Thursday, January 31, 2013

My particular role

"...everyone who is who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."  ~Isaiah 43:7

"Nothing is more interesting and at the same time more stirring than to study my particular role in the eternal destinies of the world ... what God from all eternity has planned for me ... what kind of saint He wants me to be ... by what combination and sequence of circumstances He established me where I am ... all He has given me ... numberless graces exterior as well as interior, the Sacraments, interior inspirations, invitations to mount spiritually -- and then to discover in what degree He intends to use me to lead other souls to salvation and perfection."  ~Rev. Raoul Plus, S.J.

Dear Lord, help me to better understand and appreciate the particular role You have planned for me in this world so that I may better carry it out for the praise of Your glory.  Amen!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carpe Diem!

"...every moment can become a 'today' that is propitious for our conversion. Every day ('kathermeran') can become the today of salvation because salvation is the story that continues for the Church and for each disciple of Christ. This is the Christian sense of 'carpe diem' (seize the day): welcome the today in which God calls you to grant you salvation!"  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 1/27/13 Angelus Message

Today salvation has come to this house.  ~Luke 19:9

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

St. Francis de Sales on the presence of God

"If I am not mistaken, however, when we say that we cannot find God, and that He seems so far away, we only mean that we cannot feel His presence.  I have before observed that many people do not distinguish between God and the feeling of God, between faith and the feeling of faith -- which is a very great defect....  There is a difference between possessing the presence of God (I mean being in His presence) and having the feeling of His presence.  God alone can give us the latter; as to my giving you the means of acquiring this sentiment, it is an impossibility."  ~from The Spiritual Conferences of St. Francis de Sales

Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand....
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing upon earth
that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion for ever.
~Psalm 73(74):23, 25-26

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Melt and remold"

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish'd thing;
Melt and remold it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

~Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Rosary as a Gospel Prayer

"As a Gospel prayer, centered on the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation, the Rosary is therefore a prayer with a clearly Christological orientation. Its most characteristic element, in fact, the litany-like succession of Hail Mary's, becomes in itself an unceasing praise of Christ, who is the ultimate object both of the angel's announcement and of the greeting of the mother of John the Baptist: "Blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Lk. 1:42). We would go further and say that the succession of Hail Mary's constitutes the warp on which is woven the contemplation of the mysteries. The Jesus that each Hail Mary recalls is the same Jesus whom the succession of the mysteries proposes to us -- now as the Son of God, now as the Son of the Virgin -- at His birth in a stable at Bethlehem, at His presentation by His Mother in the Temple, as a youth full of zeal for His Father's affairs, as the Redeemer in agony in the garden, scourged and crowned with thorns, carrying the cross and dying on Calvary, risen from the dead and ascended to the glory of the Father to send forth the gift of the Spirit."

~Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultis, #46
Dear Mary, how happy I am to pray your rosary for then I love and adore your Son, the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"the most ordinary, the most lowly"

"How do I dare to dream of lighting hearths, I, who have in my hands nothing but a poor stick of damp, green wood and some dying embers?  I, who fail to do even good and ordinary things, how could I ever do extraordinary ones?

"My child, what is important is not the poverty of what thou holdest in thy hands.  It is to approach the true hearth, the only hearth, which is My Heart, with what little thou hast.  Then thy dying embers will glow again and the green wood become dry.  Thou thinkest there is almost nothing thou canst do; then try to do this almost nothing in an extraordinary way.  I do not say in a spectacular way.  Concentrate thyself on the most ordinary, the most lowly.  But do the ordinary things in an extraordinary way, that is, do them lovingly -- with an extraordinary Love.  Then the spark will blaze.  Then the fire will 'take.'  Then the fire will take 'thee'.  Then thou wilt begin to be a bearer of the Fire."

~from In Thy Presence by Fr. Lev Gillet

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for giving me Your love, with which I can do "the ordinary things in an extraordinary way."  Amen.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Abraham's Faith and Ours

"Abraham was blessed because, in faith, he knows how to discern the divine blessing by going beyond appearances, trusting in God's presence even when his ways seem mysterious to him.

"What does this mean for us? When we affirm: 'I believe in God,' we say, like Abraham: 'I trust You; I entrust myself to You, Lord,' but not as Someone to run to only in times of difficulty or to whom to dedicate a few moments of the day or of the week. Saying 'I believe in God' means founding my life on Him, letting his Word orient me each day, in the concrete choices, without fear of losing something of myself...

"...Abraham, the father of believers, continues to be the father of many children who are willing to walk in his footsteps and set out on the way, in obedience to the divine call, trusting in the benevolent presence of the Lord and welcoming his blessing to become a blessing for all. It is the blessed world of faith to which we are all called, to walk without fear following the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is sometimes a difficult journey, that knows even trial and death, but that opens onto life, in a radical transformation of reality that only the eyes of faith can see and savor in abundance.

"To say 'I believe in God' leads us, then, to set off, to go out of ourselves continually, just like Abraham, to bring into the daily reality in which we live the certainty that comes to us from faith: the certainty, that is, of the presence of God in history, even today; a presence that brings life and salvation, and opens us to a future with Him for a fullness of life that will never diminish."

~Pope Benedict XVI, 1/23/13 General Audience

Father Abraham, today I walk with you in faith.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Continually Beginning Afresh

"Be patient with every one, but above all with yourself.  I mean, do not be disturbed because of your imperfections; always rise bravely from a fall.  I am glad that daily you make a new beginning.  There is no better means of progress in the spiritual life than to be continually beginning afresh, and never to think we have done enough."  ~St. Francis de Sales

Dear Lord, today is the day I begin!  Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day of Prayer and Penance

"For it was you who formed my inmost being, knit me together in my mother's womb.  I thank you who wonderfully made me; how wonderful are your works, which my soul knows well!!"  ~Psalm 138:13-14

Ave Maria!  Today, January 22, is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  It is also the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, established by the U.S. Catholic Bishops as a day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.  We Catholics believe that abortion is a form of infanticide.  It's as simple and profound as that. 

Today we are reminded that the culture of death prevailing in our world can be overcome only by prayer and fasting (Mk 9:29, Mt 17:21).  Our prayer and fasting are a sign of our gratitude to and love for God, who in His wondrous love created us in His image and likeness and gave us the gift of human and supernatural life.  Please join us today in begging our dear Lord to increase His love within us and to bring people everywhere to respect His gift of human life.
"God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as your form each of us in our mother's womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the united of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen."  ~Collect, Mass for Giving Thanks for the Gift of Human Life

Our Lady of Life, help us to cherish and protect life as you did!  Amen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Do not distress yourself about prayer."

"Do not distress yourself about prayer.  It is not always necessary to employ words, even inwardly.  It is enough to raise your heart and let it rest in Our Lord, to look lovingly up toward the Divine Lover of your soul, for between lovers the eyes speak more eloquently than the tongue."  ~St. Francis de Sales
Dear Lord, today I will be content to look up toward You with love.  Amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Wedding at Cana

"The first of the signs given by Jesus was at Cana in Galilee."  ~John 2:11

The Son of God went to the wedding so that marriage, which had been instituted by his own authority, might be sanctified by his blessed presence. He went to a wedding of the old order when he was about to take a new bride for himself through the conversion of the Gentiles, a bride who would for ever remain a virgin. He went to a wedding even though he himself was not born of human wedlock. He went to the wedding not, certainly, to enjoy a banquet, but rather to make himself known by miracles. He went to the wedding not to drink wine, but to give it, for when there was none left for the wedding guests, the most blessed Mary said to him: "They have no wine."

Jesus answered as though he were displeased. "Woman," he said, "is that my concern, or yours?" It can hardly be doubted that these were words of displeasure. However, this I think was only because his mother mentioned to him so casually the lack of earthly wine, when he had come to offer the peoples of the whole world the new chalice of eternal salvation. By his reply, "My hour has not yet come," he was foretelling the most glorious hour of his passion, and the wine of our redemption which would obtain life for all. Mary was asking for a temporal favor, but Christ was preparing joys that would be eternal. Nevertheless, the Lord in his goodness did not refuse this small grace while great graces were awaited.

Holy Mary, therefore, since she was in very truth the Mother of the Lord, and in her spirit knew in advance what would happen and foresaw the Lord’s will, took care to advise the servants to do whatever he told them. Of course this holy Mother knew that the rebuke of her Son and Lord was not an insult born of anger, but that it contained a mysterious compassion.

Then, to save his Mother from embarrassment because of his reproach, the Lord revealed his sovereign power. Addressing the expectant servants he said: "Fill the jars with water." The servants promptly obeyed, and suddenly in a marvelous way the water began to acquire potency, take on color, emit fragrance, and gain flavor -- all at once it changed its nature completely!

Now this transformation of the water from its own substance into another testified to the powerful presence of the Creator. Only he who had made it out of nothing could change water into something whose use was quite different. Dearly beloved, have no doubt that he who changed water into wine is the same as he who from the beginning has thickened it into snow and hardened it into ice. It is he who changed it into blood for the Egyptians and bade it flow from the dry rock for the thirsty Hebrews -- the rock which, newly transformed into a spring, was like a mother’s breast refreshing with its gentle flow a countless multitude of people.

Scripture says that "this sign at Cana in Galilee was the first that Jesus performed He manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him." It was not what they saw happening that the disciples believed, but what could not be seen by bodily eyes. They did not believe that Jesus Christ was the son of the Virgin -- that was something they knew. Rather they believed that he was the only Son of the Most High, as this miracle proved.

And so let us too believe wholeheartedly that he whom we confess to be the Son of Man is also the Son of God. Let us believe not only that he shared our nature, but also that he was consubstantial with the Father; for as a man he was present at the wedding, and as God he changed the water into wine. If such is our faith, the Lord will give us also to drink of the sobering wine of his grace.

~Attributed to Maximus of Turin

Dear Lord Jesus, who has sanctified marriage by Your loving presence, strengthen my faith to humbly accept your mysterious compassion and to drink heartily of the sobering wine of your grace.  Amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"With great joy we call you blessed."

Mother of the Redeemer, with great joy we call you blessed.

In order to carry out His plan of salvation, God the Father chose you before the creation of the world. You believed in His love and obeyed His word.

The Son of God desired you for His Mother when He became man to save the human race. You received Him with ready obedience and undivided heart.

The Holy Spirit loved you as His mystical spouse and filled you with singular gifts. You allowed yourself to be led by His hidden powerful action.

On the eve of the third Christian Millennium, we entrust to you the Church, which acknowledges you and invokes you as Mother.

To you, Mother of our human family and of the nations, we confidently entrust the whole humanity, with its hopes and fears. Do not let it lack the light of true wisdom. Guide its steps in the ways of peace. Enable all to meet Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Sustain us, O Virgin Mary, on our journey of faith and obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation. O clement, O loving, O sweet Mother of God and our Mother, Mary!

~Bl. John Paul II

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Joys of Baptism

Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI baptises a newborn baby in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel on January 10, 2010 in Vatican City, Vatican. Held on the same day as the Baptism of the Lord and started by John Paul II, this annual event celebrates the baptism of children and marks the end of the Christmas season.

Ave Maria!  This past Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  As is customary on this splendid feast, Pope Benedict XVI baptized several children during the celebration of Mass at St. Peter’s in Rome. 

In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the joy that the sacrament of Baptism gives us: 
  • “the joy of being Christians and of belonging to the Church”
  • “the joy that flows from the awareness of having received a great gift from God, precisely the faith, a gift that none of us was able to merit, but that was given to us gratuitously and to which we responded with our ‘yes’”
  • “the joy of recognizing ourselves as children of God, to find ourselves entrusted into his hands, to feel ourselves welcomed in the embrace of love, in the same way that a mother holds and embraces her child”
“This joy,” the Holy Father noted, “which orients the journey of every Christian, is based on a personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship that orients the whole of human existence. He is in fact the meaning of our lives, he upon whom it is good to fix our gaze, to be enlightened by his truth and be able to live his fullness.”

The Holy Father added that our journey of faith that began with our baptism and continues even today, “is thus founded on a certainty, the experience that there is nothing greater than knowing Christ and communicating friendship with him to others; only in this friendship is there really disclosed the extraordinary possibilities of the human condition and can we experience that which is beautiful and that which frees. Those who have had this experience are not willing to give up their faith for anything in the world.”

As the Holy Father prayed later that day in his Angelus message, "May every Christian, in this Year of Faith, rediscover the beauty of being reborn from above, from the love of God, and live as a child of God."

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift! (2 Cor 9:15)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My open door

"God visits us, but most of the time we are not at home."  ~Rev. Joseph Roux, 1834-1886, French priest, writer

Dear Lord,
today I will be home,
eagerly awaiting You.
My door will be open.
Please come!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Being what God wills us to be

"God willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses. But he has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances. Perfection consists in doing God's will, in being what he wills us to be."  ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thank you, dear Lord, for making me Your little flower. Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Be indulgent!

"Be indulgent. Yes, be indulgent; it is necessary for others, and it is necessary for your own sake. Forget the little troubles that others may cause you; keep up no resentment for the inconsiderate or unfavorable words that may have been said about you; excuse the mistakes and awkward blunders of which you are the victim; always make out good intentions for those who have done you any wrong by imprudent acts or speeches; in a word, smile at everything, show a pleasant face on all occasion; maintain an inexhaustible fund of goodness, patience, and gentleness. Thus you will be at peace with all your brethren; your love for them will suffer no alteration, and their love for you will increase day by day. But, above all, you will practice in an excellent manner Christian charity, which is impossible without this toleration and indulgence at every instant."
Author Unknown
Dear Lord, You who are so indulgent with me, help me to become more like You and to be indulgent with every person I will meet this day. Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Baptism of the Lord

The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:12). Already he is anticipating the "baptism" of his bloody death (Cf. Mk 10:38; Lk 12:50). Already he is coming to "fulfill all righteousness", that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father's will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins (Mt 3:15; cf. 26:39). The Father's voice responds to the Son's acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son (Cf. Lk 3:22; Isa 42:1). The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to "rest on him" (Jn 1:32-33; cf. Isa 11:2). Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism "the heavens were opened" (Mt 3:16) -- the heavens that Adam's sin had closed -- and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him. (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 9: PG 36, 369)

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father's voice, we become sons of God. (St. Hilary of Poitiers, In Matth. 2, 5: PL 9, 927)

~Catechism of the Catholic Church, #536-537
Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, swoop down upon us with Your lavish love and raise us up to the dignity and glory that is ours as sons and daughters adopted by the Father's voice.  Amen.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christ Our Model

Christ came to earth to be our model.

The Word became Incarnate, not only to bring us the gospel of salvation and to accomplish our redemption, but also to serve as a pattern for our spiritual lives.

Each of Christ's mysteries is a revelation of His virtues. The humility of the crib, the retirement of His hidden life, the zeal of His public life the self-annihilation of His Sacrifice, the glory of His triumph, all these disclose virtues which we must imitate; they are mysteries in which we should participate.

This is the reason why the contemplation of the mysteries of Christ -- for instance, while reciting the Rosary -- is so fruitful for the soul. The life, the death, and the glory of Jesus serve as ideal models for our life and death and glory.

Never forget this truth: the Eternal Father is pleased with us only in so far as we imitate His Son and inasmuch as He sees in us the likeness of His Son, for it is in His image that He has predestined us from all eternity.

For us there is no other form of sanctity than that which Christ has shown us. The degree of our perfection is measured by the degree of our imitation of Jesus and of our union with Him.

~from The Mysteries of the Rosary by Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B

be imitators of God,
as beloved children.
And walk in love,
as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us,
a fragrant offering
and sacrifice to God.
~Ephesians 5:1-2

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finding the Babe of Bethlehem

"Only two classes of people found the Babe: the shepherds and the Wise Men; the simple and the learned; those who knew that they knew nothing, and those who knew that they did not know everything. He is never seen by the man of one book; never by the man who thinks he knows. Not even God can tell the proud anything! Only the humble can find God!" ~Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ 

"That they should seek God, if happily they may feel after him or find him, although he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and are." ~Acts 17:27-28 

O Divine Child,
make me wise enough to seek You
and humble enough to find You.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Magi's Gifts and Ours

And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  ~Matthew 2:10

Thus grace inspired the Magi to bring presents to Him Whom they sought. It should be the same for us. "Let us who hear the story of the offering of the Magi," says St. Ambrose, "learn how to open our treasures and present like offerings." Each time that we draw near to Christ, let us, like the Magi, bring Him presents, but presents that are magnificent, that are, like theirs, worthy of Him to Whom we offer them.  

You may perhaps say: we have neither gold, nor frankincense, nor myrrh. That is true; but we have what is better, we have much more precious treasures, the only ones, moreover, that Christ, our Saviour and our King, expects from us.  

Do we not offer gold to Christ when by a life full of love and fidelity to His commands, we proclaim that He is the King of our hearts?  

Do we not present frankincense when we believe in His Divinity, and confess it by our adoration and prayers? 

In uniting our humiliations, our sufferings, our sorrow and tears to His, do we not bring Him myrrh?

And if, of ourselves, we are destitute of these things, let us ask Our Lord to enrich us with the treasures that are pleasing to Him; He possesses them in order to give them to us.

This is what Christ Jesus Himself made known to St. Mechtilde, one feast of the Epiphany, after she had received Communion. "Behold," said He, "I give thee gold, that is to say My Divine love; frankincense, that is all My holiness and devotion; finally myrrh, which is the bitterness of My Passion. I give them to thee to such an extent that thou mayest offer them as gifts to Me, as if they were thine own property."
~from Christ in His Mysteries by Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B.

O Divine Child of Bethlehem, help me never to forget that I would have nothing to give You but that You have first given Yourself to me.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Whisper of God

Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be still and see that I am God.
~Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Habit of Prayer

The habit of prayer is no burden to any one, for we can pray worthily at any time, in any place, and any posture. Even the motion of the lips is not necessary; the mind and heart can be engaged in it when we read or converse or go about our daily work. Moreover prayer produces a delicious feeling of hope and rest in God; and this feeling is worth more than the happiness that wealth can purchase or the world give.  

God respects not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how elegant they are; nor the music of our prayers, how melodious they are; nor the logic of our prayers, how methodical they are; but the sincerity of our prayers, how heart-sprung they are.  

Lord, teach us to pray!
~Luke 11:1

Monday, January 7, 2013

Learning Interior Peace from Our Lady

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. ~Luke 2:19

Ave Maria! In his homily on January 1, 2013, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, Pope Benedict raised the following questions: “We may ask ourselves: what is the basis, the origin, the root of peace? How can we experience that peace within ourselves, in spite of problems, darkness and anxieties?” These are the concerns of our own hearts during the turbulence of our times. Is inner peace possible? Can we truly grasp it or must it always remain elusive?

The Holy Father looks to Our Lady for an answer. Turning to the gospel for this Solemnity, Luke 2:16-21, he notes that St. Luke asks us “to contemplate the interior peace of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.” Pondering Mary’s interior attitude, the Holy Father reflects:
“During the days in which ‘she gave birth to her first-born son,’ many unexpected things occurred: not only the birth of the Son but, even before, the tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, not finding room at the inn, the search for a chance place to stay for the night; then the song of the angels and the unexpected visit of the shepherds. In all this, however, Mary remains even tempered, she does not get agitated, she is not overcome by events greater than herself; in silence she considers what happens, keeping it in her mind and heart, and pondering it calmly and serenely. This is the interior peace which we ought to have amid the sometimes tumultuous and confusing events of history, events whose meaning we often do not grasp and which disconcert us.”
Mary, Queen of Peace, shows us how to be peaceful. She always leads us to her Divine Child, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6). The new year has begun. Let us turn to Our Lady and ask her to help us make it a peaceful one, by clinging as she did to her Beloved Son Jesus, who is Himself our peace (Eph 2:14)

And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
~Phil 4:7

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Feast of Epiphany

For we have seen His star in the East,
and are come to adore Him.
~Matthew 2:2

Friday, January 4, 2013

This Momentous Day

“Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child. Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example. Each smallest act of kindness -- even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile -- reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined -- those dead, those living, those generations yet to come -- that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands. Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength -- to the very survival of the human tapestry. Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day.”

~Dean Koontz in From the Corner of His Eye

Dear Lord, every day is the day You have made for us to be glad and rejoice in.  Let me seize every single moment of it, making them altogether a most momentous day for Your praise and glory and for the joy and salvation of the whole world.  Amen!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How wonderful are your works!

For it was you who formed my inmost being,
knit me together in my mother's womb.
I thank you who wonderfully made me;
how wonderful are your works,
which my soul knows well.
~Psalm 139:13-14
Ave Maria!  By now, anyone and everyone with an online connection has probably seen this extraordinary picture of Nevaeh Atkins reaching out from her mother's womb and grasping the finger of the doctor who delivered her via C-section.  Oh, may the wonderful works of our God, who created us out of nothing and who loves each one of us as if we were the only one (according to St. Augustine, who really knew his stuff!), never fail to amaze us!  "For the work of your hands I shout with joy!" (Psalm 92:5)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Light from Light!

"Such as light and heat from the sun are a blessing to the earth, so the light of God is for humanity, when He shines His face upon it. This happened with the birth of Jesus Christ! God hath shown us the brilliance of His face: at the beginning in a very humble, hidden way –- in Bethlehem, only Mary and Joseph and some shepherds were witnesses to this revelation –- but little by little, like the sun from dawn comes to noon, the light of Christ has grown and spread everywhere. Even in the short time of his earthly life, Jesus of Nazareth made the face of God shine in the Holy Land, and then, through the Church animated by his Spirit, extended to all peoples the Gospel of peace. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests" (Lk 2:14). This is the song of the angels at Christmas, and the song of the Christians in every clime, a song from the hearts and lips which passes into concrete actions, actions of love that build dialogue, understanding and reconciliation."  ~Pope Benedict XVI, 1/1/13 Angelus

Let your face shine on us, O Lord,
and we shall be saved!
~Psalm 80:3

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Ave Maria!  And Happy New Year, dear family, friends and readers!  May it be a blessed year for each one of you, overflowing with all the wonders of His Love!

Yesterday, December 31, I ended the old year with a new tradition.  Today, January 1, I will begin the new year with another one.  These are both old traditions in the Catholic Church, but they are new to me and full of beauty and meaning. 

First tradition.  In the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, the Te Deum is sung at the end of Mass on the last day of the year, December 31, in thanksgiving to God for the many favors He has given us throughout the entire past year.  This hymn of joy and thanksgiving is accredited to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana, fourth century.  It begins with five simple but glorious words that say everything:  "O God, we praise Thee!"  What a lovely and proper way to close the old year!  Remembering God's utter goodness and merciful love, our only possible response is to raise a hymn of praise, adoration, and thanksgiving as we "adoring, bend the knee."  Those of us who pray the Divine Office sing the Te Deum regularly at the conclusion of Matins on Sundays outside Lent, daily during the Octaves of Christmas and Easter, and on Feast Days.  In spite of my long familiarity with this hymn, I was truly thrilled as we sang it this morning after Father gave us the final blessing, and I felt as though I was praying it for the first time ever.  Many people don't know this, but the hymn "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," sung at the close of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, is a modern translation of the Te Deum.  All eight verses of "Holy God" (yes, eight!) can be found here about halfway down the page.

Second tradition.  Today, January 1, the first day of the year, the Veni Creator is sung, imploring God's divine assistance for the whole of the coming year.  This is another very old hymn of the Catholic Church, attributed to Rabanus Maurus, 776-856. It is used at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of a Church, Confirmation, and Holy Orders and whenever the Holy Spirit is solemnly invoked.  What a grand way to begin the new year!  Filled with the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit, "the finger of God's hand," we begin anew in bold confidence and certain hope.  This "sweet anointing from above" seals our hearts with "the promise of the Father" and assures us that every day of the new year will be a blessed one in which we will find many reasons to make Te Deum our daily theme song. 
"Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!"
~2 Corinthians 9:15