Author: Shirley Aaron

Saints Of The Day, Feb. 20: Francisco And Jacinta Marto 

Saints Of The Day, Feb. 20: Francisco And Jacinta Marto 

Francisco and Jacinta

Fatima children, Francisco 11, and Jacinta 10, are the youngest non-martyrs to be canonized in the history of the Church. The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima.

During the first apparition, which took place May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. The children did, praying often, giving their lunch to beggars and going without food themselves. They offered up their daily crosses and even refrained from drinking water on hot days.

In October 1918, Francisco and Jacinta became seriously ill with the Spanish flu. Our Lady appeared to them and said she would to take them to heaven soon.

Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion. The following day, Francisco died, April 14, 1919. Jacinta suffered a long illness as well. She was eventually transferred to a Lisbon hospital and operated for an abscess in her chest, but her health did not improve. She died Feb. 20, 1920.

Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta May 13, 2000, on the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.

Pope Francis on May 13, 2017 officially declared Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints of the Catholic Church in front of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at Fatima, Portugal – teaching us that even young children can become saints.

Sts. Francisco and Jacinta, Pray for us! 

‘The Devil Is A Person And Not A Thing’ – Mexican Exorcist

‘The Devil Is A Person And Not A Thing’ – Mexican Exorcist

Exorcism is the religious or spiritual practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person, or an area, they are believed to have been possessed. 

Father Francisco Lopez Sedano is an 80-year-old Mexican exorcist. In the past 40 years of service, he has conducted at least 6,000 exorcisms.

And, he says, the devil is afraid of him.

Lopez told the newspaper Hoy Los Angeles (Los Angeles Today) that when the devil speaks to him through possessed people, he responds, “I am nobody, but I come from Christ, your Lord and God and you leave right now – I command you in His name that you go. Out!”

Lopez is the national coordinator emeritus of exorcism for the Archdiocese of Mexico, and he belongs to the order of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit. Now, he continues his ministry in the Parish of the Holy Cross in Mexico City.

During the interview, the priest highlighted four things that he learned during his years as an exorcist.

First, he emphasized, the devil is a person and not a thing.

He noted that Jesus confronted the devil many times and spoke to him. When speaking with a demon, “one isn’t talking with a thing, one is talking with a person.”

The evil one, he added, wants “to separate us from God, to frighten us, to threaten us, to make us tremble.”

“He brings us laziness, fatigue, sleepiness, distrust, desperation, hate; everything negative.”

Second, Lopez noted, the devil enters into persons because they allow him to do so.

“He can’t enter us if we do not open doors,” the priest said. “Because of this, God prohibits the practice of magic, Superstition, witchcraft, sorcery, divination, consulting the dead and spirits and astrology. These are the seven lands of lies and deceit.”

“That the stars influence our life is the biggest lie. They are millions of kilometers away! They are bodies formed by metals and gasses – how can they influence us? It’s the same with magic, which attributes to objects a power that they don’t have. To carry a horseshoe because it’s going to give me good luck – it’s a lie.”

Another truth that Lopez has learned from decades of experience is that the possessed exhibit specific behaviors.

He said that he has observed possessed persons who “began to shout, to bark like a dog, to scream or writhe and who squirmed like a snake on the ground. There are a thousand forms.”

On one occasion, Lopez said, a boy around 18 years old pushed five large benches that were so heavy they should have required the strength of 10 people to move.

“He had a terrible strength. We had to get him between three people to practice the exorcism. Having the presence of the Other, already explains anything. They are able to climb the walls, yes. And fly too.”

Sometimes, the possessed person “hears voices, feels hatred or rejection of God where before they believed and now they stamp on the Bible. Other people have a terrible backache, but doctors say that they are perfectly fine.”

“The injuries of Satan are outside the control of clinical medicine,” he continued. “People who live with permanent diarrhea and nothing makes it go away; people who have eye pain and ophthalmologists find nothing. These are injuries that science does not detect.”

Finally, the priest said, decades of ministry have taught him that exorcism is a divine mandate.

Regarding his appointment as an exorcist some 40 years ago, he affirmed that it was “out of necessity” after seeing “very serious and painful cases.”

“A fellow priest who was involved in it made me see that fighting the Evil One was an obligation. He said to me, ‘You have to enter into this by the command of the Lord.’ The three mandates are to carry the word of God, heal the sick and cast out demons. All three are valid in the Church.”

Why Mary Is The Mortal Enemy Of Satan.

Why Mary Is The Mortal Enemy Of Satan.



The Virgin Mother is the MORTAL ENEMY OF SATAN, Gen. 3:15. Satan hates Christ, BUT respects His Divinity. 

However, Satan REVILES with UTMOST CONTEMPT the Virgin Mother because She is not just a mere human but also a woman endowed with every gift of the Holy Spirit to the fullest, Luke 1:28; and it is because of Her humility and obedience to God in everything that defeats the pride of Satan. 

Her being a mere human raised to glory above him by the grace of God is of never ending torment to him because he was at one time the greatest and most beautiful of all angels. And because of his arrogance, God created a lowly creature to be exalted above him to show that God will never be mocked and get away with it. It is this imitation of Mary that makes us also hated by her greatest enemy. When we pray the Rosary in front of an image of the sublime and holy Mother of Christ it adds to his torment, to his defeat and to our victory with Her.

For two millennia, the Devil has done everything in his power to discourage devotion to her and instill hatred of her. 

Have you ever noticed that it is the Marian dogmas and devotions that arouse the strongest reactions in those who reject the Church? Even some good Catholics are embarrassed by devotion to our Lady, and think that we should not be too extreme in her veneration.

Perhaps you have also wondered why the Church holds the Immaculate Virgin in such great consideration. Perhaps you wondered why God decided to use it in the work of redemption. Today I would like to analyze a little about why the devil hates the Blessed Virgin so much, and why we should be her faithful knights.

HE WILL SHOW YOUR HEAD

The scene is the garden of Eden. The characters are God, the snake, Adam and Eve. The devil smirks in triumph. He has just deceived Eve, and also Adam through her. He is proud of himself. One can almost feel the demonic pride in destruction, because it has managed to ruin the divine work of creation and has dragged human beings – for whom God has special love – into death and misery.

God appeared on the scene to bring order, declaring the tragic misfortune derived from sin, but also to proclaim the protoevangelium, the first mention of the Gospel and the fate of the devil.

God begins by addressing Satan, telling him that he will eat dust for the rest of his days. Then he reveals something that horrifies Satan – his definitive defeat will come at the hands of a woman.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your race and its lineage: this will crush your head and you will inside your heel (Genesis 3:15)

Scholars argue that the pronoun in the sentence – “This will crush your head” – be it masculine or feminine, that is, if you refer to the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ, but I will reveal a little secret: it does not matter. Jesus will crush Satan through Mary. She is the instrument that Jesus wields when he destroys his ancient enemy.

Taking this into account, it is legitimate to say “he will crush your head” just as it is legitimate to say “she will crush your head”.It’s a little ‘say to an armed assailant “Another step and I’ll shoot you” and “Another step and my 44 magnum will make you fly away”. Both are true statements.

Why then being defeated by Mary hurts the devil so much? Because God wants to use Mary to defeat Satan. I’ll explain it to you.


“THE POWER OF THE THRONE …”

The devil hates, I mean that he resists the idea that his final defeat will come at the hands of a humble handmaid. In a certain way, his proud heart could bear the fact of being defeated by God himself because he is omnipotent, but being crushed by a little girl from Nazareth? The thought is completely humiliating. It drives him crazy. Because if there is one thing that the most proud creature of all creation hates is to be humiliated.

 

Satan considers this defeat by the humiliating Virgin Mary because she is a woman, and women are the weaker sex (1 Peter 3: 7), and he despises weakness. He loves nothing more than to see women abused, degraded and reduced to an object. Not to mention the fact that the Blessed Virgin is human, and Satan hates humans because we have a body, and he is a pure spirit who thinks the bodies are disgusting. But there is another deeper reason for the fact that Satan hates being defeated by Mary: she is his substitute in heaven. 


Originally, Lucifer was the best result of God. He was more beautiful, more powerful than all the other creatures of God. And as we all know, this gave him to the head. He was so splendid, so powerful, that he really thought he could be better than God. The characteristic features of Satan are the pride and envy of the Almighty.

And what are the characteristics of the Madonna? 

First of all, she is extremely humble. It is in fact the humblest creature that has ever existed. For every ounce of pride the demon has, Mary has twice as much humility. 

For every bit of bitter and hate envy in the black heart of Satan, Mary’s heart is full of double praise, adoration and love. 

For every morsel of perverse and destructive depravity in the soul of the devil, Mary’s heart is full of purity and fecundity. And by grace, God made her the most exquisite and most glorious creature in the whole universe – the title the devil claimed.

In any case, the Immaculate is the exact opposite of Satan. In any case, she is his substitute, and he knows it. This divine exchange of Satan with Mary is revealed in the hymn of praise of Our Lady, the Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord 

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 

because he looked at the humility of his servant. 

From now on all generations 

they will call me blessed. 

The Almighty has done great things for me 

and holy is his name: 

His mercy from generation to generation 

it lies on those who fear it. 

He explained the power of his arm, 

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 

has overthrown the powerful from the thrones, 

he raised the humble; 

he has filled the hungry with good things, 

he sent the rich away empty-handed. 

He has helped Israel, his servant, 

remembering his mercy, 

as he had promised our fathers, 

to Abraham and his descendants, forever.

The worst thing for Satan is that his substitute in heaven is none other than the mother of the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ, whose passion and death have redeemed the humanity that he has done so much to destroy. His “yes” to God has repaired Eve’s disobedience, paving the way for the saving work of the New Adam. The true weakness of Eve that Satan has so despised was replaced by the humble obedience of Mary, an obedience to the will of God that made her powerful beyond all limits.

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Nigerian Bishop Okpaleke

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Nigerian Bishop Okpaleke

Bishop Okpaleke

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Nigerian bishop whose 2012 appointment sparked years of protest from the diocese’s priests, backing down from a confrontation eight months after threatening to suspend the priests should they continue to agitate.

In a short note Feb. 19, the Vatican said the pontiff had accepted the resignation of Bishop Peter Okpaleke, head of the southern Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, and put neighboring Umuahia Bishop Lucius Ugorji in charge as apostolic administrator.

Okpaleke was appointed to his post by Pope Benedict XVI but was never able to take possession of the diocese because of the widespread nature of the protests. Francis wrote to the priests of the diocese last June, giving them 30 days to accept their bishop or be suspended from ministry.

The priests had complained that Okpaleke was not from Mbaise, the region surrounding their diocese. They said it is unfair that there is no Catholic bishop in Nigeria originally from their region, long known as one of the country’s most Catholic areas.

Francis’ removal of Okpaleke represents the second notable about-face the pontiff has made regarding a local bishop in three weeks, following his Jan. 30 decision to send Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna to investigate accusations against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

The pope had previously called allegations that Barros was witness as a priest in the 1980s and 90s to sexual abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima “calumny” and said there was no evidence against the prelate.

In a June 9 letter to the priests of the Ahiara diocese, Francis told them “whoever was opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the diocese wants to destroy the church.”

The pontiff then ordered every priest of the diocese, including those living elsewhere in the country or even abroad, to write him a letter of apology for the protest and ask for his forgiveness.

“Whoever does not do this will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office,” Francis told the priests then.

In a statement Feb. 19, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said 200 priests of the Ahiara diocese had written to Francis to apologize but that others “pointed out their psychological difficulty in collaborating with the Bishop after years of conflict.”

The congregation, which holds competence over dioceses in Nigeria, said the pope “decided not to proceed with the canonical sanctions” against the priests who did not apologize.

The statement said the dicastery “urged every priest to reflect on the grave damage inflicted on the Church of Christ and expressed hope that in the future they will never again repeat such unreasonable actions opposing a Bishop legitimately appointed by the Supreme Pontiff.”

The Fides news agency, an outlet of the Vatican congregation, also published Feb. 19 a pastoral letter promulgated by Okpaleke Feb. 14, in which he announces his resignation from the Ahiara diocese.

“I am convinced … that my remaining the Bishop of Ahiara Diocese is no longer beneficial to the Church,” the prelate states in the letter. “I do not think that my apostolate in a diocese where some of the priests and lay faithful are ill disposed to have me in their midst would be effective.”

“I invite any dissenting priests to re-examine their initial motivations for becoming priests in the Catholic Church,” he continues. “Repentance and reconciliation are very urgent!”

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