Relics of the Passion – 4 – The Column of Flagellation

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From the Column of Flagellation

The column of flagellation to which Christ had been tied during the Scourging at the Pillar was made of marble (McNeely, 2015). Part of the column remained at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher and resides in the Franciscan Chapel (Mason, 2017). Another part of it was given to Giovanni, Cardinal di Colonna the Younger, by the king of Jerusalem during the Fourth Crusade.[1] Colonna took it back with him to Rome, Italy, and placed it in the Basilica di Santa Prassede, his cardinalate church (McNeely, 2015). This part of the Column is housed in a bronze reliquary and can be found at the San Zeno Chapel.

Fragments of the column of flagellation have been distributed around the world throughout the centuries in ways similar to the True Cross. Above is a photograph of a small piece of the column in a sealed reliquary that comes from Rome.

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[1] The Crusades were a series of nine religious wars that started in 1095 by order of Pope Urban II (Mills, 1820). These wars were carried out to recover the Holy Land and other sacred sites for Christianity from under Muslim rule, which had been in place since the 7th century. It was common practice during the Crusades to translate relics from the Holy Land to Rome and other places in the West for their ‘preservation’ (Andrea & Rachlin, 1992; McNeely, 2015).

Relics of the Passion – 3 – The Ropes

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From the Ropes of the Flagellation

Many of the ropes of the flagellation of Jesus Christ that took place during the Scourging at the Pillar can be found at the Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, Italy, to where they were translated during the Fourth Crusade. Above is a photograph of a few strands from one of the ropes in a sealed reliquary that comes from Rome.

Relics of the Passion – 2 – The True Cross

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Relics of the True Cross

After the death of Jesus Christ, the very last thing the leaders of the Jews wanted at the time was any mention of Christ being able to rise from the dead (Mayo, 2018). They had heard enough of that in the preceding years and wanted no more of it. For them it was blasphemy. Thus, to prevent such a thing from happening, after Christ died, the Jews proceeded to dump the wood of the Cross into a ditch and covered it over with several boulders to prevent it from ever being found. But in 320, the aged Saint Helena[1] visited Jerusalem in the hope of learning more about Christ’s life and the places where He had been (Socrates Scholasticus, 1984).

With the support of both her son and Saint Macarius of Jerusalem,[2] Helena ordered that the 2nd century temple to Venus,[3] which had been built upon what was suspected to be the tomb of Christ, be destroyed and replaced by what is today known as the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher (ibid.; Eusebius of Caesarea, 4th cent.). But as workers were carrying out the demolition and excavation works in compliance with Helena’s request, under the religio-jurisdictional supervision of Macarius, three crosses were found buried among the rubble on September 14:[4] the Cross of Christ, with the titular inscription I. N. B. I.[5] still attached to it; and the crosses of Saint Dismas, the good thief, and Gesmas, the bad thief (da Varagine,[6] 1260).

Macarius ordered that the three crosses be placed alternatively upon a woman who was so ill that she was considered to be on her deathbed (Socrates Scholasticus, 1984). The woman is said to have recovered when touched by the third cross, which was the Cross of Christ with its inscription.

A large part of the True Cross of Christ was then placed in a silver casket and has remained at the Basilica of Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem (Marucchi, 1908; McClure, 1919). A second large part was later taken to Rome, Italy, and placed for veneration at the Basilica della Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which was also built by Helena. A third large part was taken by the queen to the palace in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), where Constantine proceeded to declare the city impregnable to enemy attacks. Smaller parts of the Cross were broken up into fragments and widely distributed to the faithful throughout the world.

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From the wood of the True Cross

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350) declared that

The holy wood of the Cross bears witness, seen among us to this day, and from this place now almost filling the whole world, by means of those who in faith take portions of it.

Significant parts of the Cross can, among others, also be found at the Monastery of Koutloumousiou on Mount Athos, Greece; the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, France; the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption in Pisa, Italy; the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, Spain; and at the Monasterio de Tarlac in San Jose, Philippines.

Presented above are photographs of two small relics of the True Cross in a sealed brass reliquary, together with their detail. They are placed one upon the other to form of a cross. These fragments of the Cross of Christ come from that part of the True Cross that can be found in Istanbul. Their provenance was certified in 2004 by Paul Karatas, then Archbishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Diarbekir, Turkey.

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[1] Mother of the Emperor Constantine.

[2] Macarius was the bishop of Jerusalem from 312 to 335.

[3] The goddess of love, beauty, sex, fertility, prostitution, and victory (Garcia, 2013). Venus was the mother of Hermaphroditos who epitomized androgyny.

[4] In 335, this day was proclaimed thenceforth in the Church as the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (or Triumph of the Holy Cross), with the first feast being held on the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher (Holy Sepulcher, n. d.).

[5] Iησος Ναζωραος Bασιλες τν ουδαίων [Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Judeans] as had been ordered to be written by Pontius Pilate despite the objections raised by the Jewish leaders: “O γέγραφα γέγραφα” [What I have written, I have written] (Brown, 1988; cf. Ps 56, 57).

[6] Blessed Jacobus da Varagine was the archbishop of Genova from 1288 until his death 10 years later. According to da Varagine, the Cross of Christ was made from the different types of wood of three trees, the seeds of which had been planted by Seth in the mouth of Adam’s corpse during his father’s burial. These trees of cedar, cypress and pine (Roman, 2005; cf. Is 60:13) were said to have sprouted in one spot from the seeds of the Tree of Mercy in the Garden of Eden. The wood from the three trees had been used to build Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.

The Third Passover, not the Second Coming

Why are you so afraid, O you of little faith? (Mt 8:26).

Many in the Church these days, in particular traditional and traditionalist Catholics, as well as Evangelical Christians, predominantly located in America and in the Anglo-Saxon world, believe that we are fast approaching the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They speak, both in content and in tone, as though the end of the world is nigh. However, these Catholics and Christians are mistaken in both their ‘predictions’ and beliefs, not to mention their desires.

This is not the time of the Second Coming; the exact time and day of which is not even known to Christ, but to the Father alone. It is the time of the Third Passover, the crossing over from the era of sin and disorder into the era of holiness, peace, and order; the era of joy on earth, the Reign of the Divine Will.

A few indicators below once again, therefore, for the more skeptical, from the timeline of salvation history, to dispel the confusion that continues to be present on this issue.

Before the Second Coming:

  1. There will be the unification of Judaism and Christianity under the banner of Christ the Messiah. This has not yet happened;
  2. There will be the era of peace that is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. This has not yet happened;
  3. There will be the illumination of all consciences, also mentioned in the Book of Revelation. This has not yet happened;
  4. There will be the reunification of all the Christian churches and ecclesial communities in accordance with Christ’s prayer to the Father, “May they be one as We are One.” This has not yet happened;
  5. There will be a worldwide evangelization and rise of Christianity as has never been witnessed before, and in comparison to which previous evangelizations will pale. This has not yet happened;
  6. There will be the coming of the AntiChrist himself (not antichrists) and the global persecution of Christians. This will happen after #1 through #5 above, none of which have so far happened.

Several point to the current period of generalized (and increasing) apostasy from the Faith as the indicator that the Second Coming is near. Again, however, these people are missing one simple fact: Two periods of generalized apostasy will take place before the Second Coming, not one. The first period is happening now. The second period will not happen before #1 through #5 above have occurred and been completed in time.

Thus, the conflation of the first period of apostasy with the second period is an outright error and a gross misunderstanding of the location of our present time in salvation history. It is a misunderstanding born of fear (which always originates with Satan), not of faith (which always originates with God). An error born of vincible or invincible ignorance.

Further, the coming of the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven” (#2 above; the era of peace) has not yet occurred. This coming refers not to the (visible) Second Coming of Christ in glory, but to the (invisible) coming of the Kingdom within the heart of the soul (the nous) of man. It is the period of the intermediate coming that is (1) the commencement of deification, (2) the reign of the Father on earth, with everyone being able to hear Him and know that He is, indeed, their Father; (3) the temporary chaining of Satan and his demons by the Archangel Michael for a period of time, so that peace can truly reign on earth; (4) the Eucharistic reign whereby Adoration will once again become central to the prayer life of humankind and of the Church in every single part of the world, (5) the reign of the Holy Spirit and the consequent onset of the Second Pentecost, which will parallel the First Pentecost in terms of the stupefying and visible miracles that will occur; and (6) the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is all still the era of Divine Mercy.

What humanity is going through right now is the period of the Third Passover, which is the necessary period of purification before illumination occurs, so that deification can commence.

No man is evil

There is a strong tendency these days in popular culture, especially American culture, to call people evil – evil this, evil that – and this is occurring even within Church circles (a related phenomenon is the ‘demonization of the other’). Such parlance, however, is not only harmful and linguistically wrong. It is ontologically incorrect. In other words a lie.

No human person can be validly called evil as no one is evil. There is no such thing as an “evil human being” or an “evil person,” despite the ever-increasing proliferation of this kind of language, at times unwittingly by those who should know better, but deliberately and malevolently by pharasaical demagogues within the Church itself. No one is evil. Not even those, in many people’s minds, who might be considered the worst persons ever to walk this earth are evil (e.g., serial murderers, pedophiles, and so on). This because the image of the Triune God resides untarnished in every single human person.

It is the likeness that gets fractured by human actions and sin, not the image. Never, the image. Thus, to call a person or a group of people “evil” is to manifest wild ignorance about both the ontological reality of humankind (and one’s own ontology) and to extend that very definition to God Himself.

‘Divine Beauty’ declared award-winning documentary

  • Honorable Mention – Best Documentary Short, 2018 Independent Shorts Awards.
  • Nominee, Best Female Director, 2018 Independent Shorts Awards.
  • Nominee, Best Documentary Short / Best Music, 2018 Top Indie Film Awards.
  • Broadcast, Culture of Life TV Network (American broadcast premiere).
  • Official Selection, 2019 Independent Shorts Annual Awards (Hollywood).
  • Official Selection, 9th Jagran Film Festival (Indian premiere).
  • Official Selection, 2019 Culture of Life Film Festival.
  • Official Selection, 2019 Top Indie Film Awards.
  • Semi-Finalist, 2018 Los Angeles Cinefest.

Short docudrama on the Passion according to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, the Daughter of the Kingdom of the Divine Will, and the Catholic visionary Barnabas Nwoye. First Biblical film to be released based on their spiritual writings.

 

Who is the Father of Jesus Christ? Response to a question

The question was asked, “Who is the Father of Jesus?” The answer is simple. The Father of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is God the Father, the First Person of the Holy Trinity. Christ, the Eternal Word and Second Person of the Trinity, is the only-begotten Son of the Almighty Father and the Incarnate Son of the Virgin Mary. Christ has two natures, one divine, one human.

Pope Francis on the enemies of holiness

From the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate by Pope Francis, just released:

On the enemies of holiness

“Gnosticism is one of the most sinister ideologies because, while unduly exalting knowledge or a specific experience, it considers its own vision of reality to be perfect. Thus, perhaps without even realizing it, this ideology feeds on itself and becomes even more myopic. It can become all the more illusory when it masks itself as a disembodied spirituality. For gnosticism “by its very nature seeks to domesticate the mystery,” whether the mystery of God and his grace, or the mystery of others’ lives.

“When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road. They may well be false prophets, who use religion for their own purposes, to promote their own psychological or intellectual theories. God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. We are not the ones to determine when and how we will encounter him; the exact times and places of that encounter are not up to us. Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.

“Nor can we claim to say where God is not, because God is mysteriously present in the life of every person, in a way that he himself chooses, and we cannot exclude this by our presumed certainties. Even when someone’s life appears completely wrecked, even when we see it devastated by vices or addictions, God is present there. If we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit rather than our own preconceptions, we can and must try to find the Lord in every human life. This is part of the mystery that a gnostic mentality cannot accept, since it is beyond its control.  Continue reading “Pope Francis on the enemies of holiness”

What is a Christian’s divine inheritance? Response to a question

Photo: Alexei Boitsov

The question has been asked, “What is a Christian’s divine inheritance?” The answer in a nutshell is, “To live forever in the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity.” That is what Christ gave us with His Passion, death, and Resurrection. Happiness, peace, joy, and love unparalleled for eternity. Something utterly inconceivable to many human persons and that was intended for us from the beginning.

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

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“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” mocked Nathanael when Philip told him that they had found Jesus, the Christ. And yet, out of that tiny farming village of no more than 150 people, far, far away from the main trade routes, came to earth the Son of the Living God and Savior of the world. The religious elites of the day did not know the Father’s ways then, despite professing to believe in Him, neither do many of them know Him now. Nothing has changed with regard to the folly of man.

 

Did Christ inherit divinity? Response to a question

Christ3The question has been asked, “Did Christ inherit the divinity of God?” The answer is a definitive “no.” Christ did not inherit divinity. He is, was, and will always be divine by origin, by nature, like God the Father Himself and this from before creation and the beginning of time (viz. Jn 1:1).

Christ is both God and Man. He did not become God by inheritance, by progressive deification, by grace as was intended by the Heavenly Father for humankind  – created beings. He is God because He has always been God, begotten not created: in the beginning there was the Holy Trinity – God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and silence. No one else; nothing else. To claim, therefore, that Jesus Christ somehow ‘inherited’ His divinity is to proclaim an outright heresy.

Signs of the times – Pope Francis

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Just as when the fullness of time had arrived, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, heard the people screaming without abatement toward Him, “Crucify Him, crucify Him! He is a blasphemer, crucify Him!” so that the pathway to the Kingdom could be reopened for all humankind, so now does the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, the Head of the visible Church on earth, hear the rabid Judases within the Catholic Church similarly scream, “Crucify him, crucify him! He is a heretic, crucify Him!” Only in this way, through his Passion in the fullness of our time, shall the coming of the Kingdom on earth arrive.

Like the Master, the servant. Pray for Pope Francis that he remains strong in the face of his adversaries who are many, filled with hatred, and ruthless in their raging pride.