Saturday, February 28, 2015

A vision that leads...

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.  
For your love is better than life ... 
So I will bless you all my life...Psalm 63:2-4

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“Video caelos apertos, St Stephen cried as they stoned him:  ‘I see the heavens opened’. The elevation is the moment at which the eternal is made manifest in time, in the ‘divine mystery’, the moment of vision on the Mount of Vision. 

But we are not meant to think of the vision as something which, however precious and sublime, is fugitive, impermanent:  essentially it leads on to the moment of communion, and that in its turn points onward to the life that is to be led in the world when the Mass is over.”

Gerald Vann, O.P.
The Paradise Tree (pg 193)

homeless.jpg (550×405)Operation Help the Homeless (LosAngeles ~ USA)

Prayer * Fasting * Almsgiving

"Therefore, do not lose by saving, but gather in by scattering.
Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep
what you have refused to give to others." - St Peter Chrysologus

Stained Glass:  Elevation of host.  Rothenburg, St Jakob (Bavaria).  Artist: Rafael Toussaint

Friday, February 27, 2015

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

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“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

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“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 

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Our Lady of Sorrows

St Gabriel is remarkable because he obediently and willingly converted in a very short time from a life of excess and 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 ama filled with shame for having been so far 
from the virtues that he attained in such a short time.”

St Gabriel, pray for us! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Persevering in virtue...

"Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us 
from our lethargy." - Pope Francis

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“Make use of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
as a means of persevering in the practice of virtue. 

Let us go to Him toward evening
and tell Him about our shortcomings,
let us ask Him for help and forgiveness. 
Our Lord loves us, constantly, and His glance
follows us every moment of the day.”

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val,
Servant of God

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"... when the door starts closing a bit because of our weakness and sins, 
confession reopens it." - Pope Francis

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 "Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words.
If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy,
since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on
you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong.
It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow 
and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight."— St. Francis of Paola

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Change of 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
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  "Pray that just as Jesus changes the lower
earthly nature of bread and wine
into His body and blood
He might change and transform also
the sluggish, coldness and dryness
of our earthly and arid heart ...
into the fire, tenderness and agility
of the holy divine affections and dispositions
of His divine and heavenly Heart."

St John Eudes
Excerpt from
What We Must Do to Assist Worthily
at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sharing His Chalice...

 Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold,
now is the day of salvation.
Verse before the Gospel - Today's Liturgy

Collect  (Today's Liturgy)

God of all creation,
who were pleased to give the Bishop Saint Polycarp
a place in the company of the Martyrs,
grant, through his intercession,
that, sharing with him in the chalice of Christ,
we may rise through the Holy Spirit to eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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St Polycarp of Smyrna
Disciple of apostle St John
Friend of Ignatius of Antioch
Apostolic Father 
Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr
Exemplary in catechesis
69-155 AD
FEAST DAY - February 23

Polycarp was denounced to the government, arrested, and tried on the charge of being a Christian. When the proconsul urged him to save his life by cursing Christ, he replied: “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” 
Earlier, in a Letter to the Philippians...
“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, ‘firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man.”

And wrote on another occasion...

“If we pray to the Lord to forgive us, we ourselves must be forgiving; we are all under the eyes of our Lord and God, and every one of us must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, where each of us will have to give an account.”

St Polycarp, pray for us!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Secure in the Father's justice

First Sunday of Lent 

"Very few people believe in the devil these days, which suits the devil 
very well.  He is always helping to circulate the news of his own death.  
The essence of God is existence, and He defines Himself as: 
'I am Who am.'  The essence of the devil is the lie, and he defines 
himself as:  'I am who am not.'  Satan has very little trouble with 
those who do not believe in him; they are already on his side."
- Ven Fulton J Sheen, Life of Christ

"What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist? It is God who, as our Savior, offers Himself each day for us to His Father's justice.
If you are in difficulties and sorrows, He will comfort and relieve you. If you are sick, He will either cure you or give you strength to suffer so as to merit Heaven. If the devil, the world, and the flesh are making war upon you, He will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist, and to win victory. If you are poor, He will enrich you with all sorts of riches for time and eternity.
Let us open the door of His sacred and adorable Heart, and be wrapped about for an instant by the flames of His love, and we shall see what a God who loves us can do. O my God, who shall be able to comprehend?"

St. John Vianney

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Powerful, protective, precious Blood...

"We 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

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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

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“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!

Friday, February 20, 2015


And so we know and rely
on the love God has for us. - I Jn 4:16
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"God wants us to begin here
in the knowledge of His love."
Julian of Norwich

Photo image: Adoration Chapel ~ St Michael Catholic Church ~ Stillwater, Minnesota ~ USA

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Courageously and generously living...

 "Nothing whatever pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be
accomplished without grace."- St Augustine

“Courageously follow the path of personal holiness and diligently nourish yourselves with the word of God and the Eucharist.  The holier you are, the more you can contribute to building up the Church and society. …

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Be generous in answering Jesus’ call inviting you to put out into the deep and become His witnesses, discovering the trust He puts in you to devise a future together with Him.  Above all, to fulfill this mission the Church is entrusting to you requires that you cultivate a genuine life of prayer nourished by the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession." -St John Paul II


“My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence,
so also you make your confession before Me.  The person of the priest is,
for Me, only a screen.  Never analyse what sort of a priest it is
that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me,
and I will fill it with My light.” (1725)  - St Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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 17, 2015

Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum

"During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: 'Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum': Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).  In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference."- Pope Francis from Lenten message, 2015 

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"Did you ever consider well, dear Christian soul, that, when the Sacred Host is publicly exposed, Jesus is not on His Eucharistic throne to receive the adorations of the angels and to enjoy the company of the blessed? These He finds in heaven. But He is on His Eucharistic throne to receive your adorations, to listen to your confidences, and to console and alleviate your sorrows and trials.
Come, then, and adore that Holy Host. When Jesus is offended everywhere, when His royal dignity is mocked and His sovereignty denied, it behooves noble souls to come and acknowledge publicly that He is our beloved Sovereign and divine King, and that to Him all praise, honor, and glory are due.
Come and adore that Host of mercy and peace. Show Him your wounds, tell Him your faults, expose to Him your miseries. You do not insult Him who shed His blood for all the sins of the world, when you tell Him your sins to obtain forgiveness. Whatever their number and grievousness, in proportion to His infinite mercy they are less than a grain of sand lost in the immensity of an ocean.
Come close to that loving Host and pour out your heart's bitterness into His heart. Let your tears flow freely in His presence as if you were upon His breast. The sorrows of your exile, the faithlessness of your friends, the loneliness of your heart, and the disillusions of your life, all find an echo in that heart, which has known from experience what it means to suffer.
There you will find peace in your worries, light in your difficulties, and firmness in the execution of your good resolutions. There your thirst for affection will be satisfied. You will learn the science of hidden sacrifice, of constant abnegation, of tireless meekness, and of perfect joy.”

Excerpt from The Holy Eucharist, Fr Jose Guadalupe Trevino

Spend time with our Eucharistic Lord during Lent -
"making your heart like His"!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Eucharistic life of the Priest

I look into the paten's gold
My consecrated fingers hold,
And mirrored in its circle see
The other Christ I'm called to be.
Adrienne Gascoigne

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Archbishop Charles Chaput gives the paten and chalice  to John Stokely during his ordination ~ 28 May 2013
    "When the Holy Father (JPII) described the priesthood as "the nerve-centre of the Church's whole life and mission" (Holy Thursday Exhortation, 4 April 1996), he was affirming the key role played by priest in the drama of salvation.  Priests, it could also be said, are God's key-men in the further sense that to them have been given the keys of the kingdom - the kingdom of privileged sacramental treasures, notably the Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mt 16:19).  ...

    ...a priest's whole meaning and purpose is focused on the Eucharist in general, the Mass in particular.  For he is consecrator and sacrifice-offerer of the Blessed Sacrament, besides being distributor, custodian and privileged adorer.  How accurate and apt, therefore, is the Holy Father's (JPII) observation:  "A priest is worth what his Eucharistic life is worth."

    St Claude de la Colombiere treasured the personal graces gained through holy Mass like rubies..."Each day in my Mass He will give me new counsels, new strength.  He will teach me, encourage me.  He will grant me or obtain for me, through His sacrifice, all the graces I shall ask of Him."
Excerpts from Mary and the Eucharist
Fr Richard Foley, SJ

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CLICK BELOW  to see this outstanding slide show (7 mins)
by Stephen Golder - 2010 (Turn on sound)

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During this upcoming grace-filled season of Lent
PRAY DAILY in gratitude for priests and
implore deeper, richer Eucharistic lives for them -
and ultimately for the Church!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Stay with us today, Alleluia

"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

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In the Middle Ages and throughout the 16th century, the "burying" of the Alleluia prior to Lent was a solemn ritual.  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 century, referring 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 14, 2015

Greatest love story

“All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself,
because God is love." - St Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)

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"The greatest love story
of all time
is contained
in a small white host."

Ven Fulton J Sheen

Sts Cyril and Methodius
9th century
Byzantine Greek brothers
Bishops, missionaries
"Apostles to the Slavs"
Translated Liturgy into Slavic language
FEAST DAY - February 14 

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These are holy men who became friends of God,
glorious heralds of divine truth.  (Today's Entrance Antiphon)

Sts Cyril and Methodius, pray for us!

Also remembering...

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St. Valentine of Rome (c. 270) was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emporer Claudius II. Not much is known about his life with certainty, but according to legend he gave aid to martyrs imprisoned for their faith, and it was for this work, along with his own Christian beliefs, that he was arrested. One account has it that the emperor banned all marriages and engagements in Rome believing this was the reason Roman men were unwilling to serve in the army. Valentine defied this unjust decree and continued to perform marriages for lovers in secret. He was arrested, and while in prison he restored sight to the jailer's blind daughter, causing the jailer and his entire extended family, all 46 of them, to immediately convert to Christianity. Upon hearing this, Emperor Claudius II ordered his execution. St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine." He was beheaded on February 14th. St, Valentine is the patron saint of bee keepers, betrothed and engaged couples, lovers, love, happy marriages, and young people. His feast day is February 14th.

St Valentine, pray for us!

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