Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dearest Mrs. Patti and all the members of the Living Rosary Association,

Thank you very much for your prayers and support which we feel here in Ukraine! Please forgive me as I was not able to get back with you quickly. The Living Rosary Center, during these days, is very busy. I want to let you know what is happening in Ukraine.

After the regime of Yanukovych collapsed, the police vanished. The police force in Ukraine was very corrupt as it had been used by the government to kill citizens, rob them and persecute them. They even threatened to put in jail our Catholic priests. Now, the citizens are patrolling the streets and protecting our peace. Our Greek Catholic Church is supporting with prayers and donations the faithful who have suffered greatly during this upheaval. A swarm of Russian troops came to our towns and cities,
and shouted they were going to burn our houses and bribe our people to burn police departments, and government buildings in Lviv and other parts of Ukraine. Many of them received money from Russia and were told that Ukraine was in chaos, and they should move Russian military into Ukraine to restore peace.

The priests and clergy of our church were protecting the faithful by standing together and praying, and speaking to these men, and begging them not to burn their houses. Together, we protected our city from these Russian men who were determined to destroy our property. Now, the same situation exists in Crimea. Our city borders Poland. At the present time, great numbers of refugees are pouring in from Crimea seeking shelter and protection from the Russian troops. The Russia militants are very heavily armed with tanks and machine guns. They are taking over the houses of Crimean people and making them evacuate with nothing. Ukrainian military cannot come to help. They are held hostage in their military bases. Over 3000 Russian troops have landed in Crimea. They bribe people with money to join their side. They pay $100.00 a day to those who will help them.

The Center of the Living Rosary published and printed a Rosary leaflet and distributed it all during the revolution, free of charge. This way people would be sure to know how to pray the Rosary. Putin has blamed our priests from Western Ukraine for helping the people to defend their rights.

May God protect us in the days ahead! Please always remember us in your prayers which are the greatest protection to us and your material support during this time of persecution

Byzantine Rite, Greek-Catholic Church, UKRAINE

Lent is a time of cleansing and enhancing a holy desire helped by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We begin this season by receiving ashes on our foreheads to remind us that the purpose of Lent is to prepare us with a holy desire to love and serve God more effectively.

“The entire Christian life,” said St. Augustine, “is an exercise of holy desire.” He does not say that we should annihilate our normal, human desires, but we should elevate and purify them. Our desires are far too small if we look for fulfillment only in what this world offers by way of transient satisfactions, but God wants us to have so much more – His very Self. During Lent, we seek to tune in to higher desires – our longing for God. For this reason, the first reading reminds us that we must come back to God with our whole heart. So, Lent is not just doing something more or avoiding something. It is a time to live and love God with an undivided heart through prayer, fasting and almsgiving,

Of course, in the Gospel, Jesus did not simply tell us to observe the classic Lenten practices. He Himself went through intense penance until He achieved the “Holy Desire” to unite His will of the Will of God the Father. And, the purpose of Lent also tells us that our life as a believer is a participation in the Life of Christ Who calls us constantly to enter into full communion with God. This is the reason, prayer comes in the first place. Prayer connects us not only with the Lord but also with one another and all the Saints. Prayer is the foundation of our friendship with God, and it opens the way to eternal life. This is where the Holy Sacrifice the Mass becomes the highest form of our prayer to encounter and unite with Our Blessed Lord.

Fasting is another major discipline of Lent where we have the opportunity to purify our senses. Why do we fast? Simple! We learn in the creation story that the first sin committed by a human came through eating. But fasting goes beyond fasting from food. There are some very keen things we learn from the Saints and the wisdom behind fasting. They practiced voluntary self-denial through fasting in order to sharpen their appetite for God. Some people might say that they decided to abstain from meat during Lent but eat only lobsters. You can do that, I don’t care as long as you increase your appetite for God.

Lastly, we have almsgiving, which must be the fruit of prayer and fasting. All of us resonate in some way to the ideal of almsgiving. Lent is a good time to stop wasting our time, talents and treasure for any form of vanity. With a holy desire and vision, we could perhaps do more to serve the needy, not so that people will consider us generous, but to imitate God’s generosity to us.

Finally, St. Augustine speaks of cleansing as a necessary condition for the exercise of holy desire:

“This will be effective only to the extent that we free ourselves from infatuation with this world. It is like filling an empty container. God means to fill each of us with what is good, so that we can cast out what is bad! If He wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its contents and then be cleansed.”

So, let us begin this wonderful Season of Lent with the “Holy Desire” to love God with undivided hearts.


JESUS CHRIST – Physician and Consoler

Such is Thy Love for us, O Jesus Christ! Our last breath can open Heaven to us when, by a life of iniquities, we have a thousand times merited Hell. With what tenderness does God not also visit, in their last moments, faithful souls who have loved Him! It seems that Thou dost not depend upon the care of the persons who surround them. In person, Thou comest to be their Guard, their Physician and their Consolation.

Thou art like a tender mother who takes in her arms a cherished son and comforts him, relaxing him by her caresses. In this way, she procures for her child a position sweeter and more comfortable. Thus, also, our sweet Jesus offers Himself to His dear and faithful children. He gives them His Heart upon which to rest. Not content to take them within His Arms, He gives them His caresses to rejoice them. He comes to associate Himself with their sorrows. His Soul is their soul. His glorious Body unites with their suffering flesh. He attaches Himself to the head of their bed. He gives them all the merits of His Passion to sanctify their sufferings. He fortifies their soul in making His Blood spill upon their agony. He gives them courage to accept with Him the chalice of death. He does this in such a manner that His Passion and His Agony continue and are consummated, in them, to achieve salvation.

Ministers of Jesus Christ, permit me to compliment you again. It is you who are the agents of Jesus beside the souls whom He comes to visit. You are charged to make known to them the grandeur of His gifts and depth of His Love. If He keeps silent, to let you speak to the poor ailing in His Name, He hears all that you say to them and He judges your words according to the force of His Love for them. This occasion is presented often and it is true. And if you are tempted to become habituated to that which will eternally be the subject of the administration of the Angels and sSaints, listen to what I tell you. Each occasion to administer the charity of Jesus Christ becomes a new source of Divine Fire which must embrace your heart. Is not Our Savior always disposed to inflame hearts? And if you reduce your efforts because His Love is too generous, is it not because you neglect to speak to Him heart to Heart? Each time, your God uses you for the tools and instruments of His goodness toward those who suffer, each time that you have the happiness to take the course with Him, is it not to arrange to instruct you as He instructed His apostles during the course of His mission on earth? If you remain cold and even troubled while the Light of the World is in your hands, is it not again because you neglect to stoop before Him Who humbles Himself before you, to adore in spirit and truth He Who loves you, to pray with simplicity and confidence to Him Who desires to grant you all? If it were given to the king’s minister to be in his sovereign’s familiarity, as we are that of Jesus Christ, do you not think he would profit by it?

O Jesus, have the faithful ever understood that Thy perpetual immolation on our Altars becomes the source not only of all the graces which flow directly from the Sacrament of Thy Love, but even of an infinity of others we do not suspect? What does the Cross, placed on the Tabernacle, signify? The means to render Thy wounds always alive has been found: a way to make Thy Blood flow incessantly upon us; a way to make Thy wounds always open to us; a way for Thy Blood to continually stream down upon us. Having entered into Thy glory, Thou hast found a way to be always reborn. And, what is this means, without the instrument of death, by which Thy Passion can be perpetuated until the consummation of centuries?

This is precisely the great Mystery which operates on our Altars. The greatest of all marvels is hidden in the Divine Eucharist. It is the most magnificent invention of Thy Infinite Love. The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Altar re-opens continually the wounds which He received during the course of His Passion. What is, in effect, this Sacrifice, if not the continuation and the reproduction of that of the Cross? Why is Jesus Christ immolated, continually present in our temples, if not to apply to us the merits of His works, of His sufferings and of His Death? The Eucharist is, then, truly the source of all the other Sacraments. The Divine Fountain, which flows in perpetuity until the consummation of centuries, is the Eucharist. It is here that the Infinite Victim is immolated always for us.


II. Detachment

We cannot practice silence for any length of time before God urges us to detachment. We cannot live long in God without losing our taste for the things of time, and becoming enamored of the hidden and the obscure. God creates this love. He infuses it in every soul who lives united with Him. In the company of the Divine Outcast, we gradually recede from sight.

Desire to appear, to be seen, soon dies out. We find countless opportunities to step aside into the shadows. Even should duty demand our presence in the light, our inward gaze – the gaze of the soul resting upon God – saves us from the taint of publicity. We relinquish all eagerness for companions, save that of Christ and, thus, eliminate all anxiety about the doings and sayings of others. We focus our attention on Him, until our life becomes absorbed in Him and His work. He came to give us an example, and to show us how to win souls. His treatment of them is so delicate and full of tact. The secret of His success lay in the fact that He sought not Himself. So, we too withdraw deeper and deeper into the silence of God. We talk less. We listen more. The interests of self drop out of the conversation. Silence envelopes us – wrapping us in a peace and tranquility heretofore unknown to the soul.

But Jesus, the Divine Potter, cannot fashion us into Saints without cost and expense to ourselves. He must make us poor in order to enrich us. Some of our clay must be sacrificed if the work of the Potter be perfected. He builds sanctuaries on the ruins of self-love. Detachment is doing its work. It is impossible to listen to the Silent and Solitary Jesus, while still clinging tenaciously to the things of earth.

But detachment makes us desolate. It is a very slow and long drawn-out martyrdom. Very few detach themselves with one blow. We have to cut away a little bit here and a little bit there. Those who have reached close union with God have stripped their interior house of all obstacles.

But the root of all troubles lies in this: The soul shrinks from the Divine intimacy of its ‘Tremendous Lover’ because the soul, suspecting rightly that she might lose all to gain ALL, is too unwisely selfish to sacrifice her all for that one Priceless Pearl!

“All which I took from thee, I did but take not for thy harms,
But just that thou might seek it then in My Arms.
All which thy child’s mistake fancies as lost,
I have stored for thee at Home.

Arise, clasp My Hand and come!”

Dearest Patti,A week ago, I paid a visit to Emeritus Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong in his residence at Christian Village, Kumasi, as he had been my Spiritual Director and adviser in the work of the ULRA for over two decades. He warmly welcomed me and, in a conversation with him, I narrated the problems facing the work at our great Living Rosary Center here: i.e. our outstanding bills, etc. due to lack of funds locally, simply because of our very poor economy and high cost of living in the country. I told him all about your constant supports, encouragement and your willingness to help us once again to obtain what you had already promised us and other important needs for the smooth running of our Center to be much stronger. I mentioned everything specifically to him and he was moved and touched.

I informed him about how we have organized our members into nine strong groups and each group is making one particular powerful Novena and praying Rosaries daily for both our spiritual and material needs, most especially for your special intentions and that of our Universal Center, while some of our good Priest Members here are also offering Holy Masses for the same noble aim. Before ending my talk, I suggested to the Emeritus Archbishop that, if God permits and things go well this year, we may wish to celebrate our first National Congress within the month of May. Last year was the 25th year of the ULRA in Ghana but, due to the very poor situation at our Center here, we could not do anything more than pray many Rosaries and offer many Holy Masses for the Living Rosary Association the world over. To this, the Archbishop was so grateful and thankful. “All well and good!!!” At the end of our conversation, the Emeritus Archbishop asked me to come again with all my collaborators to his house on the following Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 so that he celebrates Holy Mass with us for the special intentions of the ULRA, most especially for you (Patti), your intentions and that of our Universal Center, Benefactors and the Living Rosary Association in the World. I passed this good news over to all my collaborators the same day and they received it in good faith.

Therefore, last Sunday, March 2nd, we were all transported to the Emeritus Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong’s house at the Christian Village where we prayed the Rosary from 9.00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and immediately after that the Holy Mass began in his private Chapel. The Mass was indeed celebrated for the progress of the ULRA in the World over and for the special intentions of its Universal Director, Patti Melvin and Family, and the Archbishop mentioned this over and over in the Mass. He however blessed all of us with holy water by pronouncing our names one by one during which your name (Patti) too was pronounced and holy water was sprinkled before a Crucifix on the wall inside the Chapel for you in your absence. After the Mass, Emeritus Archbishop Peter Sarpong sat down with us in his nice common hall for a conversation about the ULRA for over an hour. I showed him many important documents on the Living Rosary and I finally presented to him a copy of THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS by Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey that you sent about two weeks ago and he expressed his appreciation in a very special way. He also expressed his love for the ULRA and encouraged us not to give up in anyway. He reassured us that he will continue to bless the Association and offer Holy Masses for our special intentions always, so we should also pray for him. He, therefore, asked me to pass the news over to you (Patti) so that you may rest assured of his prayers and Masses. Shortly after refreshing us, he once again blessed us before our departure at 1.30 p.m. Please find in the attachment some 32 poor photos of the event. Thanks and God bless you!!

Peace be to you, Patti!!! PAX TE CUM, PATTI!!!

Yours in Jesus and Mary,
< Anthony – GHANA >

Most Rev. Dr. Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Emeritus Archbishop of Kumasi, Ghana is a member and great supporter of the Living Rosary. He was ordained a Priest on December 11, 1959 and consecrated as Bishop on March 8, 1970. He was enthroned Archbishop on July 14, 2002 and retired in March 2008.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.