Friday, January 31, 2014

Priorities par excellence

"When you speak or preach, always insist on frequent Communion
and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary."- St John Bosco
"I beg you to recommend to everyone,
first, adoration of Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament
and then reverence for most holy Mary."
  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, pray for us!

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."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

No fear

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea ... The LORD Almighty is with us... - Psalm 46: 1-3, 7a

"O great and Divine Sacrament
that veils my God!
Jesus, be with me each moment,
and no fear will enter my heart."

St. Maria Faustina
of the Blessed Sacrament

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Holy Hour: oxygen tank!

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you."  And with that he breathed on them and said,
"Receive the Holy Spirit." - John 20:21, 22


"Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar.

The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world."

Ven Fulton J Sheen

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our all in all

"The Eucharist is the sacrament of love:
it signifies love, it produces love." - St Thomas Aquinas
"The Sacrament of the Body of the Lord puts the demons to flight, defends us against the incentives to vice and to concupiscence, cleanses the soul from sin, quiets the anger of God, enlightens the understanding to know God, inflames the will and the affections with the love of God, fills the memory with spiritual sweetness, confirms the entire man in good, frees us from eternal death, multiplies the merits of a good life, leads us to our everlasting home, and re-animates the body to eternal life."
St Thomas Aquinas
Italy ~ 1225-1274
Dominican monk, Doctor of the Church
Theologian, philosopher, professor
Prolific writer, Hymn composer
FEAST DAY - January 28
(Happy Confirmation namesake Day, Fr Howe!)
"Beware the man of one book." - St Thomas Aquinas

Monday, January 27, 2014

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
First teaching Order of Nuns
outside confines of convent enclosure
Feast Day - Jan 27

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, pray for us!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reduced to ashes

 May we love you and possess you, for you are love -
and may every action of our lives praise you.
- Morning Prayer, Week II, Intercessions
Fr. Paschal Morlinio, OSB Carrying Monstrance with Eucharist by Siena Photo.
"Is it possible that there are souls who do not
understand what the Blessed Eucharist is?
Who are insensible to the Divine the mysterious
and fervent effusions of the Sacred Heart of my Jesus?
O Heart of Jesus! Heart of love!"...
 "My heart is the victim of Love and I shall soon die of love.
These flames of love consume my body, as well as my heart,
and I shall be reduced to ashes. Yesterday, as I drew near to Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament, I felt myself burning so violently,
that I was obliged to move away. I was burning all over;
it rose even to my face. Viva Gesu!
How does it happen that so many who are
standing so close to Jesus do not burn to ashes?”

  St Gemma Galgani

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Going to the end of our being...

“...for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power
and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” - I Thes 1:5a

"The single greatest need in the world today is the practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  How can we say this? Logically! We have seen that the conversion of our country calls for an outpouring of marvelous power from God. Christ promised to move mountains at the words of a person who believes.  We conclude: there is no greater profession of faith than during prayer before the Holy Eucharist.
Why should prayer before Christ in the Eucharist be so potent in obtaining miracles of conversion? Because it is prayer that is animated by extraordinary faith. ... There is no miracle too great, and no miracle is greater than the conversion of sinners—provided we believe.
That is why we can say and say with complete security; the single most powerful means on earth for the conversion of America is for Catholic Americans to mobilize a crusade of prayer before the Eucharist for the conversion of our nation."  ~ From The Conversion of America Through the Eucharist -  Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. (1998)
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 (eight-day observance) spanning from January 18 (observed as the Confession of Peter) to January 25.

"Being converted is simply meeting yourself for the purpose of going to the very end of your being.  Conversion means a willingness to see the truth of things and conform one's conduct to it" (A. Serillanges). In the Voice and the Light that Saul encounters on the road, he sees the truth of things and willingly conforms himself to Jesus Christ. "That dear preacher Paul ... was a wolf, but he became a lamb, a gracious vessel of love - and the fire with which Christ filled his vessel he carried through the whole world" (St Catherine of Siena).  "It is clear that Paul wholly fled from himself and cast out all his own will, and that his will was active only in relation to Christ.  Since with Christ there was nothing undesirable or repugnant to his will, it follows that his was a wondrous pleasure which was always present and with which he always lived (Nicholas Cabasilas).  
Excerpt from: Magnificat, Vol 15, No 11, January 2014 (pg 362-3).

St Paul, pray for our continued conversion!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Divine solution

 "Nothing is so strong as gentleness,
nothing so gentle as real strength." - St Francis de Sales
"Those who have little to do
must receive Communion often,
since it is not inconvenient for them;
the same also goes
for those who have much to do,
since then they have more need of it."
St Francis de Sales
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
France/Switzerland ~ 1567-1622
Prolific writer and apologist
Patron of writers, journalists
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
"After having conferred Holy Orders on a pious young man, St Francis de Sales 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 God's ministers because of their reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.'

~ From The Guardian Angels:  Our Heavenly Companions
St Francis de Sales, pray for us!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Haste makes waste

"The minutes that follow Holy Communion are the most precious
we have in our lives." - St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (+1607)
"Let us detain ourselves lovingly with Jesus
and not waste the hour that follows Holy Communion. 
It is an excellent time to deal with God
and put before Him the matters that concern our soul."
St Teresa of Avila (+1582)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

May kindness and truth meet

Day of Penance* for Violations
to the Dignity of the Human Person
*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
and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the
right to life.
---General Instruction of the Roman Missal (U.S.), 2003, n. 373
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 Bl John Paul II
Message to Archbishop of Seville,
5 June 1995

        Lord Jesus, I firmly believe that the Blessed Sacrament is Your very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Senses cannot grasp this marvel. Faith, however, reaches beyond what the eyes can see and assures us that You are present.
        Grant, O Lord, that our faith in the Eucharist may also strengthen our ability to recognize the dignity of every human life. We know that the senses can fool us there as well. Some may not be attractive, others may seem too small, some may appear as less than human.  But we, who can see You in the Sacred Host, can certainly see you in our brothers and sisters. We can also see You, O Lord, in the children in the womb. In a day when so many have forgotten these children, and dismiss them as less valuable than those who are born, grant that we may grow all the more convinced of their dignity and worth. Then grant, O Lord, that we may act accordingly. Amen. (Priests for Life)



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The fruit of friendship

"The martyrdoms of the saints have taught us and do teach us how to conquer the world, with all of its fallacies, fervors, and fears."
- St Augustine

In martyrdom, Agnes also seals the other crucial element of her life, virginity for Christ and for the Church. The total gift of martyrdom is prepared, in fact, by the conscious, free and mature choice of virginity, a witness to the will to belong totally to Christ. If martyrdom is a final heroic act, virginity is the result of a long friendship with Jesus that has matured in the constant hearing of His Word, in the dialogue of prayer, in the Eucharistic encounter." 

Pope Benedict XVI
Address at the Almo Collegio Capranica, Roma,
for the Feast of St. Agnes ~ Jan 20, 2012
St Agnes
Virgin, Martyr
291-304 AD
FEAST DAY - January 21
"This is a virgin's birthday; let us follow the example of her chastity. It is a martyr's birthday; let us offer sacrifices; it is the birthday of holy Agnes: let men be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married woman with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. It seems to me that this child, holy beyond her years and courageous beyond human nature, received the name of Agnes (Greek: pure) not as an earthly designation but as a revelation from God of what she was to be."

~ St. Augustine


The lamb, as a symbol of purity, is one of the symbols of St. Agnes. In Rome on this day, the Holy Father will bless two crowned lambs, brought to the Church of St. Agnes in two baskets, decorated in red (martyrdom) and white (purity), by Trappists of the Tre Fontane Monastery. The lambs are blessed and then taken to the Convent of St. Cecilia, where the Sisters care for them and use their wool to weave the palliums worn by the Pope and his Archbishops. The palliums are conferred on new archbishops -- those appointed as archbishops during the preceding year -- on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul on 29 June. Because of St. Agnes's association with lambs, a lamb-shaped cake would be nice today. Think of using coconut for the wool...
St. Agnes, like St. Valentine, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Anthony of Padua, is invoked by single women in search of a husband -- and today is a good day to pray such a prayer.  In fact, Medieval folklore says that on St. Agnes Eve, girls are often granted visions of their future husbands. Scottish girls would meet in a crop field at midnight, throw grain onto the soil, and pray:

Agnes sweet and Agnes fair, Hither, hither, now repair;
Bonny Agnes, let me see
the lad who is to marry me.

St Agnes, pray for us!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fire aflame

 He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.
- Psalm 50:23 (Today's Responsorial Psalm)

“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, 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, pray for us!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


"’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies
us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours
out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children."
-St. Clement of Alexandria

The Coronation of Mary and the Glory of all the Saints - Elizabeth Wang (2003)

"Take my advice, and in every Mass ask God to make you a great saint.  Does this seem too much?  It is not too much.  Is it not our good Master who declares in the holy gospel that for a cup of cold water given out of love for him, he will, in return give paradise?  How then while offering to God the blood of his most blessed Son, should he not give you a hundred heavens, were there so many?
St Leonard

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Doors to life

So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
I am the door of the sheep. ....I came that you may have life,
and have it abundantly."  - John 10:7,10b 

"The doors

we open and close each day

decide the lives we live.”

 Flora Whittemore



St Anthony of  Padua Catholic Church - St Louis, Missouri ~ USA


Friday, January 17, 2014

Putting the devil to flight

"The priest says, 'In the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit', thus declaring that he offers the sacrifice by the authority of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity."- St Alphonsus
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"
251-356 (105 y/o)
Feast Day - January 17
St. Anthony's talents at spiritual direction were famous, and many people traveled to the desert to seek his advise.  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, pray for us!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Solution for your troubles

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will quiet you
with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. - Zeph 3:17
“How sweet and full of comfort
are the moments spent
before the Blessed Sacrament!
Are you in trouble?
Come and throw yourself at His feet.”
St. John Vianney

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Holy invasion !

 "When I am close to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,
I feel as if my heart is bursting out of my chest." - St Padre Pio

St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

"God gives us in Christ the guarantee of an indestructible love. From the moment the Word was made flesh it is possible to see the heavens opened. It is possible for the shepherds of Bethlehem, for the magi from the East, for the Baptist, for the Apostles of Jesus, for St. Stephen, the first martyr, who exclaimed: “I see the heavens opened!” (Acts 7:56).

And it is also possible for each one of us, if we let ourselves be invaded by God's love! "

Pope Francis
St Peter's Square, Angelus, 01/12/14

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Send your angel to Mass

  When the Eucharist is being celebrated, the sanctuary
is filled with countless angels who adore
the divine victim immolated on the altar. - St. John Chrysostom 
Photo Credit: Loci Lenar

Send Your Angel to Holy Mass
O, holy angel at my side, go to the church for me.
Kneel in my place at holy Mass, where I desire to be.
At Offertory in my stead, take all I am and own,
and place it as a sacrifice upon the altar throne.
At holy consecration’s bell, adore with seraph’s love,
my Jesus, hidden in the Host, come down from heaven above.
And when the priest Communion takes, O, bring my Lord to me,
that his sweet heart may rest on mine, and I his temple be.
Then pray for those I dearly love, and those who cause me grief,
Jesus’ love may cleanse all hearts and suffering souls relieve.
Pray that this sacrifice divine,may mankind’s sin’s efface,
then bring me Jesus’ blessing home,the pledge of every grace. Amen.

— Author unknown (Prayer sweetly imprinted on back of holy card)

Monday, January 13, 2014

We learned it from Him!

For My Flesh is real food, and My Blood is real drink.John 6:55 

"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 Him.  For 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 6:55-56).'
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
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, pray for us!