|Dear Apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,Today, Catholics all over the world participate in Missionary Sunday. The Society for the Propagation of the Faith (the sponsor of Missionary Sunday) was founded by the Venerable Pauline Jaricot. Pauline is the foundress of the two greatest works of the Church in the 19th century – The Propagation of the Faith and The Living Rosary. These two great works were the very first organizations of the Church in France, Switzerland, Belgium and America after the devastation of the French Revolution. They are the fruit of the blood of martyrs.
The Propagation of the Faith is the mission of Christ upon earth, born of His merciful Heart – Christ’s Most Precious Blood poured into the Heart of Pauline that it might be spilled out upon the world. The Propagation of the Faith had its origin in God. Pauline was given the first impulse to work and develop it, shelter it as a sacrifice and return it to the Church, fertile and abundantly fruitful.
On this Missionary Sunday, I would like to express our deep gratitude for your continued and wonderful help. It is such a strong support of our missionary work abroad and, right here, at home. As times become even more grave, the labor of this beautiful Rosary Family is most urgent.
We find ourselves absorbed in a thousand daily cares: personal, social, family, political, the endless demands that crowd every minute of our day. We rush from place to place and, then, back again. Our days are not well organized and the hours slip through our fingers without our even realizing it. At the end of the day, we feel exhausted and, yet, gnawing at our gut is an empty and apathetic feeling. We are trapped, buried alive in our self-centered world! Looking at the voids in our lives, we feel cheated, empty, aching, lonely and scared. Something important is missing. It is love! There is really no such thing as a void. A vacuum sucks in whatever is near the hole. We may try to fill the voids with food, amusement, drinks, drugs or business. Christ gave us the great Commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Why? Because caring for others, moves us from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. By giving love away, God rushes in and fills up the emptied places in our soul with His very own presence.
God is the unique and unequaled Giver. He gives life, the universe, faith and wisdom, but He is not satisfied with giving them alone. GOD GIVES HIMSELF. What a gloriously true incomprehensibility! What an unfathomable Gift! Unsurpassed and inexhaustible! Just think how God humiliates Himself! In Holy Communion, God gives to us the gift of Himself. He has done His part in excess, but our co-operation is lacking: We fail Him. If we only realized that Heaven is but the eternalization of Holy Communion, how frequent and fervent would our Communions be, how often we would pause to unite ourselves with Him in prayer, and how eagerly we would reach out to our neighbor with His Love. Our lamentable defect, “WE HAVE NO TIME!” would give way to a super-abundance of faith which is the foundation of all contemplation. Nothing is too much to give to God after all He has given us. Let us organize the hours of our day with a plan that puts God first.
Please pray for me!
|Dear Members and Benefactors of the Living Rosary Association,In this month of October which is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary, I want to express my deepest thanks and gratitude for your support in the promotion of the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena (ULRA) in Ukraine. The people here have a strong devotion to the prayer of the Rosary because it is simple and easy to learn. But, sadly, among the youth, it is not well practiced. The Rosary is called by the name of the “small Gospel” because by reflecting on it, everyone is able to walk through the Life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Many Ukrainians, who were imprisoned in the concentration camps in Siberia, fashioned the Rosary beads out of bits of bread made into a paste, and then let dry, using these bread beads to count the Hail Mary’s.
The Living Rosary Association has brought to us the wonderful habit of praying the Holy Rosary before and after every Sacred Mass on Sunday. This is a great help in teaching the faithful that the Rosary must lead us to the Holy Eucharist where we find the source of all Grace. It is our comfort and our strength.
This year, the Living Rosary organized the Annual Rosary Pilgrimage. Through your kindness, we have distributed 5,000 Rosaries, free of charge, and next year we hope to do ten thousand Rosaries. We have printed 50,000 copies of the booklet, “How to Pray the Rosary.”
The evils which surround the Church, today, are overwhelming. We do not have to search far to realize that, after the Sacred Mass, the Rosary is our greatest means of defense and integrity. The core element in the Life of Christ was a deep love for His Mother. As true disciples of Christ, we share in this love for Mary and prove it daily through our faithful prayer of the Rosary. The person offering his beads pleases so much Our God and draws His blessings down upon himself and his family. The Rosary gives to Mary new power to crush the head of the Serpent and to destroy his evil hold on the world.
Most of our people are poor and unable to buy either the booklets or the Rosary. Therefore, we are organizing a campaign to give to every soul this spiritual weapon which will win the battles of our families and our youth for Jesus and Mary. All these projects are possible only through the prayers and benefactions of the Living Rosary. We encourage all our priests and members to pray the Rosary for you and for your families. You are so special and dear to our people. We await the time that selfishness and hatred, impurity and injustice will be no more. Then, Mary will be Queen and Christ Our King, and God’s Truth, Justice, Charity and Peace will reign over mankind.
With prayer and respect,
Fr. Ivan Kolodij and all the grateful members of the Living Rosary in the Eastern Block Countries
|“The Future of the Church depends Upon the Faith and the Virtue of our Youth”
The story of devotion to St. Philomena begins with the account of her martyrdom called the Acts of St. Philomena, which received the imprimatur of the Holy Office on December 21, 1883.
LET US PRAY
Why is Saint Philomena the most beloved? Our Lady holding Jesus appeared to her when she was loaded with chains in her prison cell awaiting death. The Queen of Martyrs came, not to end her sufferings, but to steel her for the greater sufferings, which lay ahead. Compared with all the saints, apostles and martyrs, how could this thirteen year old be the most beloved? On one side stood Diocletian, undisputed monarch of the whole known world, who demanded the unquestioning and total obedience of every man in that world; every person, that is, who is terrified of scourging or crucifixion. On the other side stood a girl of thirteen, who claimed love and obedience to a dead figure of history whom Diocletian despised! In the public humiliation of her cruel scourging, this despot was aiming the lashes at Jesus Christ whom he knew and hated.
The essence of Christian martyrdom is not the killing but the hatred of Christ, which inspires the killing. Church Fathers of the Fourth Century, with justice, called Diocletian anti-Christ. In Philomena’s heroic resistance unto death is summed up the perennial war between Christ and anti-Christ. We see everywhere today a raging battle; war between God and Satan! It is a battle for souls. The Glory of God is at stake! Philomena became involved in this cosmic struggle. She consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ and her whole life. By this act, in those times, she unleashed the powers of Hell against herself. Our Lady had inspired her to a virginal love of Christ and She powerfully interceded for her beloved daughter that others might be strengthened and inspired, consoled and comforted. Our Blessed Mother put steel into this gentle maiden’s heart that we might all draw strength from her example and remain faithful to our Baptismal vows even unto death, through the power of her intercession.
Saint Philomena is given to us in this interim between the FRENCH REVOLUTION and its imminent culmination in the Godless “One World Order”. Our attention is focused on her through the marvels she works in our favor. Successive Popes, since Gregory XVI, have recommended devotion to St. Philomena, as if to convey that, without the grace which comes from her wisdom and example, we will comprise and so surrender. St. Philomena was a “Bonny Fighter!” After each bout with Diocletian’s henchmen, she had emerged more healthy, more beautiful and more resolute. Little by little, the pagan onlookers marveled at the love and courage Jesus inspired in her. One by one, they forsook their false gods and embraced the True God. The blood of this virgin-martyr is the seed of Christians.
From the bloody persecutions of the early Christians, the Church emerged triumphant. After the edict of toleration in 313, the relics of the martyrs were placed in the altar stones of each Church in order to encourage the people who gathered around them to draw strength from their deaths and to teach them heroic virtue.
Today, the enemy sows his errors unchecked through every outlet. Each Christian urgently needs the single-minded wisdom and uncompromising courage of the virgin-martyrs. God saw this apocalyptic dark night. He gave us St. Philomena to steel us for the great battle we face at the hands of today’s modern Diocletians. This, greatest of virgin-martyrs, was revealed to the Church on the 24th of May, feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians! God has drawn our attention to His most beloved daughter through giving her the ‘gift of miracles’!
Five successive Popes recognized her as a priceless help from God and made devotion to her universal. Pope St. Pius X, Patron of youth, sealed her devotion against the attacks of her enemies, when in 1912 he stated:
This great Pope knew well what lay ahead for the world and Church. When successive Popes teach a matter of faith to the whole Church, then Papal infallibility is involved. St. Philomena is a key to the Kingdom of Heaven. She is a singular gift of the Immaculata to her children!
Pope St. Pius X gave to St. Philomena the title, “Patroness of Youth”. The future of the Church depends upon the faith and virtue of our youth.
St. Philomena’s most glorious title was bestowed upon her by Pope Pius IX: “Patroness of the Children of Mary.” She is here to teach us child-like confidence in the Mother of God. Her mission is to form us into pure, trusting and perfect “Children of Mary“! How is she to accomplish this awesome task?
Pope Gregory XVI imparted to Saint Philomena the title: “Patroness of the Living Rosary”
Our Lady came to Fatima with this singular message: “I am the Lady of the Rosary – YOU MUST PRAY THE ROSARY!” Queen of Prophets and Martyrs, Mediatrix of all Graces, this is her message to us. Sadly, today, the family Rosary is rarely prayed. People cannot be persuaded to make even this small effort. Yet, the Living Rosary, asking 15 different people to daily pray an assigned Decade, gets a good response. Eventually, the DAILY DECADE will lead to the praying of the whole Rosary. Through the power of the union of its members, this prayer holds utmost sway before the throne of God in obtaining enormous grace for the whole world. Our little Saint, all-powerful with God, achieves the impossible by getting people to take the ‘first-step’. Her mission is defined and she sets off to the far corners of the world to serve her Rosary Queen, in obedience to the voice of her Spouse, Jesus Christ.
Saint Philomena sacrificed life itself to preserve her vow of virginity and consecration to Jesus Christ. Her great mission is to help the innocent remain pure and protect and defend our Religious in their heroic calling to live the vows of their consecrated lives.
Saint Philomena, Champion of Chastity, Save our Youth!
Saint Philomena carries a message to the world which is absolutely critical to our Age. Today, every possible influence is being exerted to destroy the purity of both the young and the old. For us to remain silent in this matter is criminal! According to modern psychology, sin is not sin and virtue is weakness rather than strength. God supplies to every century a saintly model that suits its particular needs. He saw clearly that the most prevalent sin in our Age is sensuality. To recall the modern world to its sense of duty to Him, He sent to it the soul of a saint who was the embodiment of the virtue opposite of this vice, PURITY! God exalted her quickly and gifted her with miracles. The fame of St. Philomena spread throughout the whole world like a bushfire. Everyone who calls on St. Philomena is helped.
We are on the field of battle facing the enemies of purity and we are bound by the iron-clad law: Either FIGHT or DIE! St. Philomena resolved that nothing in this world would divert her from her true destiny which was Heaven. Let us, too, make the resolve that nothing in the world will divert us from our duty to God, Who is our sole reason for existence and Who will be our Judge and reward.
Death is coming and it is really coming near with appalling suddenness. Are we prepared and ready for death should it come today! In that hour, we will be separated from life, from the world, from property, riches and family. All is left behind save two things: the sins we have committed and the good works we have performed. Nothing else matters. Sin and good works alone are important at the moment of death.
Man has forgotten God. He goes from one care in life to another, occupied night and day between the fevered quest of the twin prizes: Money and Pleasure! If we leave God out of our lives and suppose that death is the only result of life, why live at all! For Christians, life is not a hopeless riddle. Thank God for our precious Catholic Faith which teaches us the fundamental purpose of our life here on earth:
God made me to know, love and serve Him
These two truths contain the whole sum of wisdom for they are more important to us than anything else in the world. Our happiness here on earth and our Eternity of happiness depend largely on how firmly we grasp these truths. We are free to fulfill God’s purpose in our creation or refuse to serve Him. The chief test for our fitness for Heaven is the test of purity.
We can measure the terrible nature of sin by the losses it entails. Deliberate sins against purity are mortal for, through them, a soul is slain, the grace of God is forfeited, Heaven is closed and Hell is opened. The first consequence of sin is that the unhappy creature, who thus falls, no longer cares to pray and gives up daily devotions. He begins to doubt whether there really is a God or Eternity. In false shame, sins are concealed in the confessional, thus rendering his Confession and Communion sacrilegious. Hardness of heart sets in and the understanding is darkened. We must have confidence in God, call upon Him and rely upon His help, avoid all idleness and fly from all persons, places and things which are a temptation to sin. We must avoid those substances which weaken our will to say NO to sin, dress modestly, shield our eyes from nakedness and seek always goodness, truth and beauty.
The world seeks to destroy not only our purity but also our very belief in purity. Familiarity between the sexes, nudity, free love, taking partners, divorce, movies, bad companions and constant media exposure opens our soul, day and night, to the filth of impurity. Our adversary is paganism. Not the old paganism which worshipped idols, but the new paganism which worships SELF! It makes man a law unto himself, which denies that man has a soul and a free will. The modern world does not believe in God or life after death.
By the Sixth Commandment, we are commanded to be pure men and women, to live good lives, wholesome, clean, noble, virtuous and consistent with our dignity as men endowed with immortal souls and stamped with God’s image and likeness, the noble life of a Christian, followers of Christ, children of God, future inhabitants of Heaven, a life consistent with our dignity as a tabernacle of Our Lord in Holy Communion. That Christian man should live the life of an animal is a contradiction and a catastrophe. Purity, then, in thought, word and deed is commanded of us by the Sixth Commandment.
What does the Sixth Commandment Forbid?
Adultery means the sexual union of two people, at least one of whom is married to a third person. Fornication is the sexual union of two persons who are single.
Neither Fornicators nor Adulterers
All sins of impurity and immodesty, all external actions contrary to holy purity are forbidden: all impure words, desires and thoughts. God forbids anything that can sully the purity of our bodies, minds or souls. He forbids absolutely, unconditionally, at all times, in all places and under all circumstances, any impure act whether done against purity, committed with another or alone. God’s standard for men and women is identical. Is this command difficult? It is the most difficult of all the Commandments! It is the chief test to which God puts man to determine his fitness for Heaven. Unless we make use of the means God gives us to observe this Commandment, we will not succeed.
Most sins against the Sixth Commandment are committed neither in cold blood nor in overwhelming passion, but as a result of certain moods we fall into. If you find yourself sulking, fidgety, cranky or childish, learn to pull up quickly. Resist these moods by doing the opposite of what they suggest. This will be for you a very healthy form of conquest and self-denial.
Our Father Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name!
We call God Father because He created us. But, God has actually given to man the astonishing power to be a father too; God shares His creative power with a man and a woman to call into existence His children. As the tiny body of the child is formed by the parents, God breathes into it an immortal soul. Try to realize the dignity and nobility of fatherhood and motherhood. It is a power given by God that must not be tampered with. Sex is used for the purpose of begetting children and must be surrounded with the most profound respect and reverence. It is noble. When sex is misused, this beautiful God-given instinct is turned into an instrument of pleasure and it is the pleasure that is worshiped, the pleasure that is set up as god. For many, it is a means of recreation not the procreation of the children of God. To God, they say, “I WILL NOT SERVE!” When we profane our bodies, we profane what is sacred in God’s sight. When we profane our bodies, we actually commit as great a sacrilege as one who profanes a church or altar. The body which the Holy Spirit animates must partake of His Holiness.
Today, unbridled passion is called love. IT IS NOT LOVE! It is stark naked lust. It is wrong to tamper with truth, it is wrong to squander money, it is wrong to ruin the name of another; but can you tell me, it is not wrong to tamper with the means to create life, not wrong to cheapen love and to squander God’s creative power! Can it be right to say that sins against life and love do not matter? The sin against sex is a sin against life, a sin against God. It is a sin that God punishes even in this life. Lust is no substitute for love! Good God, what damnable liars these men and women are when they defend this sin!
To be modest, one must build for himself a strong Christian character, a life dominated by principles: frequent prayer, frequent confession and frequent Communion. Daily spiritual reading will bring to mind the great religious truths of our Faith. Daily self-denial, habitual reflection, spiritual reading and fervent prayer make us strong to resist temptation. Prayer is not to be delayed to the moment of temptation, when it is too late, but daily we must ask God to give us strength for when the moment of temptation comes.
“The sins that lead most souls to Hell are sins of the flesh! Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much…”
The words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Blessed Jacinta Marto in 1917, Fatima
MODESTY – The Guardian of Chastity!
Frequent Confession will help us to develop a conscience which is sensitive to sin. Frequent Communion will make the soul strong just as food taken will help make the body strong. Daily spiritual reading will bring to mind the Sacred Truths of our Faith. The Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity comes to take up His abode within us at the time of Baptism, and dwells habitually within us until we drive him out by mortal sin.
“If a man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me!”
Our generation is given over to excesses. They have never been taught discipline nor have they learned obedience. Harried parents have given into self-indulgence and, for a peace which is false, they have allowed the defiant child to have his way at every turn. The child will not obey, he will not study and his every wish for food, snacks, movies, money and video games is gratified; if not at first, then after a series of nagging cries, he gets his way. He has never been taught to sacrifice, deny himself and develop self-control. At the root of all sin and, most especially, the sin of impurity, is the absence of self-control. To obey the Will of God and to avoid all forms of excess, self-denial is necessary and training in self-denial should begin at the earliest possible age.
We make the sacrifice of self-denial not only for the salvation of our own soul but also for those in danger, today, of dying in mortal sin. My dear friends, there is a pestilence about us to which hundreds of thousands are succumbing each day. When a pestilence is raging, it is the duty of the parent and the pastor to warn the people against it. The pestilence is the sin of impurity! It is as necessary to practice prayer and self-denial with regularity as it is to have two wings to fly. Self-denial means moderation in all things, resignation without grumbling, control of temper, tongue and all impulses, refusal to read what is impure or watch any video or movie which contains impurity of speech, action or dress, sitcoms which ridicule family life or religion and glorify unbridled license. It means that we should, every day, do something that is hard and disagreeable. Self-denial is the business of training the will to choose God over creatures, Heaven over Hell, Goodness over Evil!
Fly to the Heart of Mary!
The Heart of Mary is the mirror of God and the masterpiece of His creation, the Living Tabernacle of the Most Blessed Trinity. The daily rhythm of the Rosary, that calm solitude of prayer, opens to us the mercy of God. The Mother of Jesus leads us along the high road of suffering and pain to union with her Divine Son, quietly refining and shaping our soul. Prayer obtains all. The Heart of Mary is there, let us knock! The grace of purity will be given to us if we persevere in asking for it. In the Heart of Mary, we will find courage and strength. In her heart, we will be nourished and protected.
Mary is in anguish for her children in sin. A mother weeps to see her child suffer; she is deeply distressed when the child is in grave danger. God’s own Mother will keep her vigil through the dark night at the bedside of all her mortally wounded children who have been separated from God’s grace due to sin. Mary came to Lourdes and Fatima, to plead with us to pray and do penance for sinners. We must fly from temptation and seek refuge in this GROTTO DIVINE!
With Mary, let us advance on this Pilgrimage of faith that we may arrive at our destination pure in body and soul and be greeted with these words:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the Kingdom that has been prepared for thee.”
I WILL TO WILL THE WILL OF GOD!
O my God, I offer myself to undergo death and, from this moment, I accept it willingly from Thy Hands. I want to welcome it with love, in whatever way it comes to me, suddenly or slowly, easily or bitterly, be it in comfort or in desolation, completely abandoned by men, or in the midst of my brothers. In a word, I want the death Thou hast chosen for me. It is enough for me if it is precious in Thy sight.
From this moment, I unite my agony to Thy agony, my death to Thy death. I implore Thee, O Jesus, that my death may be very holy and according to Thy good pleasure and that the last act of my life may be an act of pure love of Thee.
Great Is Your Reward In Heaven!
When we love, we remember, and this memory – the effect of love – is not a barren thought. It resolves itself into DEEDS for the loved one. They are at peace for they have escaped Hell forever. But, they are sentenced for a time to expiating fire. Behold their plight and helplessness. Listen to their lamentations. In sympathy and charity, hasten to their assistance.
Enroll your Departed Loved Ones in thirty days of Sacred Masses in Ukraine. Fr. Ivan Kolodij has arranged for these Masses to be offered from November 1 through the 30th, and the names you send to us for enrollment will be placed upon the Altar during this time.