Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
-- The Confessions by St Augustine
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St Augustine. Please pray for all those sons and daughters who are living in sin, that they may have a conversion of heart like St Augustine.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Let us reproach ourselves for the ingratitude, negligence, and inconstancy in our own response to so many graces... and let us promise to correct ourselves in the future. And in moments of doubts let us cry out, 'I believe in everything the church proposes to us for our belief.' In a word, in the difficulties of life and in the moments when we are tempted to go after false goods, let us hold fast to the bark of Peter, which is for us like Noah's ark at the time of the deluge, since we feel good everywhere but better in the House of God, where everything is done according to his will. In this house Jesus is with us until the end of the world.
The visible head of this house, of this (if you will) bark of Peter, ark of the covenant, is the pope; the invisible head is Jesus himself. To holy church all the peoples of the earth hasten, insofar as all the nations... will find a refuge in it. Our Redeemer, ever present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, extends his hands to everyone. He opens his heart and says, 'Come to me, all of you' [Mt 11:28].
Thus he calls and invites us, so that there might be one shepherd and one flock! Today's solemnity of the twenty-fifth jubilee of the pontificate [of Leo XIII] is, therefore, celebrated simultaneously throughout the world: in Wadowice, in Moscow (where there are in fact Catholic churches), in Germany, England, America, and wherever the church is present..." -- St Raphael of St Joseph, ocd
-- Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to His Life and Spirituality by Szczepan T Praskiewicz, ocd
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraphim is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraphim pierces and cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better, a flame, is already enkindled. For the soul is converted into the immense fire of love.
Scripture reading is essential for our spiritual development. Simply hearing the Word proclaim at Mass is not enough. If you're so busy you only have 5 minutes per day to do some spiritual reading, please, read the Scriptures. All our Doctors of the Church, all our saints, based their spirituality on the teachings contained in Scriptures. Some passages are a little bit more difficult to understand than others, but with the aide of study guides like the SJBG and ACBS, it can be a very rewarding, and even addicting, experience. Moreover, a deeper understanding of the Scriptures will help you understand the wisdom and the spiritual wealth of the Magisterium of the Church.
One does not need to start with Genesis and finish with the Book of Revelations (Apocalypse). If you would like to keep track of your reading to try and read the Bible in a year (yes, it is possible and doesn't take much time per day), print a copy of the brochure Read the Bible and the Catechism in a Year published by Coming Home Network.
So take the dust off your Bible, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and start reading. Your relationship with Christ and your love for the Church will grow much more than you ever imagined. By the way, the shortest Gospel is Mark's and its main theme is the Divine Sonship of Christ.
I am grateful to Mr Salvatore "Sal" J Ciresi and Ms Michal E Hunt for permission to reproduce the description text from their websites.
"The St. Jerome Biblical Guild propagates the study of Sacred Scripture with fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Our apostolate takes its name from St. Jerome, "The Father of Biblical Studies," and labors by God's grace to accomplish the following --  explain the various Bible study tools and academic resources; for individual research or study clubs and groups, present studies from Scripture on specific books (e.g., the Gospel of St. Luke) or general themes (e.g., the Biblical roots of home-schooling),  promote the classic exegetical methods and insights within Catholic Tradition; with attention to the Church Fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas, and  advance the doctrines of Biblical inspiration and inerrancy; the latter the main focus of the Guild. Time constraints prevent answering e-mail questions (the lone exception is for inquiries for speaking engagements). The site strives to be a modest repository of information on the Catholic Faith."
The following is the description for Agape Catholic Bible Study.
"This free Catholic online resource for the study of Sacred Scripture offers:
- In-depth Bible studies in the living tradition of the Catholic Church
- Accessing ancient and contemporary commentaries
- Historical and archaeological information
- Catechism of the Catholic Church references"
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified, pray for us!
Prayers of Bl Mariam:
Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary my Mother, look upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
from all danger, preserve me.
Source of peace, Light,
come and enlighten me.
I am hungry, come and nourish me.
I am thirsty, come and quench my thirst.
I am blind, come and give me light.
I am poor, come and enrich me.
Monday, August 24, 2009
When everything had been arranged, the Lord was pleased that some of the sisters should take the habit on Saint Bartholomew's Day and on that day too the Most Holy Sacrament was placed in the convent. So with the full weight of authority this convent of our most glorious father Saint Joseph was founded in the year 1562. I was there to give the habit, with two other nuns of our own house, who chanced to be absent from it. As the house in which the convent was established belonged to my brother-in-law, who, as I have said, had bought it in order to keep the matter secret, I was there by special permission, and I did nothing without asking the opinion of learned men, lest in any way whatever I should act against obedience. As they saw what benefits, in numerous ways, were being conferred upon the whole Order, they told me I might do what I did, although it was being done in secret and I was keeping it from my superiors' knowledge. Had they told me that there was the slightest imperfection in this, I think I would have given up a thousand convents, let alone a single one. Of that I am sure; for, though I desired to make the foundation so that I could withdraw more completely from everything and fulfil my profession and vocation with greater perfection in conditions of stricter enclosure, I desired it only with the proviso that if I found that the Lord would be better served by my abandoning it entirely, I should do so, as I had done on a former occasion, with complete tranquillity and peace.
"Face life bravely and fearlessly. Yet let your courage be calm.
Courage without calmness is incomplete and imperfect. It is a promising bud, not yet open. Only when it has weathered seasonal storm and drought will it blossom and bear fruit."
-- Where Silence is Praise by A Carthusian
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
We follow the opposite path. Christ started out from contemplation to come to the perfection of obedience. We must start out from the perfection of obedience to arrive at contemplation. This is the reverse route we must follow. In the depths of our being, our prayer is worth what our obedience is worth. Our embrace of God will be in accordance with our embrace of his will...
Let us consider, then, what constituted this profound prayer in the soul of Christ. Let us contemplate the great mysteries of the Beatific Vision and the Hypostatic Union. Let us go to work courageously to welcome God within us, so that we can know the immense nourishment to be derived from constant, deep prayer. We will reach out for this prayer with humility and obedience. To understand happiness for the presence of God and to have a foretaste of heaven here below, let us take the necessary steps, while repeating the words found in our Office: 'Taste and see the goodness of the Lord' [Ps 34:9]. May we experience the truth of his words and may we likewise know the road that leads to him."
-- Fr Jaques of Jesus, ocd
Cited in Père Jacques: Resplendent in Victory by Francis Murphy, SJ
Though Fr Jacques was addressing discalced nuns, his counsel of obedience applies to all. Obedience to whom, you may ask. Obedience to parents, obedience to superiors (ie, spiritual directors), obedience to the Magisterium of the Church. We may disagree with something, perhaps due to a lack of understanding or ignorance, but humble submission in a spirit of faith will bring us closer to Christ, help us grow in virtue. Moral theologians teach that unless we're asked to do something that is obviously a sin (ie, against Church teaching), we should be obedient to the best of our abilities. Look at Christ, already a grown man and God in the flesh, and He obeyed His Mother when she asked Him for help when the newly wed couple at Cana ran out of wine. And Denis the Carthusian said: "If you are doubtful whether a command is contrary to the law of God you should follow the command of your director because even if it is against the law of God, the one who obeys does not sin." It's not easy to be obedient, but we must try to be so, and ask for the virtue of obedience.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instil confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.
So let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honour them as much as we can and should. Yet all our love and honor must go to him, for it is from him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect.
We should then, my brothers, show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the Father. We are God’s children although it does not seem so, because we are still but small children under guardians and trustees, and for the present little better than slaves.
Even though we are children and have a long, a very long and dangerous way to go, with such protectors what have we to fear? They who keep us in all our ways cannot be overpowered or led astray, much less lead us astray. They are loyal, prudent, powerful. Why then are we afraid? We have only to follow them, stay close to them, and we shall dwell under the protection of God’s heaven."
--Excerpt from Sermo 12 in psalmum Qui habitat, 3. 6-8 by St Bernard of Clairvaux
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St Bernard, known as the "Mellifluos Doctor" because of his eloquence.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.
Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort, pray for us!
"They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.
If God permits them to recover totally or in part this liberty nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.
From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their brothers out, under any pretext. They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes, and there become subjects
of edification and models of virtue for the people, by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer and their love for recollection and piety."