Keep your eyes open!...


May 31, 2012 


(Mat 19:4-6) Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

BREAKING: Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, federal appeals court declares

A federal appeals court panel in Boston declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional on Thursday, but said that only the Supreme Court will be able to settle the question of whether the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages from states where such unions are legal.

A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said the act, which was signed by President Clinton and denies federal economic and other benefits for married people from same-sex couples married in states where it is legal, could not be justified under current precedents that protect minorities and other groups from discrimination.

ST. LOUIS TODAY: Guest commentary: Same-sex marriage and the Catholic church

THE TELEGRAPH: Gay marriage: Archbishop warns of 'damaging consequences' for society

EDITORIAL LETTER: Same-sex marriage mocks God

The author of a recent column in the Standard-Times who favors gay marriages holds that if the only requirement for marriage is gender, then people of the same sex should not be forbidden to form gay marriages. The centuries old Judeo-Christian position holds the opposite position and teaches that a same-sex union contradicts the very nature of marriage.

A same-sex union cannot be the uniquely complementary, mutual loving and procreating relationship that God intends marriage to be of one man and one woman. Because homosexual people cannot enter in a true, conjugal union with each other, it is morally wrong to act as if their relationship is a marriage.

A society that tries to redefine marriage so as to make other relationships equivalent to it changes both the natural and divine purpose of marriage. The truth about marriage given by God in the natural order of creation is confirmed by God's word in the Bible.

Marriage comes to us from the hand of God, not from the state or the church. Neither the church nor state can alter the meaning and structure of marriage of one man and one woman. For this reason, the Catholic Church stresses that same-sex marriages are a mockery of God's holy institution of marriage and an abomination to God.

No same-sex unions can realize the unique and full potential of what the marital relationship expresses. For this reason, opposition to same-sex marriages is not an instance of unjust discrimination or animosity toward homosexual people, as they are not denied a natural right.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Will of God

27. You will obey promptly, simply, lovingly and without replying, to those who have power to command you, remembering these words: "I did not come to do my own will, but the Will of Him Who called me."

May 30, 2012 

(1Pe 5:8-11) Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls, your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you. To him be glory and empire, for ever and ever. Amen.


Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today released the following declaration.

"The recent massacre in the Syrian town of Houla in which around one hundred people, including numerous children, lost their lives, is a motive of great sorrow and concern for the Holy Father and the entire Catholic community, as it is for the international community which has expressed unanimous condemnation of the incident.

"Renewing its appeal for an end to all forms of violence, the Holy See exhorts the parties involved and the entire international community to spare no efforts to resolve this crisis through dialogue and reconciliation. Likewise, leaders and believers of the various religions, through prayer and mutual collaboration, are called to commit themselves to promoting the peace which is so much sought after, for the good of the whole population"

EXCERPT NEWS REPORT: When atrocities happen, Syrian Christians pay a price

Mira Shalzhanian, a Caritas caseworker, told me that frightened families come walking across the border, mostly from mixed villages such as Qusayr, that are part of Homs province, and have a majority of Sunnis and a minority of Christians; often the refugees walk across the border with little but some clothes.

“All the Christians are coming from Qusayr because they are with the regime and they are scared,” Shalzhanian said. “President Bashar (Assad) was protecting them.”

What she meant was that, as a member of a minority (Alawite Shiite) sect, which has controlled the country for forty years, Assad has looked favorably on members of the Christian minority. They, in turn, saw the regime as a safeguard against any threat of Muslim fundamentalism, or an uncertain future under any post-revolution government.

But the number of atrocities perpetrated by Assad’s Alawite forces and militias against rebellious Sunnis is rising, and the Sunnis’ desire for revenge against his supporters is likely to grow. Houla villagers, all Sunnis, had the misfortune to live on a faultline near rural Alawite villages, and the killers are believed to be Alawite militiamen.

If Sunnis were seeking revenge for the killing of their civilians, their main target would be Alawites, but Christians could also be targeted because they are seen as supporters of Assad.

That’s why an extended family of Syrian Greek Catholics whom I visited decided to flee their homes.

This extended family of farmers and government employees were so fearful they ask me not to describe their jobs, use their names, or take photos. Several small children ran in and out of the bare two rooms they had rented, which were furnished only with sleeping mats and a couple of cots.

Their family residence in Qusayr was caught in a cross fire between rebels and the army, which was a major reason they left. But what finally drove them to flee was the kidnapping of Christians; several relatives were taken by masked men, some of whom had local accents, others not. One relative was killed and others were tortured by beatings with wooden sticks from which nails protruded.

The survivors were told they’d been taken because they were Christians and not with the revolution. No one can be certain whether the kidnappers were revenge-seekers, or simply thugs taking advantage of the chaos. In revolutionary times, criminals often masquerade as patriots.


Whom have we, Lord, like you? -
The Great One who became small, the Wakeful who slept,
The Pure One who was baptized, the Living One who died,
The King who abased himself to ensure honor for all.
Blessed is your honor!

It is right that man should acknowledge your divinity,
It is right for heavenly beings to worship your humanity.
The heavenly beings were amazed to see how small you became,
And earthly ones to see how exalted.

- St. Ephrem the Syrian

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Patience & Generosity

9. O my Saviour, who am I, that Thou shouldst have so long awaited my repentance!

May 25, 2012 


(1Pe 3:15-16) But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, "One thing that is not being tried in any particularly enthusiastic way by people who call themselves Catholic is Catholicism."

The Heart of Evangelization Must Beat in Us

: Pope: God and wounded Europe


At midday today the Holy Father received participants in the sixty-fourth general assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, to whom he delivered an address focusing on the challenges of the new evangelisation in a society increasingly distanced from God. "Our situation requires renewed drive, aimed at the essential aspects of Christian faith and life", he said. "At a time in which God has, for many people, become the great Unknown and Jesus is simply an important figure of the past, we cannot relaunch missionary activity without renewing the quality of our own faith and prayer. ... We will not be able to win mankind to the Gospel unless we ourselves first return to a profound experience of God".

The Pope began his remarks by recalling that this autumn marks the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and he exhorted the prelates to implement its teachings in order to meet the social and cultural transformations of our time which, he said, "also have visible consequences in the religious sphere". Societies of ancient Christian tradition are today characterised by secularism. Thus the spiritual and moral heritage which lies at the roots of the West "is no longer understood in its profound significance, ... and a rich soil risks becoming an inhospitable desert".

The Pope identified a number of worrying trends, including a drop in religious practice and diminishing participation in the Sacraments. "Many baptised have lost their identity. They do not know the essential contents of the faith, or believe they can cultivate that faith without ecclesial mediation. And while many look doubtfully at Church teaching, others reduce the Kingdom of God to certain broad values, which are certainly related to the Gospel but which do not touch the central nucleus of Christian faith".

"Unfortunately it is God Himself Who remains excluded from many people's horizon and, when not met with indifference, closure or rejection, discourse about God is relegated to the subjective sphere, reduced to an intimate and private affair which is marginalised from the public conscience. The heart of the crisis affecting Europe also arises from this abandonment, this lack of openness to the Transcendent".

In this context, Benedict XVI highlighted the fact that "new methods of announcing the Gospel or of pastoral activity are not enough to ensure that the Christian message finds greater acceptance". As the Council Fathers said, "we must begin again from God, celebrated, professed and witnessed. ... Our primary task, our true and only task, remains that of dedicating our lives to the one thing that ... is truly dependable, necessary and ultimate. Men live from God, from He Whom, often tentatively and unawares, they seek in order to give full meaning to lives. We have the task of announcing Him, revealing Him and leading others to meet Him".

The Holy Father continued: "The fundamental condition in order to be able to speak about God is to speak with God, increasingly to become men of God, nourished by an intense life of prayer and moulded by His Grace. ... We must allow ourselves to be found and seized by God so as to help the people we meet be touched by the Truth. ... The old and new mission facing us is that of introducing the men and women of our time to a relationship with God, to help them to open their minds and hearts to the God Who seeks them and wants to come close to them, leading them to understand that doing His will does not curb freedom; rather, it means being truly free, it means achieving true goodness in life.

"God is the guarantor not the competitor of our freedom", the Pope added in conclusion. "Where space is given to the Gospel, and therefore to friendship with Christ, man realises he is the object of a love which purifies, warms, renews, and makes us capable of serving mankind with divine love".

USCCB: New Evangelization resource page

CATHOLIC TESTIMONIES LINK: Bringing the World to Jesus

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Patience & Generosity

8. We cannot be saved without a struggle, for this life is a continual warfare. But be of good courage, do not be dishearted or troubled about your faults, but always try to draw from them a love of abjection, which must never for a moment be absent from your heart.

May 24, 2012 

(1Th 5:17-21) Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things: hold fast that which is good.


Children of My Heart, it is the Last Hour. As the last tears of My Mercy fall upon the earth, the new tears of My Justice begin to fall. They are both tears proceeding from My Sacred Heart, a Heart of Love. The first tears [of Mercy] call you back to Myself to purify you in My love; the second tears [of Justice] fall so as to purify the earth, and restore it in My love.

And now the painful hour has come. My sons and daughters, do not bow your heads in fear, but in courage and joy, stand up and declare that you are children of the Most High. Pick up your cross and follow Me into the Glory of Eternal Life… for your resurrection comes.

The tears of Justice now begin to fall, and each one will cause the earth to shake and strongholds to tremble. Jesus Christ, the True and Faithful One, comes riding upon the White Horse of Justice. Can you not hear its hooves, already shaking the earth? Beloved—do not be afraid, but raise your eyes to the skies and watch for Him who comes to strengthen you, for the hour of your Passion has come. And I will be with you; you will know and feel My presence. I will be with you. I will be with you.

My children, prepare, for the hour of the Antichrist has come, and his moment will burst upon the world like a thief in the night. Remember, children, that Satan is a liar and a murderer from the beginning. Thus, the son of perdition, the true son of Satan, will copy his unholy father. He will lie at first, and then become the murderer he truly is. For your part, I will keep you safe in the Refuge of My Sacred Heart. That is, safe from his lies. You will know the truth, and thus, you will know the way to go. And he will persecute you. But I will raise you up on the last Day, while the son of perdition will be cast into the depths of the lake of fire.

And know this: time is so very short, that even some of you who watch and pray will be taken by surprise. Thus, I call you again to join your heart and hands with My Mother. That is, to listen to her words and direction, and second, to pray the Most Holy Rosary that I have given you through her as a signal grace and weapon for these days. You cannot even begin to understand the power, grace, and protection I afford you through this most holy prayer, precisely because it emerges as a living flame bursting from her Immaculate Heart, leaping into the flames of My Sacred Heart.

Lastly, My children, you must come out of Bablyon. You must be done with all her ways. You must cast off her chains and break her snares. In this way, I will be able to accomplish through you all I have planned from the beginning of time. —May 18th, 2012

VIA CATHOLICCULTURE.ORG: It may seem like old news, but the 1978 Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations have just been published. They were originally drafted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to help bishops.

Cardinal William Levada of the CDF explains the decision to publish them now for the whole Church in his new Preface.

Excerpt: Bearing this in mind, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, notes the following:

“Consequently the Synod pointed to the need to ‘help the faithful to distinguish the word of God from private revelations’ whose role ‘is not to complete Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history.’ The value of private revelations is essentially different from that of the one public revelation: the latter demands faith; in it God himself speaks to us through human words and the mediation of the living community of the Church. The criterion for judging the truth of a private revelation is its orientation to Christ himself. If it leads us away from him, then it certainly does not come from the Holy Spirit, who guides us more deeply into the Gospel, and not away from it. Private revelation is an aid to this faith, and it demonstrates its credibility precisely because it refers back to the one public revelation. Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals; it is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorized to give to it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones. It can have a certain prophetic character (cf. 1 Th 5:19-21) and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly. It is a help which is proffered, but its use is not obligatory. In any event, it must be a matter of nourishing faith, hope and love, which are for everyone the permanent path of salvation.”

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Patience & Generosity

7. If you are faithful to your promises, He will be very liberal in His favors. He will give you peace after your struggles, and unknown to you, will bring you to the goal He has planned

May 23, 2012 

(Eph 6:11-13) Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect.

VATICAN RADIO: Pope: We must fight against evil

During a lunch with members of the College of Cardinals on Monday to mark the 7th anniversary of his pontificate, Pope Benedict thanked his closest advisors for all their support during both the joys and the difficulties of his Petrine ministry.

The Pope began by thanking God for the joyous days as well as what he called ‘the dark nights’ and went on to reflect about the presence of evil in the world. We can see, he said, how evil seeks to dominate our world, through cruelty and violence, but also in more subtle ways, posing as a force for good while destroying the moral foundations of society.
Recalling the old fashioned use of the term ‘the Church militant’, the Pope said we must fight against evil and for this reason it is important to have friends to support us in this struggle.
Recalling also the words of Our Lord, ‘Take heart, I have overcome the world’, Pope Benedict said we are on the Lord’s team and therefore we will be victorious.

IN THE NEWS:  Documentary tells of Jesuit priest expelled for challenging Vatican teaching on homosexuality

The liturgical impact of homosexuality in the priesthood

St. Peter Damian's Book of Gomorrah: A Moral Blueprint for Our Times - Part I,  Part II

: Teachings from Church Fathers on the matter of homosexuality:

Tertullian, the great apologist of the Church in the second century, writes: “All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish… from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (Tertullian, De pudicitia, IV)

Saint Basil of Caesarea, the fourth century Church Father who wrote the principal rule of the monks of the East, establishes this: “The cleric or monk who molests youths or boys or is caught kissing or committing some turpitude, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his crown [tonsure] and, after having his head shaved, let his face be covered with spittle; and [let him be] bound in iron chains, condemned to six months in prison, reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After these six months living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder with great spiritual experience, let him be subjected to prayers, vigils and manual work, always under the guard of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship… with young people.” (St. Basil of Caesarea, in St. Peter Damien, Liber Gomorrhianus, cols. 174f.)

Saint Augustine is categorical in the combat against sodomy and similar vices. The great Bishop of Hippo writes: “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed." (Rom. 1:26). (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)

Saint John Chrysostom writes: “All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men… There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV)

Saint Peter Damian’s Liber Gomorrhianus [Book of Gomorrah], addressed to Pope Leo IX, is considered the principal work against homosexuality. It reads: “Just as Saint Basil establishes that those who incur sins [against nature] … should be subjected not only to a hard penance but a public one, and Pope Siricius prohibits penitents from entering clerical orders, one can clearly deduce that he who corrupts himself with a man through the ignominious squalor of a filthy union does not deserve to exercise ecclesiastical functions, since those who were formerly given to vices … become unfit to administer the Sacraments.” (St. Peter Damian, Liber Gomorrhianus, cols. 174f)

Saint Thomas Aquinas, writing about sins against nature, explains: “However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistulas Sancti Pauli Ad Romanum I, 26, pp. 27f)

Saint Bernardine of Siena, a preacher of the fifteenth century, writes: “No sin has greater power over the soul than the one of cursed sodomy, which was always detested by all those who lived according to God….. Such passion for undue forms borders on madness. This vice disturbs the intellect, breaks an elevated and generous state of soul, drags great thoughts to petty ones, makes [men] pusillanimous and irascible, obstinate and hardened, servilely soft and incapable of anything. Furthermore, the will, being agitated by the insatiable drive for pleasure, no longer follows reason, but furor.” (St. Bernardine of Siena, Predica XXXIX, in Le prediche volgari (Milan: Rizzoli, 1936), pp. 869ff.)

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Patience & Generosity

4. Courage then! Finish what you have begun for the sake of this divine Heart, and rest assured that our Lord will repay you a hundredfold for all that you do for His love.

May 22, 2012 

(Rom 8:1-4) There is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh. For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh. That the justification of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.

POPE BENEDICT XVI:  Having instructed His disciples for the last time, Jesus ascended into heaven. Nevertheless, He 'did not separate Himself from our condition' because, in His humanity, he drew mankind into intimacy with the Father and thus revealed the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage.

VIA CHIESA: Vatican Diary / That sin of Sodom which cries out to heaven

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reprints as-is the 1986 letter on homosexuality, precisely as various governments are legalizing gay unions. The commentaries of Ratzinger and Cardinal Biffi.

It has also given a mandate to Libreria Editrice Vaticana to reprint those volumes of its series "Documenti e studi" which had sold out and were therefore unavailable in stores.

The series, born in 1985, has the stated aim of "collecting in separate volumes the bilingual text of the major documents issued by the congregation, together with an introduction by the cardinal prefect that represents their teaching in the current context, and with commentaries that illustrate their main themes."

In this way, the Congregation wants "to fulfill its twofold duty to promote and protect Catholic doctrine, especially on fundamental and controversial points."

Among the commentaries republished is that of Jesuit Father Maurice Gilbert, a prominent biblicist, who highlights the fact that in the New Testament, Saint Paul "declares that homosexuality is incompatible with an authentic Christian life," thereby reiterating a teaching "in conformity with and also in reference to that of the Old Testament."

In reality, the Church has always considered homosexuality among the most serious sins, while still maintaining the distinction between sin and sinner, the former always to be condemned and the latter always to be treated with mercy.

In the famous Catechismo Maggiore of Saint Pius X published in 1905, in the answer to question 966, homosexuality is the second of the four "sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance": "voluntary homicide"; the "impure sin against the order of nature"; the "oppression of the poor"; "defrauding a laborer of his just wage."

And the new Catechism of the Catholic Church published in 1992 and in edizione tipica in 1997 does no less.

In paragraph 1867 it reiterates that "The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are 'sins that cry to heaven'":  And it continues, in biblical language: "The blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner."


COMMENTRY EXCERPT"Marriage is ‘sanctification’ (not simply a partnership). To confer the title of sanctification and holiness upon homosexual behavior is “probably one of the greatest sins of all that one does against God’s plan for this world.”

: Archdioceses, Catholic schools sue over Obama contraception plan

The archdioceses of New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis and the University of Notre Dame filed lawsuits over President Obama’s contraception mandate Monday, along with dozens of other Catholic dioceses, schools and charities in a major legal challenge to a key part of Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul law.

Seeking to overturn the administration’s requirement for employers to include contraception in employee health insurance plans, 42 groups filed suit in a dozen federal courts around the country, including the dioceses of Dallas, Fort Worth, Rockville Centre, Pittsburgh and the Michigan Catholic Conference.

The lawsuits come a week after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected the administration’s revised final version of the mandate, saying that the administration’s various exceptions for religious groups didn’t go nearly far enough to protect religious freedom. The administration’s final rule allowed faith-affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities to opt out of providing coverage for certain contraception and sterilization procedures, though employees could still get such coverage from the insurance companies themselves.

“This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives,” said Notre Dame President John Jenkins.


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Patience & Generosity

3. Again I say, do not worry over your faults, but when you have committed any, say quite trustfully to the all-loving Heart of Jesus: "O my only Love, pay for Thy poor slave and repair the evil that I have just done".

May 17, 2012 


(Act 1:11-12) Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen him going into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day's journey.

PENTACOST NOVENA: The Pentecost Novena is the first of all novenas, nine days of prayer. After Jesus' Ascension into heaven, He commanded His disciples to come together in the upper room to devote themselves to constant prayer (Acts 1:14). They prayed for nine days before receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

On May 4, 1897, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed: "We decree and command that throughout the whole Catholic Church, this year and in every subsequent year, a novena shall take place before Whit-Sunday (Pentecost), in all parish churches." It has been reported that Pope Leo XIII was inspired to mandate the Pentecost novena because of a letter from a housewife in Italy. Pope John Paul II has reiterated Pope Leo XIII's command for a worldwide Pentecost novena, although the novena can be prayed at any time — not only before Pentecost.

LINK: Novena to the Holy Spirit

A MOMENT WITH MARY: The Fiat of the Ascension

Everything that happened on the day of the Ascension, Mary kept in her heart. She was educated by her Son's example, so Mary understood the Father's will for her. "Thy will be done" - the Fiat of the Annunciation and the Fiat of the Cross took Mary to the Fiat of the Ascension.
Jesus disappeared before her eyes of flesh. She was forced to accept this mystery of separation, which made her detachment purer and more perfect than all those that she had experienced up to that point.  (Marie Benoite Angot)

PILOTCATHOLICNEWS: The Ascension of the Lord

Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God,
and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving,
for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation,
and, where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.

When we hear the collect for the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, we cannot help but stand with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the apostles on that hillside as they stared up into the eastern sky, already longing for the Lord who had ascended to the right hand of his father in heaven. They gaze with a longing already for his return in glory at the end of time.

But the collect for today's Mass, using a phrase from the prayers of Advent, begs God to gladden us, to fill us with holy joys, to make us rejoice as the Lord ascends to heaven.

Why would we rejoice when the Lord is leaving us? First, one might suppose, it is because of the assurance of the Lord that he would remain with us always until the end of time. Or perhaps, it is because of his promise of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who will call upon us at Pentecost.

But the collect suggests an even deeper reason for our joy. This joy is rooted in devout thanksgiving that "where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope." Christ, of course, is the head of the Church. And now in his ascension into heaven he enters into glory. But he, the firstborn of many brothers, is only laying out the way that each of us should follow. For all who have died with the Lord, St. Paul assures us, will live with the Lord. And where he has gone, we too shall follow.

Which is why we live in hope. That's the meaning of the prayer the priest prays during the Lord's Prayer just before we receive Holy Communion:

''Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days,

that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.''

''Expectantes in beatam spem....'' This is the joyful hope of the Blessed Virgin and the apostles on that first Ascension morning, it is the hope of the Church as she awaits the return of her Savior in glory and it is our hope, our joyful hope, as we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Where and how did Christ ascend into heaven?

From Mount Olivet where His sufferings began, by which we learn, that where our crosses and afflictions begin which we endure with patience and resignation, there begins our reward. Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, because He is God, and now in His glorified humanity He sits at the right hand of His Father, as our continual Mediator.

In whose presence did Christ ascend into heaven?

In the presence of His apostles, and many of His dis­ciples, whom He had previously blessed, (Luke XXIV. 51.) and who, as St. Leo says, derived consoling joy from His ascension. Rejoice, also, O Christian foul, for Christ has today opened heaven for you, and you may enter it, if you believe in Christ, and live in accordance with that faith. St. Augustine says: "Let us ascend in spirit with Christ, that when His day comes, we may follow with our body.

Yet you must know, beloved brethren, that not pride, nor avarice, nor impurity, nor any other vice ascends with Christ; for with the teacher of humility pride ascends not, nor with the author of goodness, malice, nor with the Son of the Virgin, impurity. Let us then ascend with Him by trampling upon our vices and evil inclinations, thus build­ing a ladder by which we can ascend; for we make a ladder of our sins to heaven when we tread them down in combating them:"

ASPIRATION O King of glory! O powerful Lord! who hast this day ascended victoriously, above all heaven, leave us not as poor orphans; but send us, from the Father, the Spirit of truth whom Thou hast promised. Alleluia.

Why is the paschal candle extinguished after the Gospel on this day?

To signify that Christ, of whom the candle is a figure, has gone from His disciples.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Patience & Generosity

2. You know that virtue is not practiced without effort, but for one moment of suffering there follows an eternity of reward.

May 16, 2012 

(Luk 23:28-31) But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren and the wombs that have not borne and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us. And to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?

NEWS.VA: Radical Islamic groups fanning the conflict that plagues Lebanon

Radical Islamic Groups are fanning the conflict and want to infect Lebanon: this is the alarm launched to Fides by Fr. Paul Karam, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon. Fr. Karam, commenting on the recent clashes between Alawites and Sunnis in Lebanon, said: "We are very concerned for two reasons: the flow of Syrian refugees continues in northern Lebanon, moreover the conflict is spreading in Lebanon. This happens because of political interests that trample human rights, and the fragility of our country, ethnic-religious composite mosaic. Herein lies the major component of fanatic Islamic movements that fan on the religious aspect, fomenting hatred among communities." Fr. Karam insists that "violence has never solved anything: the road to reconciliation is dialogue, respect for others, keeping in mind the good of the country."

On the conflict in Syria, Fr. Karam said: "Sending UN Observers is an act of responsibility on behalf of the international community. But should not be exploited at a political level by any of the warring parties. We hope it is a mission in the sign of truth, credibility and transparency. Only thus peace can be reached."The Christian situation "is very worrying," says the priest. "In Syria – he recalls - the faithful have freedom of faith and public testimony which is not guaranteed in other states in the Middle East. We are concerned because the Christians, as a minority, are the easiest target. Syrian fellow priests tell us that the situation is dramatic: there are forces who want to turn the conflict into a religious war, and this would be a tragedy."

EDITORIAL: The Vatican and Islam: Has Dhimmitude Prevailed?

CNA: Catholic Middle East expert believes Arab Spring is 'no more'

One of the Catholic Church’s leading experts on the Middle East says the Arab Spring is “no more.”
“It was in the beginning a ‘springtime’ because really it was a free movement, (an) independent, unorganized movement for freedom,” Father Samir Khalil Samir told CNA.

But the movement slowly became “organized by other groups, especially by Islamic groups, in Egypt, also in Libya, in Bahrain, so that now the situation is no more a spring,” he said.

Fr. Samir is an Egyptian Jesuit who teaches at Rome’s Pontifical Oriental Institute, as well as in Beirut and Paris. Last year he cautiously welcomed the rise of the “Arab Spring,” a series of popular uprisings that dislodged several Middle Eastern dictators.

While some observers were hopeful that more democratic forms of government would take root in the wake of the protests, many countries instead saw Islamist movements rise to political prominence.

Fr. Samir said this has been particularly true in his homeland of Egypt, where the 30-year military dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak was toppled last year, and in other states such as Tunisia and Libya.

He described the situation in Libya since the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 as “not wonderful” due to “an Islamization after the secular system of Gaddafi.” He also believes that the present civil uprisings in Bahrain and Syria are being fueled by Islamist forces.

Fr. Samir said he still prays for “an open society for all people” in the Arab world but believes there are two road blocks – a lack of experience with democracy and a lack of education particularly for Arab women.

MORE: Christianity at the crossroads in the Middle East - An interview with Fr. Samir Khalil Samir SJ

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

31. If you find within yourself an abyss of pride and vain esteem, bury these passions in the abyss of the humility of the Sacred Heart, wherein you must lose all that stirs you interiorly, so as to be arrayed in His sacred annihilations.

May 15, 2012

(Jud 1:17-19) But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who told you that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses. These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.


The Moynihan Report: There are a number of important things happening right now in the Church.  There is the battle for religious freedom between the Church in the United States and the administration of President Barack Obama.  There is the investigation by the Holy See of the American women religious orders.  (Many note that the average age of the nuns in many of these orders is now approaching, or surpassing, 70; there are simply very few new vocations for most of these orders.) There is the turmoil in the Church in Ireland, rocked by allegations of harsh treatement and abuse of children, where the cardinal primate just resigned.  And there is Pope Benedict's imminent decision on whether to welcome the Society of St.  Pius X, the traditional Catholic group founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, back into full reunion with the Holy See.  The decision is expected before month's end (and the Society's reaction to that decision will then soon follow).  There is no doubt that the welcoming of a group of 500 traditional priests back into full communion with Rome -- and I intentionally do not go into the question of what that relationship has been up to now -- is a matter of considerable importance, as these priests, and their lay congregations, would inevitably be a powerful group on behalf of a traditional Catholic position in future theological debates over the Church's relationship to the secular world and over the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, which is another way of saying that there will be voices in the secular media and on the "left" ready and willing to denounce the Pope harshly if he does move to "regularize" the situation of the Lefebvrists.  Forewarned is forearmed.

But there are also other issues, and three in particular: first, to simplify, is the issue of "gender," by which I mean the whole issue of human sexuality, sexual morality, the nature and role of the family, and even the demographic question -- and this does not exhaust the issue; second, again to simplify, the issue of the globalized economy, and the role of human work, and of private losses placed as debts on the backs of the tax-paying public, to the point of constructing an enormously unbalanced, and unjust economy, which may require our children and grandchildren to pay off debts incurred recklessly during recent decades; third, and once again, to greatly simplify, there is the revolution occurring in genetics and genetic research, which promises to provide great benefits to humanity, to human health and well-being, but which is also fraught with the potential to bring great problems, even great evils, some of them catastrophic.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Egg-Producing Human Ovarian Stem Cells Concern Ethicists

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

29. When our Lord inspires us with some good deed, He also gives the strength to do it.

May 11, 2012 


(Mat 9:37-38) 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.

Apostolic Exhortation given by Pope St. Pius X on August 4, 1908.

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: Thoughts on an invitation to grace

Later this month, on May 19, I’ll ordain new priests for our local Church. This is a special moment of joy for me, since these new brothers will be the first I welcome into the priesthood as Archbishop of Philadelphia. But every new priest is a source of joy and hope for all our people.  In the wake of so many difficulties for our Church over the past 15 months, we need to pause and reflect.

Every genuine love story is a great love story; and every great love story creates new life. Real love is always fruitful. The love of husbands and wives bears fruit most obviously in the lives of their children, but also in many forms of Christian service … and also in the witness which their love provides to other people.

So it is with the priesthood.  Priests are called to be fruitful, but in a different and profoundly important way. They nourish the Church with their lives. They create a witness of radical service, and a legacy of spiritual children and apostolic works.

The point is this: The community of faith is not so different from the individuals who live and love within it. The Church is the bride of Christ — and that love needs to bear fruit.  The new life which the Church brings into the world is salvation in Jesus Christ, through preaching and teaching the Gospel, and offering the sacraments. This is why, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit….”

Jesus was talking to us — to all of us; but in a special way, to His priests. If a priest does not actively share his love of Jesus Christ with others, then it diminishes in his own heart. Priests who fail to witness that love with purity and integrity, lose it. And no priest can be happy without it. That’s what St. Paul meant when he wrote, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.”

It’s not that God punishes those who do not preach God’s word; instead, they steal joy from themselves, because the joy of Christ’s presence can only be had by sharing Christ with others.  The priest, like any parent or anyone truly in love, “gets” by giving away. So if Baptism indelibly marks every Christian as a missionary, Orders takes that vocation even further, intimately and permanently configuring a man to Jesus Himself, the greatest Love of them all.

Take a look around. The world needs Jesus Christ as never before. As a Church in the early years of a new millennium, we find ourselves in the midst of a powerful, skeptical and sharply divided society – a culture fueled by both pride and anxiety.

In today’s America, we live in mission territory. This is the new Areopagus. Philadelphia is no exception. The legacy of Catholic achievement in our Archdiocese is extraordinary. But it can easily blind us to the new work that God now calls us to do.

Each of us should reflect long and deeply on the meaning of the “new evangelization.” Those words have weight; they’re not just a slogan. A new missionary spirit needs to be born in each of our hearts, both lay and clergy; and if it is, then God will use it to win the soul of the world around us to Jesus Christ. 

In a special way, we should focus on forming and supporting our priests as effectively as we can.  The reason is simple. There’s no Gospel witness without the Church; there’s no Church without the Eucharist; and there’s no Eucharist without the priest.

We need more priests — good men who are well formed; men of courage, zeal and genuine humility; men who love Jesus Christ and his people, and prove it with their lives. This is the first and most urgent step in renewing our Church.

Of course, if it stops there — no matter how many good seminarians we attract — we fail.  Ultimately, while there’s no Church without the Eucharist, and no Eucharist without the priest, it’s also true that there are no priests without families on fire for Jesus Christ. Families who help their sons to hear God’s call; who affirm and support and encourage the priests who already serve them; who live their lives in a way which proves to our priests that their own sacrifices make a difference.

What I pray God builds through us in our Archdiocese over the next decade, is not just an old way of seminary formation with a new vocabulary, more numbers and an updated marketing strategy, but something true to what the “new evangelization” really is — a communion and mission of the whole Church, ordained, religious and lay, each respecting the other, each serving the other, all serving the Lord by bringing the Good News to the world, and the world to the Good News.

That’s the equality of the faithful: each vocation unique and invaluable in dignity; each complementing and completing the other in the Lord; altogether in service; and on fire with the love of God. May 19 is an invitation to grace; but so is every ordination, every marriage, every baptism.

I hope that in the years ahead we can look back on 2012 and say, this is where our hearts changed. This is where God began something new. And if we can, then like Simeon, we can go home to Him in gratitude and peace.

EBOOK LINK: Blessed Mary Secure Refuge and Path (Part 1)PART 2 

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

28. Be faithful in the practice of virtue, never willfully neglecting any occasion thereof.

May 9, 2012 

(Psa 122:6-7) Pray ye for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem: and abundance for them that love thee. Let peace be in thy strength: and abundance in thy towers.

HEADLINE: Israel Throws Down Gauntlet: Iran Must Stop All Enrichment

Israel on Wednesday accused Iran of stalling in negotiations over its nuclear program with the international community, and said an upcoming round of talks can succeed only if the Iranians agree to halt all uranium enrichment.

Israel is staking out a hardline stance ahead of the May 23 talks in Baghdad, where six world powers will sit down with Iranian officials in hopes of resolving the standoff. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who considers a nuclear-armed Tehran to be a mortal threat, has hinted he would order an attack on Iran if he concludes that international diplomacy and sanctions have failed.

Israel, like the West, believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. Enriched uranium is a key ingredient in an atomic weapon, although it can also be used in energy production and for medical isotopes. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

RELATED: Iran suspected of clean-up operation at nuclear site

MORE: Israel warns Hizbollah over Iran

COMMENTARY: Will Israel deal with Palestine or bomb Iran? We may be about to find out

David Dolan: Political analysts are saying this afternoon that the new Israeli government reformation is not only a very dramatic and unexpected development, but probably means that an Israeli military strike on Iran is in the offing.  Netanyahu would want as broad a government as possible if he orders his military forces into action against Iran, especially since this would probably spark off a major Middle East war.  That in turn would increase political and economic upheaval not only here in the tense region, but in many places around the world.  Still, Netanyahu knows that polls show a majority of Israeli voters back such action, given that the extremist Iranian regime is pursuing nuclear weapons while vowing to wipe the Jewish State off of the world map.  Facing his own re-election this year, US President Barack Obama would probably be very unhappy with any unilateral IDF action, although his need for Jewish votes in key swing states like Florida might cause him to bite his lip.  Indeed, many are saying that is another reason why Netanyahu feels the need to order a strike this year before the US ballot in early November, and early Knesset elections in September would have interfered with that reality.

All this to say, the prospects of an Israeli military operation designed to sharply set back Iran’s nuclear program have vastly increased, literally overnight.  Keep us in prayer as the shakings continue here in the region and around the world.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

27. Try to draw profit from and make good use of the holy affections that you receive from the Sovereign Goodness, endeavoring to benefit by them. Be ever attentive to good inspirations, for the Holy Spirit breathes where He wills. Grace is offered, but if refused, never returns. Therefore let us profit by it.

May 8, 2012 

(Joh 15:4-5) Abide in me: and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

CRISIS MAGAZINE: The Well-Sheltered Catholic


"It is no exaggeration", the Pope added, "to say that providing young people with a sound education in the faith represents the most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community in your country".

"First, as we know, the essential task of authentic education ...  is not simply that of passing on knowledge, essential as this is, but also of shaping hearts.  There is a constant need to balance intellectual rigour in communicating ...  the richness of the Church’s faith with forming the young in the love of God, the praxis of the Christian moral and sacramental life and, not least, the cultivation of personal and liturgical prayer".

The Holy Father went on to explain that "the question of Catholic identity, not least at the university level, entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus.  All too often, it seems, Catholic schools and colleges have failed to challenge students to reappropriate their faith as part of the exciting intellectual discoveries which mark the experience of higher education.  The fact that so many new students find themselves dissociated from the family, school and community support systems that previously facilitated the transmission of the faith should continually spur Catholic institutions of learning to create new and effective networks of support.

"In every aspect of their education, students need to be encouraged to articulate a vision of the harmony of faith and reason capable of guiding a life-long pursuit of knowledge and virtue.  ...  In effect, faith by its very nature demands a constant and all-embracing conversion to the fullness of truth revealed in Christ.  ...  The Christian commitment to learning, which gave birth to the medieval universities, was based upon this conviction that the one God, as the source of all truth and goodness, is likewise the source of the intellect’s passionate desire to know and the will’s yearning for fulfilment in love.

"Only in this light can we appreciate the distinctive contribution of Catholic education, which engages in a “diakonia of truth” inspired by an intellectual charity which knows that leading others to the truth is ultimately an act of love.  Faith’s recognition of the essential unity of all knowledge provides a bulwark against the alienation and fragmentation which occurs when the use of reason is detached from the pursuit of truth and virtue; in this sense, Catholic institutions have a specific role to play in helping to overcome the crisis of universities today".

LIFENEWS.COM: Georgetown to Have Pro-Abortion Sebelius Give Commencement

ACTION ALERT: Sign Cardinal Newman Society Petition re: Georgetown Scandal

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

26. Forget your own interests and leave the care of yourself to your heavenly Father. The further you withdraw from self, the closer you draw to God.

May 4, 2012 


(Deu 30:19) I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

CATHOLIC REVIEW: Fortnight for Freedom By Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien

HEADLINE:  Priests For Life Responds to Obama’s Attempt to “Dismiss” Lawsuit

US Catholic Bishops Prolife Office: As you know, since January there has been much attention to our efforts to address the very troubling Health and Human Services (HHS) coercive mandate requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.  For the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government will force religious institutions to facilitate drugs and procedures contrary to our moral teaching.  And it will purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit an exemption.

While the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops has had to respond quickly to many urgent situations with the Administration, Congress and the media, we certainly want to be responsive to our people in the pews.  The Conference has been working to develop a series of bulletin inserts to address a wide range of issues from our concerns over religious liberty to the Church’s teaching on sexuality and openness to new human life.  Some of these will simply be catechetical, and others will encourage parishioners to take some needed action. 

The first insert is now available for parish distribution from the end of April through the end of May.  The focus is on “Religious Liberty, the Most Cherished of American Freedoms,” [Spanish] and it encourages parishioners to send an email message to HHS during the limited comment period announced by the Administration.  As the Conference has done with the other nationwide bulletin inserts related to healthcare reform or the HHS mandate, these are being provided electronically to bishops and their diocesan leaders.  This model has worked well as many parishes have printed these one-sided inserts directly into their bulletins.  All inserts will be provided in both English and Spanish and can be printed in B&W or color.

Over the next months, suggested homily notes, Prayers of the Faithful, and additional prayer resources will continue to be posted on the USCCB website

On the topic of prayer, we’re pleased to report that the nationwide call to prayer has been a great success.  Even before the first print run of our nationwide prayer cards, the order had to be increased.  Thank you for encouraging your parishes to participate in this prayer campaign.  Prayer cards can be ordered on-line in English and Spanish at .

One final reminder: These and all other resources are found through our main conscience page which has a convenient “nickname”:

BISHOP GEORGE LEO THOMAS: “One thing that I would certainly want to share with the people of our own diocese, but certainly across the country and the world, and that is to take seriously your own individual call to holiness your personal encounter with Christ, and to remain very steeped in the sacramental life of the Church.  It is an emancipating and joyful life as a Catholic.”

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

25. I beg of Him with all my heart to make you ever faithful to what He asks of you, ready to sacrifice to Him all that costs you the most, according as He makes His will known to you; for there is no middle course; He will have all or nothing.

May 2, 2012 

Quote from St Athanasius:  "But for the searching and right understanding of the Scriptures there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind to grasp, so far as human nature can, the truth concerning God the Word. One cannot possibly understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life. Anyone who wants to look at sunlight naturally wipes his eye clear first, in order to make, at any rate, some approximation to the purity of that on which he looks; and a person wishing to see a city or country goes to the place in order to do so. Similarly, anyone who wishes to understand the mind of the sacred writers must first cleanse his own life, and approach the saints by copying their deeds. Thus united to them in the fellowship of life, he will both understand the things revealed to them by God and, thenceforth escaping the peril that threatens sinners in the judgment, will receive that which is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven."

MARK MALLET BLOG: The Great Vacuum

CNA: New book asks: Is US a 'nation of heretics?'

How did America become a nation of heretics?

We've always been a nation of heretics. Heresy used to be constrained and balanced by institutional Christianity to a far greater extent than it is today. What's unique about our religious moment is not the movements and currents such as the "lost gospel" industry, the world of prosperity preaching, the kind of therapeutic religion that you get from someone like Oprah Winfrey, or various highly politicized forms of faith. What's new is the weakness of the orthodox Christian response. There were prosperity preachers and therapeutic religion in the 1940s and '50s—think of bestsellers like Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking—but there was also a much more robust Christian center.
The Protestant and Catholic churches that made a real effort to root their doctrine and practice in historic Christianity were vastly stronger than they are today. Even someone who was dabbling in what I call heresy was also more likely to have something in his religious life—some institutional or confessional pressure—tugging him back toward a more traditional faith. The influence of heretics has been magnified by the decline of orthodox Christianity.

IN THE NEWS: Atheist group demands cross be removed from memorial to war veterans

PRIEST'S BLOG COMMENTARY ON HERESY: Shooting and breaking the legs of sheep and heretics


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

21. You must be indifferent to all created things and especially to the impulses prompted by your self-love and your own will.  This self-will He wishes you to sacrifice as often as He gives you the opportunity thereof, by breaking and thwarting it, until it is wholly destroyed and extinct, in order that the Will of His divine Heart, alone, may reign in you.

May 1, 2012 

(Mat 5:11-12) Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

EXCERPT INIQUIS AFFLICTISQUE ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI: 29. The Church which, from the day of Pentecost, has been destined here below to a never-ending life, which went forth from the upper chamber into the world endowed with the gifts and inspirations of the Holy Spirit, what has been her mission during the last twenty centuries and in every country of the world if not, after the example of her Divine Founder, "to go about doing good"? (Acts x, 38) Certainly this work of the Church should have gained for her the love of all men; unfortunately the very contrary has happend as her Divine Master Himself predicted (Matt. x, 17, 25) would be the case. At times the bark of Peter, favored by the winds, goes happily forward; at other times it appears to be swallowed up by the waves and on the point of being lost. Has not this ship always aboard the Divine Pilot who knows when to calm the angry waves and the winds? And who is it but Christ Himself Who alone is all-powerful, who brings it about that every persecution which is launched against the faithful should react to the lasting benefit of the Church? As St. Hilary writes, "it is a prerogative of the Church that she is the vanquisher when she is persecuted, that she captures our intellects when her doctrines are questioned, that she conquers all at the very moment when she is abandoned by all." (St. Hilary of Poitiers De Trinitate, Bk. VII, No. 4)

NEWS REPORT: Muslim Persecution of Christians: March, 2012 -  Part Two

The war on Christianity and its adherents rages on in the Muslim world. In March alone, Saudi Arabia's highest Islamic law authority decreed that churches in the region must be destroyed; jihadis in Nigeria said they "are going to put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women"; American teachers in the Middle East were murdered for being or talking about Christianity; churches were banned or bombed, and nuns terrorized by knife-wielding Muslim mobs. Christians continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for allegedly "blaspheming" Islam's prophet Muhammad; former Muslims continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for converting to Christianity.

Nigeria: A Boko Haram suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church, killing at least 10 people. The bomb detonated as worshippers attended Mass at St. Finbar's Catholic Church in Jos, a city where thousands of Christians have died in the last decade as a result of Boko Haram's jihad, and where another church was attacked, killing three, less than two weeks earlier.

Nigeria: The Islamist organization Boko Haram declared "war" on Christians, saying it aims to "annihilate the entire Christian community living in the northern parts of the country." According to a spokesman, "We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won't be able to stay." Along with constant church bombings—most recently on Easter, killing nearly 50—one of the groups new strategies is "to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women."

LATEST: 16 killed in attack on Catholic worship service at Nigeria university

VATICAN RADIOArchbishop Kaigama: Nigeria attacks defy all reason

Twenty one people are being mourned in Nigeria today after they were killed by gunmen who attacked Christian religious services on Sunday in the north of the country. The co-ordinated assaults happened at a university campus, during the observance of a religious service, and a church.

“This horrific attack really defies all logic”, said the Archbishop of Jos and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Ignatius Kaigama, reacting to Sunday’s killings. He told Lydia O’Kane that people are “in a state of shock” and are wondering when the violence will stop.

Archbishop Kaigama also added his Archdiocese has been touched by violence recently.  “My church was attacked, so many killed. A few weeks ago we had the one month’s mind of the death of 14 of our parishioners who died in that attack.”

No group has claimed responsibility for this latest violence, but the attacks bore similarities to others carried by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.

MORE: Listen to Lydia O'Kane's full interview with Archbishop Kaigama

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Practice of Virtue

20. Let us not waste time reflecting so much upon our troubles, either past or present.  We must think about them as little as possible, for they have less power to harm us when we disregard and ignore them.
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