Thursday, July 30, 2009

Self-knowledge through Prayer

We must come to know ourselves in order to overcome our faults and conquer our sins, with the help of grace. Here is more wisdom from Carmel:
The Eucharist is the climax of our prayer. It is the great prayer of Jesus to his Father. His supreme sacrifice. When he tells us ‘Do this in memory of me’ he doesn’t just mean consecrate the bread and wine, he means us to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters just as he has done. That is, we must love them as he has loved them. Then we can come and offer our gift at the altar. We gather all our prayers and needs into the eucharist. We come into the presence of the God who loves us, we confess our sins and ask pardon we praise him and hear his word. We express all our needs and prayers, we offer our gifts, fruits of the earth and work of our hands. We enter into the great prayer of Jesus. We are united with him as he offers himself to the Father. Jesus to whom we have listened, to whom we have prayed, now becomes truly alive, flesh, blood, soul and divinity and gives himself to us. He invites us to communion with him. The Mass is ended, we are sent out to love and serve the Lord. We serve him by serving our brothers and sisters. Our lives centre on the eucharist, the living Jesus, whom we carry with us throughout the day. The Eucharist becomes fruitful for us by the way we share it throughout the day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Novena to St. John Vianney

A message from Fr. Mark:

I composed this Litany of Saint John Mary Vianney for the Novena that begins today and for the Triduum that will be held at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa on August 2, 3, and 4 at 6:30 p.m. It will also be included in the prayerbook for the Spiritual Mothers of Priests that is now in preparation.
It is not necessary to pray the entire litany every day. I propose a method of alternating the sections of the litany. One must take care not to "rattle off" the invocations. Allow each invocation to descend gently into the heart, bearing the particular grace it implores.
Each day:Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, R. Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R. Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, R. Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, R. Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, R. Pray for us.
Holy Mary, Advocate of Priests, R. Pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, R. Pray for us.

Days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 of the Novena: Childhood and Youth
Saint John Vianney, R. Pray for us.
Saint John Vianney, graced by God even as a little boy, R.
Saint John Vianney, a blessing to your parents and family, R.
Saint John Vianney, nourished by the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, R.
Saint John Vianney, most loving son of Mary Immaculate, R.
Saint John Vianney, devoted to the Holy Rosary, R.

Days 2, 4, 6, and 8 of the Novena: Man of the Beatitudes
Saint John Vianney, poor in spirit, R.
Saint John Vianney, who shed tears over the hardheartedness of sinners, R.
Saint John Vianney, meek and humble of heart, R.
Saint John Vianney, merciful and ready to forgive, R,
Saint John Vianney, pure in heart and radiant with chastity, R.
Saint John Vianney, peacemaker and healer of divisions, R.
Saint John Vianney, persecuted for righteousness' sake. R.

Days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 of the Novena: Mirror of the Gospel
Saint John Vianney, salt of the earth and shining lamp of the Church, R.
Saint John Vianney, rewarded by the Father who sees in secret, R.
Saint John Vianney, showing us the narrow gate that leads to salvation, R.
Saint John Vianney, physician of sick souls, R.
Saint John Vianney, reaching out to sinners, R.
Saint John Vianney, healer of disease and infirmity, R.
Saint John Vianney, to whom the Father revealed
the mysteries of the Kingdom, R.
Saint John Vianney, gentle with the bruised reed and the smoldering wick, R.
Saint John Vianney, who denied yourself, took up your cross,
and followed Jesus, R.

Days 2, 4, 6, and 8 of the Novena: Holy Parish Priest I
Saint John Vianney, chosen to offer the Holy Sacrifice, R.
Saint John Vianney, enriched with the Holy Spirit's Seven Gifts, R.
Saint John Vianney, zealous for the beauty of the Lord's house, R.
Saint John Vianney, imbued with reverence at the altar, R.
Saint John Vianney, tender father of the poor, R.
Saint John Vianney, able to sympathize with our weaknesses, R.
Saint John Vianney, fearless in preaching the truth, R.
Saint John Vianney, nourishing souls with pure spiritual milk, R.
Saint John Vianney, graced with the gift of prophecy, R.
Saint John Vianney, preacher of the Word in season and out of season, R.
Saint John Vianney, unafraid to convince, rebuke, and exhort, R.
Saint John Vianney, faithful dispenser of the Divine Mysteries, R.
Saint John Vianney, persevering in prayer by night and by day, R.
Saint John Vianney, faithful adorer of the Most Blessed Sacrament, R.
Saint John Vianney, privileged friend of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, R.

Days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 of the Novena: Holy Parish Priest IISaint John Vianney, penetrated with the fear of God's judgment, R.
Saint John Vianney, whom the devil tormented cruelly, R.
Saint John Vianney, shining image of priestly holiness, R.
Saint John Vianney, inflamed with priestly zeal, R.
Saint John Vianney, compassionate toward the sick, R.
Saint John Vianney, catechist of children and teacher of your entire parish, R.
Saint John Vianney, wise and prudent father of souls, R.
Saint John Vianney, who spent hours in the confessional each day, R.
Saint John Vianney, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, R.
Saint John Vianney, formidable enemy of Satan's empire, R.
Saint John Vianney, tenderhearted toward every suffering, R.
Saint John Vianney, providence of poor orphans, R.
Saint John Vianney, favoured with the charism of miracles, R.
Saint John Vianney, who reconciled so many sinners to God, R.
Saint John Vianney, who helped countless souls along the path of holiness, R.
Each Day of the Novena: In the Glory of HeavenSaint John Vianney, who tasted divine sweetness at the hour of your death, R.
Saint John Vianney, rejoicing in the glory of Heaven, R.
Saint John Vianney, giving joy to those who invoke you, R.
Saint John Vianney, advocate of struggling seminarians, R.
Saint John Vianney, patron of parish priests, R.
Saint John Vianney, comforter of bishops, R.

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
R. Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, Saint John Mary Vianney,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God,
who made Saint John Mary Vianney
wondrous in his pastoral labour;
grant, we implore, that by his example and intercession,
we may win our brothers and sisters for you in the charity of Christ,
and with them be able to attain glory everlasting.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.
R. Amen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Elijah's Legacy

From Louange de sa gloire:
Elijah, the man of God, the zealous servant, has left his mark on salvation history. He is venerated even today by Christians, Jews and Moslems.

If Elijah has left his mark on salvation history, he has also left it on the Carmelite Order. From its origin on Mount Carmel at the dawn of the thirteenth century the Order of Carmel has venerated Elijah as its leader and model. The prophet of Carmel belongs to the roots of the Order. So much so, that if in the future Carmel were to forget its relationship to Elijah, it would soon pass out of existence. For any society, and this is true of a religious society, once separated from its roots slowly fragments. A society without roots is like a flower pulled loose from its bed that blossoms for a while and then withers and dies. Carmel, then, must never be separated from its spiritual father.

-- Elijah, the spiritual father of Carmel by Fr Kilian Healy, OCarm

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spiritual Growth

In the writings of St. Teresa of Avila.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Triduum in Tulsa

In honor of the Year of the Priesthood their will be three days of devotions in honor of St. John Mary Vianney on August.
For the Year of the Priesthood

Our priests, deacons, religious, and lay faithful are invited to assemble on three consecutive evenings to pray for the priests of our diocese and of the whole Church.

Where: Holy Family Cathedral, Tulsa
When: 6:30 each evening
Sunday, August 2
Monday, August 3
Tuesday, August 4

The Triduum will end on the feast of Saint John Mary Vianney.

Preacher: Father Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B.

Prayers for priests
Supplication and Litany to Saint John Mary Vianney
Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Veneration of the Relic of Saint John Mary Vianney

On the Priesthood

A consecrated soul cannot be unconsecrated.
"Priests have a power not their own, and priests who abandon the priesthood carry with them a volatile power they cannot shed. A consecrated soul cannot be unconsecrated but only desecrated by pride and the guilt of pride. And when a desecrated priest ceases to offer worthy sacrifice, he may start to require sacrifice...

...saints need priests to help them be saints, especially priests willing to be saints. There cannot be a Church without priests. Sometimes priests themselves underestimate that. (...) [St Jean-Marie] Vianney preached to his uncertain flock, "When you see a priest, you should say: 'There is the one who has made me a child of God... one who has cleansed me from my sins, who gives nourishment to my soul.'"

-- The Curé D'Ars Today: St John Vianney by Fr George William Rutler

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pope Benedict on the Precious Blood

Some beautiful words from Our Holy Father.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Motu Proprio

Ecclesiae Untitatem.
The goal of guarding the UNITY OF THE CHURCH, with the solicitousness of offering to all the aid for responding in an opportune manner to this vocation and divine grace, belongs in a particular way to the Successor of the Apostle Peter, who is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity both of Bishops and of the faithful1. The supreme and fundamental priority of the Church, in every age, of leading men towards an encounter with God must be favored through the effort of promoting the common witness of faith of all Christians.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The New Encyclical

Caritas in Veritate. There is no love without truth. Our Holy Father says:
Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:22). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6).

Monday, July 6, 2009

On Patience

A meditation from the Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales.
Do not limit your patience to this or that kind of trial, but extend it universally to whatever God may send, or allow to befall you. Some people will only bear patiently with trials which carry their own salve of dignity,—such as being wounded in battle, becoming a prisoner of war, being ill-used for the sake of their religion, being impoverished by some strife out of which they came triumphant. Now these persons do not love tribulation, but only the honour which attends it. A really patient servant of God is as ready to bear inglorious troubles as those which are honorable. A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mother Elias, Part 2

Mother Elias had long feared that the dangers to the nuns would force the Carmelite community at Aguascalientes to flee the country. In her monastery there was a young nun of singular beauty whom, it was rumored, the local revolutionaries were planning on kidnapping. At night Mother would hide the young sisters in chests and cupboards and would herself keep vigil until dawn, guarding the door of the enclosure. She knew she had to get them all to safety, somehow. The hair of the nuns was shaved or cut very short so Mother Elias had made wigs from the novices' hair. In 1914, disguised in wigs, bonnets, and secular clothes over their wool habits, Mother Elias and the younger sisters escaped to Cuba, enduring many perils en route.

After establishing the young nuns safely in Cuba, Mother Elias returned to Mexico to rescue the older nuns of her community who were in danger of starvation and imprisonment. Traveling with a young novice, she was apprehended by the authorities and placed under arrest. The two nuns stood for stood for three days and three nights in a prison cell with twelve inches of water on the floor. In desperation, Mother Elias prayed to the Little Flower, promising to establish a Carmel in her honor if she were delivered from prison.

After a brief interrogation, in which Mother refused to divulge the hiding place of her other nuns, she and her young companion were marched before a firing squad. Shots rang out; the nuns were left lying motionless on the ground. Some hours later, Mother Elias regained consciousness and found that there were no wounds on her body. Both women were unhurt and a mysterious stranger showed them how to slip away from the prison unseen.

After many more narrow escapes, Mother Elias made it to the rest of her community. They managed to flee to Cuba, and then to New Orleans. In 1915, they were invited to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Mother Elias founded the Carmel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a community still thriving in Ada-Parnell, Michigan. In 1919, Mother Elias fulfilled her promise to Saint Therese by establishing the Carmel of the Little Flower in Buffalo, New York. In 1923, she founded the Carmel of Saint Teresa in Schenectady, New York, now removed to Rochester, New York.

Eventually, Mother Elias returned to the Grand Rapids Carmel and died there on February 28, 1943, leaving behind her a heritage of heroic determination to please God in all things. Many stories of prodigies surrounding Mother are told in the monasteries which she founded, even to this day. She had great devotion to the Infant Jesus, and a beautiful, life-like statue which is now at the Ada-Parnell monastery. Once, during her travels through Mexico, trying to avoid arrest, Mother was on a train, dressed as a housewife. She had the statue of Baby Jesus in her arms wrapped in a blanket, like a real baby. There were revolutionary soldiers on the train. One of them, vigilant for escaping religious, noticed Mother Elias and her little bundle. "That baby is being awfully quiet," he said, and started over towards Mother. At that moment, the statue of the Infant came to life, and began to wail like a living child. The soldiers left Mother alone.
(See The Dove With The Scarlet Collar by Mother Teresa of Jesus, OCD and Dr. Jose L. Morales)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD (1879-1943)

Little known among Catholics in America today are the sufferings of our Mexican brethren at the hands of the Communist, anti-clerical forces of the revolutionary government, amid a series of persecutions which were focused particularly on religious orders. Many communities of consecrated life in the United States owe their existence to Mexican priests and nuns who fled here in the first three decades of the twentieth century.

One of the most fascinating and enigmatic of the refugee-foundresses is the Discalced Carmelite prioress, Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament. Of Napoleon's line, Elena Maria Thierry was born on August 15, 1879 to a devout family of European extraction. The second to the youngest of twenty children, she received a thorough education, including operatic training, gifted as she was with a beautiful singing voice.

Called by God to the religious life, she first sought to enter a teaching order. On September 30, 1897, when traveling on a train to the convent, she suddenly found herself face to face with a young Carmelite nun. The nun looked at her knowingly and said, "You will remain there a short time. Then you will come to my order." The mysterious nun vanished.

Elena Maria was dismissed from the teaching order after a few years and sought to enter the Mexico City Carmel. On the walls of the Carmel hung a picture of the same nun Elena Maria had seen on the train. She was told it was the Little Flower who was already world famous because of her autobiography and the prodigies which had been worked through her intercession. The day Elena Maria had seen her on the train was the exact day Sister Therese of the Child Jesus had died far away in France.

Around 1904, Elena Maria Thierry entered the Carmel of Mexico City and was given the name of "Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament." Due to her fervor, charity and leadership abilities, she was transferred to the Carmel of Queretaro. Queretaro Carmel had been closed for many years because of the persecution and needed nuns like Mother Elias to help rebuild it. In 1910, the persecution broke out again. In 1913, Mother Elias, who by that time had been elected prioress, decided to move the community to the town of Aguascalientes where she thought they would be safer. However, there were few safe places for Mexican religious. The soldiers of the Revolution often broke into convents and kidnapped the young sisters. In 1914, Mother Elias decided she had better get all of her younger nuns out of Mexico.
(To be continued....)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The World in Flames

The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out? Contemplate the cross; from His open heart the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell....Through the power of the cross you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the divine heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the most precious blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.

~ St. Teresa Benedicta, Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours
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