JAK RATOWAĆ  GINĄCĄ  EUROPĘ ?

Żyjemy w Europie, której przedstawiciele nie chcą w preambule konstytucji wymienić imienia Boga i odwołać się do swoich chrześcijańskich korzeni. Nie można racjonalnie wytłumaczyć, dlaczego intelektualiści, politycy i dziennikarze europejscy z taką alergią, czy wręcz z nienawiścią odnoszą się do chrześcijaństwa. Dlaczego sztuka europejska jest tak pogardliwie nastawiona do chrześcijańskiej tradycji religijnej? Dlaczego Europa zmierza do demograficznego samobójstwa systematycznie wyludniając się? W osiemnastu europejskich państwach odnotowuje się więcej zgonów niż narodzin, a dzieje się tak dlatego, że zrywając z chrześcijańskim systemem wartości, narody te oddały się panowaniu hedonistycznej cywilizacji śmierci, ustawowo sankcjonując rozwiązłość, pornografię, zabijanie nienarodzonych dzieci, eutanazję, rozpad rodziny, itd.

Ten proces degeneracji nieustannie się pogłębia. Uniwersalne wartości, które przyniósł Chrystus, broniące godności każdego człowieka, jego prawa do życia i wolności sumienia, są wypierane przez humanizm ateistyczny, według którego ludzka wolność nie może współistnieć z Bogiem. Ateistyczny humanizm niesie ze sobą śmiercionośne konsekwencje dla całej Europy. Jest nieludzki, nihilistyczny i prowadzi do strasznej formy totalitaryzmu, którego Europejczycy doświadczyli już w XX w. w wydaniu marksistowskim i faszystowskim.

Pojawiają się pierwsze próby zaprowadzenia nowej ateistycznej ideologii w Unii Europejskiej, co sprawia, że chrześcijanie powoli stają się obywatelami drugiej kategorii. Świadczy o tym m.in zachowanie lewicowych posłów parlamentu europejskiego, którzy uznali, że Rocco Buttiglione nie jest moralnie godny, by pełnić funkcję komisarza europejskiego, tylko dlatego, że jest praktykującym katolikiem i ma takie same poglądy na homoseksualizm, jak katechizm Kościoła katolickiego. Tego rodzaju kryteriów nie spełniliby sami ojcowie i założyciele Unii Europejskiej: Adenauer, De Gaspari, Schuman, którzy zmarli w opinii świętości. Brak odwołania się do Boga w unijnej konstytucji nie jest przypadkowy. Jest to wyznanie ateizmu głoszącego nihilizm. Nihilizm jest największym zagrożeniem dla Europy, śmiertelną chorobą, która odrzuca m.in tradycyjny model rodziny i aktywnie promuje związki homoseksualne, aborcję, eutanazję, itd. Chrześcijanie nie mogą wycofywać się z walki o wolność, rodzinę, demokracje, chrześcijańską duszę Europy i o powrót do podstawowych wartości moralnych, które będą bronić godności każdego człowieka. Wrogowie chrześcijaństwa i demokracji nie mogą wygrać. Oni chcą zbudować nową Europę bez Boga. Już Fiodor Dostojewski ostrzegał: Jeśli któregoś dnia człowiek podejmie próbę, gdziekolwiek by to bylo, budowania swojego życia na ateizmie, stworzymy coś tak wstrętnego, tak ślepego i nieludzkiego, że cała budowla runie pod ciężarem ludzkich przekleństw.

Jaka jest szansa przezwyciężenia śmiertelnej choroby nihilizmu w krajach europejskich? Jedynym lekarstwem i ratunkiem jest nawrócenie i powrót do Boga. Świadczy o tym przykład Stanów Zjednoczonych czy chociażby Ugandy.

 

Narodowy Ruch Modlitwy w Ugandzie

 

Po upadku reżimu Amina w 1979 r. i krwawej wojnie domowej, Uganda była tak wyniszczona gospodarczo i moralnie, że sytuacja wydawała się po ludzku beznadziejna. Panowała straszna korupcja i całkowite załamanie gospodarcze. Ponadto 25% ludności chorowało na AIDS i prognozowano, że do 1997 r. 60% Ugandyjczyków umrze na tę chorobę.

Na początku lat 90. rządy w kraju przejęli głęboko wierzący chrześcijanie, którzy jedyny ratunek dla swego kraju widzieli w interwencji Boga. Poprosili wszystkie istniejące Kościoły i wspólnoty religijne o wielką modlitwę za Ojczyznę. I w ten sposób w roku 1995 zrodził się Narodowy Ruch Modlitwy dla ratowania kraju przed samozniszczeniem. W kościołach katolickich podjęto wieczystą adorację Najświętszego Sakramentu. Do tej modlitwy przyłączył się cały naród ugandyjski, począwszy od ministrów, parlamentarzystów, biznesmenów, urzędników, lekarzy, nauczycieli, a skończywszy na najprostszych ludziach. W ministerstwach, szpitalach, urzędach, szkołach, miastach i wioskach powstawały grupy modlitewne. Ludzie zaczęli codziennie się modlić, czytać Pismo św., praktykować post i wcielać w życie zasady Ewangelii. Parlamentarzyści i członkowie rządu postanowili modlić się przed podejmowaniem decyzji, uczestniczyć każdego roku w tygodniowych rekolekcjach opartych na modlitwie, poście i studium biblijnym. Ludzie zaczęli masowo  się nawracać, rezygnować z poligamii, praktykować wstrzemięźliwość seksualną. Akcja rządu wzywająca do abstynencji i współżycia seksualnego tylko w ramach małżeństwa, bez żadnego promowania prezerwatyw, połączona z wielką ogólnonarodową modlitwą, doprowadziła do rezultatów zadziwiających cały świat. Statystyki WHO stwierdzają, że Uganda jest krajem, który odnotował największy w świecie spadek zakażeń wirusem HIV i zachorowań na inne choroby przenoszone drogą płciową. Procent kobiet ciężarnych zakażonych HIV spadł z 21,6 w 1991 r. do 6,1 w 2000 r. Największy spadek infekcji zanotowano wśród młodzieży w wieku 15-19 lat, a to głównie z powodu opóźnienia wieku inicjacji seksualnej średnio o cztery lata (wzrósł on z 15 do 19 roku życia). Na skutek szczerej modlitwy w wielu wspólnotach dokonały się liczne całkowite uzdrowienia z AIDS. Ludzie przestali korzystać z usług czarowników i praktykować magię, kiedy odkryli radosną prawdę, że jedynym źródłem mocy i szczęścia człowieka jest Jezus Chrystus obecny w sakramentach. Nawrócenie ludzi spowodowało przemianę obyczajów; prawie całkowicie znikła korupcja. Sytuacja gospodarcza radykalnie się poprawiła i obecnie obserwuje się jej dynamiczny rozwój. Ludzie zrozumieli, że podczas wyborów należy głosować na parlamentarzystów, którzy modlą się i żyją według zasad Ewangelii. Dzisiaj tysiące Ugandyjczyków modli się i pości w intencji krajów Europy. My również powinniśmy przyłączyć się do tej modlitwy, aby Europejczycy odrzucili nihilizm moralny i zachwycili się Ewangelią.

 

He Has Borne

Our Grief

Many people are simply unaware that the central fact of the Christian faith is the Person of the Crucified and Resurrected Christ. Christianity is not, essentially, a set of ideas, a culture, a series of customs or ethical attitudes, but a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. As an aid toward making direct and personal contact with the Savior, Divine Providence has preserved for us an appalling image of His suffering and death. It is imprinted on a grave-cloth, which might be viewed as an additional Gospel, written not in ink, but in blood, shed for our salvation.

Can we remain indifferent to this special testimony of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection? The Shroud of Turin depicts the extent of the suffering, which Our Lord chose for Himself. And all this for love for us, in order to save us from Satan's rule, from sin and death.

"This precious burial cloth of Jesus - observes His Holiness Pope John Paul II - can help us better understand the mystery of the Son's love for us. Standing before this eloquent and shocking image of indescribable suffering, I wish to thank God for His special gift, a gift that no Christian eager to follow Christ should overlook... The Shroud enables us to discover the mystery of suffering sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a suffering that has become the source of salvation of all mankind" (Turin, May 24th, 1998).

He was put through horrible suffering

Scientific research on the Shroud confirms that it bears the impress of an adult male almost six feet tall, of strong, muscular build, with long hair, a beard, and handsome Semitic features. The man was put through the horrible torments of scourging, the imposition of a crown of thorns, and crucifixion. Nearly 600 wounds have been found on his body. Yet the image of the corpse bears no trace of decomposition. In addition to agreeing with the accounts of the Gospels, these data contain a number of additional important details. Above all, the Shroud shows us, explicitly and directly, the extent to which Christ suffered destruction - "to the end" (Jn 13: 1) - for love of us.

The face of Jesus

Despite all this physical and spiritual suffering, the image of Jesus' face on the Shroud is striking in its unsurpassed beauty and serenity. It shows the immensity of the suffering on the cross could only have been borne by someone who was aware that through suffering and death he would achieve complete victory over death. The face on the Shroud attests to the torments Jesus endured. We can see a wound across the nose and right cheek, inflicted by a stick. In addition, there are abrasions to the eyelids and eyebrows, a swelling over the right zygoma, traces of hemorrhaging through the nostrils, bruises and bone displacement at the tip of the nose, scalp lesions from hair being torn out by the roots. As we read in the Gospels: "And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him" (Mk 15: 19) and "struck him with their hands" (Jn. 19:3).

The crown of thorns was laid upon Him

Soldiers "plaited a crown of thorns and laid it on his head" (Jn. 19:2). This torture was designed uniquely for Jesus. In no other historical source do we encounter this kind of torture before crucifixion. In the area of the skull, we can see numerous bloodstains that result in a positive, photographic-like print. These were caused by the thorns piercing the blood vessels of the head. The crown of thorns was shaped like a bonnet, which wrapped the entire upper portion of the head. Surgeons have found 13 thorn wounds on the forehead, and 20 at the back of the head, but there could have been as many as 50 wounds altogether. Owing to the network of blood vessels and nerves in the scalp, the crown of thorns must have caused enormous pain and bleeding. "If we consider - observes L. Coppini, Director of the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Bologna - that there are over 140 pain-sensi-tive areas per one square centimeter of scalp tissue, we can imagine how unbearable must have been His pain". Scientific investigation has confirmed that the blood traces appearing on the Shroud correspond to the anatomy of the blood vessels of the human head. Here is one more piece of evidence favoring the authenticity of the Shroud, since the human circulatory system was not under­stood or described until 1593.

Scourging

Jesus underwent the cruel act of scourging. Everywhere, the body of the Shroud bears traces of wounds caused by a type of Roman whip called the flagrum. The wounds on the buttocks mean that Jesus was beaten naked. Scourging was a terrible punishment, often resulting in death. The whip consisted of three longish thongs tipped with metal pieces. These tore out pieces of flesh in the process of lashing. 120 whip-inflicted wounds have been discovered. According to common practice, scourging was intended only for those spared of the death penalty. Those so punished would be set free afterwards. Originally, Pilate desired Jesus to be scourged only. He says: "/ will therefore chastise Mm and release him" (Lk. 23:16). This explains  the severity with which Jesus was lashed. The soldiers understood that this was the only punishment to be meted out to Him. There were two soldiers. The one on the right was taller and more sadistic in the exercise of his duty. Jesus stood, slightly bent, with his hand tied to a pole. The thongs of the whip wrapped around His body, hitting the front parts, the chest, the abdomen, the shins and the thighs. the severity with which Jesus was lashed. The soldiers understood that this was the only punishment to be meted out to Him. There were two soldiers. The one on the right was taller and more sadistic in the exercise of his duty. Jesus stood, slightly bent, with his hand tied to a pole. The thongs of the whip wrapped around His body, hitting the front parts, the chest, the abdomen, the shins and the thighs.

Carrying the cross

From the shoulder wounds imprinted on the Shroud, researchers agree that Jesus carried the horizontal beam of the cross, called the patibulum, and that his hands were tied to it. It is believed that the patibulum was close to six feet long (1,8 m) and weighed about 66 Ib (30 kg). Jesus was utterly exhausted after the scourging and walked to the place of crucifixion with great difficulty. He had to cover a distance of about 550 yards (500 m). He fell several times on His face, hitting His knees violently against the stony road. Scientists have discovered large abrasions to the nose (particles of soil and stone mixed with blood have been found on the tip) as well as the knees, especially the right one. Since Jesus was unable to carry the cross Himself, Simon of Cyrene was forced by the Centurion to carry it behind Him (Lk. 23:26).

Crucifixion

Death on the cross was one of the cruelest and most degrading punishments carried out in the time of Jesus. The Shroud clearly shows the nail wounds of the wrists. The impression of the feet shows that they were pinned by one nail to the vertical beam of the cross. The nail pierced the tarsal bone. The left foot was placed over the right. The hands were nailed to the cross at the wrists, not the palms, since the weight of the body was too great to be supported by the palms. Had the nails been driven into the palm, they would have torn through the flesh, causing the body to break loose. The nails went in at a point called the "Destot point", located between the bones of the wrist. No major blood vessels are found in this part of the body. However, as Dr. P. Barbet observes, there is a nerve, which not only controls the movements of the thumb, but also signals pain. The pain caused here by a piercing nail can be terrible, but not unbearable. Otherwise, the sufferer would lose consciousness. The Shroud indicates two rivulets of blood on the left wrist. An analysis of these has enabled scientists to reconstruct the position of Jesus' hands on the horizontal beam of the cross. While hanging on the cross, with His wrists above the level of His shoulders, Jesus would have tried periodically to lift His body, in order to breathe. At such times the angle of His arms relative to the vertical increased by a range of ten degrees. When He lowered His body again, the angle returned to its norm of 55 degrees. Thus, for brief moments the position of His body changed, and he was be able to breathe, after which pain and exhaustion forced him to lower his body again. This successive lowering and lifting of the body on pierced hands and feet continued for about 3 hours and would have caused indescribable suffering. The process became more and more frequent, until finally He was overcome by total exhaustion and death.

The Rupture of the Heart Muscle

The wound in Jesus' right side was over half an inch wide and one and three quarters of an inch long. By analyzing it, along with the traces of considerable bleeding and fluid discharge which accumulated in the pleural cavity, sci­entists have been able to ascertain the cause of death as rupture of the heart muscle due to cardiac arrest. This in turn would have precipitated a massive hemorrhaging into the pericardium (about 2 quarts of blood), and thence into the lungs, causing hemopericardia. A violent rupture of the pericardium due to a high build-up of blood would have resulted in a paralyzing pain in the sternum area. Jesus uttered a sudden shout and died. "And Jesus cried once again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit" (Mt. 27:50). A violent death occurring in a state of full consciousness and extreme exhaustion usually precipitates a stiffening of the body (rigor mortis). That is why the body impressed on the Shroud appears to be so rigid.

The Pierced Heart of the Savior

 

Soon after Jesus' death, the blood in the pericardium would have separated into red corpuscles (accumulating in the lower part of the pleural cavity) and blood plasrna (remaining in the upper part). When His chest was pierced by the Centurions lance, both fluids flowed out, first the red corpuscles, then the blood plasma, i.e. "blood and water" as described in John 19:34.

The pierced heart of the Savior stands as a symbol of God's immense love for us. By becoming true man, Jesus chose to  "empty himself of all things"  and accepted a true human death, along with the burden of our sins. Though innocent, knowing no sin, the God-Man       experienced in the moment of His suffering and death the full extent of suffering caused by sin.  "Surely he  has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God,  and afflicted" (Is. 53:4-5).

In this, Jesus acted in perfect obedience to His Father. And in doing so, He overcame every sin, and death itself. His suffering reached its climax in the agony on the cross, when he exclaimed: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mt. 27:46). It was at this point that His suffering reached to the limits of sin's destructive sway, overcoming it with inexhaustible filial love and obedience to the Father's will. The Shroud helps us to discover the mystery of suffering sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus. As John Paul II observes in Turin, this sacrifice represents the source of salvation of all mankind. The burial cloth i s also an image of God's love and human sin. It obliges us to probe the deepest reasons for Chris’s redemptive death. This testimony of unlimited suffering not only makes palpable the love of Him who "so loved the world that he gave his only son " (Jn. 3:16), but also highlights its dimensions. Faced with this degree of suffering, the believer cannot but exclaim: "Lord, you could not have loved me more". Nor can he fail to realize that sin - the sins of every one of us - are the cause of this suffering. The Shroud invites all of us to stamp the image of God's love into our hearts, and to root out the terrible reality of sin. A contemplation of Jesus' tormented body helps modern man to free himself from the superficiality and selfishness that so often shape his attitude toward love and sin. In the silent message of the Shroud, we can hear an echo of God's words and the centuries-old experience of Christianity: have faith in the love of God, the most precious treasure offered to humanity; beware of sin, the greatest danger posed to human life. (Turin, May 24, 1998)

 

- An Extraordinary Witness, ot the Paschal Event
 

The final scene of Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, takes place inside the tomb, where Jesus' body lies completely wrapped in a white linen shroud. (Jewish burial custom prescribed that the body should lie lengthwise along one half of the napkin with the other half covering the front of the body from head to the foot). Suddenly, the shroud sinks to the ground, thereby indicating the mysterious disappearance of the body. We become witnesses of Chrisfs resurrection occurring in another dimension, imperceptible to the senses, invisible to the eyes, inaccessible to scientific probes and sensors. In the closing frame of the film we see the figurę of the Resurrected Lord. The gospel accounts testify to the fact of the resurrection by pointing to the empty tomb and the personal witness of disciples who met the Lord after His death.
In point of fact, the burial cloth that we see portrayed in the closing scenes of the Passion has been preserved to our day. It is the famous Shroud of Turin — Christi-anity's most famous relic. Pope John Paul II calls it "a silent witness" of Chrisfs passion, death and resurrection. In his homily of April 13,1980, given in Turin, the Holy Father stated: ifwe accept the arguments mae by many scientists, the Holy Shroud of Turin represents an extraordinary witness of the Pascha! Event: the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a silent yet shockingly telling witness!
To the believer — he emphasizes in another homily given in Turin — the importance of the Shroud lies in the fact that itprovides a mirror to the Gospels.... By contemplating it, the person of com-passion experiences an inner movement of the heart and a profound shock....The
Shroud is indeed an extraordinary sign that refers us back to Jesus, the true Word ofthe Father. It bids us follow the example of the One, Who gave Himself up for us (May 24, 1998).
The extensive research that has been conducted on the Shroud of Turin over the past hundred years points overwhelmingly to its authenticity. The cloth, mea-suring about 13' 6" by 4' 3", continues to astound the scientific world in that it pro-vides a "photographic image" of the front and back of Jesus' body. The image ofthe body is a photographic negative with the bloodstains appearing as a positive print. Scientists have identified about 700 body wounds on the Shroud. What is also striking is that the image of the crucified mań is three-dimensional. Modern science, for all its state-of-the-art methods, has been unable to reproduce such an image.
The impression on the Shroud is transparently yellowish in color, which is difficult to explain since no traces of any pigments or paints have been found. Only
"The Shroud calls on us to discover the deepest reasons for Jesus' redemptive death....[It] invites all of us to stamp the image of God's love onto our hearts and root out the terrible reality of sin....In the silent message of the Shroud, we hear an echo of God's words and the centuries-old experience of Christianity :
believe in God's love,
the most precious gift offered to humanity; beware of sin, the greatest misfortune to have befallen humankind." (John Paul II, Turin, May 24,1998). \
the surface fibers of the fabric bear the impress of the image. The image is quite indelible. All attempts at removing it with solvents have failed. The impress on the cloth is completely flat; there is no deformation. In optical terminology this would be called "parallel projection".
Many scientists believe that this indelible photographic negative of the crucified body was caused by a mysterious explosion of energy inside the Shroud, by a searing of the surface of the cloth fibers by infrared irradiation or exposure to proton particles. Just how this occurred remains an insoluble enigma to modern science. One thing is certain. The cloth bears the impress of a crucified man executed in exactly the manner described in the Gospels — a Jew of the first century AD, six feet tali, of strong, muscular build, with long hair, a beard, and handsome Semitic features.
Since no traces of bodily decomposition are yisible on the Shroud, forensic experts have concluded that the body remained wrapped in the cloth for about 36 hours after death. The body could not have been removed from inside the wrapping, since there are no traces of tearing,
and the blood clots remain intact. Ali this points to one logical conclusion — belief in the fact of the resurrection.
Our Savior Jesus Christ stamped a true image of his suffering and death on His burial cloth. The Shroud might well be called the Fitth Gospel — written not in ink, but in blood, shed for our salvation. It ought to stir and enliven our faith, draw us into a closer, personal encounter with our Savior.
The shocking images of Christ's suffering, so graphi-cally shown in Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, are largely borne out by what researchers on the Shroud of Turin have discovered.
The face on the Shroud attests to the torments Jesus endured. The head reveals | numerous bloody punctures caused by the crown of thorns. We see a sticki -inflicted wound across the nose and right cheek. There are abrasions to the eyelids and eyebrows, a swelling over the right zygoma, traces of bleeding through the nostrils, bruises and bone displacement at the tip of the nose, scalp lesions from hair being torn out by the roots.
An examination of the torso and lower body area reveals 120 wounds inflicted by the scourges, a sort of cat-o'-nine-tails with three longer thongs tipped with metal frag-ments. These tore out pieces of flesh in the process of lash-ing. Evidence points to the fact that Jesus was scourged by two soldiers. The thongs wrapped around His body, hitting the front parts, the chest, the abdomen, the shins and the thighs. Gib-son's film shows the terrible cruelty with which this punishment was inflicted. From the shoulder wounds imprinted on the Shroud, researchers agree that Jesus carried the horizontal beam of the cross, which was approximately six feet long and weighed about 66 Ib. He had to carry it for a distance of about 550 yards. Several times He fell on His face, hitting His knees violently against the stony road. Gibson's film follows pious tradition of Jesus carry-ing the whole cross, but this does not take away from the film's expressive realism.
Research also confirms that Chrisfs hands were nailed to the cross at the wrists, not the palms, since the latter would have been incapable of supporting the full weight of the body. The nails went in at what is called the "Destot point", located between the bones of the wrist. In order to breathe, Jesus had to raise his
body periodically on his nailed hands and feet. This successive lifting and lowering of the body continued for about 3 hours until utter exhaustion set in, and death ensued.
Analysis of the wound in Jesus' right side (about 0.5" wide and 1.75" long) indicates that death came as a result of rupture of the heart muscle due to cardiac arrest. This precipitated a massive flow of blood (up to 2 ąuarts) into the pericardium, and thence into the lungs, causing hemopericardia. A violent rupture of the pericardium due to a high build-up of blood would have resulted in a paralyzing pain in the sternum area, followed by death. And Jesus cried once again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit (Mt 27:50). Soon afterwards, the blood in the pericardium separated into red corpuscles (accumulating in the lower part of the pleural cavity) and blood plasma (remaining in the upper part). When the Centurion's lance pierced the chest, both fluids flowed out, first the red corpuscles, then the colorless plasma. Hence the Gospel of John tells us: one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water (Jn 19:34). The pierced heart of the Savior is a sign affirming that: greater love has no mań than this, that a man lay down his life for hisfriends (Jn 15:13).
The Shroud — states Pope John Paul II — enables us to dis-cover the mystery of suffering sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a suffering from which the salvation of all mankind springs. [It] is also an image of God's love and mań's sin. [It] calls on us to discover the deep-est reasons for Jesus' redemptive death... .Faced with such suffering, the believer cannot but ery out with deep conviction: "Lord, you could not have loved me more!" and also realize that sin — the sin of every one of us — is the reason for this suffering. The Shroud imites all of us to stamp the image of God's love onto our hearts and root out the terrible real-ity of sin....In the silent message of the Shroud, we hear an echo of God's words and the centuries-old experi-ence of Christianity: believe in God's love, the most precious gift offered to humanity; beware of sin, the greatest misfortune to have befallen human-kind (Turin, May 24, 1998).
 

Sign of

 Eternal  Life

 

 

Bernadette Soubirous, receiver of numerous apparitions of the

Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858, joined a convent novitiate in

Nevers in 1866. There she remained until her death on April 16,

1879. Since then, the world has been witnessing a spectacular and

continuous miracle. Contrary to the laws of nature, St. Bernadette's

body has been spared both external or internal decomposition, and

preserves to this day an amazing freshness and beauty.

Pilgrims at the Chapel of the Convent of Saint Gildard in Nevers can see the body of St. Bernadette Soubirous for themselves. It is dressed in a nun's habit and seems to be sleeping, the head bent slightly to the left. A rosary entwines the hands which ar joined in a gesture of prayer. The sight of St. Bernadette lying in a glass coffin evokes surprise and amazement among the pilgrims. Is this really she? - they ask. Can her body really have been spared the process of decay? Is this her actual face, and not just an artificial mask?" In this article I will attempt to provide substantive answers to these questions, relying on the scientific study of Andre Ravier, author of a book about the phenomenon of St. Bernadette's body.

News about St. Bemadette's death traveled quickly. From Nevers and all parts of France, crowds of people converged on the convent in order to pay their respects to the future saint. Her body was exposed for public viewing in the chapel. Since people kept arriving, the funeral had to be put off until April 19. Bernadette's body was laid in a zinc-lined, oak coffin, which was then sealed with numerous seals in the presence of the town mayor and two policemen. Witnesses signed their names, certifying the entire process. By special permission of the mayor's office, Bernadette's body was buried in the convent garden.

The diocese was unable to process the necessary documentation concerning St. Bernadette until fall of 1909. According to the regulations of the day, a procedure called a "canonical examination of the body" had to be performed. This took place on September 22, 1909. A detailed official report of this first exhumation can be found among Saint-Gildard convent's archives. There we read that at 8:30 a.m. Bishop Gauthey of Nevers, assisted by members of the diocesan tribunal, entered the convent chapel. A table displaying an open Holy Bibie stood by the door. Three separate groups of witnesses attended, two physicians, two bricklayers and two carpenters. After their swearing in, the exhumation team went to Bernadette's tomb, opened it, and withdrew the coffin. The two carpenters prized open the coffin lid amid great suspense. An amazing sight struck their eyes. The body of Bernadette had remained perfectly preserved. Her face shone with virginal beauty. Her eyes were closed, as if she were peacefully sleeping, the lips were slightly open, the head tilted to the left. The skin was in perfect condition, still adhering to the muscles. A rusting rosary entwined the hands. Veins were visible under the skin. The nails of the fingers and toes were also in pristine condition. And this state of preservation continues to the present day! The two physicians undertook a detailed inspection of the corpse. According to their report, what they saw, once the habit had been removed and the veil lifted from the head, was a whole body - elastic and integral in every limb. "In witness whereof - concluded the report - we have duly drawn up this present statement, in which all is truthfully recorded". It was signed by Dr. C. David, a surgeon, and Dr. A. Jourdan. After the inspection, the nuns washed the body and re-laid it in a double zinc-lined coffin. The coffin was closed, sealed and returned to the vault.

Commenting on the perfect preservation of St. Bernadette's body 30 years after her death, Father Andre Ravier stresses that the phenomenon is a mystery that admits of no explanation.

 Not only had Bernadette suffered from various diseases while she was alive, but her body had been interred in a damp vault. Her habit was sopping wet. The rosary and the cross were rusty. Despite the fact that she had been buried in a place that would normally accelerate the decomposition of the body, St. Beraadette's corpse was entirely intact. Another inspection of the body took place April 3, 1919, when the cause for her beatification had began. Those in attendance were the Bishop of Nevers, the police commissioner, some town representatives, and members of the church tribunal. Again two physicians, Dr. Talon and Dr. Comte, performed the examination. This time, however, they wrote separate reports, with-out consulting with one another.

As the original documents show, both reports concurred perfectly, not only with each other, but also with the earlier reports of Dr. David and Dr. Jourdan. There was only one minor new development: patches of mildew on the body. This was probably the result of the body being washed, following the first exhumation.

In 1923, Pope Pius IX pronounced the authenticity of Bernadette's heroic virtues, which opened the road to beatification. A third and last inspection of the body was now necessary. This took place on April 18, 1925, i.e. 46 years and two days after Bernadette's death. Those attending the third exhumation were the Bishop of Nevers, the police commissioner, the mayor, and two physicians. Following their swearing-in, the coffin was brought to the Chapel of Sainte Helen and opened. Once again the body was found to be in a perfect state of preservation. In his final report, Dr. Comte, who supervised the medical team, observed: "the body of the Venerable Bernadette is intact (...) it does not appear to have suffered putrefaction, nor has any decomposition of the cadaver set in,

although this is to be expected and normal after such a long period in a vault hollowed out of the earth". Some time later Dr. Comte published an article in a scientific Journal, in which he stated: "What struck me during this examination, was of course the state of perfect preservation enjoyed by the skeleton, the fibrous muscle tissue (still supple and firm), the ligaments and skin. But what was totally unexpected was the state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and susceptible to crumbling, would have decomposed very rapidly or hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet under the scalpel it proved soft and a l most normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon".

Fragments of the liver, a muscle and two ribs were removed from Bernadette's body as relics. The rest of the corpse was left intact. It remained in the Chapel of Sainte Helene, but the doors remained closed and sealed until the day of the beatification by Pope Pius XI on June 14, 1925. Later, on July 18 of the same year, the body of  Blessed Bernadette was laid in a glass shrine. It rests in the same novitiate hall in which, after her admission to the convent, she first related her Marian apparitions to her 300 fellow sisters. On August 3, 1925, the shrine was moved yet again to a chapel located to the right of the main altar. It is there to this day. Those making a pilgrimage to Lourdes and Nevers would do well to recall that the glass shrine indeed contains the miraculously preserved body of St. Bernadette Soubirous. These are the very same face and eyes that witnessed the Yirgin Mary's apparitions 18 times in Lourdes; the very same hands that worked the beads of the rosary during those apparitions, the same

hands that later dug out the miraculous water-spring of Lourdes; the same lips that uttered the name of Immaculate Conception to the parish priest; the same pure heart that worshiped Love with all its might. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Mt. 5:8).

By the sign of her incorrupt body, St. Bernadette is actually present in spirit. She offers prayers and witnesses to the truth that all we need in order to be happy is God. She is, as she  will continue to be, a sign calling for the reformation of our souls, for accepting the joyous truth that God is Love, and that only His love can lead us from the horror of submission to sin and death to the joys of eternal life.

Her perfectly preserved body is a sign that human death is actually the beginning of real life in Eternity, the life that Jesus Christ offers each of us in the Eucharist. May we never forget that our life on earth is meant to be a preparation for our meeting with Christ at the moment of death. May we never close our hearts to the gift of eternal life through unbelief, immorality and sinful stubbornness. "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked ,for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows in his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."(Gal. 6,7-8)

Those living in the darkness of unbelief and sin should remember that the chance to convert, to become a saint, is always present. It is enough to trust in the infinite Mercy of God. At that point a miracle can occur in one's life. Jesus says this: "You don 't Have to go on long pilgrimages, or to perform some ritual or other in order to experience this miracle. All you have to do is approach in faith those who represent me on this earth and tell them of your misery. Then the miracle of God's mercy will burst forth in all its splendor. Even if the soul should resemble a decaying body, even if in human terms it were impossible to save it, even if everything would seem to be lost - it is not like that in God's view of things. The miracle of God's mercy raises the soul completely. Oh, you pitiable ones, who do not make use of this miracle of God's mercy, in vain you will shout; but it will be too late". (St. Faustina's  Diary, 710)

   Bernadetta   której  objawiła się , Matka Boża w Lourdes.

                                                     

Nietknięte ciało Bernadety Subirous spoczywające w kaplicy klasztoru w   Nevers                                                                                                   

The Conversion

of the Chief Rabbi

of Rome

On February 13,1945, the world”s leading news agencies broke the news that Professor Israel Zolli, chief rabbi of Rome, renowned biblical scholar, had been received into the

Catholic Church.

He was born in 1881, in Brody, in the region of Poland that was then under Austrian rule. For 35 years, before assuming the chief rabbinate in Rome, he had held the same position in Trieste. After his baptism he considered himself not a converted but a completed Jew, since the Catholic Church was the fulfillment of the promise of Judaism. In his words, the Old Testament is God”s coded telegram to mankind, and the one cipher, the one code to reading its contents, is Jesus Christ, who is both true God and true Man. As an eyewitness to the Holocaust, Zolli insisted that it was precisely the annihilation of Christian principles by Fascist ideology that contributed to that catastrophe. After the war hn would write: "I am convinced that when this war is over the only way of checking the forces of destruction and achieving the reconstruction of Europe will be by accepting the principles of the Catholic faith, that is, the idea of God and universal brotherhood embodied in Christ — not a brotherhood based on race and ubermensch, for there is "neither Jew nor Greek...neither slave nor free...neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Ga. 3:28).Eugenio Zolli”s Polish name was Izrael Zoller .Derived From a well-known family of rabbinical scholars, his mother always dreamed that one of her five children would become a rabbi. Israel was her youngest son. He studied at a rabbinical school and also read philosophy at university, first in Vienna, then in Florence. In 1920, he was appointed chief rabbi of Trieste. In order to qualify for Italian citizenship in 1933, he was obliged by the fascist authorities to change his surname to Zolli. Soon after, he assumed the chair of the Department of Hebrew Language and Literature at the University of Padua. A few years later, anti-Semitic purges forced him to resign his post.

In 1940 he became chief rabbi of Rome. Throughout the dramatic years of the war, he played a crucial role as leader of the Jewish community in Rome, which included both antifascists and those who collaborated with the authorities. With the occupation of Rome by the German forces in early September of 1943, the Jewish community found itself in a criti-cal situation. On September 27, the SS commander of the Roman garrison, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Kappler, ordered the Jewish leaders to come up with 50 kilograms of gold in 24 hours. If they failed to deliver, he would begin the deportation of all men of Jewish origin. The community managed to collect 35 kilograms. Another 15 had to be found. Only a few hours remained. In this dramatic situation Rabbi Zolli turned to Pope Pius XII for help. The Holy Father immediately assured him of his assistance. However, as it turned out, the Catholics of Rome had already collected the 15 remaining kilograms of gold and delivered it to the Jewish community. On 29 September 1943, Commander Nogara, a delegate of the special administration of the Holy See, sent the following memorandum to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione: "Yesterday Prof. Zolli came at 2 p.m. to tell me that they had received the reąuired 15 kilograms of gold from the Catholic community, and that for the time being there was no need for them to resort to our help." (Actes et Documents du Saint Siege relatifs a la seconde guerre mondiale. Vol. 9, Citta del Vaticano 1975, 494.)

Even though they received their 50 kilograms of gold, the Nazis arrested over 2000 Jewish men, women and children in the early hours October 16. The rest of the Jewish community went into hiding. Rabbi Zolli, his wife and daughter managed to find refuge in the home of a Catholic family, and remained there until the liberation of Rome by the Allies. Zoili subsequently resumed his duties as chief rabbi. In July 1944, he presided over a solemn prayer service in the Roman Synagogue. The event was broadcast by radio, allowing him to publicly thank Pope Pius XII and the President of the United States for the assistance they had rendered the Jews in Rome during the time of the Nazi

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persecutions. On 25 My 1945, during a private audience with Pius XII, Rabbi Zolli and the president of the Jewish community thanked the Holy Father for his extraordinary, personal involvement in the fate of the Jews. They also asked him to convey their thanks to the Catholic population of Rome. At great personal sacrifice and risk to their lives, these people — both lay and religious — had provided assistance to thousands of Jews by accepting them into their cloisters, convents, rectories and private homes.

"Neither Jew nor Greek.. .neither slave nor free... neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Ga. 3:28).

Zolli's Baptism

Rabbi Zolli made his final decision to be received into the Catholic Church in My of 1944. The gift of faith came to him after many years of spiritual growth and sincere seeking after the truth. In August of 1944, Zolli asked the Jesuit professor Paulo Cezza at the Gregorian University to prepare him, quietly and discreetly, for the Sacrament of Baptism.

But first he had to resign his post as chief rabbi of Rome. Jesus made it clear to him that his time of service at the Synagogue was drawing to a close. In September of 1944, on the Feast of Reconciliation, he presided over the solemn prayer service in the Synagogue for the last time. During the service Christ appeared to Zolli in a yision. Hę was dressed in a white robe and radiated an ineffable sense of peace. In his heart Zolli heard him say, "You are here for the last time. " That evening at home, his wife told him: "Today when you stood before the Ark of the Torah, I imagined I saw the white figure of Jesus placing his hand over your head as though hę were blessing you." Zoili recalls: "I was stunned, but still felt at peace. I pretended not to

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understand her, but she repeated what she had said word for word. Then I heard our daughter Miriam calling me from her room: 'D-a-d-d-y!' I went to her and asked her what she wanted. She said, 'You were talking about Jesus Christ, weren't you? You know, I had a dream today in which I saw the tall figure of Jesus robed in white; I don't recall what happened afterwards.' A few days later I resigned my post in the Jewish community."

Zolli's decision came as a great shock to his community. Seeing his determination, the president accepted his resignation with great sorrow. He offered him the post of director of the rabbinical college. Zolli refused to accept it. In his letter of reply, the president expressed great surprise and sorrow. Professor Zolli was the most suitable candidate for the post. Wishing to avoid negative reactions, Zolli did not reveal his main reason for declining the offer. Thus, having freed himself of all extraneous responsibilities, he, along with his wife Emma and daughter Miriam, prepared to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. The event took place on February 13, 1945, in a private chapel adjoining the sacristy of S. Maria degli Angeli Church in Rome. Only 15 of his

most trusted friends attended the celebration. No journalists were invited. Israel Zolli took the name Eugenio (in honor of Pius XII, whose Christian name was Eugenio

Pacelli) and his wife took the name Maria. That night a news reporter telephoned him from the United States, asking him if he had been received into the Catholic Church. Zolli could not deny it. The following day, all the main wire services in America and Europe broke the news that the chief rabbi of Rome had become a Catholic. Zolli lived close to the Synagogue. As soon as the news of his conversion to Catholicism became known, he began receiving threatening and abusive phone calls. The Hebrew monthly appeared with its cover bordered in black. Zoili was immediately forced to move out of his apartment. His wife j and daughter found refuge in a cloister, and Professor Zolli took up temporary residence at the Gregorian University. Pius XII itvited the Zollis for a private audience at the Vatican. Deeply moved, they expressed their joy and gratitude to the Holy Father. They also expressed their love and forgiveness of their fellow Jews, who could not understand their decision to become Catholics. "Now that I am baptized," observed Emma, "I am unable to hate anyone. I love everyone."

During his stay at the Gregorian University, Zolli received

numerous visits from friends and enemies. Influential American Jews dropped in to persuade him to return to the bosom of Judaism, offering him whatever sum of money he wished. With great serenity, he refused every offer. A number of prominent Protestants also came to his door. Recognizing him as a scholar with a deep knowledge J of the Scriptures, they asked him to prepare a refutation of the doctrine of Papal Primacy on biblical grounds. Zolli's response was a book entitled Petrus, in which he used Holy Scripture to prove the case for Peter's primacy and the succession of Popes. "Since protesting is not testifying, l do not intend to trouble anyone by asking the question: Why did they wait 1500 years to protest? For fifteen centuries the Catholic Church was recognized as the true Church of God by the entire Christian world. No one in all honesty can dismiss those 1500 years out of hand and daim that the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ. I can accept only that Church which was proclaimed to all creatures by my ancestors, the twehe apostles, who, like me, came out of the Synagogue. "

The Path to Conversion

Already as a small boy in Poland, Zolli had many Catholic friends. "We, Hebrew children, loved our Christian friends, " he wrote, "and they loved us. We knew nothing about racial differences. We knew our religions differed. That is why when it came to religion class we went to different rooms. Once the lesson was over we were together again... "

While visiting the home of his friend Stas, hę would stare with wonder at the crucifix on the wall. It was then that he first began asking questions about the person of Jesus. This prompted him to read the Gospels. With the passage of years, his knowledge of the New Testament grew deeper. In large measure, Zolli attributed his conversion to his shattering discovery that the prophecy of Yahweh's Suffering Servant contained in the four songs of the prophet Isaiah (42: 1-7; 49:1-5; 50:4-9; 52:13; 53:12) was fulfilled in the suffering and crucified Jesus. He came to this conclusion after many years of studying the texts of the Old and New Testament. In this, expert scholarly exegesis and his perfect knowledge of Hebrew and Biblical Greek aided him. His scholarly studies culminated in the conviction that Yahweh's Suffering Servant could be no other but Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification. "In this way," he wrote, "after many years of study,

meditation and living the Judaism of the Old Testament, I eventually found myself in the Christianity of the New Testament. I had to admit in all honesty that I had become a Christian, and that is why I began to prepare myself systematically for the reception of Baptism."

Zolli saw his transition from Judaism to Catholicism not as a break with the past but as a continuation along the road of salvation. When his co-religionists began accusing him of betrayal, he replied sadly: "My conscience is clear.

I have renounced nothing. Isn 't the God of Saint Paul also the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Saint Paul converted. Did he forsake the God of lsrael in doing so? Did he stop loving Him? It would be absurd to say yes. "

After being baptized, Professor Zolli devoted considerable time every day to prayer and partook earnestly of the Eucharist. He often expressed his great joy over being a Catholic. "You cradle Catholics do not realize what great treasures the faith and Christ 's grace represent. People such as I, who have received the grace of faith only after long years of seeking, can appreciate the greatness of this gift and experience the enormous joy of being a Christian. "

After several months, Zolli was able to find living quarters on the outskirts of Rome and resume family life with his wife and daughter. He began teaching Hebrew language and literature at the Biblical Institute. All the while he lived a life of intense prayer. With all the zeal of a new convert, he gave guest lectures at various universities throughout Europe and the United States. His apostolic zeal was naturally directed toward his former coreligionists, whom he sought to bring closer to the truth of Christ. He paid special… attention to recent converts, offering them both moral and material support. A scholar to the end of his day s, Zolli increased his apostolic activity through the publication of numerous books and articles in Italy and abroad. Heart problems plagued his final years. His last lecture, on divine justice and mercy in the Scriptures, took place in Vallicelli, in January of 1956. He died on March 2, 1956. On receiving the viaticum on his deathbed, he said: "/ trust the Lord will forgive my sins. l commit myself entirely to God's mercy. "

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

Apostle of the Divine Mercy, First Saint of the Third Millenium

Jesus said to St. Faustina: "Let no sinner be afraid to approach Me".

In Faustina's "Diary", Jesus invites each one of us to yield to His infinite mercy, to trust in His compassion and forgiveness. Great graces are promised to those who proclaim His great mercy.

" I shall protect them Myself at the hour of death, as My own glory. And even if the sins of the soul are as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy, he renders Me the greatest praise, and becomes the glory of My Passion. When a soul praises My goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell" (Diary, 378).

Christ is always knocking at the door of our hearts to remind us that if we have recourse to His Divine Mercy, He will free our souls from evil, restore our ability to love, and purify our intentions. Sin is our greatest tragedy since it leads us into the horrible reality of death and eternal condemnation. Trusting in Jesus, praying to Him, relying on Him—this is our one avenue of salvation. Jesus assures us that His wounded heart will not abandon us in the hour of death. It is never too late to renounce evil and start walking in the path of salvation. Having chosen Faustina, a simple, uneducated nun, who trusted Him boundlessly, Christ assigned her the critically important job of proclaiming His Merciful Love to the world: "Today—Jesus told her—I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. It is not my desire to punish hurting mankind, but to heal it, press it to My merciful Heart (Diary, 1588). You are the secretary of My mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this and the next life (Diary, 1605) (...) to make known to souls the great mercy that I have in store for them, and to exhort them to trust in the bottomless depth of My mercy" (Diary 1567)

The third of ten children, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska was born into a pious peasant family in 1905, in Glogowiec, Poland. She was christened Helena. At the age of seven years, she first heard an interior call to the religious life. Thirteen years later she was to knock on many a convent door, before finally, on August l, 1925, gaining admittance to the Con-vent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, where she took the name Sister Maria Faustina. After a five-year-long novitiate in Cracow, she made her perpetual vows of chastity, poverty and unselfish love. Being a natural, cheerful person, Sister Faustina served as cook, gardener and doorkeeper at convents in Cracow, Pock and Yilnius. It was during these years that Jesus commissioned her to write her Diary. This extraordinary record reveals the depth and richness of her mystical life and union with God. She enjoyed great graces and a host of spiritual gifts: contemplative prayer, revelations, visions, prophecy, mystical espousals, invisible stigmata, the ability to read human souls, and a profound knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy.

During her lifetime, Faustina was yirtually unknown, even to many sisters of her congregation. Only a few of her superiors, her confessor, and spiritual director were ever aware of her visions and revelations. She died of tuberculosis, mystically united with Christ, at the age of 33, on October 5, 1938, having been a religious for 13 years.

Faustina's mission to spread the message of divine mercy began on February 22, 1931. Having appeared to her in a vision, Christ commissioned her to paint an image of Him with red and pale rays radiating from His heart. The image was to bear the subscription: Jesus, I trust in You!

In her Diary Faustina writes: "I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. (...) After a while, Jesus said to me: Paint an image according to the model you see, with the motto below: Jesus I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world'" (47).

"I promise that the soul that vener-ates this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of

death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory" (48).

When Faustina's spiritual director learned of her visions, he had her submit to a psychiatrie assessment. Having determined the soundness of her mental faculties, he placed an artist under the saint”s direction with a view to producing a true copy of her y vision of the Merciful Savior.

Jesus asked Faustina that the first Sunday after Easter be declared Mercy Sunday, the "Feast of Divine Mercy," a day when His graces would flow in an extraordinary way to all those who asked for them. He told Faustina: "I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine toward the souls of sinners. Let no sinner be afraid to approach Me" (50).

Mercy Sunday is now celebrated in thousands of Catholic parishes across the United States. It has already been designated a liturgical Feast Day of the Catholic Church in Poland. St. Faustina's Diary describes the promise Jesus made to those who solemnly participate in the Feast of Divine Mercy:

"Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment"(300).

"I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, especially poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy will be opened. I will pour out an entire ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that goes to Confession and receives Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and a remission of all punishment. (...) Let no soul fear to approach Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. (...) Humanity will not enjoy peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy" (699).

On being asked by Faustina about the significance of the two rays in the image, Jesus replied: "The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays poured forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart on the Cross was opened by the lance" (299).

Faustina's mission consisted in: reminding the world of God's merciful love towards every human being, even the greatest sinner; conveying new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy; launching a great movement of devotees and apostles of Divine Mercy, who would lead people to a renewal of Christian life in the spirit of this devotion; i.e. in the gospel spirit of childlike confidence in God and love of neighbor.

Divine Mercy and St. Faustina's Diary

The essence of Chrisfs message to St. Faustina is that we are living in a time of mercy. The present age, more than any other in history, calls for a great outpouring of the mercy of God. As a result, the revelations to Faustina have become known as "The Message of Divine Mercy" with Jesus receiving the new title, "The Divine Mercy", not unlike His earlier title of "The Sacred Heart". Many times Jesus reveals to Faustina how deep His mercy is

“ I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from ii. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust. Sinners will attain justification, and the just will be strengthened in goodness. Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with My divine peace at the hour of death" (1520).

I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image bearing the subscription: Jesus, I trust in You" (327).

I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls" (1074).

Faustina's Diary tells us that it is not enough to trust Jesus. We must show mercy to our neighbors in deed, in word, and in prayer (742). Jesus says to Faustina:

 "Ifa soul does not exercise mercy in one way or another, it will not obtain My mercy on the Day of Judgment" (1317).

"The Lord said to me, 'It should be of no concern to you how anyone else acts; you are to be My living reflection, through love and mercy'. I answered, 'Lord, but they often take advantage of my goodness.' 'That makes no difference, My daughter. That is no concern of yours. As for you, be always merciful toward other people, and especially toward sinners " (1446).

"Oh, how painful it is to Me that souls so seldom unite themselves to Me in Holy Communion. I wait for souls, and they are indifferent toward Me. I love them tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust Me. I want to lavish My graces on them, and they do not want to accept them. They treat Me as a dead object, whereas My Heart is full of love and mercy. In order that that you may know at least some of My pain, imagine the most tender of mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a pale image and likeness of My love" (1447).

Throughout the Diary we encounter magnificent prayers addressing God's mercy, prayers that urge us to venerate God's infinite mercy and compassion toward any soul that seeks to be joined with Him.

"Praise the Lord, my soul, for everything , and glorify His mercy, for His goodness is without end. Everything will pass, but His mercy is without limit or end. And although evil will attain its measure, in mercy there is no measure. Oh my God, even in the punishments You send down upon the earth I see the abyss of Your mercy, for by punishing us here on earth, You free us from eternal punishment. Rejoice, all you creatures, for you are closer to God in His infinite mercy than a babe is to its mother 's heart. O God, You are compassion itself for the greatest sinners who sincerely repent. The greater the sinner, the greater his right to God's mercy" (423).

St. Faustina reminds us of the meaning of the Eucharist and the Holy Trinity. "Jesus, when (...) in Holy Communion (...) You (...) condescend to dwell in the little heaven of my heart, I try to keep You company throughout the day. I do not leave You alone for a moment, even though I am in the company of other people or those entrusted to my care. My heart is always united to Him. When I sleep, I offer Him every beat of my heart. When I am awake, I immerse myself in Him in silence. On awaking, I make a brief act of adoration to the Holy Trinity and thank God for allowing me to live yet another day, that the mystery of the incarnation of His Son may once more be repeated in me, and once again His sorrowful Passion may unfold before my eyes. I try to make it easier for Jesus to pass through me to other souls. I go everywhere with Jesus. His presence accompanies me everywhere" (486).

The Chaplet of Divine Mery

On September 13, 1935, Sister Faustina had a terrible vision of a destroying Angel ("the agent of divine wrath") about to strike some place on the planet. She began praying, begging him to put off the punishment until the world did penance. At first, her pleas seemed in vain, but presently she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Christ's grace in her soul. Again she began to plead for the world in words that welled up out of the silence of her soul:

"Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us" (475). Her prayer was answered and the angel was prevented from carrying out the chastisement. The following morning, Sister Faustina heard these interior words: "Every time you enter the chapel, start reciting the prayer which I taught you yesterday" (476).

Later, she was instructed in the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy: "This prayer will serve to appease My wrath. You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the rosary, in the following manner: first of all, you will say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I Believe in God. Then, on the Our Father beads, you will say the following words: "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins and those of the whole world." On the Hail Mary beads you will say the following words: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: "Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world" (476).

Jesus Himself tells us why it is so important to recite this prayer: "Recite the chaplet unceasingly that l have taught you. Whoever recites it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even in the case of the most hardened sinner, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the

whole world know My infinite mercy. l desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls that trust in My mercy" (687).

"Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls that say this chaplet; the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet" (848). "At the hour of their death, l defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same"'(811).

"Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask is compatible with My will "(\73\).

After Faustina's death, the message of God's mercy began to spread throughout the world. However, owing to the political situation prevailing in Poland during and after the war, the Church found it difficult to verify the authenticity of Faustina's writings. As a result, the Vatican was forced to impose a temporary ban on the spreading of the revelations. Eventually, however, the writings were subjected to a thorough scrutiny. Since then, scholars and theologians have been staggered by the ability of a simple nun, with barely two winters of formal education, to write so profoundly and so clearly on the mystical life. Her writings were found to be entirely free of theological error. They are now numbered among the master-pieces of mystical literature.

Łagiewniki - the Capital City of Divine Mercy

The chief purpose of Holy Father's pilgrimage to Poland on August 2002 was to visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Cracow-Lagiewniki. At the Eucharistic celebration, John Paul II dedicated a new church, solemnly entrusted the world to the Divine Mercy, and declared Łagiewniki to be the capital city of Divine Mercy. After all, had not Jesus promised that "the spark preparing the world for His final coming" (Diary, 1732) would fly forth from here?

Until World War II, the Convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow-Lagiewniki remained a private institution, serving the sisters and those entrusted to their care. Today, it houses the sanctuary of the Divine Mercy with its famous, grace-working image of the Merciful Jesus, and the relics of Sister Faustina. Thousands of pilgrims regularly converge on this spot from all over the world. Here the message of mercy is proclaimed. Prayers are offered up for God's mercy for the world. Acts of mercy are rendered to those in need. Here also apostles of God's Mercy receive their spiritual formation.

The Mercy Message

The message of mercy is simply this: that God loves us, all of us, no matter how great our sins. He wants us to turn to Him so that He may bless us. He wants us to recognize His mercy and allow it to flow through us to others. In this way, all will come to share in His joy. To repeat: it's as simple as ABC: Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him, repent of our sins, and ask for His Mercy. Be Merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let if flow through us to others. Completely Trust. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust.

The Canonization of Sister Faustyna

On the first Sunday after Easter, April 18, 1993, at St. Peter's Square in Rome, Pope John Paul II declared Sister Faustina a member of the community of the blessed. She was canonized in the Jubilee Year 2000 on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 30th. She is, therefore, the first saint of the Third Millennium.         In his canonization Mass homily, the Holy Father pointed out that by Divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was inextricably linked with the history of the recently ended 20th century. "In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted His message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who witnessed or participated in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy (...). What will the years ahead bring us? What will man's future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no łack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord wished to return to the world through Sister Faustina's  charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium."Sister Faustina's canonization has a particular eloquence: by this act I intend today to pass this message on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know even better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren. (...) Sister Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary: I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings o f my neighbors. All my neighbors' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbor' (Diary, 365). This is the degree of compassion to which love leads, when it takes the love of God as its measure! (...) It is this love which must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God's eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy (...) This consoling message is addressed, above all, to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way, and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer Jesus, I trust in you, which Providence intimated through Sister Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. "Jezu, ufam tobie" (...) And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred, and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!" ( Homily of the Holy Father, 30 April 2000). 

 

The Road   to Success

 

Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, is one of the richest men in the USA. He is currently devoting his attention full-time to non-profit endeavors. He is founder of the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann

Arbor, Michigan and the Spiritus Sanctus sister-run elementary schools, where students   Holy Mass every day. As chairman of the Ave Maria Foundation, he has been instrumental in launching the Ave Maria Catholic Radio Network and supports organizations defending life from the moment of conception to natural death.

In the near future, he plans to open a Catholic university in Naples, Florida. It will be the first new Catholic university founded in the USA in forty years. In April of 2004, Tom Monaghan granted an interview to members of LOAs editorial staff.

Is it possible for business to be guided by ethical principles these days?

There is nothing wrong with owning great wealth so long as you earn it honestly and put it to good use. I thoroughly enjoy the things money can buy, such as private jets, a helicopter, a yacht, and a big league baseball team. But to me the real substance of life is the struggle with evil, mastering one's weaknesses — that is, living life in accordance with the commandments and the moral principles revealed to us by Jesus Christ. In busi­ness I have always been determined to win, to outstrip our company's best performance and beat the competition. But winning in business is nothing unless you do it strictly according to the rules. That idealistic attitude has often struck others as naive or vain or foolhardy, especially during periods of crisis in the early years of my company, when the odds against its survival seemed overwhelming. Today I am deeply convinced that it was ideals — right moral conduct and plain hard work — that saved the company. My faith in

God kept hope alive. It energized me, enabled me to weather every crisis, and provided the fuel that propelled our corporate growth.

I was twenty-three years old, with no college degree and virtually no business experience, when I opened the restaurant that was the beginning of Domino's, on December 9, 1960. It was a small, ungarnished pizza shop at the edge of the Eastern Michigan University campus in Ypsilanti. Our sales in that wintry first week were only $99. But when Domino's celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in December 1985, we had 2,600 stores. We were represented in all fifty states and six foreign countries. A year later we had 3,600 stores and sales of $2 billion. By the year 2000 we were running 7000 stores in 66 countries, employing 120,000 workers, and garnering sales of $3.54 billion.

The management techniques that I applied in building the company were developed mostly by trial and error. But all of them were based on a homemade philosophy I call my five personal priorities. I first came up with this list during a voyage from the Philippines to Japan while I was in the Marine Corps. I had

plenty of time aboard that troopship to reflect on my life and goals. I realized that the most important goal in life was to go to heaven and take as many people there with me as possible. Since then I have been guided by these five priorities: spiritual, social, mental, physical, and financial — in that order.

You have often stated that life's greatest asset is not material wealth but faith. Could you share your experience of faith with our readers?

Spiritual values are my first priority in life. Domino's Pizza is not my great­est success. The only success that can be counted as great is to be saved, to get to heaven, and to this end I devote myself heart and soul. We can never find happiness unless by faith we open ourselves up to the love of God and place implicit trust in Him. That is why people should pray every day. It is through daily, persevering

My faith in God kept hope alive.

It energized me,

enabled me to weather every crisis, and provided the fuel that propelled our corporate growth.

prayer that faith takes root, matures and deepens. By praying sincerely, we receive the greatest spiritual gifts: faith, hope and love. I plan my day in such a way as to have time for praying the four mysteries of the rosary, scripture reading, meditation, and Mass. I receive Holy Communion every day because it is my greatest strength and source of constant joy. I go to confession regularly and have a spiri­tual director. I cannot understand how some Christians after committing a serious sin do not immediately go to confes­sion. Living in a state of serious sin is a nightmare, a state of spiritual death, slavery, and subjection to the powers of evil. Through the Sacrament of Penance, Jesus frees us from this terrible bondage. He never fails to forgive us, whatever the sin. An honest admission of fault and a desire to make good is all that is needed. Even if we fall seriously every day, we should never give up, but immediately go to confession and receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Only then can Jesus begin to heal us and, despite our failures, lead us down the road of the greatest success — toward heaven. Faith is my greatest asset. Jesus Christ is my one Lord and Savior, true God and true man, who suffered, died, and rose from the dead in order to pave our way to heaven. My faith is constantly growing and maturing. When I was four years old, my father died. My younger brother and I were placed in a Catholic orphanage, where a Polish-American nun, Sister Berarda, had a decisive influence on my early spiritual development. She was a gentle, loving teacher, and I flourished under her care. Years later, for a short time I attended a seminary, with every intention of becoming a priest, but the rector soon realized I wasn't suited for this, and so I had to strike out on a different path. I am convinced that the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the greatest privilege Christ could accord a man here on earth. I have a great respect for the priesthood.        A newly ordained priest is much more important than a president, prime minister, king, successful business-man, or any other great person. It is through the gift of the priesthood that Jesus Christ forgives our sins in the Sac­rament of Penance and makes present His passion, death and resurrection in the mystery of the Eucharist, in which we partake of His glorified body. My religious faith has always been strong. I know I can never be a success on this earth unless I am on good terms with God. I would never have been able to achieve success in business without the strength of the Holy Spirit, which comes from prayer and belief in Jesus Christ. In the earlier years, I was hit by a long series of difficulties. Each one seemed like a knockout blow. But I was able to get off the floor every time and come back stronger than ever. That's the power of faith. I use it every day. No matter how tense or tired I get, I can take time out to pray or say a rosary and feel refreshed. Personal contact with Christ in prayer is my greatest asset.

In 1984 I made my first pilgrim-age to Medjugorie. I was present with a dozen pilgrims when Our Blessed Mother appeared to the children in a small room of the rectory. For me it was an extraordinary experience of the presence of Mary, one of the most extraordinary in my life. It has strengthened my faith and intensified my prayer life.

And as to the rest of your five personal priorities?

The second on my list of personal pri­orities is the social one, that is, my relationship with other people. After God, the persons most important to me are my wife and children. My wife and I were married on August 25, 1962. Our early days were very difficult, and our earnings very modest. We had no house. We lived in house trailers. Despite these modest conditions,

I would never have been able to achieve success in busineSS without the strength of the Holy Spirit, which COmCS

from prayer and

belief in Jesus Christ.

we were very happy, since it is love not money that makes for happiness. Now that we are rich, we have not lost this hap­piness. Thanks to prayer we remain close to God and our love for each other is constantly deepening.

After family, on my scale of social relationships, come friends. Nobody can succeed in business without the help of friends. Here I am guided by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I 've always told Dom­ino”s employees and franchisees that all they have to do to be successful is

have a good product, give good service and apply the Golden Rule. One puts this rule into action by being nice to others, by thinking of the needs and interests of others. I learned this from Sister Berarda in the orphanage. Honesty and ethical behavior can often be taught. Managers should do it by example, and it's an uplifting experience for both manager and employee when it happens. I tend to be slow in recognizing dishonesty in others because I prefer to trust people. I look for good in others, not the bad. But I've also learned from my disappointments. Where you have an incorrigibly dishonest employee you have to treat him like a bad apple. No matter how bright or appealing he might be, I know he'll wind up spoiling the barrel. I toss him out immediately — for the good of the company, and his own as well.

My third priority is maintaining a sound and healthy mind. The key factor here is a clear conscience. This means you have done your best to live up to your own expectations. A clear conscience fosters self-esteem, a positive attitude, and an optimistic outlook, all of which promote success in business. I believe that the mind needs exercise, that it will grow in capacity and thinking ability if it is forced to by constant questioning and the desire for new information. After the

priority of mental fitness comes physical fitness. I subscribe to the idea that the body is the temple of the soul. As a living edifice it needs proper fuel and good maintenance. Physical health is a gift of God and it cannot be taken for granted. To keep myself fit, I do 45 minutes of floor exercises six days a week, including 150 consecutive pushups, followed by a six-and-a-third mile run. Twice a week, I end my run in the fitness center at our new headquarters, Domino's Farms, and work out for an hour. I am careful about what I eat. I eat dessert only 11 times a year, on feast days and family birthdays, and just before Lent. During Lent l fast. I never overeat. Thanks to this regime I enjoy perfect health even though I am 68 years old. I admit that over the years I've harassed some of my employees and franchisees to keep fit. One of them was our vice-president, Dick Mueller. I promised him fifty thousand dollars if he got into shape and completed the marathon run in Baton Rouge. It took him a year, but he lost over 100 Ibs. and ended up completing the race. Needless to say, I was at the finishing line    cheeing him on with a check for $50,000.

Could you say something about the new Catholic university you are building in Florida?

Ave Maria University will stand on three legs: spiritual, academic, and social, i. e. student life. The most important of these is the spiritual dimension.

Most existing Catholic universities seriously neglect the spiritual side, the need to deepen the Catholic faith of their students. The result is that many of these students graduate with a weaker faith than they had when they first began their studies. About 25 years ago I began seeing the need for creating new Catholic seats of learning that would place great value on spirituality and faith-building with a view to forming a strong new elite of Catholic leaders. That is why over the past few years I have allocated 200 million dollars toward the building of a new Catholic university, and have devoted all my energies to this project, which should be complete by the year 2006. Ave Maria University will have a solid Catholic theology program that is totally loyal to the teachings of the Church. Every semester students will be required to take courses in theology and philosophy. For this purpose we have chosen the best professors of theology and philosophy, who are bound to swear an oath of fidelity to the Magisterial and the local bishop. Everywhere throughout the campus there will be symbols witnessing to the Catholicity of this institution. It will be the site of the largest church in North America. We are in the process of building an entire university town, which will be home to Catholics living out their faith on a daily basis. Priests and consecrated persons already make up 25% of our student body. We plan to have 15 to 20 Masses celebrated every day in the town. In addition, the confessionals will be open all day, and there will be Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The university will have a population of 6000 students. It will be the best seat of learning in the United States, superior to Yale and Harvard. We want it to be the best, not the biggest. The entire student body will live in residence, men and women separately. We will place great emphasis on sports activities since these help to build character and form young people. Our students will come not only from the USA but also from about 100 other countries around the world. Our bookstores will be free of pornographic books and magazines, and no contraceptive devices will be sold.

Apparently you have met the Holy Father on several occasions...

I consider John Paul II to be a great moral authority, a true hero of our time. He radiates holiness. I experience this

every time I meet him. I have received Communion from his hands several times, and these are moments I will never for-get. It was after my first meeting with him on May 7, 1986 that the idea of founding "Legatus" — an association of Catholic businessmen came to me. Its members pledge to deepen their Catholic faith, put its principles into action and share them with members of their organizations, both in a professional and private capacity. Our chapters meet monthly, attend weeklong retreats once a year, and make pilgrimages to famous shrines. Legatus is the Latin word for ambassador; that is why our members pledge them-selves to sharing their faith with others by

their own witness — by their good deeds and high ethical standards. Currently our organization numbers 1800 entrepreneurs grouped in 58 chapters throughout the USA, Canada, Italy and Ireland. It is an exclusive organization for Catholic busi­nessmen who own companies of a net worth of not less than 100 million dollars, or at least with a net annual income of 10 million dollars.

At one of our meetings with the Holy Father, he told us: The world needs authentic witnesses to Christian ethics in business. The Church invites you to curry out this role at all times and in the public eye.

 

'l realized that the most important goal in

life was to go to heaven and take as many

people there with me as possible."

                                                              Tom Monaghan

 

 

 

The Road   to Success

 

Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, is one of the richest men in the USA. He is currently devoting his attention full-time to non-profit endeavors. He is founder of the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann

Arbor, Michigan and the Spiritus Sanctus sister-run elementary schools, where students   Holy Mass every day. As chairman of the Ave Maria Foundation, he has been instrumental in launching the Ave Maria Catholic Radio Network and supports organizations defending life from the moment of conception to natural death.

In the near future, he plans to open a Catholic university in Naples, Florida. It will be the first new Catholic university founded in the USA in forty years. In April of 2004, Tom Monaghan granted an interview to members of LOAs editorial staff.

Is it possible for business to be guided by ethical principles these days?

There is nothing wrong with owning great wealth so long as you earn it honestly and put it to good use. I thoroughly enjoy the things money can buy, such as private jets, a helicopter, a yacht, and a big league baseball team. But to me the real substance of life is the struggle with evil, mastering one's weaknesses — that is, living life in accordance with the commandments and the moral principles revealed to us by Jesus Christ. In busi­ness I have always been determined to win, to outstrip our company's best performance and beat the competition. But winning in business is nothing unless you do it strictly according to the rules. That idealistic attitude has often struck others as naive or vain or foolhardy, especially during periods of crisis in the early years of my company, when the odds against its survival seemed overwhelming. Today I am deeply convinced that it was ideals — right moral conduct and plain hard work — that saved the company. My faith in

God kept hope alive. It energized me, enabled me to weather every crisis, and provided the fuel that propelled our corporate growth.

I was twenty-three years old, with no college degree and virtually no business experience, when I opened the restaurant that was the beginning of Domino's, on December 9, 1960. It was a small, ungarnished pizza shop at the edge of the Eastern Michigan University campus in Ypsilanti. Our sales in that wintry first week were only $99. But when Domino's celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in December 1985, we had 2,600 stores. We were represented in all fifty states and six foreign countries. A year later we had 3,600 stores and sales of $2 billion. By the year 2000 we were running 7000 stores in 66 countries, employing 120,000 workers, and garnering sales of $3.54 billion.

The management techniques that I applied in building the company were developed mostly by trial and error. But all of them were based on a homemade philosophy I call my five personal priorities. I first came up with this list during a voyage from the Philippines to Japan while I was in the Marine Corps. I had

plenty of time aboard that troopship to reflect on my life and goals. I realized that the most important goal in life was to go to heaven and take as many people there with me as possible. Since then I have been guided by these five priorities: spiritual, social, mental, physical, and financial — in that order.

You have often stated that life's greatest asset is not material wealth but faith. Could you share your experience of faith with our readers?

Spiritual values are my first priority in life. Domino's Pizza is not my great­est success. The only success that can be counted as great is to be saved, to get to heaven, and to this end I devote myself heart and soul. We can never find happiness unless by faith we open ourselves up to the love of God and place implicit trust in Him. That is why people should pray every day. It is through daily, persevering

My faith in God kept hope alive.

It energized me,

enabled me to weather every crisis, and provided the fuel that propelled our corporate growth.

prayer that faith takes root, matures and deepens. By praying sincerely, we receive the greatest spiritual gifts: faith, hope and love. I plan my day in such a way as to have time for praying the four mysteries of the rosary, scripture reading, meditation, and Mass. I receive Holy Communion every day because it is my greatest strength and source of constant joy. I go to confession regularly and have a spiri­tual director. I cannot understand how some Christians after committing a serious sin do not immediately go to confes­sion. Living in a state of serious sin is a nightmare, a state of spiritual death, slavery, and subjection to the powers of evil. Through the Sacrament of Penance, Jesus frees us from this terrible bondage. He never fails to forgive us, whatever the sin. An honest admission of fault and a desire to make good is all that is needed. Even if we fall seriously every day, we should never give up, but immediately go to confession and receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Only then can Jesus begin to heal us and, despite our failures, lead us down the road of the greatest success — toward heaven. Faith is my greatest asset. Jesus Christ is my one Lord and Savior, true God and true man, who suffered, died, and rose from the dead in order to pave our way to heaven. My faith is constantly growing and maturing. When I was four years old, my father died. My younger brother and I were placed in a Catholic orphanage, where a Polish-American nun, Sister Berarda, had a decisive influence on my early spiritual development. She was a gentle, loving teacher, and I flourished under her care. Years later, for a short time I attended a seminary, with every intention of becoming a priest, but the rector soon realized I wasn't suited for this, and so I had to strike out on a different path. I am convinced that the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the greatest privilege Christ could accord a man here on earth. I have a great respect for the priesthood.        A newly ordained priest is much more important than a president, prime minister, king, successful business-man, or any other great person. It is through the gift of the priesthood that Jesus Christ forgives our sins in the Sac­rament of Penance and makes present His passion, death and resurrection in the mystery of the Eucharist, in which we partake of His glorified body. My religious faith has always been strong. I know I can never be a success on this earth unless I am on good terms with God. I would never have been able to achieve success in business without the strength of the Holy Spirit, which comes from prayer and belief in Jesus Christ. In the earlier years, I was hit by a long series of difficulties. Each one seemed like a knockout blow. But I was able to get off the floor every time and come back stronger than ever. That's the power of faith. I use it every day. No matter how tense or tired I get, I can take time out to pray or say a rosary and feel refreshed. Personal contact with Christ in prayer is my greatest asset.

In 1984 I made my first pilgrim-age to Medjugorie. I was present with a dozen pilgrims when Our Blessed Mother appeared to the children in a small room of the rectory. For me it was an extraordinary experience of the presence of Mary, one of the most extraordinary in my life. It has strengthened my faith and intensified my prayer life.

And as to the rest of your five personal priorities?

The second on my list of personal pri­orities is the social one, that is, my relationship with other people. After God, the persons most important to me are my wife and children. My wife and I were married on August 25, 1962. Our early days were very difficult, and our earnings very modest. We had no house. We lived in house trailers. Despite these modest conditions,

I would never have been able to achieve success in busineSS without the strength of the Holy Spirit, which COmCS

from prayer and

belief in Jesus Christ.

we were very happy, since it is love not money that makes for happiness. Now that we are rich, we have not lost this hap­piness. Thanks to prayer we remain close to God and our love for each other is constantly deepening.

After family, on my scale of social relationships, come friends. Nobody can succeed in business without the help of friends. Here I am guided by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I 've always told Dom­ino”s employees and franchisees that all they have to do to be successful is

have a good product, give good service and apply the Golden Rule. One puts this rule into action by being nice to others, by thinking of the needs and interests of others. I learned this from Sister Berarda in the orphanage. Honesty and ethical behavior can often be taught. Managers should do it by example, and it's an uplifting experience for both manager and employee when it happens. I tend to be slow in recognizing dishonesty in others because I prefer to trust people. I look for good in others, not the bad. But I've also learned from my disappointments. Where you have an incorrigibly dishonest employee you have to treat him like a bad apple. No matter how bright or appealing he might be, I know he'll wind up spoiling the barrel. I toss him out immediately — for the good of the company, and his own as well.

My third priority is maintaining a sound and healthy mind. The key factor here is a clear conscience. This means you have done your best to live up to your own expectations. A clear conscience fosters self-esteem, a positive attitude, and an optimistic outlook, all of which promote success in business. I believe that the mind needs exercise, that it will grow in capacity and thinking ability if it is forced to by constant questioning and the desire for new information. After the

priority of mental fitness comes physical fitness. I subscribe to the idea that the body is the temple of the soul. As a living edifice it needs proper fuel and good maintenance. Physical health is a gift of God and it cannot be taken for granted. To keep myself fit, I do 45 minutes of floor exercises six days a week, including 150 consecutive pushups, followed by a six-and-a-third mile run. Twice a week, I end my run in the fitness center at our new headquarters, Domino's Farms, and work out for an hour. I am careful about what I eat. I eat dessert only 11 times a year, on feast days and family birthdays, and just before Lent. During Lent l fast. I never overeat. Thanks to this regime I enjoy perfect health even though I am 68 years old. I admit that over the years I've harassed some of my employees and franchisees to keep fit. One of them was our vice-president, Dick Mueller. I promised him fifty thousand dollars if he got into shape and completed the marathon run in Baton Rouge. It took him a year, but he lost over 100 Ibs. and ended up completing the race. Needless to say, I was at the finishing line    cheeing him on with a check for $50,000.

Could you say something about the new Catholic university you are building in Florida?

Ave Maria University will stand on three legs: spiritual, academic, and social, i. e. student life. The most important of these is the spiritual dimension.

Most existing Catholic universities seriously neglect the spiritual side, the need to deepen the Catholic faith of their students. The result is that many of these students graduate with a weaker faith than they had when they first began their studies. About 25 years ago I began seeing the need for creating new Catholic seats of learning that would place great value on spirituality and faith-building with a view to forming a strong new elite of Catholic leaders. That is why over the past few years I have allocated 200 million dollars toward the building of a new Catholic university, and have devoted all my energies to this project, which should be complete by the year 2006. Ave Maria University will have a solid Catholic theology program that is totally loyal to the teachings of the Church. Every semester students will be required to take courses in theology and philosophy. For this purpose we have chosen the best professors of theology and philosophy, who are bound to swear an oath of fidelity to the Magisterial and the local bishop. Everywhere throughout the campus there will be symbols witnessing to the Catholicity of this institution. It will be the site of the largest church in North America. We are in the process of building an entire university town, which will be home to Catholics living out their faith on a daily basis. Priests and consecrated persons already make up 25% of our student body. We plan to have 15 to 20 Masses celebrated every day in the town. In addition, the confessionals will be open all day, and there will be Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The university will have a population of 6000 students. It will be the best seat of learning in the United States, superior to Yale and Harvard. We want it to be the best, not the biggest. The entire student body will live in residence, men and women separately. We will place great emphasis on sports activities since these help to build character and form young people. Our students will come not only from the USA but also from about 100 other countries around the world. Our bookstores will be free of pornographic books and magazines, and no contraceptive devices will be sold.

Apparently you have met the Holy Father on several occasions...

I consider John Paul II to be a great moral authority, a true hero of our time. He radiates holiness. I experience this

every time I meet him. I have received Communion from his hands several times, and these are moments I will never for-get. It was after my first meeting with him on May 7, 1986 that the idea of founding "Legatus" — an association of Catholic businessmen came to me. Its members pledge to deepen their Catholic faith, put its principles into action and share them with members of their organizations, both in a professional and private capacity. Our chapters meet monthly, attend weeklong retreats once a year, and make pilgrimages to famous shrines. Legatus is the Latin word for ambassador; that is why our members pledge them-selves to sharing their faith with others by

their own witness — by their good deeds and high ethical standards. Currently our organization numbers 1800 entrepreneurs grouped in 58 chapters throughout the USA, Canada, Italy and Ireland. It is an exclusive organization for Catholic busi­nessmen who own companies of a net worth of not less than 100 million dollars, or at least with a net annual income of 10 million dollars.

At one of our meetings with the Holy Father, he told us: The world needs authentic witnesses to Christian ethics in business. The Church invites you to curry out this role at all times and in the public eye.

 

'l realized that the most important goal in

life was to go to heaven and take as many

people there with me as possible."

                                                              Tom Monaghan

 

 

CHAPLET  OF  THE MERCY 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 On begin:

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., The Apostles' Creed.

 

 On hail mary beads: 

For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole word...

  

 On our father beads:

 

Enternal Father, I offer You the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly brloved Son, Our Lord Jezus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole word.

 

 

 On finish:

    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
    have mercy on us and on the whole word. ( 3 times)

 

How to pray the rosary


 

Spotkanie Miłosiernego Boga ze stworzeniem

Moment zanurzenia w promieniach Bożego Miłosierdzia

DIVINE MERCY