Thursday, July 30, 2009

St. Ignatius of Loyola

First Saturday Devotion

The desire for a First Saturday devotion revealed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three children at Fatima in 1917. On December 10, 1925, the Virgin revealed more details about the devotion to Sister Lucia, the only seer still alive and at that time a cloistered nun. From that time, the devotion has spread throughout the world on the day (Saturday) that the Church has traditionally honored the Blessed Virgin. There is no distinct confraternity/association for this devotion, though many apostolates incorporate it into their devotional program. Purposes To establish devotion (in accordance with God's wishes) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to make reparation for... 1. Attacks upon the reality of Mary's Immaculate Conception 2. Attacks against her the reality of Mary's Perpetual Virginity 3. Attacks upon Mary's Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all mankind 4. Those who try to publicly implant in children's hearts indifference, contempt and hatred for Immaculate Mary 5. For those who insult Mary directly in her sacred images. Practices The devotion involves the following practices on five consecutive first Saturdays with the specific intention of making reparation for the offenses (above) against the Blessed Virgin. 1. Go to Confession (within 8 days before or after the first Saturday) 2. Receive Holy Communion 3. Recite five decades of the Rosary* 4. "Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on fifteen mysteries of the Rosary" (separate from the Rosary itself)* (*Preferably done in the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle or at Exposition) Promises 1. The Virgin Mary's assistance at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation for those who practice the devotion. 2. Salvation of souls and peace as a result of promoting of the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart.

St. Peter Chrysologus and the Priesthood of the Christian

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Praying Your Way Through the Day 12 Tips for You

I recently can across this article from Loyola Press while searching for way to improve my prayer life which I would like to share. Many of us have come to realize that their day goes better when they pray early and often. Here's a list of suggestions for praying your way through your day. Pick one or two suggestions that seem to be calling you and make a habit of them. You can always add more prayer to your day as time goes by. 1. Start with a Morning Offering. Start each day by declaring your intention to make a gift of all the “joys, works, prayers, and sufferings” of the day ahead. Use words such as “God, I offer you my whole day. I offer you all that I am, all that I have, and all that I will do. Help me to know and do your will.” 2. Think ahead. Imagine the toughest challenge facing you in the day ahead. Now imagine that these are moments of grace in which God is especially present to you. 3. Take a quiet time. Early in your day, spend a brief period of quiet. Starting your day with ten minutes to half an hour in meditative prayer will make a huge difference in your whole day. 4. Pray as you sit down to eat breakfast. Ask for strength and direction in your day. 5. Make lemonade. Pray during the day whenever you hit a snag and feel frustrated. 6. Pray with joy. Pray when you feel glad to see or hear from someone—a friend, a coworker, a student, a customer. 7. Pray before your noontime meal. Ask for patience, perseverance, and hope. 8. Take a three-minute prayer break. In mid-afternoon simply breathe and ask to be refreshed. Imagine rays of light filling your soul. 9. Pray at transition times. Be aware of your body as one part of the day comes to an end and another begins. Slow down and breathe deeply. 10. Pray before your evening meal. In addition to thanking God for your food, take a moment for everyone at the table to answer the questions “Who blessed me with their presence and their actions today?” and “Whom did I bless?” 11. Pray to let go of the cares of the day. Find a “trigger moment,” such as putting your keys on your dresser; turning off the television, radio, or computer; or laying out clothes for the next day, that can serve as a reminder to take a moment for reflective prayer. 12. Finish your day with night prayer. Before you drift off to sleep, thank God for all the gifts you received and for rest, assurance, calm, and peace.

St. Martha

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WHAT DID JESUS DO FOR ME?

He left Eternity and lived in Time that I might leave Time and live in Eternity. He left the Eternal Father in all His Glory to come down as man and acknowledge the Father's supremacy over all mankind. He came as a humble servant to make reparation for those who say," I will not serve." He was lowly of heart and gave credit to the Father for everything He did and offered His self-effacement as an atonement for my pride and independence. He was Master of all but never imposed on anyone or forced them to follow Him. His humility was so great, He understood the hatred of His enemies and asked His Father to forgive them. He ruled all creation and yet subjected Himself to Joseph and Mary as an obedient son. He was content to be considered an uneducated carpenter, yet He created the whole world. He was subject to two people whom He created because He saw His Father's Will in their commands. He was the Splendor of the Father, but hid all that would distinguish Him from the rest of the children of men. He was uncreated Wisdom but did not disdain learning ordinary things from others. He was content to advance in wisdom and age before men, that I might patiently advance in holiness before God. He accepted hatred, jealousy and persecution with composure, seeing only the Father's Will in the plan of Redemption. He was not ashamed to eat with sinners even though doing so belittled Him in the eyes of others. He watched those He came to redeem abandon Him in His hour of need, without becoming bitter or resentful. He extended to Peter a forgiving glance even before the Apostle was conscious of his sin. He did not give up His Spirit until He had endured every possible torment-to prove His love for me. His Love for me is so deep that He could not bear leaving me alone, so He humbled Himself completely and gave me His Precious Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist as food for my soul. By Mother Angelica

You can't take your money with you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The 10th Anniversary of my Father’s Death

I always loved my father and we had a very good relationship. He loved me unconditionally and he always had my back anytime things went wrong or when I was concerned about something or needed help. I knew no matter what my father would always be there for me. Despite the sadness that I feel today when I remember my/our loss as a family, as Catholics we believe that he is still alive. He is more alive in the Church Triumphant, than he was on earth. In Heaven there are no grudges, no vices, no resentments, just pure love and holiness and because I believe that my father is in heaven I talk to him regularly in my prayers. The following is a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which filled me with much consolation on the day of my father’s death and still consoles me today: Section 1690 - A farewell to the deceased is his final "commendation to God" by the Church. It is "the last farewell by which the Christian community greets one of its members before his body is brought to its tomb." The Byzantine tradition expresses this by the kiss of farewell to the deceased: “By this final greeting "we sing for his departure from this life and separation from us, but also because there is a communion and a reunion. For even dead, we are not at all separated from one another, because we all run the same course and we will find one another again in the same place. We shall never be separated, for we live for Christ, and now we are united with Christ as we go toward him . . . we shall all be together in Christ.”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dazzled by God

We are children of God. —Bearers of the only flame that can light up the paths of the earth for souls, of the only brightness which can never be darkened, dimmed or overshadowed. —The Lord uses us as torches, to make that light shine out... It depends on us that many should not remain in darkness, but walk instead along paths that lead to eternal life. —God is my Father! If you meditate on it, you will never let go of this consoling consideration. —Jesus is my intimate Friend (another re-discovery) who loves me with all the divine madness of his Heart. —The Holy Spirit is my Consoler, who guides my every step along the road. Consider this often: you are God’s… and God is yours. By St. JosemarĂ­a Escrivá - The Forge -Dazzled

Five Loaves and Two Fishes

No gift is too small 17th Sunday in Ordinary time John 6:1-15 ...Then one of Jesus' disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for many?"... / Have you ever wondered about that boy who had 5 loaves of bread and two fish? The boy looked in his lunchbox at the little that he had He wasn't sure what good it'd do, there were thousands to be fed But he saw the twinkling eyes of Jesus The kindness in His smile And the boy cried out With the trust of a child He said: "Take my five loaves and two fishes Do with it as you will I surrender Take my fears and my inhibitions All my burdens, my ambitions You can use it all to feed them all" By WillyJ

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Looking for family fun activities this summer?

Here’s one with benefits that last a lifetime . . . When you think of family fun activities for the summer, you likely think of activities in the truest sense of the word: walking around the zoo, swimming at the beach, cheering for the home team at the ballpark—in other words, doing something that involves activity. While all those things are, in fact, fun family activities, there’s likely one key element missing from them: real conversation—the kind that helps you get to know the most important people in your life and helps them get to know you! This summer, consider trying a NEW kind of family fun activity—learning about the ones you love. To do it, you won’t need gasoline, admission tickets, or $15 per child for nachos and a plastic souvenir cup. You only need a few questions to spark fun conversation. That’s right—having conversations with your family can be downright fun. How? Well, stir up a pitcher of lemonade, gather your family, and try the questions listed here for starters: * What has been the most exciting moment or event in your life to this point? * If you could change one thing about the way your favorite holiday is celebrated, what would you change? * Kids: What aspect of being an adult are you looking forward to the most? Adults: What aspect of being a kid do you miss the most? * If you had to describe your personality in terms of a farm animal, which one would it be? * When you consider our amazing earth, in what particular aspect of it do you find it easiest to “see” God? By Loyola Press – A Jesuit Ministry

St. James the Greater

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Living Sacrament: Marriage

A sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality. Matrimony is a sacrament and as such it is a sign to the world of the invisible God living in our midst - the living God who bears fruit in the lives of two people. They are a continual sign of His Power in the world. There is special grace and power within every couple God has joined together. Everything they do singly or together, is a living out of their sacrament. Simple things like washing dishes, running a sweeper, driving to work, struggling to make a living, budgeting a small salary to meet big expenses - yes, these and al I the other facets of life together, have power hidden within them to make them holy. Married life is the ground of holiness, love is the seed planted by God. Life together with its agonies and joys, pain and sacrifices, frustrations and tensions, moments of exultation and despair, all act as the rain and sun, thunder and lightning on a young sprout. The faults and weaknesses of each one are compensated for by each other's virtues. Each possesses what the other lacks. This results in a loving dependence on each other for spiritual growth and transformation. If a married couple can form a habit of looking at each other in a sacramental way - seeing the beauty of God in each other's souls - seeking to enhance that beauty by upbuilding each other- mutually growing in the image of Jesus - then that Sacrament of Matrimony bears the stamp of the living God. By Mother M. Angelica

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

St. Bridget of Sweden

Jesus Needs My Service - By Mother Angelica

God created each one of us with a definite purpose in His Infinite Mind. Though He always sees a panoramic view of our entire lives, this knowledge does not prevent Him from seeking our wills and hearts. When our neighbor needs us, it is because we have something to give him that he does not already possess. The thing we have to give may not be tangible, but we can fulfill a need none the less. With God it is different. Everything we have in body, soul, talents and possessions is a gift from Him. What we do give Him in these areas is no gift at all for we already belong to Him. It then becomes necessary for us to render to our neighbor those things we cannot render to God, and in the same manner as God gives His gifts to us. We must render them gratuitously and unselfishly, not because our neighbor deserves our benefits, but solely because we want to imitate the Father. Whether the service we render is tangible, like food and clothing, or intangible, like love, prayer, compassion and patience, we need to do to our neighbor the services we cannot do to God. That is why Jesus will say on the last day, "I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it to Me." (Matt. 25:40)

Bible Reading Is for Catholics

By Mary Elizabeth Sperry The Bible is all around us. People hear Scripture readings in church. We have Good Samaritan (Luke 10) laws, welcome home the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), and look for the Promised Land (Exodus 3, Hebrews 11). Some biblical passages have become popular maxims, such as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12)," "Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15), and "love thy neighbor" (Matthew 22:39). Today's Catholic is called to take an intelligent, spiritual approach to the bible. Listed here are 10 points for fruitful Scripture reading. 1. Bible reading is for Catholics. The Church encourages Catholics to make reading the Bible part of their daily prayer lives. Reading these inspired words, people grow deeper in their relationship with God and come to understand their place in the community God has called them to in himself. 2. Prayer is the beginning and the end. Reading the Bible is not like reading a novel or a history book. It should begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to the Word of God. Scripture reading should end with a prayer that this Word will bear fruit in our lives, helping us to become holier and more faithful people. 3. Get the whole story! When selecting a Bible, look for a Catholic edition. A Catholic edition will include the Church's complete list of sacred books along with introductions and notes for understanding the text. A Catholic edition will have an imprimatur notice on the back of the title page. An imprimatur indicates that the book is free of errors in Catholic doctrine. 4. The Bible isn't a book. It's a library. The Bible is a collection of 73 books written over the course of many centuries. The books include royal history, prophecy, poetry, challenging letters to struggling new faith communities, and believers' accounts of the preaching and passion of Jesus. Knowing the genre of the book you are reading will help you understand the literary tools the author is using and the meaning the author is trying to convey. 5. Know what the Bible is – and what it isn't. The Bible is the story of God's relationship with the people he has called to himself. It is not intended to be read as history text, a science book, or a political manifesto. In the Bible, God teaches us the truths that we need for the sake of our salvation. 6. The sum is greater than the parts. Read the Bible in context. What happens before and after – even in other books – helps us to understand the true meaning of the text. 7. The Old relates to the New. The Old Testament and the New Testament shed light on each other. While we read the Old Testament in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus, it has its own value as well. Together, these testaments help us to understand God's plan for human beings. 8. You do not read alone. By reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture, Catholics join those faithful men and women who have taken God's Word to heart and put it into practice in their lives. We read the Bible within the tradition of the Church to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful. 9. What is God saying to me? The Bible is not addressed only to long-dead people in a faraway land. It is addressed to each of us in our own unique situations. When we read, we need to understand what the text says and how the faithful have understood its meaning in the past. In light of this understanding, we then ask: What is God saying to me? 10. Reading isn't enough. If Scripture remains just words on a page, our work is not done. We need to meditate on the message and put it into action in our lives. Only then can the word be "living and effective."(Hebrews 4:12). - - - Mary Elizabeth Sperry is Associate Director for Utilization of the New American Bible.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Every day is an opportunity to gather the family around one table and offer God thanks.

Given the hectic schedules many families have today, the family dinner seems like something of a relic. However, dinner is a time when families can really learn about one another. Regularly sitting down for a meal with your family is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives. I have personally learned a number of things about my children as a result of having dinner together including the following: • My five year old wants to be a doctor and she thinks if she learns her work really hard she could be a doctor in England. • My 18 years old son took a quiz on “What country do you belong too?” The result was he’s a Russian, he took it again and the result was he’s a Vietnamese (There is a pattern here). • My daughter’s friend Summer got chosen for the Goodwill Games (swimming) in Barbados (and so did my nephew Adam). • James my 9 year old got jacked-up by a Standard One student in the bathroom. • The children believe Bollywood Movies are comedies. These may have been some things that I may have never known if not for our family dinner. There is also imperial data which attest to the importance of family meals. Facts - The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.) - Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children. (Harvard Research, 1996) - Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004.) - Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004) One additional benefit of dinner time is saying the “Grace before Meal” Prayer which is one of the most common and universal forms of spoken prayer, the one many of us hold onto after others have faded from use.

In His Sandals by Mother Angelica

HE EMPTIED HIMSELF FOR ME Jesus left the glory of Heaven to come down and take upon Himself a nature like my own, because He loves me so much. I wonder if I understand how much of a humiliation it was for Jesus to become human. If being with the Father is something beyond our wildest dreams, just imagine what being equal to God must be like! How could He leave such a position for me? I am ungrateful most of the time and prefer myself, people and things to Him almost constantly. I do not have much to leave and yet I cling to the little I have as if I were never going to lose it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Catholic or Careless?

To some, people having more than the proverbial 1.8 children are candidates for the Guinness Book of Records. To have six children even to many Christian and Catholic are frowned upon as irresponsible, inconsiderate, and a burden. However, not all reactions to a large family are negative. There are older people who look at my children and think of their own grandchildren. There are also people of all ages who honestly respect a couple that have shouldered the responsibility for a “large family.” One of my Manager’s once told me “I don’t know how you’ve raised so many children, but I respect you. You’re an inspiration to me.” And another younger intelligent and bright co-worker said to me ‘I saw your husband at Prices Supermarket with the children and they all looked so happy”. But they are the exceptions, for the most part, the reactions, verbalized or not, are things like: "Catholic or careless?” “That poor woman!” “Those poor, deprived children!” “What a horrible unfulfilling life they must have! They must have no time or money for anything meaningful!” "How will you pay for university?” The appearance of a family of even two children, if close in age, has been known to elicit unpleasant responses from offended, delicate souls. The question from many people I meet is always when are you going to stop and in my mind I wish I could reply “When I reach six million, I’ll consider stopping.” However, if said it might give me some gratification but it would not truly address the issue. Yet time, just doesn’t allow for what should be spoken. If only it did… I would want to tell them that, indeed I work very hard and succeed thank God at that work, and I feel quite insulted to be pitied. And I would like to tell them that our children certainly do not seem to suffer much for having siblings. At least they don’t act deprived. Of course they realize that they may likely never have their own room or all travel as a family to Disneyland They have, of course, much, much more (not that they always realize it). They have learned to be unselfish and to share. They have to negotiate, compromise, and, most importantly, to love one another for who they are. They have no lack of someone always on hand to boost them up to a tree branch, or a pair of someone to hold the ends of a jump rope. Our children are happy, and so are we. In the end, a large family is absolutely necessary in a world that is becoming more and more selfish and materialistic. It is a contradicting sign in a time when we are told to take care of "Number 1" first. Large families will change the world, for they are the manifestation of "real, sacrificial" love. May the Lord of Light and Love continue to bless and guide your family.

Year of the Priest - Short Prayers for Priests

1. For all priests scattered throughout the world, that they may rediscover their priestly vocation as a "mystery of mercy" and, drawing plentifully from the sacramental source of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, may become channels of mercy for the world. 2. For the new evangelization, that in every priest the Lord may inspire a deep desire for holiness in his own specific state to live the primacy of holiness and to act in the world as a contemplative of his merciful love. 3. For priests who are ill or in any kind of difficulty, that our prayer may reach them all and give them true spiritual consolation, that it may strengthen their certainty of the Lord's love for them, which is also manifest in the sign of his Cross. 4. For those called to the priesthood, that their choice may be motivated solely by the desire to glorify God and to serve him in their brethren, communicating to them the gifts of the divine mercy of the Lord who came to find those who were lost and to restore to life those who lived no longer. 5. For the unity of priests, among themselves and with their bishops, so that Christ's true charity may reign among them, to form one body and one spirit united with the Pope in effective communion and thus setting an example to the world that can conquer it for the saving mission of Jesus. 6. For priests who are in difficulty, so that, through prayer, they may accept enlightenment from the Lord in order to rediscover the joy of their identity as men in the world but not of the world, consecrated in the truth and witnesses of the Cross and the Resurrection. 7. That all priests who have passed on to eternity may live joyfully the splendour of the heavenly liturgy in the blessed vision of peace. 8. That all of us gathered here may taste the Lord's goodness today and for ever and, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, may find ourselves loved and pardoned in Christ by God the Father.

SAINT OF THE DAY

Vocations

Monday, July 13, 2009

To keep the balancing act in motion, live your life according to your values.

As a working mother, I am the one who does more before the sun comes up than most people do all day. Getting the kids up, dressed and fed, finding lost items, packing lunches and getting everyone to school on time can feel like a full-time job in itself. And that's before you fight the traffic to get to work. In order to manage, I realized some time ago that after the Lord, my husband and children are my most important priorities and therefore I had to let a few of my household responsibilities slide. I've also learned to get the kids to help and to accept that things may not always be perfect. However, when I am really overwhelmed I call out to the Lord to ask for help and he does prescribe a remedy for my many housework challenges. HOUSEWIFE'S PRAYER Thank you dear Lord for things I must do. Thank you for laundry that piles up so fast. Thanks for the toys that litter my floor. For shoes that are mud-caked and sit by the door. Thank you for fingerprints on freshly cleaned glass. Thanks for the carpet, now covered with grass These things in my life just prove that I'm blessed; God gave me a family I can live with the mess By Sheila Hammock Gosney

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Doing God's Will

The difficulty I experience is knowing what is God's will. How do I know what is God's Will for me?" Mother Angelica says the answer is simple. "If it is happening, it is God's will. It is not relevant whether it is His ordaining or permitting Will, nothing happens to us that He has not seen beforehand and put upon it His stamp of approval".

God's Will is manifested to us in the duties and experiences of the present moment. We have only to accept them and try to be like Jesus in them.