A Living Sacrifice Posts

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments; and the angel of the Lord was standing by. – Zechariah, 3

Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?

In many ways I have, all of my life has felt like Jeremiah. Or St. Peter, when amidst the first Holy Mass, said to his friend, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

All my life I have felt like I have a target on my back. I think every priest feel feels that way in some way, but for me it seemed particularly intense. From being bullied, to feeling alone, to like so many young people, being exposed to pornography. Then there were the targets on my back in the priesthood. These include gossip, the plague of priests, detraction, which has as its source the insidious sin of pride and seeking position or power. These are evil, and the devil knew that was the target.

But here is the good news, Jesus loves his priests with all his priestly heart, and will pluck us from the fire of hell. His Holy Mother, will keep the devil if, IF, we desire to be Holy with the fiery heart of a true priest on fire with love for God, and souls.

If you have been following my story, that gift came to me while on pilgrimage to Fatima. I asked Our Lady of Fatima, to make me a saint no matter what it takes. She answered that prayer plucking me fire of hell like Jeremiah. She stopped me from being sifted by satan.

But with grace comes with the Cross, and my cross is one that is one that is one chosen for me, particularly. In that its mysterious way, it addresses, over time, all my sins, thus preparing me to be united to Christ the High Priest in heaven.

So, the latest development in my journey to purification. As many parts of this journey begin, it begins with a coughing fit, that we couldn’t get under control. These fits are extremely scary for me and my family. So it was off to the ER. They wanted to send me off to Sioux Falls, but, alas, they had no beds. So, off to home to wait for a bed. In the morning, had one, but of course, we had to go back to hospital For a few more tests.

We expected to have a simple procedure, but what soon became apparent that as we talked to doctors and specialty doctors, that we were headed for a tracheostomy.

Now, having ALS, I Know that one day be a reality. But not yet. The tears flowed copiously, as friends came to visit and the bishop himself called to offer prayers and support. I was genuinely afraid, complicated by the fact that I couldn’t talk. There was so much I would like to say and I could say nothing. It’s a terrible feeling to want to speak, and not be able to. It is the makings of nightmares. And, oh, my nightmare, I had. But not alone. I had loving family, by my side to provide that monastic virtue of stability. Many times, during this time a number of priests visited. Some of which brought an end to long held resentments. Nothing was said, we just held hands, wept, and prayed the Rosary and The Divine Office. It was a blessed moment.

The bishop himself, called and prayed with me. Proof positive that he loves his priests, a rarity these days. This moved me to tears.

Earlier I told the beautiful Orthodox nurse. So, I won’t repeat it now. You can read it HERE.

Another way that the Lord showed his presence to me is the surgeon himself. Usually it is just the luck of the draw in a hospital setting. But a reader of this blog, a traditional Catholic, happened to see my name on the list of upcoming surgeries, and although on vacation, surrendered his time to do it. Another act of love from the people of God, for me, and for the Holy Priesthood. Again, Dr Kolb reminded who I am in all this. A warrior priest.

As I drifted off into the world of anesthetics, I distinctively remember two images. I am by no means a mystic. I am not given to visions, but I remember two images. The first was Our Lady of Fatima. A sure sign that she who had begun this work of making me a saint, would give me the grace to fulfill it.

The second was me riding upon a lion, in a fashion, where I held a Cross from which a banner which read “Angus Dei” Much as you would see St. John the Baptist, signifying to me that even voiceless, I have my mission, to preach like St. John the Baptist, with ferocity of a lion, and as the “Agnus Dei” the Lamb of God. Again, I am not given to visions, but they seem to confirm for me my priestly ministry , in this time.

Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?

In many ways I have, all of my life has felt like Jeremiah. Or St. Peter, when amidst the first Holy Mass, said to his friend, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

This is Part One of a Two Part Series.

Patience is a virtue.

 

 

The very icon that Fr. Dana Ambrose took to the hospital.

I haven’t posted since my extended stay in the hospital, more on that later. What I wanted to do today is share just one snippet of how God, in subtle ways, made himself known.

I had brought an icon that I had bought in Loretto. If you don’t know the miraculous story, you can look it up.

But nevertheless, I brought an icon to the normally devoid of religious hospital. I wanted something beautiful in a place of such pain, including my own.

The night before my surgery, which would definitively take away from my voice, I was quite emotional. Then the night nurse arrived. She immediately noticed the icon, and immediately identified herself as Greek Orthodox. She took the time to show me her home icons on her cell phone. She had the respect the orthodox have for priests. She treated me dignity, especially given my emotional state. She called me father when most doctors and nurses called me by my given name. I’ve certainty been called worse, but her pious gentility was a calm in the storm of my emotions.

As they wheeled me away to surgery next morning, she gave me the gift of reminding me just who I and what I was about in that moment. She said “I will probably get in trouble for this” and then commenced to kneel down, kissed my hand, and said “bless me father, and bless my family.”

What a reminder of who I was at that moment, a priest-warrior going into battle for the sake of Our Lady, and for the sake of the salvation of my soul the souls of all men.

Brother priests, monks, bishops, fight like the consecrated men you are. Otherwise hell awaits.

Memento mori

 

The devil appeared to three monks and said to them: if I gave you power to change

something from the past, what would you change?

The first of them, with great apostolic fervor, replied: “I would prevent you from making Adam and Eve fall into sin so that humanity could not turn away from God.”

The second, a man full of mercy, said to him: “I would prevent you from God and you will condemn yourself eternally”.

The third of them was the simplest and, instead of responding to the tempter, he got on his knees, made the sign of the cross and prayed saying: “Lord, free me from the temptation of what could be and was not”.

The devil, giving a raucous cry and shuddering with pain, vanished.

The other two, surprised, said to him: “Brother, why have you responded like this?”

He replied: “First: we must NEVER dialogue with the devil . Second: NOBODY in the world has the power to change the past. Third: Satan’s INTEREST was not to prove our virtue, but to trap us in the past, so that we neglect the present, the only time God gives us His grace and we can cooperate with Him to fulfill His will “.

Of all the demons, the one that catches the most men and prevents them from being happy is that of “What could have been and was not”.

The past is left to the mercy of God and

the future to his Providence. Only the present is in our hands. “Live in the moment.

~  Anonymous