Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Evangelization — a priority over Doctrine? Impossible!

April 30th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Lifesite News has reported a ‘leaked’ document from Pope Francis to his C9 cabinet (C6 at the moment). Apparently he has also copied  selected other (seemingly non-Curial) Cardinals, setting the groundwork for a document alleged to be promulgated on June 29, 2019, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. If what has so far been leaked is accurate, it is a plan to emphasize evangelization with a higher priority than doctrine.

But, of course, that is impossible! It would make teaching more important than the truth of what is being taught. It might work for some period of time in political recruiting, or in the fiction of advertising, or even for fake news, but without truth there cannot be a firm foundation for the Church or for souls.


The Commissioning of the Disciples

Here is how the Gospel of Matthew ends (NAB Chapter 28):  (Note that words in brackets are suggested alternatives by the Greek source.)

16. “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus
had ordered them.

17. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but they [some] doubted.

18. Then Jesus approached and said to them, ‘All power [authority] in heaven
and on earth has been given to Me.

19. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

20. teaching them to observe all [whatsoever] that I have commanded you.

21. And behold, I am with you always [all the days], until the end
[completion] of the age.'”


The words “Teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you” – imply no choice of what to teach or not to teach. Everything Christ taught must be taught, otherwise, in an omission, a lie is being taught. And those who would believe such a lie are exactly what a one world religion needs in order to thrive. If the dichotomy between truth and popularity is to be understood here, and if evangelization alone plunges ahead into false oneness, souls are in enormous danger.

At this point, we lack sufficient evidence to express the view that there is no danger. And, as part of the lay reaction to abuse in the Church, we need to determine how much ‘proof’ is needed before pulling the fire alarm for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in the Faith.

Here is the link to the LifeSite News article:


St. Catherine of Siena, Pray for Us!

April 29th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris








Divine Mercy April 28, 2019 in Stockbridge MA

April 26th, 2019, Promulgated by Hopefull

Click here for a Whirlwind Tour 


At St. Bernard’s:

April 22nd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris


About Crowns …

April 21st, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris





After the Crucifixion

April 20th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Jean-Leon Gerome’s “Consummatum”


Sifting Simon — Part VII

April 19th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

From the time that Christ is brought before the high priest, Caiaphas, until He comes before Pilate, almost the entire effort of the ‘religious establishment’ was to prove Christ guilty of a capital crime, deserving not just death, but a cruel and excruciating death by crucifixion, which required Roman permission. Those Jewish leaders had already violated at least a dozen of the Talmudic Laws (see Part VI); why then not expect them to go ‘all the way?’ Why would they not violate any and every law to obtain their objective?

Search for Lying Witnesses Failed;

The Gospels make clear that a search for two witnesses to agree on blasphemous accusations against Christ was unsuccessful, although many ‘witnesses’ testified. The only slight ‘agreement between two witnesses seems to have been regarding the destruction of the Temple and rebuilding in three days. But if that were the only charge, would the Romans have permitted the Jews to administer capital punishment? To them, the words of rebuilding in three days may have seemed like a joke!  It would seem foolish to think that Christ was condemned to death because two witnesses seemed to agree that He said He could destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days. Even the Romans would \deride such an accusation as not worthy of death. The Jews needed more proof of their charges of blasphemy. And the high priest began to realize that no one was able to produce that proof, i.e. no one but Christ Himself.

Law Against Self Incrimination

But there is also a restriction under Talmudic Law against testifying against oneself, thereby also excluding torture and physical abuse.  Moreover, the Law provided that at least one judge should act on behalf of the accused, and the witnesses act as plaintiffs (there being no attorneys as we know them in current court systems). One might wonder if the physical and/or verbal abuse had been intended to coerce Christ into self-incrimination, or try to ‘trick’ Him into saying something which could be twisted into an admission. If so, it wasn’t working, because Christ kept silent. The words of Caiaphas manifest his anger and frustration as verbal assault. Then, suddenly, in Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels, Christ ‘confesses’. These two dialogues seem to miss a crucial point – what caused Christ to turn from silence to the pronouncement He made against Himself?  There is no comparable dialogue in John. The key seems to lie in Matthew, and in the mystery of that author’s sources (since he is not presented as being a witness to the testimony.) Read the rest of this entry »


Notre Dame — what has God permitted to happen?

April 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Obviously, I’ve been choosing and posting some very dramatic pictures the last two days (4/15 and /16) showing the massive impact of the fiery destruction on Notre Dame Cathedral. I was surprised, less than 24 hours later, to see how much had been spared. It looks like some protective shield was in place, directing the collapse of the roof, protecting beautiful statuary, and of course the rescue of — not the “Crown of Thorns and the Eucharist”– but the rescue of the “Eucharist (in first prominence), and of the Crown of Thorns”. Yes, the Eucharist is confected over and over again and there is only one Crown of Thorns, but that is not the point. The Eucharist is Christ’s own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity and, precious as are the relics, they are still secondary to the Son of God.

In considering this order of priority or prominence, reflecting on the Notre Dame scene raises yet another point. Beautiful as was the Notre Dame Cathedral, from every point of view — art and architecture, history and testimony — at the very heart of the Faith in France, it is also incredible to think that the loss of all of that grandeur, with only ash remaining the next day, would be still worth less than one soul. Isn’t that hard to absorb? If one soul were to turn back to God as a result of such destruction, it would be worth it? Really! Rather puts a keen perspective on Calvary during Holy Week, doesn’t it?

We don’t know yet what caused the fire. Perhaps it was careless work on the repairs, or a piece of equipment which malfunctioned. Perhaps it was a terrorist or anti-Catholic attack (10 churches in Paris have been damaged seriously in the last few weeks); perhaps it was even a drone attack? But to have had so much saved, and no life lost, implies that God’s Hand was in what happened, at least permissively. Perhaps it is a warning. Perhaps it is a penance. France has actively embraced abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’ at a minimum, and more. Perhaps there has been some other abuse, not necessarily sexual, but perhaps liturgical or doctrinal. We just don’t know yet, and perhaps we never will. But God permitted the destruction of Solomon’s Temple as a warning to the Israelites. There is no reason to think He wouldn’t allow destruction of such a magnificent edifice if even one soul could be led back and saved. Yes, even if it were a Cathedral named for Our Blessed Virgin Mary. For the sake of a single soul, might not our Holy Mother  raze the roof?


Notre Dame 24 hours later

April 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

From The Guardian:

“Miraculously, Notre Dame’s structure is still “sound,”

government officials said at a press conference.”

(Miraculously, indeed!)






A French priest is being praised for entering the Notre-Dame Cathedral while it was burning on Monday to help save the priceless crown of thorns.

Jean-Marc Fournier, the chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade [500 fire fighters were at the scene], insisted on entering the burning cathedral and helped retrieve both the crown of thorns and the Blessed Sacrament.



Notre Dame Consumed in Flame

April 15th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris





Art and Artifacts Saved:

“A Notre Dame cathedral priest has claimed that all precious artefacts and artwork have been saved from the historic building.

In a tweet, French journalist Nicolas Delesalle cited Père Frédéric, writing: ‘Good news: all the works of art were saved. The treasure of the Cathedral is intact, the Crown of thorns, the Holy sacraments.'”


Sifting Simon — Part VI

April 14th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Two witnesses needed ASAP!

The Torah requires that a sentence of capital punishment have at least two witnesses. To be a witness for such a matter means assuming the same penalty on oneself for lies under oath against another person. Moreover, the Law does not accept self-incrimination; i.e. witnessing against oneself in serious matters, only in acknowledgement of a debt. Can anyone doubt that the high priest(s) were well aware of these restrictions? (More on self-incrimination in Part VII.)

Deuteronomy 17:6  On the evidence of two witnesses or of three he that is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.”

Deuteronomy 19:15  “A single witness shall not prevail against a man for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed; only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses, shall a charge be sustained.”

For very serious matters, it would not be strange to seek three witnesses, as it is well embedded in Jewish memory how the connivance of two witnesses almost caused Susanna’s execution. (Daniel 13). But to deliberately seek out two false witnesses for a trial before the Sanhedrin is hard to imagine.

The Gospels of both Mark and Matthew record the “extra effort” being made to find two witnesses against Christ, but unsuccessfully.

Mark 14:55-59

55. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death; but they found none.
56. For many bore false witness against Him, and their witness did not agree.
57. And some stood up and bore false witness against Him, saying,
58. “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'”
59. Yet not even so did their testimony agree.

Matthew 26:59-61

59. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus that they might put Him to death,
60. but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward
61. and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.'”

Christ before Annas
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
Tempera on wood
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena

What we may not often recognize in the Gospel narratives is the counterpoint to seeking false testimony —  two real witnesses actually being present, in the vicinity of the very proceedings, who do not come forward!   Read the rest of this entry »


Ticker Posts — April 2019

April 8th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This post is provided for those who would like to comment on stories that run on the ticker during April. Serious NEW subjects related to the ticker may be added as ‘comments,’ and might be moved to this post text or be a new post, if space allows. Or suggest a whole new topic!

PF and the Foot Thingy

I can’t go any longer without saying I am TOTALLY grossed out by PF and the Foot Thingy. One of the Holy Father’s first acts in office was to go to a prison and not only perform the traditional  Holy Thursday washing of men’s feet (did Christ only wash one or both?) but he included Moslems and women in the RITE (remember when THAT scandalized us?) Well now we have the shoe thingy with the foot thingy and just in time for Holy Week….!I am so outraged with the point this makes to the world. Bad enough in China to have so little respect for the upcoming victims that they are fodder for Vatican politics, but this totally pointless exhibition defies understanding. I have done a lot of international business and travel and there is NO WAY this builds bridges. He just worshiped them… on his knees… like they do in prayer to Allah every day. But they take their shoes off, b/c the bottom of the shoe is offensive to see in their culture. I’ve been looking at the pictures — did PF leave his shoes ON? I can’t tell. Yikes …. then it was an insult (and if he didn’t, well no harm in letting our readers know in case anyone plans to try this stuff at a local School Board meeting!)

Peace, honest.

PS — just found it on Remnant…. see link on the Ticker…. PF is wearing shoes AND he flashes the bottom of the shoe… totally uncool. Actually offensive to Moslems…. Vatican needs a culture consultant as well as ‘counseling.” Somebody say this didn’t really happen, puleeze!

What do we have to look forward to this week? I don’t know but he said Mass on Good Friday his first or second year as Pope. Anything could happen.



Sifting Simon — Part V

April 8th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Just before the brief intermission, our curtain closed on ACT I, the scene set in the Garden of Gethsemane, with an illegal arrest in the darkness, and with an illegal binding of a person before he is convicted of a crime. The words of Christ Himself made special note of the darkness in Luke 22:53-54a:  “’When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.’  Then they seized Him and led Him away….”  Those acts will be just the first two of many illegal actions which will be perpetrated against Christ during His Passion. The obviousness of such actions will add to the Sifting of Simon. Having drawn his sword against the servant of the High Priest is frightening enough under the Law, but having that Law administered by the Lawless, by wanton disregard for God’s own Law, is even more intimidating.

Cutting off the ear of a slave of the high priest would also have been traumatic for Peter, as it opened him to more fear, to accusation of a crime, i.e. damaging property which belonged to the high priest. It put the spotlight on Peter, increasing his visibility and vulnerability, at least to a minimal “ear for an ear” sentence for his crime under the Torah:

Exo 21:24 “… eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot….”
Lev 24:20 “… fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has disfigured a man, he shall be disfigured.”
Deu 19:21 “Your eye shall not pity; it shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”


Christ’s intervention to quickly heal Malchus’ ear essentially removed one important piece of evidence of Peter’s “crime,” although eye witnesses remain and will soon become a problem for Peter. But there is yet another piece of evidence against Peter. Both Matthew, and to a greater extent John, tell us that Christ commanded the sword, now bloodied, be returned to its sheath. And Peter will be carrying that bloody sword and sheath right into the Courtyard where the Temple Guard will be warming themselves. Peter’s weaknesses have only begun to be sifted, and the latest to have been revealed include impatience, not waiting on the Lord, aggression, unjust use of a weapon, hostility, assault. Peter seems to have a knack for making the situation worse; indeed, that manifests some of what Sifting might be about. The question begins to be, when we are sifted, can we recognize the signs of Sifting, and make an adequate defense? Read the rest of this entry »


Thoughts on John Chapter 8: 1-11

April 7th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Today we have the Gospel reading from John Chapter 8, regarding the woman caught in adultery. It is often preached as the mercy of God, the inequality between historic gender punishments, the oldest leaving first as either wisdom or a burden of his having more sins because of his age. And we are often told that the reading is an insertion, didn’t originally ‘fit’ where it is placed, and, besides, is not in the Synoptic Gospels. But it seems that there is more to be said, without in any way denying the more common interpretations.

In studying more of John in particular for the reflections on Sifting Simon (yes, the intermission between the stage setting in Gethsemane and the High Priest’s courtyard is nearly over, and “Sifting Simon” will return to CF this week). But in the meantime, it is difficult not to comment on today’s Gospel. One thing we seem to see in the Gospel of John is actual insertion of new information, not contradicting the Synoptics, but adding on. Identifying Peter as wielding the sword in the Garden, e.g., illustrates additional information, as does the ‘falling down’ of the Temple Guard. In a number of places, John seems to add something he considers significant (and possibly, in some cases, the Synoptic writers didn’t feel free to add, like naming Peter as the ear-lopper before Peter was crucified, and therefore risking prosecution.)

What about today’s reading?  There seems to be a reason for John’s considering it important enough to add over and above the Synoptics’ writing. I also wouldn’t be surprised if redactors had at one time missed its importance, taken it out, and then put it back in when its importance was better understood, in a place convenient to them. Here’s what I think lies hidden in the text: Jesus’ giving a manifestation of His being God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. It seems not to be a mere story of forgiveness, important as His Mercy would be to show, and which of course shows in many other situations.

Here are the related key verses:  John 8:6 and 8.  In each of those verses, as presented in today’s NAB Lectionary, Jesus writes “on” the ground. But the Greek word which is translated as the word “on” is actually “eis.” While it can in a minority of situations be translated “on,” a better translation of “eis” is “into.”  So: “Jesus bent down and began to write  [into] the ground with His finger.”  Two verses later, the Evangelist writes: Again He bent down and wrote  [into] the ground.”

Is there anything else to be noted, to reinforce this observation? Yes. Although many of us imagine Christ’s writing on sandy ground, much as we might write into beach sand and then erase it. But that would not seem to be the case in John’s Gospel. Those who have visited Jerusalem, and the grounds near the Western Wall, know that the earth  itself is very hard, like rock. And it also wouldn’t be logical to have sand dragged through the Temple by walking from the more public areas into more sacred space repeatedly. No, it seems exactly as what we see — the Finger of Christ cutting into the rock, just like the Finger of God cut the 10 Commandments into the stone tablets on Mt. Sinai.

In John’s Greek, he uses the word “daktulos” for the word finger. If we look into the Septuagint, i.e. the Greek translation of the Old Testament, we read the use of the same work, “daktulos” for the following text in Exodus 31:18:  “And He gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”


Woman Caught in Adultery
Rembrandt: detail only

And, indeed, the word for “finger” in the term “Finger of God” is “daktulos”, the same word as used for Christ’s finger in John 8:6.

From this observation, it seems quite reasonable that John recognized the profound manifestation of God’s Divinity in the event of His forgiving the woman caught in adultery, as Christ cut the word of God into stone with His Finger. He presented His Oneness with God as Lawgiver to the crowd gathered. That crowd missed what Christ showed them, entirely.  And, among the elders who confronted Him, the oldest even walked away first, missing the point, as if to say: “Nothing to see here!” It seems that John knew there was much to see here, so he shared it with us.



St. Jean Vianney Relic Pilgrimage Schedule

April 5th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

First Class Relic
St. Jean Vianney’s Incorrupt Heart


Tour: St. Jean Vianney’s Incorrupt Heart

November  2018 to June 2019

Check link for extensive schedule of sites

Opportunity to pray for holiness of priests


Today (April 3) — Death Day of Jesus

April 3rd, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Friday, April 3, 33 AD at 3 PM is considered to be the most likely time of death for Jesus. While we don’t mark the day as a special feast day in the liturgy, how can we help but notice, and give our thanks? For more information on how the date was set, visit

Also Google eclipses (lunar and solar) on April 3, 33 AD (14th of Nissan).


Cheapening Mass by Peter Kwasniewski

April 3rd, 2019, Promulgated by Hopefull

Excerpts from:

“Why Mass is cheapened when human elements like socializing are emphasized”

 by Peter Kwasniewski

March 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – “The liturgy of the Church has for its primary aim to honor and glorify God, and … to sanctify our souls, leading us to an ever deeper intimacy with Jesus Christ …”

“It is good and fitting for us to pray to God as a people and to be conscious of our neighbors as fellow citizens of the household of God. ”

“…we must make sure that our grasp of the meaning of community is sufficiently in tune with the real nature of the Church.”

“… Reverence, solemnity, and majesty belong to worship precisely because it is no mere human gathering, but a momentary opening up of our world to the life and grace of the heavenly Jerusalem  ….  It is not just “our” worship, the action of this particular local community; it always has a cosmic, universal, transtemporal dimension to it.”

“The liturgy in itself is not—and will only be cheapened if it becomes—a gathering for waving to your neighbor, exchanging news, shaking hands, “dialoguing” with an improvisatory priest, or the like. This sort of thing may have its rightful place before and after Mass and outside of the place of worship, but it is certainly not of the essence of the thing, and more often than not it is a serious impediment to participating in the mysteries of the liturgy….”

“The experience of community proper to the liturgy is an experience of common adoration, all faces, all hearts turned towards the sanctuary, … when we most forget ourselves and our neighbors in our intense concentration on the Mass….”

“The words one speaks should be a response to something one has had opportunity to hear in the silence of the soul; the songs one sings should enrich and instruct rather than fill up gaps in time or give one ‘something to do.’”

“…  there should be much space for silence, for meditative reflection… it would be an easy and vast improvement if we could have a quiet church before Mass, a holy stillness during the Canon, and an atmosphere of peace after Mass for those who wish to linger in their thanksgiving (with the celebrant setting the example). Sitting still for five minutes with one’s mind on God requires and fosters more spiritual maturity than singing for an hour.”

Read full article here:


If I fund sin, I should confess it … shouldn’t I?

April 1st, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

This wasn’t an “April Fool” … it is a rerun of a post which ran a little over a week ago, as a warning that the Catholic Relief Services Collection was coming up (Yesterday! March 31st) and to ‘beware.’  So, if you missed the warning and gave ‘automatically’ in the second collection in some Churches yesterday, this message really is for you, and hopefully  to recharge the power of the laity to discern what is right and what is not. And to live by that discernment.


For those who think they never have anything to say in confession, try this: “Bless me Father for I have sinned — I donated to Catholic Relief Services (or to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.)”

In case you missed an article earlier this week on the ticker, here is a follow-up LifeSiteNews story:   

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — “Why is a 501(c)(3), whose purpose is to help Catholics support the poorest of the poor, lobbying Congress in the name of multiple secular organizations, for unqualified billions of taxpayer dollars? Michael Hichborn, founder of the Lepanto Institute, is asking that very question in order to hold so-called Catholic nonprofits — especially those supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — transparent and accountable to those who are often pressured from the pulpit to tithe to them. As churchgoing Catholics continue to hear preached the USCCB Bishop’s Appeal this Lent  — including those little “Rice Bowl” boxes targeting children — too few are aware of exactly where their tithes are going. The answer is directly to organizations supporting abortion, contraception, and even sterilization in the Third World….” 

Read rest of that article here:

One need only “search” Cleansing Fire stories for “CRS” and “CCHD” (Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Campaign for Human Development) to find a number of stories over years, worrying about the real use of funds to those organizations, and why the USCCB seems so stubbornly  to push funding sinful activity onto Catholics who take seriously that they should support their Church. How can the USCCB not defend against such allegations? Perhaps because they can’t?

Of course, CRS has been exposed to significant moral duplicity over many years, unless one counts “once-upon-a-time Cardinal” McCarrick’s position as head of the CRS Foundation for the last 18 years as if it had no moral impact. See  When I see those little rice bowls neatly lined up near the entrance to our churches, even THIS Lenten season, in the middle of a huge scandal, I want to put a warning notice on them: “Danger … donating to CRS may endanger souls.”

If dioceses solicit for organizations which abet sin, it seems reasonable to question such a diocese’s stewardship of funds in general, and therefore in other fundraising matters. The charges against CRS and CCHD are no secret; they have been around for years. Catholics have a right to expect good financial stewardship when funds are solicited; i.e. that a diocese and even a parish have done some due diligence on the moral worth of what is to be funded.  Fortunately, in such dire circumstances, it would appear that a Catholic who is convinced that certain solicitations are near occasions of sin, can still meet the Church’s precept for financial support by funding directly third world efforts, and many good, effective apostolates. Thus, they would fund the Church, that is the universal Church with a capital “C,”  even if not the little “c” church which solicits for sinful purposes.


Cleverly Cultivating the Faith in Children

March 28th, 2019, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

Hello dear readers! As it just so happens, my reason for writing this article is the very thing that has kept me away for so long – my daughter, Lucia.

Lucia Gillenson, now 6 months old (and ridiculously photogenic)

Now what in the world do I have to write about her that concerns passing on the Faith? Sneaky ways of doing it, of course!

Here are some clever ways to pass on the Faith to your children, which you can start as early as their infancy:

1: Play them sacred music to help them go to sleep.

To be honest, my husband and I discovered this one out of sheer desperation to get her to calm down at night for bedtime. Turns out, Gregorian chant = instant baby lullaby. There is something soothing about the music that Lucia LOVES and will instantly calm down for. It also instills an appreciation of sacred music early on in your child’s life! An unintended, hilarious side effect of this trick is that if you attend a mass where sacred music is used frequently, your baby will be the best behaved kid in the building because they will be calm and/or out like a light thanks to the chant.

2: Get your baby a teething rosary.

I kid you not, these things exist, and they are miraculous (at least to parents of a teething child). They are a properly constructed rosary, with all the proper beads and accents, but made out of a strong, chew-able material that will be soothing to your baby (and not a choking hazard). This rosary will last you a LONG time, due its solid construction, and is very affordable. Check out the link to the product, made by “Chews Life” (pun fully intended, I assume): HERE. They also make Miraculous Medal pacifier clips!

You may consider getting it blessed, but ask your priest for his opinion first, since your child will be going to town on it with their gums.

3. Read to your child books about the lives of the saints.

This cannot be recommended enough: read to your child about the Faith! This is also very effective for Catechesis at a young age. Your children will love the stories of saints, and they will learn the Faith over the many bedtime reading sessions that you will have. Here are some of the books that I recommend, but please do your own research as well:

“My Golden Book of Saints:” HERE.

“My First Catechism:” HERE.

“The Holy Rosary:” HERE.

I also recommend pretty much anything by St. Joseph’s Children’s Books. There is a wide variety of books to choose from, and your children will love them, whether they can read on their own already or not.

These are just some ways to pass on the Faith to your children, but please let me know of any other clever ways that you have found in the comments below!

Many thanks for your patience, and I hope that this helps.




Sifting Simon — Part IV

March 28th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

To draw closer to what “Sifting Simon” really means, we do not look at each event as a fresh, isolated occurrence, but rather as a chain of inter-connected events, with the cumulative emotions and concerns as a starting point for the next phase.  The burden which Peter carried forward includes being told definitively he will deny Christ three times that very day, the guilt of falling asleep rather than praying and watching with the Lord, the shame of being chided for doing so, being awakened to a mob scene, experiencing confusion about the falling back of the Temple Guard, and seeing the leader of the mob, Judas, with whom Peter has just spent three years almost as brothers! The mob scene (and it doesn’t seem unfair to call it such) is not hard to imagine – the thronging crowd, torches, clubs and swords being waved about in the darkness, shouts, pushing, shoving and, suddenly, the betrayer is uncomfortably close to Jesus. Does Judas have a weapon? Should Peter intervene, maybe even positioning himself between the Lord and Judas who seems to want to kiss Jesus!  Where’s the other apostle who is supposed to have a sword and maybe back-up Peter? The ‘aloneness’ of Peter and the confusion of so much occurring is part of his ‘sifting.’

Christ’s words of a few hours earlier may now be just a distant memory. Right after the Lord told Peter (in Luke 22:34) “… the cock will not crow this day until you three times deny that you know Me,” He says to the Apostles in Luke 22:35-38.

  • 35. “… When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘Nothing.’
  • 36. He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.
  • 37. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was reckoned with transgressors;’ for what is written about Me has its fulfilment.’
  • 38. And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’” 

(At the end of this post, click on “Read the rest for additional commentary on these four verses.)

Garden of Gethsemane 

The Gospels all acknowledge the use of a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane, but only Luke explains how it got there. The Synoptic authors understandably focus on Judas’ kiss being the sign of betrayal. John has nothing to say about the kiss, a miserable low point in the narrative of mankind. The Synoptics refer to the sword incident without identifying the perpetrator, who is referred to as a bystander (“one who stands by”), or “one of those with Jesus.”

The Gospel of John adds significantly to our knowledge of the “sword incident.” The new information supplied by John is ‘naming names.’ We learn it was Peter who struck the high priest’s servant with the sword and, from John’s account, we also learn that servant’s  name was Malchus.

The Sword was likely a Machaira

What is the “sword” wielded by Peter? There are 25 uses in the New Testament of the word “machaira” which is translated ‘sword’ in English. It is a ‘short sword,” larger than the zealot’s knife which could be hidden in clothing, but smaller than the long sword of battle, which is too long to be practical in a crowd. The machaira is reported to have been extremely sharp, and can be double-edged and/or fitted with a gouging tip. Possessing a machaira in public was apparently legal during the Roman occupation, but likely cutting off the ear of someone else’s slave, with armed guards and witnesses present, was not; it could have provoked reprisal, arrest or worse. Read the rest of this entry »