Saturday, March 9, 2013

Condemning The Next Pope Before He Is Elected

I was talking to a good friend today who is a very devout Catholic.  We got on the subject of the papal conclave. He said to me, "I hope this next pope is not the anti-pope." That kind of made my head snap back. Where in the world did that come from? Why would such an idea even enter into any Catholic's mind? He said to me that there are prophecies predicting the anti-pope. I said to him, "You know the danger with a statement like that is that if the next pope does anything that you don't agree with, you could start accusing him of being an anti-pope." His response was that not everything a pope does is infallible. I asked my friend to give me an example, and he brought up Pope Paul VI and the "mistakes" he made with the liturgy.

Both my friend and I agree that we are not happy with the creation of the New Mass in 1969. We both love the Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass of the Ages going back 1500 years that produced probably millions of saints over the centuries. However, my unhappiness with the New Mass is purely personal. I do not share my friend's view that the New Mass was an "error" of Pope Paul VI. Like most Traditionalists, my friend blames Pope Paul VI, the one who gave us the Novus Ordo, or the Ordinary Form of the Mass as it is now called, for being one of the major contributors to the spiritual crisis in the Church. And like all good Traditionalists, my friend said the real problem goes back to Vatican II, which he has basically condemned as the root of all evils in the Church. Anyone who reads my blog knows that even though I call myself a Traditionalist, I have no problem with Vatican II. Many claim that because Vatican II was a pastoral council as opposed to a doctrinal counsel, we don't have to accept it. The Vatican II documents were signed by the Pope in his capacity as Vicar of Christ, therefore making them part of the Magesterium. We must accept this just as we do all official teachings of the Church.

Yet, my friend is certainly right that there is a major crisis in the church that has been ongoing for 40 years. But what really was the catalyst for this crisis? Was it Pope Paul VI and his introduction of the New Mass, with its roots in Vatican II? Does this mean that a pope - the Vicar of Christ, the divinely appointed Head of Christ's Mystical Body on earth - can be wrong and that not only can we, but we actually should question his decisions?

I did a lengthy post on Vatican II entitled, "Vatican II: Blessing Or Curse?" I don't want to rehash this subject, so if you're interested, you can read it here. In this post I lay out the thesis that the root of the spiritual problems we see in the church today, and actually all throughout the world, can be traced back not to Vatican II but to Humanae Vitae.  I quoted from Dr. Ralph McInerny's book on this subject, "What Went Wrong With Vatican II?" in which he explains very clearly and logically that Vatican II is not to blame  for the spiritual crisis we are experiencing, but that the cause of the crisis is the rejection by so many in the Church, including clergy, of Pope Paul VI's encyclical condemning the use of artificial birth control. Interestingly, the conversation I had with my friend today was in front of an abortion clinic where we were praying. As I said to him, we would not even have been standing there if so many in the church had not rejected Humanae Vitae.

Everyone looks at Vatican II as the beginning of the current spiritual crisis we see in the church, but they all seem to forget about the real spiritual crisis of the 20th Century, and that is the rejection of Humanae Vitae in 1968.  Historians all agree that 1968 was a watershed year in the history of the world.  That is when everything began to change.

Here is a sample screenshot of the results of searching for "1968 Watershed Year".  As you can see, there were 219,000 results:

From one website entitled
1968 was a watershed year, the year when the 60s optimism with its utopian hippie dreams and hopes of social change for the better future started to turn sour. Nothing that came after that would ever be the same as what had come before. It was a year of deep tragedy, pain and anger, but also a year of remarkable social upheaval.
Historians naturally would never consider the acceptance or rejection of a Papal Encyclical as a momentous event in the history of man.  But outside of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, nothing has ever had a more profound impact on the direction of the entire world than the rejection of Humanae Vitae.  It is the cause of almost all the turmoil and evil we see happening around us.  The rejection of this most important encyclical has resulted in the deaths of untold hundreds of millions of unborn babies around the world (35,000 per day in China alone), the acceptance of homosexuality, the meteoric rise in sexually transmitted disease, the AIDS crisis, the rise in cancer among women directly caused by birth control and abortion, the overall general destruction of the family which is the foundation and building block of all societies, and even the sexual abuse crisis in the Church and around the world, to name just a few of the horrific consequences.

When so many in the Church rejected Humanae Vitae, they did not reject Pope Paul VI. The rejected the Lord and Master of the Universe. They rejected their Creator.  They told Him they can make their own decisions, and they don't need Him interfering in their lives. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this has resulted in our Lord allowing us to wander in the spiritual wilderness, just as He allowed ancient Israel to wander in the desert wilderness when they rejected Him at Mt. Sinai and turned to other gods. Our Lord promised He would never leave the Church, and that is true to this day and will be true to the end of time. But the rejection of Humanae Vitae was, in reality, a rejection of Jesus Christ. That is the moment when a great number literally turned their backs and walked away from God and the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual chaos and confusion that we see in the church today is not the result of "papal error". It is the result of God's people turning away from Him. It started in 1968, a year that secular historians note as an unprecedented year of upheaval and change. It is now 45 years later and the world is on the verge of complete moral collapse, just as Venerable Pope Paul VI predicted.

Here in the United States for the past several presidential elections we have been told that each one is "the most important election in our lifetime." The election of a pope is always a momentous event, but I think it is safe to say that the papal conclave set to start on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, is possibly the most important papal conclave in the 2000 year history of the Church, dwarfing the significance of any presidential election. His Holiness, Benedict XVI, said his decision to abdicate was not just a personal decision "to retire" but the result of a revelation from God. As he said in his last Angelus message on February 24:
I hear this Word of God addressed to me in a special way during this moment of my life. Thank you! The Lord is calling me to “scale the mountain,” to dedicate myself still more to prayer and to meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church – on the contrary, if God asks this of me, it is to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so hitherto, but in a way that is more adapted to my age and my strength.
The New York Post had an amusing headline that read "Pope Gives God Two Weeks Notice."  But as Pope Benedict XVI told us, it was Our Lord who made this decision.  Jesus could have easily made the decision to install a new pope by ending Pope Benedict XVI's life.  But creating exceptional circumstances completely focuses the world's attention on the election of a new pope.  It seems Jesus wanted this papal election done under extraordinary circumstances to draw attention to the fact that this is not an ordinary papal election.

The man who will be chosen to sit in the Chair of Peter will quite literally have the weight of the world upon his shoulders.  It is every Pope's role to walk the road of Calvary, but this time, I believe, the Church will be walking that road with him.  I think Our Lord wants us to know that the Chair of Peter is not being filled "in the ordinary course of business".  We live in extraordinary times of crushing evil, and it will take a man of extraordinary spiritual strength to lead the Church.  We will not know the full significance of all of this until we can look back on it.

One thing I think we can be sure of is that whoever is elected as our next Holy Father will be facing tremendous persecution and opposition.  He will be under immense pressure to "modernize" the Church and basically turn it into another protestant denomination, in effect destroying the Catholic Church.  We have a firm promise from Jesus Christ that He will never allow this to happen.  The Church has survived incredible odds over its 2000 year history and it will survive this.  But that doesn't mean we will do so without great suffering.

It will be more important than ever before that the Church be completely loyal and supportive of our next Holy Father, whoever he may be.  In his homily on Ash Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI made the following statement:
The readings that have been proclaimed provide us with ideas that, with the grace of God, we are called to make concrete attitudes and behaviors during this Lent. The Church proposes to us, first, the strong appeal that the prophet Joel addressed to the people of Israel, "Thus says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning" (2:12). Please note the phrase "with all my heart," which means from the center of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a force that does not reside in our hearts, but that emanates from the heart of God. It is the power of his mercy.
The prophet says, further: "Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, ready to repent of evil" (v. 13). The return to the Lord is possible as a 'grace', because it is the work of God and the fruit of that faith that we place in His mercy. But this return to God becomes a reality in our lives only when the grace of God penetrates to our inmost being and shakes it, giving us the power to "rend our hearts." The same prophet causes these words from God to resonate: "Rend your hearts and not your garments" (v. 13). In fact, even today, many are ready to "rend their garments" before scandals and injustices - of course, made by others - but few seem willing to act on their own "heart", on their own conscience and their own intentions, letting the Lord transform, renew and convert.
Finally, the prophet focuses on the prayers of the priests, who, with tears in their eyes, turn to God, saying: "Do not expose your heritage to the reproach and derision of the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?' "(v.17). This prayer makes us reflect on the importance of the testimony of faith and Christian life of each of us and our community to show the face of the Church and how that face is sometimes disfigured. I am thinking in particular about sins against the unity of the Church, the divisions in the ecclesial body. Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming individualism and rivalry, is a humble and precious sign for those who are far from the faith or indifferent.
We should not be talking about or even thinking about "anti Popes". Our Lord told us in Matthew 16:18 that the Church is built on the "Rock", on St. Peter and all his successors, and there is nothing that can destroy that. "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." We either trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit or we don't. And if we refuse to put our trust there, then we have put ourselves outside of the Church and outside the safety and salvation found only in the Church.

When the next pope is elected, all of the Cardinals assembled will personally pledge their loyalty and obedience to him. His Holiness, Benedict XVI, has already done so. And we must follow their lead. The Church will survive, despite the tempestuous storms surrounding it. The question is, will we as individuals survive. The answer: only if we are under the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

Meditation on the Fifth Station of the Cross: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

We are now on the Fifth Station of the Way of the Cross. We have seen our Lord beaten literally to a bloody pulp, unjustly condemned to death and struggle to carry His Cross, the instrument chosen to be the means of man's salvation. We have seen Jesus' agony become deeper still as He met his Blessed Mother along the way and shared in her tremendous sorrow.

Jesus is now at a point where, as a result of the beating and scourgings and the great loss of blood, he no longer has the physical strength to carry His Cross. His Roman captors realized that he might even die before they can get him to Calvary and if Jesus was to have any chance of making it alive to Calvary, someone else must carry the heavy cross for Him. It would not even enter into the minds of the Roman soldiers to take the cross themselves. This was too far beneath them to help a loathsome, contemptible criminal. So they looked into the crowd and commandeered the first capable man they saw: Simone of Cyrene. The Gospels tell us very little about this account. The sum total of the narrative concerning Simon of Cyrene is given in the following verses:
Luke 23:26 - "When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus."

Mark 15:21 - "A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross."

Matthew 27:32 - "As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross."

These verses make it very clear that Simon of Cyrene most definitely did not volunteer to help our Lord carry his cross. He was "forced" to help Jesus, which tells us plainly that Simon resisted taking up Jesus' cross. Simon saw a man who had been beaten so badly he barely looked human. He was covered in his own blood with skin hanging from parts of his body and even bone showing in places, and the crowd was taunting and ridiculing him and crying out for his death. Simon did not want to be associated with this man in any way. As far as Simon knew, this criminal was only getting what he deserved, just like the other two who had been sentenced with him. After all, the Romans crucified only the worst criminals and the lowest of society such as rebellious foreigners, military enemies, violent criminals, robbers, and slaves. Why should he care what happened to this man and why should he be forced to help him and thus be associated with him in any way?

From St. Francis' Way of the Cross:
Simon of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His cross, and Jesus accepted his assistance. How willingly would He also permit you to carry the cross: He calls, but you hear Him not; He invites you, but you decline. What a reproach, to bear the cross reluctantly!
How often have we been guilty of the same thinking as Simon of Cyrene? How often have we looked down on the poor and disadvantaged of society, considering them loathsome creatures who have only gotten what they deserved? Here in New York City we have tens of thousands of homeless, and many of them are alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. who did more or less bring on their situation in life. And many of the homeless are also people just down on their luck, including families with children. I must admit I have far too often walked past the homeless without a second thought except maybe to think that they probably brought their misery upon themselves, so why should I feel sorry for them.

In the 20th Century, there was no one who gave more to the poor and rejected of this world than Blessed Mother Teresa. She would literally go into the garbage dumps of India where they lived (and died) and drag them out, clean them up and give them a clean place to stay. Often she would take the sick and dying out of the gutters just so they could have a dignified death. Venerable Fulton Sheen once said she ministered to 25,000 people and converted 15,000 of them. This, of course was before Bishop Sheen's death in 1979. Mother Teresa lived almost 20 years beyond that, to 1997, so we can be sure she helped many thousands of others beyond this.

Mother Teresa gave an interview to Don Gillespie of Keystone Magazine two years before her death. Don Gillespie asked her how she was able to do her work with the poor:
DG: Mother Teresa, thank you for meeting us today. You have an amazing ministry. Everyone has heard your story and about the work you do. The poverty and needs around you are so horrendous, how do you keep it up?
MT: It would not be easy without a life of prayer and a spirit of sacrifice. I see Jesus in each and everyone that we meet, no matter how repugnant they seem to us. Jesus presents himself to us under every disguise: the dying, the leper, the invalid, the orphan. It is our faith that makes our work easy, or at least more bearable. Without Jesus we could not do this work.
Simon of Cyrene was quite literally helping Jesus carry his cross, but each time we minister to one in need who cannot give back to us, Jesus sees it as ministering as directly to him as Simon of Cyrene did. Did Jesus really need Simon's help? Jesus was God, the great Creator of the Universe, more powerful than all of creation put together. But at this point Jesus was relying only on his humanity and feeling all of the weakness of that humanity. He was also surrounded by legions of angels who desperately wanted to minister to him and relieve him of his load. He rejected all of them and gave that special honor to Simon of Cyrene.

And truly it was an honor given to Simon of Cyrene to partake of the Lord's suffering, an honor that is given to us each time we suffer and join it with our Lord's suffering. And each and every time we help lift the load of someone else, we are doing it for our Lord, as Jesus told us in Matthew 25, the famous parable of the sheep and goats, picturing the time we will stand before the King and be judged based on how we treat others. In verse 40, Jesus said, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' " and in verse 45, "whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

One of the fascinating results of giving of ourselves to others, especially those who cannot give back, is that it transforms the giver even more than the recipient. Simon of Cyrene, forced against his will to assist Jesus, was profoundly changed by the experience. In Mark 15:21, we are told that Simon is the father of "Alexander and Rufus." Mark writes this with the assumption that the reader would be aware of whom he was writing. In Romans 16:13, St. Paul wrote: "Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine." We can't be 100% sure this was the same Rufus, son of Simon of Cyrene, but it is only logical that the Rufus mentioned in the Gospel of Mark would be the same Rufus mentioned in St. Paul's letter. It would seem that not only was Simon of Cyrene transformed by his contact with Jesus, this transformation extended to his family.

Another major lesson from this sixth station of the cross that has always stood out for me is that our enemies are often the ones who help us achieve eternal salvation. Jesus needed to get to Calvary in order to present himself as our Sacrifice on the Cross to the Father. But because of the savage beatings he had received, he was unable to carry his Cross. It was his executioners, the Romans, the same ones who had so brutally beaten him, who made it possible for Christ to continue on the journey to Calvary. The Romans certainly didn't force Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross out of compassion or empathy for the suffering of Jesus, but their cruelty was turned into the very means by which Jesus accomplished his goal. Often those who persecute us or cause trial and suffering in our lives are the very ones who are paving the way to heaven for us. As St. James wrote: "My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations; Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing."  (James 1:2-4).

We will never find Christ in those who are acclaimed and applauded by this world. He will only be found in the lowly and humble. As Blessed Mother Teresa said, she saw Christ in the poor:
"In the Eucharist, I see Christ in the appearance of the bread. In the slums, I see Christ in the ... poor. Sometimes we meet Jesus rejected and covered in filth in the gutter. Sometimes we find Jesus stuffed into a drain, or moaning with pain from sores or rotting with gangrene, or even screaming from the agony of a broken back. The most distressing disguise calls for even more love from us."
"We can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by the society -- completely forgotten, completely left alone. That is the greatest poverty of the rich countries."
We have all been guilty of rejecting Christ and his Cross at some time in our lives. Let us learn the lesson of Simon of Cyrene and never reject Our Lord and the Cross again.
O Jesus! Whosoever does not take up his cross and follow Thee, is not worthy of Thee. Behold, I join Thee in the Way of Thy Cross; I will be Thy assistant, following Thy bloody footsteps, that I may come to Thee in eternal life. ------ Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meditation on the Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary: The Transfiguration of Christ

Yesterday, March 2, was the First Saturday of the Month. The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was requested by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. After showing the three children a vision of hell she said, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace... I shall come to ask for... the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays..." The First Saturday devotion is as follows:
It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
We live in very unsettling and sometimes downright scary times when cultural foundations such as marriage and the family that once seemed unshakable are shifting and changing under our feet. There is a great old song from the 60's called "How Can I Be Sure", which asked the question, "How can I be sure in a world that's constantly changing?" Our wonderful Blessed Lord anticipated this question in the First Century shortly before His Crucifixion. Jesus gave three of the apostles - James, John and Peter - a sign that showed them He was bigger than anything on this earth, and therefore they should not fear anything that man can do.

That sign given to the three apostles is the fourth Luminous Mystery, the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. As an aside, many traditional Catholics refuse to acknowledge the Luminous mysteries because they were added to the Rosary by Blessed John Paul II in 2002, hundreds of years after the Rosary was initially given by our Lady to St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, in 1214. I believe that to reject these beautiful Mysteries given to us by Blessed John Paul II is a great mistake and anyone who chooses to ignore these mysteries is doing so to his or her own spiritual harm. Read Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter on the rosary, "ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE", and you will have little doubt that he was directly inspired to add the Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary.

During his ministry, Our Lord did what he could to prepare his apostles for the crucifixion. Matthew 16 tells us in verse 21: "From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."  This is not what the apostles, and most particularly impetuous Peter, wanted to hear, : "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” (Verse 22).  This seems like a very normal reaction to hearing that someone you love is going to be killed.  You would naturally want to protect someone who says he is going to be in such danger.

Get Thee Behind Me, Satan, illustration for 'The Life of Christ', c.1886-94
However, this is not what Our Lord thought: "Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”  

This no doubt left much confusion and consternation in the minds of the apostles. Wasn't Jesus here to free them from the Romans and set up a kingdom? What is all this talk about suffering and dying? Who can accomplish anything when they're dead?

Then Jesus goes on to confuse them even more with the following statement:  "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. . . What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"  All of this talk about suffering, dying, taking up your cross, losing your soul - this is not the stuff that would inspire confidence in the average person. Christ finished his admonition to the apostles with this most strange statement: “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” I'm sure that at this point at least some of the apostles were just shaking their heads and thinking, there goes Jesus, talking that weird stuff again. First he says he is going to die, he gets mad at Peter for saying he won't let that happen, then Jesus says we will see him coming in his kingdom. Who can figure out any of this?

The very next verses, Matthew 17:1-3, says:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Jesus literally pulled back the veil of his humanity and allowed these three apostles - Peter, James and John - to see him in his glory along with the two men representing the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah). As Matthew 17:1 says: "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." As the Church dogmatically teaches, Jesus Christ was equally God and man. That means that although he was clothed with humanity while on earth, He was also still God in all his glory and majesty. And this Divine nature is what our Lord showed to the three apostles.  Peter, James and John, as Jesus said in the previous chapter of Matthew, were seeing "the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." There is also the great significance of Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus, as the entire purpose of the law and the prophets was to point to Jesus and His Kingdom.

But in this meditation, I wish to concentrate on the meaning of the Transfiguration in the life of the three apostles and the great meaning it has for us in the 21st Century. As I have shown, just a few days before Jesus revealed his Divine Glory to Peter, James and John, he had been talking of the scandal of the cross and the great suffering he was to endure culminating in his ignominious death. The immediate future for Christ's disciples was one of persecution and ridicule by the world and the death of their leader. This very closely mirrors the future of the Catholic Church in the 21st Century.

The present day Church is entering, and in many way has already entered on, the road to Calvary. Just as it was necessary for our Lord to take on the suffering of the world in His crucifixion, so it is necessary for His Mystical Body, the Church, to suffer to bring salvation to the world. Our Lord died for the very ones who killed him, and so it may be necessary for us to spiritually and in some cases, literally give our lives to help save those who persecute us. As Venerable Fulton Sheen said:
The law He gave us was clear: life is a struggle. Unless there is a cross in our lives, there will never be the empty tomb — unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the halo of light — unless there is a Good Friday, there will never be an Easter Sunday.
Mt. Tabor
In the Transfiguration, which tradition says occurred on Mount Tabor, our Lord wanted his apostles to be able to look beyond the ominous dark clouds they could see with their eyes to the glorious future that could be theirs if they would just trust in him. So he gave them a glimpse into the future, to what awaited them at the end of the hardship and pain for which they were destined as His followers.

To get to the reality shown in the Transfiguration, it means we must walk by faith and not by sight, as the Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:7.  We must not fear or draw back because of physical circumstances. But where can we get the courage we need to face the trials of this life? When we begin to be weighed down by the physical world around us and it seems we are surrounded by ominous dark clouds, that is when we, like Peter, James and John, must go up to Mount Tabor and see the Glorious Risen Christ, to refresh in our minds what awaits us.

Like these three apostles, this means following Jesus where He goes. The three apostles would have never seen Christ in His Divine Glory if they had not been willing to separate themselves from the others and follow Jesus up the mountain. For us, this means separating ourselves from the world and spending quiet, prayerful time with the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. Unlike Peter, James and John, we will not see the glorified Christ. We will see only the appearance of bread that covers Our Lord. But He is as much there in His glorified state as He was on Mount Tabor. Our physical eyes will not see Him, but our souls will be fed and strengthened.

Jesus wanted the three apostles to see him in His Divine Glory so they could understand why Peter was wrong when he said of Christ's crucifixion, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you! The apostles needed to understand that Mount Tabor was possible only if Jesus walked the road of Calvary.    That is why Jesus addressed Peter as Satan who was trying to stop the Crucifixion.    This message did not resonate with the Apostles right away. In fact, they did not understand the meaning of the Transfiguration until after Christ's resurrection. But when the time came for them to walk their own personal road of Calvary, we can be sure the image of the Glorified Jesus was front and center in their minds, giving them the courage and strength they needed to endure their suffering.

Moses descending from Mt. Sinai with his face glowing
Spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament may at times actually seem like a meaningless exercise. The world sees us as just worshiping a piece of bread. But we, the followers of Jesus Christ, don't let our physical sight or our emotions determine our actions. "We walk by faith, not by sight." When Moses spent 40 days and nights on Mt. Sinai receiving the commandments of God, he came back with his face glowing from being in the Lord's Presence. When we spend time with our Lord and open our minds and hearts to Him, we will also be transformed by His Glorified Presence.

When we go before the Blessed Sacrament, we are entering into the Transfiguration. We will receive the encouragement and strength we need to carry on in this world so opposed to Jesus and the saving truth of the Gospel. Our Lord showed the three apostles His Divine Glory to strengthen them to endure the scandal of the Cross. Allow Him to share that same Glory with you, especially as the Church collectively enters on the Road to Calvary.

How can you be sure in a world that is constantly changing? By spending time in the Glorified Presence of the One who will never change.

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