Articles

Let Us Pray for those Who Suffer with Mental Illness during this Mental Health Awareness Week

By Jayson M. Brunelle

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. As a psychotherapist, I am all too familiar with the devastation that mental illness brings about. Many psychiatric disorders, depending upon their severity and duration, often affect every dimension of life. Many persons with mental illness cannot hold a job or advance in their career; they often have an extremely low opinion of themselves; they are more likely to have suicidal ideation/plans/attempts; they often experience profound anguish and distress; quite often they live in poverty; they are more likely to develop a co-morbid substance abuse/dependence problem in an effort to alleviate the intensity of their intra-psychic ego-dystonia and anguish; they are misunderstood by many, including family members and close friends. (more…)

Is Salvation Possible for Non-Catholics?

by Jayson Brunelle

The Church teaches that “there is no salvation outside the Church.”  This is a dogma of the faith, and must be given full assent of intellect and will by the faithful.  But doesn’t it seem harsh and even arrogant to state that only Catholics will be saved?  Let us set the record straight by stating that many persons, Catholics among them, possess a faulty understanding of the dogma.  When the Church makes this assertion, it is simply stating that, objectively speaking, the only way to enter into the fullness of the beatific vision is through Christ and His Church.  Christ began the work of redemption at the moment of the incarnation, where he reconciled humanity and divinity in his own person, and brought the work of redemption to completion by offering Himself as the spotless victim on the altar of the cross, taking our place and suffering for our sins.  (more…)

The Twin-fold Source of Divine Revelation

by Jayson M. Brunelle

The Judeo-Christian tradition is wholly unique in how it approaches its understanding of God.  Unlike the other great world religions, where we have a situation of man searching for God (an “upward” movement), the Judeo-Christian tradition is based entirely on God’s revealing Himself to man (a “downward” movement).  This process whereby God reveals Himself through words and deeds is properly referred to as “Divine Revelation.”  (more…)

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord: Eucharistic Christ is the Passover Lamb of Sacrifice

Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament

by Jayson M. Brunelle

In previous posts, I’ve explored the centrality of the Eucharist as the sacrament toward which every other sacrament tends.  I’ve talked about the Eucharist as both source and summit of all of the Church’s activity.  I’ve underscored Christ’s words regarding His real presence in the Eucharist explained so eloquently in the Gospel of John.  But I’ve yet to speak on the Eucharist as the Sacrament of self-giving love, manifested in the words of John the Baptist: “Look – there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).  At the moment of consecration, the priest says, “Take this, all of you, and eat it.  This is my body, which shall be given up for you.”  And when consecrating the wine, he states, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it.  This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.  It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven.  Do this in memory of me.” (more…)

Human Emotions were Created by God as Good

By Jayson M. Brunelle

God, being the author of all that is, created us from the dust of the earth and breathed his own divine life into us prior to the fall.  With the fall, however, came a profound dulling of the intellect and a weakening of the will.  In fact, as a consequence of the fall, four fundamental relationships were severed – man’s relationship with God (the loss of sanctifying grace); man’s relationship with nature (subjecting us to suffering, pain and mortality); man’s relationship with other men (dominance, manipulation); and finally, man’s relationship with himself.  This last of the relationships to be severed results in what theologians call concupiscence.  It is, essentially, the lack of harmony between right reason and the emotions. (more…)

The Apparitions and Messages of Kibeho, Rwanda

By Roy Abraham Varghese. Roy Varghese is a prolific author in the areas of religion, science and Mariology.

The Marian apparitions of Kibeho in Rwanda, perhaps the poorest country in Africa (one known also as the “Switzerland of Africa” for its many mountains), were witnessed by seven principal visionaries. The apparitions share many common features with the great apocalyptic visions of the past. As in the nineteenth-century French apparitions and at Fatima and Akita, the Virgin announced impending bloodshed on a horrific scale. Moreover, as in Medjugorje, the apparitions themselves took place in the very region that would shortly become synonymous around the world with genocide and systematic butchery. The warnings issued at Rwanda were not only prophetic but unmistakably accurate and, because they were not heeded, the fate of the nation seemed sealed; the Virgin finally even urged the visionaries to flee their homeland before the onset of the wars ahead.

The apparitions began on November 28, 1981, when Alphonsine Mumureke, a sixteen-year-old student in a Catholic convent, heard a voice calling out “my daughter” to her as she was helping in the dining room. She left the room and saw a beautiful lady in white in the corridor. When Alphonsine asked her who she was, the lady replied, “I am the Mother of the Word,” speaking in Kinyarwanda, the language of the Rwandans. The Virgin asked her which of the religions she liked, to which Alphonsine replied, “I love God and His Mother who have given us Their Son who has saved us.” The Virgin commended her and said that she wished that some of her friends would have more faith since some did not believe enough. She then asked Alphonsine to join a lay evangelization group called the Legion of Mary and said that she wanted to be loved and trusted as a Mother so that she could lead people to her Son Jesus (the Legion of Mary is one of the largest lay Christian organizations in the world; one of the pioneers of the Legion from Ireland, Edel Quinn, had devoted her life to the work of the Legion in the neighboring country of Kenya). The Virgin then gracefully arose until she was out of sight. As she departed, Alphonsine dropped to the ground and was unconscious for about fifteen minutes.
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The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Akita, Japan, to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa

Source: http://www.ewtn.com

The extraordinary events began on June 12, 1973, when Sr. Agnes saw brilliant mysterious rays emanate suddenly from the tabernacle. The same thing happened on each of the two days that followed.

On June 28, 1973, a cross-shaped wound appeared on the inside left hand of Sr. Agnes. It bled profusely and caused her much pain. On July 6, Sr. Agnes heard a voice coming from the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the chapel where she was praying. The statue was carved from a single block of wood from a Katsura tree and is three feet tall. On the same day, a few of the sisters noticed drops of blood flowing from the statue’s right hand. On four occasions, this act of blood flow repeated itself. The wound in the statue’s hand remained until September 29, when it disappeared. On September 29, the day the wound on the statue disappeared, the sisters noticed the statue had now begun to “sweat”, especially on the forehead and neck. On August 3, Sr. Agnes received a second message. On October 13, she received a final third message.

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Translation of the Third Secret of Fatima as Released by the Holy See

“The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

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Link Between Third Secret of Fatima and Akita, Japan, Prophesy

by Michael H. Brown

Years ago, when Howard Q. Dee, ambassador from the Philippines to the Vatican, was chatting with a high Church official named Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Dee brought up the third secret of Fatima, which at the time was still just that: a secret. He also mentioned a recent revelation from Japan, wherein a great catastrophe was foreseen. This was Akita, where a deaf nun, Sister Agnes Sasagawa, said she “heard” the voice of Mary speak from a statue that wept both tears and blood. Cardinal Ratzinger (now, of course, Benedict XVI) had allowed the local bishop, John Ito, of Niigata, to issue a pastoral letter approving the Akita phenomena, at least in part.

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The Holy Eucharist: The Central Sacrament

by Jayson M. Brunelle

Christ’s institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist was and is the single greatest gift He left to His Church.  For, it is the fulfillment of His promise to truly be always among us, as he states in Matthew 28:20, “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”  While there are, indeed, multiple and varied presences of Christ, such as when two or three are gathered in His name, when the People of God gather to celebrate the Liturgy, when Sacred Scripture – the Word – is proclaimed, or when the priest acts in Persona Christi while administering and/or officiating at anyof the sacraments, etc., the abiding Eucharistic presence of Christ, with the fullness of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is truly singular in its reality, intensity, substance and fullness.  While the accidents of bread and wine remain, the substance is completely transformed into the Second Person of the Trinity.   This process whereby bread and wine are transformed into the true presence, flesh and blood of Christ is referred to as transubstantiation.  This occurs during the second half of the Sacred Liturgy, or the Liturgy of the Eucharist, specifically during the priest’s prayer of consecration and immediately following the Epiclesis.  Regarding the wholly unique presence of Christ contained within the pre-eminent sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Catechism of th Catholic Church has this to say:  “The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all sacraments tend.” In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” (more…)