Friday, October 31, 2014

Psalm 51 (Chant)


Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to thy steadfast love;
according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,
and sinners will return to thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
thou God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
O Lord, open thou my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on thy altar. 


Brother Roger: Together to Praise

Together to Praise from Taize on Vimeo.

The Church's Devotion to the Virgin Mary

The following comes from the Canterbury Tales site:


In his Apostolic Letter entitled Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI states "the Church's devotedness to the Virgin Mary is an intrinsic element of the Christian Religion." His Holiness even states that we "cannot be Christians without being Marian." Father Stefano Manelli of the Franiciscans of the Immaculate focuses on this passage from Marialis Cultus as a true summary of Catholic teaching regarding Marian devotion.

If a Christian refuses to see God's glorious election in choosing the Blessed Virgin Mary as the perfect Mother of His Divine Son, then that soul does yet see the beautiful plan of human salvation. The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ for our salvation requires that God the Son have a human mother. It is integral to every single Christian doctrine revealed by God.

I write "refuses" to see the beauty of Marian devotion because it is something that God disperses in the soul through grace. If I person says, "I love Jesus, but I don't love Mary," something disingenuous has occurred. 

The typology of Adam and Eve in relation to Christ and Mary is helpful here. One cannot credit Adam alone for God's curse over the human race. One cannot credit Eve alone. Certainly, Adam was chief and our fall from grace derives chiefly from him.

But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come. (Romans 5:13)

So then, Adam is the Peccator and Eve is the Co-peccatrix. Eve's role is relative, but integral.

The same is true for the New Adam and the New Eve. Christ is God. Mary is not. Nevertheless, Mary's role in the Incarnation and her consenting presence at the foot of the cross does not by itself merit human salvation (a finite human person cannot merit the salvation of anyone). Nevertheless, her role in the saving action of Christ is also relative and integral. One cannot imagine the sacrifice of Christ on the cross without her since she is the loving means by which God the Son gained a human body.


If you struggle with devotion to Mary, take the helpful advice of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. He says that we only gain knowledge and understanding of Mary "on our knees." It is something that cannot be learned in a book. This is yet another reason to pray the Rosary daily.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Step By Step (Sometimes By Step) by Rich Mullins

Pope Francis: Christian life is a continuous battle against the devil

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis described Christian life as a continuous battle being waged against Satan, the world and the passions of the flesh. His comments came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence. He stressed that the devil exists and we must fight against him with the armour of truth.
Pope Francis's reflections during his homily were taken from the words of St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where the apostle urged Christians to put on the full armour of God in order to resist Satan’s temptations.  A Christian life, he said, has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. It’s a continuous battle against the three main enemies of Christian life which are the devil, the world and the passions of the flesh.
“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do?  Pauls tells us to put on God’s full armour, meaning that God acts as a defence, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations.  Is this clear?  No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without  putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us.”
Saint Paul, continued the Pope, underlines that our battle is not against little things but against the principalities and the ruling forces, in other words against the devil and his followers.   
“But in this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him.  Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this.  But we’re not all convinced of this.  And then Paul describes God’s armour and which are the different types that make up this great armour of God.  And he says: ‘So stand your ground,  with truth a belt around your waist.’  The truth is God’s armour.”
By contrast, said Pope Francis, the devil is a liar and the father of liars and in order to fight him we must have truth on our side.  He also underlined the importance of always having our faith in God, like a shield, when fighting this battle against the devil, who, he noted, doesn't throw flowers at us but instead burning arrows.
“Life is a military endeavour.  Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle, because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness: the joy that the Lord is the victor within us, with his free gift of salvation.  But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us!  But don’t get discouraged.  Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”

Ss. Damien of Molokai and Marianne Cope and a man named Joseph

The following comes from Fr. George Rutler:

The canonization of Marianne Cope, along with Kateri Tekakwitha, on October 21, occasioned the publication of a stunning photograph showing Marianne standing beside the funeral bier of St. Damien in Kalaupapa, Molokai. That was in 1889, and the picture is so sharp that it could have been taken today. It must be the first photograph of two saints together. The holy friendships of Teresa of Avila with John of the Cross, and Francis de Sales with 
Jane de Chantal illuminated civilization before photography. 

St. Damien’s body is scarred with leprosy but vested in the fine chasuble in which he used to offer Mass. St. Marianne, in her timeless religious habit, shows no sorrow for she obviously knows she is looking at a saint, not knowing that she is one herself. 

Studying that photograph, one thinks of how hard they worked, not only among the outcast lepers, but all their lives. Damien, born Jozef de Veuster in Belgium, was a farm boy, and Marianne left school in Utica, New York, after the eighth grade to support her family by working in factories. 

Not in the picture was their helper, Joseph Dutton, a Civil War veteran who was so traumatized by the ravages of war and his broken marriage that he became an alcoholic. He reformed his life, went to Molokai and worked with the lepers for 45 years — cleaning latrines, scrubbing floors, and binding sores — until his death in 1931. Their great happiness would have been clouded to see how much unhappiness there is in our land today. 

As a typical eighteenth-century rationalist, Edward Gibbon was cynical about Christianity, but as an historian he analyzed the decline of once-great civilizations in terms of natural virtue: “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” 

I expect that Gibbon would have understood modern saints no better than he did the early martyrs and confessors, but he would have seen in them a selfless energy that builds noble societies, and the neglect of such energy pulls them down. Our own nation is facing these realities as it decides what it wants to be. The present crisis in culture cannot be resolved if it is addressed only in terms of economics and international relations. The real leaders are not those who hypnotize naïve people into thinking that they are the source of hope. Those who can rescue nations from servility to selfishness are not on slick campaign posters, but in stark black and white photographs like that taken on Molokai in 1889.

Saint of the day: Alphonsus Rodriguez

The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

Confessor and Jesuit brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice tad and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christus Factus Est by Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz

The Deadly Sin of Pride

The following comes from Fr. Dwight Longenecker at Catholic Exchange:

There is a little poem by e.e.cummings which contains a line, “even on a sunday may I be wrong, for whenever men are right they are not young.” The poet is being paradoxically playful to make a point. When we are always right about everything we have not only lost the innocence of youth, but we are also guilty of the most basic sin of all, the deadly sin of pride. Pride is best understood as being right at all costs.
Some of the problems we think of as pride are really the symptoms of pride. We consider an arrogant person to be proud, but arrogance is one of the outward signs of pride. A person who displays his achievement or wealth, struts his good looks or brags about his victories is displaying the symptoms of pride, but pride is a much deeper problem and its symptoms can be seen in many other less obvious ways. A person who insists on arguing his point and will not listen to anyone else is proud. A person who simply assumes that he is right in his opinions is proud even though he may not strut or be arrogant. A person who can never be corrected, who is always defensive, who always has an excuse or always blames another person is proud because they cannot be wrong. Ever. At all.
In religious circles a person who is self righteous is proud. Now it gets tricky because a person who appears very humble and pious might, beneath the surface, be very proud of their piety and religious knowledge. At this point we have to laugh at ourselves. “What? You mean I am proud of being humble?” It’s true, some of the most incorrigibly proud people appear to be self effacing, obedient and pious souls.
This is why pride is so deadly, because it is the one sin that hides itself so effectively. The proud person, by very definition, does not realize he is proud. If he realized he was proud he would repent, but it is pride which keeps him from seeing that he is wrong or sinful in any way. Pride is a very difficult sin to do anything about because the proud person will even go so far as to admit that he is proud, and that makes him even more “right” than he was before!
What a subtle, lying, deceitful and insidious sin pride is! No wonder it is called “the first sin”. No wonder it is the first and most terrible sin of Satan who is the Father of Lies. Is pride deadly? Yes. It is deadly like a poisoned apple. It is deadly like a smiling murderer. Pride kills because the proud person cannot stand others who disagree. Not only does the proud person have to be right, but as their pride grows they must also destroy everyone else who is wrong. They cannot allow an enemy to remain. The proud person may not kill literally, but they kill reputations through gossip and detraction. They kill good will through hatred and recrimination. They kill charity through revenge and nursing a grudge. They kill friendship through arrogance, indifference to others and lack of compassion.
Humility counters pride. The word “humility” is derived from the same root as humor and “humus” which means “earth.” A humble person is down to earth. A humble person has a good sense of humor. Most of all, the humble person knows his failures, faults and foibles. He knows himself and can laugh at himself. e.e.cummings ends the poem by saying ruefully, “there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail, pulling all the sky over him with one smile.”

Salesian Holiness: Blessed Michael Rua!

Today in the Church we recall Blessed Michael Rua! He was the first successor of St. John Bosco and led the Salesian Family toward tremendous growth. The following comes from the Salesian website in Rome:

Going halves in everything

Born in Turin on June 9, 1837, the youngest of nine children, Michael came to the Oratory in 1852. One day Don Bosco told him: "We will go halves in everything". He was among the first group to whom Don Bosco suggested the formation of the Salesian Society.

His many roles

For 36 years he was his closest collaborator in all stages of the development of the Congregation. He was professed in 1855, was first spiritual director of the Congregation at 22 (1859) and was ordained in 1860. He became the first director of the Mirabello College at 26 (1863-1865) and, later, was Vicar of Valdocco, with its 700 pupils and of the Society. He was administrator of the Letture Cattoliche (Catholic Readings), responsible for formation (1869) and for personnel. In 1875 he became Director General of the Salesian Sisters and he accompanied Don Bosco on his journeys.

Don Bosco's first successor

At the explicit request of the Founder, in 1884, Pope Leo XIII named him to succeed Don Bosco and he confirmed him as Rector Major in 1888. Fr. Rua was seen as the 'living Rule' because of his austere fidelity, yet he also displayed a fatherly spirit that was capable of great thoughtfulness, so much so that he was known as 'a king of kindness'.

Oversaw extraordinary growth

With the growth in the numbers of confrere and the development of the works, he sent Salesians all over the world, giving special attention to missionary expeditions.
In his long journeys in Europe and the Middle East, he consoled and encouraged, always looking to the Founder: "Don Bosco said…Don Bosco did… Don Bosco wanted…". When he died, on April 6 1910, at 73, the Society had grown from 773 Salesians to 4000, from 57 houses to 345, from 6 provinces to 34, in 33 countries.

Faithful continuation of Don Bosco's spirit

When beatifying him, Pope Paul VI stated: "The Salesian Family owes its origin to Don Bosco, to Fr. Rua its continuation… he developed the Saint's example into a school, his Rule into a spirit, his holiness into a model. He turned the spring into a river". His remains are venerated in the crypt of the Basilica of Mary Our Help.
Beatified on 29 October 1972 by Paul VI. 29th October is the day his memorial is kept liturgically


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman

Pope Francis: Are you Catholic? Then stay in the Church!

 Pope Francis said that those waiting at the threshold of the Church without going inside are not true members of the Church which Jesus established and on whom it is built.

“We are citizens, fellow citizens of this Church. If we do not enter into this temple to be part of this building so that the Holy Spirit may live in us, we are not in the Church,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse for his Oct. 28 daily Mass.

Rather, “we are on the threshold and look inside…Those Christians who do not go beyond the Church’s reception: they are there, at the door: 'Yes, I am Catholic, but not too Catholic.'”

The Pope centered his reflections on both the day's first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and the Gospel, taken from Luke, Chapter 6.

In the first reading St. Paul explains to the Christians of Ephesus that they are no longer strangers, but have become fellow members of the house of God, which is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and has Jesus himself as the “capstone.”

The Gospel reading recounts how Jesus, after spending the night in prayer, comes down from the mountain and calls the Twelve Apostles by name.

By reflecting on the gospel reading, there are three clear actions that Jesus carried out when founding the Church, the Pope observed, saying that the first action is prayer, the second was choosing his disciples, and the third was welcoming and healing the crowds.

“Jesus prays, Jesus calls, Jesus chooses, Jesus sends his disciples out, Jesus heals the crowd. Inside this temple, this Jesus who is the corner stone does all this work: it is He who conducts the Church,” the pontiff noted, explaining that the Church is built on the apostles.

However, despite the fact that the Twelve were chosen by Jesus, they were all still sinners, the Pope said, explaining that although no one knows who sinned the most, there could have been one that sinned more than Judas did.

“Judas, poor man, is the one who closed himself to love and that is why he became a traitor. And they all ran away during the difficult time of the Passion and left Jesus alone. They are all sinners. But (Jesus) chose (regardless).”

And Jesus, the Pope added, wants everyone to be inside of the Church he founded, not as strangers passing through, but rather with the “rights of a citizen” where they have roots.

The person who stands at the threshold of the Church looking in but not entering has no sense of the full love and mercy that Jesus gives to every person, Francis said, adding that proof of this can be seen in Jesus' relationship with Peter.

Even though Peter denies the Lord he is still the first pillar of the Church, the pontiff explained. “For Jesus, Peter’s sin was not important: he was looking at (Peter’s) heart. But to be able to find this heart and heal it, he prayed.”

It is Jesus who prays and heals, Pope Francis noted, saying that it is something he does for each one of us.

“We cannot understand the Church without Jesus who prays and heals,” he said, praying that the Holy Spirit would help all to understand that the Church draws her strength from Jesus’ prayer which can heal us all.

A prayer by St. Francis de Sales


Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Saints of the Day: Simon and Jude




















Today we remember two great apostles: Simon and Jude

O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles,
and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray
that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we
may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Worn by Tenth Avenue North

Rest in God

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:


We all suffer in this world more or less, either from anxiety of mind, or sorrow of heart, or pain of body. And nevertheless we all long for rest; we seek it eagerly; and we wear ourselves out all our lives in this search without ever attaining the ob­ject of our desires.
Where is rest to be found? Where shall we seek it? This is a most interesting question if ever there was one.
Some men, in fact the greater number, seek their rest in the enjoyment of the riches, pleasures, and honors of this life. What care do they not take to secure these things for themselves, to preserve them, to increase them, and to accumulate them?
Do they really find rest in these things? No. How would rest be found in these perishing things, which cannot even sat­isfy the passion that desired them; in things that have no proportion with the wants of the human heart, that leave it always empty, always devoured by a still more ardent thirst; in things that are always being disputed and envied and torn furiously by one person from another? What rest and stability can be found in things that are change itself? If the foundation on which we build our rest is always moving, is it not a necessary consequence that we must experience the same agitation?
Let everyone consult himself; experience is the most posi­tive of proofs. What man ever tasted rest in the midst of the greatest treasures, the liveliest pleasures, the most flattering honors? Rest is not in these things: everyone knows this; and yet it is in these things that man persists in seeking it. Men ex­haust themselves in desires, in projects, in enterprises, and they never succeed in finding a single moment of rest. If they would only consult their reason, it would tell them that in this way they can never find rest. What blindness! What folly!
Others establish their rest in themselves, and in doing this, they think they are much wiser than those who seek it in exte­rior things. But are they really wise? Is man made to be suffi­cient for himself? Can he find in himself the principle of his rest? His ideas change every day; his heart is in a perpetual state of unrest; he is constantly imagining new systems of hap­piness, and he finds this happiness nowhere. If he is alone, he is devoured with weariness. If he is in company, however se­lect and agreeable it may be, it soon becomes tiresome to him; his reflections exhaust and torment him. Study and reading may amuse him and distract him for a time, but they cannot fill up the void in his heart. This is the kind of rest that human wisdom promises to its followers and for which it invites them to give up everything else, to isolate themselves, and to concentrate their attention on themselves. It is a deceitful rest, which is not exempt from the most violent agitations and which is at least as hard for man to bear as the tumult of his passions!
Where, then, is rest to be found, if we can find it neither in the good things of this world nor in ourselves?
It is to be found in God, and in God alone. Jesus Christ came into the world to teach us this truth, and it is the greatest lesson that He has given us. But how few there are who profit by it!
“Thou hast made us for Thyself,” cries St. Augustine, “and our heart finds no rest until it reposes in Thee.” This truth is the first principle of all morality; reason, religion, and experience all unite in proving it to us.

Mother Teresa on Kinds of Poverty

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.  The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.  We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty."    
                               Bl. Mother Teresa

Asking in Prayer with Fr. Benedict Groeschel