Monday, November 30, 2015

At once... let us follow

   "Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 
At once they (Simon Peter and Andrew) left their nets
and followed Him.  ~ Matt 4: 19 (Today's Gospel)

Jesus Calling Peter and Andrew, Basilica S. Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy

 Invite someone to Mass or Adoration this Advent Season.

Today's Liturgy: Preface II of the Apostles - Eucharistic Prayers

For You have built Your Church 
to stand firm on apostolic foundations,
to be a lasting sign of Your holiness on earth 
and offer all humanity Your heavenly teaching. 

Therefore, now and for ages unending,
with all the host of Angels,
we sing to You with all our hearts, 
crying out as we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy ...

St Andrew
Apostle, Priest, Martyr
Younger brother of St Peter
Patron:  Greece, Russia, Scotland, fishermen
 Name "Andrew" (Greek: manly, brave)
Feast day  - November 30

St Andrew, pray for us!


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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Sunday of Advent: Renewing HOPE

 First Sunday of Advent
Renewing the HOPE

In Advent, Christians relive a dual impulse of the spirit:  on the one hand, they raise their eyes towards the final destination of their pilgrimage through history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, remembering with emotion His birth in Bethlehem, they kneel before the Crib. The hope of Christians is turned to the future but remains firmly rooted in an event of the past. In the fullness of time, the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary:  "Born of a woman, born under the law", as the Apostle Paul writes (Gal 4: 4). - Pope Benedict XVI, 27 November 2005

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Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength...
Luke 21: 36 (Today's Gospel) 

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The Last Supper Mosaic. c1880.  Photo credit: Moorina, Melbourne trip 2009

"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."

St John Paul II
 Quoted in Jesus, We Adore You
Paul Thigpen

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Advent season resources
"Prepare your hearts to receive Jesus the Savior." - Pope Francis Learn more about the saints of Advent, 
including the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dec. 8 and 12), St. 
John the 
Baptist, St. Nicholas (Dec. 6), St. Juan Diego (Dec. 9), and 
St. Lucy (Dec. 13).


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Approaching... plainly, simply...

 ...and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, 
and hold fast to Him.  For the LORD is your life... - Deut 30:20

"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’ ...
If He gives me a task, I am content and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that.

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 of Dgtrs 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 -

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

In the quiet of the heart ...

 "It seems to me that I have found my heaven on earth, because
my heaven is you, my God, and you are in my soul. 
You in me, and I in you - may this be my motto." - St Elizabeth of the Trinity

"When one has just received communion,
of what use are the words of men
when it is God who is speaking?
We must listen
to what the good Lord says to our heart."

St. John Vianney

Photo image: La Purisima Concepcion Catholic School students pray during Mass (Los Angeles, California, 2011)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Renewed 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 after Communion

Renewed by the one Bread
as we commemorate the holy Martyrs,
we humbly beseech you, O Lord,
that abiding as one in Your love,
we may merit by endurance an eternal prize.
Through Christ our Lord.

St Andrew Dũng-Lạc (priest) and Companions
117 Martyrs (btwn 1820-1862)* ~ Vietnam
The group consisted of 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spaniards, and 10 French:
8 Bishops, 50 priests, 59 lay Catholics, incl a 9 y/o
Feast Day – November 24


"In the midst of these torments, which usually terrify others, I am, by the grace of God, full of joy and gladness, because I am not alone - Christ is with me.  Our Master bears the whole weight of the cross, leaving me only the tiniest, last bit." St Paul Le-Bao-Tinh, Martyr, 1843

St Andrew Dung-Lac and companions, pray for us!

Monday, November 23, 2015

"¡Viva Cristo Rey!"

They will live with Christ in heaven, who lived on earth
according to the words and ways of Christ." - St Nicetas of Remesiana

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"I believe, O Lord, but strengthen my faith…
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

Image above: Triumph of Christianity ~ Gustave Dore


"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, pray for us!
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 himself 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.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hail King Jesus!

Solemnity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

The Solemnity 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. "O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power" (Rev 4:11). 

“The Lord will sit on His royal throne for ever;
the Lord will bless His people in peace.” - Psalm 10b,11b 

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 O king of Glory, though You hide Your beauty,
yet the eye of my soul rends the veil." - St. Faustina


“There He is:
King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
hidden in the bread.
To this extreme
has He humbled Himself
for love of you.”

St Josemaria Escriva 

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Excerpt: Quas Primas, Encyclical of Pope Pius XI 
Promulgated on December 11, 1925, Quas Primas introduced the Feast of Christ the King. The encyclical summarizes both the Old Testament and the New Testament teaching on the kingship of Christ. Invoking an earlier encyclical Annum Sacrum of Pope Leo XIII, Pius XI connotes that the kingdom of Christ embraces the whole mankind. He connected the denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, secularism was on the rise, and many Christians, even Catholics, were doubting Christ’s authority, as well as the Church’s, and even doubting Christ’s very existence.  Click here: QUAS PRIMAS  (EXCELLENT !)

Hail King Jesus, our King of Peace!
20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth -- he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."

21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year -- in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. 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.

To Jesus Christ, our Sov'reign King,
Who is the world's salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring, 
And thanks and adoration.

Christ Jesus Victor, Christ Jesus Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!
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The way to 'enter' into God's Kingdom does not permit shortcuts; rather, every person must freely welcome the truth of the love of God. He is Love and Truth and both love and truth never impose themselves: they knock at the door of the heart and mind and, wherever they may enter, they bring peace and joy. This is God's way of reigning; this is His project of salvation, a 'mystery' in the biblical sense of the word, which is a plan that is revealed little by little throughout history."- Benedict XVI

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"While nations insult the beloved name 
of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it 
in their conferences and parliaments,
we must all the more loudly proclaim His kingly dignity and power,
(and) all the more universally affirm His rights. ... 

When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, 
society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, 
well ordered discipline, peace and harmony." - Pope Pius XI