Saturday, July 17, 2010

Father Gruner and the Fatima Crusader

A friend recently offered to lend me a Catholic magazine because it contained an article by John Salza's warnings  Catholics of Freemasonry. Of course, I took her up on her offer. However, when I saw that the magazine was the Fatima Crusader, I was wondering how I could gently but firmly warn my her about Father Nicholas Gruner, the owner of the Fatima Crusader, who is has been stripped of his priestly faculties.

I often find copies of the Fatima Crusader in the local churches. It is filled with erroneous messages that the Popes had not yet obeyed our Lady of Fatima's message of consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I haven't seen a copy recently, other than the one my friend lent me. But they used to be filled with beautiful Catholic artwork; very appealing to the eye yet with articles that will lead Catholics astray if they are not careful.

I found an article that I will be sharing with that friend and I thought readers here may be interested in reading it too.

Father Nicholas Gruner, The Man Who Harms Our Lady of Fatima

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Photo taken at Blessed Sacrament Church, Paterson, NJ
The following was shared by Sue Cifelli:

Spirit of Carmel: The Brown Scapular - Meaning and Miracles

"Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." -words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock

As the middle of the thirteenth century approached, the Carmelite Order found itself at a critical moment of its history. The Turks had re-invaded the Holy Land, making it necessary for the monks on Mt. Carmel to spread westward into Europe. However, difficulty in adapting to European living, disagreement within the Order, and the plague greatly diminished their numbers and demoralized the remaining members. In the midst of these circumstances, the General Chapter of 1247 elected Simon Stock Father General of the Carmelite Order. Realizing the dire state of his community, he had recourse to Mary.

“Flower of Carmel, Blossoming Vine, Splendor of Heaven, Mother Divine, none like unto Thee, Mother of our King. To thy children of Carmel, favors grant ever, Star of the Sea,” he prayed.

On July 16, 1251, Mary appeared to him surrounded by angels and holding in her hands the brown scapular of the Carmelite habit. “This shall be a privilege for you and for all Carmelites: whoever dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire, rather, he shall be saved,” she promised.

With the help of Our Lady and under the leadership of Simon Stock, the Carmelite Order began to flourish. Mary would not abandon her sons and brothers. For the Carmelite Order, this was the confirmation of the special relationship it had had with Mary since its beginning.

Since the first monks ascended Mount Carmel during the time of the Crusades, Carmelite devotion to Mary has been marked by love, imitation, and dependence. As followers of Christ, the Carmelites knew that they were called to love and honor Mary in the same way that Jesus had during His life on earth. At the same time, their life of chastity, poverty, obedience, silence, and prayer was an almost perfect imitation of the life of Mary. In their imitation of her, Mary became for these monks the Queen and Flower of Carmel.

Represented by twelve stars at the top of the Carmelite Coat of Arms, the virtues and love of God of the Immaculata were the Order’s sole treasure. Depending not on himself, but on the love and mercy of His Queen, the Carmelite received through the hands of Mary the grace and strength necessary to practice the virtues and accomplish the works that brought her honor.

Soon, others heard of the wonderful promise of Our Lady and wanted a share in these graces as well. The Church thus extended the promise to anyone who would wear the brown scapular. The scapular, a narrow, apron-like piece of cloth, that hung over the shoulders so as to fall evenly in the front and back, was already part of the Carmelite habit. For the purpose of wider devotion, small scapulars developed which today consist of two pieces of brown cloth joined together by string, cloth, or cord and are worn over the shoulders.

To wear the Scapular is to enter with all Carmelites into a special relationship with Our Lady. Arnold Bostius, a 15th century Carmelite, summed up the Scapular devotion with these words:

All Carmelites, encouraged by the dignity of the honor and the graces of Mary, rejoice to wear this gift of Our Lady night and day as an impenetrable shield. It reminds them that they always consider the holy life of Mary as their model, that they must engrave her image, along with her Son’s, on the shield of their faith, and that they must place all their trust in the all-powerful protection of this sovereign queen who is always ready to come to their aid. Happy are they who affectionately receive the gifts of Mary in the embrace of reciprocal spiritual love. They can look at this habit and joyfully remember the special love their most loving benefactor bestows on them, and thus know that they have been selected by her for so great an inheritance. (Patronatu, 1479).

The Scapular is a Sacramental

The Brown Scapular is a sacramental of the Catholic Church. A sacramental is, by definition, “a sacred sign which bears resemblance to the sacraments, and by means of which spiritual effects are signified and obtained through the prayers of the Church.” (CCC 1667). In the case of the scapular, the sacred sign is the scapular itself and the spiritual effect is the protection of one’s souls through the prayers of Mary, as she promised in the vision to St. Simon Stock.

Blessed Claude De La Colombiere said, “I wanted to know if Mary really and truly interested herself in me. And in the scapular she has given me the most tangible assurance; I have only to open my eyes. She has attached her protection to this Scapular: ‘whoever dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire?’” (Sermon Pour Les Fete du Scapuliare: Oevers. Lyon, 1701)

R.P. Laselve, O.F.M also stated, “In the same way that Jesus wished that something visible would reveal in the Sacraments the invisible effects of His grace, so also has Mary wished that the more particular protection which she accords to all those who serve Her with fidelity would be marked by an exterior sign, the Scapular.” (Haeffert, John Mathias. Mary in her Scapular Promise. Sea Isle City, N.J. 1942).

The Sabbatine Privilege

The Sabbatine Privilege is a special promise extended to all who wear the scapular and are enrolled in the scapular. The privilege was approved by Pope John XXII, and was later confirmed by Pope Gregory XIII, Pope Clement VII, and Pope St. Pius V. The privilege states that those souls who keep the necessary requirements of the privilege will be released from purgatory by Our Lady the Saturday after they die. The requirements are: 1.The scapular must be worn and the wearer must be enrolled in the scapular. 2. Chastity to one's state in life must be observed. 3. One must fast from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 4. You must recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin or the rosary everyday.

Miracles associated with the scapular

Throughout the centuries since the scapular promise was made to St. Simon Stock, countless miracles and conversions have been credited to the scapular. The following are just a few examples.

In May 1957, in Westenboden, Germany, an entire row of houses had caught fire. The inhabitants of one of the houses fixed a scapular to the front door of their home. Five hours later, 22 homes on the block had burnt to the ground. Yet amidst the destruction, the home with the scapular attached to it stood unharmed. This miracle was witnessed by hundreds of people.

Three holy men devoted to the scapular, Pope Bl. Gregory X, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St. John Bosco, all died wearing the scapular. When their graves were opened years later, the bodies and vestments had decayed but their scapulars remained perfectly intact.

In November of 1955, a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed in Guatemala. All the passengers died except for one young girl. She related that when the plane was going down, she clutched her scapular and cried out to Our Lady for help. She was burnt and her clothes were tattered and burnt as well, but the girl was overall unharmed and her scapular free from any burns. (stories were taken from Garment of Grace by the Slaves of the Immaculata. Vienna , OH; 1991)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prayer to Our Lady of Surprises

Prayer to Our Lady of Surprises

O Mary, my mother, and Our Lady of Surprises, what a happy joy you caused the wedding guests, when you asked your Divine Son to work the miracle of water into wine. What a happy surprise for them since they thought the wine had run dry.

I, too, Mary, love surprises, and as your child, may I ask you to favor me with one today? I ask this only because you are my ever caring mother.

Shared by Sue Cifelli

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Everyday There are Opportunities to Grow in Virtue

In Spiritual Combat we are encouraged to try to strive to obtain one particular virtue at a time. We are also reminded that there are so many opportunities that will come our way each day, where we can grow in these virtues.

The following are some examples put forth by Father Scupoli:
"It may happen that in the very same day, and perhaps in the same hour,
- that we are blamed for some good action, or found fault with for some other cause;
- we may be harshly denied some favor we have asked for, or some trifling request;
- we may be accused of something we have not done or be called upon to enure some bodily pain or some petty annoyance (such as a dish badly cooked);
- or we may have to bear some real and heavy trial, such as this miserable life is full of..."

We can come up with things in our own daily lives that will help us grow in the virtues.

- Your spouse snaps at you when you ask a innocent question.

- A friend takes out her growing stress on you and yells at you in front of others.

- A bicyclist on the sidewalk forces you, the pedestrian out of the way or a motorist cuts you off on the road.

- Someone cuts in front of you on the checkout line in the store or even at the confessional line in Church.

- Your child speaks disrespectfully to you or worse, someone else's child speaks disrespectfully to you.

- You are not invited to a certain event that most of your friends have been invited to.

- A member of an organization you belong to, spends a large sum of money without anyone's consent or knowledge and then expects reimbursement from everyone.

This list can go on and on.

Father Scupoli advises that we should strive to achieve one virtue at a time as aforesaid. So for example, we are trying to achieve the virtue of patience, we should accept the above situations not only willingly, but with a light heart.

If it is humility we are striving to achieve, then the above situations should be felt by us, that we truly deserve to be treated in such a rude or inconsiderate manner.

If it is the virtue of obedience that we are striving for, then we are to accept all these situations as coming from the hand of God. This means even if our annoyances are caused by people who we really do not owe obedience to. i.e., a child.

If the virtue is poverty, Father says "....we should be quite ready to be stripped of all the consolations of this world, great and small.

If it is charity,
"we should perform actions of love toward our neighbor, through whose instrumentality we may thus progress, and toward our Lord God, as the first and loving Cause from whom our discomforts proceed, or by whom they are permitted to arise, for our discipline and spiritual improvement...

Therefore, instead of growing impatient, angry, envious, prideful, etc., use these opportunities that will inevitably come your way daily, to perfect one of these virtues at a time.

Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli, Published by Sophia Press.

Monday, July 12, 2010