Saturday, December 6, 2003

“The Passion” by Mel Gibson

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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“The Passion” by Mel Gibson

December 6th, 2003

A Great Review of Mel Gibson's highly controversial film which may or may not be eventually released for viewing.

        Keith A Fournier is a constitutional lawyer and graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University and the University of Pittsburgh. He holds degrees in Philosophy, theology and law. He has been a champion of religious liberty and appeared as co-counsel in major cases at the United States Supreme Court. He is the author of seven books and, along with his law practice, serves as the president of both the "Your Catholic Voice Foundation" and "Common Good". 
I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion," but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin.  I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or actions. I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion", held in Washington D.C. and greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words.  
The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened. From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.  In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, D.C. were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth. 
One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the weight of the cross. His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face. Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and passionately loving eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things new." These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been borne voluntarily for love. 
At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be "anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer. A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded, "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree.  There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way. Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their protestations. 
This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that it will appeal only to those who identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art. Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it. After all, we believe that it is the greatest story ever told and that its message is for all men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth. 
We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world. The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion". It should be seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "the Passion." 
You will be as well. Don't miss it. And, I would like to add these thoughts. This film is going to receive more scrutiny and be the focus of more public debate than any film EVER. The argument that this film is anti-Semitic will be played 1000's of times a day in every household across America...across the world. To me...a most crucial "discovery" of this man's "experience" is the reality that "my sins killed Jesus." The full weight of this truth is enormous! What an opportunity for millions and millions of people to "discover" this through the film. So.... I encourage you to think carefully about how you're going to respond to the "debate" because there will be one. It's a great opportunity to witness about what it means to be a Christian.... and nowhere is it appropriate or biblical to point a finger at the Jewish race. To do so is to stand squarely in His face and say...."You died for nothing!" 
Please pass this along to your Christian friends and family....to those that will truly understand the message....so that they can be prepared to respond in such a way that bears a positive witness to Jesus' death and resurrection. 


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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003

SCREAMING FLESH - by Jayme-Dawn Kryskow - October 2003

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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 👉 22.  SCREAMING FLESH - by Jayme-Dawn Kryskow - October 2003 

Let all flesh be silent at the presence of the Lord; for He has risen out of His holy habitation.”  Zechariah 2:13

As women, are we aware of the ways our bodies speak or even scream as we encounter men?  Do we want our bodies to scream at men or praise God?  

The issue of modesty has always been a struggle far me.  “Clothes are just clothes and men should control their eyes, self control is a virtue, DUH!” is what I thought.  The over indulgent attitude of our society, that our lives and our bodies are our own, has had a great impact on me.  We all live in our own bubble and as long as we are not being harmed we must not be doing anything wrong.  It is crazy how many of us hove been deceived.

When I had entered high school, I become acutely aware of the power of the female body.  The power present was not just the idle reality of what the female body looks like, there is also a great power in the way that the body moves and is dressed.  I took advantage of this power at times and was amazed at the response, the ability to turn a guy’s head was exciting and fun and all I had to do was walk by them. Ironically, I often got mad at guys when I felt like they were treating me like "a piece of meat", not realizing that I was putting myself an the meat shelf, 

Then, my sister spoke....

My sister had gone through a very powerful conversion and this had a big impact on her role as a big sister.  I remember one of the first thugs she ever taught me was about modesty.  She explained that as women, we are responsible for the men around us.  If we wear clothing that causes a man to sin in his thoughts, we as women are held responsible.  Yes they are also responsible for what they choose to look at and think.  Our responsibility is in not teasing them with a sinful pleasure.  The clothes that we wear may even affect the destination of the men around us for eternity.  In other words, if a man is going to hell because of lustful thoughts nurtured by an immodestly dressed woman, we will have to face the consequence of placing the temptation before them.

This was my first lesson on modesty.  My immediate reaction to this news was a sense of excitement and power.  Wow!  We truly hold much power in our hands and we are the only ones who can really help protect men from the monster of lust.  

The robotic words “WE MU57 PROTECT" went through my head; we are their “body guards”.

But, honestly, the issue of modesty still annoys me.  Why do I have to worry about men, why don’t they just deal with their lack of control?  It is a selfish annoyance, selfish because I have to sacrifice my comfort and fashion faves.  

Modesty is obviously an issue for men but now I see it as an issue for myself as a woman.  If I am to expect a man to have self control with his eyes and his thoughts, then I too must have self-control with my thoughts and actions.  Did you catch that?  Women have to watch their thoughts too, but for different reasons, I’ll explain later. 

* * *

Now, on a different note, I want to explain my purpose.  With this essay I wish to accomplish a minimum of three things.  The first thing I want to do is give you a list of things to watch out for.  Next, I will try to explain the brain waves of the men around us as explained to me from them.  (I have been in contact with about 20 men ages 18 to 26 an this topic.)  Finally, I will share the importance of the brain waves of the woman by explaining… well… me. 

Here we go….

* * *

THE LIST OF “BEWARE”

 tight anything   watch for tight chest areas or butt areas 

 low cut shirts   watch that when leaning over that no secrets are told 

 short anything

· Shirts---guys have problems with the stomach area, even if only 1cm shows, it can be trouble (“When you can see the way that a girl’s stomach muscles are moving, don’t ask why, but for some reason this is a turn on for most guys.”) 

· shorts  -as a general rule, no shorter than 3 hand widths above the knee when sitting 

 low rise pants  -watch that between your pants and shirt, skin doesn’t show.  Especially watch your lower back, this area tends to be another problem area especially when there is a funky tattoo. 

 hide the underwear   underwear covers private area hence underwear will turn a guy’s thoughts to the south… got it?  (And a huge majority of guys thinks it is just plain gross to see a thong.) 

 skirts with super high slits-  watch for slits that reveal the upper thigh… upper thigh is close to other stuff just north of it… got it again? 

 hide the bra straps    just like underwear, the guy's mind turns to what is being covered up, especially  watch out for clear, red, black straps. 

-avoid straps on bags that cut between the breast   these drew undue focus to the chest. 

 pants with writing an the butt   guys will naturally read what is there and be tempted to continue to look.  (Watch the sayings on the shirts and pants… any potentially sexual innuendos are not good.)  skimpy bathing suits DUH!

* * *

THE MAN'S MIND

“Sometimes even in Christian circles [modesty] is a problem
because some girls simply don’t get it.  I guess they just
don't understand that guys are visually oriented.”

The body has been molded in a certain way in order to give glory to God.  One form of glory is a baby. Yup, God likes babies and therefore wants us to make them.  In order for Him to be sure we make these wonderful babies, God made our bodies attractive and sometimes just plain Hot!  Beautiful bodies means men and women will want to come together and... POOF! make babies.  The crazy thing we forget about is that our bodies are sending out silent messages about babies.  One guy explained it like this: “The problem lies in the fact that many women ‘broadcast’ sexual ready¬ness unintentionally through posture, clothing, interactions etc. while not actually wanting a sexual response.”  The way we dress influences a guy’s thoughts by stimulating the desire to …umm, make babies.

It is important to remember that babies are meant to come from a marriage relationship.  So, modesty is especially important when around those we are not able to make babies with.

The problem we as women must deal with is that men get their engines warmed up by getting the eyes warmed up.  See, unlike women who get their engines turned on quickly by physical touch, guys 'get going’ when they see something 'good'.  Some guys get turned on more easily than others and have a harder time controlling how fast their engine will go VROOM.

I was fortunate to have some guys explain what is so difficult about women’s clothing.  One guy said: “Underwear lines or short skirts draw a guy’s imagination to things that they are not supposed to see” and by “draw[ing]” a guy’s imagination, the guy faces the difficulty of controlling the direction his imagination is wanting to go.  So when we tease a guy by showing him a hint of something they are not supposed to see, the natural response for them is to start using their imaginations to show them the rest.  They change from using their physical eyes to using their mind’s eye to enjoy the secret treasures that only marriage is supposed to give.

So in others words, the man's eye is a dangerous body part.  It is what guys have to deal with most as they pursue holiness.  It is a huge stumbling block that has caused many a man to fall.

Another guy said, “If I see a woman with [a] …plunging neckline, for example, the automatic reaction is to make an object of her sexuality.”  There are many shirts that are cut to reveal just a bit of cleavage (the line between the breasts), this is dangerous because the guy will tend to look for possible sneak a peaks.  This is a natural reaction that women's fashion takes advantage of.  Not good.

…hey, check this out...

“The lamp of the body is the eye.  It follows that if your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light.  But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkness.  If then, the light inside you is darkened, what darkness that will be!”  Matthew 6:22 23

What we as humans look at will affect who we are on the inside.  If we use our eyes purely, we will be pure.  And if we choose for guys to only see purity in us, so too will they be led towards purity.

* * *

THE WOMAN'S MIND

As I started the research on this topic of modesty, I very early came to realize that modesty is more than the way we dress.  True modesty is an attitude, a way of life.  It is included in every moment of our day, and affects the choices we make.

Every choice we make can be guided by one question.  As Christians do we want others to see us, or do we want them to see Jesus.  If we are serious about our faith, we will answer the latter.  It is our role as Christ bearers to let Jesus shine and Jesus IS ultimate modesty.

When I am getting ready in the morning is when I struggle the most with modesty.  As I said before, modesty is an attitude.  Many times when I get dressed I get caught with wanting to look, not nice but GOOOOD.  I want to dress feminine and my mind likes to think feminine is sexy.  NOPE IT’S NOT! Feminine is an aspect of God but sexy is an aspect of lust.

The sources of my morning struggle are due to the fact that I used to take dance lessons.  In these classes, I learned the details of moving the body: how to roll the hips, strut with attitude, be sassy and sexy, and how to try and captivate the audience.  With these lessons we also had costumes that accented our movements.  These lessons overflowed into my daily life.  I see how clothes add to certain feminine movements, which ultimately aim to please the male eye.  How low rise pants accent the movements of the hips, low rise shirts show off the abs which are the intersection of the chest and lower abdomen, how slits allow the legs to be sexy, etc.

So when I get ready in the morning and am choosing my clothes, I try and observe my attitude.  If I notice I change my walk to more of a strut, I fix the outfit; if my outfit make me feel sexy.... I fix it.

But, don't get me wrong, we don't have to remove style from our wardrobe but rather remove the excess skin.  Style is a good thing because it shows that we care about our bodies, which are the temples of the Holy Spirit.  We are walking tabernacles and should be sure that we are dressed appropriately to hold Jesus.  As spoken by a guy, “There is nothing wrong with a woman wearing clothes that displays the shape of her body if the intention and context are correct…. To cover it completely would be to deny [the body’s] worth.”  Guys appreciate when girls take care of their appearance and allow their clothes to express their self-image.  Check out these various comments:

 “[Immodesty] leads men’s minds to wander and not focus an what’s really important, the person behind the clothes, instead they're worried about the body behind the clothes.”

 “[Immodest clothing] makes them look unsophisticated and it cheapens them by making them look rather easy for guys.”

“There is a big difference between who men check out and who they date.”

So from the guys themselves, they say that immodest clothing is in general a turn off (except for the few who are generally twisted). Don't we as women want guys to truly cherish us? If so we must present ourselves by cherishing ourselves. The female body is one of the greatest gifts from God and therefore must be treated and dealt with in the most gentle and loving of ways.

So, with the words of our most Holy Church herself I shall conclude:

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance.  Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.  It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden.  It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness.  It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. ….Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.  It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships…. Modesty is decency.  It inspires one’s choice of clothing.  It keeps silence or reserve where there is evidence of risk of unhealthy curiosity.  It is discreet. Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2521-2522

The following is the email I sent out:

Hi Guys,

I need your help.  I was driving to work a few months ago and found myself having a mini-crisis.  I was not sure whether what I was wearing was modest or not…. I still question it…. Anyways.  So my request is this: Will you type up a list/summary of things that you would like girls not to wear because you find them immodest.  And also, would you mind explaining why you find it immodest.  See, most girls, especially myself, do not understand what the big deal is with clothes.  We don’t understand how you guys struggle with what you see.  I know that guys are visual and your eyes lead you into temptation easily…. But we don’t get it.  Could you help explain what you go through?  Now, my goal for this information is to compile an essay that girls (and guys) could read in order to understand the issue of modesty in a more real way.  I will keep your responses confidential.  The only possibility is that I may quote you but the quote will remain anonymous.  When the essay is done I will be sure to get you the final results (especially if you choose to respond), as well as share it with all those who want to learn more.  Please email me your responses and I will do the rest.  Thank-you so much for your help and if you have any questions, feel free to write me.  

Yours in His Strength, Jayme-Dawn.    👈

https://1drv.ms/b/s!Amyv6OjUkKMfjwHbTztcL4hB3752?e=qGI8NZ


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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Sunday, April 20, 2003

AGONY – LIVE

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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 AGONY – LIVE

       Every day he’s in our face: a suffering pope, tottering, trembling, and barely managing to mumble sounds, let alone words.  Shown worldwide, the Pope has chosen to impose this picture on us himself; for it’s easy to imagine his numerous uneasy advisors preferring to avoid showcasing the leader of the Church as such a physically debilitated old man.

       We cannot bear to see this, particularly as our dominant social values favour unending youth, obsessive beauty, impressive efficiency; in effect hiding such physical deterioration and heralding of death.  By having us endure this upsetting spectacle, you can see the staging, John Paul II tells us what words can no longer express: suffering and death are inseparable from life and we cannot escape them without denying our own humanity.

       The violence with which some people, by media broadcast, denounce what they call a freak show – we heard a radio commentator wish the Pope would stop being on display – clearly shows unwillingness to be disturbed, a convenient euphemism that hides fear.  This fear infects the heritage of a society of contestants ready to do anything to be physically perfect; sure they’re right and dreaming of being stars, that is, icons of themselves.

       Suffering isn’t nice.  The physical deterioration of old age can be a shipwreck, to paraphrase General De Gaulle, and death is a defeat.  Better to escape it.  They understand very well all those who abandon their aged relatives who are no longer good for anything and who, above all, stopped serving them.  Such old people are abandoned to their ghetto homes where those who sporadically visit them most often do so out of guilt and require a day to get over the emotion stirred up by death’s antechamber.  In letting the cameras of the world see him, the Pope substitutes himself for all those we prefer not to see, among them, those men and women who, at the end of their life, wilted away in the crushing heat in France last summer while their own children cooled off at the beach unconcerned about their mother or father trapped in a sweltering fifth-floor apartment in a building without elevators while Paris, as agitated as it is anonymous, climbed to 40°C.

        The Pope also displays his physical suffering under the gaze of those – and they are legion – who are too sensitive, to fragile, too emotional to go to the hospital to be by the bedside of close family.  What about those others, mostly women by the way, who consider it a duty to visit the sick, thereby running roughshod over their own sensitivities?  Obviously, our tolerance of illness is limited today because it is seen as a loss, a defect, a breakdown, and not as an element of health itself.  Many see the body as a machine one polishes, repairs, trains, and which, therefore, must work.

       As for death, it has become meaningless.  Believers integrate it into their vision of life, but faith no longer explains or reassures as it used to.  We have reduced the time for exposing the dead, mourning is no longer visible in how we dress, and the time for sadness is often cut short by the impatience of the entourage to forget or rather to pretend to forget.  The Pope, disturber of consciences, forces us to witness his slow descent towards death, a death that no one will take away from him.

       Like those flamboyant artists, the Pope hopes to die with his boots on, on stage, in view of the whole world, in communion with those who suffer in isolation and abandoned.  He portrays the ugliness of disease, and in so doing; he transfigures it.  There is a mixture of faith and pride in his action that commands respect.  And so, this pope that one might criticize for his moral stances, for example, remains an exceptional being who has waged his battle, both spiritual and temporal, and transformed the world.

Denise Bombardier denbombardier@earthlink.net
Le Devoir, October 4-5, 2003.  www.ledevoir.com
Translated by Fr. Gilles A. Surprenant 7.10.2003


HERE IS A HEARTFELT REQUEST FOR PRAYERS!

“Kindly pray for the current Pope.”

I was profoundly moved at knowing that His Holiness is specifically requesting that we pray for him in the knowledge that his time among us is limited. 

By word of mouth, letter, or email, gratitude is a powerful tool in calling for prayer for him.  Say an "Our Father" for Pope John Paul II, which will dispose your heart, like his, to knowing and doing the Father’s will.  In addition, forward this request to as many people around the world as is possible.  Please don't forget to include him in your prayers, as well as forwarding this request. 

Pope John Paul made this request around Easter as he was praying the Angelus before the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.  He says that only through prayer will he be given strength from those who prayed.  We are in solidarity with one another; as one part of the body is with all the other parts.  Let us help the Pope, whose prayers have helped so many of us. 

If you can muster the generosity and love within you, you may also pray the Rosary or part of the Rosary for Pope John Paul and his intentions.  Let this be an opportunity for you to discover why the Rosary has for years been his favorite prayer.  At each of the decades, meditate on one of the mysteries in Jesus’ life, asking the Lord to show you how your life is connected to His.

With the Rosary, allow Mary to help you contemplate the face of Jesus her Son, the Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Please send this to all your relatives and friends.  

With your cooperation, in just a few days, millions of human beings will have offered their prayers for John Paul II, and by the same token, offered their prayers to God. Let us never forget the power of prayer. 
=================================

“Cast all your worries upon Him, because He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7



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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

----------------------------------------------------------------

© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Règles du discernement des esprits de la première semaine - Selon Saint Ignace de Loyola, fondateur de la Société de Jésus au 16e siècle

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from...