Sunday, March 1, 2015

Come before the Lord

So much of the international news these days is just awful.  So many of our brothers and sisters, especially in the Middle East, are suffering terribly, many experiencing martyrdom because of their love of God.   One can scarcely take it all in!  

Thank God that He has given us Good News, the good news of the Gospel!  Today in the Gospel we experience Jesus being transfigured before His three apostles; we see the glory of His Divinity!  In today's Gospel we hear the very voice of the Father and the glorious manifestation of the Son of God and of the Father All of this gives us great hope!  

I struggle with how to cope with the bad news; how can I respond? What can I do?  I have decided that prayer is my role in all of this.  In fact I feel led by the Father to offer up my Lenten penances for my brothers and sisters, begging God to free them, to care for them, to prompt our country and countries around the world to go to their aid.

Perhaps you would be willing to join me.  I find the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy an appropriate prayer for this intention.   Together let us storm Heaven for our suffering brothers and sisters, knowing that our Divine Savior, our loving Father, will hear our prayers.  God bless you!  


Monday, February 23, 2015

Some Lenten reading suggestions.

As I mentioned in my last post I was hoping to suggest some book titles for Lent based on some input from our Sisters.  But alas I came down with a stubborn virus and am just now getting my act together.  Here are a few suggestions:

"Six Keys to a Deeper Spiritual Life: The Catholic Challenge" by Therese Cirner.  Servant Books.  "This book is for the everyday Catholic who has wondered what to do next in the spiritual life," says one who recommends the book.

"In the School of the Holy Spirit" by Jacques Philippe. Scepter Publishers.

"Why the Cross?" by Edward Leen.  A classic.  Originally published in 1938 and reprinted by Scepter Publishers in 2001. 

One of my favorites: "Heaven in Our Hands: Living the Beatitudes" by the late Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR.  Servant Publications

"Jesus' Pattern for a Happy Life: the Beatitudes" by Marilyn Norquist Gustin, Liguori Publications.

Lent is a good time to read about the lives of the saints.  One of my favorites is "Saint Martin de Porres, Apostle of Charity" written by Guiliana Cavallini and published by Tan Publications. 

A book that I am reading now:  "The Man Christ Jesus: How the Lord looked, acted, prayed and loved."  By Giacomo Cardinal Biffi" and published by Sophia Institute Press.  Preface says that Cardinal Biffi "gives us a clearer and more vivid image of the Son of God's humanity during his mortal life."

"An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer: Scriptural Reflections According to the Spiritual Exercises" by Father Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV published by Crossroad Publishing. 

All of these books are found on Amazon.com, or through your local Catholic book store or from the publisher.  May your Lenten spiritual reading be blessed! 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Check out this check-list

Lent begins in less than a week and it is not too soon to think about how you will spend this season of grace.  Better still, how does the Lord want you to spend these 40 days with Him?  I have given some thought to suggestions concerning spiritual reading, watching, listening.  Here are a few:

THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH and its fourth section on Prayer is a wonderful resource for prayer and reflection.  The mass market edition can be obtained online or in most book stores for little more than $8.00.  Or you can read it online:  Check out this link:  
You might consider YouCat which is short for Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Believe it or not, it is great for adults!  It's a treasure, filled with short reflections and responses to questions, quotes from the saints and Church Fathers etc.  Wonderful material for meditation for those of you who are busy and find it hard to take time for a lot of reading at one time.  Order online or find in most bookstores.  Published by Ignatius Press. 
You  might like to sign up for Father Robert Barron's daily e-mail Lenten reflections.  Do so at http://www.lentreflections.com/  You can also watch Father Barron's You Tube videos at http://www.wordonfire.org
And you can hear inspiriting daily homilites by Father Roger Landry at
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has a brief daily reflection video as well. 
I have asked our Sisters for suggestions for books to read during Lent and will send them along in a future post.  God bless! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Light of the World

Today is the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, focusing our attention on the moment when Mary and Joseph, following the prescriptions of the Law, took the six-week old child to present Him to His Father in the Temple.  (See Luke 2:22-40) 

It was the moment when the Creator of the Universe, the Son of the Father entered the Temple where the Most High dwelt.  The elderly Simeon recognized this baby as the Messiah and he told our Blessed Mother that Jesus would be the light of the nations. 

Today we can invite the Lord to come into the temple of our hearts and to shed His light into those darkened areas where we need healing and deliverance. 

From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop

In honour of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.

The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendour.

Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honour.

Today is also World Day of Consecrated Life, established by Saint John Paul II in 1997.  I encourage you to read a commentary on the Day by Father Roger Landry.  http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/waking-up-the-world-through-the-year-for-consecrated-life/ It comes during the Year of Consecrated Life established by Pope Francis. 

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:
http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/01/27/pope_warns_of_globalization_of_indifference_in_lenten_messag/1120128

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.