Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Independence Trinidad and Tobago

National Anthem of Trinidad and Tobago Forged from the love of liberty, In the fires of hope and prayer, With boundless faith in our destiny We solemnly declare. Side by side we stand Islands of the blue Caribbean Sea, This our native land We pledge our lives to thee. Here every creed and race, Find an equal place, And may God bless our nation. Here every creed and race, Find an equal place, And may God bless our nation. It’s been said that Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is barely more than a dot on a map of the world. For a small (population of 1.3M), nation, on its 47th anniversary of independence, the country has undoubtedly made its mark on the international scene. This developing country, the most southerly island in the Caribbean, has created several historical first. We are the homeland of steelpan, calypso, soca and Brian Lara the greatest batsman the world has ever seen. T&T boasts of having two Miss Universe winners in Janelle Commissiong Chow (1977) and Wendy Fitzwilliam (1998), and a Miss World (Giselle La Ronde West) in 1986. Add to these Hasely Crawford’s 100 metres victory at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, a slew of world-renowned writers, academics and athletes who continue to make an impact on the international scene — including the four who won T&T a silver medal (4x100 men’s relay) at the recent World Championship games in Berlin. While it is good to celebrate the achievements of citizens on the world stage, there must be follow-up mechanisms for continuity. To date T&T has not done anything to concretise such excellence so as to impact the entire society. After 47 years the number of negatives of our society includes the following: • Over the past few decades, T&T has made significant material progress, by way of its wealth and in education. However, while we are intellectually more dependent today than 50 years ago we have gone backwards in terms of self-esteem and self-reliance. • We have more foreigners than ever doing things that we ought to be doing. We have also fallen woefully short in the area of innovation. • Yes, we have oil and gas. But what do we create. We still look to the outside world for comfort and encouragement. • The moral fabric of society is decaying at a rapid rate. The murder rate in T&T has almost doubled in the last two years. • Longstanding traditions are falling apart. • The ideal of racial unity in our national anthem, no longer exists. • The multi-ethnic and religious nature of the society is still grappling with the issue of tolerance. • While the education system has opened up by way of more schools, teachers and curricula, this has not translated into more literate citizens. There were many disadvantaged children during the forties and fifties but a person could read and write perfect English. Nowadays, the system is churning out too many illiterates. • After 47 years of independence, TT still has too much poverty. Statistics suggests that 12 percent of the population is living on less than US$2 a day. • The country is in a poor state even though it is materially rich. In fact, it is no longer a failed State where lawlessness abounds, but a dying society. Despite the negatives however, our country is still blessed by Almighty God and there must be hope in the hearts of all who desire good for Trinidad and Tobago. I thank God for the following: • Our country was named after the Blessed Trinity by Christopher Columbus when he discovered the island. • Freedom to worship • Abortion is still illegal • Prayers are still being prayed in our schools • Sweet Pan and Calypso • I see a people creative who must overcome • Hospitality so special like a natural instinct • Thirty-eight percent of the population is Christian (26% catholic) and once we can accept and submit to the Word which has been planted in us, we can save souls and our country. May we truly live the words of our National Anthem and may God Bless our nation.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Santuario de Torreciudad - Marian Shrine

Torreciudad is the name of a Marian shrine in Aragon, Spain, built by Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, and consecrated on July 7, 1975, under the title of Our Lady of Torreciudad. Devotion to Mary under the title of Virgin of Torreciudad is said to date back to the eleventh century. The Torreciudad Trust is responsible for the upkeep of the Shrine and its financial needs. The shrine was designed by architect Heliodoro Dols who supervised the construction with the assistance of the architects Santiago Sols and Ramon Mondejar. The main church contains several outstanding features in the alabaster altarpiece by Juan Mayné, and the Blessed Sacrament chapel with its bronze figure of the crucified Christ, by Pasquale Sciancalepore. The crypt contains a chapel dedicated to the Holy Family, as well as three confessional chapels respectively dedicated to Mary under the titles of Virgin of Loreto, Virgin of the Pillar and Virgin of Guadalupe. The covered archways on the esplanade contain ceramic depictions by José Alzuet of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary. An old hermitage on the grounds originally housed the original statue of Our Lady of Torreciudad before it was transferred to the new church. Many pilgrims visit northern Aragon to pray at the shrine. Spiritual activities at the Shrine are entrusted to the Opus Dei Prelature. The shrine is open every day of the year. Offical website - http://www.torreciudad.org/

Friday, August 28, 2009

ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430)

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord" - St. Augustine." Yesterday the saintly mother, today the son for whom she prayed. As we honor St. Augustine, who is one of Pope Benedict’s favorite theologians, let us lift up his intentions. Our reflection continues his Angelus Message of August 27, 2006. As for Augustine, his whole life was a passionate search for the truth. In the end, not without a long inner torment, he found in Christ the ultimate and full meaning of his own life and of the whole of human history. In adolescence, attracted by earthly beauty, he "flung himself" upon it - as he himself confides (cf. Confessions, 10, 27-38) - with selfish and possessive behavior that caused his pious mother great pain. But through a toilsome journey and thanks also to her prayers, Augustine became always more open to the fullness of truth and love until his conversion, which happened in Milan under the guidance of the Bishop, St Ambrose. He thus remained the model of the journey towards God, supreme Truth and supreme Good. "Late have I loved you", he wrote in the famous book of the Confessions, "beauty, ever ancient and ever new, late have I loved you. You were within me and I was outside of you, and it was there that I sought you.... You were with me and I was not with you.... You called, you cried out, you pierced my deafness. You shone, you struck me down, and you healed my blindness" (ibid.). May St Augustine obtain the gift of a sincere a nd profound encounter with Christ for all those young people who, thirsting for happiness, are seeking it on the wrong paths and getting lost in blind alleys. St Monica and St Augustine invite us to turn confidently to Mary, Seat of Wisdom. Let us entrust Christian parents to her so that, like Monica, they may accompany their children's progress with their own example and prayers. Let us commend youth to the Virgin Mother of God so that, like Augustine, they may always strive for the fullness of Truth and Love which is Christ: he alone can satisfy the deepest desires of the human heart. http://apostleshipofprayer.org/dailyreflections.html Favourite Words of St. Augustine "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." "It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels." "It is not the punishment but the cause that makes the martyr." "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Now is the time

AUGUST 27, 2009 - ST. MONICA (+387)

For thirty years St. Monica prayed with great intensity for her son Augustine who put off being baptized because he did not want to leave his immoral life style and was curious about a heresy called Manichaeism. A holy bishop told her not to give up, saying: “Let him be, and continue to pray for him; it’s impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost.” And indeed, Augustine was converted and went on to become a great bishop and doctor of the Church. Let us pray for mothers who grieve over their children today,especially refugee mothers and those who live in lands where Christians are persecuted. The reflection is from Pope Benedict’s Angelus Message for this day in 2006. Today, 27 August, we commemorate St Monica and tomorrow we will be commemorating St Augustine, her son: their witnesses can be of great comfort and help to so many families also in our time. Monica, who was born into a Christian family at Tagaste, today Souk-Aharàs in Algeria, lived her mission as a wife and mother in an exemplary way, helping her husband Patricius to discover the beauty of faith in Christ and the power of evangelical love, which can overcome evil with good. After his premature death, Monica courageously devoted herself to caring for her three children, including Augustine, who initially caused her suffering with his somewhat rebellious temperament. As Augustine himself was to say, his mother gave birth to him twice; the second time required a lengthy spiritual travail of prayers and tears, but it was crowned at last with the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive Baptism, but also dedicate himself without reserve to the service of Christ. How many difficulties there are also today in family relations and how many mothers are in anguish at seeing their children setting out on wrong paths! Monica, a woman whose faith was wise and sound, invites them not to lose heart but to persevere in their mission as wives and mothers, keeping firm their trust in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer. http://apostleshipofprayer.org/dailyreflections.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Opus Dei on the Screen: Film on Saint Jose Maria Escriva - Catholic Online

Opus Dei on the Screen: Film on Saint Jose Maria Escriva - Catholic Online Shared via AddThis

Catholic News | Celebrations Begin for Centennial of Blessed Mother Teresa's Birth | American Catholic

Catholic News | Celebrations Begin for Centennial of Blessed Mother Teresa's Birth | American Catholic

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OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA

Today the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored under the title “Our Lady of Czestochowa,” which is a city in Poland. An ancient image of her with the Child Jesus is preserved there, though it bears the scars of an attack by a Christian who opposed the veneration of holy images. Let us entrust the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for this month to our Blessed Mother as we reflect on words that Pope Benedict spoke when he visited the shrine in Czestochowa in 2006. Just as the Apostles together with Mary “went to the upper room” and there “with one accord devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:12,14), so we too have come together today at Jasna Góra, which for us at this hour is the “upper room” where Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is among us. Today it is she who leads our meditation; she teaches us how to pray. Mary shows us how to open our minds and our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, who comes to us so as to be brought to the whole world. … In the Upper Room the Apostles did not know what awaited them. They were afraid and worried about their own future. They continued to marvel at the death and resurrection of Jesus and were in anguish at being left on their own after his ascension into Heaven. Mary, “she who believed in the fulfillment of the Lord’s words” (cf. Lk 1:45), assiduous in prayer alongside the Apostles, taught perseverance in the faith. By her own attitude she convinced them that the Holy Spirit, in his wisdom, knew well the path on which he was leading them, and that consequently they could place their confidence in God, giving themselves to him unreservedly, with their talents, their limitations and their future. http://apostleshipofprayer.org/dailyreflections.html

Monday, August 24, 2009

Taking out the trash

Taking out the garbage on trash pick-up days is not one of my favorite jobs, but I muster up the determination to get it done and then just do it. Afterward it’s a nice feeling to have it out of the house, and I forget about it till the following week. Just as we need trucks to pick up the garbage that accumulates in our homes, we need to let Jesus remove the “trash” that inevitably accumulates in our hearts. When we forget to take out the trash, it’s not a pretty picture. Jesus wants us to dump it regularly at the foot of the cross. In fact, He has promised to remove it and forget it. But wait a minute! Could we be rummaging through the cans, trying to find that thing we weren’t quite ready to part with? A sinful habit we don’t want to give up, a fantasy we want to cling to, a revenge that we still want to ignite? Why are we wanting to hang on to the garbage? Taking out the trash begins with confession, and then counting on Jesus to get rid of it. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Today is garbage day. Take it out and then leave it there! ByJoe Stowell Lord, help me not to cover sin, Those secret wrongs that lurk within; I now confess them all to Thee; Transparent I would always be. —D. De Haan Confession is the key that opens the door to forgiveness.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Freedom to accept or not accept

Today’s gospel is the end of Jesus’ Eucharistic discourse that began with Him inviting the Jews to move beyond their traditional beliefs to a deeper faith in God so as to obtain eternal life. That invitation required the Jews to believe in Jesus as the one who came down from heaven and to accept His teaching that his flesh was real food and his blood real drink for the life of the world. They did not believe in Jesus as the “one come down from heaven” and they found his teaching to be “intolerable language” and so many stopped following him. In the face of all the complaints from the Jews, Jesus never stopped referring to himself as “the one come down from heaven.” Neither did He change his teaching on the Eucharist. Jesus left all his followers, including “the Twelve” the absolute freedom to accept or not accept Him and His teaching. Jesus’ attitude is a lesson for all Christians and for us Catholics in particular as we continue to witness to Him in the world. We live in a world that has become increasingly secular. Because of that secularism, more and more people are refusing to believe in Jesus or His divinity. In the face of such unbelief, Christians can become self-righteous and condemnatory in response. Jesus teaches us, through today’s gospel, that our only response, though confident, (“What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?”), must be humble (“no one can come to me unless the Father allows it”). It is this confidence, rooted in humility that will allow us to leave people free to believe or not believe in Jesus and His divinity. The Catholic Church is unique in our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Our articulation of that belief has caused many to say that we speak “intolerable language” and has brought us ridicule both as a Church and as individuals, in some instances. We may therefore be tempted, to not emphasise the truth about the Eucharist or to alter our teaching so as to accommodate others. At those moments we are challenged by the gospel to say with Jesus, “the words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” As we celebrate Eucharist this weekend we are invited to follow the example of Jesus and be confident yet humble in our witness, faith and teaching. It is only then that we will allow those who hear our message the freedom to accept or not accept Jesus as the “Holy One of God.” By Glen Cazoe for the Catholic News

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Love Chocolate

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt! Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz) I love chocolate, just like the lady who told the waitress, "I would like 'Death By Chocolate' for dessert but just enough to put me in a critical condition." I am not alone in my passion. A new survey has shown that nine out of ten people love chocolate. The tenth is a liar. The truth is that chocolate reduces your risk of dying from heart diseases. According to an AFP report, heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff. A study in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Dr.Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help to keep alive persons who have suffered from heart attacks. "It was specific to chocolate-we found no benefit to sweets in general,'' said Dr Mukamal. My thoughts exactly, I now have even more reason to love chocolate. Studies have suggested that the brain of a person in love contains large quantities of phenylethylamine, a chemical that produces an amphetamine-like high. Chocolate also contains a lot of phenylethylamine. This therefore suggests that people like chocolate so much because it makes them feel like they're in love. Additionally it explains why there is no organization called "Chocolate Anonymous.'' Nobody wants to quit. To illustrate the irresistibility of chocolate, I want to tell you the story of Douglas. While walking in the woods Douglas saw a young fairy who had fallen into the river and bravely dived in to rescue her. In gratitude the fairy granted Douglas three wishes. He wished for a huge pile of gold, and "poof'' there it was. Then he wished for a huge palace, again "poof'' and there it was. Finally he wished he could be irresistible to all women. There was a blinding flash, a mighty roar and "poof'' he turned into a box of chocolates. If that was not mysterious enough, there is the math and the aftermath. How could a two-pound box of chocolate make us gain five pounds? Chocolate quotes "Nobody knows the truffles I've seen" "If I eat equal amounts of light and dark chocolate is that a balanced diet?" There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers" I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter. Chocolate doesn't make the world go around ... but it certainly makes the ride worthwhile!

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary was assumed into Heaven by Jesus and the angels. That means she was carried. Jesus ascended into Heaven, which is a different word, He went up to Heaven by His own power. Mary doesn't have that kind of power, so Jesus carried her. After she was assumed into Heaven, Jesus took His Mother to a throne next to His own. Since he is King and Lord of all, then as His Mother, she was to become Queen. Jesus, God our Father and the Holy Spirit placed a beautiful crown of twelve stars on her head. All the angels and saints sang wonderful songs praising her as their Queen. Mary bowed to the Most Holy trinity, and again sang her prayer of praise, the Magnificat. "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the might from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever." The Blessed Virgin Mary now shares in the glory of her resurrected Son, because she had a part in His work of saving souls. She was His Mother, she carried Him in her womb, gave Him birth, raised Him through childhood and into adulthood and stayed with Him when He was on the Cross. She is Queen to all of us. She obtains all graces for us through her prayers. As our mother and as Jesus's Mother, she will always interceed for us to her Son, and lead us closer to Him. So we should pray to her in all our needs, and everyday. PRAYER Father, you have given us the mother of your Son to be our queen and mother. With the support of her prayers may we come to share the glory of your children in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pope Saint Pius X,

Joesph Sarto was born in 1835, the second of ten children born to a poor family in the village of Riese, near Venice. His mother, Margherita Sanson, was a seamstress. His father, Giovanni Sarto, who was a cobbler by trade, as well as the caretaker of the city hall and the town's postmaster, passed away when Joseph was 16. Joseph entered the seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 23. He became the bishop of Mantua, cardinal patriarch of Venice, and Pope in 1903. As Pope, he took as the motto of his reign "to renew all things in Christ." Purity of Doctrine Pope Saint Pius X was fearless in exposing error and he was selfless in sowing the seed of truth, of beauty, and of goodness in the field of the Church. “We had confidence in our God, to speak unto you the Gospel of God in much carefulness” (1 Th 2:2). He was an intrepid defender of the purity of Christian doctrine. He exposed and condemned the heresy of Modernism with energy and clarity. Gregorian Chant We remember Pope Saint Pius X especially for his famous Motu Proprio of November 22, 1903 on the reform of Sacred Music and the restoration of the Church’s plainchant. Like Pope Benedict XVI today, Pope Pius X was a musician; he was above all concerned that the faithful of the Catholic Church might pray in beauty. He recognized in Gregorian Chant the native idiom of the Roman liturgy. Gregorian chant shines with an evangelical poverty. It is chaste in its expression. It is entirely obedient to the Word of God that it clothes, carries, and delivers. Worthy of the Temple Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have reiterated his insistence on the primacy of Gregorian Chant and the value of the traditional Roman polyphony in the liturgy of the Church. On November 22, 2003, the anniversary of Pius X’s Motu Proprio, Pope John Paul II said, “With regard to compositions of liturgical music, I make my own the general rule that St Pius X formulated in these words: ‘The more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savour the Gregorian melodic form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.’” On June 24, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI spoke in similar terms: “An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.” The Holiness of Priests Pope Pius X was also zealous for the holiness of the clergy. Writing to priests in 1908, he said, “Your sanctification has, indeed, first place in our thoughts and in our cares; therefore, with our eyes raised to heaven, we frequently pray for the whole clergy, repeating the words of Christ, our Lord: Holy Father . . . sanctify them (Jn 17:11, 17). Intercession for priests was integral to Pius X’s program for the restoration of all things in Christ. Children It was Saint Pius X who opened Holy Communion to little children. He invited the Catholic faithful to frequent, even daily Holy Communion. Pius X came to be known as the “Pope of the Eucharist,” a title that he now shares with Pope John Paul II, the author of Ecclesia de Eucharistia and of Mane Nobiscum, Domine. Two Popes of the Eucharist Divine Providence marked both the beginning and the end of the last century with Popes utterly devoted to the Most Holy Eucharist. Pray for us, Saint Pius X, that rejecting all that opposes the splendour of the truth, we may enter with pure hearts into the liturgy of the Church, and so "offer a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, to the praise and glory of His name, and to the benefit of all His Holy Church (Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum). Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914 at Vatican City from natural causes aggravated by worries over the beginning of World War I and was buried under the altar of the Chapel of the Presentation, Saint Peter's basilica. Quotes "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven." "I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor." Prayer Father, to defend the Catholic Faith and to make all things new in Christ, you filled Saint Pius X with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage. May his example and teaching lead us to the reward of eternal life.

Children Letters to God

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God's Love is Unfair

What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous? Matthew 20:14-15 THE PARABLE OF THE WORKER in the vineyard always makes me uncomfortable.Sometimes even mad. I want to say to Jesus, "You mean those who worked only a few minutes in the vineyard get the same wages as those who slaved all day in the hot sun?" I want to protest, "It's not fair!" Of course it isn't fair. That's the whole point. God's love is essentially unfair. Rather, it is gratuitous, bounteous, magnanimous. God lavishes love upon young and old, saint and sinner, cradle Catholic and death bed convert. How can I be angry when I myself rely upon the "unfairness" of God's love for my life and salvation? Extravagant God, help me to lavish my love upon others today-especially upon those who seem undeserving, just as you lavish your love upon me. Sr. Melannie Svoboda, S.N.D. for Living Faith

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Novena to St. Monica

Today we begin the Novena to St. Monica. Novena to St. Monica Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine, You perserveringly pursued your wayward son Not with wild threats But with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day So that they may learn To draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain Close to their children, Even the prodigal sons and daughters Who have sadly gone astray. Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother, Many sorrows pierced your heart During your lifetime. Yet you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence and profound faith, You prayed daily for the conversion Of your beloved husband, Patricius And your beloved son, Augustine. Grant me that same fortitude, Patience and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, That God may favorably hear my plea For (mention your petition here) And grant me the grace To accept his will in all things, Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, In the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

Saint Helena (my name sake)

SAINT HELENA was the mother of Constantine the Great and is probably most famous as the legendary discoverer, at Golgotha in 326, of the 'True Cross' on which Christ had been crucified. The Name Nowadays, the name Helen is very popular. It is derived from the Greek Helios, meaning 'sun ray' or 'shining light'. There are getting on for 80 variant forms of the name Helen, which include Helena, Eileen, Ellen and Elaine. Probably the most famous bearer of the name Helen was Helen of Troy who, in Greek legend, was the most beautiful of all women. There are various places named after Saint Helena including the small island situated midway between Africa and South America, and St Helens in Lancashire. Furthermore, Saint Helena is the Patron Saint of Colchester in Essex, so Colchester Town Hall has a statue of St Helena1, carrying a huge cross in one hand while the other arm is outstretched. St Helena Although there is a medieval tradition that Helena was born in England, she was probably born in Bithynia, a region of Turkey. She was the daughter of an innkeeper and, somewhere around 270 or 280, she either had an affair with or married the Roman senator Constantius I Chlorus. Shortly afterwards, their son Constantine, later to become Constantine the Great, was born. In 293, Constantius was made Caesar, or junior emperor. He separated from Helena in order to marry co-Emperor Maximian's stepdaughter. At some stage in her life Helena converted to Christianity and became an influential protectress of the Christian church. She converted her son Constantine to Christianity, built churches in Rome and founded basilicas in the Holy Land. On 28 October, 312, Constantine fought and defeated Maximian's troops at the Milvian (Mulvian) Bridge. It is said that at some time prior to the battle Constantine had experienced a vision of the Christian Cross superimposed upon the sun, together with the words 'In hoc signo vinces' ('By this sign you shall conquer'). Constantine therefore ordered images of the Holy Cross to be added to all the standards of his army, thus explaining his victory in one of the most decisive battles of world history. When Constantine himself became emperor in 312, Helena was named 'Augusta' or empress. The True Cross As a Christian, Helena had always been obsessed with a desire to find the cross on which Christ had been crucified. In this quest, she had allegedly identified and excavated almost every significant site pertaining to the Gospel stories. According to legend, Helena discovered the True Cross while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 326. During her missions to construct churches, Helena frequently took stonemasons and other construction workers away from their main task in order to excavate for the cross under her direction.On one such occasion, her workmen were preparing to build the the 'Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre' on the hill called Calvary or Golgotha, the site of Christ's death. During the excavation they had to remove three centuries' worth of rubble that had accumulated on the hill, due to the construction of a temple to Venus and Jupiter by Emperor Hadrian in 135. While this debris was being removed, the workmen apparently found the remains of three crosses in a cave, together with the nails used to crucify the victims. Also found was the placard or titulus2 from the cross of Jesus, proclaiming him 'King of the Jews'. In order to determine which of the pieces of wood was from the cross of Jesus, Helena hit upon the idea of using them, on successive days, to touch a prominent local woman who was dying of leprosy. The third piece of wood is said to have caused the woman's lesions to be instantly cleared, which caused Helena to determine that this was a fragment from the True Cross. The largest piece was about 10cm long and black in colour; that is, it had been burned but not consumed. It is said that her son, Constantine, used one of the nails to make his horse's bridle and another to make his helmet, while two were thrown into the Adriatic Sea. Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, was apparently in Jerusalem at the time of Helena's discovery and yet he has made no mention of it in any of his writings. This omission creates perhaps the biggest of the challenges to the authenticity of Helena's discovery. Some say that the story was invented by bishops of Jerusalem some four centuries later, though in the last 20 years scholars have begun to give rather more credence to the authenticity of Helena's discovery. The Festival of the Exaltation of the Cross is a re-enactment of Helena's discovery of the True Cross. The story of the finding of the True Cross has been recounted by some of the most famous luminaries from Greek and Latin literature, including the 4th-Century Byzantine historian, Socrates Scholasticus (380 - unknown date). The deeds of St Helena were also the subject of Cynewulf's most celebrated 9th-Century poem, 'Elene'. In 330, to commemorate the finding of the True Cross, Helena built a church over the site in Jerusalem, which includes the rocky outcrop which, according to tradition, is where the cross was erected and the cave which formed Christ's tomb was located. This is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which nowadays is used by some six different religious denominations and is the most sacred site in Christendom, being recognised as the site of both Christ's death and his resurrection. Relics of the Three Magi St Helena is also credited with the discovery of the bones of the Three Wise Men (Magi) while on a pilgrimage to Palestine, allegedly during her 80th year. She is said to have taken the remains to the church of Hagia Sophia (The Church of the Holy Wisdom) in Constantinople. They were later moved to Milan in the 5th Century before being sent to their current resting place in Cologne Cathedral in 1163. Helena's Last Days Helena is known to have been still alive in 326, the year Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. According to Eusebius in his Vite Const, Constantine was with her when she died in Nicomedia, at the advanced age of over 80 years. This must have been about the year 330, as this is when the last coins to be stamped with her name were minted. Her body was brought to Constantinople and was laid to rest in the imperial vault of the Church of the Apostles. It is thought that her remains were then transferred to the Abbey of Hautvillers in the French Archdiocese of Reims in 849, as was recorded by the monk Altmann in his Translatio. She was revered as a saint and the veneration even spread to Western countries, early in the 9th Century.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Detachment

"If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Matthew 19:16-22 Could it be that the best way to become detached is to have an overwhelming attachment to God? It is not so much the possession of things that makes me attached; it is the burden these things impose—the fear of loss, the greed for more, the power they exert, the glitter that is so bright for so short a time. All this puts me in a vicious circle that is hard to change. The more I have, the more I want; the more I want, the more anxious I become and everyday my mind and soul are absorbed in a complex web too tight to break through. The visible reality brings a degree of happiness, but not peace; it gives' a glow but not a light; it gives security but never assurance; it promotes love based on service, but never feeds the love that is based on sacrifice. Is detachment the answer to freedom? No, because detachment is negative—it is to be without. The answer must be positive—I must replace what I have with something better. The things that occupy my mind and are contrary to the Divine Will are the things that exercise the greatest power over my soul. I must rise above the things that pass by seeing God in them. The essence of attachment is to possess, to hang on to, and yet everything is passing. Why should I put my heart in anything that is here today and gone tomorrow? Where, my soul, is the balance between compassion and detachment, providing for today and not being anxious for tomorrow, having things and not possessing them, deeply caring and being unselfish? The balance is a deep and strong love for God. All lesser loves fall away in the presence of a great Love and here is the balance and the answer to detachment: Supernatural Love. Supernatural Love is free and unattached because it is based on an unseen Reality; it is sure because that Reality is eternal; it is strong because it is fed by God Himself; it can possess things without being possessed by them; it can love people and be content if that love is not returned; it can give and give and never run dry. It is then, a matter of preference and priorities and first things first. It is not a matter of having or not having, of being rich or poor, a success or failure. It is putting God and His Kingdom FIRST, FOREMOST and ALWAYS, knowing that all these other things will be added. The secret to real freedom is to prefer God to everything and to do everything for God. Excerpts From In the Shadow of His Light Mother M. Angelica

Sunday, August 16, 2009

LIVING BREAD

"The Jews started arguing with one another, 'How can this man give us His Flesh to eat?' Jesus replied: 'I tell you solemnly, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you will not have life in you.'" (Jn.6:52,53) "Anyone who does eat My Flesh and drink My Blood has eternal life and I shall raise him up on the last day." Jesus used the present tense again and said, "has eternal life." (Jn. 6:40) Eternal Life begins with this Eucharistic communion of life—this intimate union of Creator and creature—this mingling of All with nothingness. The Eucharist enables Eternal Light and the created soul to join together and become one Light. Living Bread and a living soul unite and become one Love, one sacrifice for the salvation of many. The Father communicates life to the Son and Jesus passes on that life to the faithful by making Himself their food. Only the Holy Spirit can give souls the light to understand this Mystery of the Eucharist. The "flesh"—the senses—human intelligence—could never invent, believe or accept such a Mystery on its own. Excerpts from To Leave and Yet to Stay Mother M. Angelica

The body of Christ and the Holy Scriptures are essential to the faithful soul

There are two things I find essential in this life, and without them this wretched existence would be unbearable. As long as I am detained in the prison of the body I need two things, and they are light and food. Therefore you have given your holy body to strengthen my weak mind and body, and you have given your word for a lamp to guide my feet. Without these two things I cannot live as I ought, for the word of God is the light of my soul and your Sacrament the bread that gives me life. They are like two tables, one on this side and one on that in the treasure-house of the holy Church. One table is the sacred altar with the holy bread, the precious body of Christ. The other is the Law of God containing the holy doctrine, which teaches us the true faith and leads us unfalteringly to that inner sanctuary beyond the veil. The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis – Book 4: Chapter XI

True Food, True Drink

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary in Art

Christian art has a long and fascinating history. Christian Art has both a liturgical and secular history. Although the Jewish tradition had been opposed to artwork depicting humans, the Church, believing in the fullness of the Incarnation, embraced the use of images in worship. Also, the importance of symbol in the Catholic and Orthodox tradition is important when thinking about religious art. The truth of the event is many times more powerfully conveyed through the visual than through words. This is not to devalue words, just to recognize that there are different ways by which we know God and understand the Christian stories. For many Protestant Christians, the enjoyment of art or nature has been a somewhat guilty pleasure, difficult to reconcile with the faith. However, in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, the reality of the Incarnation and the value of symbolism have ensured a wonderful Christian artistic tradition. By Jonathan Bennett. Let the beauty of these works and the symbols they contain deepen your faith in a way that words often cannot. Painted for the central panel of the High Altarpiece of the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo. This, the first work executed in Spain, is the only painting by El Greco bearing the date of its execution. It is the first large-scale painting by his hand. This painting is believed to be by Bartolome Murillo. Mateo Cerezo Assumption of Mary. Museo del Prado, Madrid The Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, Central Russian icon, early 1800's. Assumption Of The Virgin 1590. Artist:Annibale Carracci Oil painting of Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary, by Francis of Sieradz. Painting by Peter Paul Rubens, which dates from 1612. The Assumption of the Virgin probably about 1475-6, by Francesco Botticini. The painting served as the altarpiece in the burial chapel in S. Pier Maggiore, Florence. Possibly the most famous rendition of the subject in Western art, Titian's Assunta (1516-18). Coptic icon of the Dormition of Our Lady The Assumption of the Virgin Mary has been a subject of veneration, doctrine and Catholic Marian art for centuries. This painting is by Rubens, 1626.

ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE (1894-1941)

Today’s saint, a Polish Franciscan, is known as “a martyr of charity” because in the Auschwitz concentration camp he offered to take the place of a man who had been selected to die in the starvation bunker as a punishment for another prisoner’s escape. He gave his life so that the other man, a husband and father, could survive to care for his family. Millions—Jews and Christians—died as a result of the horror of Nazism. Today millions are exiled from their homes by conflicts of various kinds and others are persecuted for the faith. We lift them up in prayer as we reflect on Pope Benedict’s words spoken at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem last May. They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names: these are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving fellow prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again. Most of all, their names are forever fixed in the memory of Almighty God. One can rob a neighbor of possessions, opportunity or freedom. One can weave an insidious web of lies to convince others that certain groups are undeserving of respect. Yet, try as one might, one can never take away the name of a fellow human being. Sacred Scripture teaches us the importance of names in conferring upon someone a unique mission or a special gift. … May the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be denied, belittled or forgotten! And may all people of goodwill remain vigilant in rooting out from the heart of man anything that could lead to tragedies such as this! Prayer: Gracious God, you filled your priest and martyr, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, with zeal for souls and love for his neighbor. Through the prayer of this devoted servant of Mary Immaculate, grant that in our efforts to serve others for your glory we too may become like Christ your Son, who loved his own in the world even to the end, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Things to Do: Offer a Mass, say a rosary for those who suffer in the world today from man's inhumanity. Pray for an end to abortion, many nations holocaust. Read about Auschwitz and ponder the modern gas chambers in several countries of the world and resolve to do all that you can to end the killing. Patron: Drug addiction; drug addicts; families; imprisoned people; journalists; political prisoners; prisoners; pro-life movement.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

STS. PONTIAN AND HIPPOLYTUS

Hippolytus was a major theologian of his time and Pontian was pope from 230-35. Unfortunately they were enemies. For several years Hippolytus disagreed with several popes because he thought they were too lenient with people who had fallen away from the faith under the threat of torture and death. He allowed himself to be elected as the first “anti-pope” in history. However, both men were exiled to the salt mines of Sardinia where they were reconciled and then died from the mistreatment they received. As we pray for refugees and our persecuted brothers and sisters, let us reflect on part of Pope Benedict’s homily for Vespers last July 24, and pray for reconciliation in our world. God has suffered, and through his Son he suffers with us. This is the summit of his power, that he can suffer with us. In this way he demonstrates the true divine power: he desired to suffer with us and for us. In our suffering we are never left alone. God, through his Son, suffered first, and he is close to us in our suffering. However a difficult question remains, one I cannot answer at length at this moment: why was it necessary to suffer to save the world? It was necessary because there exists in the world an ocean of evil, of injustice, hatred, and violence, and the many victims of hatred and injustice have the right to see justice done. God cannot ignore the cries of the suffering who are oppressed by injustice. To forgive is not to ignore, but to transform. God must enter into this world in order to set against the ocean of injustice a larger ocean of goodness and of love. And this is the event of the Cross: from that moment, against the ocean of evil, there exists a river that is boundless, and so ever mightier than all the injustices of the world, a river of goodness, truth, and love. Thus God forgives, coming into the world and transforming it so that there may be a real strength, a river of goodness wider than all the evil that could ever exist. …God invites us to join with him, to leave behind the ocean of evil, of hatred, violence, and selfishness and to make ourselves known, to enter into the river of his love. By Apostleship of Prayer Quote: “Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith; and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately. He does not disdain the barbarian, nor does he set the eunuch aside as no man. He does not hate the female on account of the woman’s act of disobedience in the beginning, nor does he reject the male on account of the man’s transgression. But he seeks all, and desires to save all, wishing to make all the children of God, and calling all the saints unto one perfect man” (Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Honor thy father and mother

As my mother gets older making sure that she feels loved and taken care of is now very much in the forefront of my mind. As I look for ways to help her I came across this article which struck home and which I would like to share. Honor thy father and mother When we were children we were taught the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment “Honour your father and mother” was of special significance to us as our parents were everything to us at that time. We can recollect the sleepless nights they spent taking care of us when we were sick, the moments of anxiety they went through when we were involved in some accidents and the tears they shed during intense prayer for our recovery. We remember the strenuous labour and the mental stress they endured to earn a living to provide us with some basic comforts in life and a decent education, which they themselves were denied. All they lived for was the well being of our future not theirs. They did all that without any ulterior motive that one day we will repay that gratitude. Today many of us are parents ourselves and only now fully appreciate the extent of love parents have for their own children. We understand the pain and anxiety we have to endure when our children suffer from all forms of ailments and failures in their lives. We realize the severity of the heartache when our children refuse to heed our advice and meet disaster as a result. Today many of us may are successful and are better off in life than our parents. However, while we have grown older and become more successful the sin against the fourth commandment, honour your father and mother, is still our common weakness although we may not realize it. In our later life, disobedience to parents is expressed in the form of negligence and apathy towards them when they become older and of no use to us. We become calculative among our siblings of who should take care and provide for them when they are no more in a position to earn. When they become ill or handicapped we conveniently pass the responsibility of caring for them to others. We give the excuse we are too busy and have no time and no money. I admit it is not easy to take care of elderly parents who are invalid, especially in a fast moving materialistic world, but we fail to realize it is our responsibility and ours alone. We cannot run away from it. The greatest fear among elderly people is loneliness. This is particularly true for those who have lost their spouses and are all alone in this world. For many of them, it is not money, gifts or food that they need. All they ask for is the love of fellow humans in particular their children, to spare some time for them. It is shocking that even we as Christians sometimes shun away from this responsibility to our aged parents. We are too busy with our jobs and activities and pray hard that God will send somebody to take of them. We have the misguided notion that prayer alone without a heart and without lifting a finger would work miracles to provide the love longed for by our elderly parents. As children do we recognize their needs and try our utmost to fulfill them or are we too preoccupied with our own lives and pray that God will take care of them? One thing I am convinced; God does not come in person to do that. He works through His creations like you and me. If we just pray and wait for God’s miracle, we will be sadly disappointed. Very often we, the children are quick to get a priest to anoint the sick and dying when in coma and subsequently give them a grand funeral service. We even offer masses and hold elaborate memorial services for the dead but lack the same enthusiasm in being supportive and being with them when they were alive. By Dr. Chris Anthony

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

With God as Her Guide

Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 FROM THE TIME WE ARE little we hear the often repeated words in Scripture : “Do not fear.” Throughout our lives many encounters challenge our ability to trust. How they are handled makes the difference between a saint and an ordinary person. Saint Clare, whom we honor today, was born into nobility. Anything Clare wanted or desired would be given to her. But she wanted to rely only on God’s providence and the generosity of others. Clare’s parents wanted her to live in a castle, but she longed to follow St. Francis and live in poverty. Clare wanted to begin a community of women who would live as St. Francis and his brothers lived, yet for several years she could not. Clare trusted that it was God who was guiding her life. Eventually her steadfast trust in God paid off when she founded the Poor Clares, a religious order of women devoted to the poor. Dear Lord, help us overcome our fears and to follow you wherever that takes us. By Sr. Charleen Hug, S.N. D. Dedicated to my daughter Elizabeth: Happy 11th Birthday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” This picture is a famous painting called “Angelus” by Jean François Millet. I have always loved this painting as well as the artist’s work. The sight of the farmer and his wife praying in the middle of their fields, they have sown their seeds now all they can do is pray over it and trust their Heavenly Father! We can learn a lot from the farmer and his wife. They sowed their seed and now they were praying over it. It is the same way with our needs. We must sow to get where we want to go, because inside every seed there is enough to meet our needs. There are a lot of things you can sow into, some sow into financial investments expecting a return, your seed might fall on some hard ground and you get no return but does that stop you sowing? - no, for you know there is good ground out there and sooner or later some of your seed is going to land on it and you will get that 30, 60 or 100 fold return. Likewise with relationships not every person we sow into is going to produce a return, to think otherwise would be naive. But don’t give up on blessing people with your time, talents and energy, but don’t expect an immediately return on investment, know there is good soil out there and a harvest is coming back to you through the seed you’ve sown. This we usually see in our children later on in life. Jesus using this same principle sowed His life knowing not everyone would receive what He offered yet He sowed anyway - holding nothing back. Matthew 20 verse 28 puts it this way, “He (Jesus) came to give His life as a ransom for many”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sisters

I have three sisters one of whom lives in Orlando. Christine was here with us on vacation with her family and as she left early this morning to return to the United States it got me thinking on what my sisters mean to me. I came across some great quotes that really describe my feelings about my sisters and our relationship with one another. • To the outside world we all grow old. But not to sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family grief and joys. We live outside the touch of time. ~Clara Ortega • Sisters are one of the greatest gifts from God. • Sibling relationships outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust. ~Erica E. Goode, "The Secret World of Siblings," • A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garretty • A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life. ~Isadora James • Sisters are probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship. ~Margaret Mead • Sisters are different flowers from the same garden. ~Author Unknown • Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there. ~Amy Li • Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other. ~Carol Saline • A sister is a forever friend. ~Author Unknown In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. ~Author Unknown • You keep your past by having sisters. As you get older, they're the only ones who don't get bored if you talk about your memories. ~Deborah Moggach • Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way. ~Pamela Dugdale.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The First Friday of each month was designated by our Savior Himself as a day to be consecrated to honoring His Sacred Heart…. As the object of this devotion is to make our Savior Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past, as well as for those which he daily receives in the Blessed Eucharist…Jesus Christ merits our love at all times, but alas! He is despised and outraged in the Sacrament of His love at all times, and so people should at all times make reparation to Him. We should then adore Jesus Christ in this august Sacrament, make a fervent act of love to Jesus in the tabernacle, thank Him for having instituted this Mystery of love, express our sorrow at seeing Him so abandoned, and resolve to visit Him as soon as possible and love Him unceasingly. Attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is assuredly the best means of honoring and loving the adorable Heart of Jesus. The following First Friday devotions are efficacious in honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus: 1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass 2. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 3. Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus 4. Act of Reparation 5. The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 6. The Sacrament of Reconciliation The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life." 2. "I will establish peace in their homes." 3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions." 4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death." 5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings." 6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy." 7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent." 8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection." 9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored." 10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts." 11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out." 12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Dazzling Revelation – Transfiguration of the Lord

Jesus was transfigured before them and his clothes become dazzling white. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them. Mark 9:2-3,7 THIS STRANGE EVENT seems to cover the full range of human experience: The ordinary muddle, the crystal clarity and the downright puzzling. Jesus in His divinity is reveled alongside Moses and Elijah, those iconic representations of the Law and the Prophets. But no sooner does that happen than the cloud descends, obscuring what had just been revealed. Just like that, our certainties elude us the moment we think we’ve figured it out. God, the Transfiguration seems to say, is as present in the dazzling Christ as in the obscuring cloud, in the clarity of understanding as in the confusion of mind. But reveled in the most dramatic moments of our lives, God is no less present in the ordinary awareness of every single day. Jesus goes down the mountain with the disciples, more than ever convinced that in certainty or confusion and everything in between, he is with them. Lord, reveal yourself to me today. By Mark Neilsen for Living Faith

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In Your Face Faith

O woman, great is your faith! Matthew 15:28 What faith did the woman have? Certainly it can't have been very well developed. All that she knew about Jesus would have come from reports she heard from travelers passing through her town on their way north from Palestine. She can hardly have known much about Jesus. If she showed up in a parish today, the pastor would steer her into the RCIA program where she could get some instruction. But what little faith the woman had, she put to good use. She shouted at Jesus in the street, to get his attention. She told him just what she wanted him to do for her. And she wouldn't take no for an answer. Hers was a real in-your=face faith. And that's what Jesus liked about it. He liked that face-to-face confrontation with her. Undoubtedly, he'd like that kind of face-to-face confrontation with you and me, too. By Kevin Perrotta for Living Faith

Our Lady of Snows

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney

Favourite quotes of St. John Vianney Mercy and the sacrament of forgiveness God’s mercy is like an overflowing stream. It sweeps away hearts as it passes. It is not the sinner who returns to God to ask for forgiveness, it is God who runs after the sinner and makes him return to him. The good Lord is always ready to receive us. His patience waits for us! Our errors are grains of sand beside the great mountain of God’s mercy. The good Lord, in the moment of the absolution, tosses our sins behind his back, that is, he forgets them, erases them: they will never again reappear. The Eucharist and communion There is nothing as great as the Eucharist. There he is: the one who loves us so much! Why not love him! The good Lord, wanting to give himself to us, in the sacrament of his love, has given us a great and profound longing that only he can satisfy. Holy Communion produces in the soul something like a rush of air on a fire that begins to extinguish, but where there are still many embers! Do not say that you are not worthy of it. It is true: you are not worthy it, but you need it. Prayer Prayer is nothing more than one form of union with God.. The more one prays, the more one wants to pray. You have a small heart, but prayer enlarges it and makes it capable of loving God. Man is a pauper who needs to ask everything of God. Man’s purpose is beautiful, to pray and to love... This is man’s happiness on earth. The priest The order: it is a sacrament that does not seem to regard any of you and is a sacrament that regards everyone. The priest is he who continues the work of the Redemption on earth. When you see a priest, think of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The priest is not a priest for himself, he is for you. A good pastor, a pastor according to God’s heart, is the greatest treasure that the good Lord could grant a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of his divine mercy. The Priesthood is the love of Jesus’ heart. The Virgin Mary Jesus Christ, after having given us everything he could give us, still wants to make us heirs of what he holds most precious, that is, of his Blessed Mother. The Hail Mary is a prayer that never tires. All that the Son asks of the Father is granted him. Also all that the Mother asks of the Son is conferred to her. The surest way of knowing the will of God, is to pray to our good Mother.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tribute to Corazon Aquino and my Filipino Friends

I have always admired President Cory Aquino. I guess she symbolizes to me the true spirit of the Filipino people. While I have never visited the Philippines I have had the blessing of knowing a few Filipinos, quite a few emigrated from the Philippines to work as doctors in our country. One of my first encounters was one of my classmates in secondary school (Maria Santigo). She was a smiling happy soul. She shared her love of life which was shown by her smile and sense of humor. Then later on I had the privilege of getting to know one of our customers at the Bank, where I work, Dr. Santigo, again another humble and smiling soul. Both these women have since died and both from cancer but they gave me a beautiful experience of God’s smiling love. Below is a link to a wonderful article about an extraordinary woman - President Cory Aquino. http://goodnewspilipinas.com/?p=7609

"I Am the Bread of Life"

Persecuted Christians

Refugees

Saturday, August 1, 2009

St. Alphonsus Ligouri

This First Saturday morning at Mass our dear Parish Priest - Fr. Peter a Redemptorist Priest gave a beautiful homily on Saint Alphonsus Liguori whose feast we celebrate today. The Redemptorists are a religious order of men founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Liguori. Their special mission is to spread the Gospel to the poor and most abandoned. They began this work by going among the poor and forgotten shepherds living in the hill country surrounding Naples in southern Italy. At first, there was just a handful of men working with Alphonsus Liguori. In the Congregation's centennial year of 1832, six Redemptorists (three priests and three Brothers) journeyed to America. Presently there are approximately 7,000 Redemptorists working for souls in most parts of the world. More than 1,000 Redemptorists work in the United States alone. Today we give thanks to Almight God for St. Alphonsus Ligouri and our Redemptorist Priest especially those serving in my beloved country of Trinidad and Tobago, these include our Archbishop Edward Gilbert (an American) and our two parish priest Fr. Rodney (from the island of St. Croix) and Fr. Peter Hill (from the island of Dominica)