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SOUL FOOD Talk 4: TERRITORY OF SOULS

Posted by livingchrist on February 3, 2014 at 1:00 AM

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TERRITORY OF SOULS

     In the Creed we profess our belief in the “communion of saints.”  What does this mean?  The Catholic Catechism tells us “Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others....We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church.  As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund.” [947] 

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      What are the goods that we share?   Faith itself.  The fruits of all the sacraments.  Charisms.  Material goods –as we assist the needy.  Charity.

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THE THREE STATES OF THE CHURCH

     “...at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth.  Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory....” [954]  Thus we have the CHURCH MILITANT, CHURCH SUFFERING, CHURCH GLORIFIED.  And what a marvelous exchange passes between these three.  The glorified take intense interest in their brothers and sisters who are fighting the good fight, assisting us wherever they can, especially those who are in their TERRITORY OF SOULS.  We pray for our beloved dead who are in Purgatory, remembering especially those in our TERRITORY OF SOULS.  And they pray for us as well.  Every time we pray for a soul in Purgatory, they are raised higher to glory, and so are we!   “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”  [958]

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       Maria Simma, a Croatian woman who has been seeing, praying for, and communicating with the holy souls for decades, has much to tell us about them.  For example, “They watch their own funerals, as I mentioned yesterday.  They can tell who is praying for them and who is only there for the sake of appearance.  They hear what we say about them.  Tears do nothing for them.  Tears are for our necessary healing process, but not for theirs.  Funerals should remain simple and be done with much heartfelt love.  They do not like hearing falsehoods spoken about them, even if the truth was not always attractive....Every smallest gesture helps them, and in turn, helps us because they then are more likely to step in for us when we need protection or assistance.  Even if we choose to wash the windows out of love for them, this will do so much good!” [ Maria Simma speaks with Nicky Eltz, Get us Out of Here!, The Medjugorje Web, 2002, pp. 149-151]   “Not asking them for their protection every day is a great loss.”  [p. 105]

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      After my husband died, I found so much comfort in this book.  For example,  when asked by Nicky, “How much do they know about their families?” she answers,  “I would say almost everything.  They see us all the time.  They hear every word that we speak about them and they know what our sufferings are. But they do not know our thoughts.” [ p. 10]  She explains further on,  “They cannot read our minds, but they do know our suffering and in knowing our suffering they also know many of our true needs and therefore they'll step in for us.   Saying it aloud guarantees that they hear us, but be assured that a whisper is enough.  They are always around us, but I would not advise you to start talking to them in public.  And, of course, Jesus knows our thoughts, so thinking a request of them silently will also be conveyed to them by the Mother of Mercy.”  [p. 23]      Many other little points are beautiful and revealing,  “...every time that someone looks at the tabernacle with love, Jesus then elevates his place in Heaven.”

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   On my personal website,  LIVING CHRIST, I posted this statement a couple of years ago,       I, too, feel pretty helpless defending the faith. Like most of you, I hope I am giving WITNESS, by living a life devoted to God’s will, praying, seeking holiness. I found in one of Marino Restrepo’s talks his explanation of our TERRITORY OF SOULS:    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XaTnjt_6KU&feature=related ]

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“This little segment of a major talk called RADICAL CHANGE  (3/6) includes a wonderful explanation of how we become powerful by living sincerely in God’s will. He speaks of the “territory of souls” that belongs to each of us, those souls whose lives touch ours. No one else has the same territory. No one else can speak to those souls in quite the same way that we can. And it is in our daily living, our “duty of the moment” that we can be most effective. Furthermore, when we die and “go up into the light”–our power in our territory increases–and we become even more effective with all those souls we left behind on earth. This is a comfort to me. About those closest to us, our stray children and such, remember St. Monica and St. Augustine, and the words that “a child of so much prayer [St Monica's "territory"] certainly will not be lost.” How can our Blessed Mother overlook a mother’s tears, she who suffered so much with her Son?

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  I also read this note on a blog:  “Hi, I just returned from a talk by Marino Restrepo.  I thought of your situation Ellie, and thought I should pass this on -
(He had a mystical conversion experience.) He was speaking on Divine Mercy in particular, and the efficacy of the Eucharist. He mentioned that those who are Catholic or become catholic (even if they are 60!) have been chosen to be so from all eternity. He said that we have a ” territory of souls” to care for. This includes our families.  He said that when we receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, we are the source of grace for others as we go home from church, God’s grace radiates out to the people around. He said we may never see the results of this until we are in heaven; God blesses those around us through His Eucharistic presence within us.  He wasn’t belittling those not of the Catholic faith, but was re-iterating the will of God, regarding those who are meant to be Catholic from the perspective of eternity.” 

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    Marino Restrepo has a book called,  Catholics, Awake!   I have tried ordering it, but it is out of print and is available only through Ebooks.  Nevertheless, I have read sections of it online.  It is worthwhile to see what Marino has sto say about this topic.

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"WE ARE THE ARMY OF GOD. Being Christian is being part of an army. It is being enlisted in it 24 hours a day until the day we are called back before the tribunal of the Lord Jesus. There we will have to render an account of the military mission that was entrusted to us, an account of the territory of souls that was assigned to us to protect and guard at all times. From the moment of our baptism, we are given the spiritual garment of a soldier of God. By the time we take first Communion, we begin to be fed with the BOdy and Blood of our Lord Jesus, strengthening our soul, preparing us to be sent out to the battlefields of exile. Entering the sacra ment of Confirmation, as the bishop places his hands on us, we receive the Holy Spirit in a manner that is a command to go and fight the good fight of the Gospel for the rest of our lives, a command that tells us that we are ready and perfectly armed to defend souls from the grip of the devil and his evil army. We have just received the Holy Spirit in a double portion, we are filled with the Spirit of the Lord, we have been given a territory of souls to defend: every soul that crosses our path during our entire life.

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Our military tife begins right there; no age groups are assigned to specific positions. From the moment of Confirmation, one is a full-blown soldier able to defeat the most ferocious battalion of Satan. One faithful Catholic soldier aged 15 will have no lesser or greater capacity for assaulting the enemies territory than another aged 70; both have all it takes to do it. It is spiritual warfare. Souls have no age and the fight is against fallen angels that are ageless as well. "

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The true meaning of what the mystical body of Christ signifies is beyond human comprehension. We are to abandon ourselves in the mystery and trust in God .... Being alert, humble, and obedient to God's will places us in a very effective territory. It makes us adhere strongly to the rules of the militia and shapes us up as lethal weapons against the enemy of the soul. There is no greater joy in heaven than the sight of a faithful soldier of God on earth, who in spite of his blindness to the spiritual world is faithfully fighting an invisible enemy with invisible weapons and on the side of invisible friendly forces that support him. There couldn't possibly be a greater mission on earth than that of the salvation of souls. "

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So what is my uniform? ... my baptismal vows. What are the weapons and what are they made of? Theyare the sacraments ... the gift of the Holy Spirit created by Jesus by dying on the cross.... Every Catholic soldier has a territory of souls to defend. Our whole life as Catholics is precisely to do with souls. Not only our own, but the millions and millions of human beings who could be nourished by the short time we expend on this earthly pilgrimage. '

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On my personal website, LIVING CHRIST, I posted this statement on Nov. 2, 2011, All Souls' Day: "I came across this quotation in St. Teresa of Avila - INTERIOR CASTLE, 7TH CASTLE "I told you elsewhere that the devil sometimes puts ambitious desires into our hearts, so that, instead of setting our hand to the work which lles nearest to us, and thus serving Our Lord in ways within our power, we may rest content with having desired the impossible. Apart from praying for people, by which you can do a great deal for them, do not try to help everybody, but limit yourselves to your own companions; your work will then be all the more effective because you have the greater obligation to do it." (254 OR 255).

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It seems that God most wants us to sacrifice and pray for those closest to us, "DO NOT TRY TO HELP EVERYBODY, BUf LIMIT YOURSELVES TO YOUR OWN COMPANIONS; YOUR WORK WILL THEN BE ALL THE MORE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE GREATER OBLIGATION TO DO IT."

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What gives me such sorrow today is all the members of my territory of souls who, due to my weaknesses and unfaithfulness to the Church in the past, may today be suffering in purgatory, at least partly beca use I was unkind to them, or led them astray in some way, or did not permit Christ to reach them through me. Truly I will be judged one day for every single time llet down one of my precious souls whom I could have led closer to God and did not. It is an awesome thing to be responsible for; yet we hardly ever think of our role in people's lives and salvation histories.

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As I reflected on these things, I wept for some situations in my llfe where l let down people whom I should have loved better and for the God whom I failed.

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     But we should not despair over these things-we can pray and sacrifice for them still, the living and the dead. Psalm 116 says: "Gracious is the Lord and just; ves, our God is merciful. The Lord keeps the little ones; I was brought low, and he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your tranquility, for the Lord has been good to you. For he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." Today and everyday I pray faithfully for all my territory of souls, living and dead. I will place every one of my loved souls into the hands of Mother Mary for her to help them for me."

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MORE WEAPONS TO USE TO DEFEND OUR TERRITORY OF SOULS

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ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT   was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. St. Gertrude the Great is invoked for souls in purgatory and for living sinners. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.

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"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

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