Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Saints and Overcoming Grief

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:

You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice;
you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy….
I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.
John 16:20, 22
A talented painter once gave an unforgettable performance in front of an admiring audience. With rapid strokes of his brush, he quickly and skillfully painted a beautiful country scene, replete with green meadows, golden fields of grain, farm buildings in the distance, peaceful trees, and a friendly blue sky punctuated with soft, white clouds. As he stepped back from his easel, the audience burst into appreciative applause — only to be silenced by the art­ist, who announced, “The picture is not complete.”
He turned and began rapidly covering the canvas with dark, somber paints. The peaceful country scene was replaced with blotches of morose, unappealing colors, all seemingly thrown on the canvas in random disorder; only a patch of the blue sky and the peaceful countryside remained. “Now,” he asserted, “the pic­ture is finished, and it is perfect.” The stunned audience looked on in disbelief; no one understood what had just happened. Then the painter turned the canvas on its side, and the onlookers let out a collective gasp of amazement, for now there appeared before their eyes a stunningly beautiful, dark waterfall, cascading over moss-covered rocks and creating a rich symphony of color.
The artist intended his amazing and unexpected demonstration to be a commentary or reflection on the reality of sorrow: one beau­tiful scene of life was transformed into another, even as observers wrongly believed something wonderful was forever lost. The mean­ing of this story is simple: God is the Artist who created our lives, and who desires to make them into something permanent and glo­rious; and sorrow and loss are often His instruments in bringing about this change. From our limited perspective, we believe that the original picture is fine as it is, and that any change, especially a painful one, can only be for the worse. The Lord, however, sees and understands the possibilities of life and eternity far more com­pletely than we ever will, and if we allow it, He is able to use all the events and experiences of our lives — even the dark and somber ones — to bring about something of lasting and unequaled beauty.
Grief over any serious loss — especially the death of a loved one — is a very heavy cross to bear, and we’re certainly not ex­pected to see right away how the dark colors of our mourning can be transformed into the joyous hues of eternity. The Lord doesn’t ask that we understand, only that we trust. This, too, can be quite difficult. Even some of the saints found their grief to be nearly overwhelming, but they persevered in their faith and eventually found peace and even joy in their sorrow. This is a hope that Jesus offers to us as well.
St. Francis de Sales came from a large family, and although he was often somewhat melancholy, he experienced great happiness in spending time with those he loved. This was especially true in regard to his youngest sister, Jeanne, who was born three days before his Ordination to the priesthood. Hers was the first Bap­tism St. Francis performed, and he always had a special fondness for her, so it was a terrible blow when she died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of fifteen, while visiting the home of St. Jane Frances de Chantal and her family. Francis, by then a bishop, expressed his profound grief in these words: “I am nothing if not a man. My heart has been broken in a way that I could not have be­lieved possible.”
St. Jane, who understandably felt very guilty over the girl’s death (even though it was in no way her fault), had herself drunk deeply from the cup of sorrow some years earlier. Her beloved husband, Christophe, was shot by a friend in a hunting accident. He was carried home, but there was nothing the doctors could do for him, and after nine painful days, he died. During this no­vena of suffering, Christophe resigned himself to the will of God and freely forgave his friend. Jane, however, was unable to react in such a holy manner. In her desperation she bargained with God: “Take everything I have, my relatives, my belongings, my chil­dren, but leave me my husband!” This prayer, of course, was not answered, and it was many years before the future saint (under the influence of St. Francis de Sales) was able to forgive her husband’s hunting partner from her heart.
The grief St. Jane experienced made it possible for her years later to write this advice to her own daughter, who was herself grieving over the death of a husband: “My greatest wish is that you live like a true Christian widow, unpretentious in your dress and actions, and especially reserved in your relationships. . . . I know very well, darling, of course, that we can’t live in the world with­out enjoying some of its pleasures, but take my word for it, dearest, you won’t find any really lasting joys except in God, in living vir­tuously, in raising your children well, in looking after their affairs, and in managing your household. If you seek happiness elsewhere, you will experience much anguish, as I well know.”

Read the rest here.

Bishop Barron on Atheism and Assisted Suicide

The Church's Devotion to the Virgin Mary

The following comes from the Canterbury Tales site:

In his Apostolic Letter entitled Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI states "the Church's devotedness to the Virgin Mary is an intrinsic element of the Christian Religion." His Holiness even states that we "cannot be Christians without being Marian." Father Stefano Manelli of the Franiciscans of the Immaculate focuses on this passage from Marialis Cultus as a true summary of Catholic teaching regarding Marian devotion.

If a Christian refuses to see God's glorious election in choosing the Blessed Virgin Mary as the perfect Mother of His Divine Son, then that soul does yet see the beautiful plan of human salvation. The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ for our salvation requires that God the Son have a human mother. It is integral to every single Christian doctrine revealed by God.

I write "refuses" to see the beauty of Marian devotion because it is something that God disperses in the soul through grace. If I person says, "I love Jesus, but I don't love Mary," something disingenuous has occurred. 

The typology of Adam and Eve in relation to Christ and Mary is helpful here. One cannot credit Adam alone for God's curse over the human race. One cannot credit Eve alone. Certainly, Adam was chief and our fall from grace derives chiefly from him.

But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come. (Romans 5:13)

So then, Adam is the Peccator and Eve is the Co-peccatrix. Eve's role is relative, but integral.

The same is true for the New Adam and the New Eve. Christ is God. Mary is not. Nevertheless, Mary's role in the Incarnation and her consenting presence at the foot of the cross does not by itself merit human salvation (a finite human person cannot merit the salvation of anyone). Nevertheless, her role in the saving action of Christ is also relative and integral. One cannot imagine the sacrifice of Christ on the cross without her since she is the loving means by which God the Son gained a human body.

If you struggle with devotion to Mary, take the helpful advice of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. He says that we only gain knowledge and understanding of Mary "on our knees." It is something that cannot be learned in a book. This is yet another reason to pray the Rosary daily.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ss. Damien of Molokai and Marianne Cope and a man named Joseph

The following comes from Fr. George Rutler:

The canonization of Marianne Cope, along with Kateri Tekakwitha, on October 21, occasioned the publication of a stunning photograph showing Marianne standing beside the funeral bier of St. Damien in Kalaupapa, Molokai. That was in 1889, and the picture is so sharp that it could have been taken today. It must be the first photograph of two saints together. The holy friendships of Teresa of Avila with John of the Cross, and Francis de Sales with 
Jane de Chantal illuminated civilization before photography. 

St. Damien’s body is scarred with leprosy but vested in the fine chasuble in which he used to offer Mass. St. Marianne, in her timeless religious habit, shows no sorrow for she obviously knows she is looking at a saint, not knowing that she is one herself. 

Studying that photograph, one thinks of how hard they worked, not only among the outcast lepers, but all their lives. Damien, born Jozef de Veuster in Belgium, was a farm boy, and Marianne left school in Utica, New York, after the eighth grade to support her family by working in factories. 

Not in the picture was their helper, Joseph Dutton, a Civil War veteran who was so traumatized by the ravages of war and his broken marriage that he became an alcoholic. He reformed his life, went to Molokai and worked with the lepers for 45 years — cleaning latrines, scrubbing floors, and binding sores — until his death in 1931. Their great happiness would have been clouded to see how much unhappiness there is in our land today. 

As a typical eighteenth-century rationalist, Edward Gibbon was cynical about Christianity, but as an historian he analyzed the decline of once-great civilizations in terms of natural virtue: “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” 

I expect that Gibbon would have understood modern saints no better than he did the early martyrs and confessors, but he would have seen in them a selfless energy that builds noble societies, and the neglect of such energy pulls them down. Our own nation is facing these realities as it decides what it wants to be. The present crisis in culture cannot be resolved if it is addressed only in terms of economics and international relations. The real leaders are not those who hypnotize naïve people into thinking that they are the source of hope. Those who can rescue nations from servility to selfishness are not on slick campaign posters, but in stark black and white photographs like that taken on Molokai in 1889.

Saint of the day: Alphonsus Rodriguez

The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

Confessor and Jesuit brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice tad and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chant: "It is not us that we proclaim but Christ Jesus the Lord"

The Anchoress on Pope Francis and the Confrontation set in place

The following comes from the Anchoress:
I think Pope Francis has set a confrontation in motion, and it’s not the one we’re all looking at.
We cannot see it because we are utterly enthralled to a strange creation of our time that is part-theology, part-ideology and thrives on our age’s eagerness to take offense at every possible thing, every single day.
The confrontation that Francis has called forth is not meant to be between “left” and “right” or “progressive” and “conservative”, though. I think it’s meant to be between things visible and invisible, Love and Hate, Light and Dark.
In pronouncing the upcoming Year of Mercy, Francis has directly called the whole Church into a year of prayerful discernment on the very thing Satan most hates, the one lie that most effectively destroys us: that we are nothing but the sum of our sins; that there is no mercy for us, and therefore nothing in which to hope.
Satan hates mercy because it is the means by which we are reconciled to God, and now, we’re going to have a whole year of focus on mercy, talks on mercy, works of mercy, pleas to seek God’s mercy.
Of course Old Scratch won’t like it, of course he is going to set us against each other, and he’s going to do it in the diabolically disorienting way he always does, by putting our perspective into a funhouse mirror of exaggeration, so we become convinced that our outsized hatreds are really “love” that our “love” is really for God and Church and not for our own sense of rightness, our positions, and that pride and ego have nothing at all to do with our fervently staked out and intractable positions.
It’s all a cunning illusion, and everyone is buying into it.
What’s the best way to keep Mercy from finding a home in our hearts, minds and souls? Get all of us separated, and distrustful and so convinced that we possess All-Rightness that we end up saying, “here I stand; I can do no other…”
Like a famous heretic who said it first.

Dr. Scott Hahn on Spiritual Warfare

Saint of the day: Blessed Michael Rua

The following comes from the Salesian website in Rome:

Going halves in everything
Born in Turin on June 9, 1837, the youngest of nine children, Michael came to the Oratory in 1852. One day Don Bosco told him: "We will go halves in everything". He was among the first group to whom Don Bosco suggested the formation of the Salesian Society.

His many roles
For 36 years he was his closest collaborator in all stages of the development of the Congregation. He was professed in 1855, was first spiritual director of the Congregation at 22 (1859) and was ordained in 1860. He became the first director of the Mirabello College at 26 (1863-1865) and, later, was Vicar of Valdocco, with its 700 pupils and of the Society. He was administrator of the Letture Cattoliche (Catholic Readings), responsible for formation (1869) and for personnel. In 1875 he became Director General of the Salesian Sisters and he accompanied Don Bosco on his journeys.

Don Bosco's first successor

At the explicit request of the Founder, in 1884, Pope Leo XIII named him to succeed Don Bosco and he confirmed him as Rector Major in 1888. Fr. Rua was seen as the 'living Rule' because of his austere fidelity, yet he also displayed a fatherly spirit that was capable of great thoughtfulness, so much so that he was known as 'a king of kindness'.

Oversaw extraordinary growth

With the growth in the numbers of confrere and the development of the works, he sent Salesians all over the world, giving special attention to missionary expeditions.
In his long journeys in Europe and the Middle East, he consoled and encouraged, always looking to the Founder: "Don Bosco said…Don Bosco did… Don Bosco wanted…". When he died, on April 6 1910, at 73, the Society had grown from 773 Salesians to 4000, from 57 houses to 345, from 6 provinces to 34, in 33 countries.

Faithful continuation of Don Bosco's spirit

When beatifying him, Pope Paul VI stated: "The Salesian Family owes its origin to Don Bosco, to Fr. Rua its continuation… he developed the Saint's example into a school, his Rule into a spirit, his holiness into a model. He turned the spring into a river". His remains are venerated in the crypt of the Basilica of Mary Our Help.

Beatified on 29 October 1972 by Paul VI. 29th October is the day his memorial is kept liturgically.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Prince of Peace by Hillsong

Asking in Prayer with Fr. Benedict Groeschel

Saints of the Day: Simon and Jude

Today we remember two great apostles: Simon and Jude

O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles,
and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray
that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we
may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Adoramus te, o Christe

A Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux

A Prayer for Priests
By St. Therese of Lisieux
O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and
everlasting crown. Amen.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A prayer by St. Francis de Sales

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

A Padre Pio Quote

My past, O Lord, to your Mercy; my present, to your Love; my future, to your Providence!  
St. Padre Pio

Synod Affirms the Beauty of Family Life

 With a two-thirds majority vote, the more than 200 bishops gathered for the Vatican's synod on the family supported Church teaching on hot-button issues such as homosexuality and communion for divorced and remarried persons.
The Vatican's synod on the family was opened by Pope Francis Oct. 4, and it will close Oct. 25. This year's event follows the theme “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world,” and follows 2014's extraordinary synod on the family, which focused on pastoral challenges involved in family life.
This year's discussion tended to be reduced in Western secular media to two issues: communion for divorced-and-civilly remarried, and Church teaching and pastoral care regarding homosexuality.
However, actual topics brought up during meetings were much broader, with synod fathers touching on themes such as domestic violence, violence against women, incest and abuse within families, marriage preparation and pornography.
A closing news conference at the Vatican Oct. 24 reported a sense of collegiality among the global bishops. Only two of the 94 paragraphs showed a disparity in the voting, both of them surrounding the topic of pastoral care for divorced and remarried persons.
Despite the calls by some for the Church to change its doctrine by allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics without an annulment to receive communion, the synod’s final report upheld current Church teaching and practice on the issue.
“It’s therefore the responsibility of pastors to accompany the persons concerned on a path of discernment according to the teaching of the Church and the guidelines of the bishop,” paragraph 85 read.
While there was an overall support for the Church’s teaching and current pastoral practice to remain in place, the document also stressed that divorced and remarried couples are baptized persons who must be “more integrated into the Christian community,” while “avoiding every occasion of scandal.”
“The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral accompaniment,” paragraph 84 said, explaining that their involvement in the Church “can be expressed in different ecclesial services.”
Synod fathers emphasized a process of careful discernment in considering which of the areas of exclusion in the liturgy, pastoral, educational and institutional framework of the Church can be done away with for divorced and remarried Catholics.
In some countries, for example, divorced and remarried persons are not only asked to abstain from communion, but also from teaching catechesis and from being godparents.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Adoramus Te Domine

Bishop Barron on Pope Francis and Mercy

The following comes from Bishop Barron at Word on Fire:

Having just returned from a week covering Pope Francis’s triumphant journey to the United States, I can confidently tell you that the news media are in love with the Vicar of Christ. Time and again, commentators, pundits, anchorpersons, and editorialists opined that Pope Francis is the bomb. They approved, of course, of his gentle way with those suffering from disabilities and his proclivity to kiss babies, but their approbation was most often awakened by this Pope’s “merciful” and “inclusive” approach, his willingness to reach out to those on the margins. More often than not, they characterized this tenderness as a welcome contrast to the more rigid and dogmatic style of Benedict XVI. Often, I heard words such as “revolutionary” and “game-changing” in regard to Pope Francis, and one commentator sighed that she couldn’t imagine going back to the Church as it was before the current pontiff. 
Well, I love Pope Francis too, and I certainly appreciate the novelty of his approach and his deft manner of breathing life into the Church. In fact, a number of times on the air I commented that the Pope’s arrival to our shores represented a new springtime after the long winter of the sex abuse scandals. But I balk at the suggestion that the new Pope represents a revolution or that he is dramatically turning away from the example of his immediate predecessors. And I strenuously deny that he is nothing but a soft-hearted powder-puff, indifferent to sin. 
A good deal of the confusion stems from a misinterpretation of Francis’s stress on mercy. In order to clear things up, a little theologizing is in order. It is not correct to say that God’s essential attribute is mercy. Rather, God’s essential attribute is love, since love is what obtains among the three divine persons from all eternity. Mercy is what love looks like when it turns toward the sinner. To say that mercy belongs to the very nature of God, therefore, would be to imply that sin exists within God himself, which is absurd. 
Now this is important, for many receive the message of divine mercy as tantamount to a denial of the reality of sin, as though sin no longer matters. But just the contrary is the case. To speak of mercy is to be intensely aware of sin and its peculiar form of destructiveness. Or to shift to one of the Pope’s favorite metaphors, it is to be acutely conscious that one is wounded so severely that one requires, not minor treatment, but the emergency and radical attention provided in a hospital on the edge of a battlefield. Recall that when Francis was asked, in a famous interview two years ago, to describe himself, he responded, “a sinner.” Then he added, “who has been looked upon by the face of mercy.” That’s getting the relationship right. Remember as well that the teenaged Jorge Mario Bergoglio came to a deep and life-changing relationship to Christ precisely through a particularly intense experience in the confessional. As many have indicated, Papa Francesco speaks of the devil more frequently than any of his predecessors of recent memory, and he doesn’t reduce the dark power to a vague abstraction or a harmless symbol. He understands Satan to be a real and very dangerous person.
When Pope Francis speaks of those on the margins, he does indeed mean people who are economically and politically disadvantaged, but he also means people who are cut off from the divine life, spiritually poor. And just as he reaches out to the materially marginalized in order to bring them to the center, so he reaches out to those on the existential periphery in order to bring them to a better place. In speaking of mercy and inclusivity, he is decidedly not declaring that “I’m okay and you’re okay.” He is calling people to conversion. As my mentor, Cardinal Francis George, said, “All are welcome in the Church, but on Christ’s terms and not their own.”

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saint Luigi Guanella

The following comes from Wikipedia:

Luigi Guanella (1842–1915), or Saint Luigi Guanella, was a Catholic priest from Northern Italy. He is the founder of several religious institutes: Daughters of St Mary of Providence, 1890, Servants of Charity in Como on March 24, 1908, with his friends David Albertario and Giuseppe Tonioloand the Pious Union of St Joseph in 1914 with his supporter and first member Pope Pius X. He was sensitive to the needs of the poor and this gave birth to his religious communities who provide for their needs throughout the world. The Servants of Charity motto reads "In Omnibus Charitas." In all things Love. Blessed Guanella was beatified in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.

Blessed Father Luigi Guanella will be canonized as a saint October 23, 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saint of the day: Anthony Mary Claret

The following comes from St. Patrick's Church:

Today we remember St. Anthony Mary Caret. Born in Sallent, Spain, December 23, 1807; died in Narbonne, France, October 24, 1870; canonized 1950.

"When I see the need there is for divine teaching and how hungry people are to hear it, I am atremble to be off and running throughout the world, preaching the Word of God. I have no rest. My soul finds no other relief than to rush about and preach."

"If God's Word is spoken by a priest who is filled with the fire of charity--the fire of love of God and neighbor--it will wound vices, kill sins, convert sinners, and work wonders."

"When I am before the Blessed Sacrament I feel such a lively faith that I cannot describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me. . . . When it is time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from His sacred presence."

--St. Antony Claret

As the son of a weaver, Antony became a weaver himself and in his free time he learned Latin and printing. At the age of 22 he entered the seminary at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, and was ordained in 1835. After a few years he began to entertain the idea of a Barthusian vocation but it seemed beyond his strength, so he travelled to Rome to join the Jesuits with the idea of becoming a foreign missionary. Ill health, however, caused him to leave the Jesuit novitiate and he returned to pastoral work at Sallent in 1837. He spent the next decade preaching parochial missions and retreats throughout Catalonia. During this time he helped Blessed Joachima de Mas to establish the Carmelites of Charity.

He went to the Canary Islands and after 15 months there (1848-49) with Bishop Codina, Anthony returned to Vich. His evangelical zeal inspired other priests to join in the same work, so in 1849 he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the Claretians), dedicated to preaching missions. The Claretians have spread far beyond Spain to the Americas and beyond.

In 1850, Queen Isabella II, appointed him archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. The people of this diocese were in a shocking state, and Claret made bitter enemies in his efforts to reform the see--some of whom made threats on his life. In fact, he was wounded in an assassination attempt against his life at Holguin in 1856, by a man angered that his mistress was won back to an honest life.

At the request of Queen Isabella, he returned to Spain in 1857 to become her confessor. He resigned his Cuban see in 1858, but spent as little time at the court as his official duties required. Throughout this period he was also deeply occupied with the missionary activities of his congregation and with the diffusion of good literature, especially in his native Catalan. He was also appointed rector of the Escorial, where he established a science laboratory, a natural history museum, and schools of music and languages. He also founded a religious library in Barcelona.

He followed Isabella to France when a revolution drove her from the throne in 1868. He attended Vatican Council I (1869-70) where he influenced the definition of papal infallibility. An attempt was made to lure him back to Spain, but it failed. Antony retired to Prades, France, but was forced to flee to a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide near Narbonne when the Spanish ambassador demanded his arrest.

Anthony Claret was a leading figure in the revival of Catholicism in Spain, preached over 25,000 sermons, and published some 144 books and pamphlets during his lifetime. His continual union with God was rewarded by many supernatural graces. He was reputed to have performed miraculous cures and to have had gifts of prophecy. Both in Cuba and in Spain he encountered the hostility of the Spanish anti-clerical politicians.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Saint of the day: John of Capistrano

Today is the memorial of St. John of Capistrano.
The following comes from Catholic Online: 

St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a former German knight in that city. He studied law at the University of Perugia and practiced as a lawyer in the courts of Naples. King Ladislas of Naples appointed him governor of Perugia. During a war with a neighboring town he was betrayed and imprisoned. Upon his release he entered the Franciscan community at Perugia in 1416. He and St. James of the March were fellow students under St. Bernardine of Siena, who inspired him to institute the devotion to the holy Name of Jesus and His Mother. John began his brilliant preaching apostolate with a deacon in 1420. After his ordination he traveled throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal. When Mohammed II was threatening Vienna and Rome, St. John, at the age of seventy, was commissioned by Pope Callistus III to preach and lead a crusade against the invading Turks. Marching at the head of seventy thousand Christians, he gained victory in the great battle of Belgrade against the Turks in 1456. Three months later he died at Illok, Hungary. His feast day is October 23. He is the patron of jurists.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Song For Karol

Song For Karol from Mark Mallett on Vimeo.

St. John Paul II: A Man of Hope and Joy

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mountain Psalms and Music

Summer Lapses from Tyler Malay on Vimeo.

In the Lord put I my trust; how say ye to my soul,
Flee as a bird to your mountain?


Thy righteousness is like the great mountain;
thy judgments are a great deep:
O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.


Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains;
being girded with power.


Thou art more glorious and excellent
than mountains of prey.


His foundation is in the holy mountains.


Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting,
thou art God.

PSALMS 104:6 & 8

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
They go up by the mountains;
they go down by the valleys unto the place which
thou hast founded for them.

PSALMS 125:1 & 2

They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion,
which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem,
so the Lord is round about his people from
henceforth even for ever.

PSALMS 133:3

As the dew of Hermon,
and as the dew that descended upon
the mountains of Zion;
for there the Lord commanded the blessing,
even life for evermore.

"Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You"

The following comes from St. Augustine's Confessions:

Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.

Grant me to know and understand, Lord, which comes first. To call upon you or to praise you? To know you or to call upon you? Must we know you before we can call upon you? Anyone who invokes what is still unknown may be making a mistake. Or should you be invoked first, so that we may then come to know you? But how can people call upon someone in whom they do not yet believe? And how can they believe without a preacher?

But scripture tells us that those who seek the Lord will praise him, for as they seek they find him, and on finding him they will praise him. Let me seek you then, Lord, even while I am calling upon you, and call upon you even as I believe in you; for to us you have indeed been preached. My faith calls upon you, Lord, this faith which is your gift to me, which you have breathed into me through the humanity of your Son and the ministry of your preacher.

How shall I call upon my God, my God and my Lord, when by the very act of calling upon him I would be calling him into myself? Is there any place within me into which my God might come? How should the God who made heaven and earth come into me? Is there any room in me for you, Lord, my God? Even heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me – can even they contain you? Since nothing that exists would exist without you, does it follow that whatever exists does in some way contain you? 

But if this is so, how can I, who am one of these existing things, ask you to come into me, when I would not exist at all unless you were already in me? Not yet am I in hell, after all but even if I were, you would be there too; for if I descend into the underworld, you are there. No, my God, I would not exist, I would not be at all, if you were not in me. Or should I say, rather, that I should not exist if I were not in you, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things? Yes, Lord, that is the truth, that is indeed the truth. To what place can I invite you, then, since I am in you? Or where could you come from, in order to come into me? To what place outside heaven and earth could I travel, so that my God could come to me there, the God who said, I fill heaven and earth?

Who will grant it to me to find peace in you? Who will grant me this grace, that you should come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace you, my only good? What are you to me? Have mercy on me, so that I may tell. What indeed am I to you, that you should command me to love you, and grow angry with me if I do not, and threaten me with enormous woes? Is not the failure to love you woe enough in itself?

Alas for me! Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thank you Jesus, Grazie Gesù: Song of Medjugorje

The Fruit of Faithful Prayer of Two Mothers

The following comes from In God's Company 2:

In June of 2012, our pilgrimage group visited the “castle” in Medjugorje to hear the testimony of Patrick Latta. Patrick began his testimony by introducing himself as a businessman from Canada. He began, “I quit going to school when I was 16 to go wash cars in a car lot….10 years later I bought the company. I was a super salesman. I bought my own Honda dealership. I bought my own BMW dealership. We were the top gun in Western Canada. Nobody could outsell us.”

   Patrick’s wife, Nancy, popped in as he was speaking. “This is my wife, Nancy –  this is my treasure."  Nancy says the story he is telling is not their story, but the fruit of 48 years of prayer by Patrick’s mother – an orphan raised by sisters of St. Joseph – and the faithful prayer and perseverance of her own mother, who was praying for her for 30 years. “The story you are about to hear is a story of God's mercy and grace. We have never seen Our Lady. We have had no mystical experiences. We have no special gifts. This story is a result of the faithful prayer of two mothers.”

   Patrick continued his story. “I had nothing to do with God, church, marriage, sacraments, school. I had a horrible time in Catholic school." One day, when Patrick was on the football field, the head coach yelled in front of everyone, “Hey, Latta, you can't play because you don't pay to come here." Patrick did not know he did not pay. "That was the end of my school – that was the end in believing in God."

    "I have four children [from two previous marriages]. My children never saw the inside of the church – ever."  He used to say to his children, "This is god," and would hold up money. “When you have enough of this, you have all the god you want." Patrick lamented, “That's a father speaking to his children.” He said that one day his youngest son came home from school and announced he had been baptized Anglican. Patrick said to his son, “You're supposed to be Catholic." "Dad, you never took me inside a church." Patrick again lamented, “Wasn't I a great father? And that's how I lived – no God, no prayer, no church. But my business was fantastic, so I have a huge successful business and I don't need God. It was I, I, I …”

   After his second divorce, Patrick met Nancy. Within two months they were living together. “No God, no prayer, no church, no marriage, no sacrament – nothing – living in mortal sin. We lived together six years.”  One day, Nancy said that they should get married. Patrick agreed, and they got married the next day in a helicopter on top of a mountain. He hired a JP and asked the pilot to be the best man. He didn't even know his name. When he came home from work the next day, Nancy was crying. She said, "I don't feel married." She wanted to get married in a church. Patrick said, “Nancy, do you know how much that helicopter cost?" She said, “I don't care about your helicopter. We have to get married in a church." Patrick reminded her that he had two previous divorces.

   Nancy went to see the bishop, who had documentation on Patrick's annulment from his first marriage. Patrick did not even know the marriage was annulled! The second document said that Patrick’s second marriage was never valid. The next day Nancy went to a church called “Immaculate Heart of Mary” to ask the priest to marry them. The priest agreed, but said to Nancy, “You’re out of your mind to marry this guy in church. He'll never change. He's the worst case I've ever seen. You are not going to make a success of this marriage –  there's no chance." Patrick agreed to attend marriage preparation classes and he made many promises – go to Mass, Confession, etc. – but admits he is a “professional promiser” since he is a car dealer. They did get married in the church, but Patrick said it didn't mean anything, and he broke every promise he made. That's how they lived… until one day when Nancy's brother sent them a book of messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje.

   When they received the book, Patrick was not interested, so he handed the book to Nancy, but she gave it back to him and said, "Here, my pagan husband, you throw them away and it's on your conscience." The word “conscience” wouldn't let Patrick throw the book away. He opened it and looked for the shortest message in the book. It said, “I call you to conversion for the last time." Then something happened. The tears just started and they wouldn't stop. He asked Nancy, "Why didn't you tell me about these messages? Why didn't you tell me they were true?"  Patrick confessed, “I saw myself for the first time – I'm Catholic and lived in mortal sin for 30 years. And it came back to me in one second – boom! In one minute everything changed in my life.”  He warned, “The day you see yourself as you live on this earth and you are Catholic and you are living in mortal sin – it's the worst day of your life, because reality hits you so hard and it's the truth."  

   Patrick began to read the messages – they became his whole life. He and Nancy even traveled to Oregon to attend a conference about the messages. Patrick was very touched when a priest at the conference suggested that everyone consecrate their children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

   At this point in the talk, Patrick decided to do some audience participation. There was a group of high school boys there from Boston, so he chose three of them to role-play as his sons. He said to the first boy that the school called and said he was expelled for using drugs and possibly dealing drugs. Patrick said – as he held up some money – that the principal had told him that this was the problem. “Your kids have too much." Patrick said that his son, who had dreadlocks at the time, replied, “This is my life. Leave me alone." Then Patrick called over the boy who was to play another of his sons, and said this kid was a super rugby player, but had a drinking problem. He mentioned the time that this son could not find his yellow Barracuda in a parking lot because he was so drunk.

   Then Patrick called over a young woman from our group to play his 17 year-old daughter who wanted to get married. When she was divorced at age 19, Patrick gave her his car and his credit card and told her to go to California and find someone else. That's exactly what she did, and two years later she was divorced again.
   “Drugs, alcohol, divorce – a fourth kid I can't even talk about. His immorality is so off-the-wall. Why that lifestyle?” His son told him, “Because I never had a father.” Patrick looked at the young people who were playing his kids. “These are my four children that I never baptized. I never said a prayer with you from the day you were born. I never took you inside a church… You had everything money could buy. Your cars were $70,000.”

   Referring to the priest at the conference, Patrick said, “And the priest said to consecrate these kids to the Mother of God. Well, they’re the most helpless situation you could have with four children. These words ‘consecrate them to the Mother of God’ hit me so hard.” Patrick didn't know how to do the consecration. So he looked at the statue of Our Lady at the conference and said, "Blessed Mother, take my kids, and, Blessed Mother, You be the parent that I never was, because I'm a total failure.” 
  Patrick and Nancy spent two days at this conference and learned all about the messages. He said the number one message of Our Lady is to pray the Rosary, because when you do, you’ll see miracles in your family. The second message of Our Lady is to go to Mass – minimum of Sunday. Patrick started to say the Rosary and go to Mass.

   The third message Patrick said is the most difficult. Our Lady said She wants us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. Patrick looked up all the messages on fasting, and found that Our lady said, "When you pray and fast you can stop wars."  Patrick thought, “What war am I going to stop?”  Then the light went on – “I got a war on drugs, I got a war on alcohol, I got a war with divorces, I got a war on immorality you can't even talk about. My house is a war zone!”  He repeated, “Fasting stops wars." So they learned to fast every Wednesday and Friday. “When you fast you have no fear of the future.” Patrick admitted he had a hard time fasting. “It's the hardest message because we think fasting is for somebody else, but if you don't listen to the coach he can’t help you.”

   The next message is reading the Bible. They didn't even own a Bible, so Nancy had to buy one. Patrick said the fifth message is the big message of Medjugorje. “You can't start conversion without Confession.” Patrick had not been to Confession for 30 years and had lots to confess." You know what the priest did? He said, ‘I absolve you.’ I broke into tears. ‘I absolve you.’ Who can say that? Nobody has that power – only a priest. I'm shocked at the mercy of God and I'm shocked at the power the priest has in Confession. 30 years of mortal sin went down the drain in one Confession!”
   Speaking about the “castle” Patrick and Nancy built, Patrick said, “This is why this is a house of prayer for priests –  because the priest in Confession saved my life. Everything changed with that Confession.”  They have 300-400 priests a year come there, and also look after the religious, sisters, and seminarians and young men looking for vocations.

    Patrick went back to talking about his kids. He asked the youngest son if he’d like to pray a Rosary with them and he declined for months before he finally agreed. Today, 19 years later, that son is a Catholic, married, with two beautiful kids. He is a teacher at a Catholic high school, and one year he even took 52 kids from his school to Medjugorje.

   The second son went to Medjugorje once, and Patrick gave him a rosary. He went back to Canada and later called Patrick to tell him he quit drinking, quit rugby, and became a fireman.  Patrick said, “How is that possible?” And the son said, "The rosary you gave me in Medjugorje." Today he is married and has two beautiful kids. Patrick paraphrased, “Our Lady said if you do this (holding up the rosary), I'll show you miracles in your family.”

   For 10 years, Patrick did not hear from his daughter. In February of 2012, he got a phone call from her. She said she was in Canada and wanted to come to Medjugorje."Daddy, I want to start again. Daddy, I don't want to be separated from the family anymore."  At this point, she had been through three divorces.  She came for two weeks to Medjugorje. She got a healing of her problem with alcohol and went back to the University for a nursing degree. Her life completely changed. “The divorce is gone – the alcohol is gone – the drugs are gone – from someone who started to pray.”  Patrick asked for prayers for his oldest son who still lives an immoral lifestyle. Our Lady said that when you consecrate your kids to the Immaculate Heart, they will be saved. For 48 years, as Patrick's mother prayed, she saw nothing; but then he went home to Canada one time, and took his mother to Mass. She cried, "The black sheep is home; the prodigal son has come home!" 

   This year Patrick and Nancy will celebrate their 25th anniversary. Patrick held up his rosary as he recalled how the priest said their marriage would not work. Patrick sold his car dealerships, boat, house, cars, and everything to move to Medjugorje without even knowing where it was. Why? He quipped, “The Mother of God lives here and I want to be Her neighbor.” Patrick said that Our lady appeared 17 times on their property, since Marija lives next door. During an apparition, Marija consecrated their property to Our Lady and Her Son. Our Lady smiled and said, "I'm joyful that you consecrated this place to me. Those who come here I will bless and protect." Patrick beams, “A real message from the Mother of God to a guy who did everything wrong – 30 years of mortal sin. Can you imagine the mercy of God?”  Holding up a rosary, he concluded, “This is the answer to every problem. This is the answer to your marriage. This is the answer to your kids."

Saint of the day: Paul of the Cross

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

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

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

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

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

Hat tip to Catholic Fire on this one.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Veni Sancte Spiritus by Fr. Slavko Barbaric, OFM

The Holy Spirit: The Best Gift

More than ever we need the Holy Spirit in our lives!  The following comes from In God's Company 2:

"How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" -Luke 11:13

I received the Holy Spirit at my Baptism as an infant and at my Confirmation as a thirteen-year-old. As a young adult, I participated in a Life in the Spirit seminar and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience transformed my life. The Spirit opened my mind to understand the Bible (Lk 24:45). After receiving the Spirit in this new way, Scripture jumped off the page for me. God's Word became so real that it was as if I could see everything along with the original biblical authors. In the decades that followed, the Holy Spirit has given me gifts, such as prophecy and teaching, which help change others' lives. I praise and thank God, the Holy Spirit, for dwelling in me and in so many others in the Church!

Matthew's Gospel reads, "how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks Him!" (Mt 7:11) Luke, however, replaces "good things" with the "Holy Spirit" (Lk 11:13). The Holy Spirit also:
   * convicts us of our sins (Jn 16:8), fights against our flesh (Gal 5:17), and leads us to holiness, if we are docile to Him,
   * guides us to all truth (Jn 16:13),
   * overcomes sin (Gal 5:16) and fear (2 Tm 1:6-8),
   * leads us to pray (Rm 8:26), praise, and worship the Lord in power and awe,
   * brings unity with our families and the Church (Eph 4:3).

"Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22) and "do not stifle the Spirit" (1 Thes 5:19). "Since we live by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's lead" (Gal 5:25). Come, Holy Spirit!

 Holy Spirit, lead the Church to a new Pentecost.

 "For you who fear My name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays." -Mal 3:20

Today's Feast: North American Martyrs

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

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

For more information on these courageous men please click here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Home by Blake Shelton

Home - Blake Shelton(Offical Video) from Minh Anh on Vimeo.

Scott Hahn on The Cup of Salvation

(Chalice of Archbishop Fulton Sheen)
The following comes from Scott Hahn:

The sons of Zebedee hardly know what they’re asking in today’s Gospel. They are thinking in terms of how the Gentiles rule, of royal privileges and honors.
But the road to Christ’s kingdom is by way of His cross. To share in His glory, we must be willing to drink the cup that He drinks.
The cup is an Old Testament image for God’s judgment. The wicked would be made to drink this cup in punishment for their sins (see Psalm 75:9Jeremiah 25:1528Isaiah 51:17). But Jesus has come to drink this cup on behalf of all humanity. He has come to be baptized—which means plunged or immersed—into the sufferings we all deserve for our sins (compare Luke 12:50).
In this He will fulfill the task of Isaiah’s suffering servant, whom we read about in today’s First Reading.
Like Isaiah’s servant, the Son of Man will give His life as an offering for sin, as once Israel’s priests offered sacrifices for the sins of the people (see Leviticus 5:17-19).
Jesus is the heavenly high priest of all humanity, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Israel’s  high priests offered the blood of goats and calves in the temple sanctuary. But Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary with His own blood (see Hebrews 9:12).
And by bearing our guilt and offering His life to do the will of God, Jesus ransomed “the many”—paying the price to redeem humanity from spiritual slavery to sin and death. 
He has delivered us from death, as we rejoice in today’s Psalm.
We need to hold fast to our confession of faith, as today’s Epistle exhorts us. We must look upon our trials and sufferings as our portion of the cup He promised to those who believe in Him (see Colossians 1:24). We must remember that we have been baptized into His passion and death (see Romans 6:3).
In confidence, let us approach the altar today, the throne of grace, at which we drink the cup of His saving blood (see Mark 14:23-24).