Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
MEMORIAL DAY-JOAN OF ARC
Daniel, Chapter 10, Verse 19
“Do not FEAR, beloved. Peace! Take courage and be strong.” When he spoke to me, I grew strong and said, “Speak, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
Read this verse again and imagine Christ saying this to you the next time you receive communion. Perhaps it would be a good idea to commit this verse to memory and repeat it to yourself at communion or on visits to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. “Do not fear, beloved. Peace! Take courage and be strong.”
Yes, we are beloved and if we are beloved, we must share the love Christ gives us with others, especially our families and spouses.
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I. The Graces of Holy Communion
i. Holy Communion changes and transforms us into “Alter Christus”
40. At the end of Mass, the priest dismisses the faithful with the words, “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” However, the original Latin words of dismissal say: “Ite, missa est”, which literally means “Go, you are sent.” Every time we leave the threshold of the church after having received the Eucharist, we bring the love of Christ to our daily activities and to every person we meet.
ii. We become “One Body and One Spirit in Christ”
41. The ultimate effect of the Holy Eucharist is not only the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ for our spiritual nourishment, but the transformation of those who receive Holy Communion into “one body, one spirit in Christ” (III Eucharistic Prayer and 1 Cor 12:12-13). Through this personal relationship with the Risen Jesus in the Eucharist, we experience the self-sacrificing love of Jesus, who invites us to imitate His love and to bring that love to everyone and every situation of our daily life. We can see how the Eucharist changed the lives of the early Christians. Flowing from their Eucharistic experience with the Risen Lord, they lived, in loving communion with one another; they ate together and prayed together in the Temple. They placed their possessions at the feet of the Apostles for the needs of the poor. They were of “one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32).
42. The Eucharist also played a central role in strengthening this communion in the life of the venerable servant of God, Cardinal Francis Nguyen Van Thuan. As coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon, Vietnam, he was arrested on August 15, 1975, soon after South Vietnam fell to the Communist regime. He spent the next 13 years in prison, moving between forced residences, re-education camps, and nine years of solitary confinement. In his book “Testimony of Hope”, he describes how the Eucharist became his hope and light in the darkness of prison camp. With three drops of wine and a drop of water in the palm of his hand, he would secretly celebrate Mass. And those Masses became for him a source of consolation and strength in such a difficult time in his life.
To be continued…
Joan of Arc-her defeat was her Victory
John McCain notes in his study of leadership that Saint Joan of Arc (feast day: May 30) was an example of leadership that was characterized by authenticity. At the command of voices that only she could hear, she rode to battle and saved her country. SHE COULD NOT READ OR WRITE, BUT SAINTS AND ANGELS SPOKE TO HER. Michael the Archangel, and Catherine and Margaret, the patron saints of France, commanded the thirteen-year-old peasant girl to pray vigilantly and attend Mass regularly. She is remembered as very beautiful, a slight seventeen-year-old girl with black hair who could ride for long hours in heavy armor without any sign of discomfort. She kept silent for long periods but could be roused to great anger at men swearing or behaving in some other sinful manner.
She prayed and fasted often and seemed most comfortable in the company of poor priests. Before they embarked, she had dictated to a priest a letter for the English commanders in Orléans, warning them to “go away back to England . . . or I will drive you out of France.” This is the first the English had ever heard of Joan of Arc. To the French, and their dauphin, who now placed their trust in her, she was becoming a saint. As they marched to Orléans, she saw to the spiritual needs of her soldiers, ordering them to abandon their vices, to refrain from looting and harming civilians, to confess their sins and attend Mass regularly, which they did. Men who had refused to serve Charles in what they believed was a losing cause now rushed to her standard and prepared for battle. A few days later, the rest of her army began to arrive with much needed supplies, just as word was received that another English army was marching to the aid of her enemies. She went to sleep that night happy in the knowledge that the moment was at hand when she would accomplish what her saints had commanded her to do. She awoke in the middle of the night and stirred her generals with the news that they must attack immediately. In fact, a battle had already begun at the nearest English fortification. Joan commanded her page to bring her horse, as she dressed in her armor, and then raced to join the fight carrying her banner. When she reached her soldiers, she saw that they were losing the battle, but her presence inspired them, and they rallied to take the fort. After the battle Joan wept for the fallen, French and English alike. On the next day they took another English fort, and the day after one more. But the fighting during the third battle had been ferocious. Joan was wounded by an arrow through her shoulder as she attempted to scale one of the fort’s walls and was carried to safety. Seeing her hurt and carried from the field, her troops lost courage, and the assault was suspended. Some witnesses say she removed the arrow herself. Others remembered her soldiers treating the wound. Whatever the case, legend has it that she responded to her soldiers’ fears by telling them to rally to her when they saw her banner strike the fort’s wall. And when they did see it, they recovered their courage and took the fort. The next day the English abandoned the siege. Orléans was saved. Both English and French generals gave the credit to Joan. She gave it to God. Then she rode to meet Charles. When they met, she bowed to him, and urged him to hasten to Reims, where his crown awaited him. But Charles hesitated. His will was weak, for he was not a man of great courage, and his advisors at court, some of whom resented Joan’s interference, cautioned him to proceed slowly, for there were still many powerful English armies in France that had to be destroyed. Joan, as always, rode in the front, carrying her banner, urging her soldiers to victory. Inspired by her courage, and by the obvious favor of God that protected her, they carried the day, routing the English and opening the road to Reims. The English and all the French, those loyal to the dauphin and those who fought for Henry, recognized that this strange young girl, now known as the Maid of Orléans, must be in the service of a sovereign more powerful than any earthly king. Joan in the end like the eternal King she served was abandoned by her earthly King and was captured by the Burundians. John of Luxembourg took her to his castle, where, she twice tried to escape, once by jumping from a castle tower into the moat below. Attempts to ransom her were refused, as were French attempts to liberate her by force. After several months, Luxembourg handed Joan over to the English, and she was taken to the city of Rouen, where a corrupt bishop, Pierre Cauchon, was instructed to put her on trial for heresy. The rules of war did not permit the English to condemn Joan for opposing them in battle. So, they sought her death by falsely accusing her of witchcraft. Cauchon tried for weeks to compel her to confess, but despite threats of torture and execution, she steadfastly refused to divulge her conversations with Charles or to concede that the saints who spoke to her were demons or merely inventions of her own blasphemy.
She was denied permission to attend Mass and receive the sacraments.
She was often kept in chains and became very ill. Yet she stayed true to herself, and to her saints. She wore a dress when they brought her to a church cemetery to hear her sentence read, condemning her to be burned at the stake. She asked that her conviction be appealed to the pope. Her persecutors refused her. And then, Joan of Arc, for the first and only time in her brief life, tried to be someone she was not. Fearing the flames, she confessed to being a heretic and recanted her claim to have heard and obeyed her saints, and begged her enemies for mercy. Mercy they had little of but having taken from her what their armies could not, they no longer thought her life such a great thing that it could not be spared. She was now nothing more than a confessed imposter. They had wanted to destroy her truth, that she was God’s messenger. Having done so, it mattered little whether she died or suffered long imprisonment. Their work done, they left her in her cell, to the taunts and abuses of the guards, and commanded her to dress only in women’s clothes. When they next saw her, a few days later, she was attired in the clothes of a boy. She had recovered her courage and her truth. Her saints had reproached her for denying them, and she had begged their forgiveness. She had become her true self again. She was the Maid of Orléans, a pretty, pious nineteen-year-old girl who had left her father’s house and taken up arms for more than a year, as heaven had commanded her. And with heaven’s encouragement she had defeated France’s enemies in battle after battle, frightened and awed the bravest English heart, rallied a nation to her banner, and made a weak, defeated man a king. God’s messenger went bravely to her death, forgiving her accusers and asking only that a priest hold high a crucifix for her to see it above the flames. She raised her voice to heaven, calling out to her saints and her Savior. Even her enemies wept at the sight. Her executioner was shaken with remorse, and an anguished English soldier who witnessed the crime feared for his soul. “God forgive us,” he cried, “we have burned a saint.”
Today is Memorial Day and we honor those who have paid the supreme sacrifice of devotion watching our nation. Pray today for the souls of those taken in battle. In the communion of saints, it is our duty; no, our honor to pray for the souls of those in our company who have died; especially those who have passed through the valley of fear in the heat of battle.
Memorial Day, first established in 1866 to honor Union soldiers of the Civil War, is now a day set aside to remember all of the American soldiers who have died in war in the subsequent 15 decades -- about 1.2 million in all. This number, while representing a tremendous loss, pales in comparison to the number of war-related deaths globally for the same time period. Estimates run from 60 to 85 million for the number of lives lost during World War II alone.
While stationed in Mons, Belgium I learned there is the legend of the Angels of Mons, where it was reported the British soldiers were saved by heavenly forces.
One thing is certain: There are no atheists in foxholes.
To honor our fallen let us stop what we are doing at 1500 hrs. (3 pm) and offer the Divine Mercy Prayer for those who have fallen in service of our nation.
God of power and
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Memorial Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Attend a Memorial Day parade. One popular parade is the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC.
· All Americans are encouraged to pause for one minute at 3:00 pm (local time). Think of the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers to provide freedom for all.
· Visit the grave of a fallen soldier.
· Have a picnic or go boating.
· Donate to a charity that serves veterans.
Memorial Day Facts & Quotes
· There have been over 2.7 million US military deaths since 1775.
· The deadliest US War was the Civil War with about 600,000 US deaths.
· It is customary to fly a US flag at half-staff till noon on Memorial Day.
· It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. - George S. Patton
Today in honor of Memorial Day I remembered my friend Paul Wolff-The Wolf of the Ardennes
Men are frequently blinded by fear and as a result often harmed themselves. The grace of God gives confidence to see the right and to stand when called. Father Paul was called to stand and became General Patton’s guide during the “Battle of the Bulge” while he was still a teen. Father Paul Wolff was 15 years old when he first joined the Belgium resistance during the years of the Nazi occupation of World War II. He was the youngest member of the Belgium resistance. Unfortunately, he and other members of his group were captured and at 17 he was tortured, condemned to death and imprisoned in the Nazi Prison in Liege, Belgium. There he languished yet his faith would not allow him to lose all hope and the resistance still worked to get him and the others (256) out. Part of the plan was to get a radio to the prisoners. To do this the resistance secreted small parts of a crystal radio inside bars of soap. Interestingly these were “Lever” brother bars of soap and were large about the size of a brick. Father Paul related that during the Nazi occupation not all Jews were in German prisons if they were of use to the Nazi’s. In this case the soap bars were made by the Lever Jews and the radio parts were easily hidden inside the soap bars. Father Paul stated that when they received the soap, they then washed their hands raw in wearing away the soap to get to the radio part. Then after several bars they constructed the radio which was the Morse code type. Father Paul typed in code in English which he spoke along with German and French the words over and over “SOS SOS 256 prisoners in Liege prison condemned to death SOS SOS.” They hoped someone would get the message and somehow, they would be rescued. All they had was hope.
Father also related that it drove the Nazi’s crazy because they intercepted the message but never suspected it was coming from the prison. Father Paul said that in the cell they were in there was only one barred window, but it was so high that to look out it required a person to stand on the shoulders of a fellow prisoner. He further relayed that they when they would see women that were friendly with the guards coming and going, they would call them the nastiest things they could think of calling them. Yet one day during an air raid while the guards were hiding as deep as they could go; one of these young women (secret agent) came and taking the heel of her shoe wrote on the pavement that during the air raid they are going to be rescued by commandoes and they were. Father Paul stated neither he nor the others ever lost hope.
After his escape he went underground. He was a friend of King Leopold III. He served as General Patton's Belgian guide during the battle of the bulge.
December 24, 1944
Father Paul communicated to me the tale about the battle of the bulge that has not been recorded in history. During WWII the US Army was segregated and black men were not mixed with white men. Black men mostly served in support roles such as transportation and as cooks, etc. During the course of the Battle of the Bulge’ Hitler sent in a special operations team to confuse and destroy the American Army. It was composed of American NAZI’s and German’s, who spoke perfect American slang, knew the culture, baseball stuff, etc. These Spec Ops were equipped with American Uniforms and equipment that was captured by Gen. Rommel from North Africa. Father Wolff was at a meeting with Gen. Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower and the English Gen. Montgomery in Luxembourg City on the evening of Dec. 24th, 1944. The Generals were very excited and afraid because of the effect these NAZI spec ops were having in the warzone and due to the fact that they had murdered many men. They did not know what to do. Patton who was a visionary, suddenly stood up and said, I know exactly what to do. From this time forward, nothing in the American Army will move without a black American in the group. Patton knew there were no black NAZI’s. As a result, black units were moved forward and integrated and as far as I know this was the first time in American History since the Civil War. As a result, the NAZI spec ops team was neutralized.
My daughter Candace Faith in light of Memorial Day invited me to participate in the annual Murph. The Murph Challenge is the Official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forged®. It is also one of the primary means of funding for the Foundation on an annual basis. YOUR support is what drives our success!
Since 2014, Forged® has raised over $1,000,000+ for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge campaign. In 2018, The Murph Challenge Fundraiser provided a vehicle to raise nearly $250,000 in order to begin construction on the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum/Sea Cadet Training Facility in Long Island, NY! In addition to that, and ONLY with such overwhelming support and success, the Foundation was also able to add four additional scholarships in 2018, now providing the opportunity to award 27 or more scholarships each and every year!
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
ARTICLE 8-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' (Gal 4:6).
743 From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable.
744 In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" (Mt 1:23).
745 The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf Ps 2:6-7).
746 By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.
747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: The lonely and destitute
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
· Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus
· Total Consecration to Mary Day 33
· Monday: Litany of Humility
 McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York.
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