Monday, May 31, 2010

Visitations

Tissot's: The Visitation

I love the scene of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. I love it for the charity it displays in Mary forgetting herself and rushing to her cousin's side. I also love the joy displayed by these two women, both expecting a child at an unexpected time in their lives.
Today's feast of the Visitation also holds great meaning for me personally. It was eight years ago on this day that I accepted Christ's invitation to return to Him. As the years go by and I reflect on this invitation, I see that Our Lady had a great deal to do with my accepting that invitation from her Son, but her visitation was a subtle one because I think she knew I would be "scared off" by anything too strong.
In those initial days after saying yes, I found myself praying the Rosary quite often. I found strength and comfort in it, I still do. Eventually it was as if I heard her say to me, "Let my Son heal you." It would be three more months before I would find the courage to accept that invitation.
When I finally did find the courage to seek healing, this Biblical scene of the Visitation would again play a role. When I made the call to register for a Rachel's Vineyard retreat, I was told that part of the healing process would be that I would name the child I had aborted. All I could think was that I have no idea if this child was a girl or boy. I was praying the Joyful Mysteries, the Visitation to be precise, when the name Elizabeth Anne seemed to fall from the sky. Yet again Our Lady obtained  the grace I needed.
As the years progress and my healing continues, Mary continues to hasten to my side in the soft and subtle manner in which I have become accustomed . She continues to bring her Son to me and me to her Son. I have taken her motherly advice and allowed her Son to heal me, and in doing so, the child I once allowed to die is now alive and leaps within my heart and soul.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Holy Trinity's Response To Our Love

Hendrick van Balen: The Trinity


"Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him."
~John 14:23


This verse always reminds me of the Trinity's desire to dwell within each of us. It is not taken from any of today's Mass readings, but as I was pondering this great mystery of our faith, it is the one that seemed to come to me. How truly awesome and at the same time humbling is God's response to the little bit of love I can give to Him.
"The complete Trinity dwells in us," (R.P. Philippon)


Prayer To The Holy Trinity
Glory be to the Father,
Who by His almighty power and love created me,
making me in the image and likeness of God.



Glory be to the Son,
Who by His 
Precious Blood delivered me from hell,
and opened for me the gates of heaven.

Glory be to the Holy Spirit,
Who has sanctified me in the sacrament of Baptism,
and continues to sanctify me
by the graces I receive daily from His bounty.

Glory be to the Three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity,
now and forever.


Amen.


(Prayer from Catholic Online)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Encounter With Mercy

My latest pick from the Catholic Company review program is Encounter with Mercy: A Step by Step Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This 60 page book is published by Circle Press and has a Foreword by Justin Cardinal Rigali.
This is a book for the Catholic who has been practicing the faith for a lifetime as well as those new to the sacrament or returning to it after a long time away. It is steeped in Scripture with quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as passages from Apostolic Letters and Encyclicals written by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Both of these popes strongly encouraged a return to this sacrament of God's mercy.
The book also includes a chapter called Catholicism 101 which gives some basic Catholic Faith formulas every Catholic can use and should know like the 10 Commandments, the 7gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Theological and Cardinal virtues, just to name a few. One of my personal favorites in this chapter is the Gospel on 5 Fingers from Mother Teresa: Hold up one hand and count one word per finger: "I did it to Him."
Also included in the book is an examination of conscience, an Act of Contrition and the basic formula for how to make a confession for those new or returning to the sacrament.
In many places, the lines for confession have dwindled while the line for Holy Communion continues to be very long . This is not a judgement on my part but the observation of two popes as well as many local clergy. This little book gives the Scriptural basis as well as the Magesterial teaching on why we should never receive Communion in a state of mortal sin.
Justin Cardinal Rigali says in his Foreward: "The sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation is one of the greatest gifts which the Lord Jesus gave to His Church." It truly is a grace filled gift. Ever watch people coming out of the confessional; there is always a smile on their face.
Encounter With Mercy is easy to read and is for everyone no matter how often they receive this awesome sacrament.
So read this little gem of a book and then spend a few minutes in a Saturday afternoon receiving an abundance of grace.

Note: Nothing but a copy of this book was exchanged for this review.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Third Floor Window: A Review

The Third Floor Window by Colleen Spiro is a story of pain and suffering, but also one of hope and healing. Colleen has courageously told her story of childhood incest. Sexually abused by her father, her childhood was robbed from her. The wounds that this heinous crime inflicted would go with her into adulthood, but in Jesus Christ Colleen found the Light that would lead her to healing and hope for a renewed sense of self worth, and for  a life to be truly lived.
Colleen thought that she had put her past behind her until the clergy sexual abuse crisis broke in the Catholic Church. With this scandal came all of Colleen's painful memories from her past~ those memories deeply buried came quickly rising to the surface. The questions that she kept hearing were, "Why didn't the victims tell anyone? Why did they wait so long?" Colleen answers these questions beautifully in her book.
This is not an issue that affects only the victims and their abusers; it is an issue that affects all of us. Much of society does not want to hear or talk about this because it is too painful. Colleen's story will convince you that it must be talked about. She also shows how once healing has begun, her voice can be found. She can boldly educate others and show other victims that this same hope and healing she has found can be theirs as well.
When I began reading the book, I simply expected to learn more about Colleen's story and perhaps more about the effects of childhood sexual abuse. What I didn't expect was to see some of my own life in her story.
While I am not the victim of incest or any kind of physical abuse, I did suffer horrible emotional abuse during my marriage. I also experienced great shame due to an abortion I had 22 years ago. Some of the same questions Colleen asked, I had also asked during these experiences in my own life. In the process of my own healing I had wanted to know "Where was God when all this was going on?" Colleen asked that same question. As I read the book I was amazed to see that we both got the same answer in slightly different ways; Christ was there weeping.
I am not saying everyone who reads this book will be able to relate it to their own life experience, but everyone, no matter what their life is like, needs hope. We need hope for ourselves and for our society.
Colleen's story shows that in the darkest of circumstances, Jesus Christ is the source of that hope and healing.
Thank you,Colleen for your courage in telling your story and for your compassion in helping other victims.
You can find out more about Colleen and details for obtaining her book by visiting her blogs: Thoughts On Grace and Surviving By Grace.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thanks For The Sunshine

 Thanks to Patty at St Monica's Tears for passing along this lovely sunshine award. Please click the link to visit her equally lovely blog.
As I received this award on my other blog, I am going to break the passing on rules a bit. Anyone who comes across this post, please consider yourself "shined on" :)
Thanks again Patty!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Being Drawn To Him

 From time to time I have posted a link to the My Daily Eucharist site. They have a daily reflection on the Eucharist. Today's is from an issue of Immaculata magazine. The line in this reflection that struck me most was that one where the author says: "It's not so much that I choose to go to the chapel as it is that I am drawn there." I have often had that feeling as well, especially when it is not my regular weekly hour in our chapel that I have committed to. I often have the desire to stay longer than the hour, almost feeling like I need to tear myself away.
Here is today's reflection; may you too be drawn to Him.

I have a friend who is impressed by what the world calls "powerful" and "successful" people. Imagine, if he had the gift of faith, how he would be attracted to the chapel to be in the presence of and be influenced by the One from Whom all power flows, the very Source of Life. In the Powerful Presence, I am made aware of my own utter powerlessness: I did not choose to live; I did not choose my parents or the Age in which I live; I cannot prolong my life here indefinitely, and I do not control the lives of those with whom I share my life.
The world sets me in a struggle against my true nature as it fosters the illusion that I am self-sufficient.
In those quiet moments before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I am freed from that illusion...The sand of self-confidence on which the world would have me build my life is replaced by the rock of God-confidence... Conflict and anxiety and fear give way to peace beyond expression. The world inflicts wounds upon us which God alone can heal. In those quiet moments before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I experience that Healing Power and catch a glimpse of that Divine Compassion we are called to share.
In the presence of the Source of life, I am made aware that all of life is a gift to be humbly accepted and appreciated. It's not so much that I choose to go to the chapel as it is that I am drawn there. "Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light."
Immaculata Magazine: Dec. 1984 / Jan. 1985
John Gile
 
Image: Commune With Me by Keith Goodson

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Holy Spirit's Arrival In Wind And Fire

Jean Restout's: Pentecost

What must it have been like to be in that room among the 120 or so disciples of Christ along with His Blessed Mother? Jesus' Apostles were there, but also many who witnessed Him after His resurrection. They all believed, but their faith was at various stages and degrees. Despite that, there they all gathered waiting for the arrival of the Holy Spirit; Jesus' last promise before He ascended to His Father.
The atmosphere of that room must have been one of excitement, anticipation. and maybe even a little fear. After all, once the promised Spirit arrives, what next? And arrive the Spirit did in a driving wind and in tongues of fire descending upon all those gathered.
Pentecost is an ancient Jewish feast, so there were many Jews from various places all gathered in Jerusalem for the feast; not everyone spoke the same language. When the disciples emerged from the room and began preaching, everyone understood in their native tongue. The division that God had inflicted at Babel was now being transformed into unity in the coming of the Holy Spirit~ even if would just last for that day. In that moment, the prayer of Jesus seemed to be answered~ they were all one.
Our Church today is the "one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church", yet there still remain divisions. This Pentecost let us take up the prayer of Jesus and pray that the Church and all Christians will be one. Let us ask the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, to continue to breathe life into the Church.



St Augustine's Prayer To The Holy Spirit
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 
Amen.


A Blessed Pentecost to all!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Beauty Of The Crucifixion

 I found this quote by Hans Urs Von Balthasar at Fr. Christensen's blog White Around The Collar. I found the quote very powerful giving much for meditation as well. I thought I would share it with all of you here. The world sees the crucifixion as a horror and Jesus' greatest failure, our faith and this quote show us that despite the horror and the shame, there is also great beauty if we go deeper into it. Thanks Father for sharing this quote.
"Both the person who is transported by natural beauty and the one snatched up by the beauty of Christ must appear to the world to be fools, and the world will attempt to explain their state in terms of psychological or even physiological laws (Acts 2.13). But they know what they have seen, and they care not one farthing what people may say. They suffer because of their love, and it is only the fact that they have been inflamed by the most sublime of beauties - a beauty crowned with thorns and crucified - that justifies their sharing in that suffering."

Monday, May 17, 2010

New E-Book By Fellow Blogger:Golden Drops

Victor S E Moubarak has just published a new e-book titled Golden Drops: The Wisdom of Fr. Ignatius. Golden drops they are! The book is compilation of stories featuring Victor's beloved, and one of my new favorite fictional priests, Fr. Ignatius of St Vincent's parish.
I promise you once you read one Fr. Ignatius story, you will be back for more. This e-book is a collection of some of the author's favorites.
It is easy to read; I did so in a little more than an hour, but God's wisdom that comes through Fr. Ignatius through Victor's pen (or keyboard) is very rich.
You can download the e-book by visiting Victor's website. Right now he is generously offering this book free of charge.
Victor is also the author of the book Visions. You can read more about Visions and look forward to more of Fr. Ignatius by visiting Victor's blog Time For Reflections.
Thank you, Victor for allowing God to speak through you and Fr. Ignatius.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Because He Has Led You...

This is part of a quote found on the welcome page of the Direction For Our Times website. This a lay apostolate run by a woman who goes by the name of Anne. She is a wife, mother of six and a Third Order Franciscan. She has received and continues to receive messages from Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.
I found this site through Abbot Joseph's post today. I am normally one to be a bit skeptical and cautious when it comes to private revelation and the like, but I trust Abbot Joseph's assessment of this woman's work and I also checked the site out myself. There is nothing there that goes against Church Teaching, she is not looking to glorify herself in any way, and all of her publications have been authorized by her bishop.
While we are in no way obligated by our faith to believe any of what we read there, I do think there is much we can learn and be made aware of through people such as Anne.
For some time now I have firmly believed that God is trying to get our attention and very few are listening. I believe Our Blessed Mother is doing the same. I am not the first or only blogger to state this. If nothing else, these messages can make us more aware and also lead us to see and examine our own lives for just what it is God is calling us to do to further His Kingdom.
I encourage you to do several things: 1) Read Abbot Joseph's post at Word Incarnate, 2) Visit the Direction For Our Times website yourself.
I read about this site early this morning and for some reason kept fighting the urge to post about it myself, but somehow I felt that I needed to spread the word about it.
Anne has endured great hardship and suffering to say yes to Our Lord and His Mother in carrying out the work of this apostolate.
You may not believe the messages themselves, and that is fine, but I do think we all need to be aware, alert and attentive to what God is calling each of us to do in the fighting of this spiritual battle we are engaged in.
Our country is on a slippery slope these days and as a nation we need to wake up before things get past the point of being able to save our country. God is speaking; we need to listen and act.
You can read this month's message from Our Lord to Anne here. The message is not just for her but for us all.

Fr. Robert Barron's Preaching On Jesus The Messiah

In many of Father Barron's videos we hear him giving commentary on a particular topic of the times or even a movie. In this video we get to hear him actually preach, and a powerful preacher he is! In this homily under six minutes long, father uses Scripture to illustrate how Jesus fills the "job description" for the Messiah as described in the Old Testament.
Enjoy this short but powerful homily.

Prayer From His Sacred Heart


Today's Gospel from John (John 17:20~26) is, in my humble opinion, some of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture. Jesus' prayer not just for those who were with Him at that time, but us, those who would come to believe in Him in the future as well.
This passage is one that I find lends itself to deep meditation; the thought of Jesus praying for all those He loved and did and would love Him. He prayed this prayer before His Passion when I can only imagine there was so much on His mind and heart.
His prayer for us, for His Church, that we all may be one in Him. Most, if not all of us have prayed some very heart~felt prayers, but imagine a prayer that came from the Sacred Heart of Our Lord. No prayer has ever been filled with more love or desire for anyone or anything!
I don't want to say too much on this passage; I believe in this case (as in many) less is more. Reread the passage slowly and let the Holy Spirit speak what He may to you.
I chose the above painting by artist Greg Olsen. It seemed to depict the heart of Jesus' prayer~ that they all may be one.
May we all as one body in Christ work toward the fruition of His prayer.
Have a Blessed Sunday!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Memorare To Our Lady


Our Blessed Mother has a way of dealing with me that is firm yet gentle, just like any good mother would. I can be very stubborn in my devotion to her. Anyone who has read this blog on even a semi regular basis knows that I have difficulty in saying the rosary on a daily basis.
I am not sure what it is that our Blessed Mother wants of me right now, but it is almost 2am and I am wide awake. I awoke with some physical discomfort which has now subsided. I decided to play around on the computer and found myself on various Marian sites.
Saturday is traditionally the day dedicated to Mary so I thought I would dedicate a post to her today as well. I found this beautiful picture of her Coronation and have put one of my favorite, and maybe the easiest Marian prayer for me to say besides the Hail Mary, along with it. The prayer is the Memorare composed by St Bernard of Clairveux.
Now that I have payed her this small tribute, I am hoping she allows me to go back to sleep as today is a work day for me :)
May our Blessed Mother obtain every grace and blessing for you.

The Memorare
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Friday, May 14, 2010

St Matthias~Witness To The Resurrection


The saint's whose feast we celebrate today is not someone we hear much about in Scripture. Before Our Lord Ascended into heaven, He gave the Apostles a mission; they were to go and bear witness to Him and spread His teachings to all corners of the earth. The Apostles, however, were one short of the twelve they began with. There are I am sure many reasons why they felt they needed to fill Judas' place. Perhaps since Jesus chose twelve to begin with, they felt that they should keep that number. I also think that because they were of Jewish origin that they felt the connection to the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps, unbeknown-st to us, Our Lord even told them to choose a replacement for Judas. All of that is really not important for us to know.
The story of how Matthias was chosen can be found in today's Mass reading in Acts 1:15-17, 20-26. We know that the principle reason Matthias was chosen was that he was a witness to Jesus' Resurrection.
Let us ask this saintly Apostle's intercession in helping us to bear witness to Christ and His teaching in our world today.
Father,
You called  Saint Matthias to share in the mission of the apostles.
By the help of his prayers may we receive with joy the love You share with us and be counted among those You have chosen.
We ask this through Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever.
(Opening Prayer for Mass)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Visions: A Book Review

I recently read Visions by fellow Catholic blogger Victor S E Moubarak. Visions is the story of three teens to whom Jesus appears in a park. Jesus has a message for the children; they are to tell their priest, Fr. Ignatius, to pray for peace.
As word of the apparition gets around, the children and their families face persecution from outsiders, but also from those within their own church community. Fr. Ignatius also deals with his own fears and crisis of faith, but comes through in the end.
The characters in this story are very real and you will come to know them well by the story's end. Fr. Ignatius is the kind of parish priest everyone would like to have in their own parish. For anyone who has ever read any of Jan Karon's Mitford series, the episcopal priest, Fr. Tim in her books, would get along famously with Fr. Ignatius.
Victor does an outstanding job of developing his characters and making them people we can all relate to.
I know many of you have already read the book, but for those who have not, it is definitely one to add to your reading list.
You can read my review and those of others by visiting Victor's blog Time For Reflections, and clicking on the Amazon reviews link on his sidebar. You can also read excerpts there. While visiting his blog, you can also read other Fr. Ignatius posts.

The Hope And Promise Of The Ascension

The Ascension: Brian Jekel

Forty days ago we celebrated the great feast of Easter; a feast so great that the Church celebrates it for 50 days. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord.
Imagine if you will, being with the Apostles and other disciples on the Mount of Olives on that day. Since Jesus' resurrection He has spent these last 40 days appearing to and spending time with the Apostles, but they knew that Jesus must return to His Father in heaven. In fact Jesus told them that they should be glad that He was going so that He could send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to continue to teach them and help them to spread the Gospel.
I am sure that the Apostles, being human, must have felt a combination of feelings on that first Ascension Thursday~ feelings of anticipation, trepidation, excitement, and perhaps a bit of sorrow at not having Jesus with them in bodily form any longer. I would also like to think that these men of faith had learned a thing or two since Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection, about what their faith means. They have come to know Jesus not just as their friend, but as the Messiah. Jesus told them that He leaves them His peace, the peace of His Presence with them always, the peace of the promise of eternal life with Him one day.
As Jesus is taken into heaven, an angel appears and asks the disciple why they are looking to the sky, for Jesus will return one day just as He is ascending now.
We too are on that mountain, and like the disciples of that day, we, Christ's disciples today have the peace that He gives in His Presence with us in the Eucharist, and in the promise of eternal life with Him after living out His commandments of love in this life.
So as the Apostles longed for Jesus' return, so do we. In the meantime we are to live as the Apostles did spreading the Gospel so that we may be with Him in the place He has prepared for us.
In Jesus' Ascension is also our own. Pope Benedict XVI says this best when he says that: "The meaning of Christ's Ascension expresses our belief that in Christ, the humanity we all share has entered into the inner life of God in a new and hitherto unheard of way.  It means that man has found an everlasting place in God."
Magnificat's commentary on this goes on to say that: "It would be a mistake to think of Christ's Ascension as His temporary absence from the world, but rather we go  
to heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into Him. Heaven is a person: Jesus Himself is what we call heaven".

Monday, May 10, 2010

St Damien of Molokai:Apostle To The Afflicted

 Father Damien was a missionary priest with Congregation of the Sacred Hearts. He volunteered to go to Hawaii where he ministered to the lepers on the island of Molokai. After a year there, Father Damien contracted the disease himself and it eventually led to his death in 1889.
John Paul II beatified him in 1995, and Pope Benedict XVI canonized him in 2009.
In honor of his feast day today, I leave you with this clip from the 1999 movie depicting his life. I have seen the entire movie and it is worth watching; his is quite a story.
You can read more about his life here.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Glimpse Of Heaven

Angel showing John the heavenly Jerusalem, manuscript illumination from the Revelation to John, c. 1020; in the Staatsbibliothek in Bamberg, Germany.




"And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb.  And the city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. " (Apocalypse 21:22~23)


I love the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation). In it, St John takes us with him on his journey in spirit into heaven. While I do not pretend to fully understand this book chock full of symbolism, every once in awhile a passage strikes a deep chord within me. This happened today at Mass as I was listening to the second reading. The above verses in particular.
Here on this planet, we seem to take for granted that the sun will rise each day and the moon will shine each night. St John describes the heavenly Jerusalem as not needing sun nor moon because the light will come from God Himself! When I heard this today, it was one of those moments that I wanted to tell the lector to just stop right there because I need a few minutes to let that sink in.
God Himself is the temple and His glory enlightens all of heaven! Now that is something worth striving for. Everything else literally pales in comparison. 
However, when I forget this awesome fact, I lose the peace that Jesus speaks of in today's Gospel. Jesus tells His disciples that He leaves them His peace, not worldly peace, but His. It is the peace that can not be taken away from us unless we allow it to be taken. Jesus also tells His disciples that He is going away but will return for them; He is telling us the same thing. He will return to take us to that place where His glory will illuminate everything and there will be no need of a temple because the Almighty is it and we will praise Him forever in the temple of the Beatific Vision. 
This is the place Our Lord has prepared for each one of us. May we keep His peace and continue the journey toward our heavenly home which for now we can only catch glimpses.

To The Mother Of Us All


Mother's Day is not on our Liturgical calendar, but as we celebrate this holiday today we should remember to wish our Blessed Mother a happy Mother's Day as well as our earthly mothers. Mary is the Mother of Our Lord  and through Him she is Mother if us all.
I found this article titled The Virgin Mary and Mother's Day earlier in the week and thought it would be a fitting part of this post.
In the article, Father James Presta of the Archdiocese of Chicago relates a story about something his father said to him regarding Our Lady and Mother's Day. It is also a beautiful demonstration of how a father passed on his love and devotion to Our Lady to his son who would become a priest.
All women, no matter what their vocation are called to love with a mother's heart. May we look to our Blessed Mother and her Immaculate heart for the guidance we need to love in this way. And gentlemen, devotion to Mary will lead you closer to her Son who loved His Mother perfectly. He in turn will show you how to love you mothers, wives and daughters.
Happy Mother's Day to our Blessed Mother and to all the Moms who visit here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What The World Will Never And What Catholics Should Never Accept

One of the books I read early on in my return to my faith was The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur. She was a French married laywoman who lived between 1866 and 1914. Her husband, Felix was not a believer until after Elisabeth's death when he found her diary. He not only converted but became a priest as well!
Those of you who subscribe to Magnificat read the meditation for today written by Elisabeth Leseur. There were several lines that stood out for me in this brief reflection; one was: "The chasm between souls can only be filled by God." There is a great divide between all of us souls roaming the earth. She goes on to talk about how the world approves and allows just about everything and anything and that it will not tolerate those who give any of themselves to God; the world seems to feel deprived of those things we who live for God keep from the world.
Part of the reason I was so struck by what she wrote was because she wrote this back in the late 1800's ~early 1900's, but it is true of today's world probably more than ever.
The writing ended with this quote: "The love of God is the only eccentricity the world does not and will never accept." Just look at what is going on in the world today with all the attacks on the Holy Father and the Church itself to see proof of that statement.
There are many who live there lives for God defending the Faith, there are also those who may want to and can't take the heat that may come from doing so, some of these are those who are called to lead and teach us.
No sooner did I finish reading this reflection by this holy woman and Servant of God, did I come across this story over at Catholic Culture. The story is about a presentation given by Sara Bendoraitis at the University of Scranton. This woman supports abortion rights and the use of artificial contraception; both go against the teaching of the Catholic Church. The University of Scranton is a Jesuit run  university, and in my humble opinion this woman had no business even being invited to speak.
When newly ordained Bishop Bambera expressed his concern to the university's president, Fr. Scott Pilarz. SJ, Father Pilarz told the bishop he would attend the function to make sure that :"the principles of Catholic teaching are upheld."
Now maybe I am missing something, but I am not sure how a woman who supports abortion and birth control can speak without those views even remotely seeping into whatever she planned to speak about. In which case I am also not sure how the principles of Catholic teaching were going to be upheld.
I don't know the "can's and can'ts" of what the bishop is able to do in this situation (i.e. forbidding the university president to allow such speakers) I also don't have the specifics of Ms. Bendoraitis' talk. It just seems to me that this is a slippery slope.
I do not mean to go on a rant or criticize the bishop. This type of thing seems to be happening in more than just one or two so called Catholic colleges. As I said it is a slippery slope, and I just think we need to stay off of it all together.
If I have spoken out of turn or without enough fact, I apologize for that. I realize that our Catholic colleges are responsible for turning our young adults out into this world of ours, but they need to teach them and prepare them for this world in the light of the Truth that is Christ and His teachings. Those are the tools our young people need.
When I read this article, the truth of what Elisabeth Leseur said about the world not accepting the things of God became crystal clear.
As I said, this post was not meant to be a rant or an attack against the way bishops do their very difficult job, perhaps it is my way of relating how the world has not changed much since Elisabeth's day~or maybe it has; it has gotten worse.
I pray that all of our bishops and priests use the gift of fortitude to teach the truth of our Catholic faith convenient or inconvenient. I also pray that all of us who practice and hold our faith dear will also have the courage to speak when necessary, and that we may do so with love and compassion but also conviction.
It is also my way of speaking out for what is and Who is the absolute Truth.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

They Are Out There Praying For Us...

Let us also pray for them. Our priests; they pray for us, what better way to thank them than by returning the favor in prayers, especially the Rosary, for them.
I found this article over at Catholic News Agency which linked to a You Tube video that shows an elderly priest entering a church, rosary in hand, while young people talk about the priesthood and what it means to them. It is very moving to see young people talk about our priests in such a positive manner, especially when there are so many attacks from today's media. Yes, there are a few who have made grievous mistakes, but the vast majority are true servants of God.
As this Year for Priests comes to a close, I thought this a fitting tribute to all our priests who are fighting on the front lines for our salvation. The article in the link above explains the development of this series on You Tube called May Feelings. This video is the third installment in the series.
Watch the video, then go pray a rosary for a priest.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

They Will Know You Are My Disciple

During the Last Supper, Our Lord washes the feet of His Apostles and then tells them to go and do to others what He has just done to and for them. He also tells them, as we hear in today's Gospel, to love one another as He has loved them. Jesus proceeds in telling them that people will know that they are His disciples by how they love one another.
This was the line in the Gospel passage that has stuck with me since I heard it and reread it. It all goes back to our Baptism. On that day I became His, and since that day all He has asked me to do, more than anything else is to love; to love Him and love those He puts on my path in this life. It sounds simple enough, but it isn't always easy.
I have often wondered, especially since my return to my faith, will those who meet me know that I have chosen to follow Christ? Does my life now look any different than it did eight years ago? I think it does; I hope it does.
What really strikes me about this line in today's Gospel is that Jesus really simplifies things in commanding us to love. I am the one who often complicates them. He doesn't say they will know you are my disciple by how you pray, by how many holy images are in your home, or by how many parish activities or committees you are involved in. All of those things I am sure He finds wonderful so long as they are accompanied by love.
St Paul also gives a very beautiful explanation of what and how to love in his letter to the Corinthians:
If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil. (1Cor. 13:1~5)


This quote from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta sums up for me the essence of what living Jesus' commandment of love truly is.
To me Jesus is the Life I want to live, the Light I want to reflect, the Way to the Father, the Love I want to express, the joy I want to share, the Peace I want to sow around me. Jesus is everything to me.
If Jesus truly is everything to me, then I will want to love as He has commanded me to love and people will surely know that I am His disciple.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Books By Bloggers

I have been blessed to read the books and e-books of some of my blogging friends. You can find details about their books by clicking their links. Happy Reading!

I Surrender: An e-book full of practical wisdom and inspiration by Judy of BenMakesTen


The Third Floor Window by Colleen Spiro. This is Colleen's story of hope and healing as an incest survivor.


Blueberry Muffins. Colleen's e-book of stories of God's presence in her life.



First Things First: A Personal Retreat Journal is also by Colleen Spiro. It is her thoughts and reflections from a recent silent retreat.



Retreat Journal Ebook



Visions by Victor S E Moubarak tells the story of three children who see Christ appear to them in a park. What would you do?


Golden Drops: The Wisdom of Fr. Ignatius is Victor's e-book. It is a delightful collection of Fr. Ignatius stories. (same as the Visions link-just scroll down)

Books by Abbot Joseph of Word Incarnate.







Two Treasures by Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, PhD
Treasures Old and New and Treasures Holy and Mystical
Both books contain beautiful prayers, novenas, litanies and rosaries steeped in Catholic teaching and Tradition.

Mary In My Life


Today we begin the month of May which is traditionally devoted to Our Blessed Mother. I found this short but very beautiful musical reflection over at the Passionists' website.
They pose the question: "What does Mary mean  to each of us in our lives?"  The answer to that question is different for every one of us. For me Mary's meaning in my life seems to ebb and flow yet she remains a constant. There are also certain events in my life that have been centered around Our Lady. I was baptized on September 8th, the day we celebrate her nativity and I also believe she had a great deal to do with my return to my faith and in my healing from my abortion. The day I made the firm decision to return to my faith was May 31, the feast of the Visitation, The name I would give my aborted child came to me while praying the Joyful mystery of the Visitation. So for me, while I don't always feel like her totally devoted child, I know that like any good mother, she is always there and she is always totally devoted to me in leading me to closer union with her Son.
What I would like to do is invite those of you who read this post to perhaps answer this question as it relates to your own life. For those of you who have blogs, write a post and then use the linky thing at the bottom to link your post so others can read it as well. Those of you who do not have a blog, you can leave a comment.
I like the idea of sharing with each other how Mary shares herself with each of us.
Again, the question is: " What does Mary mean to you in your life?"
The linky thing will be available for a week, so you don't have to answer today; take some time and pray about it if you'd like.
In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful video by the Passionists.



Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.