To begin this second week exploring Thomas Keating’s final poems, I offer a basic overview of the stages of spiritual development that Thomas so authentically modeled in his life and teaching. (Sunday)
All emotional drama has dropped out, since there is no longer a fixed point of selfhood to be “happy” or “unhappy” about a situation. Time no longer rushes on into the future, but rests comfortably in a more spacious now. —Cynthia Bourgeault (Monday)
When there is no fixed point of reference to “take it home to,” to make it about “my experience of “I AM,” then there is only the bare “I AM.” —Cynthia Bourgeault (Tuesday)
The contemplative state enables one to rest and act at the same time because one is rooted in the source of both rest and action. —Thomas Keating (Wednesday)
We are neither isolated nor helpless but immersed in a great web of belonging in which divine intelligence and compassion are always at our disposal if our courage does not fail us. —Cynthia Bourgeault (Thursday)
The only path forward for the survival of our species and perhaps even our planet is a path of nonviolence, of contemplation and action prioritizing justice and solidarity, an affirmation of Oneness and the interconnectedness of all things, which science confirms, and spirituality has always known on its deepest level. (Friday)
Practice: Centering Prayer
Both Thomas Keating and Cynthia Bourgeault have made great contributions to the Christian contemplative tradition, perhaps most significantly through their dedication to the practice and teaching of Centering Prayer. To close this week, Cynthia offers further instructions on Centering Prayer.
Since [Centering Prayer] works entirely with “intention, not attention” (as Thomas Keating repeatedly emphasizes), there is no focal point for the attention, not even the breath or a mantra. Practitioners must learn early how to maintain their attention in (or more often, return it to) that inner, undifferentiated state. Anything that serves as an object for the attention, no matter how pious or holy—a vision, intercessory prayer, an itch on your nose—is considered in this practice to be a “thought” and must be let go of. As practitioners gradually learn the art of withdrawing energy from all objects of attention, they are at the same time (and largely unbeknownst to themselves) developing an inner capacity to distinguish by feel the difference between attention in and attention on. Letting go is first and foremost a gesture—a subtle inner drop and release—and every opportunity to practice it strengthens the patterning. . . .
Like most beginners, I thought that the aim in Centering Prayer was to let go of my thoughts so that God could “fill” me with [God’s] presence. One day I suddenly realized that the God story was the sideshow and the letting go was the main event. That was when the practice flipped for me, as I recognized that thoughts were not the obstacle; they were the raw material, as every opportunity to practice releasing that focal point for attention deepened the reservoir of “free attention” within me and strengthened the signal of the homing beacon of my heart.
Sooner or later a tipping point is reached . . . when the strength of this signal becomes stronger than the attraction exerted by the thoughts. When a thought arises at the surface of the mind, a countering pull from the depths becomes so strong that letting go is effortless; in fact, it is impossible to do otherwise. At about this time, typically, one also begins to experience this “tug” outside of the prayer period itself, as events of daily life offer themselves as reminders of (rather than distractions from) the deeper yearning of the heart. . . .
[Centering Prayer’s] great strength as a practice is that it begins to build (or quicken) within a person a new center of gravity through which that traditional cul-de-sac of most witnessing practice—the mind spying on itself—can be surmounted by a new ability to remain rooted in being through sensation, not reflection. This is a huge milestone. It begins to approximate the capacity for that ancient desideratum of the Song of Songs: “I sleep, but my heart is awake” [5:2]. All that now remains is to transpose the usual seat of one’s identity from the narrative self to this native ground of witnessing presence.
Imagine if someone gave their life for you because they loved you. They were put into a situation where they knew you would lose your life if they did not freely give theirs. As a result, they chose to step forward in confidence, giving their life in exchange for yours. In order for someone to do this they would have to have an incredible depth of love for you, so much so that they valued your life over their own. This depth of love may be rare but it does exist and we haven’t far to look to find it. We only need to look at a crucifix to be made aware of this reality. We easily become so familiar with the Crucifixion of our Lord that we overlook the fundamental fact of His perfect love. He valued your life more than His own. He did not hesitate to die a horrible death so that you could live. This fact should not escape your daily notice. It is not some far away sublime idea; it’s a practical reality that has absolute consequences in your life. Jesus’ death is the only reason that you can live eternally in Heaven. This is an act of Mercy that should leave us with eternal gratitude (See Diary #1485).
Spend time today pondering the Crucifixion of our Lord. Try to see it not as some far away event that has only an inspirational influence on your life. See it instead for what it is. Without the free gift of Jesus on the Cross you would be lost for eternity. It’s as simple as that. His act of love was an exchange of His life for yours. The depth of His love for you is more than you will ever fathom. Ponder this truth today and rejoice that you are loved to such an absolute extent.
Lord, I will never fully understand the depth of Your perfect love. In my small way I thank You with all my heart and choose to accept the total gift of Your death on the Cross. Help me to never doubt Your love for me, dear Lord, and help me to love You in return. Jesus, I trust in You.
The subtitle for the Time feature proposes a special occasion of the present moment for such an initiative, asserting ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to think about the kind of future we want… to share ideas for how to transform the way we live and work.’Fri Oct 30, 2020 – 1:26 pm EST
October 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Time magazine has devoted an entire issue to promoting an initiative called “The Great Reset,” referred to by one commentator as “the Green New Deal on steroids” which will seek to “advance socialist ideals, including the destruction of capitalism and individual rights.”
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the primary sponsor of the initiative, “The Great Reset” seeks to address “an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis,” with an expanded goal of improving “the state of the world.”
The WEF was founded by German Professor Klaus Schwab in 1971 and has been gathering “heads of state, billionaires, and heads of big business” yearly to discuss “economical and governance issues… common world rules to supersede national sovereign decisions, promoting nondiscrimination, ‘to transform economies and societies.’”
The subtitle for the Time feature proposes a special occasion of the present moment for such an initiative, asserting “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to think about the kind of future we want… to share ideas for how to transform the way we live and work.”
Repeating this theme in the brief video below, Schwab announces: “The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that our old systems are not fit anymore for the 21stcentury. It has laid bare the fundamental lack of social cohesion, fairness, inclusion, and equality. Now is the historical moment, the time, not only to fight the virus but to shape the system … for the post COVID era… In short, we need a Great Reset!”
In his contribution to this special issue of Time, Prof. Schwab expands upon the meaning of “The Great Reset” in an article titled “A Better Economy Is Possible. But We Need to Reimagine Capitalism to Do It.”
Celebrating “the only immediate upside” to the COVID-19 crisis, “the drop in greenhouse-gas emissions, which brought slight, temporary relief to the planet’s atmosphere,” Schwab went on to announce, “there are reasons to believe that a better economic system is possible—and that it could be just around the corner.”
Admiring the “cooperation between governments and business” in developing SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the WEF executive chairman hoped that such patterns of collaboration “can become a feature of our economic systems rather than a rare exception.”
To accomplish these ends, particularly with regards to “social and governance goals,” Dr. Schwab proposes something called “Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics” which are additional non-financial disclosures for companies in their annual reports.— Article continues below Petition —
These metrics would include answering questions such as: “What is the gender pay gap in company X? How many people of diverse backgrounds were hired and promoted? What progress has the company made toward reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions? How much did the company pay in taxes globally and per jurisdiction?”
In another article on the WEF website, Schwab affirms that “The Great Reset,” will “require stronger and more effective governments” and the “creating … [of] incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.”
He also asserts that “the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.”
“Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism,” Schwab continues.
As further explained, by Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, the global economy needs “rebalancing.”
“We need to design policies to align with investment in people and the environment,” Burrow said. “But above all, the longer-term perspective is about rebalancing economies.”
In an August 6video presentation on “The Great Reset,” editor of The Remnant, Michael Matt addressed the connection between the coronavirus crisis and the lockdowns.
“This is not about COVID anymore. This is about a reset of everything. And the United States of America is in the way right now of all of it, so they are destabilizing our entire country,” Matt said.
“The name of the game now is to bring the United States economy to its knees, get it out of the way, so that everyone will want ‘The Great Reset,’” Matt stated.
He continued, “The Great Reset, then, politically, [and] economically … wants to implement massive socialist programs, and, of course, global climate change along the lines of the Green New Deal. The regulation is going to be unbelievable.”
The only person standing in the way of this global effort, Matt asserts, is Donald Trump.
While addressing the WEF annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland last January, the U.S. President stated:
“We are committed to conserving the majesty of God’s creation, and the natural beauty of our world… But to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse… These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives. We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country, or eradicate our liberty. America will always be the proud, strong, and unyielding bastion of freedom.”
While the specifics of the “Great Reset” have yet to be revealed, they are expected to be disclosed at the WEF meeting in January 2021. However, given the evidence, Justin Haskins of the Heartland Institute concludes, “it’s clear that the purpose of the plan … is to move the world economy toward socialism, using climate change and COVID-19 as justifications.”
And in order to help defeat the “Great Reset,” Michael Matt advises, “pray that Trump wins in November.”
October 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Despite her father’s pro-life political positions, Ivanka Trump had been elusive on the subject of abortion until recently, when she said, “I am pro-life, and unapologetically so,” in an exclusive interview with RealClearPolitics. “I am also a mother of three children, and parenthood affected me in a profound way in terms of how I think about these things,” she said.
While Ivanka had never previously made clear her position on abortion, it appeared that she was, at least, moving toward being pro-life in 2017 after a meeting with former Planned Parenthood president Cecil Richards did not go as Planned Parenthood hoped. SUBSCRIBEto LifeSite’s daily headlinesSUBSCRIBEU.S. Canada World Catholic
In the months after President Trump’s inauguration, Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner met with Richards so she could make her case to receive ongoing taxpayer dollars for the abortion giant. Trump and Kushner were willing to negotiate continued funding for Planned Parenthood under one condition — stop providing abortions. Richards declined, and later went on record in her book to criticize Ivanka. Richards said the couple’s offer felt like taking bribe money.
From the beginning of Trump’s presidency, the left has not been kind to Ivanka for failing to embrace feminism according to their standards. She was criticized in Vogue for changing her Twitter bio to read “wife, mother, sister, daughter.” She was spoofed on Saturday Night Live in a perfume skit called “complicit.” Complicit to what, exactly, was never made clear. The New York Times called her brand of feminism “fake” and “dangerous.”
And perhaps it was that type of knee-jerk extremism that played a role in her newly vocalized stance against abortion. “A huge driving part of that (stance) is where the Democratic Party has gone,” the RealClearPolitics interview stated, in regards to abortion policies.
We thank God that Poland’s faithful Catholic men, real men, men who accept fatherhood, and who have placed their own bodies between the leftist onslaught of the churches and monuments of their ancestorsFri Oct 30, 2020 – 4:46 pm EST
October 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic Poland is in danger of losing her soul. Large groups of Polish young people who never knew Communist oppression but have been steeped since birth in a toxic brew of pop culture and cultural Marxism have taken to the streets to protest something that should be celebrated by us all: the decision of a Polish court that eugenic abortion is unconstitutional.
Furious, Poland’s once-marginal pro-abortion movement has taken to the streets, calling out to the nation’s Netflix generation like a demonic Pied Piper to demand the right to kill their disabled children — indeed, any unborn children. Unthinkable just five years ago, young Polish women are screaming obscenities on the street and declaring themselves willing to have sex with anyone and everyone and to abort any resulting child. https://www.youtube.com/embed/dz9ZlummRE8
And instead of confining their protests to the public square, the far-left extremists and their disciples have taken their “war”— their word, not ours — to the nation’s Catholic churches and to monuments commemorating those Poles who died so that their generation could live. SUBSCRIBEto LifeSite’s daily headlinesSUBSCRIBEU.S. Canada World Catholic
In the past week, they have interrupted Masses, screaming blasphemies and obscenities, during the liturgy. They have vandalized churches and sacred monuments. Some demonstrators attacked a priest, exulting in the fact that their victim was a priest. Other demonstrators split open a young man’s head merely because he was protecting his town’s statue of St. Pope John Paul II.
We thank God that Poland’s faithful Catholic men, real men, men who accept fatherhood, and who have placed their own bodies between the leftist onslaught of the churches and monuments of their ancestors. And we also assure our brothers and sisters in the Polish pro-life movement that we have not forgotten them. “NIE (Nyeh) jestecie (yest- ETCH-ye) sami (sA-mee)!” You are not alone! We are with you. We are praying for you. We thank you for what you have done for unborn children and for your traditional Catholic culture.
From the bottom of my heart, dearest brothers and sisters in Poland, you are an amazing inspiration to us here in the West. You are one of the last nations on earth holding to the truth of Christ and defending defenseless unborn children – never give up! You have led the way in the pro-life fight by fighting to protect the disabled from being killed in the wombs of their mothers. You are standing strong to defend your churches and monuments. You are our heroes. Catholics around the world see what is happening in Poland, and we commit now to praying earnestly for you while you battle the Satanic forces that are working to destroy the heart and soul of Poland.
Cardinal Raymond Burke criticized Biden for presenting himself as a ‘devout Catholic’ while holding a ‘perfect’ record of promoting the ‘attack on the innocent defenseless unborn’ via abortion.Fri Oct 30, 2020 – 3:55 pm EST
By Charles Robertson
October 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In an interview with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN’ The World Over last night, Cardinal Raymond Burke laid out the hierarchy of issues that should be topmost in Catholic voters’ minds on election night, highlighting how Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s record is “not correct” in relation to life, marriage, and the family.
“What we have to attend to are the most fundamental goods for the country, and the other goods follow from them,” Burke said. “Number one has to be life, number two has to be the family, which is where life is welcomed, and the third has to be religious freedom in order that the home can be truly a little church in order that people can live their faith with integrity,” he continued.https://www.youtube.com/embed/iX068mFjM7Q
“These are the fundamental issues, and the other things surely all have to be addressed, but if we don’t get it straight with regard to human life in regard to the family and religious freedom, there’s no future for our country,” he said.
Responding to Biden’s presentation of himself as a devout Catholic who will free the nation “from the forces of darkness,” the Cardinal said that Biden, on account of his positions on life, marriage, and the family, is not someone who could deliver the country from darkness. “I would say not,” Burke said.
Saying that he could not imagine how Biden could present himself as a devout Catholic, Burke pointed out that Biden “has a record which is unfortunately perfect in promoting the attack on the innocent defenseless unborn.” He named the politician’s pledge to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide insurance covering procedures contrary to the moral law and his support of gender ideology that attacks the family and religious freedom.
“The great darkness in our nation comes from the wholesale slaughter of the unborn,” he said.— Article continues below Petition —PETITION: Urge Catholic bishops to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion Biden
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Burke concluded his discussion of Biden’s record with his response to Arroyo’s question, “Would you deny Joe Biden communion, or any public figure who has this record?”
“Of course,” he replied. “First, I would admonish them as I’ve done in the past … but then if they persist in this, then they cannot present themselves for Holy Communion because they are involved in a grave moral evil which is a source scandal to everyone that endangers their own soul.”
‘It is you, dear President, who are ‘the one who opposes’ the deep state, the final assault of the children of darkness,’ His Excellency wrote. ‘Place your trust in the Lord.’Fri Oct 30, 2020 – 1:01 am EST
By Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
October 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – His Excellency, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has written yet another open letter to President Donald J. Trump. Read it in its entirety below. It is available in PDF by clicking here. Read it in Italian here.
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICAhttps://022804d6496abf5881a419d88e926c2a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
DONALD J. TRUMP
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Solemnity of Christ the King
Allow me to address you at this hour in which the fate of the whole world is being threatened by a global conspiracy against God and humanity. I write to you as an Archbishop, as a Successor of the Apostles, as the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America. I am writing to you in the midst of the silence of both civil and religious authorities. May you accept these words of mine as the “voice of one crying out in the desert” (Jn 1:23).
As I said when I wrote my letter to you in June, this historical moment sees the forces of Evil aligned in a battle without quarter against the forces of Good; forces of Evil that appear powerful and organized as they oppose the children of Light, who are disoriented and disorganized, abandoned by their temporal and spiritual leaders.
Daily we sense the attacks multiplying of those who want to destroy the very basis of society: the natural family, respect for human life, love of country, freedom of education and business. We see heads of nations and religious leaders pandering to this suicide of Western culture and its Christian soul, while the fundamental rights of citizens and believers are denied in the name of a health emergency that is revealing itself more and more fully as instrumental to the establishment of an inhuman faceless tyranny.https://www.youtube.com/embed/r1niIlltWzI
A global plan called the Great Reset is underway. Its architect is a global élite that wants to subdue all of humanity, imposing coercive measures with which to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations. In several nations this plan has already been approved and financed; in others it is still in an early stage. Behind the world leaders who are the accomplices and executors of this infernal project, there are unscrupulous characters who finance the World Economic Forum and Event 201, promoting their agenda.
The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups. Beyond the enormous economic interests that motivate the promoters of the Great Reset, the imposition of the vaccination will be accompanied by the requirement of a health passport and a digital ID, with the consequent contact tracing of the population of the entire world. Those who do not accept these measures will be confined in detention camps or placed under house arrest, and all their assets will be confiscated.
Mr. President, I imagine that you are already aware that in some countries the Great Reset will be activated between the end of this year and the first trimester of 2021. For this purpose, further lockdowns are planned, which will be officially justified by a supposed second and third wave of the pandemic. You are well aware of the means that have been deployed to sow panic and legitimize draconian limitations on individual liberties, artfully provoking a world-wide economic crisis. In the intentions of its architects, this crisis will serve to make the recourse of nations to the Great Reset irreversible, thereby giving the final blow to a world whose existence and very memory they want to completely cancel. But this world, Mr. President, includes people, affections, institutions, faith, culture, traditions, and ideals: people and values that do not act like automatons, who do not obey like machines, because they are endowed with a soul and a heart, because they are tied together by a spiritual bond that draws its strength from above, from that God that our adversaries want to challenge, just as Lucifer did at the beginning of time with his “non serviam.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/0QRKDia4BLU
Many people – as we well know – are annoyed by this reference to the clash between Good and Evil and the use of “apocalyptic” overtones, which according to them exasperates spirits and sharpens divisions. It is not surprising that the enemy is angered at being discovered just when he believes he has reached the citadel he seeks to conquer undisturbed. What is surprising, however, is that there is no one to sound the alarm. The reaction of the deep state to those who denounce its plan is broken and incoherent, but understandable. Just when the complicity of the mainstream media had succeeded in making the transition to the New World Order almost painless and unnoticed, all sorts of deceptions, scandals and crimes are coming to light.
Until a few months ago, it was easy to smear as “conspiracy theorists” those who denounced these terrible plans, which we now see being carried out down to the smallest detail. No one, up until last February, would ever have thought that, in all of our cities, citizens would be arrested simply for wanting to walk down the street, to breathe, to want to keep their business open, to want to go to church on Sunday. Yet now it is happening all over the world, even in picture-postcard Italy that many Americans consider to be a small enchanted country, with its ancient monuments, its churches, its charming cities, its characteristic villages. And while the politicians are barricaded inside their palaces promulgating decrees like Persian satraps, businesses are failing, shops are closing, and people are prevented from living, traveling, working, and praying. The disastrous psychological consequences of this operation are already being seen, beginning with the suicides of desperate entrepreneurs and of our children, segregated from friends and classmates, told to follow their classes while sitting at home alone in front of a computer.
In Sacred Scripture, Saint Paul speaks to us of “the one who opposes” the manifestation of the mystery of iniquity, the kathèkon (2 Thess 2:6-7). In the religious sphere, this obstacle to evil is the Church, and in particular the papacy; in the political sphere, it is those who impede the establishment of the New World Order.
As is now clear, the one who occupies the Chair of Peter has betrayed his role from the very beginning in order to defend and promote the globalist ideology, supporting the agenda of the deep church, who chose him from its ranks.
Mr. President, you have clearly stated that you want to defend the nation – One Nation under God, fundamental liberties, and non-negotiable values that are denied and fought against today. It is you, dear President, who are “the one who opposes” the deep state, the final assault of the children of darkness.
For this reason, it is necessary that all people of good will be persuaded of the epochal importance of the imminent election: not so much for the sake of this or that political program, but because of the general inspiration of your action that best embodies – in this particular historical context – that world, our world, which they want to cancel by means of the lockdown. Your adversary is also our adversary: it is the Enemy of the human race, He who is “a murderer from the beginning” (Jn 8:44).
Around you are gathered with faith and courage those who consider you the final garrison against the world dictatorship. The alternative is to vote for a person who is manipulated by the deep state, gravely compromised by scandals and corruption, who will do to the United States what Jorge Mario Bergoglio is doing to the Church, Prime Minister Conte to Italy, President Macron to France, Prime Minster Sanchez to Spain, and so on. The blackmailable nature of Joe Biden – just like that of the prelates of the Vatican’s “magic circle” – will expose him to be used unscrupulously, allowing illegitimate powers to interfere in both domestic politics as well as international balances. It is obvious that those who manipulate him already have someone worse than him ready, with whom they will replace him as soon as the opportunity arises.
And yet, in the midst of this bleak picture, this apparently unstoppable advance of the “Invisible Enemy,” an element of hope emerges. The adversary does not know how to love, and it does not understand that it is not enough to assure a universal income or to cancel mortgages in order to subjugate the masses and convince them to be branded like cattle. This people, which for too long has endured the abuses of a hateful and tyrannical power, is rediscovering that it has a soul; it is understanding that it is not willing to exchange its freedom for the homogenization and cancellation of its identity; it is beginning to understand the value of familial and social ties, of the bonds of faith and culture that unite honest people. This Great Reset is destined to fail because those who planned it do not understand that there are still people ready to take to the streets to defend their rights, to protect their loved ones, to give a future to their children and grandchildren. The leveling inhumanity of the globalist project will shatter miserably in the face of the firm and courageous opposition of the children of Light. The enemy has Satan on its side, He who only knows how to hate. But on our side, we have the Lord Almighty, the God of armies arrayed for battle, and the Most Holy Virgin, who will crush the head of the ancient Serpent. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
Mr. President, you are well aware that, in this crucial hour, the United States of America is considered the defending wall against which the war declared by the advocates of globalism has been unleashed. Place your trust in the Lord, strengthened by the words of the Apostle Paul: “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). To be an instrument of Divine Providence is a great responsibility, for which you will certainly receive all the graces of state that you need, since they are being fervently implored for you by the many people who support you with their prayers.
With this heavenly hope and the assurance of my prayer for you, for the First Lady, and for your collaborators, with all my heart I send you my blessing.
God bless the United States of America!
+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Tit. Archbishop of Ulpiana
Former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America
Private revelations from saints in Heaven are possible, and the Church has approved many of them.
After someone dies, it can seem like there is a wide chasm between our world and theirs. Yet, the spiritual world is much closer than we think, and on rare occasions certain individuals have been given a glimpse of it.
Death is the separation of body and spirit, and for those who go to Heaven, their souls remain in complete and total union with God. This union has an infinite number of benefits, and one of those is the ability to move about freely, with the possibility of visiting people on earth.
Strictly speaking we know very little about this phenomenon. What we do know is that Jesus Christ visited his apostles after his death and resurrection, showing that this type of interaction between deceased and living is possible.
The Catholic Church does recognize that besides Jesus, others in union with him in Heaven can make occasional visits as well. This includes angels and saints, most notably the Blessed Virgin Mary.
However, the Church does not easily approve of these private revelations, as they could be demonic deceptions, or part of a person’s own imagination. A Vatican document that was drafted in 1978 describes the steps needed to confirm a private revelation. After those steps are completed, on certain occasions, the Holy See may decide that a particular apparition or message is universal in character and can benefit the entire Church, labeling it “worthy of belief.”
It is possible that individual persons may witness an apparition of a saint (meaning, anyone in Heaven), but those instances are difficult to discern. This is why any instance should be brought to a trusted spiritual advisor, who can help see if it was authentic, or only an illusion. The Vatican document mentioned above can also help in the discernment.
The basic answer is “yes,” saints can visit people on earth, though this happens on rare occasions and for a specific purpose in God’s divine plan.
We have to go beyond a “pious wish for fraternity,” to “expressing a real urgency for fraternity.”
“One cannot separate these [terrorist] acts from the violent drift of our contemporary world,” reflected Msgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, after the Islamist attack at the Basilica of Nice.
The French prelate—who assists Pope Francis in the drafting of catecheses and of the World Day of Peace message distributed each year on January 1—calls for all people to “build fraternity based on mutual respect and consideration,” he told I.Media.
“We are all affected, in the Church and in society,” Msgr. Duffé said. “This type of act is on the order of suicide; these individuals are lost.”
He suggested that they express “a hatred and despair that they cannot master and therefore they’re no longer able to measure the value of a life.” A life then becomes “negligible and scorned for the benefit of a cause. I see this as an expression of madness.”
But “we cannot separate these [terrorist] acts from the violent drift of our contemporary world,” he believes. “The effects of injustice and inequality produce violent reactions … We don’t talk to each other anymore; political leaders have reached an impasse,” the prelate said.
“The challenge of fraternity,” expressed in Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti, “stands before us more than ever
The pair of states commemorate the “Peace Light of Bethlehem” initiative, which was inaugurated in 1986 by the Austrian broadcasting company ORF. Each year in early December an Austrian girl or boy is selected to go to Bethlehem to light a lantern from the oil lamp that hangs above the 14-point Star of Bethlehem within the Church of the Nativity. The star marks the spot where Jesus is believed to have been born, and is an important pilgrimage site for Christians.
The lantern is then flown back to Vienna on board an airplane, and the flame is used to light other lamps and candles in churches and by Nativity scenes.
The flame then travels by train throughout Europe during the third week of Advent, acting as an ambassador of peace as it announces the birth of Jesus. In past years the Austrian Scouts movement and Austrian Airlines have transported the Light of Peace to parts of North and South America and beyond.