Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mary, Mother of Jesus, please help us!

Icon at the Virgin Mary Coptic Monastery of Gabal Dronka in Egypt

"...the Mother of Jesus in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.  Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come (cf. 2 Peter 3:10), a sign of certain hope and comfort to the People of God."  ~Lumen Gentium, #68

"Let us ask Mary to help us fix our eyes intently on Jesus, to follow him always, even when this is demanding."  ~Pope Francis, 08/31/2013 Tweet

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo

Yet, O my God, my life, my holy Joy, what is this that I have said? What can any man say when he speaks of thee? But woe to them that keep silence--since even those who say most are dumb.  

~St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book I

Dear Lord, let my very life speak of You and sing Your glorious praise.  Amen.  Alleluia!

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Have the courage to enter through His gate."

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough” (Luke 13:24). What does Jesus mean? What is the gate by which we enter? And why does Jesus speak about a narrow gate? 

The image of the gate recurs several times in the Gospel and is reminiscent of home and hearth, where we find safety, love and warmth. Jesus tells us that there is a gate that allows us to enter into God's family, into the warmth of the house of God, of communion with Him. This gate is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 10:9). He is the gate. He is the gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the gate that is Jesus is never closed, this gate is never closed, it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. Some of you might say to me, “But Father, surely I am excluded, because I am a great sinner. I have done so many things in my life.” No, you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you. Don’t be afraid: He’s waiting for you. Be lively, have the courage to enter through His gate. All are invited to pass through this gate, to pass through the gate of faith, to enter into His life, and to allow Him to enter into our life, because He transforms it, renews it, the gifts of full and lasting joy.

~Pope Francis, 8/25/13 Angelus

Lead me, guide me, for the sake of your name.  ~Psalm 31(30):4

Sunday, August 25, 2013

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Strive to enter by the narrow door.  ~Luke 13:24

The Architect of Love has built the door into heaven so low that no one but a small child can pass through it, unless, to get down to a child’s little height, he goes in on his knees. ~Caryll Houselander in The Reed of God

The door of the kingdom is so narrow, it can only be passed through naked. ~The Jerusalem Community Rule of Life

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Teach us to go out..."

"In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit..." ~Luke 1:39

"Lord, teach us to step outside ourselves.  Teach us to go out into the streets and manifest your love."  ~Pope Francis, 8/23/13 Tweet

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Richard Joseph Mansfield, RIP

Ave Maria!  Today I remember Daddy.  I always remember him, day after day, year after year, but today I remember him in a very special way because it's the 41st anniversary of his going home to the Father.  Daddy lived simply, quietly and humbly, with serenity and confidence for he knew the One in whom he had placed his trust (2 Tim 1:12).  His vision of eternity kept him joyful among the trials and tribulations of this weary world.  He possessed the heart of a child, evidenced at times by his spirit of playfulness, which occasionally led him to pull hilarious practical jokes on unsuspecting family members, friends, and coworkers. 

One of Daddy's favorite Scripture verses was 1 Corinthians 2:9:  "That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him."  I often think, "Now Daddy sees and hears, now he knows, for surely he has entered into the joy of his Lord and Master."

Yes, today, with much love and gratitude, I remember Daddy and rejoice.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"the most beautiful of all woman-rights"

The right to serve and to love,

The right to sympathize,

The right to nurse the infant tenderly -- to guide, teach and warn,

The right to be awake when all are sound asleep,

The right to bring light to darkness,

The right to bear with patient love the burdens and cares of others,

The right to believe firmly and to remain faithful, when fearful doubts surge,

The right to forgive without number,

In a word -- the right to be entirely woman, full tender, good and true --

That is the most beautiful of all woman-rights!

~Author Unknown (found in Women Before God, published 1961

Dear Lord, with all my heart I thank you for making me a woman.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

St. Bernard on Seeking and Finding God

Here is a paradox, that no one can seek the Lord who has not already found Him. It is Thy will, O God, to be found that Thou mayest be sought, to be sought that Thou mayest the more truly be found."  ~Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153

Yet he is not far from each one of us,
for "In him we live and move and have our being."
~Acts 17:28

Monday, August 19, 2013

"If we wish to follow Christ closely..."

If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life.  It will be a demanding life, but full of joy.  ~Pope Francis, 7/10/13 Tweet

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ~1 Peter 2:21

Draw me after you,
let us make haste...
we will exult and rejoice in you;
we will extol your love...
Song of Solomon 1:4

Sunday, August 18, 2013

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"I have come to cast fire upon the earth” (Luke 12:49)  In other words, I have come down from the highest heaven and appeared to men and women through the mystery of the incarnation in order to light the fire of divine love in human hearts.

“And how I wish it were already ablaze!” (Luke 12:49)   How I wish it were already kindled, fanned into flame by the Holy Spirit, and leaping forth in good works.

Christ foretells that he will suffer death on a cross before the human race is inflamed by the fire of this love; for it was by his most holy passion that he won so great a gift for humankind, and it is chiefly the recollection of his passion that kindles the flame of love in Christian hearts.

“There is a baptism which I must undergo” (Luke 12:50).  By divine decree there remains for me the duty of receiving a baptism of blood, that is, of being bathed, soaked upon the cross not in water but in my own blood poured out to redeem the whole world.

“And what constraint I am under until that has been achieved” (Luke 12:50) — until my passion is love and I say: It is accomplished. For Christ was impelled incessantly  by the love within him.

The way to attain the perfection of divine love is then stated. “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth?” (Luke 12:51)  In other words: Do not imagine that I have come to offer people a sensual, worldly, and unruly peace that will enable them to be united in their vices and achieve earthly prosperity.

“No, I tell you, I have not come to offer that kind of peace, but rather division” (Luke 12:51) — a good, healthy kind of division, physical as well as spiritual.

Love for God and desire for inner peace will set those who believe in me at odds with wicked men and women, and make them part company with those who would turn them from their course of spiritual progress and from the purity of divine love, or who attempt to hinder them.

Good, interior, spiritual peace consists in the repose of the mind in God, and in a rightly ordered harmony. To bestow this peace was the chief reason for Christ's coming. This inner peace flows from love.

It is an unassailable joy of the mind in God, and it is called peace of heart. It is the beginning and a kind of foretaste of the peace of the saints in heaven — the peace of eternity.

Denis the Carthusian, 1408-1471

Here is my heart, dear Lord;
please set it ablaze with the fire of your love!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rejoicing in Hope with Mary, Assumed into Heaven

"Mary says: 'My souls glorifies the Lord' – today, the Church too sings this in every part of the world. This song is particularly strong in places where the Body of Christ is suffering the Passion. For us Christians, wherever the Cross is, there is hope, always. If there is no hope, we are not Christian. That is why I like to say: do not allow yourselves to be robbed of hope. May we not be robbed of hope, because this strength is a grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven. And Mary is always there, near those communities, our brothers and sisters, she accompanies them, suffers with them, and sings the Magnificat of hope with them. 

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, with all our heart let us too unite ourselves to this song of patience and victory, of struggle and joy, that unites the triumphant Church with the pilgrim one, earth with heaven, and that joins our lives to the eternity towards which we journey. Amen."
~Pope Francis, Homily on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 8/15/13
"Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry." And with thee we sing, rejoicing in hope until the day of the Lord shall come, "My soul magnifies the Lord."  Amen!  Alleluia! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Assumption is a day of joy. God has won. Love has won. It has won life. Love has shown that it is stronger than death, that God possesses the true strength and that his strength is goodness and love.
Mary was taken up body and soul into Heaven: there is even room in God for the body. Heaven is no longer a very remote sphere unknown to us.
We have a mother in Heaven. And the Mother of God, the Mother of the Son of God, is our Mother. He himself has said so. He made her our Mother when he said to the disciple and to all of us: "Behold, your Mother!". We have a Mother in Heaven. Heaven is open, Heaven has a heart.
....Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of Heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us?
The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us.
While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, "within" all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a "mother" to whom we can turn at every moment.
She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us.
On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day. Amen.
Mother Most Wonderful,
so very close to us,
may we always turn to you,
entrust our lives to you,
love and honor you.
And may your soul ever be in us
to magnify the Lord!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I am my Father's beloved child!

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are....  Beloved, we are God's children now.  ~1 John 3:1-2

To be children of God, and brothers and sisters to one another: this is the heart of the Christian experience.   ~Pope Francis, 8/13/13 Tweet

Dear Father, thank you for making me Your beloved child.  Please help me to be a true sister to all Your beloved children, today and always.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Life is a splendid gift."

But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void, but I have labored more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me.  ~1 Corinthians 15:10

Ave Maria! Christian Quotation of the Day
, a treasure trove of "the thoughts and writings of saints and sinner throughout history," notes that today is the commemoration of Florence Nightingale

This amazing woman, one of my heroines from grade school on, was a social reformer and statistician, a writer described as "prodigious and versatile"and the founder of modern nursing.  In her honor, today I post a few quotes from her many writings.  Needless to say, the Web is chock-full of articles about Florence Nightingale, including a copy of her obituary from the New York Times dated August 15, 1910, which you can read here

"If I could give you information of my life it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do in His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. I have worked hard, very hard, that is all; and I have never refused God anything."

"So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself."

"Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift -- there is nothing small about it."

"Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore."

Dear Lord, today I will strive to live my life to the full!  Amen.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Turn to the Lord..."

Turn to the Lord and his strength;
constantly seek his face. 
~Psalm 105(104):4

May I at all times think of Thee; may I ever seek Thee and ever find Thee; may I always follow Thee and reach Thee; may Thy holy name be in my heart and on my lips; and to Thy praise and glory may every work of mine be done.  Humble and discreet, loving and happy, ever ready and cheerful in Thy service, may I persevere, by Thy grace, even unto the end.  ~St. Bonaventure

Dear Lord, today I will be looking for You.  Amen.

Monday, August 5, 2013

"Don't worry..."

Ave Maria!  Here is a beautiful picture of Cardinal Raymond Burke comforting a young lad who is crying because he's too young to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion.  The Cardinal lovingly embraced him, saying:  "Don’t worry, your first Communion will come soon enough!”

O dear Jesus, enkindle our love and longing for You in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!