Monday, September 29, 2014

St. Michael the Archangel

Ave Maria! Today is the splendid feast of St. Michael the Archangel. At least in the Traditional Latin Mass it is. Otherwise, it's the feast of the three great Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. On today's feast, I always remember a very special Sister of the Visitation, Sister Margaret Mary, who many long years ago entered the Visitation Monastery on Georgetown Road in Bethesda, Maryland. When this monastery closed due to lack of vocations, she transferred to the Georgetown Visitation Monastery in Washington, DC, where she continued to lift up the hearts of everyone who came into contact with her until she went home to the Father. In all those 25 some years that I was blessed to know Sister Margaret Mary, I never heard her complain about anything. Except once. She and I were having a lovely visit and were exulting in the power and the glory of the Archangels, whose feast was rapidly approaching. Then she declared rather indignantly, "When the Church made all those changes in the liturgical calendar after Vatican II, they could have at least let each Archangel have his own feast day. It's not like there aren't enough days in the year to go around!" I laughed out loud because I'd never before heard such a comment from dear Sister Margaret Mary! And I so totally agreed with her, which is why I'm thrilled that the Ordo for the Traditional Latin Mass remains generous in honoring each of these Archangel on his own separate day.

As for St. Michael himself, I do love this image of him. That fierce look on his face seems to shout out: "Don't mess with me!" How firm he stands, forever rooted in the surpassing greatness of God's power for us who believe! (Confer Eph 1:19-23.) How noble his mission is, sent as he is by Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth! (Confer today's Epistle from the Traditional Latin Mass, Rev 1:1-5) And how urgent his message is, coming as it does from the One who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood! (Again, confer Rev 1:1-5)

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us!  Protect us and defend us!  And teach us to live as you do -- blessing the Lord, praising and exalt Him above all forever. (Daniel 3:58).  Amen!  Alleluia!

Morning Joy

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive
 -- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.  
~Marcus Aurelius

My Lord, what a morning!
This is the day You have made;
I will rejoice in it and be glad!
(cf. Psalm 118:24)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Star of Hope

Who could be a better "Star of Hope" for us than Mary?  With her "yes," with the generous offering of freedom received from the Creator, she enabled the hope of the millennia to become reality, to enter this world and its history.  Through her God took flesh, became one of us and pitched his tent among us.  ~Pope Benedict, 12/8/07

Ave Maria!  O bright Morning Star, lead us to your Beloved Son Jesus, our sure Hope and everlasting Light!  Amen.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Living in the Present Moment

Autumn in Lithuania, birthplace of Gramma and Grampa Yurkevicz, our maternal grandparents

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every thing under the heavens.  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

What God arranges for us to experience at each moment is the best and holiest thing that could happen to us. 
~Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

Thursday, September 25, 2014

All God's Creatures

Baby Southern Three-Banded Armadillo

All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
~Daniel 3:81

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Bit of Whimsy

Photography by Ann L. Krumrein

My sister Annie captured this bit of whimsy and entitled it "Cloud Tree."  How perfect is that?!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"The Lord chooses the lowly."

"For he has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid."  ~Luke 1:48

"Mary was filled with joy that she, a lowly maiden in whom no one foresaw greatness, was chosen by God to serve him. It is of prime importance that all who are given some task in the name of the Lord regard themselves as the most humble and lowly of all – as those of whom nobody expects anything. The Lord chooses the lowly. And the lowly he chooses should be sure never to forget that this is the sheer unearned grace of God, granted to sinners who know they do not measure up as his servants."  ~Johann Christoph Blumhardt

Dear Lord, may I always rejoice to be Your unworthy servant.  Amen.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

What a great thing it is to possess the Cross!
He who possesses it possesses a treasure. 
~Saint Andrew of Crete, Homily X on the Exaltation of the Cross

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Love and mercy are His treasure.."

We cannot trust in our own strength, but only in Jesus and in his mercy.  ~Pope Francis, 9/11/14 Tweet

I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
~Psalm 13(12):6

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to Pray

God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.  ~John 4:24

May it be the real I who speaks.
May it be the real Thou that I speak to.
~C. S. Lewis

Dear Lord, keep me honest in prayer, that I may always be one of Your true worshipers.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Closeness of God

"The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth."  ~Psalm 145:18

"[Jesus] is not a professor, a teacher, a mystic who is far from the people and speaks from the professor’s chair. No! He is in the midst of the people, He lets them touch Him, He lets them ask of Him. That’s Jesus: close to the people. And this nearness is not something new for Him. He emphasizes it in His way of acting, but it is something that comes out of God’s first choice of His people. God says to His people, ‘Consider: What people has a God as close as I am to you? (cf, Deuteronomy 4:7)’ God’s closeness to His people is the closeness of Jesus amid the crowds.”  ~Pope Francis, 9/9/14 Homily

Dear Lord, thank You for always being so close to us. Amen.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"The Feast which we celebrate today is an invitation to the hidden life, to hide ourselves with Mary in Christ, and with Christ in God. Many times it is God Himself who, through circumstances or the decisions of our superiors, makes us live in obscurity. We should be very grateful for this, and take advantage of these opportunities to make more progress in the practice of humility and self-effacement. At other times, however, God gives us responsibilities, offices, apostolic works which bring us into prominence, but even in such circumstances we should try to efface ourselves as much as possible. Certainly we must not refuse the assignment, but we should know how to withdraw as soon as our activity is no longer needed for the success of the work entrusted to us. All the rest -- praise, applause, the account of our success or the excuse for our failure -- should not concern us. In the face of all this we should strive to remain wholly indifferent. An interior soul should long to hide itself as much as it can under the shadow of God, for, if it has been able to accomplish some little good, it is convinced that in reality all has been the work of God; therefore, it eagerly seeks that all may redound to His glory alone.

"Let Mary's humble, hidden life be the model of ours, and if, in emulating Her, we have to struggle against our ever-recurrent tendencies to pride, let us confidently seek her maternal aid, and She will help us to triumph over all vainglory."

~Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D., Divine Intimacy
Dear Mary -- our life, our sweetness, and our hope! -- teach me to love a life hidden with you and your Son in God our Father. Amen.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Apostle says: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

You will be doing everything for the glory of God if, when you leave this place, you make yourselves responsible for saving a brother or sister, not just by accusing and rebuking him or her, but also by advising and encouraging, and by pointing out the harm done by worldly amusements, and the profit and help that come from our instruction.

You will also be preparing for yourself a double reward, since as well as greatly furthering your own salvation, you will be endeavoring to heal a fellow member of Christ’s body. It is the Church’s pride, it is the Savior’s command, not to be concerned only about our own welfare, but about our neighbor’s also.

Think to what high honor you raise yourself when you regard someone else’s salvation as a matter of extreme importance. As far as is humanly possible you imitate God himself, for listen to what he says through the prophet: “Whoever leads another from wrong to right will be as my own mouth.”

In other words, “Whoever tries to save those that are negligent, and to snatch them from the jaws of the devil, is imitating me as far as a human being can.” What other work could equal this? Of all good deeds this is the greatest; of all virtue this is the summit.

And this is perfectly reasonable. Christ shed his own blood for our salvation; and Paul, speaking of those who give scandal and wound the consciences of people seeing them, cried out: “Because of your knowledge a weak brother or sister is destroyed—someone for whom Christ died!”

So if your Lord shed his blood for that person, surely it is right for each of us to offer at least some words of encouragement and to extend a helping hand to those who through laxity have fallen into the snares of the devil.

But I am quite certain that you will do this out of the tender love you bear your own members, and that you will make every effort to bring your neighbors back to our common Mother, because I know that through the grace of God you are able to admonish others with wisdom.

~St. John Chrysostom, c.347-407

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Devotion to Mary

You already have this devotion, but, perhaps, in a manner which is still childish.  For you, the Blessed Virgin is the all-powerful mother...  She is the one who saves, who pities, who understands, and who will temper the justice of God.  All this is true; but it runs the risk of turning into superstition if it stops there.

The Blessed Virgin is not only the mother to whom we have recourse, but also the person to whom we look as a model, the one whom we ask for strength to act or to suffer as we should -- that is, as she herself did.

She will shelter us under her mantle only if we seek to remain, like her, docile, pure, and generous.  She will receive us at the hour of our death if we try (no matter how little) to live as she did, emulating the life of her Son.  There will be no tricks:  her children for eternity are poor sinners, but sinners who, recognizing their wretchedness, have nonetheless tried to rise above it.  

True devotion to the Virgin Mary is composed of admiration, trust, and imitation.

~Mother Marie des Douleurs, Joy Out of Sorrow

Dearest Mary, my mother and my model, help me to become more like you, to live as you did so that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, as He did in you.  Amen.  

Friday, September 5, 2014


 "September Fog" by Ann L. Krumrein

Prayer is helplessness casting itself on Power,
infirmity leaning on Strength,
misery reaching to Mercy,
and a prisoner clamoring for Relief.
~Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Thursday, September 4, 2014


"Foggy Day" by Ann L. Krumrein

Holiness is an adventure,
even the only adventure worth living.
~George Bernanos