slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease.

"We learned that Alzheimer's patients with higher levels of spirituality or higher levels of religiosity may have a significantly slower progression of cognitive decline," said the author of the study, Dr. Yakir Kaufman, director of neurology at Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem.


October 29, 2005

Fr. Amorth, an exorcist, speaks about the devil

Mother of All Peoples

The Reality of Satan and the Victory of Jesus and Mary

Written by Fr. Gabriele Amorth

Saturday, 29 October 2005

The devil is one of God's creatures. We cannot talk about him and about exorcisms without first stating some basic facts about God's plan for creation. We will not say anything new, but we might present a new perspective.

All too often we have the wrong concept of creation, and we take for granted the following wrong sequence of events. We believe that one day God created the angels; that he put them to the test, although we are not sure which test; and that as a result we have the division among angels and demons. The angels were rewarded with heaven, and the demons were punished with hell. Then we believe that on another day God created the universe, the minerals, the plants, the animals, and, in the end, man. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve obeyed Satan and disobeyed God; thus they sinned. At this point, to save mankind, God decided to send his Son.


October 27, 2005

From priest who battled Satan comes remedy: Go to Confession, pray; renounce sin and occult

Western Catholic Reporter
Week of October 31, 2005

Priest battled with Satan
Ottawa-area cleric helped the possessed find deliverance from demonic oppression


Canadian Catholic News

While not every person who dabbles in the occult ends up spiritually obsessed, even a trip to a fortune teller can open one up to demonic oppression, says an Ottawa area priest.

He believes because he has helped people find deliverance from demonic obsession and harassment.

"You're simply asking for trouble," says the priest. "What are you doing? You're looking for knowledge or power from a source other than God. You've invited stuff in."


October 26, 2005

Suffering is redemptive when united to the suffering Christ

The Lord calls us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. He leads us inevitably to Golgotha...

But, we know that our suffering is redemptive when united to His, as the Pope reminded hospitalized children following today's General Audience:

Jesus’ cross helps us understand suffering, Pope tells young hospital patients

Vatican City, Oct. 26, 2005 (CNA) - Following today’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict addressed a group of children from the "Citta di Speranza" (City of Hope) hospital in Padua, Italy, telling them encouragingly, that, Christ’s cross “helps us to understand the true meaning of suffering and pain.”

The Pope told the young people that, "As we heard during the catechesis, the cross of Christ brings us to understand the true meaning of suffering and pain. Unite yourselves spiritually to the Crucified Christ, and abandon yourselves in the hands of Mary, constantly invoking her in the Rosary."

According to the Vatican, the hospital came into being in 1994 with the dual aim of building a new department of pediatric onco-hematology, which was inaugurated two years later, and to support research into childhood cancer.


October 17, 2005

Is 3 a.m. an hour with special spiritual significance?

Spirit Daily

by Michael H. Brown


It is intriguing, this notion that three a.m. bears special spiritual significance.

We've been reporting about it for years. It spans nations, religions, and the cultural milieu -- with even secular movies working it into their themes.

Most recent was The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which has many of the chilling events happening at this switching (or should would say "witching") hour?

Our review of the movie led to a deluge of e-mail from those who claim their own experiences.

Is it a time when the "veil" is especially thin? Is it an evil hour? Or a combination?

"I got goose bumps when you mentioned three a.m.," wrote John O'Brien of Lake St. Louis, Missouri. "I can't tell you how many times -- hundreds -- I have awakened at precisely three a.m. I have always assumed someone needed prayers. I had no idea it was a common thing."

Common indeed. In devotional circles, rampant. Does Jesus, does the Blessed Mother, rally forces at this time that is also an active hour for witches (the end of their midnight-to-three ceremonies)?

"On one occasion, just recently, I was dreaming that I was being followed by something evil, there was chaos and destruction all around," reports another reader, Caroline Jarzabek of Toronto. "I was trying to get away but I had that dreaded feeling that this entity was getting closer and closer, a deep fear crept in. Just then in the distance I could hear a group of people (maybe angels), praying the Rosary. I immediately joined in and there was instant peace. I woke up and you guessed it -- it was three a.m."