Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew to His Brother Peter "We Have Found the Messiah"

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'

I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."

John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.

I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.'

Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God."

The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

He said to them,"Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.

He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah ( Gospel of St. John 1:29-41)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Keep Jesus' Name Out Of It

I recently got into to a discussion with someone about this idea of Christ and Christmas being left out or shut from the commercialized secular world. It's "happy holidays" and the "season's greetings" and whatever terminology they use such as "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday." Here's my take: I would prefer that they, the commercialized, secularized, shop till you drop society, keep Jesus' name out of it. That's right I am on their side. Please do not mention the name of Christ or Christmas during this season of the material grab. What is taking place; the stress of holiday shopping, the long lines, the great sales, the overheated charge cards, the idiotic commercials with holiday jingles is not what Jesus Christ is about, so please don't associate His name with it, thank you very much. If you are the protestanized, "Joel Osteen" brand of Christianity, you might take up the cause, for the name of Christ is only thing that separates you from the secular world anyway, the truth is your beliefs are congruent with theirs. Secularized Catholics are also in the same boat. We have become a Christian nation that worships the golden calf. Except the calf is Bass Pro, Best Buy, Macy's, Target, Wal-Mart, Sears etc. We subscribe to America's values, but what are they? You have the right to consume. If you do not have the financial means to consume, do not worry you can charge it, if financial institutions, mortgage lenders, auto manufacturers, etc. do not have the means, don't worry the government will provide, if the government doesn't have the means don't worry, they'll print more money. In fact everything we do as a government is to protect and promulgate you spending money, to consume things. That is the meaning of life to be able to produce and consume. If you can't produce, you are worthless (consider Terry Schiavo) and God forbid if choose not consume, you are a weirdo. What doe this have to do with Jesus Christ, the Saviour, Redeemer of sinful, fallen man?

The Hidden Power of God

The power of the most High shall over-shadow thee” , said the angel to Mary. This shadow, beneath which is hidden the power of God for the purpose of bringing forth Jesus Christ in the soul, is the duty, the attraction, or the cross that is presented to us at each moment. These are, in fact, but shadows like those in the order of nature which, like a veil, cover sensible objects and hide them from us. Therefore in the moral and supernatural order the duties of each moment conceal, under the semblance of dark shadows, the truth of their divine character which alone should rivet the attention. It was in this light that Mary beheld them. Also these shadows diffused over her faculties, far from creating illusion, did but increase her faith in Him who is unchanging and unchangeable. The archangel may depart. He has delivered his message, and his moment has passed. Mary advances without ceasing, and is already far beyond him. The Holy Spirit, who comes to take possession of her under the shadow of the angel’s words, will never abandon her.

There are remarkably few extraordinary characteristics in the outward events of the life of the most holy Virgin, at least there are none recorded in holy Scripture. Her exterior life is represented as very ordinary and simple. She did and suffered the same things that anyone in a similar state of life might do or suffer. She goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth as her other relatives did. She took shelter in a stable in consequence of her poverty. She returned to Nazareth from whence she had been driven by the persecution of Herod, and lived there with Jesus and Joseph, supporting themselves by the work of their hands. It was in this way that the holy family gained their daily bread. But what a divine nourishment Mary and Joseph received from this daily bread for the strengthening of their faith! It is like a sacrament to sanctify all their moments. What treasures of grace lie concealed in these moments filled, apparently, by the most ordinary events. That which is visible might happen to anyone, but the invisible, discerned by faith, is no less than God operating very great things. O Bread of Angels! heavenly manna! pearl of the Gospel! Sacrament of the present moment! thou givest God under as lowy a form as the manger, the hay, or the straw. And to whom dost thou give Him? “Esurientes implevit bonis”. God reveals Himself to the humble under the most lowly forms, but the proud, attaching themselves entirely to that which is extrinsic, do not discover Him hidden beneath, and are sent empty away.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Boundless Love & Humility

Today is the last day in ordinary time. While most of life is ordinary in a sense, there comes a time when news of a new family member to be, when word of a pregnancy and new baby child warms our heart. It is in that anticipation and joy that we prepare ourselves. I have four children, and I am fully cognizant of the spectrum of emotions that follow. I know the joy of gazing into the eyes of a newborn, of bringing he or she to mother to hold for the first time, to carry into our home a precious new life, to watch the glee and excitement of grandparents. There is no greater story than that of a pregnant wife with husband after a very long journey, looking for place to stay, and with no room in the inn, settling for a night in a stable, among the animals, and giving birth to the Creator of the Universe, with millions upon millions of angels singing. It is in a single moment, the culmination of everything in history that matters. A defenseless, tiny child, wrapped up so tight, and gazing gently into his mothers eyes, in act of boundless love and humility, born into a world much like ours today, full of sin and strife, with the powerful and the powerless. It is in that vein that we are constantly awaiting Him, today amidst the darkness, awaiting the Light from the new dawn to shine on us all. I cannot contain my excitement!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Priest Should Be Humble as Christ was Humble

The lay faithful together with the clergy and women and men religious, make up the one People of God and the Body of Christ.
Being "members" of the Church takes nothing away from the fact that each Christian as an individual is "unique and irrepeatable". On the contrary, this belonging guarantees and fosters the profound sense of that uniqueness and irrepeatability, in so far as these very qualities are the source of variety and richness for the whole Church. Therefore, God calls the individual in Jesus Christ, each one personally by name. In this sense, the Lord's words "You go into my vineyard too", directed to the Church as a whole, come specially addressed to each member individually.

Because of each member's unique and irrepeatable character, that is, one's identity and actions as a person, each individual is placed at the service of the growth of the ecclesial community while, at the same time, singularly receiving and sharing in the common richness of all the Church. This is the "Communion of Saints" which we profess in the Creed. The good of all becomes the good of each one and the good of each one becomes the good of all. "In the Holy Church", writes Saint Gregory the Great, "all are nourished by each one and each ones is nourished by all"( CHRISTIFIDELES LAICI)

As a member of the laity I would like to make some observations here. I want to preface my remarks by saying that I know many good priests. I have the utmost respect for the clergy, so what I am saying is and should be received in a true sense of charitable criticism. A priest is more than just a mediator between the universal truth of God and man in his fallen state. A priest is in "persona Christi," certainly while celebrating Mass, but also in everything he does. I do not always witness that humility, in fact there have been occasions where it has been missing altogether. Humility is a very difficult thing to master, and the secular world has no place for it, so perhaps the only way to develop it is through contemplation and prayer. A priest should be willing to do whatever it takes to model Christ's humility as much as we all should. In this the "Year of the Priest," it is my prayer that priests ask themselves, "Am I humble as Christ was humble?" "Do I view my priesthood as something beyond being a member of the body of Christ.?" We as Catholics, must respect, love and hold witness to the truth of the priesthood, but we must also guard against clericalism. I have recently witnessed this sort of institutionalized behavior and it is not what Christ preached.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Heavenly Father, from You the fountain of goodness, all things flow. You the Creator of all things, have gifted us with our very existence and Your only begotten Son, Jesus, who "pitched His tent among us" for our salvation and the forgiveness of sins. We give all Praise, Honor, and Thanksgiving, on this day and always. Amen

Truth Can Be Found Only in God

All creatures that exist are in the hands of God. The action of the creature can only be perceived by the senses, but faith sees in all things the action of the Creator. It believes that in Jesus Christ all things live, and that His divine operation continues to the end of time, embracing the passing moment and the smallest created atom in its hidden life and mysterious action. The action of the creature is a veil which covers the profound mysteries of the divine operation. After the Resurrection Jesus Christ took His disciples by surprise in His various apparitions. He showed Himself to them under various disguises and, in the act of making Himself known to them, disappeared. This same Jesus, ever living, ever working, still takes by surprise those souls whose faith is weak and wavering.

There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action.

It is really and truly there present, but invisibly present, so that we are always surprised and do not recognise His operation until it has ceased. If we could lift the veil, and if we were attentive and watchful God would continually reveal Himself to us, and we should see His divine action in everything that happened to us, and rejoice in it. At each successive occurrence we should exclaim: “It is the Lord,” and we should accept every fresh circumstance as a gift of God.

All that we see is nothing but vanity and deceit; truth can be found only in God. What a difference between the thoughts of God and the illusions of man! How is it that although continually warned that everything that happens in the world is but a shadow, a figure, a mystery of faith, we look at the outside only and do not perceive the enigma they contain?

We fall into this trap like men without sense instead of raising our eyes to the principle, source and origin of all things, in which they all have their right name and just proportions, in which everything is supernatural, divine, and sanctifying; in which all is part of the plenitude of Jesus Christ, and each circumstance is as a stone towards the construction of the heavenly Jerusalem, and all helps to build a dwelling for us in that marvellous city.

We live according to what we see and feel and wander like madmen in a labyrinth of darkness and illusion for want of the light of faith which would guide us safely through it. By means of faith we should be able to aspire after God and to live for Him alone, forsaking and going beyond mere figures.
Jean-Pierre De Caussade, SJ

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Father Longnecker on Modernist Christianity

Father Dwight Longnecker is so right on, like Chesterton he sees it for what it is. From Standing on my Head blog: 10 Reasons Why Modernist Christianity Will Die.

item 6. Modernism makes no great demands for its devotees to be religious. Ask any modernist, "Why should I come to Church?" What would he answer? "You don't have to come to church. It's there if you want it. If it does you good, and makes you feel better, we're here to serve you." Modernist Catholic priests wring their hands and wonder why no one comes to Mass anymore. It's because for forty years they've been saying, "It's not really a mortal sin to miss Mass. You should come because you love God, not because you fear him." While this sentiment may be laudable, they shouldn't therefore be surprised if no one comes to Mass.

I have been railing against this "noodle spined" approach to Catholicism. It is hard to find any one (priest, religious, etc) who will point out the "Sunday obligation" to young people. When the Bishop is confirming young adults who do not regularly attend Mass, there is something not right with the picture.

Pope Benedict: to the English Speaking Pilgrims

God Calls Man First

The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. Revelation 8:4

Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. "Crowned with glory and honor," man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging "how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth." Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God. CCC 2566

God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation. CCC2567

When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theologal path (the path of faith, hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus' explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers of prayer in his Church.CCC2607

From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one's brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else. This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head.CCC2637

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

General Principles from Abandonment To Divine Providence

Our Lord has given me something better for you than that which you desire, something that it did not occur to you to ask for. It is a summary of some general principles to guide your conduct in life, with an explanation of the easiest way of putting them into practice.

1st Principle. The mainspring of the spiritual life is a good will, that is to say, a sincere desire to belong to God entirely and without reserve; consequently it is not possible to renew too frequently this holy desire in order to strengthen it, and to make it more lasting and efficacious.

2nd Principle. The firm resolution to belong to God should produce in you a determination to think only of Him, and this can be practiced in two ways, first by accustoming yourself never voluntarily to entertain thoughts, or to reflect on subjects which do not concern God directly or indirectly as to the duties of your state in general, or in particular. The best way of dealing with idle thoughts is not to combat and still less to be anxious and troubled about them, but just to let them drop, like a stone into the sea. Gradually the habit of acting thus will become easy. The second way to think only of God is to forget everything else, and one arrives at this state by dint of dropping all idle thoughts, so that it often happens that for some time one may pass whole days without, apparently, thinking of anything as though one had become quite stupid. It often happens that God even places certain souls in this state, which is called the emptiness of the spirit and of the understanding, or the state of nothingness. This annihilation of one’s own spirit wonderfully prepares the soul for the reception of that of Jesus Christ. This is the mystical death to the workings of one’s own activity, and renders the soul capable of undergoing the divine operation. This great emptiness of the spirit frequently produces another void even more painful—that of the will; so that one has seemingly, no feeling, either for the things of this world, or even for God, being equally callous to all. It is often God Himself who effects this second void in the souls of certain people. One must not, then, try to get rid of this state, since it is a preparation for the reception of God’s most precious operations, and is the second mystical death intended to precede a happy resurrection to a new life. This two-fold void must therefore be valued and retained. It is a double annihilation very difficult for pride and self-love to endure, and must be borne with the holy joy of an interior spirit.

3rd Principle. We must confine our whole attention to fulfilling as perfectly as possible the holy will of God to its full extent, abandoning everything else to Him, such as, the care of all our temporal and also our spiritual interests, as, our advancement in virtue. The practice of this double abandonment is, first—every time we feel in our hearts a desire, or a fear, or have ideas and form projects regarding our own interests or those of our parents and friends, to say to God, “Lord, I sacrifice all this; I give up all my miserable interests to You. May all that You please, all that You wish, happen. However, as there may be occasions when it is reasonably necessary to think and to act, I beg You to give me the thought at the right time, and thus I shall do nothing but follow what You deign to inspire, and I accept in advance either good or adverse results.” Having made this interior act we should let all our fears and desires drop like a stone, without troubling ourselves any more about them, being assured that God will give us, in His own good time, the thought and impulse to act according to His holy will and divine intention. Jean Pierre de Caussade SJ

Irish Blessings from "The Priests"

Sanctify This Day O' Lord

Sanctify this day O Lord, make holy all that I do.
Allow me to see your hidden ways
Lift up my lowly heart to you
Make holy all I do.
Sanctify this day O Lord.

The earth is the LORD'S and all it holds, the world and those who live there.

For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.
Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?

"The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.

They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God.

Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob."

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD, a mighty warrior, the LORD, mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Viva La Cristo Rey!

Blessed Miguel Pro was a remarkable human being. With the election of General Plutarco Elias Calles to president, thus began the systematic persecution and attempt to eradicate the Catholic Church in Mexico during 1920's. Churches were burned down priests were hunted down and hung, religious were either jailed or murdered. Every attempt was made to shut the down the Catholic Church.

Father Miguel Pro was born in Guadalupe, the son of a miner. He joined the Society of Jesus, and was forced out of Mexico to California. He was eventually sent to Belgium where the Jesuits were there having also been tossed out of France. He was ordained in Belgium in August 1925. He returned to Mexico in 1926 but things there were worse not better. Blessed Miguel Pro was not deterred either spiritually nor in service to his people. He would often disguise himself in order to celebrate Mass and was always cheerful in his disposition. This, during the most horrible of times when you could find priests strung up hanging from power lines. He was arrested on phony trumped up charges that he attempted to assassinate the ex president. In November of 1927 he was ordered to be executed despite no evidence or even a conviction. The Mexican government was going to use his execution as a propaganda to show that the Catholics were cowards.
On November 23, 1927,as Fr. Pro walked from his cell to the courtyard and the firing squad, he blessed the soldiers, knelt and briefly prayed quietly. Declining a blindfold, he faced his executioners with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other and held his arms out in imitation of the crucified Christ and shouted out, "May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, Thou knowest that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!" Before the firing squad were ordered to shoot, Pro raised his arms in imitation of Christ and shouted the defiant cry of the Cristeros, "Viva Cristo Rey!" -"Long live Christ the King! Bullets were fired but Blessed Miguel Pro would not go down. When the initial shots of the firing squad failed to kill him, a soldier shot him point blank. At his beatification on September 25, 1988 Pope John Paul II honored Fr. Pro with these words:

Neither suffering nor serious illness, neither the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away. Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death

When I hear the excuses that people give about missing Mass and how this or that is so difficult, I remind them of the many martyrs who throughout the ages paid with their lives so the Faith would continue. Men will die but the Church will never die as Christ promised. We are to live our faith with joy and courage. If you look at the Catholic Church and truly understand its history and its message of hope and love you will recognize that our faith is a faith worth living and worth dying for. Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, before your death, you told your friend to ask you for favors when you were in Heaven. I beg you to intercede for me and in union with Our Lady and all the angels and saints, to ask Our Lord to grant my petition, provided that it be God's Will.

[Here mention your request.]

We honor and adore the triune God. (Gloria)
We ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. (Come Holy Spirit)
We pray as Jesus taught us to pray. (Our Father)
We venerate with love the Virgin Mary. (Hail Mary)
All you angels, bless you the Lord forever.
Saint Joseph, Saint [name of your patron], and all the saints, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel, high spirited youth, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, loving son and brother, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, patient novice, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, exile from your homeland, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, prayerful religious, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, sick and suffering, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, defender of workers, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, courageous priest in hiding, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, prisoner in jail, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, forgiver of persecutors, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Blessed Miguel, holy martyr, pray for us. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

from Ad Majorem De Gloriam

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pope Benedict: Cross Sign of the Kingship of Christ

Pope Benedict on Sunday said the cross is the paradoxical sign of kingship of Christ. Speaking before reciting the Angelus in St. Peters Square, the Holy Father said the regal power of Christ is not that of the kings of this world, it is the divine power to give eternal life to free us from evil, and to defeat the dominion of death.

The Solemnity of Christ the King concludes the Liturgical year. The Pope said Christs power of love can soften a hardened heart, bring peace to the most bitter conflict, and turn people to hope in the greatest darkness.

The Pope said that it is a power that can not impose anything, and always respects our freedom.

May His Name Be Blessed Forever

O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings; That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment,
That the mountains may yield their bounty for the people, and the hills great abundance,
That he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the poor and crush the oppressor.

May he live as long as the sun endures, like the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain coming down upon the fields, like showers watering the earth,
That abundance may flourish in his days, great bounty, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth.

May his foes kneel before him, his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, the kings of Arabia and Seba offer gifts.
May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him.
For he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help

He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves the lives of the poor.
From extortion and violence he frees them, for precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live, receiving gold from Arabia, prayed for without cease, blessed day by day.
May wheat abound in the land, flourish even on the mountain heights.

May his fruit increase like Lebanon's, his wheat like the grasses of the land.
May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun, may his name endure. May the
tribes of the earth give blessings with his name; may all the nations regard him as favored.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful deeds.

Blessed be his glorious name forever; may all the earth be filled with the LORD'S glory. Amen and amen.

Christ the King and His Bride

So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?"Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?"Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here."So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

God in the economy of salvation sent His only begotten Son, not to establish a "feel good" philosophy. His plan was not to be a guru to all future generations, so they can "cherry pick" those nuggets of truths that make us all feel good, even if we can't live by them. He also did not come here to establish the first blank church of blank blank, or the healing church of blank, or the thousands upon thousands of churches who have found their elusive truth that was missing or eluded the Church. Jesus Christ came to establish His Kingdom, the evidence is all throughout the Old Testament. His Kingdom does not depend upon what political power is in office. His Kingdom does not depend on some philosophical construct or theory that man can come up with. In establishing His Kingdom on earth Christ the King took a bride and that bride is the Church. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her. Christ bride was not established as a democracy or a republic, she does not exist so that she can make you feel good, or remove or ignore truths that "are up with the times." Christ is the King, and he told us that the way we showed our love for Him was by obeying His commandments. If you belong to the truth that He is King you will hear His words.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

On the Presentation of Mary

"Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today's liturgy. For something of a historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James (ch. 4:1ff). After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord. Soon after birth the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel's daughters were admitted. At the age of three she was transferred to the temple proper (7:2). According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel (8:1).

"In the East, where the feast, celebrated since the eighth century, is kept as a public holiday, it bears the name, 'The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple'. It was introduced at Rome by a Cypriotic legate to the papal court of Avignon in 1371. In 1472, Sixtus IV extended its observance to the whole Church. Abolished by Pius V, it was reintroduced some years later (1585)."

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Mary Landrieu $100 Milllion Dollar Vote

Our esteemed Senator has a special provision in the health care bill just for you. ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports:
The 100 Million Dollar Health Care Vote

What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform?

Here’s a case study.

On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”

I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.

In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)

Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.

How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.

Here is the bill's language:


Section 1905 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d), as amended by sections 2001(a)(3) and
2001(b)(2), is amended— (1) in subsection (b), in the first sentence, by striking ‘‘subsection (y)’’ and inserting ‘‘subsections (y) and (aa)’’; and (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘‘(aa)(1) Notwithstanding subsection (b), beginning January 1, 2011, the Federal medical assistance percentage for a fiscal year for a disaster-recovery FMAP adjustment State shall be equal to the following:
‘(A) In the case of the first fiscal year (or part of a fiscal year) for which this subsection applies to the State, the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the fiscal year without regard to this subsection and subsection (y), increased by 50 percent of the number of percentage points by which the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the fiscal year without regard to this subsection and subsection (y), is less than the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the preceding fiscal year after the application of only subsection (a) of section 5001 of Public Law 111–5 (if applicable to the preceding fiscal year) and without regard to this subsection, subsection (y), and subsections (b) and (c) of section 5001 of Public Law 111–5.

‘‘(B) In the case of the second or any succeeding fiscal year for which this subsection applies to the State, the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the preceding fiscal year under this subsection for the State, increased by 25 percent of the number of percentage points by which the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the fiscal year without regard to this subsection and subsection (y), is less than the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the preceding fiscal year under this subsection.

‘‘(2) In this subsection, the term ‘disaster-recovery FMAP adjustment State’ means a State that is one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia, for which, at any time during the preceding 7 fiscal years, the President has declared a major disaster under section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and determined as a result of such disaster that every county or parish in the State warrant individual and public assistance or public assistance from the Federal Government under such Act and for which— ‘‘(A) in the case of the first fiscal year (or part of a fiscal year) for which this subsection applies to the State, the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the fiscal year without regard to this subsection and subsection (y), is less than the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the preceding fiscal year after the application of only subsection (a) of section 5001 of Public Law 111–5 (if applicable to the preceding fiscal year) and without regard to this subsection, subsection (y), and subsections (b) and (c) of section 5001 of Public Law 111–5, by at least 3 percentage points; and ‘‘(B) in the case of the second or any succeeding fiscal year for which this subsection applies to the State, the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the fiscal year without regard to this subsection and subsection (y), is less than the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for the State for the preceding fiscal year under this subsection by at least 3 percentage points.

‘‘(3) The Federal medical assistance percentage determined for a disaster-recovery FMAP adjustment State under paragraph (1) shall apply for purposes of this title (other than with respect to disproportionate share hospital payments described in section 1923 and payments under this title that are based on the enhanced FMAP described in 2105(b)) and shall not apply with respect to payments under title IV (other than under part E of title IV) or payments under title XXI.’’

Do not forget this bill will contain funding for abortions on demand! Thanks Mary.

The Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We would like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.

And yet, it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability -
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually - let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time,
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming in you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

--Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Canticle of Mary

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Makes Peter Sink?

Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.

When it was evening he was there alone.Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear

At once (Jesus) spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God." Matthew 14:22-33
I met with my spiritual adviser and we spoke about faith. In this passage from the Gospel of Matthew when Peter begins to walk on water, he loses his faith. What cause it to happen? It was precisely the point when, because of the wind, the wind sort of shocked Peter, that Peter starts to think like the secular world, he needs something measurable. He should not be able to walk on water, so he starts to seek something by which he can measure his experience and does not find it. Faith is believing when all things tell you not to believe. When Christ was upon his cross, dying, he no reason to believe but only the love of His father. Faith does not require something that we can measure by. God does the impossible. Lets put this point into perspective of our current times. The economy is bad for sure, people begin to see all the things that comprise who they are, for most of us they are the things we can measure, our house, our car, our material possessions, our lifestyle. The loss of those things can devastate people. This is not the case with faith, it does not require anything measurable. Faith (deep faith) empties everything that you are and says to God, I totally depend on you. It believes when is no tangible, secular, measurable reason to believe. That is faith of Peter walking on the water after Jesus invites him with the word "Come" That is the faith we aspire to, we will get near it at times and move from at other times. That is what our spiritual life does, and in a slow sure zig zag pattern we move to holiness. Take another example, an alcoholic, when he is totally busted, lost job, wife, kids, house, car, is not even in control of his body, flat on his face. That is point where he realizes that he is totally dependent on someone outside of himself, and since he has betrayed his family and friends, God becomes the only place he can go, and God can fix that person. We don't need tragedy to realize we are not in control, although it will drive the message home. We need to gradually remove our attachments, they are much like the wind that Peter heard on the water, they cause us to take measure and so we fall back on them. The spiritual journey is moving from the detachments to total surrender, not that God is to take care of everything in your life, that's not what God does. He desires your love and through that love comes peace. Faith is believing when there is no reason to believe.

The Maccabees

The liturgy readings as we wind down Ordinary times has focused on the 1st Book of Maccabees. It is a wonderful story of courage and faith, of the Maccabee brothers, second century Jews who revolted against Antiochus, the Greek ruler who forbid the practice of their faith.

Read here:
2 Maccabees 7:1-42 It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine’s flesh. One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, “What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers.” The king fell into a rage, and gave orders that pans and caldrons be heated. These were heated immediately, and he commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out and that they scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, saying, “The Lord God is watching over us and in truth has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song which bore witness against the people to their faces, when he said, `And he will have compassion on his servants.’”

After the first brother had died in this way, they brought forward the second for their sport. They tore off the skin of his head with the hair, and asked him, “Will you eat rather than have your body punished limb by limb?” He replied in the language of his fathers, and said to them, “No.” Therefore he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done. And when he was at his last breath, he said, “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.” After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, and said nobly, “I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again.”

As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man’s spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. And when he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!”

Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. But he looked at the king, and said, “Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!”

After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, “Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened.

But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!” The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage, and said to them, “I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.”

Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs.

Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: “My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.”

While she was still speaking, the young man said, “What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king’s command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. For we are suffering because of our own sins. And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God’s covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation.”

The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

What faith! What courage!

Just for the records. Martin Luther hated the Book of Maccabees. He removed it from the canon of the Bible, with no authority to do so. I could go into a discussion of the history of the Septuagint Bible and the development of the canon, but at another time. Another interesting tidbit: the Jewish holiday Hanukkah "the Festival of Lights" commemorating the re-dedication of the of the Holy Temple is mentioned in Maccabees, the only place it is mentioned in the Bible. Since the Hebrew Bible doesn't contain Maccabees and Luther pulled the book out, the only place you will find Hanukkah is in the Catholic Bible.

The Catholic Church reveres the Maccabees and August 1st is the Feast of their martyrdom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Father Robert Barron on 2012 (SPOILERS )

The Great Deciever

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.

Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word. You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. Can any of you charge me with sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not listen, because you do not belong to God." John 8:42-47

Read the above passage as if Jesus were speaking directly to you. Of course the Word of God should speak directly to you. Are the playthings of Satan distracting you so much you cannot hear Jesus speak to you. If you are cynical and do no think that Satan exists and is a figment of people's imagination, all I can say is that he is happy you think that way. He is the master of deception and will continue to run things for you as long as you permit. That is your free will working. That is why many are blinded to their sins. They have followed Satan's path for so long not even aware that he has them in his grips. He has set up his tent in the culture of death and is quite comfortable there. Satan loves death, he is all about death. he is happy about the death of the family, delighted in the death of worship, is thrilled by the death of virtues and morals and righteousness. He wallows in the lust for materials, sexual pleasure, drug and alcohol use, all destructive things. Do not underestimate him. If you belong to him you will as Jesus says willingly carry out his desires.
You need help to combat him. Even those who are not in his camp for he is always seeking new members, here is some advice:

"After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the Devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if Satan's temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he'll have an incentive to leave you alone."

-- St. Ignatius of Loyola

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make No Mistake He is A King

The Gospels show us many sides of Jesus. It is obvious that he is compassionate and loving to those who he ministered to. He shows his wisdom in the parables and the many times he out wits those who tried to trap him. He is a true friend to his disciples. In all the ways he revealed himself including his death and resurrection we see the boundless love for all of us. We tend to forget at times that He is a King. The wise men knew it and came bearing gifts for a King. Pilate knew it also in a strange way. Jesus is a King. He has Royal Blood and it ran from his side while he hung upon a cross. He was born in animal stable while Caesar slept in his palace, yet it is He who is King. He was fitted with a Crown of Thorns and spat upon but He is King. He is the most Righteous King and as we profess every time we say our creed, His Kingdom will last forever. At every Mass that you ever attend you are in a Royal Palace awaiting the precise moment when you are to be received by a King. The Greatest King, the King of Everything and All Things. When you process up to receive the Holy Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus the King, focus on seeing Him standing there in all His most majestic & royal clothing. Bow with honor and respect before the King! Make no mistake He is a King.


I recently posted about four people that I have known who took their lives and that the necessity to have something beyond what this material world can give. I came across this today in First Things. It is an article called The Reality of Hope in which Amy Julia Becker describes her experiences that she as she went through the process of losing her mother-in-law and friend to liver cancer. She writes:

When Penny first received her diagnosis—primary liver cancer—we were optimistic. Perhaps surgery would eradicate the disease. Perhaps she would live to know her grandchildren. Perhaps she would retire and travel to Italy again. We thought it might all work out. But then came the pathology report, the news that the cancer had gotten into her bloodstream. Those optimistic thoughts were no longer readily available. Optimism failed. But hope is not optimism, and neither is it false piety. Once Penny died, it was tempting to ignore the sadness and focus upon the promise of eternal life. It was tempting to bypass grief. But I cringed when someone offered, “I guess God needed another angel in heaven.” In thinking only of the future, of heaven, that statement skips over the real loss in the present. It implies that God is needy, snatching people away to fill some cosmic void. It implies that it is acceptable for a fifty-five-year old woman to die a grueling death. Statements about God’s purpose in death can be used as a cudgel, a way to berate believers into pretending that the loss is not profound, devastating. “Pie in the sky by and by” is no consolation. False piety skips past grief altogether, and, like optimism, it ultimately fails.

I visit people dying every week and have spoke with and consoled the sick and their family members. The thought that we are mortal and fragile at best is something I am reminded of each day. I think about dying quite frequently, how people my age have succumb to diseases, how there is really no logical way to make sense of it. In dealing with this a strange thing has happened to me, in confronting what was genuine fear, I have attained a certain degree of peace. That peace is that I truly feel the hope that Jesus talked about. We are given differing degrees of suffering and our losses can never be fully understood. He consoles us as we look to the hope of eternal life.

Will it Come to This?

St.. Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Elizabeth was born in Hungary in 1207, the daughter of Alexander II, King of Hungary. At the age of four she was sent for education to the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia, to whose infant son she was betrothed. As she grew in age, her piety also increased by leaps and bounds. In 1221, she married Louis of Thuringa and in spite of her position at court began to lead an austerely simple life, practiced penance, and devoted herself to works of charity.

Her husband was himself much inclined to religion and highly esteemed her virtue, encouraging her in her exemplary life. They had three children when tragedy struck - Louis was killed while fighting with the Crusaders. After his death, Elizabeth left the court, made arrangements for the care of her children, and in 1228, renounced the world, becoming a tertiary of St. Francis. She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death at the age of 24 in 1231. (courtesy of Catholic Online)

A Prayer to St. Elizabeth
Almighty God, by whose grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world:
Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble. In the name and for the sake of and through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen (courtesy of

Monday, November 16, 2009

St. Albert the Great

St. Margaret of Scotland

St. Gertrude

Is Your Life Based on Secular Thought?

Jesus told us that it was necessary to die to ourselves in order to follow Him. I would suggest that to be a good Christian it is necessary to jettison secular thought from your world view. For most Christians this is not an easy thing to do. Most people think in general terms that has a foundation and root in secular thought which has permeated so much of the American culture that it is almost inescapable. Here are the most significant side by side comparison on what believers should have as their basic philosophy in their journey of Faith.

Christianity-------------- Secular
Humility-------------------- Pride
Free Will-------------------- Determinism
Responsibility------------- Irresponsibility
Doctrine-------------------- Sentimentalism
Last Things---------------- Progress
Eternity-------------------- Temporary
Culture of life-------------- Culture of death

Lets look at each item. Being a Christian is first realizing that it is not about you. Jesus Christ was the perfect model of humility. Look to your heart and see if the way you view things is not guided by what it does for you and what gains will you make, or how you are stronger, smarter, prettier, more powerful, richer, what can the world do for me. That thinking is WRONG and not what Christ taught. God in his infinite wisdom gave man fee will. He so loved us that he gave us total freedom. The world on the other hand is a dreary, depressing place when you come to the conclusion that you are controlled by it. You feel powerless against the forces that govern your life. Submitting your free will to Christ is a paradox. It is the most liberating thing you can do! Without a set of moral principles guided by the Church and with the love of the Holy Trinity, you will make bad choices. The world even goes as far as suggesting that these choices are not your fault, its the fault of...fill in the blank. It is the duty and responsibility of each Christian to obey God's commandments and live a righteous life! Christ emphatically said to love Him is to obey His commandments.
Catholicism gives one the means to live fully Christian in every single aspect of life. It becomes central to your being as Christ is central to your being. It has order as all things are ordered. It has Christ present in the sacramental life, living and available to each one of us. It is not another secular lifestyle, which is narrow. Catholicism deals with first things and last things and never shys away from reason. Christianity answers the question "why do I exist and what is my life and death all about? The world is only concerned with pushing its agenda forward, a "better life through science and technology" well lest you forget science and technology takes us to places like widespread pornography (internet), abortion & birth control, death & destruction from military technology, an life that has been intruded. Christianity is about a much more important question than how can I live more comfortably today to how can I live eternally happy. We have the answer and it is a person, who lives and thinks and feels as we do - Jesus Christ! Christianity celebrates life. Its most imitates the Trinity in the structure of the family. God became man and lived in a family!
The world tells us that children are a burden, don't have them or you won't have as many toys. The world places the value of a person on one thing: can you produce? Once that question can't be answered you are subject to the the culture of death's main mantra: dispose what is not useful! Christianity celebrates life because man has inherent self worth not dependent on the world: He is the image of God! He possess an eternal life a soul that is everlasting! That is and will always be worth celebrating. Jesus said that there would be more celebration over a sinner that repents (how much love can that possibly be!) than all the righteous in heaven. Finally, I suggest that there is no greater joy than knowing God. Rid yourslef on that depressing, shallow, temporary, self indulgent, unsatisfying secular thought and get in touch with the Divine. Your eternal life depends on it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Jesus, the Son of Father, true God expounds a very important philosophical truth about Himself. He is eternal. This is absolutely critical in understanding Christianity especially in a secularized society that is so concerned and focused on temporal things. Jesus is not a feel good guru espousing a life style or a philosophy about how human beings might better get along. That it would be a major mistake to extract the "DNA" of Christ and place it wherever it makes sense for you. With respect to Jesus, true God, it is imperative that you take all of Him. That is the first commandment, and you can't get to "love thy neighbor as thyself" outside of that. In the contemporary society that we live in there is an abundance of excuses why we don't love our neighbors. Jesus is eternal, and he is not going away. This is an important message for a world that is aching inside, that see that temporal truths can and have changed, (just ask the millions of unemployed or those who have had their life savings evaporated by scandals), that cannot make sense of the world and see opting out as a genuine choice (so tragic). Jesus is eternal and that is good. These truths are real, they can and should be anchored to. He is eternal, not a passing fad or something that you place your bets on, only to find out that you were wrong. Jesus is eternal, He never says no to a contrite heart and in fact He is overjoyed with it, as are all the angels in heaven. He will give you a chance when nobody else will. With Him and through Him you can attain eternal life, a share in the life of the Divine. Jesus is eternal.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alma Mater: Featuring The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI

Spiritus Sanctus Chant

Mother of God (Wa in kana jismouki)

Mother of God, O Gentle One,
treasure of mercy and our hope.

You are our refuge and in you we place our trust.
Intercede for us, O Virgin Mary
and have compassion on our dead.

Though your body may be far from us,
Virgin Mother when you pray.
But your prayers are always with us
giving us protection and shelter.

We implore you to ask him who honored you
when he became incarnate from you.
Ask him for us sinners, forgiveness
and his mercy forever and ever.

You are our Mother, you are our hope
you are our glory and you are our refuge.
Be our advocate before your Son
that in his mercy, he may forgive our sins.

Do not abandon us, O Gentle Mother.
You are full of all the graces.
Pray for your children, all your children,
who give you thanks forever and ever.


Friday, November 13, 2009

My Gather Us in Song

A couple of days ago I came across this post on American Catholic. Gather us In The song has been stuck in my head so I decided to give it a whack. This is a parody so don't get upset.

To the tune of Gather Us In

Like a disease that there is no cure for
Like a bad guest who won't go away
The darn Jesuits of St. Louie
Gave us this crap to hear on Sunday

It matters not to know what you're doing
It matters not the clothes that you wear
Give us a happy song or two then
And in an hour we'll be out of here

Gather us in the liturgically challenged
Gather us in the ignorant mass
We'll have to listen to Marty Haugen
Or the equally bad David Haas

Gather us in the out-of-tune youth choir
Gather us in with songs that are dumb
With flip flops, blue jeans and tee shirts
And that outrageous, obnoxious drum

I'll take Gregorian chant any day
So please take this nonsense away
So far no change on banning this stuff
Except you can't sing the song called "Yaweh"

Mother Cabrini

Frances Cabrini was born in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano in the province of Lombardy, northern Italy, two months prematurely, on July l5, 1850. Her father, Agostino, was a farmer and her mother, Stella, stayed at home with the children. Frances was the tenth of eleven brothers and sisters, only four of whom survived beyond adolescence. Small and weak as a child, these characteristics influenced her entire life.Her parents’ strong faith was transmitted to her by word and example. Her father would read to the family from the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, telling stories of the great missionaries. The stories of the missions in China made a particularly strong impression on Frances and at an early age, she desired to travel there as a missionary.

At the time of her youth, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was at its peak and provided a spiritual foundation to the work of the missions.

When she was old enough she applied for, but was refused, admission to several religious orders because of her frail health.

In 1863, Frances registered as a boarding student at the Normal School in Arluno, some distance from Sant’ Angelo. Her purpose was to graduate as a school teacher. The school at Arluno was run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart who prepared and educated future teachers. Frances lived there for almost five years until 1868, the year she graduated. According to the custom of the time, boarding students lived in the convent with the religious sisters. For Frances, this was like a dream come true: for all practical purposes she was living as a religious among religious. Moreover, she shared the Christian life of a convent where the Sacred Heart was the center of devotion.

Upon completing her coursework, she petitioned to join the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. Although Mother Giovanna Francesca Grassi saw in Frances a chosen soul full of virtue, she decided not to accept her fearing that her poor health would not permit her to endure the rigors of religious life. Nonetheless, perhaps to soften the blow, or perhaps out of intuition, Mother Grassi encouraged her saying “You are called to establish another Institute that will bring new glory to the Heart of Jesus.” Her words were prophetic indeed.

In 1868, Frances received her teacher’s diploma and returned to Sant’Angelo where she taught in the private school established by her sister, Rosa, and dedicated herself to works of charity and to serving the poor. In 1871, at the request of her pastor, when a substitute teacher was needed immediately, she moved to the nearby village of Vidardo to teach in the public school.

For twenty-eight years of her missionary life, Mother Cabrini traveled regularly across the Atlantic Ocean. A prolific writer, it was during her second voyage, that she began the custom of writing letters to her sisters in the form of a travel diary. These letters are preserved today as valuable biographical documentation.

In conformity with the Heart of Jesus, the Institute she founded has responded compassionately and efficiently to the needs of all, immigrants, as well as the native-born worldwide. Education, pastoral ministry, and religious instruction and outreach to those in need spiritually and materially flourishes on six continents. Responses to the “signs of the times,” to needs as they presented themselves continue.

When Mother Cabrini died December 22, 1917, at the age of 67, 67 missions of the Institute had been established, ministries of healing, teaching, caring, giving and reaching out, in cities of the United States, Italy, France, England, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, and Nicaragua.