Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree ~ A priest back from the dead

Lk 13:6-9 Jesus spoke this parable. "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none. He said to the vine dresser, ‘Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?’ He answered, ‘Lord, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it, and fertilize it. If it bears fruit, fine; but if not, after that, you can cut it down.’"

I would like to add a few comments myself before sharing this amazing testimony. Fr Scheier said that when the accident was first reported, all his parishioners came to the church to pray, the local Baptists and many other christian denomination church's gathered and prayed all night for Father. He believes that his second chance was given to him because of the prayers of those interceeding for him.

I think that is a powerful statement. The prayers of the people, praying for the life and soul of this priest. It is a reminder to all the great need to pray for our priests! To pray for their sanctification.

Below is Fr Tommy Lane's homily with the retelling of Fr Stephan Scheier's life after death experience.

"Fr Steven Scheier was ordained in 1973. Unfortunately he was more concerned about what other priests thought of him than about being a good priest for Jesus. His priesthood was not in the service of Jesus but to win people’s admiration. Deep down he knew he was not doing what he should be, that he was not the priest he should be. He hid that to the point that people thought he was a good priest.

Fr Stephan Scheier

On October 18, 1985, Fr Steven was traveling from Wichita to his parish (Parish of the Sacred Heart) in Fredonia, Kansas, 86 miles away. The highway does not have any shoulders, it is heavily traveled by semis, pickups and vans. That morning he had gone to Wichita to meet a priest and was returning that afternoon. He was involved in a terrible accident: a head-on collision with a pickup truck and with God. Three people were in the pickup. No one was killed. Fr Scheier was thrown from his vehicle. His entire scalp was taken off on the right side. The doctors told him afterwards the right side of his brain was partially sheered off and many cells were crushed. He was unconscious at the scene. Behind him in the ambulance on the way to the hospital was a nurse, who later mentioned she tried to help him with the Hail Mary but didn’t know it but he was saying the Hail Mary over and over by himself.

He was taken to a small hospital in Eureka Kansas. He had suffered a broken neck, a C2, the second cervical vertebra was broken, the hangman’s break. Had his head been turned either way at the scene of the accident he would have asphyxiated. The doctor said there wasn’t much he could do and sewed his scalp back on and called for the lifewatch helicopter in Wichita from Lesley Hospital and they brought him to Wichita. He did not know he was being transported because he was unconscious. One of his parishioners who happened to be in the hospital was told he was being given a 15% chance to live. Many people of different Christian faiths prayed for him. He said God hears everyone’s prayer and that’s why he’s still here today. He had no surgery. The accident happened in October and on 2nd Dec he was released from hospital and still had the halo, as he called it, a support around his head. He recuperated at home until they could take the halo off, in April. He returned to his parish in May.

The Barren Fig Tree

One day when saying Mass, the Gospel was today’s Gospel about the fig tree. When reading it in the Church, the page became illuminated, enlarged and came off the lectionary towards him. He finished Mass as best he could and back at the rectory/presbytery remembered a conversation that had taken place shortly after the accident.

In that conversation Fr Scheier found himself standing before the judgment of Jesus. He doesn’t know how long it lasted. He says the Lord took him through his entire life, and showed him how he had failed in his priestly service. Fr Scheier said “yes” to everything Jesus said about his life. Before the accident Fr Scheier had planned that when he would go before the judgment seat of Jesus he would say he was pushed on any day he sinned and couldn’t do anything else. He had a number of excuses all ready. He used to confession regularly before the accident but not appropriately i.e. he was not allowing the sacrament to change his life. He did not have a purpose of amendment.

After the accident he wondered how many of his confessions were valid because he had no purpose of amendment. Before the accident he was thinking there would be time to convert but during this judgment scene Jesus taught him there is no time. Now before Jesus he was talking to Truth and when you are talking to Truth you can’t give excuses. At the end of his judgment his sentence from Jesus was hell. Fr Scheier said “yes” as that was the only logical thing he deserved.

At that moment, however, he heard a woman say, “Son, will you please spare his life and his eternal soul?” The Lord replied, “Mother, he’s been a priest for twelve years for himself and not for me, let him reap the punishment he deserves.” “But Son,” she said, “if we give him special graces and strengths then let’s see if he bears fruit; if not, your will be done.”

There was very short pause, after which Jesus said,

“Mother, he’s yours.”

Fr Scheier sharing his testimonal with Mother Angelica

Ever since then he has been hers. He didn’t have a special relationship with her before the accident but since then she has become everything to him. At the foot of the cross Jesus looked on her and made her mother of the whole Church. Fr Scheier says she takes that very literally and seriously. Fr Scheier experienced Jesus’ mercy but Mary was the one who interceded for him. He has learned this beautiful truth, no one of the Blessed Trinity can say “no” to Our Lady. It is impossible. They will not say “no” to her. He says “Isn’t she someone you want on your side?”

We believe in Jesus, Our Lady and the saints in two ways, with the head or the heart. Fr Scheier believed with his head and knew nothing with his heart. He believed the angels and saints but they were make-believe friends and were not real. After the accident he became aware that they are very real, that we have only one home and its not here. Fr Scheier says a lot of our priorities are mixed up. His priorities were mixed up, his priority should have been to save his soul and save other souls. If he had died his parishioners would not have thought that he would have gone to hell. Jesus doesn’t take a popularity poll, Jesus is the only one that matters when it comes to what others think about us because we are alone before Jesus in judgment. We cannot say somebody made me sin. Jesus knows the truth.

Mother Angelica

Fr Scheier says during his first twelve years after ordination he was not being a priest for Jesus. Instead of suffering for Jesus he was a priest for himself. He always ran from the cross. If we run from the cross there is a bigger one awaiting us. He says he was a coward during those twelve years. His mission now is to let people know that Jesus’ love outweighs justice, that hell exists and that we are liable to hell and also that Jesus’ Divine Mercy exists. I conclude with some of the words of the parable in our Gospel today which has become so meaningful to Fr Scheier,

“Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”

~ Fr Tommy Lane Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent Year C

Friday, August 20, 2010

Please pray for Australia - VIP Priest in Focus

Dear ladies, Sorry for the stillness of the blog these days. Life has been so busy for both Anne and I. She has just had months of rehearsals in a stage play and has had major computer difficulties over the last six months. I have been very busy with my husband who is fighting on the forefront of the pro-life movement here in Australia, who always needs my support and with our 7 children, six of whom have just started a new study programme; time has become very scarce.

God has called us to be wives and mothers, to focus on our duties in our own domestic churches where we are working toward heaven being the hearts of the home. Here, where our prayers for our own families and being spiritual mothers' of priests unite. As I go through my day I am always offering little things for all those who have asked for or need prayer. Consequently even though this blog may have slowed I know as I am doing, so are many other women who go throughout their day in a mode of contemplation suitable to their circumstances, are doing too; praying for others but especially for our priests.

This week-end here in Australia we are about to under go one of the most crucial elections ever. Christian values, life issues, morality issues, freedom of religion and many of our vital values will be under threat if the current government returns to power. There will be a big possibility that we could be living under a gradual regime of socialism that will be unprecedented in this country and could alter our way of life forever. This party currently has momentum and is ahead in all the polls however these are secular media polls who have a strong bias toward this Labor government. We hope and pray they do not get back into government.

Please pray for our country! Australian Catholics have been sharing around a request to pray the Nine Hour Novena to The Infant of Prague; a very efficacious prayer, the one prayer that we are trying to encourage everyone to say. In the hope of uniting our hands, hearts, souls and minds toward heaven to save our country from a Fabian form of Obama style government which Ms. Julia Gillard would decisively implement. Join us here on the blog or here on the Facebook page.

For any Australians looking to educate themselves on the candidates for your electorate and how to help you cast your vote consistent with your Christian values, Family Life International has put together a very helpful comprehenive Pro-Life voting guide.

Ladies I hope you don't mind if I deviate a little from the spirit of this blog to ask you all to please pray for our country this week. This week I have intervened on the PIF list to add these two principal men of the Church here in Australia;
His Eminence George Cardinal Pell - Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and
Most Reverend Bishop Geoffery Jarrett - Bishop of the Diocese of Lismore
who have both spoken about this coming federal election. It's times like these that we pray for the hierarchy of the Church to be courageous over the pulpit and over the media.

Priest in Focus for this week is:

Please Pray this NOVENA TO THE INFANT OF PRAGUE for Australia:

(This Novena is to be said at the same time every hour
for nine consecutive hours in just one day).

O Jesus, Who hast said,
ask and you shall receive,
seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened to you,
through the intercession of Mary,
Thy Most Holy Mother,
I knock, I seek,
I ask that my prayer be granted.

(Make your request)
Please pray for Australia

O Jesus, Who hast said,
all that you ask of the Father in My Name,
He will grant you.
Through the intercession of Mary,
Thy most Holy Mother,
I humbly and urgently ask Thy Father
in Thy Name that my prayer be granted.

(Make your request)
Please pray for Australia

O Jesus, Who hast said,
"Heaven and earth shall pass away
but My word shall not pass",
through the intercession of Mary,
Thy Most Holy Mother,
I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

(Make your request)
Please pray for Australia

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

HAPPY FEAST DAY TO ALL PRIESTS - St John Vianney's feast day

Today is the feast day of the "Priests priest"; Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney (and my mother's birthday ;)  
Saint John Vianney is known to have said, 
 "Virtue passes from the heart of a mother to the hearts of her children, who do willingly what they see her do." 
 This great saint learned this truth first hand from his own childhood experience. His own mother was truly a good woman of great piety, and she led him into the way of religion at an early age, and taught her six children to love God and to never offend Him" - The Life of the CurĂ© d'Ars

 Here is a simple and concise article written on the life and holiness of St John Vianney  and also some leisurely viewing for you to enjoy on this special feast day!

Dear Saint John Vianney,
your childhood dream was to be a Priest,
to win souls for God.
You endured years of toil and humiliation
to attain the Priesthood.
You became a priest truly after God's own heart,
outstanding in humility and poverty;
prayer and mortification.
Totally devoted to the service of God's people.
The Church has exalted you as model
and patron saint of all Parish priests,
trusting that your example and prayers
will help them to live up
to the high dignity of their vocation
to be faithful servants of God's people,
to be perfect imitators of Christ the Saviour
Who came not to be served but to serve,
to give His Life in ransom for many.
Pray that God may give to His Church today
many more priests after His own Heart.
Pray for all the priests under your patronage,
that they may be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves
to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining models of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of God's Grace in the Sacraments.
May their loving devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary His Mother
be the Twin Fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.

Simple St. John Vianney Prayer   
"O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in you."
Happy Feast Day!!