Friday, June 21, 2019

Spiritual Warfare: Know your enemy

The following comes from Aggie Catholics:

There is a spiritual battle that rages in places we cannot see with our eyes or hear with our ears. It rages in our hearts, our culture, and in our world.

In the Sacred Scriptures God continually warns His people to prepare for war. Yes, He is The victorious King who has entered the fray, but he calls you and I to take up our weapons and fight with Him against the enemy - Satan.

All of hell knows there is no hope of final victory, but out of spite, they fight to ruin whatever souls they can. The rest of creation cries out for salvation.

Our war will not be fought with weapons made of our own hands, but of the grace of God.


How have you prepared for war this day?
What are you doing to help others survive it?
Are you prepared to go into battle?
Whether you are or not, war is upon you.

Now is the time to fight. Now is the time to put on the armor of God and take up the sword.

If we fail to pick a side in the war, it means we have already chosen - "he who is not with me is against me."

Can you not hear the bombs falling and the guns firing? Pick up your cross - it is your weapon against the enemy - and follow The King of All into battle.

He will come again, but until that day - it is up to you and me to take up His cause and fight the enemy.

If you want to fight - here are a 9 strategies in fighting the war: 9 Ways to Overcome Temptation: 


1. Avoid and/or flee from it. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
“She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” -Gen 39:12

2. Submit your thoughts to God. He knows better than we do what is good.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Phil 4:8

3. Overcome your selfishness. True Love doesn’t know selfishness. Because, if you love Jesus you don’t belong to yourself

“and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” -1 Cor 3:23

4. Expect and be ready for temptation. We need to be prepared for Spiritual battle.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” -Eph 6:13

5. Remind yourself of the consequences of sin.

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Gal5:19-21

6. Memorize God’s Word. Filling our minds with the thoughts of God and having them readily available to us is very wise.

“He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” -Luke 11:28

7. Cultivate a sense of God’s presence But don’t just listen – obey.

“Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” -Deut 5:27

8. Frequent confession heals us and we start over spiritually healthy.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” -James 5:16

9. Accountability helps us avoid sin. When we are accountable to both man and God it helps us overcome temptation.

“Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.” -Genesis 4:9-10


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Psalm 23


The LORD is my shepherd,
         I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;
         He guides me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I fear no evil, for You are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
         You have anointed my head with oil;
         My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me 
all the days of my life,
         And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Pope Francis and Benedict XVI

The following comes from Crux:

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE - While aboard a return flight to Rome from Romania, Pope Francis said Pope emeritus Benedict XVI gives him strength and reinvigorates him with the roots of tradition, which are legacies he wishes a polarized Europe would keep in mind.
“Every time I go to [Benedict XVI] to visit him, I take his hand and I let him speak,” the pope told reporters aboard the papal plane June 2. “He doesn’t speak a lot, and he speaks slowly, but with the same depth as always, because Benedict’s problem is his knees, not his head.”

Pope Benedict makes me strong

The comments were made in response to a question by Vatican reporters asking whether he still viewed his predecessor as a “grandfather,” especially given the emphasis that Francis put on the family and intergenerational dialogue during his May 31 to June 2 visit to the Eastern European country of Romania.
The pope emeritus, Francis continued, “has a great lucidity. When I hear him, he makes me strong and I feel the sap of our roots come to me so I can go forward.”
The pope added that the tradition of the Catholic Church is not “a museum,” but a heritage that allows people to be mindful of where they come from as they go toward the future.
Ever since Benedict resigned, shocking the Church and the world, some observers have sought to read division between the two pontiffs living inside the Vatican walls.
“Tradition doesn’t carry ashes, or the nostalgia of the integralists,” Francis said, but “the roots that allow the tree to grow and bear fruit.”
Read the rest here.

Saints of the day: Charles Lwanga and Companions


The following comes from the Savior.org site:

St. Charles was one of 22 Ugandan martyrs who converted from paganism. Though he was baptized the night before being put to death, he became a moral leader. He was the chief of the royal pages and was considered the strongest athlete of the court. He was also known as "the most handsome man of the Kingdom of the Uganda." He instructed his friends in the Catholic Faith and he personally baptized boy pages. He inspired and encouraged his companions to remain chaste and faithful. He protected his companions, ages 13-30, from the immoral acts and homosexual demands of the Babandan ruler, Mwanga.


Mwanga was a superstitious pagan king who originally was tolerant of Catholicism. However, his chief assistant, Katikiro, slowly convinced him that Christians were a threat to his rule. The premise was if these Christians would not bow to him, nor make sacrifices to their pagan god, nor pillage, massacre, nor make war, what would happen if his whole kingdom converted to Catholicism?


When Charles was sentenced to death, he seemed very peaceful, one might even say, cheerful. He was to be executed by being burnt to death. While the pyre was being prepared, he asked to be untied so that he could arrange the sticks. He then lay down upon them. When the executioner said that Charles would be burned slowly so death, Charles replied by saying that he was very glad to be dying for the True Faith. He made no cry of pain but just twisted and moaned, "Kotanda! (O my God!)." He was burned to death by Mwanga's order on June 3, 1886. Pope Paul VI canonized Charles Lwanga and his companions on June 22,1964.


Most of the twenty-two Uganda martyrs who have been proclaimed saints were killed on June 3, 1886. They were forced to walk thirty-seven miles to the execution site. After a few days in prison, they were thrown into a huge fire. Seventeen of the martyrs were royal pages, One of the martyred boys was St. Mbaga. His own father was the executioner that day. Another of the martyrs, St. Andrew Kagwa, died on January 27, 1887. He was among the twenty-two proclaimed saints in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.


St. Charles Lwanga is the patron of black African young people. He and his companions greatly appreciated their gift of faith. They were heroes! We all can pray to St. Charles and these African martyrs. We can ask them to show us how to witness to Jesus and the Church as they did.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

God’s Holiness Makes Us Uncomfortable

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:
There is a third human reaction to God’s holiness. It is an evil reaction; it rises from man’s contradictory nature and consists of a feeling of discomfort, irritation, and rebelliousness. A strange manifestation! One is inclined to ask how this can come about if God is the moving Spirit and essence of the universe, and man is His creature — “For in Him we live, and move, and are.”
It is indeed difficult to understand; it springs from the mystery of evil. Sin, ultimately, is resistance to the holiness of God. It would be a mistake to think of this resistance merely as an open rebellion against, or as a denial of, God.
Potentially it is present in all of us — sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker; sometimes quite openly, sometimes in the guise of self-sufficient (rational) culture, or healthy common sense. When resistance, open or otherwise, gains the upper hand, prayer becomes impossible.
We must watch out for signs of it in ourselves; we must face it, try to resolve or still it, or overcome it with firm determination, whichever may be for us the most effective way of dealing with it. Let us leave this and return to the two fundamental motives of prayer already referred to.

Prayer’s first motive: a sense of our own sinfulness

The first motive for prayer springs from man’s awareness of his own unworthiness before the holiness of God. Man recognizes that he is selfish, unjust, deficient, and impure. He acknowledges his own wrongdoings and tries to assess them: not merely those of today or of yesterday, but of the whole of his life. Beyond this he tries to visualize the whole of the human condition with its shortcomings. He realizes sin as it is understood by the Scriptures, sin as it is active in himself. He recognizes that sin is transgression of the moral law and of the natural law.
But even more, he recognizes that sin is contumacy before God’s holiness, that it is, therefore, not only wicked but unholy. He admits it and sides with God against himself; he says, in the words of the Psalm: “For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. Against Thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before Thee: that Thou mayst be justified in Thy words, and mayst overcome when Thou art judged.”

We sometimes despair

A third form of evasion is caused by lack of courage. When man sees that he is constantly transgressing and that evil is deeply rooted in him, when he begins to feel that all is confusion and that there is no way out, he runs the risk of despairing of himself, especially when he is a person wanting in willpower and, perhaps, in logic. To hold out in these circumstances is most difficult because the mind seems to answer to all good intentions, “You’re not going to carry this through; you will do again what you have always done before.” There is only one remedy: to put aside all inner searchings and recriminations, to have done with all hesita­tions, and to put one’s absolute trust in God who “quickeneth the dead; and calleth those things that are not, as those that are.”
From this act of surrender to the Absolute, above and within us, will spring new resolve and new strength. We shall be able to say, “I will and shall, for God the omnipotent wills it.”

God’s forgiveness makes repentance possible

There is another mysterious aspect of God’s power which makes it possible for man to acknowledge his wrong and to admit and confess his sins. Man knows this intuitively, and the Scriptures have revealed it to us. God is not only the prime cause of the good and the fount of all justice; He is the all-renewer. He can give a new beginning to what appears final and He can undo all deeds. The words of St. Paul quoted above point to this mystery. God who is the supreme holiness, which by definition excludes all evil, is willing and able to forgive and to renew.
True forgiveness, the forgiveness which we are seeking and which alone is of benefit to us, is a great mystery. It implies not only that God decides to overlook what has happened and turns lovingly toward the sinner; this would not be sufficient. God’s forgiveness is creative: it makes him who has become guilty free of all guilt. God gathers the guilty man into His holiness, makes him partake of it, and gives him a new beginning. It is to this mystery that man appeals when he acknowledges his sins, repents of them, and seeks forgiveness. This is the first of those two motives of prayer which come into being before God’s holiness.
Editor’s note: This article has been adapted from Romano Guardini’s The Art of Praying, available from Sophia Institute Press. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Brother Roger: Kindness builds you up

Kindness builds you up from Taize on Vimeo.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Thomas Merton on Priesthood

If you are afraid to love, never become a priest, never say Mass.  The Mass will draw you down upon your soul a torrent of interior suffering which has only one function:  to break you wide open and let everybody in the world into your heart.  For when you begin to say Mass, the Spirit of God awakens like a giant inside you and bursts the locks of  your private sanctuary.  If you say Mass, you condemn your soul to the torrent of a love that is so vast and insatiable that you will never be able to bear it alone.  That love is the love of the Heart of Jesus, burning within your own heart and bringing down upon you the huge weight of His compassion for all the sinners of the world.

The Centrality of Christ by Bishop Robert Barron

St. Bernardine of Siena and the Holy Name of Jesus




May 20 is the Feast of Bernardine of Siena, a great preacher and teacher of prayer. We could sure use another St. Bernardine today!

Bernardine of Siena came from the noble Sienese family of the Albizeschi. He was born at Massa Marttima, where his father was governor, on September 8th, 1380. He was left an orphan at age six and was brought up by his aunts. At school in Siena he was remarkable for intelligence and a general popularity. He was known for his outstanding goodness and purity. When he was seventeen, he joined a Marian confraternity at the La Scala hospital and began a secluded religious life. In the year 1400 he willingly emerged to become the successful organizer of the hospital services during a severe outbreak of the plague. Although he escaped infection, he fell ill through exhaustion and never entirely recovered.

In 1402 he joined the Franciscans, throwing in his lot with the 'Observant' reform-party. Their spectacular growth during this period owes much to his influence. He was for twelve years their vicar general. His ordination in 1404 was followed by a dozen years of hidden life, but the rest of his career is a record of tireless preaching journeys, usually on foot, all over Italy. He was the greatest popular preacher of his time, a worthy successor to St. Vincent Ferrer, a true 'apostle of Italy.'

His regular topics were the need for penance and denunciation of prevalent vices, especially civil and political strife, usury, gambling and 'vanity' in dress and social behavior. He treated these worn themes in a fresh manner, using stories and illustrations, holding vast crowds for hours and bringing about incredible conversions.

Bernardine will be remembered for his promotion of the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, of Mary as dispenser of the graces merited by her divine Son, and of St. Joseph. He was accustomed to preach holding a board on which were the first three letters of the Savior's name in its Greek form--'IHS'--surrounded by rays, and he persuaded people to copy these plaques and erect them over their dwellings and public buildings. His last sermons--on Inspirations--show him to have been a profound psychologist on the mystical way and a great teacher of contemplative prayer.

He died, worn out from missionary work, on May 20th, 1444, at Aquila in the Abruzzi, and was buried there. The miracles at his tomb induced Nicholas V to canonize him only six years later. The preaching of St. Bernardine, especially the verbatim versions of his popular sermons in Italian, still deserves attention in an age no longer much addicted to preaching. Modern readers will at least admire his direct approach and the earthiness of his style. They will applaud his social awareness and the eminently practical methods he adopted to drive his lessons home and make them permanent. Let's pray for more great saints like Bernardine for our own time!


Learn more about him here.

Mother Teresa’s Special Law of Love

The following comes from Heather King:

In solitude on the Central Coast of California recently, I read a book called The Love That Made Mother Teresa by David Scott. Scott happens to be Vice Chancellor for Communications at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the book is subtitled “How Her Secret Visions and Dark Nights Can Help You Conquer the Slums of Your Heart.”

The book is simply written, accessible, and anecdotal. Scott beautifully captures the strangeness and paradox of the life of a saint. Mother Teresa lived to see the global reach of the internet and social media, yet the biographical details of her own youth and even adult life remain shrouded in mystery. She shunned the limelight but suffered the intrusions of photographers and TV cameras, offering up her discomfort for love of the poor. She kissed the leper, and she also dined with and accepted money from dictators. 

Like Christ, in other words, she resisted identifying herself with either the right or the left. Like Christ, she fed the poor and she also knew that man does not live by bread alone. “Visiting one of her missionary outposts in Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico, a slum where people lived in huts of corrugated metal and plywood and breathed the foul stench of factory waste and diesel fumes, she asked the people what their greatest need was. One man spoke for the rest. ‘La palabra de Dios,’ he said simply—the Word of God.”

Like many of us, perhaps, I struggle with the meaning of the New Evangelization. Evangelize to what? I sometimes wonder. Evangelize to whom? What does conversion even mean? I can be following the rules to a T, but when was the last time I wept at the trill of a bird, or a branch against the sky at dusk, or an unfurling leaf? When’s the last time I forgave someone? When’s the last time I apologized to someone? How intensely does my heart yearn? How willing am I to suffer? Those are things that can’t be measured or analyzed or reduced to a stat.


Read the rest here.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Testimony of Samia Zumout: Medjugorje, Conversion and Giving Everything to God


Testimony of Samia Zumout in 2010 prior to her diagnosis with primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis in 2011. She talks about her conversion story in Medjugorje and the journey that our Lord Jesus Christ took her on to leave her career as an attorney to become a missionary of his healing love.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary after she appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on 13 May. The three children were Lucia dos Santos and siblings Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta Marto. The title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also sometimes used in reference to the same apparition because the children related that the Lady in the apparition specifically identified Herself as "the Lady of the Rosary."

Lúcia described seeing the lady as "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun." According to Lúcia's account, the lady confided to the children three secrets, known as the Three Secrets of Fatima. She exhorted the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. The children wore tight cords around their waists to cause pain, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance. Most important, Lúcia said that the lady asked them to say the Rosary every day, reiterating many times that the Rosary was the key to personal and world peace.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Saint of the day: Damien of Molokai

The following comes from The American Catholic site:

When Joseph de Veuster was born in Tremelo, Belgium, in 1840, few people in Europe had any firsthand knowledge of leprosy (Hansen's disease). By the time he died at the age of 49, people all over the world knew about this disease because of him. They knew that human compassion could soften the ravages of this disease.

Forced to quit school at age 13 to work on the family farm, Joseph entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary six years later, taking the name of a fourth-century physician and martyr. When his brother Pamphile, a priest in the same congregation, fell ill and was unable to go to the Hawaiian Islands as assigned, Damien quickly volunteered in his place. In May 1864, two months after arriving in his new mission, Damien was ordained a priest in Honolulu and assigned to the island of Hawaii.

In 1873, he went to the Hawaiian government's leper colony on the island of Molokai, set up seven years earlier. Part of a team of four chaplains taking that assignment for three months each year, Damien soon volunteered to remain permanently, caring for the people's physical, medical and spiritual needs. In time, he became their most effective advocate to obtain promised government support.

Soon the settlement had new houses and a new church, school and orphanage. Morale improved considerably. A few years later he succeeded in getting the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse, led by Mother Marianne Cope (January 23), to help staff this colony in Kalaupapa.

Damien contracted Hansen's disease and died of its complications. As requested, he was buried in Kalaupapa, but in 1936 the Belgian government succeeded in having his body moved to Belgium. Part of Damien's body was returned to his beloved Hawaiian brothers and sisters after his beatification in 1995.

Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.

When Hawaii became a state in 1959, it selected Damien as one of its two representatives in the Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Prayer of Padre Pio for after receiving holy Communion: Stay with me, Lord!



Prayer of St. Padre Pio

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have
You present so that I do not forget You.
You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak
and I need Your strength,
that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life,
and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light,
and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice
and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
very much, and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is,
I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.
It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.  O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You.
Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread,
so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness,
the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.


With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Spirit and the Eucharist

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Resurrection of Jesus

“What is most peculiar about Easter is that although the followers of Jesus had heard Him say He would break the bonds of death, when He actually did, no one believed it…The followers were not expecting a Resurrection and, therefore, did not imagine they saw something of which they were ardently hoping. Even Mary Magdalene, who within that very week had been told about the Resurrection when she saw her own brother raised to life from a grave, did not believe it. She came on Sunday morning to the tomb with spices to anoint a body – not to greet a Risen Savior. On the way, the question of the women was who will roll back the stone? Their problem was how they could get in; not whether the Savior would get out.” 


Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Way to Inner Peace)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Lord has Risen!

The following poem from the second century priest Melito of Sardes (Asia Minor) praises the Resurrection:

Trembling for joy cries all creation;
What is this mystery, so great and new?
The Lord has risen from among the dead,
And Death itself He crushed with valiant foot.
Behold the cruel tyrant bound and chained,
And man made free by Him who rose!

Between the sadness of the Cross and the joy of Easter


The following comes from Fr. Thomas Rosica at Salt and Light:

Holy Saturday is a day of grief and mourning, of patient waiting and hoping. With Mary and the disciples, we grieve the death of the most important member of our Christian community. The faith of Mary and the disciples was strongly challenged on that first Holy Saturday as they awaited the resurrection.
When the full impact of the death of friends and loved ones fully hits us, it has the potential to stun, dull, and crush the human heart. It can immobilize us from action and thought. If we are people without faith and hope, the experience of confusion, grief and loss has the potential to kill us.
Today we reflect on that period of confusion and silence, between the sadness of the cross and the joy of Easter. From the bewilderment of Jesus’ disciples to the great faith of Mary, we examine our own lives in light of the great “Sabbath of Time” and draw courage from Mary’s example to face the future with deep hope, patience, love and interior peace.
At the end of this long day of waiting, we celebrate the mother of all liturgies, a true feast for the senses. The Church gathers in darkness and lights a new fire and a great candle that will make this night bright for us. We listen to our ancient Scriptures: stories of creation, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and Miriam and the crossing of the sea, poems of promise and rejoicing, and the story of the empty tomb. We see, hear, taste, feel the newness of God in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. In the “Mother of all liturgies” the past and present meet, death and life embrace and life is triumphant; we reject evil and renew our baptismal promises to God.
On Holy Saturday, many of us are far too busy with Easter preparations to reflect on the significance of this day. We do not take the necessary time to grieve, ponder and enter into the mind and heart of Mary and the disciples on that first Holy Saturday.
I am very grateful to one of my good friends and Basilian confrères, Father Robert Crooker, CSB, who taught me years ago about the mystery and meaning of Holy Saturday. Father Crooker is a retired professor of Canon Law from our Basilian University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. Though now in his 80s, this priest is a great example of one who has remained “evergreen” in his faith, spirituality, outlook and love of the Church. He is one of those special persons with whom one can discuss the deepest spiritual and religious matters in simple, profound, wise and always hopeful ways.
Father Crooker sent me the following text back in 1990, which I have read on every Holy Saturday since. His words can help us appreciate more deeply the significance of this great day of watching and waiting.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Fr. Benedict Groeschel: Good Friday

Have Mercy Upon Me, O God

Have a blessed Good Friday.


Psalm 51:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness;
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free Spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips;
and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice;
else would I give it:
thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart, O God,
thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion:
build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
with burnt offering and whole burnt offering:
then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Passion Sunday: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Passion of the Christ

The following comes from Scott Hahn at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology:

What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).
Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.
By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.
In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.
The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Luke 22:63-6523:10-11,16), as His hands and feet are pierced (see Luke 23:33), as enemies gamble for His clothes ( see Luke 23:34), and as three times they dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Luke 23:35,37,39)
He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help…I shall not be put to shame.”
Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12-14,17-19Ephesians 2:25:6).
This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken, that one day we too will be with Him in Paradise (see Luke 23:42). Seeing and Believing

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Look to Jesus


The following comes from Msgr. Charles Pope:
One of the great tasks in our spiritual and moral life is to fix our point of reference. Simply put, is Jesus Christ our point of reference, or is our reference point where we stand viz a viz others?
Many, today, in order to assess their moral state, consider their position in relation to the vast numbers of people that surround them. Perhaps they will consider that there are some who are surely holier than they are. Yes, surely internationally known figures (like Mother Theresa was), surely they  rank up there way above us. Perhaps too in a more local way, many will see the holy ones who attend daily Mass or frequent Eucharistic Adoration or other devotions, and conclude that these sorts of people rank ahead of them in holiness and moral excellence.
But then comes the dark side of such relative moral ranking. For many of the same folks will also think of others as behind them and with relief say, “Well, I may not be perfect, but at least I am not like that drug dealer over there, or that prostitute, or that corrupt businessman or politician.”
And thus, most of us who use this point of reference will rank ourselves somewhere in the middle, and feel reasonably content. But this sort of contentedness is not the sort of assessment that helps us to be zealous to grow in holiness. And, more problematically, how I rank among others is not a valid standard, or meaningful assessment.
For indeed, we must find and fix our true point of reference on Jesus. He is the Way we must walk, he is the Truth to whom we must conform, He is the Life we must live. Jesus must be our moral reference, our moral compass.
Someone say, “Lord have mercy!” For now the standard shifts from a mediocre, middle of the pack, “at least I’m not as bad as so and so” reference point, to the very person of Jesus who also added: “You must be perfect, as the heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat 5:43).
Thus, when Jesus is our standard and point of reference, we can rightly and with true humility and hope cry out “Lord, have mercy!” For with our sights fixed on Jesus, pride cannot long endure, and true humility begins to flourish.
For looking to Jesus, we know it is going to take boatloads of grace and mercy to ever close the gap between his holiness and our present unseemly state. Only grace and mercy will help us meet the standard that is Jesus himself.
To illustrate, go with me to the upper room, to the Last Supper. And as Mark’s gospel relates,
As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me.” They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, “Surely it is not I?”(Mark 14:18-19)
“Surely it is not I?” And thus we see, none of us can be certain of our innocence in the presence of Jesus, in the presence of holiness Himself. Yes, in the presence of Innocence Himself, none of us are sure of our own innocence. Somehow, when Christ is our reference point, we see our truer state, and in a salutary grief and sober awareness of our capacity for sin, we simply and sincerely cry out: Kyrie, eleison! Lord, have mercy!
But now you see that we are thus equipped to trust Him, and to learn to depend on his mercy. He is not just the one who gets up over the top, or supplies what we lack. He is the one who has brought us back to life when we were dead in our sins! He is the one on whom we must wholly depend.
Too easily and smugly we rank ourselves among others, and too easily we falsely justify ourselves in this way. We grade ourselves on a kind of “moral curve” and thus become so easily prideful, self assured, and lacking in gratitude.
But when Jesus is our reference point, as He should be, we know our need to be saved. And perhaps we cry out the words of an old gospel hymn: “It’s me Oh Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer!”
And looking to Him in this way, we may feel grieved, or overwhelmed, but in the end these are salutary, for they set the stage for, and usher in a kind of joyful humility and an immense gratitude, for what Jesus has done for us.
Knowing our unfathomable need for grace and mercy, how grateful we are to receive it! And being grateful, we are changed, we are different. Gratitude is a kind of joy. And when gratitude rushes into our chastened hearts, an awful lot of poison goes away. Anger, fear, resentment, ingratitude, greed, disappointment, desire for revenge, envy, jealously and so many other poisons, begin to vanish. And the joy of gratitude begins to usher in serenity, peace, love, generosity, forgiveness, mercy, contentment, and so many other gifts.
Yes, look to Jesus! Your neighbor is not the standard, not the point of reference, Jesus is. And while this look may bewilder at first, is is also a look that will save and bless us. Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A Prayer for Priests by Cardinal O'Connor

PRAYER FOR PRIESTS: Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs.

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.

Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs.

We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.

Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as are we, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.

We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.

We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours. Amen.

(by John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York)


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Medjugorje Documentary

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Prophecy from Father Michael Scanlan, TOR

This is a prophecy given to Fr. Michael Scanlan back in 1980.  It seems directed more to our current situation in the Church and in the world.  The following comes from In God's Company 2:

The Lord God says “Hear my Word.” The time that has been marked by my blessings and gifts is being replaced now by a period to be marked by my judgment and purification. What I have not accomplished by blessings and gifts, I will accomplish by judgment and purification. My people, my church is desperately in need of this judgment. They have continued in an adulterous relationship with the spirit of this world. They are not only infected with sin, but they teach sin, pamper sin, embrace sin, dismiss sin…Leadership unable to handle it…fragmentation, confusion throughout the ranks. Satan goes where he will and infects who he will. He has free access throughout my people and I will not stand for this.

My people specially blessed in this renewal are more under the spirit of the world than they are under the Spirit of my baptism. They are more determined with fear for what others will think of them, fears of failure and rejection in the world, loss of respect by neighbors and superiors and those around them than they are by fear of me and fear of infidelity to my word. Therefore your situation is very weak. Your power is so limited. You cannot be considered at this point in the center of the battle and the conflict that is going on.

So this time is now come upon all of you – a time of judgment and of purification. Sin will be called sin. Satan will be unmasked. Fidelity will be held up for what it is and should be. My faithful servants will be seen and will come together. They will not be many in number. It will be a difficult and a necessary time. There will be collapse, difficulties throughout the world, but – more to the issue – there will be purification and persecution among my people. You will have to stand for that you believe. You will have to choose between the world and me. You will have to choose what word you will follow and who you will respect. And in that choice what has not been accomplished by the time of blessing and gifts will be accomplished. What has not been been accomplished in the baptism and the flooding of gifts of my Spirit will be accomplished in a baptism of fire. The fire will move among you individually, corporately, in groups and around the world. I will not tolerate the situation that is going on. I will not tolerate the mixture and the adulterous treating of gifts and graces and blessings with infidelity, sin, and prostitution. My time is now among you. What you need to do is to come before me in total submission to my word, in total submission to my plan. In the total submission of this hour, what you need to do is to drop the things that are your own, the things of the past. What you need to do is to see yourselves and those whom you have responsibility for in the light of this hour of judgment and purification. You need to see them in that way and do for them what will best help them to stand strong and be among my faithful servants.

For there will be casualties. It will not be easy, but it is necessary. It is necessary that my people be in fact my people, that my church be in fact my church, and that my Spirit in fact bring forth the purity of life, purity and fidelity to the gospel.