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February 13, 1997
Talk given by Father Edward J. Carter, SJ
Founder of Shepherds of Christ Ministries
Talk given February 13, 1997 National Conference of Shepherds of Christ, held at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, Norwood, Ohio.
Before we begin the rosary, Iíd like to say a few words about the great importance of these days on the 13th of each month. Before Our Lord asked me to begin the Shepherds of Christ Ministries, the 1st dimension of that ministries was given to me on May the 31st, 1994. But before Our Lord asked me to start the ministries, I had been given a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. And I knew that everything concerning recent Marian apparitions centered around the Fatima message. The Fatima message is key to the peace of the world, as Our Lady of Fatima has told us. So because I had been given a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, it was no surprise to me when Our Lord told me, and through me the whole Movement, the great connection that there would be between Shepherds of Christ Ministries and helping to bring the Fatima message to conclusion. Iíll expand more upon that in my talk this afternoon. But here and now Iíd like to read just a part of the message I received on October the 13th, 1994, when Our Lord called the full Ministries into existence. It had begun May 31st , some five or six months previous to that. But really October the 13th, 1994, marks the real birth, the complete birth of Shepherds of Christ Ministries. And part of the message I received on that day reads as follows:
"I am giving you this message on this day, the 77th anniversary of the great apparition at Fatima, because of the close connection between the Shepherds of Christ Movement and the Fatima message. The Fatima message is centered in devotion to My Heart and My Motherís Heart, especially in consecration to Our Hearts. Shepherds of Christ Ministries is also centered in devotion to Our Hearts. I will use Shepherds of Christ Ministries as a great instrument in helping to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Reign of My Sacred Heart. Today then, October the 13th, 1994, the 77th anniversary of the great apparition at Fatima, marks the birth of Shepherds of Christ Ministries. I pour forth the great love of My Sacred Heart to all. I am Jesus, the Chief Shepherd of the Flock."
The calling of Our Lord to Shepherds of Christ to be present if possible at these meetings on the 13th of each month, and if they cannot be present physically, to be present in spirit with us then comes as no surprise. Itís merely another unfolding in the history of the Shepherds of Christ Movement and in the Fatima message.
These 13th of the months meetings are extremely important. They are great instruments which Our Lord and Our Lady are using to help bring to completion the Fatima message, which will result in that great era of peace, which Our Lady of Fatima promised eventually would come to the world.
So I ask you to take these meetings on the 13th of the month with the utmost seriousness, gratitude, thanksgiving, joy that Our Lord, for His own reasons has chosen Shepherds of Christ, the members thereof, the whole Ministries to play such a great part in the completion of the Fatima message. It comes as no surprise either that Our Lord gives special messages during the rosary on the meeting of the 13th, just as Our Lady of Fatima gave messages to the three visionaries at Fatima in 1917, from May through October. So at this stage of the Fatima messageís unfolding, it is no surprise that they continue, and in a new way and a new phase of the Fatima plan, give us these very special messages on the 13th. They are meant not only for us here present, they are meant for all members of the Movement, and eventually for the whole world. All these messages, all these rosaries on the 13th, eventually go onto our Internet with its world-wide audience.
So please, be very grateful to God for the messages He gives us during the rosary. Not everything which Rita says is a message. I think youíll be able to distinguish when sheís receiving a message from Our Lord or from Our Lady, and when she is speaking from her own heart. Sometimes the transition is very quick and you may miss it, but there are both ways in which meditations are given on the decades: in strict locutions or messages, and then from Ritaís meditations or reflections herself.
(After the Rosary)
I wish to thank everybody who made the effort to be here with us, especially those people who had to travel from out of town. Iím sure the Lord has blessed you already and will continue to do so for your effort to be here. These are extremely important meetings on the 13th of the month. Our Lord has, Himself, instructed us in His great love and mercy for us and the whole world to have them. From these meetings, the messages of Our Lord, the previous message given at Fatima, go out to the whole world...
I sort of left off when I introduced the rosary by reading the rest, or at least a good part of the rest, of that message which I, myself, received on October the 13th, 1994, when Our Lord called the full Shepherds of Christ Ministries into existence.
"My beloved priest-companion, today I come to you with another mission."
He had already asked me on May the 31st of 1994 to start the priestly newsletter and then shortly after that to start the prayer chapters.
"Iím asking you to establish Shepherds of Christ Ministries. At My request you have already begun the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the prayer chapters, Shepherds of Christ Associates...
"I am giving you this message on this day, the 77th Anniversary of the Great Apparition at Fatima, because of the close connection between the Shepherds of Christ movement and the Fatima message. The Fatima message is centered in devotion to My Heart and My Motherís Heart, especially in consecration to Our Hearts. Shepherds of Christ Ministries is also centered in devotion to Our Hearts. I will use Shepherds of Christ Ministries as a great instrument in helping to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. When this occurs, My Church and the world will be experiencing the great era of peace promised by My Mother at Fatima.
"Today, then, October 13, 1994, the 77th Anniversary of the Great Apparition at Fatima, marks the birth of Shepherds of Christ Ministries. I pour forth the great love of My Sacred Heart to all. I am Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the flock."
So (this is) one of the most important messages given in the whole history of our Movement, and I think you can see why. Not only was Our Lord calling the Ministries into full bloom with this message, but He was making that great connection between Shepherds of Christ and the Fatima message.
You see how He says that both the Fatima message and Shepherds of Christ is centered in devotion, and especially in consecration, to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
So in my moments here before you this afternoon, I wish to speak a bit about this consecration.
Iíll start off by reading a message of Our Lord and from "Tell My People" which deals with this consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
"My beloved friend, tell My people that I desire all to consecrate themselves to My Sacred Heart and to Maryís Immaculate Heart. Tell them not to just recite words in making the Act of Consecration, but to realize what they are saying. Consecration to Our Hearts means a total gift of self. That means handing over everything to Me and My Mother. Consecration means a willingness to surrender completely to Me. In Baptism, one is consecrated to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But how many fail to live out their consecration? I extend to all the invitation to renew this Baptismal consecration through consecration to My Heart and to My Motherís Heart.
"My beloved companion, I have taught you what this consecration means. I have given you great peace, joy and happiness because you have made this consecration. I have taught you that you are to renew this act of consecration each day. I constantly remind you that you are to pray each day for the grace to more and more live the consecration. I have taught you that your consecration to Me and My Mother means that you constantly surrender yourself to Us and to Our care. I have taught you that the more you surrender yourself to Me, the more I live in you, and through you and for you. I have taught you that My great love for you longs to draw you more deeply into My Heart. I have shown you that I wish your Mother Mary to place you there within My Heart, and that the more you dwell within her Heart, the more deeply she places you within My Heart. Dwelling within Our Hearts, the Holy Spirit fashions you more and more in My likeness. The Father thus looks upon you with greater favor and takes you more closely to Himself.
"Tell My people all these wondrous truths. I am Lord and Master and I desire all to listen to My words. (end of message)"
And what beautiful words those are, which Christ gives all, to us all regarding the consecration to His Heart and Maryís Heart.
I want to - after that message of Jesus telling us what consecration involves, I wish to single out a few aspects of the consecration, what it includes. One aspect of our consecration and especially the consecration which Our Lord has given us for Shepherds of Christ, one aspect of our consecration to Their Hearts is to realize that we are apostles and that we are called to go out into the world as we have heard in the rosary today, and other times to be the apostles of His love, of His love and His Motherís love, and thus to help bring about that great era of peace promised by Our Lord, Our Lady of Fatima in which love will just dominate. Thatís what it means when Our Lady says, "In the end," she says, "my Immaculate Heart will triumph." And along with that triumph of her Immaculate Heart will occur the Reign of the Sacred Heart. The Reign of the Sacred Heart and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart simply is a reign of love, a triumph of love and in that era there will be a type of love existent in the hearts of the members of the human family never known before. We will all be so united in love to the Father and the Holy Spirit through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. And not only with Them, but with each other. What a glorious era we have to look forward to.
We are apostles. More and more as the Movement has gone on, Jesus is letting us know that, yes, we are supposed to pray. This is one of our primary duties in the chapters and elsewhere, to pray for priests and all others. But more and more He is telling us that now is the time to start to more and more move out from our chapters and to be apostles of His love, to help spread the Movement, to help spread the consecrations in the schools through the consecration cards, the Rosary Aves, both of which have the Imprimatur of the Cincinnati Archdiocese, to help spread all our materials, all our books and all the various rosaries, the rosary tapes. And you are called to do that.
In the beginning of the Movement, it was a relatively few people who were carrying the burden and carrying the Ministry on. We have entered a great new episode of the Movement, principally in that episode, principally centers itself around these meetings of the 13th. More and more people are realizing as they hear more and more the messages, more and more people in the Movement are hearing that Jesus is calling each one of us to be apostles of the Movement, to spread the Movement, to help implement the various ministries in all ways possible, to help spread the chapter movements by starting new chapters. Just think if we have something like, I guess, 2500-3000 members in the chapters and the Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Movement here in this country and throughout the world-most of those, thus far, in this country.
But just think if each person would take it upon himself or herself to go all out to get one more new chapter formed. Thatís not impossible, I donít think thatís asking something heroic. That would double our chapters; that would double our prayer power. And so much of the Movement, the success of it, depends upon the prayer power coming out of the chapters and the Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Movement. So Heís calling all of us; and how admirably so many in the Movement are answering. I wish to single out-just because all of you know about the Florida apparition-four or five, six, I donít know how many now of our members from Ritaís core group have gone down to the apparition site. One of our main members, Tom A., has a home there at St. Petersburg, and Clearwater is just a short distance from there. And theyíve been going down and staying in his house, and each day going over to the apparition site and handing out our materials, especially the rosary message tape, but other materials also. This is what Our Lord, Our Lady has asked us to do. And theyíve had phenomenal success. We canít keep enough materials down there. They just, the people are just so eager for it. But this is what. . .and they do it on their own time, they drive down, some of them spend three or four days, some a week and they come back. But what a marvelous example of their answering the call to the apostleship to which Jesus calls them in the Movement. And theyíre doing just a tremendous amount of good.
And by the way when Iím talking and as long as Iím talking about Florida I might read you part of that message of Our Lady. You have read it, no doubt if youíd gotten a copy of the picture with the message on the back. But for my own purposes I want to read that here and now. So Mary tells us, this is the message which Rita received on December the 19th:
Mary speaks: My dear children, I give to you, my Son, Jesus, born in a stable in Bethlehem on Christmas morní. He is the Almighty God the Light of the world.
I appear to you, my children on a bank in Florida. You have made money your god! Do you know how cold are your hearts? You turn away from my Son, Jesus for your money. Your money is your god.
I am Mary, your Mother. I do not appear as I once appeared to you.
When Rita got that message and when she gave it to me, both of us for a number of days thought that her number of apparitions was simply decreasing, but we both came to the conclusion; well Rita came to the conclusion and I followed after her, in agreement with her conclusion, Mary says, "I do not appear as I once appeared to you." She was saying apparently that, "Iím appearing to you in this new way, where the whole world can see me."
So many othersí apparition sites have had their believers of course, but many, many people throughout the world have doubted all this talk about the various apparition sites of Mary. She says, "I do not appear as I once appeared to you." She is appearing on a bank for the whole world to see.
"I am asking you today to circulate my message given on a tape on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, 1996. Please circulate this tape now."
Thatís one of the main things our apostles down in Florida are doing, handing out the tapes with this message.
"Please circulate this tape now. Give it to as many people as you can. I am Mary, your Mother. Please circulate my Rosary Book."
Sheís referring to a book which Shepherds of Christ Publications came out right around Christmas time. Hopefully all of you have received it in the mail, Rosaries from the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as given to Rita. Now hereís the point I want to make here and now. Notice how she links up the apparition site with the circulation of her Rosary Book, and we are circulating the book there. But to me, thereís a very great phenomenon connected with the colors on the window, bank windows and the Rosary Book. And Rita herself pointed this out to me. Now this cover on this book-it was designed by Hal K. weeks and even months before the apparition of Our Lady on the bank in Florida. When did you start to design that Hal? (question asked to Harold K.) Almost, two years ago. And the colors were already selected months ago, right? Well if youíll take the picture of the bank of the apparition of the bank on Florida, and this Rosary Book, you will notice that the colors are the same. To me, thatís a miraculous confirmation of the fact that Our Lady is connecting the apparition site on the bank in Florida with the Shepherds of Christ Ministries in a special way with the rosaries. Itís just phenomenal. You can check the colors out one by one. Theyíre a little bit brighter on the book, but because of the photography involved I think you can see how they wouldnít be quite as bright on this. But check out the colors. Theyíre the same on the Rosary Book and on this. And these colors, as I say, were picked by Hal months and months before the apparition. You can take it for what you want, but for me itís a miraculous confirmation of this message, that Our Lady chose those same colors which are on the front of her Rosary Book, to show the same colors relative to her apparition there on the bank in Florida.
Therefore, our Florida apostles are one of the many examples I could point out to you of how people in the Movement are more and more taking up the challenge, the invitation of Jesus and Mary to spread this Movement throughout the world. They have chosen the Shepherds of Christ Movement as a great instrument to help bring about the Fatima message. How privileged we are to be part of it, to be called to it. I believe, Iíve told you this before, at least some of you have heard me, I think this Movement is one of the greatest in the history of the Church. And I think history itself will bear that out. So how precious a gift each of us has been given by Our Lord in calling us to be members of this Movement.
Therefore, a very important aspect of our consecration to Their Hearts is to be apostles, to help spread all the ministries. Another aspect of our consecration is the idea of union. I think weíre all very well aware how the consecration unites us to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and through Them to the Father and the Holy Spirit. But perhaps we donít think often enough of that how it unites us with one another, in the Movement, in the Church, throughout the whole world. You cannot grow in union with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Mary, without growing in union with all your neighbors. And this is the tough part. Itís relatively easy to love Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Mary, isnít it? Three Persons in One God infinitely perfect and Mary a human person, perfect, free from all sin. Itís easy to love the Triune Persons and Mary, relatively speaking. But itís not all that easy to love each other all the time, isnít it? And yet thatís what Jesus calls us to. Jesus literally died for each and every person. And no matter how unattractive a person is in their behavior, Jesus still died for that person. If He loved that person enough to die for that person, then certainly we have to love them, him or her, and especially within the Movement. Satan is violently attacking us, he will always try to cause division in the Movement. But if we are going to be examples - and we are called to that, to be examples to the whole Church and the whole world of what itís going to be like in the new era, when we all exist in such great loving union with each other in Christ. We are the forerunners of that. Weíre helping to prepare the way for that for the whole Church, for the whole world. Not only us, but we have been given a special mission for that. So we have to be united in love with each other, if we have differences, we work them out in love and in peace. We work them out in love and in peace. In one of the Blue Books, Jesus says, "The glass is either half-empty or itís half-full." I look at my neighbor, whether he or she is in the Movement or outside of it. I can either look at the half-empty part of the glass or the half-full part. I can either look at that personís faults and concentrate on them, or I can concentrate on the great goodness which is inherently theirs. If they are in the state of sanctifying grace, their soul is magnificently beautiful, despite the blemishes of their failings of their sins. When I look at a person, do I look at the half-empty part or the half-full part?
Everyday I ask you to pray for a growing unity in the Movement. What Our Lord has allowed us to accomplish so far in less than three years is just miraculous, I think itís just miraculous. The sign becomes ever and ever greater that He started this Movement, not me. I was just the instrument which He chose to head it up. He has given me so many beautiful people to help me do the Movement and that includes all of you. He has given you so many beautiful companions in the Movement. Let us concentrate on that part of it. This is the only way weíre going to be models to the rest of the Church and the world, of the profound union that Our Lord calls us to, not only with Himself, but with each other.
Strength for all this, day after day, itís not easy to live this way, is it? But as I said in my homily, the great strength we have for that is the Eucharist. The power of the Eucharist is much greater than your faults or my faults or the faults of others in the Movement that surround you, or the faults of others in your parish, or the rest of the Church and the world. He can give you the strength to arise above your own faults and the faults of others around you, and march forward in the most positive way towards this great new era. Oh what a gift the Eucharist is.
St. Julian Eymard, the founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, who gave us such beautiful writings on the Eucharist, in one of his writings on the Eucharist he says:
"It is true also that the world does all in its power to prevent us from loving Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament with a real and practical love, to prevent us from visiting Him and cripple the effects of His love. This world engrosses the attention of souls; it finds and enslaves them with external occupations in order to deter them from dwelling too long on the love of Jesus. It even fights directly against this practical love and represents it as optional, as practicable at most only in a convent. And the devil wages incessant warfare on our love for Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament. He knows that Jesus is there, living and substantially present; that by Himself He is drawing souls and taking direct possession of them. The devil tries to efface the thought of the Eucharist in us, and the good impression made by it; for in his mind, that should decide the issue of the struggle." (That is if we give in to Jesusí desire to possess us in the Eucharist.) "And yet God is all love. This gentle Savior pleads with us from the Host: "Love Me as I have loved you; abide in My love! I came to cast the fire of love on the earth, and My most ardent desire is that it should set your hearts on fire."1
1St. Peter Eymard, "The Most Blessed Sacrament Is Not Loved!," as in The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom, Fr. John Hardon, S.J., ed.; Ignatius Press, p. 384.
Union amongst ourselves through our union with Jesus and Mary and Father and Holy Spirit. Each of you is so precious to Jesus. He has given each of you a very, very, very special gift, precious gift, in calling you to be involved in this Movement. Very early on in the Movement, it was July 31st of 1994, on the Feast of St. Ignatius, He often gives me very important messages on key feasts, and the Feast of St. Ignatius is a feast for Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. And He told me in that message that He would give great, great, great graces to those who join the Movement, and hope Iím sure, all of you who have been in the Movement have experienced those great graces. In appreciation for the great graces Jesus has given you in the Movement, I ask you, with great joy and a great sense of responsibility and a great sense of privilege, to do what you can to implement the ministries of the Movement. No one else can do your role, can carry out your part. You are preciously unique, no one exists like you now, no one ever has, no one ever will. Itís you alone who can give Jesus the opportunity to do what He wants through your humanity to help spread the Movement. To the extent that you answer Jesus and give yourselves to Him, and work as time and energy permits, as your other duties permit to help spread the ministries, to that extent you give Him an opportunity which no one else can give Him, and to the extent that you hold back, to this extent He loses this opportunity which no one else can give Him.
A precious Savior who has done so much to each of us. Certainly He deserves our full loving response. As I kneel before the crucifix each day, either before a actual crucifix or one in my mind, let us ask ourselves those questions posed to us by Ignatius Loyola, "What have I done for Christ?" "What am I now doing for Christ?" "What ought I to do for Christ?"
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