Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Catholic Apologetics: Purgatory


Purgatory - Does a cleansing state of the soul exist before entering Heaven for those who need it?  Yes, for Scripture says nothing unclean or impure will enter into the kingdom of Heaven (Revelations 21:27).  St. Paul mentions the saving of a person's soul, but through fire (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).  In addition, Jesus mentions being forgiven for sins in the next world (Matthew 12:32) and that we shall not be released until we have paid for all our sins (Luke 12:59).

Saint of the day: KATHARINE DREXEL



Today the Catholic Church remembers another American Saint: Katherine Drexel! The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded that more was needed - the lacking ingredient was people. Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Indians, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed - for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country. Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988.

Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000 to become only the second recognized American-born saint.

Monday, March 2, 2015

10,000 Reasons by Rend Collective Experiment


Pope Francis to Fallen Away Catholics: "Come home!"

Fallen away Catholics are being invited to “come home” this Lent through a worldwide initiative led by Pope Francis, which points to confession as a primary way to experience God's merciful embrace.

“So often, people are afraid to come back to church or to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for they feel that, since they have been gone for so long, there is no way back,” said Father Geno Sylva, English language official for the Vatican's New Evangelization council.

“This initiative is to let people know that it is never too late and there is always a way back,” he told CNA.

“24 Hours for the Lord” is a yearly event set for the fourth Friday and Saturday of Lent which began in 2014 under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Taking place on Mar. 13-14, this year's theme is “God rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4) which, Fr. Sylva observed, “is such an important theme of our Holy Father.”

In his 2015 message for Lent, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the Church, “also at the diocesan level,” would observe 24-hour initiative, saying it “is meant to be a sign of this need for prayer.”

The event will begin on the evening of the fourth Friday of Lent with a penance service presided over by Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Basilica. Following the service in the Vatican, Churches throughout Rome will remain open for 24 hours to give pilgrims the opportunity to go to Confession and take part in Eucharistic Adoration.

Fr. Sylva recalled one of the iconic images of Pope Francis during the 2014 penance service for “24 Hours for the Lord,” in which the Pope surprised one of the priests by approaching him for confession before hearing confessions himself.

“There’s something to be said for joining with our Holy Father, joining as a universal Church, in such a prayer experience,” Fr. Sylva said.

He then told of his own experience in 2014 hearing confessions at the church of Saint Agnes in Agony, one of three churches in open Rome throughout the night.

“It was so incredibly moving and inspiring just how many people had come back to the sacrament for the first time many decades,” he said. “When I asked them why they came back, so many of them said they came back because Pope Francis had invited and asked them to. And he had indeed during the Angelus the Sunday before.”

The inspiration for “24 Hours for Prayer” came from the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, during which the question of placing“the sacrament of reconciliation once again at the center of pastoral life” came to the surface, Fr. Sylva explained.

While parishes in Rome will be open overnight, Churches elsewhere are invited to adapt the initiative to their local situations and needs. Acknowledging that “every parish has a different history and unique culture,” Fr. Sylva said, “The pastor and the community are simply to invite people to come home.”

For those taking part in this year's event in Rome or elsewhere in the world, especially those who have been away from the Sacraments for a long time, organizers have prepared pastoral aids in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Polish. The English edition can be purchased at the Catholic Publishing Company and is available worldwide.

“There are many different moments and steps in the new evangelization,” Fr. Geno said. “The 24 Hours for the Lord allows the Church the opportunity to demonstrate the great harmony of these moments: We invite, we welcome, we catechize and God forgives.”

Additional information on the “24 Hours for Prayer” can be found at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization's website, www.novaevangelizatio.va.

Medjugorje Film: Our Lady Queen Of Peace


Pope Francis: Jesus reveals Himself as the perfect icon of the Father

(Vatican Radio) Before the Angelus the Pope recalled Sunday’s Gospel on the Transfiguration in which Jesus "is at the peak of his public ministry. The Holy Father explained that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the 'Servant of God' will be fulfilled.

The crowds, he added, facing the prospect of a Messiah that does not fit their earthly expectations, abandoned him. They thought that the Messiah would be a liberator of his country from Roman rule.

Peter, James and John, said Pope Francis, witness Jesus on a high mountain, immersed in prayer, and transfigured before them: his face and his whole person radiated a brilliant light. Jesus, "reveals himself, added the Pope, as the perfect icon of the Father, the irradiation of his glory. He is the fulfilment of Revelation. The instruction for the disciples and for us, noted the Pope is this: 'Listen to him!' Listen to Jesus. He is the Saviour: follow him. Jesus' journey always leads us to happiness.

In conclusion, the Holy Father said that "With Peter, James and John", "we also climb the Mount of Transfiguration and stop in contemplation of the face of Jesus, to receive the message and translate it into our lives, because we too can be transfigured by love.

Come Home to the Church!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fraternite Monastique de Jerusalem

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe into me Holy Spirit, That all my thoughts may be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 
St. Augustine

Tim Staples: How to share the truths of faith with others

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Taizé Chant: Adoramus te O Christe

Romano Guardini on Humility

When a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than you. But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers his head and shrinks into himself. He abases himself. And the greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes.

But when does our littleness so come home to us as when we stand in God's presence? He is the great God, who is today and yesterday, whose years are hundreds and thousands, who fills the place where we are, the city, the wide world, the measureless space of the starry sky, in whose eyes the universe is less than a particle of dust, all-holy, all-pure, all-righteous, infinitely high. He is so great, I so small, so small that beside him I seem hardly to exist, so wanting am I in worth and substance. One has no need to be told that God's presence is not the place in which to stand on one's dignity. To appear less presumptuous, to be as little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hearts still further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing.


Therefore let not the bending of our knees be a hurried gesture, an empty form. Put meaning into it. To kneel, in the soul's intention, is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.


On entering a church, or in passing before the altar, kneel down all the way without haste or hurry, putting your heart into what you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God. It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and everytime you kneel it will do your soul good.


From Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini

The Journey Home: Tim Staples

Friday, February 27, 2015

Here's My Heart Lord by David Crowder

Fr. Robert Barron on the Cross of Jesus Christ

The following comes from Word on Fire:
Last week, the attention of the world was riveted to a deserted beach in northern Libya, where a group of twenty one Coptic Christians were brutally beheaded by masked operatives of the ISIS movement. In the wake of the executions, ISIS released a gruesome video entitled “A Message in Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” I suppose that for the ISIS murderers the reference to “the Nation of the Cross” had little sense beyond a generic designation for Christianity. Sadly for most Christians, too, the cross has become little more than an anodyne, a harmless symbol, a pious decoration. I would like to take the awful event on that Libyan beach, as well as the ISIS message concerning it, as an occasion to reflect on the still startling distinctiveness of the cross.
In the time of Jesus, the cross was a brutal and very effective sign of Roman power. Imperial authorities effectively said, “If you cross us (pun intended), we will affix you to a dreadful instrument of torture and leave you to writhe in agonizing, literally excruciating (ex cruce, from the cross) pain until you die. Then we will make sure that your body hangs on that gibbet until it is eaten away by scavenging animals.” The cross was, basically, state-sponsored terrorism, and it did indeed terrify people. The great Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero once described a crucifixion but only through a convoluted circumlocution, for he couldn’t bring himself to characterize it directly. After putting down the great slave uprising of Spartacus, the Roman government lined the Appian Way with hundreds of crosses so as to dissuade any other would-be revolutionaries. Pontius Pilate had much the same intention when he nailed dozens of Jewish rebels to the walls of Jerusalem. That same Pilate arranged for Jesus to be crucified on Calvary Hill, a promontory situated close to one of the gates of ancient Jerusalem, guaranteeing that his horrific death would not be missed by the large Passover crowds moving in and out of the city.  
From the crucified Jesus, all of the disciples, save John, fled, precisely because they wanted with all their hearts to avoid his dreadful fate. After Good Friday, the friends of Jesus huddled in terror in the Upper Room, petrified that they might be nailed up on Calvary as well. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were, understandably, heading out of Jerusalem, away from danger, and they were utterly convinced that Jesus’ movement had come to naught. In a word, the cross meant the victory of the world, and the annihilation of Jesus and what he stood for.  
And this is why it is surpassing strange that one of the earliest Apostles and missionaries of the Christian religion could write, “I preach one thing, Christ and him crucified!” How could Paul—the passage is taken from his first letter to the Corinthians—possibly present the dreadful cross as the centerpiece of his proclamation? He could do so only because he knew that God had raised the crucified Jesus from the dead, proving thereby that God’s love and forgiveness are greater than anything in the world. This is why his exaltation of the cross is a sort of taunt to Rome and all of its brutal descendants down through the ages: “You think that scares us? God has conquered that!” And this is why, to this day, Christians boldly hold up an image of the humiliated, tortured Jesus to the world. What they are saying is, “We are not afraid.”

Fr. Jozo: Your only enemy is the one who can separate you from the altar

The following comes from the Into God's Company 2 site:

Father Jozo and the Eucharist:
He that can separate You from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other.


Place your life upon this altar. You will witness how a priest will place a drop of water within a chalice full of wine. That drop of water intermingles with the wine and signifies you in the Holy Mass. You can become one, unite with and intermingle with Jesus. That is why the Holy Mass is called Communion ...union with God ...you and your God together ...that is the Holy Eucharist. All of us together and Jesus. That is the church, and that is where the one, holy Catholic apostolic church comes from.

He who can separate you from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other.

Every time we come into the church and celebrate the Holy Mass, that is our embrace, our hanging onto Our Lord and saying, "Lord where would we go, for you are the Word of Life."

Where did the martyrs gain so much strenght from? In the Church, where did the witnesses gain their strength from?

To date, in this year, 23 missionaries have been murdered around the world in four months. That is a lot. How can a man give his life for Jesus simply, with delight? It is the Holy Mass that does this within us, so that for you I'm able to give my very eyes, my arms and my life, my everything as Jesus gave His all; and the same way the Christian must give his all. Yes, once again, I must return to the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist.

Why is it that churches and sects do not tolerate the Mass, do not respect Our Lady? Because they go hand-in-hand. Yes, they go together. Our Lady teaches to come to love Jesus, to fall in love with Him, and that is why she places us before the Holy Eucharist, and pleads with us to pray before this holy, blessed Sacrament, so from Jesus we may learn to become bread for others; so that I not have fear to say, "Take this, all of you, of me, and eat of it."I know a lot of Anglican and Protestant priests, ministers, that were in Medjugorje.

I know of a Presbyterian bishop that I have met from Washington. He had sent a multitude of his priests to Medjugorje as well. When I was in Washington a few years ago, I visited him because he visited me and came to Medjugorje. He had a problem, a cross, that was inflicted upon him. His son was shot in Vietnam and became paralyzed. When his son returned from the war, he said to his wife, "Let us make a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I believe Our Lady will hear us." And Our Lady gave a miracle. The son was healed and converted the parents. The bishop desired that all of his priests come to know Our Lady. Eight of those priests to date have become Catholic priests, without any shouts, without publication, without media. Our Lady works in miraculous ways. She was always the sign, the sign of a better world, the sign of peace and unity in the Church, the sign of our salvation. May it also truly be the same in your city or town. Let us commence Holy Mass by preparing ourselves and involving this great grace.

This article was taken from the Medjugorje Newletter, published by Weible Columns.

Saint of the day: Gabriel Possenti


The following comes from EWTN:

On a summer day a little over a hundred years ago, a slim figure in a black cassock stood facing a gang of mercenaries in a small town in Piedmont, Italy. He had just disarmed one of the soldiers who was attacking a young girl, had faced the rest of the band fearlessly, then drove them all out of the village at the point of a gun. The young man was Francesco Possenti, whose father was lawyer for the Papal States and who had recently joined the Passionist Order, taking the name of Brother Gabriel.

Francesco Possenti had been the fanciest dresser in town as well as the best dancer. He was a superb horseman and an excellent marksman. Engaged to two girls at the same time and a great partygoer, he had shocked his family by announcing after his graduation that he was going to become a Passionist monk. No one believed him and expected him back within a few weeks. He stayed, and when Garibaldi's mercenaries swept down through Italy ravaging villages, Brother Gabriel showed the kind of man he was by confronting them, astonishing them with his marksmanship, and saving the small village where his monastery was located.

He had become very sick during his school years and had promised that if he got better, he would dedicate his life to God. St. Gabriel Possenti got better and forgot about it. He got sick again and made the same promise, but again got well and forgot his promise. Once, during a church procession in which a great banner of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was being carried, the eyes of Our Lady looked straight at him and he heard the words: "Keep your promise." Shaken, he remembered his promise, changed his life completely, and entered the Passionists.

He hoped to be sent to the missions after his ordination to the priesthood, but at the young age of twenty-four, he died. Canonized in 1920, he is, along with St. Aloysius, one of the patrons of youth. He was very fond of his family and is particularly remembered as a remarkable young man who, at the age of twenty, threw all aside for God, determined to become a saint.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chris Stefanick on Jesus