Large St. Benedict Cross, not the ordinary medal,  but for our time, a larger seven-inch, well-made cross from Archbishop Philip Hannan's group, made in Italy, with a very substantial and holy feel  as no piece of jewelry but a real tool of defense in your home!  Bigger than the palm of your hand, it is nonetheless the official and sanctioned medal. Do we recommend it? We have them for our personal use, and hope everyone does the same at a time when sacramentals are so crucial as a household shield. A GREAT gift.  CLICK HERE



Do you operate from above or below? Do you have a "higher vision"? Do you view things from above the fray (or do you tend to get caught up in turmoil)? Simply put, are you viewing yourself and others and life from the perspective of the world or -- with Jesus -- are you transcending it?

When we view things with the eyes of the world it is inevitably discouraging -- so often dark. There are many clouds. It is finite. People -- not angels -- orient us. Our first view of people is to look for faults. There is gossip. There is materialism. We think reality is what's on the news. A person's value is a person's money. We see through the lens of media. Our perception stops at what is physical. No wonder so many suffer from depression!

With Jesus, we have spiritual eyesight; we ascend. We have clear vision that extends much farther (in fact forever).

We are seeing not from the valley, not from a ravine, but from the mountain. Here is wisdom; here is a higher soul level. We live not by judgments of the mind but by reactions in the spirit, which evolves in sensitivity as we shed pride and falsity, which are really the same thing. Therein resides truth (and spiritual evolution). We see beyond the imperfections of others (which allows us to love them). Fear comes when we hover at lower spiritual levels.

Think back to Scripture and the role mountains play. Moses received the Ten Commandments at the top of a mountain. Elijah victoriously battled evil at Mount Carmel. When Christ set about giving us instructions for life, it was the "Sermon on the Mount." He took His disciples on Mount Tabor to give them a glimpse of the eternal. It was from a high vantage point that He defeated the temptations of Satan.

There is something about mountains that grants us clear vision beyond their height in the physical.

God created mountains. Man created towers. Have you ever contemplated that? When the world offers "higher vision," what does it resort to? It brings us up its highest structures. There was the Tower of Babylon. There is the Tower of David. In our current time, we have skyscrapers. Most recently, there is the Freedom Tower. Note from Scripture how many times God destroyed towers as a sign of chastisement, and  Isaiah 49: "I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted." Luke 21: "And in the day time He was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives." Mountains afforded pasturage and refuge from dangers. Isaiah 2: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."

You get the point.

From God's heights we see all of reality.

From man's "heights," we see only this world (and through a dense mist).

What is of the "tower"? Celebrities. Obsessions with food, drink, sex, and sports. Fashion. Cars. Wealth. Jewels. Prestige. Awards. Politics. Popularity. The final fruit of the World Trade Center was a cloud of dust. "And the children of Israel did secretly things that were not right against Jehovah their God: and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city," 2 Kings 17:9. Take a look here for how many time and in what context "towers" are used.

A tower is good only when that Tower is of the Lord.

Step up to the "higher view." What is it? It is constant supplication. It is purity, deep within. It is empathy for others. It is shooing away negative thoughts. It is keeping one's eyes on Heaven. It is staying away from the crystal ball called television. It is giving thanks. Thanksgiving -- with praise -- is powerful is bringing down the strongholds that hold us in bondage. "On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter," says Isaiah 30:25, "when the towers fall." Amen.

[resources: Christmas books and Michael Brown pilgrimage, Medjugorje

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