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Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear
On behalf of Rose Nadeau and I, I would like to extend a very sincere welcome to each and every one of you. Taken from the Word of God…this is our prayer for each and everyone of you gathered here today for this conference…whose theme is:
“Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear”
(1 John 4:18)
Our prayer for you:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
And Mary, Virgin Mother of God, and Mediatrix of all Graces, please pray for us now, so that we may, during this Conference, have the necessary graces to ‘open’ our hearts to understand and receive God’s Love and Mercy for each and every one of us today. Amen.
We also call upon Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (now Saint Kateri Tekakwitha since October 21, 2012) to intercede for each one of us. Saint Kateri, you who loved God with an amazing passion, you who understood the ‘Power of the Cross’ and the ‘Sacraments of the Church’ which help us grow in holiness, and an intimate union with the Holy Trinity, please pray that we may have the grace to respond to God’s Love for us, to accept His awesome Mercy in our lives and to forgive those who have hurt us in this short journey of life on earth, so that like you, with our eyes fixed on the Cross, we may one day join you in God’s precious ‘Kingdom of Love’, forever and ever. Amen!
An important note I wish to make before I go on….
Wherever I make reference to ‘man’ I mean to say both genders, men and women. If I use only man in some cases it is because I must respect the author’s writings. Personally speaking I want you ladies to know a have a great love and respect for the feminine sex. They have brought many a blessing into my life, believe me.
How Did God The Father Initially Show His Love For Men and Women?
In the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 27, we read…
“God created man in the image of Himself,
in the image of God he created him,
male and female He created them.”
By reading the story of Creation found in the Book of Genesis, we can see that Adam and Eve had everything they needed to be happy! However, Adam and Eve’s troubles started immediately after they DISOBEYED God, in the Garden, by eating of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
In Genesis 2:16-17: “Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Then Yahweh God gave the man this admonition, “You may eat of all the trees in the Garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.”
From that moment of DISOBEDIENCE on, as God said to the woman in Genesis 3:16… “I will multiply your pains in childbearing, you shall give birth to your children in pain”…and God said to the man in Genesis 3:17: “Accursed be the soil because of you. With suffering shall you get your food from it every day of your life.”
From that moment of “DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD” Adam and Eve and us as their descendants have to suffer the consequences of sin—separation from God—as sinful creatures. Ever since Adam and Eve’s SIN, we are all born sinners. In Romans 3:23: “All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.”
God the Father, in His great LOVE and MERCY has provided each one of us a means of Being set free from the stain of original sin that we are all born with, through the cleansing waters of the Sacrament of Baptism. In Romans 6:4-8, which explains so well the Sacrament of Baptism, we read…
“Through baptism into His death we were buried with Him, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a NEW LIFE! If we have been united with Him through likeness to His death, so shall we be through a like resurrection. This we know: our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed and we might be slaves to sin no longer. A man who is dead is freed from sin. If we have died with Christ, we believe that we are also to live with Him.”
So God, in His great Love for all of us, sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, born of a Virgin, as the sacrifice for our sins. In Hebrews 10:10:
“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
We are shown that God wants us to remain free from sin after our baptism. God wants us to remain holy, as He is holy. In Hebrews 10:26:
“If we sin wilfully after receiving the truth, there remains for us no further sacrifice for sin—only a fearful expectation of judgment and a flaming fire to consume the adversaries of God.”
God in His Love and Mercy, again comes to our rescue through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God gave the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops and Priests, the authority to forgive us our sins.
In John 20:23: “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them: if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
Our liberty and freedom from sin and its consequences does not come cheap. In 1 Peter 1:17-19: “If you are acknowledging as your Father one who has no favourites and judges everyone according to what he has done, you must be scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home.
Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ;”
Let us have a look at God’s Love for us, as it was prophesied way before the birth and crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ…
The people reply,
“Who would have believed
what we now report?
Who could have seen the
Lord’s hand in this?
It was the will of the Lord
That his servant
Grow like a plant taking root
In dry ground.
He had no dignity or beauty
To make us take notice of him.
There was nothing attractive
Nothing that would draw us to him.
We despised him and rejected him;
He endured suffering and pain.
No one would even look at him—
We ignored him as if he were nothing.
But he endured the suffering
That should have been ours,
The pain that we should have borne.
All the while we thought that
Was punishment sent by God.
But because of our sins he was
Beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the
Punishment he suffered,
Made whole by the blows he received.
All of us were like sheep that
Each of us going his own
But the Lord made the
Punishment fall on him,
The punishment all of us
He was treated harshly, but
Endured it humbly;
He never said a word.
Like a lamb about to be slaughtered,
Like a sheep about to be
He never said a word.
He was arrested and sentenced
And led off to die,
And no one cared about his
He was put to death for the
Sins of our people.
He was placed in a grave with evil men,
He was buried with the rich,
Even though he had never committed a crime
Or ever told a lie.”
What did God create us for? What is our final destiny?
That choice of our final destiny, my friends is ours. God has laid before each one of us, two roads…two final, very FINAL destinations to choose from. One we call ‘Heaven’…the other, which no one likes to hear about our talk about…. ‘Hell’.
Chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation describes the new Heaven and the new earth.
It is overwhelmingly beautiful. We read in Revelation 21:1-7:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, “You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God; his name is God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past is gone.
Then One sitting on the throne spoke: “Now I am making the whole of creation new,” he said. “Write this: that what I am saying is sure and will come true.” And then he said: “It is already done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty; it is the rightful inheritance of the one who proves victorious; and I will be his God and he a son to me…”
You have just heard a brief description of what Heaven is like, however in the next verse…Revelation 21:8, we read what is reserved for those who ‘refuse’ God’s mercy…
But the legacy for cowards, for those who break their word, or worship obscenities, for murderers and fornicators, and for fortune tellers, idolaters or any other sort for liars, is the second death in the burning lake of sulphur.”
HELL… is the last place God wants us to go. People stubbornly ‘chose’ to go to Hell! Throughout the history of man, we see God, through His prophets, warning…and…warning man and woman to STOP sinning, to repent and come to Him.
In a study done by doctor ‘Burns K. Seeley, Ph.D. in the Word of God, we see ‘177 WARNINGS’ from God to His people to STOP SINNING!! 70 of those times (40%) His people responded with REPENTANCE and were blessed, rather than chastised.
In contrast, 107 of those 177 warnings, (60%), His people stubbornly ignored His warnings and were chastised by famine, plagues, war and captivities lasting anywhere from 20 to 75 years at a time. Like never before God has sent His Mother, the Virgin Mary, all over the world with the one same message….”Repent! Pray! Pray and Fast for the conversion of sinners and Peace in the world!
Many examples of Mother Mary’s apparitions all over the world can be seen here.
They are a list of Apparitions and Shrines of the Blessed Virgin Mary which have been approved by legitimate Church Authority.
Myself, personally, I have been to Medjugorje, Bosnia, (former Yugoslavia) where the Virgin Mary has been appearing since 1981. You can read my testimony by going to page ‘To Jesus Through Mary’ at my website www.striveforheavennow.ca . My testimony is titled “My Encounter With ‘Mary’ Mother of ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ’”
My pilgrimage to Medjugorje was a most life transforming experience!
The word ‘Hell’ today is a ‘No-No’ word! No one likes to be told of the word ‘Hell’ or reminded of it, in the world or in the Church. This is the sad reality of it all. However, it is our awesome duty to warn people of HELL.
When asked by a journalist…”Does Hell exist?” Pope John Paul II replied: “To a certain degree man does get lost; so too do preachers, catechists, teachers; as a result, they no longer have the courage to preach the threat of Hell.” (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, John Paul II) From the same book, John Paul II says: “Let’s remember that not so long ago, in sermons during retreats or missions, the Last Things—
Death..judgement..heaven…hell and purgatory—were always a standard part of meditation and preachers knew how to speak of them in an effective and evocative way. How many people were drawn to conversion and confession by these sermons and reflections on the ‘Last Things’! Furthermore, we have to recognize that this pastoral style was profoundly ‘personal’: “Remember that at the end you will present yourself before God with your entire life. Before His judgment seat you will be responsible for all of your actions, you will be judged not only on your actions and on your words but also on your thoughts, even the most secret.
“It could be said that these sermons, which correspond perfectly to the content of Revelation in the Old and New Testaments, went to the very heart of man’s inner world. They stirred his conscience, they threw him to his knees, they led him to the screen of the confessional, they had a profound saving effect all of their own.” (Pope John Paul II, Crossing The Threshold of Hope.)
Pope John Paul II also said: “Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel, He speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf: Mt 25:46)…”And they will go away to ‘eternal punishment’ and the upright to eternal life.”
Let Us See What The Catechism Of The Catholic Church Has To Say About Hell
In Section 1033 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love Him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against our neighbour or against ourselves: ‘He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:14-15)
Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from Him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are His brethren. (cf: Mt 25:31-46) To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from Him forever by our own free choice. (emphasis mine)
This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the Blessed is called ‘Hell’.” (unquote)
Let me repeat and I cannot say it enough… God loves us and wants us to be eternally in Heaven with Him! In my next talk which is on God’s Mercy you will see just how AWESOME is God’s Mercy for us. If we go to HELL it is because we freely choose to turn our backs on the repeated offers of God’s Love and Mercy for each one of us!!!
Again in the Twentieth Century, God chose another person to tell the world about His LOVE and MERCY for us. Her name is Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska (please visit the following website for more information. http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/stfaust.htm
She was the very first Saint to be canonized in the Third Millenium!! I will be referring to her in my next talk on God’s Mercy.
Last year I came upon a section in the Diary of Saint Faustina which really spoke to me. It is about a vision that Saint Faustina received from God about the ‘Two Roads’. These two roads are also referred to in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 7: 13-14:
Enter by the narrow gate: for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.
I will read you what she saw in her vision of the Two Roads:
Saint Faustina’s Vision of the Two Roads
From Her Diary, Journal Entry # 153
One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of HELL. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings”
The Question For Us To Consider…
Which ROAD are we presently on?
I want to read to you the testimony of “Elizabeth Isola”, the artist who painted this painting for me:
When I was asked by Donald Andre Bruneau to do a painting of Sister Faustina’s vision of the Two Roads I was reluctant to say ‘yes’. It was immediately apparent to me that it would be very difficult to translate the written form of a vision experienced by a nun from Poland a few years before Hitler’s invasion of her country into a visual form reasonably recognizable to people in our day. But, at the same time, I knew I was to try.
It has taken several months, through illnesses, doubts and other difficulties to produce a painting which I hope expresses in some way what Sister Faustina saw. The working out of this picture has involved much prayer, much pleading with the Holy Spirit for guidance and asking for the prayers of Sister Faustina herself and many, many people who kindly critiqued it both spiritually and conceptually.
When it came to how to illustrate those who were headed down the wrong road, I decided that the best way was to show them as ‘totally self-absorbed’, unaware of anyone else along the road. Is not indifference the ultimate cruelty? (emphasis mine) This is where I felt the Lord leading me, at least at this time, and I hope it will be used to further God’s Kingdom on this earth.
I struggled a long time before deciding to show you this painting at this conference, because it is very provoking! After much prayer and seeking of God’s face I felt I had to show it. It shows so vividly the world as it has been and is especially so today. Particularly, the artist said it all in her statement:
Is not indifference the ultimate cruelty?
We live in an age and a world where most people’s focus is not on loving God or loving their neighbour, but rather they are focused on “Me, myself, and I” and the $$$$ money and the temporary joys and comforts it will bring….this is their god!!
But God has told us that we must make a ‘choice’ of which road we will travel on, the wide or the narrow? You can get on the ‘narrow road’ by choosing ‘Jesus Christ’ as the “Way, and the Truth and the Life.” (cf: John 14:6: “Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.”
If you choose Jesus as the ‘The way, the truth and the life…’ then Jesus will enable you to cross over from the broad road of damnation to the narrow road that leads to eternal life, with God, the angelic beings, the Saints, our loved ones who made it to Heaven before us.
With ‘Jesus’ in our life there is no need to worry about HELL!!
Note to the reader: At this point in the conference I took the Cross of Cutro which you see here and I put it dead center of the painting so that the ‘horizintal’ of the Cross acted as a ‘bridge’ between the ‘broad road’ which leads to Hell and the ‘narrow road’ which leads eventually to Heaven.
The Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus is directly linked to the Sacrifice of the Mass
I will now quote you what the Catholic Church has to say about the Eucharist:
In Section #1364 in the Catholic Catechism we read: “In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist she commemorates Christ’s Passover…. And it is made PRESENT: (emphasis mine) The sacrifice of Christ offered once for all on the Cross remains EVER PRESENT.
As often as the Sacrifice of the Cross by which “Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed” is celebrated on the altar,
The work of our redemption is carried out. (1 Cor 5:7) “
God’s Love….In The Sacrifice Of The Eucharist.
In Section 1367 of the Catholic Catechism we read: “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are… ONE SINGLE SACRIFICE:
“In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself, once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.” Council of Trent (1562)
A few years ago I did a retreat in a convent and every time I walked down the hall to go and pray and spend time with Eucharistic Jesus, I was fascinated by a picture on the wall. I was later given a copy of it.
This picture explains the whole message of God’s LOVE manifested to us each day, every time Mass is celebrated. It’s awesome! The picture shows a priest holding up the Sacred Host and just above the Host we see Jesus crucified, on the Cross and God the Father looking down, and next to Him is the Holy Spirit.
When we look at the consecrated Host, held in the hands of the priest, behind the veil of our natural senses is in reality, in the spirit world, Jesus Christ, crucified.
Several years ago, at a crucial time in my faith life, a close Protestant friend of mine shared his personal experience of assisting at a Catholic Mass.
This is Karl’s Testimony:
“Donald, some years ago, I went to a Catholic retreat with a friend. You Catholics always finish your retreats with a ‘Mass’. As I saw the priest holding the little white wafer up in the air, all of a sudden, instead of seeing the priest and the wafer, all I could see was ‘Jesus crucified’, in great pain and His blood flowing!”
Link this experience of Karl, a Protestant, with what I read about ‘Section 1367’ of the Catechism in regards to the ‘Eucharistic Sacrifice’.
I repeat what the Catechism said earlier…
The Sacrifice of Christ and the Sacrifice of the Eucharist are…One Single Sacrifice.
It is awesome to be privileged to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
Responding To God’s Love For Us By Loving And Forgiving Our Brothers And Sisters
God has extended His unconditional love for each of us, through Jesus Christ, His only Son.
What is our response to His love for us? Will we love God back in return?
If we wish to love God, then we must extend our love unconditionally to all our brothers and sisters.
In 1 John 4: 20-21: “If someone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God, should love his brother also.”
So, my friends, the acid test, of our true love for God is… “Do we, do I, love and forgive all my brothers and sisters?
At this point I would like to share with you the words to the Song which my friend Rose sang at this point during the Conference.
Song: “God’s Love Is So Great”
As high as the heavens is the height of God’s love.
His faithfulness extends to the clouds up above.
He will never abandon you in the storms that come your way.
Under His wings you can take refuge from day to day.
He won’t let you down, His love is faithful and true.
His steadfast love is so great He will see you through.
He will save your soul, He is our God most high.
He is merciful to all, His love reaches the sky.
He will rescue us all when the waters get too deep.
He will stretch out His hand when the mountains get too deep.
He will walk with us through every dark alley.
He will reach down His hand to us in every valley.
He will be by our side, He will not let us down.
He will be there for us when He sees us wear a frown.
He will direct our sails until we reach dry land.
He will not let us go, He will guide us by the hand.
He will not let anyone come and snatch us away.
His love for us is so great, His love is with us to stay.
Rose Nadeau, 2002.
The only ‘response’ to such a love of God for us is to turn our life over to Him.
The Most Important Question You Will Ever Be Asked
The Question: “Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you have this ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus Christ? Are you walking with Him on the ‘Narrow Road’?
On December 22, 2001, my Mom, who was in hospital due to a stroke and was semi-paralyzed called me closer to her bed and said to me:
“God spoke to me two days ago and He said: “You are mine and I will retrieve you.”
I then asked Mom what does ‘retrieve’ mean to you? She answered:
“To retrieve is to come and get what is yours.”
I ask you, dear reader….” Do you ‘belong’ to Jesus Christ? Will He come and ‘retrieve’ you?
My Mother’s Confession of Faith In Jesus Christ
By: Leona Bruneau-Deschenes, Diary, April 21, 1992
“How time flies! How short a time we are on this earth, but thank you Jesus that everything does not end at our death.
You do not allow us to vanish into eternal nothingness and You do not destroy what You have created but bring us to perfection for Eternal Life, if we but give our hearts and lives over to you.
I believe in Eternal Life because You have promised it.” (cf: John 3:16… For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. )
The ‘Word of God’ on Salvation…
For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God;9 Not of works, that no man may glory. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. (James 4:14)
For he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee; and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
As you leave and go home tonight , meditate on this question. Your eternity with God depends on it. (cf: www.striveforheavennow.ca and visit the page “To Jesus Through Mary”.
You are in my prayers,
God Bless you.
Donald Andre Bruneau