Saint Thomas Aquinas

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Spiritual Writings of Denis the Carthusian

Over the course of many years I have managed to acquire to quite an extensive library. There have been several books that have had an impact on me, but few that I would put in their own separate class above the rest when it comes to the spiritual life. For example, St. Catherine's 'Dialogue' would be one of the few that I come back to and am enriched each time I re-approach it. It is as if there is a light that comes through the text which penetrates the intellect and offers a unique insight into the mind of God. It is rare to find texts that merit such praise, so when I come across them I get excited about it. So I am sharing a recent finding with my readers.



'The Spiritual Writings of Denis the Carthusian' fall into this rare class of spiritual writings. Denis was born in 1403 in Belgium and was one of the most renowned spiritual writers of his time. His entire life was dedicated to prayer and study. Unfortunately most Catholics have never heard of him despite the fact that he is one of the most prolific spiritual writers of his time, his writings numbering over 150 works. Denis who spent a large part of his life as a Carthusian monk, was well versed in Sacred Scripture, and the writings of the spiritual masters. Denis' first love was his devotion to Sacred Scripture and his second love was the study of St. Thomas Aquinas. Denis studied the works of St. Thomas, Peter Lombard and the Victorines extensively. He wrote commentaries on both Aquinas' and Lombard's most popular works, 'The Summa' and 'The Sentences.' Denis was instrumental in popularizing 'The Summa' as a superior replacement to the longtime standard work of Lombard. The mystical theology of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite was also one of his favorite sources.

The times of Denis in some ways reflect our own time.  During the 1400s there were "liberal" theological currents making its way into the Church and Denis was one of the bulwarks against novel ideas. Denis was instrumental in producing a Thomistic revival of sorts for lack of a better term, during his life. During Denis' time there was a strong movement to adopt the scholastic theology founded on the ideas of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Denis opted for the earlier form of scholasticism which he believed to be most accurately presented by the school of St Thomas Aquinas. In reading Denis' works this is readily apparent since Aquinas is quoted numerous times throughout, second only to Sacred Scripture.

What makes his work unique in my eyes is the fact that his writings are digestible to men and women of all vocations, not just those in the religious life. Anyone can pick up this book and put the spiritual advice between its pages to use. His writings are also very detailed and Denis explains how one can actually advance in the spiritual life in an extremely tangible way. This is something that I always found lacking in most books. Many spiritual books today tell you about the necessity of prayer and many writers explain what they have experienced in their spiritual lives, but most never fill in the blanks to actually tell you what to do to achieve this. I believe Denis is somewhat unique in being able to answer the questions you have in your head, but never seem to get answered in other books.

Unlike modern writers, Denis understands the human person from an objective perspective and is able to explain how the intellect and the will work in man. Since he understands this properly he is able to actually answer the questions that a person has, who is trying to progress in the spiritual life. Those who are trying to advance in holiness and virtue know all too well the roadblocks that are in their way. Many times however vague recommendations made in modern books leave the reader with many unanswered questions. This is not the case with Denis, as he leaves no stone unturned in examining man's relation to God.

For example, most Catholics have heard of the purgative stage, or purgative way of the interior life. I am enthralled by the fact that Denis actually digs down and tells you what you need to do in order to actually engage in the purgative state. Denis starts with the problem of sin, describing in detail how and why a sinner thinks and why certain things appeal to his or her flesh. He describes the effects of sin in great detail and then proposes the actual steps needed to be taken to actively engage in this purgative stage. Denis is not satisfied in giving vague suggestions such as telling one to pray more, or to guard one's thoughts. He actually tells you how to do it.

For example, after explaining the gravity of sin and the necessity to practice penance appropriate to the sins one has committed in his or her life, Denis gives some concrete examples of how one should begin approaching God. 
"Twice or three times a day, at a convenient moment-especially late or at night- you should go to a quiet and secret place and there accuse yourself before God. There, directing the eyes of your soul to heaven, and the God of heaven pray like this: "God all powerful, eternal, and most kind; Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful, my Creator and the Saviour of my soul, look upon me. I am a most unhappy sinner- worthless, abominable, contemptible. Deep is my wretchedness. I have acted worse than a brute. I have sinned very often and gravely. I have shown you a shocking lack of respect, reverence, courtesy and honour. I have broken your commandments, neither heeding nor caring. I have twisted your precepts, knowing full well what they were. I have hurt you who are all kindness, holiness and charity. My heart I have turned from you, my God. Oh, I cannot enumerate my many sins, nor reckon the amount of good I have failed to do. I have been downright ungrateful to you for your fervours, and your gifts I have abused." 
Denis does not stop by just giving you a prayer to pray and leave you to it. He goes on to explain further the disposition one should have during the prayer.
It is good, then, to think of some of your graver sins in a more special way, and all of them in a general way. And, to the extent that the Lord permits, to grieve at heart and to sigh deeply. Truly to repent, it is not enough to feel sorry, you must beg divine mercy for the grace to grieve as you ought; you must strike your breast and- with God's help-shed tears...
You can see that Denis digs deep to help his readers advance in the purgative stage by describing what one should strive for during this prayer. He explains that repentance is not just a feeling, it is an act that one must engage in.

Still there is more to be said as he gives more advice to the penitent, even getting down the physical position one should take during prayer that will better incline their heart towards God.
Then get down on your knees, or lie down prostrate. Join your hands, or hold them out as though you were stretched on a cross. Pray to God for full and complete remission of all your sins, and say words such as these: Most merciful, most loveable, most desirable and infinitely sweet Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me.....
The great theological master goes on giving the rest of the prayer by elaborating on Sacred Scripture and examines St. Thomas' thought on progressing in the spiritual life.

This hardback book is divided into six basic Chapters or parts, which can be read simultaneously. You can read a few sections of each part going back and forth marking your pages as you go since the topics are so closely intertwined. The first part pertains to contemplation and runs about 150 pages. The second part aims at prayer and runs almost 100 pages. The third focuses on meditation and goes on for about 120 pages. There is a section called 'The Fountain of Light and the Paths of Life' which covers general topics on the spiritual life and that clocks in at around 50 pages. The last 70 pages or so ends with instruction on the monastic life and an exhortation to novices.

Each section is neatly divided up into digestible chunks of one, two or three pages each separated by a topic heading. For example one of the chapters on Contemplation has a section called, 'On the causes of our infirmity and on the instability of the human mind when it comes to contemplation'. The way the book is broken up makes it a true spiritual manual, which will be used again and again over the course of one's life.

Although this book is a bit expensive I believe it is worth every dollar. If one takes the time to carefully read and put into practice the advice Denis gives on each page, I believe that they will come closer to God. In this age of watered down Pollyannish "spiritual" self help books, Denis the Carthusian shines through as a breath of fresh air. His writing is engaging and I when I sit down and read his works, it is as if Denis was writing just for me. He knows the questions I have in my head or the difficulties I will have and answers those questions in great detail. I imagine him sitting in his cell with the Scriptures, the writings of St Thomas, St Augustine, Hugh of St Victor and the Church Fathers, wrapped in contemplation as he carefully puts the ink on the vellum. I wonder if he ever imagined that his writings would be read over 500 years after he wrote them?

At this time there are only three volumes of Denis' works that have been translated into English. They have all been done by Ide M Ni Rian, RSCJ. The three works are, 'The Spiritual Writings', 'Vices and Virtues' and 'Gifts of the Holy Spirit'. I am grateful that this gentleman has taken the time to translate these wonderful works into English and it is my hope that he is working on further publications of Denis.

We have to start the purgative way if we want to reach the quiet of contemplation, the dazzling visions of divine things; if we want to draw near to God, to please Him and be united with Him. The purgative way is what you might call a striving or serious effort of the soul, the following of a path or method that tends towards purgation of the heart from passion, ignorance, error and sin. The purgative way makes the spirit free for acts of penance, while subjecting the body to the spirit and the senses to the rational part of the soul. All this entails a refusal to be conformed to this world (Rm12:2), a throwing off of 'the old man with his deeds' (Col 3:9), and a restraining from those carnal desires that war against the soul (1 P 2:11). Denis the Carthusian, Contemplation.







Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sermon on the Pope, St Michael and the Blessed Mother

This is a great sermon given by Fr. Michael Rodriguez. Many of us want to know what is going on in the Church today. Fr Rodriguez gives us a proper perspective of where we find ourselves today.

Today's Advanced Civilization

As vice continues to be promoted as virtue this is what the revolutionary ideas of today's barbarous society has given us. The video below shows that we not only abort our young by the thousands everyday, but we also make sure we don't rip something off their little bodies that might prove to be valuable to someone else. Yet another result of those who say there are no moral absolutes. When you throw out objective reality you can justify anything you want for any reason you want. Unbelievably there are sick idiots on the internet who glorify abortion and are justifying this by saying that they are not really selling body parts. One brain dead buffoon has claimed that they are just offering "tissue" for the good of the medical community, and are only charging for the "procurement services". Again, this is what vice does to people. It blinds them. There are also some sick angry individuals claiming that the edited version is not a true representation of what was said. Unfortunately for them, the unedited version of the film can also be found on the same channel and any sane person can nothing substantial changed in the edited version that is posted below. Onward with the revolution! Lets see how far we can take this train before we go off the cliff. Never mind the barricade ahead that says the bridge is out, full steam ahead to our heartless advanced utopia!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pope Francis Hammer and Sickle Continued...

Well, in my last post, with what information I had, I tried to give the Pope some slack. But after his flight today there is not much else to say. He totally approved of the Hammer and Sickle "crucifix" which is in my opinion blasphemous. On top of that he presented one of the two images he received as a gift to the Blessed Mother! The link to Rorate Caeli below has the text of part of the interview relevant to this. He clearly defends the Marxist priest openly. He says he the whole thing was no offense to him. It was an offense to me! What more can be said?




Excerpt.. Underlining mine..

Fr Espinal was killed in 1980. It was a time when liberation theology had many different branches. One of the branches was with Marxist analysis of reality. Fr Espinal belonged to this, this. Yes, I knew because I was in those years rector of the theology faculty and we talked a lot about it, about the different branches and who were the representatives, no? In the same year, the general of the Society (of Jesus), Fr. Arrupe, wrote a letter to the whole Society on the Marxist analysis of reality in theology. Stopping on this point saying, “it’s no good, these are different things, it’s not right, it’s not correct.” And, four years later in 1984, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the first small volume, the first declaration on liberation theology that criticizes this. Then comes the second, which opens to a more Christian perspective. I’m simplifying, no? Let’s do the hermeneutic of that time: Espinal was an enthusiast of this Marxist analysis of the reality, but also of theology using Marxism. From this, he came up with this work. Also the poetry of Espinal was of this kind of protest. But, it was his life, it was his thought. He was a special man, with so much human geniality, who fought in good faith, no? Making a hermeneutic like this, I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense...

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/07/for-record-pope-francis-personally.html

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pope Francis and the Hammer and Sickle Crucifix

I am sure by now most of you have seen in the news Pope Francis receiving a hideous "crucifix" from the socialist Bolivian president, Evo Morales. First as always you had your typical reaction from the Neo-Catholic bloggers like Mark Shea who tried to explain the whole event away as a hilarious comedy. He explained, "I think the image of Francis looking in bafflement at that… thing is just hilarious and makes me wonder how many other winceable art projects, knicknack, tschotschkes, and trinkets the pope has to hand off to some luckless functionary every day–and where it all goes." Shea also claimed that the pope's reaction "brought tears to his eyes" in laughter I presume and in typical Mark Shea vulgar pen he wrote,, "the pope’s magnificent “What the WTF?” expression .brings tears of laughter to my eyes."

If we watch the video posted here, the Pope actually was puzzled by this gift and said to the Bolivian president something to the effect of "I didn't know". Originally it was thought that he said, "This is not right," but Fr Lombardi at the Vatican says this is most likely not what he said, and the audio was muffled, and that he said, "I didn't know." This may have meant that the pope had no idea that the gift had its origins from a fellow Jesuit activist that came to Bolivia and was killed in the 1980s, or it may have been just a surprise to him that he received the gift. I have no idea if he knew anything about the "crucifix" or not. Pope Francis however did know some of the story of the Jesuit priest behind it. You can watch the video below and see for yourself what happened, and it is nothing to laugh about. The pope does not give a disapproval, but acts puzzled and or intrigued. Notice also that the hammer and sickle crucifix is also put around his neck. But there is more to the story which we will get to after the video.


For any Catholic trying to live the faith in today's secular atheistic world, this whole event should obviously not come across as a knee slapping, tears to my eyes, side splitting comedy. The Bolivian president had an agenda and there is more to it than meets the eye. For one, this is a typical publicity stunt by the Bolivian president to garner support through the media so it seems that the pope supports his ideology. To give you an idea about Morales, he has said that the monster Che Guevara is one of his heroes and that he is "Catholic" only when he goes to weddings. Also in 2009 the Bolivian constitution was changed under his regime to eliminate state support of the Catholic Church. But there is also another interesting historical fact that no one has picked up on. The Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi says the Jesuit Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, who made the original "crucifix" was murdered in 1980, and that he apparently had the "crucifix" made to open dialog with the communists.

When digging a bit more into this affair however, it seems that this Jesuit priest was more of a political activist than a missionary priest in the traditional sense. When I pulled up several articles on the priest I found that he was not opposed to the socialist regime that was attempting to overthrow the right wing regime in power at that time in 1980. The priest was a radical civil rights leader who was involved in producing a TV show and also participated in many public civil rights marches and other public rallies such as a hunger strike in 1977 that almost cost him his life. The priest himself was murdered by a right wing group who radically opposed the socialist group trying to usurp power. The right wing group however was certainly no model of virtue and was involved with drug cartels and other shady business. At the time there was also a crisis of poverty in the country. There are some on the Internet saying that the priest was murdered by socialists, and this is not correct. He was murdered by the regime of Luis García Meza Tejada. On this trip the pope visited the gravesite to give honor to this Jesuit priest. The Jesuit priest however appears to have been killed for his political activism in support of a socialist leaning ideology, which was opposed to the Tejeda regime. I will not judge the priests motivations. You can do your own research on his story if you wish.

It would seem that this image now has deeper symbolism than one may have realized now that we have some background information of what happened with this priest and the origins of the image. The current Bolivian president seems to have been giving a subtle approval to the pope and some of his statements concerning politics, the environment and the supporting of government welfare, etc.  It does appear that to some extent that the pope and Morales share some of the same ideological views, but at this time in charity I do not think it is fair to label Pope Francis a socialist. This was a perfect time for the Bolivian president to take advantage of this visit. Surely the pope put himself in a difficult spot here being that when someone hands you something your first reaction is to look at it and take it, and no matter what you do after that point is of little matter, since even handing it back in this setting makes it appear that you accepted the gift.

I can argue that one thing we can deduce from this event is that the pope's public image in the eyes of faithful Catholics has once again been tarnished, and only a buffoon like Mark Shea would find all of this a sidesplitting comedy. There is really nothing to laugh at here. We have a pope who cannot speak clearly and articulate the Catholic faith in an effective manner and it seems that everyday there is something he does that is stalling the Church's mission to evangelize the world. Where is the outcry of the Supreme Court decision here in the US by the pope? Will he speak out against these types of atrocities publicly when he visits the US or will he put himself in another conundrum when he meets Obama? I can only imagine what "gift" the Whitehouse has in store for him. I can guarantee that Pope Pius X would have never sat back in silence without speaking out against such immoral acts against God and the human race that have been committed here in the US. We have a crisis of faith in the Church and in the world that is of cosmic proportions that has never been seen before, and day after day all we see is confusion from this pope.. We need to pray for Pope Francis and the Church.


From the Catholic News Agency , at a July 9 press briefing the Holy See press officer, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said that Pope Francis' remark likely expressed a sentiment of “I didn't know”, rather than “This is not right.” Fr. Lombardi noted the lack of clarity in the audio of the exchange, and remarked that Pope Francis had been unaware the crucifix was a replica of a Spanish Jesuit.....The cross with a hammer and sickle is a reproduction of another carved during the 1970s by Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, a Spanish Jesuit who was a missionary in Bolivia who was killed in 1980 during the Bolivian dictatorship. Fr. Lombardi claimed that Fr. Espinal's use of it was not ideological but expressed a hope for dialogue between communism and the Church.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Two Part Interview on Revolution and Counter-Revolution

This fascinating and informative two part interview concerning the masonic revolutionary thought which pervades our society today is worth taking the time to listen to. Click on the links below to have a listen from http://athanasiuscm.org.

Part I Interview

Part II Interview




Sunday, June 28, 2015

America, Where is thy Charity?

As we see our country continue in its catastrophic moral collapse we sometimes wonder how people in positions of authority can make such poor judgements. Many people claim to be "experts" in law, they claim to have high IQs and also have expensive educations. Yet time and time again, we see our government, whether it be local or federal making terrible decisions when it comes to the common good of society.


The true answer is found by examining the source of where good judgement is derived. Yes a well informed human intellect can determine certain truths and make prudential judgements upon examining and deliberating on these truths. However, the human intellect is darkened by original sin. Aside from that, the human intellect also has to be properly formed for it to effectively gather information, deliberate on it and make right judgements.

It is true that most people today are mal-formed by today's educational system. From grade school through college we are now taught the foolish polyanish story that our culture today is so advanced we cannot even consider that what came before it may have any worth to us today. We are brainwashed by the fantasy of a utopian society. Our intellects are deadened by the revolutionary spirit which seeks to undermine any idea of God or absolute truth. This denial of God and absolute truth is where the rubber really meets the road.

Those who have rejected God, and have given themselves over to the revolutionary spirit have no charity within them. I am speaking in generalities here of course. What this means is that if one is not in a state of grace, then one does not have the gifts of the Holy Ghost to enlighten them. Sure if we were better educated in the scholastic form of education we would see huge improvements in our society. However, good education is not enough. We are not in need of secular answers, for they are never complete answers. We are need of a true solution, which can only come from the grace of God. We need God's grace in order to perfect our human nature.



In a nutshell, we have many people in various places of authority making horrible decisions because they have not the grace of God. They are found in the government, the education system, the media and even the Church. These people do not possess true love or charity for one another. They do not possess true wisdom, or the knowledge needed to make charitable, prudential decisions. Hence we will not see an improvement to our country's morals until we see more people with true charity. This of course only comes through Christ and His Church.

How can this true enlightenment of the Holy Ghost come about? Of course God gives grace to whom He chooses. But God often asks His followers to participate in His divine plan. Our Lady has repeatedly said that many souls go to hell and are lost for eternity because they have no one to pray for them. So there it is. Our country is lost because of a true lack of love and charity for God and hence for one another. If we are not in a state of grace, we do not possess true charity. If you are wondering what you can do first and foremost to solve our spiral into this madness of immorality. We must pray for conversions that more souls will be enlightened by the grace of God so that people who are in positions of authority will stand up for the truth and be able to make true prudential judgements.

Sister Lucia of Fatima said, ""My impression is that the Rosary is of greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God."

“The two means to save the world are prayer and sacrifice.  Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin, in these last times in which we live, has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary.  She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the private life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, of the religious communities or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be resolved through the prayer of the Rosary.  There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve through the recitation of the Holy Rosary.  Through the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves.  We will sanctify ourselves.  We will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.  Finally, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Mother, consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon and as the sure door through which we are to enter Heaven.”  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Divine Child For Our Time: Jesus del Pichincha

"I can not do more for you, to show you my love! Ungrateful souls do not repay me with scorn, sacrilege and blasphemy... be my comfort in my Eucharistic solitudes, watch in my company...



One my favorite statues to pray before during my stay in Quito, was El Divino Nino Jesus del Pichincha. I was constantly pulled before Him when praying my rosary at the Conceptionist Convent. I had never seen an image of Our Lord quite like this one, and I wanted to know the story behind it. Our Lord looks so inviting, and the expression on His face is so full of life that I was constantly pulled in front of it, and felt great peace there. I was sad on my last day after having enjoyed spending time in prayer every day with Him. As I came to find out, this image is a very unique one that Our Lord desires to be spread throughout the world for our time.

This image was given to Mother Mariana during one her visions, and it has not only great significance for Ecuador, but also for those who desire to keep the faith in our dark time. Mother Mariana saw Our Lord as a young child appear on the summit of Mt Pichincha which overlooks Quito. Our Lord told her that He would give Himself on Pichincha for the good of the republic of Ecuador, and would be happy when Our Lady is extolled under the title "Good Success." He continued to say that all who extolled her under this title would receive graces to help families, and for the salvation of souls in general.

Mother Mariana saw the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael take the Divine Child up to the summit where the mountain was wrapped in heavenly light. Jesus was dressed in a long white robe dotted with stars and a lovely pinkish purple colored garment, which is very unique and according to Mother Mariana she had never seen on earth. The Divine Child found Himself before a cross with a crown of thorns. Jesus fell on the ground and prayed to the Father for Ecuador, so that He and Our Lady would reign over it. He was then lifted upon the cross overlooking Ecuador. Our Lord's tears were collected by the angels and spread over the country.



The Divine Child overlooked Quito and wept, "I can not do more for you, to show you my love! Ungrateful souls do not repay me with scorn, sacrilege and blasphemy... be my comfort in my Eucharistic solitudes, watch in my company... Amid the bitterness and dire times that are coming to this country, your humble, secret and silent prayer together with your voluntary penance, save it from destruction.." Of course we know the story of Ecuador and how Our Lady promised that the Conceptionist Convent would always remain until the end of time. In 1634 Our Lord informed Mother Mariana that He also wanted this image to be spread further across the world with the message attached to it above, most especially, "I can not do more for you, to show you my love! Ungrateful souls do not repay me with scorn, sacrilege and blasphemy..." Of course as we know Our Lord's sacrifice on the cross is represented at Mass, so behind the Divine Child can be seen the Eucharistic host. Our Lord also wants an increase in reverence for the Eucharist.

In conversation with our friends in Quito, who also have access to many of the prophesies still not recorded in English, I found out more information. I was curious as to why Our Lord presented Himself as an older child and not an infant. Most of the time Our Lord appears as an infant or an adult, but rarely if ever as an older child. During His crucifixion He usually is depicted as an adult, but in this case at a unique age. I was informed that Our Lord, knowing that the Devil would assault young children, especially luring those in the early teens to sins of impurity, immodesty, despair, atheism, etc, He wanted to present Himself at this particular age. Our Lord and Our Lady knew the trials of our time and wanted this devotion to be rekindled for us reading this today! I encourage all parents who have children to have a strong devotion to the Divine Child of Pichincha.

El Divino Nino Jesus del Pichincha have mercy on us! 

Feel free to print out any of these pictures for your private devotion. 







Monday, June 15, 2015

Our Lady: The Fullness of Beauty



Beauty is often a word that is misunderstood. It is often a term used in a subjective manner to describe something that is pleasing to the senses. It is true that beauty can have a subjective element to it. One can personally find a Gothic church more pleasing to the senses than a sunset over the gulf coast for example. Both however can described as being objectively beautiful. The church pleases the senses because it brings to the senses the truths of God. God's majesty and truth is presented through the stained glass or the statues of His Saints, adorned with gold and masterfully carved out of marble or wood. Likewise we see the handiwork of God in the sunset over the gulf which God created and sustains. These are objective subjects of beauty.

Likewise we can define things that defy the definition of beauty objectively. We can objectively say that things that are sinful are not beautiful, since these actions go against nature and teleology properly speaking. Ideas that stem from disordered appetites are also outside the bounds of beauty. When we see sin being depicted on television for example, it is not beautiful. We can say the act depicts ugliness. Something that is disordered towards its form and nature is not beautiful. So a human being that is physically or deformed, although that person retains the image of God and retains an inward beauty, we can define their exterior appearance being objectively ugly. For example a person who is mutilated or afflicted with a disease such as leprosy is objectively physically ugly. Ugliness is the description of the corruption of something.

This applies to actions in and of themselves as well as spiritual realities. Likewise when a person lives in a state of sin, that is a lifestyle going against their very nature as God created them, this state is objectively ugly.  A person who lives perpetually in adultery for example live a spiritually repulsive life that defies beauty. As for another example, today we see that most women are dressed extremely immodest in public. Although their human form, their body can be pleasing to the eye, well formed or physically beautiful, the person by dressing immodestly defies the nature of true beauty in their action. So beauty can be objectively defined when something more perfectly conforms to its nature, either physically, in actuality or spiritually. So something that conveys a truth about God and His Saints for example can objectively be defined as having beauty. Something which depicts a corruption of one's form and nature can be objectively defined as ugly.

We can also say that things which are evil by nature do not convey beauty, but ugliness. Thus the demons are not beautiful. Evil actions such as abortion are not beautiful. The mutilation of one's body is always defined as ugliness. Evil or satanic acts, or acts against virtue are always ugly. Music that conveys disorder is not beautiful. People who commit evil acts are not beautiful in their actions, although their physical appearance may convey beauty by having more perfection of bodily proportions, and so forth. Again this is not to say that one may find one object of beauty more pleasing than another.

Now we turn to created beauty par excellence. Our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary defines the fullness of beauty in every sense of the word. Aside from the incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there is no higher beauty we can contemplate. Since Jesus is God, we can say that there is no created creature under God that is more beautiful than Our Lady. She conveys the highest beauty in both the physical and spiritual attributes of all created creatures. She was chosen by God from all time to be His Mother as well as be the anti-thesis to Eve. While Eve was the mother of fallen man, Our Lady is the Mother of redeemed man. Saint Ireneaus wrote of Our Lady, "The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosened by Mary's obedience. The bonds fastened by the virgin Eve through disbelief were untied by the virgin Mary through faith."

Our Lady is often described by the mystics who have seen her in apparitions as too beautiful to describe and too beautiful to depict in any image. When Mother Mariana saw Our Lady as Our Lady of Good Success she could not describe her beauty. In fact, when Our Lady asked Mother Mariana to have a statue made of her, she thought it was a futile task because she said no one could make a statue that would ever come near doing her justice in her beauty. As we know, Our Lady had the statue started by a local artisan, but it was finished by an archangel so that the statue would at least convey something of her great beauty, although of course imperfectly. If you have ever had the opportunity to see the beauty of the statue of Our Lady of Good Success in person, you will understand. It is certain that there is no created creature more beautiful. Saint Bernadette said the following after seeing Our Lady. "My Lady is beautiful, beautiful beyond compare; so beautiful that when one has seen her once, one would wish to die so as to see her again; so beautiful that when one has seen her, one can no longer love anything earthly."



Our Lady's spiritual beauty is also indescribable and incomprehensible. She gave her full ascent to God's command and with her full will cooperated with every grace that was given to her. Our Lady never had the stain of original sin on her soul. She was never touched or stained by evil. Saint Ephraim the Syrian in 361 praises Our Lord and His Mother, "You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" Her beauty is pure because she fully represents in her form and nature the light of God's image to which all men are created. She is the epitome of beauty in all things human. Her prayers, her words, her thoughts, her ideas, her actions, her intercession, and her love are all beautiful in the fullest sense of the term. She also possess beauty by overcoming the evil in our world and in our own souls. Her beauty conquers the devil and his attempts to thwart the beauty of God's plan of salvation. There is also beauty in Our Lady crushing the head of Satan, stamping out the evil in the world, and untying the knot of sin. There is so much more that can be said of Our Lady, that we do not even scratch the surface of the praises she deserves.

Who then should we turn to open the arms of her Son, Jesus Christ? What beauty there is in asking Our Lady to help us. What beauty there is in her intercession and in her maternal affection. Our Lady is calling us to spend more time in prayer, because she loves us. We should heed her words and pray the rosary daily as well as offer up prayers and reparation for the ugliness of sin in the world. Our Lady is also calling us to spread her devotion under the title of Our Lady of Good Success so that the time will be shortened until her reign comes to put the breaks on the devil's plan of death, destruction and damnation. We can hasten her intercession by pleading to her and offering up novenas under this noble and glorious title. The more time we spend with Our Lord and Our Lady the more we will see beauty in our lives and in our world. As our souls become more pure and virtuous, we become instruments guided by the Holy Ghost and henceforth we become more beautiful in the eyes of God. As we conform more to our true nature as it was created, defined and directed by God, the beauty of God grows in us.

I leave you with the thoughts of Saint Gemma Galgani who demonstrated great love for Our Lady throughout her life. May we also echo these same words in our own lives.

"..what great goodness this Heavenly Mother has always shown me! What would have become of me, if I had not had her? She has always helped me in my spiritual wants; she has preserved me from countless dangers; she has freed me from the hands of the devil who was ceaselessly com­ing to molest me; she pleaded my cause with Jesus when I sinned, and she soothed Him when I moved Him to anger by my wicked life; she has taught me to know Him and love Him, to be good and to please Him. Ah, my dear Mother, I will love thee always and forever." what great goodness this Heavenly Mother has always shown me! What would have become of me, if I had not had her? She has always helped me in my spiritual wants; she has preserved me from countless dangers; she has freed me from the hands of the devil who was ceaselessly com­ing to molest me; she pleaded my cause with Jesus when I sinned, and she soothed Him when I moved Him to anger by my wicked life; she has taught
me to know Him and love Him, to be good and to please Him. Ah, my dear Mother, I will love thee always and forever."

Monday, June 8, 2015

Our Lady of Good Success: The Message For Our Time!




Most practicing Catholics have heard of the apparitions at Fatima. These are important revelations for our time, and yet they are closely related to those given to Mother Mariana de Jesus about 400 years earlier, which are known by few. Although Fatima came much later than those given in Quito under the title of Our Lady of Good Success, Fatima is actually a type of precursor to the Quito messages.



The Fatima messages are more general in nature in some ways compared to those of Quito. While Fatima came to us via the 3 children in the early 1900s, those of Quito only have become widely known after Fatima. So it seems that the world was given a popular message from Fatima explaining the horrors of sin and disobedience coming upon the world, in preparation for a less known more detailed message from Quito. These two apparitions of Our Lady are very important for our time, and the messages of Our Lady of Good Success are just now becoming more widely known.

As we know, the Church as a whole has neglected to follow the messages of Fatima. We have not as a whole stopped sinning, we as a whole have not been saying the rosary every day, and we as a whole have not done penance in reparation for sin. Likewise we have yet to see the errors of Russia cease to spread across the world. In fact, the errors have become more widespread. We see the general population of the US accepting radical forms of socialism and immorality which would have been unheard of 60 years ago. Russia still has not converted to the Catholic faith and has only become more hostile to the Catholic faith over recent years. So it is clear that we have not heeded Our Lady's messages from Fatima.

Being the compassionate mother she is, it seems that Our Lady wanted to give us another chance. If we look to Quito, we find more answers as to the immoral atrocities we are experiencing now. The prophesies consist not only of a coming chastisement, but there is also immense hope in the coming reign of Our Lady which will follow. There are many prophesies given to us through Our Lady of Good Success. I will only touch on two here. One is a dire vision of the world in which we live, and one is a beautiful vision of the world to come with the reign of Our Lady.



The Warning

"There will be four black clouds that will cover the four corners of the earth, from which will proceed countless demons that will take dominion over the earth" 

This prophetic warning has certainly been confirmed from what we are seeing right now in our time with the majority of the world adopting and promoting the worst atrocities man has ever witnessed. Throughout the world abortion murders countless innocents which cry out to God for vengeance. Governments across the globe view the murder of innocents as a "right." Worse, they force entire civilizations to fund this killing through taxation and the redefining of healthcare. Likewise sexual deviancy is the standard of the day, and there are few who consider marriage to be a lifelong commitment binding before God. There is an all out assault on the image of God in man, and in fact many seek to destroy God's image in man, making man at times almost unrecognizable. Furthermore, we see the diabolical disorientation which many Catholics fall into where religious indifference gives rise to disordered "conservatism" which promotes the false idea that men can work together to build a utopia here on earth by their own efforts.  

Many people claim to believe God exists, but few follow their consciences to see what it is that God asks of us. Our wills our turned inward, not towards God. Materialism is now so entrenched in societies across the world that countries that just 10 or 15 years ago, very Catholic, are now extremely secular. We have only to look at Quito. We can see this secular transformation take place in just the past 10 or 15 years with destruction of modesty in clothing. On my pilgrimage to Quito I had the opportunity to speak to some Catholics who live in Quito and have experienced first hand this degradation. They said that with the dawn of popular television, over the course of just a few years, women no longer dress in modest clothes. Now in Quito they dress just like Americans where immodesty now rules the day.

As human sexuality becomes more perverted society becomes more violent. As Our Lady told the children at Fatima, war is a punishment for sin. So we can deduce that the more disordered the sin is, the more violence follows in its wake. The diabolical entities that are pushing this immorality have a done a good job in turning everything upside down giving the impression that what is good is bad, and what is bad is good. Evil is disguised under the banner of freedom, liberty, and equality. So the four corners of the earth are certainly covered in darkness. We must not however end with this foreboding reality. God has given us an answer. No it is not in drinking, smoking, or having more and more material wealth. These things only temporarily deaden our consciences. They only distract us and take us wild goose chases destined only to lead us into eternal ruination. How many there are who get to the end of life and realize that everything they lived for was an illusion.



The Coming Reign of Our Lady

"When the tribulations of spirit and body press upon us as a wreck in the bottomless sea, a look at my Sacred Image will be as guiding star, ready to listen to their moans and soothe their crying; This devotion will be the lightning rod between Divine Justice and the prevaricating world to prevent discharge of this guilty land the formidable punishment it deserves. "

Our Lord Jesus and Our Lady wants us to have special devotion to the image of Our Lady of Good Success. She wants her message to be spread far and wide for the salvation of souls and the intervention of Our Lady so that the punishment for sin will be mitigated. Our Lady said that she would be a beacon of light to those who would call upon her aid under this title The novena linked to below is taken from the diocese of Quito. I received permission from Fr. Paul Kimball to use the English translation that he has in his book on Our Lady of Good Success, available at dolorosapress.com. I wanted to make this novena available to you so that you may say the novena regularly and begin to spread the message of Our Lady of Good Success to your friends and family. You may also print out any of my pictures here on my webpage that I have taken, and print them out for your own private devotion. Say your rosary in front of her image. Let us make Our Lady happy by spreading her message of hope and the devotion to her title of Our Lady of Good Success. Once her message spreads she will show us a ray of heavenly light which will give us a period of peace among the dark clouds that have closed in above us.




Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pilgrimage Quito 2015 Day7: Our Lady and La Merced



The last day of of the pilgrimage after having Mass on the altar of the in-corrupt bodies at the Conceptionist Convent,  we found ourselves at La Merced church, which was founded by the Mercedarian Order. For those unfamiliar, they used to ransom themselves for hostages taken by the Moors and others. We found that the Ecuadorian government is trying to take the church property once the last Mercedarian dies or leaves. There are not many vocations, so this may happen in the near future. We should pray that their plans be thwarted. The church was beautiful, and the statue located at the main altar is also miraculous. The statue was apparently found before even the Spaniards arrived in the New World, and is made from a stone that is nowhere to be found in South America. In fact they really don't know what stone it is made from.






After that we took a taxi up to El Panecillo, which means small loaf or piece of bread. It was the place where human sacrifices were made before the Spanish settlers came to Quito. Now a huge aluminum statue of Our Lady of the Apocalypse, or otherwise known as Our lady of Quito, watches majestically over the city. You can climb up into the statue and overlook the city, which provides a a great view for some pictures of the city. This image of Our Lady in the book of Revelation is unique to Quito alone and is the only one depicting Our Lady with wings. There are many places in the city to find hand carved and hand painted statues of her at reasonable prices if you look around and haggle a bit with the shop owners.







 Next  we found ourselves at the Augustinian convent and museum. There were some very nice pieces of artwork and other things to see. Unfortunately there are only a few brothers living in the monastery so we must pray for more vocations. Many of these treasures will eventually either be museums or completely taken over by the state if the faith does not preserve them.





 

Finally we took a walk over to the Basilica which is about a half mile up from the Conceptionist Monastery. Unfortunately we arrived just as they closed the doors, so we took our time enjoying the Gothic architecture.The inside is apparently still unfinished. The basilica is an imposing sight which can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the old city.







Our Lady has given us immense graces on this trip and I plan to spread the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success as much as possible. I want to get more material translated from Spanish into English and provide more avenues in the US for the spread of her devotion. Our Lady wants her message of hope to spread far and wide, and I will be writing more articles on how Our Lady will eventually intervene to stop the worldwide diabolic disorientation that we are seeing now. The message of Our Lady of Good Success is a message for out time and for those who love Christ and Our Lady we must spread the message so we may soon see the reign of Our Blessed Lady of Good Success. God willing I hope to return for yet another visit to see Our Lady.






Monday, June 1, 2015

Pilgrimage Quito 2015 Day6: The Dominicans



Today after Mass at the Conceptionist Convent we went over to the Dominican Church and museum, and then St Catarina Convent. I consider St Dominic to be my spiritual father so this was a great opportunity to see their heritage in the new world. I braved the bell tower and went onto the roof of St Catarina and got some great pictures of Quito. There were also many miraculous images and statues we encountered along the way.

Our Lady of the Dormition (Healer of Cancer)

I took more photos of the Conceptionist Convent and I will be posting on some of the stories surrounding Mother Mariana and the statues and images in the church at a later time. I also was able to get in a little shopping today and I found a great wooden carved statue of Our Lady of the Apocalypse.