Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Prayer for Priests by Fr. William Doyle

Here is a beautiful prayer for priests by Fr. Willie Doyle, heroic priest of World War I:

O my God, pour out in abundance Thy spirit of sacrifice upon Thy priests. It is both their glory and their duty to become victims, to be burnt up for souls, to live without ordinary joys, to be often the objects of distrust, injustice, and persecution.
The words they say every day at the altar, “This is my Body, this is my Blood,” grant them to apply to themselves: “I am no longer myself, I am Jesus, Jesus crucified. I am, like the bread and wine, a substance no longer itself, but by consecration another.”
O my God, I burn with desire for the sanctification of Thy priests. I wish all the priestly hands which touch Thee were hands whose touch is gentle and pleasing to Thee, that all the mouths uttering such sublime words at the altar should never descend to speaking trivialities.
Let priests in all their person stay at the level of their lofty functions, let every man find them simple and great, like the Holy Eucharist, accessible to all yet above the rest of men. O my God, grant them to carry with them from the Mass of today, a thirst for the Mass of tomorrow, and grant them, ladened themselves with gifts, to share these abundantly with their fellow men. Amen.

Hat tip to Deacon Greg!

Benedict XVI: “The epidemic of the heart leads to corruption”

The following comes from the Vatican Insider:

“The truth, love and goodness that come from God, make man pure and truth, love and goodness come together in the Word which brings liberates a world that no longer thinks of God from ‘forgetfulness’.” This was at the heart of the homily which the Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI pronounced during a mass he presided over this morning in the Teutonic Cemetery church in the Vatican. The mass was attended by members of the Schuelerkreis (Ratzinger’s “student circle”) and the New Schuelerkreis, who gathered at Castel Gandolfo in recent days to reflect on the theme “How to speak to God today”. The priest and philosopher Tomas Halik also participated. The news was posted on the Ratzinger Foundation website.

Does not the evil that afflicts us come from the outside? This was the essence of the question posed by the Emeritus Pope in his German homily. We need to be cleansed of all the impurity that exists out there: “We could respond to the many illnesses and sometimes epidemics that threaten us, by maintaining an external cleanliness,” Benedict XVI said. It is important to care for our exterior in this way so that death does not prevail, the Emeritus Pope said. But this is not enough, he added, because there is also “the epidemic of the heart” to consider, that inner epidemic that “leads to corruption and other filth, the kind of filth that drives man to think only of himself and not of goodness.” So, aside from worship, ethos, “inner hygiene” in other words, also plays a decisive role: “What does a pure man do? What is the real power of purification? How does one come to have a cleansed heart?” Benedict XVI asked.

“In another passage of the Gospel,” he continued, “the Lord says to his people: ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you’.” So we become pure by means of the Word: “The Word is Jesus Christ himself and we come across the Word even in those who reflect It, those who show us the face of God and reflect his meekness, his humble heart, his simplicity, his lovingness, his sincerity.”

The mass was followed by a ceremony for the inauguration of the “Pope Benedict-Joseph Ratzinger Hall”, which the Pope Emeritus blessed. The ceremony took place in the buildings adjacent to the Teutonic Cemetery. In his introductory speech, Mgr. Hans Peter Fischer, Rector of the Teutonic College, announced that a ceremony will be held on 18 November to mark the opening of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Roman Library. The library is entirely dedicated to the works and life of Joseph Ratzinger as a scholar and a Pope and is housed inside the Library of the Teutonic College and of the Roman Institute of the Gorres Society in the Vatican.

Present at today’s ceremony – amongst others – were cardinals Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and personal secretary to Benedict XVI.

Salt and Light: Prayer and the Taizé Community

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Heart Is Yours by Kristian Stanfill

Brother Roger: A key word from my youth

A key word from my youth from Taize on Vimeo.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Salve Regina sung by the monks of the Grande Chartreuse

The Hill of Taize

Brother Roger : All of us are seekers from Taizé on Vimeo.

Life at Taizé from Taizé on Vimeo.
The following comes from

Here is a translation of a reflection made by Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor of L'Osservatore Romano, for the 70th anniversary of Brother Roger Schutz's arrival on the hill of Taizé in France.

Brother Roger started the ecumenical Taizé community, and was killed five years ago at age 90.

* * *

It was Aug. 20, 1940, 70 years ago, when Roger Schutz arrived for the first time in Taizé. In that summer of war in a France subjected to the invader, the Swiss Calvinist pastor certainly could not imagine that in a not too distant future -- already during the decade of the 50s -- other European young people, many and later very many more, would climb that hill in the heart of Burgundy, in an undulating and gentle rural region on whose horizon often great clouds are seen. In the beginning they arrived spontaneously, as he, perhaps, in autostop; later from all the continent in organized groups, especially during the summer or at Easter.

In the liturgical calendar, Aug. 20 is the feast of St. Bernard, who lived in Citeaux, not far from Taizé, which in turn is just a few kilometers from Cluny: under the sign of monastic reforms that have marked the history of the Church. And already in 1940 the young Schutz began to take in refugees and Jews, thinking of a plan of common life with some friends, which he began two years later in Geneva because of the impossibility of staying in France. He returned to Taizé during the war, and he renewed his hospitality, this time to German prisoners and orphan children. Whoever arrives today finds a small bungalow, just beyond the old houses and the small Romanesque church, surrounded by a minuscule cemetery, and a welcome that embodies the ancient hospitality in the name of Christ inscribed in the Rule of St. Benedict.

In fact, the monastic vocation had always attracted Roger and his companions, all of Protestant origin, but sensitive to the wealth of the different Christian currents; they committed themselves already in 1949 to a form of common life in the vein of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality, delineated some years later in the Rule of Taizé. That same year Brother Roger was received [in audience] by Pius XII together with one of his first companions, Max Thurian, and since 1958 his meetings with the Popes -- John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II, who was on the hill in 1986 -- became an annual custom, expressing a closeness that led, from the end of the decade of the 60s, to the entrance in the community of a growing number of Catholics. And Brother Roger, already several years before his murder at the hands of an unstable woman on Aug. 16, 2005, designated a young German Catholic, Alois Loser, as his successor in the leadership of the community.

In 1962 the prior, with some brothers, began in the most absolute secret, a series of visits to some countries of Eastern Europe, while in August a modern Church of Reconciliation was inaugurated in Taizé. A very large space -- but which soon had to be enlarged, in the beginning with tents, to accommodate the thousands of persons who arrived in the weeks of summer -- planned for prayer three times a day in several languages. With the long moments of silence and meditative songs now very widespread, these three daily meetings were what profoundly impressed those who arrived for the first time on the hill.

For the opening of a "council of young people" in August of 1974, more than 40,000 arrived in Taizé from the whole of Europe, housed in a camp of tents, in a precariousness aggravated by torrential rain. Passing imperturbable among them was Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, sent by Paul VI, speaking amiably to young people little more than 20 years old who approached him, stained with mud and tired, but impressed by the community's ecumenical wager. To them, for decades, in the line of the great Christian tradition, Brother Roger addressed a brief meditation every afternoon and, after the prayer, he paused to meet with and hear those who wished to speak with him or approach him.

This was in the years of youthful rebellion and the estrangement of many from the faith, the revolution of Taizé. Struggle and contemplation the prior decided to title the newspaper of those years, while the community began a "pilgrimage of trust" in the various continents. Seeking reconciliation and sharing the poverties of the world, reviving the virtually extinguished faith in numerous contexts of Central Europe, sustaining its little flame in countries suffocated by Communism, accustoming many young Catholics to an ever greater openness.

Taizé never wished to be a movement, but it always stimulated people to be involved in parishes and in local realities: practicing hospitality, encouraging the peacemakers of the evangelical beatitude, working for the union between Churches and communities of believers in Christ, showing vitality and efficacy in an ecumenical spiritual journey. That one be able to reconcile in oneself -- Brother Roger, notre frere, had learned it as a youth and witnessed to it during his whole life, authentic pioneer of an "ecumenism of holiness," as Cardinal Bertone wrote in the name of Benedict XVI -- the riches of the different Christian confessions: the attention to the Bible stressed in Protestantism, the splendor of Orthodox liturgy, the centrality of the Catholic Eucharist, before which always shines in Taizé a little light that signifies adoration of the One Lord.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Yosemite National Park

Time Lapse Tour of Yosemite National Park from Henry Jun Wah Lee on Vimeo.

Pure Religion: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sunday Readings

The following comes from Scott Hahn:
Today's Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light, as one having authority to interpret God's law.
Jesus' quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they've turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.
The gift of the law, which we hear God giving to Israel in today's First Reading, is fulfilled in Jesus' gospel, which shows us the law's true meaning and purpose (seeMatthew 5:17).
The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord's presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us -- the kingdom of God, eternal life.
Israel, by its observance of the law, was meant to be an example to surrounding nations. As James tells us in today's Epistle, the gospel was given to us that we might have new birth by the Word of truth. By living the Word we've received, we're to be examples of God's wisdom to those around us, the "first fruits" of a new humanity.
This means we must be "doers" of the Word, not merely hearers of it. As we sing in today's Psalm and hear again in today's Epistle, we must work for justice, taking care of our brothers and sisters, and living by the truth God has placed in our hearts.
The Word given to us is a perfect gift. We should not add to it through vain and needless devotions. Nor should we subtract from it by picking and choosing which of His laws to honor.
"Hear me," Jesus says in today's Gospel. Today, we're called to examine our relationship to God's law.
Is the practice of our religion a pure listening to Jesus, a humble welcoming of the Word planted in us and able to save our souls? Or are we only paying lip-service?

Fr. Benedict Groeschel on Isolation and Modern Life

Saturday, August 29, 2015

After All by David Crowder

A Quote from Romans 8

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:37-39

Feast of the day: Beheading of John the Baptist

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: "I am the truth"? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.

Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.

Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of prison, through he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ.

To endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather is was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward. Since death was ever at hand, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ's name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: "You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake." He tells us why it is Christ's gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us."

from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable on the death of John the Baptist.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ain't No Grave by Crowder

The Miserere: Prayer of Repentance (Psalm 51)

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness
in your abundant compassion
blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt;
from my sin cleanse me.

For I know my offense;
my sin is always before me.
Against you alone have I sinned;
I have done such evil in your sight
That you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart;
in my inmost being teach me wisdom.

Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;
wash me, make me whiter than snow.
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my guilt.

A clean heart create for me, God;
renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from your presence,
nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.

I will teach the wicked your ways,
that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God,
that my tongue may praise your healing power.
Lord, open my lips;
my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice;
a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit;
God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.

–Psalm 51:3-19

Prayers for Hurricane Season

Prayer for Hurricane Season     
O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children.  The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea.  We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control.  The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster.  During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father.  Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time.  O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our Beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a storm-less eternity awaits us. Amen. Originally dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Audrey in 1957.  - Fr. Al Volpe, Cameron Parish, LA  
Prayer for Protection against Storms and Hurricanes
Our Father in Heaven through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, spare us during this Hurricane season from all harm.  Protect us and our homes from all disasters of nature.  Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  
Prayer to Avert Storms and Hurricanes 
Father, all the elements of nature obey your command.  Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Saint of the day: Augustine

Today is the feast of one of the all time greatest saints and theologians in the history of the Church. Today we remember St. Augustine of Hippo. The following comes from the site:

St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break.

This famous son of St. Monica was born in Africa and spent many years of his life in wicked living and in false beliefs. Though he was one of the most intelligent men who ever lived and though he had been brought up a Christian, his sins of impurity and his pride darkened his mind so much, that he could not see or understand the Divine Truth anymore. Through the prayers of his holy mother and the marvelous preaching of St. Ambrose, Augustine finally became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion. Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. One day, however, he heard about two men who had suddenly been converted on reading the life of St. Antony, and he felt terrible ashamed of himself. "What are we doing?" he cried to his friend Alipius. "Unlearned people are taking Heaven by force, while we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!"

Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine flung himself out into the garden and cried out to God, "How long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour put an end to my sins?" Just then he heard a child singing, "Take up and read!" Thinking that God intended him to hear those words, he picked up the book of the Letters of St. Paul, and read the first passage his gaze fell on. It was just what Augustine needed, for in it, St. Paul says to put away all impurity and to live in imitation of Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.

He was baptized, became a priest, a bishop, a famous Catholic writer, Founder of religious priests, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived. He became very devout and charitable, too. On the wall of his room he had the following sentence written in large letters: "Here we do not speak evil of anyone." St. Augustine overcame strong heresies, practiced great poverty and supported the poor, preached very often and prayed with great fervor right up until his death. "Too late have I loved You!" he once cried to Go
d, but with his holy life he certainly made up for the sins he committed before his conversion. His feast day is August 28th.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Here's My Heart Lord by Crowder