The Lion Roars: Prayers for the Remnant, by Dave VanVickle, a truly inspired and anointed little booklet of a Catholic's favorite devotional prayers collected over a lifetime -- daily prayers, consecrations, prayer for the Pope, prayer to one's angel, St. Augustine's prayer to the Holy Spirit, prayer before Communion, acts before Communion, acts after, Divine praises, Confession prayers, prayers of various saints, litanies, intercessory prayer, maxims, virtues and more! CLICK HERE



When Christianity is Christian, everybody "gets it." It gains enormous influence. There is great power in caring and holiness and humility. This potential force is being demonstrated in the world's reactions (thus far) to Pope Francis: his example of caring is an inspiration even to atheists.

In a recent gesture, Francis became the first Pontiff to visit the tomb of Saint Peter -- as if to point back to the Church's rock, to the very foundation.

This is how Christianity spread -- through actual Christian witness, as opposed to pomp and circumstance or he overwrought nuances of theological dissertation.

When the world looks at the Vatican like it would a monarchy, university, or government, it has lost a major part of its mission.

We are a mission Church. We were founded by missionaries. To regain lost power and respect, we must return to that, without however diminishing the majesty of the Church.

Perhaps we are on the way, enthused to hear the new Pontiff say what we have long urged: that priests and bishops leave the trappings of secular power -- take time off from the business and political aspect of the institution -- and exercise what Christ demonstrated: gifts of the Spirit. It is time to put the focus back on Jesus.

"A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say 'not at all because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart," said the new Pontiff. "Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, 'has already received his reward,' and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with 'the smell of the sheep,' shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men."

It is a Church, said the Pope, that had become too self-centered, too "self-referential," too centered on worshipping the trappings and mechanisms of provinciality instead of the Spirit.

There is a place for beautiful decor. We can honor God that way. We can honor Him through truly august church. Rituals are important. So are proper attire and reverence.

The soul often soars with the height of cathedrals.

At the same time, the clergy needs to get out -- as Francis has indicated -- exorcising spirits, laying hands on the sick, and mingling more with the impoverished than the local governmental types and aristocracy. In too many cases, as we have stated previously, the atmosphere in a diocesan headquarters is as cold and businesslike as a typical business, sometimes more so -- often with direct antagonism to devotions such as exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or Rosary. This is unacceptable.

"One of the most urgent reforms facing him is the restoration of the moral credibility of the hierarchy, and especially of the priesthood," notes Father Roger Landry of Fall River, Massachusetts. "The scandals of clerical sex abuse and tales of Vatican corruption have not only severely undermined the Church’s moral authority, but given the impression that living by the Church’s teachings forms freaks and moral monsters rather than saints. In his first couple of weeks as Pope, as well as his fourteen years in Buenos Aires, Francis has been charting out the trajectory of priestly reshaping. We can focus on seven aspects of this needed renewal. The first is with regard to priestly simplicity. Diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty, but commit themselves to a simple lifestyle. In many places, this principle is given lip service, as members of the clergy drive fancy cars, frequent the finest restaurants and live in exquisite digs. Cardinal Bergoglio’s example of living in a small apartment rather than an episcopal palace, taking public transportation rather than a car with a driver and cooking for himself cannot help but lead priests to a sincere examination about the sincerity of their own spiritual poverty."

This is a true crisis and contravention of the Church's purpose. Pope Francis does something that should be instituted throughout the priesthood at all levels: he prays fifteen decades of the Rosary each day. It is during such time of prayer that much clarifies and arrives in the way of direction.

The example of the Pope should filter down to every rectory, not to mention each dicastery. Power there would be to see a bishop coming up a street anointing the ill and homeless and casting spirits out of the local abortion mill. To know how a bishop, priest, deacon, or lay Catholic should act takes only a re-reading of the Book of Acts, which is as relevant today as it was yester-century.

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[Footnotes from the mail:

Photo at top: "There is a brand new church built over in South Berwick, Maine, called 'Our Lady of the Angels,'" writes Larry Landolfi of Rochester, New Hampshire. "Some nun friends said I should come over and photograph an unusual sight that's been happening right at Consecration. Went over the next morning (April 4) and got this picture of the sun shining right through the back window on Jesus at consecration. As you can see from the bottom picture, the exposure was 'brutal' but I worked on it in Photoshop and got the top one. A little grainy, but that's to be expected. As you always say, 'For your discernment.'"

[Too, there certainly has been much about the alleged prophecies of Saint Malachy (ostensibly calling for this Pope to be the last, in this time period). Described by the prophecies -- which have never been confirmed as coming from the monk, but which certainly have been interesting in regards at least to several recent Popes -- as "Petrus Romanus." When the new Pope was neither Roman nor named Peter (and also did not take the name Peter), it seemed like a failed prediction. A large number of people who wrote us took exception to that view. "Just thought I'd share some quick thought as to why I think Pope Francis IS the Petrus Romanus that St. Malachy predicts," wrote Ken Jamieson of Berthoud, Colorado, as one example. "The very first thing Pope Francis publicly says is to identify himself with his primary mission/role as the Bishop of Rome: 'You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the Earth to get him ... but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.' And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.' The first words and name of a Pope are very important. He's  an Italian immigrant who speaks perfect Italian, and he's chosen the name of the most famous saint from Italy. Even though he is Argentinian, he has deep Italian roots. So what does that have to do with Petrus Romanus? Petrus Romanus literally means The Rock of Rome, or the Church of Rome. Upon this Rock I will build My Church. The papacy is referred to as the Petrine Ministry (Ministry of Peter), who built the first church in Rome and was the first bishop. Pope Francis is rebuilding the  church from Rome, the first home of the Church, just as Peter first built it. And remember St. Francis' vision where Jesus told him to repair his house.  The thing I've learned about prophesy is that it's not what you expect it to be. I think some people were looking for a guy named Peter to be elected or that they would take the name Peter (that'll never happen). It's his immediate connection with Rome that makes me think Malachy was indeed correct. And when looking at Malachy's description that he 'will pasture his sheep in many tribulations,' we can see from all of the signs recently  that we are most certainly entering a period of increasing tribulations. Maybe it's a crackpot idea, a bit of a stretch, I don't know for absolute certainty, but I still think it's him that the Malachy prophesy refers to. That's my two cents." We respect various viewpoints.]

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