Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holy Family

The feast of the Holy Family gives us the opportunity to ponder the mystery of the Incarnation, that the Son of God would submit Himself to a human father and mother. The Holy Family thereby provides a model of all families - bonded by their mutual love and obedience to the Heavenly Father's will and plan.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent

His name shall be Jesus... What is in a name? The Angel announces to St. Joseph that the child conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary is by the Holy Spirit, and that His name will be Jesus - God Saves. Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity not only is "God with us" Emmanuel, but is the reminder that God longs to save His people. His purpose, is His name.
Few of us are so blessed to have our names reveal our vocations. But the Lord, all the same, calls us my our names. More than an unique identifier, He gives us an unique purpose in life. Like St. Joseph, we are invited to accept Jesus and Mary into our lives, and like him, may we live our vocations out!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Third Sunday in Advent

Rejoice and be glad, Christ reveals Himself as the one who is to come, and provides the proof: The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. The Lord Jesus made these happen in His day. He does the same in our day. What proof is He giving to us to show that He is real, and are we able to follow Him?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent 2010

Prepare the way of the Lord... The Baptist's cry, in fact his whole life, was an invitation to the people to prepare their hearts and minds for the Messiah. It is not enough, though, to simply acknowledge one's sins, but to produce the fruits of repentance: Forgiveness, love, charity, just to name a few. We ask the Lord to help us produce those fruits, and we also ask John's intercession, that like him, that we may recognize Christ who comes to us in mystery (John recognized Jesus Christ while in the womb).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday of Advent 2010

Stay Awake, be prepared! The Lord tells us that we should keep watch. As we begin Advent, perhaps there are 7 things we out to do:
Pray
Reconciliation
Eucharistic adoration and Mass
Prepare for Mass by reading the Gospel
Alms-Giving
Resisting Consumerism
Eating less/Fasting

If we do these, we will be prepared!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Prayer for Life

A beautiful prayer from Pope Benedict for Life was posted at Whispers in the Loggia. It is thought-provoking:

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you:

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of a mother's womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
make fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Gift creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children

Console married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Love,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.
Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Pope and the Media

I have to admit I am continually surprised, though I know that I should not be, by certain people's malformed conscience that take certain things completely out of context or ignore nuance, twisting statements of incredible clarity into a justification of their own mistaken preconceived ideas.
Now, the Media implies that the Church's stance on condom use and sexuality has shifted, that what was once immoral is now moral.
Note that it is an interview, not official Church teaching or document and is therefore not speaking from his authority as Pope, and second, he is talking in very nuanced terms. He basically said that in certain (assuming limited) circumstances, and the example he uses is suggestive of a male homosexual prostitute, the use of a condom may be a move (also implied to be one of many necessary steps) toward morality and authentic sexuality, but the use of a condom does not make the act moral. The act surrounding its use is still immoral, whether it is sex and act of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, or contraception. As the Pope is saying, the use of a condom is just the awakenings, the beginning, (in his term, "moralization") of taking responsibility for one's actions, but does not represent a full embracing of a moral sexuality, nor taking full responsibility.
This does not, therefore, represent a change in Church teaching. The use of condoms continues to remain a disordered act whether as a means of contraception or as a means of limiting infectious transfers. That said, it needs to be noted, again, that even in the prevention of pregnancy, they are only about 90% effective, and the AIDS virus is much smaller than sperm, and the condom's effectiveness is necessarily less.
The use of a condom is not the end of personal responsibility. True taking of personal responsibility for a full embracing of the moral is celibacy or marital fidelity. Their use does not make an immoral sexual act moral, though as the Pope states it is a move in the right direction as taking responsibility for one's actions. As to the guarantee protection from AIDS, only abstinence and marital continence in a marital relationship are effective.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christ the King, 2010

Jesus Christ is our eternal priest and universal king, and the time is coming when He will submit His kingdom to our Heavenly Father. When that time comes, will we be in alignment with Christ, and be submitted with the rest of creation, or stand outside, grinding and wailing our teeth. This good thief in today's Gospel provides a model - he submits himself to Christ, and while his prayer is to simply be remembered, he finds forgiveness and peace.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The days are coming when we will be challenged in our faith. Jesus warns that the challenge may come from familiar places - our family. When the day comes, will they have enough evidence to convict us of our faith in Jesus Christ? Instead of fear of that day, we are to persevere in the faith, and to trust in the Holy Spirit to give us the words of testimony.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Verbum Domini And Vocations

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has released a postsynodal apostolic exhortation from the 12th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held in 2008, titled "Verbum Domini". He includes a section on the role of Scripture in Vocations:
The word of God and vocations
In stressing faith's intrinsic summons to an ever deeper relationship with Christ, the word of God in our midst, the Synod also emphasized that this word calls each one of us personally, revealing that life itself is a vocation from God. In other words, the more we grow in our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, the more we realize that he is calling us to holiness in and through the definitive choices by which we respond to his love in our lives, taking up tasks and ministries which help to build up the Church. This is why the Synod frequently encouraged all Christians to grow in their relationship with the word of God, not only because of their Baptism, but also in accordance with their call to various states in life. Here we touch upon one of the pivotal points in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which insisted that each member of the faithful is called to holiness according to his or her proper state in life.[263] Our call to holiness is revealed in sacred Scripture: "Be holy, for I am holy" (Lev 11:44; 19:2; 20:7). Saint Paul then points out its Christological basis: in Christ, the Father "has chosen us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Eph 1:4). Paul's greeting to his brothers and sisters in the community of Rome can be taken as addressed to each of us: "To all God's beloved, who are called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!" (Rom 1:7).
a) Ordained ministers and the word of God
I would like to speak first to the Church's ordained ministers, in order to remind them of the Synod's statement that "the word of God is indispensable in forming the heart of a good shepherd and minister of the word".[264] Bishops, priests, and deacons can hardly think that they are living out their vocation and mission apart from a decisive and renewed commitment to sanctification, one of whose pillars is contact with God's word.
To those called to the episcopate, who are the first and most authoritative heralds of the word, I would repeat the words of Pope John Paul II in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis. For the nourishment and progress of his spiritual life, the Bishop must always put "in first place, reading and meditation on the word of God. Every Bishop must commend himself and feel himself commended ‘to the Lord and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up and to give the inheritance among all those who are sanctified' (Acts 20:32). Before becoming one who hands on the word, the Bishop, together with his priests and indeed like every member of the faithful, and like the Church herself, must be a hearer of the word. He should dwell ‘within' the word and allow himself to be protected and nourished by it, as if by a mother's womb".[265] To all my brother Bishops I recommend frequent personal reading and study of sacred Scripture, in imitation of Mary, Virgo Audiens and Queen of the Apostles.
To priests too, I would recall the words of Pope John Paul II, who in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, stated that "the priest is first of all a minister of the word of God, consecrated and sent to announce the Good News of the Kingdom to all, calling every person to the obedience of faith and leading believers to an ever increasing knowledge of and communion in the mystery of God, as revealed and communicated to us in Christ. For this reason the priest himself ought first of all to develop a great personal familiarity with the word of God. Knowledge of its linguistic and exegetical aspects, though certainly necessary, is not enough. He needs to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings and bring about a new outlook in him - ‘the mind of Christ' (1 Cor 2:16)".[266] Consequently, his words, his choices and his behaviour must increasingly become a reflection, proclamation and witness of the Gospel; "only if he ‘abides' in the word will the priest become a perfect disciple of the Lord. Only then then will he know the truth and be set truly free".[267]
In a word, the priestly vocation demands that one be consecrated "in the truth". Jesus states this clearly with regard to his disciples: "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world" (Jn 17:17-18). The disciples in a certain sense become "drawn into intimacy with God by being immersed in the word of God. God's word is, so to speak, the purifying bath, the creative power which changes them and makes them belong to God".[268] And since Christ himself is God's Word made flesh (Jn 1:14) - "the Truth" (Jn 14:6) - Jesus' prayer to the Father, "Sanctify them in the truth", means in the deepest sense: "Make them one with me, the Christ. Bind them to me. Draw them into me. For there is only one priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself".[269] Priests need to grow constantly in their awareness of this reality.
I would also like to speak of the place of God's word in the life of those called to the diaconate, not only as the final step towards the order of priesthood, but as a permanent service. The Directory for the Permanent Diaconate states that "the deacon's theological identity clearly provides the features of his specific spirituality, which is presented essentially as a spirituality of service. The model par excellence is Christ as servant, lived totally at the service of God, for the good of humanity".[270] From this perspective, one can see how, in the various dimensions of the diaconal ministry, a "characteristic element of diaconal spirituality is the word of God, of which the deacon is called to be an authoritative preacher, believing what he preaches, teaching what he believes, and living what he teaches".[271] Hence, I recommend that deacons nourish their lives by the faith-filled reading of sacred Scripture, accompanied by study and prayer. They should be introduced to "sacred Scripture and its correct interpretation; to the relationship between Scripture and Tradition; in particular to the use of Scripture in preaching, in catechesis and in pastoral activity in general".[272]
b) The word of God and candidates for Holy Orders
The Synod attributed particular importance to the decisive role that the word of God must play in the spiritual life of candidates for the ministerial priesthood: "Candidates for the priesthood must learn to love the word of God. Scripture should thus be the soul of their theological formation, and emphasis must be given to the indispensable interplay of exegesis, theology, spirituality and mission".[273] Those aspiring to the ministerial priesthood are called to a profound personal relationship with God's word, particularly in lectio divina, so that this relationship will in turn nurture their vocation: it is in the light and strength of God's word that one's specific vocation can be discerned and appreciated, loved and followed, and one's proper mission carried out, by nourishing the heart with thoughts of God, so that faith, as our response to the word, may become a new criterion for judging and evaluating persons and things, events and issues.[274]
Such attention to the prayerful reading of Scripture must not in any way lead to a dichotomy with regard to the exegetical studies which are a part of formation. The Synod recommended that seminarians be concretely helped to see the relationship between biblical studies and scriptural prayer. The study of Scripture ought to lead to an increased awareness of the mystery of divine revelation and foster an attitude of prayerful response to the Lord who speaks. Conversely, an authentic life of prayer cannot fail to nurture in the candidate's heart a desire for greater knowledge of the God who has revealed himself in his word as infinite love. Hence, great care should be taken to ensure that seminarians always cultivate this reciprocity between study and prayer in their lives. This end will be served if candidates are introduced to the study of Scripture through methods which favour this integral approach.
c) The word of God and the consecrated life
With regard to the consecrated life, the Synod first recalled that it "is born from hearing the word of God and embracing the Gospel as its rule of life".[275] A life devoted to following Christ in his chastity, poverty and obedience thus becomes "a living ‘exegesis' of God's word".[276] The Holy Spirit, in whom the Bible was written, is the same Spirit who illumines "the word of God with new light for the founders and foundresses. Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it",[277] thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel.
Here I would mention that the great monastic tradition has always considered meditation on sacred Scripture to be an essential part of its specific spirituality, particularly in the form of lectio divina. Today too, both old and new expressions of special consecration are called to be genuine schools of the spiritual life, where the Scriptures can be read according to the Holy Spirit in the Church, for the benefit of the entire People of God. The Synod therefore recommended that communities of consecrated life always make provision for solid instruction in the faith-filled reading of the Bible.[278]
Once again I would like to echo the consideration and gratitude that the Synod expressed with regard to those forms of contemplative life whose specific charism is to devote a great part of their day to imitating the Mother of God, who diligently pondered the words and deeds of her Son (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), and Mary of Bethany, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened attentively to his words (cf. Lk 10:38). I think in particular of monks and cloistered nuns, who by virtue of their separation from the world are all the more closely united to Christ, the heart of the world. More than ever, the Church needs the witness of men and women resolved to "put nothing before the love of Christ".[279] The world today is often excessively caught up in outward activities and risks losing its bearings. Contemplative men and women, by their lives of prayer, attentive hearing and meditation on God's Word, remind us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (cf. Mt 4:4). All the faithful, then, should be clearly conscious that this form of life "shows today's world what is most important, indeed, the one thing necessary: there is an ultimate reason which makes life worth living, and that is God and his inscrutable love".[280]
d) The word of God and the lay faithful
The Synod frequently spoke of the laity and thanked them for their generous activity in spreading the Gospel in the various settings of daily life, at work and in the schools, in the family and in education.[281] This responsibility, rooted in Baptism, needs to develop through an ever more conscious Christian way of life capable of "accounting for the hope" within us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus points out that "the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom" (13:38). These words apply especially to the Christian laity, who live out their specific vocation to holiness by a life in the Spirit expressed "in a particular way by their engagement in temporal matters and by their participation in earthly activities".[282] The laity need to be trained to discern God's will through a familiarity with his word, read and studied in the Church under the guidance of her legitimate pastors. They can receive this training at the school of the great ecclesial spiritualities, all of which are grounded in sacred Scripture. Wherever possible, dioceses themselves should provide an opportunity for continuing formation to lay persons charged with particular ecclesial responsibilities.[283]
e) The word of God, marriage and the family
The Synod also felt the need to stress the relationship between the word of God, marriage and the Christian family. Indeed, "with the proclamation of the word of God, the Church reveals to Christian families their true identity, what it is and what it must be in accordance with the Lord's plan".[284] Consequently, it must never be forgotten that the word of God is at the very origin of marriage (cf. Gen 2:24) and that Jesus himself made marriage one of the institutions of his Kingdom (cf. Mt 19:4-8), elevating to the dignity of a sacrament what was inscribed in human nature from the beginning. "In the celebration of the sacrament, a man and a woman speak a prophetic word of reciprocal self-giving, that of being ‘one flesh', a sign of the mystery of the union of Christ with the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32)".[285] Fidelity to God's word leads us to point out that nowadays this institution is in many ways under attack from the current mentality. In the face of widespread confusion in the sphere of affectivity, and the rise of ways of thinking which trivialize the human body and sexual differentiation, the word of God re-affirms the original goodness of the human being, created as man and woman and called to a love which is faithful, reciprocal and fruitful.
The great mystery of marriage is the source of the essential responsibility of parents towards their children. Part of authentic parenthood is to pass on and bear witness to the meaning of life in Christ: through their fidelity and the unity of family life, spouses are the first to proclaim God's word to their children. The ecclesial community must support and assist them in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible. To this end the Synod urged that every household have its Bible, to be kept in a worthy place and used for reading and prayer. Whatever help is needed in this regard can be provided by priests, deacons and a well-prepared laity. The Synod also recommended the formation of small communities of families, where common prayer and meditation on passages of Scripture can be cultivated.[286] Spouses should also remember that "the Word of God is a precious support amid the difficulties which arise in marriage and in family life".[287]
Here I would like to highlight the recommendations of the Synod concerning the role of women in relation to the word of God. Today, more than in the past, the "feminine genius",[288] to use the words of John Paul II, has contributed greatly to the understanding of Scripture and to the whole life of the Church, and this is now also the case with biblical studies. The Synod paid special attention to the indispensable role played by women in the family, education, catechesis and the communication of values. "They have an ability to lead people to hear God's word, to enjoy a personal relationship with God, and to show the meaning of forgiveness and of evangelical sharing".[289] They are likewise messengers of love, models of mercy and peacemakers; they communicate warmth and humanity in a world which all too often judges people according to the ruthless criteria of exploitation and profit.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus Christ explains that marriage is a earthly institution, that people marry here, but in Heaven it will not be so - they will be like the angels. Not a merely sentimental statement, Jesus is most likely referring to the fact that the angels exist to praise and worship our Heavenly Father, and they are not created through procreation. This helps us find 'ends' (the philosophical reason) of marriage, unititive and procreative, are for here, and helps us to understand why the Lord would call some men and women to celibacy: as a witness of the way we shall all live in heaven. As we look at the seven brothers in Maccabees, we hear of their faith in the Resurrection, knowing that to break the law to continue to live (at least for now) has eternal consequences. Let us live aware of heaven, and make our decisions in the light of eternity.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today, salvation has come to this house. Jesus speaks these words to Zacchaeus, the tax collector, a man who was looked down upon not only because of stature but by occupation. Yet, Jesus looks up at him, spotting him in the tree, and invites Himself to supper in his house. Zacchaeus makes a profession of conversion and reparation for past sins, and finds forgiveness and mercy from the Son of God.

Christ has invited Himself into our homes and lives, are we able to make the same profession of faith and repentance?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." When we let the Lord in, when we admit who we are in light of His Holiness, we also begin to let Him work in our lives, justifying (making us right with God) us. He forgive our sins and makes us holy. When we are filled with pride, or when we act like salvation is a mere matter of being better than the other person, we fail to let God help us. This parable of the Pharisee and the Publican draws this out. Interestingly enough, consider the 'prayer' of the Pharisee - he spoke the prayer to himself. Certainly, he had a high opinion of himself! We do not need to be better than the other person, just better than we are!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter to Seminarians

Pope Benedict XVI has released a Letter to Seminarians.

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
TO SEMINARIANS



Dear Seminarians,

When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: “Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed”. I knew that this “new Germany” was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever. Today the situation is completely changed. In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a “job” for the future, but one that belongs more to the past. You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalization: they will always need the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with him and through him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity. Where people no longer perceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough. People then seek escape in euphoria and violence; these are the very things that increasingly threaten young people. God is alive. He has created every one of us and he knows us all. He is so great that he has time for the little things in our lives: “Every hair of your head is numbered”. God is alive, and he needs people to serve him and bring him to others. It does makes sense to become a priest: the world needs priests, pastors, today, tomorrow and always, until the end of time.

The seminary is a community journeying towards priestly ministry. I have said something very important here: one does not become a priest on one’s own. The “community of disciples” is essential, the fellowship of those who desire to serve the greater Church. In this letter I would like to point out – thinking back to my own time in the seminary – several elements which I consider important for these years of your journeying.

1. Anyone who wishes to become a priest must be first and foremost a “man of God”, to use the expression of Saint Paul (1 Tim 6:11). For us God is not some abstract hypothesis; he is not some stranger who left the scene after the “big bang”. God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus Christ we see the face of God. In his words we hear God himself speaking to us. It follows that the most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. The priest is not the leader of a sort of association whose membership he tries to maintain and expand. He is God’s messenger to his people. He wants to lead them to God and in this way to foster authentic communion between all men and women. That is why it is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God. When the Lord tells us to “pray constantly”, he is obviously not asking us to recite endless prayers, but urging us never to lose our inner closeness to God. Praying means growing in this intimacy. So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives. In this way we grow aware of our failings and learn to improve, but we also come to appreciate all the beauty and goodness which we daily take for granted and so we grow in gratitude. With gratitude comes joy for the fact that God is close to us and that we can serve him.

2. For us God is not simply Word. In the sacraments he gives himself to us in person, through physical realities. At the heart of our relationship with God and our way of life is the Eucharist. Celebrating it devoutly, and thus encountering Christ personally, should be the centre of all our days. In Saint Cyprian’s interpretation of the Gospel prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”, he says among other things that “our” bread – the bread which we receive as Christians in the Church – is the Eucharistic Lord himself. In this petition of the Our Father, then, we pray that he may daily give us “our” bread; and that it may always nourish our lives; that the Risen Christ, who gives himself to us in the Eucharist, may truly shape the whole of our lives by the radiance of his divine love. The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age – the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations.

3. The sacrament of Penance is also important. It teaches me to see myself as God sees me, and it forces me to be honest with myself. It leads me to humility. The CurĂ© of Ars once said: “You think it makes no sense to be absolved today, because you know that tomorrow you will commit the same sins over again. Yet,” he continues, “God instantly forgets tomorrow’s sins in order to give you his grace today.” Even when we have to struggle continually with the same failings, it is important to resist the coarsening of our souls and the indifference which would simply accept that this is the way we are. It is important to keep pressing forward, without scrupulosity, in the grateful awareness that God forgives us ever anew – yet also without the indifference that might lead us to abandon altogether the struggle for holiness and self-improvement. Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognizing my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbour.

4. I urge you to retain an appreciation for popular piety, which is different in every culture yet always remains very similar, for the human heart is ultimately one and the same. Certainly, popular piety tends towards the irrational, and can at times be somewhat superficial. Yet it would be quite wrong to dismiss it. Through that piety, the faith has entered human hearts and become part of the common patrimony of sentiments and customs, shaping the life and emotions of the community. Popular piety is thus one of the Church’s great treasures. The faith has taken on flesh and blood. Certainly popular piety always needs to be purified and refocused, yet it is worthy of our love and it truly makes us into the “People of God”.

5. Above all, your time in the seminary is also a time of study. The Christian faith has an essentially rational and intellectual dimension. Were it to lack that dimension, it would not be itself. Paul speaks of a “standard of teaching” to which we were entrusted in Baptism (Rom 6:17). All of you know the words of Saint Peter which the medieval theologians saw as the justification for a rational and scientific theology: “Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an ‘accounting’ (logos) for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15). Learning how to make such a defence is one of the primary responsibilities of your years in the seminary. I can only plead with you: Be committed to your studies! Take advantage of your years of study! You will not regret it. Certainly, the subjects which you are studying can often seem far removed from the practice of the Christian life and the pastoral ministry. Yet it is completely mistaken to start questioning their practical value by asking: Will this be helpful to me in the future? Will it be practically or pastorally useful? The point is not simply to learn evidently useful things, but to understand and appreciate the internal structure of the faith as a whole, so that it can become a response to people’s questions, which on the surface change from one generation to another yet ultimately remain the same. For this reason it is important to move beyond the changing questions of the moment in order to grasp the real questions, and so to understand how the answers are real answers. It is important to have a thorough knowledge of sacred Scripture as a whole, in its unity as the Old and the New Testaments: the shaping of texts, their literary characteristics, the process by which they came to form the canon of sacred books, their dynamic inner unity, a unity which may not be immediately apparent but which in fact gives the individual texts their full meaning. It is important to be familiar with the Fathers and the great Councils in which the Church appropriated, through faith-filled reflection, the essential statements of Scripture. I could easily go on. What we call dogmatic theology is the understanding of the individual contents of the faith in their unity, indeed, in their ultimate simplicity: each single element is, in the end, only an unfolding of our faith in the one God who has revealed himself to us and continues to do so. I do not need to point out the importance of knowing the essential issues of moral theology and Catholic social teaching. The importance nowadays of ecumenical theology, and of a knowledge of the different Christian communities, is obvious; as is the need for a basic introduction to the great religions, to say nothing of philosophy: the understanding of that human process of questioning and searching to which faith seeks to respond. But you should also learn to understand and – dare I say it – to love canon law, appreciating how necessary it is and valuing its practical applications: a society without law would be a society without rights. Law is the condition of love. I will not go on with this list, but I simply say once more: love the study of theology and carry it out in the clear realization that theology is anchored in the living community of the Church, which, with her authority, is not the antithesis of theological science but its presupposition. Cut off from the believing Church, theology would cease to be itself and instead it would become a medley of different disciplines lacking inner unity.

6. Your years in the seminary should also be a time of growth towards human maturity. It is important for the priest, who is called to accompany others through the journey of life up to the threshold of death, to have the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul, and to be humanly integrated. To the theological virtues the Christian tradition has always joined the cardinal virtues derived from human experience and philosophy, and, more generally, from the sound ethical tradition of humanity. Paul makes this point this very clearly to the Philippians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (4:8). This also involves the integration of sexuality into the whole personality. Sexuality is a gift of the Creator yet it is also a task which relates to a person’s growth towards human maturity. When it is not integrated within the person, sexuality becomes banal and destructive. Today we can see many examples of this in our society. Recently we have seen with great dismay that some priests disfigured their ministry by sexually abusing children and young people. Instead of guiding people to greater human maturity and setting them an example, their abusive behaviour caused great damage for which we feel profound shame and regret. As a result of all this, many people, perhaps even some of you, might ask whether it is good to become a priest; whether the choice of celibacy makes any sense as a truly human way of life. Yet even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure. Thank God, all of us know exemplary priests, men shaped by their faith, who bear witness that one can attain to an authentic, pure and mature humanity in this state and specifically in the life of celibacy. Admittedly, what has happened should make us all the more watchful and attentive, precisely in order to examine ourselves earnestly, before God, as we make our way towards priesthood, so as to understand whether this is his will for me. It is the responsibility of your confessor and your superiors to accompany you and help you along this path of discernment. It is an essential part of your journey to practise the fundamental human virtues, with your gaze fixed on the God who has revealed himself in Christ, and to let yourselves be purified by him ever anew.

7. The origins of a priestly vocation are nowadays more varied and disparate than in the past. Today the decision to become a priest often takes shape after one has already entered upon a secular profession. Often it grows within the Communities, particularly within the Movements, which favour a communal encounter with Christ and his Church, spiritual experiences and joy in the service of the faith. It also matures in very personal encounters with the nobility and the wretchedness of human existence. As a result, candidates for the priesthood often live on very different spiritual continents. It can be difficult to recognize the common elements of one’s future mandate and its spiritual path. For this very reason, the seminary is important as a community which advances above and beyond differences of spirituality. The Movements are a magnificent thing. You know how much I esteem them and love them as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Yet they must be evaluated by their openness to what is truly Catholic, to the life of the whole Church of Christ, which for all her variety still remains one. The seminary is a time when you learn with one another and from one another. In community life, which can at times be difficult, you should learn generosity and tolerance, not only bearing with, but also enriching one another, so that each of you will be able to contribute his own gifts to the whole, even as all serve the same Church, the same Lord. This school of tolerance, indeed, of mutual acceptance and mutual understanding in the unity of Christ’s Body, is an important part of your years in the seminary.

Dear seminarians, with these few lines I have wanted to let you know how often I think of you, especially in these difficult times, and how close I am to you in prayer. Please pray for me, that I may exercise my ministry well, as long as the Lord may wish. I entrust your journey of preparation for priesthood to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, whose home was a school of goodness and of grace. May Almighty God bless you all, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

From the Vatican, 18 October 2010, the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist.



Yours devotedly in the Lord,
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI



© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Pray always, without growing weary, Jesus tells us. Our prayers are heard, though they may not always be answered in the manner we would like, or we might recognize. But the Lord does answer our prayers, giving us what is right and just. If the unjust judge, who cares neither what people nor God think, can give justice, the Lord who loves us will grant justice to those who ask. But the last question is haunting - will the Son of Man return to find faith among His people.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A foreigner recognizes the grace of healing. Sometimes, familiarity leads to expectations, and we cannot see through the expectations to understand the grace of God in the moment. We take life for granted. Perhaps our challenge from the gospel event of the cleansing of the 10 lepers is to let go of the expectations, and to ask for awareness of God's grace.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

November's Vianney Visit Registration Form

The staff at St. John vianney Seminary on the Campus of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN, has posted a registration form for the November 18-20 Vianney Visit. Any young man (High school Junior through college) wishing to attend should register. Please email Fr. Todd for information and transportation.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are unprofitable servants, who have done only what we were obliged to do. This is a statement of submission, of recognition that we are only doing what the Lord has commanded us in faith. St. Timothy is asked by St. Paul to 'stir into flame' the gift of the Spirit given him at ordination - a spirit of power, and love, and self-control. Habakkuk is told to write down the vision of peace that is coming, a vision in which he is to place his hope.

The theological virtues - faith, hope, and love - mark our lives. By living them out, we can be assured that we will avoid pride, despair, and fickleness in all that we do. These virtues are gifts that the Lord builds in us, and increases in us whenever we use them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The rich man, enjoying his wealth and ignoring the beggar at his door, recognizes the beggar too late. As the beggar Lazarus was comforted in Heaven, the rich man was tormented in Hell, eternally separated from God. Still, he begs Abraham to make Lazarus come to his aid. Abraham refuses - it is too late.

Perhaps, more than any other parable, that is a main point of this parable: Now is the time to repent, to change our lives and recognize not only our need for God, but the need of those at our doors. Now is the time to discern God's will for us and to do it. While we may not yet be in a full, lifelong vocation, we can be taking a step to that vocation by listening to the Law and the Prophets.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Operation Andrew Dinner Information, 2010

As in the past 8 years, we will be offering three Operation Andrew Dinners for young men who may be (or at least you would like to invite to be) discerning a vocation. The dates and locations are:

St. Mary's, Bird Island October 13 (6-8 pm)


St. John's, Darwin October 27 (6-8 pm)


St. Anne's, Wabasso November 8 (5-8 pm due to a parish mission at St. Anne's 7:30 pm)


The evenings begin with Evening Prayer, a meal, a video on the priesthood, and some personal sharing by the Bishop and some priests and seminarians (if available). RSVP one week in advance to the contact person on the brochure or through me.
Download the brochure and Permission slip here.
For more information, email me!

2010-2011 List of Seminarians

We have posted our newest list of Seminarian information. Download it here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

"Jesus, who was rich, become poor, so that through His poverty, we may become rich." This passage, the Alleluia verse this weekend, captures the divine exchange of God and man. What we have, the stuff around us, is nothing compared to the wealth that God gives us, and we are called to use those gifts prudently, and perhaps even squander them. We are all called to be detached from the stuff, the Mammon, of the world, and some do this radically by taking the vows, so that we can be filled with God's gifts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows - Stabat Mater Dolorosa

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Praying the Stabat Mater Dolorosa is especially appropriate today.

At the cross her station keeping
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing
now at lenght the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother highly blessed,
of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O sweet Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all our sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He searches for us when we are lost. He is the loving father, watching for the return of the wandering, giving them back their dignity. But He also loves the sons who do not wander, even when their hearts are far from Him. Do we understand His love of us as our father, or do we only serve Him as a master.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Twenty-Third Sundy of Ordinary Time

Following Christ means taking up our cross. It is not something we should do lightly or half-heartedly, but something with full consideration. It will require us to leave behind family, at times, if they are not able to follow the Lord themselves. That is what it means to 'hate' them as we are instructed in the Gospel.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Humility marks the life of a follower of Christ. It takes humility to admit we are sinners in need of a savior, in the first place. The Lord instructs His followers to not think to much of themselves, to promote themselves to higher honors. When others come, they will make the determination of where they belong. Humility is needed to enter fully into the liturgy, too. We hear the call of the Lord to come to worship Him, and we submit ourselves to Him.

Growth in humility will help in discerning a vocation - we will more honestly see where we stand before God, with all our talents and sins, knowing we are loved and forgiven, the more we will be able to know His will.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary TIme

The Lord's disciplines those He loves, and He also loves us enough to let us make our choice. In the readings this weekend, we hear of those left outside, begging entry into the house, but the Lord casts them away because he does not know them. How scary those words must be! Those left outside protest - "We ate with you, and listened as you taught in our streets." Note that while Jesus, as we heard just a few weeks ago, tells us that all we have to do is knock, but this is about entering the joy of the house. We must allow the Lord to discipline us, to give us direction. It's not enough for us to hear Him, we must know Him, and in knowing Him, he will know us. This takes prayer, obedience, and love.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Assumption 2010

The Blessed Mother is assumed into Heaven, body and soul. It is only fitting, as the most perfect vessel for the Incarnation of Christ, having been prepared from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. It is not of her own accord, but rather because she said yes to the Lord.

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(Icon of the Dormition - the Eastern Churches' term for the Assumption - calling to mind her 'sleeping' and being taken into Heaven. Note that Christ her Son is at her side, along with the Apostles.)

Sometimes, one considering a vocation, forgets that God not only loves those who follow Him, but He takes care of them. He shows His love of the Blessed Mother by honoring her thus, and he will take care of us, too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith makes present, even if intangible, what is distant. It is faith that enables the good steward continue to serve his Master, though he might be distant, and the lack of faith that causes the bad servant to fall into gluttony and abuse. We, who strive to be servants of the Lord, need these faith.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

A life focused on possessions leads to a life lived apart from God. The barely veiled greed of a brother feeling slighted is the opportunity for the Lord to teach His followers to avoid greed. He shares a parable of a man so out of reality that he thinks that his bountiful harvest is all his work - with no reference to God, his workers, builders, or servants. God calls him to task.

Many people reject priesthood or religious life because of fear of the loss of possessions. Yet, as we hear this weekend, we must realize that it is God who has given all to us, and we leave it to others when we go... so we focus on what is eternal and truly important: That which is of God!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We have a loving Father who listens to our prayers. When we pray, do we pray with hearts ready to receive what is truly needed? Do we have the persistence to keep knocking, seeking, asking? THe Lord hears every prayer, even if it seems otherwise. There are prayers that He always answers: Help me to know You, to serve you, to forgive, and to be forgiven, etc. So we keep asking Him to help us to know our vocations, to live them out, and to love more completely.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why a priest should wear his Roman Collar

Why a priest should wear his Roman Collar? Msgr. Mangan and Fr. Murray provide a wonderful explanation of the reasons for, as well as a response against those with contrary reasons.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The demands of hospitality require us not only the look after the physical needs of the guests, but also to spend time with them. Martha forgets that, and accuses Mary of not caring, while Mary has remembered to take time to spend with the Lord, their guest.

OUr lives can be filled with much anxiety, and we can be like Martha and tell the Lord what we are doing, but His invitation remains - we are to spend time with Him!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus, the true Good Samaritan who comes to our aid as God-made-man, shows us what it means to love our neighbor. In this famous parable, He uses the persona of a Samaritan, a person that the Jews would have at best looked down upon, as an example of virtue in the treatment of a man caught and left for dead be robbers. The Samaritan treats and binds that wounds, places the man on his own beast, and takes him to the safety of the inn, promising to repay whatever amount is needed over and above what he had given. His heart was moved with compassion on seeing the man, and he chose to act.

Christ has saved us, and binding our wounds, has brought us to safety. Are we willing to follow His example, and help others who have falling to the robber?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary time

The harvest is ready, laborers are few. We are to beg the Master of the Harvest for laborers. Without them, the harvest will be lost. But it is not just the laborers in the field charged with a duty. Perhaps we should look at the harvest like of old: when all had their proper role! There were drivers, harvesters, etc, but just as important were those providing rest, food, and drink. Everyone had their role, and when all fulfilled it, the harvest was brought in quickly and safely.

The Harvest is ready - and we are being called ourselves to help, each in our own way. May we pray for many more to help with the harvest, know our role, and work as we ought.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Young Men's Discipleship Camp 2010

I just uploaded my photos from the Young Men's Discipleship Camp 2010. Enjoy!

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Following Jesus Christ requires everything: as he has no place to lay His head, we are asked to have detachment from 'stuff'; as He is the author and giver of life, we are asked to leave the dead; and as we follow Him, we are asked to not look back to what we left behind.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Twelveth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus asks a question, "Who do you say that I am?" It is the question every Christian must answer, and from that we must follow Him by taking up our cross daily. If we get the answer wrong, say answering it that He is a mere teacher, a historical man with no real impact other than intellectual pursuit, then following Him makes no sense. But if we answer correctly, knowing that He is both Lord and Savior, we would ultimately be unable to do anything but to follow Him. But first, before we can answer the question, we must experience Jesus Christ - which we do in prayer, sacraments, service, and Scripture. May we know the Lord Jesus, and follow Him always!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, 2010

Love and forgiveness - one leads to the other... We hear of the woman, full of contrition, who pours her heart to the Lord as He reclined at table at a dinner thrown by a pharisee. It is interesting to note the only three people specifically mentioned - Simon, Jesus, and the woman. Simon judges the woman and Jesus - thinking that He cannot be a prophet because He allows the woman to touch Him. The woman comes and cries over her sins and bathes His feet, wipes them, and anoints them. She humbles herself. Jesus tells the story of forgiveness, implying that this woman would be more thankful because she understood the un-payable debt that she carried - without any human way of paying it. She just simply loves - and the Lord forgives. He does not dismiss her as a sinner, nor dismiss her sin.

May we love the Lord, and come to Him aware of sin, but more importantly aware of the forgiveness He gives.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Corpus Christi, 2010

As we celebrate Corpus Christi this weekend, we celebrate the source and summit of our Catholic faith. Everything we are is from and leads to the Eucharist, and as such we ought to ask if we are allowing Jesus to be such in our life.

From the Sequence:

Sion, lift thy voice and sing;
Praise thy Savior and thy King;
Praise with hymns thy Shepherd true:
Dare thy most to praise Him well;
For He doth all praise excel;
None can ever reach His due.
Special theme of praise is thine,
That true living Bread divine,
That life-giving flesh adored,
Which the brethren twelve received,
As most faithfully believed,
At the Supper of the Lord.
Let the chant be loud and high;
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt to-day in every breast;
On this festival divine
Which recounts the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.

At this table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite;
Here, for empty shadows fled,
Is reality instead;
Here, instead of darkness, light.

His own act, at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
In His memory divine;
Wherefore now, with adoration,
We the Host of our salvation
Consecrate from bread and wine.

Hear what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.
Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending,
Leaps to things not understood.

Here in outward signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden;
Signs, not things, are all we see:-
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine;
Yet is Christ, in either sign,
All entire confessed to be.

They too who of Him partake
Sever not, nor rend, nor break,
But entire their Lord receive.
Whether one or thousands eat,
All receive the selfsame meat,
Nor the less for others leave.

Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food;
But with ends how opposite!
Here 'tis life; and there 'tis death;
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.

Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break the Host in twain,
But that in each part remains
What was in the whole before;
Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form,
The Signified remaining One
And the Same forevermore

Lo! upon the Altar lies,
Hidden deep from human eyes,
Angels' Bread from Paradise
Made the food of mortal man:
Children's meat to dogs denied;
In old types foresignified;
In the manna from the skies,
In Isaac, and the Paschal Lamb.

Jesu! Shepherd of the sheep!
Thy true flock in safety keep.
Living Bread! Thy life supply;
Strengthen us, or else we die;
Fill us with celestial grace:
Thou, who feedest us below!
Source of all we have or know!
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the Feast of Love,
We may see Thee face to face. Amen

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trinity Sunday, 2010

As we celebrate Trinity Sunday this weekend, we rejoice in the teaching of the Church that helps us to give words for the reality of the Trinity. While we know that the Trinity is an ineffable mystery, we understand that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons in one substance. Each Member works together for every act of salvation, each in their own way. They love each other perfectly, and out of that love, they created, redeemed, and sanctified us, enabling us to spend eternity with them!

The Lyrics of the Te Deum, recited on Sundays and Holy Days at the end of the Office of Readings, can provide us with some beautiful meditations.

We praise Thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee and the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels:
to Thee the heavens and all the Powers therein.
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry with unceasing voice:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts.
The heavens and the earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the admirable company of the Prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs praise.
Thee the Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge.
The Father of infinite Majesty.
Thine adorable, true and only Son
Also the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou having taken upon Thee to deliver man
didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
Thou having overcome the sting of death
didst open to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God
in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants:
whom Thou has redeemed with Thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.
Lord, save Thy people:
and bless Thine inheritance.
Govern them and lift them up forever.
Day by day we bless Thee.
And we praise Thy name forever:
and world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord: have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us:
as we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I hoped:
let me never be confounded.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

St. Bernadette of Lourdes

St. Bernadette of Lourdes, a movie by Navis pictures, is a beautiful. I was able to view a copy, and am glad I did. Filmed with a youthful cast (all younger than teens!), it has an energy and true joy. I will embed the link to the trailer here:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecost, 2010

Come, Holy Spirit, with the power You displayed at the beginning of the Church, and call forth many more to serve you as priests and religious. Help us to know our vocations and to respond to Your promptings.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pentecost Sequence

For our prayer, I am posting the Pentecost Sunday Sequence. It is a beautiful prayer of the Church.

Come, O Holy Spirit, come!
From Your bright and blissful Home
Rays of healing light impart.

Come, Father of the poor,
Source of gifts that will endure
Light of ev'ry human heart.

You of all consolers best,
Of the soul most kindly Guest,
Quick'ning courage do bestow.

In hard labor You are rest,
In the heat You refresh best,
And solace give in our woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Let Your radiance in us shine,
And our inmost being fill.

Nothing good by man is thought,
Nothing right by him is wrought,
When he spurns Your gracious Will.

Cleanse our souls from sinful stain,
Lave our dryness with Your rain,
Heal our wounds and mend our way.

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful who in You,
Trust with childlike piety,
Deign Your sevenfold gift to send.

Give them virtue's rich increase,
Saving grace to die in peace,
Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.

Ninth Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the final day of our novena.

NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eighth Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the eighth day of our novena.

EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: "Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seventh Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the seventh day of our novena.

SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

Heal our wounds--our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sixth Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the sixth day of our novena.

SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fifth Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the fifth day of our novena.

FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fourth Day Novena of the Holy Spirit

We join in the fourth day of our novena.

FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

The Gift of Fortitude

The Gift of Fortitude By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ascension 2010

Christ ascends to heaven and takes His seat at the right hand of the Father. From there, He intercedes for us, calling us to join in the same mission as the apostles - to proclaim the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of Christ.

Third Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the third day of our novena.

THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter)

Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Second Day Novena for the Holy Spirit

We join in the second day of our novena.

SECOND DAY (Saturday, 6th Week of Easter)

Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Day Novena For the Holy Spirit

Today, we begin the nine day prayer - a novena - asking for the Holy Spirit and His Seven Gifts.

FIRST DAY (Friday, 6th Week of Easter)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

All are called by God to love Him.

All are called to serve Him.

Some are called to special lives of service,

to give witness to God's love through being a priest, religious brother, or sister.

Is He calling you?