Friday, February 28, 2020

A Healing Prayer

LORD, JESUS CHRIST, I AM DEEPLY SORRY FOR MY SINS. HAVE MERCY ON ME. In Your name, JESUS, I ask You for the grace to forgive myself. I ask your forgiveness for hurting others. I ask for the grace to forgive all those who have hurt me in this life, and especially the one person who has hurt me the most. I renounce forever Satan, ALL the evil spirits and all their works. I give you my entire self Lord JESUS, now and forever, you are my Lord, God, SAVIOR AND REDEEMER. Please heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, mind and spirit for my greater service in Your Kingdom. Allow me to lead other souls to You through my good example. JESUS I trust in you! Come Lord JESUS, cover me with Your most precious blood, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit, I praise You, I thank You, I glorify Your name, JESUS. I love You JESUS WITH MY WHOLE HEART, SOUL, MIND, BODY AND MY WHOLE BEING. O’ Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with Holy Raphael the Archangel and all the holy Angels and Saints, pray for us! Amen   

Hat tip to Ed at In God's Company 2

Monday, February 17, 2020

Mother Teresa's Description of Jesus


The prayer of Mother Teresa comes from here:


Jesus is the Word made Flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross.
Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass
For the sins of the world and mine.
Jesus is the Word – to be spoken.
Jesus is the Truth – to be told.
Jesus is the Way – to be walked.
Jesus is the Light – to be lit.
Jesus is the Life – to be lived.
Jesus is the Love – to be loved.
Jesus is the Joy – to be shared.
Jesus is the Sacrifice – to be offered.
Jesus is the Peace – to be given.
Jesus is the Bread of Life – to be eaten.
Jesus is the Hungry – to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty – to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked – to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless – to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick – to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely – to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted – to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper – to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar – to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard – to listen to him.
Jesus is the Retarded – to protect him.
Jesus is the Little One – to embrace him.
Jesus is the Blind – to lead him.
Jesus is the Dumb – to speak for him.
Jesus is the Crippled – to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug addict – to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute – to remove from danger and befriend.
Jesus is the Prisoner – to be visited.
Jesus is the Old – to be served.

To me –
Jesus is my God.
Jesus is my Spouse.
Jesus is my Life.
Jesus is my only Love.
Jesus is my All in All.
Jesus is my Everything.

Jesus, I love with my whole heart, with my whole being.  I have given Him all, even my sings, and he has espoused me to Himself in tenderness and love.  Now and for life I am the spouse of my Crucified Spouse. Amen.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Fr. Barron visits Lourdes: Mary, the Immaculate Conception


The following comes from Ellyn von Huben at the Word On Fire blog:

Today we celebrate Our Lady's appearance to a young peasant girl, Bernadette, in 1858 in Lourdes, France. Through a set of private revelations, Mary revealed herself as "the Immaculate Conception." What does this title mean, and what should we know about Our Lady of Lourdes? Ellyn von Huben explains.

1. The Story of St. Bernadette is Not Just for Girls

Bernadette is a perennial favorite when young ladies chose their confirmation names. And girls certainly do love watching the film version of “The Song of Bernadette”. (Winner of the very first Golden Globe award for best motion picture, by the way!) I wouldn’t say that watching this movie was the thing that led to my conversion…but it sure didn’t hurt!

Our Lady did not appear at Lourdes just to touch the hearts of tween girls throughout the ages. There is, indeed, much that speaks to the heart of the young girl. But anyone, of any age or gender can find in the story of St. Bernadette a story that will resonate truth within their hearts.

The appearance of Our Lady at Lourdes was not just for Bernadette – it could be heard by all; a sign for all pointing to Our Lady’s son, Jesus Christ.

2. This Great Saint was a Product of ‘Poor Catechesis’

Much is being discussed on Catholic internet sites regarding the state of modern catechesis and how it should be improved. St. Bernadette could be called a product of poor, minimal catechesis. But Bernadette started her faith life the best way possible – whether for a provincial child of the 1850s or a very modern, prosperous young person. She was the product of a strong “domestic Church”.

She had the minimal schooling of a poor girl of her time, compounded by missing lessons due to ill health and the fact that she was needed at home to help care for siblings. To the chagrin of the teaching Sister preparing her for her First Holy Communion, Bernadette was a technically abysmal Catechism student. But she received the most important preparation – that which can hardy be replicated in a classroom – being raised in a family whose greatest riches were their faith. There is profound understanding in this heart which would one day write, "I was nothing, and of this nothing God made something great. In Holy Communion I am heart to heart with Jesus. How sublime is my destiny."

It was the young Bernadette’s lack of schooling which made her testimony regarding the apparitions all the more believable. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been defined by Pope Pius IX just four years before Bernadette’s visions. The quote “I am the Immaculate Conception” coming from the lips of a young, rural girl possessing minimal scholarship had an indisputable veracity.

3. Belief in the Apparitions at Lourdes are not an Article of Faith for Catholics

The appearance of Our Lady to Bernadette is considered to be private revelation and adds nothing to the public deposit of faith – and so no Catholic is obligated to believe. The millions of believers, Catholic and non-Catholic, who visit Lourdes each year are, though, a testimony to the fact that those who do not believe in Our Lady’s appearance at Lourdes must be something of a minority.

4. “The Song of Bernadette”

A variety of authors wrote about St. Bernadette and the apparitions at Lourdes. But 20th century cultural popularity of St. Bernadette owes much to “The Song of Bernadette” and the efforts of its author. Franz Werfel, a Jewish German writer found himself in Lourdes while trying to escape to Portugal after France fell to the Nazis. Families who took in Werfel and his wife told them the story of Bernadette and her visions of Our Lady. Werfel vowed that if they should be able to escape, he would write the story of St. Bernadette. True to his promise, his first task when arriving in the United States was to write the beautiful work of historical fiction (which is more historical than fictional), The Song of Bernadette. An interesting bit of trivia: the structure of this bestseller is itself a reference to the holy rosary – five sections of ten chapters each.

5. Pope Benedict XVI

Lourdes has had a special place in the hearts of many popes in the past 156 years. Blessed Pope John Paul II made three pilgrimages to Lourdes. He also proclaimed February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, as World Day of the Sick.

Lourdes and St. Bernadette also figure prominently in the life of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He was born on St. Bernadette’s feast day of April 16 in 1927. In his Angelus address on the first Sunday of Lent in 2008 – the 150th anniversary of Our Lady’s first appearance at Lourdes – the Holy Father reminded us of its enduring significance , “The message that Our Lady continues to spread in Lourdes recalls the words that Jesus spoke at the very beginning of his public mission, which we hear several times during these days of Lent: 'Repent, and believe in the Gospel,' pray and do penance. Let us accept Mary's invitation which echoes Christ's and ask her to obtain for us that we may 'enter' Lent with faith, to live this season of grace with inner joy and generous commitment.”

Culminating his years as Pope, serving with “inner joy and generous commitment”, it was on February 11 of last year (2013) that he took the unprecedented (in modern times) step of announcing his stepping down from the papacy.

6. Lessons of Humility

Those who are looking for lessons in humility - and shouldn’t we all? - can find multiple examples in the story of St. Bernadette. From Bernadette and her humble, devout family, to the Church and civic officials, all the way to her teacher – who learned her lesson rather late – there is great food for contemplation in the stories of those characters who surrounded the young saint. Be they actual persons or fictionalized composites, they are all studies in growth in humility.

7. There is Nothing in the Water

The spring at Lourdes was uncovered by St. Bernadette at the command of Our Lady, who asked her to drink of the as-yet-unseen spring and wash in it. Since then, millions have imbibed and bathed in the water of Lourdes. Early on, some entrepreneurial sorts had hoped to find particular properties in the water which could turn Lourdes into a popular spa destination. But the water was found to be only pure and potable. Faith is the ‘secret’ ingredient. As Bernadette said, “One must have faith and pray; the water will have no virtue without faith.”

8. St. Bernadette Did Not Avail Herself of the Waters at Lourdes

Never in good health, St. Bernadette suffered greatly, and with silent good nature, in the final years of her life. She held fast to Our Lady’s promise that she wasn’t promised “happiness in this world, but in the next.”

When she was 22, she joined the Sisters of Charity of Nevers. She was content to be apart from public life, regarding herself as a tool, such as a broom, which had served its purpose and then “the broom placed behind the door once it has been used.” The teacher who had been harsh to her in her student years was to be her novice mistress and as harsh to the young sister as she had been to the student. It was not until this nun realized the sanctity with which Bernadette was bearing her final affliction of tuberculosis of the bone that she realized what a truly holy young woman she had been privileged to teach and guide. Despite her agony, Bernadette declined the opportunity to revisit Lourdes in search for a miraculous cure.

9. There is Independent Medical Evaluation

Pope Saint Pius X established the Lourdes Medical Bureau to investigate cases of medical miracles. This Medical Bureau is a medical institution and not under Church supervision. Over 7000 people have asked to have their cases declared as miraculous cures, yet fewer than 70 been signed off on by both the Church and the Lourdes Medical Bureau as being cures with no scientific explanation. Because this system for rigorous investigation was established early and openly, verified miracles from Lourdes are considered to be the most reliable and least controversial.

10. You, Too, Can Go to Lourdes

If you are suffering or merely curious, a pilgrimage to Lourdes may be just what you are looking for. Volunteers of all sorts, not only medical professionals, are needed to help in a variety of ways, including helping the sick prepare for their opportunity to bathe in the water of Lourdes. A week of time given in love brings its own miraculous gift to the hearts of those who spend time with the ‘malades’ on their pilgrimages. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Deepen Your Personal Relationship with Jesus

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:
The Lord calls us all to have a personal relationship with Him. This personal relationship is based on knowledge — God know­ing us and we knowing God. God already knows us; His knowl­edge is perfect. Despite our best attempts to ignore Him, God has always known us. But we weren’t born with this knowledge of God.
Even when we discover God through revelation, we might know about God but still might not know Him. In the Bible, to “know” someone is to engage in sexual intercourse with that person. When we speak of knowing God, and of God know­ing us, we are speaking about a different but similarly intimate relationship with Him.
Jesus tells His disciples:
Not every one who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.” (Matt. 7:21–23)
It is clear that those who will be accepted into heaven are those who know God, who have a personal relationship with Him. The question is: What does it mean to have a personal relationship with the Lord? It means that we let God be in charge of our lives, that we form a relationship with His Mystical Body, and that we get to know His Mother. It also demands that we seek a constant and perpetual conversion, serve others in love, and create disciples.
Let’s look at various ways to develop or deepen your personal relationship with the Lord: through prayer, letting God be in control of your life, being involved with the Church, growing in devotion to the Blessed Mother, and seeking spiritual direction.

Pray

Because prayer is personal, it is the most direct way of developing and maintaining a personal relationship with the Lord. The time we spend talking to our loved ones, and listening to their needs and concerns, allows our relationship with them to grow deeper. Likewise, when we grow in our relationship with God through prayer, we come to understand Him better and to understand His will for us.
A good prayer life requires practice, discipline, commitment, openness, honesty, and love. To get a good start on your prayer life, or even to add to it, look for a book of Catholic prayers, of which there are many kinds. Also, check out a breviary, which is a book of liturgical prayers. There are also several apps for your phone or tablet that contain many prayers, including the bre­viary. Make a place in your home, a room or a corner, for prayer.
In flight training, when one pilot hands the control over to the other, the receiver says, “My controls,” and the giver responds with, “Your controls” as he lets go of all controls, and again the receiving pilot responds with “I have full control.” When we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we aren’t even copilots, because He is always in control. When we trust God and give Him complete control of our lives — which we never really had much control over in the first place — God performs maneuvers and makeovers that we never thought possible. Moreover, He re­moves all boundaries that hold us down and frees our spirits to soar.
This is especially true in the case of sin. We cannot become free of sin and distress until we let God transform us. We let God transform us by participating in the sacraments, serving others, praying, and reading Scripture regularly.

A Relationship with the Church

A personal relationship with Jesus also means a personal rela­tionship with His Church. Recall the story of Saul on his way to Damascus to punish and persecute Christians.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:1–5)
Saul must have been confused. He persecuted Christians, this he knew, but the voice he heard was not one of the men or women he had directly persecuted. This voice was telling him that by persecuting Christ’s people, Saul was persecuting Christ Himself. Saul, who later became Paul, would soon realize that Jesus identifies directly with His people — not in a symbolic way, but in reality.
Because of this identity, the Second Vatican Council docu­ment Lumen Gentium rightly says:
God gathered together as one all those who in faith look upon Jesus as the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace, and established them as the Church that for each and all it may be the visible sacrament of this saving unity. (no. 9)
We see clearly that the Church is the most profound institu­tion in the world. Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God, and to make that happen, He established a Church and prom­ised to remain with her always (Matt. 28:20). He has given His Church authority (see Matt. 10:16; 28:19) and commissioned her to teach and to remind His people of everything He said (John 14:26; 16:13).
We are therefore called to have a relationship with Jesus and His Church. To have a good relationship with the Church, we should turn to her as a source of truth, participate in her sacraments, and obey her laws, for when we obey the Church, we obey Christ:
He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Secret to Living Life to the Full

The following comes from The Radical Life site:

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