Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary, dear Holy Father!

Ave Maria!  Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  It is also the 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Pope Benedict XVI at the age of 24.  A 6/27/11 article from Zenit entitled "Joseph's Ratzinger's Happiest Day" reports that "As the universal Church relives that day on Wednesday, the Pope has not wished it to be a moment of personal exaltation. Rather, it has been designated a day to promote thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood and to ask him to call forth new vocations."  How typical of the Holy Father's utter selflessness!  So today "the whole Church is celebrating the day as a time of prayer for priests" even as we give special thanks for our beloved Holy Father and his priestly vocation and life.

This same article quotes from Memoirs of 1927-1977 by Pope Benedict, in which he recalls ""radiant summer day" of his ordination. 
"We should not be superstitious," he wrote, "but at the moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird -- perhaps a lark -- flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song. And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words, 'This is good; you are on the right way.'"
The fruits of our Holy Father's life and priestly ministry bear witness not only to his being "on the right way" but also to his generosity in responding to God's choice and his faithfulness in following His call.  How blessed we are by the Holy Father's presence in our lives and his papal leadership of our church!  May our dear Lord bless him richly and abundantly, today and always!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Holy Father on the Eucharist

"Without the Eucharist the Church simply would not exist. It is the Eucharist in fact that makes a human community a mystery of communion, able to bring God to the world and the world to God. The Holy Spirit, which transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, also transforms into members of the Body of Christ those who receive it with faith, so that the Church is truly the sacrament of the unity of men with God and of men with each other." ~Pope Benedict, Angelus of 6/26/11, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Ave Maria!  I should label this post "Wordless Tuesday" because I have no words to share as I reflect upon the Holy Father's Angelus message of Sunday past, especially this excerpt.  No words, only wonder, sheer wonder along with unabated joy at the magnificent gift of our Lord Jesus Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist. "Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.  O make us love Thee more and more!  O make us love Thee more and more!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. ~John 6:55

Ave Maria!  Usually on Sundays I post a reading from one of the early church fathers relating to the gospel of the day.  Here is a sermon by St. Augustine on yesterday's gospel for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. ~John 6:55

You see on God’s altar bread and a cup. That is what the evidence of your eyes tells you, but your faith requires you to believe that the bread is the body of Christ, the cup the blood of Christ. In these few words we can say perhaps all that faith demands.

Faith, however, seeks understanding; so you may now say to me: "You have told us what we have to believe, but explain it so that we can understand it, because it is quite possible for someone to think along these lines: We know from whom our Lord Jesus Christ took his flesh – it was from the Virgin Mary. As a baby, he was suckled, he was fed, he developed, he came to young man’s estate. He was slain on the cross, he was taken down from it, he was buried, he rose again on the third day. On the day of his own choosing, he ascended to heaven, taking his body with him; and it is from heaven that he will come to judge the living and the dead. But now that he is there, seated at the right hand of the Father, how can bread be his body? And the cup, or rather what is in the cup, how can that be his blood?"

These things, my friends, are called sacraments, because our eyes see in them one thing, our understanding another. Our eyes see the material form; our understanding, its spiritual effect.

If, then, you want to know what the body of Christ is, you must listen to what the Apostle tells the faithful: Now you are the body of Christ, and individually you are members of it.

If that is so, it is the sacrament of yourselves that is placed on the Lord’s altar, and it is the sacrament of yourselves that you receive.

You reply "Amen" to what you are, and thereby agree that such you are. You hear the words "The body of Christ" and you reply "Amen." Be, then, a member of Christ’s body, so that your "Amen" may accord with the truth.

Yes, but why all this in bread? Here let us not advance any ideas of our own, but listen to what the Apostle says over and over again when speaking of this sacrament: Because there is one loaf, we, though we are many, form one body.

Let your mind assimilate that and be glad, for there you will find unity, truth, piety, and love. He says, one loaf. And who is this one loaf? We, though we are many, form one body.

Now bear in mind that bread is not made of a single grain, but of many. Be, then, what you see, and receive what you are.

So much for what the Apostle says about the bread. As for the cup, what we have to believe is quite clear, although the Apostle does not mention it expressly.

Just as the unity of the faithful, which holy Scripture describes in the words: They were of one mind and heart in God, should be like the kneading together of many grains into one visible loaf, so with the wine.

Think how wine is made. Many grapes hang in a cluster, but their juice flows together into an indivisible liquid.

It was thus that Christ our Lord signified us, and his will that we should belong to him, when he hallowed the sacrament of our peace and unity on his altar.

Anyone, however, who receives this sacrament of unity and does not keep the bond of peace, does not receive it to his profit, but as a testimony against himself.

St. Augustine, 354-430 (Sermon 272: PL 38, 1246-1248)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Ave Maria!  Joyful greetings to one and all on this glorious solemnity of what used to be called "Corpus Christi."  Some of us are old enough to remember the Eucharistic processions that the Church would hold on this feast to honor our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and some churches throughout the world today still keep this lovely tradition.  Children would scatter flowers as they walked ahead of the priest who carried Our Lord's Sacred Body in the monstrance, just as the little girl in this image is delightedly doing.  With what gleeful abandon she throws high her offering, as if to say, "For You, my Lord -- all for You!"  She reminds me of the poet's verse:
"Gladly do I give my life to thee,
not solemnly, not grudgingly,
But I would take my life
and fling it at thy feet --
and sing and sing --
Happy to bring thee this small thing."

What a perfect response to our Beloved Jesus who, over and over again, gives us the wondrous gift of Himself, body and blood, soul and divinity, in the Holy Eucharist!  "Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.  O make us love Thee more and more!  O make us love Thee more and more!"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mary's Pilgrimage of Faith

The Virgin Mary herself, among all human creatures the closest to God, still had to walk day after day in a pilgrimage of faith (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 58), constantly guarding and meditating on in her heart the Word that God addressed to her through Holy Scripture and through the events of the life of her Son, in whom she recognized and welcomed the Lord's mysterious voice.

And so, this is the gift and duty for each one of listen to Christ, like Mary. To listen to him in his Word, contained in Sacred Scripture. To listen to him in the events of our lives, seeking to decipher in them the messages of Providence. Finally, to listen to him in our brothers and sisters, especially in the lowly and the poor, to whom Jesus himself demands our concrete love. To listen to Christ and obey his voice: this is the principle way, the only way, that leads to the fullness of joy and of love.

~Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 3/12/06

Dear Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, teach us to listen to your Son and to obey his voice that we, like you, may know the fullness of joy and of love.  Amen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Ant Work by Ann L. Krumrein

Ave Maria!  Here is another one of my sweet Annie's beautiful photos, taken in their Maine yard just a few days ago.  What a great image for today's Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist!  As the chosen forerunner of Our Lord, he was not the light but came to bear witness to the light, the true light that enlightens every man and woman (John 1:8-9).  John the Baptist knew his place in God's plan, and he reveled in it.  "You are my servant," God told him, "through whom I show my glory" (Isaiah 49:3).  John was happily content to reveal God's glory by preparing the way of Him whose sandals he was not worthy to unfasten (John 1:27).  Like the little ant humbly doing its work on the magnificent peony bud in the image above, John faithfully and selflessly carried out his God-given mission.  God's will!  It was enough for John to be the friend of the Bridegroom, to attend Him, waiting and listening for Him, and rejoicing greatly to hear His voice (John 3:29).  "This joy is mine," John professed, "and it has been made full!" (John 3:29)  So great and complete was his gladness that John freely gave his entire being over to the Beloved Bridegroom, declaring in total self-surrender: "He must become greater, I must become less." (John 3:30)

Dear St. John the Baptist, pray for us to do God's will as you did, with humility, detachment and joy.  Amen.  Alleluia!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The wonders of creation!

For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother's womb.  I thank you for the wonder of my being, for the wonders of all your creation.  Already you knew my soul, my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret and moulded in the depths of the earth. 

~Psalm 139:13-15

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Noble Things

Enter ye in at the strait gate...because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way... ~Matthew 7:13-14

If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvellous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?

God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus; He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not practised. The crisis will reveal whether we have been practising or not. If we obey the Spirit of God and practise in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.

Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many "sons" unto glory, and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. God's grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milk sops. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.

"All Noble Things are Difficult" from My Utmost for My Highest by Oswald Chambers

+   +   +
Ave Maria!  Googling for an image is an adventure of sorts.  I never know what to expect.  Whatever the search results, I am invariably moved, inspired, enlightened, amused, stretched, and, yes, sometimes revolted because, as we all too sadly know, filth creeps in anywhere and everywhere, even among the good, innocent, beautiful and noble.

Today's find of the above cartoon sure did tickle my funny bone.  It also made me think about what I need to get rid of before I can fit through that narrow gate:  my many sins, faults, and bad habits, whether large or small -- all those "dear imperfections" as St. Francis de Sales calls them.  We can always count on them being there, he assures us, for "Our imperfections will accompany us to the grave."  How dear they are because they make us totally dependent upon our loving Father, whose goodness and mercy endure forever! As I continue to do everything possible "to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things," I find strength and joy in my true nobility -- being my Father's child, happily confident of His love so graciously given to us in His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Father, I adore You,
lay my life before You,
how I love You!*

*With special thanks to my sweet Annie, who taught me this lovely hymn so many years ago!  I sing it every morning when I enter our beautiful Adoration chapel in my parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wisdom according to St. John of the Cross

Wisdom enters through love, silence, and mortification. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others. ~St. John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love, #109

In the secret of my heart, teach me wisdom.  ~Psalm 50:8

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Come, let us worship the true God:
One in Trinity, Trinity in One.

God sent his Son to save the world through him. ~John 3:17

To speak of the Godhead is, I know, like crossing the ocean on a raft, or like flying to the stars with wings of narrow span. Even heavenly beings are unable to speak of God’s decrees or of his government of the world.

But enlighten my mind and loosen my tongue, Spirit of God, and I will sound aloud the trumpet of truth, so that all who are united to God may rejoice with their whole heart.

There is one eternal God, uncaused and uncircumscribed by any being existing before him or yet to be. He is infinite, and all time is in his hands. He is the mighty Father of one mighty and noble Son. In no way does the birth of this Son resemble human birth, for God is spirit.

The Word of God is another divine Person, but not another Godhead. He is the living seal of the Father, the only son of the only God. He is equal to the Father, so that although the Father always remains wholly the Father, the Son is the creator and ruler of the world and is the Father’s power and wisdom.

Let us praise the Son first of all, venerating the blood that expiated our sins. He lost nothing of his divinity when he saved me, when like a good physician he stooped to my festering wounds.

He was a mortal man, but he was also God. He was of the race of David, but Adam’s creator. He who has no body clothed himself with flesh. He had a mother, but she was a virgin.

He who is without bounds bound himself with the cords of our humanity.

He was victim and high priest—yet he was God. He offered up his blood and cleansed the whole world. He was lifted up on the cross, but it was sin that was nailed to it. He became as one among the dead, but he rose from the dead, raising to life also many who had died before him.

On the one hand, there was the poverty of his humanity; on the other, the riches of his divinity. Do not let what is human in the Son permit you wrongfully to detract from what is divine. For the sake of the divine, hold in the greatest honor the humanity which the immortal Son took upon himself for love of you.

My soul, why do you hold back? Sing praise to the Holy Spirit as well, lest your words tear asunder what is not separated by nature. Let us tremble before the great Spirit who also is God, through whom we have come to know God, who transforms us into God.

He is the omnipotent bestower of diverse gifts and the giver of life both in heaven and on earth. He is the divine strength, proceeding from the Father and subject to no power. He is not the Son, for there is only one Son, but he shares equally in the glory of the Godhead.

In the one God are three pulsations that move the world. Through them I became a new and different person when I came out of the font, where my death was buried, into the light—a man restored to life from the dead. If God cleansed me so completely, then I must worship him with my whole being.

~St. Gregory Nazianzen, 329-389

Friday, June 17, 2011

The joy of the spirit is no cheap joy...

For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.  ~Hebrews 12:2

The joy of the spirit is no cheap joy. It has scars on it -- radiant scars! It is joy won out of the heart of pain. Those who know it have found one of life's deepest and most transforming secrets; the transmuting of pain into a paean. Sorrow becomes not something to escape; we can make it sing. We can set our tears to music, and no music is so exquisite, so compelling. The Christians learned immediately and at once the truth which the philosopher Royce puts in these words: "Such ills we remove only as we assimilate them, take them up into the plan of our lives, give them meaning, set them in their place in the whole." When their heartstrings were stretched upon some cross of pain and the winds of persecution blew through them, then from this human aeolian harp men heard the very music of God. They did not bear pain, they used it.  ~from Springs in the Valley by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and girded me with joy.  So my soul sings psalms to you unceasingly.  O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever.  ~Psalm 29:12-13

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thy will be done!

Ave Maria!  This week in the Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, the second readings are from the Treatise on the Lord's Prayer by St. Cyprian.  This bishop and martyr is often remembered for having said that "You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother." In yesterday's reading from this particular treatise, St. Cyprian spells out clearly and concisely what it means for us, the sons and daughters of our Father, to do God's will.  And we must do what we pray for.  It is not enough for me simply to pray "Thy will be done."  I must exert myself mightily in every way possible to carry out God's will here and now, confident that whatever my Father asks of me He gives me the grace to do.  Otherwise I become one of those babbling pagans that our Lord speaks of in today's gospel (Mt 6:7-15) when he teaches his followers to pray "Our Father..."

"Now that is the will of God which Christ both did and taught.

Humility in conversation;

steadfastness in faith;

modesty in words;

justice in deeds;

mercifulness in works;

discipline in morals;

to be unable to do a wrong, and to be able to bear a wrong when done;

to keep peace with the brethren;

to love God with all one’s heart;

to love Him in that He is a Father;

to fear Him in that He is God;

to prefer nothing whatever to Christ, because He did not prefer anything to us;

to adhere inseparably to His love;

to stand by His cross bravely and faithfully;

when there is any contest on behalf of His name and honour, to exhibit in discourse that constancy wherewith we make confession; in torture, that confidence wherewith we do battle; in death, that patience whereby we are crowned;

—this is to desire to be fellow-heirs with Christ;

this is to do the commandment of God;

this is to fulfil the will of the Father."

~St. Cyprian, Treatise IV, On the Lord's Prayer

Dear Jesus, teach me to pray as You prayed to the Father.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thou has put on praise and beauty

Lupine by Ann L. Krumrein

For the world is not painted or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bless the Lord, O my soul: O Lord my God, thou art exceedingly great. Thou hast put on praise and beauty. ~Psalm 104:1 (Douay-Rheims translation)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In order that I may love You...

Give me a thousand hearts that I may love You; but even those are not enough, O Supreme Beauty.  In order that I may love You, give me Your Sacred Heart itself.  ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Solemnity of Pentecost

As the Father sent me, so I send you: Receive the Holy Spirit.  ~John 20:21

The happy day has dawned for us on which Holy Church makes her first radiant appearance to the eyes of faith and sets the hearts of believers on fire. It is the day on which we celebrate the sending of the Holy Spirit by our Lord Jesus Christ, after he had risen from the dead and ascended into glory.

In the gospel it is written: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water shall flow from his heart.

The Evangelist explains these words by adding: Jesus said this about the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive. For the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Now the glorification of Jesus took place when he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, but all was not yet accomplished. The Holy Spirit still had to be given; the one who made the promise had to send him.

This is precisely what occurred at Pentecost.

After being in the company of his disciples for the forty days following his resurrection, the Lord ascended into heaven, and on the fiftieth day—the day we are now celebrating—he sent the Holy Spirit. The account is given in Scripture:

Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and there appeared to them tongues like fire which separated and came to rest on each one of them.

And they began to speak in other tongues, as the Holy Spirit gave them power of utterance.

That wind cleansed the disciples’ hearts, blowing away fleshly thoughts like so much chaff. The fire burnt up their unregenerate desires as if they were straw.

The tongues in which they spoke as the Holy Spirit filled them were a foreshadowing of the Church’s preaching of the Gospel in the tongues of all nations.

After the flood, in pride and defiance of the Lord, an impious generation erected a high tower and so brought about the division of the human race into many language groups, each with its own peculiar speech which was unintelligible to the rest of the world.

At Pentecost, by contrast, the humble piety of believers brought all these diverse languages into the unity of the Church. What discord had scattered, love was to gather together.

Like the limbs of a single body, the separated members of the human race would be restored to unity by being joined to Christ, their common head, and welded into the oneness of a holy body by the fire of love.

Anyone therefore who rejects the gift of peace and withdraws from the fellowship of this unity cuts himself off from the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So then, my fellow members of Christ’s body, you are the fruits of unity and the children of peace. Keep this day with joy, celebrate it in freedom of spirit, for in you is fulfilled what was foreshadowed in those days when the Holy Spirit came.

At that time whoever received the Holy Spirit spoke in many languages, individual though he was. Now in the same way unity itself speaks through all nations in every tongue.

If you yourselves are established in that unity you have the Holy Spirit among you, and nothing can separate you from the Church of Christ which speaks in the language of every nation of the world.

~St. Augustine, 354-430

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ascensiontide, days of confidence

Ave Maria! These days of Ascensiontide are also ones of what Bl. Columba Marmion describes as "unshakeable confidence." In his marvelous book Christ in His Mysteries, he explains that "Above all, that confidence is based on the all-powerful standing Christ has with His Father, not only as invincible King inaugurating His triumph, but as Supreme High Priest interceding for us after having offered to His Father an oblation of infinite value."

Invincible King! The One who died upon on the cross could never be overcome by sin and death. With all-conquering love, He speaks to us, "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld" (Rev 1:17-18). The King of Love on Calvary is now and forever the great king over all the earth (Ps 47:2). He has established his throne in heaven. and his kingdom rules over all (Ps 103:19). How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures through all generations (Dan 3:100). The Lord of Hosts! The King of Glory! Who has "redeemed us at the cost of infinite love and charity" (Fr. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet) and "has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father" (Rev 1:6)! In Jesus our King, who lives and reigns for ever and ever, our confidence is secure.

But wait, there is more! Our King is also our Supreme High Priest! He who offered the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26) now lives forever to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25), appearing in the presence of God on our behalf (Heb 9:24). Bl. Columba says that Christ, "High Priest who is always heard, repeats for us His priestly prayer at the Last Supper": "Father, I pray for them… They are in the world… Guard those you have given me… I pray for them, that they may have my joy made full in themselves… Father, I will that where I am, they also whom you have given me may be with me; so that they may behold my glory, which you have given me…so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (see Jn 17). Our confidence is founded upon the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, whose offering "has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated" (Heb 10:14). "Souls of little faith, what is there for you to fear?" asks Bl. Columba. "What can you not hope for? Jesus prays for us, always!" He adds, "He is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well-pleased. How can he not be heard after having, by His Sacrifice, manifested such love to His Father?"

The Lord is our King and High Priest! What absolute confidence is ours! And so our hearts rejoice, our souls are glad (Ps 16:9). Dear ones, with confidence and joy, let us always sing:  Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever! Amen! Alleluia!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ascensiontide, days of joy

Ave Maria!  These days of Ascensiontide are such happy ones!  Ours is the joy of the apostles who, after their Lord and Master ascended into heaven, "returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:53).  We, like them, so blessed with the gift of faith, "are convinced of a new presence of Jesus," certain that he is now present "in a new and powerful way," as Pope Benedict XVI writes in Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week.  "'Ascension' does not mean departure into a remote region of the cosmos but, rather, the continuing closeness that the disciples experience so strongly that it becomes a source of lasting joy...  The departing Jesus does not make his way to some distant star.  He enters into communion of power and life with the living God, into God's dominion over space.  Hence he has not 'gone away,' but now and forever by God's own power he is present with us and for us."

God is with and for us!  What deeper joy could we have on earth and in heaven!  And heaven is so much more than we realize!  It is not, the Holy Father wrote years ago in his book Dogma and Preaching, "a place beyond the stars, but something much greater, something that requires far more audacity to assert: Heaven means that man now has a place in God."  Our place in God is Christ our Lord, "the man who is in God and eternally one with God [and] at the same God's abiding openness to all human beings. Thus Jesus himself is what we call 'heaven;' heaven is not a place but a person, the person of him in whom God and man are forever and inseparably one. And we go to heaven and enter into heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him. In this sense, 'ascension into heaven' can be something that takes place in our everyday lives."

Jesus, the closeness of the Father, the very presence of the Father, invites us this day -- this very moment! -- to ascend into heaven.  Oh, let us rise with Him that our joy, so full in Him, may spring forth for the life and salvation of all!  Alleluia!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thanks be to God!

Tomatoes by Ann L. Krumrein
 For the fruit of all creation, thanks be to God...
For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God...
For the wonders that astound us,
for the truths that still confound us,
most of all that love has found us,
thanks be to God.
Fred Pratt Green

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Holy Father speaking to Croatian youth

Then you shall know that I am the Lord, and those who hope in me shall never be disappointed. Isaiah 49:23

Jesus speaks to you today, through the Gospel and his Holy Spirit. He is your contemporary! He seeks you even before you seek him! While fully respecting your freedom, he approaches each one of you and offers himself as the authentic and decisive response to the longing deep within your hearts, to your desire for a life worth living. Let him take you by the hand! Let him become more and more your friend and companion along life's journey. Put your trust in him and he will never disappoint you! “Rejoice in the Lord always!” May his joy, the joy of true love, be your strength.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Address at Prayer Vigil with Croatian Youth, 6/4/11

Thank you, dear Lord, for always being our changeless friend and our faithful companion.  Amen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good cheer!

In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33

Be merry, really merry. The life of a true Christian should be a perpetual jubilee, a prelude to the festivals of eternity. ~St. Theophane Venard

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice,
Him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.
"Old One Hundredth"

Lord of all joy,
pour Your good cheer into us
and keep us merry in Your love!
Amen!  Alleuia!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Ascension of Our Lord

Now is the Son of man glorified,
and God is glorified in him.
~John 13:31

Yes, let us rejoice! Those who love Jesus experience a deep and intense joy in contemplating Him in the mystery of His ascension, in thanking the Father for having given such glory to His Son, and in felicitating Jesus at His being the object of it.

Let us rejoice, as well, that this triumph and glorification of Jesus is ours also.

"I ascend to my Father who is also your Father, to my God who is also your God" (John 20:17). Jesus simply precedes us: He does not separate Himself from us, He does not separate us from Himself. His entering into His glorious kingdom is so as to prepare a place for us there; "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). He promises to return one day: "I am coming again, and I will take you to myself; that where I am, there also you may be" (John 14:3). And so we are already, by right, in the glory and felicity of Christ Jesus; we shall be there one day in reality. Has He not asked this of His Father? "Father, I will that where I am, they also whom you have given me may be with me" (John 17:24). What power there is in that prayer, and what sweetness in that promise!

Let our hearts be given wholly to this joy, this intimate and altogether spiritual joy. Nothing dilates our souls so much as this feeling, nothing makes us go more generously forward along the running-track of obedience to the Lord's precepts: "I have run the way of your commandments, when you enlarged my heart" (Psalm 118:32). During these holy days of Ascensiontide, let us repeat often to Christ Jesus the ardent aspirations of the hymn of the Feast: "Be our joy, O you who will one day be our reward; and may all our glory dwell in you, forever and ever" (Hymn of Vespers and Lauds, Monastic Breviary).

~Bl. Columba Marmion in Christ in His Mysteries

You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.  (Psalm 16:11)
O Lord, my God, for ever will I sing your praise!
Amen!  Alleluia!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Monstrance of the Body of Christ

The Church commemorates Mary’s Visitation to St. Elizabeth on the last day of May. Our gaze pauses on the Blessed Virgin, wondrous Ark of the Covenant, who brought into the world Jesus Christ, the new and eternal Covenant between God and humanity. She is presented to the eyes of believers as a wonderful monstrance of the Body of Christ, conceived in her by the power of the Holy Spirit...  ~Bl. John Paul the Great

O Mary, my mother, I want to be a monstrance of Jesus, just as you were.  Please show me how.  Amen.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Lord, one more day to love you! ~Bl. Charles de Foucauld

You know, O my God, that I have but today on this Earth to love You. ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Thank You, dear Jesus, for the abounding joy of this splendid new day!  Help me to live every moment of it for You with as much love as possible.  And when I fail, let me hurry back to Your great and holy Sacred Heart, so full of goodness and mercy.  Amen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, continued...

Meditating today on Mary's Visitation, we are impelled to reflect on [her] courage of the faith. She whom Elizabeth received in her home is the Virgin who "believed" in the Angel's annunciation and responded with faith, accepting with courage the plan of God for her life and thus receiving, in herself, the Eternal Word of the Most High. As my Blessed Predecessor pointed out, in the encyclical "Redemptoris Mater," through the faith that Mary pronounced with her "fiat," "she abandoned herself to God without reservations and 'consecrated herself totally as the Lord's handmaid, in the person and the work of her Son'" (No. 13; cf. "Lumen Gentium" No. 56). Because of this, in her greeting Elizabeth exclaims: "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Luke 1:45).

Mary truly believed that "with God nothing will be impossible" (v. 37) and, firm in this confidence, she allowed herself to be led by the Holy Spirit in the daily obedience of his plans. How can we not desire to have the same confident abandonment in our life? How can we oppose this happiness born from a profound and intimate familiarity with Jesus? Because of this, addressing ourselves to her "full of grace," we pray that she will obtain for us also, from Divine Providence, the ability to say every day our "yes" to God's plans with the same humble and sincere faith with which she pronounced hers. May she who, receiving in herself the Word of God, abandoned herself to him without reservations, lead us to a more generous and unconditional response to his plans, even when we are called to embrace the cross.

~Pope Benedict XVI, 5/31/11 Meditation at Conclusion of Marian Month

Dear Mary, joyful Handmaid of the Lord, pray for me to grow in confident faith in and generous abandonment to all that your Beloved Son Jesus wills for me.  Through His grace and with your help, may I make your fiat my own.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday No. 3

Bleeding Hearts by Ann L. Krumrein

Holy Father's Intentions for June 2011

General Intention: That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses to the caring and merciful love of God.

Mission Intention: That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God.

~ from the Apostleship of Prayer