Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daughters of Jerusalem

"Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and for your children." (Luke 23:28)

It has occurred to me more and more how many walking wounded there are in our society and in our Church. I am only beginning to comprehend the level of despair and infinite pain that lives in the hearts of an unimaginable number of women whose children were victims of abortion. Many were coerced into making such a "choice." Furthermore, abortion is not just something that happens to a mother and her child; it happens to the entire extended family, whether they are aware of the abortion or not. For Holy Week, as we explore the abyss of suffering, remorse, and redemptive love, here are some sites that offer healing and reconciliation not only to mothers of dead babies but to the fathers and grandparents as well.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Christ the Just Judge

A meditation from Irenikon:

Spring has come early to the valley. It has been an unusually warm March, definitely the warmest even in long memory. The air was heavy today, humid and still, redolent with the odor of spring mud from the creek, more than a multitude of green things pressing up, and woodsmoke from fires stoked to cut the residual damp and chill. Alas there is no wood burner or fireplace in the skete to take off a chill now and then.

The atmosphere seemed heavy and burdensome outside at first but then my attention was caught by the evening songs of a half a dozen different species of birds and the mood immediately lifted and filled with anticipation of the deep quiet of dark night and the promise of morning song to follow.

This week we work in anticipation of Pussy-Willow Sunday, of Christ's Entry into Jerusalem. We are deep into the heart of the Great Fast, but somehow there begins now the anticipation of release, of relief to come. We can stop here for a moment looking back, looking forward. We are in a time between the long weeks of fasting already done and the relatively few days left to complete our preparations for Great and Holy Week with its rigors of long liturgies and deep emotional connections between each soul and our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, Son of God. In this way the remaining days of this sixth week of the Great Fast are so precious to us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Through the Thick of the Storm

Our Holy Father reflects upon the teachings of St. Bonaventure in the light of our own times.
It's a small step from spiritualism to anarchy, Benedict XVI warned. That's the way it was in Saint Bonaventure's century, and that's the way it is today. In order to be governed, the Church needs hierarchical structures, but these must be given a clear theological foundation. This is what Saint Bonaventure did in governing the Franciscan order. For him, "to govern was not simply a task but was above all to think and to pray. At the base of his government we always find prayer and thought; all his decisions resulted from reflection, from thought illumined by prayer."

The same thing – the pope said – must happen today in the universal Church: "governing, that is, not only through commands and structures, but through guiding and enlightening souls, orienting them to Christ."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Gethsemane

Watching in prayer.

You are before Our Lord's Eucharistic Face as an intercessor in whose soul the Holy Spirit is sighing with ineffable groanings, and obtaining from the Father, through Christ, the Eternal High Priest, all that the Father desires to give His priests in this world and in the next.


You are a reparator opening yourself to receive the love that so many others ignore, refuse, or treat with indifference, coldness, and disdain. By offering yourself to the Lord Jesus in an adoration of reparation, you console His Eucharistic Heart, which burns with love and so desires to fill souls with His tender mercy.


When you are before HIs Eucharistic Face, you are the privileged friend of His Heart, keeping Him company in His loneliness and allowing Him to share with you His sorrows, His grieving over sin, and His designs for a priesthood made pure and radiant with holiness.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fenelon's Prayer

From the new Irenikon blog:
Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee;
Thou only knowest what I need; Thou lovest me better
than I know how to love myself. O Father, give to Thy
child that which he himself knows not how to ask.
I dare not ask either for crosses or for consolations;
I simply present myself before Thee,
I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs
which I know not myself; see and do according to
Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me,
or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without
knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in
sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have
no other desire than to accomplish Thy will.
Teach me to pray. Pray Thyself in me. AMEN.

Francois de Salignac Fenelon
Archbishop of Cambray. 1651-1715 A.D

A Personal Love

Some thoughts from Fr. Mark:

Jesus' love is a personal love. He loves each soul that He has created as if that soul were the only soul in the universe, and He adapts His infinite love to the particular sensibilities and needs of that soul with all the wisdom and tenderness of His Divine Heart....

Trust in the path that Christ has opened before you and be faithful to it. Allow His love to direct all things. Remain little and humble. Allow Him to direct and determine the course of events and the growth of His works. The more faithful you are to adoring Him in the Sacrament of His Love, the more will He be faithful to you in manifesting the wonders of HIs providence.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Joseph: Perpetual Adorer

Excerpts from the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard:

In profound adoration he [St. Joseph] united himself to the special grace of each one of the events in the life of Jesus. He adored our Lord in His hidden life and in His Passion and Death; he adored in advance the Eucharistic Christ in His tabernacles: there was nothing that our Lord could hide from Saint Joseph. Aside from the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph was the first and most perfect adorer of our Lord.

How greatly the Word Incarnate was glorified by the adoration of Mary and Joseph as they atoned for the indifference and ingratitude of His creatures!

Saint Joseph joined with Mary in adoration and united himself to Christ, Whose heart surged with sentiments of adoration, love and praise for the Father and of charity for men.

Saint Joseph’s adoration kept pace with every stage of our Lord’s life, drawing upon the grace, the spirit, and the virtue of each mystery. In the Incarnation he adored the self-annihilation of the Son of God; at Bethlehem, the poverty; at Nazareth, the silence, the apparent weakness, the obedience, and all the other virtues of Christ. He knew them well and he grasped clearly the reason why Christ practiced them—for the love and glory of His Heavenly Father.

Faith, humility, purity, and love—these were the keynotes of his adoration. No saint ever vibrated with a more ardent faith or bowed down in deeper humility; no angel ever glistened with brighter purity; and as for his love, neither saint nor angel ever has or ever will come within range of his burning charity which expressed itself so fully in devotedness.

Because his faith was so strong, Joseph's mind and heart bowed in perfect adoration. Imitate his faith as you kneel before the humble Christ annihilated in the Eucharist. Pierce the veil which covers this furnace of love and adore the hidden God. At the same time respect the veil of love and make the immolation of your mind and heart your most beautiful homage of faith.

Among the graces which Jesus gave to His foster-father—and He flooded him with the graces attached to every one of His mysteries—is that special to an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament. That is the one we must ask of St. Joseph. Have confidence, strong confidence in him. Take him as the patron and the model of your life of adoration. From close union with this holy adorer I shall learn to adore our Lord and to live in intimacy with Him. I shall then be the Joseph of the Eucharist as he was the Joseph of Nazareth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Curé of Ars on Death

St. John Vianney speaks:
A day will come, perhaps it is not far off, when we must bid goodbye to life, goodbye to the world, goodbye to our relations, goodbye to our friends. When shall we return, my children? Never. We appear upon this earth, we disappear, and we return no more; our poor body, that we take such care of, goes away into dust, and our soul, all trembling, goes to appear before the good God. When we quit this world, where we shall appear no more, when our last breath of life escapes, and we say our last goodbye, we shall wish to have passed our life in solitude, in the depths of a desert, far from the world and its pleasures. We have these examples of repentance before our eyes every day, my children, and we remain always the same. We pass our life gaily, without ever troubling ourselves about eternity. By our indifference to the service of the good God, one would think we were never going to die...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Our Struggles

St. Joseph is there to help us in our battle with the powers of darkness.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bl. Henry Heath

An English martyr.
As an English Protestant during the persecution under James I, he struggled with the faith of his youth and was inspired to pray to the Blessed Virgin for enlightenment. He embraced the Catholic faith in 1622, and escaped England to France where he studied at the College of Douai, where he eventually entered the Franciscan Order. His heart became ever more set upon returning to England as a priest, ministering to the Catholics there and eventually dying a martyr. The prayer posted below, expresses both his great love for the Blessed Mother and his desire to honor by his ministry, suffering and sacrifice. In 1643 he returned secretly to England as a priest, but was apprehended on his arrival. When has was asked by the judge why he had come to England, he replied that he had come to save souls, and when interrogated further he unhesitatingly confessed to being a priest, a crime then under English law. He was convicted of treason an butchered at Tyburn in the same year.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Esther and Our Lady

An intriguing analysis of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in the light of the Old Testament story.
In the Scriptures, the 13th day of Adar is one with historical portent. It marks the Machabees’ liberation of the Holy Land after a four-year combat; the battle throughout the Persian Empire during the reign of Esther; and the day warriors fasted before going out to war. [6] The theme becomes obvious: An epic battle of God’s ecclesia against her enemies.

In The Apocalypse, the Woman (the Virgin Mary) is prefigured by a “type within type” — “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” [11] This woman is a type of the Church, but the eternal Church is herself a type of Mary. With these examples, one begins to see what is meant by “types within types.”

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friends of the Cross

Some thoughts from Fr. Angelo Mary.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mother Maria del Carmen

Her process of canonization opens.
Carmen Catarina Bueno was born in Itu, in the State of São Paulo, on 25th December 1898. She entered the Carmel of St Joseph in Rio de Janeiro in 1926, where she was professed with the name of María del Carmen of the Most Holy Trinity at the age of 27. During her religious life she was Mistress of Novices, Sub-Prioress, and Prioress. In 1955 she set out to found the Carmel of the Holy Face and Pius XII at Tremembè.

She devoted great attention to novitiate formation and the care of the sick sisters in the community. In 1966 she died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 67.

The Sacrifice of Forgiveness

A powerful meditation from Fr. Philip Powell.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

St. Francesca of Rome

Wife, mother, and saint. According to Fr. Mark:
Francesca is best known for a sagacious remark, one that two centuries later Saint Francis de Sales would echo. "Devotion in a married woman," she said, "is most praiseworthy, but she must never forget that she is a housewife. Sometimes she must leave God at the altar, to serve Him in her housekeeping". An indication of Francesca's Benedictine vocation was in her devotion to the Divine Office. One day in praying the Hours she was interrupted five times in succession. Each time she closed her book, attended to what was asked of her, and then returned to her prayer. After the last interruption she found the words of the antiphon she had been trying to pray written in letters of gold. God rewarded her patience as much as her zeal for the Divine Office.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Stabat Mother

The Sorrowful Mother. Every Saturday belongs to her.

Oh! how sad, how sorrow laden,
Stood the meek and blessed maiden,
God's true mother undefiled.

Trembling, weeping, whelmed in woes,
Winessing the dying throes
Of her own immortal child.

Who is he who would not weep,
Could he know what anguish deep,
Pierced the mother of the Lord?

Who from sorrow could refrain,
Gazing on that mother's pain,
Weeping with her son adored?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Faults of the Saints

A meditation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Examination of Conscience

Some thoughts from A Solitary Bird.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Modern Penitent

The life of actress Eve Lavallière gives hope to all who struggle. More HERE.
It is possible for a person to become a saint in a short time. It was as if Eve was making up for lost time. In contrast to the decades of fame and promiscuity, she quickly entered into another world of prayer and silence, of service and charity.

The Measure

Stop judging and you will not be judged.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Living Flame

Do not be discouraged.
It is interesting to note that when speaking of the suffering of souls in the "deep, terrifying darkness" of the dark night (the initial stages of contemplation or the purgative stage), the intensity of their suffering is likened to that of the soul in purgatory. Keep in mind John of the Cross is speaking about contemplatives here. Nevertheless there is something analogous to what every soul experiences sooner or later - later meaning purgatory if we are fortunate. The following is an excerpt from The Living Flame of Love, by John of the Cross.
All the soul's infirmities are brought to light; they are set before its eyes to be felt and healed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Saints New and Old

The beatification of Ven. Juan de Palafox y Mendoza.
The Postulator General of the Order, Fr. Ildefonso Moriones, informs us that the Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals and Bishops dealing with the Cause of Juan de Palaox y Mendoza has approved the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Bishop. This approval clears the way for his Beatification. Fr. Ildefonso, Postulator for the Cause, has been told that Pope Benedict will sign the Decree for Beatification before Easter. A date and venue for the Beatification of Bishop Juan, who had close historical links with our Order, will then be promulgated.

Pope Benedict declared Juan de Palafox Venerable on 17 January 2009 when his heroic Christian virtues were recognised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The Miracle

The miracle approved by the Vatican was the cure of Fr. Lucas Fernandez de Pinedo, a 66 year old priest from the ex-diocese of Osma (Spain) where Bishop Juan was buried.

Fr. Lucas suffered from probable tuberculosis (incurable at that time). and his doctors had given up all hope of recovery. Fr. Moriones writes that ¡§the priest had made his will, received the last Sacraments and bade farewell to his parishioners, when his nephew (also a priest) brought him a relic of Palafox¡. The invalid received the relic, entrusted himself to the intercession of Palafox and went quietly to sleep, which had been an impossibility for many weeks. His illness disappeared instantly and, in the space of four hours, he was restored to perfect health.

Juan de Palafox y Mendoza

He was born on 24 June 1600 in the village of Fitero (Navarre, Spain). His intelligence and good sense of government had been noticed at an early age by the Marquis of Ariza. The Count-Duke of Olivares recommended him to Madrid where he was employed in the fiscal offices of the War Council and Council for the Indies.

His sister Lucrezia's illness and the death of two colleagues in 1628 marked a radical change in Palafox's life. He began to frequent the Sacraments and to pray seriously. All this led to his eventual ordination to the priesthood in 1629.

He was consecrated Bishop in 1639 and was transferred from Madrid to Mexico as Titular Bishop of Puebla and Viceroy of New Spain. Neither work nor difficulties were lacking in his new offices but he quickly gained the esteem and affection of his clergy and faithful. He became an outstanding defender of the rights of the native Indians. One of his major pastoral achievements was to consolidate the different missions in his jurisdiction into a well organised diocese.

He returned to Spain later as Bishop of Osma. He lived a life of notable austerity, paying particular attention to the poor and sick throughout his diocese. He died peacefully on 1 October 1659, bequeathing to his loved ones only the bare necessities of life that he owned. The Diocesan Chapter, following the directives in his will, organised a pauper's funeral for him as witness to the poverty in which he died.

The Saints of Carmel: a Litany.
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