Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi blessing


Easter Sunday: Pope prays for peace in Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria. He asked the for an end to the terrorist attacks in Nigeria.

The Lord has Risen!

The following poem from the second century priest Melito of Sardes (Asia Minor) praises the Resurrection:

Trembling for joy cries all creation;
What is this mystery, so great and new?
The Lord has risen from among the dead,
And Death itself He crushed with valiant foot.
Behold the cruel tyrant bound and chained,
And man made free by Him who rose!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Prayerful Pause


Ave mundi spes Maria - Latin

Ave mundi spes Maria, ave mitis, ave pia, ave plena gratia.

Ave virgo singularis, quć per rubum designaris non passus incendia.
Ave rosa speciosa, ave Jesse virgula:
Cujus fructus nostri luctus relaxavit vincula.

Ave cujus viscera contra mortis foedera ediderunt filium.
Ave carens simili, mundo diu flebili reparasti gaudium.
Ave virginum lucerna, per quam fulsit lux superna his quos umbra tenuit.
Ave virgo de qua nasci, et de cujus lacte pasci res cćlorum voluit.

Ave gemma coeli luminarium.
Ave Sancti Spiritus sacrarium.

Oh, quam mirabilis, et quam laudabilis hćc est virginitas!
In qua per spiritum facta paraclitum fulsit foecunditas.

Oh, quam sancta, quam serena, quam benigna, quam amoena esse virgo creditur!
Per quam servitus finitur, posta coeli aperitur, et libertas redditur.
Oh, castitatis lilium, tuum precare filium, qui salus est humilium:
Ne nos pro nostro vitio, in flebili judicio subjiciat supplicio.

Sed nos tua sancta prece mundans a peccati fćce collocet in lucis domo.
Amen dicat omnis homo.


Ave mundi spes Maria - English

Hail, hope of the world, Mary, hail, meek one, hail, loving one, hail, full of grace.
Hail O singular virgin, who wast chosen to not suffer flames through brambles.
Hail, beautiful rose, hail, staff of Jesse:

Whose fruit loosened the chains of our weeping
Hail whose womb bore a son against the law of death.
Hail, O one lacking comparison, still tearfully renewing joy for the world.
Hail, lamp of virgins, through whom the heavenly light shone on these whom shadow holds.

Hail, O virgin from whom a thing of heaven wished to be born, and from whose milk feed.
Hail, gem of the lamps of heaven.
Hail, sanctuary of the Holy Ghost.

O, how wonderful, and how praiseworthy is this virginity!
In whom, made through the spirit, the paraclete, shone fruitfulness.
O how holy, how serene, how kind, how pleasant the virgin is believed to be!
Through whom slavery is finished, a place of heaven is opened, and liberty is returned.
O, lily of chastity, pray to thy son, who is the salvation of the humble:

Lest we through our fault, in the tearful judgment suffer punishment.

But may she, by her holy prayer, purifying from the dregs of sin, place us in a home of light
Amen let every man say.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Remembrance by Matt Maher (Passion of the Christ)


Communion Featuring The Passion from Hadley Baker on Vimeo.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: His Last Words


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fr. Tom Rosica: Holy Thursday Reflection

Pope Francis to Priests: If you don't go out from yourselves, the holy oils become rancid


The following comes from the Catholic World Report:

This morning in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated the traditional Chrism Mass with the priests of the Diocese of Rome as well as bishops and cardinals residing in the Eternal City. The Chrism Mass, which is celebrated by the diocesan bishop during Holy Week and includes diocesan priests renewing the vows first made at their ordination, also features the blessing of the holy oils that will be used for the sacraments throughout the rest of the year.

Below is the full text of Pope Francis’ homily from this morning’s Chrism Mass, addressed to his “brother priests” (English translation via Vatican Radio).

***
Dear Brother Priests,
In the eternal “today” of Holy Thursday, when Christ showed his love for us to the end (cf. Jn 13:1), we recall the happy day of the institution of the priesthood, as well as the day of our own priestly ordination. The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest. Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God: that faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.

Anointed with the oil of gladness so as to anoint others with the oil of gladness. Priestly joy has its source in the Father’s love, and the Lord wishes the joy of this Love to be “ours” and to be “complete” (Jn 15:11). I like to reflect on joy by contemplating Our Lady, for Mary, the “Mother of the living Gospel, is a wellspring of joy for God’s little ones” (Evangelii Gaudium, 288). I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that priest is very little indeed: the incomparable grandeur of the gift granted us for the ministry sets us among the least of men. The priest is the poorest of men unless Jesus enriches him by his poverty, the most useless of servants unless Jesus calls him his friend, the most ignorant of men unless Jesus patiently teaches him as he did Peter, the frailest of Christians unless the Good Shepherd strengthens him in the midst of the flock. No one is more “little” than a priest left to his own devices; and so our prayer of protection against every snare of the Evil One is the prayer of our Mother: I am a priest because he has regarded my littleness (cf. Lk 1:48). And in that littleness we find our joy.

For me, there are three significant features of our priestly joy. It is a joy which anoints us (not one which “greases” us, making us unctuous, sumptuous and presumptuous), it is a joy which is imperishable and it is a missionary joy which spreads and attracts, starting backwards – with those farthest away from us.

A joy which anoints us. In a word: it has penetrated deep within our hearts, it has shaped them and strengthened them sacramentally. The signs of the ordination liturgy speak to us of the Church’s maternal desire to pass on and share with others all that the Lord has given us: the laying on of hands, the anointing with sacred chrism, the clothing with sacred vestments, the first consecration which immediately follows… Grace fills us to the brim and overflows, fully, abundantly and entirely in each priest. We are anointed down to our very bones… and our joy, which wells up from deep within, is the echo of this anointing.

An imperishable joy. The fullness of the Gift, which no one can take away or increase, is an unfailing source of joy: an imperishable joy which the Lord has promised no one can take from us (Jn 16:22). It can lie dormant, or be clogged by sin or by life’s troubles, yet deep down it remains intact, like the embers of a burnt log beneath the ashes, and it can always be renewed. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy remains ever timely: I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands (cf. 2 Tim 1:6).

A missionary joy. I would like especially to share with you and to stress this third feature: priestly joy is deeply bound up with God’s holy and faithful people, for it is an eminently missionary joy. Our anointing is meant for anointing God’s holy and faithful people: for baptizing and confirming them, healing and sanctifying them, blessing, comforting and evangelizing them.

And since this joy is one which only springs up when the shepherd is in the midst of his flock (for even in the silence of his prayer, the shepherd who worships the Father is with his sheep), it is a “guarded joy”, watched over by the flock itself. Even in those gloomy moments when everything looks dark and a feeling of isolation takes hold of us, in those moments of listlessness and boredom which at times overcome us in our priestly life (and which I too have experienced), even in those moments God’s people are able to “guard” that joy; they are able to protect you, to embrace you and to help you open your heart to find renewed joy.

A “guarded joy”: one guarded by the flock but also guarded by three sisters who surround it, tend it and defend it: sister poverty, sister fidelity and sister obedience.

Gethsemane by Ted Neeley

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fr. George Rutler: The Paradox of Christ's Passion

The following comes from Fr. George Rutler:

There is a moral difference between sight and perception, just as there is between height and stature. Someone with 20/20 vision may be blind to reality, and a very tall man may be a moral midget. There is also a difference between clock time, which measures days, and moral time which measures destiny. When Christ said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23), He was not looking at an hour glass but at the Cross. That is why he prayed, “Yet what should I say? ‘Father save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour” (John 12:27).


Time can drag when there is nothing to do, but it speeds by when there is a goal to be met. In His human nature, Christ was “troubled” because he could anticipate the physical pain ahead, and He knew that it would peak chronologically at High Noon on Friday, but his moral victory was already secured in another kind of time: “Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). Satan, of whom He speaks, had tried to block this hour because he thinks only in terms of daily existence rather than eternal life.


From this perspective, our Lord meant more than physical distance when he spoke of going “up” to Jerusalem. The Sea of Galilee is about 700 feet below sea level, the lowest fresh-water lake in the world. Jerusalem is 2500 feet above sea level, and the “hill” of Calvary added a few more feet to that, and the Cross was high on top of that hill. But He would be lifted beyond measure: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32).


The paradox of Christ's Passion is that he had to go down in order to go up: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). He spoke shockingly of losing our life if we love it and preserving it for eternal life if we hate it (cf. John 12:25). By hatred He meant neglect of the moral measure of what we are. To try to preserve existence and attain great heights without risking our lives and being humbled for the sake of love, is simply to shrivel up. In a spiritual journal that George Washington faithfully kept, he prayed for protection against “an unwillingness to depart this life” which would cast him “into a spiritual slumber.”


Our Lord entered Jerusalem to battle more than a human enemy, and on an immeasurable scale he won the greatest of all victories when the Hour came.

Fr. Robert Barron comments on Hell

Saint Benedict Joseph Labre

This is an update of a post on St. Benedict Joseph that I did last year. What a wonderful saint!

When I was a newly ordained priest at Salesian High in New Rochelle, NY I was able to go for spritual direction to Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR. Fr. Benedict gave me the biography of St. Benedict Joseph Labre to read. I had never heard of this saint before, but was greatly impressed by the story of his life! Today is his Feast Day! His is a beautiful and sad story.

Benedict Joseph was the oldest of 15 children of a middle class family. He was educated by his uncle, a parish priest. Following his uncle's death, he tried to join the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians, but was rejected by them all. He then spent years wandering Europe, especially Rome, in complete poverty, spending his days in perpetual adoration in the cathedrals and churches he came upon. Benedict would go into religious ecstasy when contemplating the passion of Christ. He was reputed to float, soar, and bilocate when in ecstasy. He begged in the streets, and if he was given more than he needed for the day, he would give the remainder to some one he considered more in need. He cured some of his fellow homeless, and multiplied bread for them. Benedict Joseph was counselor to people of all walks of life in Rome.

On the last day of his life, April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. His biography, written by his confessor Marconi, describes 136 miraculous cures attributed to him within three months of his death. Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint. He was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII at canonization ceremonies in 1883.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mysticism, Monasticism, and the New Evangelization

The following comes from the Catholic World Report:

“If God exists, He must be felt. If He is Love, it must be experienced and become the fact of one's inmost life. Without spiritual enlightenment, all is an idle talk, like a bubble which vanishes under the least pressure. Without the awakening of the religious sense or faculty, God is a shadow, the soul a ghost, and life a dream.” — Soyen Shaku, Zen For Americans
“Put out into deep water, and lower your nets for a catch.” — Luke 5:4

The first two topics of this article are not often associated with the third. Many people think of Christian mysticism and monasticism as strictly “in-house” matters, too remote and esoteric to have any bearing on the Church’s re-evangelization of the post-Christian West.

While Catholics generally respect the contemplative vocation, they may see it as peripheral to supposedly more urgent concerns, such as improving catechesis and the liturgy, or bearing witness to faith and morality in public life.

Those concerns are critical. But we believe the New Evangelization of historically Christian countries also requires a rediscovery of Christian mysticism, and a revival of the monastic setting which is its natural home.


Let us pray!

These days need to be days of prayer for us. This might be easier said than done as it is hard to form this practice amidst the busyness of our lives. Yet we know that we are called to it and we need it. Let's pray for one another these days that we make the best of this most holy time of year to pray and spend time with the God who loves us! The following comes from Fr. Dwight Longenecker on prayer:

Here are ten random thoughts on prayer:

*If prayer is a conversation how can we listen to God if we don't keep silence?
*Obedience comes from the root 'obedere' which means 'to listen'
*The first words of the Rule of St Benedict are, "Listen My Son"
*Prayer is not just asking for things but asking questions. Be inquisitive with God.
*As a child asks questions to learn about life, so we ask questions in prayer to learn about
the spiritual life
*Prayer opens our life to God's life and our will to God's will
*Prayer is the hardest work
*Prayer is the most intimate act
*To pray is to be fully human. Not homo sapiens but homo orans
*To pray is to understand

George Herbert's poem Prayer

PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth ;
Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner's towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear ;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alabaster by Rend Collective Experiment


Pope Francis on Palm Sunday: "Has my life fallen asleep?"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square calling on the faithful to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.

With the some 100,000 people present to be with the Pope and mark the beginning of Holy Week, the Pope listened to the Gospel account of how Jesus’s disciples fell asleep just before he was betrayed byJudas before his crucifixion and then said: “Has my life fallen asleep?'' “Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?''

And speaking off the cuff instead of following his prepared homily, Pope Francis asked: “Where is my heart?'' pinpointing it as the “question which accompanies us'' throughout Holy Week.

After the ceremony Pope Francis disrobed of his red vestments, chatted to those close to him, and posed for “selfies”' with young people from Rio de Janeiro who had carried a large cross in the square. 

For the occasion the Pope used a wooden pastoral staff carved by Italian prison inmates.

Word Among Us: Lenten Bible Study (Part 6)

Lent Bible Study Session 6 from The Word Among Us on Vimeo.

The Measure of the World by Cardinal Newman

By John Henry Newman

A great number of men live and die without reflecting at all upon the state of things in which they find themselves. They take things as they come, and follow their inclinations as far as they have the opportunity. They are guided mainly by pleasure and pain, not by reason, principle, or conscience; and they do not attempt to interpret this world, to determine what it means, or to reduce what they see and feel to system. But when persons, either from thoughtfulness of mind, or from intellectual activity, begin to contemplate the visible state of things into which they are born, then forthwith they find it a maze and a perplexity. . . .Why it is, and what it is to issue in, and how it is what it is, and how we come to be introduced into it, and what is our destiny, are all mysteries.

In this difficulty, some have formed one philosophy of life, and others another. Men have thought they had found the key, by means of which they might read what is so obscure. Ten thousand things come before us one after another in the course of life, and what are we to think of them? what colour are we to give them? Are we to look at all things in a gay and mirthful way? or in a melancholy way? in a desponding or a hopeful way? Are we to make light of life altogether, or to treat the whole subject seriously? Are we to make greatest things of little consequence, or least things of great consequence? Are we to keep in mind what is past and gone, or are we to look on to the future, or are we to be absorbed in what is present? How are we to look at things? Such is the need felt by reflective minds. Now, let me ask, what is the real key, what is the Christian interpretation of this world? What is given us by revelation to estimate and measure this world by? The event of this season – the Crucifixion of the Son of God. . . .

But it will be said, that the view which the Cross of Christ imparts to us of human life and of the world, is not that which we should take, if left to ourselves; that it is not an obvious view; that if we look at things on their surface, they are far more bright and sunny than they appear when viewed in the light which this season casts upon them.

But again; it is but a superficial view of things to say that this life is made for pleasure and happiness. To those who look under the surface, it tells a very different tale. The doctrine of the Cross does but teach, though infinitely more forcibly, still after all it does but teach the very same lesson which this world teaches to those who live long in it, who have much experience in it, who know it. The world is sweet to the lips, but bitter to the taste. . . .Therefore the doctrine of the Cross of Christ does but anticipate for us our experience of the world.



Read the rest here at The Catholic Thing site.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kyrie Eleison