The Rosary -a Prayer, a Place, a Promise

Mary, the Mother of God, revealed herself as the Lady of the Rosary. This is akin to saying “I Am the Woman of the Book.” The rosary is prayer alive on the lips and in the heart of Mary’s children. In the Rosary, we pray the Scriptures which speak of Jesus. They foretell and tell forth the story of Salvation. Mary in effect says pray the story of your salvation. Tuck it in your heart and you will become the womb of Jesus who in gladsome labor births My Son, the Son of God, into the world.

Fr. Groeschel speaks of the Rosary as a place. He calls it a”chapel.” For me, it is that and more. It is my cocoon in the Womb of Mary, centered in the Heart of the Lamb of God. I am formed as I live and as I pray.

The promise of the Rosary lives on the lips of Jesus. As I pray I can hear His Spirit whispering, consoling, proclaiming to me personally, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” “I will come in and eat with you, and you with me. “

Pentecost -Come Holy Spirit!

“John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.” Acts 1:5

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind,  and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,  which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,  as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.  At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome,both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?” But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. These people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘It will come to pass in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy.
And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord,and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 2:1-21

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 9

Day 9

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which, He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4,5).

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and suupplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethern.” (Acts 1:14).

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 8

Day 8

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.” (Acts 19:1-7).

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…


Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 7

Day 7

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

“John answered them, saying “I baptize with water, but there stands one among you whom you do not know.  It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”  These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” This is He of whom I say ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’  I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.  And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.  I did not know Him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:26-34).

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 7

Day 7

“And is shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.  And also on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 6

Day 6

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

“John answered and said to them all, ‘As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3:16

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 5

Day 5

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

“And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, “He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” John 1:33

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 4

Day 4

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

Now in Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Cohort called the Italica,devout and God-fearing along with his whole household, who used to give alms generously  to the Jewish people and pray to God constantly.One afternoon about three o’clock,  he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say to him, “Cornelius.”He looked intently at him and, seized with fear, said, “What is it, sir?” He said to him, “Your prayers and almsgiving have ascended as a memorial offering before God. Now send some men to Joppa and summon one Simon who is called Peter.He is staying with another Simon, a tanner, who has a house by the sea.”When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier  from his staff,explained everything to them, and sent them to Joppa. The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime. He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners.In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky.A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.”But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky. While Peter was in doubt about the meaning of the vision he had seen, the men sent by Cornelius asked for Simon’s house and arrived at the entrance. They called out inquiring whether Simon, who is called Peter, was staying there. As Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said (to him), “There are three men here looking for you. So get up, go downstairs, and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them.”  Then Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your being here?” They answered, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in and showed them hospitality. The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. On the following day he entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” While he conversed with him, he went in and found many people gathered together and said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a Gentile, but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean.And that is why I came without objection when sent for. May I ask, then, why you summoned me?” Cornelius replied, “Four days ago  at this hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was at prayer in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling robes stood before me and said,’Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your almsgiving remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and you were kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to listen to all that you have been ommanded by the Lord.” Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,  “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word (that) he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached,how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth  with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.We are witnesses  of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and (in) Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised (on) the third day and granted that he be visible,not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”While Peter was still speaking these things, the holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded,”Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?”He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Act 10

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 3

Day 3

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (The woman) said to him, “Sir,  you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.”The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her, “I am He,  the one who is speaking with you.”     John 4:7-26

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Into the Hands of Foreigners

Save us, Lord, collect us together from among the nations. Alleluia.

Psalm 105 (106)

They mingled themselves with the peoples,
and learned to do as they did.
They served the same idols
until it became their undoing.
They sacrificed their own sons
and their daughters to demons.
They poured out innocent blood.
The blood of their own sons and daughters
was sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.
Their blood polluted the land,
and their actions defiled them.
They devoted themselves to whoring.
The Lord blazed out in anger against his own people,
He detested his own chosen race.
He gave them into the hands of foreigners.
They were conquered by those who hated them.

These words from today’s Office of Readings, I find frightening in light of our society.  We are blessed by the knowledge that God, who is near to us, has blessed us, giving us His Son and sending us His Holy Spirit.  Sinners get to live as saints should they so desire. What does our society reveal about our desires.

What does our society testify about us as a people?  Gifts, even gifts of God, can be squandered by prodigal sons and daughters. His greatest gift, life, we subject to pluralistic debate and countermand by man-made law. ‘Choice’ is elevated above conscience and morality and enshrined as a god to be fed by money-making mills. Is this license the best we can do with the gift of life in a land of freedom and liberty?

Facts about fetal pain.

More facts about fetal pain.

Facts about maternal pain.

Just the facts

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 2

Day 2

For those beginning this novena late, fear not!  St. Teresa of Avila gives us this prayer for Lost Time:

O my God! Source of all mercy. I acknowledge Your sovereign power.  While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain.  Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'” He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39

God my creator

Breathe on me again.

Renew me.  Refresh me.

Extend my abilities.  Give me your gifts.

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being.

Keep me well.

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…Amen

Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 1

Day 1

“John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.” Acts 1:5

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind,  and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,  which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,  as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.  At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome,both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?” But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. These people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘It will come to pass in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy.
And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord,and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 2:1-21

God my creator

Breathe on me again

Renew me-Refresh me

Extend my abilities-Give me your gifts

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Flow through every fiber of my being

Keep me well

Oh Holy Spirit use me.

Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…

Enter by the Gate

“I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” John 10:9

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Looking at the large image, that hangs in my church during the Easter season,  of the Resurrected Christ with His wounds visible, the wound in Jesus’ chest captured me.  Jesus had called Himself the Good Shepherd and also referred to Himself as the gate.  I wondered at the two positions He took in this discourse in John 10.  It could be confusing, but as I looked at Christ’s side, the open wound was like an open invitation.  It became my gate into the Heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Holy Joy – Revisited

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”

Nehemiah 8:10

Headlines got you down? Propagandizing press infuriating you? I’ll leave off questions of finance, lest you cry. “Good grief, Charlie Brown!” …(long pause……….).  Was Charles Schultz, actually, onto something? Good grief? Could there be such a thing?

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crops fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

Highly enigmatic, as I said in the previous post, and I really do believe the word of God  spoken through his prophet, Habakkuk. So, how do I get to faith from here?

For starters, I must recover my holy joy, not the jolly-jump-about-goin’-drinkin’- joy, but the joy that only the Lord can give. Here’s how it came to me today sometime after my posting. When I ride my bike for mental as well as physical health, I plug in my ear buds and head off with something sounding in my ears. Today, I had a choice, all of them were actually good. One, however, didn’t quite appeal because of my fightin’ mood, but I asked myself which of my choices had a likely hood of touching my soul. So, pugnaciousness aside,I chose Mediations from Carmel and rode off on my peace quest.

It worked! Or rather, God, the Holy Spirit, worked. The hard shell around my heart cracked when the word’s of St. Teresa of Avila struck a chord:

“One might understand the great good God does for a soul that willingly disposes itself for the practice of prayer, even though it is not as disposed as is necessary. If the soul perseveres in prayer, in the midst of the sins, temptations, and failures of a thousand kinds that the devil places in its path, in the end, I hold as certain, the Lord will draw it forth to the harbor of salvation”

And these words, too, hit home; addressed by St. Teresa to Son of the eternal Father,Jesus Christ our Lord,true King of the universe!

What did you leave behind in the world?

What could your inheritors receive from you?
What did  you possess, my God,
other than pain, sorrow and dishonour,
so that at the end
your only help lay
in the trunk of a tree
as you drank the bitter cup of death?
And so, my God,
if we truly seek to be your children by adoption
and not renounce your inheritance,
we must not flee from suffering.
The sign of your family
is your five wounds.

From the Office of Readings, “O God, the world had fallen flat in the dust but your Son’s humility stood it upright once more.”

Holy Joy Must Be Your Strength

Nehemiah 8:10     “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Highly enigmatic, I say, but I believe it.  So, I do my best to recover the joy that only the Lord can give….. again and again.

In the closing prayer of today’s Divine Office, I read:

O God, the world had fallen flat in the dust but your Son’s humility stood it upright once more.
Fill your faithful people with a holy joy:
take those whom you have torn away from slavery to sin
and make them rejoice eternally.


St. Teresa of the Andes – Letter 115

I am having trouble being in the world, but not of it. Paul’s word’s challenge me.  Pope Benedict XVI wants them to push me into the mind of Paul and the arms of the Holy Spirit. “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

As Pentecost draws near, I’m reminded that it is the Holy Spirit not my spirit that will transform me into conformity with Christ of the Cross and the Resurrection. Tomorrow morning, God willing, I’ll find myself before the Blessed Sacrament once again.  Here are the words I will take with me into the silence:

“How poor, how graceless, as I see it, the worship we offer to God sacramentally present! What scant respect we have for the One before whom the seraphim cover themselves with their wings, prostrating themselves before Him. And He bears it all in silence, remaining without splendor, hidden beneath the bread, that He may live in the midst of those He created. Oh, how good He is! What infinite love He has! Why aren’t we crazy with love for Him?”  St. Teresa of the Andes – Letter 115

Weapons of War – Hot Coals

The Anchoress got some disparaging email in response to”See How These Christians Shove One Another.  She was articulating “that we Christians are being ‘way too “earthbound” and over-worldly in the way we process and engage in politics.” The response of readers prompted her to print an email that she thought made her point, He says it so much better than I. In a nutshell, the writer said, in citing the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho, “The Israelites did not attack Jericho head-on in a conventional way but chose instead the mystical path and gave the Holy Spirit room to do His work.

I’ve been struggling along these same lines.  Blogging makes me painfully aware of it.  I start the day with Mass and the Divine Office and come home to enter the fray.  I bounce between the spiritual and not so spiritual with my own war of words.  I read Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s “Render Unto Caesar” hoping to gain some footing.  He confirmed the battle for me but didn’t give me my marching orders.  I believe I need to use all the tools God has placed at hand.

The Rosary is called “a weapon” by those who know its power. Mass and the Divine Office are like heavenly dynamite empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Faith turns up that power and places it in the hands of the angels to do battle in the realm the Apostle Paul tells us about. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evils spirits in the heavens.” Ephesian 6: 12

I know, too,  I have other tools at my disposal: thoughts, words, deeds.  I know I mess up and will mess up, leading me back to prayer and repentance to begin again. Like Jesus on the Way of the Cross, I have to keep getting up and get myself up the mountain of Calvary for the Battle that wins the war. I don’t feel like a warrior, I think of myself as the little donkey carrying the Christ into Jerusalem for the climactic encounter between Good and Evil.  That’s were I am and I am tired.

When I complained of being tired though the battle has hardly begun, a friend wrote me saying,

“Remember the Narnia series?
Remember in “The Witch, The Lion and The Wardrobe”
how the children were confused, frightened, at the end
of their resources……..when they heard that Aslyn was
“on the move”.  Of course, they still had great battles
ahead but Aslyn had arrived…..  Have you had any such thoughts/feelings?  I hope that it is not wishful thinking on my part.”
I don’t think it is wishful thinking.  I think Aslyn is on the move.  It doesn’t really matter if I fall on the battlefield.  I’m on the right side and Christ is more than a Conqueror.  He is a Savior and in His hands our efforts and prayers strike at the hearts of enemies with the same Mercy that bought me to His side.
The side of Christ is pierced that we all may enter.  Today, Mercy Sunday, is a good day to think about that and the signature “Jesus I trust in you” that signs the Divine Mercy Image.  I think of that signature as my name confirming Christ’s image in me.
With my weapons in hand, all I need is a battle cry.  Semper Fidelis is a worthy battle cry. Cam Beck says,
What is left unsaid in the motto is also notable. The phrase is “Always faithful.” It isn’t “Sometimes Faithful.” Nor is it “Usually Faithful,” but always. It is not negotiable. It is not relative, but absolute.
For me, it’s Jesus Christ who is Always Faithful.

Gone Fishin'

Today’s Gospel:  John 21: 1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

Gone fishin’!  Peter needed a break.  Getting back to the familiar seemed the thing to do.  The other disciples followed the leader.  It wasn’t really what they wanted.  They wanted the Lord as evidenced by Peter being so besides himself at the realization that the man on shore was Jesus that He dressed for the occasion, putting clothes on to jump into the water.

I love this Gospel.  Once more we see the humanity of Peter and the boys.  This was the third time Jesus had to call on them to assure, reassure and otherwise comfort them.  I can relate!

Easter Monday – Celebrate!

Alleluia! Still celebrating Easter.  It’s too great for just one day.  When a greeted a friend of mine from Poland this morning with “Happy Easter” she said, “You know in Poland they are still celebrating.”  I mentioned the Easter octave and that here we are still celebrating, also.  What my friend then explained is that in Poland it is still a holiday, no work, no school.  She said she felt bad sending her children off to school today and that she thought Poland’s way is better.  Didn’t argue with that.

From the Office of Readings:

1 Peter 1: 1-21

Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ, sends greetings to all those living among foreigners in the Dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen, by the provident purpose of God the Father, to be made holy by the Spirit, obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. Grace and peace be with you more and more.
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold – only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire – and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.
It was this salvation that the prophets were looking and searching so hard for; their prophecies were about the grace which was to come to you. The Spirit of Christ which was in them foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would come after them, and they tried to find out at what time and in what circumstances all this was to be expected. It was revealed to them that the news they brought of all the things which have now been announced to you, by those who preached to you the Good News through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, was for you and not for themselves. Even the angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.
Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth; make a habit of obedience: be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.
If you are acknowledging as your Father one who has no favourites and judges everyone according to what he has done, you must be scrupulously careful as long as you are living away from your home. Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ; who, though known since before the world was made, has been revealed only in our time, the end of the ages, for your sake. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.(source: Universalis)

Holy Thursday – Pope Benedict XVI

In this day of “turning the Bible on its head by such influential entities as National Geographic Society and Newsweek, it is good to remember what actual scholars who care about Truth have taught us.  Pope Benedict XVI reacting to a misleading 3rd century coptic text on display by the National Geographic Society in 2006, as covered by Cindy Wooden of Catholic New Service, corrected:

Judas was a greedy liar who put his desire for money ahead of his relationship with Jesus and his love for God, Pope Benedict XVI said…

But during his April 13 (2006) homily at the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Pope Benedict said Judas is the clearest example Christians have of someone who refuses God’s saving love.

For Judas, the pope said, “only power and success are real; love does not count.”

“And he is greedy: Money is more important than communion with Jesus, more important than God and his love. He also becomes a liar, a double-crosser who breaks with the truth,” Pope Benedict said.

Purposefully ignoring the truth, he said, Judas “hardens, becoming incapable of conversion … and throws away his destroyed life.”

The next day, the pope’s preacher also weighed in against the recent wave of “pseudohistorical literature” gaining popularity as well as the soon-to-be-released film, “The Da Vinci Code.”

In his April 14 [2006] homily during the Good Friday liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said that millions of people today were being “crassly manipulated by the media,” which is more interested in touting the newest fad or insight rather than the truth and, as a consequence, turning a pretty penny for it.

“There is much talk about Judas’ betrayal without realizing that it is being repeated” today, he said during his homily given before the pope and hundreds of people in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Christ is being sold again,” he said, but this time “to publishers and booksellers” for billions of dollars.

People seem to be always itching for something new, and there are those who take advantage of that by carrying out or promoting “the clever rewriting of ancient legends,” he said.

The fantasies and speculation will only “flare up with the imminent release of a certain film,” the Capuchin friar said, in reference to the movie “The Da Vinci Code,” based on the novel by Dan Brown.

The preacher of the papal household said he felt it was his duty to address the current swirl of controversy surrounding the many interpretations of the life and death of Jesus because “we cannot allow the silence of believers to be mistaken for embarrassment” nor allow the media to manipulate the truth about Christ’s life, his death on the cross and his resurrection.”

Zenit.org reports Fr. Cantalamessa’s closing remark:

The “fantasies” mentioned have an explanation, concluded the Pontifical Household preacher: “We are in the age of the media and the media are more interested in novelty than in truth.”

Words of St. Paul:

“The time is sure to come when people will not accept sound teaching, but their ears will be itching for anything new and they will collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then they will shut their ears to the truth and will turn to myths.”

Wired for Sound & Listening

There is no doing justice to one of Fr. Jeff’s homilies, but not to try is to leave you without the tickling touch of heaven.  He usually is very personal with bits and pieces from his life, this time as a national guard chaplain.  Last week brought the realities of the motor pool to bear on his celebration of the Mass.  He went head to head with the jet sounds of an air pump.  He eventually had to scrap a “really wonderful sermon” (laughing at his humility) in the loosing battle for volume dominance.

The experience was not without its reward.  Fr. Jeff came away thinking of the noisy society that clamors with sound bites and distraction for our conscious attention, while actually driving us to distraction and semi-consciousness.

Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back. (Isaiah 50:4-5)

With the words from the scripture still echoing in our ears, Fr. Jeff reminded us of the still small voice that morning after morning speaks to us and the Lord who “opens my ear that I may hear.”

All this week, we will be hearing the salvation story retold once again. Will it be received as so much noise, something we’ve heard before with no special clarity of nuance or message.  Will we “hear the subtleties of the orchestra for the life of our soul and hearts.”

Here again, Fr. Jeff got personal.  This time it was the $40 ear buds he was coaxed to buy with promises of sounds he’d never heard before. “Sure”, he thought somewhat cynically, but took the bait, none-the-less.  He sprang for the pricey thingies.

Once wired for sound, Fr. Jeff listened to his music and heard sonorous sounds he’d never heard before, nuances and subtleties, tone and clarity.  He’d paid the price, and it was worth every penny !  For us in church this morning, it was a clarion call to listen again, to incline an an open ear.  I think of the young apostle John with his ear to our Lord’s heart at the Last Supper.

Jesus’ story is the same year after year but there are subtleties and an ever newness for us this brand new day.  Be conscious, by a prayer and an act of the will! “Morning after morning, he opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled, have not turned back”

Praying With The Church – Update

If you have not checked out DivineOffice.org yet, Holy Week is the perfect time to begin praying with the Church with the help of this wonderful ministry.  Divine Office is produced by Dane Falkner and some very dedicated and talented people.  It’s purpose is to promote “the tradition of praying always through these ancient treasures of the Church, not only to Catholics but to all Christians universally.”

Here are the wonder workers, Dane, Chriss, Denise and Greg:

DivineOffice.org provides daily free podcast of the Divine Office, definitely 5 star! plus iPhone App made available through iTunes (extremely affordable.)

Having a virtual community is great when you know they are real people reaching out to no less than the world.  The music, professional presentation of the daily inspirational scriptures, readings and prayers, has enriched my experience of listening to and praying the Divine Office.  As I said, Check them out!

Praying With the Church

If you have not checked out DivineOffice.org yet, Holy Week is the perfect time to begin praying with the Church with the help of this wonderful ministry.  Divine Office is produced by Dane Falkner and some very dedicated and talented people.  It’s purpose is to promote “the tradition of praying always through these ancient treasures of the Church, not only to Catholics but to all Christians universally.”

Speaking of Dreams

I’ll get to the dream, but here’s how I got to it. I’m on a religious bent this morning.  Always happens after mass.  Something got me thinking of what “Lioness” means to me,during the sermon.  You know how sermons go, you hear the sermon and the Holy Spirit at the same time.  Sometimes the Spirit goes beyond the sermon and so today I ended up recalling a dream.  When I got home and read the Anchoress’ dream appeal from Nice Deb, I thought more about that dream I had years ago. Nothing, by the way, like Nice Deb’s flash-tastic graphic.

By profession, I’m a registered nurse.  Working the wards as a student at night was always a cause for anxiety.  Later on, working sprawling hospital wards as charge nurse also made me feel a bit insecure, too many patients, too many rooms.  IV’s could be running out or someone in trouble.  We didn’t have all the fancy monitors they do nowadays.  At night my anxieties would speak up in dreams.

The dream I remembered today went like this: I was on a hospital ward, and the ward was immense (though in my dream the ward looked more like a castle) and the halls seemed endless.  Suddenly, I was aware of a great lion roaming the passage ways. Now, in my dream, the ward/castle became even bigger, extending to several floors above and below.The lion prowled like a monitor.  His appearance seemed threatening, but instead of fear, I was flooded with a profound sense of security.  End of dream!

In those days my life was in a bit of flux, with husband in  school, me , with two children to care for,  living with my in-laws, and working nights in a newborn intensive care unit. Waking from the dream I wanted to know who the lion was.  I prayed and them opened the bible to a page with the phrase, “Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of my husband the lion” Esther C:  24.  I was ecstatic!  That day, I took it to  mean my husband Jim would take care of us with God’s help.  In other words, “Not to worry.”

Since the Lord speaks on many levels, and with multiple meanings, in this day I think the Lord is saying, “I am your Husband the Lion who guards and protects the passages of your life.  You are my bride, my castle.”

Desire of the Heart

God honors a person’s search for Truth.  He looks deep into the heart and knows the will.  The unpardonable sin is final rejection of  God.  God honors our will.  He is also merciful and hears the prayers of others on our behalf.           (from a homily by Fr. S.M)

“If, today, you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” Hebrews 4:7

Jesus Takes Revenge

In today’s reading, Jer 11:18-20, Jeremiah wants revenge.  He sees himself as a trusting lamb led to slaughter; although he knew he was in danger, he did not realize that his enemies were hatching plots against him.  Jeremiah wants vengeance and he wants to be there to witness it in spades.

“Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!”

In today’s homily, Monsignor, asks, “How does Jesus take vengeance on His enemies?”  Monsignor answers,  “He dies for them!”

Christians imitate Jesus. Scripture directs us in dealing with our enemies:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink;
For live coals you will heap on his head, and the LORD will vindicate you. Proverbs 25:22

We are all in the same boat, we are all sinners, enemies of  God, so long as we persist in Sin.  Jesus, for his part, dies for us. He has prayed for his enemies, “Father, forgive them!” He has fed them, “Take and eat!” He has satisfied their thirst, “Take and drink!”

Jesus appeals to the heart of men.  We can turn away.  We can experience, with Jesus, rejection.  In all these circumstances Jesus says pray.  That prayer is powerful, whether it is prayer of praise, worship, thanksgiving, adoration, or petition.

If we could only see it with Heaven’s eyes as John did as he records in the Book of Revelation:

“And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev 5:8

“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.”Rev 7:14

What is this washing of their robes, if it is not the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  If it were referring to Baptism, they would not be doing the washing, whereas in Reconciliation we have an active role.

Jesus wants what’s best for each of us. He wants enemies (sinners) to feel the hot coals of  prayer heaped upon them.  To see ourselves as Jesus sees us when we sin can be distressing. Such a moment, though wrenching, is a moment of grace. Jesus desires a response of the heart that sends the sick and sorrowful to show themselves to the priest for healing and forgiveness.

Our revenge is to be like our Christ. Our revenge is to die to ourselves with our Christ.  Our revenge is to see the enemies of Christ come forth from the confessional with tears of joy and thanksgiving in all humility; no longer enemies but as brothers.

What will it take? Prayer.  All are called, moment by moment, while we live, “Repent and believe the Good News!” Mk 1:15

Morning – A Time for Prayer

Psalm 143: 8-11

In the morning let me know your love
For I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk;
To you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
For you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
In ways that are level and smooth.

For you name’s sake, Lord, save my like;
In your justice save my soul from distress.

The Whole Truth – Make it Plain, Brother!

You don’t usually get to hear a Lutheran congregation holler an, “Amen” or “Preach it, Brother. ” Today was no  different, but the minister seemed to want one.  I was visiting with the Lutherans and the minister confessed that the one time he could remember that someone called out, “Amen, Brother”, it caught him so by surprise that it totally threw him into confusion.  Now, however, Jesus was talking plain in the Gospel and the minister felt he could use a reminder from the pews to, “Make it plain; make it plain!” He was preaching John 3:16, “the Bible in a nutshell.”

The evening before, I heard a priest of the Roman Catholic Church preach it.  He truly kept it simple.  He said,
“Life is short. Hell is for Eternity. Think about it!”  He sat down.  That was it! Talk about nutshells.

My Lutheran friend said a bit more, before remembering his injunction to himself, “Make it plain!”  The plain fact was that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” The minister said that the love He bore us was not the stuff of  “warm fuzzies” but “agape”, that  to die for love that willing died for all mankind; sparing not a drop of blood, or leaving a breathe unspent.

The sermon in my head reminded me, Jesus plainly and emphatically proclaimed that verse, now made famous by placards at football games and  verse17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” However, not many people finish the message.  Jesus’ “make it plain” message,  was also recorded by John in chapter 3:18-19.

No “warm fuzzies” here, either, only the uncomfortable part of the Truth, John 3:18-19.

“Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.”

Jesus spoke the whole Truth and so should we because:  “Life is short. Hell is for Eternity. Think about it!”

"Borne by Angels to the Bosom of God" – St. Therese of Lisieux

From The Story of a Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux:

“Dear Mother, I have still to tell you what I understand by the  “sweet odour of the Beloved.” As Our Lord is now in Heaven, I can only follow Him by the footprints He has left–footprints full of life, full of fragrance. I have only to open the Holy Gospels and at once I breathe the perfume of Jesus, and then I know which way to run; and it is not to the first place, but to the last, that I hasten. I leave the Pharisee to go up, and full of confidence I repeat the humble prayer of the Publican. Above all I follow Magdalen, for the amazing, rather I should say, the loving audacity, that delights the Heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine. It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I lift up my heart to God in trust and love. I feel that even had I on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Saviour. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace.

It is told in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert how one of them converted a public sinner, whose evil deeds were the scandal of the whole country. This wicked woman, touched by grace, followed the Saint into the desert, there to perform rigorous penance. But on the first night of the journey, before even reaching the place of her retirement, the bonds that bound her to earth were broken by the vehemence of her loving sorrow. The holy man, at the same instant, saw her soul borne by Angels to the Bosom of God.”