(Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales MSFS)
on May 31st, 2014 on the Feast of the Visitation
in Germanyby Gisèle Bomal.
for Chrétiens Magazine.
Before starting the interview, Father James prayed to the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.
Gisèle Bomal : On behalf of all the French Catholics who are preparing to live the retreat with you in August, thank you for having chosen France as one of your first retreats after a long absence. I am equally grateful to you for granting me this interview.
Father James: I am very happy to meet you and answer your questions. It is always a great joy for me to meet French people and to return to France to preach.
Belonging to the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales based in Annecy, I had French teachers at the seminary and Novitiate; I received my spirituality from the French; this is why I am pleased to return to preach in France. When I preach in France I am giving back what I r eceived from them!
GB: All your retreats were cancelled for the year 2013 and you started again only in May 2014. We learned on that occasion that you had been seriously ill. Can you tell us more?
Father James: In November and December 2012, I went to Arab countries to preach the Gospel.
GB: Is it not dangerous to preach the Gospel to the Muslims and on their own grounds?
Father James: This is a special ministry which the Lord gave me for the last 15 years.
I have faced rejections, tortures, and imprisonments. I was beaten, kidnapped… This is part of my mission! Muslims themselves invite me to speak about Christ, they really want to hear about Him. Thousands of people have already received Baptism.
GB : Is it during that stay that you were sick?
Father James: It is on my return to Munich in early December, that I was diagnosed with a stomach infection with a high fever. I asked my doctor for some treatment in order to be able to go to India for my nephew’s ordination which was taking place on the 28th December.
But on the 21st, I felt a weakness in my body and I found myself paralyzed. It began with the hands, then the chest, then half of the face; then I was in an artificial coma for 13 days. And for four months I was on a ventilator.
I was sent to three hospitals in nine months.
First in Salzburg, Austria but doctors did not identify the cause of my illness. After three months, in March 2013, I was sent to Spain in a hospital in Pamplona where the Guillain-Barré Syndrome was finally diagnosed.
The treatment helped me to recover, talk and breathe without ventilator support, but my body was still paralyzed.
I then returned to Austria, where I received 5 months of physiotherapy treatment which allowed me to move my hands and legs and speak more easily.
GB: This healing came at Easter, precisely at the end of a vast movement of prayer in the world. Has this spiritual support been for you a great comfort?
Father James: Yes, prayer works miracles. My friends around the world have mobilized to offer prayers, masses, fasting, adoration for my healing. I experienced the love of others there. I saw them in my heart. Prayers work miracles! I believe that it is the prayers and sacrifices of others that facilitated my healing. I praise Jesus for all those who prayed for me.
GB: This intense care you received and for so long would have been very expensive, do you have good insurance cover?
Father James: No, I do not have any insurance at all; my various hospital stays were very expensive (above € 700,000). I now have to repay the loan; my apartment in Munich had to be mortgaged. Then donations arrived from around the world and have covered a large part of this debt.
I still have to pay a lot of money to the bank especially to redeem my apartment, but I know that the Lord will help me to refund the debt through the generosity of my friends and benefactors.
GB : Many people have visited you and have sent you messages of encouragement, by telephone, e - mails ... How have you perceived these beautiful testimonies?
Father James: I really experienced the love of all these people during this period of sufferings. All those who visited me radiated God’s love on me! I always see them in my heart especially during Holy Mass. I am indebted to them.
I was supported by my congregation and a lot of people. As the expenses in the hospitals were very high, my friends decided to take me to a private house for private treatment and therapy.
One of my spiritual sons, Dr. Richi, (son of Gaby whom many in France know as she is the coworker of Fr. James) kindly welcomed me in his home.
The treatment seems to be working and there is therefore a marked improvement. I can walk with crutches but I still need someone to help me to get up and to move.
GB: In your message of Christmas 2013, you said that the Virgin Mary promised that you would be healed; did she tell you that you would walk again?
Father James: No, She did not tell me that. She consoled me by bringing me the presence of Jesus in my heart. She carried my prayers to her Son.
When I had just told Jesus: "If You keep me alive, I will preach, even if I have to do it lying on a bed or sitting on a chair", I heard His voice saying: "you will preach my Gospel with more power." He did not assure me that I would walk. He fulfilled His promise because I preached with more power from my wheelchair in Poland in May.
During all this period of suffering, and especially during my coma , I felt the power of the Holy Spirit covering me, filling me with its power. Then, when I was no longer in a coma, the Holy Spirit was still there, He made me strong. Now, thanks to my sufferings, I feel strong, not physically of course but spiritually and mentally.
Now I can say that I am not sick any more, I am in good health.
Retreat in Poland
GB: Whilst thousands of people know you, and wait for you because they need your teachings and your prayers, how can you explain that God allowed such a long absence and all these sufferings?
Father James: God has His own plans. The Lord says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” says the Lord. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9). He can do His work even without me! Always I believe that I am not absolutely needed for His work. Any other person can do the work that I am doing. In my 41 years of priesthood, I never had a holiday. Perhaps the Lord was giv ing me a holiday as my spiritual father told me! I am convinced that during this illness, I suffered for my own sins, for the sins of my brothers in the priesthood, and for the people who come to my retreats.
I believe that suffering is a ministry.
The suffering of Jesus on the cross was His mission to save the world.
If Jesus had not suffered on the cross, we would not have been saved, and it is the same for his disciples for whom it is a ministry.
However, for a year and a half, I did not go to preach, but I did my ministry through these sufferings, and God acted. St. Theresa of Lisieux never preached but through her sufferings for the salvation of the world, she became the Patroness of the Missions! She saved many souls by her sufferings. During my illness, I received many letters and e-mails speaking of cures and graces received.
If my sufferings, accepted and offered, have contributed, I thank God.
GB : Suffering accepted and offered in union with the suffering of Jesus saves souls. So do you suffer in reparation for the salvation of the world?
Father James: Yes, and also for my own sanctification. Like St. Paul I would say; " I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church." ( Colossians 1:24).
GB: Despite your sufferings, some of which are constant, we see you in photos and videos always radiant, smiling. Can you share with us the secret of your Joy?
Father James: Uniting my sufferings with those of Jesus during my illness made me deeply happy.
When people came to see me while I was paralyzed and unable to speak for months, I could smile at them.
I was always happy in my heart because I knew why I was suffering; it was a gift from God.
Suffering is neither a curse nor a punishment, it is a gift from God.
Throughout all this period, I always thought that suffering was a gift from God. I was in that state of mind when I was kidnapped; they broke my arm and my right leg was deeply cut.
These are sufferings that I still bear. They are always very painful and are also a gift from God. "But I rejoice to the extent that you share the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed, yo u may rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the sake of Christ, blessed are you, for upon you rests the Spirit of God, the Spirit of glory." (1Peter 4:13-14).
GB: On several occasions we have seen blood in your hands, are these stigmatas?
Father James: I do not call this stigmatas; they are simply a gift from God. I also have five wounds: in my hands, in my feet and in my side, but I do not think they are stigmatas. I think stigmatas are for holy people. I am a poor sinner and I am unworthy to have the great gift of stigmatas.
I kept this as a secret and I had never revealed it to any one. But now people know about this, because I bled during the Elevation at Mass.
During my illness, Jesus told me: "I remove these wounds but will give them back to you when I decide."
So I no longer have any wounds or bleeding, but I have the marks on my body.
GB: Among the main themes of your retreats, we find the Christian family values but also the dangers of the occult, the terrible consequences of the practices such as: yoga, magnetism, spiritualism, qi qong, reiki …
Father James: I announce the Word of God in its truth. I make no compromise with esotericism or new age, or any other practices coming from the pagan religions.
GB: Is your message only for Catholics?
Father James: My message is for all who want to live a holy life according to God ’s will. Usually my retreats are attended by Catholics, so my messages go directly to them. I am a Catholic priest and I have my duty to speak the truth according to the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church to my Catholics.
Do you know that the Iranian government has just forbidden yoga? They say that "yoga is destroying the Muslim religion". It's the same in Saudi Arabia where all the centers of yoga have been closed. The Muslims understand that the power of yoga is destroying their religion but unfortunately many Catholics do not understand this.
Yoga is inspired by Satan. Saint-Paul says that the pagans worship evil spirits, us, we worship the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:20-22).
GB: Many people in the world seem to follow these practices, surely you are not only making friends when you preach the opposite of what they are doing?
Father James: I know that many people are angry with me; in France many people do not like it when I speak strongly against yoga, against satanic sects because many practice it.
There is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God and there is the evil spirit, the spirit o f Satan. There is the kingdom of Christ and there is the kingdom of Satan.
The esoteric practices, the New Age, the alternative treatments based on cosmic powers etc. come from Satan. “The whole world is under the power of the evil one.” (1Jn 5:19b). The Christians must reject all these practices. This is what we did at our Baptism; we renounced Satan and all his works. We should never go back to them. We have to converse with the Holy Spirit only, and never follow other spirits.
GB: Aren’t you taking risks by raising these subjects?
Father James: I do not preach to please people, but to please God. I do not preach things which people want to hear but what God wants me to say for the salvation of their souls for Eternal Life!
I do not want compromise.
When I was sick, doctors and faith healers came to see me, saying: “Fathe r James, I can put you back on your feet as I have powers". I answered that I did not want to start walking again by Satan's power, I only wanted to be healed by God's power. I prefer to suffer in the hands of Jesus rather than be healed by Satan!
A therapist from Prague who wanted to put me back on my feet in one month, began to use esoteric powers over me; I felt his power and I said " NO " to him.
Now I have a good therapist.
GB: How can we know if a therapist has any link with esotericism?
Father James: Just ask him where he has done his studies and if he has other skills apart from medicine. Doctor Richi and others who are around me and I make no compromise with these practices.
To conclude, my current decision is to continue to preach even if I have to do so from a wheelchair. If God wants it, I shall get up, I shall walk. I shall continue evangelizing even if I have to remain paralyzed.
I have retreats planned in Czechoslovakia, in Portugal, in France, in Austria and in Switzerland and again in Poland …
GB: Do you know why so many people are attracted to esotericism?
Father James: I dont know why many people turn to esotericism. May be it is because they dont find answers to their problems in their given situation. Also there is ignorance among the people about its dangers. There was a document from Rome about the dangers of esotericism and New Age called "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Living Water». It is good that Catholics read it; it is on my website. (http://www.jmanjackal.net )
GB: By denouncing all this evil, are you not afraid of reprisals?
Father James: When I fell ill, four exorcists discerned malefic powers against me and they prayed for me.
During my coma I got a great spiritual experience of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. I have described it in my book “I saw Eternity” which will be published soon, for my next retreat in France at Saint Maur des Fossés.
I saw Satan and Hell. Satan told me: "You James, you work against my kingdom, I want to conquer all Europe but you destroy my work that is why I hate you.”
Yes I really heard him, I have written it in this book. You must know that Satan is a liar and father of lies and he is a murderer too (Jn 8:44).
GB: I am very impressed by your serenity and your joy. What would you wish to tell people who suffer?
Father James: To all those who suffer I say:
Suffering is a gift from God. We must never think that it is a curse. Instead it is a great blessing. Today people do not like suffering because they have lost their faith. Only someone who has faith in Jesus crucified can understand the meaning of suffering. We must rejoice not only when good things happen in our lives, we must also rejoice when bad things happen. See the teaching of St. Paul who had a lot of sufferings for the sake of Christ, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." (Phili 4:4). These words gave me much power in my sufferings.
Jesus is the Way. Jesus chose the way of the cross; we must imitate Him. Christ prayed; we must pray.
Christ preached; we must preach.
He has done good works; we must do them too.
Jesus was Holy; we are to be holy, walking towards holiness. Jesus suffered; we must also suffer like Him.
Many people love Christ as a powerful and glorious Lord, but few love Christ crucified.
Many people are attracted by miraculous healings, blessings, but few are attracted by the sufferings of Christ. However, there is no crown without thorns.
The Christians should love the Cross. Jesus said: "Take up your cross and follow Me." When we take up our cross with the cross of Christ, ours becomes light. In all our sufferings Jesus who is with us says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness ." (2 Cor 12:9).
Therefore, you should never suffer alone but suffer with Christ. If we must suffer, we must contemplate the wounds of Christ, and see the power coming out of His wounds.
Many saints suffered in union with the sufferings of Christ such as Padre Pio, Marthe Robin… And above all, of course, the Most Holy Virgin Mary, our Mother, is a great example; she gave birth to Jesus and accompanied him to the Cross. During that time she suffered terribly without complaining, she did not collapse. She remained standing at the foot of the Cross. Mary is the symbol of the strong woman who suffers but with love.
That is why when you suffer, always pray to our Mother Mary for more courage. During my illness, I constantly felt the presence and maternal comfort of our Holy Mother Mary; I often found myself as a child sitting on her lap…
GB: Can you make a small prayer for the readers of this interview?
Father James: I bring all those who read this to the Heart of Jesus and pray:
"My Lord Jesus, I bring all the readers of this interview to your Sacred Heart and pray that many blessings flow in to them and to their famil ies. I pray that the messages in this interview touch their hearts and bring conversion, healing, new life and many other blessings that they need. My dear People I bless you and sanctify you. Placing you in the Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Mother, I bless you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".
Kindly pray for me. “Vive Jésus!!”
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