Keep your eyes open!...


November 29, 2011 

(Mat 24:45-46) Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season? Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing.

AUDIO SANCTO SERMON: The General Judgment: All Will Be Made Clear

DIOCESE OF LITTLE ROCK: Advent and Christmas 2011 Resources

Our Lady of the Rosary Library: ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS

(From the book "Could You Explain Catholic Practices?" by Rev. Charles J. Mullaly, S.J. - 1937)

Advent is a season of penance, and of preparation by the Faithful for the spiritual joy of Christmas. It is a time when the Church admonishes us to lift our hearts to God and to trust in Him who is to free us from our sins. As Advent is a season of penance, the color of the vestments used at its seasonal Masses is violet and the altar is not decorated with flowers, except on the third Sunday which is called Gaudete, or "Rejoice Sunday," because the Introit of the Mass of that day reminds us of the near approach of our Lord's birth:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh." During this season of penance, as in Lent, the solemn celebration of marriage, that is, with Nuptial Mass, etc., is forbidden.

We should strive ever to emphasize the fact that Christmas is the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The greeting cards we send at the holy season should be a manifestation of our Catholic Faith, an aid to our friends to enter into the spirit of the holy season, and a reminder to them that we are praying that they may know Christ more intimately and love Him more ardently. Your cards to non-Christian friends may be a means of causing them to make inquiries in regard to the real meaning of Christmas.

Christmas derives its name, "Christ's Mass," from the Mass offered in honor of the Birth of Christ. Its early English form was written as "Christes Maesse," and in the course of the change of the English language it eventually became Christmas. In the earliest days of the Church this feast did not exist. Greater stress was placed on the Feast of the Epiphany, because it commemorates the day on which our Saviour was made known to the Gentiles, when the Wise Men came to adore Him. The Feast of the Nativity came gradually into existence in the fourth century. Its first mention is made by the great Christian writer, Clement of Alexandria, about the year 200, and shows that it was celebrated on May 20. About the year 300, the Latin Church began to observe it on December 25, because an ancient tradition assigns that day as the probable date of the Birth of our Savior.

Love of the Babe of Bethlehem, who was born to redeem us, caused Catholics, in centuries long gone by, to introduce into our churches a representation of the crib, the Divine Babe, The Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and the Shepherds. St. Francis of Assisi deserves the credit of making this practice very popular. His zeal prompted him to place at Graccio a representation of the cave of Bethlehem. His plan permitted the Faithful vividly to grasp the story of Bethlehem and to realize the poverty and suffering of our Saviour in the bleak, cold stable where He was born. The plan has spread to churches in all parts of the world.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

20. I believe that He will confirm these words which His unworthy slave continually heard in the depths of her heart, amidst all the difficulties and opposition that beset the beginning of this devotion: "I shall reign in spite of My enemies and of all those who would oppose Me."

November 24, 2011


(Php 4:6-7) Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

LINK: Fr. John Riccardo's Amazing Sermon on Knowing Jesus

GUIDED SIGHT: Ten Steps to a Better Thanksgiving

CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA: Thanksgiving Message and Blessing

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), among the nation's largest human services organizations working to reduce poverty in America, is mindful this Thanksgiving of the millions in our nation that face the challenges of hunger, unemployment, and homelessness.  This week, as families with the resources to do so gather to share in thanks and gratitude, Rev.  Larry Snyder, president of CCUSA, reminds us to reach out to those in need:

"Soon, we will be sharing food around the Thanksgiving table with our friends and family.  But we must not forget the millions of individuals living in poverty in communities across the country who are not as fortunate as we are. 

"This is especially true around the holiday season, as food pantries face increased demand and some struggle to keep enough food stocked to meet the needs of individuals that seek assistance. 

"Feeding the hungry is mandated by Scripture and is one of the core tenets of Catholic social justice.  Across the country local agencies support a vast network of soup kitchens and food pantries, emergency shelters, temporary and transitional housing and permanent affordable housing, to help homeless families and individuals.

"On this Thanksgiving, I am eternally grateful for the backbone of the Catholic Charities network-- the hundreds of thousands of individuals that lend their hearts and hands at local Catholic Charities agencies each year.  

"Our Catholic values, teachings, and traditions are the foundation for the work we do at CCUSA.  I urge everyone to think of the millions of individuals living in poverty which represent children, single parents, and consider donating at least one dollar, one hour, one canned good, to support programs and services in your community that provide assistance to those in need."

Each year, Catholic Charities serves over 10 million people regardless of their religious, social or economic backgrounds.  To learn more about the programs and services in your local community, please visit

Catholic Charities USA's members provide help and create hope for more than 10 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds.  For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing.  In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrated its centennial anniversary.

PRAYERS OF ST. FRANCIS: Praise and Thanksgiving

God, all powerful, most holy, most high and supreme; FATHER: holy and righteous; Lord: king of heaven and earth; we thank you for yourself, because by your holy will and through your only Son and the Holy Spirit you created all things, spiritual and material.  You made us in your image and likeness and placed us in paradise, and we, through our transgression fell away.

We give you thanks because, as you created us through your Son, so by the holy love with which you loved us you willed your Son to be born true God and true man of the glorious and holy Virgin Mary, and through his cross and blood and death it was your will to set us free from our captivity.

Also we thank you because that same Son of yours will come again in the glory of his majesty to condemn those who refused to repent and acknowledge you; and to say to all who did acknowledge, worship and serve you in repentance: Come, you whom my Father has blessed, receive the kingdom prepared for you since the world began.

And because we are all wretched sinners, unworthy to speak your name, therefore let Jesus Christ himself, our Lord and your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased, give thanks to you for everything, together with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, as it pleases you and pleases him.  He always satisfies you in everything, and through him you have done so much for us.


Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

19. He is the Source of all blessings, and will bestow them wherever the picture of His divine Heart is placed and honored.

November 23, 2011

(Psa 46:10-11) Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.

CARMELITE SISTERS: Discovering God in Silence

FROM THE MAILBAG: Reflection by Father Ted - November 21, 2011

Dear Jesus, on this anniversary of the celebration of the Presentation of your Mother in the Temple at Jerusalem, help us to realize the importance of consecrating ourselves and our loved ones to the Father through You and through Your Mother.

You want all of us to know the profound love that You and Your Father in union with the Holy Spirit have for all of us.

You want all of us to accept with complete trust what You reminded us in the special Gospel for today's feast that all of us are part of Your Holy Family when we do the Will of the Father.

And as You have so frequently reminded me and I have attempted to communicate this to others - the Will of the Father is that we strive to become saints every single day.

And as You have striven to convince me - this is impossible without out willing to make time to pray - as both You and Mary did throughout Your earthly lives.

I learned the hard way, as have many others, that when we minimize the importance of daily prayer, we become blind to knowing the Will of the Father and we are not able to do the Will of the Father.

When I was a young priest, I accepted as truth that “my work was my prayer”. And like many of my peers, when I did this, I rejected what You had told me through the Church what prayers I must pray as Your ordained priest. As a result I, and many others, lost the ability to recognize truth - which truths You revealed to us through Your Church. Not only that, we also lost the ability to resist the many temptations that Satan enticed us with. And tragically, many of my peers gave into his major temptation to leave the priesthood. I almost did, but - thanks be to those who were praying for me - I was able to resist this temptation.

Today, You have been reminding us, through the Holy Father, how important our daily prayer life is. Fortunately, You had him exhort his brother bishops from our country to be the men of prayer that You want them to be. For he told them about the importance of daily Eucharistic adoration, daily Rosary, and daily praying the Divine Office. His predecessor reminded his brother bishops the importance of celebrating Mass daily - whether with a congregation or without one. You wanted them to teach us their priests to do likewise.

Why? So that we can become the saints that You want us to be; so that we can inspire our brothers and sisters to become the saints that You want them to be.; so that we can evangelize the world and thereby bring Your Peace into the world.

Jesus, You want us to experience Your Peace. We can only do this by doing the Father's Will - by becoming the men and women of prayer that He desires.

Mary, Queen of Peace, Queen of the Clergy, help us to do the Will of the Father as did Jesus and as You did.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

18. The devotion to His Sacred Heart contains ineffable treasures which He wishes to bestow upon all hearts of goodwill; it is a last effort of the love of our Lord towards sinners to draw them to repentance and give them in abundance His efficacious and sanctifying graces.

November 22, 2011

(Rom 5:6-10) For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly? For scarce for a just man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die. But God commendeth his charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners according to the time. Christ died for us. Much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.


"I invite you to meditate for a moment on [God's] infinite mercy.  The history of salvation, which culminates in the incarnation of Jesus and finds its fulfilment in the Paschal Mystery, is a radiant revelation of the mercy of God", which "consists not only in the remission of our sins" but also "in the fact that God, our Father, redirects us, sometimes not without pain, affliction or fear on our part, to the path of truth and light, for He does not wish us to be lost.  ...  Looking back upon the personal history of each individual and of the evangelisation of our countries, we can say together with the Psalmist, 'I will sing of thy steadfast love, O Lord, for ever'".

The Holy Father continued his remarks: "The Virgin Mary experienced to the highest degree the mystery of divine love.  ...  By her 'yes' to the call of God, she contributed to the manifestation of divine love in the midst of humanity.  In this sense, she is the Mother of Mercy by her participation in the mission of her Son: she has received the privilege of being our helper always and everywhere.  ...  In Mary, we have not only a model of perfection, but also one who helps us to realise communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.  As Mother of Mercy, she is a sure guide to the disciples of her Son who wish to be of service to justice, to reconciliation and to peace.  ...  Let us not be afraid to invoke her with confidence, she who ceaselessly dispenses to her children abundant divine graces".

BBC: Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Benin, 'home of Voodoo'

VATICAN RADIO: Pope Benedict hands over Apostolic Exhortation

One of the first missions of the Church is the proclamation of Jesus Christ and his Gospel ad gentes, that is the evangelization of those at a distance from the Church in one way or another.  I hope that this Exhortation will guide you in the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus in Africa.  It is not just a message or a word.  It is above all openness and adhesion to a person: Jesus Christ the incarnate Word.  He alone possesses the words of life eternal (cf.  Jn 6:68)!  Following the example of Christ, all Christians are called to reflect the mercy of the Father and the light of the Holy Spirit.  Evangelization presupposes and brings with it reconciliation and it promotes peace and justice.

REVIEW: Pope leaves Africa with spiritual 'road map'

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

17. He has assured me that the pleasure He takes in being loved, known and honored by His creatures, is so great that, if I am not mistaken, He has promised me that all those who are devoted and consecrated to Him shall never perish.

November 18, 2011


(Rev 19:11-16) And I saw heaven opened: and behold a white horse. And he that sat upon him was called faithful and true: and with justice doth he judge and fight. And his eyes were as a flame of fire: and on his head were many diadems. And he had a name written, which no man knoweth but himself. And he was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood. And his name is called: THE WORD OF GOD. And the armies that are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he may strike the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty. And he hath on his garment and on his thigh written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

CATHOLIC ONLINE: The Happy Priest: Are You Ready for the Lord's Coming?


Jesus Christ is fully the spiritual King of all mankind, for He is the giver of life, the maker of law, the supreme judge and ruling authority, in the minds and wills and hearts of human beings.

He is King of mankind by natural  right, because He is the divine maker and sustainer of the universe and He took human nature unto His divine Person, He is King by acquired right, because he redeemed mankind by the sacrifice of His body and blood.  The Lamb of God, from the throne of His cross, reunited all peoples.  Although formerly separated by sin, they became one kingdom, one family, and prospective members of one Mystical Body.

Kings would seem to belong to former times.  They have their role in the growth of countries and peoples: but today we no longer find them vital factors in society of many countries.
What did Pope Pius XI  intend by establishing this feast in 1925, in addition to writing an encyclical?  As he himself points out, a celebration makes a teaching more vital than a letter.  The feast occurs every year: a document is easily read and forgotten.

For this feast Pius XI assembled and stressed very ancient traditions of the Church about Christ's Kingship from the Bible, Liturgy, and Christian life.  In the Old Testament God is a great King (Jer.  31; Zac.  14-9-16) In the new Testament the everlasting messianic Kingdom is proclaimed.  (Lk:1:33)

When Christ began His public life He said that He was establishing His Kingdom.  (Matt.  4.17; 22:41-466).  He insists on the spirituality of His dominion (Matt' 5:3-12; Jn.  16:33-39).  In the liturgy, the invocation "Kyrie" addressed to Christ is the usual title for Kings and emperors.

As for Christian life , St.  Benedict describes his rule for monks as a service to Christ the King.  St. Ignatius founded his Company of Jesus as the militia of Christ the King.  Christ is now and always the King.  He combines in himself all legislative, executive  and judicial power.  "All authority has been given me in heaven and on earth" (Matt.  28:18) Christ's kingship is now exercised especially through the Sacraments.

Angels and human beings, things visible and invisible, are under the Kingship of Christ, for He is truly God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind.  By His Crucifixion.  Jesus ransomed all souls from sin.  By the ceremony of baptism, He goes on adopting believers for the eternal embrace.  (Col: 1:12-20).

Christ does not want to rule without us; He wants our co-operation.  Through grace, we reflect the glory of Christ's kingdom.  We must understand that although our religion begins with us individually, it has great social dimensions.  By leading a truly Christian life we witness to Christ's kingdom before the community that this is our personal responsibility.


The Holy Father imparted the final catechesis of his cycle dedicated to the Psalms.  He focused on Psalm 110, which "Jesus Himself cited, and which the authors of the New Testament referred to widely and interpreted in reference to the Messiah.  ...  It is a Psalm beloved by the ancient Church and by believers of all times", which celebrates "the victorious and glorified Messiah seated at the right hand of God".

The Psalm begins with a solemn declaration: "The Lord says to my lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool".  Benedict XVI explained that "Christ is the Lord enthroned, the Son of man seated at the right hand of God.  ...  He is the true king who by resurrection entered into glory, ...  higher than the angels, seated in the heavens over all other powers, ...  and with all His adversaries at His feet until the last enemy, death, is definitively defeated by Him".

God and the king celebrated in the Psalm are inseparably linked.  "The two govern together, to the point that the Psalmist confirms that God Himself grants the regal sceptre, giving the king the task of defeating his adversaries.  ...  The exercise of power is a task the king receives directly from the Lord, a responsibility which involves dependence and obedience, thus becoming a sign to the people of God's powerful and provident presence.  Dominion over enemies, glory and victory are gifts the king has received, that make him a mediator of divine triumph over evil".

The final verses portray "the triumphant sovereign who, with the support of the Lord, having received power and glory from Him, opposes his enemies, defeating adversaries and judging nations".

The Church traditionally considers this Psalm as one of the most significant messianic texts.  "The king as sung by the Psalmist is Christ, the Messiah Who establishes the Kingdom of God and overcomes the powers of the world.  He is the Word generated by God before any creature, the Son incarnate, Who died and rose to heaven, the eternal Priest Who, in the mystery of the bread and wine, grants forgiveness for sins and reconciliation with God; the King Who raised his head in triumph over death by His resurrection".

The Psalm invites us to "look to Christ to understand the meaning of true regality which is to be lived as service and the giving of self, following a path of obedience and love 'to the end'.  Praying this Psalm, we therefore ask the Lord to enable us to proceed along this same journey, following Christ, the Messiah, willing to ascend with Him on the hill of the cross to accompany Him in glory, and to look to Him seated at the right hand of the Father, the victorious king and merciful priest Who gives forgiveness and salvation to all mankind".

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

16. I can hardly express my joy at seeing the increase of devotion to the Sacred Heart of my Saviour. I seem to live for that alone. Sometimes such an ardent desire to make It reign in all hearts is kindled within me that there is nothing I would not do and suffer to bring this about.

November 17, 2011

(John 15:18-20) If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

EXCERPT WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL: Obama turns his back on Catholics

In 2009, the University of Notre Dame set off months of intra-Catholic controversy by inviting a champion of abortion rights to deliver the school’s commencement address. When the day arrived, President Obama skillfully deflated the tension. He extended a “presumption of good faith” to his pro-life opponents. Then he promised Catholics that their pro-life convictions would be respected by his administration. “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion,” he said, “and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health-care policies are grounded not only in sound science but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women.”

Catholics, eager for reassurance from a leader whom 54 percent of them had supported, were duly reassured. But Obama’s statement had the awkward subordinate clauses of a contentious speech-writing process. Qualifications and code words produced a pledge that pledged little.

Now the conscience protections of Catholics are under assault, particularly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). And Obama’s Catholic strategy is in shambles.

Shortly before Obama spoke at Notre Dame, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts brought suit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), seeking to eliminate a grant to programs that aid victims of human trafficking. Because Catholic programs don’t refer for abortions, the ACLU alleged that public support amounts to the establishment of religion.

The Obama Justice Department defended the grant in court. But last month, HHS abruptly ended the funding. It did not matter that an independent review board had rated the bishops’ program more effective than those of its competitors — or that career HHS employees objected to the politicized handling of the grant. HHS announced it was giving preference to grantees that offer “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.” This was described by one official as “standard procedure.” So it is now standard procedure in the Obama administration to deny funding to some Catholic programs based solely on their pro-life beliefs.

NEWSWIRE: After 90 Years, Catholic Charities Foster Care Will Cease in Illinois


Why Penn State is (and isn’t) like the Catholic Church
Echoes of Catholic Church scandal at Penn State
Analysis: Penn State shouldn't hide behind legal moves - lawyer
The Penn State Scandal: Contrasting the School’s Approach With the Catholic Church’s Approach to Its Own Child Sex Abuse Scandal

ARCHDIOCESE OF CHARLOTEE: Catholic Church has learned from, responded to its mistakes

: Catholic bishop criticises ruling on church liability for actions of priests

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

15. I feel entirely lost in this divine Heat. It is as though I were in a fathomless abyss, in which He discloses to me treasues of love and of grace for those who consecrate and sacrifice themselves to give and procure for Him all the honor, love and glory in their power.

November 16, 2011 

(Exo 20:13) Thou shalt not kill.

EXPCERPT LIFENEWS.COM: Pope on Embryonic Research: Don’t Take One Life to Save Another

Pope Benedict XVI gave an excellent speech to attendees of a bioethics conference in Rome last week and one doesn’t have to be Catholic to appreciate his sentiment that researchers shouldn’t take one human life (human embryos) to potentially save the lives of patients.

We know embryonic stem cell research has yet to save any patients lives — and hasn’t even been attempted in humans because of significant problems like causing tumors and immune system rejection issues — while the use of adult stem cells has safely cured or treated patients with more than 100 medical conditions, diseases or problems.

Here’s the perspective from the leader of the Catholic Church:

“Since human beings are endowed with immortal souls and are created in the image and likeness of God, there are dimensions of human existence that lie beyond the limits of what the natural sciences are competent to determine. If these limits are transgressed, there is a serious risk that the unique dignity and inviolability of human life could be subordinated to purely utilitarian considerations. But if instead these limits are duly respected, science can make a truly remarkable contribution to promoting and safeguarding the dignity of man.”

“In this sense, the potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable, since it opens up possibilities for healing chronic degenerative illnesses by repairing damaged tissue. . . . The improvement that such therapies promise would constitute a significant step forward in medical science, bringing fresh hope to sufferers and their families alike. For this reason, the Church naturally offers her encouragement to those who are engaged in conducting and supporting research of this kind, always with the proviso that it be carried out with due regard for the integral good of the human person and the common good of society.

“This proviso is most important. The pragmatic mentality that so often influences decision-making in the world today is all too ready to sanction whatever means are available in order to attain the desired end, despite ample evidence of the disastrous consequences of such thinking. When the end in view is one so eminently desirable as the discovery of a cure for degenerative illnesses, it is tempting for scientists and policy-makers to brush aside ethical objections and to press ahead with whatever research seems to offer the prospect of a breakthrough. Those who advocate research on embryonic stem cells in the hope of achieving such a result make the grave mistake of denying the inalienable right to life of all human beings from the moment of conception to natural death. The destruction of even one human life can never be justified in terms of the benefit that it might conceivably bring to another.

“Yet, in general, no such ethical problems arise when stem cells are taken from the tissues of an adult organism, from the blood of the umbilical cord at the moment of birth.”

“Dialogue between science and ethics is of the greatest importance in order to ensure that medical advances are never made at unacceptable human cost. The Church contributes to this dialogue by helping to form consciences in accordance with right reason and in the light of revealed truth. In so doing she seeks, not to impede scientific progress, but on the contrary to guide it in a direction that is truly fruitful and beneficial to humanity, . . . with a particular regard for the weakest and most vulnerable.

VIA A “CANCER GRADUATE,” THANKS TO ADULT STEM CELLS: Over 50,000 people around the globe are treated each year with adult stem cells. The diseases and conditions successfully treated by adult stem cells, as shown by published scientific evidence, continue to expand, with published success for numerous cancers, spinal cord injury, heart damage, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, and many other diseases.

VATICAN RADIO INTERVIEW: The huge potential of adult stem cells

IN THE NEWS: Geron halting embryonic stem cell research, laying off staff

ST. LOUIS REVIEW: Vatican partners with company to discuss stem-cell research

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

14. I no longer wish for anything but to procure the glory of the Sacred Heart. How happy I should be if, before I die, I were able to do something to please Him!

November 15, 2011

(Mat 24:6) And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass: but the end is not yet.

HEADLINE: Israel says Iran closer to atom bomb than thought

NEWS STORY: Did Israel Blow Up an Iranian Missile Base?

After a Iranian weapons depot mysteriously exploded on Saturday, a "Western intelligence source" told Time what many observers already believed to be true — that Israel was behind it.

The explosion came the same week as a U.N.  report claiming that Iran had mastered much of the technology necessary to build nuclear weapons and more speculation that Israel was preparing to act to stop those weapons from being finished.  Then, suddenly, a major explosion (reportedly felt up to 25 miles away) levels a military base near Tehran, killing 17 people, including General Hassan Moghaddam, a Revolutionary Guard commander who was responsible for Iran's missile development. Coincidence?  Most people don't think so.

Officially, Iran says the explosion was an accident that occurred while moving ammunition to a more appropriate site.  But in Israel, newspapers are busy chronicling the many "mysterious mishaps" that seem to keep befalling the Iran nuclear program, while not-so subtly hinting that Mossad is the likely culprit.  Perhaps it was accident that has merely provided a convenient avenue for Israeli intimidation, but no one has any doubts about their intentions.

EDITORIAL: Obama's best act could be striking Iran


The Iranian-American Game of Chicken
Details Emerge of IAIA Report on Iran- Rumors of war gaining momentum
Iran’s supreme leader warns US and Israel against military strike, says Tehran will respond

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

13. The divine Heart experienced all the interior sufferings of the cruel torment of the Cross, and for this reason God wishes It to be honored by a special worship, in order that mankind may thereby atone by their love and homage, for the bitterness and anguish caused by their offences.

November 9, 2011

(Phm 1:4-7) I give thanks to my God, always making a remembrance of thee in my prayers. Hearing of thy charity and faith, which thou hast in the Lord Jesus and towards all the saints: That the communication of thy faith may be made evident in the acknowledgment of every good work that is in you in Christ Jesus. For I have had great joy and consolation in thy charity, because the bowels of the saints have been refreshed by thee, brother.

HEADLINE: Philadelphia Archbishop advocates pro-life movement

EXCERPT FROM ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT'S ADDRESS: The pro-life movement needs to be understood and respected for what it is: part of a much larger, consistent, and morally worthy vision of the dignity of the human person. You don't need to be Christian or even religious to be "pro-life." Common sense alone is enough to make a reasonable person uneasy about what actually happens in an abortion. The natural reaction, the sane and healthy response, is repugnance.

What makes abortion so grievous is the intimacy of the violence and the innocence of the victim. Dietrich Bonhoeffer--and remember this is the same Lutheran pastor who helped smuggle Jews out of Germany and gave his life trying to overthrow Hitler--wrote that the "destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder."

Bonhoeffer's words embody Christian belief about the sanctity of human life present from the earliest years of the Church. Rejection of abortion and infanticide was one of the key factors that set the early Christians apart from the pagan world. From the Didache in the First Century through the Early Fathers of the Church, down to our own day, Catholics--and until well into the twentieth century all other Christians--have always seen abortion as gravely evil. As Bonhoeffer points out, arguing about whether abortion is homicide or only something close to homicide is irrelevant. In the Christian view of human dignity, intentionally killing a developing human life is always inexcusable and always gravely wrong.

Working against abortion doesn't license us to ignore the needs of the homeless or the poor, the elderly or the immigrant. It doesn't absolve us from supporting women who find themselves pregnant or abandoned. All human life, no matter how wounded, flawed, young or old, is sacred because it comes from God. The dignity of a human life and its right to exist are guaranteed by God. Catholic teaching on abortion and sexuality is part of the same integral vision of the human person that fuels Catholic teaching on economic justice, racism, war, and peace.

These issues don't all have the same content. They don't all have the same weight. All of them are important, but some are more foundational than others. Without a right to life, all other rights are contingent. The heart of the matter is what Solzhenitsyn implied in his Harvard comments. Society is not just a collection of sovereign individuals with appetites moderated by the state. It's a community of interdependent persons and communities of persons; persons who have human obligations to one another, along with their human rights. One of those obligations is to not intentionally kill the innocent. The two pillars of Catholic social teaching are respect for the sanctity of the individual and service to the common good. Abortion violates both.

In the American tradition, people have a right to bring their beliefs to bear on every social, economic, and political problem facing their community. For Christians, that's not just a privilege. It's not just a right. It's a demand of the Gospel. Obviously, we have an obligation to respect the dignity of other people. We're always bound to treat other people with charity and justice. But that good will can never be an excuse for our own silence.

Believers can't be silent in public life and be faithful to Jesus Christ at the same time. Actively witnessing to our convictions and advancing what we believe about key moral issues in public life is not "coercion." It's honesty. It's an act of truth-telling. It's vital to the health of every democracy. And again, it's also a duty--not only of our religious faith, but also of our citizenship.

The University of Pennsylvania's motto is Leges sine moribus vanae. It means "Laws without morals are useless." All law has moral content. It's an expression of what we "ought" to do. Therefore law teaches as well as regulates. Law always involves the imposition of somebody's judgments about morality on everyone else. That's the nature of law. But I think the meaning of Penn's motto goes deeper than just trying to translate beliefs into legislation. Good laws can help make a nation more human; more just; more noble. But ultimately even good laws are useless if they govern a people who, by their choices, make themselves venal and callous, foolish and self-absorbed.

It's important for our own integrity and the integrity of our country to fight for our pro-life convictions in the public square. Anything less is a kind of cowardice. But it's even more important to live what it means to be genuinely human and "pro-life" by our actions--fidelity to God; love for spouse and children; loyalty to friends; generosity to the poor; honesty and mercy in dealing with others; trust in the goodness of people; discipline and humility in demanding the most from ourselves.

These things sound like pieties, and that's all they are--until we try to live them. Then their cost and their difficulty remind us that we create a culture of life to the extent that we give our lives to others. The deepest kind of revolution never comes from violence. Even politics, important as it is, is a poor tool for changing human hearts. Nations change when people change. And people change through the witness of other people--people like each of you reading this. You make the future. You build it stone by stone with the choices you make. So choose life. Defend its dignity and witness its meaning and hope to others. And if you do, you'll discover in your own life what it means to be fully human.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

12. Our Lord Jesus Christ desires that we should, by sanctifying ourselves, glorify His all-loving Heart; for it was His Heart that suffered the most in His Sacred Humanity.

November 8, 2011

(Rev 12:10-12) And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.

RENEW AMERICA: Eight reasons why today's world despises and resists Christianity

HEADLINE: Vatican stunned by Irish embassy closure

MOYNIHAN REPORT COMMENTARY:  The Irish embassy to the Holy See, located on the Janiculum Hill near to the residence of the American Ambassador to the Holy See and near the American Academy in Rome, is the Villa Spada, the single most valuable property of all the Irish embassies in the world, according to reports.

However, note well: Ireland will not be selling the Villa, but moving staff from its Embassy to Itay over to the Villa Spada to work there.

Many observers are seeing this decision as a severe blow to the Vatican's international prestige, and that view seems correct -- it is a blow to the Holy See that a country with as long a Catholic tradition as Ireland has decided to close its embassy.

Most observers are also seeing it as a direct retaliation of the Irish government against the Church for the Church's many years of allegedly lax supervision in dozens of cases of child abuse and sexual abuse (see the articles reproduced below).

Two points need especially to be stressed.

First, this may not be a unique case.  No one knows for sure, but there are already persistent whispers in diplomatic circles here that as many as 40 countries are considering closing their embassies to the Holy See.

If this is even one-third true, the trajectory of the Vatican's diplomatic importance in world affairs will be downward, following several decades in which the diplomatic role of the Vatican -- especially under Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) -- seemed crucial, even decisive, in a world divided into two blocs, one capitalist, one communist.  So the Vatican's "diplomatic weight" seems, already with this decision, and potentially even more so with similar decisions, to be in decline.

Second, the consequences.  What are the consequences for the world of a dimished diplomatic role for the Holy See?

Inevitably, that the Church's positions on social and moral issues would receive less attention.

The Church's views, on the level of the world's political elites, would be, in effect, marginalized.

The Church's moral voice would be, quite effectively, diminished, weakened, muffled, precisely at the moment when many moral debates -- over the nature of marriage; over the "life issues" from abortion, sterilization and contraception through organ harvesting and euthanasia; over the justice or injustice of our globalized, and globalizing, economic system -- are reaching a pitch of intensity, and are being decided and set into the "stone" of codified law.

Whatever opposition the Church might have to some of these developments will be less influential, less consequential, if the Church's diplomatic prestige is reduced.

OPINION: Mary Kenny: We'll surely live to regret diplomatic Vatican snub

MORE: Irish Vatican closure saddens dwindling faithful

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

11. He has given me to understand that His Sacred Heart is the Holy of Holies- the Sanctuary of Love- that He wills to be known at present as the Mediator between God and man; for He is all-powerful to reconcile them, turning aside the chastisements that our sins have merited and obtaining mercy for us.

November 5, 2011


(Mat 5:48) Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: And He Will Wipe Every Tear From Their Eyes, yes, Every Tear. A Reflection on the Healing Hope of Purgatory

LINK: The Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux on Purgatory

FROM THE MAILBAG: Reflection by Father Ted - November 2, 2011

My dearest Jesus, today You give to us the privilege to pray for our relatives and friends, as well as many others, who are deceased and have not yet entered into heaven.

First of all, thank You for having created them and us.

Thank You for offering to us a share in Your divine life.

Thank You for having died for us so that we can ultimately be with You and the Father and Your Holy Spirit in Your heavenly home.

Thank You for having created Purgatory for us who at death are not purified enough to enjoy Your Presence forever in heaven.

Purgatory is Your gift to us so that we can become purified enough to be able to enjoy Your Presence forever.

Because You want us to love all Your children – not only those on earth with us but also those who have died, You allow us to help our deceased brothers and sisters who are being purified in Purgatory and, of course, to pray to our deceased brothers and sisters who are enjoying Your Presence in heaven.

Thank You for allowing me today to celebrate three Masses for these brothers and sisters of mine who are awaiting their deliverance from Purgatory.

Thank You for encouraging me to offer Mass for their intention every Tuesday and Thursday.

They also thank You for allowing me to offer Mass for them as often as I do.

This is one of the great privileges that You have given to me as Your priest.

I also want to thank You for allowing these brothers and sisters of mine who are still in Purgatory to pray for me and for others as well.

They know our needs.  They know our weaknesses.  They love us as You love us and them.

Help us, dear Jesus, to encourage others to pray for these brothers and sisters who are in Purgatory.

Help us, dear Jesus, to become the saints that You created all of us to become.

May we all radiate Your Presence to others so that Your peace may cover the earth.

Father, may Your Will be done by us as Your Will has been done by Jesus, Your only Begotten Son.  Amen.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

10. It seems to me that the great desire that our Lord has that His Sacred Heart should be honored by some particular worship is to renew in souls the effects of His Redemption.

November 4, 2011

(Rom 8:1-2) 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.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "God truly showed Himself, He became accessible, He so loved the world 'that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life'. And by the supreme act of love upon the Cross, by emerging Himself in the abyss of death, He conquered death, He rose again and opened the doors of eternity for us too. Christ supports us through the night of death, which He Himself experienced. He is the Good Shepherd, to Whose guidance we can entrust ourselves without fear, because He knows the way, even through the darkness".

"It is precisely faith in eternal life which gives Christians the courage to love this earth of ours even more intensely, and to work to build an earthly future of true and secure hope".

DIES IRAE: One of the most famous melodies of the Gregorian Chant, Dies Irae was traditionally ascribed to Thomas of Celano (d 1260), but now is usually attributed to an unknown Franciscan of that period. The piece is based upon Zep 1:14-16, a reflection upon the final judgment. It was formerly part of the Mass of the Dead and the Office of the Dead. Today it is found in the Liturgia Horarum for the last week of Ordinary time (34th). In placing it there, the emphasis is upon the upcoming Advent season and the Second Coming of Christ. In Diocese of the United States, it is still used in the Office of the Dead and the Feast of All Souls (Nov. 2). Many have complained about the depressing nature of the opening verses, but while the piece is certainly sobering, there is a note of hope as well later on in the hymn. Judgment, which is eternal, is indeed a fearsome prospect for us sinners, but, as Christians, we also realize we have Christ as our Savior.


FIRST THINGS: What’s Wrong With Dies Irae?

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

9. The Sacred Heart is a hiden and infinite treasure desiring to manifest Itself, to be poured out and distributed, so as to alleviate our distress.

November 3, 2011 

(Mat 5:10-12) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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.

ACN: Egypt: Coptic Bishop: “Christians are currently experiencing their worst time in recent centuries"

OPINION: Are Christians facing extinction on the Arab street?

AINA: Coptic Christian Student Murdered By Classmates for Wearing a Cross

HEADLINE: Virgin Mary appears in Alexandria?

VIA Christian WitnessNews from Jill in Egypt: Apparitions of the Blessed Mother 10/22/11

Today was the first real day I could go out and walk in the fresh (or at least as fresh as Cairo air can be).  I walked up the street to what we call the gathering.  This is a HUGE roundabout where cars, the metro train, humans, donkey carts, and even a few camels all go to try and get to their specific areas.  It is a traffic thruway.  It can be daunting to try and cross if you are a person on foot. 

Today one of the soldiers came and approached me.  I thought maybe I was doing or sitting in an area I should not have been, but he addressed me as "Doctora" so I knew he had seen me their before.  He asked me if I knew of the events the night before.  I was a little concerned because I had gone out without my security team.  I thought maybe he wanted me to return to my flat.  When I asked him what the issue was or what had happened he told me about the Apparitions.   

I was STUNNED for I had not heard anything (but I usually hear things through Tarek and he was gone).  Anyway, this MUSLIM soldier told me about how the Blessed Mother had been seen last night in 3 separate areas.  He told me people were seeing her at Zeitun (which is a church many of you) have visited.  She was seen simultaneously at the church in Alexandria AND Mosque where people had been attacked last December time frame.  Then, on top of that, she had been seen at a church in Aswan.   

He told me her message was that she LOVED Egypt and wanted her people to come together and pray.  Many times people do not realize that the Muslims consider the Virgin Mary special.  Anyway, he pulled out his cell phone and began to show me the video feed and pictures.  It was an odd sight to have this Muslim military soldier with his rather large gun strapped to his back talking and showing me pictures on his phone.   

Just as I thought the conversation was over and he needed to get back to his post a younger man (about 25 or 30 or so) approached us with a cup of hot lemon juice for me.  It was nice and hot and sweet with the honey he had put into it.  He told the soldier and me that he knew I had been ill (how he knew I have no idea).  So, I had a wonderful afternoon (about 2 hours) sitting in the garden (park), in the shade of the open air mosque and chatting with a military soldier and young man about the Apparitions of the Blessed Mother.     As I was about to leave the park the 74 year old woman who runs the local stationary shop walked through.  The soldier called her over to speak with me.  He told her how he had heard about the apparitions.  The older woman's facial features COMPLETELY changed.  She became excited with a sense of peace that was surreal to watch.  She began to speak quickly to him in Arabic. She spoke way too fast for me to understand.  The young man began to smile and then BEAMED!!!!  He told her to tell me in English.  The older woman looked at me and said she thought she HAD been speaking in English.   

It turns out she had witnessed the apparition.  News came to her through her cell phone and she went to see if it were true.  She got close enough to the apparition to actually try and touch it.  The electricity had been turned off to the area so she knew she was witnessing a miracle.  She told me how she had been worried for her family and the country.  She told me how she asked the Blessed Mother to help everyone understand and to pray for her family to keep them safe and bless them.  She said the apparition floated down and was close to the people.  The Priest (Father Bishoy) was there as well.  I knew at some point I would receive a call from Abuna Bishoy.  He likes to spread good news like this.   

So, I had a wonderful afternoon (about 2 hours) sitting in the garden (park), in the shade of the open air mosque and chatting with a military soldier, young man, and older woman about the Apparitions of the Blessed Mother.  As I opened the gate to leave, the soldier looked directly at me and reminded me that we are all connected.  They truly feel that the Blessed Mother is helping them and keeping them safe just as they kept her and the Holy family safe over 2000 years ago.

It is 8:00 p.m.  Saturday evening here now.  And, just as I had thought, Father Bishoy called to tell me of the miracle that had happened last night.  He also told me that the Blessed Mother was seen at the Church and Mosque in Alexandria that had been attacked last year.  She was also seen in Aswan.  The scholar and researcher in me wants to go crazy, go down to the area and start conducting interviews for I can be a skeptic sometimes.  The romantic in me wants to heave a heavy sigh knowing that the Egyptians (and myself) are in the gentle and loving hands of the Blessed Mother, and the spiritual part of me wishes I could actually witness another miracle here in the land that I love second to my own.  Maybe all three sides will come together at some point.

For those of you who are coming in February, you are coming at a magical time.  Egypt is being protected by the Blessed Mother herself.  Her presence and apparition served to remind Egyptians (and all of us really) that we are ALL connected.

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

8. God is so good that He allows us to appropriate this treasure of the really poor- the Sacred Heart of Jesus- the heavenly plenitude of Which can most fully supply for what is lacking to us.

November 1, 2011

Lumen Gentium, 48: “Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: How to Help the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Page where you submit your souls and prayer requests

: All Souls Day

There is a Mexican saying that we die three deaths: the first when our bodies die, the second when our bodies are lowered into the earth out of sight, and the third when our loved ones forget us. Catholics forestall that last death by seeing the faithful dead as members of the Church, alive in Christ, and by praying for them -- and asking their prayers for us -- always. Cardinal Wiseman wrote in his Lecture XI:

Sweet is the consolation of the dying man, who, conscious of imperfection, believes that there are others to make intercession for him, when his own time for merit has expired; soothing to the afflicted survivors the thought that they possess powerful means of relieving their friend. In the first moments of grief, this sentiment will often overpower religious prejudice, cast down the unbeliever on his knees beside the remains of his friend and snatch from him an unconscious prayer for rest; it is an impulse of nature which for the moment, aided by the analogies of revealed truth, seizes at once upon this consoling belief. But it is only a flitting and melancholy light, while the Catholic feeling, cheering though with solemn dimness, resembles the unfailing lamp, which the piety of the ancients is said to have hung before the sepulchres of their dead.

Though we should daily pray for the dead in Purgatory, above all for our ancestors, today is especially set aside for hanging that "unfailing lamp before the sepulchres of our dead" as we are told to do by Sacred Scripture:

II Machabees 12: 43-46 And making a gathering, [Judas] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

At the three Masses offered today, the glorious Sequence "Dies Irae" (also used in Requiem Masses, i.e., Masses for the Dead) will be recited after the Epistle, Gradual, and Tract ("Dies Irae" means "Day of Wrath").

Between Noon of November 1 and Midnight tonight, a person who has been to confession and Communion can gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, for the poor souls each time he visits a church or public oratory and recites the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be to the Father six times. This is a special exception to the ordinary law of the Church according to which a plenary indulgence for the same work can be gained only once a day. Because of this, some of the customs described below may be begun on All Saints Day.

Also, the faithful who, during the period of eight days from All Saints Day, visit a cemetery and pray for the dead may gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, on each day of the Octave, applicable only to the dead. Here is a simple invocation for the dead, called the "Eternal Rest" prayer:

Eternal rest grant unto him/her (them), O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them). May he/she (they) rest in peace. Amen.

Latin version: Réquiem ætérnam dona ei (eis) Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei (eis). Requiéscat (Requiéscant) in pace. Amen.

Catholics also pray this prayer for the dead anytime throughout the year, and whenever they pass a cemetery. Many families pray a Rosary nightly for the dead throughout the Octave of All Saints, replacing the Fatima prayer with the Eternal Rest prayer.

BLOG: Don't Miss Your Two Chances at an Indulgence

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: The Holy Eucharist

7. What increases my sufferings is that I cannot avenge upon myself the insults that are offered to my divine Saviour in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar.
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