Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting ready

We have no sooner put away our Christmas decorations but this year we are beginning to think about Lent.  (Or maybe it is just me?!)  Pope Francis is thinking about Lent too and today he released to the Church his annual Lenten Message.  I think it is good to begin to think about how we are going to observe this beautiful season of grace; otherwise it begins (February 18) and we are well into the season by the time we get our penitential act together!

His message is striking; he suggests we consider giving up indifference this year!  Here is a link to his Lenten message:

Personally I want to pray over his suggestions and see how the Lord might want me to respond.  What about you?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hope for the future

Pope Francis has dedicated the year beginning November 30, 2014 to February 2, 2016 as the "Year of Consecrated Life."  Its purpose is to "look to the past with gratitude, the live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope."  See:  http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/11/29/pope_issues_letter_for_year_of_consecrated_life/1112885

Yesterday, Sunday, Father Roger Landry, gave a homily to his parish in Fall River, Mass. in which he connected the Year of Consecrated Life with the Sunday Readings.  During our monthly retreat day yesterday, we listened to Father Landry's homily and if you have time I would encourage you to read it or listen to it as well.  It is very powerful!  Here is the link:  http://catholicpreaching.com/the-three-stages-of-growth-in-our-christian-vocation-second-sunday-b-january-18-2015/

Pray for us during this special year dedicated to the Consecrated Life, especially that the Lord would grace the hearts of many young women to embrace their calling to Consecrated Life. There is so much work to be done in the Church, in the world, and many laborers are needed for the vineyard. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beloved sons and daughters

Today is the last day of the Church's liturgical season of Christmas.  So many of us ask why the feast of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (today's feast) is included in the Christmas season.  In his homily at Mass this morning Father said the tiny baby you see in the manger is the man we see standing in the River Jordan.  Christmas is about God's revealing Himself to us through the incarnation of his Son.  Today Jesus is revealed in a very dramatic way as the Son of God.  In fact, as Jesus comes up out of the water, after having been baptized by St. John the Baptist, the heavens were "torn open" and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus while at the same time we hear the voice of God the Father who tells us that "this is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased."  At this moment Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit who anoints Him for His public ministry which is about to begin.

What can we take from this feast?  We too have been baptized and Confirmed in the Holy Spirit which enables us to carry out our vocation to love the Father and to spread the Good news about Him to all those we meet.  We too are the Father's beloved sons and daughters!  Do we ever pray to the Holy Spirit?  I know I forget to do so on many a day.  But we have received the Holy Spirit and it is so important to call on the Holy Spirit each morning to lead us through the day. 

A simple prayer by St. Augustine:  "Breathe on me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.  Act in me O Holy Spirit that all my work too may be holy.  Draw my heart O Holy Spirit that I love but what is holy.  Strengthen me O Holy Spirit to defend all that is holy.  Guard me then O Holy Spirit that I always may be holy.  Amen.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

We too can see the Star

We Three Kings of Orient Are. I love Christmas carols Рthey tell the story of the Birth of Jesus and they are also prayers. As we sing, the lyrics enable us to lift our hearts and voices to the Lord. This carol tells the story of the Epiphany of our Lord. The Epiphany is a beautiful feast; it calls us to meditate on the revelation of Jesus Рthe Son of God - to the Gentiles. That is you and me! I found myself really focusing on the cr̬che in our chapel today, seeing the little statues of the Magi in adoration before the manger, trying to put myself with them there, asking the Lord to give me the grace to worship and adore this little child who is God!

Father Peter John Cameron, OP, in his book, Jesus, Present Before Me, (St. Anthony Messenger Press, p. 98) suggests that “the star over the stable was the first sanctuary lamp. By its light, angels, shepherds and kings were drawn to Bethlehem…to adore God-With-Us.” I like to think that the sanctuary light in our chapel – in our churches - draws us too to Jesus, resting in our tabernacles. He is, if you will, “God-always-with-us.”

It seems to me that the Magi travelled at night because the star would not have been visible in daylight. In our darkest moments perhaps we too could follow that light in our churches and kneel before the Lord, bringing him our needs and also our gifts.  (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Three_Kings)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

By God's grace

Do people still make New Year’s Resolutions? I must confess that over the years I was not into New Year’s Resolutions mainly because I could never keep them. But then I always tried to keep them by gritting my teeth and by trying to exercise my will. New Year’s resolutions have to begin first in the heart – they need to be based on a real desire to change; they should be according to God’s will, and kept only by the power of God’s grace! So there!

This year I have made a New Year’s Resolution – it is the desire of my heart to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I think this resolution is in keeping with God’s will and I believe He will give me the grace to keep it if I only ask and rely on that grace! But in making this one resolution I think other areas in my life that need to change will fall into place!
Today we celebrate the solemn feast of our Blessed Mother under her title, “Mary, Mother of God.” I have no doubt that it is the desire of her heart that I grow in my relationship with her Son. It is important, I know, to rely on her intercession and her help.

“Dear Blessed Mother, you who are the Mother of God, please pray for me that I may have the grace to grow in my relationship with Jesus. As I begin this New Year, take my hand and walk with me through the months ahead. "

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A sincere wish for you for Christmas

May the love of the Holy Family

fill your heart with

joy and peace during this

Christmas Season! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Let us magnify the Lord

As we approach the Solemn feast of Christmas, the Gospel readings prepare the way.  Today we hear the story of Mary's visit to Elizabeth and hear again Mary's beautiful prayer, The Magnificat."

Perhaps in this short period of time  before Christmas we too could pray this prayer with Mary, applying some of the prayer to our own lives. 

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit rejoiaces in God my Savior,
for He has looked upon His lowly servant...
...the Almight has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.
He has mercy on those who fear him,
in every generation,
He has shown the strength of His arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly
He has the filled the hungry with good things
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant, Israel,
for He has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.  Amen.