Saturday, February 28, 2009

How Do I Love Thee, My Sweetheart

Today is my wife's birthday. I thank God every day for my sweetheart, who has made my life a joy and who is guaranteed sainthood for putting up with me for over thirty years. This little poem reflects my feelings for you my precious dear:

How Do I Love Thee
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace,
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,-I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!-and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. Happy Birthday My Love!

White House set to reverse health care conscience clause

In establishing this blog, I decided that the content would be primarily my thoughts on Catholic life, my philosophy of what is wrong with society, discussions of spirituality, prayer, lives of the saints, etc. I have avoided swerving too far into becoming a political blog. When I have done so I have heard from some people how I am wrong about the current occupant of the White House. There are some Catholics who suggested to me that under this administration abortions might decrease. All I can say is "what are you smoking"? When I see this kind of stuff I am led to one conclusion. The current prez is an evil person. If you as a Christian are not permitted to act as your conscience deems you to act, then there is one and only one conclusion the man is evil period.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Father Patrick Healy, SJ

Francis Patrick Healy was born on this day in 1834, in Macon, Georgia, the son of an Irish-American plantation owner and his wife, a black slave. His father would raise a family that would include three priests and three religious women.
Patrick's father wanted his children to be "free" rather than slaves, so he decided to send Patrick and his older brothers up North to be educated. They eventually enrolled at the Jesuit College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where all four young men converted to the Catholic faith of their father. After graduation, Patrick entered the Jesuits. When his race became an issue in those pre-Civil War years, he was sent to Europe to study. He became the first African-American to earn a doctorate at the University of Louvain in Belgium
In 1864, Patrick became the first African-American ordained a Jesuit priest.Two years later he returned to the United States where he taught philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
In 1874, Fr Healy became the first African-American to head a major university when he was named the 29th president of Georgetown University.
Fr Healy died on this same day in 1910is buried in the Jesuit cemetery on the university's grounds.
in 1875, Patrick's brother, James was named the bishop of Portland, Maine, becoming the first black Bishop of the United States. Another brother became rector of the cathedral in Boston.

Take Responsilibility for Our Failures

Franciscan Father Leo Clifford reflecting on our failures

Pslam 103

Jesus said to call his Father "Abba" which translates roughly to Daddy, in an endearing and affectionate manner. I like that image of God because I am a daddy. I have in that role encountered the full range of emotions - from delight and excitement to anger and disappointment. Children are life's greatest joy and if God feels that way about me as I do about my children then it's ok. I'm sure I disappoint Him at times but He's is always there to encourage me to give me the love and support I need to get things back on track.
That very essence of love, the love that Paul describes in his letter to the Corinthians is what is what God is about. In reflecting on that love, we can be confident that although we are a mess, sinful and disobedient, He will be waiting for us to bring ourselves before him in sorrow and forgiveness. Psalm 103 says how God feels about us:

He does not treat us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our faults.

For as long as the heavens are high above the earth,
so strong is his love for those who fear Him

As far as the east is from the west, so far does He removes our sins.
As the heavens tower over the earth,

so God's love towers over the faithful.
As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on the faithful.

For he knows how we are formed, remembers that we are dust.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Seed in Briar

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the briars is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

What A Wonderful World

Check this out. I always loved this song, but this guy is incredible

Pope Benedict XVI on Lent

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday tradition at Aventino (click here for full transcript)

More Great Thinking at Boston College

Boston College Students Vote to Demand Free Condoms, Other Birth Control

Apparently at Boston College abstaining from sex is not on the list of Lenten penance. Hell, why stop there, why not open brothels and have "orgy week." I bet St. Ignatius is scratching his head right about now. You want my opinion - obsession with sex is just another symptom of the dumbing down of America. Obsession with sex lowers an individual's dignity. As I have said once or twice before; animals are obsessed with sex. Dogs will do it with each other wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. Hey people, try a little self denial and self control and stop debasing yourselves.

Descend into Our Darkness

Dante's descent into Hell is a winding road where we encounter Satan himself not in a pit of fire, but in a dark, cold, frozen terrain. In reality the closer we get towards Satan, the further we are away from the True Light and True God. Descent is an allegory with different meanings. We rarely descend into someplace that is not dark and dreary. During Lent we are asked to descend into our own personal spiritual self. This descent can be scary. In the those dark crevices of our being we may see things about ourselves that have been hidden away from the light of day. This descent may churn up a side of ourselves that reveals not what we desire to be. It is in the dark moments that we can recognize that real change is necessary in order to join Christ at the Cross. It is in carrying our sinfulness, our pride, our anger, our dark secrets to light that we can seek Christ's mercy, and repent. Like Spring cleaning we discard all those things that are not necessary but take up space - space where God can be. As we walk each day examine ourselves and with God's grace we can face our fears and begin to heal.

"It is right that during the holy Lent, which we have taken upon ourselves, we should give our attention to our cleansing and purification"
Saint Athanasius
Bishop of Alexandria
326 AD

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We as the Laity

During these 40 days it is good to consider this: that we as the Laity have a responsibility to deepen our faith, strengthen the roots of our beliefs, become a voice, and become the hands and feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are endowed with this task as Christians in the Pilgrim Church.

The Litany of Desire

Jesus said "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." Let us truly engage in doing those things that will draw us closer to God. This 40 days of Lent, let us encourage each other along the way. Whatever we endeavor in this journey may it not be a superficial, external , shallow act but a genuine and spiritual act feeling and experience the discomfort, the pangs, the tears and sorrow, walking with Christ to Calvary.

Litany of Desire
R. Lord, Hear our Prayer
That we desire to be steadfast in our Lenten Journey walking with you daily.R.
That we desire to remove the obstacles that prevent us from getting closer to the Cross.R.
That we desire to deny ourselves so as to be in union with You, Our Redeemer.R.
That we desire to see You in every life, in every face, in every heart of those we meet.R.
That we desire to examine our lives and repent for our sinfulness.R.
That we desire to grow in our faith through the mystery of Christ's suffering.R.
That we desire to carry our crosses daily.R.
That we desire to be generous to others.R.
That we desire to be servants to others without expecting any reward.R.
That we desire to share our gifts with others.R.
That we desire to be poor and detached from material things.R.
That we desire to be in the Presence of the Holy Eucharist.R.
That we desire to make time to be with You.R.
That we desire to make space in our hearts for You.R.
That we desire to love You by being obedient to Your will.R.
That we desire to pray for others and the world.R.
That we desire to Trust in Your Mercy.R.
That we desire to be at Calvary clinging to Your Cross.R.

That we desire to hunger for Christ's suffering.R.

That we desire to die to ourselves. R.

That we desire to share with Mary the sword that pierced her heart.R.

That we desire the darkness that comes before the dawn.R.

That we desire to stay with Our Lord in His time of need.R.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Sacred is the Mass?

I'm not sure if I am the only one out there who is witnessing a deterioration of the sacredness of the Mass. I mentioned in my blog entry It's The Mass Stupid of how I am hearing melodies that are inappropriate for the songs being sung. The Gloria, the Alleluia, The Hosanna, and the Lamb of God are not the blues or honky tonk or some strip joint and jazz club melody. There is this idea floating around that we have to jazz up the Mass, make it hip, made it current man, get with the program and liven it up. My answer to that is this: if the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity doesn't do it for you then I suggest you check out the 100,000+ Protestant denominations that can offer you everything that you need. If the music doesn't work drive around a block or two and you'll find something for you. So I am going to ask you to watch this video. It is not my intent to to denigrate people who desire praise & worship. I have attended many services and frankly it is exhilarating and spiritually moving! But it is not the Mass.

So watch the following video and ask yourself if you think that the Mass is still something sacred or have we tinkered with it making it something it was never intended to be.

Making Space for God

Beginning the Lenten Journey Anew
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Each year, we are invited to engage in a spiritual journey during Lent: reflection on our lives, on our place in God's world, and on God's awesome gift of love and life to us, as believers. We are called to a time of deeper reflection on Christ's presence in our lives and in our world today, even as we recall Christ's journey to the cross so many years ago. During Lent, we re-focus our minds, hearts, and spirits more intentionally to return to the Lord. With a new and right spirit, we are also called and sent forth, empowered and equipped through God's grace, to participate with joy and hope in the renewal of God's world. Indeed, it is about God's Work, Our Hands. There has never been a more important time than now for this renewal. We are facing a time which may alter the course of our country and the world. There are going to be many individuals facing challenges that they thought would never happen to them. Now more than ever we must journey to the Cross through daily reflection, prayer, scripture, self denial, and the sacraments. The darkness always precedes the dawn.

Litany of Desire
R. Lord, Hear our Prayer
That we desire to be steadfast in our Lenten Journey walking with you daily.R.
That we desire to remove the obstacles that prevent us from getting closer to the Cross.R.
That we desire to deny ourselves so as to be in union with You, Our Redeemer.R.
That we desire to see You in every life, in every face, in every heart of those we meet.R.
That we desire to examine our lives and repent for our sinfulness.R.
That we desire to grow in our faith through the mystery of Christ's suffering.R.
That we desire to carry our crosses daily.R.
That we desire to be generous to others.R.
That we desire to be servants to others without expecting any reward.R.
That we desire to share our gifts with others.R.
That we desire to be poor and detached from material things.R.
That we desire to be in the Presence of the Holy Eucharist.R.
That we desire to make time to be with You.R.
That we desire to make space in our hearts for You.R.
That we desire to love You by being obedient to Your will.R.
That we desire to pray for others and the world.R.
That we desire to Trust in Your Mercy.R.
That we desire to be at Calvary clinging to Your Cross.R.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Imagine the Divine

One thing that the Stranger in A Strange Land recognized a long time ago is how our culture substitutes cheap imitations of things for the real thing. As this post progresses it is probable that I may rant about several different areas where this is occurring. I want to stick to the subject of imagination. There has sprung up an entire industry of what I call imagination products. The theory as it is explained is that this gizmo/product will enable a child to use their imagination by either triggering something or guiding them with images or whatever. They are suppose to unlock a child's imagination. Well I'm here to tell you that idea is pure nonsense. In fact what most of these products do is stifle the imagination by presenting the stuff you should be imagining. No child needs to have his or her imagination unlocked, what they really need is to have the freedom to use it and not be stifled. Why is there a problem today? Let's go back to the 1950's....when I was a little tike we played every single kind of make up game you could imagine (you can still imagine can't you?) We used sticks to be swordsmen or soldiers. We borrowed our parents clothes and became knights and princesses. The fields surrounding our house became whatever we wanted them to be, a different landscape every day. We could be on the moon or hiding from enemy attacks. It was thrilling and consumed our every thought. We would break from it only when called home for lunch or dinner, or to go somewhere. We played, honest to God played. Today children are given so many toys, games, gadgets, out and out junk that there is no room for imagination. Today, since our wonderful culture has improved so much it may not be suitable to allow children to play by themselves. Today, since our cultures has matured and is so more intelligent then in past years, you can't go to school yards after hours and use the playground. No, there are gates with locks on them to keep the vandals out and to insure that some lawyer won't have a liability case to work on. Today, since our cultured has improved we have every kind of video, television, and computer game under the sun, no need to read a good book. Books are boring, too taxing for the young mind. We had the public library back then and it was a marvelous place. I remember at school when one of the nuns explained that the word library comes from the same Latin word as free. That you and I could have the thoughts and ideas of countless others free for the taking at the library. Last, but by no means least, are the thoughts and ideas of who God is. We were taught from day one that our sole purpose on this planet was to know, love, and serve God. Getting to know God has proven to be a lifelong task. God is more than your imagination can come up with. And when we finally get to meet Him as Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians we won't be disappointed , For eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him. We can try to imagine it can't we? God has been eliminated from little peoples lives, the unfathomable has been removed, the ultimate Creator has been put up in a box and replaced by a gizmo. Imagine the Divine....

Almost Forgot - It's Mardi Gras

We here in Louisiana do not need any reason to have a good time but given an opportunity, we will. Here's a little history - Mardi Gras began long before Europeans set foot in the New World. In mid February the ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia, a circus like festival not entirely unlike the Mardi Gras we are familiar with today. When Rome embraced Christianity, the early Church fathers decided it was better to incorporate certain aspects of pagan rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them altogether. Carnival became a period of abandon and merriment that preceded the penance of Lent, thus giving a Christian interpretation to the ancient custom. I think that was a wise decision. You see the Catholic Church throughout the ages has battled different heresies that have tried in one form or another equate the physical world with evil. The Gnostics were the first on the scene with the battle cry "matter is evil". They tried to deny Christ's human nature for God who is good cannot become that which is evil. The Albigensians taught that the spirit was created by God, and was good, while the body was created by an evil god, and the spirit must be freed from the body. Having children was one of the greatest evils, since it entailed imprisoning another "spirit" in flesh. Logically, marriage was forbidden, though fornication was permitted. Tremendous fasts and severe mortifications of all kinds were practiced, and their leaders went about in voluntary poverty. There are still faint manifestations of this in certain Protestant denominations that forbid one thing or another. Our faith teaches that Jesus had both a Divine nature and a human nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ's human nature a kind of personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that "there is but one hypostasis [or person], which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity."Thus everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: "He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity."

The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother.

Jesus was present a many occasions in which people were getting together, weddings, banquets, and gatherings. He was sometimes called out for being present where "tax collectors and sinners were gathered" He enjoyed the company of others in social gatherings. He felt the same human emotions we feel. We are told that upon seeing the tomb of Lazarus Jesus "wept bitterly". He felt sorrow and sadness for Martha and Mary's loss. He also felt the sting of those who mocked Him while he hung on the cross dying for those very people. I guess what I am saying is celebrate those moments in your life. There is a balance between enjoyment of the things in the physical world and the realization that self denial brings you to an acute spiritual awareness. They are both good things as long as they are in the context of the virtuous life.

Louisiana Couple Married for 80 Years

Childhood playmates married for 80 years
What a wonderful story from the Baton Rouge Advocate:
CROWLEY — Some couples take the “till death do you part” section of their marriage vows a little more seriously than others.

Newton Hilliard Leger and his bride Anna Oliver have been married for 80 years. The couple still share the same Crowley home where they have always lived, and share a bedroom with two twin beds set up “I Love Lucy”-style.

Newton is 100 years old, and Anna is 97.

They married on Feb. 3, 1929, and never looked back.

Some four children, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great grandchildren later, they have definitely left their genealogical mark on the world.

The Legers were recently honored at their home by the Louisiana Family Forum as the longest-known married couple in Louisiana, and were inducted into the Louisiana Family Forum “Marriage Hall of Fame.”

They also received a proclamation from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office and blessings from their local priest, the Rev. Michael Polson and Baptist pastor, the Rev. Roger Tarver.

The Guinness World Record for the longest marriage belongs to Percy and Florence Arrowsmith of Hereford, England, also married for 80 years.

The Legers are no longer physically spry, spending most of their time in the beds, but their minds still work just fine.

When asked if she could handle talking to reporters, Anna Leger responded: “Let ’em ask. I sure can answer ’em.”

Anna Leger said that she and Newton met early in life. His father owned a farm on which her father was the farmhand.

“We was raised together on the same plot. We played together all the time when we was little,” she said. “We went to school together.”

Anna Leger summed the whole thing up more simply.

“Be good. Be good to one another,” Anna Leger said.

Newton and Anna reportedly plan to be together forever, even in the end.

“Dad keeps saying that they’re not going one at a time. They’re going together,” Hebert said. “Married that long, we think maybe God didn’t put them in the book for when they were gonna leave.”

Anna Leger said that she does not know how much longer she and Newton will be married.

“Only God knows that,” she said.

Pope Benedict XVI on the Sunday before Lent

St. Polycarp

Today we honor St. Ploycarp, an Early Church Father, who was a disciple of St. John, the Evangelist. Yes, that John who had walked, talked, touched Jesus and affectionately called himself the one whom Jesus loved. Polycarp was Bishop of Smryna and considered a very holy man. When he was captured by the Romans, he was described by many as one who was holy long before he had white hair. Threatened with death from wild animals and being burned alive Polycarp stood fast to the rock of his beliefs that Jesus was Lord. When he was captured many wondered why bother with an 86 year old Bishop. He told his captors he would like an hour or so to pray before they brought him in. From the website catholicdotorg we have a description of what played out:

But that didn't stop them from taking him into the arena on the Sabbath. As he entered the arena, the crowd roared like the animals they cheered. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven above the crowd, "Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man."

The proconsul begged the eighty-six-year-old bishop to give in because of his age. "Say 'Away with the atheists'" the proconsul urged. Polycarp calmly turned to the face the crowd, looked straight at them, and said, "Away with the atheists." The proconsul continued to plead with him. When he asked Polycarp to swear by Caesar to save himself, Polycarp answered, "If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar, you do not know who I am. Let me tell you plainly, I am a Christian." Finally, when all else failed the proconsul reminded Polycarp that he would be thrown to the wild animals unless he changed his mind. Polycarp answered, "Change of mind from better to worse is not a change allowed to us."

Because of Polycarp's lack of fear, the proconsul told him he would be burned alive but Polycarp knew that the fire that burned for an hour was better than eternal fire.

When he was tied up to be burned, Polycarp prayed, "Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers, of the whole creation and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your sight, I bless you, for having made me worthy of this day and hour, I bless you, because I may have a part, along with the martyrs, in the chalice of your Christ, to resurrection in eternal life, resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, among those who are in you presence, as you have prepared and foretold and fulfilled, Godwho is faithful and true. For this and for all benefits I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be to you with him and the Holy Spirit glory, now and for all the ages to come. Amen."

The fire was lit as Polycarp said Amen and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp, the flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn't being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.

The proconsul wouldn't let the Christians have the body because he was afraid they would worship Polycarp. The witnesses reported this with scorn for the lack of understanding of Christian faith: "They did not know that we can never abandon the innocent Christ who suffered on behalf of sinners for the salvation of those in this world." After the body was burned, they stole the bones in order to celebrate the memeory of his martyrdom and prepare others for persecution. The date was about February 23, 156.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Three Conversion Stories to Prepare for Lent

From a Los Angeles millionaire, to drug addicted street person, to a Catholic Priest...Father John Corapi's story is simply amazing. This is a simplified ten minute version of Fr. Corapi's conversion

Alessandra Borghese: the prodigal daughter

or how about Scott Hahn

The Fruits of Your Christain Life

"No man [truly] making a profession of faith sinneth; nor does he that possesses love hate any one. The tree is made manifest by its fruit; so those that profess themselves to be Christians shall be recognized by their conduct. For there is not now a demand for mere profession, but that a man be found continuing in the power of faith to the end."
- St. Ignatius
I have often ask myself and in dialogue with God in prayer "what are the fruits of my Christian life?" I believe that they are not always evident to yourself and that they may not become evident until such time as God chooses them to be so. We are an "instant gratification" society. It is not entirely our fault because so many things happen when we want them to. If your food is cold you can warm in a microwave. For that matter if your hungry or thirsty just hop in your car to the nearest fast food joint and bingo it is taken care of. You want entertainment? Turn on the television for drama, comedy, or better yet let someone bear their souls and remind you how much better your life is. Information comes at the click of a mouse. Like Pavlov's dogs we salivate even when were not presented with the reward. But I'm afraid as I have gotten older I realize that God does not work that way. If you read any of the Old Testament stories you will find that it can take years before things come to fruition. Let us not become lazy when it comes to living the Gospel truth if because we expect some fruits of our labor. I have had conversations with adults whose children have fallen off the path. What can they do? My answer is always the same pray and persevere. It may be years before the fruits of that become obvious. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for patience, courage, and perseverance that our fruits will plentiful even if not obvious to us.

Lord, have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Father all powerful, Have mercy on us.
Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, Save us.
Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless Life of both, Sanctify us.
Holy Trinity, Hear us.

Holy Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and the Son, Enter our hearts.
Holy Spirit, Who art equal to the Father and the Son, Enter our hearts.

Promise of God the Father, Have mercy on us.
Ray of heavenly light, Have mercy on us.
Author of all good, Have mercy on us.
Source of heavenly water, Have mercy on us.
Consuming Fire, Have mercy on us.
Ardent Charity, Have mercy on us.
Spiritual Unction, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of love and truth, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of counsel and fortitude, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of knowledge and piety, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of the fear of the Lord, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of grace and prayer, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of peace and meekness, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of modesty and innocence, Have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, Have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, Who governest the Church, Have mercy on us.
Gift of God the Most High, Have mercy on us.
Spirit Who fillest the universe, Have mercy on us.
Spirit of the adoption of the children of God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Spirit, Inspire us with horror of sin.
Holy Spirit, Come and renew the face of the earth.
Holy Spirit, Shed Thy Light into our souls.
Holy Spirit, Engrave Thy law in our hearts.
Holy Spirit, Inflame us with the flame of Thy love.
Holy Spirit, Open to us the treasures of Thy graces.
Holy Spirit, Teach us to pray well.
Holy Spirit, Enlighten us with Thy heavenly inspirations.
Holy Spirit, Lead us in the way of salvation.
Holy Spirit, Grant us the only necessary knowledge.
Holy Spirit, Inspire in us the practice of good.
Holy Spirit, Grant us the merits of all virtues.
Holy Spirit, Make us persevere in justice.
Holy Spirit, Be our everlasting reward.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Send us Thy Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Pour down into our souls the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of Thy faithful, And enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

Let Us Pray : Grant, O merciful Father, that Thy Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame and purify us, that He may penetrate us with His heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, liveth and reigneth forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pictures at an Exhibition: Esa-Pekka Salonen (1 of 4)

Mussorgsky's Pictures at An Exhibition "Promenade" & "The Old Castle" enjoy!

Pope Benedict XVI Warns of the New Eugenics

Pope warns on new eugenics based on beauty (click here)

Pope Benedict XVI on Freedom & Service to Others

"Where faith becomes intellectualism and humility turns to arrogance, there we find a caricature of the true Church"

He Knows What He is About

Lent is soon to be upon us. I believe that there is much to be gained from this Lenten journey because in a way, we, that is our great nation has been given a gift of one sort - difficult economic times. What you may ask is this gift that you speak of? Well I think that it is paradoxical, that when we are in "good times",and our abundance is plentiful, and we have in our minds the notion that "God is taking care of us" we tend to ignore Him and go about the duties of living our lives. Oh, but when the situation is reversed and the very fabric of our personal security and welfare is in question, we turn to God, especially when we run out of options. If we are turning to God then that is a gift no matter what you think. We are left with a choice. We can "lose it" over the impending difficulties, that is to say get upset, depressed, angry, despondent and become hopeless. I like to believe that the better choice is to see what is really important in our lives, and how can developing a mature relationship with God can gain for us an inner peace. A peace that cannot be destroyed or damaged by the things going in the world. Lent is a time of reflection, a good number of things are available for us to begin getting to know God and His plan for us. Prepare yourself now by asking what you are going to do and to make a commitment to do it. Finally, be consoled that no matter what is going on we are serving God. From St. John Henry Cardinal Newman:"Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him....He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me to strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me; still He knows what He is about.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Glory & Praise To You O' God

Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,and I will praise you with the lyre,O God, my God. -Psalm 43:4

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High; -Psalm 92:1

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music. Psalm 101:1

Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
Let the godly exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their beds. Psalm 149:1-5

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! Psalm 150:1-6

At that time Jesus answered and said: I praise thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. Matthew 11:25

Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." John 12: 28

And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior Luke 1:46

The Priests - Music to My Ears

If you haven't listened to the CD called The Priests just click here and order a copy from Amazon. Here is a little video on them:

Psalm 40

With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me.
And he heard my prayers, and brought me out of the pit of misery and the mire of dregs. And he set my feet upon a rock, and directed my steps.

And he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God. Many shall see, and shall fear : and they shall hope in the Lord.

Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord; and who hath not had regard to vanities, and lying follies.

Thou hast multiplied thy wonderful works, O Lord my God : and in thy thoughts there is no one like to thee. I have declared and I have spoken they are multiplied above number.

Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire; but thou hast pierced ears for me. Burnt offering and sin offering thou didst not require :

then said I, Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of me

that I should do thy will : O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart.

I have declared thy justice in a great church, lo, I will not restrain my lips : O Lord, thou knowest it.

I have not hid thy justice within my heart : I have declared thy truth and thy salvation. I have not concealed thy mercy and thy truth from a great council.

Withhold not thou, O Lord, thy tender mercies from me : thy mercy and thy truth have always upheld me.

For evils without number have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see. They are multiplied above the hairs of my head : and my heart hath forsaken me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me, look down, O Lord, to help me.

Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul to take it away. Let them be turned backward and be ashamed that desire evils to me.

Let them immediately bear their confusion, that say to me : 'T is well, 't is well.

Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee : and let such as love thy salvation say always : The Lord be magnified.

But I am a beggar and poor : the Lord is careful for me. Thou art my helper and my protector : O my God, be not slack.

Where Have You Gone Mary Landrieu?

Senator Mary Landrieu time and time again railed against President Bush for not funding the victims of Hurricane Katrina yet she has mysteriously disappeared.
No Money For New Orleans with respect to Hurricane Katrina in Stimulus Bill

The Christ of Hope

Let us live this day in the fullness of joy in giving glory to God the Almighty. Sometimes it is necessary to remind ourselves just what are we suppose to be doing as God's creation, the children of God. The world has done the work of the Evil One for so long that it is not uncommon to find yourself trapped in one of his greatest snares: despair. It is important to look at life not through the eyes of a culture who seeks only to serve itself, a culture that is godless and sinful, a culture that is shallow and intolerant. The Evil One plays his game with great adeptness. While what we perceive as the foundation of goodness is being gradually destroyed, he has no greater joy than to see us wallow in despair. What are we to do? This is why I said we needed to be reminded of just what we are suppose to be doing. We are suppose be living each day giving glory to God by being imitators of His Son, Jesus. That is what we are to be doing. The Evil One has been fighting his cause for a long, long time. But we already know the outcome don't we? Jesus told us that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church and His people. Let us not give homage to Satan and a world that rejects God and His love, mercy, and goodness. Let us not become strangers to "our world" even if we are strangers in theirs. Let us pierce the darkness! Let us be bold! Let us hold the Light of Truth up to this world each and every day. Let us carry the Cross and lift it high for all to see. The Christ of Hope is here!
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,

will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts
and imagination
Prayer of
St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pelosi Spin on Meeting With Pope Dramatically Different From Vatican Statement

Pope Rebukes Pelosi, Tells Her Catholic Legislators Obligated to Protect Life: No Pelosi/Pope photos permitted

VATICAN CITY, February 18, 2009 ( - The Vatican Press Office released a note this morning detailing part of the conversation which Pope Benedict XVI had with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Pelosi also released a statement on the meeting, which ignored the one and only crucial issue mentioned in the Vatican note. While Pelosi presented the meeting as a fully positive encounter, the Vatican indicated the Pope reminded her of the requirement of Catholic politicians to defend life. Also, contrary to normal protocols for such meetings with dignitaries, no photos of Pelosi with the Pope have been released.

The Vatican note reads: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Vatican insiders stressed to that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who describes herself as a "faithful Catholic," despite her abortion advocacy, should be taken as a firm rebuke. also learned that concerns about Pelosi were presented to Vatican officials a day prior to the meeting.

Such encounters with the Pope are treasured by politicians for the photo opportunity they provide. Pelosi, however, was not afforded that customary photo by the Vatican. The Associated Press reports that "the Vatican said it was not issuing a photo of the meeting -- as it usually does when the pope meets world leaders -- saying the encounter was private."

For her part, Pelosi issued a press release on the 15-minute meeting with the Pope. "It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today," she said. "In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel."

The release from the Vatican, however, made no mention of the comments that Pelosi stressed in her release.

Pelosi's positive spin on the meeting is not being swallowed even by left-leaning Papal watchers. Vatican correspondent John Allen, who writes for the National Catholic Reporter, noted that "routine Vatican declarations after diplomatic meetings also generally sum up the range of issues discussed rather than concentrating on a particular point. In that sense, the statement can only be read as a rejection of Pelosi's statements last summer, and, in general, of her argument that it's acceptable for Catholics in public life to take a pro-choice position."

Allen also noted that "by issuing an unusual public statement after the session with Pelosi -- which insisted that all Catholics, including legislators, are obliged to work for the defense of human life from conception to natural death -- the pope also made clear there will no let-up in the pressure on pro-choice Catholic politicians to change their ways."

Many pro-life organizations from the US and Canada expressed their serious concerns to the Holy See that Mrs. Pelosi was going to be received by the Holy Father. Some of these organizations sent to different Vatican authorities comprehensive memoranda in which they showed in a detailed and precise way the anti-life statements and the pro-death voting record of Mrs. Pelosi.

Catholic sources in Rome, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were "very much encouraged by this statement," saying that it shows that the "Holy Father is ready to stand up with courage to politicians that claim they are Catholics but their voting record denies those hypocritical assertions."

Father Robert Barron

This is an excellent video especially for apologists and evangelizers.

God's Garden

What spiritual gift do you want God to give you? What does your soul cry out for? In my most recent post I posed the question "Who do you think I am?" The same question Jesus asked his disciples. If we can answer that question honestly, after contemplating Him and meditating on Scripture and we are moving towards a life in the spiritual realm, then what's next? Perhaps it is that God is lovingly awaiting to hear from you. He wants you to ask him in prayer for the gift that he has for you. This an important stage in your spiritual growth. As in any relationship, there are turning points, places where you and your loved one draw closer. God knows you and in his desire to move closer seeks your request. He wants you to recognize where you are in your journey and how he can move you towards the path of his true love for you. Prayer now takes on a new role. You are like the new green growth that has just sprouted up in the warm fresh soil of Spring. You are in God's garden. St. Augustine teaches, that God gives without prayer the first graces, such as vocation to the faith and to repentance; but all other graces, and particularly the gift of perseverance, he gives only to those who ask for them. Prayer has many faces. We can contemplate how to pose the question so. Our desire should be that we are doing God's will. In this desire we need to discover what it is that God wants us to do. It may be time to ask "What spiritual gift would you like to give me Dearest Lord?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who Do You Say I Am?

Fra Angelico's "Mocking of Christ", which I had the pleasure of seeing in person, reminds us that we have the power to make God out to be whatever we desire to. To the Jewish rulers Jesus was a threat because he was drawing the interests of many, pointing out their hypocrisy and failure to recognize him for who he was. They made God out to be what they wanted; a threat to their power. To the Romans, Jesus was a threat to the Empire. They made God out to be what they wanted; a political freedom fighter who would incite the people to fight against them. Throughout the ages people and politicians have decided who God is and isn't. Today there are those who tell you God is very tiny and insignificant. There a some who will acknowledge His goodness and splendor but will reduce his role to indifference when it comes to sin and morality. Still others think God is indifferent to every thing, mankind and the universe is a wind up toy that God has walked away from. There are those think God is a rubber stamp okaying anything done in his name including violence or preaching hatred against others. There are those who think God is the figment of a crazed and superstitious imagination. There are those who don't care who God is and blaspheme and mock him. Finally there are those who recognize God but take sides with his nemesis the Devil. God will allow you to believe what you want. He will not, however, end his quest of loving you, of desiring you, and of bringing you home back to the fold.

For All of Us Who Make God Out to be What we Want

The Litany of Conversion

United in the mystery of the conversion of Paul, we pray for the grace of conversion in our own life:
R. Lord, Give me the Grace of Conversion

Lord Jesus,

When I look at my life from the starting point of my own insufficiences, instead of from the fact of your compassion, grace, and love for me. R.

When I would prefer to live by my own thoughts and my own understanding instead of by your Truth which alone can set me free. R.

When I would rather brood over what annoys me than turn myself over to you always invite me to come to you. R.

When I obsess over self-absorption, complacency, and self-assertiveness. R.

When I get dejected about my sin, not because it offends you, but because it prevents me from being able to take delight in myself. R.

Whenever I live in a dualistic way, as if my faith and "my real life" are two separate things, R.

When I am deceived into thinking that my happiness depends on something in the future instead of what you give me in the present moment, R.

Composed by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P. editor Magnificat

Being There

It can be said from time to time that life imitates art. I watched the movie "Being There" starring Peter Sellers as the air headed gardener Chauncey Gardener. This dialgue between Chuancey Gardener is frankly the best dam advice we could give Mr. Prez and Congress:

President "Bobby": Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
[Long pause]
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
President "Bobby": In the garden.
Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
President "Bobby": Spring and summer.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
President "Bobby": Then fall and winter.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
Chance the Gardener: Hmm!
President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.
[Benjamin Rand applauds]
President "Bobby": I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

Apparently Peter Schiff agrees. I suggest you watch some of Peter Schiff's videos on Youtube. He has predicted this bad economy back in 2006! When everybody in the financial world, CNN, Fox Financial News, big time investment advisors, called him everything but crazy

Afghanistan Will Be Come Obama's War

The New Prez promised change and we are going to get it!

Fra Angelico

If you have viewed this blog for any time at all you can easily notice that Fra Angelico is my favorite artist. I have put up on this site well over a dozen of his paintings. He holds a special place in my heart. Several years ago while shopping for some religious articles to give to family members and friends for Easter, I came across this most beautiful painting of The Annunciation, it did not have a label as to whom the artist was but I bought it and gave it to my wife. Last year my wife and I went on a trip to Italy. Before we left I was reading the Magnificat, on each issue, at the back is a painting that they review. I noticed that the painting was in the Convent of San Marco in Florence. and that the artist was Fra Angelico. A few days later I had remarked about it to my son and he told me about Fra Angelico. He pointed out that the Annunciation painting in our kitchen was done by him. One day while in Florence, I ventured off by myself to the Convent of San Marco. I found it and while I was at the ticket counter I showed the painting from the back of the issue of the Magnificat, the one you can see to the left of this post Dominic at the Crucifixion. In my best Italian I asked if it was there at the convent. She reached out over the counter and pointed to it - it was right inside within view. What had been previously a convent became a monastery for Dominican monks. It housed much of Fra Angelico's works along with a few other masters. In each room, called a cell, Fra Angelico had painted a fresco of depicting some part of Christ's life; the Nativity, Crucifixion, etc. there are 34 cells on the 2nd floor and each had this incredible work of art inside. For more on Fra Angelico click on the Saint of the Day to your left or here. A few days after visiting the Convent of San Marco, we were in Rome. My wife and I walked to the Pantheon and just a block or so behind it is the Chiesa de Santa Maria sopra Minerva - The Basillica Church of St. Mary built over the the former temple of Minerva. There, near the altar is Michelangelo's statue of Christ the Redeemer, also inside is the tomb of St. Catherine of Sienna. as we walked throughout the church gazing at the beautiful art throughout, I noticed another tomb and much to my surprise it was Fra Angelico's. His work is so inspiring, and does something for me. In 1982 Pope John Paul II beatified Fra Angelico declaring him the patron saint of Catholic artists. He died on this date in 1455. Fra Angelico, pray for us.

More to Love About Louisiana

Only in Louisiana - The Blessing of the Devils (courtesy of Spirit Daily via the Shreveport News) The Crew of Centaur Parade

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Don't Despair All is Not Bad

Life is Beautiful

The Wisdom of A Child

12-year-old steals day with pro-life speech
Teachers threaten disqualification, but girl chooses to speak against abortion. source: Worldnet Daily

Are You Carrying Your Cross?

Jesus said in Matthew 10: 38-39 "and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it".
Are we really taking up our cross? This is a question for each and everyone who professes to be a follower of Christ. What are the crosses we are to bear? Perhaps its a family member who has a past history of doing you wrong. I don't mean abuse, but perhaps they haven't treated you fairly, maybe they are too selfish, too stubborn, too disinterested. Sometimes the tables get turned and that member is in need, take up your cross and go to him or her. Your cross could be waiting for you each and every morning you go to work. Try being humble, considering their needs before yours. Your cross could be the physical pain you suffer from. Perhaps it is the results of an accident or perhaps father time has caught up with you. Offer it up to Christ, united with his suffering. Your cross could be that job you did not get or the deal that fell through. Your cross could be the failed relationship or people in your life that have disappointed you. Your cross may be that you are a caretaker of an elderly parent or a disabled child. We live not a perfect life without suffering, but a life of opportunity. Opportunity to say yes today I will begin to carry my cross. I will put others before me. I will be there when needed. I will not complain. Our journey will never be an easy one. Christ asks us not to turn from our suffering, not to blurt them out, or do something that is destructive. He asks us to face them straight up and rely on His strength. In a way Christ helps carry all our crosses. Reflect on that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Litany of Humility

St. Ignatius wrote of the Three Modes of Humility
"the first mode of humility is necessary for eternal salvation. This requires that I humble and abase myself as much as is possible for me, in order that I may obey in all things the law of God"

"the second mode of humility is more perfect than the first. I am in possession of it if my state of mind is such that I neither desire nor even prefer to have riches rather than poverty, to seek honor rather than dishonor, to have a long life rather that a short one, provided that here be the same opportunity to serve God, our Lord and to save my soul

"the third mode of humility is the most perfect. This exists when, the first and second forms already possessed and the praise and glory of the Divine Majesty being equally served, I desire and choose poverty with Christ poor rather than riches, in order to be more like Christ Our Lord"

Litany of Humility

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…

The 25 Things I Like About Lousiana

I am not a Facebook type of guy. I'm too old and too unattractive to let anyone look at me more than 30 seconds but my daughters have told me that there is this thing called 25 things about you. I read the Great Deception Blog about such a thing. Anyway instead of 25 things about me. I decided on 25 things about where I live. The list probably left out some stuff but here it is......

photo courtesy of Louisiana Office of Tourism

25 Things I Like About Louisiana
1. The people – without a doubt the kindest, lovingest, most hospitable, most warm, down home, and funniest people on the planet
2. Jambalaya
3. New Orleans – no city in America like it
4. The weather – it is beautiful from about late October to late May and it’s beautiful and hot the rest of the year
5. LSU – home of The Purple & Gold - The Fighting Tigers – football’s finest team and fans
6. Catholics – devout and fun loving
7. Zydeco music
8. Crawfish Boils
9. The Mississippi River
10. Festivals- where else on this planet is there a Shrimp & Petroleum Festival
11. Ponchatoula Strawberries
12. Abita Beer
13. The Brown Pelican – symbol of Christ and marvelous creature
14. High school sports – some of the finest athletes in the country
15. Seafood – crawfish etouffee, shrimp Creole, fried catfish, gumbo (Lenten Penance)
16. Levees
17. Lake Pontchartrain (the Causeway too)
18. Lafayette (just about everything)
19. The many outstanding priests here
20. Mardi Gras (King Cakes, parades, balls)
21. Lake Charles (if only because my sister-in-law Lynne lives there)
22. Baton Rouge – the Capitol, the Politics, the Tigers (see#5), the traffic (I don’t think so)
23. Saturday night at Tiger Stadium (see#5)
24. Grand Coteau - Jesuit Retreat Center
25. My wife Kathy who embodies all the joy of these things and who brought me here to paradise from the frozen Nawth