Keep your eyes open!...


January 31, 2013  

(Mat 19:13-16) Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence. And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Catholic Schools and the Christian Mission

: Pope honors St. John Bosco, explains what different generations can learn from him

CATHOLIC CULTURE: Don Bosco, Seeker of Souls by Msgr. Paul E. Campbell, M.A., Litt.D., Ed.D.


The Three Prophecies of St. John Bosco
Don Bosco's Prophecy of the Two Columns
The Road to Hell (Prophetic Dream of St. John Bosco 1868 A.D.)

: From a letter by Saint John Bosco, priest

I have always labored out of love First of all, if we wish to appear concerned about the true happiness of our foster children and if we would move them to fulfill their duties, you must never forget that you are taking the place of the parents of these beloved young people. I have always labored lovingly for them, and carried out my priestly duties with zeal. And the whole Salesian society has done this with me.

My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.

I give you as a model the charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts. They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.

See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or willfulness. It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger.

Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.

This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized, and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.

They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.

There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.

In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will only offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty.

VIDEO: St. John Bosco

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

31. If you find yourself in an abyss of pride and of vain self-esteem, plunge yourself at once into the abyss of the humility of the Sacred Heart. There you must submerge all feelings of pride that are stirred up within you, so that by love of your own abjection you may clothe yourself with His sacred annihilations.

January 30, 2013  

(Mat 6:9-10) Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

FROM THE MAILBAG: Reflection by Father Ted - January 29, 2013

My dearest Lord Jesus, today You allowed me to preach Your word not only at Mass but also to a group of Your beloved daughters who are members of Your Mother's Legion of Mary in the Cathedral parish of Bolgatunga in Ghana.

You wanted not only the members of my missionary group to hear Your message of love for all people but also for these holy women who live here in Bolgatunga.

You have been striving to teach the importance of each one of us becoming saints - which is by doing the Will of the Father.

When we agree to this calling You pour into our hearts the incredible love that You have for all people.

You first of all ask us to evangelize our brothers and sisters within our own Catholic communities.

We do this by becoming men and women, boys and girls of prayer. For prayer is the first step in getting to know You, Your Father, and Your Holy Spirit.

You have taught me to begin each day with four simple prayers - the Morning Offering, the Memorare, the Prayer to my Guardian Angel, and the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel.

If possible, You want me to offer Mass daily. Through Your Holy Father Pope John Paul II, You reminded me of this when he encouraged a group of American bishops on their Ad Limina visit with him to exhort their brother priests do so whether there was a congregation present or not. He did this back in 1998.

You want to feed us spiritually through Your Holy Words in Scripture and through the receiving of Your Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

You want us to spend time with you in Adoration - if possible daily. You want us to pray the Rosary daily for Peace in the world. Isn't that why You sent Your Mother to the 3 children at Fatima just a week after the Holy Father in May of 1917 requested the Catholic World to "Pray to Mary, the Queen of Peace?"

You want us, as ordained priests, to pray the Divine Office - not just Lauds and Vespers as many of our lay brothers and sisters do. This prayer life is so important if we are to be able to recognize the Truth that You have preserved within Your Roman Catholic Church, if we are to resist the many temptations that You allow the devil to use to test us and to help us to grow in holiness.

I recall what sadly happened in the 1960's when many of us clergy and religious bought the distortion of the powerful Motto of Saint Benedict, which is "To Pray and to Work". For we were being taught that work is our prayer. And when many of us accepted this teaching we dropped praying the Divine Office.

I know what happened to me and to many of my brother priests where I taught in the Archdiocesan high school. We were not able to accept the truths that Pope Paul VI proclaimed in his divinely inspired encyclical "Humani Generis". Many gave into their temptations. Many left the priesthood for diverse reasons.

You know that I almost left the priesthood too, but mercifully You prompted several brothers and sisters to pray for me. And they did. As a result I did not leave as did so many of my friends - including many of my classmates.

Just two years ago You exhorted Pope Benedict XVI to tell his brother bishops in the United States during his apostolic visit to the United States - to daily spend time in adoration of the Eucharistic Jesus, to daily pray the Rosary, and to daily pray the full Divine Office.

If they had only done so; if they had only urged their brother priests to do so; if we priests had only urged our lay brothers and sisters to visit Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence in our Churches and to pray the Rosary daily for Peace in the world - imagine how different our situation would be today.

As our Lord declared on Christmas Day in one alleged apparition - " I am your Peace. Live My Commandments."

Jesus, help us to live Your Commandments. Help us to urge our lay brothers and sisters to become saints. Help them to pray for the sanctification of all our Christian brothers and sisters. Encourage all of us who are Your disciples to pray that all people may come to know You as the only Savior of mankind and to accept Your Father as our Father.

Father, may Your Will be done on earth, by us, as it is done in Heaven.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

30. This divine Heart is naught but sweetness, humility and patience, therefore, we must wait... He knows when to act.

January 29, 2013  

(1Co 12:26-27) And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it: or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.

POPE BENEDICT XVI:  "Many of you come from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God’s plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord’s will. May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints who down the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us. Upon you, and upon all those associated with the work of the Commission, I cordially invoke a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace".

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Obama Ignores the Fears of Middle Eastern Christians

ACN: Helping the helpless in Syria

People escaping violence and oppression in Syria are to receive urgent help from leading Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which is making a series of grants across a region now gripped by a bitter winter.

ACN has approved an initial aid package of $207,100 to provide food, blankets and medicine for people struggling in below-freezing temperatures.

The aid, bound for refugees and displaced people in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, will be distributed through parishes and dioceses, with the expectation of more ACN help to come.

ACN’s announcement on Thursday, Jan. 24th builds on significant emergency help for the region given at regular intervals during 2012, when Christians and others were caught in the cross-fire and suffered deliberate attacks on their communities.

In making the latest round of aid payments, ACN has responded to appeals for help amid reports of up to four million people in Syria alone lacking food, shelter and clothes.

ACN projects staff reported receiving requests for aid from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, which has suffered months of violence, and the so-called Valley of Christians (Wadi al-Nasara) near Homs, where the situation facing displaced people is of great concern.

With Vatican reports within the past month stating that more than 500,000 people have been fleeing Syria, refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan are struggling to cope with the influx of people and need more help, especially in the winter months.

ACN Middle East projects coordinator Fr. Andrzej Halemba described the situation as “increasingly critical,” adding that “the cold is hitting the people hard.”

He said, “Syria’s Christians live in fear. We get reports about how much the people are suffering from the fighting.”

“The tension is almost unbearable. Syria’s Christians do not have any prospects and their future in their own country is uncertain.”

“They rely totally on the Church. That’s why it’s so important to distribute the aid through the structures of the Church.”


REVIEW: In the Middle East, the Arab spring has given way to a Christian winter


Egyptian court sentences Christian family to 15 years for converting from Islam
Jerusalem bishop: "Syria sexual violence must end"
Persecution of Christians: natural effect of the Arab Spring
Iran sentences American pastor Saeed Abedini to 8 years in prison

OF INTEREST: Race to save the language of Jesus: Aramaic in danger of becoming extinct as  number of speakers of ancient tongue plummets

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

26. I think that, according to what our Lord makes known to me, He does not wish to take away from you these feelings contrary to the virtue of humility; He leaves you something to fight against, so that He may reward your victories; and also, that you may be continually on your guard and have a great distrust of yourself.

January 24, 2013  

(1Co 11:23-26) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.


Vatican Preparing a Manual to Help Priests Celebrate Mass
Time to Restore the Sense of the Sacred: To Love the Liturgy is to Love the Lord
Cardinal Koch on a Liturgical “Reform of the Reform”

COMMENTARY: The Liturgical Cliff by David G. Bonagura, Jr.

Jim J. McCrea: The Reason for the Decline of the Catholic Church in the Western World Today

Many reasons have been given for the decline of the Catholic Church in the Western world today - that is, a decline in Her influence, Her numbers, faithfulness to Her teachings by Her members, and vocations to the priesthood.

But I believe that there is one over-arching reason for that. And that reason has been a marginalization of the Eucharist in the Church after Vatican II - as I define the Eucharist as the True Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the appearances of bread and wine in the Consecrated Species.

Although the Trinity is central to our Faith in an objective sense, the Eucharist must be central to our Faith in an experiential sense - that is, it must be central to the consciousness of the faithful believer. It is the center - that is the glue - that holds everything else in the Faith together. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Without that center - without that glue - everything in the Faith is simply a disparate collection of notions and actions and everything falls apart.

That is what we have seen happen in the Church in the Western world in recent years.

The Eucharist has been marginalized in subtle ways, by putting Jesus in the Tabernacle off to the side, by removing Altar rails, receiving Jesus in Communion standing and in the hand as the norm, and as the norm the priest facing the people rather than God when confecting the Sacred Mysteries.

This has a subtle but definite effect of downgrading the importance of the Eucharistic Jesus in people's minds, so that the difference is narrowed between a Catholic Mass and a Protestant worship service. This being the case, many people easily leave the Catholic Church for a Protestant sect if they receive greater emotional satisfaction there.

This is combined with weak or non-existent preaching on the Eucharist from many pulpits.

As the sun illuminates everything in the physical world, the Eucharistic Jesus illuminates everything in the Catholic Church. For the Church to be revived, that must shine again. Not only must many of the old liturgical practices and symbolisms be restored, but Eucharistic preaching must be made front and center, and it must be preached how everything in the Faith radiates from it.

Transubstantiation must once again be made front and center of Eucharistic preaching. It must be preached that the Eucharist that one receives in Holy Communion has the look, the taste, and the feel of bread - that is, all the sense qualities of bread - but that no reality of bread is present - that the reality of Jesus Christ is present instead, so that in Communion one literally and physically receives Jesus. It must be instilled in the minds of the faithful that Transubstantiation is a supernatural mystery of the highest order.

The nature of the priesthood must be preached, as the priest is the instrument of the Holy Spirit who changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus at Mass to make the Eucharist present. If the Eucharistic reality were strongly instilled in people's minds, with that connection to the priesthood, we would see a dramatic increase in vocations to the priesthood.

Apostolic succession must be preached, so that the cause of the priesthood is grounded in the historical action of Jesus. Bishops make priests, and bishops are made by previous bishops - a line that goes back to the Apostles, who were the first bishops, who were given the power of Holy Orders by Jesus Himself at the Last Supper.

It then must be preached how the Eucharist is related to all the other aspects of the Faith. The Eucharist, first of all, connects us to the Trinity. The Eucharist, in substance, is one and the same as Jesus Christ Himself, the second person of the Trinity, who has taken on human flesh and walked among us. The Son is eternally begotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

The Eucharist is connected to the Passion of our Lord. For at Mass there is a double consecration. Bread is changed into the Body of Christ, and then wine is changed into His Blood, to bring the Eucharist into existence. The separate consecrations of bread into Body and wine into Blood, symbolize the separation of Jesus' Body and Blood on the Cross, and is mystically united to it, making the Mass the same Sacrifice of Calvary (I have never heard that preached from the pulpit in my life).

The Eucharist is directly related to the Resurrection, for it is the Resurrected Christ who is present in the Eucharist, and since the Body and Blood of Jesus are now forever united, where His Blood is so is His Body, and where His Body is so is His Blood. As a result, in the species of bread there is His Blood, and in the species of wine there is His Body. In either of the species of bread or wine is the full Christ - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

The Eucharist is related to Baptism, for in Baptism we are initiated into the Life of God, and become a supernaturally alive organism in Him which allows us to receive the supernatural food of the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is related to the sacrament of Confession. For it is confession that makes us fit to receive the Eucharistic Jesus if we have fallen into mortal sin, or makes us perfectly clean so that we are most open to Him if we were guilty of only venial sin.

In the practical dimension of life, both fervent Communion and Eucharistic Adoration give us the graces to practice chastity in our state of life and love God and our neighbor as Christ commands.

All other teachings of the Catholic Church can be related to the Eucharist in some manner, and the reader can come up with many other suggestions.

The Catholic Church will be revived if the Eucharist is once again made central in preaching, symbolism, and liturgical practice, for it has been the strategy of Satan to marginalize the Eucharist in an attempt to bring down the Catholic Church.

This trend must be reversed. When the Eucharistic Jesus is once again made the Sun of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church will come brilliantly alive again.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

25. Keep yourself lowly and little in your own eyes, that thus you may grow in this divine Heart.

January 22, 2013  

MOTHER TERESA: “Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign. … You must weep that your own government, at present, seems blind to this truth.

RESPECT LIFE OFFICE- Diocese of Worcester: Observing the January 22nd Day of Prayer and Penance Ideas for personal and communal practices

AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE COMMENTARY: 40 Years Later: Reflecting on 'Roe' and 'Doe'

It is extremely difficult to think about what one might say after 40 years of decriminalized barbarism. Yes, that is exactly what abortion is—and yet most people are blind to the effect it has had on the family and on our nation.

Haven’t we heard it all before? Of course we have. Each of us knows that the direct taking of the life of a child prior to birth is a heinous crime that offends God and wounds the conscience. And yet, to even write or talk about it after all these years is considered nothing more than white noise. People respond with yawns, glazed-over eyes, and deaf ears.

In addition, we are often merely talking to ourselves about this. America does not seem to understand. In fact, for the most part, Americans do not even believe or realize that the child is a human being prior to birth—an individual with a soul just like you and me.

Most Americans relate the act of abortion to a political issue and suggest that even though they are personally opposed to abortion, they believe that every woman has the “right” to decide for herself. Because it is legal, they suggest, it must be right. Furthermore, all the major publications and news sources tell us that to even curtail the availability of abortion is a violation of human rights!

While we know that such thinking is preposterous to its very core, we are not getting the accurate message out to the masses. This is our biggest challenge. It is time to turn the corner and change our tactics.

We must vow to remove the word “abortion” from the political lexicon that has relegated it to a debate between conservatives and liberals. We must direct our focus on getting our fellow Americans to think in terms of human beings and the reality of abortion. Changing the discussion and refocusing on human beings will dramatically alter the paradigm that has been put in place by the culture of death. The word BABY must replace the word ISSUE.

In 1991, I had a remarkable conversation with one of the most saintly priests I have ever known. His name was Father John Hardon, S.J. His depth and understanding of Catholic teaching surpasses that of anyone I have ever met. Father Hardon reminded me of something that most people find a challenge too difficult to pursue. He suggested that each of us who are defending the innocent at every stage of their biological development must make a commitment to never be influenced by the desire for human respect. He told me that the biggest problem with the pro-life movement was that it was far too political and not very holy.

This admonition was difficult for me to grasp, being a type A personality who believes strongly in the “I can do this” perspective.

Since that profound conversation, I have reflected many times on how truly useless we are as human beings if we forget that God does not need us, but we need Him. This applies particularly to our work in defending the defenseless.

Human respect tempts us to compromise for the sake of getting along; pursuing it appeals to our ego and often blinds us to the real reason why we are struggling to end the killing. We wind up caring more about how popular we are with politicians, the media, family members, friends, and co-workers than we do about the principles that underlie our goals—the first of which is always putting what God wants first.

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton is one the saddest days I could ever have imagined confronting. It means that for 40 years America has institutionalized killing people and defined it as a legal act that is commensurate with a human right. Such twisted thinking has destroyed the moral fiber of this nation.

But it is never too late to turn the tide. With God, all things are possible, and the miracle we seek begins with you and with me. Let us resolve today to act first and foremost as disciples of Christ who vow to spread His truth and never count the cost.

COMPILATION: Messages from bishops mark 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

NCR: Denver Archbishop Says Abortion Encounter Changed Him

: Blood Money Official Trailer 2010

DEACON'S BENCH: After abortion: “I was standing alone in a sterile room wearing a hospital gown…”

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

24. You must offer yourself to God as a mere nothing to its Creator Who, finding no resistance, will give it such being as pleases Him.

January 17, 2013  


(Luke 10:1-2) And after these things, the Lord appointed also other seventy-two. And he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come. And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into his harvest.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Young adults and ‘secrets of the heart’

PROFILE: Father John Weber was drawn to be a priest

MSGR. CHARLES POPE: But why do YOU go to Mass? A Reminder of the critical importance of rendering personal testimony in evangelization.

: How To Get More Out Of Every Day! by the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

It was reported that in the mid-twenties our Blessed Lord appeared to Sister Mary of the Dolors (the last of the Fatima children) and asked for the "Penance of Daily Duty."  In recent decades, Mother Church has canonized several saints who were outstanding for their perfect and loving fulfillment of what the saintly Pius XII called "that terrible everyday duty."

Just what, therefore, does this "everyday duty" include?  Everything!  The commandments of God and the Church.  The obligations of your profession or vocation.  The virtues needed at home, at work, and play.  It applies to everyone of every walk of life.

It goes even further calling for faithful correspondence to every inspiration of grace-for saintliness is but the crowning point of a long succession of graces.  It embraces also the various opportunities for good that present themselves from day to day.  Also to that special form of an apostolate conformable to your vocation in life.

Is this really enough to make a saint?  It certainly is.  For holiness consists in a fervent and active charity manifested in the faithful performance of all these duties.  As our Lord said: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my commandments" and "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me."  (John 14: 23-21)

The next question follows naturally...If holiness consists in the union of my will with the will of God, just how is this will of God made known to me from day to day?  It is made known to you every day of your life in your everyday duty.  This is your daily manifestation of the will of God.  It includes, by the way, ALL the penance anyone needs!

Another means of discovering the will of God for us is an internal source.  It is the Holy Spirit.  This Unseen Guest is ever active and constantly aids us with His lights, inspiration and guidance.  When you find it difficult, as it were, to hear the voice of the Sanctifier, you should resort to ordinary prudence.  Prayer and good counsel, plus the ever-readiness to do the will of God, usually bring the solution of our doubts and uncertainties. 

The guidance of the Holy Spirit is, in fact, an essential part of God's ordinary action on the soul.  You may be sure that God will give you the necessary inspirations to walk in the ways of God.  Of course, if we are foolish to habitually reject His advice and advances there's no telling when He will cut them off.  There can be no greater tragedy than to be rejected by the Sanctifying Spirit!

A final indicator of the will of God is the course of ordinary events.  Excluding one's personal sins, it is true to say that whatever has happened to us in the past is part of God's Providential plan.  Your origin, your upbringing, your education-or lack of it-your talents and present circumstances-there is nothing here that cannot be used for God's glory and your sanctification. 

This hardly means that we shouldn't try to improve our lot, but rather that we should unreservedly accept whatever God wills for us here and now.  To accept our present situation and ourself just as they are can be a great act of faith and confidence in God's Providence.  It can also be the beginning of great spiritual progress.

What is a practical resolution to be drawn from these principles?  It is that a most helpful spiritual practice is to stand daily in the presence of God and with a sincere and generous heart to pray: "Lord, what will Thou have me to do?"  There is no better way to win the constant assistance of God than by asking Him what you can do for Him.  Try it and you will soon find out!

Does it sound too easy?  Maybe so-for a few weeks or months!  But to keep striving for such perfection when you're sick as well as when you're healthy-when you're humbled as when you're riding high-in time of failure as well as success-or when just everything seems to be going wrong.  That's another thing.  That takes heroic holiness!

Human nature could never do all this by itself.  It takes more than ordinary grace and calls for a high degree of charity.  It pre-supposes a radical purification of our inner being.  It means that sanctifying grace is making you God-like in your soul, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are making you God-like in your operations.

Faithfulness to the penance of daily duty calls for the courage of a martyr-for the wisdom of a confessor-for the utter devotedness of a true friend of God.  Ordinarily, it takes a lifetime to reach such perfection; but it's the perfect preparation for eternity.  Some saints like St. Gabriel and St. Therese of Liseaux reached the peak of holiness in six or seven years.  Most of us climb much more slowly.  But there isn't really anyone who can't make the grade.  Here are a few hints that may help along the way:

1-Make a good start by resolving to perform your daily duties perfectly.
2-Take each day as it comes from the hand of God.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has yet to come.
3-During each day, act as though this is the only one you have.
4-Try to put as much faith and love as possible into those ordinary daily duties.
5-You'll note that it does get easier.  Things that seemed impossible last year, come more easily this year.
6-No matter how badly things go, never give up.  God IS with you!

ABOUT FR. KILIAN: Thinking about my life by Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

23. Humble yourself whenever opportunity offers with true humility of heart.  This is all, I think, that the Heart of our Lord asks of you.

January 15, 2013  

(Rom 6:3-6) Know you not that all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death: that, as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.

EXCERPT POPE BENEDICT XVI: Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Dear parents, in asking for Baptism for your children, you manifest and bear witness to your faith, to the joy of being a Christian and of belonging to the Church. It is the joy that comes from knowing you have received a great gift from God – the faith – a gift that none of us have merited, but that has been freely given and to which we have responded with our “yes.” It is the joy of recognizing ourselves as children of God, of discovering that we have been entrusted into His hands, to know that we are welcomed into a loving embrace, in the same way that a mother supports and embraces her child. This joy, that directs the path of every Christian, is based on a personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship that guides the whole of human existence. He, in fact, is the meaning of our life, the One upon Whom it is worthy to gaze, in order to be enlightened by His Truth and be able to live life to the fullest. The way of faith that begins today for these children is therefore based on a certainty, on the experience that there is nothing greater than to know Christ and to communicate friendship with Him to others; only in this friendship is the great potential of the human condition truly revealed and we can experience what is beautiful and what is free (cf. Homily at Mass for the beginning of his pontificate, April 24, 2005). Those who have this experience are not willing to give up their faith for anything in the world.

Dear godfathers and godmothers, yours is the important duty of supporting and contributing to the work of parents in education, working alongside them in the transmission of the truths of faith and in witnessing to the values ​​of the Gospel, in raising these children in an ever deeper friendship with the Lord. May you always give them your good example, through the exercise of Christian virtues. It is not easy to demonstrate what you believe in openly and without compromise, especially in the context in which we live, in the face of a society that often considers those who live by faith in Jesus to be old-fashioned and out of date. In the wake of this mentality, there can be, even among Christians, the risk of understanding the relationship with Jesus as limiting, as something that is detrimental to personal fulfilment, “God is seen as a limitation of our freedom, a limitation that destroys man’s ability to be himself” (The Infancy of Jesus, 101). But it is not so! This view demonstrates that it has understood nothing of the relationship with God, because, proceeding along the path of faith, we understand that Jesus exercises over us the freeing action of God's love that takes us beyond our selfishness and keeps us from being turned in on ourselves, in order to lead a full life, a life in communion with God and open to others. “‘God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God abides in him’ (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 1).

The water with which these children will be signed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit immerses them in the “fount” of life that is God Himself and that will make them His own children. And the seed of the theological virtues, infused by God – faith, hope and charity – the seed that today is placed in their hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, must always be fed by the Word of God and the Sacraments, so that these virtues of the Christian can grow and reach full maturity, in order to make each one of them a true witness of the Lord. While we invoke upon these little children the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we entrust them to the protection of the Holy Virgin: May she always guard them with her maternal presence and accompany them at every moment of their lives. Amen.

ESSAY: The War We Are In by Christopher Manion

VIA SADIE JARAMILLO: As we enter this year of 2013, many people are suffering through unimaginable things. Take heart! This is a sign of the approaching time of the Lord's intervention and the Blessed Virgin Mary's Triumph.

Saint Faustina said: "O my Jesus, I understand well that, just as illness is measured with a thermometer, and a high fever tells us of the seriousness of the illness, so also, in the spiritual life, suffering is the thermometer which measures the love of God in a soul." (notebook II -774) We would all do well to meditate on that.

In the midst of all our trials, the Holy Spirit, (for these ARE his times), is always with us, leading us to what is needed for that particular situation. To those people who would listen that is...for there are many who do not listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting's. He gives us the gifts needed for us to continue this journey. Develop a devotion to the Holy Spirit, and LISTEN TO HIS PROMPTINGS....

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

22. I will do my utmost to be gentle and submissive, stifling any feelings of resentment or repugnance.

January 11, 2013  


(Rev 6:9-11) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be slain even as they, should be filled up.

POPE BENEDICT XVI:  If we defend his cause, we will constantly gain others to the way of the Gospel. But, inevitably, we will also be beaten by those who live lives opposed to the Gospel, and then we can be grateful for having been judged worthy to share in the passion of Christ.

: About 100 Million Christians Persecuted around the World

About 100 million Christians are persecuted around the world, with conditions worsening for them most rapidly in Syria and Ethiopia, according to an annual report by a group supporting oppressed Christians worldwide. Open Doors, a non-denominational Christian group, listed North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as the three toughest countries for Christians last year. They topped the 50-country ranking for 2011 as well.

Syria jumped from 36th to 11th place on the list as its Christian minority, first suspected by rebels of close ties to the Assad government, has increasingly become a target for radical Islamist fighters, the report said.

Ethiopia, which is two-thirds Christian, shot up from 38th to 15th place in the ranking due to a "complex mix of persecution dynamics" including attacks by radical Islamists and reprisals by traditional Christians against new Protestant movements.

Mali came from no listing for 2011 to 7th place because the sharia rule the Islamist Ansar Dine group imposed on the north of the country not only brought harsh punishments for the Muslim majority but also drove the tiny Christian minority, it said.

"There are over 65 countries where Christians are persecuted," said the report released on Tuesday by Open Doors, which began in the 1950s smuggling Bibles into communist states and now works in more than 60 countries. "An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide are persecuted," the United States-based group said in the report. All but one of the 50 countries in the list - Colombia, which ranked 46th - were in Africa, Asia or the Middle East.

Christianity is the largest and most widely spread faith in the world, with 2.2 billion followers or 32 percent of the world population, according to a report by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It faces restrictions and hostility in 111 countries around the world, ahead of the 90 countries limiting or harassing the second-largest faith, Islam, another Pew report said.

"In recent years, we've been hearing that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world - that sounds right to us," said Open Doors France director Michel Varton at a presentation of the report in Strasbourg.

REVIEW: The Most Persecuted Religion in the World

: Upheaval In Islamic World Greatest Threat To Christians In 2013

ACN: Egypt - Constitution heralds dawn of 'Islamic caliphate'

OP-ED: Christian Arabs, You are Next

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

19. Conform yourself as closely as possible to His humility and gentleness in dealing with your neighbor... Love those who humble and contradict you, for they are more useful to your perfection than those who flatter you.

January 9, 2013  

(1Ti 2:1-4) I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: “I renew my appeal for a (Syrian) ceasefire and for the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins”.

CNA: Syrian conflict could worsen Christian exodus

Fighting in Syria continues to put pressure on the minority Christian population, leading to fears that more Syrians will join the many Christians who have already left the Middle East.
Journalist Nasir Habish told Vatican Radio that Syria’s Christians are among those most affected by the conflict between rebel and government forces.
“The Syrian situation, right now, is very difficult, and I think in the future will be more difficult,” Habish said. “And I think the war will continue.”
He said Christians are “running away from Syria right now,” with many refugees fleeing to Lebanon and most proceeding to Europe.
“We don’t want to lose the Christianity in the Arab region,” he said. “This is the land of Jesus. I can’t imagine the land of Jesus without Christians.”

The United Nations has said that more than 60,000 people have died in the conflict.

MORE: Hell on Earth

Another clear indication that Syria is in the process of degenerating into a failed state, just as Lavrov and Brahimi warned, is a report published Dec. 27 in the London Guardian, which reported on a series of recent assassinations of rebel leaders, carried out by other rebel groups, fighting over the spoils of war. In the Aleppo area in the north of Syria, which is also the industrial heartland of the country, rival rebel factions have shifted their attention from fighting the Syrian Army to looting the population of precious resources, from food to weapons to industrial products and raw materials. The degeneration into widespread looting is but one factor in Brahimi's warnings that Syria is on the verge of becoming a "new Somalia" in the eastern Mediterranean.

Another clear indication of a descent into barbarism came from eyewitness accounts by a leading Catholic figure inside Syria. Sister Agnes-Mariam, mother superior of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated, has been on an international tour for the last several months, seeking to arouse the conscience of, especially Europeans, over their support for the bestial jihadi movement in Syria. Well-known for her reports of rebel atrocities against Christians, including exposing that it was the rebels, not the Assad government, which carried out the Houla massacre, Sister Agnes-Mariam left Syria under fear of abduction, but is planning to return soon, to lead a new reconciliation movement.

On Dec. 30, the London Sunday Times printed the latest shocking revelation from Sister Agnes-Mariam: the story of the beheading and dismemberment of a young Christian man, allegedly because his brother had charged the rebels with being bandits.

Andrei Arbashe, according to the Times account, was a young man who had recently been married, and was about to become a father. "They beheaded him, cut him into pieces, and fed him to the dogs," said Agnes-Mariam. "The uprising has been hijacked by Islamist mercenaries who are more interested in fighting a holy war than in changing the government. It's turned into a sectarian conflict, one in which Christians are paying a high price."

The highly educated Carmelite nun, who is of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, says that 300,000 of Syria's 2 million Christians have been displaced by the conflict, including threats by the Islamic extremists. "It's a scandal that the free and democratic world is supporting extremists," she said in reference to Western backing for the anti-Assad coalition.


FIDES.ORG: Archbishop Nassar: "In Damascus, Palestinian refugees forced exodus, just like the Holy Family"
CATHOLIC CULTURE: Syrian archbishop warns of humanitarian emergency
BISHOP: US Catholics' relief efforts help Syrian refugees in Turkey

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

18. Consider often that it is only the humble of heart that can enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, converse with Him, love Him and be loved by Him.

January 8, 2013  

(1Jn 4:1-6) Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God. And this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh: and he is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore of the world they speak: and the world heareth them. We are of God. He that knoweth God heareth us. He that is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Looking back and looking ahead

On the Catholic calendar, Christmas continues through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, observed this year on Sunday, January 13.  In effect, we’re only halfway through the real Christmas season, and if we take the time to pray over the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we’ll find plenty of reasons to keep the joy of Christmas alive in our hearts.

These Christmas days coincide with the beginning of a new secular year.  It’s a good moment to look both back and ahead.  So much happened in 2012 that it’s hard to compress in a single column: a sweeping reorganization of our Catholic schools ministry; a revitalized Catholic Charities Appeal; new seminary leadership; dramatically improved policies that govern the handling of allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by archdiocesan clergy and staff; an expanded and far more thorough annual archdiocesan financial report; the start of new Catholic education and Catholic community foundations; a successful struggle for “school choice” related funds in the state legislature; a difficult criminal trial; the sale of the cardinal’s residence and other key properties; a vigorous new Council of Priests; a first-ever Archdiocesan Pastoral Council; hard but necessary budget and staff cuts; the recruitment of excellent new financial leadership and legal representation.

The list goes on, and it includes the outstanding safety training and ongoing support for sexual abuse victims offered every day by the Office of Child and Youth Protection.  It includes the good work of archdiocesan Catholic Human Services and its affiliated ministries.  It also includes the situation of priests with past allegations of misconduct placed on administrative leave in 2011.  Nearly all of these men had their cases resolved in 2012, thanks in part to the efforts of former prosecutor Gina Maisto Smith and her multidisciplinary team, who have now concluded their work. The few cases that remain await action or clearance by civil authorities before the Archdiocesan Review Board can complete its work and recommendations.

The year ahead will have its own serious challenges.  There’s no magic cure for the suffering of past abuse victims, the morale of our people and priests, or the gravity of our resource problems.  Parish closures and additional budget and staff adjustments can’t be avoided, but they always involve intimate pain for good people.

We also face difficult cases of abuse-related civil litigation, and the complex legislative issues and harsh media coverage that may follow.  At the same time, we have an ongoing need to help victims heal; to rebuild the trust of our people and priests; to restore the financial health of the archdiocese; and to rekindle the apostolic zeal of our ministries.

None of these tasks will be easy.  None is guaranteed success.  So how can we possibly find “joy” in the midst of such uncertainty?

We can take confidence from the fact that a great deal of good really has been accomplished over the past 12 months.  We’ve come a long way in a short time, not by our own power but by the grace of God and the generous good will that resides in Catholic hearts across this extraordinary local Church of Philadelphia.  Many good people have stepped forward to help.  Their number will grow as we prove by our actions that the Church is about the work of the Gospel – preaching Jesus Christ and serving God’s people without vanity, without privilege; without complacency; but with love, with courage; with humility and candor.

That’s the Church Jesus Christ founded.  That’s the Church Philadelphia’s own St. John Neumann, whose feast day we celebrate on January 5, served with such passion and self-denial as bishop.  That’s the Church we need to help God rebuild in our life as a believing community.

Christmas didn’t end in late December.  It’s still alive for anyone who seeks it — right now, right here, today.  Every new child is a gift, an invitation to hope; and the Child born in Bethlehem hasn’t disappeared.  He’s with us in these remaining days of the Christmas season to refresh our hearts and turn us again to service in the coming months.

So may God fill us with gratitude for all the compassion he showed to us in 2012, and courage for the work he invites us to in the year ahead.  And may God bless all of us in 2013.

BISHOP PAPROCKI: Of Children, Emotional Fulfillment, Marriage, Freedom, And Bigotry…Oh Boy!

FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE, O.M.I.: Legislation creating "same-sex" marriage: What's at stake?

BISHOP THOMAS J. TOBIN: The General Assembly Should Reject “Same-Sex Marriage”

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

17. He wishes you to conform your heart to the virtues of His own. If you only knew how much you grieve Him when you fail in charity or humility, or when, through cowardice, you neglect to use the lights He gives you to make you withdraw from dissipation and self-introspection!
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