Monday, July 21, 2014

Calling Out Your Name by Rich Mullins

"N" is for Solidarity

The following comes from First Things:
Breitbart News reports Sebastian Gorka’s claim that last week the Islamic State in Mosul “painted the letter ‘N’ for Nazarene on the houses of all the surviving Christians in the city.” ISIS, he says, “has basically given an ultimatum to all the Christians left: You can either flee or convert to Islam, or we will kill you.”
In the Breitbart interview Gorka decried the lack of media and government attention to what he called a holocaust of Christians in Iraq:
Gorka points out that, over the last 20 years, America has stood up around the world to save Muslims. “Whether it was to save the Muslims in Bosnia or the Albanians, Kosovars, and Muslims in Serbia, it is now time for a humanitarian operation to save the remaining Christians in Iraq,” he said. “It is time for the American people and our representatives to do something for our co-religionists remaining in the Middle East.”
I have myself no direct knowledge of the situation, but like many others I have been following with great concern similar reports from that country (including this and this). I do not know what to do, by way of a public gesture, other than to place an ‘N’ over my own door as a sign of solidarity. Perhaps if enough of us did that it would help draw attention to our beleaguered brethren.

Thomas Merton on Humility

“It is almost impossible to overestimate the value of true humility and its power in the spiritual life. For the beginning of humility is the beginning of blessedness and the consummation of humility is the perfection of all joy. Humility contains in itself the answer to all the great problems of the life of the soul. It is the only key to faith, with which the spiritual life begins: for faith and humility are inseparable. In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself or in itself for God: and it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed into Him.” - from “New Seeds of Contemplation”

Saint of the day: Lawrence of Brindisi


The following comes from the Catholic.org site:

Caesare de Rossi was born at Brandisi, kingdom of Naples, on July 22nd. He was educated by the conventual Franciscans there and by his uncle at St. Mark's in Venice. When sixteen, he joined the Capuchins at Verona, taking the name Lawrence. He pursued his higher studies in theology, philosophy, the bible, Greek, Hebrew, and several other languages at the University of Padua. He was ordained and began to preach with great effect in Northern Italy. He became definitor general of his Order in Rome in 1596, a position he was to hold five times, was assigned to conversion work with Jews, and was sent to Germany, with Blessed Benedict of Urbino, to combat Lutheranism. They founded friaries at Prague, Vienna, and Gorizia, which were to develop into the provinces of Bohemia, Austria, and Styria. At the request of Emperor Rudolf II, Lawrence helped raise an army among the German rulers to fight against the Turks, who were threatening to conquer all of Hungary, became its chaplain, and was among the leaders in the Battle of Szekesfehevar in 1601; many attributed the ensuing victory to him. In 1602, he was elected Vicar General of the Capuchins but refused re-election in 1605. He was sent to Spain by the emperor to persuade Philip III to join the Catholic League, and while there, founded a Capuchin house in Madrid. He was then sent as papal nuncio to the court of Maximillian of Bavaria, served as peacemaker in several royal disputes, and in 1618, retired from worldly affairs to the friary at Caserta. He was recalled at the request of the rulers of Naples to go to Spain to intercede with King Philip for them against the Duke of Osuna, Spanish envoy to naples and convinced the King to recall the Duke to avert an uprising. The trip in the sweltering heat of summer exhausted him, and he died a few days after his meeting with the King at Lisbon on July 22nd. Lawrence wrote a commentary on Genesis and several treatises against Luther, but Lawrence's main writings are in the nine volumes of his sermons. He was canonized in 1881 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959. His feast day is July 21st.

The Journey Home: Tim Staples

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Empty My Hands by Tenth Avenue North

The Secret to Living Life to the Full

The following comes from The Radical Life site:

Here is one of the most wonderful and terrifying sentences I have ever read, from William Law’s Serious Call, “If you will look into your own heart in utter honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not even now a saint. You do not wholly want to be.”
That insight is terrifying because it is an indictment, but it is wonderful and hopeful because it is also an offer, an open door. Each of us can become a saint. We really can. We really can. I say it three times, because I think we do not really believe that deep down. For if we did, how could we endure being anything less?
What holds us back? Fear of paying the price. What is the price? The answer is simple. T. S. Eliot gave it when he defined Christianity as “a condition of complete simplicity…costing not less than everything.” The price is everything—100 percent. Martyrdom, if required, and probably a worse martyrdom than the quick noose or stake, the martyrdom of dying daily, dying every minute for the rest of your life. Dying to all your desires and plans—including your plans about how to become a saint. (Peter Kreeft, Culture War)
So the minimum requirement is everything. Sounds kind of extreme, right? It is. But God doesn’t ask this of us to torture or test us. And he doesn’t do it to keep us from enjoying pleasure and joy.
On the contrary, He does it because he wants us to experience life to the full. Because giving everything is what sets us free to love most perfectly and to enjoy life most fully. It’s what sets us free to be who we were made to be.
We can give God everything else, but if we hold back even the smallest corner of our lives for ourselves, we remain slaves. Slaves to our own desires and wants. Unfree to love perfectly and completely. Unfree to experience life to the full.
Give everything. And how do we give everything? What does that look like? Our next posts will be exploring just that.

Scott Hahn: Of Wheat and Weeds

The following comes from Scott Hahn:

God is always teaching His people, we hear in today’s First Reading.
And what does He want us to know? That He has care for all of us, that though He is a God of justice, even those who defy and disbelieve Him may hope for His mercy if they turn to Him in repentance.
This divine teaching continues in the three parables that Jesus tells in the Gospel today. Each describes the emergence of the kingdom of God from the seeds sown by His works and preaching. The kingdom’s growth is hidden - like the working of yeast in bread; it’s improbable, unexpected—as in the way the tall mustard tree grows from the smallest of seeds.
Again this week’s readings sound a note of questioning: Why does God permit the evil to grow alongside the good? Why does He permit some to reject the Word of His kingdom?
Because, as we sing in today’s Psalm, God is slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He is just, Jesus assures us - evildoers and those who cause others to sin will be thrown into the fiery furnace at the end of the age. But by His patience, God is teaching us—that above all He desires repentance, and the gathering of all nations to worship Him and to glorify His name.
Even though we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit will intercede for us, Paul promises in today’s Epistle. But first we must turn and call upon Him, we must commit ourselves to letting the good seed of His Word bear fruit in our lives.
So we should not be deceived or lose heart when we see weeds among the wheat, truth and holiness mixed with error, injustice and sin.
For now, He makes His sun rise on the good and the bad (see Matthew 5:45). But the harvest draws near. Let’s work that we might be numbered among the righteous children—who will shine like the sun in the kingdom of the Father.

Humility as the Essential Key to Holiness

Humility must always be doing its work like a bee making its honey in the hive:
without humility all will be lost [...] As I see it, we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God: let us think of His greatness and then come back to our own baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble. There are two advantages to this. First, it is clear that anything white looks very much whiter against something black, just as the black looks blacker against the white. Secondly, if we turn from self toward God, our understanding and our will become nobler and readier to embrace all that is good: if we never rise above the slough our own miseries we do ourselves a great disservice. 

–St. Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle" Page 52-53 Hat tip to St. Peter's List

Saturday, July 19, 2014

You Are My God by Tony Melendez

Brother Roger: "A few have seen him"

A few have seen him from Taize on Vimeo.

Humility During Times of Trials

Consider carefully, daughters, these few things that have been set down here, though they are in rather a jumbled state, for I cannot explain them better; the Lord will make them clear to you, so that these period of aridity may teach you to be humble, and not make you restless, which is the aim of the devil. Be sure that, where there is true humility, even if God never grants the soul favors, He will give it peace and resignation to His will, with which it may be more content than others are with favors. For often, as you have read, it is to the weakest that His Divine Majesty gives favors, which I believe they would not exchange for all the fortitude given to those who go forward in aridity. We are fonder for spiritual sweetness than of crosses. Test us, O Lord, Thou Who knowest all truth, that we may know ourselves. 

St. Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle"–Page 79 Hat tip to St. Peter's List

Friday, July 18, 2014

Restless by Audrey Assad

Blessed Mother Teresa on Prayer

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” 

                           Blessed Mother Teresa

Saint of the day: Camillus de Lellis

The following comes from the CNA:


On July 18 the U.S. Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Camillus de Lellis, who turned from his life as a soldier and gambler to become the founder of an order dedicated to caring for the sick. In some other countries, he is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, July 14.

Camillus was born during 1550 in the Abruzzo region of Naples in present-day Italy. His mother died during his infancy, and he lost his father, a former army officer, six years later. The young man took after his late father professionally, serving in the armies of Venice and Naples until 1574.

During his military service Camillus developed a severe gambling problem. He repented of the habit in 1575, when he found himself impoverished and forced to do menial work for a group of Franciscans. In February of that year he resolved to change his life and soon sought to join the order.

A wound in one of his legs, however, was seen as incurable and kept him from becoming a Franciscan. After this rejection, he traveled to Rome and worked for four years in a hospice. Committed to a life of prayer and penance, he wore a hair shirt and received spiritual direction from St. Philip Neri.

Grieved by the quality of service given to the sick, Camillus decided to form an association of Catholics who would provide them with both physical and spiritual care. He studied for the priesthood, and was ordained in 1584.

Members of his order worked in hospitals, prisons, and in the homes of those afflicted by disease. The order's original name, the “Fathers of a Good Death,” reflected the desire to aid in their spiritual salvation and prepare the dying to receive their last rites.

Later known as the Order of the Ministers of the Sick, or simply as the “Camillians,” the group received papal approval in 1586 and was confirmed as a religious order in 1591. In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, they took a vow of unfailing service to the sick.

Camillus himself suffered physical ailments throughout his life. His leg wound failed to heal over the course of almost five decades, in addition to which he suffered from sores and severe kidney trouble. But he is said to have spent time with the sick even while unable to walk, by crawling from bed to bed. 
The founder of the Ministers of the Sick lived to assist at a general chapter of his order in Rome during 1613, and to make a last visitation of many of their hospitals. Learning that he himself was incurably ill, Camillus responded: “I rejoice in what has been told me. We shall go into the house of the Lord.”

Receiving the Eucharist for the last time, he declared: “O Lord, I confess I am the most wretched of sinners, most undeserving of your favor; but save me by your infinite goodness. My hope is placed in your divine mercy through your precious blood.”

After giving his last instructions to his fellow Ministers of the Sick, St. Camillus de Lellis died on July 14, 1614. He was canonized by Benedict XIV in 1746, and later named – along with Saint John of God – as one of the two main co-patrons of nurses and nursing associations in 1930.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Heart Is Yours by Kristian Stanfill

Crippled Young Man Cured in Medjugorje

andrea de luca medjugorje
The following comes from Medjugorje Today:


For three years, Andrea de Luca was suffering from perthes, confined to a wheelchair as his femoral head and hip were flaking. During Mass in Medjugorje, he felt a strong heat, and upon his return he heard a voice tell him to walk. Medical experts confirm a healing they cannot explain.

The doctors who were treating him, Dr. Anastasio Tricarico, a professor oforthopedics and traumatology at the University of Naples, and Dr. Pasquale Guida, an expert of orthopedics from Naples, testify to Andrea de Luca’s inexplicable healing. In Italian author/journalist Paolo Brosio’s new book, “Ray of Light”, they further present before and after x-rays showing the restoration of bones that had been broken and missing. 
Unbearable pain and a paralyzed life in a wheelchair are among the consequences of perthes, a rare disease that leads the femoral head and hip to flake. 21 years old Andrea de Luca from Castellammare di Stabia, Italy, lived this condition for three years until he was cured in Medjugorje.
Andrea de Luca's healing began with a garden statue of the Virgin Mary lighting up
Andrea’s healing began with a garden statue of the Virgin Mary lighting up
One daya young man greeted me‘Hello professor” while he was riding a bicycle. I could not believe it was Andreawhose disease I had followed for three years” Dr. Pasquale Guida told the Italian tv station RAI.
In September 2009 Andrea de Luca and his parents went to Medjugorje. It was the last hope they had for a cure. The first sign came one evening as he had gone into the garden of the place they were living.
“I could not sleepI went out into the yardmade the Sign of the Cross, and began to prayThen the head of Our Lady’s statue before me lit up. Although it was a beautiful light, one you cannot describe, I got scaredand went back inside. I invited my parents to come and seeWhen they arrived, two beams came out of the statue, one from the heart, the other from the leg” Andrea de Luca tells the Croatian daily 24 sata.
“Then one day, a nun told meTalk to JesusTalkTell Him to take away your disease.” The following day I went to Mass and prayed for the first time myselfI felt a heat in my entire back” says De Luca, 16 years old by the time.
Because of fear, he would not put his crutches away. That he only did when he returned to Italy.

He was silent in public for almost five years before he started telling what had happened to him.
“When we returned home, I waited with my crutches in order to get out of the bus. Then three times I heard a voice in my heart saying, You aremy apostleWalk and wear my light’From that moment ceased the very big pain that I had felt for three years” says Andrea de Luca.
I did not want to talk about it thenI was a childNow I am an adultand the doctors have confirmed that a miracle happened in my case” he says.

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne


Today we remember Sixteen Carmelites caught up in the French Revolution and martyred for their faith. The story of their heroic deaths is well worth reading about! The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

When the revolution started in 1789, a group of twenty-one discalced Carmelites lived in a monastery in Compiegne France, founded in 1641. The monastery was ordered closed in 1790 by the Revolutionary gov­ernment, and the nuns were disbanded. Sixteen of the nuns were accused of living in a religious community in 1794. They were arrested on June 22 and imprisoned in a Visitation convent in Compiegne There they openly resumed their religious life. On July 12, 1794, the Carmelites were taken to Paris and five days later were sentenced to death. They went to the guillotine singing the Salve Regina. They were beatified in 1906 by Pope St. Pius X. The Carmelites were: Marie Claude Brard; Madeleine Brideau, the subprior; Maire Croissy, grandniece of Colbert Marie Dufour; Marie Hanisset; Marie Meunier, a novice; Rose de Neufville Annette Pebras; Anne Piedcourt: Madeleine Lidoine, the prioress; Angelique Roussel; Catherine Soiron and Therese Soiron, both extern sisters, natives of Compiegne and blood sisters: Anne Mary Thouret; Marie Trezelle; and Eliza beth Verolot. The martyrdom of the nuns was immortalized by the composer Francois Poulenc in his famous opera Dialogues des Carmelites.

The Terror, you may recall, was a fanatical anti-christian fury that was fueled by the blood of thousands of priests and religious; that smashed the priceless stained-glass windows of ancient churches; that dug up and desecrated the bodies of saints; that erected a platform over the sacred high altar at Notre Dame de Paris and there enthroned a prostitute to mock God; and then even eradicated the 7 day Biblical week and replaced it with a 10 day version that had no reference to God.

The nuns of Compiègen, knowing of this reign of sacrilege, were faced with the decision to scatter and hide, or to face the Terror. Famously, they chose the latter and did so with the explicit intention of vanquishing it and its principle architect, Robespierre.

It soon came; they were arrested on trumped up charges of counter-revolutionary activity and led by wagon to the Place du Trone where the guillotine waited to consume them as it had thousands before. It is said that the evil aura of the place and the stench from the rotting blood was so horrible that it was difficult even to prod the horses into the square. But the 16 Carmelite nuns entered the site with perfect serenity, chanting hymns to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The usually raucous crowd, inebriated with the killing, fell silent that day at the spectacle of such women. They were called to the scaffold one by one. And each nun in turn knelt before Mother Superior and said, "Permission to die, Mother?" To which Mother Superior responded by holding out a small statue of our Lady for the nun to kiss one last time, and was sent off with the words, "Go, my daughter".

That was on July 17, 1794. That very week the tide turned against Robespierre and on the tenth day he lost his own head at the very same guillotine and the Terror sputtered to an end, defeated ultimately. I firmly believe, not by a Christian army, but by 16 holy women who understood perfectly the logic of the Cross of Jesus Christ. My friends, the history of the Church is replete with tales of this kind of self-sacrificial love. They are not all as glorious as that of the Carmelite Nuns of Compiègne, but they all participate in the same vision of one degree or another.


For more information on these holy women please check out New Advent!