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.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Nathaniel Bar Tolmai was a native of Cana chosen to be among the 12 Apostles and praised for his sincerity. The synoptic gospels and the Acts of the Apostles list Bartholomew among the Twelve, and the gospel according to St. John lists Nathaniel, who is elsewhere associated with Philip. Other gospels note an association of Philip with Bartholomew, and people have inferred that the writers of the synoptic books call Nathaniel by his patronymic, while St. John calls him by his first name.
Details of his subsequent career are unknown. He is said to have preached in India (or Ethiopia), Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, and Armenia. Eusebius reports that St. Pantænus of Alexandria found in India (by which Eusebius may have meant Ethiopia) a copy of the Hebrew text of the gospel of Matthew that Bartholomew had left there. A gospel attributed to Bartholomew is apocryphal.
Nathaniel is thought to have been martyred by King Astyages of Babylon, who ordered him flayed and beheaded. The place of Nathaniel's death is uncertain. Some say it was Derbend on the Caspian Sea, but Armenian sources assert he died at Arbanoupolis in Armenia. St. Bartholomew in Rome claims his relics.
For more information on St. Bartholomew please check out the Patron Saints Index!
Monday, August 22, 2016
You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Today’s Gospel)
…for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Cor 10:4)
Christ… fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy… but also by the laity… [who] are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 904, 897
The brook near where Elijah was hiding ran dry, because no rain had fallen in the land. So the LORD said to Elijah: “Move on to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have designated a widow there to provide for you.” (Today’s first reading)
She was able to eat for a year, and Elijah and her son as well.
Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one; the LORD will hear me when I call upon him. (Today’s Psalm)
Read the rest here!
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Mystical prayer erases barriers between man and God
Saturday, August 20, 2016
At one time Padra [sic] had confided to Brother Modestino Fucci, now the doorkeeper at Padre Pio’s friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, that his greatest pains occurred when he changed his undershirt. Brother Modestino, like Father Wojtyla, thought that Padre Pio was referring to pains from the chest wound. Then, on February 4, 1971, Brother Modestino was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the items in the deceased Padre’s cell in the friary, and also his belongings in the archives. That day he discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder.
Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ
Most loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153 AD) was born into nobility in Burgundy, France and was educated at the school of secular canons in the town of Chatillon-sur-Seine. At the age of twenty-three, he entered the Cistercian abbey of Citeaux near Dijon. Bernard spent a short time at Citeaux before being asked to found the monastery of Clairvaux and become its abbot. His success at Clairvaux prompted Pope Innocent II to call on him to intervene in a conflict between Innocent and the antipope Anacletus in 1133 and 1137. Once again successful, Bernard was drawn further from the cloister into the public life of the Church. He spent the next fifteen years condemning heretics and instituting religious reform until 1147 when Pope Eugenius III asked him to organize the Second Crusade. He lived to see the crusade fail and died shortly thereafter in 1153 at Clairvaux. Bernard wrote many spiritual treatises, including the celebrated On Loving God.
You can read more about St. Bernard at the Patron Saints Index!
Friday, August 19, 2016
“Live tranquilly. Remove from your imagination that which upsets you, and often say to the Lord, “Oh, God, you are my God, and I will trust in you. You will assist me and be my refuge, and I will fear nothing . . . “
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
Those who begin by ignoring her soon end by ignoring him, for the two are inseparable in the great drama of redemption.
As children who wish to influence their father go to their mother to intercede for them, so do we go to Mary.
It is absolutely impossible to convey to anyone outside the Church the filial devotion we bear that sweet Mother of Mothers.
Devotion to the Blessed Mother brought me to the discovery of a new dimension of the sacredness of suffering.
When I had open-heart surgery, only gradually did it dawn on me during my first four months in the hospital that the Blessed Mother not only gives sweets, but she also gives bitter medicine.
Seventy pints of blood were poured into my body after open-heart surgery because for a long time the body refused to circulate the blood. This blood came from those who poured their own blood into the blood bank of Lenox Hill Hospital.
Too striking to be missed was that on three feast days of Our Lady, I was brought to the door of death and endured great suffering.
The first was the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, when the doctors stayed with me all day and all night trying to preserve the small flickering spark of life. Then came another operation on the Feast of her Assumption, August 15, and the implanting of a pacemaker.
By this time, I was beginning to feel a kind of holy dread of what might happen on September 8, when the Church celebrates her birthday.
Sure enough, a kidney infection developed which, over a period of several weeks, made me feel some new tortures.
As I reflected on this concomitance of the Church festivals of Mary and my enforced solidarity with the Cross, I took it as a sign of the special predilection of Mary. If the Lord called her, who 'deserved' no pain, to stand at the foot of the Cross, why should He not call me?
If I had expressed a love for her as the Mother of the Priesthood, why should she not, in maternal love, make me more like her Son by forcing me to become a victim?
Any spirituality that I have revolves around the crucifix and the price of my redemption and the assurance of my resurrection.
The pectoral cross, which I carry, is a crucifix. In my bedroom is a large crucifix about six feet high which, in my long confinement to bed, is the panorama of salvation which I gaze on during the day, and at night when waking.
In my chapel is a painting done by the cardiologist who saved my life, Dr. Simon Stertzer. It is a painting of Christ on the Cross-with a concentration on the eyes, which looks out both in pity and in love, as did the Second Look on Peter.
The second year after the open-heart surgery, because of overwork, I was confined to my bed again for many months. During that time, I instructed four converts and validated two marriages.
The horizontal apostolate may sometimes be just as effective as the vertical.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
The ten condemned to death went through terrible days. From the underground cell in which they were shut up there continually arose the echo of prayers and canticles. The man in-charge of emptying the buckets of urine found them always empty. Thirst drove the prisoners to drink the contents. Since they had grown very weak, prayers were now only whispered. At every inspection, when almost all the others were now lying on the floor, Father Kolbe was seen kneeling or standing in the centre as he looked cheerfully in the face of the SS men.
Father Kolbe never asked for anything and did not complain, rather he encouraged the others, saying that the fugitive might be found and then they would all be freed. One of the SS guards remarked: this priest is really a great man. We have never seen anyone like him.
Two weeks passed in this way. Meanwhile one after another they died, until only Father Kolbe was left. This the authorities felt was too long. The cell was needed for new victims. So one day they brought in the head of the sick-quarters, a German named Bock, who gave Father Kolbe an injection of carbolic acid in the vein of his left arm. Father Kolbe, with a prayer on his lips, himself gave his arm to the executioner. Unable to watch this I left under the pretext of work to be done. Immediately after the SS men had left I returned to the cell, where I found Father Kolbe leaning in a sitting position against the back wall with his eyes open and his head drooping sideways. His face was calm and radiant…
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Friday, August 12, 2016
The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:
Born to the nobility, the daughter of the president of the Parliment of Burgundy who raised her alone after the death of her mother when Jeanne was 18 months old. Married in 1592 at age twenty to Baron de Chantal. Mother of four. Widowed at 28 when the Baron was killed in a hunting accident and died in her arms. Taking a personal vow of chastity, she was forced to live with her father-in-law, which was a period of misery for her. She spent her free time in prayer, and received a vision of the man who would become her spiritual director. In Lent, 1604, she met Saint Francis de Sales, and recognized him as the man in her vision. She became a spiritual student and close friend of Saint Francis, and the two carried on a lengthy correspondence for years. On Trinity Sunday, 6 June 1610 she founded the Order of the Visitation of Our Lady at Annecy, France. The Order was designed for widows and lay women who did not wish the full life of the orders, and Jeanne oversaw the founding of 69 convents. Jeanne spent the rest of her days overseeing the Order, and acting as spiritual advisor to any who desired her wisdom. Visitationist nuns today live a contemplative life, work for women with poor health and widows, and sometimes run schools.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Today in the Catholic Church we remember Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). The following comes from EWTN:Edith Stein, saintly Carmelite, profound philosopher and brilliant writer, had a great influence on the women of her time, and is having a growing influence in the intellectual and philosophical circles of today’s Germany and of the whole world. She is an inspiration to all Christians whose heritage is the Cross, and her life was offered for her own Jewish people in their sufferings and persecutions.
Monday, August 8, 2016
John 15:16a, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” (NLT)