Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sacrifices reap blessings

Walking in the Rain (Acrylic print) - Usha Rai

“Take great care to go to Holy Mass,
even on weekdays;  and for such a cause
be willing to put up with some inconvenience.
Thereby you will obtain
every kind of blessing from the Lord.”

St John Bosco
 Italy ~ Aug 16, 1815 - Jan 31, 1888
Priest, Educator, Founder of Salesian Society
"Father and Teacher of Youth"
FEAST DAY - January 31
“When tempted, invoke your Angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.”  ~ St. John Bosco
St John Bosco, ora pro nobis!
Venerable Mama Margaret is the beloved and holy mother of St John Bosco. The sanctity and holiness of St John Bosco was first nurtured by a mother's prayer, a mother's example.  From Mama Margaret to her son:

"When you came into the world I consecrated you to the Blessed Virgin Mary. When you began your studies, I inculcated this devotion in you. Now I want you to belong totally to her. Make your companions those who are devoted to Mary; and if you reach ordination, never cease to inculcate and spread this devotion.”

"I have nothing to say regarding your vocation, except that you should do what God inspires you to do. Do not be concerned on my behalf. You owe me nothing. Never forget that I was born in poor circumstances, have lived in poverty all my life; and I am happy to die poor; and I say this seriously to you: if you ever become wealthy, I shall never set foot on your doorstep."

"Dear John, you have taken the priestly habit and I am as happy as any mother could be. But never forget that it is not the habit that matters, but the effort to progress in virtue. If you ever come to have doubts about your vocation, be sure you never dishonor that priestly garb. Put it aside immediately. I would rather a poor peasant son than a priest who neglected his sacred calling".

"John, you are now a priest; you will be saying Mass; so from henceforth you will be closer to Jesus. Remember that to begin to celebrate Mass means also to begin to suffer. You will not realize this immediately, but little by little you will see that what your mother has told you is the truth."

Monday, January 30, 2012

"All-controlling central desire"

The former Protestant minister, Scott Hahn, tells how...

"Out of consuming curiosity I went to Mass one day.  I sat there looking at all these people.  I looked at their devotion, their sincerity taking time out in the middle of the day to worship; and I watched how, during the consecration, their heads were lowered, their lips were moving, their hearts were stirring. 

I went back the next day, and the next, and the next.  Within a week or two I had fallen head over heels in love with the Mass.  I was transformed.  The Eucharist became, in a sense, the all-controlling central desire of my life!  I can't describe to you the passionate thirst and hunger that came over me day after day as I saw all of these people going up and being fed with the Body and Blood of our Lord!"

Dr Hahn entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, 1986.
From Hidden Treasure:  The Riches of the Eucharist
- Louis Kaczmarek

Free CD or Free MP3 download of complete conversion story
(Site also includes same offer for several other edifying talks)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One single Mass

“You will gain more from one single Mass
than you would from distributing
all your goods to the poor
or making pilgrimages to
all the most holy shrines in Christendom.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jesus, my all in all

"Almighty and Eternal God, behold I come to the Sacrament of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As one sick, I come to the Physician of life; unclean, to the Fountain of mercy; blind, to the Light of eternal splendor; poor and needy, to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Therefore, I beg of You, through Your infinite mercy and generosity, heal my weakness, wash my uncleanness, give light to my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness.

May I thus receive the Bread of Angels, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with such reverence and humility, contrition and devotion, purity and faith, purpose and intention, as shall aid my soul's salvation ..."

St Thomas Aquinas
Italy ~ 1225-1274
Dominican monk
Theologian, philosopher, professor
Prolific writer, Hymn composer
Doctor of the Church
FEAST DAY - January 28
(Happy Feast Day, Spencer!)

"Beware the man of one book." ~ St Thomas Aquinas
St Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis!
More on St Thomas, incl 2 min Utube

Friday, January 27, 2012

The fruit of CHARITY

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence...
I John 3:18-19

As our Savior says: "A good tree is not able to produce bad fruit." He says: A good tree, that is, a good heart as well as a soul on fire with charity, can do nothing but good and holy works. For this reason Saint Augustine said: "Love, and do what you will," namely, possess love and charity and then do what you will. It is as if he had said: Charity is not able to sin.

From Spiritual Testament by St Angela Merici
St Angela Merici
Italy ~ 1470 -1540
Foundress:  Ursiline Order *
*For the education of girls and for the missions

Shortly before her death in 1540, one of Angela’s friends asked her for a spiritual testament. She advised: “Do now - do now - what you'll wish you had done when your moment comes to die.”

St Angela Merici, ora pro nobis!

MORE on St Angela Merici, incl Utube:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In the Presence of God...

"What happiness do we not feel in the presence of God, when we find ourselves alone at His feet, before the holy tabernacle! …
‘Come, my soul, redouble your ardor!
You are here alone to adore your God!
His look rests on you alone!’
Ah! if we only had the angels' eyes!  Seeing our Lord Jesus Christ here, on that altar, and looking at us, how we should love Him! We should want to stay always at His feet; it would be a foretaste of heaven; everything else would become insipid to us."
St John Vianney

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Conversion !

January 25

*This feast is at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical observance that began in 1908, which is an octave spanning from January 18 (observed as the Confession of Peter) to January 25.

The Conversion of Saul -- Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

"To be converted means, also for each one of us, to believe that Jesus “has given Himself for me”, dying on the Cross (cf. Galatians 2: 20) and, risen, lives with me and in me. Entrusting myself to the power of His forgiveness, letting myself be taken by His hand, I can come out of the quicksands of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and of every false security, to know and live the richness of His love.”
Pope Benedict XVI
January 25, 2009

“One who thirsted eagerly for God was Charles de Foucald whose prodigal and shocking way of life provoked so much gossip in Paris that he was the butt of violent jokes among French soldiers. 

Born September 15, 1858, of fabulous wealth, at one point of his shady life he stated:  ‘I was so completely selfish, so completely vain, so completely irreligious, and utterly given over to wickedness, that I was only one step away from insanity.’

God seemed to him to be infinitely remote – if He existed at all!  He used to enter St Augustine Church in Paris, repeating over and over ‘My God, if You exist, let me come to know You.’ 

One day, as a priest elevated the Consecrated Host, he was overheard to say: ‘My God, You are real!’

‘In a single instant,’ he said, ‘my heart was touched and I believed.’ 

The Eucharist, until his death, dominated his whole life.  To stir others to seek and find God dwelling in the tabernacle that they too may be touched to the quick, share in his discovery, and come home to the Creator, ‘that Power which erring women call chance,’ he composed this prayer:

Oh Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament in our churches, You give us faith, hope, love and hospitality.  You build for us an inner retreat, an ardent repose.  Help us to seek You and find You in the tabernacle."

From Hidden Treasure:  The Riches of the Eucharist
(Louis Kaczmarek)

St Paul (and St Charles),
ora pro nobis!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Altogether beautiful, pure and good

"As mountain hares become white in winter
because they neither see nor eat anything but snow,
so by adoring and feeding on beauty, purity
and goodness itself in the Eucharist you will
become altogether beautiful, pure, and good."

St Francis de Sales
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
France/Switzerland ~ 1567-1622
Prolific writer and apologist
Author of Introduction to the Devout Life (MUST READ!)
and A Treatise on the Love of God
Co-Founder of Sisters of the Visitation
FEAST DAY - January 24 

“Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms.  Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.  He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”  ~ St Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales, ora pro nobis!

Monday, January 23, 2012

In this Bread...

Day of Prayer* for the Legal Protection
of Unborn Children
*In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22
(or January 23, when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be
observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the
dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion,
and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the
right to life.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. ~ Ps 85:10,11

“In the Bread which came down from heaven,
the family will be able to find the support that
will keep it united in the face of today’s threats
and will preserve it as a bastion of life,
steadfast against the culture of death."

Pope Blessed John Paul II
June 5, 1995

"If people spent one hour per week
in Eucharistic Adoration,
abortion would be ended."

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The food of pilgrims

 "The Eucharist is the food of pilgrims
that becomes strength also for whoever
is tired, exhausted and disoriented."
Pope Benedict XVI
Jan. 11, 2012, General Audience

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Healing soul and body

Artist: Buck McCain

"The author of The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis lived to the age of 92.  Of the 63 years he lived as a monk, 58 were spent as an ordained priest.  In his Chronicle of Mount St Agnes he relates two miracles of the Holy Eucharist.  Regarding the first of these he tells us:

One of our brethren commenced to say Holy Mass at the altar of St Agnes.  For a long time he had been obliged to make use of two crutches in order to go there.  After having said Mass he found himself, through the power of Jesus Christ and the intercession of St Agnes, so much strengthened that he was enabled to leave his crutches behind, returning to us in choir with a joyful heart. 

One of the brethren asked him of what he had done and thought during Holy Mass; he replied, 'I considered the words of the Evangelist St Luke, who himself relates of Jesus, "And all the people sought to touch Him, for there went virtue out of Him and he healed them all." Therefore the Most Holy Sacrament, in union with the prayers of the saints, is able even now to heal the sick in soul and in body." 

SOURCE: Eucharistic Miracles, Joan C Cruz


St Agnes
Virgin, Martyr
291-304 AD
FEAST DAY - January 21
A Roman maid of tender years … St Agnes died for Christ … Steadfast in faith, and ever chaste … She could not be enticed … Although the pagans tortured her … Their efforts were in vain … As piously and patiently … She gloried in her pain … Not even all their insults and … Humiliating acts … Could cause her vigil of the soul … To lessen or relax … When she was only thirteen years … She died beneath the sword … True to her vow to be a spouse … And virgin of our Lord … And now her soul is honored as … The little lamb of Christ … This Roman maid who kept the faith … And nobly sacrificed.

O little lamb, I pray to you … That you will pray for me … To keep steadfast in my faith … And in true chastity … That I may bear each cross that comes … And every pain endure … And all my thoughts and words and deeds … Forevermore be pure. 

Excerpt from: Poem Portraits of the Saints, James Metcalfe (pg 28)

St Agnes, ora pro nobis!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fire aflame


“The Eucharist strikes such fire within us that we
are compelled by our actions and our presence to
warm the people we live among and to melt the ice
of hate, discrimination, indifference, injustice
and isolation. 'Can a man hide fire in his bosom
and his garments not burn?' " (Proverbs 6:27)

Excerpt from “They Have Been with Jesus
 Fr Franklyn M McAfee

St Sebastian
Italy ~ 288 +
 Defender of the Faith, Martyr
Patron of archers, athletes and soldiers
Feast Day - January 20

St Sebastian: Andrea Montegna
Louvre ~ Paris
St Sebastian, Captain of the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Emperor, was condemned to death for professing his Faith. He was shot with arrows and left for dead, but when the widow of St. Castulus went to recover his body, she found he was still alive and nursed him back to health. Soon after, Sebastian intercepted the Emperor Diocletian, denounced him for his cruelty to Christians, but was beaten to death on the Emperor’s orders. 
St Sebastian, ora pro nobis!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The FRAILTY of love

"God forever in eternity is wonderful to think about. 
But God, never absent from our world
since the night of the Last Supper,
that is the ineffable thing! 
And this, despite the fact that His Presence
depends on the frailties of wheat, of a host, of a bakery,
of a priest's hands--the frailty of love! 
If that is not a thunderous edition of the Eternity of God,
I do not know what is!"
Fr. Leonard Feeney

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preparing for the Year of Faith

Randolph Air Force Base Chapel, San Antonio

"We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.

It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is 'the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; ... and also the source from which all its power flows.'

At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers' witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year."

From "Porta fidei," Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter
declaring the Year of Faith, made public Oct. 17, 2011.
The Year of Faith: Oct. 11, 2012 - Nov. 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Putting the devil to flight

The greeting of every Mass:
In the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
"Believe me; the devil fears the vigils of pious souls,
and their fastings, their voluntary poverty, their
loving compassion, their humility, but most of all
their ardent love of Christ our Lord. As soon as
he sees the Sign of the Cross, he flees in terror."
St Anthony the Abbott
a.k.a. - Anthony of Egypt, Anthony of the Desert,
Anthony the Anchorite
"Patriarch of Monks"
Feast Day - January 17
St. Anthony's talents at spiritual direction were famous, and many people traveled to the desert to seek his advice.  St Athanasius, who knew Anthony and wrote his biography, said, "Anthony was not known for his writings nor for his worldly wisdom, nor for any art, but simply for his reverence toward God."

St Anthony, ora pro nobis!
MORE on St Anthony of the Desert, incl 2 min UTube:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Because of their reverence...

St Francis de Sales had a special devotion toward the holy angels charged with the guardianship of the tabernacles. His veneration for these angelic guardians was increased by an instance which showed that these pure spirits revere not only the Sacred Species, but also the ministers who consecrate and handle them.

After having conferred Holy Orders on a pious young man, St Francis noticed that the newly ordained priest hesitated before a door as if to let someone pass before him. "Why do you pause?" asked the saint.  "God favors me with the sight of my Guardian Angel," replied the priest. "Before I was ordained to the holy priesthood, my angel always remained at my right and preceded me.  Now he walks at the left and refuses to go before me."  Such is the great veneration which the angelic spirits show even to God's ministers because of their reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.”

Excerpt from
The Guardian Angels: 
Our Heavenly Companions (Tan Books)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Come, and you will see

Jesus turned and saw them following Him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" “Rabbi” – which translated means Teacher – “where are you staying?”  He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”  So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with Him that day.”  John 1: 38,39    (From today's Gospel)

“Jesus, Food of strong souls,
strengthen me, purify me.
make me godlike.”

St Gemma Galgani

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jesus in our midst

"Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life."
(One of the new dismissal options for Holy Mass)

"If we really understand the Eucharist, if we really center our lives on Jesus’ Body and Blood, if we nourish our lives with the Bread of the Eucharist, it will be easy for us to see Christ in that hungry one next door, the one lying in the gutter, the alcoholic man we shun, our husband or our wife, or our restless child. For in them, we will recognize the distressing disguises of the poor: Jesus in our midst."

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Friday, January 13, 2012

We learned it from Him !

My Flesh is truly food, and My Blood is truly Drink. 

"When we speak of the reality of Christ's nature being in us, we would be speaking foolishly and impiously--had we not learned it from HimFor He Himself says: `My Flesh is truly food, and My Blood is truly Drink. He that eats My flesh and drinks My Blood will remain in Me and I in him' (John 6:56-57).

As to the reality of His flesh and blood, there is little room left for doubt, because now, both by the declaration of the Lord Himself and by our own faith, it is truly Flesh and truly Blood. And these Elements bring it about, when taken and consumed, that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Is it not true?

Let those who deny that Jesus Christ is true God be free to find these things untrue. But He Himself is in us through the flesh and we are in Him, while that which we are with Him is in God."

St Hilary of Poitiers
Gaul (later France) ~ 300 - 368
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
"Hammer of the Arians"
 A favorite motto of St. Hilary:
Ministros veritatis decet vera proferre,
"Servants of the truth ought speak the truth."
FEAST DAY - January 13

This is how Hilary summed up the problem
with the Arian heretics* of the fourth century:
"They didn't know who they were."

*Arius, whose followers were called Arians, felt that God created Christ, not of his own matter. This meant, in his opinion, that Christ was not God and was not divine. Therefore, worshipping Christ would be tantamount to worshipping another god, and this specifically went against God’s teaching that He alone should be worshipped.

St Hilary, ora pro nobis!

MORE on St Hilary, incl 2 minute Utube (Fr James Kubicki, SJ):