Keep your eyes open!...


April 30, 2014  

(1Co 15:56-57) Now the sting of death is sin: and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

EXCERPT ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Without gloss: Francis of Assisi and Western Catholicism

The philosopher Rémi Brague once wrote that “Christianity was founded by people who could not have cared less about ‘Christian civilization.’  What mattered to them was Christ, and the reverberations of his coming on the whole of human existence.  Christians believed in Christ, not in Christianity itself; they were Christians, not ‘Christianists.’”

We need to remember that simple lesson.  The Catholic faith is not an ideology.  It’s  a romance.  It’s a love affair with God.  We’re a people who believe in Jesus Christ – not the ideas, but the person of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for our sake purely out of his love for us.  And living the Catholic faith should be an experience of gratitude and joy that flows from a daily personal encounter with God’s son and a communal relationship with God’s people.

There’s a reason the Church calls St. Francis the vir Catholicus, the exemplary Catholic man.  Francis understood that gratitude is the beginning of joy, and that joy in this world is the aroma of heaven in the next.  He reveled in the debt he owed to God for the beauty of creation, for his friends and brothers, and for every gift and suffering that came his way.  He treasured his dependence on the love of others, and returned their love with his own.  He gave away all that he had in order to gain the deepest kind of freedom – the freedom to pursue God, to share God with others, and to experience life without encumbrance or fear.

MEDITATION: Stations of the Cross based on

Jesus Falls the First Time
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider this first fall of Jesus under His Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, His head crowned with thorns, and He had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that he could scarcely walk, and yet he had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times in His journey.

My beloved Jesus, it is not the weight of the Cross, but my sins, which have made Thee suffer so much pain. Ah, by the merits of this first fall, deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin. I love Thee, O my Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.


After many years of walking the Way of the Cross, this particular station has always struck me as the crossroads. Could Jesus body fulfill what His Spirit demanded it to fulfill? Could His "weak flesh" follow His willing Spirit? It could, with Mary's help! At the very next station we see Mary, a living witness of Jesus' ultimate success. The Immaculately conceived one need not utter a word. Her presence alone was tonic enough to "remind" Jesus that His success had already been written. His flesh would indeed be willing enough! His sinless mother was all the witness He needed at this critical juncture of His journey.

Jesus is Raised upon the Cross, and Dies
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how thy Jesus, after three hours' Agony on the Cross, consumed at length with anguish, abandons Himself to the weight of His body, bows His head, and dies.

O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the Cross on which Thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death; but Thy death is my hope. Ah, by the merits of Thy death, give me grace to die, embracing Thy feet, and burning with love for Thee. I yield my soul into Thy hands. I love Thee with my whole heart; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.


This station has always been a bittersweet one for me. On the one hand, we killed God! The sinless Son of God was not treated with love, honor and fear but with humiliation and scorn. We did this to Him!! How can one see this and not be bitterly ashamed? How could we not admit that today's society would do the very same thing? Mankind is Adam, and always will be. Rebellious dirt.

But also as I have traveled this road with Jesus there has always been a great sense of relief. It is finished! The Passion is complete. Mankind's redemption has purchased and sealed! Praise God!

Today, however relief turned to joy. We are after all, made in God's image. What do we see in sporting events when a person accomplishes the impossible? Leaping for joy? Thrusting fists? Thunderous emotional outbursts? Think back a few days to the end of any of the NCAA tournament games. How did the winners react as the clock wound down to zero? Bedlam.

Today I "saw" Jesus react in just that way when the clock ran out and He breathed His last. Jesus won the greatest victory in history, in His story!! I think our Lord put His new body in heaven to the test and did every joyous acrobatic maneuver ever conceived by man! And the angels! How do human crowds react to human victory? Can you imagine (no you can't) the reaction of million of angels to the ultimate victory?!!!! No wonder there was an earthquake on earth! It is amazing that the planet found a way to remain in orbit!

Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how, after the death of our Lord, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross, and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed Him to her bosom.

O Mother of sorrow, for the love of this Son, accept me for thy servant, and pray to Him for me. And Thou, my Redeemer, since Thou hast died for me, permit me to love Thee; for I wish but Thee, and nothing more. I love Thee, my Jesus, and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.


Yes, Jesus was now back where it had all begun in that manger in Bethlehem. Back in Mary's arms. Except that rather than being wrapped in swaddling clothes, His body was lifeless. Yet as we see Mary's facial expression on Michelangelo's Pieta, it is not one of despair, panic, or pain. No Mary is at peace. Her Son's mission was accomplished. One can only wonder whether He allowed her a glimpse of heaven's ecstatic celebration. Maybe, just maybe, this resulted in a mischievous smile as saw her Son's celebration for the ages.


He won!

She won!

We won!

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

28. A hermit was asked by a brother why, when he stayed in his cell, he suffered boredom. He answered, "You have not yet seen the resurrection for which we hope, nor the torment of fire. If you had seen these, then you would bear your cell without boredom even if it was filled with worms and you were standing in them up to your neck.'

April 28, 2014  

(1Pe 1:15-16) But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.

Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle: "For those of us who say that it is very difficult to be holy, the canonization of the people whom we know, people who are part of our generation is a declaration that holiness is real. It's given to all. You can be holy."

VIDEO: On camera: Popes John Paul II, John XXIII canonized

EXCERPT HOMILY POPE FRANCIS: 'Popes of 20th century' Witness, Teach of God's Mercy

The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5).

Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.

They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.

In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.

THE MESSAGE: Canonization Opens Way For Universal Celebration Of Popes' Feast Days

From the moment Pope Francis said, "We declare and define Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II be saints" and "they are to be venerated as such by the whole church," their October feast days automatically could be celebrated at Masses around the world.

St. John's feast day is Oct. 11, the anniversary of the day in 1962 that he opened the Second Vatican Council. St. John Paul's feast day is Oct. 22, the anniversary of the inauguration of his pontificate in 1978.

After the two were beatified -- Pope John in 2000 and Pope John Paul in 2011 -- special Vatican permission was required to publicly celebrate their feast days outside the Diocese of Rome, where they served as bishop and pope, and their home dioceses. Vatican permission also was required to name parishes after them, but with their canonization, that is no longer necessary.

WEBCAM: Tomb of Blessed John Paul II

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

26. A hermit said, 'Our predecessors were reluctant to move from place to place, except perhaps for three reasons: first, if a man was angry with them and no amount of satisfaction would calm him down; secondly, if many praised them; and thirdly, if they were tempted to lust.'

April 24, 2014  


"If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. If Christ is not risen--nothing else matters."
~ Jaroslav Pelikan of blessed memory

ALETIA: What Easter Means- The new order of creation is here

RON ROLHEISER, OMI: Easter Arsonists of the Heart

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Time for a Little Easter Cheer

BLOG: Matthew 17:7- Fusion Reactions

EXCERPT POPE FRANCIS: Easter 'Urbi et Orbi' Message

The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay” ( Mt 28:5-6).

This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew. The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.

That is why we tell everyone: “Come and see!” In every human situation, marked by frailty, sin and death, the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: it is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast… “Come and see!”: Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.

With this joyful certainty in our hearts, today we turn to you, risen Lord!

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

The Bright Resurrection of Christ. [Acts 1:1–8; John 1:1–17]

Pascha, the Lord's Pascha! The Lord has led us from death to life by means of His resurrection. And this resurrection “the angels hymn in the heavens,” having seen the brightness of the deified human nature in the glory foreordained for it, in the countenance of the Lord and Redeemer. All Who truly believe in Him and cleave to Him with all their soul are changed into His image by the power of His resurrection. Glory, O Lord, to Thy most glorious resurrection! The angels hymn, rejoicing with us and foreseeing the filling of their assembly.

Vouchsafe us also with pure heart, O Lord, to glorify Thee resurrected; seeing in Thy resurrection the severing of our consuming decay, the sowing of a most bright new life, and the dawn of future eternal glory, into which Thou hast gone before us by Thy Resurrection for our sake. The tongues not only of men but also of angels are have insufficient strength to express Thine unspeakable mercy toward us, O most gloriously resurrected Lord!

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Fortitude

25. In the desert some people came to a great hermit and said 'How can you be content here with this severe way of life?' The hermit replied, 'All the severity of my life here cannot compare with a day of the torment prepared for sinners in the next world.
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