St. Monica Parish

St. Monica Parish
Why I Pray! Jesus is present in the Tabernacle. He promised to never leave us and his promise is true.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Are you profiting from your sin? You should be.

Are you profiting from your sin? You should be.

This made me realize just how humbling it is to recognize the sin in my life for when I denied it, I was truly proud and arrogant which, of course, was the original sin. How many of us continue in this original sin?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This second reading from the Liturgy of the Hours speaks of the wonders of love. It's the stairway to heaven, but such a difficult climb. Along the way we see so clearly the sins of others and deny our own sin. We think we can fix others by pointing out the sins, but in fact we push them away. Love is so simple, but so very hard. There are times when I have a deep understanding and acceptance of where others need to be in their lives. But it seems that those times are fleeting. I do believe that our loving and merciful creator made us all different and he has a particular plan for each one of us. He is God and I am not. Letting go and trusting that God is working in the lives of my loved ones and I don't have to. We all have our journey that involves pain and suffering. We are all called to come home to God's heavenly kingdom, but not all will answer that call. It is what we do in this life that will make all the difference in the next. Blessings!

Second reading
From a sermon by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop
The armament of love

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defense, and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray nor be afraid: love guides him, protects him, and brings him to his journey’s end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Reading in today's Liturgy of the Hours

So many today do not understand the call to holiness. We are all called to holiness, but we must work at it. Is it easier to just live out the struggles of the day and "get through life" knowing and hoping that it will just all end soon? Or is it easier to grow in understanding and wisdom through prayer and devotion to our Creator and Redeemer? Most of us know the Our Father, but how many of us really listen and comprehend the words? "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven..." When you pray these words, do they touch your heart or are they just words? Yes, we are all called to be saints! St. Augustine said it so well! "Our hearts are restless, Lord, till they rest in you." And he didn't mean we had to die to find Jesus. His presence is real. Heaven can be found now, just as surely as we can also find hell on this earth. Which one does your heart long for? If it's Heaven than you will get on your knees every day and give God praise and thanksgiving for His goodness and great mercy. For He alone must be the center of your life. God desires to bless us! But we must choose to open our hearts to receive His blessings and grace! God bless one and all!

From a letter to Diognetus

No man has ever seen God or known him, but God has revealed himself to us through faith, by which alone it is possible to see him. God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him. So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.

He devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son. As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us. But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.

When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.

When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness?
Where else could we—wicked and sinful as we were—have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?

How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I Love being Catholic - continued!

My thought process was distracted by the stories I read from my favorite bloggers. I must continue the thought of "Why I love being Catholic."

It's really very simple! Jesus!! We need to just spend our days praising and thanking our wonderful Creator and Redeemer and He has given us so many reasons to do this!

His life began in a very simple way - a child was conceived in a virgin womb! How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - His mother asks him to help the bride and groom who seem to have run out of wine. In her faith and trust, she tells the waiters to "do whatever he tells you" as she continues to tell us today. So Jesus turned water into wine! How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk. Nothing like this has ever been done before! How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - he enjoys his Passover meal with his disciples and changes bread into his body and wine into his blood and tells them "to do this in remembrance of him." How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - he dies after being beaten, bloodied, spat upon, crowned with thorns, and crucified and then, he rises from the dead! How unbelievable is this!! What is it about this man that drew so many to him?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: After his Resurrection, Jesus' divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was "designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead". The apostles can confess: "We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

With Jesus, all is possible. We believe or we do not believe! We come into this world with free will. God loves us so much, He will never force himself upon us or force His will upon us. We can freely choose to believe or not to believe. I love my Catholic faith. For nowhere else can I find the sacraments that give me the graces I need to find my way back home to Jesus, especially the food for the journey (Eucharist) and the mercy of God (Reconciliation). I am blessed and it fills me with joy!

I've spoken of my favorite bloggers, but will continue in another blog about my favorite books, movies, and online websites that enhance and support my journey to love my faith. God bless!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why I Love being Catholic

It's all about truth. It's not truth camouflaged by what our culture currently believes. It's truth passed down through the ages from one generation to another. But something happened in the 60s when truth became watered down and many truly believed that the Catholic Church would eventually change their position on certain truths. Those truths concerned the body and sexuality. I married in 1968 and bought every lie our culture propagated and yet continued to go to Sunday Mass and receive Jesus. Why did I go to Mass? Because I felt required to do so. I know now that I never truly believed in the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus in this truly awesome Sacrament. What blessings I was missing as I began to make decisions about marriage and family. And now 44 years later, I see in retrospect all that I missed. But I have also discovered in the process God's great mercy.

My greatest sin today is envy and jealousy as I follow blogs of young Catholics, married and single folks, who follow faithfully the teachings of the Catholic Church as I never did as a young mother. I also envy their ability to communicate in a way that was not available to me as a young mother. As I read their stories, I can't help but think how awesome the moms and dads are in their dedication to their children and their faith. In their blogs, they speak honestly and openly about their joys and sorrows, worries and concerns about being open to life and following the teachings of the faith.

On October 11, 2012, we began celebrating the Year of the Faith  and will finish up the year on November 24, 2013. These bloggers are some of this year's greatest evangelizers and they can suffer greatly from the responses in their comboxes. I hope you will enjoy them and share positive responses to the sacrifices and struggles, joys and deliriously funny happenings in their lives. I'd like to share with you some of these unseen heroes of the faith.

Calah Anderson, Barefoot and Pregnant, hit it right when she recently wrote about how wrong it is to respond to the tragedy in Newtown, CT with "because it proves that you were right all along about a law to ban prayer in schools." We do not need God in our schools as much as we need Him in our Hearts. Anyone who spends even a small portion of their day in prayer knows this.

Jennifer Fulweiler, Conversion Diary, speaks about becoming Catholic after spending most of her life as an Atheist. Her reality TV show, Minor Revisions, debuted on December 13, 2012. You can watch the first show on YouTube. Or get more information about the show by going here. Jennifer and her husband are surrounded by life!!

Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress, tells it like it is. She is a font of information! If I want to know what is going on in the world with a Catholic view to the story, I read it on her blog. Elizabeth is a Benedictine Oblate and the Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal at Patheos, which information I took from her website. Sometimes I wonder if she ever sleeps.

Joanne K. McPortland, Egregious Twaddle, is another favorite. She's honest and funny and shares the truth about her life, whether it's good or bad. Joanne reminds me that we are all human and suffer from that original sin that our first parents so kindly passed on to us. But in doing so, they opened the doors to Jesus and God's great mercy. How blessed we are to believe!!

And there are so many other bloggers that I can mention here, such as Danielle Bean (who is now doing a million other things since I first discovered her blog some years ago and raising 8 children), Rachel Balducci at Testosterhome, Matthew Archibold at Creative Minority Report, Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It!, Lauren at Sipping Lemonade, and Matthew Warner at Fallible Blogma. So many and so many more not mentioned here. Follow them; Enjoy; Return to the faith; Renew your faith; or just enjoy the community of believers!

To end this blog, I want to share part of a story in today's local newspaper about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. This one heartbroken dad who responded to the loss of his daughter with love and forgiveness. His words will reverberate around the globe. Life is all about love!

Robbie Parker, father of 6-year-old shooting victim Emilie, spoke to the public last night about his daughter and the lives she touched in her short time. When her friends were feeling sad, he said, Emilie reached for the markers and colored pencils that she almost always carried. “She never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those around her,” Parker said. “I can’t count the number times Emilie … rushed to grab a piece of paper to draw them a picture or write them a note.” The 30-year-old father took deep, steadying breaths and fought back tears last night as he described his 6-year-old daughter. She had big blue eyes, lots of white-blond hair and a dusting of freckles across her nose. “Her laughter was infectious,” Parker said. “All those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world has been a better place because she has been in it.” She loved art. She loved trying new things — except for food. But above all, she loved her 3- and 4-year-old sisters, Parker said. She taught them to dance, to read and to do crafts. “They looked up to her,” Parker said. “It would be really sweet to see the times when one of them would fall or one of them would have their feelings hurt and would run to Emilie to get their support and hugs and kisses.” He paused to send a blessing to the family of the gunman Adam Lanza. “I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you,” Parker said. “I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well.”

God bless all and Merry Christmas to all!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

St. John of the Cross, Priest - Memorial Dec. 14, 2012

St. John of the Cross worked with St. Teresa of Avila to reform the Carmelite Order. They are known as the Discalced Carmelites of which I am part of the Third Order, the lay portion of the Carmelites. This is such a joyful feast day as we celebrate the life of St. John. St. John teaches us how to rejoice even in suffering! The reading below is taken from the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. God bless! From a Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross, Priest Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them. We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides. For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training. All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life. Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross. Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be steadfast and rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the height and the depth—to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ, so as to be filled with all the fullness of God. The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Second Reading of Liturgy of the Hours

If only mankind knew the presence of Jesus within, how different he would behave. His prayer life would grow and his desire to communicate with God and his knowledge of God's love. All this would grow until he feels as though he would burst. For the infinite being inhabits fully the finite. How does this happen that we are so loved by our Creator and that we do not take the time to love Him back?

From a sermon by St. Bernard, Abbot

"We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself says: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Keep God's word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all. "

Friday, November 30, 2012

St. Andrew, feast Day

This was taken from the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. I especially like the last sentence. We all must support one another on our journey home. Blessings!

"After Andrew had stayed with Jesus and had learned much from him, he did not keep this treasure to himself, but hastened to share it with his brother. Notice what Andrew said to him: We have found the Messiah, that is to say, the Christ. Notice how his words reveal what he has learned in so short a time. They show the power of the master who has convinced them of this truth. They reveal the zeal and concern of men preoccupied with this question from the very beginning. Andrew’s words reveal a soul waiting with the utmost longing for the coming of the Messiah, looking forward to his appearing from heaven, rejoicing when he does appear, and hastening to announce so great an event to others. To support one another in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, of loving kinship and sincere affection."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Memorial

Happy feast day to my daughter Elizabeth! St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!

From a letter of Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth

"From this time onward Elizabeth’s goodness greatly increased. She was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castles should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband’s four principalities, and finally she sold her luxurious’ possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.

Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, Elizabeth went to visit the sick. She personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive; to some she gave food, to others clothing; some she carried on her own shoulders, and performed many other kindly services. Her husband, of happy memory, gladly approved of these charitable works. Finally, when her husband died, she sought the highest perfection; filled with tears, she implored me to let her beg for alms from door to door.

On Good Friday of that year, when the altars had been stripped, she laid her hands on the altar in a chapel in her own town, where she had established the Friars Minor, and before witnesses she voluntarily renounced all worldly display and everything that our Savior in the gospel advises us to abandon. Even then she saw that she could still be distracted by the cares and worldly glory which had surrounded her while her husband was alive. Against my will she followed me to Marburg. Here in the town she built a hospice where she gathered together the weak and the feeble. There she attended the most wretched and contemptible at her own table.

Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman. When she was coming from private prayer, some religious men and women often saw her face shining marvelously and light coming from her eyes like the rays of the sun.

Before her death I heard her confession. When I asked what should be done about her goods and possessions, she replied that anything which seemed to be hers belonged to the poor. She asked me to distribute everything except one worn out dress in which she wished to be buried. When all this had been decided, she received the body of our Lord. Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons. Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her, and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died. "

Friday, November 16, 2012

St. Gertrude, Memorial

Happy Feast Day, mom!

Reflections from St. Gertrude taken from the Second Reading in the Liturgy of the Hours.

"May my soul bless you, O Lord God my Creator, may my soul bless you. From the very core of my being may all your merciful gifts sing your praise. Your generous care for your daughter has been rich in mercy; indeed it has been immeasurable, and as far as I am able I give you thanks. I praise and glorify your great patience which bore with me even though, from my infancy and childhood, adolescence and early womanhood, until I was nearly twenty-six, I was always so blindly irresponsible. Looking back I see that but for your protecting hand I would have been quite without conscience in thought, word or deed. But you came to my aid by giving me a natural dislike of evil and a natural delight in what is good, and provided me with necessary correction from those among whom I lived. Otherwise I should now have to admit to doing my own will whenever the opportunity offered itself, living like some pagan in a pagan society, and never understanding that you, my God, reward good deeds while punishing evil. Yet you had chosen me to be specially trained to serve you. I was a child of five when I began to live in a convent surrounded by your most devoted friends.

To make amends for the way I previously lived, I offer you, most loving Father, all the sufferings of your beloved Son, from that first infant cry as he lay on the hay in the manger, until that final moment when, bowing his head, with a mighty voice, Christ gave up his spirit. I think, as I make this offering, of all that he underwent, his needs as a baby, his dependence as a young child, the hardships of youth and the trials of early manhood.

To atone for all my neglect I offer, most loving Father, all that your only-begotten Son did during his life, whether in thought, word or deed. That sacred life was, I know, utterly perfect in all respects, from the moment he descended from your heavenly throne and came into this world, until finally he presented the glory of his victorious human nature to you, his Father.

And now, as an act of thanksgiving, I praise and worship you, Father, in deepest humility for your most loving kindness and mercy. Though I was hurrying to my eternal loss, your thoughts of me were thoughts of peace and not of affliction, and you lifted me up with so many great favors. To these you added the inestimable gift of your intimate friendship, and in various ways allowed me to possess your Son’s own heart, that most noble ark of God united with the Godhead. You refused me no delight that could be mine.

Finally, you drew me to yourself by your faithful promises of the good things you would give me from the hour of my death. So great are these promises that for their sake alone, even if you had given me nothing besides, my heart would sigh for you always and be filled with a lively hope."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thoughts from the OCDS Day of Recollection

Fr. Kevin Culligan gave a great talk on the Beatitudes. "Jesus teaches us to be happy, but he doesn't take away the pain. Pain plus resistance equals suffering. Pain plus acceptance equals happiness (beatitude). If you accept pain, you can anticipate joy."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A reading from Job

God is so good! He gives us what we need when we need it! God bless us all!

Job 1:21; 2:10b 

Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,
   and naked I shall go back again.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
   blessed be the name of the Lord!
We accept good things from God;
   and should we not accept evil?

And another four years begin!

In morning prayer, I read this reading from Maccabees and it touched my heart as we wake this morning to the re-election of Obama. How scary it is to go through another four years with this man and his cohorts, but how wonderful to remember that God is with us always and though we who believe are small in number He who is Lord of the Universe will bring us to victory! God bless!

"It is easy for many to be overcome by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven. With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; but we are fighting for our lives and our laws.  He himself will crush them before us; so do not be afraid of them.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elisabeth Leseur

Loved reading Elisabeth Laseur's "The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur." Here is an excerpt reprinted in the Magnificat.

"To go always to the little ones, the suffering, those for whom life is hard, but not to scorn those carefree ones who live for themselves. They more than the others, perhaps, need to be show God to them. Resolutely to devote my mind, my will, my heart, my whole being to God, to the advancement of God's kingdom. To raise, strengthen, and spread, a little of the warmth that God has put into my heart, the 'fire' that kindles me, which I regret being unable to kindle in others.

"When I have done this, God will do the rest. We pray, suffer, and labor unaware of the consequence of our action and prayers. God makes them serve his plan; gradually, they take effect, winning one soul, then another."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The First Adam, The Last Adam

This is taken from today's second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Peter Chrysologus was one of the great preachers.

From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop
The holy Apostle has told us that the human race takes its origin from two men, Adam and Christ; two men equal in body but unequal in merit, wholly alike in their physical structure but totally unlike in the very origin of their being. The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit.

The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life. The last Adam was formed by his own action; he did not have to wait for life to be given him by someone else, but was the only one who could give life to all. The first Adam was formed from valueless clay, the second Adam came forth from the precious womb of the Virgin. In the case of the first Adam, earth was changed into flesh; in the case of the second Adam, flesh was raised up to be God.

What more need be said? The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role, and the name, of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam; the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: I am the first and the last.

I am the first, that is, I have no beginning. I am the last, that is, I have no end. But what was spiritual, says the Apostle, did not come first, what was living came first, then what is spiritual. The earth comes before its fruit, but the earth is not so valuable as its fruit. The earth exacts pain and toil; its fruit bestows subsistence and life. The prophet rightly boasted of this fruit: Our earth has yielded its fruit. What is this fruit? The fruit referred to in another place: I will place upon your throne one who is the fruit of your body. The first man, says the Apostle,was made from the earth and belongs to the earth; the second man is from heaven, and belongs to heaven.

The man made from the earth is the pattern of those who belong to the earth; the man from heaven is the pattern of those who belong to heaven. How is it that these last, though they do not belong to heaven by birth, will yet belong to heaven, men who do not remain what they were by birth but persevere in being what they have become by rebirth? The reason is, brethren, that the heavenly Spirit, by the mysterious infusion of his light, gives fertility to the womb of the virginal font. The Spirit brings forth as men belonging to heaven those whose earthly ancestry brought them forth as men belonging to the earth, and in a condition of wretchedness; he gives them the likeness of their Creator. Now that we are reborn, refashioned in the image of our Creator, we must fulfill what the Apostle commands: So, as we have worn the likeness of the man of earth, let us also wear the likeness of the man of heaven.

Now that we are reborn, as I have said, in the likeness of our Lord, and have indeed been adopted by God as his children, let us put on the complete image of our Creator so as to be wholly like him, not in the glory that he alone possesses, but in innocence, simplicity, gentleness, patience, humility, mercy, harmony, those qualities in which he chose to become, and to be, one with us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


This passage was taken from the second reading in today's Liturgy of the Hours. A good lesson from the great St. Augustine. Prayer is the ultimate source of all of our happiness. It is not found in the world. The source is God Himself. God bless all!

"We must search out the life of happiness, we must ask for it from the Lord our God. Many have discussed at great length the meaning of happiness, but surely we do not need to go to them and their long drawn out discussions. Holy Scripture says concisely and with truth: Happy is the people whose God is the Lord. We are meant to belong to that people, and to be able to see God and live with him forever, and so the object of this command is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and a sincere faith.

In these three qualities, “a good conscience” stands for “hope.” Faith, hope and love bring safely to God the person who prays, that is, the person who believes, who hopes, who desires, and who ponders what he is asking of the Lord in the Lord’s Prayer."

Friday, October 19, 2012

St. Paul of the Cross, Memorial

Today is the feast of St. Paul of the Cross. Below is taken from one of his letters calling us to offer all our sacrifices in silence. Something so hard for us to do. We want others to share in our misery, to acknowledge that we have a right to be miserable. It is so much better to carry the cross in silence and then we allow God to work in our lives - for he knows best. "When you become true lovers of the Crucified, you will always celebrate the feast of the cross in the inner temple of the soul, bearing all in silence and not relying on any creature. Since festivals ought to be celebrated joyfully, those who love the Crucified should honor the feast of the cross by enduring in silence with a serene and joyful countenance, so that their suffering remains hidden from men and is observed by God alone. For in this feast there is always a solemn banquet, and the food presented is the will of God, exemplified by the love of our crucified Christ."

Monday, October 15, 2012

St. Teresa of Avila, Memorial Oct. 15, 2012

Today is the Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, the founder of the Discalced Carmelites of which I am blessed to be a lay member. She taught us much about our relationship with Jesus in her many writings. The text below is taken from the second reading in today's Liturgy of the Hours. God bless us all! From a work by Saint Teresa of Avila, virgin If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight. Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example. What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly. Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We must always remember to look to ourselves to do what is right, no matter how challenging or difficult the moment. We live with no regrets when we always practice respect for the other and that respect needs to be more than an outward sign. It needs to come from our interior in order to be fully displayed with grace and joy on the outside. God bless! From a book on Christian formation by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop "If you try to outdo one another in showing respect, your life on earth will be like that of the angels."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

St. Francis of Assisi, Memorial Oct 4

Today is the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi who gave up all his wealth in order to follow Jesus and serve the poor. To truly follow Jesus we must be willing to give up everything. The following reading is taken from the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Francis, pray for us! SECOND READING From a letter written to all the faithful by Saint Francis of Assisi (Opuscula, edit. Quaracchi 1949, 87-94) "We must be simple, humble and pure It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me. Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body. O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack. Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Holy Guardian Angels, Memorial Oct 2

Remember to pray to your Guardian Angels today and ask for protection against the evil one who is alive and well and prowling the earth looking for souls to drag into the darkness! The reading below is from the second reading of today's Liturgy of the Hours. SECOND READING From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot (Sermo 12 in psalmum Qui habitat, 3, 6-8: Opera omnia, Edit. Clisterc. 4 [1966] 458-462) That they might guard you in all your ways "He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. Let them thank the Lord for his mercy; his wonderful works are for the children of men. Let them give thanks and say among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. O Lord, what is man that you have made yourself known to him, or why do you incline your heart to him? And you do incline your heart to him; you show him your care and your concern. Finally, you send your only Son and the grace of your Spirit, and promise him a vision of your countenance. And so, that nothing in heaven should be wanting in your concern for us, you send those blessed spirits to serve us, assigning them as our guardians and our teachers. He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instill confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need. So let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honor them as much as we can and should. Yet all our love and honor must go to him, for it is from him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect. We should then, my brothers, show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the Father. We are God’s children although it does not seem so, because we are still but small children under guardians and trustees, and for the present little better than slaves. Even though we are children and have a long, a very long and dangerous way to go, with such protectors what have we to fear? They who keep us in all our ways cannot be overpowered or led astray, much less lead us astray. They are loyal, prudent, powerful. Why then are we afraid? We have only to follow them, stay close to them, and we shall dwell under the protection of God’s heaven."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Part of the 2nd reading from today's Liturgy of the Hours. A reminder to all of us who are sinners yet long for the Kingdom of God. From the beginning of a letter to the Philippians by Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr "He who raised him from the dead will raise us too if we do his will and keep his commandments, loving what he loved, refraining from all wrongdoing, fraud, avarice, malice and slander. We must abstain from false witness, not returning evil for evil, nor curse for curse, nor blow for blow, nor denunciation for denunciation. Always remember the words of the Lord, who taught: Do not judge and you will not be judged; forgive and you will be forgiven; be merciful and you will find mercy; the amount you measure out to others will be the amount measured out to you. Blessed are the poor and those who suffer persecution, for theirs is the kingdom of God."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael - Feast Sept 29

Taken from the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, pray for us! From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope (Hom. 34, 8-9: PL 76, 1250-1251) "The word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages. Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.” Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel. So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

St. Vincent de Paul, Memorial Sept 27

To serve the poor means to serve those who are financially poor as well as those who are spiritually, mentally and physically poor. God loves each one of us in a very special way. How blessed we are! From a writing of St. Vincent de Paul "It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out. So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember that this very service is performed for God. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. Since she is a noble mistress, we must do whatever she commands. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Sept 24, 2012

Yesterday I heard a homily by Fr. Ron at Sacred Heart Church in Ocean Beach. He spoke about Jesus and who he is to us. Is he the Jesus of the Gospels? Or is he a Jesus we have created, making him into someone we want him to be? The Jesus of the Gospels asks us to carry our crosses. Suffering is never easy and not the first choice for any of us. But it's the choice that will get us to Heaven. In today's world, most are looking for the life of comfort and pleasure - the world, the flesh, and the devil. St. Augustine tells pastors and all of us in this year of evangelization to seek out the lost sheep. Those who want to be found and those who don't. We'll have to answer for it before our God someday. From a Sermon on Pastors by St. Augustine "The straying sheep you have not recalled; the lost sheep you have not sought. In one way or another, we go on living between the hands of robbers and the teeth of raging wolves, and in light of these present dangers we ask your prayers. The sheep moreover are insolent. The shepherd seeks out the straying sheep, but because they have wandered away and are lost they say that they are not ours. “Why do you want us? Why do you seek us?” they ask, as if their straying and being lost were not the very reason for our wanting them and seeking them out. “If I am straying,” he says, “if I am lost, why do you want me?” You are straying, that is why I wish to recall you. You have been lost, I wish to find you. “But I wish to stray,” he says: “I wish to be lost.” So you wish to stray and be lost? How much better that I do not also wish this. Certainly, I dare say, I am unwelcome. But I listen to the Apostle who says: Preach the word; insist upon it, welcome and unwelcome. Welcome to whom? Unwelcome to whom? By all means welcome to those who desire it; unwelcome to those who do not. However unwelcome, I dare to say: “You wish to stray, you wish to be lost; but I do not want this.” For the one whom I fear does not wish this. And should I wish it, consider his words of reproach: The straying sheep you have not recalled; the lost sheep you have not sought. Shall I fear you rather than him? Remember, we must all present ourselves before the judgement seat of Christ. I shall recall the straying; I shall seek the lost. Whether they wish it or not, I shall do it. And should the brambles of the forests tear at me when I seek them, I shall force myself through all straits; I shall put down all hedges. So far as the God whom I fear grants me the strength, I shall search everywhere. I shall recall the straying; I shall seek after those on the verge of being lost. If you do not want me to suffer, do not stray, do not become lost. It is enough that I lament your straying and loss. No, I fear that in neglecting you, I shall also kill what is strong. Consider the passage that follows: And what was strong you have destroyed. Should I neglect the straying and lost, the strong one will also take delight in straying and in being lost."

Friday, September 21, 2012

St. Matthew, Feast, Sept. 21, 2012

Today is the feast of St. Matthew and I've copied the second reading from the breviary. In meditating upon this reading and upon the life of Matthew, we can see how God calls all of us to follow him. And in following the Christ, we are asked to give up everything and to take up our crosses as well. It's amazing the influence Jesus had on Matthew for him to so quickly give up his wealthy lifestyle to follow Jesus in a life of poverty - both material and spiritual in the sense that he was open to the movement of the spirit in his life. Emptied so his finite being could be filled with the infinite! Blessings! From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest (Hom, 21: CCL 122, 149-151) Jesus saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me. Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men. He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: Follow me. This following meant imitating the pattern of his life—not just walking after him. Saint John tells us: Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. And he rose and followed him. There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift. As he sat at table in the house, behold many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. This conversion of one tax collector gave many men, those from his own profession and other sinners, an example of repentance and pardon. Notice also the happy and true anticipation of his future status as apostle and teacher of the nations. No sooner was he converted than Matthew drew after him a whole crowd of sinners along the same road to salvation. He took up his appointed duties while still taking his first steps in the faith, and from that hour he fulfilled his obligation and thus grew in merit. To see a deeper understanding of the great celebration Matthew held at his house, we must realize that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was the banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love. Our Savior attests to this: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive him, as it were, when we freely assent to his promptings and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done. Christ, since he dwells in the hearts of his chosen ones through the grace of his love, enters so that he might eat with us and we with him. He ever refreshes us by the light of his presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven. He himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.

Monday, September 17, 2012

St. Robert Bellarmine, Memorial Sept. 17

It's all about love! What do we love the most? The world, the flesh, the devil, or our sweet and loving God? It's too easy to fall into the traps the evil one lays out for us. He is always watching and waiting and knows our weaknesses. Prayer protects us! Stay close to it. Consecrate your life to Jesus through his most holy mother Mary. Pray the rosary every day. More battles have been won with this prayer than any other prayer. Blessings! From a treatise On the Ascent of the Mind to God by Saint Robert Bellarmine (Grad. 1: Opera omnia 6, edit. 1862, 214) Incline my heart to your decrees Sweet Lord, you are meek and merciful. Who would not give himself wholeheartedly to your service, if he began to taste even a little of your fatherly rule? What command, Lord, do you give your servants? Take my yoke upon you, you say. And what is this yoke of yours like? My yoke, you say, is easy and my burden light. Who would not be glad to bear a yoke that does not press hard but caresses? Who would not be glad for a burden that does not weigh heavy but refreshes? And so you were right to add: And you will find rest for your souls. And what is this yoke of yours that does not weary, but gives rest? It is, of course, that first and greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty and love, the fullness of which you are, O Lord, my God? Is it not true that you promise those who keep your commandments a reward more desirable than great wealth and sweeter than honey? You promise a most abundant reward, for as your apostle James says: The Lord has prepared a crown of life for those who love him. What is this crown of life? It is surely a greater good than we can conceive of or desire, as Saint Paul says, quoting Isaiah: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him. Truly then the recompense is great for those who keep your commandments. That first and greatest commandment helps the man who obeys, not the God who commands. In addition, the other commandments of God perfect the man who obeys them. They provide him with what he needs. They instruct and enlighten him and make him good and blessed. If you are wise, then, know that you have been created for the glory of God and your own eternal salvation. This is your goal; this is the center of your life; this is the treasure of your heart. If you reach this goal, you will find happiness. If you fail to reach it, you will find misery. May you consider truly good whatever leads to your goal and truly evil whatever makes you fall away from it. Prosperity and adversity, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honors and humiliations, life and death, in the mind of the wise man, are not to be sought for their own sake, nor avoided for their own sake. But if they contribute to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, then they are good and should be sought. If they detract from this, they are evil and must be avoided.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows, Memorial Sept 15

The paragraph below is taken from a sermon by St. Bernard, Abbot. It is the second reading in this morning's Liturgy of the Hours. Mary, our blessed and holy queen, has given everything for us. We come to Jesus always through Mary. She is our greatest protector and mediator. Say a rosary today. God bless! "Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would not die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his."

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Feast, Sept. 14

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. St. Andrew of Crete tells us in the reading below that if there had been no cross, there would have been no salvation. When we meditate on the sufferings of Jesus on this cross, we need only remember that it is God Himself hanging on that cross and then we know just how much He loves us! He died while we were yet sinners in order for us to be saved from the depths of hell. But there are many today who continue to live, while still on earth, in the depths of hell because they refuse to believe in the power of the cross. Read this second reading from today's Liturgy of the Hours and praise God for His great love! God bless! SECOND READING From a discourse by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop (Oratio 10 in Exaltatione sanctae crucis: PG 97, 1018-1019, 1022-1023) The cross is Christ’s glory and triumph We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us. Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled. Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation—very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honorable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world. The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognize it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be. And once more: Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven: I have glorified it and I will glorify it again. Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

St. John Chrysostom, Memorial Sept. 13

St. John Chrysostom had a "silver tongue." His writings and homilies touched many lives during his lifetime and continue to touch many in this present age. If all my goods should be confiscated, I would have nothing. But I came into this world with nothing and will leave this world with nothing so there is never a loss of what you never had to begin with. All we ever need in this life is to be aware of God's constant love for us. He has promised to take care of us and he will. Blessings! From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop (Ante exsilium, nn. 1-3; PG 52, 427*-430) Life to me means Christ, and death is gain The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence. Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world! If Christ is with me, whom shall I fear? Though the waves and the sea and the anger of princes are roused against me, they are less to me than a spider’s web. Indeed, unless you, my brothers, had detained me, I would have left this very day. For I always say: Lord, your will be done; not what this fellow or that would have me do, but what you want me to do. That is my strong tower, my immovable rock, my staff that never gives way. If God wants something, let it be done! If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful. But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful. Yet where I am, there you are too, and where you are, I am. For we are a single body, and the body cannot be separated from the head nor the head from the body. Distance separates us, but love unites us, and death itself cannot divide us. For though my body die, my soul will live and be mindful of my people. You are my fellow citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my sons, my limbs, my body. You are my light, sweeter to me than the visible light. For what can the rays of the sun bestow on me that is comparable to your love? The sun’s light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sermon by St. Bernard, Abbot

This was the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours for today. There is much thought in this one paragraph. To find consolation in the Holy Spirit is a great joy! Also read Romans 12:12. Blessings on this day! The whole of the spiritual life consists of these two elements. When we think of ourselves, we are perturbed and filled with a salutary sadness. And when we think of the Lord, we are revived to find consolation in the joy of the Holy Spirit. From the first we derive fear and humility, from the second hope and love.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feast Day Sept 8

Today is the feast day of the birth of Our Lady. Below information is taken from We come to Jesus always through Mary. To learn more about Mary, read the writings of St. Louis de Montfort. Consecrate yourself to her that you might be consecrated to her son Jesus. God chose to come into this world through a humble virgin. Through her, he took on flesh. We are blessed! "The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated at least by the sixth century, when St. Romanos the Melodist, an Eastern Christian who composed many of the hymns used in the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox liturgies, composed a hymn for the feast. The feast spread to Rome in the seventh century, but it was a couple more centuries before it was celebrated throughout the West. The source for the story of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal gospel written about A.D. 150. From it, we learn the names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, as well as the tradition that the couple was childless until an angel appeared to Anna and told her that she would conceive. (Many of the same details appear also in the later apocryphal Gospel of the Nativity of Mary.) The traditional date of the feast, September 8, falls exactly nine months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Perhaps because of its close proximity to the feast of the Assumption of Mary, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not celebrated today with the same solemnity as the Immaculate Conception. It is, nonetheless, a very important feast, because it prepares the way for the birth of Christ."

Monday, September 3, 2012

St. Gregory the Great, Memorial Sept. 3, 2012

St. Gregory speaks about the lowliness of man. How often we go out with others and spend too much of our time speaking in ways we should not. How much easier it is to come to sainthood when we spend time alone in the presence of Our Lord and Savior. Yet we are called to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. St. Gregory gives us a good example of how difficult it is to perform the duties of a priest and to be a saint. It is only by God's grace. God bless! From a homily on Ezekiel by Saint Gregory the Great, pope Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Note that a man whom the Lord sends forth as a preacher is called a watchman. A watchman always stands on a height so that he can see from afar what is coming. Anyone appointed to be a watchman for the people must stand on a height for all his life to help them by his foresight. How hard it is for me to say this, for by these very words I denounce myself. I cannot preach with any competence, and yet insofar as I do succeed, still I myself do not live my life according to my own preaching. I do not deny my responsibility; I recognize that I am slothful and negligent, but perhaps the acknowledgment of my fault will win me pardon from my just judge. Indeed when I was in the monastery I could curb my idle talk and usually be absorbed in my prayers. Since I assumed the burden of pastoral care, my mind can no longer be collected; it is concerned with so many matters. I am forced to consider the affairs of the Church and of the monasteries. I must weigh the lives and acts of individuals. I am responsible for the concerns of our citizens. I must worry about the invasions of roving bands of barbarians, and beware of the wolves who lie in wait for my flock. I must become an administrator lest the religious go in want. I must put up with certain robbers without losing patience and at times I must deal with them in all charity. With my mind divided and torn to pieces by so many problems, how can I meditate or preach wholeheartedly without neglecting the ministry of proclaiming the Gospel? Moreover, in my position I must often communicate with worldly men. At times I let my tongue run, for if I am always severe in my judgments, the worldly will avoid me, and I can never attack them as I would. As a result I often listen patiently to chatter. And because I too am weak, I find myself drawn little by little into idle conversation, and I begin to talk freely about matters which once I would have avoided. What once I found tedious I now enjoy. So who am I to be a watchman, for I do not stand on the mountain of action but lie down in the valley of weakness? Truly the all-powerful Creator and Redeemer of mankind can give me in spite of my weaknesses a higher life and effective speech; because I love him, I do not spare myself in speaking of him.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Commentary on Sin

This is from the second reading in today's Liturgy of the Hours. A commentary on sin. We are all sinners and we are not all going straight to Heaven. We must rely on God's great mercy or else we will listen to the whisper in the garden, "We will be like gods!" Our pride is our greatest sin. Only God has all the answers and whatever good is found in us must be attributed to God's grace. For without God we are nothing!

From a commentary on Joel by Saint Jerome, priest
Return to me with all your heart and show a spirit of repentance with fasting, weeping and mourning; so that while you fast now, later you may be satisfied, while you weep now, later you may laugh, while you mourn now, you may some day enjoy consolation. It is customary for those in sorrow or adversity to tear their garments. The gospel records that the high priest did this to exaggerate the charge against our Lord and Savior; and we read that Paul and Barnabas did so when they heard words of blasphemy. I bid you not to tear your garments but rather to rend your heartswhich are laden with sin. Like wine skins, unless they have been cut open, they will burst of their own accord. After you have done this, return to the Lord your God, from whom you had been alienated by your sins. Do not despair of his mercy, no matter how great your sins, for great mercy will take away great sins.

For the Lord is gracious and merciful and prefers the conversion of a sinner rather than his death. Patient and generous in his mercy, he does not give in to human impatience but is willing to wait a long time for our repentance. So extraordinary is the Lord’s mercy in the face of evil, that if we do penance for our sins, he regrets his own threat and does not carry out against us the sanctions he had threatened. So by the changing of our attitude, he himself is changed. But in this passage we should interpret “evil” to mean, not the opposite of virtue, but affliction, as we read in another place:Sufficient for the day are its own evils. And, again: If there is evil in the city, God did not create it.

In  like manner, given all that we have said above—that God is kind and merciful, patient, generous with his forgiveness, and extraordinary in his mercy toward evil—lest the magnitude of his clemency make us lax and negligent, he adds this word through his prophet: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent and leave behind him a blessing? In other words, he says: “I exhort you to repentance, because it is my duty, and I know that God is inexhaustibly merciful, as David says:Have mercy on me, God, according to your great mercy, and in the depths of your compassion, blot out all my iniquities. But since we cannot know the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and knowledge of God, I will temper my statement, expressing a wish rather than taking anything for granted, and I will say: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent?” Since he says, Who, it must be understood that it is impossible or difficult to know for sure.

To these words the prophet adds: Offerings and libations for the Lord our God. What he is saying to us in other words is that, God having blessed us and forgiven us our sins, we will then be able to offer sacrifice to God.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

St. Augustine, Memorial Aug 28

This was taken from the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours! "Late have I loved thee!" How true these words are for all of us, weak in our concupiscence!


From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop
(Lib. 7,10,18; 10, 27: CSEL 33,157-163, 255)

O eternal truth, true love, and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things: and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as Heaven is above the Earth. This light was above me because it has made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. to you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: "I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me."

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me , but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

St. Rose of Lima, optional memorial Aug 23

This comes from the morning Liturgy of the Hours. A teaching by St. Rose of Lima on the graces earned through suffering. Jesus said that we must take up our crosses in order to follow him. Every suffering is followed by the resurrection. Many want to participate in the resurrection, but few want to walk the way of the cross. God bless!


From the writings of Saint Rose of Lima, virgin
(Ad medicum Castillo: edit. L. Getino, La Patrona de America, madrid 1928, pp. 54-55)

Let us know the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.”

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: “Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”

That same force strongly urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace. It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant. I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of the body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying:

“If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Memorial Aug 22

The Mother of Our Lord is honored today. Who does not have a story of her presence in their lives? She is mother to us all and Queen of Heaven and Earth. We are blessed!

From a homily by Saint Amadeus of Lausanne, bishop

Queen of the world and of peace

Observe how fitting it was that even before her assumption the name of Mary shone forth wondrously throughout the world. Her fame spread everywhere even before she was raised above the heavens in her magnificence. Because of the honor due her Son, it was indeed fitting for the Virgin Mother to have first ruled upon earth and then be raised up to heaven in glory. It was fitting that her fame be spread in this world below, so that she might enter the heights of heaven on overwhelming blessedness. Just as she was borne from virtue to virtue by the Spirit of the Lord, she was transported from earthly renown to heavenly brightness.

So it was that she began to taste the fruits of her future reign while still in the flesh. At one moment she withdrew to God in ecstasy; at the next she would bend down to her neighbors with indescribable love. In heaven angels served her, while here on earth she was venerated by the service of men. Gabriel and the angels waited upon her in heaven. The virgin John, rejoicing that the Virgin Mother was entrusted to him at the cross, cared for her with the other apostles here below. The angels rejoiced to see their queen; the apostles rejoiced to see their lady, and both obeyed her with loving devotion.

Dwelling in the loftiest citadel of virtue, like a sea of divine grace or an unfathomable source of love that has everywhere overflowed its banks, she poured forth her bountiful waters on trusting and thirsting souls. Able to preserve both flesh and spirit from death she bestowed health-giving salve on bodies and souls. Has anyone ever come away from her troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because his request had been granted by the Mother of God?

She is a bride, so gentle and affectionate, and the mother of the only true bridegroom. In her abundant goodness she has channelled the spring of reason’s garden, the well of living and life-giving waters that pour forth in a rushing stream from divine Lebanon and flow down from Mount Zion until they surround the shores of every far-flung nation. With divine assistance she has redirected these waters and made them into streams of peace and pools of grace. Therefore, when the Virgin of virgins was led forth by God and her Son, the King of kings. amid the company of exulting angels and rejoicing archangels, with the heavens ringing with praise, the prophecy of the psalmist was fulfilled, in which he said to the Lord: At your right hand stands the queen, clothed in gold of Ophir.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pope St. Pius X, Memorial Aug 21, 2012

In today's second reading from the Liturgy of the Hours, we read this discourse from Pope Pius X. He speaks of the joy of the Psalms and their sorrows as well. I particularly like Psalm 51 as it teaches us to cry out for the mercy of our beloved God. Blessings!
 From the apostolic constitution Divino afflatu of Pope Saint Pius X 

Indeed, who could fail to be moved by those many passages in the psalms which set forth so profoundly the infinite majesty of God, his omnipotence, his justice and goodness and clemency, too deep for words, and all the other infinite qualities of his that deserve our praise? Who could fail to be roused to the same emotions by the prayers of thanksgiving to God for blessings received, by the petitions, so humble and confident, for blessings still awaited, by the cries of a soul in sorrow for sin committed? Who would not be fired with love as he looks on the likeness of Christ, the redeemer, here so lovingly foretold? His was the voice Augustine heard in every psalm, the voice of praise, of suffering, of joyful expectation, of present distress. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Memorial August 20, 2012

This was taken from the second reading in today's Liturgy of the Hours. God is love and all he desires from his creatures is for us to love him in return. How simple is that! Blessings!

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
(Sermo 83, 4-6: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 2 [1958], 300-302)

I love because I love, I love that I may love

Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Second reading from Aug 16 Liturgy of the Hours

Christ is our life. He leads us in the way, the truth, and the life. If we live with Christ as the center of our lives, we will show this by how we live. God bless!

From a treatise on Christian Perfection by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop
(PG 46, 259-262) 

We possess Christ, our peace, our light 

When we consider that Christ is the true light, having nothing in common with deceit, we learn that our own life also must shine with the rays of that true light. Now these rays of the Sun of Justice are the virtues which pour out to enlighten us so that we may put away the works of darkness and walk honorably as in broad daylight. When we reject the deeds of darkness and do everything in the light of day, we become light and, as light should, we give light to others by our actions.

If we truly think of Christ as our source of holiness, we shall refrain from anything wicked or impure in thought or act and thus show ourselves to be worthy bearers of his name. For the quality of holiness is shown not by what we say but by what we do in life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

St. Maximillian Kolbe, Memorial August 14, 2012

Here below is a writing from Maximillian Kolbe. Obedience is a sure sign of our love for God. Jesus gave us many examples in the Gospels. We just need to take up our crosses and follow him. God bless!

"God alone is infinitely wise, holy, merciful, our Lord, Creator, and Father; he is beginning and end, wisdom and power and love; he is all. Everything other than God has value to the degree that it is referred to him, the maker of all and our own redeemer, the final end of all things. It is he who, declaring his adorable will to us through his representatives on earth, draws us to himself and whose plan is to draw others to himself through us and to join us all to himself in an ever deepening love.

Look, then, at the high dignity that by God’s mercy belongs to our state in life. Obedience raises us beyond the limits of our littleness and puts us in harmony with God’s will. In boundless wisdom and care, his will guides us to act rightly. Holding fast to that will, which no creature can thwart, we are filled with unsurpassable strength.

Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God. If there were another, Christ would certainly have shown it to us by word and example. Scripture, however, summed up his entire life at Nazareth in the words: He was subject to them; Scripture set obedience as the theme of the rest of his life, repeatedly declaring that he came into the world to do his Father’s will.

Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God’s love."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

St. John Mary Vianney - Memorial August 4, 2012

This is taken from the Second Reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. St.mJohn Vianney is the patron saint of priests. Read more about St. John at the website below.
From the Catechetical Instructions by Saint John Mary Vianney, priest
(Catechisme sur la prière: A. Monnin, Esprit du Curé d’Ars, Parish 1899, pp. 87-89)

The glorious duty of man: to pray and to love

My little children, reflect on these words: the Christian’s treasure is not on earth but in heaven. Our thoughts, then ought to be directed to where our treasure is. This is the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that is where a man’s happiness lies.

Prayer is nothing else but union with God. When one has a heart that is pure and united with God, he is given a kind of serenity and sweetness that makes him ecstatic, a light that surrounds him with marvelous brightness. In this intimate union, God and the soul are fused together like two bits of wax that no one can ever pull apart. This union of God with a tiny creature is a lovely thing. It is a happiness beyond understanding.

We had become unworthy to pray, but God in his goodness allowed us to speak with him. Our prayer is incense that gives him the greatest pleasure.

My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the soul and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.

Prayer also makes time pass very quickly and with such great delight that one does not notice its length. Listen: Once when I was a purveyor in Bresse and most of my companions were ill, I had to make a long journey. I prayed to the good God, and believe me, the time did not seem long.

Some men immerse themselves as deeply in prayer as fish in water, because they give themselves totally to God. There is not division in their hearts. O, how I love these noble souls! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette used to see our Lord and talk to him just as we talk to one another.

How unlike them we are! How often we come to church with no idea of what to do or what to ask for. And yet, whenever we go to any human being, we know well enough why we go. And still worse, there are some who seem to speak to the good God like this: “I will only say a couple of things to you, and then I will be rid of you.” I often think that when we come to adore the Lord, we would receive everything we ask for, if we would ask with living faith and with a pure heart.