Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Come, see - and BEHOLD

"Behold, the Lamb of God"~ John 1:35b
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as He walked; and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?”  And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  He said to them, “Come and see.”  They came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day… John 1:35-39
"Behold, the Lamb of God" ...
 Invite someone to Mass or Adoration during this Advent season -
to come and see - and to Behold Him!
St Andrew
Apostle, Priest, Martyr
Younger brother of St Peter
Patron:  Russia, Scotland, fishermen
 Name "Andrew" (Greek: manly, brave, from ἀνδρεία,
Andreia, "manhood, valour")
Feast day  - November 30
St Andrew, ora pro nobis!

Christmas Anticipation Prayer

Beginning on St. Andrew's Feast Day, November 30, the following prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a beautifully meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letting ourselves be found...

"As we are searching for God, the good news is that God is searching for us.  Better yet, He has found us.  The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God.  God is not lost.  We were, or, as the case may be, we are.    ...

Here is what St. Paul says: “It is full time now for you to wake from sleep.”  He is telling us to wake up the gift already given.  This season of the Church’s calendar is called Advent, which means coming”.  Christ came, Christ comes, Christ will come again.  There is no time–past, present, or future–in which Jesus the Christ is not God with us.  He was with you yesterday, is with you today, and will be with you tomorrow.  So we are invited to give up our searching and let ourselves be found by the One who wants to be with us, and to have us with Him, forever."  

~  Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, God With Us

Monday, November 28, 2011

The reward of a simple approach...

"Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to Him, ‘Lord, I am here.  Tell me what you would have me to do’ ...

. . . And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart.  I tell Him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen.  If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.  God always speaks to you when you approach Him plainly and simply."

St Catherine Labouré
France~ 1806 -1876
Daughters of Charity nun (Nursing order)
Marian Visionary
Incorrupt body - Motherhouse D of Charity: 140 Rue du Bac, Paris
Feast Day - November 28

In her second apparition, on November 27, 1830, Our Lady revealed her desire for the Miraculous Medal.  Over the course of the apparitions, which always occurred near the Blessed Sacrament, Our Mother gave St Catherine this message, as if giving a remedy, for the world:  “Come to the foot of the altar.  Here graces will be showered on all, great and little, who ask for them.  Graces will especially be showered upon those who ask for them.”

More about St Catherine and the Miraculous Medal -
and to obtain a free medal (USA and Canada only )

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of ADVENT

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year,
     she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah,
     for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first
     coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second
     coming. By celebrating the precursor’s [St. John the Baptist's
     birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire:
     “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

     ---Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 524
 First Sunday of Advent
Jesus said to His disciples:  "Be watchful!  Be alert!  You do not
know when the time will come... Watch therefore... What I say to you,
I say to all:  'Watch!' " ~ From today's Gospel - Mark 13: 33, 35a,37

"Jesus, ... the Eucharist is the sacramental testimony of Your first coming, with which the words of the prophets were reconfirmed and expectations were fulfilled.  You have left us, O Lord, Your Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine that they may bear witness to the fact that the world has been redeemed  - that through them Your paschal mystery may reach all men as the Sacrament of life and salvation.  The Eucharist is at the same time a constant announcement of Your second coming and the sign of the definitive Advent and also of the expectation of the whole Church.

When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim Your death, Lord Jesus,
until You come in glory. 

Every day and every hour we wish to adore You, stripped under the species of bread and wine, to renew the hope of the call to glory.  Amen."

Pope Bl John Paul II

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Striving more earnestly for unity

...and, I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all to Myself. ~ John 12:32
Archbishop Nienstedt, Mpls/St Paul.  Photo credit:  Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit
“Preparing for and implementing the new missal will take patience, humility, and an effort on the part of all of us.  But as we learn new words and implement the historic changes affecting the whole English-speaking Church, let us strive to listen to what the Church is saying in these retranslated prayers.  It is certainly my hope and prayers that these new words will prompt all of us to reflect once again upon the mystery of the Mass, and to strive more earnestly for that unity that it both causes and signifies.”

 Archbishop John C Nienstedt,
Archbishop St Paul/ Mpls
From Part II of the November 10, 2011, pastoral letter,
The Sacred Liturgy as the splendor of God’s eternal glory

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy are those...

"How sweet is the moment in which poor humanity, wearied and afflicted, may remain alone, with Jesus alone, in the Sacrament of Love; for there the Lord, with His flaming heart open, calls unto all, 'You that are burdened and heavy laden, come unto Me and I will refresh you.' Happy are those hearts that know how to satisfy the unquenchable hunger and thirst in this heavenly banquet!" 

 Fr. M.J. Corcoran, O.S.A.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy and Holy Thanksgiving to ALL!

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

~William Shakespeare

Render thanks to God.  O great
and good Creator, how much do I owe to you,
since out of my nothingness you have made me
what I am?  How can I ever worthily bless your
holy name, and thank your infinite goodness?”

St Francis de Sales

Gratitude ... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen

Consider a gift of gratitude to our Lord through a daily HOLY HOUR or HOLY MASS during the season of ADVENT!

Nourished by the one bread

Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice;
the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  Matthew 5:10

Today’s Liturgy:  Prayer over Communion

Nourished by the one bread that we have
received on this feast of the holy martyrs,
we beg you, Lord,
that we may remain in Your love,
and through patience inherit Your promised reward.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

St Andrew Dung-Lac (priest) and Companions
Martyrs (btwn 1820-1862)* ~ Vietnam
*Incl bishops, priest, religious men/women, lay persons
Feast Day – November 24


St Andrew Dung-Lac and companions,
ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"¡Viva Cristo Rey!"

"Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. 
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee;
but give greater vigor to my confidence. 
Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but enclose it
in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of
my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice
even unto the complete sacrifice of my life."
Bl Miguel Agustin Pro
Jesuit priest, Martyr
Mexico ~ 1891-1927
FEAST DAY – November 23


 "How can I explain to you the sweet grace of the Holy Spirit, which invades my poor miner's soul with such heavenly joys? I could not keep back tears on the day of my ordination, above all at the moment when I pronounced, together with the bishop, the words of the consecration. After the ceremony the new priests gave their first blessing to their parents. I went to my room, laid out all the photographs of my family on the table, and then blessed them from the bottom of my heart." ~ Bl Miguel Pro

Bl Miguel Pro, ora pro nobis!

MORE on Bl Miguel Pro...
In the 1920s the churches in Mexico were closed and priests went into hiding. Fr Pro spent the rest of his life in a secret ministry to the sturdy Mexican Catholics. In addition to fulfilling their spiritual needs, he also carried out the works of mercy by assisting the poor in Mexico City with their temporal needs. He adopted many interesting disguises in carrying out his secret ministry. He would come in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar to baptize infants, bless marriages and celebrate Mass. He would appear in jail dressed as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to condemned Catholics. When going to fashionable neighborhoods to procure for the poor, he would show up at the doorstep dressed as a fashionable businessman with a fresh flower on his lapel. His many exploits could rival those of the most daring spies. In all that he did, however, Fr. Pro remained obedient to his superiors and was filled with the joy of serving Christ, his King.
Falsely accused in the bombing attempt on a former Mexican president, Miguel became a wanted man. Betrayed to the police, he was sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.
At the time of the killing, Mexico was under the rule of the fiercely anti-clerical and anti-Catholic President Plutarco Elías Calles who had begun what writer Graham Greene called the "fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth."
On the day of his execution, as Fr. Pro walked from his cell to the courtyard and the firing squad, he blessed the soldiers, knelt and briefly prayed quietly. Declining a blindfold, he faced his executioners with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other and held his arms out in imitation of the crucified Christ and shouted out, "May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, Thou knowest that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!" Before the firing squad were ordered to shoot, Pro raised his arms in imitation of Christ and shouted the defiant cry of the Cristeros, "Viva Cristo Rey!" -"Long live Christ the King!" When the initial shots of the firing squad failed to kill him, a soldier shot him point blank.
Calles had the execution meticulously photographed, and the newspapers throughout the country carried them on the front page the following day. Presumably, Calles thought that the sight of the pictures would frighten the Cristero rebels who were fighting against his troops, particularly in the state of Jalisco. However, they had the opposite effect. The Cristeros became more animated and fought with renewed enthusiasm, many of them carrying the newspaper photo of Pro before the firing squad.

Miguel Pro's last request prior to execution was to be allowed to kneel and pray.

Pro refused a blindfold.  A Crucifix in the right hand, a rosary in the other.

He blessed and forgave the firing squad.
November 24, 1927, at the front of the Jesuit church of the Holy Family, a multitude accompanied the remains of Father Pro.  Father Mendez Medina cried out, "Make way for the martyrs of Christ the King!" 
Although Calles had forbidden any public demonstration, the people acted in open defiance. Never had the city seen such an enormous turnout for a funeral. As the martyrs' caskets left the house, a great and unanimous cry soared from the hearts and mouths of thousands:.. "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" Thousands thronged the streets and balconies, throwing flowers, praying the rosary and singing. It was a triumph - a glorious witness to the heroism of martyrs for Christ the King.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And so we join...

 And so we join the angels and saints in proclaiming Your glory:
Choir of Angels, Hans Memling (c. 1433-1494, Netherlands)
Liturgical action is given a more noble form when sacred rites are solemnized in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.... Choirs must be diligently promoted, but bishops and other pastors must ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightfully theirs.... Gregorian chant, other things being equal, should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded.... Religious singing by the people is to be skillfully fostered, so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out(Constitution on the Liturgy, 112-118).

St Cecilia
Martyr ~ Rome
Approx  90-117 AD
Patron of Musicians, Sacred Music
Feast Day – Nov 22

 "Words cannot express the things that are sung by the heart ... And if so happy that words can no longer express what they feel, people discard the restricting syllables. They burst out into a simple sound of joy, of jubilation.'" ~ Well said, St. Augustine!

Schola Cantorum ~ Roman Catholic school choir.  Downside School, UK 

Sing praises to the LORD, O you His saints,
and give thanks to His holy name.  Psalm 30:4

St Cecilia, ora pro nobis! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Born of the Host

Detail - window: St Aidan's church, Bamburgh.  Photo Credit: Lawrence, OP
"You were born of the Host,
everything comes from the Tabernacle:
holiness and apostolate."

Ven James Alberione

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christ our King

Solemnity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ
the King
The Lamb who was slain is worthy to receive strength and divinity, wisdom
and power and honor:  to Him be glory and power for ever.  Rev 5:12; 1:6
The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King celebrates the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord of the cosmos.  It is celebrated on the final Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Sunday before Advent.

"Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life. " ~ Excerpt: Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI

"The Lord comes in the Eucharist
to divest us of our selfishness,
our fixations which exclude others,
to make us a single body, a single
kingdom of peace in a divided world."
Pope Benedict XVI
Oct. 26, 2011, Homily
The Lord is King! lift up your voice,
O earth and all you heav’ns rejoice;
From world to world the joy shall ring,
“The Lord Omnipotent is King!”

He reigns! you saints, exalt your strains;
Your God is King, your Savior reigns;
And He is at the Father’s side,
The Man of love, the Crucified!

One Lord, one empire all secures;
He reigns, and life and death are yours:
Through earth and heav’n one song shall ring:
“The Lord Omnipotent is King!”

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Remembering the good Bishop...

"The Body of Christ (Eucharist)
will unite the
Body of Christ (Church)."
Bishop Paul V Dudley
11-29-1926 ~ 11-20-2006
What truth you have spoken, good Bishop!
Let us together pray for its fruition!
Easter, St Peter's Basilica, Roma

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hold back nothing!

"We cultivate a very small field
for Christ, but we love it,
knowing that God does not require
great achievements, but a heart
that holds back nothing for self. ...
He who has Jesus has everything."
St Rose Philippine Duchesne
nee France ~ 1769-1852
"Missionary of the American Frontier"
Foundress of the American Society of the Sacred Heart
FEAST DAY – November 18

St Rose spent hours in adoration of our Eucharistic Lord.  Sometimes her prayer would go long into the nighttime, spending 6 to 8 hours before the Blessed Sacrament.   Her long hours of contemplation impelled the Potawatomi Indians whom she served to name her, Quah-kah-ka-num-ad, "Woman-Who-Prays-Always".  It is said  that the Native American children sneaked behind her as she knelt and sprinkled little pebbles (or acorns or leaves) on her long habit robe, and came back hours later (or even the following morning) to find them undisturbed.

She wrote:  "Once baptized, they never revert to drunkenness or stealing. Whatever is found is placed at the door of the church to be claimed by the owner. Not a single house has locks on the doors, yet nothing is ever missing. The Indians gather in groups (men and women separate) for morning prayers, Mass, and catechism. In the evening they assemble again for prayers." ...

"You may dazzle the mind with a thousand brilliant discoveries of natural science; you may open new worlds of knowledge which were never dreamed of before; yet, if you have not developed in the soul of the pupil strong habits of virtue which will sustain her in the struggle of life, you have not educated her, but only put in her hand a powerful instrument of self-destruction." ~ Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

St Rose Philippine Duchesne,
ora pro nobis!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Close to the hidden Jesus


St Elizabeth of Hungary, when as a little girl used to play about the palace with her companions, would always pick a spot near the chapel so that every now and then, without being noticed, she might stop by the chapel door, kiss the lock, and say to Jesus,

"My Jesus, I am playing, but I am not forgetting You. Bless me and my companions. Goodbye."

St Elizabeth of Hungary
Secular Franciscan Order
FEAST DAY - November 17


From a letter of Conrad of Marburg, St Elizabeth's spiritual director:

"Elizabeth recognised and loved Christ in the poor.  ... She was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castles should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. ...
Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, Elizabeth went to visit the sick. She personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive; to some she gave food, to others clothing; some she carried on her own shoulders, and performed many other kindly services. Her husband, of happy memory, gladly approved of these charitable works. ...
Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman. When she was coming from private prayer, some religious men and women often saw her face shining marvellously and light coming from her eyes like the rays of the sun. ...

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

Continuing in a series of descriptions of the great female figures of the Middle Ages, Pope Benedict XVI (October 21, 2010) spoke of this princess who shows how a life of "faith and friendship with Christ creates a sense of justice, equality of all, of the rights of others... which creates love, charity ... and from this comes the hope and certainty that we are loved by Christ and the love of Christ awaits us, and so enables us to imitate Christ, to see Christ in others. Saint Elizabeth invites us to find Christ, love Christ, have faith and so find true justice, love and joy that one day we will be immersed in God's love."

St Elizabeth of Hungary, ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saintly request

“Great God, hear my prayers! 
Oh, that I could breathe my last
before Your tabernacle,
burning with love and
bathed with my tears!”

St Gertrude
Benedictine nun, mystic
Patroness of the West Indies
Germany ~ 1256 – 1302
FEAST DAY – November 16
"Lord, You have granted me Your secret friendship by opening the sacred ark of Your divinity, Your deified heart, to me in so many ways as to be the source of all my happiness; sometimes imparting it freely, sometimes as a special mark of our mutual friendship. You have so often melted my soul with Your loving caresses..."

From The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude
St Gertrude, ora pro nobis!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nothing better...


Commenting about the Holy Eucharist...  

“Nor can we do anything
more pleasant. 
For what is better than God
manifesting His whole
sweetness to us.”

 St Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus)
Dominican, Doctor of the Church
Teacher and Mentor of St Thomas Aquinas
Patron of scientists and philosophers
Motto:  "To want everything that I want for the glory of God,
to wish and do everything only and always for his glory."   
Germany ~ 1200-1280
FEAST DAY - November 15

“My soul, if you wish to be intimate with Mary, let yourself be carried between her arms and nourished with her blood… Let this ineffable, chaste thought accompany you to the Banquet of God and you will find in the Blood of the Son the nourishment of the Mother.”  ~ St Albert
     It has been said that St. Albert was a scientist by temperament,
a philosopher by deliberate choice and a theologian by mood.

St Albert the Great, ora pro nobis!