Thursday, February 11, 2016

Above all: centers of Eucharistic devotion ...

FEAST of Our Lady of Lourdes*
February 11
24th WORLD DAY of the SICK

"To all those who assist the sick and suffering I express my confident hope
that they will draw inspiration from Mary, the Mother of Mercy.  "May the
sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us
may rediscover the joy of God's tenderness" (Misericordiae Vultus,24), allow it to 
dwell in our hearts and express it in our actions!  Let us entrust to the Virgin Mary our 
trials and tribulations, together with our joys and consolations.  Let us beg her to turn
her eyes of mercy towards us, especially in times of pain, and make us worthy
of beholding, today and always, the merciful face of her Son Jesus!

With this prayer for all of you, I send my Apostolic Blessing." - Pope Francis,
(Full text of Letter for XXIV World Day of Sick, 2016 - BELOW)

 Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, France
“All the shrines of Mary,
scattered throughout the world,
have become above all
centers of devotion to the Eucharist,
as if the Mother of Jesus had appeared,
here or there,
in order to lead the faithful to the
adoration and love of her blessed Son.”

Pope St John XXIII

*LourdesFrance, has become a place of pilgrimage and healing, but even more of faith.  
It is a continuation of Jesus’ healing miracles. Many who visit Lourdes return home 
with renewed faith and a readiness to more generously serve God. 
There still may be people who doubt the apparitions of Lourdes. Perhaps the best 
that can be said are the words that introduce the film, Song of Bernadette:

"For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us, 
and especially the sick and  suffering!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

+ Ash Wednesday +

 "Jesus, I give You my whole heart and my whole will.  
They once rebelled against You, but now I dedicate them completely to you…
Receive me, and make me faithful until death.” - St. Alphonsus Liguori


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"Give me, good Lord, a full faith and a fervent charity, a love of You, good Lord, incomparably above the love of myself; and that I love nothing that displeases You but everything for the sake of You.

Take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm -- or rather cold-hearted -- way of meditation and this dullness in praying to You.  And give me warmth, delight, and life in thinking of You. 

 And give me grace to long for Your holy Sacraments, and specifically to rejoice in the presence of Your Blessed  Body, sweet Savior Christ, in the holy Sacrament of the altar, and duly to thank You for Your precious visitation through it; and at that high Memorial, may I have grace to remember and consider Your most bitter passion with tender compassion."

St. Thomas More

*ASH WEDNESDAY is solemnly observed by the Church to mark the beginning of the forty days of penance in the Lenten season. The faithful who attends the Mass on this day will be marked on the forehead with a CROSS of ASHES as a sign of conversion, penance, fasting and human mortality.

Ash Wednesday, Julian Falat (1853-1929, Poland)

The marking of the forehead with a cross made of ashes reminds each that (1) God  made the first human being by breathing life into dust, and without God, human beings are nothing more than dust and ashes, (2) the phrases often used when the  ashes are administered remind Christians of the doctrine of original sin and (3) the cross of ashes may symbolize the way Christ's sacrifice on the cross as atonement for sin replaces the Old Testament tradition of making burnt offerings to atone for sin.

As ashes are being administered, the priest utters one of the following phrases:
    "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."
    "Remember (O man) that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."
    "Repent, and hear the good news."

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him;
and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. - Ecclesiastes 4;12
During Lent, we are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.They are the "three-fold cord" spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12. Satan will not prevail against us if we follow Christ's call to use this three-fold cord as a basis for our Christian walk.

"Act, and God will act. " -  St. Joan of Arc


Prayer is good when accompanied 
by fasting, almsgiving, and righteousness.
A little with righteousness is better than much with wrongdoing.
It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold. - Tobit 12:8

Let us pray - one for the other -  
for perseverance and fidelity in this Lenten season! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Source of mercy and love...

"For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a
favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening
to God's word and by practicing the works of mercy. ... Let us not waste
this season of Lent, so favourable a time of conversion!" 
- Pope Francis, excerpt Lenten Message 2016*
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“To learn from the Heart of Jesus 
the secret of love for souls and deep knowledge of them
how to touch their hurts without making them smart and to dress 
their wounds without reopening them; ... 
to disclose Truth in its entirety and yet make it known
according to the degree of light that each soul can bear.

The knowledge required for the apostolate can be had 
only from Jesus Christ, 
in the Eucharist and in prayer.”

Elisabeth Leseur
Servant of God

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Monday, February 8, 2016

A Saint for Prisoners of their Past

 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere... Psalm 84:10a

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St. Josephine spent hours in Eucharistic Adoration and,
when one Sister asked if it tired her, she said,

"Not at all!  I have been having a
wonderful time with Him. 
He has waited so long for me."
"Our Lord has always been so good to me ...
If I were to stay on my knees for my entire life,
I still would not be able to 
express my gratitude sufficiently."

St Josephine Bakhita
Sudan/Italy ~ 1869-1947
Religious (Canossian Daughters of Charity)
Click here: Canossian Daughters of Charity - Who We Are
Pope Benedict XVI, on 30 November 2007, in the beginning of his 
second encyclical letter Spe Salvi (In Hope We Were Saved), 
relates her entire life story as an outstanding example of the Christian hope.
Feast Day - Feb 8


Toward the end of her life, Mother Bakhita used to smile and say: "I travel slowly, one step at a time, because I am carrying two big suitcases. One of them contains my sins, and in the other, which is much heavier, are the infinite merits of Jesus. When I reach heaven I will open the suitcases and say to God: 'Eternal Father, now you can judge.' And to St. Peter: 'Close the door, because I'm staying.'"

St Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Experience Him...

“Let your religion be less of a theory
and more of a love affair.”- Gilbert K Chesterton


"This mystery lights up
the whole of the earth and sky.
It sanctifies places far away
from where the sacrament is reserved. ...
And this I think is what the whole
Eucharistic presence of Jesus of Nazareth is about.
It doesn't need to be defended, or even explained very much.  
The presence of Jesus the Christ needs 
only to be experienced."

Fr Benedict J Groeschel, C.F.R.
From In the Presence of Our Lord
The History, Theology, and Psychology
of Eucharistic Devotion (Pgs 289 -90)