Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Rosary Secret

"To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ."  ~Blessed John Paul II

Ave Maria!  On this last day of the month of the Holy Rosary, I share with you a delightful article written by one of the Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ.  Entitled "I’ve Got a (Rosary) Secret!," Sister's insights are helpful and reassuring for all of us, whether we've been praying the rosary for umpteen years or have just begun to incorporate it into our daily lives.  For some people, or at some times, the rosary is easy to pray.  For other people, or at other times, it's a challenge.  It doesn't really matter because it's not about us.  Like Mary herself, Queen of the Rosary, it's all about our Lord Jesus, her Beloved Son. 

Blessed John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae," affirmed once again that the rosary is centered on Christ:  "The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium."  He quoted Pope Paul VI, who in his Apostolic Exhortation "Marialis Cultus," referred to the rosary as "the compendium of the entire Gospel."  Pope Paul VI had been quoting from a letter Pius XII had written to the Archbishop of Manila in 1946.  A compendium is, of course, a short but complete summary, and the rosary contains the major events of Our Lord's life as they relate to our salvation and sanctification.  Many years ago, St. Thomas Aquinas said that the mysteries of the rosary sum up our faith.  When we pray the rosary attentively and devoutly, therefore, we draw closer to Jesus through Mary and enter more deeply into the mysteries of His sacred life and our precious faith. 

Ave, ave, ave Maria!  Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

St. Raphael the Archangel

"Praise God and give thanks to him in the presence of all the living for what he has done for you.  It is good to praise God and to exalt his name, worthily declaring the works of God.  Do not be slow to give him thanks.  It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God.  Do good, and evil will not overtake you."  ~Tobit 12:6-7

Ave Maria!  Today on the calendar for the Traditional Latin Mass is the feast of St. Raphael the Archangel.  In the book of Tobit, St. Raphael speaks the above words to Tobit and his son Tobias.  What excellent advice for each one of us every day of our lives, especially the reminder not to be slow in thanking God!  Cultivating an attentive awareness of God's infinite love and mercy helps greatly to quicken my heart in offering Him a continual sacrifice of praise.  Today I will "ponder anew what the Almighty can do" and hasten to rejoice in His goodness to us.  Deo gratias!

"Come and see the works of God;
awesome his deeds among the children of men...
Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
To him I cried aloud,
with exaltation ready on my tongue."
~Psalm 66:5, 16-16

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The word of God is meant to be heard, and hearing requires silence....  To have ears to hear requires grace, for God’s word can be heard only by him whose ears God has opened. He does this when He pleases, and the prayer for truth is directed at that divine pleasure. But it also requires something that we ourselves desire and are capable of: being inwardly “present”; listening from the vital core of our being; unfolding ourselves to that which comes from beyond, to the sacred word. All this is possible only when we are inwardly still. In stillness alone can we really hear.  ~Msgr. Romano Guardini, Meditations Before Mass

The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh...  Song of Songs 2:8

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

To know the Lord...

"If we are to know the Lord, we must go to him. Listen to him in silence before the tabernacle and approach him in the Sacraments."  ~Pope Francis, 10/21/2013 Tweet

One thing I have asked of the Lord,
this will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life.
That I may see the delight of the Lord,
and may visit his temple. 
~Psalm 27:4

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Plan for Life

Always rejoice.  Pray without ceasing.  In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.  ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Your life ought to be as one long prayer that God's Spirit may work through all your thinking and acting to bless your neighbor."  ~Peter Reisch, trans. from German by Br. David Steindl-Rast

Dear Lord, teach us to pray and never lose heart.  Amen.  ~Luke 18:1

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Feastday of St. Teresa of Avila

"Remember that there must be someone to cook the meals and count yourself happy in being able to serve like Martha. Reflect that true humility consists to a great extent in being ready for what the Lord desires to do with you and happy that He should do it, and in always considering yourself unworthy to be called His servants. If contemplation and mental and vocal prayer and tending the sick and serving in the house and working at even the lowliest tasks are of service to the Guest who comes to stay with us and to eat and take His recreation with us, what should it matter to us if we do one of these things rather than another? I do not mean that it is for us to say what we shall do, but that we must do our best at everything, for the choice is not ours but the Lord's."  ~St. Teresa of Avila

Dear Lord,
whatever Your choice for me today,
I will strive to do my very best,
happy to serve You, our abiding Guest.

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Everything is his gift."

Take Mary. After the Annunciation, her first act is one of charity towards her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth. Her first words are: “My soul magnifies the Lord”, in other words, a song of praise and thanksgiving to God not only for what he did for her, but for what he had done throughout the history of salvation. Everything is his gift. If we can realize that everything is God’s gift, how happy will our hearts be! Everything is his gift. He is our strength! Saying “thank you” is such an easy thing, and yet so hard! How often do we say “thank you” to one another in our families? These are essential words for our life in common. “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”. If families can say these three things, they will be fine. “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”. How often do we say “thank you” in our families? How often do we say “thank you” to those who help us, those close to us, those at our side throughout life? All too often we take everything for granted! This happens with God too. It is easy to approach the Lord to ask for something, but to go and thank him: “Well, I don’t need to”.

...let us invoke Mary’s intercession. May she help us to be open to God’s surprises, to be faithful to him each and every day, and to praise and thank him, for he is our strength. Amen.

~Pope Francis, 10/13/13 Homily
Dear Mary, help me to see everything as God's gift.  With you and like you, may I sing to the Lord as long as I live (Ps 104:33).  Amen!  Alleluia!

Friday, October 11, 2013

"150 Motives Impelling Us to Say the Rosary"

Ave Maria!  Among the many writings of St. Louis de Montfort is his little but packed book entitled Methods for Saying the Rosary, wherein he gives us 150 motives to pray the rosary.  Listed below are the ones I find particularly compelling.

God is the author of the prayers of which it is composed and of the mysteries which it contains.

The Rosary is a mystical summary of all the most beautiful prayers of the Church.

The Creed is the summary of the gospel.

The Our Father contains a summary of all we must ask of God and of all our duties towards God.

The Hail Mary is the new song of the New Testament.

The Rosary is the tree of life which bears marvelous fruits all the year round.

The Rosary sets prisoners free, heals the incurable, enriches the poor, supports the weak, consoles the afflicted and the dying, and makes good people better.

The last motive sums up well my experience in praying the rosary.  It's not the rosary as such that works these wonders, of course.  Rather, it is Jesus-living-in-Mary who does these great things for us, over and over again -- and we are glad indeed (Ps 126:3).  Yes, "It is the Lord who forgives all your sins, who heals every one of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with mercy and compassion, who fills your life with good things, renewing your youth like an eagle's" (Ps 103:3-5).  Every bead of the rosary thus becomes both petition and praise as I go "from strength to strength" (Ps 84:8) with Him who gives us "all grace and glory" (Ps 84:11).

Hail Mary, full of grace!  Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Let us ask the Lord to make us more catholic..."

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  ~The Nicene Creed

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

In the Creed, we profess that the Church is “catholic”; in other words, she is universal. We can understand this catholicity in three ways.

First, the Church is catholic because she proclaims the apostolic faith in its entirety; she is the place where we meet Christ in his sacraments and receive the spiritual gifts needed to grow in holiness together with our brothers and sisters.

The Church is also catholic because her communion embraces the whole human race, and she is sent to bring to the entire world the joy of salvation and the truth of the Gospel.

Finally, the Church is catholic because she reconciles the wonderful diversity of God’s gifts to build up his People in unity and harmony.

Let us ask the Lord to make us more catholic –- to enable us, like a great family, to grow together in faith and love, to draw others to Jesus in the communion of the Church, and to welcome the gifts and contributions of everyone, in order to create a joyful symphony of praise to God for his goodness, his grace, and his redemptive love. 

~Pope Francis, 10/9/13 General Audience

With all my heart I thank you, dear Lord, that I am a Catholic.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Rosary ~ A Mystical Rose Tree

Good and devout souls, who walk in the light of the Holy Spirit, I do not think you will mind my giving you this little mystical tree which comes straight from heaven and which is to be planted in the garden of your soul .... this mystical rose tree is Jesus and Mary in life, death and eternity.

Its green leaves are the Joyful Mysteries, the thorns the Sorrowful ones, and the flowers the Glorious Mysteries of Jesus and Mary.  The buds are the childhood of Jesus and Mary, and the open blooms show us both of them in their sufferings, and the full-blown roses symbolize Jesus and Mary in their triumph and glory.

A rose delights us because of its beauty:  so here we have Jesus and Mary in the Joyful Mysteries.  Its thorn are sharp, and they prick, which makes us think of them in the Sorrowful Mysteries, and last of all, its perfume is so sweet that everyone loves it, and this fragrance symbolizes their Glorious Mysteries. 

So please do not scorn this beautiful and heavenly tree, but plant it with your own hands in the garden of your soul, by making the resolution to say your Rosary every day.  By saying it daily and by doing good works you will be tending your tree, watering it, hoeing the earth around it.  Eventually you will see that this little seed which I have given you, and which seems so small now, will grow into a tree so great that the birds of heaven, that is, predestinate and contemplative souls, will dwell in it and makes their nests there.  Its shade will shelter them from the scorching heat of the sun and its height will keep them safe from the wild beasts on the ground.  And best of all, they will feed upon the tree's fruit, which is none other than our adorable Jesus, to whom be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Ave Maria!  Mystical Rose, pray for us!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

"The rosary becomes a look at Mary, which grows in intensity little by little as one proceeds.  It ends by being a refrain which springs from the heart and, which repeated, sweetens the soul like a song.  When they speak of 'adult Christians' in prayer, sometimes they exaggerate.  Personally, when I speak with God and Our Lady, I prefer to feel myself a child, rather than a grown-up.  The miter, the zucchetto, the ring disappear.  I send the grown-up on vacation, and the bishop with him, and abandon myself to the spontaneous tenderness that a child has for its papa and mama.  To be for a while before God as I am in reality, with the worst of myself and the best of myself; to let rise to the surface from the depths of my being the child I once was, who wants to laugh, to chatter, to love the Lord, and who sometimes feels the need to cry so that he may be shown mercy, helps me to pray.  The rosary, a simple and easy prayer, helps me to be a child, and I am not ashamed at all." 

~Pope John Paul I, written in 1972 when he was Bishop Albino Luciani of Vittorio Veneto, Italy; quoted in The Smiling Pope: The Life and Teaching of John Paul I, by Raymond and Lauretta Seabeck
Dearest Mary, Mother Most Wonderful, how happy I am to be your little child!  Amen!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading the Holy Gospel nourishes in us the habit of prayer, builds up our faith, and disposes us to trust in the Lord rather than in ourselves. What more powerful incentive to prayer could be proposed to us than the parable of the unjust judge?

An unprincipled man, without fear of God or regard for other people, that judge nevertheless ended by granting the widow’s petition. No kindly sentiment moved him to do so; he was rather worn down by her pestering.

Now if a man can grant a request even when it is odious to him to be asked, how can we be refused by the one who urges us to ask?

Having persuaded us, therefore, by a comparison of opposites that “we ought always to pray and never lose heart,” the Lord goes on to put the question: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, do you think he will find faith on earth?”

Where there is no faith, there is no prayer. Who would pray for something he did not believe in?

So when the blessed apostle exhorts us to pray he begins by declaring: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved;” but to show that faith is the source of prayer and the stream will not flow if its springs are dried up, he continues: “But how can people call on him in whom they do not believe?”

We must believe, then, in order to pray; and we must ask God that the faith enabling us to pray may not fail. Faith gives rise to prayer, and this prayer obtains an increase of faith. Faith, I say, gives rise to prayer, and is in turn strengthened by prayer. It was to guard against their faith failing in times of temptation that the Lord told his disciples: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

“Watch,” he says, “and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” What does it mean to enter into temptation? It means to turn one’s back on faith. Temptation grows stronger in proportion as faith weakens, and becomes weaker in proportion as faith grows strong.

To convince you, beloved, that he was speaking of the weakening and loss of faith when he told his disciples to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation, the Lord said in this same passage of the Gospel: “This night Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail.” Is the protector to pray, while the person in danger has no need to do so?

But in asking whether the Son of Man would find faith on earth at his coming, the Lord was speaking of perfect faith. That kind of faith is indeed hardly to be found on earth. Look at God’s Church: it is full of people. Who would come here if faith were non-existent? But who would not move mountains if that faith were present in full measure?

Mark the apostles: they would never have left everything they possessed and spurned worldly ambition to follow the Lord unless their faith had been great; and yet that faith of theirs could not have been perfect, otherwise they would not have asked the Lord to increase it.

~St. Augustine, 354-430
Thank you, Dear Lord, for giving me the gift of faith
and for praying for me that it may not fail.
Jesus, I trust in YOU!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Excellence of the Rosary

"No one could help admiring the excellence of the holy Rosary, made up as it is of these two divine parts:  the Lord's Prayer and the Angelic Salutation.  How could there be nay prayers more pleasing to God and to the Blessed Virgin, or any that are easier, more precious, or more helpful than these two prayers?  We should always have them in our hearts and on our lips to honor the most Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ our Savior and his most holy Mother."  ~St. Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Holy Rosary, #59

Ave Maria!  October is the month of the rosary.  It's a good time to ponder anew this enduring prayer that Blessed Bartolo Longo called the "sweet chain linking us to God."  Its beauty, greatness, and strength flow from the Word of God, which is the source of the rosary's "two divine parts": the Our Father (Matthew 6:9-13) and the Hail Mary (Luke 1:28, 41-42; James 5:16).  How rightly St. Louis de Montfort declared that the rosary is the "clear and ever-flowing water which comes from the fountain of grace" (Secret of the Holy Rosary, #38)! 

During this month I am re-reading and reflecting upon St. Louis de Montfort's marvelous book on the rosary.  I looking forward to sharing more of his insights with you in the coming days.  Ave Maria!

O Virgin blessed above all things!
Let your soul be in me to magnify the Lord
let your spirit be in me to rejoice in God.
St. Louis de Montfort

Friday, October 4, 2013

St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to
eternal life.

Ave Maria!  Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the most beloved saints of all time.  The above "Peace Prayer of St. Francis" attributed to him is prayed daily by millions throughout the world.  While it's been established that St. Francis did not write this prayer, his name remains attached to it, and for good reason, because this prayer sums up how he lived his life.  Indeed, it has been said that St. Francis lived this prayer.  The Web is full of excellent articles about him and his life, such as herehere, here, here, and here.  Even the New York Times weighs in here, reporting that the Peace Prayer of St. Francis "became wildly popular only after it was reprinted in L’Osservatore Romano in 1916 at the behest of Pope Benedict XV, who wanted a prayer for peace in the throes of World War I."  How accurate that statement is, I don't know -- perhaps one day when I have nothing else to do I can check it out.  Meanwhile, through the grace of God who gave us this poor, humble, joyful saint, I will continue to pray and will strive to live this prayer each day of my life.  And especially today, I will remember and pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis!

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  ~Matthew 5:3

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Holiness in Everyday Life

“Do not be afraid to aim for holiness and turn yourselves over to the love of God. Holiness does not mean performing extraordinary things but carrying out daily things in an extraordinary way -- that is, with love, joy and faith.”   ~Pope Francis, 10/2/13 General Audience

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  ~Colossians 3:17

"Therefore, Lord, we pray:  graciously accept this oblation of our service..."  Eucharistic Prayer I

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will."  ~Matthew 11:25

"'What we ask of him is to work for his glory, to love him and to make him loved.' (St. Thérèse of Lisieux)

"The way [St. Thérèse] took to reach this ideal of life is not that of the great undertakings reserved for the few, but on the contrary, a way within everyone's reach, the 'little way', a path of trust and total self-abandonment to the Lord's grace. It is not a prosaic way, as if it were less demanding. It is in fact a demanding reality, as the Gospel always is. But it is a way in which one is imbued with a sense of trusting abandonment to divine mercy, which makes even the most rigorous spiritual commitment light.

"Because of this way in which she receives everything as 'grace', because she puts her relationship with Christ and her choice of love at the centre of everything, because of the place she gives to the ardent impulses of the heart on her spiritual journey, Thérèse of Lisieux is a saint who remains young despite the passing years, and she is held up as an eminent model and guide on the path of Christians, as we approach the third millennium."

~Bl. John Paul II, 10/19/97 Homily, Proclamation of St. Thérèse as a Doctor of the Church
Thank you, dear St. Thérèse, for revealing to us the little way.  With you may we always pray:  "O Jesus, may I one day die of Your love."  Amen.