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February, 1998

TOTALLY CATHOLIC E-ZINE - February Issue, 1998

Welcome to Totally Catholic E-zine, the newest Email magazine designed specifically for traditional Roman Catholics. This forum will provide informative articles and commentary on issues related to the One True Faith. UPDATE (4/27/98)T.C.E. is no longer available in the e-mail format.

The Spiritual Dimension

When my maternal grandmother died a few years ago, my mother was at her bedside with her. I remember the wonder and mystery that filled me when my mother recounted her experience of what happened at the exact moment of my grandmother's death.

My mother recalled that a grayness, much like a shadow, passed over my grandmother's face and that her shoulders seemed to rise ever so slightly, as if her soul were literally being pulled up and out of her. I have always been fascinated with that story, for I felt that a connection, however small, had been made with the other side--the spiritual dimension.

Isn't it amazing the craze today with anything supernatural? Thousands flock to see the resemblance of Jesus' face on a knothole in a tree or Mary's image in the reflection of an office building...believers and nonbelievers alike amass to witness statues of the Blessed Virgin weeping...stories abound of angelic messengers, who materialize to aid in a time of need--and then suddenly disappear...fascination continues with the afterlife and what occurs at the moment of death. And so on and so on.

This fascination should not come as a surprise to us--after all, we are spiritual beings, and there is a part of all of us that is searching, in our own way, for God. Many search for God through false and worldly means: drugs, alcohol, materialism, lust--but search we all do, for as St. Augustine once wrote, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You."

But back to this obsession with the supernatural. Should it not surprise us when this dimension does break through to us now and then? I believe the spiritual dimension is more available to us than we think. It's almost as if there is a part of us that wishes to be Alice in, "Through the Looking Glass", who stepped through the mirror and entered a new dimension. Or how easy for us if we could "jump into time", as the characters in the children's classic, "A Wrinkle in Time" did. Why do we segregate ourselves so from the spiritual world? Again, remember, we are spiritual beings; many times we are too caught up in our bodies--the material part of us--that we forget we are both body *and* soul.

Scoop up a newborn baby into your arms and gaze into her eyes. Do you not feel that you are looking into the eyes of God and that this baby is almost "fresh" from Heaven? What about flowers that bloom en mass, never to be seen by human eyes? What purpose do they serve--if not to give glory to God by their very beauty? Is this not supernatural as well? God does not create everything solely for the purpose of man's use and enjoyment. Are not these unseen flowers, with their petals stretching forth to Heaven, shouting out their praise to God? What about the people we see every day--yes, even strangers--is there not a supernatural aspect, even in them? That part of them which seems, even in evil and apathy, to be reaching upwards to God, as if to say, "Please help me!" Are we not, in recognizing their dire need for God, realizing it is their souls we are seeing?

There is no need to dissolve the membrane that separates us from "the other side". It is all around us--every day and in everything we see and do. We only need to look for it. Heaven united to earth long ago when a helpless child was born in a lowly stable. Heaven continues to unite with earth in everyday miracles and mysteries. And Heaven is forever united to us in the greatest gift and mystery of all time: Jesus--present and with us--Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Most Holy Eucharist.

God will soon unveil to us all the mysteries hidden from our eyes, but until we can see with truly clear eyes, we need to realize that Heaven is indeed all around us, and we are closer to it than we realize. We only need to become aware of it.

by Jeannie Mainzer

9.9 cent long distance 24 hours a day - NO RESTRICTIONS!

++++++++++++"Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant" ++++++++++++++++++++++

Like the rest of the countless devoted followers of Mother Angelica and E.W.T.N. (The Eternal Word Television Network), I followed with interest and a bit of dismay the most recent events involving Mother and a bitter Cardinal from California. Mother Angelica has always been one to speak her mind, and that is just what she did when she questioned an ambiguously worded pastoral letter from the Cardinal on the Eucharist. In the letter, the Cardinal seems to intimate that the bread and wine remains just that--bread and wine, even after the Consecration. Mother Angelica's complaint is that the pastoral letter focuses on assembly--the concentration on assembly by the people in the Church rather than the Eucharist. "You and I are not the Eucharist, you and I are poor sinners," she told the Cardinal. She stated that she felt the letter was unclear on what the Church teaches about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. In fact, Mother complained, the only time the term 'transubstantiation' was even used was in a very small footnote (who reads those things, anyway?).

The Cardinal was furious at the fact that Mother openly questioned his pastoral letter during her monologue of her "Mother Angelica Live" cable television show. Not only did he issue her a terse demand for a public retraction, but he also threatened legal action by taking counsel with canon and civil lawyers. The Cardinal cited a quote from Canon Law to support his insistence that Mother Angelica had no right to speak critically of his pastoral letter. The Cardinal did not mention, however, another important Canon Law (C.L. 212) which addresses the "right, indeed at times the duty" of the faithful to manifest to the sacred pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church, and to "make these views known to all of Christ's faithful". Isn't this what Mother Angelica was doing? Mother Angelica's network has always been a beacon of truth during these very foggy, confusing times for the Catholic Church.

Mother issued the public apology on a later show, but not before pointing out to the Cardinal the various points from the pastoral letter which she found to be so confusing. This did not satisfy the Cardinal, who then issued another insistence that she issue a further public apology and 'retraction', going so far as to specify even that he expected her to air this public statement on 'four different occasions', and that it ought to be written by her own local Bishop. He further insisted that the 'retraction' must not have any further comment or commentary...Shakespeare sure comes to mind: "Me thinks he doth protest too much!"

And so, this poor, humble nun who has done nothing but serve God and His Church faithfully throughout her life, was chastised for speaking nothing less than the truth. It saddened me when no one in the ecclesiastical community came to her defense. For all the good she does and the countless conversions her books and television station have brought about, no bishops or cardinals stood in her defense. At least not publicly. And then it happened. Last week, one of the live broadcasts on EWTN was interrupted by Mother herself to announce a most amazing occurrence--a true miracle. Mother, who had been debilitated by a painful, crippling disorder and had worn braces on her legs and back for years, was suddenly and miraculously healed while praying the Rosary. Was it just a coincidence that this amazing and complete healing occurred just weeks after her skirmish with the bitter Cardinal? I don't think so. I know God's plans are never a result of coincidence. I believe it was God's way of saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" for speaking the truth with courage and conviction. She sat in humility and publicly apologized on national television, in obedience she stood up for the truth, and with joy she walked away healed!

by Maria Compton-Hernandez, Editor T.C.E.
(Some source material provided by Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission Newspaper, Vol. 4, No. 11, Jan. 1998 issue)

A Poem By Kelly Hudson...Mom of 4 boys and one girl, married to Mike 11.75 years

As my baby awoke this morning
I noticed something.
She was smiling. Over and over she smiled.
What, I wondered, does a seven-week-old infant have to smile about?

In the eyes of the world, nothing.
She has few possessions.
She sleeps in second-hand crib
In someone else's room.
Her parents don't even own the house she lives in.
She has no titles after her name
And will probably grow up unnoticed.

As the youngest she will probably have to wait
For her parents to send her to college.
They don't make alot of money
They're nobodies in the world.
She has no freedom to call her own
She has to rely on them for everything.
She waits patiently.

So what is it that makes her smile?
What makes her so happy
That she is bursting with joy?
So happy that she cannot contain it?

Could it be because
The only thing she owns
She gives away for free...

Card Search U.S.A.

Jack L. Schrold, Attorney


1. Scriptural Reasons (Continued):

c. Magnificat

In turn, Mary responds to the Holy Spirit by saying that all generations will call her blessed because of the great things that God has done for her (Lk 1:48-49). She speaks in the plural of more than one great thing that God has done for her. So we know from this reference that the greatest thing -- being chosen as the Mother of the Son -- was not the only great gift given her by God. Additionally, Mary proclaims "My soul magnifies the Lord" (Lk. 1:46). Veralyn Alpha elaborates: "If you could picture Mary as a large magnifying glass, then peer through her soul, you would see Jesus more closely, even greater than ever before, through her intercession. Mary does not obstruct one's view of the Lord, she enhances it!"

d. Born of a woman.

Consider also that Mary was the source of the human side of Jesus' nature. He was conceived ('to make pregnant' -- Merriam-Webster) by the Holy Spirit in her womb (Lk.1:31), not just placed there for incubation. We know from basic biology that half of His makeup came from His Father, hence His divine nature; and the other half came from His Mother, hence His human nature. His flesh which suffered for us came from her; and the blood which He shed for us came from her as well. He was born of the flesh, born of a woman, not just carried by one (Jn. 1:14 & 3:6). He was like us in all things but sin -- He matched us in our humanity, just not in sin. He shared all of the experiences of our human life; therefore, this would include beginning as a fetus conceived in the womb and nurtured by the loving body of His mother to full growth and then birth!

e. Our Imitation of Christ.

Dr. Scott Hahn refers to two basic Biblical principles involved: "You know that as a man, Christ fulfilled God's law perfectly including the commandment to honor His father and mother. The Hebrew word for honor, 'kaboda', literally means 'to glorify'. So Christ didn't just honor His heavenly Father; He also perfectly honored His earthly mother, Mary, by bestowing His own glory upon her. The second principle is...the imitation of Christ. So, we simply imitate Christ, not just by honoring our own mothers but also by honoring whomever He honors - and with the same honor that He bestows".

f. Son of David.

The Old Testament offers the Davidic Kingdom as a foreshadowing promise of the reign of Christ (2 Sam.7:13). With this in mind, consider that the Church holds Mary in honor as the Queen Mother of Jesus -- who is the King of Kings and the Son of David. In the Old Testament, King Solomon, the son of David, elevated his mother, Bathsheba, to a throne at his right hand, paying her homage in his court as the queen mother (1 Kings 2:19). Bathsheba brought petitions from Solomon's subjects to him for special consideration (1 Kings 2:20); not unlike Mary at the wedding in Cana (Jn.2:1-11) petitioning her son on behalf of the newlyweds and then submitting to His wise judgement on the matter.

Jesus, like His Davidic ancestor Solomon, tells Mary "Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you." (1 Kings 2:20). Because Mary submits completely and perfectly to the will of God, she would never intercede for us in any manner that conflicts with His will. We can trust her because God trusts her.

g. Mary's Imitation of Christ.

The Church teaches that Jesus elevated His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to a throne at His right hand in heaven; bidding us to pay her homage as the Queen Mother of heaven. We know from Mt.20:20-28 and Mk.10:35-45 that God the Father had already determined who would sit at Jesus' right hand in heaven. We read that it would be someone who would 'drink the cup' that He drinks and be 'baptized with the baptism' He is about to undergo (Rom.6:3-4, Col.2:12). Jesus is referring to His passion and crucifixion since His baptism of water had already taken place at that point (Mt.3:13). We know from Simeon's prophecy that Mary would share in her Son's suffering (Lk.2:35). The right-hand throne would belong to one who would be servant (Lk.1:38), not seeking greatness but living with perfect humility (Lk.1:48). Jesus has stated that it would not be one of His Apostles; what other human fulfilled those requirements? Moreover, Mary followed Christ through His human life more completely than any other disciple - including through the carrying of the Cross to His Crucifixion.

h. Crushes the head of the serpent.

Her queenship is recognized by Scripture in Rev.12:1 as the woman with the crown of twelve stars who gives birth to the ruler of all the nations. (This chapter corresponds to God's promise of salvation in Gen.3:15 and then the Annunciation in Lk. 1:32-33). Some interpret this woman to be the Church, but this would suggest that the Church gave birth to the Son when we know that the opposite is true (Mt.16:18).

i. Jesus' Last Will & Testament.

Mary's role as Mother of God (the Son) and our Mother too, is typically exemplified by Jn.19:26-27 when Jesus gives Mary to 'the disciple whom he loved' (and vice-versa). The Church teaches that John represented all of us there. Jesus repeatedly stated what was going to happen in Jerusalem. He knew He was going to die and then be raised to heaven. If it were just a matter of making sure Mary would be cared for when He was gone, He could have easily spoken to John in advance. Instead, He used His very last moments of breath before His death on the Cross -- nearly His very last words (He spoke only five words more) -- in order to do this. It was a deliberately dramatic gesture to call attention to His universal gift -- our inheritance -- of Mary as the new Mother of the Living (Eve). This universal motherhood is confirmed by Rev.12:17 when the dragon (satan) is unable to defeat the woman or her son and "went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus". The implication is pretty clear that the mother of Jesus is also the spiritual mother of all God's children.

j. Spiritual family by adoption.

Furthermore, we are the adopted children of God (Mt.12:49-50). Through Jesus, we have become adopted brothers and sisters into the family of God. That would make His Father and Mother ours too; therefore, Mary is our spiritual mother by adoption. St. Paul says we are many parts, but we are all one body. We are all one (united) in the Body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body, but all parts are necessary to complete the whole: "it is the head that adds strength and holds the whole body together with all its joints and sinews - and this is the only way in which it can reach its full growth in God"(Col.2:19) and "by him the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love"(Eph.4:16). The body of Christ is not separated or divided by those in heaven and those still struggling here on earth; He taught us that "a kingdom divided against itself will fall" (Mt. 12:25, Mk. 3:24, & Lk. 11:17). So it is through the body of Christ, the "vine" from which we are all "branches", that we are connected to His heavenly kingdom (Jn. 15:5).

k. The new Ark of the Covenant.

Another aspect to understanding Mary's deserving a special role in the Church is the title comparing her as the New Ark of the Covenant to the original Ark of the Covenant. If you look at Scripture, including Heb.9:1-4, 1 Sam.21:2-7, and Ex.30:1-6, you will readily find that the Ark of the Old Testament contained the word and the bread of God, (Ten Commandments and the pot of manna). It was lined in and out with pure gold and had angels on each side. In the New Testament, Mary became the Ark of the New Covenant because Jesus is also called the word (Jn.1) and the Living Bread (Jn.6:51). The lining of gold compares to the immaculate womb which beheld the fullness of God, and thus, she became a 'living tabernacle' for the nine months she carried Jesus. The presence of Gabriel at the Annunciation fulfills the comparison of the 'angels' of the first Ark. Furthermore, referring to 2 Sam.6:2-19 in the Old Testament, King David danced before the entrance of the Ark into Jerusalem. This correlates to the leap of John the Baptist in Elizabeth's womb during the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth in Lk. 1:44. (This compelling similarity also confirms the presence of life in the womb because one child acknowledged the presence of the other Child, Jesus the Lord, while each were still in the wombs of their mothers! This beautiful scriptural passage helps support the Church's position against abortion).

Then Rev.11:19 describes the Ark that could once again be seen in heaven among lightning, voices and an earthquake. Read on, but please realize that there were no verse numbers as John wrote this book; therefore, the very next verse, Rev.12:1 describes a great sign appearing in heaven -- a woman clothed with the sun, who gave birth to a son who was taken up to God and His Throne. In St. John's vision, he states that he sees the Ark and then he proceeds to describe Mary!

It is important to realize that the original Ark of the Covenant was built according to very specific detailed requirements as instructed by God (Check out Ex. 25-40!). God was not casual about the place where He would reside with Israel. It was the seat or center of the benevolent presence of God to His people. In 1 Sam. 4:4, scripture states that God was seated between the cherubim of the Ark, which was then called the footstool for the feet of the Lord (1 Chron. 28:2, Ps. 99:5; see Num. 10:33-35). The Ark became sacred by its association with God; therefore, it was venerated -- not as God, but as the sacred vessel in which He resided.

The purification rituals required by the Levite priests to be in the Divine Presence were the difference between life and death (Num. 8:5-16, 17:12-13 & 19:20-22); Aaron lost two of his own sons because they failed to observe the strict rituals (Lev. 10). An incident in 2 Sam.6:6-7 in which a man named Uzzah dies after accidentally touching the Ark shows that God's pure presence meant that the Ark was completely incompatible with sin as well. Mary, after she said yes, received God in His pure form. Some speculate that she needed God's special redeeming graces preserving her from all taint of sin (therefore God is her Savior too) else touching God in His purity of state would have killed her. Sin, by its very definition, is a state that repels us from God. Think of trying to push two magnets of opposite poles together, or the theoretical concept of matter meeting antimatter; the violent repulsion of opposing forces can cause great destruction. Jesus, because He was human as well as Divine, was in a sense 'insulated' to protect us! Consider Our Lord's words in greeting Mary Magdalene after His Resurrection from the tomb (Jn. 20:17). He warns her not to touch Him because the glorification of His body was not yet complete. It is possible that it was because Mary Magdalene would not have been protected from His pure Divinity since, as an 'ordinary' human, she was not without sin; Our Lord knew that she would be harmed by touching Him in this state and, with tender love, preserves her life.

by Vivian Burns

(End Part Two - look for Part 3 in the next T.C.E. Issue)

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