Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Come As You Are by Crowder

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe into me Holy Spirit, That all my thoughts may be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 
St. Augustine

The 4 Ends to the Mass

The following comes from the Catholic Gentleman:


“It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.” – St. Padre Pio

After a talk I gave a while ago, a young man came to me with a question. “I think I’m a good Catholic,” he began, “but I don’t go to mass. I hear it’s a sin not to go, but I don’t understand that. I guess I don’t see the point. Can you give me any reasons why I should go?” His question was sincere, and it led to a long and healthy discussion of why being present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is important in the life of a faithful Catholic.

But truth be told, many Catholics probably ask the same questions, even if they attend mass faithfully. What’s the point? Why should I bother? This confusion and apathy about the source and summit of the Catholic faith is due to an almost complete failure of teaching on what the mass actually is.

To clear up some of this confusion, let’s examine the nature and purposes of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

WHAT IS THE MASS?

Let’s begin with what the mass is not. The mass is not a community meal designed to strengthen our unity and “gather us in.” Feelings of unity and community can be strengthened at any number of events, including potlucks or Church picnics. At most, feeling unified with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a nice byproduct of the mass, but it is certainly not its chief end.

Second, the mass is not about you. It is not about having a wonderful “weekend experience,” as one new parish based program claims. Nor is its purpose to make you feel good about yourself, to encourage you, to inspire you, or to make you feel included and welcomed. You simply aren’t the audience—God is, and the mass is all about him.

So what is the mass essentially? It is first and foremost a sacrifice. In fact, it is the once for all sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, that transcends time and space, made present for us again in an unbloody manner. It is the perfect sacrifice that all the Old Testament sacrifices prefigured (See Malachi 1:11). In it, Jesus Christ lovingly offers himself in an act of oblation to God the Father on our behalf. He adores God the Father, he atones for our sins, he offers thanks and praise, and he intercedes for our needs.

As Catholics, we have the privilege of attending this sacrifice, and uniting ourselves to Christ’s self offering. Put another way, we can imitate Christ by offering ourselves, souls and bodies, to God the Father as “living sacrifices,” as St. Paul says. This is what participation in the mass really means. In the prayer Orate Frates, the priest acknowledges this participation of the faithful when he prays, “Pray brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.”

THE FOUR ENDS OF MASS

Now that we’ve discussed what the mass is, let’s briefly look at its four ends or purposes.

1. Adoration - The Holy Mass is first and foremost an act of loving adoration. It is worship of God our Father. Why? Because he deserves it. Almighty God is the most perfect of all Beings, the self-existing one, and all that exists owes its existence to him. He is the Supreme Good, the Good from which all other goods receive their meaning. He is the Supreme Beauty, the sole standard by which we can recognize and understand that which is beautiful. And he is Love itself, giving of himself from all eternity. He alone is worthy of our awe-struck adoration.

“Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things,

and by thy will they existed and were created,” the saints and angels cry in the book of Revelation, and the mass is participation in this heavenly worship.

2. Thanksgiving - All that we are and have comes from God’s generous hand. Every good, every blessing finds its source in God alone, and our very existence is dependent on his will. In response to God’s endless generosity, which we often don’t even notice, thanksgiving is the only acceptable response. And guess what? True gratitude is one of the most joyful feelings we can have. “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,” said G.K. Chesterton, “and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” That is exactly what Holy Mass should be—an experience of happiness doubled by wonder.

3. Atonement - We are all sinners, and while we do our best to rationalize and minimize it, all sin is a grave offense against God, incurring his just wrath. But while we all deserve hell, we are not without hope. On the cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins totally and completely, and we have the assurance that if we turn to him in repentance and faith, we can find forgiveness and healing.

The sacrifice of Christ on the holy cross is our certain hope, and the Holy Mass is the re-presentation of this sacrifice. Therefore, the third end of the mass is atonement for our sins. The book of Revelation describes Christ appearing as a “Lamb as if it had been slain.” In heaven, Jesus stands before God’s throne, offering God the Father his once for all sacrifice in continual atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world. This reality is made present at every mass.

4. Petition - The mass is a powerful form of prayer. In fact, it is the most powerful prayer the Church possesses. St. Jerome once said, “Without doubt, the Lord grants all favors which are asked of Him in Mass, provided they be fitting for us.” Many of the saints tell us that bringing our requests before Our Lord after the consecration is one of the most effective ways to obtain all that we need spiritually and physically. I would encourage you to pray in this way, knowing that Jesus is on the altar interceding for you as well.

GO TO MASS

In every mass, Jesus Christs descends upon the altar in the fullness of his body, blood, soul, and Divinity. He is truly present, giving himself to us completely in the Holy Eucharist. It is truly the sacrifice of Calvary made present once again. What a beautiful and profound reality! As St. Padre Pio once said, “If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.” Why would we miss mass for anything?

The Holy Eucharist and St. John Vianney


"What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist? It is God who, as our Savior, offers himself each day for us to His Father's justice. If you are in difficulties and sorrows, He will comfort and relieve you. If you are sick, He will either cure you or give you strength to suffer so as to merit Heaven. If the devil, the world, and the flesh are making war upon you, He will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist, and to win victory. If you are poor, He will enrich you with all sorts of riches for time and eternity. Let us open the door of His sacred and adorable Heart, and be wrapped about for an instant by the flames of His love, and we shall see what a God who loves us can do. O my God, who shall be able to comprehend?"
St. John Vianney

To learn more about St. John Vianney please click here.

Saint Marianne Cope


The following comes from the American Catholic site:

Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).


Mother Marianne’s generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome. She was a woman who spoke “the language of truth and love” to the world, said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, called her life “a wonderful work of divine grace.” Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, “She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother.”

On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family emigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.

Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.

Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.

In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that St. Damien de Veuster [May 10, d. 1889] had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.
Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.

Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later.

Monday, October 20, 2014

"How He Loves" by Crowder

5 Ways to Practice Conversion

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:


Be converted, the kingdom of God is at hand.
These are the first world we hear from the lips of Our Blessed Savior as He initiates His Public ministry. Conversion in Greek is Metanoia, meaning change of heart. The core of the teaching of the Precursor of Jesus, St. John the Baptist, was the same, “Be converted because the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Furthermore, St. Peter and the Apostles also preached the call to conversion. Therefore, if the greatest of all prophets, the first Pope, and Jesus Himself preached the urgency of conversion then indeed it must be important!
The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, reiterates this message in various forms and seasons. At the start of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, after greeting the people, the priest invites himself and the whole congregation to pause briefly for an examination of conscience. On what? Our communal and personal recognition of sin and humble invocation that God would have mercy on us and help us to undergo metanoia—conversion of life.
Ways that we can undergo a true conversion of life
The following are ways that we can delve deep into our souls and strive for a sincere and deep conversion of life! However, we must always remember that true conversion of life is more God’s work in our souls than our doing. We must collaborate with the grace of the Lord!
1. Memory. Our memory is in need of constant purification. St. Paul exhorts us to put on the mind of Christ; then he says that you have the mind of Christ. Past wounds in our early years, addictions that enslaved, abuses either physical, emotional, social or moral—all of these must be brought to the Lord for a deep healing and conversion. One short but powerful suggestion: The Word of God! The Word of God is powerful like a two-edged sword that separates bone from marrow. The daily reading of the Word of God in prayerful meditation can result in the conversion of the mind. One more step: memorize Sacred Scripture! If you like this analogy: what chlorine is and does to a swimming pool (cleansing and purifying) the Word of God can do to the human mind. Lord, may your Word be a light for my path and a torch for my steps!
2. Eyes. Our eyes need constant vigilance and control. Unfortunately, the most powerful addiction in the United States is that of pornography. Children are exposed to this ravenous and merciless wolf at a very tender age. Studies show that pornography can be more powerful than the addiction to drugs. A recovering gang member, drug-addict and alcoholic rejoiced that he was able to conquer all the above vices. However, he could not detach himself from the addiction to pornography. Three suggestions to attain this metanoia/conversion.
  •  At the crack of dawn upon waking, to consecrate one’s whole being— especially the eyes—to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Second, when tempted invoke the Precious Blood of Jesus as a shield against the fiery darts of the devil.
  • Lastly, visit the Blessed Sacrament exposed and contemplate the Eucharistic heart of Jesus. In the words of the Psalmist: “Look to the Lord and be radiant with joy.”
3. Tongue. Our tongue has to be controlled constantly! Saint James reminds us poignantly that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen. Jesus reminds us that every word that issues from our mouth will be subject to judgment. Also the Lord tells us that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Three concrete suggestions to attain conversion of our mouth, a transformation of our speech. First, we should get in the habit of speaking more to God and less to people. Second, we should learn to hold back our impulses and think before we speak. Finally, apply the Golden Rule of Jesus to speech. Do to others what you would have them do to you; say to others what you would like them say to you! Following this advice we are on the highway to converting our tongue!
4. Intentions. Being honest with ourselves we must humble admit that our intentions are often mixed. Even in the best of actions are hidden some self-seeking, self-love and vanity. Sincere examination of conscience will highlight this truth! In the Diary of Saint Faustina, time and time again Jesus manifests His desire that she always have purity of intention, that her actions be done to please Him and for the honor and glory of God. The Bible points out that man sees the appearance but God reads the heart. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus strictly warns us not to do our actions to be seen and praised by man. Remember! Do your actions such that your right hand does not even know what your left hand is doing. Your father who sees in secret will recompense you.
The motto of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Company of Jesus (the Jesuits) is four letters: A.M.D.G. —Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam—meaning, for the greater glory of God. That indeed should be the motivating principle that drives all of our actions in life! One concrete suggestion to obtain the conversion/metanoia of our intentions— Give all to Jesus through the hands of Mary. In the classic of St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis presents a scene in which a pauper desires to present the King with an apple. The apple is not of the best, nor is the pauper the most worthy of admiration. However there is a secret to access to the heart of the King—the love the King has for his Queen. If the pauper can reach the Queen and give her the apple, then her Highness will take the apple, polish it, place it on a golden platter next to a beautiful flower and present it to the King. Then the King will accept it. Why? Not because of the pauper but because of the powerful and irresistible persuasion of the Queen. If we place our intentions in the Immaculate Heart of Mary then she purifies, embellishes and corrects our distorted motives!
5. Heart. Last but not least we all must go through a daily conversion of the very center of our being— our heart. Jesus says that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The human heart can contain within it the most noble of intentions, but the human heart can also embrace the most despicable of desires! Constant conversion/metanoia of heart is necessary on a daily basis!
What might be the most efficacious means to undergo a true conversion of heart? Simple and to the point: Fervent and passionate daily communion! In Holy Communion we receive the totality of Jesus: His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Therefore, if we receive His Body, that means we also receive His Sacred Heart. In the most Sacred Heart of Jesus can be found all of the most sublime virtues and to the highest degree of holiness and perfection.
Faith, hope, charity, patience, purity, meekness, obedience, mortification, fortitude— just to mention a few, are some of the virtues present in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These virtues are present in every Consecrated Host that we can receive in Holy Communion on a daily basis. In a real sense, we can undergo a daily spiritual heart transplant every time we receive Holy Communion with faith, devotion and love. Beyond a shadow of doubt, Holy Communion received with the proper dispositions is by far the most efficacious channel to arrive at a true conversion of heart. Our Lord’s loving Heart burns and consumes all that is ugly and ignoble in our hearts so that we can truly say with the Apostle Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me!”

Blessed Pope Paul VI on the Blessed Virgin Mary

Pope Paul VIThe following comes from Tom Perna:

It’s either God’s Providence or just the natural course of writing extensively on the Blessed Virgin Mary for nearly 2 ½ years, but today’s “Mondays with Mary”, the 125thblog post in this series, corresponds with the Beatification of Pope Paul VI. It was his document, Mense Maio, which inspired me to begin writing these weekly posts on the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 6, 2012. To learn about the story of how “Mondays with Mary” began, I encourage you to read the very first blog post in this series.
As I reflect back on the 2 ½ years and the 124 blog posts focusing on the great Theotokos, I am somewhat shocked that I have written so much on Mary, but also realize there is so much I have yet to write. There are some important Marian apparitions and titles that have yet to be written as well as not getting to the final chapter in the Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium. It’s my hope in the month of November (the 50th Anniversary of the document) to write on this chapter, which focuses on Mary’s role as Maternal Mediator and Advocate. It’s also my hope that I will write more on what the Doctors of the Church have said about the Blessed Virgin.
I’ve said in my posts before that it’s an exciting time to be a Catholic. Yesterday’s beatification of Pope Paul VI is yet another indication of this time. We now have three popes that served nearly one after the other in the 20th century as saints of the Catholic Church. Although Paul VI has not been officially canonized, we know that he is there in Heaven with his predecessor, Pope St. John XXIII and his successor, Pope St. John Paul II.
In honor of our newest beatification, I now give you some of the words on the Blessed Virgin Mary from Blessed Pope Paul VI -
1. “This pious practice, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored and the Christian people enriched with spiritual gifts, gladdens and consoles us. Mary remains ever the path that leads to Christ. Every encounter with her can only result in an encounter with Christ himself” – Mense Maio #2 
2. “The general norm ‘Through Mary to Jesus’ is therefore valid also for the imitation of Christ. Nevertheless, let our faith not be perturbed, as if the intervention of a creature in every way similar to us, except as regards sin, offended our personal dignity and prevented the intimacy and immediacy of our relationships of adoration and friendship with the Son of God.” – Signum Magnum, Part 2, Section 2.
3. “Mary is not only an example for the whole Church in the exercise of divine worship but is also, clearly, a teacher of the spiritual life for individual Christians. The faithful at a very early date began to look to Mary and to imitate her in making their lives an act of worship of God, and making their worship a commitment of their lives.” ­– Marialis Cultus, #21
4. “Whenever we say the rosary, the joyful mysteries thus place us once more before the inexpressible event [Annunciation] which is the center and summit of history: the coming on earth of Emmanuel, God with us.” – Gaudete in Domino, Section III.
5. “…the Church has always prayed from her earliest days, and in a special way calling on the intercession and protection of the Virgin Mary, who is the Queen of Peace” – Mense Maio #9 
6. “With Christ, she sums up in herself all joys; she lives the perfect joy promised to the Church: Mater plena sanctae laetitiae. And it is with good reason that her children on earth, turning to her, who is the mother of hope and of grace, invoke her as the cause of their joy: Causa nostrae laetitiae.” – Gaudete in Domino, Section IV.
7. “…the last description of Mary’s life presents her as praying. The apostles ‘joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers’ (Acts 1:4). We have here the prayerful presence of Mary in the early Church in the Church throughout all ages, for, having been assumed into heaven, she has not abandoned her mission of intercession and salvation.” – Marialis Cultus, #19
8. [St. Augustine] said, “’…Maternal consanguinity would not have benefited Mary if she had not felt more fortunate in having Christ in her heart than in her womb.’” And it is still in her that Christians can admire the example of how to fulfill, with humility and at the same time with magnanimity, the mission which God entrusts to each one in this world, in relation to his own salvation and that of his fellow beings.” – Signum Magnum, Part 2, Section 3.
9. “Nothing seems more appropriate and valuable to Us than to have the prayers of the whole Christian family rise to the Mother of God, who is invoked as the Queen of Peace, begging her to pour forth abundant gifts of her maternal goodness in midst of so many great trials and hardships.” – Christi Matri, #8
10. “On the morning of Pentecost she watched over with her prayer the beginning of evangelization prompted by the Holy Spirit: may she be the Star of the evangelization ever renewed which the Church, docile to her Lord’s command, must promote and accomplish, especially in these times which are difficult but full of hope!” – Evangelii Nuntiandi, #82
Mother of Jesus Christ
So as we celebrate the beatification of Pope Paul VI, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to always show us the way to Jesus Christ and to continuously lead us to closer and close to Him each day of our lives. Blessed Pope Paul VI…Pray for Us.
As always, please feel free to share this post or copy and paste the quotes to your social media sites in order for your family and friends to experience the beauty of the Catholic Church and her Saints.

Saint of the day: Paul of the Cross


St. Paul of the Cross was born in Ovada in northern Italy as Paolo Francesco Danei in 1694. As a young man, he helped his father who was a merchant. Paul received his early education from a priest and was a very virtuous and pious young man, who spent much time in prayer, attended daily Mass, and spent much time before the Blessed Sacrament without neglecting his duties.

At the age of 19, Paul had a vivid experience of the depth of God's love. As a result of this experience, he aspired to live a life of perfection. While still a layman, he left everything behind and founded the Congregation of Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion (Passionists) in 1721.

While contemplation and prayer were at the very heart of Paul's life and the life of his new institute, Paul himself soon became a very famous popular preacher, spiritual guide, writer and mystic. For Paul the Passion of Christ was the most vivid witness to God's love for us and he constantly called upon his followers to remember the sufferings of Jesus.

During his lifetime Paul founded thirteen monasteries of Priests and Brothers throughout Italy as well as a monastery of Passionist Nuns. Today the Passionists live and serve in 59 countries of the world and are enhanced by other religious and lay groups who find inspiration in the Charism of St. Paul of the Cross.

Paul died in Rome on October 18, 1775. He was canonized on June 29, 1867 by Pope Pius IX.


Hat tip to Catholic Fire on this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

George Weigel on Why Adults Become Catholics


The following comes from the Archdiocese of Denver site of George Weigel:
There are as many reasons for “converting” as there are converts. Evelyn Waugh became a Catholic with, by his own admission, “little emotion but clear conviction”: this was the truth; one ought to adhere to it.  Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote that his journey into the Catholic Church began when, as an unbelieving Harvard undergraduate detached from his family’s staunch Presbyterianism, he noticed a leaf shimmering with raindrops while taking a walk along the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass.; such beauty could not be accidental, he thought—there must be a Creator. Thomas Merton found Catholicism aesthetically, as well as intellectually, attractive: once the former Columbia free-thinker and dabbler in communism and Hinduism found his way into a Trappist monastery and became a priest, he explained the Mass to his unconverted friend, poet Robert Lax, by analogy to a ballet. Until his death in 2007, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger insisted that his conversion to Catholicism was not a rejection of, but a fulfillment of, the Judaism into which he was born; the cardinal could often be found at Holocaust memorial services reciting the names of the martyrs, including “Gisèle Lustiger, ma maman” (“my mother”).
Two of the great 19th-century converts were geniuses of the English language: theologian John Henry Newman and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. This tradition of literary converts continued in the 20th century, and included Waugh, Graham Greene, Edith Sitwell, Ronald Knox and Walker Percy. Their heritage lives today at Our Savior’s Church on Park Avenue in New York, where convert author, wit, raconteur and amateur pugilist George William Rutler presides as pastor. 
In early American Catholicism, the fifth archbishop of Baltimore (and de facto primate of the United States), Samuel Eccleston, was a convert from Anglicanism, as was the first native-born American saint and the precursor of the Catholic school system, Elizabeth Anne Seton. Mother Seton’s portrait in the offices of the archbishop of New York is somewhat incongruous, as the young widow Seton, with her children, was run out of New York by her unforgiving Anglican in-laws when she became a Catholic. On his deathbed, another great 19th-century convert, Henry Edward Manning of England, who might have become the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury but became the Catholic archbishop of Westminster instead, took his long-deceased wife’s prayer book from beneath his pillow and gave it to a friend, saying that it had been his spiritual inspiration throughout his life. 
If there is a thread running through these diverse personalities, it may be this: that men and women of intellect, culture and accomplishment have found in Catholicism what Blessed John Paul II called the “symphony of truth.” That rich and complex symphony, and the harmonies it offers, is an attractive, compelling and persuasive alternative to the fragmentation of modern and post-modern intellectual and cultural life, where little fits together and much is cacophony. Catholicism, however, is not an accidental assembly of random truth-claims; the creed is not an arbitrary catalogue of propositions and neither is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It all fits together, and in proposing that symphonic harmony, Catholicism helps fit all the aspects of our lives together, as it orders our loves and loyalties in the right direction. 
You don’t have to be an intellectual to appreciate this “symphony of truth,” however. For Catholicism is, first of all, an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And to meet that person is to meet the truth that makes all the other truths of our lives make sense. Indeed, the embrace of Catholic truth in full, as lives like Blessed John Henry Newman’s demonstrate, opens one up to the broadest possible range of intellectual encounters. 
Viewed from outside, Catholicism can seem closed and unwelcoming. As Evelyn Waugh noted, though, it all seems so much more spacious and open from the inside. The Gothic, with its soaring vaults and buttresses and its luminous stained glass, is not a classic Catholic architectural form by accident. The full beauty of the light, however, washes over you when you come in.

Jesuit Martyrs

Today's Feast: North American Martyrs

Today is the Feast of the North American Martyrs. We should all pray through their intercession for the needs of our nation:

Holy Martyrs and patrons, protect this land which you have blessed by the shedding of your blood. Renew in these days our Catholic faith which you helped to establish in this new land. Bring all our fellow citizens to a knowledge and love of the truth. Make us zealous in the profession of our faith so that we may continue and perfect the work which you have begun with so much labour and suffering. Pray for our homes, our schools, our missions, for vocations, for the conversion of sinners, the return of those who have wandered from the fold, and the perseverance of all the Faithful. And foster a deeper and increasing unity among all Christians. Amen.

For more information on these courageous men please click here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Deliverer by Rich Mullins


Rich Mullins and a ragamuffin band - My Deliverer (HD version) from Zitacity on Vimeo.
This is one of my favorite Rich Mullins songs!

Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving with Fr. Benedict Groeschel

10 Things We Learn from St. Luke

The following comes from the NCR:

October 18th is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist.
Who was he and what do we know about him?
Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

1) Who was St. Luke?
St. Luke is mentioned by name in three passages of Scripture:
  • In Colossians 4:14, St. Paul writes: “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.”

  • In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul writes: “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me.”

  • And in Philemon 23-24, Paul writes: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.”

Since Luke is mentioned in three letters, we can infer that he was a frequent companion of St. Paul.

He also shared in Paul’s labors, since he is referred to as one of Paul’s “fellow workers.”

The fact that Paul says, in his final letter, that “Luke alone is with me” suggests that he was a particularly intimate and faithful companion.

Finally, the reference to Luke as “the beloved physician” indicates that his “day job” (as opposed to his apostolic efforts) was as a medical practitioner.

2) What books of Scripture did St. Luke write?
St. Luke is identified by early (2nd century) tradition as the author of the third Gospel and as the author of the book of Acts.

He also may have had a role in composing some of the letters attributed to St. Paul (see below).

Even if he only wrote Luke and Acts, though, he still wrote more of the New Testament than any other author! Luke and Acts together total almost 38,000 words, or 24% of the whole New Testament.

3) What debt do we owe to St. Luke for his Gospel?
St. Luke’s Gospel is one of the three “Synoptic Gospels,” which means that it covers much of the same territory as those of St. Matthew and St. Mark.
As a result, if Luke’s Gospel had not been written, there would still be a great deal of the Jesus story that would have been preserved (not only by Matthew and Mark but also by John). However, there are certain things that only Luke records.
Among them are these passages (plus a number of others):
  • The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold (1:5-25)
  • The Birth of Jesus Foretold (1:26-38)
  • The Visitation (1:39-56)
  • The Birth of John the Baptist (1:57-80)
  • The Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus (2:21-40)
  • The Finding in the Temple (2:41-52)
  • The Widow of Nain’s Son (7:11-17)
  • The Mission of the Seventy (10:01-20)
  • The Good Samaritan (10:29-37)
  • “Mary has chosen the good portion” (10:38-42)
  • The Friend at Midnight (11:5-8)
  • The Parable of the Rich Fool (12:13-21)
  • The Parable of the Lost Coin (15:8-10)
  • The Parable of the Lost Son (15:11-32)
  • The Parable of the Shrewd Steward (16:1-8)
  • Lazarus and the Rich Man (16:19-31)
  • Ten Lepers Cleansed (17:11-19)
  • The Parable of the Persistent Widow (18:1-8)
  • The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18:9-14)
  • Dinner with Zacchaeus (19:1-10)
  • Who Is the Greatest? (22:24-32)
  • Jesus Before Herod Antipas (23:6-12)
If these weren’t recorded in Luke’s Gospel, we wouldn’t know about them, because they aren’t recorded elsewhere in the New Testament.

4) Where did Luke get the information for his Gospel?
At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke writes:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you [Luke 1:1-3].

Luke’s reference to narratives of the events in the Gospel that preceded his and his reference to having followed “all things,” with those forming of his own account seem to indicate that he used written sources for some of his information.

Given the similarities that Luke has to Matthew and Mark (the other two Synoptic Gospels), it is likely that he used one or both of these.

He also says that he drew information from “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.”

One of the eyewitnesses he likely interviewed was the Virgin Mary herself. Luke records the material in the infancy narrative in a way that implies Mary was the source of much or all of it (Luke 2:19, 51; more here).

One of the ministers of the word he likely used as a source was St. Paul. One way of showing this is that the words of institution for the Eucharist in Luke’s Gospel (see Luke 22:19-20) is very similar to the formula used by St. Paul (see 1 Cor. 11:24-25). It is less similar to the formula used in Matthew and Mark (see Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24). It is likely he used the formula used by St. Paul because he frequently heard Paul saying Mass and this was the most familiar version to him.

An individual who was both an eyewitness and a minister of the word that Luke likely interviewed is St. Peter. We have good reason to think that St. Peter was one of the sources of Acts (see below), and if Luke interviewed him for that, he likely interviewed him for his Gospel as well.

Read the rest here.

Saint of the day: Luke


The following comes from the Catholic.org site:



Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians.
It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those "of the circumcision" -- in other words, Jews -- and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Lukewas born at Antioch in Syria.
In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul's word, but Eusebius, SaintJerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.
We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke'sChristian ministry. We know nothing about hisconversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul's company "So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' " Then suddenly in 16:10 "they" becomes "we": "When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them."
So Luke first joined Paul's company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to "we" tells us thatLuke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.
Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers" (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11).
Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:1-3).
Luke's unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses "Blessed are the poor" instead of "Blessed are the poor in spirit" in the beatitudes. Only in Luke's gospel do we hear Mary 's Magnificat where she proclaims that God "has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53).
Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus' life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke's gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary's visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus' disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail Mary full of grace" spoken at the Annunciation and "Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus" spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.
Forgiveness and God's mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy.
Reading Luke's gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone.
The reports of Luke's life after Paul's death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.
A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.
He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice -- the sacrifice Jesusmade for all the world.
Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.