Saturday, April 4, 2009

.. and the Holy Spirit shall dwell among you ..

In the King James version of the Bible, the phrase "Holy Spirit" is mentioned 7 times, and the phrase "Holy Ghost" is mentioned 89 times.

NONE of those readings actually discuss the REAL Holy Spirit that dwells among us.

The story of THAT Holy Spirit is attached below:

Long, long ago, in a land across the sea, an unwed teenage Jewish girl learned that she was going to become a mother.

By itself, that’s not an unusual occurrence, since it’s still happening today in her native land.

In the United States, 40% of our births are to unwed mothers. A few years ago, 80% of the births in Hartford, Connecticut were to unwed mothers, and 25% of those were to teenage girls.

who needs a marriage license?

What separates that pregnancy of long ago from today’s breeding epidemic is the fact that the child that was born of that pregnancy literally changed the world, not to mention the fact that the news of the pregnancy came from an angel, rather than from a doctor.

On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego experienced the first recorded appearance of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary as he passed by Tepeyar Hill, just north of Mexico City. His story, involving the Lady of Guadalupe, can be found on the website listed below.

Mary sightings

Since that first appearance in Mexico, Mary has appeared at hundreds of places throughout the world. There have been 29 apparitions in the United States since WWII.

The one closest to home is in Hillside, Illinois, and it involves a man named Joseph Reinholtz, whom I’ve met personally. His story is listed below:

In recent times, Mary has also reportedly appeared to six children in war-torn Bosnia, an event that has attracted more than 11 million people from around the globe. One such man was Joseph Reinholtz, a retired railroad worker from Hillside, Illinois. He had been suffering from blurred vision and periods of blindness and journeyed to Bosnia to pray and meet Vicka, one of the children who has seen Mary. She prayed over Reinholtz in 1987 and upon his return to Illinois, his sight slowly returned.

Reinholtz returned to Bosnia in 1989 and Vicka then instructed him that he was to look for a large crucifix, next to a three-branched tree. Here, he was to pray. He later discovered this location at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside and began to make frequent trips to the spot to pray. On August 15, 1990, Reinholtz had his first visitation from Mary, and it was repeated on November 1, when she returned with St. Michael and three other angels. Soon, word of the visitations leaked out and thousands of people began flocking to the cross. It wasn't long before complaints about the number of spectators caused the cemetery officials to move the cross to another location in 1992. It is very accessible now, having a paved parking lot next to it.

I’ve been to the cemetery on several occasions, and have seen the rosaries that have turned to gold, as well as the pictures of the “stairway to heaven” that were taken by some of the visitors to the location.

There have also been other “unusual occurrences” in Illinois, which can be viewed at the link below:

prairie ghosts

THE most popular pilgrimage site in the world is the grotto at Lourdes, France.

On February 11, 1858, a local girl named Bernadette Soubirous had a vision of a “lady” in the cave of Massabielle

To date, there have been approximately 7000 miracles at the Grotto, but “only” 68 of them have been deemed to be a scientifically inexplicable miracle by both the Lourdes Medical Bureau and the Catholic Church.

Although the link below has pictures of the grotto and the local sanctuary, modern technology has provided us with another tool that will heighten the experience.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Through the work of our friends at Google, you can now view the entire town of Lourdes from the air, simply by typing in “the grotto of Lourdes, France” into the URL.

If you click on the first link on the left (A) you’ll be able to get to the Street view option, which means that you can literally “walk through” the village of St. Bernadette.

Google Maps

I don't know anyone personally who has traveled to Lourdes, but our friends from Minnesota traveled to Fatima, Portugal in May of 1972 when they were stationed in the Azores, and one of the managers at the dealership where I work (the Autobarn of Evanston) was born in Medjugorje.

If you review the Medjugorge website, you'll discover that the pilgrimages to that town are led by a couple from DeKalb, Illinois.

Naturally, there are also pilgrimages to Lourdes:

Lourdes tours.

There are MANY versions of the song that is known as “Ave Maria”, but the best known version is the one that was written by Franz Schubert in 1825, three years before his death at the age of 31.

There have been thousands of professional singers who have presented the song to audiences around the world since Schubert wrote the song.

Andy Williams recorded a very nice version in 1968, but the BEST version that I’ve ever heard is the one performed by the late Luciano Pavarotti:

By clicking on the link below, you’ll be able to follow the Latin words as he sings, but you can also simply watch the great man perform.

Ave Maria lyrics

In my opinion, though, the BEST way to experience the song is to close your eyes and FEEL it.

The song will become a prayer, your eyes will start to become a little moist, and you’ll find yourself being transformed into a person that you never were before.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with these words:

Rest in peace.

May God be with you.

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