Sunday, December 25, 2011

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Jesus Christ is born for us, having been conceived 9 months prior, nourished and nurtured in the Blessed Mother's womb with love beyond all telling. Here is salvation at last. We call to mind that fly night in which the heavens and earth united in the praise of God who sends His Son for our salvation.

Today, the twenty-fifth day of December

Unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth
And then formed man and woman in his own image.

Several thousand years after the flood,
When God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.

Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;

Thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;

One thousand years from the anointing of David as king;

In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.

In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
The seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.

The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
The whole world being at peace,

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
Desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
Being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
And nine months having passed since his conception,
Was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.

Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Mary responds to the message of the angel, rather to the Lord, "May it be done to me according to your word." She may not know the full implication of her response, nor how exactly this is to come to be, but she is submissive and obedient. She is not passive, though, despite the passive voice of her translated response. In the Greek New Testament, this is in the 'middle' voice - a voice that implies that while another performs the action, the subject will cooperate with the actor. Mary will cooperate, she will help the Lord bring about salvation.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Third Sunday of Advent

John the Baptist cries out for the people to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah. He knows where he stands - that he is not worthy to untie the Savior's sandals - and who he is. He prepares the way through he baptism of repentance. As we prepare ourselves to receive the savor at His second coming, that message of repentance is still relevant for us. Are we prepared to receive Christ?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Second Sunday of Advent

John the Baptist's purpose in life was clear: he was to proclaim the coming of Christ the Messiah, to prepare the hearts of those who would receive Him through repentance. He gives comfort to the people who long to see Christ, and most likely disturbed those satisfied with the status quo. But John simply proclaims the message, disturbed neither by those clamoring or opposed to come to Christ. Perhaps he can serve as an example to us who are striving to live our vocations. We must simply do our best!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent

Watch, Jesus exhorts us. We are given a task to do until His return, and when we set out to do what we are called to do, remaining vigilant for His arrival, we will be ready for when He comes. In the mean time, though, we might take on some of the zeal of Isaiah in the first reading: Rend the heavens, make the mountains quake, and work powerfully in our lives. A secular world rushes toward Christmas, even if vaguely aware of its deeply religious roots, ignores the purpose of Advent which is not only to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ who is incarnate for us, but more importantly to prepare for His return. So we keep watch, continuing to work diligently, and to beg for Him to act in our lives.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Feast of Christ the King

The parable of the separation of the Goats and Sheep needs a careful reading. On the surface, many might think that the 'goats' are condemned because they would not serve, but the issue was that the would only serve the Lord ("When did we see you and not minister to your needs?"). The 'sheep' serve, being compassionate simply because it is the right thing to do. We cannot reduce what we do as a response to seeing the Lord, but more simply to do what is right and just. At times, we might avoid doing what is right and just simply because we don't 'feel' the Lord calling us to do it, but this is an error. We must know that in serving, we are serving the Lord, even if we don't see it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

We have been given so much treasure, and we will be judged not one how much we have or how much we returned to the Lord, but rather on whether we tried or not. The first two responded to the master's gift by doing their best, and one is not judged as inferior to the other - both receive the same words of praise. But the third servant does not even try. He hides the money. Not only is it that he does not appreciate the money, he does not even appreciate the master. Note his words are thinly veiled insults.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parable of the virgins teach us to be prepared. The five wise ones looked ahead and prepared by bringing extra oil for their task, while the foolish ones were not prepared. Failure to plan is a plan to fail, as they say. It seems that the Lord can prepare us for our vocations, and the wise ones are those who ask the Lord to help them be prepared.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus emphases the importance of humility, which is standing grounded in the truth. We are not to seek places of honor or praises of others, but simply do what the Lord asks. Those in positions of leadership are to lead with compassion, not simply ordering edicts that are too onerous to bear with no regard. Note that Jesus Christ does not condemn the scribes and Pharisees for their proclamations, but it was their lack of concern and follow-through on their part. Those who seek positions of leadership, it would seem, do not seek something wrong if their intention is to help others find salvation. Leadership that accepts Christ as Lord and Master and God the Father as our creator and Father, and aligned with God's will, is a true gift.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We tend to make things so difficult, but in the end, only one thing is required: That we lave. But even that, we make complicated, but thinking love is something it is not. It is not an emotion, not a feeling of benevolence. It is an act of benevolence - and choice of the will to act for the best. Love is not easy, but it is not any more complicated than that. So let us choose to love, until those choices become who we are!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Seeking to trick Jesus, the pharisees propose a dilemma of strict adherence to the Jewish law and supporting a regime that believed it was headed by a son of God. Jesus cuts threw the dilemma by telling them they should give to Caesar only what was due (his coins), but to God the rest. What a response! In discerning a vocation, we must be willing to look at our lives in such a way - what is eternal, of God, and meaningful, versus what is transitory, earthly, and minuscule. Giving the best to the Lord, and the rest where is falls, will guarantee we find our vocations.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Lord invites us to a great feast, and we must give a response. Not giving an answer is a response. Saying no is a response. Killing the messenger is a response. But the Lord desires us to accept the invitation and come to Him. But we must also prepare our hearts for this banquet by putting on hearts and lives that love Him.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The loving Father has created all that surrounds us. He asks for the proper share of our labor - our thanksgiving, our praise, our worship. How easy it is to become 'practical atheists' - to profess belief in God, but to live without any reference to Him (except maybe an hour or so a week). The Lord is jealous for us - we belong to Him, not the world He created for us. Let us give Him the proper produce of what He has given us: hearts that long for Him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ZENIT - Pope's Address to German Seminarians

On his recent trip to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech to seminarians. Here are some highlights:

The seminary is therefore a time for training; also, of course, a time for discernment, for learning: does he want me for this? The mission must be tested, and this includes being in community with others and also of course speaking with your spiritual directors, in order to learn how to discern what his will is. And then learning to trust: if he truly wants this, then I may entrust myself to him.

A time for discernment, a time for learning, a time for vocation ... and then, naturally, a time for being with him [Jesus Christ], a time for praying, for listening to him. Listening, truly learning to listen to him -- in the word of sacred Scripture, in the faith of the Church, in the liturgy of the Church -- and learning to understand the present time in his word.

Studying is essential: only thus can we stand firm in these times and proclaim within them the reason for our faith. And it is essential that we study critically -- because we know that tomorrow someone else will have something else to say -- while being alert, open and humble as we study, so that our studying is always with the Lord, before the Lord, and for him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Father calls us to virtue, and we have to respond. Ideally, we would say yes to the Lord, and live virtuously. But even if we initially say 'no' the Lord invites us to conversion, to say 'yes'. In the end, it is not the ones who simply say yes that will be saved, but the ones who do what He requires. While there is still breath, there is still a chance for conversion. And what does a life converted to the Lord look like? It looks like Jesus Christ, who humbled himself and set aside the rights He had a the Son of God to become a slave for us. The Lord is not calling us to abandon our humanity, but rather to embrace it as Jesus Christ embraced it. He is calling us to empty ourselves of pride, and to serve one another.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Lord invites us to work in the vineyard, and He is generous. Whether we start in the morning and bear the day's heat, or respond in the last hour, the reward is the same because there is nothing greater than a life with Christ in eternity. It is not when we respond to the invitation, but that we respond.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pope Benedict's Homily from Mass with Seminarians During World Youth Day

As the Pope's Custom, he offered a Mass for Seminarians at the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena - Madrid 20 August 2011
Your Eminence the Archbishop of Madrid,
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests and Religious,
Dear Rectors and Formators,
Dear Seminarians,
Dear Friends,

I am very pleased to celebrate Holy Mass with you who aspire to be Christ’s priests for the service of the Church and of man, and I thank you for the kind words with which you welcomed me. Today, this holy cathedral church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena is like a great Upper Room, where the Lord greatly desires to celebrate the Passover with you who wish one day to preside in his name at the mysteries of salvation. Looking at you, I again see proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles, thus keeping alive the mission of the Church and the offer of the Gospel to the world. As seminarians you are on the path towards a sacred goal: to continue the mission which Christ received from the Father. Called by him, you have followed his voice and, attracted by his loving gaze, you now advance towards the sacred ministry. Fix your eyes upon him who through his incarnation is the supreme revelation of God to the world and who through his resurrection faithfully fulfills his promise. Give thanks to him for this sign of favour in which he holds each one of you.

The first reading which we heard shows us Christ as the new and eternal priest who made of himself a perfect offering. The response to the psalm may be aptly applied to him since, at his coming into the world, he said to the Father, “Here I am to do your will” (cf. Ps 39:8). He tried to please him in all things: in his words and actions, along the way or welcoming sinners. His life was one of service and his longing was a constant prayer, placing himself in the name of all before the Father as the first-born son of many brothers and sisters. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews states that, by a single offering, he brought to perfection for all time those of us who are called to share his sonship (cf. Heb 10:14).

The Eucharist, whose institution is mentioned in the Gospel just proclaimed (cf. Lk 22:14-20), is the real expression of that unconditional offering of Jesus for all, even for those who betrayed him. It was the offering of his body and blood for the life of mankind and for the forgiveness of sins. His blood, a sign of life, was given to us by God as a covenant, so that we might apply the force of his life wherever death reigns due to our sins, and thus destroy it. Christ’s body broken and his blood outpoured – the surrender of his freedom – became through these Eucharistic signs the new source of mankind’s redeemed freedom. In Christ, we have the promise of definitive redemption and the certain hope of future blessings. Through Christ we know that we are not walking towards the abyss, the silence of nothingness or death, but are rather pilgrims on the way to a promised land, on the way to him who is our end and our beginning.

Dear friends, you are preparing yourselves to become apostles with Christ and like Christ, and to accompany your fellow men and women along their journey as companions and servants.

How should you behave during these years of preparation? First of all, they should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study and of gradual insertion into the pastoral activity and structures of the Church. A Church which is community and institution, family and mission, the creation of Christ through his Holy Spirit, as well as the result of those of us who shape it through our holiness and our sins. God, who does not hesitate to make of the poor and of sinners his friends and instruments for the redemption of the human race, willed it so. The holiness of the Church is above all the objective holiness of the very person of Christ, of his Gospel and his sacraments, the holiness of that power from on high which enlivens and impels it. We have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify.

Meditate well upon this mystery of the Church, living the years of your formation in deep joy, humbly, clear-mindedly and with radical fidelity to the Gospel, in an affectionate relation to the time spent and the people among whom you live. No one chooses the place or the people to whom he is sent, and every time has its own challenges; but in every age God gives the right grace to face and overcome those challenges with love and realism. That is why, no matter the circumstances in which he finds and however difficult they may be, the priest must grow in all kinds of good works, keeping alive within him the words spoken on his Ordination day, by which he was exhorted to model his life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

To be modeled on Christ, dear seminarians, is to be identified ever more closely with him who, for our sake, became servant, priest and victim. To be modeled on him is in fact the task upon which the priest spends his entire life. We already know that it is beyond us and we will not fully succeed but, as St Paul says, we run towards the goal, hoping to reach it (cf. Phil 3:12-14).

That said, Christ the High Priest is also the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep, even giving his life for them (cf. Jn 10:11). In order to liken yourselves to the Lord in this as well, your heart must mature while in seminary, remaining completely open to the Master. This openness, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, inspires the decision to live in celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and, leaving aside the world’s goods, live in austerity of life and sincere obedience, without pretence.

Ask him to let you imitate him in his perfect charity towards all, so that you do not shun the excluded and sinners, but help them convert and return to the right path. Ask him to teach you how to be close to the sick and the poor in simplicity and generosity. Face this challenge without anxiety or mediocrity, but rather as a beautiful way of living our human life in gratuitousness and service, as witnesses of God made man, messengers of the supreme dignity of the human person and therefore its unconditional defenders. Relying on his love, do not be intimidated by surroundings that would exclude God and in which power, wealth and pleasure are frequently the main criteria ruling people’s lives. You may be shunned along with others who propose higher goals or who unmask the false gods before whom many now bow down. That will be the moment when a life deeply rooted in Christ will clearly be seen as something new and it will powerfully attract those who truly search for God, truth and justice.

Under the guidance of your formators, open your hearts to the light of the Lord, to see if this path which demands courage and authenticity is for you. Approach the priesthood only if you are firmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers, and if you are completely determined to exercise it in obedience to the Church’s precepts.

With this confidence, learn from him who described himself as meek and humble of heart, leaving behind all earthly desire for his sake so that, rather than pursuing your own good, you build up your brothers and sisters by the way you live, as did the patron saint of the diocesan clergy of Spain, St John of Avila. Moved by his example, look above all to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests. She will know how to mould your hearts according to the model of Christ, her divine Son, and she will teach you how to treasure for ever all that he gained on Calvary for the salvation of the world. Amen.

September, 2011, edition of Vocations Views Online!

I have posted the newest volume of the Vocations View Newsletter. Click to go to the page, or Right click to download!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

God in His justice requires perfection, but His mercy forgives us for our sins, but only if we forgive others. It is not forgetting or letting the person continue to hurt, but of letting go of the poison that we might hold. Forgiveness is a choice to let go of the pain and hurt that another has caused, a choice to let God and His Mercy guide us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Operation Andrew Dinners, 2011

As in the past 9 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. Dates, locations, and RSVP contacts are:
October 5, 2011 – Church of St. John, Appleton
RSVP to Fr. Brian Oestreich (320-598-3690)
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

October 17, 2011 – Church of St. Mary, Sleepy Eye
RSVP to Fr. Mark Steffl (507-794-4171)
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

October 26, 2011 – Church of St. Mary, Bird Island
RSVP to Fr. George Schmit (320-365-3593)
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

RSVP one week in advance to the contact person on the brochure or through me.
The events will begin with Evening Prayer, followed by a meal. We will watch a video, the Fishers of Men, produced by the USCCB, and followed by a little discussion, in addition to Bishop LeVoir sharing a message.
As in past years, priests will be asked to personally invite young men that they wish to encourage to discern a vocation to come to the meal. While not all who attended may discern to enter a seminary or religious order, it is certain that the seed of prayerful discernment of God’s will has been planted. As the Fishers of Men video so beautiful describes, it ought to be normal for every young man to prayerfully consider a vocation to the priesthood. Sometimes, all that is needed to begin that necessary discernment is an event like an Operation Andrew Dinner.
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!

New Prayer Calendar September 2011-February 2012

I have posted the new prayer calendar for September through February.

Seminarian Information 2011-2012

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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus gives the model of fraternal correction, one that protects the reputation of the people involved. We have a moral obligation to call others to conversion - as we hear God telling Ezekiel in this first reading. That is a tremendous task, and requires that we ourselves are on the path to conversion, that we are living right. These readings remind us that it is not enough to have right belief orthodoxy, but we must also have right action orthopraxy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Take up your cross…" "Do not conform yourselves to this present age. By about the transformation of your minds." These are ways of living our vocations out. We pay attention to what we are saying "Yes", and to what we are saying "No". Christ embraces His cross, not as a meaningless gesture or means of self-annihilation, but as THE means of fulfilling His mission of salvation. So, too, should we. But this requires us to see life through the eyes of eternity, not of the present age. The present age tells us what is now is all that matters, and to avoid pain and suffering (which it sees as meaningless), and to seek pleasure by any means. But we seek the transformation of the mind - the way of living that metamorphosizes how we live and interact with the world around us.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Who do you say that I am?" THe question demands an answer, and how we answer requires us to respond by living it out!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A gentile woman asks the Lord to heal her daughter, but the Lord initially says, "No". The woman did not go away, but asks again in faith, and the Lord blesses her. She simply would not give up, but asked in faith until she got an answer. We might take a lesson from this woman. We need to know who we are and where we stand with Jesus, and to ask Him in faith for His grace.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Just as the Lord called St. Peter out of the boat, so to does He call us. We are invited to leave behind the place of comfort and walk with Christ. With our eyes fixed intently on Him, we can walk safe and secure through all the storms of life… but when we take our eyes of of Him, focusing on the stuff that is coming at us, we will surely be overwhelmed. So, let us keep our eye on Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Whatever we have (and all that we have) is enough for the Lord. He can take our offering, as minuscule as it may seem, and by His grace make it enough. But we have to give it…
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

Ignatius Loyola

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A man finds a hidden treasure… a merchant finds a pearl of great value… Solomon asks not for riches, but wisdom. What's the connection - they all are willing to give everything else up to have what they desire. Christ asks us the same question that the Father asks Solomon. What are we truly looking for? Would we know it when we see it? That is why our prayer and discernment is so important. It purifies our desires, assuring that what we desire is truly good and beautiful, worthy of our given all to 'have' it. Unlike the rich man who ceases to follow Christ because of his wealth, can we give all to follow God?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Evil exists... and we need no further proof than to look around. Some have difficulty reconciling this fact with belief in God. Some deny the evil, others deny that God either exists or that He is loving. But this parable of the weeds in the wheat remind us that God does love us, but that He allows evil for now because to eradicate it from our midst would take too much. God will remove evil from our world at the end times. God's apparent 'inaction' is not a lack of love, nor inaction - He is limiting evil, and preparing the world for its removal. Those who have allowed the word of God to take root in them will be left in the kingdom of God, while the evil will be thrown into the fiery furnace of Hell.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Word of God is effective, and will fulfill its purpose. But note that while the word is effective, the ground of the human heart may not allow the seed of the Word enter in and grow there. There are times when our hearts are packed down, unable to receive the seed. At times, we may have let other things fill up our lives that there is no depth to the let the seed sink in. Other times, we let the seed get choked out by the anxieties of the world. But when we have allowed Christ to prepare us, to remove our shallowness and anxiety, we can receive the word and let it grow in us, responding to the Lord's loving call for our lives.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Come to me, and I will give you rest... Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon his shoulders and learn from Him. Two oxen, properly yoked, could do harder work longer because of the yoke, and its physics. Christ, in using this image, reminds us that He is working with us, instead of our 'going it alone'. He invites us to learn from Him, to listen to His Sacred Heart, and to know the Father. Those who discover that it is first Christ's work we do in responding to a vocation, and that Christ is working through us and with us, know that the execution of our duties is not a burden, but a source of joy.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Great News Source - NEWS.VA

The Vatican has release a great resource for news at NEWS.VA.
From Cathlic Culture's Review of the site: "News.va is a service provided by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in cooperation with the media offices of the Holy See, including, Fides News Agency, L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Information Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV) and the Internet Office of the Holy See. The purpose of News.va is to feature on one website the latest news selected and aggregated from the Vatican media, which continue to operate their own unique websites. News.va is an instrument of evangelization at the service of the papal ministry and is intended as a service for all."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sequence for Corpus Christi

I love the sequence the Church gives for this feast. Written by St. Thomas Aquinas, it is theologically packed with Scriptural allusions, theological understandings, and (even in translation) beautiful poetry.

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

Corpus Christi, 2011

How holy is these feast in which Christ is our bread. When we receive the Eucharist, we recall Christ's death and resurrection, being present in mystery at these sacred events, letting them have a profound influence in our lives, grace flooding the interior depths of our lives. We receive a glimpse of the eternity to which Christ calls us, if we are faithful and respond to the loving Father's will for our lives. May we know what we receive, and live what we know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday, 2011

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity, we remember that the union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is so much so that they are one being and existence, while still being Three divine persons. Our minds cannot grasp the reality of their union, nor will we ever understand. Even in Heaven, when those blessed with the vision of the Trinity will see God, the mystery of who the Trinity is will remain. All the same, we know that we can serve the Trinity, and ask for their grace that we may enjoy the beatific vision.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost, 2011

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill us with your gifts. Bring to their fullness your fruits. Inspire us to follow the Son, and help us discern the Father's will for our lives.

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.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ninth Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 10, 2011

Eighth Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 9, 2011

Seventh Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 8, 2011

Sixth Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 7, 2011

Fifth Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 6, 2011

Fourth Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 5, 2011

Third Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 4, 2011

Second Day of Pentecost Novena

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, June 3, 2011

First Day of Pentecost Novena

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)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sixth Sunday in Easter

Christ promises not to leave us orphaned, but will send us an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will live in us. That is a source of hope, isn't it, that the Lord will be with us. May we then turn to Him in our decisions, and know His love and presence.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Do not let your hearts be troubled... it is too easy to let fear and anxiety enter our hearts. But faith in Christ means not letting these rob us of our peace. In a world filled with false prophets and false promises, when we place our faith in Christ, we come to know Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. He reveals the Father to us, but also reveals what it means to be human. So, when the storms of life blow, we turn to the Lord in confidence, admitting the fear, but finding the strength in Christ to not let it rob us of our peace.

As St. Teresa of Avila wrote (translated by HW Longfellow):
Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Vocations View Newsletter, May 2011

I have posted the newest volume of the Vocations View Newsletter. Click to go to the page, or Right click to download!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Easter

A Good Shepherd knows his flock, and his flock knows him. He speaks to them as he leads them to the nourishment of green pastures by day, and the safety of the sheep fold at night. Jesus Christ is both shepherd and gate, keeping us safe. May we know His voice and follow Him!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Third Sunday of Easter

Stay with us... Cleopas and his companion beg the unknown companion to continue the conversation that had begun on the way to Emmaus. They can't put words to what they are feeling yet, but this one was speaking truth to them, revealing to them the reason and prophetic utterances of Scripture that say that the Messiah must suffer and die. It was in the Eucharistic breaking of bread (or at least at a meal with strongly Eucharistic themes), that they suddenly realize why their hearts burned within - it was the Risen Lord Jesus. They go forth, despite the hour, and rush back to Jerusalem to share the news.
The Lord continues to walk with us, though certainly not in the same way. If we listen to Him in our prayer, He explains all that is happening. In the Eucharist, He nourishes us, and calls us to action.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter)

Jesus reveals Himself to the Apostles, though St. Thomas is not in the gathering. St. Thomas is present the following week, and not only does Jesus reveal Himself, but invites St. Thomas to probe the nail marks. It is mercy that Jesus is offering - to touch His heart, to probe His healing hands. It is here that we have mercy and redemption. May we draw near, and see the Risen Lord as we gather, and then proclaim Him to the world.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

USCCB Newly Ordained Survey

Thanks to CARA (The report is from them), the USCCB has gathered statistical data on the new priests of our country (this is the executive summary). It is eye-opening. Of those responding to the survey, 66% responded that they were encouraged to consider a vocation, while another 20% were discouraged... Truly sad, then, that fewer priests are actively inviting men to consider the priesthood, and some are actually discouraging a vocation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vocation Boom

I want to highlight a great website for those discerning a vocation titled Vocation Boom. It provides Resources, encouragement, mentors and friends to aid in discernment of the priesthood.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, 2011

Happy Easter! Jesus Christ is truly raised, and we are given the hope of eternal life!

Enjoy this piece, the Exultet, from the Easter Vigil!


Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday, 2011

From the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday:


Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Empty Tabernacle

David G. Bonagura, Jr., has authored a beautiful meditation on The Empty Tabernacle of Good Friday...

I learned at a young age about the importance and uniqueness of Good Friday. It was the only day of the year that my father worked only a half day: “Jesus died at 3:00 p.m., I came home early in honor of Him.” Each year we attended the Good Friday liturgy as a family, which was memorable for its nuances in the standard ritual, but it never captivated my imagination. It was not until I was an undergraduate that I discovered, thanks to a kind professor, a sort of Good Friday devotion to center my contemplation of the incomprehensible: the empty tabernacle.

It’s a striking image: the doors of the tabernacle are wide open, exposing a gaping void. Therein our Lord once dwelled in his body, blood, soul, and divinity, beckoning the wearied and burdened to throw their cares upon Him. On other occasions, before entering and exiting our pew, we did Him homage by genuflecting toward this abode, perhaps catching a glimpse of the sanctuary lamp that burned as a reminder of His presence. But not today. The lamp has been extinguished, the doors thrown open, the tabernacle emptied, the church stripped. “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:13) The empty tabernacle declares to all what happened on this day: our Lord has died to save us from our sins.

All morning the tabernacle lays open, for Jesus is no longer present there. He has given Himself over to cruel men who are leading Him to death. It’s a familiar but always fresh story: the trial and interrogation, the scourging, the jeering and spitting, the crowning of thorns, the hysteria of the crowds, the vacillations of Pilate, the slow march to Golgotha. There at high noon Jesus was nailed to a cross, the electric chair of ancient Rome, between two bandits. For three hours, His body was suspended from the hard wood, pouring out His blood for our salvation. Then, at the very moment that the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple, the true Lamb of God cries out one final time and breathes His last.

Our Good Friday liturgy takes its start at this moment, as the priest prostrates himself in an act of mourning and sorrow. Our solemn prayers and recollections continue as the tabernacle remains open and empty. The previous night Jesus gave us His body and blood in the Eucharist so that, in communion with Him always, we might have life, and have it abundantly. Today we are reminded that the gift of the Eucharist is a real sacrifice that cost our Lord His life. There is no Mass – no sacramental re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice – because today we commemorate the actual sacrifice. The Mass applies the fruits of Christ’s sacrifice to our souls, but today in our grief, we instead relive Christ’s sacrifice along with Him.


The drama of liturgical anamnesis – the mysterious reliving of past events in the present – reaches its height as we receive Holy Communion. Even though our Lord has died, He still provides for us, still longs to unite with us, still comes to us through the sacrament of His body and blood. Today, perhaps more than any other, “[t]he Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving” (Deus Caritas Est 13).

The Good Friday liturgy ends in silence, for we still mourn the death of our Lord. As we look around the barren sanctuary, the tabernacle remains open and empty, mirroring the state of our hearts. The Eucharist is the summit and source of Christian life, and in the tabernacle it awaits us. But today the opposite is the case: we await the return of the Lord to the tabernacle so that we can again eat the Bread of Life.

We must wait still longer. First, we have to accompany Christ spiritually on His final mission: His descent into hell to free the souls of the just who had gone before Him. As we continue our contemplation into Holy Saturday, the tabernacle is still open and empty, as Christ’s soul and divinity have temporarily separated from His body and blood. We cannot adore Him in the Eucharist now; He is present elsewhere. But He will return.

The empty tabernacle is the visual expression of the drama of the passion. On the third day, adorned with flowers and full of newly consecrated hosts from the Easter triumph, the restored tabernacle will point to the glory of the resurrection. God again will be fully present among us.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

It must happen this way, to fulfill Scriptures... Jesus declares this, but all the same asks the Father that if it is possible, to let this cup of suffering pass, but the Father's will, not His, be done. This is the alignment of His human will to His divine will. He willingly goes to the Cross, dying for the salvation of the world.
We must do the same thing, align our wills to the Father's will for us.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Lent

"Lazurus, come out!" Jesus Christ calls to the dead man, and he hears and obeys. It was for the glory of God that he should experience this death, that Christ could display His authority on earth. But Christ's authority does not end with His power over the physically dead... He stands in front of those spiritually dead and calls out to us, to come out of the places of sin and darkness. Some might object like Martha, initially... Lord, there is a stench there. But He longs to heal us, and perfume us with the odor of His sanctity. Lazurus, though dead, could not resist the call of Christ, but can we?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Archbishop Sheehan's Document on Marriage and Cohabitation

Marriage, as a vocation, is under attack. Achbishop Sheehan of Sante Fe has released a beautifully written document on the three forms of cohabitation: Without civil marriage, married civilly, and divorced and remarried. It is worth a read; I highlight here the following:

The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel, and to help Catholics who find themselves in these situations to do whatever they must do to make their lives pleasing to God.

First of all, we ourselves must be firmly rooted in the Gospel teaching that, when it comes to sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony. There is no “third way” possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fourth Sunday in Lent

A blind man is given his sight by the Lord, and the 'Jews' (those in leadership) are shown to be blind. Jesus heals the man, and is given faith in the Lord at the same time. The means of the healing is interesting: The Lord made mud, and put it on the blind man's eyes - Jesus is re-creating him, giving new eyes. As we continue our Lenten journey, we are called to be like this man - to let Christ give us the eyes of faith.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

84,000 Novenas for the Pope's 84th Birthday!

Will you join me in giving the Pope a huge gift for his birthday? Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating his birthday on April 16th and I'm joining up with praymorenovenas.com to get 84,000 people to pray a novena for the Pope's 84th birthday.

On April 8th, we will begin praying for nine days leading up to and ending on the Papa Benedict's birthday. The Pope prays for us everyday so it is time to return the gift to him on the anniversary of his birth.

84,000 Novenas is a lot! So, I'm going to need your help. I want everyone who reads this blog to do the following to help with this birthday gift!

+ Sign up here: http://bit.ly/h0052O
+ Join the facebook event and invite your friends here: http://on.fb.me/eE2Xs7
+ If you have a website, post about it there!
+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!

I'm sure the Pope will love that we are all praying for him! Please help us reach our goal of 84,000 novenas for the Pope!

Remember to sign up to pray here: http://bit.ly/h0052O

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Third Sunday of Lent

"Lord, Give me this water..." The Lord Jesus speaks with the woman, most likely an outsider even in the Samaritan town (who else would go to the well at noon, in the heat of the day). He thirsts for her faith, and draws that faith out through gentle, yet challenging, questions. She is moved from seeing him as a Jew, a man, prophet, messiah, and finally Savior of the World. He calls us, and challenges us to conversion, He continues to thirst for us.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Second Sunday of Lent

Jesus is transfigured, and gives Peter, James, and John a glimpse of His glory. He tells them not to share what they have witnessed until after He rises from the dead. The transfiguration most likely allowed them to see through the scandal of the cross, eventually, to believe in the Resurrection. But look what their first response was to the Crucifixion - one denied knowing Jesus, one presumably hid, while one stood at the foot of the Cross in worship. Let us follow the example of John, and recognize Jesus in our midst, and worship Him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Sunday of Lent

Adam and Eve grasp the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and in doing so, give in to temptation. Surrounded by the wonderful fruits of the Garden, they still desire the forbidden fruit, with the seeds of doubt planted by the serpent. The Lord Jesus, after 40 days of fasting, surrounded by the nothingness of the desert, resists Satan's temptations. He does so by quoting Deuteronomy. In His replies, he hints at how we might resist temptation too. Man does not live by bread alone, but by the word of God - we must fast from food, feed on the Scriptures. We will not put God to the test, but admit our own limitations. We shall worship the Lord God alone and serve Him.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"I do not know you. Depart from me." There are perhaps no harsher words that the all-knowing Son of God will say to us. Perhaps, though, this is not simply about knowing about us, but knowing us, as we are to know Him. It is not enough to simply say we know about the Lord, but know Him as we might know about our best friend. We must take our faith to heart, binding it to our wrists, heads, and hearts as Moses instructed the Hebrews. This is not simply about God knowing us, but the Savior knowing our hearts. We, therefore, need to be aware of where we build our house. We must pray, asking the Lord to know our hearts.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eighth Sunday in Ordnary Time

You cannot serve both God and Mammon. Instinctively, we know this, but all too often we hedge our bets, becoming anxious about the 'stuff' that surrounds us. But Jesus gives us the example of the birds and flowers - they do not work, yet they are well feed and arrayed. They simply respond to God's will, and He provides. When we seek His Kingdom and righteousness first, and everything else follows - He will give us what we truly need. So, following the example of the birds and the flowers, we respond to God's will for us, and trust in His Providence

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Be holy, be perfect, be merciful... We are called to be fulfilled in Christ, to come to perfection. This does not mean that we cease to have flaws, or that we suddenly know and see all, but rather that we are exactly who we are to be. We rest in God. This is holiness. Out of that rest, we in turn meet the needs of others in mercy. This, too, is holiness. So, we allow the Lord to build us into His holy Church, and find in Him rest, peace, mercy, and perfection.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Father to My Mother

I have tried not to post too many personal things here, as I am trying to keep this blog general, but I know that I must write the following.
My mother is in the hospital, having had a heart attack, and she continues to have something abnormal with her heart. The doctors are going to be running an angiogram today, and possibly an angioplasty. Hopefully, nothing more drastic will be needed.
Yesterday, I visited her (she is 2 and 1/2 hours away, and with weekend Masses, it was difficult to get there earlier). I took my anointing kit in to the hospital, just in case. But I was hesitant because this was my mother. I have received so much from her: my faith, my life, and the ability to know, receive, and give love. But I could not bring myself to ask her if I could anoint her. (In the course of the conversation, however, it was revealed that the priest chaplain had been there to anoint her.) I hate to admit, but I was relieved. At the end of our visit, she asked for a prayer and a blessing, which I gave. But I struggled to find the words, to choke back the emotions, and to do my priestly duty.
As I priest, I have visited many hospital rooms, anointed countless people, given many blessings. In none have I struggled so much as I did last night. After prayer and reflection, letting the experience stir in my heart, I still do not have a full answer, but in part, it was a struggle because now the roles were reversed: I was to be her spiritual father, to bring her to the our heavenly Father and beg for her. This woman, again, gave me everything, and now I was asked to give back. It was not out of selfishness, but out of the recognition of her vulnerabilities, and my own. Certainly, I was willing to give back, but in doing so, I had to admit something that I perhaps did not realize. I do not recall having a "hero complex" with my father, but I know that I have had one (and possibly still do) with my mother. As she asked for the prayer and blessing, I had to let that go.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus calls us to be radical in our observance of the commandments, that we live nt only the letter but the spirit of the law. Why? So that we may have a share in the Kingdom of Heaven, that kingdom that is so glorious "eye has not see, ear has not heard, nor has it even dawned on the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him". But we must choose - God our Heavenly Father loves us and desires our salvation, but He lets us choose. Do we follow in love, or do we sin in hate. There is the possibility of forgiveness while there is breath, and so we turn to the Lord when we have sinned.

What does this mean for those considering a vocation - the same! We must choose, submit ourselves to God in responding to a vocation, and love Him. The Lord is good, and He gently invites us to follow Him.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

We are to be salt and light... Just as salt preserves and enhances flavor, we are to preserve the morality of God, and enhance the culture around us with the awareness of God. We are to let the light of Christ, the light of the world, shine forth from us, shining into the darkness of the world still in the grips of sin, and lead others to Christ. We preach Christ Crucified, a message of utter simplicity, and complexity - Christ who saves us by His cross, because of his love for us!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Sermon on the Mount, especially the Beatitudes, form the core of what it means to follow Christ. It is in poverty of spirit that we recognize our dependance on God. In sadness, we turn to the Lord for our joy. The meek turn to the Lord for strength, the hungry to be filled by the Lord alone. Indeed, the vows and promises of the religious and priests are a means of live the Beatitudes out, and to remind others that we all live dependent on God.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vianney Visit Registration

The staff at St. John vianney Seminary on the Campus of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN, has posted a registration form for the February 10-12 Vianney Visit. Any young man (High school Junior through college) wishing to attend should register. Please email Fr. Todd for information and transportation.

Vocations View Newsletter

I have posted the newest volume of the Vocations View Newsletter. Click to go to the page, or Right click to download!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

"I will make you fishers of men", Jesus calls out. The fishermen follow, leaving behind boats, nets, and family. They allow Christ to form them, to make them fishers of men. After the resurrection, they call others to follow them as they lead to Christ. They lead them to the kingdom. They lead to the light of truth.

Christ's call continues in our lives. We are to be formed as fishers ourselves, to lead others to Christ.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

John the Baptist failed to recognize Jesus as the Savior. He needed the signs at the Baptism of the Lord in order to recognize Him. Once he does, though, he does not holy back from continuing to call out for Jesus' name.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baptism of the Lord

As Christ is Baptized in the Jordan, He transforms the waters so that they can transform us. He gives us the Sacrament of Baptism that we can be set free from sin and death. But Baptism also begins our Christian Vocation. When we were baptized, we rejected Satan, his works, and his promises, which means that we cannot go back, and we are emersed into Christ's life, death and resurrection.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Feast of the Epiphany, 2011

The Child Jesus is revealed as King of kings, and is worshipped by the wise men. Just as they did, we are to look for the signs of Christ's presence, and to come in worship and service.

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?