Monday, January 31, 2011

Frequency = Fortification

"What a great truth I tell you
at this moment!
Frequent Communion
is the great pillar
which upholds the moral
and material world so that
it might not collapse into ruin."

St John Bosco
Priest, Educator, Founder of Salesian Society
"Father and Teacher of Youth"
 Italy ~ Aug 16, 1815 - Jan 31, 1888
FEAST DAY - January 31

"Willingly suffer a bit for God
Who suffered so much for you."~ St John Bosco

Ste 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."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winning side


"They always win
who side with God."

Fr Frederick W Faber

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Holy Viaticum

"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of
the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with
oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save
the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has
committed sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5:14-15).

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):
1524  In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those
who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion
in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of "passing over" to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed
of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of
the Lord: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and
I will raise him up at the last day." The sacrament of Christ once dead
and now risen, the Eucharist is here the sacrament of passing over from
death to life, from this world to the Father.

1525 Thus, just as the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist form a unity called "the sacraments of Christian initiation,"
so too it can be said that Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute at the end of Christian life "the
sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland" or the sacraments
that complete the earthly pilgrimage.

Continue reading about this beautiful Sacrament and gift of the Church
Call a priest when the need presents itself.
See Catechism of the Catholic Church - Sections 1499-1532

Friday, January 28, 2011

His greatest love...

     "St Thomas Aquinas' greatest love was the Blessed Sacrament,
of which he was to be the world's greatest witness.  He would spend hours
at a time, day and night, before the altar in adoration and meditation.  
Here was his great school.  The Eucharistic Lord Himself was his Master. 
When he celebrated Mass, he was in raptures and often in tears.  After
saying his own Mass he would serve another - or at least hear one. 
    In December 1273, when he was forty-seven, he laid down his pen,
determined to study and write no more, so that he might give himself
to God entirely in meditation and prayer.  He was ordered by Pope
Gregory X to go to Lyons to assist at the General Council.  Taken ill on
the way, he was obliged to stop at the Cistercial Abbey of Fossa-Nouva. 
His first visit was to the Blessed Sacrament.  At Fossa-Nouva he lay
seriously ill for a month.  He made his general confession. 
    While Viaticum was being brought to him, he had himself taken from
the bed and laid upon ashes on the floor.  The tears came to his eyes as he beheld the Host in the hand of the priest.  He made his profession of faith:
"I firmly believe that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is present in
this august Sacrament.  I adore You, my God and my Redemption , the
Viaticum of my pilgrimage, for whose honor I have studied, labored,
preached and taught."
From Witnesses to the Eucharist, Fr Hugh F Blunt, LLD
St Thomas Aquinas
Italy ~ 1225-1274
Dominican monk
Theologian, philosopher, professor
Doctor of the Church
FEAST DAY - January 28
(Happy Feast Day, Spencer!)
 "The Eucharist is the sacrament of love:
it signifies love, it produces love." - St Thomas Aquinas
Ste Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Purity of Heart

"Daily receive with the best dispositions
Him Whom you so greatly need every day. 
Live in such purity that you will receive
Holy Communion profitably each time."
St Augustine + 430

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Walking in His strength


"God is so good to me.  I (Columba Marmion) live now
on my daily Communion.  All the morning I walk
in the strength of that divine food, and from the
afternoon I live on the thought of the following
Communion, for It strengthens us according to
our desires and preparations.  Our Lord has
promised that 'he who eateth Me shall live by Me.'
His life becomes ours, the source of all our activity. "

Excerpt from - Abbot Columba Marmion
by Fr Raymond Thibaut

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conversion - of St Paul - and others!

“...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 a 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.

The Conversion of Saul -- Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Traditional Collect 

O God, who through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: grant, we beseech Thee; that we, having his wonderful Conversion in remembrance, may shew forth our thankfulness unto Thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught.

Ste Paul, ora pro nobis!

Monday, January 24, 2011


"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 ~ 1567-1622
Author of Introduction to the Devout Life
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, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Never cease to wonder at this!

Holy Mass on the battlefield - date unknown

"It is estimated that in every second of the day and night four
elevations of the host take place.  I never cease to wonder at this,
or to rejoice in the knowledge that there is never a second of one's
life in which one cannot lift up one's heart to God in the heart of
Christ lifted up in the host. ...

Think of all the places where Mass is being celebrated at this present moment, ... all the cathedrals and all the churches of the world,
all the tin huts and mud huts and make-shifts that are the best man
can do in many mission fields and in English villages, robbed by the reformation of their little Saxon churches.  In ships out on the deep seas,
on battlefields and camps, in prisons and hospital wards, in the desert
and the jungle, in the great cities of the world, in the cottages of the
faithful peasants in persecuted countries, and under the tall trees
of lonely forests of exile.

Think too how everywhere where Christ is lifted up men are bowed
down in adoration, soldiers, sailors, airmen, fishermen, men of every country, men of every colour, rich men and poor men, free men and prisoners, old men and young men, men of every craft and trade and profession, all adoring God, all in communion with one another, all in communion with the Holy Father, all in communion with you and me.

'And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to Me'."

From Lift Up Your Hearts,
Caryll Houselander


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dual devotion

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 abortion,
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
Federico Barocci
“Devotion to the Eucharist leads one to a devotion to life
and a devotion to life leads one to the Eucharist….
We receive our strength for our labors for life
from the Good News of Jesus Christ
and from the Holy Eucharist.
This is the food that nourishes us for the tasks at hand….
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith
and respect for life is our faith's first precept.”
Justin Cardinal Rigali
3 October 2004 
 "If people spent one hour per week in Eucharistic Adoration, abortion would be ended."
Bl Teresa of Calcutta

Friday, January 21, 2011

Healing soul and body


"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


Sta Agnes, ora pro nobis!


St. Agnes was a Roman girl who was only thirteen years old when she suffered martyrdom for her Faith. Agnes had made a promise, a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was very great and she hated sin even more than death! Since she was very beautiful, many young men wished to marry Agnes, but she would always say, "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse."

Procop, the Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He had tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!" In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy. Next he sent her to a place of sin, but an Angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. "I would offend my Spouse," she said, "if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!" Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.

SOURCE: (Saints and Angels)

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.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

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)

 ~ 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


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, and was beaten to death on the Emperor’s orders. 

Ste Sebastian, Ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The pelican and Christ


"The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans
is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend
was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself,
striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood
to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the
mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death,
but in turn lost her own life.

Given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted
it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus
our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement
He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have
found new life through the Blood of Christ.  Moreover, Jesus continues
to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist. ...

Therefore, the image of the pelican is a strong reminder of our Lord,
who suffered and died for us to give us eternal life and who nourishes
us on our pilgrim way with the Holy Eucharist. May that image move
us to show the same charity and self-giving love toward all."

Saunders, Rev. William. "The Symbolism of the Pelican."
Arlington Catholic Herald.

Up for a treasure hunt?  Check your Parish or Chapel 
for a pelican. Teach someone the meaning!


6th stanza - Words: St Thomas Aquinas, Translation: Gerard Manley Hopkins S.J.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what Thy bosom ran
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doors of 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



Monday, January 17, 2011

The sign of ardent love

 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 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."

Ste Anthony, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Witness generously!

MaƮtre de Saint Gilles (The Mass of Saint Giles), c 1500

"And what we have seen with our eyes,
at the table of the Word and of the Bread of Life,
what we contemplated,
what our hands have touched,
that is the Word made flesh,
let us proclaim Him with joy to the world
and witness to Him generously with all our life."

Pope Benedict XVI
Audience, Jan. 5, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Heaven on earth

"May the Holy Eucharist
and perfect abandonment
 to God's will
be your heaven on earth."
Bl. Marie Anne Blondin
In continued, concerted prayer in NATIONAL VOCATION AWARENESS WEEK: 

Lord, my God and my loving Father,
You have made me to know You, to love You, to serve You,
and thereby to find and to fulfill myself.
I know that You are in all things,
and that every path can lead me to You.
But of them all, there is one especially
by which You want me to come to You.
Since I will do what You want of me,
I pray You, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind,
to show me what You want of me; into my heart,
to give me the determination to do it,
and to do it with all my love, with all my mind,
and with all my strength right to the end.  Amen.

Friday, January 14, 2011



"You were wondering how to use
those moments when you wake up
in the night.  Speak to Me of love,
ardently desiring your next Communion.
...Call Me by the gentlest names,
even when you are half asleep."

Our Lord to Gabrielle Bossis
Excerpted from He and i

In continued, concerted prayer in NATIONAL VOCATION AWARENESS WEEK: 

O God, we earnestly ask You to bless this archdiocese with many priests, Brothers, and Sisters who will love You with their whole strength and
gladly spend their entire lives  to serve your Church and  to make
You known and loved.

Bless our families, bless our children. Choose from our homes those needed for your work.

Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us, pray for our priests, Religious, and deacons. Obtain for us many more.  ~  Most Rev Harry J Flynn

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We learned it from Him!

"My Flesh is truly food, and My Blood is truly Drink."
Painting:  The Last Supper - Vasili Nesterenko 1997
"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 6:56-57).'
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
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.
Ste Hilary, ora pro nobis!
In continued, concerted prayer in NATIONAL VOCATION AWARENESS WEEK:
“Lord, help me to want to be what YOU want me to be.” -  Steve Woods