Confraternity of Penitents
October 2017 Newsletter
VISITOR’S VISION: THE SOURCE OF CHRISTIAN JOY
Sometimes, when I get a relaxing moment to read, I browse over the life and times of the saints in the month. So, a few days ago I looked at the liturgical calendar for the month of October and was struck by the rich and glorious array of holy men and women celebrated in October. Some of them are celebrated as a feast, while some of them are celebrated as a memorial or an optional memorial. In any case, looking at these holy men and women ignited in my mind the question of what must have been their joy, since they are each from different epochs, of different temperaments, of different races, and of different educational, financial and family background. For instance, in no particular order, they include: Saints Francis of Assisi , Francis Xavier Seelos, the Guardian Angels, Bruno, Our Lady of the Rosary, John XXIII, Luke, Margret Mary Alacoque, Hedwig, Ignatius of Antioch, Paul of the Cross, John de Brébeuf & Isaac Jogues, Anthony Mary Claret, Simon & Jude, Callistus, etc. What are the common factors that must have been the cause their joy? Let us highlight the life of a few of them, in order to glimpse what must have been the cause of their joy.
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos was born on January 11, 1819 in Fussen, Bavaria, Germany. He first entered the diocesan seminary, but after meeting the missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), which was founded for the evangelization of the most abandoned, he decided to enter the Congregation and to minister to the German speaking immigrants in the United States. He was accepted by the Congregation, and, after having completed his novitiate and theological studies, he was ordained to the priesthood on December 22, 1844. He was engaged in parish ministry and also served in the formation of the seminarians. In this post, it was said that he remained always a kind and happy pastor, prudently attentive to the needs of his students and conscientious of their doctrinal formation, instilling in these future Redemptorist missionaries the enthusiasm, spirit of sacrifice and apostolic zeal for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people. He was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned.
Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in France, 22 July, 1647 and died on 17 October, 1690. From her childhood, Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and she preferred silence and prayer more than children’s’ amusements. From the age of nine, she practiced in secret some severe corporal mortifications, until sickness confined her to bed for four years. She was restored to health when she made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life. On 25 May, 1671, she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray. She made her final vows as a religious in November 1672. Our Lord appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart. She would hold a Holy Hour adoration and prayer from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness that Jesus endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and then would receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. She was said to have died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who died around 110 in Rome, was the bishop of Antioch, Syria, and was known mainly from seven highly regarded letters that he wrote during a trip to Rome, as a prisoner condemned to execution for his beliefs. Stories about him leave no doubt that Ignatius desired to become a martyr, but this desire must be linked to his understanding of union with Christ. For him, to be a perfect disciple of Christ meant to imitate Christ in his Passion, to share in it, to be united with Christ in suffering. This was the attitude shared by many Christians of his time. Thus, his love of martyrdom ultimately springs from a deep conviction that only by union with Christ’s Passion will he participate in Christ’s glory.
Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf (priests) and their companions were Jesuit missionaries who died as martyrs in North America. These French Jesuits were the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America, and their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland. They preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and, after being tortured, they were martyred in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York. It was said that after his first capture and torture, Isaac wrote in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense." Equally, John wrote in his own mission journal: “For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit....”
St. Anthony Mary Claret was born in Catalonia, Spain, in a town called Sallent on December 23, 1807. He was the fifth son of Juan Claret and Josefa Clará's eleven children. Anthony grew up in a Christian environment, and at a very early age had a strong sense of the eternal life that Christ wanted all men and women to enjoy. He wanted to spare sinners eternal unhappiness and felt moved to work for their salvation. Thus, as a priest, the secret of his missionary success was love, as he himself said: "Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders." (Autobiography, nn.438-439).
Saints Simon the Zealot (Acts 1:13) and Jude, also known as Jude Thaddaeus to distinguish him from the traitor Judas, were two of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Without delving deeper here, we know that they were preached the good news as apostles after having traveled from place to place with Jesus himself.
St Luke is one of the Four Evangelists, to whom the early church fathers ascribed authorship of both the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts of the Apostles. He was a physician of Greek origin who accompanied St Paul on some part of Paul’s missionary journeys. Luke was also with Paul in Rome during Paul’s imprisonment. He wrote the third gospel and the Acts of the Apostles for the Gentile Christians, emphasizing the prominent place of the Holy Spirit in the life and growth of the Church and each individual Christian.
Now, having taken this brief glance through the lives of some saints, we ask again, “What then is Christian joy all about?” St Thomas Aquinas maintained that joy proceeded from love. Why? Because joy is caused by love, either through the presence of the thing loved, or because the proper good of the thing loved exists and endures in it. Thomas went on to say that there can be spiritual joy about God in two ways --first, when we rejoice in the Divine good considered in itself; and secondly, when we rejoice in the Divine good as we participate in it. (Aquinas, T., Summa.Theologiae, II, II, Q.28). Thus, joy is more than happiness since we experience joy in the heart through our contemplation of God in Himself and in others. Happiness is experienced in the mind and feelings, but joy is experienced deep in the heart and the spirit. Therefore, the way to joy is a holy life, lived by loving God and neighbor as Jesus revealed. Now we understand why joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, for it is one of the perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1832).
Thus, the saints’ source of joy is the source of all Christian joy – that is, the constant recognition of the utter dependence of all creation on the God, as creator and sustainer of life (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.301). Having joy means knowing God and God’s love and grace, developing a close and personal friendship with God, total abandonment to the will of God, and obedience to the commandments of God which are the basis of our sharing God’s love with others. Like St. John the Baptist who was filled with joy at the presence of Jesus, even in his mother’s womb (Lk 1:44), and who, as an adult, pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29), Christians, who are the friends of the bride groom (Jn 3:29), experience Christian joy through their witness to the Gospel which they have fully embraced. Let us end with this prayer of St Augustine, which reflects the intimate, personal friendship that he had with God, the same sort of friendship with God experienced by each and every one of the saints.
--Father Francis Chukwuma, CFP Visitor
O God, the Light of the heart that sees You, the Life of the soul that loves You, the Strength of the mind that seeks You: May I ever continue to be steadfast in Your love. Be the joy of my heart; take all of me to Yourself, and abide therein. The house of my soul is, I confess, too narrow for You. Enlarge it that You may enter. It is ruinous, but do repair it. It has within it what must offend Your eyes; I confess and know it, but whose help shall I seek in cleansing it but Yours alone? To You, O God, I cry urgently. Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep me from false pride and sensuality that they not get dominion over me.
NO GREATER LOVE:
THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PRAYER
The object of our prayer as Christians is God as he is manifested in Jesus Christ. However, what distinguishes Christianity from the muddle of world religions which also worship God in some way? The answer has to be the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit spoke to us through the prophets of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit speaks to us, but also dwells in us. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own.” (1 Cor 6:19) As theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar tells in Prayer: Thus we can see that the sending of the Word of God (the Son) and the lending of the divine Spirit are only two phases of a single process in which divine truth and divine life are offered to man. The latter is not to be transferred into true life without or against his consent; his understanding and will must be involved.
Perhaps we can say that the Holy Spirit dwelt in humanity at the Immaculate Conception of Mary. How could she possibly be free of original sin (the attraction to sin) without the Holy Spirit? As she matured and was given the gift of free will, which we all receive, she needed to cooperate with the Holy Spirit dwelling in her. At the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel said to her “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28), Gabriel was confirming the presence of the Holy Spirit in Mary. Being human, Mary could not give the Holy Spirit to us, but when she gave her consent to be being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38), she conceived in her womb One who did give the Holy Spirit. This is one reason why Mary has been called “blessed” since early times: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;” (Lk 1:48). Her obedience to the Holy Spirit makes possible our obedience to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Jesus Christ gave the Holy Spirit in fullness to us at Pentecost after His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’ Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit has not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn 7:37-39) This Gift of the Holy Spirit, is not just an impersonal power as some would teach but is a Person, a Person who may not tell us everything which we want to hear. Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, those who welcome the Holy Spirit welcome the Father and the Son, and those who reject the Father and the Son are rejecting the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is essential to prayer by enabling our prayer in two ways. Theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar lists them for us. The Spirit “speaks” primarily when, as the Spirit of Old Testament prophecy and of the New Testament in the prophecy of the New Testament (i.e., in the ecclesial charisms which are given to individuals for the sake of the community), new and unexpected things are brought forth and exhibited from the depths of the revelation in Christ. On the other hand, the Spirit’s understanding is carried on primarily in our inmost hearts, interpreting and assimilating the prophetic elements in scripture, tradition and the life of the Church and incorporating it within us. The authors of the Old and New Testaments were inspired by the Holy Spirit. However, these writings need to be understood properly, and we need the Holy Spirit for this understanding. Those two aspects of the Holy Spirit’s operation are not identical, but they are dependent on each other. As theologian Von Balthasar tells us: In the face of this interpenetration of interdependence of the prophetic and the mystical, it is pointless to set the charisms and the gifts of the Spirit against each other and ask which takes precedence.
Hans Urs Von Balthasar tells us how we can recognize the Holy Spirit as against other spirits which also speak to us. The true Spirit of God can always be recognized as the vehicle and interpreter of the incarnate Word: “Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God” (1 Jn 4:2). Everything depends on the affirmation that the Word comes from the divine Spirit and enters genuine flesh---John lays particular stress on this---and that the Word is then lifted up from mortal flesh, through resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Spirit, to be a truly spiritualized Word, comprehensible only in the Spirit---which is the chief note of Paul’s proclamation.
So the Spirit who leads us into all truth is indivisibly Christological and Trinitarian: he consummates the Word’s movement toward incarnation, but wills Christ to be believed and understood as a divine person, inseparable from Father and Spirit. This is why doctrines, creeds, and the Church are so necessary. We cannot discern the Holy Spirit as opposed to other spirits without them. As Von Balthasar states it: Contemplation may enable man to plumb other depths and abysses, but unless they are explicitly or implicitly depths of the triune, human-divine and ecclesial life, they are either spurious or demonic.
The concept of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in finite human beings is a specifically Christian belief. Hans Urs Von Balthasar tells us: Now we can clearly see the difference between the Christian revelation (and hence Christian contemplation) and every other possible form of human religion and prayer. In the latter case the idea of an infinite “I” indwelling what is finite, taken seriously, leads inevitably to a pantheistic conclusion;...............In Christianity this indwelling is a serious and radical feature, without needing to explode and annihilate the finite self; on the contrary, here, in the most mysterious way, the self comes to fulfillment beyond itself in God............All the profound mysteries of Christian prayer revolve around this indwelling of the Spirit of God in the soul; so that, once again, we see that the very possibility of Christian contemplation is founded entirely on the doctrine of the Trinity.
Theologian Von Balthasar also tells us that, while we should understand that the Holy Spirit lives within us and we are not on our own as we pray, we also should not lapse into a totally passive mode. It makes a great difference to the act of contemplation whether I see myself as an isolated subject, who, albeit assisted by God’s grace, endeavors to understand something of the mysteries of revelation; or whether, in faith, I have the conviction that my inadequate attempt to understand is supported by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, that my acts of worship, petition and thanksgiving are born along and remodeled by the Spirit’s infinite and eternal acts, in that ineffable union by which all human doing and being has been lifted up and plunged into the river of eternal life and love. In this case, in a living faith, human inadequacy and ignorance are outbalanced by divine omnipotence and omniscience;........It would never occur to a praying Christian to embrace Quietism and, on account of this indwelling, to give up his own calling on God, simply letting the Spirit pray within him. The Christian revelation never points in this direction...........To the extent that this “activity” on man’s part acknowledges the preponderance of the Spirit and surrenders to him, it can also be regarded as a mode of “passivity”, just as man’s inner understanding in the Holy Spirit presupposes that he is receptive to the Spirit’s inspirations and illuminations. But this kind of grace-filled “passivity” can never be confused with a merely natural letting-things-happen; the intense heat of the Spirit, present in the believer, causes the creaturely “I” to catch fire and radiate with a heightened presence. The Spirit breaks forth out of the very core of the believer’s spiritual life, showing him the way, stirring him to action, thinking, willing, and praying with him; and, usually without drawing attention to himself (since the Holy Spirit’s love aims primarily to glorify Father and Son), the Spirit places the contemplative in the closest intimacy with the divine truth.
Finally, in our prayer, we should never look at the truth of Divine Revelation from a detached “scientific outlook”. While accepting Divine Revelation is reasonable, we cannot study it like a geologist studies rocks or a biologist studies living organisms. The scientist interacts with a lower level of being; the Christian who prays interacts with the highest level of being, the Divine Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth. Hans Urs Von Balthasar tells us: Praying with the truth means that we must not start with a kind of aloofness, as if first of all we had to convince ourselves that the word of God which we are about to contemplate is the truth, in order to affirm it on the basis of our own insight. Rather, we start from this affirmation as something pre-existing from time immemorial; it is as if we had long since given up and abandoned everything which could militate against it. It means living by the knowledge that the truth (which is the Spirit within us) is more interior to us than we are to ourselves; that we have been predestined and chosen in God, in God’s authentic truth, prior to the foundation of the world, prior to our own existence, to be his holy, unspotted children. Ultimately, do we believe or do we not believe? The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is essential for Christian contemplation.
--Jim Nugent, CFP
REFLECTION ON THE RULE
CONSTITUTIONS X. STRUCTURE
Penitents are first and foremost members of the Church which is the body of Christ. Within the CFP, they are Members of the international Confraternity first, secondly of their Regions, and thirdly of any local Chapter or Circle of the Confraternity.
The simplified governing structure is:
Minister General (International)
Regional Minister (Regional)
Chapter or Circle Minister (Local)
This simplified structure reflects the Order of Governance and the Order of Appeal , proceeding from the local level up to the International level. If the lower level, in conjunction with the religious advisor(s) on that level, cannot address the question or matter of concern, it is referred to the next level. The answer is, in turn, relayed down through the levels to the petitioner.
The highest levels of appeal rest in the Magisterium, that is in the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend and in the Pope through the Apostolic Nuncio.
REFLECTION: The Confraternity of Penitents is not just a collection of people who want to do penance by living a certain way. There is a governing structure to the Confraternity, just as there is in any Religious Order. This makes for good leadership. This section of the Constitutions discusses how local matters are handled first on a local level. If the difficulty can’t be solved, then the next higher level is consulted. This allows governance by local individuals in their areas. This is much like Moses appointing judges over smaller groups of the Israelites. Only if the smaller group could not solve the problem would the problem go to a group with more authority. Leadership is always exercised as servanthood as Jesus showed by His example.
FOLLOWING FRANCIS, FOLLOWING CHRIST: THANKSGIVING
Saint Francis was quick to give thanks to all circumstances. Many of his most beautiful prayers offer thanks to God. This, for example, is one of his prayers:
“Almighty, most holy, most high, and supreme God, highest good, all good, wholly good, who alone art good. To Thee we render all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor, all blessing, and we shall always refer all good to Thee. Amen.”
The following thanks from CFP member Mary Ann Gennuso reflects the same spirit as this prayer of St. Francis. She refers all good to God. Here is Mary Ann’ testimony:
I live in North Port, Florida. You have seen how devastated Florida is from Hurricane Irma. I know that all the prayers of the Confraternity of Penitents have been heard by God because absolutely nothing happened to us here in North Port. The eye of that storm was heading toward us, but then it moved east and we were spared. We never lost power and didn’t have any floods. One palm tree across the street was pulled up with its roots and fell. That was it.
The Liturgy of the Hours was so powerful during those days. How God was in command of all that was happening! I had absolutely no fear of anything. I kept on saying, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
Thank you for all your prayers. It was a miracle that we were spared. We are ever grateful.
--Mary Ann Gennuso, CFP
WALKING THE CAMINO TO COMPESTELA DE SANTIAGO IN 2019
Anyone interested in walking part of the Camino de Compestela in 2019, please contact Karen Sadock, CFP, through our CFP administrative headquarters. We will put her in touch with you.
HUMOR: CHANGES I decided to stop calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning. --- I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way much faster now. -- I don't have gray hair; I have "wisdom highlights."
MONTHLY LETTER TO ALL PENITENTS: MARRIAGE PRAYER
CFP postulant Kingsley Eze composed a Prayer for Married Couples which the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop distributes. The card is printed on card stock and available for 50c each by writing to CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 or by visiting the website cfpholyangels.com
The prayer reads:
PRAYER TO CULTIVATE, NURTURE AND ESTABLISH UNBREAKABLE LOVE BETWEEN MARRIED COUPLE (To be said together by couples always, if possible daily)
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; Amen.
Lord Jesus, you have brought us together in your love to live, love, help and care for each other. We thank you for the good intention for which you have given us the gift of each other. We ask your forgiveness for the times we have sinned against you. We ask your pardon for the times we have failed to love and respect each other.
Lord, renew the love we saw in each other at the beginning of this journey. Renew and nourish my love and respect for (mention spouse's name) my wife/husband. Increase immensely the love and respect I have for her/him.
After you Lord, may I love (mention your spouse's name) above all things. May my heart be filled with joy and sweetness whenever I think of her/him. May my heart leap for joy whenever I see her/him. Oh, good Lord, please bless our union without measure. Oh, Mary Mother of God, do in our marriage what you did at the wedding in Cana. Our Lady of Good Hope, be the Advocate and Queen of our family. In union with each other, we make this prayer through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
After this prayer, hold hands and say to each other, “I LOVE YOU, (call each other by name).”
The background of this prayer is as follows:
My wife and I do disagree on some issues occasionally which sometimes results in minor arguments. Sometimes, the arguments get so heated that we end up exchanging uncharitable words. Our conflict is never on the issue of infidelity. Both of us have been faithful to our marriage since we came together. The problems always erupt when someone finds it hard to admit that he/she is wrong.
On 16th of August, a trivial matter came up and gradually progressed to a strong argument that unbelievably shook the whole house. This time, like on some previous occasions, the children witnessed the incident; they were still on holidays then. Our nine year daughter cried so much and was offering us her children’s Bible asking us to come together and read a passage from the Gospels. I later calmed the situation, but by that time my wife was completely unwilling to listen or reason with me. We do not have a case of physical abuse. I easily lose my temper, but I hardly raise my fist.
The following morning, I decided to visit the Blessed Sacrament in a chapel of perpetual adoration run by the reverend sisters. That was the same day the terrorist attack took place in Barcelona. As I came up to the reception booth, about to enter the chapel, a Reverend Sister approached me and announced to me that they were going on a pilgrimage to Lourdes the following day and invited me to come. At first, I wanted to go but, on a second thought, I felt it was so sudden that I would not have enough time to tell my wife about the trip. As I was beginning to tell the sister that I might not be able to join them for the trip, seeing me hesitating she said, “It could be that the Divine Providence wants you to go with us”. As soon as I heard “Divine Providence,” I told her to allow me to go to the chapel and visit Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament first. As I was gazing on Christ in the monstrance, it became clear to me that the Lord had prepared that trip for me. When I came out after the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, I said yes to the sister.
I spoke to my wife about the trip at night, and she said nothing. That was the kind of response I was expecting, given the circumstances, but I knew I had made up my mind to go to Lourdes with the group and to use that opportunity to present our marriage to the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was what I did. Throughout the three days we spent in Lourdes, I prayed for my wife and me and our matrimonial life.
Very early on Saturday morning, heaven revealed to me that the enemy was unleashing uncountable attacks on my marriage to tear us apart. Sometimes I do have what appears to be an interior discussion with a supernatural presence in my mind that fills me with beautiful thoughts or directions on how to handle some situations. On that very Saturday morning, during a similar experience, the voice in my mind told me that this visit to Lourdes would bring to an end the attacks and assaults of the enemy on my marriage. Our Lady assured me that She has blocked the attack and that it would remain blocked forever. I called my wife and related the whole phenomena to her. She never said a word.
As we left Lourdes on Sunday on a seven-hour journey back to Barcelona, as soon as our bus entered Barcelona, the Spirit released that prayer to me. I began to write it down in my phone. As soon as I finished writing the prayer, I knew immediately that this is the prayer that heaven has prepared for me to pray so that, in answer to that, my marriage would be made whole. I sent the prayer to my wife and I continued to pray it at Mass, in my bed once I woke up, and after I made my short consecration to Jesus and Mary. My wife was not disposed to join me in the prayer. I continued to pray alone.
As I had already booked a flight to Fatima days before the sister invited me to Lourdes, I left for Fatima on the 21st of August. In Fatima, I continued to lift my wife and me before the Virgin Most Holy. By this time, my wife was not responding to my calls. I continued to call her regularly. The children would answer the call on each occasion. When she managed to take the call, she would not say a word during the duration of the call. I did not stop praying. In Fatima, I bought her a statue of St. Anthony of Padua whom she loves so much. I bought her a beautiful crystal and gold-plated rosary, a wooden chaplet of the seven sorrows and a wooden St. Michael chaplet. I also got beautiful statues and rosaries for the children and myself. On my return to Barcelona, I was met with the biggest shock of my life.
As I returned home a little after midnight, my wife was the only one awake. After giving her, the gifts I bought for her, and she saying how much she loved the gifts, she was smiling broadly and I was so happy that she was doing better than I thought. When I told her how happy I was to see the smile on her face, her reply sent a chill up my spine. She said; “Well, you do not have to be so happy because this smile may not be a pleasant one after all”. In continuation, she said that there was something that she wanted to tell me if I were not tired. If that were the case, she would leave it for tomorrow. I said that I wanted to hear what it was and not to wait for tomorrow. She began by telling me not to take it personal, because she was not saying it to hurt me. After I assured her that I wasn’t going to take it personal, she began to tell me that she believed the time God has made us to be together has expired. She told me that she was praying, and her heart told her what she was telling me. There are so many instances she gave to back up the suggestion, including that she believed that God wants me to take on a big mission and that she and the children could be a set back to what God wants me to do. In conclusion she said that she was considering seeing a lawyer to begin the process of divorce. She said that she was sure that what she was doing was in divine plans. I began to talk after she said she had finished and that she was willing to listen to what I wanted to say.
First, I thanked her for presenting this matter to me before acting on it. I told her that the thought she got was not from heaven because heaven does not tear marriage apart. I continued by telling her that, if God had wanted me to undertake a big mission that could be obstructed by my wife and children, He wouldn’t have allowed us to come in contact with each other in the first place. I advised her that, even if she does not agree with my opinion, she should hold on a little while we continue to pray. I made known to her that the devil and his demons are targeting families as they vow to destroy family life. I told her that many Christian families are suffering the same kind of attack, and we must resist the enemy and turn to God for his mercy and protection. She agreed to do as I said, and I continued to say that Prayer for Married Couple every morning when I woke up. God answered the prayers in most amazing way.
Heaven turned everything around. Florence and I are seriously in love with each other. We cannot explain what has taken hold of us. The love we have for each other now is such that we had never experienced before even when we came to know each other. A great change took place in me that my heart is always filled with great love for Florence, and I want to be with her every time. She told me two days ago that she felt like a newly married woman, and her love for me has inexplicably grown to a drowning level. A lot of things we never did since we got married we do now. I love Florence so much now, and I noticed that she loves me so much as well. I noticed a lot of changes in her attitude towards me. We pray together now more than we did ever since we started having the children. The Holy Spirit is guiding me on steps I should take on daily basis to build a solid, unbreakable relationship with my wife. I will not stop saying that prayer. God is good to us! Please, friends that would read this message, offer one Hail Mary on my behalf to the Ever Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Lourdes in thanksgiving to this August Temple of the Holy Spirit for all the favors that She has obtained for this miserable sinner, me. God bless!
--Kingsley Eze, CFP Postulant
CONFRATERNITY OF PENITENTS PHOTO ALBUM: KINGSLEY EZE AND FAMILY
CFP Postulant Kingsley Eze, his wife Florence, and their family in 2012.
Kingsley composed the Married Couples Prayer featured above.
Kingsley and Florence have their own Rosary business in Barcelona, Spain. The CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop features many of their hand made Rosaries, Chaplets, and jewelry.
CONFRATERNITY PHOTO ALBUM: ORDINATION OF DEACON SCOTT GRAHAM
CFP Postulant Scott Graham was ordained a deacon for the Toledo, OH, Diocese on September 16, 2017. Deacon Scott is shown here with his wife Karen (to his right), children, their spouses, and grandson.