Keep your eyes open!...


June 30, 2009   

(Mat 9:36-38) And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd. Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: A priest is called not simply to function as the minister of Christ's grace, but to truly embody Christ's grace, which "requires that the priest progressively lose himself in Christ, participating in the mystery of his death and resurrection with his entire being -- intelligence, liberty, will and the offering of his own body."

REVIEW: A Light to the Nations: The Meaning and Future of the Catholic Church by Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

ICN: Archbishop Nichols: "Make each day a prayer and pray for your priests"

During his homily Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: "One year ends and another begins. Today, in response to Pope Benedict XVI, we begin a Year for Priests. The Holy Father wants it to be a year in which we treasure our priests, in which we support them with our prayers, in which we thank them for their generosity and celebrate with them their anniversaries and the greatness of their calling."

He continued "For us priests, the Holy Father wants this to be a year for our renewal, in which we refresh in ourselves that initial fervour, that first great generosity with which we accepted our calling and threw ourselves into it. We may have lost some of that. We may occasionally feel weary or overburdened. This is a year for a new start."

Archbishop Nichols said: "The Holy Father has given us, as a patron for the year, St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. He is a good model for us all. I say this because, above all else, he was a man of prayer and this Year for Priests must be based and built on prayer. After all prayer is the essence of priesthood."

Archbishop Nichols stressed: "Every baptised person shares in the priesthood of Christ. That means that we are to make our world holy. We do that, each one of us, by offering to the Lord the work of each day, allowing God to make it holy through us. A morning offering is the first act of a priestly people, of a people who prays. Without that our daily work can be no more than drudgery and unrelated to our faith. So make each day a prayer and pray for your priests.

"St John Vianney teaches us priests so many things: to be identified with the place to which we have been sent. That is still a struggle for me. To be dedicated to the work of reconciliation and of letting people know that our good Lord is always ready to receive us, to welcome us and to forgive us. He also teaches us priests to care for each other and to bring each other to the Lord, through mutual support and through mutual prayer."

Archbishop Nichols concluded: "I hope that this Year of Priests will bring great blessings to this wonderful Archdiocese of Birmingham.

ENCOURAGING: The Good News about Our Bishops by Deal W. Hudson

WOMEN FOR FAITH & FAMILY: Prayers for Priests

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

4. A vigilant monk is a foe to fornication, but a sleepy one is its mate.

June 29, 2009   

(2Ti 4:6-8) For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming. Make haste to come to me quickly.

IN THE NEWS:  Pope: Scientific analysis done on St. Paul's bones

The first-ever scientific tests on what are believed to be the remains of the Apostle Paul "seem to conclude" that they do indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday.

Archaeologists recently unearthed and opened the white marble sarcophagus located under the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome, which for some 2,000 years has been believed by the faithful to be the tomb of St. Paul.

Benedict said scientists had conducted carbon dating tests on bone fragments found inside the sarcophagus and confirmed that they date from the first or second century.

"This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul," Benedict said, announcing the findings at a service in the basilica to mark the end of the Vatican's Paoline year, in honor of the apostle.

Paul and Peter are the two main figures known for spreading the Christian faith after the death of Christ.

According to tradition, St. Paul, also known as the apostle of the Gentiles, was beheaded in Rome in the 1st century during the persecution of early Christians by Roman emperors. Popular belief holds that bone fragments from his head are in another Rome basilica, St. John Lateran, with his other remains inside the sarcophagus.

The pope said that when archaeologists opened the sarcophagus, they discovered alongside the bone fragments some grains of incense, a "precious" piece of purple linen with gold sequins and a blue fabric with linen filaments.

IN THE NEWS II: 'Oldest' image of St Paul discovered

Archaeologists have uncovered a 1,600 year old image of St Paul, the oldest one known of, in a Roman catacomb.

The fresco, which dates back to the 4th Century AD, was discovered during restoration work at the Catacomb of Saint Thekla but was kept secret for ten days.

During that time experts carefully removed centuries of grime from the fresco with a laser, before the news was officially announced through the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

There are more than 40 known Catacombs or underground Christian burial places across Rome and because of their religious significance the Vatican's Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archeology has jurisdiction over them.

A photograph of the icon shows the thin face of a bearded man with large eyes, sunken nose and face on a red background surrounded with a yellow circle – the classic image of St Paul.

The image was found in the Catacomb of St Thekla, close to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, which is said to be built on the site where he was buried.

ZENIT.ORG: Paul's Love Letters Get New Review

: A Pauline Year to remember

THE PILOT: One year ends after another begins

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

3. A vigilent eye makes the mind pure; but much sleep hardens the soul.

June 19, 2009   


(1Jn 5:5-7) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth. And there are Three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.

POPE BENEDICT XVILetter Proclaiming a Year for Priests on the 150th Anniversary of the Dies Natalis of the Curé of Ars
FATHER CORAPI: Jubilee Year for Priests Announced by the Vatican


The Friday after Corpus Christi is celebrated as the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This image of Jesus pointing toward his visible heart that is surrounded by thorns, and from which flames arise, reveal to us the incredible love that Christ has for us. There is a special focus on the human love of Christ, as it honors his human heart. There is a passion and a warmth (hence the fire) to this love, and it is a love that suffers with and for us (hence the crown of thorns). It is by no means a distant and dispassionate love. If we ever really grasp the height and width and depth of the love that Jesus has for us it will completely and unalterably change our lives.


The Saturday after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated as the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These must be seen in their relationship to one another. The Sacred Heart reveals to us the depth of love that Christ has for us. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is not about her love for us, but her total and absolute love for her son Jesus Christ. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is intended to lead us into the same depth of love for Christ that she has.

By honoring Mary's heart we honor the tenderness and faithfulness with which she loved Jesus. We recall and honor the joys and sorrows that were hers. We also honor the interior life of Mary—her prayerfulness, her contemplative response to all of reality, and her great love for God. In particular we honor her by seeing in Mary the model for our own life of prayer and devotion to Christ.

LINK: History & Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary 

Sacred Heart Act of Consecration Prayer by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque 

I, ( your name. . .), give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being save to honor, love, and glorify the Sacred Heart.

This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.

I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God Thy Father, and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in Thee, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty; but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.

Do Thou consume in me all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will. Let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee or to be separated from Thee. May I obtain from all Thy loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Thee, for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory, living and dying in true bondage to Thee.

HOMILY EXCERPT: In 1302, St. Gertrude had a vision on the feast of St. John the Evangelist. Allowing her to rest her head near the wound of the Saviour, she heard the beating of the Divine Heart and asked John if, on the night of the Last Supper, he too had felt these delightful pulsations and why he had never spoken of the fact. John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love. ("Legatus divinae pietatis", IV, 305; "Revelationes Gertrudianae", ed. Poitiers and Paris, 1877.)

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 20- "On bodily vigil"

1. Some stand before earthly kings without weapons and without armour; but others hold staffs of office, or have shields, or swords. The former are vastly superior to the latter, for they are usually personal relations of the king and members of the royal household. So it is with earthly kings.

June 18, 2009   

(Psa 40:8) That I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart.

VIA Reaching holiness by abandoning one's Soul to God by Jean Pierre de Caussade 

"In reality, holiness consists of one thing only: complete loyalty to God's will."

"Perfection is neither more nor less than the soul's faithful cooperation with God."

"Our only satisfaction must he to live in the present moment as if there were nothing to expect beyond it."

"You are seeking for secret ways of belonging to God, but there is only one: making use of whatever he offers you."

"If we only have sense enough to leave everything to the guidance of God's hand we should reach the highest peak of holiness."

"The great and firm foundation of the spiritual life is the offering of ourselves to God and being subject to his will in all things."

"The truly faithful soul accepts all things as a manifestation of God's grace, ignores itself and thinks only of what God is doing."

"Let us love, for love will give us everything."

"If we are truly docile, we will ask no questions about the road along which God is taking us."

"God truly helps us however much we may feel we have lost his support."

The more God takes from the abandoned soul, the more is he really giving it . . . the more he strips us of natural things, the more he showers us with supernatural gifts."

To all his faithful souls, God promises a glorious victory over the powers of the world and of hell."

Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Doubleday, 1966. Caussade was born in France in 3/6/1675. In 1693 he became a Jesuit but his spirituality was influenced by St. Francis de Sales. The material that became the book came as a result of his work with the Visitation nuns that began in 1729.

VIA Devotions:  Recently I reread the life story of George Muller who, in the mid-1830s, cared for over 2,000 orphans in England – all by faith in God. Muller was a known as the man who got answers to his prayers. Before he died, he had listed in his journals over 50,000 answers to prayer.

When asked how he determined the will of God on any matter, Muller listed the following steps he believed were necessary:

1. “I get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to any particular matter.”
2. “I do not leave the result to feelings or simple impressions. That can make one open to great delusions.”
3. “I seek God’s will through, or in connection with, his Word. If you look to the Spirit without the Word, you open yourself to delusion.”
4. “I consider providential [God-controlled] circumstances.”
5. “I ask God in prayer to reveal his will to me.”
6. “I make sure I have a clear conscience before God and man.”
7. “Every time I listened to men instead of God, I made serious mistakes.”
8. “I act only when I am at peace, after much prayer, waiting on God with faith.”

LINK: Prayer of Self-Surrender

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

6. In chanting with many, it is impossible to pray with the wordless prayer of the spirit. But your mind should be engaged in contemplation of the words being chanted or read, or you should say some definite prayer while you are waiting for the alternate verse to be chanted.

June 17, 2009   

(1Ti 6:3-5) If any man teach otherwise and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness.

EDITORIAL EXCERPT: The Magisterium is a real teaching authority

The role of the Magisterium is to authoritatively teach on all matters concerning the doctrines and truths of the Christian Faith. These teachings fall into two categories, non-infallible and infallible. The infallible authority of the Magisterium, especially of the Pope, is a major source of disagreement between Protestants and the Catholic Church.

The Magisterium teachings are considered infallible only in areas of faith and morals. In all matters that fall into this category, the Holy Spirit protects and guides the Magisterium in their decision because of the promise that Christ made that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church, . Therefore, these decision cannot not be changed by man.

Without the authoritative teachings of the Magisterium, the Church would be torn apart by schism and doubt. Everyone would do or follow what was "right in their own eyes."

In highly charged and often debated issues, the Church stands clear and firm in her teachings. Those who follow these teachings find great comfort and security. The teaching authority of the Magisterium is there to protect and guide the faithful. It is meant to protect us from sin and guide us into virtuous living.


Catholic Media Mutiny
Catholic internships at pro-abortion organizations
Notre Dame 'Betrayed' Catholic Identity with Obama Speech, Says Vatican Leader

MUST READ COMMENTARY:  Early Christians and Abortion

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

5. It is possible for all to pray with a congregation; for many it is more suitable to pray with a single kindred spirit; solitary prayer is for the very few.

June 16, 2009   

(John 6:51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."


Living in Christ: A Thought on Corpus Christi
Renew your commitment to your faith

INSIDE THE VATICAN: This (past) Sunday was the Feast of “Corpus Christi”, the Body and Blood of the Lord, in much of the Western Catholic Church.

After having received Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, Catholic Christians proceed from the Sanctuary into the streets of the world, pausing along the way for solemn worship, songs of adoration, and holding the Lord aloft, enthroned. The procession symbolizes the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ to the world as it is now lived out through his Church.

In this act of public procession, Catholics proclaim that God still loves the world so much that He still sends His Son, through His Church. This procession is a reminder of the baptismal vocation of every Christian to carry forward in time the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ until He returns. At an interior level, it also symbolizes the universal call to holiness, to continuing conversion in Christ.

IN THE NEWS: Feast of Corpus Christi walk is for unity and peace


In his Sunday Angelus, "Benedict XVI is affirming that we can be sure things can change for the better and we can have hope -- all because love exists.

"The Holy Father said that the feast of Corpus Christi brings to mind more than its liturgical aspect. It is "a day that involves the cosmic dimension, heaven and earth. It evokes, first of all -- at least in our hemisphere -- this beautiful and fragrant season in which spring finally begins the turn toward summer, the sun shines brilliantly in the heavens and the wheat matures in the fields," he said. "The seasons of the Church -- like the Jewish ones -- have to do with the rhythm of the solar year, of planting and harvesting.

"This dimension comes to the foreground especially in today's solemnity, in which the sign of bread, fruit of earth and of heaven, is at the center. This is why the Eucharistic bread is the sign of him in whom heaven and earth, God and man, become one."

The Pontiff went on to illustrate how the feast of Corpus Domini is "intimately linked" to Easter, Pentecost, and the feast of the Trinity.

He explained: "The death and resurrection of Jesus and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit are its presuppositions. It is, furthermore, linked to the feast of the Trinity, which we celebrated last Sunday. Only because God himself is relation can there be relation with him; and only because he is love can he love and be loved.

"In this way 'Corpus Domini' is a manifestation of God, an attestation that God is love. In a unique and peculiar way, this feast speaks to us of divine love, of what it is and what it does. It tells us, for example, that it regenerates itself in giving itself, it receives itself in giving itself, it does not run out and is not used up."

"Love transforms every thing," the Holy Father affirmed, "and so we understand that the mystery of transubstantiation, the sign of Jesus-Charity, which transforms the world, is at the center of today's feast."

"Looking upon him and worshiping him, we say: Yes, love exists, and since it exists, things can change for the better and we can hope," Benedict XVI continued. "It is the hope that comes from Christ's love that gives us the strength to live and to face every difficulty. [...] We all have need of this bread, because the road to freedom, justice and peace is long and wearisome."

The Pope concluded by considering how Jesus' mother would have received and worshiped the Eucharist.

"We can imagine with what faith and love," he said. "Each time it was for her like receiving the whole mystery of her Son Jesus: from the conception to the resurrection. My venerable and beloved predecessor, John Paul II, called her the 'Eucharistic Woman.' Let us learn from her to continually renew our communion with the Body of Christ, to love each other as he loved us."

MORE FROM POPE BENEDICT: "Insidious secularization, even inside the Church"

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

4. The really obedient man often suddenly becomes radiant and exultant during prayer; for this wrestler was prepared and fired beforehand by his sincere service.

June 12, 2009   

(John 12:40) "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and turn for me to heal them."


ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: New Life in Christ: What it Looks Like, What it Demands

LIFESITENEWS.COM: Father Corapi on the "Flash Point" in Western Society

COMMENTARY: Priest says moral decay is call to action

The Rev. Joseph Brennan is a retired priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette. He is also an authority on satanism and an author on topics related to his faith. He recently marked his 50th year in the priesthood.

I offer some reflections as a priest of 50 happy years in the service to the people of Acadiana. At 78, I am proud to be an American citizen, proud of my Irish ancestry and, most of all, proud of my Catholic faith.

We have been warned for several years of the intrusion of foreign and domestic terrorists. This alert would demand a constant vigilance. Yet, there is another intrusion of a moral nature. It centers on the decay of our land.

Perhaps it is time for us to ask, "Who am I, and where am I going?" Are we God's people and are we here to spread his message of life and of the dignity of the person?

We are departing from our Christian culture by federally based support for abortions and stem-cell usage in the name of science.

There was an account of a Catholic priest in Berlin during the time of Adolf Hitler. As the Nazis rounded up Jews, the priest chose to say nothing. After all of the Jewish people were removed, the Nazis' next target became the Catholic priests.

When the Freedom of Choice proposal was offered, the rate of abortions reached the same percentage as the persecution of the Jewish people in Germany.

The Bible tells us "at times we have eyes and do not see ... we have ears and cannot hear." Do we see what is going on, and do we hear the drumbeat of the intruder?

I offer these thoughts as an old Catholic priest to the people that I have known and loved.

It is time to see and to listen! 

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

2. Just as over-drinking is a matter of habit, so too from habit comes over-sleeping. Therefore we must struggle with the question of sleep, especially in the early days of obedience, because a long-standing habit is difficult to cure.

June 11, 2009   

(John 10:27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

CATHOLIC SENTINEL: Coastal Catholic convert becomes a priest

He grew up an evangelical Protestant here, suspicious of Marian theology. Now he's a Catholic priest and a physicist. He's even taken the name of the Mother of God.

Born Wesley Salzillo in 1976, he grew up in this small coastal town. The family converted to Catholicism in the early 1990s. "My family raised me with a strong Christian faith and a very clear sense that Christ should be the most important thing in my life," Father Raphael Mary recalls, explaining that his faith after conversion remained "generic."

"I was not fully open to the truth that the Catholic faith has to offer," he says. But when he was 16, a spiritual experience at Mass gave him the strong feeling he was being called to priesthood or religious life. He was not open to it at the time, so tried to convince himself it was just his imagination.

A top graduate from Siuslaw High, he went on to Caltech, earning a bachelor's degree in applied physics. He attended graduate school and there he felt his vocation being clarified. At the same time, this scientist wrestled with turning over his will so completely.

"I wanted to choose my own religion rather than accepting the Catholic one as a coherent whole," he says, aware that many people today pick and choose within a body of faith. "In a way, choice had become a God for me, as it has to so many in our society."

Through study of church history and theology and deepening prayer life, he discerned that his own intellect and judgment alone could not fulfill his deepest yearnings. He decided to trust Jesus and the Church fully.

"It was through submission of my power of choice in matters of faith, that I came to know Jesus Christ in a much deeper way," he says. The last part of his faith to fall into place was an acceptance of Mary. That spiritual movement allowed him to love Jesus more, he explains.

"It was Mary who brought me to finally accept my vocation, and it has been her who has sustained me in this life," he says.

He chose the Dominicans for their emphasis on doctrinal preaching and study, as well as their strong community life with "a streak of monasticism."

RELATED: Catholic Church Ordains First Married Priest in Nebraska

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: Nearly half of Americans convert during their lives


Father Damien's life a timely teaching tool  
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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

6. In chanting with many, it is impossible to pray with the wordless prayer of the spirit. But your mind should be engaged in contemplation of the words being chanted or read, or you should say some definite prayer while you are waiting for the alternate verse to be chanted.

June 10, 2009   

(Luke 10:2-3) And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.


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Priest gives kidney to ailing parishioner
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Father Alex,OMI I just want to thank you for posting the story of Padre Lorenzo, OMI... he was a saintly man. I came across him when he was living in our Novitiate in Godfrey, IL when was caring for his mother and writing his memoirs as requested by the OMI's (since most of his ministerial life he lived in the Favelas of Brazil among the poorest of the poor and later on in Central America). Even then, he lived a simple life... and was a man of prayer! At first, when you saw him, you wondered -- "Who is this Hippie?"... a blast from the 60's! Yet, when you spoke to him, you would see the light of holiness in his eyes and the fullness of compassion that dwelt in his heart for all people, especially the poor.

They OMI's working in Guatemala that survived the attack told our Provincial that when they were held-up (they were in a Mini Van, getting ready to attend an OMI meeting), the thugs armed with guns, began to threaten them, asking for money and the van. They were all scared, except for Padre Lorenzo who smiled and was trying to talk to them, when they shot him twice without mercy, wounding our other OMI missionary from Africa who was sitting next to Padre Lorenzo, then they ran away!

: Year for Priests by Fr. Cimagala

Pope Benedict XVI has just declared a Year for Priests last March 16. It will start on June 19, both the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.

It is meant to celebrate also the 150th anniversary of the death of the patron for priests, the saintly Cure of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney.

In that announcement, the Pope said the year-long event is meant "to encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends."

I think it's good for everyone to get involved in this Church happening. Everyone should have an abiding concern for us, priests, since we need to be nothing less than true ministers of Christ, and the only way to do that is for us to be really holy and competent.

Already the head of Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy suggested that the year be spent in "prayer by priests, with priests, and for priests." Let's pray also for more priestly vocations and for the sanctity of priests all over the world.

We have to rediscover the great power of prayer. This simple conversation with God, that should spring from faith and love embedded in one's heart, cannot fail to move God's heart too.

Prayer is the language proper and indispensable in one's relationship with God. With it one gets united with God. With it one not only enjoys God's presence but also takes part in his potencies and activity.

Especially if coursed through the intercession of Our Lady and other saints, our prayers acquire such power that God could hardly refuse what we would ask from him. Prayer should be like the beating of our heart. It should be like the breath that we make.

It cannot be denied that in spite of our priestly limitations and shortcomings, our mistakes and failures, not to mention the occasional scandals that we cause, we priests do an irreplaceable work in the Church and society.

Conformed to Christ as head of the Church, we bring to the present the very redeeming sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross every time we celebrate Mass. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist is the summit of our priesthood. Every other priestly ministry flows from it and leads to it.

It is for everyone's benefit that the priestly conformation to Christ, while objectively effected through the sacrament of order, be corresponded to with a progressive subjective conformation by the priests themselves, supported by all others.

We priests need to be experts in prayer, to be truly men of God, so identified with him we could easily discern his will for us, for the Church, for the world.

This will require nothing less than continuing formation that should always be provided and equipped with adequate plans and programs, personal and collective. Every priest, like every Christian faithful, is expected to have a personal plan of life that nourishes his spiritual life everyday.

For this purpose, the head of the Vatican's clergy congregation precisely suggested that the event be an occasion for "intense appreciation of the priestly identity, of the theology of the Catholic priesthood, and of the extraordinary meaning of the vocation and mission of priests within the Church and in society."

"This will require," he said, "opportunities for study, days of recollection, spiritual exercises reflecting on the priesthood, conferences and theological seminars in our ecclesiastical faculties, scientific research and respective publications."

I wish that the Year for Priests be an occasion also to review every aspect of priestly life and ministry, as contained in the Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests, published by the Vatican years ago.

The sad fact is that there's still a big gap between the factual and the juridical, the real and the ideal, in spite of the rich experience through the centuries within the Church with regard to priestly life and ministry.

We are already in the 21st century, enjoying so many technological advances, of course with some accompanying problems that are more complicated and subtle. It would be an anomaly if these achievements are not taken advantage of for the good of the priesthood.

While its essence has to be kept and strengthened, the priesthood too has to get updated, making use of the good things progress has achieved and quick to identify and tackle the subtler problems and more complicated challenges of the times.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

5. It is possible for all to pray with a congregation; for many it is more suitable to pray with a single kindred spirit; solitary prayer is for the very few.

June 9, 2009   

(John 20:22-23) When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

VIDEO: Confession 101 (part one)- What is it & how to do it (even if it's been a long time)

VATICAN: Catholic confession is not therapy, Vatican warns

CATHOLIC SPIRIT: Good confession requires contrition, intention to change by Father Michael Van Sloun

• Contrition is sincere and heartfelt sorrow for one's sins.

That is different from a child who gets caught with a hand in the cookie jar who is sorry, not for offending Mom or Dad, but for getting caught; or from a motorist who gets pulled over for speeding who is sorry, not for endangering others and self, but for receiving a ticket and a fine.

In both cases, given the chance, the child would reach for a cookie again and the motorist would speed again, and in both cases the contrition is insincere.

Sincere contrition is a key element in the conversion process and re­quir­ed for a good confession. It is a true and honest admission of personal responsibility for wrongdoing. It blames no one but one's self. It is abhorrence of the sin. It sees the sin as truly bad, and considers it revolting. It is genuine disgust with the evil deed and personal mortification and embarrassment over what has been done.

Furthermore, it is the realization that the sin is offensive to God, who is all-good, and deep dismay over having let God down. It humbly admits that the sin is a profound act of ingratitude toward God who is so generous, and an act of disloyalty and betrayal to God, who is ever faithful.

Finally, it acknowledges that re­gard­less of whether the sin is known or concealed, in addition to the bad impact the sin may have had directly on others, it diminishes personal holiness and integrity, thereby harming one's neighbor and the community.

Contrition is sincere when the person has genuine regret and remorse for the sin that has been committed, and a deep inner desire to do the right thing, please God, and be in a good and decent relationship with others.

• A firm purpose of amendment is the solid intention to "amend" or change one's ways, the resolve to bring an end to sin, and to live an upright and holy life according to God's ways.

The quality of a confession is jeopardized if the person admits a sin but has no real desire or plan to quit the sin.

The faulty reasoning goes like this: "I've done it before. I'll probably do it again. It's not worth trying too hard. It's no big deal if I slip again. Con­fes­sion is always available. I can always be forgiven."

That mindset ignores the deeper call to conversion and does not res­pect God's gift of mercy.

A firm purpose of amendment is a good faith intention and attempt to do everything in one's power to avoid the commission of the sin again. Nevertheless, it is not a promise to be perfect. Our human nature has deeply ingrained evil inclinations and tendencies. A person may struggle with habitual failings.

A firm purpose of amendment is simply the desire, despite previous failings and old patterns, to do better.


NCREGISTER.COM: A Priest, a Confession, a Court -Sacrament on Trial After Secret Taping

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

4. The really obedient man often suddenly becomes radiant and exultant during prayer; for this wrestler was prepared and fired beforehand by his sincere service.

June 5, 2009     


(Tit 2:11-13) For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men: Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:  I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

One Nation Under God?

Fr. Gordon MacRae Writes to Priest in Crisis Readers on Pentecost
County puts kibosh on home Bible study
New Hampshire ties gay-marriage knot


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


TIMELY & INSIGHTFUL: Mark Mallett Blog- Raise Your Sails (Preparing for Chastisement)

POPE BENEDICT XVIFocus on pleasure poisons spiritual life

VIA A MOMENT WITH MARY: Recite the Salve Regina and Meditate on Death Every Day

"Father, I'd like to straighten out my life. But the temptations are too strong, much stronger than my own self."

Saint Philip Neri looked at this young man of good will and softly encouraged him: "Be brave, my child. I recommend to you only two practices: recite the Salve Regina [Hail Holy Queen] and meditate on death every day. Imagine that your body is buried deep in the ground, half decomposed, both eyes hollowed out, and eaten up by worms. Then ask yourself this question: Is this the reason why I'm chasing after the pleasures of the flesh and wasting my chance to go to Heaven?"

Obeying the priest's double-barreled advice, the young man prayed to the Blessed Virgin of mercy, hope and life, and meditated on death each and every day. With the help of God's grace, he succeeded in fighting off his temptations till the very end.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

2. Just as over-drinking is a matter of habit, so too from habit comes over-sleeping. Therefore we must struggle with the question of sleep, especially in the early days of obedience, because a long-standing habit is difficult to cure.

June 4, 2009     

(1Jn 4:12-13) No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Where the Spirit of God enters, he chases out fear; he makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of an Omnipotence of love: whatever happens, his infinite love will not abandon us.

"The witness of the martyrs, the courage of the confessors, the intrepid élan of missionaries, the frankness of preachers, the example of all the saints -- some who were even adolescents and children -- demonstrate this.

HEADLINE: Thousands gather for Martyrs' Day

Thousands of pilgrims from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi had by yesterday assembled at the Catholic shrine in Namugongo ahead of today's celebrations to honour the Uganda martyrs killed in 1886.

The pilgrim registration desk had by mid-day recorded 641 Kenyans, 363 people from the DR Congo and 243 from Rwanda.

A total of 170 Tanzanians had also arrived. Groups from Burundi, Nigeria and Zambia were on their way.

In Mityana, over 70 Nigerians on Monday paid homage to the three martyrs, Noah Mawagli, Luka Baanabakintu and Matia Mulumba, for whom a shrine was erected at Kiyinda Cathedral.

The Nigerians were led by Msgr. Daniel Obbo Abba, the Vicar General of Abuja Archdiocese.

This year's Martyrs' Day celebrations are organised by Kabale Diocese under the theme: 'Witness to Jesus with Courage.'

Angelo Wachira, a pilgrim from Kenya, said his mission was to strengthen his faith and learn about the history of the Martyrs' shrine in Namugongo.

"I only read about this place in books. I could have prayed from my church in Nairobi but I wanted to learn how the Ugandan martyrs grew in their faith," Wachira said.

Sylvano Nyaga, the choir leader of Our Lady of Visitation Catholic Church in Nairobi, said: "I want to learn to stand firm in the Lord and profess Christ as my saviour, even if it means dying."

Beatrice Musanabera, a pilgrim registration official, said most of the registered pilgrims had travelled on foot.

Hundreds of pilgrims were seen arriving in trucks, buses, taxis and private cars.

Ugandan pilgrims arrived from the various Catholic dioceses across the country, with 500 pilgrims coming from Kabale, which is the organising diocese this year.

"Ugandan pilgrims are arriving in thousands. We are not able to register most of them," Musanabera said.

Fausta Nambi, 49, who walked for two days from Ggolo in Mpigi district, said: "I want to pray for peace in Uganda. I will pray to the Martyrs to intercede for our country especially in the northern region."

CATHOLIC.ORG: St. Charles Lwanga and Companions Martyrs of Uganda Feastday: June 3

MODERN MARTYR: Radical Catholic priest murdered in Guatemala had St. Louis roots

MATINS: The Divine Office : Justin Martyr

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 19- "On sleep, prayer and psalmody"

1. Sleep is a particular state of nature, an image of death, inactivity of the senses. Sleep is one, but, like desire, its sources and occasions are many; that is to say, it comes from nature, from food, from demons, or perhaps, sometimes, from extreme and prolonged fasting, through which the flesh is weakened and at last longs for the consolation of sleep.

June 3, 2009     

(Col 2:6-8) As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him and confirmed in the faith, as also you have learned: abounding in him in thanksgiving. Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.

By Fr. Miguel Grave de Peralta

Many predicted that once the former Catholic priest, Alberto Cutie, was caught (whether planned or unplanned is irrelevant) cavorting with a young divorced mother in his congregation, he would leave the priesthood and join another Christian Church. In fact he claims to have done that so he may, according to the press, marry his girlfriend. But I wonder if Mr. Cutie is aware of what he is getting into now that he is seeking to serve as an ordained minister in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

I was an Episcopalian minister for 8 years. Having been raised a Southern Baptist, I was drawn to all things historical and religious in college after asking the usually dangerous question, "What happened after the Bible?" Joining what was then called the Protestant Episcopal Church (now just the Episcopal Church), I finished my theological studies in the Episcopalian seminary in New York City and went to work as an ordained Episcopal minister with my wife and a baby on the way.

My time in seminary (mid to late 80s) was, to say the least, volatile. Most of the seminarians were active homosexuals, our neighbors in student housing was a lesbian couple with their young son. Most of the religious courses offered assumed that what the Bible taught and Christians believed for most of its two-thousand year history was either wrong or at best warped. The few of us who believed what the Bible taught and wanted to live our lives as Christians have been trying to live it for 20 centuries kept insisting to each other that this was "New York" or that it was an "artificial" academic environment not reflective of the "pastoral trenches" we would find in the diocesan parish. We were wrong.

I've been there, done that and have the scars to prove it. What Mr. Cutie has signed up for is a religious organization that does not require its members or its clergy to believe in anything except "Thou shall not require anyone to believe in anything." As an example, when Mr. Cutie was Fr. Alberto, he probably believed (he certainly taught) that in the Catholic Mass, ordinary bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. He can still believe that as a Protestant Episcopalian but the belief is optional. He can continue to believe that his new bishop is a successor to the original Apostles but it is optional. He can continue to believe that Jesus Christ, after being dead for three days, rose from the dead and by His death defeated death, but it is optional. In essence what he has done is left a Church with one Teaching Authority and joined an organization with as many authorities as there are members. He has embraced the trinity of I-Me-Mine.

Perhaps Mr. Cutie has accepted the error that his bishop expressed on Spanish television (Univision) when he said the Episcopal Church is a Catholic Church. The bishop may say whatever he pleases just like I can say I am the president of the United States of America. However, when the Catholic Church, with over a billion members and the Orthodox Churches with almost half a billion members, being the oldest Christian families in the world, neither recognize the bishop as a bishop nor any sacraments of that bishop's denomination as being valid or licit, well now there may be other things to say besides (as one television hostess said) that the bishop is "simpatico". If anything, this is another example of the exception proving the norm and that norm is found in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

The tragedy of this is that in desiring to marry his girlfriend, Mr. Cutie has also married 1) clergy, including "bishops", who are practicing homosexuals; 2) rejection of the example of Christ who chose an all-male priesthood 3) the dogmas of Christians since the beginning, including but not limited to the Eucharist; 4) the entire sacramental system upon which Christian living is based; 5) last but not least he has married the philosophy of the age. It is an old philosophy whispered in the garden to Eve by the Serpent, "You will be like God."

Much if any of this will be discussed by the mainstream media. It is the prophet of this old philosophy. But for all of us priests, celibate or married, who strive and struggle every day to be obedient to our vows and to the Church established by Christ, the truth remains and He has set us free.

BLOG: When a Priest Goes Astray

STATEMENT: John C. Favalora, Archbishop of Miami, about Father Alberto Cutié's separation from the Roman Catholic Church

EDITORIAL: Why Do Catholics Go to Mass?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

4. I have seen many people hear about death and the terrible judgment and shed tears, and with the tears still in their eyes they eagerly go to a meal. And I was amazed how this tyrant, this stinkpot of gluttony, by complete insensibility, can grow so strong as to turn the tables even on mourning.

June 2, 2009     

(Eph 4:30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.


Christian Anti-Defamation Commission: No Defaming Pro-Lifers to be Tolerated in the Wake of Tiller's Death

"The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission will not allow pro-abortionists or their accomplices in the media to exploit the cowardly act of one misguided individual in order to defame millions of peaceful pro-lifers," said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "Day and night millions of peaceful pro-lifers sacrificially serve women and their unborn babies. We will not tolerate any attempt to exploit this terrible event in order to further restrict pro-life activities or silence pro-life speech or reverse the gains pro-lifers have achieved in the law."
"Tiller's death at the hands of a lawless vigilante must be unequivocally condemned," said Cass. "But we cannot allow pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws."

LA TIMES NEWSLINK: Suspect in Kansas abortion doctor's slaying reportedly belonged to anti-government militia

Authorities arrested Scott Roeder in a Kansas City suburb Sunday, hours after Dr. Tiller, 67, was gunned down in the foyer of a church in Wichita. Tiller had survived a previous shooting and the bombing of his clinic, and someone with the name of Scott Roeder had posted to antiabortion websites, urging people to target the physician's church.

Tiller, who was born and raised in Wichita, was gunned down as he served as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church. It was the first slaying of an abortion provider since 1998.

Rev. Lowell Michelson, Reformation Lutheran Church: "As with any church community, there are folks on all different ends of the spectrum," Michelson said, "but there was a sense here that our lives of faith are bigger and deeper than those issues."

: "Lives of faith are bigger and deeper than those issues"????  How does a renowned abortionist merit recognition at a Christian Church to serve as usher?

FIRST THINGS: Most people, whatever their views on abortion's legality, view late term abortion as an odious wrong. Murdering its most notable practitioner can be seen as even more odious in that it not only took human life, but if it was motivated by the abortion issue, it was vigilantism of the worst kind, a stab at the heart of the rule of law without which there can be no freedom. Let no one justify this terrible crime. MORE

STATEMENT: Catholic Bishops of Kansas on Murder of Dr. George Tiller

UCCB: U.S. Bishops Express 'Profound Regret' About Shooting Death of Abortion Doctor

COMMENTARY:  Gravely Wicked

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

2. Insensibility is negligence that has become habit, benumbed thought, the child of predispositions, a snare for zeal, the noose of courage, ignorance of compunction, a door to despair, the mother of forgetfulness which gives birth to loss of the fear of God. And then she becomes the daughter of her own daughter.

June 1, 2009     

(Exo 20:13) Thou shalt not kill.

HEADLINE: Abortion provider Tiller shot dead at Kansas church

A suspect is reported in custody in the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation's few providers of late-term abortions.

Tiller was shot and killed this morning in a Wichita, Kan., church where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir.

The gunman fled, but Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Erickson says a suspect is now in custody. Erickson says the suspect is being held in New Century, about 170 miles northeast of Wichita, until Wichita police can question him.

Tiller was long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991. He was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church. His attorney calls Tiller's killing "an unspeakable tragedy."

Tiller's Women's Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

Fr. Pavone on Tiller Killing: "But whatever the motives, we at Priests for Life continue to insist on a culture in which violence is never seen as the solution to any problem. Every life has to be protected, without regard to their age or views or actions."

AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE STATEMENT: "Leaders within the pro-life movement often discuss justice in connection with our mission to end the tragedy of abortion. Today, Dr. George Tiller's life ended in an act defying those principles.

Kansans for Life: With genuine sorrow, we reflect on today's events in prayer. Justice for all human beings includes the lives of those with whom we fundamentally disagree as well as the victims of abortion. We firmly hope the perpetrators of this act are apprehended, that the facts be made known, and that justice according to the law is preserved and dispensed.

Today's actions were tragic, and serve as another reminder that all human life is sacred. Pro-lifers by our nature and commitment to human rights reject violence as a means of resistance. Our thoughts and prayers indeed extend to the Tiller family and the community at Reformation Lutheran Church."

"Kansans for Life deplores the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and we wish to express our deep and sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Our organization has a board of directors, and a 35 year history of bringing citizens together to achieve thoughtful education and legislation on the life issues here in Kansas. We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 18- "On insensibility"

1. Insensibility both in the body and in the spirit is deadened feeling, which, from long sickness and negligence, lapses into loss of feeling. 
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