Friday, August 31, 2012

Waiting Here For You by Christie Nockels

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pope Benedict: From Prayer We Find Strength

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI says the heroic sanctity of St. John the Baptist proves that a solid life of prayer is the best source of courage for Christians facing a modern world that is hostile to God and those who love him. 

“The martyrdom of St. John the Baptist reminds us, Christians of our time, that we cannot stoop to compromises with the love of Christ, his Word, the Truth. The Truth is the Truth and there is no compromise,” the Pope stated in his Aug. 29 general audience address at Castel Gandolfo.

Christian life, he said, requires a “daily martyrdom of fidelity to the Gospel” which can be defined as the “courage to let Christ grow in us and direct our thinking and our actions” and can only occur through a “solid relationship with God.” 

Pope Benedict also reflected on the contribution of prayer.

“Prayer is not a waste of time, it does not rob much space from our activities, not even apostolic activities, it does the exact opposite: only if we are able to have a life of faithful, constant, confident prayer will God Himself give us the strength and capacity to live in a happy and peaceful way, to overcome difficulties and to bear witness with courage,” he said.

The Pope’s words were part of his ongoing weekly catechesis on the theme of prayer, with today’s focus being on the prayer life of Saint John the Baptist.

Since Aug. 29 is the liturgical memorial of the martyrdom of John the Baptist, Pope Benedict noted that he is the only saint whose birth and death are celebrated on the same day.

St. John the Baptist was martyred following his denouncement of King Herod’s incestuous marriage to Herodias, who was his brother Philip’s former wife and also King Herod’s niece.

“For the love of truth, he did not stoop to compromises with the powerful and was not afraid to use strong words with those who had lost the path of God,” said Pope Benedict. 

“Where does this life of rectitude and coherency, this interior strength, completely spent for God and to prepare the way for Jesus, come from?” asked the Pope. 

“The answer is simple: from his relationship with God, from prayer, which is the main theme of his whole existence.”

Reflecting upon the life of St. John the Baptist, Pope Benedict observed that since his conception the prophet’s existence was underpinned by prayer, beginning with his father Zechariah’s song of praise, the “Benedictus,” which is now recited by many Catholics during the early morning prayer of the Church.

His example of a prayerful life is so significant, suggested the Pope, that when the disciples asked Christ to teach them the Our Father, their request is formulated with the words “Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

“St. John the Baptist intercedes for us, so that we always maintain the primacy of God in our lives,” concluded the Pope, before leading the faithful in the singing of the Our Father in Latin.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Catholicism - Fr Mitch Pacwa SJ with Fr Robert Barron

Friday, August 24, 2012

Heavenly Appeals

Want to Be a Great Leader? Start Reading

The following comes from the Lifehacker site:

Even though global literacy rates are high(84%), people are reading less and less deeply. This trend is especially detrimental to those in leadership roles. As John Coleman explains, deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of great leaders, and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.
The National Endowment for the Arts has found that "reading has declined among every group of adult Americans," and for the first time in American history, "less than half of the U.S. adult American population is reading literature." This is terrible for leadership, where my experience suggests those trends are even more pronounced. Business people seem to be reading less—particularly material unrelated to business.
Note how many business titans are or have been avid readers. According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an "inexhaustible interest" in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets "the original systems thinkers," quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week.
And history is littered not only with great leaders who were avid readers and writers (remember, Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace), but with business leaders who believed that deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.
The leadership benefits of reading are wide-ranging. Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight. Some studies have shown, for example, that reading makes you smarter through "a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills." Reading—whether Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle—is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information.
Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity. And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology, the physical sciences, economics, or psychology, and apply them to their organizations are more likely to innovate and prosper.
Reading can also make you more effective in leading others. Reading increases verbal intelligence, making a leader a more adept and articulate communicator. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others—traits that author Anne Kreamer persuasively linked to increased organizational effectiveness, and to pay raises and promotions for the leaders who possessed these qualities. And any business person understands that heightened emotional intelligence will improve his or her leadership and management ability.
Finally, an active literary life can make you more personally effective by keeping you relaxed and improving health. Reading is a great way to relax, as reading for six minutes can reduce stress by 68%, and some studies suggest reading may even fend off Alzheimer's, extending the longevity of the mind.
Reading more can lead to a host of benefits for people of all stripes. So how can you get started? Here are a few tips:
  • Join a reading group. One of my friends meets bimonthly with a group of colleagues to read classics in philosophy, fiction, history, and other areas. Find a group of friends who will do the same with you.
  • Vary your reading. If you're a business person who typically only reads business writing, commit to reading one book this year in three areas outside your comfort zone: a novel, a book of poetry, or a nonfiction piece in science, biography, history, or the arts.
  • Apply your reading to your work. Are you struggling with a problem at work? Pick up a book on neuroscience or psychology and see if there are ways in which you can apply the lessons from those fields to your profession.
  • Encourage others. After working on a project with colleagues, I'll often send them a book that I think they'll enjoy. Try it out; it might encourage discussion, cross-application of important lessons, and a proliferation of readers in your workplace.
  • Read for fun. Not all reading has to be developmental. Read to relax, escape, and put your mind at ease.
    Reading has many benefits, but it is underappreciated as an essential component of leadership development.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pope explains how Mary's queenship points to Jesus

Pope Benedict XVI recommended that Christians look to the queenship of Mary, who is “queen in the service of God to humanity,” as a sure guide towards her son.

“Dear friends, devotion to Our Lady is an important part of spiritual life. In our prayer we should not fail to turn to her, confident that Mary will intercede for us with her Son,” the Pope said to pilgrims during his Aug. 22 general audience at Castel Gandolfo.

“Looking upon her, let us imitate her faith, her complete openness to the loving plan of God, her generous welcoming of Jesus. We learn to live from Mary.”

The following comes from the CNA:

The Pope recalled how the establishment of a particular day to celebrate the queenship of Mary is actually a “recent establishment,” even though it has “an ancient origin and devotion.” When Pope Pius XII created the feast in 1954, he originally placed it on May 31, at the end of the month dedicated to Mary.

“On that occasion he said that Mary is Queen more than any other creature for the elevation of her soul and for the excellence of gifts received. She never ceases to bestow all the treasures of her love and of her care on humanity,” Pope Benedict said.

Following the Second Vatican Council the feast day was moved by Pope Paul VI to Aug. 22, so that it would be “eight days after the Solemnity of the Assumption to emphasize the close relationship between the royalty of Mary and her glorification in soul and body next to her Son.”
The fact that Mary is “uniquely bound to her Son” both on earth and in Heaven lies at the root of today’s feast, said the Pope, since she now participates in “God’s responsibility for the world and the love of God for the world.”

Just as the kingship of Jesus “has nothing to do with that of the powerful of this world,” as evidenced by his washing of the disciplines feet or death on the cross, so the queenship of Mary “is not (one of) wealth and power” but is “a service of love,” Pope Benedict taught.

She is “queen in the service of God to humanity, is queen of the love that lives the gift of self to God (so as) to enter into the plan of salvation of man. To the angel she replies: I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
This love is expressed, suggested the Pope, in the fact that Mary is continually “watching over us, her children, the children who come to her in prayer, to thank her or to ask for her maternal protection and heavenly help, perhaps after having lost their way, burdened with grief or anguish amid the sad and troubled vicissitudes of life.”

It is the queenship of Mary that we should turn to throughout life, he said, “so that from her Son we may receive every grace and mercy necessary for our journey along the roads of the world.”
“To him who rules the world and holds the destinies of the universe we turn with confidence, through the Virgin Mary.”

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Melendez: Giving Hope

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron on Evangelization

Legend: A Journey Through Iceland

Legend: A Journey Through Iceland from Henry Jun Wah Lee on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Catholics Love the Blessed Mother

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron on Anti-Catholicism

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Christian Life in the Military

Saint of the day: Clare of Assisi

The following comes from Catholic Online:

Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.

Soon her sister, St. Agnes joined her, as well as other young women who wanted to be brides of Jesus, and live without any money. St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time. Once, He saved them from a great danger in answer to St. Clare's prayer. An army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi and they planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters.

"O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now," she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: "I will keep them always in My care." At the same time a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could. St. Clare was sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she said that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: "They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?" We should remember this miracle of the Blessed Sacrament when in Church. Then we will pray with great Faith to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: "Save me, O Lord, from every evil - of soul and body." Her feast day is August 11.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Paschal Sacrifice: A Heavenly Banquet for Earthly Beggars"

What is the Angelus?

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen. 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 
Hail Mary . . . 
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 
Hail Mary . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: 
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Archbishop Fisichella: We need new evangelizers

The following comes from the Vatican News site:

“We cannot conduct a new evangelisation without new evangelizers”, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella Thursday as he opened a three day conference on New Evangelisation in down town Sydney, Australia.

As keynote speaker at Proclaim 2012, the President of the Vatican Council for New Evangelisation spoke of the decline of the faith in Europe and western societies, which, he said, cannot be stemmed by a “reform of structures” but only by a personal encounter with the Risen Christ. He also urged “new relationships of esteem, of trust and of welcome of people’s various gifts” within the Church.

“To be an evangelizer is a vocation so that all people may be able to hear the Gospel of Jesus, believe in him and call upon him. That vocation is born on the very day of our baptism and it is a vocation to every believer in Christ to make of himself or herself a credible bearer of the good news encapsulated in his teaching. To be sent, then, is intrinsic to the baptismal vocation; this implies for all Christians that they assume this responsibility, each one in their own person, without any possibility of delegating it to others. The proclamation of the Gospel cannot be delegated to others; rather, it requires the awareness specific to the believer that he or she is to be a bearer of Christ wherever they go”.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Mass Brings Highest Attendance of Any Religious Service

LONDON, England, AUG. 6, 2012 ( The Catholic Church of England and Wales is taking advantage of the Olympic Games to evangelize London locals, the thousands of tourists in the city for the events, and the athletes as well.
Speaking to Vatican Radio, James Parker, Catholic executive coordinator for the Olympic Games, reported that not only is daily Mass celebrated within the Olympic Village, it also has the "highest attendance at any of the religious services."
"There are a number of athletes and officials from various nations who are coming there every day and they are placing Christ at the beginning and the center of all they do," he said. 
"People are beginning to come out of their homes they want to meet, to be together for festivities. The Churches have been preparing for this. The Catholic Church and other Christian communities have organized festivals to harness this community spirit. So that people have the opportunity to speak about what brings joy to their lives and an opportunity to speak about Christ," Parker said. 
One year ago this month, Pope Benedict XVI told the future of the global Church that their task was to bring Christ to the ends of the earth and among contemporary society. Again this month he repeated this mandate in his missionary prayer intentions for August: "that young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the end of the earth." 
Proving that they earnestly take him at his word, young Catholics from 21 nations have invaded London’s Olympic borough, pitching their tents on the green lawns of Bonaventure’s Catholic high school, creating their own "Joshua Camp."
Over the next three days, these young men and women, boys and girls will be attending daily catechesis, prayer vigils, Eucharistic Adoration and Mass in the shadow of the Olympic stadium. 
Parker said these days of reflection, prayer and meditation are a vital part of the mission. "It's not just about street evangelization, it's about being open to the message of Christ in our own hearts first and foremost. It's not just a message that we share. We are sharing Christ with the people around us," he said. 
On Tuesday, Joshua Camp will will be out and about mingling with sports fans from across the globe and local East London residents. 
"The Joshua Camp is about going to the poor and needy on the periphery of the Games," Parker said, "and saying 'come and see what it's all about' and not only but also ‘come and take part of this great banquet that God’s got prepared for us.'"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marcus Grodi with Dr. Scott Hahn and Kimberly Hahn

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dr. Scott Hahn on the Paschal Mystery

Pope Benedict challenges believers to put God before worldly cares

The following comes from the CNA:

God's promise of a new and eternal life deserves priority over earthly desires for things that can never satisfy the heart, Pope Benedict XVI taught in his Aug. 5 Sunday Angelus address at Castel Gandolfo.
“Jesus wants to help people move beyond the immediate satisfaction of their material needs, although they are important too. He wants to open a horizon of existence which is not simply that of the daily concerns of eating, dressing and career,” the Pope told pilgrims at his summer residence.

The true “center of existence,” giving “full meaning and firm hope” to life, “is faith in Jesus … our encounter with Christ,” the Pope reflected.

Thousands of enthusiastic visitors listened from the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace as the Pope discussed Sunday's reading from the “Bread of Life” discourse in the Gospel of John.

In it, Christ tells the multitude not to labor for the “food that perishes” but “for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” Jesus proclaims himself as “the bread of life,” declaring: “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Pope Benedict stressed that this encounter with Christ goes far beyond “an idea” or “a project,” to reach Jesus “as a living person” who wants everyone “to be fully involved with him and his Gospel.”
In the midst of everyday concerns, Christ calls humanity to “look ahead and to open the human horizon to the horizon of God, the horizon of faith.”

During their journey of faith, believers are sustained by something infinitely greater than the miraculous manna given to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Jesus, the Pope said, does not merely “give something,” but instead “gives himself” to the faithful in Holy Communion.

“Let us put our faith in him, and let us put our trust in his promises, so that we may have life in abundance,” the Pope urged the crowd, before leading them in reciting the traditional midday Marian prayer.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss God and Human Freedom

The Transfiguration

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Lady of the Snows

The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

A feast that commemorates the dedication of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, Italy. The church was originally built by Pope Liberius, and was known as the Basilica Liberii or Liberiana. It was restored by Pope Sixtus III, and dedicated to Our Lady. From that time on it was known as Basilica S. Mariæ or Mariæ Majoris. Since the seventh century it was known also as Maria ad Præsepe.

The appellation ad Nives (of the snow) originated a few hundred years later, as did also the legend which gave this name to the church. The legend says that during the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to Our Lady. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. During the night of 5 August, snow fell on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honour of Our Lady on the spot which was covered with snow. From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years later, not even by Sixtus III in his eight-lined dedicatory inscription, it would seem that the legend has no historical basis.

Originally the feast was celebrated only at Santa Maria Maggiore. In the fourteenth century it was extended to all the churches of Rome, and finally it was made a universal feast by Pope Pius V. Pope Clement VIII raised it from a feast of double rite to double major. The Mass is the common one for feasts of the Blessed Virgin; the office is also the common one of the Blessed Virgin, with the exception of the second Nocturn, which is an account of the alleged miracle. The congregation, which Pope Benedict XIV instituted for the reform of the Breviary in 1741, proposed that the reading of the legend be struck from the Office, and that the feast should again receive its original name, Dedicatio Sanctæ Mariæ.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss Modernity, the Bible and Theology

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron from the Colloseum

St. Pius X and the Olympics

The following comes from
It was 1908 when, in the wake of a serious economic crisis, Rome renounced hosting the Olympic Games which were eventually celebrated in London, England. In the same year Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, sought help from the Vatican to support the Games, and Pope Pius X in person offered him his support.
More than 100 years later, the British capital is hosting the Olympic Games for the third time; the opening ceremonies were today. 
That moment at the beginning of the 20th century is described in a book titled "Pio X: Le Olimpiadi e lo Sport" (Pius X: The Olympics and Sports) by Antonella Stelitano. At that time "less than 1% of the population practiced any sporting activity, ... and sport was used only as a form of military training or as a pastime for the upper classes," the author explained in an interview with Vatican Radio.
However "St. Pius X ... was aware of the educational potential of sports." He saw it as a way "to approach young people, and to bring them together while following certain rules and showing respect for adversaries."
One such example was in a speech that Pius X directed toward youth Oct. 8, 1905. "I admire and bless with all my heart all the games and pastimes, gymnastics, cycling, mountain climbing, boating, jogging, [...], competitions and academics to which you dedicate yourselves The exercise of the body affects wonderfully on the exercise of the spirit. Because these activities require more work, you take away that sloth, which is the father of vices, and finally because the same friendly matches will be in you an image emulation in the exercise of virtue," the Pope said.
"I believe," the author explained, "that he understood that it was possible to bring people together simply, without any problems of race, religion or differing political ideas."
At that time in history many people did not understand the importance of exercise, said Stelitano who concluded her interview by recalling an anecdote where Pius X told one of his cardinals: "All right, if it is impossible to understand that this can be done, then I myself will do exercise in front of everyone so that they may see that, if the Pope can do it, anyone can do it."

Fr. Robert Barron comments on Religious Drifters