Friday, September 24, 2010

Archbishop Dedicates "Aborted Babies" Gravemarker

I have relatives buried here....including an Aunt who died just after birth whose grave has been lost. Proud to have such a wonderful Archbishop!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

St. Padre Pio

Today we celebrate the feast of one of my favorite saints, St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968), more commonly known as Padre Pio. Enjoy the quotes.

"I can refuse no one. How could I when the Lord never refuses me a grace."

"Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."

"Bring me my 'weapon'!" (The Rosary)

"You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides with the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart."

"Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will."

"If we only knew how God regards thus Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single mass. Every Holy Mass heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces, which we, ourselves, do not know."

"Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage; we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile we have to believe firmly that God calls us to Himself and follows us along the path towards Him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and He will hold out His paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing prevents us from running to Him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in Him."

"Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my Son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."

"You should not be discouraged, because if there is in the soul a continual effort to improve, the Lord will finally reward you by suddenly making all the virtues blossom in you as in a garden full of flowers."

"Fear not, because God is with you...The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat."

"Yes, I love the cross, the cross alone. I love it because I always see it behind Jesus' shoulders."

"It is to your advantage to commit yourself to the sufferings that Jesus will send to you. Jesus cannot tolerate seeing you afflicted and he will come to you and comfort you, blessing you with many graces for your soul."

"My heart feels as if it were being drawn by a superior force each morning just before uniting with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. I have such a thirst and hunger before receiving Him that it's a wonder I don't die of anxiety. I was hardly able to reach the Divine Prisoner in order to celebrate Mass. When Mass ended I remained with Jesus to render Him thanks. My thirst and hunger do not diminish after I have received Him in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather, increase steadily. Oh, how sweet was the conversation I held with Paradise this morning. The Heart of Jesus and my own, if you will pardon my expression, fused. They were no longer two hearts beating but only one. My heart disappeared as if it were a drop in the ocean."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mercy: Refreshed in God's Love

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:21-23)

"His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning..." This bears repeating. How often do we wake up in the morning, thanking God for a new day? A new day? That is one of the things which mystifies me. How each day, in His infinite Mercy, God grants the gift of a fresh sunrise, and a chance to start anew. 

Today was one of those days where I got caught up in the circumstances of life, feeling as though I was stuck in a rut...with no way out, and not worthy of getting up again. As I was mulling over the events of the day..thinking, "I should have done this, I could have done that...why did I have to do that?" when God interrupted me. "I forgive you." I stopped short. What was that Lord? "You are my child, I forgive you. I died for you to wash away your sin. I love you. Start again." Whoa. Amidst my utter astonishment at my lack of trust, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, love, and gratitude for this grace.

I think sometimes we tend to forget how real God's mercy is. Perhaps the message of the Cross becomes desensitized to our hearts, and we take for granted what a gift Jesus has purchased, for us. The mercy of God is never stagnant, old, or incapable of touching our hearts in a new way. As the psalmist says, His mercies, "are new every morning." That should give us great hope and encouragement. The God of all, who loves us infinitely, still calls out to us. He is always ready to forgive, refresh, and help us get back up again; when we turn to Him with all our heart.

*Author's note: God's Mercy is most explicitly displayed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There He waits with open arms to forgive, and bestow graces to strengthen us. If you are Catholic and have been away from the Church, it's a great place to come and be renewed. Pray about it. For more information on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, go here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI in UK for historic visit, meets Queen in Scotland

I love the part where the bishop tries to slip him his glasses.     ;-D The Holy Father is like, "I'm just going to ignore this gesture, can't you see I'm not blind!!" lol :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows: On the Martyrdom of Mary

"At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus till the last...Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, she beheld her tender Child, all with bloody scourges rent...Oh how sad and sore distressed, was that Mother highly blessed, of the sole-begotten One!...Can the human heart refrain, from partaking in her pain, in that Mother's pain untold?" (Stabat Mater Dolorosa)

"The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord's passion...[Simeon to Mary:] 'And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.'...

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus - who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours - gave up His life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from His lifeless body, tore open His side. Clearly it did not touch His soul and could not harm Him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely His soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of the sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

...For if He could die in body, could she not die with Him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His."

(From a Sermon by St. Bernard)

Related Posts: The Stabat Mater

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Glory of the Cross

"We adore You O Christ and we bless You, for by your holy cross You have redeemed the world."

"Anyone who wishes to follow Me must deny self, take up the cross, and follow Me." 
(Mt. 16:24)

"May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
~St. Paul

"Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my Son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."
~St. Padre Pio

"One cannot desire freedom from the Cross when one is especially chosen for the Cross."
~St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

"The cross is honorable because it is both the sign of God's suffering and the trophy of His victory."
~St. Andrew of Crete

"We are co-redeemers of the world. And souls are not redeemed without the Cross."
~St. Teresa of the Andes

‎"Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."
~ Saint Rose of Lima

"Yes, I love the cross, the cross alone. I love it because I always see it behind Jesus' shoulders."
~St. Padre Pio

Related Posts: On Suffering, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross 2009, More on the Cross

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tested in the Fire: How God Grows our Hearts

"Behold I have refined you...I have tried you in the furnace of affliction." (Isaiah 48:10)

It is certainly true that the Lord tests and refines those He loves. At each point I've come to the threshold, the breaking point where I will surely perish, and then, "wham!" I am pushed further. I realize how shallow and frail my faith is at these times...when the circumstances of my life seem to shatter all I once knew. But I am not without hope, not yet.

The Lord has not left me alone. In showing me how weak I am, Jesus reveals how powerful His grace is if I am willing to receive it. As the Lord reveals to St. Paul: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) The key though, is allowing the Lord to do so. Much of this lies in surrender and accepting the cross; a daily struggle for me.

When I look at the lives of the saints though, I can only be encouraged. How much they suffered! Lives fraught with pain, uncertainty, and tremendous obstacles...but they were able to persevere. In the end they triumphed because they knew what awaited them. The Lord has already won, taking on all of human suffering to open the door to Heaven for His Beloved.

I see that I must seek God's love through the cross...and not miss this opportunity to show my Love for Him while I yet have the chance. Jesus died for me. What I am suffering, is but a small trial...and through it, Jesus is growing my heart. No other way to salvation exists but the way of the Cross. And so I will press on! I will fight the good fight and not grow weary. The Lord is my strength.

" for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:7)

"I see that God never tries us beyond what we are able to suffer. Oh I fear nothing; if God sends such great suffering to a soul. He upholds it with an even greater grace, although we are not aware of it. One act of trust at such moments gives greater glory to God than whole hours passed in prayer filled with consolations." (St. Faustina, Diary [78])

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul...Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me....surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23)