Friday, February 28, 2014

Food of the strong

 I am the living bread which came down from heaven;  if any one eats
of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give
for the life of the world is my flesh. - John 6: 51 
 
 
"All created life needs to be fed:  plants draw their nourishment from the secretions of the earth; animals feed on plants or other living creatures; man nourishes his body with material and appropriate food; he nourishes his mind with truth, especially divine truth; he should nourish his will with the divine will to be accomplished daily in order to reach eternal life.  In other words, man ought to find his nourishment especially in faith, hope and love.  The acts of these virtues obtain for him, through merit, an increase in supernatural life.

But the Savior offers him still another and more divine food; He offers Himself as the food of souls.  To St Augustine, Christ said:  'I am the food of the strong; grow and thou shalt feed on Me.  But thou shalt not convert Me into thyself as the nourishment of thy body, but thou shalt be changed into Me' (Confessions, Bk VII, chap. 10).


In Communion, the Savior has nothing to gain: it is the soul that receives, that is vivified, supernaturalized; the virtues of Jesus Christ pass into it; it is, as it were, incorporated in Him and becomes a more living member of His mystical body.  ... Christ, present in the Eucharist, leads the soul to a purer and stronger love of God."

Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.
The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Vol I (pg 415)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

So sweet...yes, so sweet!

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow
and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and
the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. - Col 2:8
 
 
 
“There is more sweetness
in one hour of prayer before
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament than
in all the world's crowded theaters,
and brilliant drawing rooms,
and giddy diversions, and social gatherings.”
 
St Gabriel Possenti
Passionist clerical student
Italy ~1838-1862
Exemplary devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast Day: February 27
 
 
Love Mary! She is lovable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity." - St Gabriel 

 
Saint Gabriel is remarkable because he obediently and willingly converted in a very short time from a life of excess, devoted to the pleasures of this world, to becoming inextricably linked to the Passion of Our Lord. He shows us that we are all blessed with the graces to fall in love with Our Lord, no matter what the cost.
Gabriel died at age 24 of tuberculosis and was buried the day of his death. A companion in the novitiate, Bernard Mary of Jesus, exclaimed:
“Tears come to my eyes and I am filled with shame for having been so far from the virtues that he attained in such a short time.”

 

St Gabriel, pray for us! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

40 day challenge

"The earth is filled with tabernacles -
Praise Him!" - St Luigi Guanella


"How beautiful to see
the people of God
praying before the
Blessed Sacrament exposed."

St Luigi Guanella


What is missing in this photo?....  Perhaps it is you!

One week from today is ASH WEDNESDAY !
What is your plan?

Several years ago a priest offered a reminder that Lent is a time of intentionally deepening one's relationship with Christ.  Then he continued: "What is it that you long to do every day to accomplish this, but because of your station in life, work/school commitments, current demand of circumstances, health issues, etc, you sense an inability or hesitation to do so?"  And then, one short breath later, the real challenge: "But... couldn't you do 'that' for 40 short days?"


I knew immediately what 'that' was:  I longed to pray a Holy Hour every day.  I fulfilled that pledge that Lenten season by traveling to different Adoration Chapels each day, as a happy pilgrim traveling to be with her Lord.  Although my diocese is filled with several Chapels, making this somewhat easier to accomplish, it took planning - and especially since my husband and son wanted in on the experience too.  This Lenten tradition has joyfully remained.  My heart continues to long toward offering a Holy Hour every day, and someday I trust this will be a reality.  After all, that's just 365 short days, right?

Listen to the echo of this good priest's wisdom - and perhaps there is a Lenten challenge there for you too! - Janette +JMJ+

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Returning love for love

  "Jesus, what made You so small? LOVE!"
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux



"It is a mystery which almost baffles thought.  Certainly God can never cease to be what He is; He can never cease to be awful in His Greatness and Infinite in His Wisdom - our Ruler, our King and our Judge - but in this Sacrament, as if He had nothing to think of but the soul which He comes to visit, He lavishes upon her all the riches of his bounty and reveals Himself to her in no other but the most amiable and most humble manner. Perhaps it is for this reason that He has been pleased so often to manifest Himself as an Infant in the Sacred Host, in order to show us how small He has become for love of us and to take away from us all fear.

    Of old it was said, Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis - "Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised."  But now we may rather say:  Parvus Dominus et amabilis nimis - "Small is the Lord and exceedingly to be loved."  ... St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi once asked a pious person after Communion what she was thinking of.  "Of love, " was her reply.  "Yes," joined the Saint, "when we think of the immense love of Jesus Christ for us, we cannot think of anything else." 

    It is related of Artaxerxes, King of Persia, that when he saw Themistocles, his dearest friend, he exclaimed, in a transport of joy:  "I have Themistocles, Themistocles I have!" With how much greater joy should not the soul exclaim after Communion:  "I have my Jesus, my Jesus I have! I have found Him whom my soul loves!  I will keep Him, and not leave Him!"  It is not enough to wonder at our Saviour's love.  Love must be mutual to produce union:  and we must return Him love for love.”

Michael Mueller, C.S.S.R.
The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure (pgs 86-87)


Monday, February 24, 2014

Simply present, simply said...

Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness
of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. - Psalm 16:11
 
 
"How useful it is every so often
to remain in contemplation before the tabernacle -
without forcing ourselves to think of lofty things!
 
To be able to tell Jesus simply: 'You are my Master.
You have given me an example.
I want to do as You did.'"
 
Bl James Alberione

Sunday, February 23, 2014

For all: pledge of future glory!

"For myself, I believe that were it not for holy Mass, the world
would at this moment be in the abyss, unable to bear up under the load
of its iniquities." - St Leonard of Port Maurice, Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass

 
“O Jesus, present in the Sacrament of the altar,
teach all the nations to serve you with willing hearts,
knowing that to serve God is to reign. 

May your sacrament, O Jesus, be light to the mind,
strength to the will, joy to the heart. May it be the support of the weak,
the comfort of the suffering, the wayfaring bread of salvation for the dying
and for all the pledge of future glory.  Amen.”

Pope Bl. John XXIII

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Christ's Will and Way

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle
February 22


The feast of the Chair of St Peter commemorates the teaching authority of the Vicar of Christ. The Catechism teaches that "it is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error" so that "the People of God abides in the truth that liberates" (CCC 890).

 


Prayer over the Offerings
(Today's Liturgy)
Accept with favor, O Lord, we pray,
the prayers and offerings of your Church,
that, with Saint Peter as her shepherd,
she may come to an eternal inheritance,
for it is through his teaching
that she holds the faith in its integrity.
Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon
(Today's Liturgy)
Peter said to Jesus:  You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.
And Jesus replied:  You are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church.

Prayer after Communion
(Today's Liturgy)
O God, who at our celebration
of the feast day of the blessed Apostle Peter
have nourished us by communion in the Body
    and Blood of Christ,
grant, we pray, that this redeeming exchange
may be for us a Sacrament of unity and peace.
Through Christ our Lord.

Perugino
"Perhaps it would be a good thing if every Christian,
certainly every priest, could dream once in his life that he were pope, 
and wake from the nightmare in a sweat of agony." - Msgr Ronald Knox

Friday, February 21, 2014

Powerful, protective, precious Blood

"We need...to reemphasize the glories of the Cross and of our Crucified Redeemer, to reopen the fountains of mercy just when the devil would make us the victim of wrath. ... We must arouse them from their insensibility by reminding them that His Blood is offered up every morning upon the altars..." - St Gaspar del Bufalo

Peter Paul Ruebens

On one occasion St Peter Damian wrote to a young nephew:

“If I may speak figuratively, drive out the roaring beasts from your domain; do not cease from protecting yourself daily by receiving the Flesh and Blood of the Lord.  Let your secret foe see your lips reddened with the Blood of Christ.  He will shudder, cower back, and flee to his dark, dank retreat."

St Peter Damian
Italy ~ 1007-1072
Benedictine monk, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia
Reformer, Author - Liber Gomorrhianus (Book of Gomorrah)
Doctor of the Church
 MOTTO:  “Do not prefer anything to the love of Christ.”
FEAST DAY - February 21

 

“Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth. Let words of thanks break from your lips.” - St Peter Damian

St Peter Damian, pray for us!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Behold...behold...behold...behold...Him!

 "Behold, the everlasting oblation!  Of such power it is, that in the
whole world no other sacrifice remains but this." - St Vincent Ferrer


 


"Recall that at four important moments during the celebration of the Eucharist, the priest elevates the sacred Host and the Precious Blood of the Lord. The first moment is the elevation during the consecration. The second moment occurs when, at the conclusion of the Eucharistic prayer, the priest raises the Host and the chalice together just before the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Then, before the distribution of Holy Communion, the priest presents the sacred Host and the Precious Blood to the entire congregation with the words “Behold the Lamb of God….” And finally, in a more personal moment, each communicant is invited to behold and adore the sacred Host just before receiving the Bread of Life." - Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, OP


 


"At the elevation of the most holy Sacrament, we must strive to adore Him with all our heart, then to offer Him to God the Father for the remission of our sins and those of all the world,then to offer to Him ourselves and all the Church and all our relations and friends." - St Francis de Sales


Fr Dominic De Maio, OP
 

"The whole life and passion of Christ is expressed in the Mass.  So when the priest raises the sacred host and chalice, he represents how Christ was raised high upon the Cross.  All must humble themselves and bend the knee when the body of Christ is raised up, for the true Christ who is in heaven is in the host." - St Vincent Ferrer 


 

 "For the elevation is done that all present may see and ask for whatever
will profit unto salvation, according to the words: And I, if I be lifted up from
the earth, will draw all things to Myself." - Durandus, Bishop of Mende (France)



"Behold the Sun of holy Church, that scatters the clouds
and renders heaven again serene!  Behold the heavenly Rainbow, 
pacifying the storms of divine justice!" - St Leonard

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grace dropping upon your soul...

 "From the Tabernacle Jesus seems to say, 'Stay with Me
for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent'. 
This should urge me to come to visit Him often." - Fr William Doyle
 
 
"As regards prayer, you should try to follow the attraction of the Holy Spirit, for all souls are not led by the same path.  It would not be well to spend all the time in vocal prayer, there should be some meditation, thought or contemplation. 

Try 'basking in the sun of God’s love,' that is, quietly kneeling before the Tabernacle, as you would sit enjoying the warm sunshine, not trying to do anything, except love Him; but realizing that, during all the time you are at His feet, more especially when dry and cold, grace is dropping down upon your soul and you are growing fast in holiness."
 
Fr William Doyle, SJ (+ 1917)
 
 
It has 'been awhile' since I have quoted from this saintly priest... 
Make the time to visit this site - one always leaves well fed!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ever more conformed...

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory,
are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, 
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. - II Cor 3:19

  

"In a church or chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar, the mood is one of palpable, even intense, silence, reverence and concentration. This prolonged beholding is the school of contemplation in which we become ever more conformed to the divine mystery.

The insights of Saint Albert the Great on contemplation can be summarized thus: by gazing on what is good, we become good. This experience of contemplative prayer is in a real sense a foretaste of the experience of heaven itself where we will be able to gaze upon Christ in all His glory."*
Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, OP

Monday, February 17, 2014

Communion rail: place of exchange

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing in thankfulness. - Colossians 2: 6,7

[communion.jpg]

“The communion rail is a place of exchange.  The people give time and receive eternity; they give self-denial and receive life; they give nothingness and receive all. Holy Communion commits each to a closer union not only with Christ’s life, but also with His death – to greater detachment from the world, to surrender of luxuries for the sake of the poor, to death of the old Adam for rebirth in Christ, the new Adam.”
 

From The Priest is Not His Own (pg 20), Fulton Sheen (1963)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The cry of gratitude

 
"A Christian should be an 'ALLELUIA' from head to foot." -St. Augustine
 
 
"The table awaits us
at which our baptismal life
is fed over and over again.
We have every reason
to cry out in gratitude: alleluia, alleluia!"

Balthasar Fischer, 20th c
 
 
In the Liturgical calendar, today is the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  Traditionally this is Septuagesima Sunday - marking three weeks until the First Sunday of Lent, nine weeks before Easter Sunday.  It is a time of early preparation for the Great Fast of Lent.
In the Middle Ages and throughout the 16th century, the "burying" of the Alleluia was a solemn ritual on Septuagesima Sunday.  (Many families now echo this practice on Ash Wednesday). A procession of children carrying a wooden plaque bearing the word "Alleluia" laid it at the feet of the statue of the Blessed Virgin, covering it with a purple cloth. It remained there until Easter at the Gospel procession, when the plaque was carried as the priest intoned the three Alleluias before the Easter Gospel. In Paris, a straw figure inscribed with the word was carried out of the choir at the end of the service and burned in the church yard.
Although the practice of literally removing the Alleluia from the Church may have disappeared, even today in some parish celebrations of the Easter Vigil an Alleluia card is carried in procession and placed in front of the altar during the singing of the first Alleluias before the Gospel for Easter.
Why do we refrain from saying or singing Alleluia during Lent?  Lent is a penitential season, a time of repentance, self-examination, confession and study. For many, it is a time to prepare for Holy Baptism at Easter. The Church has traditionally marked Lent by various practices of self-denial, such as dressing the altar and clergy in a somber colors, not placing flowers on the altar, singing music with a penitential rather than exuberant tone, and ceasing the use of “Alleluia!” in the liturgy. Not only do such practices remind us of our own need for self-denial, but when we burst forth with white vestments, brilliant flowers, exuberant music and shouts of “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” on Easter Day, we celebrate the joy of Christian hope.  - Written be Tom Ehrich 
The hymn Alleluia, Song of Gladness and the one that follows date from the early 9th/10th c., refering to the farewell to the Alleluia in the liturgy.

Stay with us today, Alleluia,
When the morning rises,
thou shalt go thy way.
Alleluia, alleluia.

May the Lord be thy custodian, Alleluia.
And the angel of God accompany thee.
May the Lord keep thee alive
And protect thee from every evil.
Alleluia, alleluia.

The mountains and hills shall rejoice, Alleluia,
While they await thy glory.
Thou goest, Alleluia; may the way be blessed,
Until thou shalt return with joy.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

 From: the Mozaribic Liturgy of Spain

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The best of counsel...

"Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach me perfect selflessness since this is the only path to you. Since all I will do in the future will be yours, see to it that I do nothing that is not worthy of you." - St Claude de la Columbiere


 
 
"If you are sinful, repent
so that you can Communicate often.
If you are imperfect, go often to Communion
that you may amend your faults."

St. Claude de la Colombiere
Jesuit priest ~ France ~ 1641-1682
Spiritual Dir of St Margaret Mary Alacoque
Motto:  "Trust in God"
Feast Day - Feb 15
 

"The happiness of the person whose will is entirely submitted to God's
is constant, unchangeable and endless. No fear comes to disturb it
for no accident can destroy it."- St. Claude de la Colombiere
 
including BEAUTIFUL prayer.
  
 
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ I John 1:9
 

  St Claude de la Colombiere, pray for us!

Friday, February 14, 2014

One heart...

   "Therefore, it is well with me: truly I have but one Heart with Jesus
and what wonder that there should be but
one heart with the multitude of believers." - St John Eudes
 
 

"All expressions of love,
even the highest and the most profound,
are verified in the Eucharist.
 
Thus, it is a Love that is crucified,
a Love that unites,
a Love that adores,
a Love that contemplates,
a Love that prays,
a Love that delightfully satisfies."

 Fr. Stefano Manelli, O.F.M.
 
Photo credit: Fr Lawrence Lew, OP

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seeing clearly

"Now we, when we participate in the Holy Mass, we meet with men and women of all kinds: young people, elderly people, children, poor people and the well-off, native to the place and foreigners, accompanies by relatives or alone … However, does the Eucharist I celebrate lead me to truly regard them all as brothers and sisters? Does it make my capacity grow to rejoice with the joyful and to weep with those who weep? Does it push me to go to the poor, the sick, the marginalized? Does it help me to recognize Jesus’ face in them?

We all go to Mass because we love Jesus and we want to share in the Eucharist his Passion and Resurrection. But do we love, as Jesus wants, those brothers and sisters that are most in need?"

Pope Francis
General Wednesday Audience
St Peter's Square, 02/12/14
 
 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Every hour... an offer of grace

"He who loves the Mass is already in paradise."  - St Philip Neri
 
 
"Time is full of eternity. 
As we use it,
so shall we be.
Every day
has its opportunities,
every hour
its offer of grace."


Cardinal Henry Manning
(1883)
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Above all: Eucharistic devotion

FEAST of Our Lady of Lourdes*
February 11
22nd WORLD DAY of the SICK

"I entrust this Twenty-second World Day of the Sick to the intercession of Mary. I ask her to help the sick to bear their sufferings in fellowship with Jesus Christ and to support all those who care for them. To all the ill, and to all the health-care workers and volunteers who assist them, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing." - Pope Francis (for full text, see link 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 Bl. John XXIII

*Lourdes, France, 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.”

  

Only known picture of St. Bernadette at the Grotto
(taken after the apparitions of 1858):
 

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