Friday, June 30, 2017

I belong to Jesus ...

Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
 - Psalm 33:1
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"Jesus, for You I live.  
Jesus, for You I die
 Jesus, I am Yours in life and death."

 From Reflections and Prayers
for Visits with our Eucharistic Lord,
John J. Cardinal Carberry


FEAST of the First Roman Martyrs JUNE 30
 The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome were Christians martyred 
in Rome during Nero's persecution in the year 64.
“This dreadful conflagration continued nine days; when Nero, finding that his conduct was greatly blamed, and a severe odium cast upon him, determined to lay the whole upon the Christians, at once to excuse himself and have an opportunity of glutting his sight with new cruelties. This was the occasion of the first persecution ... 
Nero even refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments for them that the most infernal imagination could design.  In particular, he had some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts, and then worried by dogs till they expired; and others dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axle-trees, and set on fire in his gardens in order to illuminate them.  This persecution was general throughout the whole Roman empire; but it rather increased than diminished the spirit of Christianity."

A. Wright
A History of the Principal
and Most Distinguished Martyrs

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Friends of God...

Solemnity of Sts PETER and PAUL
June 29

"This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles
Peter and Paul. ... These martyrs realized what they taught: 
they pursued justice, they confessed the truth, they died for it."
St Augustine, Sermon 295

 We do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. - 2 Cor 4:5

Entrance Antiphon (Today’s Liturgy)

These are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the Church with their blood; they drank the chalice of the Lord and became friends of God.  

Prayer over the Offerings (Today's Liturgy)

May the prayer of the Apostles, O Lord, accompany the sacrificial gift that we present to your name for consecration, and may their intercession make us devoted to you in celebration of the sacrifice.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer After Communion (Today’s Liturgy) 

Grant us, O Lord, who have been renewed by this Sacrament, so to live in the Church, that, persevering in the breaking of the Bread and in the teaching of the Apostles, we may be one heart and one soul, made steadfast in your love. 
Through Christ our Lord.

Sts Peter and Paul, pray for us!

*Sts Peter and Paul: the principle pillars of the Church founded by Christ.
St Peter was chosen by Christ to be his first Vicar on earth; he was endowed with powers of the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:13-19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ's flock (Jn 21:15-17). In St. Peter and his successors, we have a visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity. Divine grace led St. Peter to profess Christ's divinity.  St. Peter suffered martyrdom by crucifixion under Nero, in about the year 64 AD. He was buried at the hill of the Vatican; recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of St. Peter's Basilica.
St Paul was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). Selected to bring Christ's name to all peoples (Acts 9:15), he is the greatest missionary of all time, the advocate of pagans, the Apostle of the Gentiles. St. Paul was beheaded in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the site where the basilica bearing his name now stands. 
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Christ declared, Christ established...

"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God
became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into
communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship,
might become a son of God." - St Irenaeus

"(Christ) has declared the cup, a part of creation,
to be His own Blood, 
from which He causes our blood to flow; 
the bread, a part of creation,
He has established as His own Body,
from which He gives increase to our bodies.”

St. Irenaeus
Nee Smyrna ~ 125-202 AD
Disciple of Polycarp
(Polycarp: disciple of St John the Apostle)
Bishop of Lyons, Father of the Church
Theologian, prolific writer
Masterpiece - Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies)*
*(Detailed refute on teachings of Gnosticism)
Against Heresies is source of the quote above
FEAST DAY - June 28
Stained glass above: St Martha Church, Nuremberg (c. 1390) 

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"That in which we have faith is a firm system directed to the salvation of men; and, since it has been received by the Church, we guard it.……..In the Church, God has placed apostles, prophets, and doctors, and all the other means through which the Spirit works; in all of which none have any part who do not conform to the Church.  On the contrary, they defraud themselves of life by their wicked opinion and most wretched behavior. ~ St Irenaeus

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Catechism 101...

...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. - John 1:17b

"Since Christ Himself said in reference to the bread: 
"This is My Body," who will dare remain hesitant? 

And since with equal clarity He asserted: "This is My Blood," 
who will dare entertain any doubt and say that this is not His Blood?...
You have been taught these truths. 
Imbued with the certainty of faith, you know that what seems to be bread 
is not bread but the Body of Christ, although it seems to be bread when tasted. 
You also know that what seems to be wine is not wine 
but the Blood of Christ although it does taste like wine."
- From a catechetical instruction given by St Cyril for his successor, John - 4th c

St Cyril of Alexandria
Bishop, Doctor of the Church
Preeminent role at Council of Ephesus
This Council defined the inseparable unity
of the divine and human natures of Christ,
and thus the appropriateness of invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary
under the title of "Theotokos" or Mother of God.
FEAST DAY - June 27

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"In Cana of Galilee Christ changed water into wine,
and shall we think Him less worthy of credit
when He changes wine into His Blood? - St Cyril of Alexandria

St Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Seek, find, love...

"Sanctity is not rigid like cardboard: it knows how to smile,
to give way to others and to hope.
It is life - a supernatural life." - St Josemaría Escrivá

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" ... Jesus hides in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar 
because He wants us to dare to approach Him. 
He wants to nourish us 
so we become one single thing with Him.

When He said, Apart from Me you can do nothing, 
He was not condemning Christians to ineffectiveness 
or obliging them to seek Him by a difficult and arduous route. 
On the contrary ... He has stayed with us, 
He is totally available to us."

St Josemaría Escrivá
Spain ~ 1902-1975
Priest, Founder of Opus Dei
 FEAST DAY - June 26
Painting above: Oneness in Christ - Ariel Agemian

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St Josemaria Escriva describes this experience
about himself as a young seminarian...
"Why am I becoming a priest? Our Lord wants something: what is it?  And in Latin — not very elegant Latin — … I kept repeating Domine, ut videam! Ut sit! Ut sit!  - The thing that you want, and that I don’t know — make it happen!”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Every Mass: three kisses...

At every Mass the priest offers three kisses...
*On first approaching the altar
*After the reading of the Gospel
*After the Concluding Rites, prior to Recessional

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 "The one who is to sing the Mass kisses the altar on first approaching it. 
He does this so that he may speak words of true peace to the people. 
And coming, he preached peace to you that were far off,
and peace to them that were nigh."~ St Albert (+1280)

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Fr Jason Schumer ~ St Louis, MO ~ USA  (Altar made by Fr Schumer's father)

"The priest kisses the sacred altar to show
that when Christ came to us, 
He joined holy Church to Himself:
as it is said in the bridal song,
Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth. 
And he places his hands upon the altar
to show that charity, which is denoted by the kiss,
must be supported by good works."

Bishop of Mende, France (+1296)

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Archbishop Tagle, Manila

"Those who proclaim the Gospel are lightening bolts
who shine by their good examples
and thunder with their words, and return to our Lord 
when they thank Him for the progress they make. 
And the giver of sanctity kisses the book,
that he may say with the Apostle, I am delighted 
with the law of God, according to the inward man. 
Thus ends the reading of the holy Gospel, which is 
salvation for us, and defense against the devil."

St Albert
 Dominican friar, Bishop, Doctor of the Church (+1280)

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Pope Francis, Roma

 "It is a kiss of gladness,
that he should have been granted
the honour  and happiness
of celebrating the Mass."

Bl Hyacinth Cormier (+1916)
Dominican Friar and Master-General

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Perhaps in addition to merely observing these beautiful
and symbolic kisses of the Mass, let us intentionally pray
for the priest at that time of observing...
that he may... more and more... love Jesus...
both in the holy sacrifice of the Mass
and in the words of the Gospel. Amen.

"Awesome is the altar... From this Table,
it is a spring of spiritual waters
that gushes forth." - St John Chrysostom

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Celebrating the birth of the herald...

Solemnity of the Birth 
of St John the Baptist - June 24

Today's Entrance Antiphon - Jn 1:6-7; Lk 1:17
 A man was sent from God, whose name was John.  He came 
to testify to the light, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.


Today's Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia! You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.  Alleluia, alleluia!

"Happy birthday of John the Baptist. His birth is the culmination of an age, an era, a Covenant. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets. His birth signals an end and a beginning. The Book of Hebrews says By calling this covenant “new,” [God] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear (Hebrews 8:13). 

Hence John would later say, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease. (Jn 3:29-30).  Today John the Baptist is born who will usher in the new by answering the most significant question ever posed:  "But where is the Lamb?'"
Msgr Charles Pope
Pastor ~ Holy Comforter - St Cyprian Parish ~ Washington, DC


“Behold the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world.”
(St John the Baptist is quoted at every Mass)

Prayer after Communion (Today's Mass)

Having feasted at the banquet of the heavenly Lamb,
we pray, O Lord,
that, finding joy in the nativity of Saint John the Baptist,
your Church may know as the author of her rebirth
the Christ whose coming John foretold.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.


“I want to show you a sun that shone more brightly than all these, a soul that was truly free and detached, cleaving only to the will of God. I have often wondered who is the most mortified of the saints I know, and after some reflection I have come to the conclusion that it was Saint John the Baptist. He went into the desert when he was five years old and knew that our Savior and his came on earth in a place quite close by, one or two days' journey perhaps. How his heart, touched with love of his Savior from the time He was in His Mother's womb, must have longed to enjoy His presence! Yet he spends twenty-five years in the desert without coming to see our Lord even once; and leaving the desert he stays to catechize without visiting Him but waiting till our Lord comes to seek him out. Then when he has baptized Him he does not follow Him but stays behind to do his appointed task. How truly mortified was his spirit! To be so near his Savior and not see Him, to have Him so close and not enjoy His presence! Is this not a completely detached spirit, detached even from God Himself so as to do His will and serve Him, to leave God for God, and not to love God in order to love Him better? The example of this great saint overwhelms me with its grandeur.”  ~  St Francis de Sales

St John the Baptist, pray for us!

Friday, June 23, 2017

God's Heart calls to ours...

His love endures forever! (cf. Ps 136) 

"The very core of Christianity is expressed in the heart of Jesus ... 
the Love that saves us and even now makes us live in the eternity of God (John 3:16).  
... God's heart calls to our hearts, inviting us to come out of ourselves, 
to forsake our human certainties, to trust in Him and by following His example, 
to make ourselves a gift of unbounded love."  Pope Benedict XVI

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"Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus infallibly leads souls to the Eucharist. Love for, and devotion to, the Eucharist infallibly leads souls to the mystery of God's infinite love symbolized for us by the Sacred Heart, a symbol necessary because love itself is immaterial and imperceptible: We need the sensible manifestation of the Divine Heart.

So it is that the Sacred Heart, the Holy Eucharist, and Love itself, are one and the same thing; for in the Eucharist dwells Jesus, in Jesus His Heart, and in His Heart is infinite love. The Eucharist can be explained only by love; the love of Jesus is the love of His Heart, and so the Eucharist is explained only by the Sacred Heart. Drawn close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by cords of love, we receive into our own hearts the Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion. It is not possible to carry fire in  one's bosom and not become inflamed by it. Fire enkindles fire."

 Fr Richard Neilsen
Full text:

"I want to repose in your heart, because many souls have
thrown Me out of their hearts today." 
 Jesus to St Faustina

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"Love overcomes, love delights.
Those who love the Sacred Heart rejoice."
- St Bernadette

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“O Jesus, a soldier opened Your side with his lance, so that, through the gaping wound, we might know the charity of Your Heart, which loved us unto death, and that we might enter into Your unutterable love through the same channel by which it came to us.
Approach, then, O my soul, the Heart of Christ, that magnanimous Heart, that hidden Heart, that Heart which thinks of all things and knows all things; that loving Heart, all on fire with love. Make me understand, O Lord, that the door of Your Heart was forced open by the vehemence of Your love.
Allow me to enter into the secret of that love which was hidden from all eternity, but is now revealed by the wound in Your Heart.” -St. Bernardine of Siena

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In 2002 Pope St John Paul II designated
the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
as a World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests
O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep your priests
within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with Your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed
with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their
joy and consolation here, and in Heaven their
beautiful and everlasting crown.  Amen.

St Therese of Lisieux

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Curagio! ...

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you. 
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because
you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. - I Cor 15:58

"When Thomas More was Chancellor of England some of his friends reproached him for going to Communion so often.  With all his duties and responsibilities they thought that this piety took up too much of his time.  He answered their objections with these words: 

'Your reasons for wanting me to stay away from Holy Communion are exactly the ones which cause me to go so often.  My distractions are great, but it is in Communion that I recollect myself.  I have temptations many times a day; by daily Communion I get the strength to overcome them.  I have much very important business to handle and I need light and wisdom; it is for this very reason that I go to Holy Communion every day to consult Jesus about them.' " 

John M Haffert
Excerpt from The World's Greatest Saints

St Thomas More
Husband, Father, Lawyer, Knight,
Lord Chancellor of England, Author, Martyr 
Steadfastly refused to approve Henry VIII’s divorce/remarriage
and establishment of the Church of England
Patron of Lawyers
England ~ 1478-1535 
FEAST DAY - June 22


 On July 7, 1535, the 57-year-old More
came before the executioner to be beheaded.
“I die the king's good servant,” he told the onlookers, “but God's first.”

St Thomas More, pray for us!


Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII's mandatory Oath of Allegiance, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop's stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends.

On the scaffold he said to the people assembled:
"Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death. Wherefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death's stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith free from any fear; and I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this Realm, and that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it, and send the king good Counsel."
He then knelt, said the Te Deum and submitted to the axe.
Erasmus said: "He is the one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning and for greatness of soul."

St. John Fisher
Bishop, Martyr
England ~ 1469-1535
FEAST DAY - June 22

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 St. John wrote to someone who left the Church: “Had you but tasted one
drop of the sweetness which inebriates the souls of those religious from
their worship of this Sacrament, you would never have written as you have,
nor have apostatized from the faith that you formerly professed.

St John Fisher, pray for us!