Monday, April 25, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
My devotion to St. Joseph is so profound that I have a hard time articulating how much this great saint has enriched my faith.
He is so many things - father, husband, protector, provider. Confidant, caretaker, carpenter. Humble, holy, chaste, just.
Of all the men who ever lived, God chose JOSEPH to be the husband of the Mother of Our Lord.
He chose JOSEPH to be the earthly father or Our Lord. Think how many of the world's elite - kings, billionaires, celebrities - would give anything in their power for the opportunity to shake the hand of Our Lord. Joseph held Him, fed Him, clothed Him and protected Him from death. He taught Him his trade. He and Mary were responsible for shaping the human nature of Our Lord. Joseph held His hand as he took some of His first Earthly steps.
He taught the child Jesus so many things. He watched the infant Jesus sleep. He hugged him close and kissed Our Lord goodnight.
Our Lord asked Joseph for permission to do certain things. Joseph granted Our Lord permission.
If there is anyone who can help you love Jesus more, who can help you to love Our Lady more, it is the man who loved them so much while they were on the Earth.
Please, please learn more about this great saint.
I recommend reading
The Life of St. Joseph;
Places of Pilgrimage:
St. Joseph's Oratory ( Montreal, Canada) The story of the humble doorkeeper and the great Saint Joseph will amaze and inspire you. One of my favorite places on Earth!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Until just a few weeks ago the omission of the name of Father Thomas Euteneuer would seem a glaring error in this list. He was, after all, both the celebrated head of the global pro-life powerhouse Human Life International and a prominent exorcist. Father Euteneuer was a familiar fixture in both secular and Catholic media. His plainspoken style appealed to Catholics everywhere.
There were no kid gloves for celebrities or those in the public eye. Father Euteneuer’s no-holds barred defense of the Catholic faith resulted in a legendary on-air smackdown challenging the Catholicism of Fox News host Sean Hannity. He held the feet of Catholic politicians to the fire. His statement on the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy opened in this manner:
“We must, as a matter of precept, pray for the salvation of heretical Catholics like Senator Edward Kennedy, but we do not have to praise him let alone extol him with the full honors of a public Catholic funeral and all the adulation that attends such an event. There was very little about Ted Kennedy's life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.”
Father Euteneuer was in-demand on the Catholic lecture circuit around the world. When HLI published two books authored by Euteneuer, Exorcism and the Church Militant and the companion Demonic Abortion, they flew off the shelves.
There was no denying it. Father Euteneuer was a star. Not that he necessarily sought this status. In fact the two times I saw him speak he struck me as humble. Exceedingly competent and forceful in his stance against evil in the modern world; however there was an undeniable note of humility. I was favorably impressed, and understood his mass appeal.
When Father Euteneuer abruptly resigned the presidency of HLI in August of 2010, fans across the country were bewildered. His wildly successful books had just been released. Some speculated that perhaps his work as an exorcist became an impediment to his duties as head of the pro-life organization. Others thought perhaps he was simply exhausted. After all, being on the front lines of spiritual warfare for many years is bound to take a toll on a person.
Father E’s message announcing his resignation hinted at burnout. “Nearly ten years ago I answered the call of the Lord to come to Human Life International and work full-time in pro-life work with the permission of my bishop. I have been utterly privileged to serve this great mission for a decade, and now I am called back to my diocese to continue my priestly service in parish work, which was the original calling of my vocation…I expect that some time of rest and renewal will help me to make the transition. It has been 15 years since I last had any significant time for renewal, and after traveling more than 1.1 million miles, authoring two books, visiting 58 countries and making thousands of public appearances, I am ready for a break! I intend to continue to do pro-life work wherever I may be called to serve, and my bishop agrees that this is a vital charism of my priestly life.”
It was a loss for the pro-life movement, no doubt. Conspiracy theories abounded, but most of his fans were simply perplexed. Mainly there were prayers that all was well and the hope that wouldn’t be the last we heard from Father Euteneuer.
All was quiet until a few weeks ago. Apparently it began with rumblings in the fringes of the blogosphere, followed by troubling reports from several noted Catholic bloggers. Exhaustion shmaustian, they said. Word on the web was that Father Euteneuer had succumbed to some very human temptations.
Father Euteneuer issued a statement which confirmed the rumors contained at the very least a kernel of truth. He had violated his vow of chastity with an adult female who was under his care:
"...I must acknowledge, however, that one particularly complex situation clouded my judgment and led me to imprudent decisions with harmful consequences, the worst of which was violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care.
I take full responsibility for my own poor judgment, my weakness and my sinful conduct that resulted from it. I offer no excuse for my professional or moral failures, nor do I shift the blame to anyone else. I state without reserve that I am deeply sorry for my actions. I have personally apologized, where possible, to anyone I have harmed. I am saddened beyond words for my fall, not only because of the harm done to my priesthood and my family, but also because of the harm done to all others who are affected, to the faith of those who placed so much trust in me and our Church, and to the pro-life movement so populated with heroic, faithful people. I must face and make amends for the disappointment I have caused. I have, of course, asked for God’s forgiveness and I have confidence in his boundless mercy. I am now grateful to be able to publicly ask for all of yours as well..."
The internet went wild. Shock, grief, disappointment. Anger, frustration, even rage in many corners. Mercy from many, with prayers and gratitude for all that Father E. had contributed to the pro-life movement. Other speculated that the assaults of the enemy on Father E. must have been exceptionally powerful, as his ministry consisted of both saving the unborn and exorcising demons.
Additional accusations came forth. Disturbing if true, equally disturbing if not. The faithful were at one another's throats.
I stopped reading comments on many of the blogs because frankly I couldn’t stand the vitriol and wild speculation. If one accused Father E. they were labeled an idiot or a liar or both. Those defending Father E. were sheeple, suckers who were too blinded by his celebrity to think rationally.
It is very hard to know in the facts in a case like this and I knew it was essentially futile for me to try and ascertain exactly what happened and why.
However one comment about the Father Euteneuer situation stuck with me, and I e-mailed it to a friend. It is so profound that I have no doubt the Holy Spirit inspired the author. I found it on the Fisheaters traditional Catholic forum, and it was written by a poster named "QuisUtDeus ":
“As much as it bothers us, it "bothers" God more since the real offense is against Him, of course. So my opinion is we should "comfort" Him with reparations and in return He will console us with hope.
Stay after Mass and spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament in reparation. That always helps me obtain the favor and grace of Hope. The fact Christ is there in the Real Presence reminds me that He is really and truly with us, even physically so. That being the case, things will turn out alright in the end.
When things like this happen, I shrug this **** off, "give the devil the fig" at his lame attempts to destroy the Church, and try to behave better myself.”
So today it was Father Tom Euteneuer, tomorrow it could be anyone, Catholic or not.
As long as someone is breathing, the battle isn't over. Conversion is a daily thing. Left to our own devices, we are all capabe of unwise, unkind and even evil behavior.
The stars of modern Catholicism are people. They may have many wonderful attributes but they undoubtedly have shortcomings too. They might struggle with a sharp tongue, or gluttony or maybe an addiction. Their marriages might fall apart, despite heroic attempts to save them. They might break their vow of chastity. They might be vain, or narrow-minded or obstinate. In other words, they are human.
What we see in these luminaries, what attracts us to them, is the Holy Spirit at work. When they use their gifts as God intended, when they cooperate with Jesus, extraordinary things occur. Lives are changed. People are healed, inspired, uplifted. Miracles happen. These folks become channels of God’s grace. It is when they decide to do things their own way that things get problematic.
This is why we must pray for anyone who works to build the kingdom of God. The next time your life is touched by a Catholic in the public eye, please take a moment and pray for that person.
- Next time you hear Dr. Hahn on the radio or see Father Pacwa on television, say a Hail Mary for them. They need your prayers.
- Father John Corapi has touched countless lives. The devil would love to take him out of the fight. Offer penance for Father Corapi. Pray for him.
- Immaculee Ilibagiza is uniquely positioned in that her story touches people of all faiths, even those who do not believe in God. Jesus is working powerfully through this extraordinary woman. Pray very hard for her.
The enemy hates all of us, but he especially hates priests. No priests, no Eucharist. Priests need our prayers more than anyone. Especially our bishops and the Holy Father. They fight for us. We need to fight for them. Pray!
The danger of putting people on pedestals is that they will almost always fall.
Truly, the only pedestal that matters is on Mount Calvary. And the person on it will never, ever fall from grace.
Since Father E’s initial statement, there have been subsequent statements from HLI as well as additional serious allegations.
I pray for all involved, and that our good and loving God guides and consoles all who turn to Him. God is merciful. God is just. God is all knowing. Jesus, I trust in you. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Friday, December 31, 2010
However it looks like 2010 will instead end with a protest. Pepsi's Superbowl ad offerings are apparently the subject of some sort of contest, and sadly the frontrunner is this blasphemous offering.
Really, Pepsi? The Superbowl is the Holy Grail of advertising. Your marketing department, with its vast budget and oodles of employees, judged this to be among the very best reflections of the values and sentiments of Pepsico?
Pepsico has a vast empire, with brands that include but are not limited to Quaker foods, Frito Lay snacks, Hostess foods, Stacy's Pita Chips, Sobe drinks , Tropicana juices ,Gatorade drinks, Sierra Mist, Mug Root Beer, Tazo drinks, AMP energy drinks. A complete list of brands can be found here.
In case you were unable to find objections to this advertisement from any of your 285,000 employees, please let me explain that this commercial is deeply offensive to Catholics. To imply that the most sacred element of our faith is essentially a snack is disgusting.
Please join me in encouraging Catholics everywhere to:
1) boycott Pepsi and all affiliated brands
2) spread the word of this appalling slap in the face of Catholicism
3)contact the board of directors of Pepsico, their respective employers and boards of directors.
I honestly cannot envision Pepsi offering an advertisement that mocked the Jewish faith, Islam, or Hinduism. I wouldn't find it funny if they did.
It is clear that Pepsi does not want Catholics consuming their products.
Now I pray our brothers and sisters among other faiths will stand with us in this fight.
Although there is nothing funny in this ad, someone is laughing.
Blasphemy in any form is always the work of the enemy.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
In 2007, Archbishop Raymond Burke wrote a letter regarding the apparition of Our Lady of America to Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil. This does a far better job of outlining pertinent issues than I could do.
It would seem that the following, if correctly reported as delivered in 1956, would have been evaluated by Archbishop Leibold. If true, this apparition of St. Joseph is truly extraordinary - to actually hear from the head of the Holy Family, as the great saint is known for his silence.
I hope you will join me in honoring St. Joseph in a special way on the first Wednesday of every month.
1) please pray the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary ( I assume this is in addition to rather than in lieu of the Glorious Mysteries) in memory of the life St. Joseph had with Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
2) Please consider attending Mass with the intention of honoring the joy St. Joseph felt when he held Jesus, the first and every time.
The following is an excerpt from the archives of Spirit Daily.
In the revelations, the Virgin allegedly referred to herself as a "co-redemptrix of the human race" -- as did St. Joseph, her earthly spouse, who was also said to have appeared to Sister Mildred.
The revelation from Joseph, if authentic, could well be the most important associated with this hidden saint and may indicate an era in which he will take a much larger role. It is the first time we know of that he too is described as a "co-redemptor" and seems to place that title in a new context.
"My heart suffered with the hearts of Jesus and Mary," said Joseph in 1956. "Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield, as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men. The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them. Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, co-redemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I cooperated, as no other, in the salvation of the world."
Joseph allegedly added that "immediately after my conception, I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future virgin-father, cleansed from the stain of original sin. I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men.
"Mine was perfect obedience to the Divine Will, as it was shown and made known to me by me by the Jewish law and religion," Joseph allegedly said. "To be careless in this is most displeasing to God and will be severely punished in the next world. Let fathers also imitate my great purity of life and deep respect I held for my Immaculate spouse. Let them be an example to their children and fellow men, never willfully doing anything that would cause scandal among God's people.
"I desire souls to come to my heart that they may learn true union with the Divine Will," said Joseph.
The saint was said to have also appeared above a globe with clouds swirling about it, his hands similar to those of a priest during Mass, his eyes looking up as if in ecstasy. "Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way," said Joseph, who told Sister Mildred that he had been appointed the Pope's special protector and asked for a new devotion. "Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the joyful mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms."
Monday, September 13, 2010
I had heard this prayer was powerful, it was not until I started praying it myself that I realized just how special it is. It is called the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, the Seven Dolors of Mary Chaplet, or the Servite Rosary.
Lots of promises attached to this one. I'll list them following an explanation of the prayer. These rosaries are not as widely available as the standard five decade version, but there is a place online to purchase a seven sorrows rosary here. This site is an outstanding resource - it has a booklet explaining the rosary in detail, a CD to accompany your prayers and a book explaining the approved 20th century apparition where Our Lady specifically requested this prayer. Awesome!
There are seven mysteries, followed by seven small beads ( called weeks instead of decades)
The prayer goes like this:
1) Act of Contrition
2) Announce the First Sorrow. Our Father... then pray Seven Hail Marys while meditating on the Sorrow
3) Announce each respective Sorrow, pray the Our Father, then pray Seven Hail Marys while meditating on the Sorrow.
4) Finish with three Hail Marys for the Tears of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
5) Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father 6) Final prayer is: ' Virgin Most Sorrowful, Pray for Us' three times.
The Holy Prophecy of Simeon: The Blessed Virgin, filled with joy, presented her only son in the temple. How her heart must have broken to hear the prophetic words of Simeon as he foretold the suffering of the Savior and His mother.
The Second Sorrow
The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt: On a moments notice, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin must take the Infant Jesus on a perilous journey to evade Herod's men who hunted Him. They endured cold, hunger and many hardships as they made their way to a foreign land.
The Third Sorrow
Mary seeks Jesus lost in Jerusalem: The Virgin Mary understands firsthand the profound sorrow of losing a child. For three agonizing days St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother searched for twelve-year-old Jesus, before finding Him among the scholars in the temple.
The Fourth Sorrow
Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary: Jesus, battered and condemned to crucifixion, meets His mother, on the road to Calvary. He is beaten and indescribably defiled; her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags the cross on which He will be crucified.
The Fifth Sorrow
Mary stands at the foot of the cross: Mary stands near her dying Son, unable to minister to him as he cries "I thirst". She hears him promise heaven to a thief and forgive his enemies. His last words, "Behold your mother," a gift for all of mankind, as His Beloved Mother becomes Mother of All Peoples.
The Sixth Sorrow
Mary holds the body of Jesus: The Pieta. The passion and death are complete, but for Our Lady, grief continues. She holds His body in her arms. Meditate on her tears.
The Seventh Sorrow
Mary places the body of Jesus in the tomb: The sun goes down on the most tragic day in history. As she awaits in faith the resurrection of her Son, Mary alone in sorrow, lays the body of her Son in the tomb.
The Promises with thanks to MotherofAllPeoples.org and piercedhearts.org
- "I will grant peace to their families."
- "They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries."
- "I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work."
- "I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls."
- "I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives."
- "I will visibly help them at the moment of their death-- they will see the face of their mother."
- "I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy."
1. That those who before death invoke the Blessed Mother in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins.
2. That He would protect in their tribulations all who remember this devotion, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death.
3. That He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven.
4. That He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, so that she might obtain for these souls all the graces she wanted to lavish upon them.
It is hard to describe the peace I feel when I pray this rosary.
Please, Lord, let your peace remain with us always.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
"Mary means enlightener, because She brought forth the Light of the world. In the Syriac tongue, Mary signifies Lady." [St. Isidore of Seville +636]
"Mary means Star of the sea, for as mariners are guided to port by the ocean star, so Christians attain to glory through Mary's maternal intercession." [St. Thomas Aquinas +1274]
"This most holy, sweet and worthy name was 'eminently fitted to so holy, sweet and worthy a virgin. For Mary means a bitter sea, star of the sea, the illuminated or illuminatrix. Mary is interpreted Lady. Mary is a bitter sea to the demons; to men She is the Star of the sea; to the Angels She is illuminatrix, and to all creatures She is Lady ." [St. Bonaventure +1274]
"God the Father gathered all the waters together and called them the seas or maria [Latin, seas]. He gathered all His grace together and called it Mary or Maria . . .This immense treasury is none other than Mary whom the Saints call the 'treasury of the Lord.' From Her fullness all men are made rich;" [St. Louis de Montfort +1716]
The hallowed title, "Star of the Sea," dates back to St. Jerome [+420]. It has been said that the great Doctor had originally used the phrase Stilla Maris to describe Mary as a "drop of the sea," the sea being God. A copyist's error, then, could have resulted in stilla [drop] being written down as stella [star]. Of course, the hallowed title, "Star of the Sea," suits Our Lady perfectly:
" 'And the Virgin's name was Mary.' Let us say a few things about this name, which can be interpreted to mean Star of the sea, an apt designation for the Virgin Mother. She is most beautifully likened to a star, for a star pours forth its light without losing anything of its nature. She gave us Her Son without losing anything of Her virginity. The glowing rays of a star take nothing away from its beauty. N either has the Son taken anything away from His Mother's integrity.
"She is that noble star of Jacob, illuminating the whole world, penetrating from the highest heavens to the deepest depths of Hell. The warmth of Her brilliance shines in the minds of men, encouraging virtue, extinguishing vice..."
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The 45-year-old management consultant had put on a week long series of business meetings and seminars, and now he sank gratefully into his seat
ready for the flight home to Kansas City, Kansas.
As more passengers entered, the place hummed with conversation,
mixed with the sound of bags being stowed.
Then, suddenly, people fell silent.
The quiet moved slowly up the aisle
like an invisible wake behind a boat.
Jim craned his head to see what was happening,
and his mouth dropped open.
Walking up the aisle were two nuns
clad in simple white habits bordered in blue.
He recognized the familiar face of one at once, the wrinkled skin, and the eyes warmly intent.
This was a face he'd seen in newscasts and on the cover of TIME.
The two nuns halted,
and Jim realized that his seat companion was going to be Mother Teresa!
As the last few passengers settled in,
Mother Teresa and her companion pulled out rosaries.
Each decade of the beads was a different color, Jim noticed.
"The decades represented various areas of the world,"
Mother Teresa told him later,
and added, "I pray for the poor and dying on each continent."
The airplane taxied to the runway
and the two women began to pray, their voices a low murmur.
Though Jim considered himself not a very religious Catholic
who went to church mostly out of habit,
inexplicably he found himself joining in.
By the time they murmured the final prayer,
the plane had reached cruising altitude.
Mother Teresa turned toward him.
For the first time in his life,
Jim understood what people meant
when they spoke of a person possessing an 'aura'.
As she gazed at him, a sense of peace filled him;
he could no more see it than he could see the wind but he felt it,
just as surely as he felt a warm summer breeze. "Young man," she inquired, "do you say the rosary often?"
"No, not really," he admitted. She took his hand, while her eyes probed his. Then she smiled.
"Well, you will now."
And she dropped her rosary into his palm. An hour later, Jim entered the Kansas City airport where he was met by his wife, Ruth.
"What in the world?" Ruth asked when she noticed the rosary in his hand.
They kissed and Jim described his encounter.
Driving home, he said. "I feel as if I met a true sister of God." Nine months later, Jim and Ruth visited Connie, a friend of theirs for several years.
Connie confessed that she'd been told she had ovarian cancer.
"The doctor says it's a tough case," said Connie,
"but I'm going to fight it. I won't give up."
Jim clasped her hand.
Then, after reaching into his pocket,
he gently twined Mother Teresa's rosary around her fingers.
He told her the story
and said, "Keep it with you, Connie. It may help."
Although Connie wasn't Catholic,
her hand closed willingly around the small plastic beads.
"Thank you," she whispered. "I hope I can return it."
More than a year passed before Jim saw Connie again.
This time her face was glowing,
she hurried toward him and handed him the rosary. "I carried it with me all year," she said.
"I've had surgery and have been on chemotherapy, too.
Last month, the doctors did second-look surgery,
and the tumor's gone. Completely!"
Her eyes met Jim's.
"I knew it was time to give the rosary back."In the fall of 1987, Ruth's sister, Liz,
fell into a deep depression after her divorce.
She asked Jim if she could borrow the rosary,
and when he sent it, she hung it over her bedpost in a small velvet bag.
"At night I held on to it, just physically held on. I was so lonely and afraid," she says, "yet when I gripped that rosary, I felt as if I held a loving hand." Gradually, Liz pulled her life together,
and she mailed the rosary back. "Someone else may need it," she said.
Then one night in 1988, a stranger telephoned Ruth.
She'd heard about the rosary from a neighbor
and asked if she could borrow it
to take to the hospital where her mother lay in a coma.
The family hoped the rosary might help their mother die peacefully.
A few days later, the woman returned the beads.
"The nurses told me a coma patient can still hear," she said,
"so I explained to my mother that I had Mother Teresa's rosary
and that when I gave it to her, she could let go;
it would be all rosary in her hand."
"Right away, we saw her face relaxed.
The lines smoothed out until she looked so peaceful, so young.
A few minutes later, she was gone."
Fervently, the woman gripped Ruth's hands.
"Thank you." Is there special power in those humble beads?
Or is the power of the human spirit
simply renewed in each person who borrows the rosary?
Jim only knows that requests continue to come, often unexpectedly.
He always responds though, whenever he lends the rosary,
"When you're through needing it, send it back. Someone else may need it."Jim's own life has changed, too,
since his unexpected meeting on the airplane.
When he realized Mother Teresa carries everything she owns in a small bag,
he made an effort to simplify his own life.
"I try to remember what really counts -
not money or titles or possessions,
but the way we love others," he says.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary ask her Son Jesus to shower you with grace.
Friday, August 13, 2010
But it was when I learned the Franciscan Crown Rosary, a prayer celebrating the joys of Our Lady, that I found something else to ponder about the Assumption.
According to one Franciscan Order, the Blessed Virgin Mary was seventy-two years old when she was assumed into Heaven. Estimating that she was fourteen when she gave birth to Jesus, she would have been forty-seven when He died. That leaves twenty-five years for her on Earth without her beloved Son. Despite her joy in His victory, the Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, it must have been incredibly painful for her to be separated from Him.
Certainly she had the company of some of the Apostles, and friends. I am sure she knew that she would see her Divine Son again one day, but we humans often need a tangible presence for comfort.
I would assume that Our Lady may have been given special consolation at times, visits from her Son or the holy angels. But maybe not. Maybe her solitary presence on Earth was part of a bigger plan.
Because she was given twenty-five years to further contemplate the mysteries of God, Our Lady must have prayed often for the salvation of her Son’s beloved children. She knew what was in store for the faithful, and she knew the desolation that befell those who rejected God.
And one tear from the spotless, sinless Virgin means more in Heaven than we can possibly imagine. How often did Our Lady plead lovingly through tears with the Father for mankind, many of whom she saw living sinful lives, oblivious or indifferent to her Son who sacrificed all while she, the Mother of God, remained, sinless, on Earth?
Perhaps those twenty-five years she spent on Earth were yet another facet of her martyrdom. She undoubtedly offered her own agony to the Father as she watched her Son suffer on the Cross. Did she offer the sorrow of being separated from her Son to the Father for the sake of mankind? I suspect so.
And such an offering from the humble Virgin would have made her Assumption into Heaven all the more glorious.
Thank you so much to Our Lord and Our Lady for this beautiful Feast Day.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I recall the first time that I heard the song One of These Days by the group Far From Home. The powerful lyrics "One of these days, I am going to see the hands that took the nails for me..." moved me deeply, a reminder that one day I really will meet Jesus.
Then I tonight I came across this article, one of countless inspiring reflections on the Real Presence. The words of St. Teresa of Avila struck a chord as just yesterday I wondered what it must have been like to have lived during the time Jesus was on Earth.
What was it like for people outside the ‘word of mouth’ region - people who may not have heard of the miracles of the Messiah?
Did these people feel any different as their Savior walked on the Earth at the same time they did?
Was His presence palpable?
Turns out I don't have to wonder.
"I cannot doubt at all Your Presence in the Eucharist. You have given me such a lively faith that when I hear others say they wish they had been living when you were on earth, I laugh to myself, for I know that I possess you as truly in the Blessed Sacrament as people did then, and I wonder what more anyone could possibly want."
St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church
So many of us, myself included, drive by churches, hurrying to do things that are "important". If I really and truly believe in the Real Presence, then why would I spend one free minute away from Him?
Please go see Him this week.
Maybe a daily Mass, or a few moments before the Blessed Sacrament.
An hour of adoration would be wonderful. There is even online perpetual adoration if you aren't able to get to a church.
He burns with Love beyond anything that we can understand.
He, the King of Kings, waits patiently for us.
Then one day, when you see the hands that took the nails for you, you will rejoice that you chose to spend time with Him here on Earth.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This trip I was quite jet-lagged upon arrival, and it was wonderful to be welcomed back by so many familiar faces. Tired but happy, I made my way to my room and briefly checked the internet before I went to bed.
After checking the news and my e-mail accounts, I logged on to Spirit Daily for the latest in Catholic current events. I read a great post about a priest and his devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux. The story of the saint's desire to be a missionary moved me, and I recall offering a heartfelt prayer to St. Therese before falling asleep.
I returned from some meetings that afternoon and found a lovely bouquet of flowers in my room. I smiled and knew they were from the wonderful employee I had encountered earlier in the day.
I admired them for a bit more then got ready for dinner that evening. Two colleagues came to meet in my room before our dinner meeting. They were chatting as I was finishing getting ready. As I reached to grab something out of my suitcase, I saw the flowers on the table.
Wanting to share my sentiments of just how extraordinarily gracious I found the hotel staff to be, I picked up the flowers and started to take them over to my chatting friends.“You aren’t going to believe this, " I said. “Look at these beautiful flowers! This wonderful woman who works for the hotel sent them. Her name is Ther…."
I froze in mid-sentence. My friends looked at me expectantly.
“Oh. My. Goodness.” I said, reeling a bit.
“You are not going to believe this."
I was so tired I had forgotten offering that prayer.
I looked at the bouquet of white lilies and spectacular pale pink roses.
I had heard of the Shower of Heavenly Roses from The Little Flower before but never came close to experiencing anything like this.
I still can’t recall exactly what I said to St. Therese in that prayer. But I know she - and God - heard it.
And I thank God for that extraordinary moment.
Thank you St. Therese. May God Bless you always.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Yes, the pain of losing a loved one is awful. But the risk that one day we might grieve is the price of love, isn’t it?
If the reasoning referenced in the story were carried a bit further, then really, why bother loving at all, because there is always the chance that your beloved might die before you do.
Some choices are simply not ours to make.
Finally, the reader comments for the story are in a word, disturbing.
Lord, please help us all.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Along the way to our destination there is a small farm/petting zoo where the children can feed and pet farm animals. This place is a huge hit with our kids, and they had been eagerly anticipating a stop there.
Unfortunately, rain proved an obstacle and we promised our kids that we would try and visit there on the way home if the weather cooperated. We had a day filled with other kinds of fun, and were headed home when my kids once again asked if we could stop at the "the farm”.
“If it isn’t raining we’ll be able go there.” I said
“Why Mommy?” our four year-old daughter asked.
“Because the animals go inside when it rains” I explained.
“Hey! I know!” our six year- old son shouted suddenly. “How about we pray?”
I looked at him in half shock, as this was the child who once told me "didn’t really believe in Jesus.” ( he was five at the time)
He pointed at a necklace he had brought along for the trip. His kindergarten class had made necklaces with crosses on them during Lent.
“Pray, Mommy.” he explained. “How about we ask Jesus?”
I was about to explode with joy but played it cool.
“Great idea honey. Let’s ask Jesus to keep the rain away.”
My son said “You ask, Mommy. Jesus doesn’t listen to my prayers, He only listens to yours.”
This because he once asked Jesus for superpowers in prayer and has yet to see evidence of them.
I said “Honey, Jesus hears every single prayer. He loves it when you talk to Him. He will hear you if you pray.”
So we prayed for the rain to stop for a bit, so we could enjoy the farm.
A few minutes later there was a squeal from the back seat “Look Mommy, the sun! I see the sun!”my daughter shouted.
Our son shyly began to smile.
It was indeed the sun. The rain stopped. We had a great time at the farm.
And a six year-old started to wonder…
Monday, July 19, 2010
One is Holy Orders. The other is Baptism.
Well said, Professor. I pray they with the blowdryers will repent and thank God Himself one day for yet another of His most precious gifts.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
At this point please let me interject that Father Juan is as kind as they come, a gentle and holy soul blessed with an infectious smile and true spirit of joy.
Somehow he landed squarely in the sights of another priest, whom I will henceforth refer to as the Angry Priest. In front of the assembled group, the Angry Priest dressed down Father Juan and insulted him in an extremely vulgar fashion. Apparently the attack besmirched Father Juan's mother and used some of the most offensive words possible. This from one priest to another. To add insult to outrage, the profanity was delivered on holy ground, as they were congregating near a shrine.
Father Juan, humble soul that he is, was very hurt by this verbal assault.
A few days later another priest who had witnessed the exchange came to speak privately with Father Juan.
This priest was also very hurt by what he had witnessed. He knew this decidedly unpriestly behavior on holy ground had offended not only Father Juan, but it had offended God.
So this priest, who I will call the Holy Priest, did something about it. The Holy Priest did not confront the Angry Priest. He did not gossip about the Angry Priest’s outburst or harbor unkind feelings toward him.
Instead, in a selfless act of love for Father Juan, for the Angry Priest and for God, the Holy Priest did penance for the Angry Priest’s actions.
There is a town more than an hour's drive away from where Father Juan lives. The terrain is mountainous and the unpaved roads are hot and dusty.
The Holy Priest walked barefoot from this town to the town where Father Juan lives, praying the entire time, as an act of penance for the behavior of the Angry Priest. He told no one except Father Juan. The Holy Priest wanted Father Juan to know that the Angry Priest’s behavior had not gone unnoticed or without reparation.
This is a true story, and I hope you will share it.
I pray the next time I witness or suffer an injustice I will be inspired to follow the example of the Holy Priest.
To offer penance without protest out of love for his fellow man.
For those many miles, the Holy Priest truly walked in the footsteps of Christ.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I always enjoy the adventure of attending Mass in a strange place. New faces, new priest, yet the wonderful familiarity of Mass surrounds. I was so happy with it all, and when the priest made an announcement that a rosary would be prayed in the chapel after Mass, I decided to join in.
Upon entering the chapel, I saw the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, so I bowed before Our Lord, then found a seat in near the back of the room.
I dug in my purse for my rosary and waited for prayer to begin. A woman approached me and asked in a whisper if I was planning to pray the rosary with the group, I nodded yes so she handed me a blue folder and asked if I would please lead the third decade.
To my left, across the aisle was a lovely older Asian woman who knelt with her eyes closed most of the time. Two rows in front of her sat a dark-haired gentleman who had the thick forearms and calloused hands of a skilled tradesman. To his left sat a man with salt and pepper hair, looking as though he were dressed for a business casual day at the office. Across the aisle to their right was another gentleman, wiry, bearded and bespectacled.
Behind him sat a beautiful African-American woman, the woman who had distributed the folders. I was alone in the row behind her.
The rosary began, led by the wiry gentleman in front. He spoke with a thick Scottish brogue, which was so unexpected it struck me as funny. He announced a novena to the Divine Infant of Prague and then asked if there were any intentions. He stated his own: that his son be healed of an auto-immune disorder.
The Asian woman in the back asked in faintly accented English for peace in her family, and prayed for her children. Something about the way she said it made me think this was weighing heavily on her heart.
The dark-haired gentleman spoke next. He had an Eastern-European accent, and announced his intention to pray for the healing of his family tree and for the ministry of a particular priest located somewhere in Virginia.
Mr. Salt and Pepper spoke. He was praying for his children and an unspoken intention. I speculated that he was from the central Midwest, likely Ohio.
The woman in front of me spoke in a deep, rich voice. She too was praying for her children.
This might be expected in an international place of pilgrimage like Lourdes, Fatima, Knock or Kibeho.
But Las Vegas?!
This was not Sunday, and it was not a holy day of obligation.
These were people who really and truly wanted to be with Jesus. Had we been in an elevator, perhaps there may have been a polite nod among a few of us. I couldn’t think of anywhere else where the diverse group might congregate in such an intimate manner.
I will never forget that rosary. It was perhaps the most beautiful rosary I have ever had the privilege of praying. All of the different accents melted into one voice as we sang an Ave Maria after each Fatima prayer.
We were all God’s children, asking Our Father for the same thing – for His peace and healing for our loved ones.
We were all so different.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I saw God in Las Vegas.
This post will be a long one so I am going to break it up into three parts: The Taxi, Church and the Strip.
Part One: The Taxi
My husband had a day of meetings and I had the day to myself. The Las Vegas strip is a familiar place to me, as work has taken me there often over the years. I am not much of a gambler and even less of a drinker so the shops, spas and restaurants are usually my main diversions. But instead of shopping or a massage, I wanted to find daily Mass.
I searched the internet and found the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer and made plans to attend their midday Mass. While I was poking around I also found that relics of Padre Pio, currently touring the USA, were going to be in Las Vegas that very week! My time in Vegas was short but I hoped to be able to catch a glimpse of those as well.
I hopped into a taxi and both the driver and the doorman seemed surprised that I had given an off-strip address. The driver inquired as to whether it was business or residence and I explained that it was a church. He said “Oh, yes, I have been there. It is a beautiful place.”
“Are you Catholic?” I asked him. “Yes, well Catholic and Orthodox, I don’t know. My mother was Catholic and my father was Orthodox. So I don’t know what I am.”
I told him about the relics of Padre Pio and that this was an incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity. He said he wouldn't go but his wife would be interested in seeing them. So I searched for the schedule on my handheld while he talked about life.
Turns out he had moved to the US thirty some years ago from France. His wife was a devout Catholic. He was deeply concerned about the state of affairs in his homeland, feeling that religious and ethnic tensions were tearing away at the France he once knew. “I don’t feel safe there. Here if you call the police, they come. In France, they don’t come.”
“I am so sorry, sir.” I said, truly meaning it. “I’ve been following what has been happening in France and I know it must hurt to watch your country deteriorate. I promise I will pray for France – and for you – when I am at Mass today.”
At this point the schedule of the Padre Pio relics appeared on my screen and I read it to my driver. Happily, they would be at the church his wife attends on Thursday of that week. As I inquired about the other locations for veneration, it became apparent that I would not likely have the chance to attend.
We had arrived at the Shrine, and my driver jumped out of the taxi and ran around to the back door. He opened my door and stood there, hesitating for a moment.
“God Bless you” he said emphatically, but with the uncertainty of someone who doesn't use the term often . He looked at me and gave me a hug.
I wouldn’t see the relics of Padre Pio that week. But something told me that this fallen away Frenchman would.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
As I was meditating on the sorrows that Mary felt as she watched her most precious, beloved, sinless, innocent God-man son suffer at the hands of those He loves so much, a thought occurred to me.
There is another facet of Jesus’ Passion, and maybe one of the most painful of them all, that I had not yet considered: Jesus had to watch His mother suffer during His Passion. He saw her tears as she took in the agony he endured. Her heart undoubtedly broke a thousand times, for she understood the horror of it all far more than we can even today.
Imagine the love between this mother and Child, who is love itself. Any parent knows what it is like to watch your child cope with pain. That we would do anything to make the pain stop, but understanding that there are some hurts that we just can’t take away.
I had always reflected on Our Lady’s sorrows through the eyes of a mother. I simply can’t imagine what she endured to as she watched her Son, whom she loved so much, be beaten and spit upon, have his flesh torn from his body, be vilified, reviled and crucified by people He loved.
But I had never considered what Jesus endured watching His mother. I always thought it was so beautiful that she was there to support Him, never leaving His side. But He watched her agony too, and that no doubt tore his most Sacred Heart.
Thinking about it took me back to the night my father died, ten years ago. Despite poor health, his passing was somewhat unexpected. I thank God, for my father received many wonderful blessings that night. He received Last Rites from our parish priest, who we literally bumped into moments after hearing the shocking diagnosis that my father had just hours to live. He died surrounded by his entire family and his best friend. There was so much love in that room.
We left the hospital in a daze and drove home to a house that suddenly seemed to be the emptiest place in the world. My father was all around us – his half-finished crossword puzzle sat on the table – yet he was gone.
Though I was an adult, long married and living in another city, I slept that night in my parents’ bed. I laid on my father’s pillow and my heart ached for one more hug from the man I had loved more than anything else. I didn’t think I could hurt any more until I heard my mother’s quiet sobs.
It was the worst moment of my life.
I knew her heart was broken. She watched him suffer so much and now she had to say goodbye to the man who had been at her side for 46 years. I would have done anything to ease her pain, yet I knew there was nothing I could do to lessen her sorrow. I just laid there and whispered, “it’s okay Mom.”
Jesus felt that pain too. The pain of watching His mother’s heart break.
It is heartbreak that I can only begin to understand because of that horrible night ten years ago.
He knew that He would die on the Cross. He knew she would be at His side. And she would receive His body.
From the Cross, He knew the mother He loved with all His heart would go home to an empty house.
And He did it for us.