Thursday, September 30, 2010

St Jerome: Fighting Ignorance Through Sacred Scripture

 St Jerome, whose feast we celebrate today, is known for saying: "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." I can actually speak first hand of this. The way I was led back to the Church and the practice of my Catholic faith was through the reading and studying of Scripture. The first words out of the mouth of my friend who helped me to return were: "Get a Bible and a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church."
As I began reading, especially from Scripture, I found myself actually coming to know Christ better. I had always known who He is, but actually knowing Him and developing a personal relationship with Him was something new to me.
You can't love someone unless you know them. Jesus is no different. In order to love Him, we need to come to know Him, not just know about Him. I think that this is the essence of what St Jerome was trying to say in that quote.
I will be eternally grateful to my friend for encouraging me to read Scripture. I continue to do so daily and my faith is deepened and enriched by it. My relationship with Christ has also grown. I believe that He wants us to come to know Him better so that we can love Him better. God's grace has much to do with this as well because our faith is a gift from God.
St Jerome was a brilliant scholar and we have him to thank for the translation of the Bible from the original Greek into Latin.
Let us ask this great saint and Doctor of the Church for his intercession so that we may never be ignorant of Scripture or Christ. And if you happen to suffer from a bit of a temper, St Jerome can surely sympathize; ask him for help there as well.
St Jerome, pray for us; help us to deepen our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ through coming to know and love Him more and better through Sacred Scripture.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

God's Holy Angels

God is so good to us. Knowing how difficult our earthly lives can be, He not only gives us Himself, which certainly suffices, but He also gives us companions and helpers for the journey. He has given us the great cloud of witnesses in His saints, but He also gives us the angels to act as messengers (for that is what angel means) and guides.
Today we celebrate the feast of the archangels: Michael, defender and protector, Gabriel, the messenger and announcer, and Raphael who is guide and healer. These three great angels are there for us, each with their own particular mission.
In a few days on October 2, we will celebrate the feast of our Guardian angels. These angels are our life long friends and guides. I know mine goes above and beyond the call of duty many times!
The following poem about St Michael was written by G.K. Chesterton. I thought I would post something a little different this year to honor the archangels, St Michael in particular. However, let us remember to go to Gabriel to listen for the special messages God may be sending our way and to Raphael when healing and guidance is needed.

All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,

All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!

To St Michael in Time of Peace

G.K. Chesterton

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,
Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fullness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.
When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.
Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.
When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.
Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.
He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.
Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the word.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reclaiming Lost Fatherhood

 I found a video on men and abortion over at Fr. James Farfaglia's blog.(See link at end of post) The video is put out by Human Life International and it explains and describes the effects abortion has on men; it also gives some staggering statistics.
It is only recently that research and discussion has begun to take place regarding men and abortion. Many often think this is solely a woman's issue; I can tell you first hand it is not.
After my own healing I was able to recognize my husband's symptoms of post abortion syndrome. His denial that the abortion bothered him led to unhealthy and immoral behavior. Eventually our marriage failed.
In my work with Rachel's Vineyard Ministries, I see the beautiful healing that takes place when men come on the retreats to receive the healing they so desperately need. When couples come together, amazing positive changes and growth occur in their marriages.
It takes great courage for anyone to seek healing, but I sometimes think it takes more for men because they have been taught for so long by our society to deny their feelings. The men who make these retreats are my heroes and I tell them so.
Kevin Burke, co-founder with his wife, Dr. Theresa Burke, of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries has written a beautiful book on the effects of abortion on men. The book is Redeeming a Father's Heart. In it, men share their beautifully powerful stories of pain, loss, and recovery.
Men and women are created equally in God's image and in dignity, but we are very different past that. Men and women do not process things the same way nor do we feel the same way.
If you are a man reading this and in need of healing, please know that it is out there. If you are a woman and know of a man in need of healing, please share this with him.
As women, we need the men in our lives to be healthy and strong spiritually as well as emotionally and physically. The wound of abortion wounds all three of those areas.
For more information on the book I mentioned above, as well as more information on how and where to receive help, you can visit the Rachel's Vineyard website.
Thanks again to Fr. Farfaglia for posting the excellent video. You can see the video by visiting his blog, Illegitimi non carborundum

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Echoes Of Abraham

 "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, 
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."
~Luke 16:31

There is much that can be reflected upon in today's Gospel, but the part of this passage that always seems to speak loudest to me is the very end. Those last two lines seem to sum up not only the entire passage, but also our world today. Abraham's words have echoed down through the ages.
Looking around our world today, many live or at least think that they want to live as the rich man. In doing so many of them see no reason to believe in God, or the ones that say they believe have little to no room for Him in their lives because those lives are too full of the world.
The Lazarus's of this world are quite often scorned, marginalized and cast aside. In today's Gospel passage, Lazarus has nothing in worldly material terms, but he has more than the eye can see and something more valuable than the world can give; He has faith.
It is only at the end of the rich man's life that he sees what his riches have cost him. It seems a case of  " a little too little too late." In pleading with Father Abraham to send someone from the dead to warn his brothers, the rich man now knows that living according to the world can have dire consequences.
So many in our own times are on this same road and like the rich man do not see or care about the consequences until perhaps it is too late. One has come back from the dead to tell them and all of us how we should live. Yet despite Jesus' resurrection, many still choose not to believe.
I am not saying that there is anything intrinsically wrong with having much materially, but if it causes a lack of faith, it puts a person on a road to disaster. We don't need to necessarily be physically poor, but we do need to be poor in spirit. We need to know that without God we are and have nothing. Only God can make us rich in the only way that matters.
For some not Moses, the prophets or even Jesus Himself rising from the dead can make them believe.
Let us pray for those who feel that the only happiness comes from this world; that they may open their hearts to God and dedicate their lives to Him. For those of us who do believe and have been given the gift of faith, may our conversions continue and our faith increase and deepen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Padre Pio And The Sacred Heart

 On this feast of this great priest and saint, I share with you words from a letter Padre Pio wrote to Padre Agostino of San Marco regarding Jesus in the Eucharist. Much grace was granted this holy priest, but also much suffering. His words here show that He knew Who and where was his true strength.
I also posted the novena prayer to the Sacred Heart which Padre Pio prayed for the intentions of those who asked his prayers. A friend sent me this very powerful and efficacious prayer when I made my return to the faith. I have prayed it for the intentions of others as well as for myself as part of my own devotion to Jesus' Sacred heart.
As a stigmatic, Padre Pio knew the pains of Our Lord's wounds in his own body, and suffered the same physical pain, as well as the same humiliation and betrayal Our Lord suffered, for many years.
Fr. Gordon MacRae has a wonderful post over at These Stone Walls about Padre Pio and the persecution he suffered because of his stigmata from those within the Catholic Church.
May Padre Pio intercede for us in helping us to share in Our Lord's suffering in whatever way He calls us to do so, and to always remember that receiving Jesus in Holy Communion will always be the source of our strength and so much more.

Holy communion was life for Padre Pio, a fusion of hearts, a source of joy and happiness.
The 21st of March, 1912, he wrote to Padre Agostino of San Marco in Lamis: "Only God knows what sweetness I experienced yesterday, the feast of St. Joseph especially after Mass, so much so that I still feel it. My mouth tasted all the sweetness of the immaculate Flesh of the Son of God. How happy Jesus makes me! How sweet is his spirit! But I am confused and can do nothing but weep and repeat: Jesus, my food!" (Letters I, 299)
Padre Pio Of Pietrelcina
Padre Alberto D'Apolito

Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...... (here name your request)
Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of.......(here name your request) Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of.....(here name your request) Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pro~Life Prayers

 I received an email from a friend today about the 40 Days For Life Campaign in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland and Denmark.
Two representatives from the campaign were interviewed on EWTN's Life on the Rock; you can view the interview by following the 40 Days For Life blog.
Also part of the e-mail was the following Scripture verse, reflection and prayer.
Please let's all join in prayer for the end of abortion as well as respect for all life from conception until natural death.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble
themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from
their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and
forgive their sin and heal their land."
~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

REFLECTION by Carmen Pate, 40 Days for Life 
Not unlike God's chosen people of Israel, we must
humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from
our wicked ways, if we expect God to hear from
heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. The need
for repentance has not been greater since the Supreme
Court decision of Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

The number one cause of death in America is the
needless sacrifice of our children at the altar of
convenience called abortion. Conservative estimates
put the number of deaths at nearly 48 million.

And lest we think this is an issue outside the church
walls, 43 percent of women obtaining abortions
identify themselves as Protestant, and 27 percent
identify themselves as Catholic. One in four women
has at least one abortion by the age of 45 -- both
non-Christian and Christian alike. Where was the
voice of Truth -- the church?

Mary Comm of In Our Midst Ministries, Inc. sums up
the issue best as she writes, "We (the church) have
been an unintentional accomplice to the millions of
lives lost and to the multiplied millions of lives
devastated by abortion. We didn't want them to abort.
We didn't mean for them to abort. But, because of our
lack of knowledge, because of our fear, we have
continued to stand by and do nothing. We, God's hands
and feet in this dark and hurting world, have been
unintentional, unknowledgeable accomplice, but an
accomplice nonetheless."

May today mark the beginning of change within the
church, as God's people, in unity, seek His

Heavenly Father, we have turned our backs on you and
your principles in your Word. We have allowed man to
usurp Your role as God over life and the number of
our days. But we come to you in brokenness and
repentance over our sin.

We cry out for Your mercy and ask you to remove the
scourge of abortion from our land.

Use us as your vessels, Lord, to bring the light of
Your Truth to our nation once again. Because of
Christ we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Answering The Call

 Caravaggio: The Calling of St Matthew

I love conversion stories, and St Matthew's story is one of my favorites. What strikes me is how Matthew himself tells his story in today's Gospel (although he doesn't tell it in the 1st person). He [Jesus], said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed Him. Matthew left everything he was doing at that moment and with his life and followed Jesus. From that moment on there was no going or looking back for him.
It seems to be that way for many of us who have had deep and powerful conversions. When we are so stuck in lives of sin, we may not always want to admit it, but something in us knows that things should not be the way they are; we are waiting for someone to show us a better way, and when we have seemed to hit our lowest point, that's when we hear it: "Follow Me." For it is only at those very low and dark points that we seem to be ready and able to hear the Savior's words. He has and is the better way.
I am not sure if at that moment Matthew had any idea what was ahead of him; I'm sure he didn't, but he knew his life as it was before those words was not working for him. He heard the call and he answered it. That was all that mattered because from then on Jesus would take him the rest of the way.
It is the same for each of us. We too have received a call; we have heard Jesus' words to come and follow Him. It is up to each of us to answer. Each person's response is different, but Our Lord knows what it is that He has called us to do. He knows how He would like each of us to spread the Gospel. We just need to be like Matthew and simply get up and follow Jesus.
Today on St Matthew's feast day, let us ask him to intercede for us in answering Jesus' call.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cardinal John Henry Newman's Prayer To Our Lady

I am breaking my "no blogging on Sunday" rule today, as it is a joyous one; we have another Blessed in heaven in Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman! In honor of his beatification, I thought I would post his beautiful Marian prayer.
Thank You, Lord God for this blessed you have raised up for us. Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

John Henry Newman's Marian Prayer
O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, let me dwell with you,
cling to you and love you with ever-increasing love.
I promise the honour, love and trust of a child.
Give me a mother's protection, for I need your watchful care.
You know better than any other the thoughts and desires of the Sacred Heart.
Keep constantly before my mind the same thoughts, the same desires,
that my heart may be filled with zeal for the interests of the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son. Instill in me a love of all that is noble, that I may no longer be easily turned to selfishness. Help me, dearest Mother, to acquire the virtues that God wants of me:
to forget myself always, to work solely for him, without fear of sacrifice.
I shall always rely on your help to be what Jesus wants me to be.
I am his; I am yours, my good Mother!
Give me each day your holy and maternal blessing until my last evening on earth,
when your Immaculate Heart will present me to the heart of Jesus in heaven,
there to love and bless you and your divine Son for all eternity.

The Sky Is His Canvas

As I watched the sunset over the bay one evening, the picture being painted reminded me of broad, light~filled brush strokes.
I had this image in my mind of our Heavenly Father taking His hand and just sweeping it across the sky with the result being these seemingly random, but brilliant brush strokes.
The sky is truly God's canvas and He paints a new and brilliantly different work of art each evening. 
There are great masterpieces by great artists hanging in museums world wide, but not even any one of those can compare to the perfect work of the Master and Creator of all.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: O Lord my God, thou art exceedingly great. Thou hast put on praise and beauty:  And art clothed with light as with a garment. Who stretchest out the heaven like a pavilion...May the glory of the Lord endure for ever... the Lord shall rejoice in his works...  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being... but I will take delight in the Lord. O my soul, bless thou the Lord
~from Psalm 104

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some Sea Posts

Last year when I returned home from retreat, I was somewhat inspired to make a place for my reflections on the sea. I started a blog that I really didn't intend to be a blog, but more of a visual journal where I could put all my sea thoughts.
Well a year later it is still around. I don't post much to it, but will from time to time when I have taken a trip to the sea or find an amusing sea related finding.
The title, The Voice of the Lord Is Upon The Water, is taken from Psalm29. As I promised in my last post here, I would share some reflections. You can find two of them over at the above mentioned blog. They are nothing much but just some thoughts I had while visiting one of my favorite places in all God's creation. As I say in one of the posts: The sea speaks volumes!"
For my more recent readers, you will also find posts from last year's retreat as well as sundry other sea related tidbits. For my longer time and faithful readers, thanks for your patience and hope you enjoy these two most recent posts there.
A slide show of my pictures can be found on the Photo Gallery Page on The Voice of the Lord... You can view them as stills or click the slideshow icon if you wish. For this years pictures be sure to scroll to the second photo album; the first is last year's.
If you have been reading this blog for at least the last year or so, you are accustomed to my Sunday Meditations, usually based on the Gospel for that Sunday. This Sunday I may share another of my reflections from retreat instead. (We'll see what the Holy Spirit wishes!)
You can check out The Voice of the Lord... anytime by clicking its link on my sidebar under Posts of Interest.
Thank you to all my readers, followers and commenters for your comments and encouragement.
Enjoy and God bless!

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Return From The Sea

My week of silent retreat was wonderful, amazing, awesome (in the truest sense and meaning of that word)~I could go on with the adjectives but I will let the posts I will share over the next several days do it instead.
The sea itself is a meditation and one that is hard to leave.
I have come to see this time away with God as His way of allowing me to glimpse heaven~ no worries, no responsibilities, no grind of daily life. But now He says: "It is not your time, so you must go back." I don't mean to imply that I had a near~death experience, but I did have a taste of heaven. I am always so grateful that God allows me this very intimate and grace~filled time with Him.
The first thing that I would like to share with you is not one of my own reflections, but one from Henri Nouwen. It was given to us by the priest who says Mass for us during the retreat. It is Nouwen's "Love Deeply" from his book The Inner Voice of Love. Many of you may already be familiar with this book and this reflection, but I think it serves as a wonderful reminder that while love my be scary and dangerous sometimes, it is worth everything.
As I said I will be sharing some of my own thoughts little by little, and I am putting together a slide show of the pictures I took. Pictures can never capture the full beauty of God's creation (especially when it's just me and my little old cell phone camera), but it will give an idea of the beauty I experienced over the course of the six days. The picture at the beginning of this post is just a sample.
But for now, here are Henri Nouwen's words on love.

Love Deeply
Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply.You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.

The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of your love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become part of your self and thus gradually build a community within you.
Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live, there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become part of your inner community. The wider your inner community becomes, the more easily you will recognize your own brothers and sisters in the strangers around you. Those who are alive within you will recognize those who are alive around you. The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Week With God And The Sea

It is that time of year for me again, at long last! Time for my annual silent retreat by the sea. I look forward to this week each year, and by God's grace, He has given me the time to make this retreat for the last five years.
There is nothing like the quiet and the freshness of the sea. In my humble opinion, the sea is one of God's greatest gifts in all of creation.
Our Lord always spoils me rotten during these six days; I hear Him and sense His presence in ways I don't usually.
I was going to try and schedule some posts for the week, but then thought my writing could use a retreat as well. I will see you all back here after Sept. 16, hopefully with some more pictures and reflections inspired by my time of quiet and prayer.
Please keep me in your prayers as you will all be in mine.
God Bless!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Blogs For 2010

 Mary at The Beautiful Gate had this great idea to get the word out about new Catholic blogs discovered in 2010. Along with Victor at  Time For Reflection, she came up with this meme. Victor has tagged me, so it is my pleasure to give you the links to two wonderful Catholic blogs I discovered recently.

1. Come, Holy Spirit from Fr. Michael Slusz is a wellspring of good, solid catholic teaching and insight.

2.Robert's Sparrow's Dwelling also offers beautifully written Catholic reflection

Both of these blogs are solidly Catholic and pleasure to visit. Please stop by to see for your self.

Now it is my turn to tag two of my fellow bloggers.

Anne at Imprisoned In My Bones and Michael at Reach Paradise you have been tagged ! :)

Oops! Anne I just realized Victor tagged you as well. So in that case I will also tag Judy at BenMakesTen

Thanks to Mary and Victor for their joint efforts in this fun and informative Meme.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Birth of Mary: Giotto

Come, all you faithful, let us hasten to the Virgin: for long before her conception in the womb, the one who was to be born of the stem of Jesse was destined to be the Mother of God. The one who is the treasury of virginity, the flowering Rod of Aaron, the object of the prophecies, the child of Joachim and Anne, is born today and the world is renewed in her. Through her birth, she floods the church with her splendor. O holy Temple, Vessel of the Godhead, Model of virgins and Strength of kings: in you the wondrous union of the two natures of Christ was realized. We worship Him and glorify your most pure birth, and we magnify you. 
~From Byzantine Daily Worship (441-442)

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Privilege Of Work

When I was in high school our principal would often tell us: "Girls, work is a privilege!" Now most times we heard her say this was while we were doing the menial and not so pleasant task of scraping gum from the bottom of the folding chairs used at assemblies. So it was hard for us, at least for me, to understand where the privilege was in all this.
It would be many years later after I returned to my faith that I would understand the truth in Sister John Anita's words. This wise woman knew the Christian value to work. I also surmise that she was trying to say that there are many who are out of work or unable to work, and the privilege~ at least part of it was in the simple fact that we could work. She never explained what she meant at the time, and we never asked. In a way I am somewhat glad she never explained her words; I got to figure it out on my own, with God's grace of course.
I now know and understand the Christian value and meaning of work. God has given me the ability, wisdom and knowledge to do what I do each day. He himself gave great dignity when He came in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus worked along side Joseph as a carpenter in Nazareth. Both Jesus and Joseph knew that the ability to work came from God and that there was and is great meaning in our work when it is offered and done for God's glory.
Work can be difficult, and sometimes even mundane. We may be forced to do a job that we are not very fond of and work with others with whom we would not rather not associate. If we look at our work~our jobs as simply a paycheck and praying that we just make it to Friday, we lose the real point of the work and much grace along with it. I think most of us have been in situations like that, or maybe you are in one now. God does want us to be happy here so pray that He will lead you to a job that also fulfills the vocation for which He created you.
In the meantime, I will repeat Sister John Anita's words: "Work is a privilege!" Let us all offer whatever work we do for the glory of God and pray for those who are out of work, or are in jobs where they have ceased to see the meaning.

Prayer to Saint Joseph For Workers

Joseph, by the work of your hands
and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.

Teach me to work as you did,
with patience and perseverance, for God and
for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers
the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and forbearing
towards all.

Grant me to look upon work
with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it
my share in God’s own creative activity
and in Christ’s work of our redemption,
and so take pride in it.

When it is pleasant and productive,
remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome,
teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins
and the sins of the world.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Our Personal Crosses

An illness, a handicap, poverty, loss, betrayal, loneliness... My Lord, the list could go on. Each of us has his own cross to bear, for some there is more than one. As we see it being handed to us, there are several things we could do; we could throw it aside somehow and step over or around it, we could look for someone else to take it for us. That may be our first instinct~ try to avoid it somehow. But doing this makes the cross heavier and more difficult to bear.
If we follow You and do as You ask, picking up that personal cross You so lovingly hand us with Your own nail scarred hands, our faith will lead us, the cross will become one we are able to actually embrace because we see that it leads to You.
My Lord God, You embraced the ultimate cross~ the one we could never bear because of our sinfulness. You bore Your cross for love of the Father and each of us. You died on the cross for us; You ask us to embrace our cross and die to ourselves and the ways of this world.
You have made it clear that there is no other way to come to You. Everything else, even our very selves must not be put before You.
Our own personal cross; You knew, Lord, the ones that each of us would need to carry~ would be able to carry, in order to follow You to the Father. May our crosses lead us home.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A First Saturday Devotion

In honor of Our Lady on this First Saturday of the month I have posted the video below. It gives some of the history of this Catholic devotion to Mary, the conditions of the devotion, as well as Our Lady's promises to those who observe and spread this devotion.
I am not always able to make Mass on Saturdays because of my work schedule, but I can certainly observe the other conditions of confession and the Rosary and doing my best to spread the devotion.
I have also come to see how my devotion to Our Lord's Sacred Heart is very closely related to devotion to His Blessed Mother. She is our Mother as well and seeks only to bring us closer to her Son.
These beautiful devotions of the Nine First Fridays and the Five First Saturdays are part of the rich treasures of our Catholic faith. Through them much grace can come to us and others. Through their observance may we grow in holiness.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pope St Gregory The Great And Making Known The Mystery Of Christ

Christ during His Passion prayed a prayer of mercy for His persecutors in asking His Father to forgive them for they know not what they do. That prayer was also intended for us who have persecuted Him in our sins. His prayer for us is also one of pure mercy. If we are to accept that mercy, we must first come to Him as the good thief did as he was being crucified beside Christ, full of humble repentance. It is then that we can receive the Body and Blood of Christ and make His mystery known to others through the ways we live our lives in Christ.
Today is the feast of Pope St Gregory the Great, another of the Doctors of the Church and one of only a few to be given the title "the great". It is also the first Friday of the month. Many people, myself among them, observe the devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Our Lord made many promises to those who would observe and spread this devotion. It is another way in which we can spread and make known Christ's Mystery; those Divine Mysteries that are re~presented at every Mass.
The following is a reflection from Pope St Gregory the Great on making known the Mystery of Christ's Mercy.
Today let us ask this great saint for his intercession for our own Holy Father, Benedict XVI and all our bishops and priests that they will lead us faithfully in our own efforts of living and spreading Christ's Mystery of Mercy.

Making Known the Mystery of Christ

Holy Job is a type of the Church. At one time he speaks for the body, at another for the head. As he speaks of its members he is suddenly caught up to speak in the name of their head. So it is here, where he says: I have suffered this without sin on my hands, for my prayer to God was pure.
Christ suffered without sin on his hands, for he committed no sin and deceit was not found on his lips. Yet he suffered the pain of the cross for our redemption. His prayer to God was pure, his alone out of all mankind, for in the midst of his suffering he prayed for his persecutors:Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Is it possible to offer, or even to imagine, a purer kind of prayer than that which shows mercy to one’s torturers by making intercession for them? It was thanks to this kind of prayer that the frenzied persecutors who shed the blood of our Redeemer drank it afterward in faith and proclaimed him to be the Son of God.
The text goes on fittingly to speak of Christ’s blood: Earth, do not cover over my blood, do not let my cry find a hiding place in you. When man sinned, God had said: Earth you are, and to earth you will return. Earth does not cover over the blood of our Redeemer, for every sinner, as he drinks the blood that is the price of his redemption, offers praise and thanksgiving, and to the best of his power makes that blood known to all around him.
Earth has not hidden away his blood, for holy Church has preached in every corner of the world the mystery of its redemption.
Notice what follows: Do not let my cry find a hiding place in you. The blood that is drunk, the blood of redemption, is itself the cry of our Redeemer. Paul speaks of the sprinkled blood that calls out more eloquently than Abel’s. Of Abel’s blood Scripture had written: The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the earth. The blood of Jesus calls out more eloquently than Abel’s, for the blood of Abel asked for the death of Cain, the fratricide, while the blood of the Lord has asked for, and obtained, life for his persecutors.
If the sacrament of the Lord’s passion is to work its effect in us, we must imitate what we receive and proclaim to mankind what we revere. The cry of the Lord finds a hiding place in us if our lips fail to speak of this, though our hearts believe in it. So that his cry may not lie concealed in us it remains for us all, each in his own measure, to make known to those around us the mystery of our new life in Christ.

*Brief biography of Pope St Gregory the Great

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Woman Of Seven Sorrows

September is the month dedicated to the seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother. It is also a month with several Marian feast days. On September 8th, we celebrate the Nativity of Mary and on September 15th we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. September 14th is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, not a Marian feast day strictly speaking, but Our Lady was at the cross and it is one of her seven sorrows; we can therefore certainly remember her on that day as well.
No one was closer to Jesus than His Mother. As we recall her sorrows throughout this month, let us ask her to bring us closer to her Divine Son, and may she teach us to love Him more and better.
The website of the Seven Dolors of Mary has some beautiful meditations on each of the seven sorrows as well as other beautiful prayers. You can access the site through this post or by clicking the image on my sidebar.
I will leave you with this musical Scriptural meditation on Our Lady's Seven Sorrows

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.