Friday, July 31, 2009


There was a group of women in a Bible Study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three, which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. "This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.

She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one
needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse, that "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Be blessed!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wife's love transforms husband from atheist into priest!

Elisabeth and Felix Leseur in 1910.
Elisabeth and Me (1910)

By the time this volume appears,
I shall have left the world,
and entered the seminary.

My beloved wife, Elisabeth, prayed incessantly
for my return to the Catholic Faith. Daily for this intention,
she offered up all her sacrifices, trials, sufferings,
and at the end, even her death.

But she did this secretly,
because when we married,
I was profoundly anti-religious.

I had been raised Catholic
but lost my faith in medical school.
I searched for weapons against Catholicism.
I set myself to attack Elizabeth's Faith,
to deprive her of it, and
--- may God pardon me! ---
I nearly succeeded.

Then, in 1913, she was struck down
by cancer, which for ten months
was her Calvary until she died,
just forty-eight years old.


I have, since Elisabeth's death,
learned to appreciate the power of her silence.
God heard the constant prayer it concealed,
and completed the conversion
begun in me by her influence
and by my reading her Journal,
which I found after her death,
and which I present to you here.


Renunciation, detachment, sacrifice,
and utmost charity toward God and neighbor:
these are the themes on each of its pages.

It shows how Elisabeth
endured terrible afflictions.
She comforted those around her,
never complained,
and looked to the Eucharist,
and to prayer and self-sacrifice,
for the support she needed.

When I think that I was foolish and criminal enough
to try to destroy the Faith that lifted her so high
and sustained her so powerfully!
To what a Hell would I have reduced her
and condemned myself at the same stroke!


A great many people attended her funeral.
They expressed such real and unanimous emotion
and gave witness to such an uncommon distress
that the clergy assisting at the service
were utterly astonished.

They made inquiries, and their questions
were at once reported to me:

"But who was this woman?
We have never seen
such a funeral before!"

Elisabeth Leseur at home in Paris, 1910.

After Elisabeth's death,
when everything seemed to collapse around me,
I came upon the Spiritual Testament
she had written for me, and her Journal, too.

I read and reread them,
and a revolution took place in my whole moral being.
There I discovered that Elisabeth had concluded with God
a kind of pact, vowing to exchange her life
for my return to the Faith.

I remembered that one day
she had told me
with absolute assurance:

"I shall die before you.
And when I am dead,
you will be converted;
and when you are converted,
you will become a religious.
You will be Father Leseur."


And so from her Journal
I perceived clearly the inner meaning
of Elisabeth's existence,
so grand in its humility.
I came to appreciate the splendor
of the faith of which I had
seen such wonderful effects.

The eyes of my soul were opened.
I turned toward God,
who called to me.
I confessed my faults to a priest
and was reconciled to the Church.


Elisabeth had led me to the truth,
and even today, in my inmost being,
I continue to feel her guiding my steps
to a more perfect union with God.

Fr. Felix Leseur, c. 1940
Fr. Felix Leseur, O.P.
(ca. 1940)


Elisabeth's Journal
is my daily reading.

It is a book of rare beauty.
The designs of God's Providence
are shown plainly in
Elisabeth's life and work.

I am convinced that by reading these pages
many torn hearts will find the means
to endure with courage the sacrifices
which have been imposed on them.

I now, therefore, give to you
these precious pages.

The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (book cover).

I pray that the Holy Spirit will spread them far and wide
and that they may help to work in as many souls as possible
the renewal they have accomplished in my own soul.

Fr. Felix Leseur

* Felix's words are adapted from In Memoriam,
his 1917 introduction to Elisabeth's
Journal et pensées de chaque jour.

The cause for the
of Elizabeth Leseur
is being handled in Rome by:

Fr. Innocenzo Venchi, O.P.
Postulator Generalis
Curia Generalizia dei Padri Domenicani
Convento Santa Sabina (Aventino)
Piazza Pietro d'Illiria, 100153 Roma (Italia)

Telephone: (39) 6 57 941
Fax: (39) 6 57 50 675
e-mail: postulatio(at)dominicans(dot)it

The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (book cover).
The Secret Diary
of Elisabeth Leseur

The Woman Whose Goodness
Changed Her Husband
from Atheist to Priest

336 pages ppbk $19.95

Order online now or call

Sophia Institute Press
Box 5284, Manchester
NH 03108

For even more help with
your marriage, consider:

The Temperament God Gave You (cover)
The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse (cover)

And check out our:


Saturday, July 25, 2009

I believe in Love

"Do you reject Satan?"

"I do," I answered.
But trembled at the
mention of that Name.


"And all His works?"

"I do," I said again,
looking the bishop in the eye
and praying fervently that I would.

"And all His
empty promises?"

"I do!"
But my soul cried out,
"No! I don't! I'll never be
able to reject them!")

It was the fall of 1974. I was the only grownup in a pew filled with teenaged Confirmation candidates reciting their nervous "I do's."

As a recent convert, ex-druggie, long-time drunk, and former soldier, I was acquainted with the night. Memories of past sins danced in my mind. Nonetheless, that evening -- and with all my strength -- I chose goodness.

* * *

Confirmation didn't banish temptation, didn't drive out despair. Weeks later, troubled by my continued sinfulness and seeking distraction, I happened on the Confirmation gift my sponsor had given me: Fr. Jean D'Elbée's beloved book on the spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who spent most of her brief life in a cloistered convent.

St. Therese

What could such an innocent teach me?
My eyes fell on this passage:

"I ask that from now on, you never let your past sins be an obstacle between you and Jesus. It's a ruse of the devil to keep putting our sins before our eyes in order to make them like a screen between the Savior and us."

A ruse of the devil?

"Think of your past sins to persuade yourself of your weakness; think of them to confirm your resolution not to fall again -- that's necessary -- but think of them mainly to bless Jesus for having pardoned you, for having purified you, for having cast all your sins to the bottom of the sea.

"Do not go looking for them at the bottom of the sea! He has wiped them out; He has forgotten them."

But I haven't forgotten them
-- and I continue to fall.

"I'm not saying that you believe too much in your own wretchedness. I'm telling you that you don't believe enough in merciful love."

"Why are you here?
Why were you baptized?
Why have you learned to know
Jesus and to love him?"

"Because God has chosen you,
and preferred you from all eternity,
to heap these graces upon you."


"God's greatest pleasure is to pardon us. The good Lord is more eager to pardon a repentant sinner than a mother to rescue her child from the fire."

That makes sense of Our Lord's words to a holy soul: "Not a single soul falls into Hell that has not torn itself out of my arms."

No wonder St. Thérèse was able to say,
just before her death:

"Even if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into the flaming furnace of God's love."

"This classic beautifully reveals God's deep love for each of us and awakens in us a burning love for Him. If you want to grow in love of God, this book is a must."
Fr. Benedict Groeschel

The pages of the book I received at my Confirmation transformed my understanding of God and brought my soul its first peace in decades.


Listen now -- quietly --
and let it bring you peace, too:

"I assure you, we are bathed in love and mercy. We each have a Father, a Brother, a Friend, a Spouse of our soul, bent down over us, over our weakness and impotence, with inexpressible gentleness, watching over us like the apple of His eye, Who said 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the just, but sinners.'

"This Jesus is haunted by the desire to save us by all means; He has opened Heaven under our feet."

"I heartily endorse this book. It is the best application of St. Thérèse's teaching for individuals seeking to live it daily."
Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR
Franciscan University of Steubenville

Are you troubled by your sins?
id you don't love enough?

"In the same way that Jesus said to St. Augustine, 'You would not seek me if you had not already found me,' He will say to you, 'You would not have this great desire to love me if you did not love me already.' He cannot fail to fulfill, beyond even our greatest hopes, a desire that He himself has inspired."

In just a few hours, this singular book, aptly entitled I Believe in Love, showed me I had to quit relying on my own efforts, and even had to cease judging myself.

Certainly, as I promised that day so long ago, I still had to reject Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises. But that was only the beginning.

From Fr. D'Elbée and St. Thérèse I learned I must embrace my own littleness, my poverty, my nakedness, and powerlessness, and seek but a single treasure: abandonment to God's mercy.

In three decades now as a Catholic convert, that's the only program for the interior life I've found to be within my reach.

Today, it's within your reach, too.

John Barger's signature

John Barger
Publisher, Sophia Institute Press

"Whoever reads this book attentively and prayerfully will grow in the love of God."
Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.
Homiletic and Pastoral Review

I Believe in Love (cover)

I Believe in Love
by Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbée
$15.95 paperback 304 pages

Sophia Institute Press
PO Box 5284
Manchester, NH 03108

P.S. Please forward this message to those you know who may be struggling with guilt and discouragement. I assure you that St. Thérèse will give them the hope and the courage they need, and that God wants them to have.

"I Believe in Love penetrates to the heart of a saint who, in the words of Pope Pius XII, has 'rediscovered the heart of the Gospels, the heart of Christ, and, through love and humility, the Christ of the heart.' "
Joseph Pearce

"With joy, I welcome the publication of I Believe in Love. May this 'personal retreat' based on the teachings of the little nun of Lisieux be for those who use it an occasion of grace not only to enlighten their minds, but to elevate their souls to approach the sublime destiny that the 'little way' shows to all."
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz

"Sophia Institute Press has done us all a great service in bringing this work back into print."
Thomas Howard

You may also be interested
in the book that St. Thérèse herself loved.
About it she said, "Reading this book
was one of the greatest graces of my life!"

End of the Present World (book cover)

The End of the Present World
and the Mysteries of the Future Life

by Fr. Charles Arminjon.
336 pgs pbk $17.95
Order online now or call

Sophia Institute Press,
Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108

And don't forget
to shop at our:


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Interview with Rick Warren

Rick Warren author of the Purpose Driven Life. He said the prayer during the inaugural ceremony of Barack Obama as President of USA .

Rick Warren


You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback
Church in California

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life?

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for..

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease..

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.
That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.