Thursday, September 22, 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The following comes from Mark Mallet:
How can you love others “to the last drop” if you have not encountered Jesus loving you in this way? The answer is that it is nearly impossible. It is precisely the encounter of Jesus’ mercy and unconditional love for you, in your brokenness and sin, that teaches you how to love not only your neighbour, but yourself. So many have trained themselves to instinctively self-loathe. But this breaks the heart of Christ because you are rejecting the creation He loved unto death—you. We have to break this cycle of self-hatred, otherwise the mercy we show others will often sub-consciously be tainted with limitations, judgment, or a projection of our own self-hatred. Jesus wants to break these chains of self-loathing! The following eleven minute video teaches you how. Far from a narcissistic approach to yourself, which the world promotes, this is the saving message that Christ came to bring, to you, today.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Spiritual Weapons to Conquer the Devil
Monday, September 19, 2016
How do we look back on past sins not as sins committed, but as sins confessed and forgiven? Fr. Damian Ference explains today using Peter as an example, showing how although he knew he was a great sinner, he also knew that Jesus loved him completely, as he was – a sinner.
We all know that Peter was the first pope. What we often forget is that Peter was also a terrible sinner. I can think of at least five times in the Gospels where Peter messed up, but the time that he denied Jesus was the absolute worst.
Saint Matthew tells us that it was a maid that first approached Peter in the courtyard – a maid, by the way, should not be able to intimidate a man that the Lord called “The Rock.” The maid recognized Peter as a friend of Jesus, but Peter denied knowing him. Second, another girl – not a woman, but a girl – saw Peter and said, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.” Again, Peter denied it. The third time St. Matthew tells us that it was a bystander who recognized Peter as a friend of Jesus by his speech. And once more, Peter denied knowing Jesus.
That’s about as bad as it gets. Just when your best friend needs you most, you deny even knowing him. And it’s not as if those questioning him were all that intimidating – a maid, a girl, and a random bystander – three people who wouldn’t seem to be much of a threat to a future pope. And Peter knew it. Saint Matthew tells us that upon the cock’s crow, “Peter went out and began to weep bitterly.” If I was him, I probably would have puked too.
Earlier that night Peter promised Jesus that his faith would never be shaken, but there it was, a crumbled mess. And there he was, the one that Jesus had handpicked to be the fearless leader of the apostles, off in the corner weeping like a baby. How pathetic.
Of course we know that there is more to the story. After Jesus suffers, dies, and rises from the dead he has another encounter with Peter. This time it’s on the beach where St. John tells us that Jesus invites the disciples to breakfast. It’s also the place where Jesus asks Peter if he loves him – three times. Three times Peter responds that he loves Jesus, and in doing so, Peter experiences Jesus’ love, forgiveness, healing and mercy. Jesus makes all things new, and in that moment, he makes Peter new too.
But a question remains. How in the world can Peter ever forget that terrible moment in the courtyard when he committed the worst of sins by denying that he even knew Jesus? Surely if we know about his terrible and cowardly act two thousand years later, people also knew well about it back then. And I’m sure that some even reminded him of it from time to time, saying, “Come on man, you’re the coward who denied even knowing Jesus, and now you’re telling me that I should believe in him? Please.” How in the world did Peter ever forget his terrible sin and move forward?
Here’s the truth: Peter never forgot the fact that he denied Jesus. That cowardly act was something that he could never take back. What’s done is done once it’s done. Peter couldn’t go back in time and make things right again. So what happened? How did Peter do it? How did the worst coward turn into one of the most courageous men in Christianity, eventually requesting to be crucified upside down because he thought himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord Jesus?
What happened to Peter was that although he knew he was a great sinner, he also knew that Jesus loved him completely, as he was – a sinner. To paraphrase St. John Vianney, Peter knew that his sins were but a grain of sand in the ocean of God’s great mercy. It was the merciful love of Jesus that recreated Peter and that made him new. Peter couldn’t do anything about his sins other than confess them, but Jesus could. And he did. Peter denied Jesus three times, so in his love, Jesus offered Peter and opportunity to tell Jesus that he loved him – three times. And with that Peter was forgiven and made new. From that point on, whenever Peter thought back about the time he denied Jesus, he didn’t think about it as sin committed, but sin confessed and forgiven.
Read the rest here.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
The following comes from Zenit:
Confessionals are generally quiet, darkened places. But what does heaven look and sound like when a soul enters a confessional?
Monday, September 12, 2016
Monday, September 5, 2016
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Today was another day filled with blessings! We began the day with a visit to Don Bosco's rooms and were able to have mass at one of the altars that Don Bosco used for many years in his mission to the young in Valdocco. It was the exact spot where some of the oratory boys witnessed Don Bosco levitate during his daily mass! What great devotion to the Holy Eucharist! After mass and lunch with the community we had an opportunity to join the director of the house on a walk to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. This Church is of great importance to us Salesians! It is the sight of Don Bosco's first mass as a newly ordained priest! Also the site of the Convitto Ecclesiastico where Don Bosco studied pastoral ministry for 3 years as a student of St. Joseph Cafasso. Don Cafasso was Don Bosco's confessor and spiritual guide for almost 30 years! Don Cafasso spent almost all of his priesthood in this holy place and where he heard countless confessions. Don Cafasso literally taught Don Bosco how to be a priest in the Convitto located next to this church.
It was in the Sacristy of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi that Don Bosco met young Bartholomew Garelli and invited him to learn his catechism. He said one Hail Mary with him and from there Don Bosco began his work for poor youth and the Salesian Oratory! 30 days after the death of Don Cafasso, Don Bosco delivered the sermon reminding everyone of the great virtues of Don Cafasso.
After our visit to St. Francis of Assisi we visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Consolation (Consolata). This is the church where Don Bosco went to pray after the death of Mamma Margaret. He invited Our Lady to be his mother and assist him with the work of the oratory! St. Joseph Cafasso is buried here in this beautiful church.
Then we walked down to the Church of Divine Providence and the tomb of St. Joseph Cottolengo. St. Joseph founded 5 institutes to care for the needs of the poor and the sick. So many saints lived and worked in such close proximity to one another!
Fr. Steve and I joined the community again for prayers and dinner and made another pilgrimage for gelato! Needless to say we had a full and blessed day. I will try to keep you posted on the days events every day of the coming week! Thank God for the internet! Please continue to pray for us and know of my prayers for all of you! God is blessing us in this year of mercy!
Friday, August 26, 2016
Today, August 26, is the feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa! I never had a great devotion to this image until the year 2000. That was when I was ordained a priest! That makes today the 14th anniversary of my ordination! When I first found out my ordination would be on August 26th I was a bit disappointed that it would not be on a feast day, but later found out about Częstochowa. It was made more special when I realized the great devotion that Pope John Paul II had for her as well. Pope John Paul II, native of Poland, visited the shrine in 1979 and 1983.The miraculous portrait of Our Lady of Czestochowa is venerated by many as an actual portrait of the Madonna, painted during her lifetime by Saint Luke the Evangelist on the top of a cypress-wood table. Our God is a God of miracles and He is so very generous!
I can remember being so impressed with the priests of my parish as a youngster and as an altar boy. Our Pastor, the late Msgr. Charles Pagluighi, was a great inspiration to all of us in the parish and he had a particular charism for young people. He had a way of getting his altar boys excited to do a great job at serving at mass. His love for the Chicago Cubs was well known and I remember marveling at the fact that he was an honorary team chaplain! I think the fine example and down to earth goodness of Fr. Pagluighi was a big part of my seeing priesthood in such a positive light.
I think these good parish priests gave me such a positive view of priesthood that made it possible to say yes years later.
It was also in grammar school that I met Don Bosco. The Salesian Sisters came to our school as I began the 7th grade. They were wonderful, joyful women who had a clear love for God, the Church and this great Salesian Charism. Their love for St. John Bosco, Mary, Help of Christians and for young people was so clear. These sisters didn’t just talk about joy, but they were visibly joyful. I had never seen a religious sister in a habit play softball or basketball before, but these wonderful Salesians sure did! They also loved to tell the many stories of Don Bosco, his dreams, and his miracles to us kids. We saw old movies about the saint and even read comic books about him. This was a cool saint who could do it all! I left grammar school with a love for Don Bosco and his spirit.
The prayer of Mother Teresa comes from here:
Jesus is the Word made Flesh.