Daily Archives: January 28, 2010

My Experiences in Faith–1989

In 1989, when I was a 12 year old 8th grader, I was one of the winners of the SC Lieutenant Governor’s essay contest, and I got to meet and shake the hand of then-Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore (D), a few months after he shook the hand of Barry Manilow, which I thought was really cool at the time, even though Theodore was a Democrat.
The essay was called “My Experiences in Faith.” I revised a few times, this latest version below coming from 1992. Here’s a picture of me with the other winners

I am writing about my personal experiences in faith. I have had a great adventure on this exciting voyage to God. Having the Marfan Syndrome has been a fact since I was age two, so it has always been part of my life, and although I don’t know what life is like for “normal” people, I can’t see my own life without it. Death doesn’t bother me, but I do tend to fear the concept of blindness or deafness that might occur sometime in the future. The LORD has seen fit to give me a wide variety of experiences in the sixteen years I have already lived, and I have already gone through the process of personal development that most people spend their lives on. Sometime around age five, I became an agnostic, doubting God’s existence on the grounds that I couldn’t see Him, when I could see Santa and the Easter Bunny at the Mall (what a Modernist!). At age seven, I was suicidal, tired of being a wimp, and figuring I’d be re-incarnated. Eventually, and with the help of my parents, I got things straightened out and became a good little church-goer. My religious education has been almost entirely self-directed. I spent two years in CCD from First to Second Grade, and then dropped out because I could teach myself just as much at home. I returned again in sixth grade, and didn’t come back after Christmas break for the same reason.

Radical change at various points in my life stirred on a more radical revelation of my place in Mother Church. The most important of these changes is that my family moved to South Carolina, where my life almost instantly and quite unexpectedly took a turn for the better spiritually. I had grown up a member of the Cathedral in my hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania, and I long had a fascination with the Church, which to me was mysterious and full of ceremony. Everything at the Cathedral was much like it would have been a hundred years ago, save the fact that the language was changed to English from Latin. There were beautiful and solemn hymns played on the pipe organ. The church itself was dark, with light coming from the small ceiling lights up in the dome, and the torch-like lamps that hung from the rafters. The Mass was begun and ended with a long procession. There would often be at least two priests at Mass, one to say Mass, the other to read the Gospel and preach.

When we moved to South Carolina, I began to develop a spiritual side that I had only known very lightly before. A week after arriving to live in Sumter, I took an interest in the Rosary. I started to read religious books, including the Bible, and I began to go to daily Mass. I started to find religious meanings in books, television programs, movies, and songs. I became familiar with the divisions among Christianity, and spent my first year in Carolina (1988-1989) at a fundamentalist academy where I learned Protestant theology, and where my father (who taught there) and I, in conjunction with our dynamic pastor, introduced the school to Catholicism. I then spent a year at a public school, where I openly spoke out for the Church, despite any fear of persecution, and found none. Rather, in both cases, I found several people who were “closet Catholics” and brought non-Catholics to abandon old prejudices.

In February 1989, my grandma called from Erie, and told us that Grandpa had cancer. I began to pray constantly for Grandpa, whose health had become the main concern of my family. We spent our Easter vacation in Erie, because the situation looked grim, and that might have been our last chance to see Grandpa alive. We decided that all we could do to help was to bring Grandma and Grandpa back to Sumter so that Grandpa could enjoy what little time he had left. The days they spent here were filled with joy, and I spent as much time as possible with them, walking, talking, praying, and just sitting out back enjoying the weather. Grandpa got somewhat better, and they returned to Erie on May 18. At about the same time as they left, I began to have a series of problems related to my Marfan Syndrome, which began with back pain and the start of scoliosis. I spent the summer in pain. Soon after my back problems settled to a natural thing, I began to have heart problems, and was almost constantly visiting doctors and hospitals. The prayer list increased, and everyone was offering support to Grandpa and I in our times of trial. Prayers were answered, as Grandpa’s condition stabilized, and I overcame the period of suffering, although I ended up on a reduced workload at school. We went to Erie at every available occasion, finally returning over Easter 1990 to see Grandpa for the last time on Earth. All I wanted to do, I said, was to say one last Rosary. We got to Erie, and quickly worked our way through the house to Grandpa’s room. The first thing we did after saying “hello” was kneel down, and say a Rosary together at Grandpa’s bedside. He was semi-conscious throughout the day, and eventually went into a coma. For the next few days, we kept vigil, and he awoke occasionally. On Palm Sunday, in the early evening, after everyone had gone home for a while (for the first time since our arrival) and the only people in the house were myself, my parents, my grandparents, my uncle, and my great-aunt, Grandpa awoke for the last time. When I heard him moan, I knew that this was the Moment we had waited for. A very spiritual moment saw the passing of Grandpa into the next world, and I will never forget the feeling that evening. The next few days were a time of mourning for most, but I found myself experiencing what C. S. Lewis called Joy. I was in a great communion with God, and it was a time of happiness in a deeper sense. When I was in Ninth Grade, to add to the problems our family faced, my mother’s health problems, which had grown gradually over the past few years, were diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis. We were now a family suffering great illness, and offering it up to the LORD.

All the while, as this went on, my faith deepened, and I came to a close relationship with God. In my high school years, I attended St. Jude Central High School in Sumter, where I encountered many people of deep faith and religious convictions, and where the influence of the experiences that my well-rounded teachers brought to us each day in class greatly affected my outlook on the world. I came to meet several very caring people, and some wonderful priests with a deep faith. As I noted before, my religious education was mostly individual. Three years of high school religion were about the best formal religious education I’ve received. I went to two classes for Confirmation, but ended up asking for (and receiving) an individual Confirmation at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston by the Most Rev. David B. Thompson, who served as another inspiration and in whom I saw a truly great Christian leader. I achieved a better level of religious thought through reading the works of such as C. S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, St. Augustine, T. S. Eliot, and many others whose religious writings have impacted my very way of being. I have studied the messages of several great devotions, such as the Infant Jesus of Prague, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, and the lives of the Saints. All this has been tied together by an avid interest in the official practices, beliefs and traditions of the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church.

Misfortune after misfortune compiled the sufferings that we underwent. Over the years, we’ve gone through a lot, yet our faith is stronger. My health has not gotten any better over the years. I would get a few months where I am overwhelmed with pain, then I got a few months of relief, and back again. Now, the pain is almost constant, and whether I feel “good” is a matter of how I feel at that given moment. I know that it is my Cross to bear and the “whip” that God uses to keep me “in line”. I also know that I have to accomplish my work in this world as soon as possible, because I don’t know when I will be taken to the Next, but my life isn’t going to be a very long one. Therefore, I write these papers as a document to one young man’s dream of a world where Christ’s sacrifice comes to mean something in the minds and hearts of all men and women; where the Holy Church stands as a binding institution of all races and cultures, and where we live in peace and harmony with our God, His Mother, the Angels and the Saints.

The Prophecies of La Salette: they sum it all up

The modern era of Marian apparitions, both genuine and alleged, began wwith the apparitions to St. Catherine Laboure in Rue de Bac, Paris, France, which gave us the Miraculous Medal (and had very harsh words against the American and French revolutions).

The next “big one” was La Salette, where Our Lady appeared to Melanie Calvat and Blessed Maximin Giraud. The apparition is approved, though there are debates about the authenticity of the messages, due to various Church decisions and conficting testimonies, and a 1915 censure by the Holy Office.

However, what follows is definitely from the mid-19th century, written by Melanie, and it pretty much sums up what has happened over the past 1850 years, including false apparitions and miracle workers, priestsly infidelity (both financial and sexual), the obscuring of the faith following Vatican II, modern technology, and the so-called “Near Death Experience” movement (in its New Age form).

What follows is the full text of the “Secret,” from a website called Broken Cross. Skeptics take note: these words were written by a young French peasant girl in the 1840s. If you ignore some of their dates (the very kind of thing to be wary of focusing on in interpreting prophecies), they pretty much sum up what’s happened since. They are dead on, and, like the messages at Lourdes and Rue de Bac, they involve many concepts that it’s unlikely a poorly educated 19th century French peasant girl would even know.

The Secret Prophecies of La Salette

“Mélanie, what I am going to tell you now will not always be a secret; you can publish it in 1858.

Priests, my Son’s ministers, priests, by their evil life, by their irreverences [“Good afternoon, folks!” “Let’s have a round of applause!” ] and their impiety in celebrating the holy mysteries [of course, this is long before Vatican II but both shows the abuse present before the Council while predicting what happened after], love of money, love of honor and pleasures [Embezzlement scandals? Priests and bishops cozying up to rich parishioners? Endless building funds? “We have to be practical.” “We don’t want to offend people.” Priests wearing secular garb?] , priests have become sewers of impurity. Yes, priests call forth vengeance, and vengeance is suspended over their heads. Woe to priests, and to persons consecrated to God, who by their infidelities and their evil life are crucifying my son anew! The sins of persons consecrated to God cry to heaven and call for vengeance, and now here is vengeance at their very doors, for no longer is anyone found to beg mercy and pardon for the people; there are no more generous souls, there is now no one worthy of offering the spotless Victim to the Eternal on the worlds behalf.

“God will strike in an unparalleled manner. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His anger, and no one will be able to escape so many evils at once. The heads, the leaders of the people of God, have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has darkened their minds [“Freedom of religion”]; they have become those wandering stars which the ancient devil will drag with his tail to destruction. God will permit the ancient serpent to sow divisions among rulers, in all societies and in all families; both physical and moral punishments will be suffered. God will abandon men to themselves and will send chastisements one after the other for over 35 years.

“Society is on the very eve of most terrible scourges and greatest events; one must expect to be governed by a rod of iron and to drink the chalice of God’s wrath.

“Let not my Son’s Vicar, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX leave Rome after the year 1859; but let him be steadfast and generous, let him do battle with the weapons of faith and love; I shall be with him.

“Let him beware of Napoleon; his heart is double, and when he will want to be both Pope and emperor at the same time, God will soon withdraw from him; he is that eagle who, desiring always to rise, will fall on the sword he wanted to use to force the peoples to exalt him.

“Italy will be punished for its ambition in wanting to shake of the yoke of the Lord of lords; thus she will be handed over to war; blood will flow on all sides; Churches will be closed or desecrated; priests, religious will be driven out; they will be put to death, and to a cruel death. Many will abandon the faith, and the number of priests and religious who will separate themselves from the true religion will be great; even Bishops will be found among these persons.

Let the Pope beware of miracle workers, for the time has come for the most astonishing wonders to take place on the earth and in the air. [Very interesting: seems to apply both to new technologies, as well as to New Age healers and some of the false apparitions-Medjugorje, anyone?]

“In the year 1864 Lucifer, together with a great number of devils, will be loosed from hell; little by little they will abolish the faith, and that even in persons consecrated to God; they will so blind them, that without a special grace, these persons will take on the spirit of these evil angels; a number of religious houses will lose the faith entirely and cause many souls to be damned.

Bad books will abound over the earth, and the spirits of darkness will everywhere spread universal relaxation in everything concerning God’s service: they will have very great power over nature; there will be churches to serve these spirits. People will be transported form one place to another by these evil spirits, and even priests, because they will not have lived by the good spirit of the gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. The dead and the just will be made to rise.”

[Mélanie interpolated here: “That is to say, these dead will assume the prospect of righteous souls who once lived on earth, in order to seduce men more easily; these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing other than the devil under these faces, will preach another Gospel contrary to that of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of heaven, if these be not in fact the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear joined to their bodies.“]

Do not listen to anyone who claims to have died and come back unless that person speaks unequivocally about Jesus Christ. Anyone else is possessed by demons. Our Lady predicted this in the 1840s!!

“There will be extraordinary wonders every place because the true faith has been extinguished and false light illumines the world. Woe to the princes of the church who will be occupied only with piling up riches upon riches, with guarding their authority and lording with pride!

“My Son’s Vicar will have much to suffer, because for a time the Church will be handed over to great persecutions [Few people in the US realize we are living in the greatest era of persecution of history, and that’s not just the petty persecutions we get from the media and atheists. More Christians are killed around the world every year by Muslim or Communist regimes than were killed in the entirety of Roman persecution]: it will be the time of darkness; the Church will undergo a frightful crisis.

With God’s holy faith forgotten, each individual will want to direct himself and rise above his peers. Civil and ecclesiastical authority will be abolished [“upward mobility”? “representative democracy”?], all order and justice will be trampled underfoot. Only murders, hatred, jealousy, lying and discord will be seen, with no love of country or family.

“The Holy Father will suffer greatly. I shall be with him till the end to receive his sacrifice.

“The wicked will make a number of attempts on his life without being able to harm him; but neither he nor his successor will see the triumph of God’s Church.

Civil governments will all have the same objective, which will be to abolish and make every religious principle disappear, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritism and vices of all kinds.

“In the year 1865, the abomination will be seen in the holy places; in the convents the flowers of the Church will putrefy, and the devil will establish himself as king of all hearts. Let those who are at the head of religious communities be on their guard concerning the persons they are to receive, because the devil will use all his malice to introduce into religious orders persons given to sin, for disorders and love of carnal pleasures will be widespread over the whole earth [Foretelling the infiltration by Freemasons and Communists].

“France, Italy, Spain and England will be at war, blood will flow in the streets; Frenchmen will fight Frenchmen, Italian with Italian; then there will be a general war which will be appalling. For some time God will no longer remember France or Italy, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no longer known. The wicked will unleash all their malice; even in homes there will be killing and mutual massacres.

“With the first lightning blow of His sword, the mountains and all nature will tremble with dread, because the disorders and crimes of men are piercing the vault of the heavens. Paris will be burned and Marseilles swallowed up; a number of large cities will be shattered and swallowed by earthquakes; all will seem lost; only murders will be seen, the clash of arms and blasphemies heard. The righteous will suffer greatly; their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise to heaven and all God’s people will ask pardon and mercy and will ask my help and intercession. Then Jesus Christ, by an act of His justice and His great mercy toward the righteous, will command His angels to put all His enemies to death. At one blow the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all men given to sin will perish, and the earth will become like a desert.

“Then there will be peace, the reconciliation of God with men; Jesus Christ will be served, adored and glorified; charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of Holy Church, which will be strong, humble, pious, poor, zealous and imitative of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and men will make great strides in the faith, because there will be unity among Jesus Christ’s workers and men will live in the fear of God.

“This peace among men will not last long: 25 years of abundant harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the woes which happen on earth.

A precursor of the Antichrist, with his troops drawn from many nations, will wage war against the true Christ, sole Savior of the world; he will shed much blood and will seek to annihilate the cult of God so as to be regarded as a god.

“The earth will be struck with plagues of all kinds;” [Mélanie added here: “Besides pestilence and famine, which will be widespread”] “there will be wars up to the last war, which will then be waged by the ten kings of the Antichrist, kings who will all have a common design and will be the sole rulers of the world. Before this happens, there will be a sort of false peace in the world; people will think only of amusing themselves; the wicked will indulge in all kinds of sin; but the children of Holy Church, children of the true faith, my true imitators, will grow in the love of God and in the virtues dearest to me. Happy the humble souls lead by the Holy Ghost! I shall battle along with them until they reach the fullness of maturity.

“Nature begs vengeance on account of men, and she shudders with dread, awaiting what must happen to the crime-stained earth.

“Tremble, earth, and you who profess to serve Jesus Christ, while interiorly you adore yourselves, tremble; for God will hand you over to His enemy, because the holy places are in a state of corruption; many convents are no longer houses of God, but pastures for Asmodeus and his own.

“It will be at this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will be in communication with the ancient serpent, master of impurity; his father will be a bishop (Ev.).

“At birth he will vomit blasphemies, he will have teeth; in a word, this will be the devil incarnate; he will utter terrifying cries, he will work wonders, he will live only on impurities. He will have brothers who, although not incarnate devils like himself, will be children of evil; at the age of twelve, they will be noted for the valiant victories they will win; soon they will each be at the head of armies, assisted by legions from hell.

The seasons will be changed, the earth will produce only bad fruits, the heavenly bodies will lose the regularity of their movements, the moon will reflect only a feeble reddish light; water and fire will lend convulsive motions to the earth’s sphere, causing mountains , cities, etc., to be swallowed up. And here, for my Republican readers, we have Our Lady predicting our modern era of pollution and senseless destruction of God’s gifts

“Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.

“The demons of the air, together with the Antichrist, will work great wonders on the earth and in the air, and men will become ever more perverted. God will take care of His faithful servants and men of good will; the Gospel will be preached everywhere, all peoples and all nations will have knowledge of the Truth.

“I address a pressing appeal to the earth: I call upon the true disciples of the God living and reigning in the heavens; I call upon the true imitators of Christ made man, the one true Savior of men; I call upon my children, my true devotees, those who have given themselves o me so that I may lead them to my Divine Son, those whom I bear as it were in my arms, those who have lived in my spirit; finally, I call upon the Apostles of the Latter Times, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in contempt of the world and of themselves, in poverty and humility, in contempt and silence, in prayer and mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering, and unknown to the world. It is time for them to emerge and come enlighten the earth. Go, show yourselves to be my dear children; I am with you and in you, provided your faith is the light enlightening you in these evil times. May your zeal make your famished for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. Do battle, children of light, you, the few who see thereby; for the time of times, the end of ends, is at hand.

[The following is the most famous statement from La Salette] The Church will be eclipsed, the world will be in consternation. But there are Enoch and Elias, they will preach with the power of God, and men of good will will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted; they will make great progress by virtue of the Holy Ghost and will condemn the diabolical errors of the Antichrist.

“Woe to the inhabitants of the earth. There will be bloody wars, and famines; plagues and contagious diseases; there will be frightful showers of animals; thunders which will demolish cities; earthquakes which will engulf countries; voices will be heard in the air; men will beat their heads against the walls; they will call on death, yet death will constitute their torment; blood will flow on all sides. Who could overcome, if God doesn’t shorten the time of trial? At the blood, tears and prayers of the righteous, God will relent; Enoch and Elias will be put to death; pagan Rome will disappear; the fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities; the whole universe will be struck with terror, and many will allow themselves to be seduced because they didn’t adore the true Christ living in their midst. It is time; the sun is darkening; Faith alone will survive.

“The time is at hand; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of the kings of darkness. Here is the beast with its subjects, calling itself the savior of the world. In pride he will rise skyward to go up to Heaven; he will be stifled by the breath of St. Michael the Archangel. He will fall and the earth — which for three days will be in constant change — will open its fiery bosom; he will be plunged forever with all his followers into hell’s eternal chasms. Then water and fire will purify the earth and consume all the works of men’s pride, and everything will be renewed; God will be served and glorified.”

Pray with Me: Novena to St. Blaise, Day 2

Praying for the intercession of St. Blaise for Allie, and my neck, and all physicians, particularly Allie’s pediatrician Dr. Albert and ophthalmologist Dr. Wilson and my brother Joe:

Novena to St. Blaise

Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Prayer in honor of St. Blaise
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invocation of St. Blaise
St. BLASE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God’s grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.


My LORD and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.