Friday, November 30, 2012

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

"The Apostle is not content with merely proclaiming words, but involves his whole life in the great work of faith."  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 11/28/12 General Audience 

This is my desire, to honor You
Lord, with all my heart I worship You
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore is in You

Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I'm awake
Lord, have Your way in me

~Michael W. Smith  "Lord, I Give You My Heart"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Faith, "a source of profound joy"

“…the communication of the faith must always have a tone of joy. It is the joy of Easter, which is neither silent about nor hides the realities of pain, suffering, toil, difficulties, misunderstanding and death itself, but can offer criteria for interpreting everything from the perspective of Christian hope. The good life of the Gospel is precisely this new outlook, this ability to see every situation with the eyes of God. It is important to help all … understand that faith is not a burden but a source of profound joy, it is to perceive the action of God, recognizing the presence of good, that makes no noise, and provides valuable guidance for living well one’s own existence.” ~Pope Benedict XVI, 11/29/12 General Audience

“…these things I speak in the world , that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” ~John 17:13
Dear Jesus, teach me to evangelize as you did, to be a herald of joy as you were – offering the world the Father's enduring love and eternal life, the only true and everlasting joy that no one shall ever take from us (John 16:22). Amen!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"deciding to follow that King"

“We are all called to prolong the salvific work of God, converting to the Gospel, firmly deciding to follow that King who has not come to be served but to serve and to bear witness to the truth (cf. Mark 10:45; John 18:37).”  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 11/25/12 Angelus Message on the Solemnity of Christ the King 

“I turn to you, my own Jesus, King of happiness and eternal glory, and I embrace you with all the strength of my soul. I adore you with my whole heart. I choose you to be my King now and forever. By this inviolable act of fidelity I pay you irrevocable homage. I submit myself to your holy laws and ordinances.” ~St. Francis de Sales in Introduction to the Devout Life, Book 1, Chapter 18 

To the King of ages,
immortal, invisible,
the only God,
be honor and glory
for ever and ever!
~1 Timothy 1:17

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Come to the foot of the altar"

Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.  ~Hebrews 4:16 

Ave Maria!  Today, November 27, is the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  This medal was commissioned by the Blessed Mother, who appeared three times in 1830 to St. Catherine LabourĂ©, a 24-year-old novice with the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France.  Our Lady spoke to St. Catherine about the evil times in France and predicted many sorrows and tribulations to come.  She also told St. Catherine about the personal suffering she would experience because of the mission Our Lady was entrusting to her in asking that this medal be struck.  But St. Catherine was not to lose heart for, as Our Lady instructed her, she was simply to "Come to the foot of the altar.  Here graces will be shed on all who ask for them.  Graces will be shed especially on those who ask for them." 

It’s all about Jesus.  That’s the way it is with our Blessed Mother.  She always defers to her Beloved Son, she always leads us to Him and Him alone.  At the Traditional Latin Mass this morning, the Gospel for today’s lovely feast was the account of the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12).  The wine fails, so Mary brings this lack to her Son’s attention, then turns to the servants and instructs them, “Do whatever He tells you.” 

To respond to Mary’s invitation to “come to the foot of the altar” is to do whatever our Lord Jesus tells us.  It is to go to the only Son of the Father, through whom we are given all grace and truth (John 1:17).  We believe with the psalmist that “the Lord, is good, that His steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).  And we know that the Father will give us whatever we ask for in the name of His Son Jesus (John 15:16). 

And I will come to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and gladness.
Psalm 43:4

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Solemnity of Christ the King

"You say that I am king."  ~John 18:37 

Listen, everyone, Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised. Listen, all kings of the earth. I am no hindrance to your rule in this world, for "my kingdom is not of this world." 

Banish the groundless fear that filled Herod the Great on hearing that Christ was born. More cruel in his fear than in his anger, he put many children to death, so that Christ also would die. 

But "my kingdom is not of this world," says Christ. What further reassurance do you seek? Come to the kingdom not of this world. Be not enraged by fear, but come by faith. 

In a prophecy Christ also said: "He," that is, God the Father, "has made me king on Zion his holy mountain." But that Zion and that mountain are not of this world. 

What in fact is Christ’s kingdom? It is simply those who believe in him, those to whom he said: "You are not of this world, even as I am not of this world." He willed, nevertheless, that they should be in the world, which is why he prayed to the Father: "I ask you not to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one." 

So here also he did not say: "My kingdom is not in this world," but "is not of this world." And when he went on to prove this by declaring: "If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have fought to save me from being handed over to the Jews," he concluded by saying not “my kingdom is not here,” but "my kingdom is not from here." 

Indeed, his kingdom is here until the end of time, and until the harvest it will contain weeds. The harvest is the end of the world, when the reapers, who are the angels, will come "and gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin"; and this could not happen if his kingdom were not here. But even so, it is not from here, for it is in exile in the world. 

Christ says to his kingdom: "You are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." They were indeed of the world when they belonged to the prince of this world, before they became his kingdom. 

Though created by the true God, everyone born of the corrupt and accursed stock of Adam is of the world. On the other hand, everyone who is reborn in Christ becomes the kingdom which is no longer of the world. 

For so has God snatched us from the powers of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son: that kingdom of which he said: "My kingdom is not of this world; my kingly power does not come from here."  

~St. Augustine

King Jesus,
to whom we so rightfully belong,
you have redeemed us at the cost of infinite love and charity.
I acknowledge you as my sovereign. 
My Prince, who would not praise you
Who would not wonder at your goodness?
What empire was ever more justly won than yours,
since your only subjects are the captives you delivered,
the poor you have enriched,
the sorrowful you make happy,
and the slaves your mercy makes kings. 
~Jacques-BĂ©nigne Bossuet, 1627-1704

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pro Orantibus Day

Ave Maria!  Today is Pro Orantibus Day, which Bl. Pope John Paul II asked the church to observe on November 21, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Presentation in the Temple.  "Pro Orantibus" translates from the Latin as "Those who pray."  As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, today is "an especially appropriate opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of the numerous people in monasteries and hermitages who are totally dedicated to God in prayer, silence and concealment."  This unique way of life continues to flourish abundantly in our time.  It's value is inestimable, which the Holy Father explained and confirmed in the following Angelus message several years ago:

Some may wonder what meaning and value their presence could have in our time, when there are so many situations of poverty and neediness with which to cope.  

Why "enclose oneself" for ever between the walls of a monastery and thereby deprive others of the contribution of one's own skills and experience? How effective can the prayer of these cloistered Religious be for the solution of all the practical problems that continue to afflict humanity?  

Yet even today, often to the surprise of their friends and acquaintances, many people in fact frequently give up promising professional careers to embrace the austere rule of a cloistered monastery. What impels them to take such a demanding step other than the realization, as the Gospel teaches, that the Kingdom of heaven is "a treasure" for which it is truly worth giving up everything (cf. Mt 13: 44)?  

Indeed, these brothers and sisters of ours bear a silent witness to the fact that in the midst of the sometimes frenetic pace of daily events, the one support that never topples is God, the indestructible rock of faithfulness and love. "Everything passes, God never changes", the great spiritual master Teresa of Avila wrote in one of her famous texts.  

And in the face of the widespread need to get away from the daily routine of sprawling urban areas in search of places conducive to silence and meditation, monasteries of contemplative life offer themselves as "oases" in which human beings, pilgrims on earth, can draw more easily from the wellsprings of the Spirit and quench their thirst along the way.  

Thus, these apparently useless places are on the contrary indispensable, like the green "lungs" of a city: they do everyone good, even those who do not visit them and may not even know of their existence.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank the Lord, who in his Providence has desired male and female cloistered communities. May they have our spiritual and also our material support, so that they can carry out their mission to keep alive in the Church the ardent expectation of Christ's Second Coming. 

For this, let us invoke the intercession of Mary, whom we contemplate on the Memorial of her Presentation in the Temple as Mother and model of the Church, who welcomes in herself both vocations: to virginity and to marriage, to contemplative life and to active life.

A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
~Songs 4:12

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Rough Seas"

 Ave Maria!  Last month when sweet cat Queenie was slowly but surely declining, my dear sister Annie sent me this beautiful card.  The artist Rebekah Raye painted it, calling it "Rough Seas."  How appropriate!  Queenie was definitely traversing some very rough seas those days as her earthly life came to a close.  It was a bit rough for me, too, as I let her go after our 11 amazing years together.  I put this card on my prayer altar where I could see it often and be reminded of the sure refuge our Father unfailingly offers us in His steadfast love.

He will conceal you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge. ~Psalm 91:4

How precious is your mercy, O God!  The children of men seek shelter in the shadow of your wings.  ~Psalm 36:8

Protect me under the shadow of your wings.  ~Psalm 17:8

As Queenie came to me for comfort and strength throughout her life, particularly during her last few days, so do I turn to my Father, especially when I am weak and dismayed, confident that He will keep me safe as I take refuge in Him (Ps 16:1).

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; for you are my refuge.  ~Psalm 61:2

Monday, November 19, 2012

In Memoriam

Queenie, aka "My Girl"

Born:  August 15, 2001
Adopted:  December 3, 2001
Died:  November 15, 2012
Final Resting Place:  On the Property of Regina Caeli Catholic Church
"In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind."
~Job 12:10

"The Lord will provide..."

O my God, how happy should we be if we could accustom ourselves to make this reply to our hearts when they are anxious and troubled about anything:  "The Lord will provide," and after saying that, to have no more care, anxiety, or disturbance....  Great indeed is the confidence which God requires us to have in His paternal care and in His divine Providence; but why should we not have it, seeing that no one has ever been deceived in it?  No one ever trusts in God without reaping the fruits of his confidence. 

~from The Spiritual Conferences of St. Francis de Sales

Has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken?
Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the Lord;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble.
~Sirach 2:10-11
And my God will supply every need of yours
according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory
for ever and ever.  Amen.
~Philippians 4:19-20

Sunday, November 18, 2012

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

He shall gather his elect from the four winds.  ~Mark 13:27

All those who hold to true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and show proof of their faith by good works, guarding themselves from sins or cleansing themselves from their stains by confession and repentance; who practice the virtues opposed to those sins -- temperance, chastity, love, almsgiving, justice, and fair dealing -- all these, I say, will rise again to hear the king of heaven himself saying to them: "Come, my Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

So will they reign with Christ, receiving as their inheritance that heavenly kingdom which cannot be shaken, living for ever in the ineffable light that knows no evening and is interrupted by no night, having fellowship with all the saints who have lived from the beginning of time, and enjoying delights beyond description in Abraham’s embrace, where all pain has fled away, and all grief and groaning.

For just as there is a harvest for inanimate sheaves of wheat, so for the rational wheat which is the human race, there is a harvest that cuts people away from unbelief, and gathers into faith those who accept the proclamation of the good news.

The reapers of this harvest are the Lord’s apostles and their successors, and in the course of time the teachers of the Church. Of them the Lord said: "The reaper receives his wages, and gathers a crop for eternal life," for teachers who instruct others in piety will in their turn receive from God such recompense as befits those who gather the obedient into eternal life.

But there is yet another harvest: the transfer of each one of us by death from this present life into that which is to come. The reapers of this harvest are not the apostles but the angels, who have a greater responsibility than the apostles, because after the harvesting they sort out the good and separate them from the wicked like wheat from darnel. The good they send on to the kingdom of heaven, but the wicked they throw into hell fire.

As for us, who in this present age are God’s chosen people, a priestly race, the Church of the living God separated from all the impious and ungodly, may we be found separated from the darnel in the age to come as well, and united to those who are saved in Christ our Lord, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

~St. Gregory Palamas, 1296-1359

Sunday, November 11, 2012

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The poor widow has put more in than all who contributed.  ~Mark 12:43

"What have you," asks the Apostle, "that you have not received?" This means, beloved, that we should not be miserly, regarding possessions as our own, but should rather invest what has been entrusted to us.

We have been entrusted with the administration and use of temporal wealth for the common good, not with the everlasting ownership of private property.

If you accept the fact that ownership on earth is only for a time, you can earn eternal possessions in heaven.

Call to mind the widow who forgot herself in her concern for the poor, and, thinking only of the life to come, gave away all her means of subsistence, as the judge himself bears witness.

Others, he says, have given of their superfluous wealth; but she, possessed of only two small coins and more needy perhaps than many of the poor -- though in spiritual riches she surpassed all the wealthy -- she thought only of the world to come, and had such a longing for heavenly treasure that she gave away, all at once, whatever she had that was derived from the earth and destined to return there.

Let us then invest with the Lord what he has given us, for we have nothing that does not come from him: we are dependent upon him for our very existence.

And we ourselves particularly, who have a special and a greater debt, since God not only created us but purchased us as well -- what can we regard as our own when we do not possess even ourselves?

But let us rejoice that we have been bought at a great price, the price of the Lord’s own blood, and that because of this we are no longer worthless slaves.

For there is a freedom that is baser than slavery, namely, freedom from justice. Whoever has that kind of freedom is a slave of sin and a prisoner of death.

So let us give back to the Lord the gifts he has given us; let us give to him who receives in the person of every poor man or woman. Let us give gladly, I say, and great joy will be ours when we receive his promised reward.

St. Paulinus of Nola, 353/54-431

Enlarge my heart with love,
that I may learn to see how sweet it is
to love and to be consumed by love,
and to revel in love. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

St. Francis de Sales on loving one another

“This is the first commandment, and the second is similar to it.”  ~Matthew 22:38-39

Because God created us in his own image and likeness, he ordained that our love for one another should be in the image and likeness of the love we owe him, our God. He said: "You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: You must love your neighbor as yourself."

What is our reason for loving God? God himself is the reason we love him; we love him because he is the supreme and infinite goodness. What is our reason for loving ourselves? Surely because we are the image and likeness of God. And since all men and women possess this same dignity we love them as ourselves, that is, as holy and living images of the Godhead.

It is as such that we belong to God through a kinship so close and a dependence so lovable that he does not hesitate to call himself our Father, and to name us his children.

It is as such that we are capable of being united to him in the fruition of his sovereign goodness and joy. It is as such that we receive his grace and that our spirits are associated with his most Holy Spirit and rendered, in a sense, "sharers in the divine nature."

So it is then that the same charity produces together acts of the love of God and of our neighbor. As Jacob saw that the same ladder touching heaven and earth was used by the angels both for ascending and descending, so we can be sure that the same charity cherishes both God and our neighbor, raising us even to spiritual union with God, and bringing us back to loving companionship with our neighbors.

It must always be understood, however, that we love our neighbors for this reason, that they are made in the image and likeness of God, created to communicate in his goodness, share in his grace, and rejoice in his glory.

To have a Christian love for our neighbors is to love God in them, or them in God; it is to cherish God alone for his own sake, and his creatures for love of him.

When we look upon our neighbors, created in the image and likeness of God, should we not say to each other: "Look at these people he has made -- are they not like their maker?"

Should we not be drawn irresistibly toward them, embrace them, and be moved to tears for love of them? Should we not call down upon them a hundred blessings? And why? For love of them? No indeed, since we cannot be sure whether, of themselves, they are worthy of love or hate.

Then why? For love of God, who created them in his own image and likeness, and so capable of sharing in his goodness, grace, and glory; for love of God, I say, unto whom they exist, from whom they exist, through whom they exist, in whom they exist, for whom they exist, and whom they resemble in a very special manner.

This is why divine Love not only repeatedly commands us to love our neighbors, but also itself produces this love and pours it out into our hearts, since they bear its own image and likeness; for just as we are the image of God, so our holy love for one another is the true image of our heavenly love for God.

St. Francis de Sales, 1567-1622

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Go forth, Christian soul...

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints....

May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life....
May you see your Redeemer face to face.

~Prayer of Commendation for the Dying
from Order of Christian Funerals

Ave Maria!  What a beautiful and powerful prayer for our loved ones and for all the dying!  I like to pray it especially during this month of November when we remember in a special way all our deceased brothers and sisters.  This prayer can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under Article 12, "I Believe in Life Everlasting."  Later I will post the entire prayer.  Meanwhile, let us pray for each other, that one day we too will see our beloved Redeemer face to face and rejoice to live with Him forever. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

To love as God loves us...

If God’s love has sunk deep roots in a person, he is able to love even those who do not merit this love, just as God loves us. Fathers and mothers do not love their children only when they merit it: they love them always, even if, of course, they make them understand when they have made mistakes. From God we learn to will always and only the good and never evil. We learn to look upon others not only with our own eyes but with the gaze of God, which is the gaze of Jesus Christ. It is a look that comes from the heart and does not stop at the surface; it goes beyond appearances and succeeds in grasping the expectations of the other: of being listened to, of being gratuitously attended to; in a word, of being loved. But there is also the inverse path: opening myself to the other as he is, reaching out to him, making myself available, I open myself also to knowing God, to knowing that he exists and that he is good. Love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable and reciprocally related. Jesus did not invent either of them, but he revealed that they are, at bottom, a single commandment, and he did this not only with words, but above all with his witness: the very Person of Jesus and his whole mystery incarnate the unity of the love of God and neighbor, like the two lines of the cross, the vertical and the horizontal. In the Eucharist he grants us a twofold love, giving us himself, so that, nourished by this Bread, we love each other as he loved us.  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 11/4/12 Angelus

Dearly beloved,
let us love one another;
for love is of God,
and he who loves
is born of God
and knows God.
~1 John 4:7

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Death opens to life...

So death opens to life, to eternal life, which is not an infinite doubling of the present time but something completely new. Faith tells us that the true immortality to which we aspire is not an idea, a concept, but a relation of full communion with the living God: it is being in his hands, in his love, and becoming in him one with all our brothers and sisters that he has created and redeemed, with the whole of creation. Our hope, then, rests in God’s love which shines on the Cross of Christ and makes Jesus’ words to the good thief resound in our hearts: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This is life that has reached its fullness, life in God; it is a life that now we can only glimpse as one glimpses calm skies through the clouds.  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 11/3/12 Homily at Mass for the repose of the Cardinals and Bishops who have passed away this year

I am come that they may have life,
and may have it more abundantly.
~John 10:10

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Holy Father on the Ecclesial Nature of Faith

I cannot build my personal faith on a private conversation with Jesus, for faith is given to me by God through the community of believers, which is the Church.  It numbers me among the multitude of believers, in a communion which is not merely sociological but, rather, which is rooted in the eternal love of God, who in himself is the communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - who is Trinitarian Love.  Our faith is truly personal only if it is also communal.  It can only be my faith only if it lives and moves in the “we” of the Church, only if it is our faith, the common faith of the one Church.  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 10/31/12 General Audience
God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness.  ~Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, #9 

Dear Lord, how marvelous it is that You have brought us together as the Church!  With all my heart I thank You for this wonderful gift and great privilege!  Strengthen our communion with You and with each other and bring us to the fullness of charity (Eucharist Prayer II) as we journey together to that everlasting home which You have prepared for us, where we shall be with You forever (1 Thess 4:17).  Amen.

Friday, November 2, 2012


In Christ the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned,
that those saddened by the certainty of dying
might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come.
Indeed for your faithful, Lord,
life is changed not ended,
and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust,
an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.
~Preface I for the Dead from The Roman Missal

Thursday, November 1, 2012


At Fernald's Neck by Ann L. Krumrein

YOUR voice (the Church) speaks: 

Great God of my life, I will praise Thee on the three shores of Thy one light.
I will plunge with my song into the sea of Thy glory:
with rejoicing into the waves of Thy power. 

Golden God of thy stars, loud God of Thy storms, flaming
God of Thy fire-spewing mountains,
God of Thy streams and of thy seas, God of all beasts, God of all the cornfields and of wild roses,
I thank Thee for having awakened us, Lord, I thank Thee to the choirs of Thine angels. 

Be praised for all that lives. 

God of thy Son, great God of Thine eternal compassion, great God of thine erring humanity,
God of all them who suffer, God of all them who die,
brotherly God on our dark spoor: 

I thank Thee that Thou hast delivered us, I thank Thee to the choirs of thine angels. 

Be praised for our blessedness! 

God of Thine own Spirit, flooding in Thy depths from love to love,
Seething down into my soul,
Rushing through all my chambers, bringing fire to every heart,
Holy Creator of thy new earth:
I thank Thee that I may thank Thee, Lord, I thank Thee to the choirs of Thine angels. 

God of my psalms, God of my harps, God of my organs, and of my mighty music,
I will sing Thy praises on the three shores to Thy One Light.
I will plunge with my song into the sea of Thy glory:
with shouts of joy into the waves of Thy power. 

~"Te Deum" by Gertrude von le Fort