Hilarious Japanese samurai video on the dangers of using a smartphone while walking

Now for something funny. Check out this Japanese video called “Samurai Smartphone Parade” made by the mobile operator, Docomo, on the hazards of using a smartphone while walking. The scene is set in the samurai era, but we recognise all of the silly moments, don’t we?

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Strange things have happened to me since my return to the Catholic Church

A miracle brought me back to the Catholic Church in March 2017. Now I will tell you the wonderful, strange things that have happened to me since that day.

(1) I received a vision of heaven in a dream.

I dreamt I was walking along a beach, which curved ahead of me in a half moon shape. It was close to sunset. I was alone surrounded by nature. Past the sandy part of the beach I could see only trees and beyond them, majestic mountains. The place looked a lot like Greece. Suddenly, everything before me became charged with energy, a very intense energy that was not of this world. I don’t know how else to describe what I saw and what I felt. I knew that I was looking at heaven and I began to run towards it with my arms raised in the air. In a few seconds, I woke up and received an interior message that it was indeed heaven. I also understood that the vision of heaven had been given to me to encourage me in my return to the Church: to pray fervently, to increase my faith, to remain ever hopeful, to do penance, to perform works of mercy. I don’t remember any other dream in such detail, but this one is as vivid as if I had just dreamt it a couple of minutes ago.

(2) I began to find jewellery.

Very shortly after I returned to the Church, I went on a long trip to Europe. One afternoon, while I was sitting at the edge of the bed of my rental apartment in the southwest of France, I happened to look down toward the floor. Lying there was a delicate bracelet of gold and agate stone. I put it on and it fit me perfectly. My wrists are very thin and I have a hard time finding bracelets that don’t slide off. This one was just the right circumference. Then, a few weeks later, I went to Paris. I was sitting in the garden of a museum, a quiet place where I could get away from the crowds. I looked down and there, lying on the pebbles, was a gold ring. I placed it on my ring finger and it fit me perfectly. Next day, I spent an hour confessing my sins to an Irish priest. It was my first Confession in 40 years.

(3) The first Rosary I bought since my return to the Church, came from the Albi Cathedral in France (note: the Albigensian heresy was defeated by St. Dominic after he received the Rosary from Our Lady).

I don’t know why I bought a Rosary in that particular Cathedral, and not in the other churches I had visited in France and Spain on my trip to Europe in summer 2017. When I visited Albi, it had been 3 months since I decided to come back to the Church. I had already developed a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary: I promised to say the Rosary everyday (I had been using my fingers to count the Ave Maria prayers). When I bought my Rosary in the Albi Cathedral shop, I had no idea that Our Lady gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic to aid him in his battle against the Albigensian Heresy in that region, so I did not know the importance of Albi Cathedral and its link to the Rosary. It was only months later, reading Saint Louis de Montfort’s book, “The Secret of the Rosary”, that I discovered how special Albi is in the history of the Rosary and in the Church’s battle against heretics.

(4) My mission in life was revealed to me in a dream.

In January of this year, I began doing a lot of mental prayer. I asked Our Lord: what is my mission in life? Most of us think of our mission in life as something quite grand and heroic: to establish a religious order; to go on a mission to the far corners of the earth; to write a theological treatise; to become a martyr, etc. Anything but this mundane life, right?

The answer given to me in a dream was very surprising and not at all what I would have imagined: my mission is to love.

A powerful Voice said: “Who is going to love people if not you? Who will comfort them when they’re sad, lonely, in pain, abandoned, dying? Who will feed the hungry and house the homeless? Who will give hope to those who are so deep in despair that they want to kill themselves? The Voice continued: “One day, I will come and as I promised, I will make all things new. No one will suffer anymore. But until then, you, My servants, need to do My job on earth. When I return, I will ask you: did you do the tasks I assigned to you? You will be judged according whether you did the tasks I gave you.”

I woke up from this dream in tears. I have kept these words in my mind and I ask myself if I’m doing it. Every day I infuse all of my actions with love for Our Lord: chopping vegetables, grocery shopping, talking to my husband, dining with my friends, etc. When I started doing this, I realised how impatient I am and how I lose my temper very easily. This mission hits me at the heart of my worst vice: my pride. This mission to love is not any easier than a mission to start a convent or go into the Amazon jungles to preach the Word of God. It is very difficult to remain mindful of my thoughts, words and actions every day. I find that I fail often and have to go to Confession.

(Side note: I finished reading the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux last week. In the book, she says, “At last I have found my vocation; my vocation is love!”)

(5) Prayer request regarding meaning of John 16:5-16 was answered.

A few days ago, I did my mental prayer/meditation on John 16:5-16, the passage in which Jesus tells the Apostles that it is expedient for Him to go away. I did not understand it. Why did He have to go so soon? Why not continue preaching for thirty or forty more years after the Resurrection? I pondered this for 15 minutes in mental prayer, asking for illumination on what this passage really means. The next day, I woke up and when I checked my Podcast app, and there, downloaded, was a sermon on the meaning of . . . John 16:5-16! I listened to it and finally understood why Jesus had to leave so soon after the Resurrection.

(6) I prayed that the insurance company reimburse me for medical expenses and they did – in full.

My insurance company had been giving me a hard time for five months on a claim I filed for reimbursement of medical expenses. The amount is significant. Week after week, I received nothing, but lies and bureaucratic rubbish. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to pray for assistance in the past, but a few days ago, I did. Within 48 hours of my prayer, I got an email from the insurance company informing me that they will reimburse me for the entire amount. I was shocked. I had expected to recover at most, fifty percent of my expenses. Lesson learned: never doubt the efficacy of prayer.

(7) Serendipitous finding of a clean plastic bag – a funny coincidence.

Last week, while walking with my friend and her dog, we realized only after leaving her apartment that she had forgotten to bring a small plastic bag to pick up the dog’s droppings. We were in quite a panic, wondering where was the nearest convenience store. What happened next is amazing. We both looked down on the sidewalk and saw, right in front of our eyes, a clean plastic bag. How did it get there? Why at that moment? Sidewalks here in Japan are spotless and don’t have rubbish lying around, least of all plastic bags, let alone ONE CLEAN plastic bag. So she picked it up and a few minutes later, of course, she had to use it for the dog.

The occurrences I’ve mentioned above never happened to me in my “old” life, before I came back to the Church. It’s all very strange and marvellous.

Follow Father Johannes Schwarz on his pilgrimage along the Via Alpina Sacra

Follow Father Johannes Schwarz on his pilgrimage along the Via Alpine Sacra starting May 15, 2018 by visiting his Instagram and YouTube sites.

Father Schwarz’s website, 4kmh.com says:

The The Via Alpina Sacra is the attempt at the longest pilgrimage route through the alps connecting 8 countries and more than 200 of the largest, most beautiful, oldest, highest, most significant Catholic shrines, churches and monasteries. Its length is about 2550 miles (4100km) with 600.000 vertical feet (180.000m) of positive elevation change (i.e. counting only ups). Its starting point is the patriarchal basilica of Aquileia (Italy). Its end point is one of the oldest monastic settlements in the West on the island of Saint-Honorat (410) off Cannes (France).

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Today he posted this photo (see below) of the stunning Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia on the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, near Grado, where he begins his pilgrimage.

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