Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Message of Hope

The Apostolatefor Family Consecration headquartered in Bloomindale, OH is a lay apostolate dedicated to the renewal of the Church and the world through the renewal of the family. It’s a fruit of the apparitions at Fatima and the Marian spirituality of Blessed Pope John Paul II with the goal of consecrating as many families as possible to Jesus, through Mary, in union with St. Joseph. They have an audacious Message of Hope that derives from a peace plan given by Our Lady.




Setting the Stage:
One truth accepted by most everyone is that people desire happiness, and not only happiness, but lasting happiness. Everyone knows the situation of being unhappy in the midst of outward abundance. Many ask, “Why is there so much unhappiness”, “Why am I unhappy?”, “When I feel happy, why doesn’t it last? Either we seek a solution to our unhappiness or we begin to despair. A question then becomes, are we seeking a corrective solution to our unhappiness or an interim/adaptive solution, and do we know the difference?

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: One night, in my late teens, a friend of mine showed up at our house in a very happy mood; turns out he was a wee bit drunk. He asked me, “Why can’t I feel this way all the time?” I had no answer back then, but it was first time I ever contemplated “lasting happiness”.

The Message of Hope outlines a specific 4-point plan for lasting happiness and world peace.

Point #1:
STOP SINNING!!! God is already too much offended! The first thing to understand is what the problem is. The problem is sin. Sin is the cause of unhappiness. We are prideful and distrust God. Since we distrust God, disobedience naturally follows.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: Sin can be thought of as taking some guilty pleasure.
Q: What would be the precise opposite of taking guilty pleasure?
A: Giving – Innocent – Suffering
Who does that remind you of?






Point #2:
God’s Grace is the solution. Men seek power, possessions and pleasure as temporal (or temporary) solutions to unhappiness. God’s Grace is an eternal and simple solution to the problem of sin.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: The solution is truly simple; think of weight loss. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight; VERY simple. What could be simpler? But how difficult it is to lose weight with our natural tendency towards fatty food, our bad habits, hunger pains and the “culture of food” we live in? So it is with sin and we need God’s Grace to overcome it.

Points 1 and 2 can be expressed in some troubleshooting language we use where I work. When taking some action on a problem, we must ascertain if we are taking action on the cause or an effect of the problem.

Ø  Action on the cause is called corrective action; it eliminates the cause.
Ø  Action on the effect is called interim or adaptive action; it limits the effect.
Example:
Ø  Problem: I have a cold
Ø  Cause: Virus
Ø  Effect: Runny nose (among other things)
v  Corrective Acton: kill virus
v  Interim or Adaptive Action: blow your nose

A troubleshooting triangle for the problem of sin looks like this:

Point #3:
We are called to holiness. How can the world receive this Grace which is also our solution? It can come through everyday people in the world. We are all called to strive for holiness. This is beyond the secular moral advice of “just be nice”. It is also more than a general adherence to the 10 commandments. It is the narrow path. It is a call to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mat 5:48 & Lev 19:2). If you think I’m OK and your OK, just read what comes after the beatitudes for a terrifying examination of conscience (Mat 5:21-48). But what practical steps can an imperfect person hope to take to ever be “holy”?

Ø  Formation: Study your faith!!! Read Two Catholic Men and a Blog.
You will NOT love a God you do not know, and you will NOT serve a God you do not love.

Ø  Sacraments: Frequent confession and reception of the Eucharist. Sin blocks God’s Grace. Even small sins begin to block the pipes through which Grace flows. Confession clears the pipes for an unhindered flow of Grace. You will receive more Grace at your next communion after confession, which will in turn allow you to make a better confession next time, which makes a better communion, which makes a better confession, and on and on. It’s an upward spiral to holiness.
Ø  Works: This is reaching out to others, evangelizing, teaching & helping. Scripture is clear; faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
Ø  Prayer: Simply put, prayer is directing one’s life toward God. Our Lady asks us to pray the Rosary daily as a way to do this.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE: This is nothing new. The early Christians were doing the four things listed above (Acts 2:42-47). Also, check out the four main sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and see how well they match.

Point #4
Consecration to Jesus through Mary. To be consecrated means to be “set apart” for a holy purpose, but why be consecrated through Mary? Prayerfully consider the following…

Ø  Mary is “full of Grace” (Luke 1:28). If the solution to our problem is Grace and Mary is full of Grace, we can deduce that Mary would be most helpful in solving our problem.
Ø  Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord (Luke 1:46). Think of a magnifying glass placed in the sun. What happens? The rays of the sun that go through the glass are concentrated and the heat & light is greatly magnified. How many ants discover this at the hands of mischievous little boys? Mary acts as the “magnifier” of God’s Grace and, once again, God’s grace is our solution. Magnifiers also work both ways. Mary will magnify our feeble efforts before God as well, if we go through her.
Ø  Jesus went through Mary as the way to reach Man. Man can go through Mary as the way to reach Jesus. The God of the universe entrusted himself to the care of Mary and Joseph. Why can’t we? What examples can you find where God can trust someone that we cannot?
TRUST
Ø  Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant. Maybe someday we’ll have a separate post on the many ways the ark in the Old Testament foreshadows Mary in the New Testament, but for now, we’ll look at one way which relates to a kind of battle plan for world peace.

In coming to the promise land, the ancient Israelites were told by God to conquer the walled city of Jericho. How was this done? What was the divine battle plan? They were told by God to simply march around the city in silence for seven days with the ark. On the seventh day they were to blow their trumpets, shout aloud, and the walls would fall… that’s it. This required an audacious hope in God and the walls of Jericho did indeed fall. God wanted them to use the ark; this foreshadows how God wants us to use today’s new ark (Mary) to win world peace.

“Jericho-type” events involving Mary as the new Ark of the Covenant:
Ø  In 1984 Pope JP2 consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Within seven years the Berlin wall fell, the iron curtain collapsed, the Soviet Union dissolved and on Dec 25 1991, the Christian Russian flag was raised above the Kremlin. Not a single shot was fired!
Ø  On October 31 1942, Pope Pius XII entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during WWII. From then on, Hitler’s army’s began suffering a series of crushing defeats on liturgical feast days.

v  Victory at Stalingrad: Feb 2, 1943 – Feast of the Presentation
v  Sicily taken: August 15, 1943 – Feast of the Assumption
v  Italy to the Allied side: September 8, 1943 – Feast of Mary’s birth
v  Allies land at Toulon: August 15, 1944 – Feast of the Assumption
v  Japan’s initial surrender ending WWII: August 15, 1945 – Feast of the Assumption (formal surrender was September 2)
What’s so special about Fatima? The Miracle of the Sun:
Ø  The Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917 was the greatest public miracle since the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Ø  It was foretold to happen at a specific time and place.
Ø  There were 70,000 eye witnesses.
Ø  It was documented by an atheistic press. The government in Portugal in 1917 was communist and the press was sent to show the world how nothing would happen, and how stupid the people were that stood there in the pouring rain waiting for a miracle. After the events, members of the atheistic press were among the eye witnesses.
Ø  As in the Bible, miracles are meant to get our attention and always point to a greater message. Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, papal theologian for five popes, concludes that The Miracle of the Sun points to a most significant message from heaven for our time.
INTERESTING SIDE NOTE:
Mary warned in 1917 that if people continued to offend God, a war would come even worse than WWI which was already raging, and it would be preceded by “a night of unknown light”. On January 25-26, 1938 a remarkable display of light, like an aurora borealis, was visible across all of Europe and the eastern part of the United Sates.

The night of unknown light was witnessed by Adolf Hitler. Part of The Message of Hope shows an interview with Hans Dieter, Hitler’s’ personal Assistant at the time. He describes Hitler’s crazed reaction to the lights and quotes him as saying, “It means blood, blood, blood and again blood! Destruction and terrible suffering! Blood and again blood! If it has to be, then let it be now!”; soon after he started WWII. (Austria annexed into the German Third Reich March 12, 1938).

Few heeded the message in 1917 and the result was “blood and again blood”, but the Message of Hope remains. If enough people follow the 4-point plan, enough Grace will flow into the world to usher in an era of peace.
It’s not too late. The efforts of a consecrated few will offset the sins of the many


The entire Message of Hope video given by Michael O’Rourke, member of the Apostolate for Family Consecration, can be viewed HERE. Scroll down to "(3) Message of Hope video".

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