Monday, February 28, 2011

Amidst heavenly perfumes

"We must always have courage,
and if some spiritual languor comes upon us,
let us run to the feet of Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament,
and let us place ourselves
in the midst of the heavenly perfumes,
and we will undoubtedly regain our strength."
St. Padre Pio

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nothing greater...

"There is nothing in the world
greater than Jesus Christ
and there is nothing in Jesus Christ
greater than His sacrifice."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Do not hinder the children!

“People were bringing their little children to Him
to have Him touch them, but the disciples
were scolding them for this.”  - Mark 10:13

In 1887, at age nine, St Gemma Galgani, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart received the Love of her life in Holy Communion for the first time.  She innocently said to one of her friends afterwards, "I feel a fire burning here,"
and pointed to her breast. "Do you feel like that, too?" She couldn't fathom
that there was anything exceptional in her own experience. 

First Holy Communion at a Parish in France (March 1952)


Jesus says: "Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them" (Mark 10:14). He will not only touch the children but embrace and bless them, placing His nail-scarred hands on them (Mark 10:16). In contrast, Satan tries to keep children away from Jesus so his demons can molest and abuse them. What is Satan using now to keep children away from Jesus? 1. Entertainment — mass media, many popular websites, contemporary music, and especially TV, ignore Jesus, portray Christians in a distorted way, and promote a secular lifestyle.
2. Education — public education thinks it's compelled to ignore Jesus. Even Christian education is often so highly secularized that Jesus is often little more than a footnote. How many graduates of our Christian schools are true disciples of Jesus?

3. Religion — the average church is so far removed from authentic New Testament Christianity that it conceals rather than reveals Jesus.

4. Parents — many parents are so lax or confused about their responsibility as parents that they don't share their love for Jesus with their children and pray with them. They let their children be bombarded with anti-Christian propaganda and give Jesus the "silent treatment."

Reflection by John Hughes, Arizona

Friday, February 25, 2011



 “What is the “HEART” of our Church?
What can our parish absolutely not live without?
You can cut off an arm; you can cut out an eye
and still live.  But what is that part that the
Body of Christ cannot live without?

It is the Mass.  The Mass is our “HEART”!
It pumps the life of Christ to all the members
of the Body to redeem, forgive, nourish
and form us into a living
Spirit empowered Body of Christ!”

Fr Tim Nolan
Archdiocese of Mpls-St Paul

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bread of the strong


"Every morning during meditation, I prepare myself
for the whole day's struggle. Holy Communion
assures me that I will win the victory; and so it is.

I fear the day when I do not receive Holy Communion.

 This bread of the Strong gives me all the strength
I need to carry on my mission and the courage to
do whatever the Lord asks of me. The courage and
strength that are in me are not of me, but of Him
Who lives in me - it is the Eucharist." 

St Faustina

Consider praying the Mass an additional
day each week -
or perhaps every day - during the holy season of Lent.
Be filled with strength and courage!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We call this food Eucharist

 "We call this food Eucharist; and no one
else is permitted to partake of it, except one who
believes our teaching to be true and who has been
washed in the washing which is for the remission
of sins and for regeneration, and is thereby living
as Christ has enjoined.  For not as common bread
nor common drink do we receive these; but since
Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by
the word of God and had both flesh and blood for
our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the
food which has been made into the Eucharist by
the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the
change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is
both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.”

St. Justin Martyr
 First Apology 66, A.D. 151

St Polycarp
Disciple of St John
Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr
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?” 

Ste Polycarp, ora pro nobis! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fully alive!

St Margaret of Cortona wrote of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist:

“This morning
my soul is greater than the world
since it possesses You,
You whom heaven and earth
do not contain.”
St Margaret of Cortona
Third Order of St. Francis
1247-1297 ~ Italy
FEAST DAY – February 22
In 1277, while in prayer, she heard the words:
"What is your wish, poverella (little poor one)?" and she replied:
"I neither seek nor wish for anything but You, my Lord Jesus."
St Margaret of Cortona, ora pro nobis!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Powerful, protective, precious Blood

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
Reformer, Cardinal
Doctor of the Church
Italy ~ 1007-1072
  “Do not prefer anything to the love of Christ.”
FEAST DAY - February 21


St Peter Damian, ora pro nobis!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More and less

" I am proposing St John (the Baptist) to you as one of the Saints
of the Blessed Sacrament.  He never lived to kneel at the Last Supper
and receive the Body of Christ from the hands of Christ Himself. 
He never lived to wait with our Lady and the apostles, and see the
Holy Spirit which descended upon Christ at the Jordan descend upon
Christ's Church in the Cenacle.  But he has left us one golden phrase,
which should never be far from our minds when we are waiting for
our Blessed Lord to come to us in Holy Communion:
'He must become more and more;
I must become less and less.' "
Ronald Knox
The Window in the Wall
Reflections on the Holy Eucharist, p 60

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Heaven's design

"The Eucharist produces impulses of angelic love
and has the singular capacity of effecting in souls
a holy, instinctive tenderness for the Queen of
the angels.  She has given us Flesh of her flesh and
Bone of her bone, and in the Eucharist she continues
to give us this sweet, virginal, Heavenly Food."

St Albert the Great

Friday, February 18, 2011

Unspeakable heights

"Ah, Holy Communion!
Unspeakable heights
for a human spirit to reach!
What does the world have
that equals these pure, heavenly joys,
these tastes of eternal glory?"

Bl Contardo Ferrini (+1902)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Kneeling at Mass during World War II

"As then in the sad and anxious times through which
we are passing there are many who cling so firmly to
Christ the Lord hidden beneath the Eucharistic veils
that neither tribulation, nor distress, nor famine,
nor nakedness, nor danger, nor persecution, nor
the sword can separate them from His love, (Ro 8:35)
 surely no doubt can remain that Holy Communion
which once again in God's providence is
much more frequented even from early childhood,
may become a source of that fortitude which
not infrequently makes Christians into heroes".

 Pius XII
Written during WWII
1943 Encyclical Letter, Mystici Corporis Christi
(On the Mystical Body of Christ), #84

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remaining in the silence

"Once you feel the attraction to remain in the
silence of adoration in God's presence, you must
give yourself entirely to the Holy Spirit and remain
there in pure faith.  If God gives you no feeling,
no sentiment, no distinct thought, just be there
before Him in silent love.  During such moments
He operates insensibly in the soul and does
more for her perfection that she could in
a lifetime by her own thoughts."
Bl Columba Marmion
Lent begins three weeks from today - on March 9.  
Prayerfully consider committing to a Holy Hour every day
- remaining in the silence - and trusting.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fruit of the vine...

Prayers of Mass at Preparation of the Gifts...

 Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.  Through your
goodness we have
this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands.  It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever

"St Vincentia Gerosa would take care of grapevines that
supplied wine for Holy Mass.  She cultivated and pruned them with
her own hands, finding it a tremendous honor and privilege because
these clusters that she had grown would become the Blood of Christ."
Hidden Treasure,
The Riches of the Eucharist
Louis Kaczmarek

Monday, February 14, 2011

Above all

"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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We have this bread to offer...

Prayers of Mass at Preparation of the Gifts...

 Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.  Through your
goodness we have
this bread to offer, which earth has given
and human hands have made.  It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever


"St Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, with his own hands, made
the altar-bread which was used for the Mass and would become the Blessed Sacrament, without any regard to the royal dignity he held. 
He was born to wield the scepter even directed the plowing
and cultivating of the field, the sowing of the seed, and the reaping
of the harvest.  Then he ground the grain, separated the finer flour
for the oven, and made the breads which should afterward be
consecrated; and these he presented, with the lowliest reverence,
to the priests, to be converted into the divine Body of Jesus." 

Hidden Treasure,
The Riches of the Eucharist
Louis Kaczmarek


Saturday, February 12, 2011

In the Hands of God...


 "Meditate on the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves.  Jesus
Christ takes this lifeless thing, this tiny coarse object, this bread,
and by His blessing, it becomes food and life for the entire crowd.
   Why should I not be, in these same divine Hands, the poor
instrument for another such work?  Why should I not be given by God
to souls to uphold and revive them?  I am only feebleness, but strength
will come from Him to souls, and will serve them only in the measure
that He wills. 
    Sweet divine benediction, descend upon me!  Multiply my
prayers, sacrifices, and acts of charity!  Let these fragments of Thy
love in me become warmth and comfort for the spiritually starved,
until the blessed time when Thou, the one Living Bread, shalt
come Thyself to revive and save them." 

Elizabeth Leseur
My Spirit Rejoices

Friday, February 11, 2011

Motherly guidance

FEAST of Our Lady of Lourdes*
February 11
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us
and especially the sick and suffering!

“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.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Strenth and zeal

  “From the Eucharist comes strength
to live the Christian life and
zeal to share that life with others.”

Pope Ven John Paul II


St Scholastica
Italy ~ 480-547
Benedictine Abbess
FEAST DAY – February 10

"She was able to do more because
she loved more." ~ St Gregory the Great

Sta Scholastica, ora pro nobis!

Saint Scholastica, twin sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia who founded of the
Benedictine order, was consecrated to God at a very early age but probably
continued to live in her parents' home. It is said that she was as devoted to
as she was to her brother. So, when Benedict established his monastery at

Monte Cassino, Scholastica founded a convent in nearby Plombariola,
about five miles south of Monte Cassino. The convent is said to have been under
the direction of her brother, thus she is regarded as the first Benedictine nun.

The siblings were quite close. The respective rules of their houses proscribed
either entering the other's monastery. According to Saint Gregory, they met once
a year at a house near Monte Cassino monastery to confer on spiritual matters,
and were eventually buried together, probably in the same grave. Saint Gregory
says, "so death did not separate the bodies of these two, whose minds had
ever been united in the Lord." 

Saint Gregory tells the charming story of the last meeting of the two saints on
earth. Scholastica and Benedict had spent the day in the "mutual comfort of
heavenly talk" and with nightfall approaching, Benedict prepared to leave.
Scholastica, having a presentiment that it would be their last opportunity to see
each other alive, asked him to spend the evening in conversation. Benedict sternly
refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away
from Monte Cassino. Thereupon, Scholastica cried openly, laid her head upon
thetable, and prayed that God would intercede for her. As she did so, a sudden
storm arose. The violent rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.

"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done."
"I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied simply, "and you refused it. I asked it
of God, and He has granted it!"

Just after his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul
departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died three
days after their last meeting. He placed her body in the tomb he had prepared for
himself, and arranged for his own to be placed there after his death.

From the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Renewing inner peace

The LORD gives strength to His people;
the LORD blesses His people with peace.  Psalm 29:11


"You can resolve all your difficulties
in front of the tabernacle.
Many times this will suffice
instead of trying to find the answer
to so many objections and difficulties.
This is all you need
to find inner peace once again."

Ven James Alberione

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Saint for Those who are Prisoners of their Past Bakhita3.JPG.jpg
I originally posted this homily two years ago. The message of Saint Josephine Bakhita is so compelling that I decided to post it again on the occasion of her liturgical memorial.
(Fr Mark Kirby, 2.07.09 -

We celebrate today the memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita as well as the sixty-second (64th in 2011) anniversary of her death. Born in Sudan, Africa in 1869, Madre Josephine died in Italy in 1947, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000. Her memorial, endowed with a magnificent new Collect, was inserted into the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal published in 2002.

The Holy Spirit Interceding for Us in the Liturgy

I have had occasion to say this many times before, but it bears repetition: the Collect prescribed by the liturgy on any given day is a pure distillation of the Church's prayer. The Collect of the day is nothing less than the Holy Spirit "helping us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought" (Rom 8:26). The Collect of the day is the Church articulating for us those "sighs too deep for words" (Rom 8:26) by which the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us, filling us with the prayer of Christ.

Every line of the Collect for Saint Bakhita merits attention; every phrase needs to be repeated in meditation.

O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita
from abject slavery
to the dignity of being your daughter and the bride of Christ,
give us, we beseech you, by her example,
to follow after Jesus the Crucified Lord with unremitting love
and, in charity, to persevere in a ready mercy.

Called by a New Name

As a result of the trauma she endured when she was kidnapped and sold into slavery as a little girl, Saint Josephine Bakhita could not remember the name her parents had given her. Her captors called her Bakhita, meaning "fortunate" or "lucky." "thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. And thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God" (Is 62:2-3). Years later, at her baptism, Bakhita received the name Giuseppina or Josephine.

A Saint Sold and Resold Bakhita2JPG.jpg
Bakhita's life was marked by indescribable emotional, moral, and physical suffering. After her kidnapping, she was sold and resold in the slave markets of El Obeidh and Khartoum. In the capital of Sudan, Bakhita was bought -- yes, bought -- by the Italian Consul, one Callisto Legnani. Bakhita was surprised that her new owner didn't use the lash on her when giving orders; he treated her with kindness and affection. When the political situation obliged him to return to Italy, he took Bakhita with him. There Bakhita entered the service of another family. These good people, in turn, entrusted Bakhita to the Canossian Daughters of Charity in Venice.

Daughter of God

Bakhita became a catechumen and was baptized on January 9th, 1890. From then on, she would kiss the baptismal font, saying, "Here I became a daughter of God." The Collect echoes this: O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery to the dignity of being your daughter. . . .

Christ, the Gentle Master
Protected by Italian law, Bakhita chose to remain among the Canossians. The psalmist expresses her choice: "Better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners" (Ps 83:10). She who had been bought and sold by a series of human masters discovered the tender love of Christ, the gentle Master. Sweet paradox. Bakhita called God, "Master."

La Madre Moretta
On December 8th, 1896, Bakhita was consecrated forever to God as a Canossian Daughter of Charity, becoming Mother Josephine. The local people and school children called her affectionately la Madre Moretta, "the little Black Mother." Daughter of God, Bride of Christ, Mother of the little and the poor, Bakhita became the complete consecrated woman: free, loved, fruitful, fully realized. "Thou shalt no more be called Forsaken: and thy land shall no more be called Desolate: but thou shalt be called My pleasure in her, and thy land inhabited. Because the Lord hath been well pleased with thee: and thy land shall be inhabited" (Is 62:4).

No Trace of Bitterness
Mother Josephine Bakhita served her Master for almost fifty years. The Collect speaks of her following Jesus the Crucified Lord with unremitting love. In charity, it says, she persevered in a ready mercy. This is the miracle of Saint Bakhita. There was no trace of bitterness in her. The cruel degradations and unspeakable moral outrages suffered as a slave, though never forgotten, had no hold on her. She to whom men had refused mercy persevered to the end in a ready mercy for others. She was not a prisoner of her past. We who are so often prisoners of the past, unable to let go, unable to forgive, unable to move beyond old hurts, do well today to seek her intercession.

Set Free by Love
Looking to the future does not mean forgetting the past; it means transfiguring it. It means re-reading it with eyes of mercy in the light of faith. We need not remain slaves of our own histories, chained to the evil things, the hurtful things, the unjust things that happened ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or seventy-five years ago. There is another way: the way of those set free by love.

Two Suitcases
Toward the end of her life, Mother Bakhita used to smile and say: "I travel slowly, one step at a time, because I am carrying two big suitcases. One of them contains my sins, and in the other, which is much heavier, are the infinite merits of Jesus. When I reach heaven I will open the suitcases and say to God: 'Eternal Father, now you can judge.' And to St. Peter: 'Close the door, because I'm staying.'"

La Madonna
In her final agony Bakhita relived the horrors of her enslavement. "Loosen the chains," she said to her nurse, "they are so heavy." The Mother of God herself came to loosen the chains. Bakhita died smiling, saying, la Madonna, la Madonna. It was February 8th, 1947. Bakhita4.JPG.jpg

The Eucharist, Mystery of Liberation
Saint Josephine Bakhita, intercede for us that, freed from the chains that bind us to the past, we may go forward into freedom. For each of us the path forward is the Communion procession to the altar. The Most Holy Eucharist is the mystery of our liberation, the healing of memories, the Bread to children given, the Chalice of undying love lifted daily to the lips of the Bride
St Josephine Bakhita
Religious (Canossian Daughters of Charity)
Feast Day - Feb 8
Sta Josephine Bakhita, ora pro nobis!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monstrances with legs

"In the host Christ gives Himself to live the ordinary life
as it is today, to live fully in all its essentials, and to take into Himself, into His own living of the Host-life, the
most ordinary, the most numerous, seemingly the most mediocre lives, bestowing upon them His own power
to bring down the Spirit of Love .   . . .

    An unknown martyr priest of our own times, whose anointed hands had been cut off by his persecutors,
so that he might never again consecrate bread and wine, sent this message secretly from his exile, asking his
friends to take it from one to another round the world:

    'I can never again carry the Sacred Host or lift It up
in my hands, but no one can prevent me from carrying
Our Lord in my heart wherever I am.  You, who are
not prisoners, who are not held in one place, go often
to Holy Communion.  Carry Christ everywhere in your hearts.  Make your souls monstrances, and go into those places where Our Lord has never been adored in the Host, where the monstrance has never been lifted up.'

Caryll Houselander

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Have you left a place?

Jesus, our Eucharistic Love,
open our hearts to Your love! 
"Show me your hands. Do they have
scars from giving? Show me your feet.
Are they wounded in service?
Show me your heart.
Have you left a place for divine love?"
Archbishop Fulton Sheen 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Beyond the veil...


Jesus Veiled! 
Let us kneel down before Him in adoring awe,
while our Mother teaches us His beauty, and
His sweetness, and His goodness, and His nearness.  

When we think we know Him we shall not
know the half, and when we speak of Him
we shall stammer as children do, and when our
hearts are hot with love of Him, they will be cold
in comparison of the love which He is due.

Fr Frederick William Faber