Month: April 2017

SMALL RESURRECTIONS AND BEAUTIFUL PIGEON FEATHERS

 

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature.” (Romans 1:20)

 “…unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat…. (John 12:24)

Christians often view resurrection as an event that will occur down the road – after death – in that future time beyond time. We see the relevance of resurrection as something that happened in the past to Jesus, and as something we hope will happen to us in the future. The purpose of this note is to focus on death and resurrection, not as future events, but as events that are part of the very fabric of our daily lives. The seeds of eternal life are sown during our time on earth, so that time is the medium through which eternity must force its way into our hearts and souls. Christianity is a religion that requires a resurrection in one’s life before death if there is to be a resurrection to eternal life after death. Using an example from literature,I hope to shed some light on how, during the course of our lives, we encounter death and resurrection as first-hand experiences which draw us closer to God.

John Updike’s short story, Pigeon Feathers, presents a striking example of a person who undergoes a death and resurrection experience in the very context of trying to understand the meaning of death. In Updike’s story, David, at age 14, suddenly finds himself doubting his childhood faith at a time when the turbulence of a move to a new home has him feeling displaced and insecure. To strengthen his childhood belief in life after death, which he finds under attack after browsing through a book skeptical of Jesus’ resurrection, he turns to his parents for guidance and support. To his own surprise, David finds out that his parents’ faith in the claims of Christianity is not altogether that strong. In fact, David discovers, his father is practically an atheist!

Still, David holds out hope that his minister, Reverend Dopson, will confirm that each person’s soul is immortal. But far from providing David with consolation, Dopson shatters David’s security in life after death by suggesting that after death, “I suppose you could say that our souls are asleep.”

Panicked and depressed about his parents’ and his minister’s “submission to death,” David takes a rifle out to the family barn to shoot some pigeons. With “splinters of light” shining through the darkness of the barn, the barn becomes almost a micro-universe for David to work out his struggles with the issues of life and death. David then proceeds to the task of retrieving the dead pigeons he has shot in order to bury them.

David had never seen a pigeon up close before. An examination of some of the dead pigeons up close produced a resurrection in his life. Updike movingly describes David’s resurrection experience:

“The feathers were more wonderful than dog’s hair, for each filament was shaped within the shape of the feather, and the feathers in turn were trimmed to fit a  pattern that flowed without error across the bird’s body…and across the surface of the infinitely adjusted yet somehow effortless mechanics of the feathers played idle designs of color, no two alike, designs executed, it seems, in a controlled rapture, with a joy that hung level in the air above and behind him. Yet these birds breed into  the millions and were exterminated as pests. Into the fragrant open earth he dropped one broadly banded in slate shades of blue, and on top of it another, mottled all over in rhymes of lilac and grey. The next was almost wholly, white, but for a salmon glaze at its throat. As he fitted the last two, still pliant, on the top, and stood up, crusty coverings were lifted from him, and with a feminine slipping sensation along his nerves that seemed to give the air hands, he was robed in this certainty: That the God who had lavished such craft upon these worthless birds would not destroy his whole Creation by refusing to let David live forever.”

David had to die to his childhood faith in order to be reborn into a deeper, more mature faith.  He had to take control over his own faith life rather than living it vicariously through his parents or his minister. He had to shoot down his childhood faith in order to see how precious and costly that faith was to him. The wonderful form, symmetry and beauty of the pigeon feathers revealed to David the majestic presence of a loving God. David discovered in a moment of time a transcendent truth: that God loved him with an everlasting love.

The deaths we die and the resurrections we experience in our daily lives are the events which shape who we are and what we are to become for all eternity. Whether it is a teenager in despair (like David) discovering God’s presence, or an addict finally falling to his knees to invoke God’s help, these are the kinds of experiences in life which radically draw us closer or further away from God. In the final analysis the person of Jesus helps us to understand that our desire for permanency is not an illusion. God “vindicated” Jesus in history by raising him from the dead. And by trusting in God, like Jesus, God will also open to us the door to eternal life.

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

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HOLY CONFESSION WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE RESURRECTED CHRIST

A METAPHYSICAL REFLECTION ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BASEBALL

 

The National Pastime is once again in full swing (if you live in the U.S.A.), and the true fan of baseball is the contemplative, who has a super-discursive appreciation for the “game.” Ergo, I present this metaphysical reflection on the meaning of baseball…

Baseball is ritual. Ritual relies on rules. Within the rules there is an opportunity for transcendence. As the fan sits there with a beer in his hand he can witness the limitations of his finite life temporarily suspended, as he sees the trajectory of a tiny ball sail over the confining wall, and he stands up and says, “OUTTA  HERE.” Did I say that the purpose of ritual is to create an opportunity for transcendence? A home run is a clear affirmation of a human being’s desire for transcendence. So now you see the inner-theological relevance of baseball, for God IS pure transcendence; God is the Eternal Grand slam! Every home run is an affirmation of our desire for ultimate meaning, transcending time and place, towards a mystery we can access only through faith and love. Get in the game.

“Batter up!”

Tom

References: Aristotle on Baseball. I once had a professor at Notre Dame who wrote a paper, “A Metaphysical Delineation on the Importance of Poetry,” so I have borrowed from his title.

Practice tip: If you’re spending a lot of time watching baseball games on TV, listening to the over-analysis of balls and strikes that goes on today, try praying the Rosary as you watch the game. You can easily pray and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary while keeping an eye on the game at the same time. Five decades of the Rosary will only take a few innings, so give the Rosary your primary attention for those innings. This practice of praying the Rosary while you watch the game will pay many spiritual dividends for you.

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THE GOSPEL CANNOT BE PREACHED AS IF MORAL TRANSFORMATION IS OPTIONAL

 

“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Matthew 5:30)  

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification….” (1 Thes. 4:3)

The moral imperative of the Gospel is not optional; it is fundamental. In the preaching of Jesus conversion leads to a break with sin – as in Zacchaeus’ professed act of repentance and promised restitution, as in Jesus instructing the woman caught in adultery to sin no more, as in Jesus directly confronting the woman at the well about her immoral relationship. I have been reading Scripture for a long time now: who would dare to deny its urgent message to break with sin! Jesus says, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). We are not allowed to invent a play Gospel where we become comfortable with sin. “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of the Church.” Jesus preached about sin as a very serious matter, and so have all the Catholic Saints.

Morality is not a consolation prize in the Catholic Church…a sort of additional benefit you get if you want to apply for it. No, Catholic morality is the very heart and soul of the Gospel, indeed, it is the very joy of the Gospel. The Gospel is a profound call to repent, to break with sin, to accept new life in Christ.

In the preaching of Jesus the critical importance of morality is emphasized from the beginning of his ministry. Jesus may very well have met people “where they are,” in some sense of that phrase, but only to point them in the direction of living profoundly by the moral Gospel. Thus, in his famous Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), preached at the commencement of his ministry, Jesus lays out a “manifesto” which is “a compendium of the moral code of Christianity” (Catholic Bible Dictionary, page 828). “He teaches on anger, adultery, marriage and divorce, oaths, retaliation, love for enemies, and alms-giving” (Id at 828). The fundamental importance of the moral life is firmly established – sometimes very dramatically –  in the preaching of Jesus. The beatitudes themselves represent the very highest moral perfection attainable in this life.

The Gospel is a call to holiness which will ultimately result in your complete and utter sanctification in Heaven. Therefore, there is no Gospel without the moral Gospel. To preach the Gospel is to preach holiness of life in imitation of Jesus and the Saints. To peach the Gospel is to preach a break with sin and a new life of grace in Christ. To preach the Gospel is to lead sinners to repentance. When we first hear someone preaching the Gospel, what do we hear: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1: 2-4).

The modern tendency to preach the Gospel without reference to its moral demands will only lead to an “obscuring of the moral sense” (Saint Pope John Paul II,Veritatis Splendor, 106). Saint John Paul II teaches us that the “New Evangelization” must include the presentation of the moral Gospel. The Pope stated:

“Evangelization — and therefore the “new evangelization” — also involves the proclamation and presentation of morality. Jesus himself, even as he preached the Kingdom of God and its saving love, called people to faith and conversion (cf. Mk1:15). And when Peter, with the other Apostles, proclaimed the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, he held out a new life to be lived, a “way” to be followed, for those who would be disciples of the Risen One (cf. Acts 2:37-41; 3:17-20). Just as it does in proclaiming the truths of faith, and even more so in presenting the foundations and content of Christian morality, the new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift not only of the word proclaimed but also of the word lived. In particular,the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the People of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations. For this reason, the Church, as a wise teacher of morality, has always invited believers to seek and to find in the Saints, and above all in the Virgin Mother of God “full of grace” and “all-holy”, the model, the strength and the joy needed to live a life in accordance with God’s commandments and the Beatitudes of the Gospel.” (Veritatis Splendor, 107)

 Saint John Paul II also reminded us that God’s Mercy is given to us to forgive, not justify, sin.

“In this context, appropriate allowance is made both for God’s mercy towards the sinner who converts and for the understanding of human weakness. Such understanding never means compromising and falsifying the standard of good and evil in order to adapt it to particular circumstances. It is quite human for the sinner to acknowledge his weakness and to ask mercy for his failings; what is unacceptable is the attitude of one who makes his own weakness the criterion of the truth about the good, so that he can feel self-justified, without even the need to have recourse to God and his mercy. An attitude of this sort corrupts the morality of society as a whole, since it encourages doubt about the objectivity of the moral law in general and a rejection of the absoluteness of moral prohibitions regarding specific human acts, and it ends up by confusing all judgments about values.” (Veritatis Splendor, 104).

Our children deserve to hear the full Gospel – that is to say they deserve to hear the Gospel preached without neutering its moral imperative. There is no Gospel without the moral Gospel because Jesus came to save us from sin.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners….” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

Note: The panoply of virtues and gifts given to us in baptism, which flow from sanctifying grace, are supernatural strengths with which to lead a moral life.

Reference: I had a Professor who once said: “There is no Gospel without the moral Gospel.”

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AN INTENSE, POWERFUL LIGHT MAY HAVE CAUSED THE IMAGE OF A CRUCIFIED MAN ON THE SHROUD OF TURIN

 

“Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there…. “(John 20:6)

The renowned Catholic historian, Warren H. Carroll, who died in 2011, clearly believed in the supernatural origin of the Shroud of Turin. Professor Carroll was especially impressed by the scholarship of Ian Wilson regarding the historical continuity and preservation of the Shroud (see Vol. 1 of the six volume A History of Christendom, where Professor Carroll refers on a number of occasions to the Shroud of Turin in a very favorable manner).

But in this note I simply intend to bring to the reader’s attention a very concise summary of two major scientific studies that help to validate the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin – remembering, of course, that faith is a supernatural virtue, certainly not opposed to science, but not dependent upon scientific verification of a purported relic.

1. The STURP in-depth scientific examination of the Shroud of Turin (1978)

The “primary goal” of the the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc., (STURP) “was to determine the scientific properties of the image on the Shroud of Turin, and what might have caused it.” STURP “consisted of a team of American scientists and researchers that spent over two years preparing a series of tests that would gather a vast amount of Shroud data in a relatively short period of time. In October of 1978 the STURP team spent 120 continuous hours conducting their examination of the Shroud. To this day, scientists around the world use the data gathered by STURP for their Shroud research” (source: shroud.coman excellent site on the Shroud of Turin).

According to a National Geographic article on the Shroud of Turin, “the U.S.-led Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), …was granted an unprecedented five days of continuous access to the shroud itself in 1978. The project’s 33 members ran the gamut of scientific disciplines, and their credentials included high-level posts at 20 major research institutions. They arrived in Turin with seven tons of equipment and worked in shifts 24 hours a day. An associate team of European scientists acted as expert observers” (from Why Shroud of Turin Secrets Continue to Elude Science by Frank Viviano, April 17, 2015, available online).

The National Geographic article further states: “Their analyses found no sign of artificial pigments. ‘The Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist,’ the project’s 1981 report declared. ‘The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin.’ But the report also conceded that no combination of ‘physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances’ could adequately account for the image. The Shroud of Turin, the STURP team concluded, ‘remains now, as it has in the past, a mystery.’”

The main findings of the STURP scientific study of the Shroud of Turin are summarized nicely by physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro:

“The Shroud is not a painting, no pigment, any directionality, not a scorch. The image encodes cloth to body  distance, and it is present in both contact and non contact areas. The image is superficial, no more than 0.6 microns thick (work by others has shown 0.2 microns ). Invisible halos surround blood. Blood went on before image (no image beneath blood). The blood stains contain hemoglobin and serum albumin. Calcium and strontium and iron are uniformly present on the Shroud in small quantities (Paolo Di Lazzaro, ATSI 2014 Bari).”

Here is the official summary of STURP’s conclusions courtesy of a link provided by shroud.comSummary of STURP’s Conclusions.

2. The Five Year Study of the Shroud of Turin by the National Agency for New Technologies (2011)

In December of 2011 ABC News reported (in an article available online) that a recently concluded study by a group of Italian scientists “refuted the popular notion that [the Shroud of Turin] was faked during the Middle Ages. Experts at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development have concluded in a report that the famed purported burial cloth of Jesus Christ could not have been faked.”

ABC News reported that “the Italian researchers, who conducted dozens of hours of tests with X-rays and ultraviolet lights, said that no laser existed to date that could replicate the singular nature of markings on the shroud. They also said that the kind of markings on the cloth could not have come from direct contact of the body with the linen. The Italian scientists said the  marks could only have been made by ‘a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation.’ ”

According to the National Geographic article mentioned above, “the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) conducted five years of experiments, using state-of-the-art excimer lasers to train short bursts of ultraviolet light on raw linen, in an effort to simulate the image’s coloration” and “published its findings in 2011.”

Relying on quotes from physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro of ENEA, the National Geographic article continues (as placed in italics), stating: The ultraviolet light necessary to [simulate the image] “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today,” says Di Lazzaro. It would require “pulses having durations shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and intensities on the order of several billion watts.” If the most advanced technologies available in the 21st century could not produce a facsimile of the shroud image, he reasons, how could it have been executed by a medieval forger?

For believers, the radiation thesis suggests that a “divine light” in the tomb might have seared the crucified form of Jesus Christ onto the shroud. “One could look at hypotheses outside the realm of science, a sort of miracle,” says Di Lazzaro. “But a miracle cannot be investigated by the scientific method” (end of article).

Here is a link to The ENEA team report, which published its findings in 2011 (scroll and click on the word “published”).

CONCLUSION:

Based on the two in-depth scientific investigations outlined above, namely, the STURP study and the ENEA study, it certainly does not appear that the image on the Shroud of Turin was made by human hands. The supernatural origin of this great relic of the Church cannot be ruled out, and even appears now to be the most likely explanation of this scientifically inexplicable image which is claimed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ (for an informative video on the Shroud, see the link below).

Thomas L. Mulcahy, M.A.

Image: At Wikipedia (Turin plasch.jpg), Public Domain, U.S.A.

An informative video on The Shroud of Turin (click on the following link): 15 Minute Video: Russ Breault explains his take on the Shroud of Turin.  From Shroudstory.com

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HAVE YOU MET THE RISEN CHRIST?

 

                           Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:15)

JESUS’ RESURRECTION: CREDIBLE WITNESSES ARE HELPFUL!

 Mantegna,_Andrea_-_La_Résurrection_-_1457-1459
 

               “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:32)

It’s a very embarrassing moment for a lawyer trying a case in front of a jury when the judge says, “Please call your next Witness,” and that next witness hasn’t shown up. Witnesses are very important, and this concept of “witness” has a definite place in Christianity.

In 2 Peter 1:16 the concept of witness is elaborated upon by the apostle, who says:

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1: 16)
 
And at John 21:24 another apostle – obviously John – signs his affidavit of authenticity at the end of his Gospel by stating:
 
“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” (John 21: 24-25)
 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a real and historical event: “The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness” (CCC 639). Clearly there are aspects of our Lord’s Resurrection which transcend the limitations of time and space – still the event itself was witnessed in history and dramatically changed the lives of those who witnessed it. Peter, speaking on the day of Pentecost, says:God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32)

Relying on his apostolic credentials, Saint Paul writes powerfully about the historical reliability of  Jesus’ Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, stating: 

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”  (1 Cor. 15: 3-8)

The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus” (CCC 639). In this famous passage (just quoted above) Paul mentions 500 hundred witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, and he further adds that some of these witnesses have died, which means that most are still alive and can provide corroborating testimony! Five hundred witnesses would make for a long trial!

The great Biblical scholar C.H. Dodd comments on this concept of witness as it pertains to the resurrection. He states: “The main weight [regarding the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection] … is placed on the testimony that Jesus was ‘seen’ alive after death, by a number of his followers….” (The Founder of Christianity, page 167). Dodd adds: Something had happened to these men, which they could describe only by saying they had ‘seen the Lord’. This is not an appeal to any generalized ‘Christian experience’. It refers to a particular series of occurrences, unique in character, unrepeatable, and confined to a limited period” (p.168). Dodd therefore concludes:

“[For] the original witnesses [the resurrection of Jesus was] an immediate, intuitive certainty. They were dead sure they had met with Jesus, and there was no more to be said about it….Now they were new men in a new world, confident, courageous, enterprising, the leaders of a movement which made an immediate impact and went forward with an astonishing impetus.” (p. 170)
 
Almost all of these apostles went on to convincingly confirm that they witnessed the resurrected Jesus with the witness – the Greek word “martyr” literally means witness – of their own lives, which is a most powerful testimony. Who are we today – some 2000 years later – but the living beneficiaries and stewards of the most important testimony ever given: “CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!
 
Tom Mulcahy, J.D.
 
References: The Founder of Christianity by C.H. Dodd, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study on 1 Corinthians 15. Image: (Public Domain, U.S.A.). Image: The Resurrection by Andrea Mantegna, 1459 (Public Domain, U.S.A.).

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MULTIPLE MIRACULOUS MANIFESTATIONS OF JESUS’ PASSION IN LIMPIAS, SPAIN FROM 1914-1921

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

The Passion of Jesus Christ rules the history of the world says the great Father Faber, and as if to put an exclamation point on this statement Jesus allowed incredible manifestations of his salvific passion to occur in the Church of Saint Peter in Limpias, Spain from 1914 through 1921.

The six foot crucifix which hangs in the Church of Saint Peter in Limpias, Spain (see image above) is, according to Joann Carroll Cruz, “a meditation on the sufferings of Our Lord and is thought to portray [Jesus] Crucified in his final moments of his agony.” Cruz adds that the “face of Our Lord is of particular beauty, with its eyes of china looking toward Heaven….” More than 8000 people, according to Cruz, have witnessed – and testified to –  supernatural phenomena associated with the facial expressions and head movements of Jesus on this beautiful crucifix. In this note, I will highlight some of the compelling testimonies of some very prominent and reliable witnesses. Given the cumulative power of so many eye-witness testimonies concerning the miraculous nature of this crucifix it seems impossible to deny the credibility of these supernatural manifestations of Jesus’ Passion.

Here is a bird’s eye view of some of the very compelling testimonies:

August/1914: While fixing an electric light over the high altar in the church, Don Antonio Lopes, a monk of the Pauline Fathers, gazed at the crucifix and noticed “with astonishment that Our Lord’s eyes were gradually closing, and for five minutes I saw them quite closed” (this is the first of 8000 testimonies regarding witnessed movements of Jesus’ face and head on the Limpias crucifix).

April/2019: A group of nuns known as the Daughters of the Cross saw both the eyes and lips of the crucifix move.

May 5, 1919: Dr. Adolfo Arenaza publishes his testimony in the secular press stating that while looking through his field glasses he saw the movement of the eyes four times. He states: “Does Our Lord really move his eyes…I am of the opinion that he really does move them, for I have seen it myself.”

August 4, 1919: Rev. Valentin Incio of Gijon visits Limpias and and wrote the following pertaining to his observation of the miraculous crucifix:

“At first our Lord seemed to be alive; His head then preserved its customary position…but His eyes were full of life and looked about in different directions….Now came the most touching moment of all. Jesus looked at all of us, but so gently and kindly, so expressively, so lovingly and divinely, that we fell on our knees and wept and adored Christ.”

September 11, 1919: Father Antonio de Torrelavega, a Capuchin monk, “sees blood streaming from the left corner of Our Lord’s mouth.” The next day he

“observed anew, only still more frequently, the movement of the eyes and…blood flowing down from the corner of the mouth. Several times He looked at me. Many other people who were kneeling round me also observed this….Now I verify it; there is no doubt the Santo Christo [crucifix] moves his eyes.”

September 15, 1919: “The Coadjutor of St. Nicholas Church in Valencia, D. Paulino Girbes, relates in his statement…that he was in the company of two Bishops and 18 priests when they knelt before the crucifix.” He states:

“We all saw the face of the Santo Cristo become sadder, paler….The eyes gave a gentle glance now at the Bishops and then in the direction of the sacristy. The features at the same time took on the expression of a man who is in his death-struggle. This lasted a long time. I could not resrain my tears and began to weep….”

There are so many other compelling testimonies of highly credible and distinguished witnesses that I don’t have time to type them all into this note! Many more detailed accounts are in Joann Carroll Cruz’ book, Miraculous Images of Our Lord. Moreover, there is a 200 plus page book from 1923, The Wonderful Crucifix of Limpias, available online, which provides numerous accounts “of the extraordinary manifestations of the crucifix at Limpias.”

CONCLUSION: The credible evidence supporting the supernatural phenomena associated with the crucifix at Limpias is simply overwhelming. Of the 8000 signed testimonies regarding this amazing phenomenon, 2500 are accompanied with legal affidavits. But what is the message of Limpias? Is it not that God so loved us that He sent his only son to give his life for our salvation? But what if we fail to honor our Lord’s Passion, or even worse if we lack gratitude for His saving death? Limpias is a powerful reminder that the Lord’s Passion is real, tremendously real, and made present in every Mass said throughout the world each day! The miraculous manifestations at Limpias are pretty amazing, but the Mass of Calvary is simply of infinite value.

“The Passion rules the history of the world. Thus it is also the secret of all biographies of individual souls. All their ruin comes from their disloyalty to the Passion. All their holiness in time, and their glory in eternity, are the consequences of their loyalty to the Passion. Jesus Christ and Him Crucified – this is the object of our present contemplation. As we grow older we set a greater price on fidelity; and where is there such faithfulness [and such indisputable proof of God’s love for you] as in the Cross? Devotion to the Passion is at once the surest sign of Predestination, and the shortest road to heaven. Happy are they whom the cruelty and treachery of life have driven to the Cross” (F.W. Faber)

Thomas L. Mulcahy, J.D.

P.S. In the following link is a detailed video of the supernatural crucifix:

Santo Christo de Limpias – YouTube

References: My information for this note comes from Joann Carroll Cruz’ book, Miraculous Images of Our Lord (TAN).

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JUDAS ISCARIOT REJECTED THE HOLY EUCHARIST

 

Ref. The Gospel of John (audio series) by Dr. Scott Hahn (especially his commentary on Chapter 6).

Image: The Last Supper by Vincente Juan Masip, circa 1562 (Public Domain, U.S.A.)

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JESUS’ PASSION RULES THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD

 

“O for some corner, the least, the lowest, and the last in the world to come [Heaven], where we may spend an untired eternity in giving silent thanks to Jesus Crucified!” (F.W. Faber)                               

“The sorrow and happiness of each individual soul begins at the foot of the cross. It is well or ill with us according as we are in harmony with [Jesus’] Passion…. [T]here is no earthly object of any real abiding value to us compared with the Passion of our dearest Lord. All is dross compared with it…. In the uttermost distances of our eternal life, where in truth there are no distances, it is the Passion which will still support us, the Passion which will keep the vision open, the Passion out of which the inebriating torrents of God’s splendor will still renew our souls.

The Passion rules the history of the world. Thus it is also the secret of all biographies of individual souls. All their ruin comes from their disloyalty to the Passion. All their holiness in time, and their glory in eternity, are the consequences of their loyalty to the Passion.   

Jesus Christ and Him Crucified – this is the object of our present contemplation. As we grow older we set a greater price on fidelity; and where is there such faithfulness [and such indisputable proof of God’s love for you] as in the Cross? Devotion to the Passion is at once the surest sign of Predestination, and the shortest road to heaven. Happy are they whom the cruelty and treachery of life have driven to the Cross”(emphasis added).

This quote of Father Faber is taken from Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, Part 1, pages 223-232. The quote is edited and is not in the order it was written. I have rearranged some of the sentences and paragraphs to facilitate this short excerpt. Father Faber was preparing a book on the Passion, which he did not complete, and these notes were from the beginning of that unfinished manuscript.

Comment:

The Passion is God’s demonstration of His deep love for us. Our love of God will thus grow in proportion to our devotion to and gratitude for the Savior who “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Devotion to our Lord’s Passion is characteristic of the saints (so how much more do we need it?). “He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus…There is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than frequent meditation on the suffering of Christ” (Saint Bonaventure).  Let us then, this Lent, renew our devotion to our Lord’s Passion, and “stand with Mary at the foot of the cross.”

Practical Recommendation: 

The crucifix in your home is of tremendous value. Spend a few minutes each day in Lent looking at our Lord on the cross and thank him for having come to save you – yeah, you! If directed by your heart, kiss your crucifix and tell the Lord how dear He is to you. In this life we look at a ton of useless images: we ought to be looking at the crucifix!

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

 

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