Through David and the story of the kingship, God taught us about his governance of the world and of his people. David was only human and at times the worthy subject of both praise and severe criticism. But in his relationship with God, we find a model for the people both then and today: suppleness to God’s will; wholehearted pursuit of righteousness; sincere repentance from sin; mercy for others; and true worship of God, who alone is worthy.
The foundation for Padre Pio’s work in the world was love. His love of God became intertwined with his love of humanity so that the two became inseparable and unwavering.
Padre Pio is notable not for his erudition or even his teachings, per se, but for the man he was and the intercessor he continues to be. Pio gave himself to Christ as a spiritual victim for the souls of sinners. With sweetness, humility, and good cheer, he brought everyone who encountered him closer to Christ.
People who met him understood immediately that they were in contact with a Christlike figure. Those who attended his Mass and saw his union with the divine felt as though they had witnessed in person Christ’s Passion on the Cross. During his lifetime, Padre Pio brought vast numbers back to devotion to Christ, and, as he himself foretold, in death he has been able to do still more.
All books in The Life and Prayers series come complete with a Touch-or-Click Table of Contents, divided by each section.
Specifically, the girls claimed to be communing with the Virgin Mary. What they said she told them sent shock waves throughout the Catholic world, and beyond—shock waves that are still reverberating today. The messages the four girls claimed to receive revealed a picture of a church in crisis and a world that faced an earth-shattering future that would unfold in their lifetime.
The girls’ pronouncements about coming trouble in the church and world were met with fierce skepticism from the first. Some charged the girls with being possessed by demons (based on the girls’ strange physical poses and apparent levitation), and others claimed the girls were putting on an act (revealing their true colors when they chose ordinary married lives instead of the convent). There was also a third body of critics: those who believed that a group of girls on the cusp of adolescence in a remote and insular society conjured up a psychodrama which, fueled by the spotlight and mounting frenzy, gained a frightening life of its own.
Of course there is another possibility–that the apparitions in Garabandal, Spain actually did occur, and that the mother of Jesus appeared with an apocalyptic warning for both the church and the modern world.
The prophecies of Garabandal foretell a World-Wide Warning and a Global Miracle, whose purpose is to convince a world reeling from one catastrophe to the next that God exists. But the Warning and Miracle, dramatic as they sound, are not even the most unsettling of the messages. One night, the young girls dissolved into screams. During this so-called “Night of the Screams,” the girls say they were shown a tragic chastisement that would befall the entire world if the Warning and Miracle failed to trigger global change.
As disquieting as those messages were, the Virgin Mary’s most shocking message at Garabandal was for the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, which was meeting at that time for Vatican II. Why were the messages of Garabandal so effectively suppressed? Did it have to do with the fact that the Virgin Mary presciently warned of coming scandal and turmoil in the Roman Catholic Church itself?
Did a portal open between worlds on a Spanish mountaintop in that summer of 1961? And if so, who opened the door–an angel of God or an angel of darkness? Was it the young girls’ flight of fancy one summer night that spun wildly out of control? Or was it a visitation from the Mother of Jesus filled with urgent concern for a church and a world that she deeply loves?
Now that the “girls” at the center of this drama are 60-year-old women, should their claims be discredited or re-examined? Are the apparitions bogus or fast-approaching their fulfillment? If the events are false, Garabandal is a fascinating and perhaps tragic human interest story with several explanations. If the events and warnings are true–then what do we do?
By the end of this book, readers can judge whether the appearances of the Virgin Mary to four young seers on a mountaintop in Spain were historical fact, a devilish fraud, or the creative confusion of four girls who would spend the rest of their lives trying to escape a human tragicomedy that they themselves had produced.
Tolkien’s best-known writings were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in which he created a fully realized world known as Middle-earth, vaguely identifiable as Northern Europe in a pre-history that never was. To bring his world to life, he produced detailed geography and cartography as well as a legendary background. He peopled the world with diverse types of inhabitants and created spoken and written languages for them. By doing this, he essentially created modern fantasy literature and a standard for subsequent writers to chase and miss. A British poll at the end of the twentieth century named The Lord of the Rings the most important English-language work of that century.
During his lifetime, Tolkien did not appreciate people focusing on him rather than on his writings. He felt that his writings were more worthy of attention. With apologies to the late gentleman, he is now due some notice.
For eight years, the struggle wore him down, nearly to the point of no return. Then came the phone call in the dead of night from a war-torn country half a world away.
“Dad, I don’t think I’m going to make it out of here alive.”
These words set in motion the most important mission of Long’s life: Learning to walk again in order to meet his son. What was once considered an impossibility was transformed into a goal and a mission.
Set against the backdrop of the quest for Kilimanjaro’s summit, Push the Rock is the true story of faith, second chances, and the power of family to overcome life’s greatest challenges.