FEAST OF THE MOST HOLY FAMILY

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY DECEMBER 31, 2017

Today’s Catholic Blog honors the Holy Family and in so doing I hope gives support to all parents and children who are making their way home to their heavenly home and the “wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9)

REFLECTION
WHERE DOES THE HOLY FAMILY BEGIN
As I look at the picture of the Holy Family, many themes come to mind for this Catholic Blog. Love and faithfulness stand out… Mary’s words of obedience to God’s messenger, the angel, Gabriel, “Be it done to me according to thy word,” at the Annunciation comes as a strong flashback of where it began. Before there was a Holy Family there was Mary, God’s choice to become the Mother of His Son.

This young teenage maiden submitted to God’s will without fully understanding the consequences of her “yes.” This says so much about trust in a benevolent God who only wishes us well! Do we have that kind of trust??? Well, do we? When in situation with choices, do we run it by God with a quick prayer, Do we listen!

HOW WILL THE WORD OF GOD BECOME INCARNATE (TAKE ON HUMAN NATURE)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” Luke 1:35 Just as in the Testament of Old where God’s presence was noted in a cloud, “the glory of God appeared in a cloud.” Exodus 16:10, now a cloud overshadows Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant.

Mary conceives a Son by the Power of the Holy Spirit….the Son Mary conceived was no ordinary Son but the Son of God…Mary will bring God to the world… the Word Incarnate…God will dwell once again among His people…What was lost by Eve’s disobedience is now gained by Mary’s obedience…The Garden is refreshed….Do not be afraid…

THE HOLY FAMILY NEEDS AN EARTHLY FATHER
Joseph, Jesus’ foster father had his own qualms to deal with when his wife to be became pregnant and not by him. Joseph was already a righteous man in relationship with God and did not want to do anything to embarrass or jeopardize Mary so he planned to separate quietly… “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,* yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:19

Then God intervened, “behold, the angel of the Lord* appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” Matthew 1:20

THE HOLY FAMILY EMBRACES THE WORLD 

Because of the love of Mary and Joseph, the Christ child in the picture is able to hold out his arms and embrace the whole world in blessing. A child lives what he experiences. Be careful your children are listening and watching!

A loving family that images the relationships in the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the core of God’s plan for salvation. Attached to God our Creator, we spread that love and embrace of God the Father to others. Embrace your family! Spread that love! There is always one special pray-er in the family, praying for all the members. Maybe it is you!

At one point, Jesus got separated from Mary and Joseph. When found teaching in the temple, he willingly left His Father’s house and went back to his earthly home in Nazareth. “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man” (Luke 2:49-51) Jesus honored His Father’s will in obeying his earthly parents….how am I honoring God in my daily duties….

Do we ponder, like Mary, God’s activity in our family, maybe catch in hindsight that some past event had more meaning than you thought at the time or some good really did come out of that stressful situation…

Mary and Joseph would have provided for their family in traditional roles of feeding and caring for their child. In his human nature Jesus would be learning and not taking any “divine” short cuts as he assisted his earthly foster father, Joseph, in his carpentry trade.

We do know the Holy Family were all devout practicing Jews honoring and worshiping God according to Jewish practices, especially holy days like Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Pentecost and the like.

Is this something we do as a family, pray together, worship together, teach the little ones the stories of Jesus like our parents did…certainly our children’s eternal home is more important than this temporary one and we don’t want them to be strangers when they meet God..

PRAYER FOR OUR FAMILIES
We bless your name, O Lord
for sending us your own Incarnate Son to become part of a family
so that as He lived its life, He would experience its worries and its joys.

Lord, protect our family so that in the strength of Your grace,
we may possess the priceless gift of Your peace

and as the Church alive in this home,
may we bear witness in this world to Your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

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CATHOLIC FEAST DAYS THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL!

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.

In time the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God… Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High

THE GREATEST EXCHANGE OF GIFTS

At Bethlehem, humanity sees not only God-Made flesh but also receives an invitation to become God-like. God offers to make men and women by grace what Jesus Christ is by nature, namely, a beloved child of our heavenly Father. In Christ, God took on human attributes, in Christ humans can now take on the divine qualities of mercy, love, insight, and immortality.

In exchange for the humanity He takes, the Incarnate Word gives us a share in his divinity. God is born in time so we can be reborn in eternity. The Son of God becomes the Son of Man so men and women can become children of the one same Father in heaven.

BEHOLD A GREAT LIGHT SHATTERS THE DARKNESS!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom…a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.” (Isaiah 9:1-2)

“The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” (Matthew 4:16)

“Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is the Word made flesh…the Word Incarnate….Through Him comes Life….And this Life is the Light of the World ….darkness cannot keep out the Light….those who choose Light….become children of the Light….and testify to the Light…do I hide my light under a bushel or do I let it shine everywhere even where inconvenient in the public square…are there things hidden in my own life that needs the light of Christ…

Is this the Advent that lights up my soul to receive Jesus as Mary and Joseph did….The night the Christ Child was born, there was no room in the Inn….Is there room in my heart for the Christ Child…shepherds came and saw, then worshiped and spread the Good News…do I spread the Good News…Mary pondered all these mysteries in her heart…do I ponder the birth of Jesus in my heart…what other mysteries in my life do I ponder…

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FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION DECEMBER 8

BACKGROUND
A feast called the Conception of Mary arose in the Eastern Church in the seventh century. It came to the West in the eighth century. Many theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas, throughout Christian history debated this dogma now declared by the Catholic Church.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed it to be an essential dogma in the Catholic Church. Since then, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the belief that Mary was born without sin and that God chose her to be Jesus’ mother

In 1854, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race,.”

The Immaculate Conception should not be confused with the perpetual virginity of Mary or the virgin birth of Jesus; it refers to the conception of Mary by her mother, Saint Anne.

In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace.” The Greek verb and tense, chosen with great specificity by Luke means that Mary was “full of grace” all of her life.

Luke could have used a different word to show that Mary was full of grace only at that particular moment. But Luke insists by his careful choice of words that Mary was full of grace all her life, so indirectly we get a hint of Mary’s Immaculate Conception in the account of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary in the Gospel today.

Back in those days, after greeting a person with Hail, you would give them a title. Names were very important in that part of the world because your name told something about who you were. So “full of grace” describes Mary’s very being. Mary was full of grace from the first moment of her existence when she was immaculately conceived. Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God.

From the moment her soul was created and infused into her body, it was free from original sin and filled with sanctifying grace. Her soul was neither stained by Original Sin, nor by the depraved emotions, passions, and weaknesses consequent to that sin, but created in a state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice. She had the graces of the first Eve before the Fall and more.

REFLECTION

As I reflect on this dogma of the Roman Catholic Church that we celebrate Friday December 8, I know it refers to Mary and the deferential treatment she received due to the future merits of her Son, Jesus Christ’s Passion and death but what does it mean for me and you.

First it says to me Almighty God can do anything He wants, to anybody He wants. He took a murderer and adulterer, David and made him king over a kingdom that will last forever. From this “Root of Jesse” would come our Savior, Jesus Christ. So it’s not just Holy people like Mary that receives special gifts. It can happen to anyone, even us.

The Immaculate Conception shows how thorough God is in his salvation plan. Things do not just happen randomly in God’s time. He prepared the best human home for His only begotten Son. As Father, He could choose, a tabernacle unstained and full of Divine Grace…the divine grace we all hope to share in one day in heaven when our eyes and ears and hearts are fully opened to the blessedness of the Beatific Vision.

While we don’t worship Mary as Catholic Christians, we honor her for her intimacy with God and her intercessory powers on our behalf. This dogma of the Catholic Church emphasizes Mary’ place and importance in God’s salvation plan. Mary is the New Eve!

This promise of a New Eve is introduced very early in Scriptures, Genesis 3:15, “I will put my enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise thy heel.”

Eve by her disobedience of God’s will brought death into this world. Mary’s “Yes,” however, brought life to the world in the Divine person of the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ. Eve still a virgin, spouse of Adam was disobedient. Eve became for herself and the whole human race the cause of death. Mary, also a virgin, through her obedience became both for herself and the entire human race the cause of eternal life. What Eve had bound by her unbelief, Mary has loosed by her faithful obedience.

“Just as the former Eve was seduced by the words of an angel so that she turned away from God by disobeying his word, so the latter, Mary, received the good news from an angel’s announcement in such a way as to give birth to God by obeying his word….and as the human race was subjected to death by a virgin (Eve) it was liberated by a virgin (Mary.)” (St. Iranaeus)

I am grateful that my Church did not rush to judgment in making this feast a solemnity that it is today, but rather, over the centuries, with the pious belief of the People of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit came to this remarkable conclusion and sealed it as Catholic dogma.

Our country is dedicated to its patroness the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Immaculate Conception and is honored this day in Washington D.C. in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. How blessed we are to have Jesus’ church and Mary our Mother to guide us on our journey home.

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ADVENT REFLECTION PRAYING WITH JESUS IN THE WOMB

“Do not be afraid Mary for you have found favor with God
Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son
And you shall name him Jesus” Luke 1:30

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT DECEMBER 3, 2017
Advent is a time of waiting on the Lord, his time, his place when God enters human history. Waiting is hard just ask the children waiting for Christmas gifts or adults waiting for a raise or promotion or healing. God’s time is not our time nor should it be since He knows so much better when to interact, when to answer our prayers and how best to answer them for best results.

The Advent season in its liturgical observance is not only a remembrance of the Incarnation, God becoming flesh, but also anticipatory of God coming at the end of history in the Person of Christ the King who rules over everything forever and ever. The season of Advent reminds us that history is not complete until the second coming of Jesus. All will end well and if it isn’t then it is not the end. Howm we deal with time was addressed by Jesus telling us to remain awake and always be prepared.

Are we awake? Are we prepared? Or are we like the people of Noah’s time who ignored any calls to repentance even to the time Noah entered the Ark? Or are we prepared like our Blessed Mother who said to the Angel Gabriel, “Be it done according to your word.”
We know Jesus’ life on this earth began in the womb, at the moment of his conception. And, so we know that the first part of his journey among us – the first part of the Word of God taking flesh and dwelling among us – was nine months in his mother’s womb. Oh, how Mary and Joseph must have waited in anticipation!

 

From the moment the life of Jesus began in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Sprit, Jesus became one with us. He didn’t magically appear as an adult. He began his life journey as a tiny, bundle of cells. We can imagine those cells multiplying so quickly, day by day and week by week – silently, imperceptibly. We can feel the gratitude welling up within us as we contemplate the unseen journey of Jesus being “knit” in his mother’s womb.

 

Though Son of God, he is becoming Son of Mary. We can imagine in this very fine development, Jesus is taking on her flesh, her cells, her shape, her looks, her heart. It is so slow, and yet, so planned. It is a journey which none of us can remember, but which every one of us took.

 

PRAYERFUL REFLECTION PONDER WELL!
Let us contemplate that profound solidarity with us which our Savior began even in the womb for us. This transition to a life born into this world. And, in these moments, we grow in gratitude; we grow in our longing for our relationship with Jesus to develop in intimacy and love.

Our praying is helped by our imagination. In this case, we are imagining something we know happened, but for which we have not usually had a visual image. Today we know so much more about the development in the womb through ultrasound images. Let this profound reality touch our hearts and celebrate Jesus’ entry into our world and to welcome Jesus into our hearts now. Come, Lord Jesus. We await your coming!”

in this contemplation, we want to slow down our reflection and enter into the details and to acknowledge the silence, the slow growth, the precious reality of our Lord and Savior’s taking on life as a human being.

 

If we begin by imagining Jesus’ foot in the womb, we can begin to savor, with wonder and awe the reality of this gift. We can picture Mary washing this little foot, right after giving birth to Jesus and laying him in the manger. We can imagine that this tiny foot became the foot which walked our earth. With this foot, he learned to walk. Perhaps this foot was sandaled most of his life. Perhaps this foot was stubbed on the carpenter’s bench in Joseph’s workshop. This is the foot which left home and headed to the Jordan to be baptized by John. This foot stumbled along the way to his Crucifixion, where this foot was nailed to a cross – all for us.

We can imagine his hands growing in the womb, slowly becoming the hands which first touched Mary’s face and Joseph’s beard. This little hand developed into the hand that learned to be a carpenter, With this hand, he embraced children and offered his tender touch to the sick and sinners , the hands that washed his disciples feet We know one day that he took the bread and the wine in this same hand and, giving thanks to God, gave it to his disciples, saying “This is my body. This is my blood.” And, the next day, His outstretched hands were nailed to a cross – all for us.


As we contemplate Jesus, growing in the womb, becoming our servant Savior, it is touching to imagine his developing face. This profile of a face in the womb is the merest suggestion of the growth of the human face of our God with us. He would already be taking on his mother’s features and developing her eyes. He’d have her nose, her chin, her ears too.

When he was a baby, he must have cried and felt hunger and he must laughed and smiled a lot. We can give thanks for the loving face of Jesus, which tenderly interacted with many who had the privilege of seeing it in his lifetime. This is the same face which was spat upon and was covered with blood from the mocking crown of thorns, all for us.

 

As we conclude this contemplation of Jesus in the womb, we pause for a moment to reflect upon his heart, which developed, just like our hearts did, but which became not only the organ which pumped blood to invigorate the rest of his body, but which became the very image of his self-sacrificing love.

 

This little heart became a heart big enough to love sinners, the sick, the marginal. and pierced for love of us. To Thomas, putting his hand in that pierced side, Jesus said, “blessed are those who have not seen yet believed!”


Lord, Jesus, we thank you for these moments of grace in which you have opened our eyes to await your coming to us with expectant hope. Just as Mary was expecting to deliver you into this world, we hope to receive you into our hearts. We give you thanks for the love you showed us on earth and in the Eucharist and the Sacraments which continue to nourish us and sustain us. Help us to open our hearts to your healing mercy and love. Come to us, Lord.Jesus!

 

(I would like to thank Creighton University’s Online Ministries for their format for today’s Advent reflecton.)

 

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ALL SAINTS DAY CATHOLIC FEAST

 

ALL SAINTS DAY NOVEMBER 1

We have two major feasts this week in our Church which reminds us of what we profess in the Apostles Creed. as a dogma of our Faith. “I believe in the Holy Spirit. the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

We too are part of that “Communion of Saints.” We are “the pilgrim Church” on earth still making our way back home, striving to become saints. We are sometimes called the “Church Militant,” because we continue to struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil.

Another part of the Communion of Saints are the holy souls in purgatory, not yet purified and perfected, but will one day enter heaven. We believe that God in his mercy purifies them and purges them of their sins and their effects so they may worthily enter into the presence of the all Holy God.

This purgation of sins and its effects is the reason we call the souls in Purgatory, the Church Suffering. It is painful in Purgatory just as it is here on earth when God breaks us from our addictions and willfulness. The souls in Purgatory also suffer because they are separated from full communion with God.

The Particular feast that calls attention to their plight is the Feast of All Souls celebrated on November 2. Souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves but can pray for us. So it is extremely important to pray for them that they soon may be purified and perfected. They pray for us now and will intercede for us when they get to heaven.

Finally, there is a group of saints already in heaven, already experiencing the Beatific Vision. All Saints day, a Holy Day of obligation in many parts of the world, is celebrated on November 1. We call these saints, the “Church Triumphant.” The communion of saints is truly God’s family. This should give us great encouragement. We are vast in numbers, too many to comprehend.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin… let us run the race, before us, with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith who for the joy, set before Him, endured the cross, and is seated at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints Day is an opportunity to give thanks for all those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a time to celebrate our history. From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us.
On All Saints Day we remember all those—famous or obscure—who are part of the “communion of saints Canonized Saints in heaven, souls in purgatory destined for heaven, and living saints among us. Retelling the stories of saints grounds us in our history. These memories teach us how God has provided for us through the generosity and sacrifice of those who have come before us. The stories of the saints encourage us to be all God has created us to be. Pray to the saints in heaven and purgatory to intercede for us.

Living saints among us could be our own family members. It could be that special family member that prays for all the other members. It could be a family member that not only taught us the faith but lived and modeled the faith, we practice today. On All Saints Day, let us give thanks for both the saints in glory and those on earth, who have led us to Jesus.  Nobody is born a saint. It’s something you have to become. It is not easy but then is anything worthwhile easy.
Those saints in heaven were just like us in so many ways. Read their stories if you don’t believe me. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities and eccentricities.

They were sinners just like the rest of us. They struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better, to aim higher.

Who is a saint? A saint is blessed. Where do we find those blessings in Scripture? In Matthew 5, of course. Saints worked hard to become what Jesus called them to be in the Sermon on the Mount: To be poor in spirit. To be meek. To be merciful. To make peace. This is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints. It’s a tall order. And it is nothing less than a call to greatness.

In truth, blessed par excellence is only found in Jesus. Indeed Jesus was truly poor in spirit, the afflicted one, the meek one, the one hungering and thirsting for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemaker, and the one persecuted for the sake of justice.

We too, can participate in this blessedness in the measure we accept Jesus and follow him, everyone according to their own state in life. With Jesus the impossible becomes possible. Remember his apostles asking Jesus who then can be saved and Jesus’ reply, “Jesus replied, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26). With Jesus’ help, only with His help, we are able to become “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Holiness demands a constant effort but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God. In our life all is a gift of his love. How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?

Perhaps, this week look up in book or on the internet a saint to reflect on, pray to intercede for you for some special grace that will bring you into closer relationship with Our Lord. One other suggestion, you may thank a living “saint” for being a model and inspiration for you and also thank God for putting that person in your life!

CLOSING PRAYER
Lord God, you are glorified in your saints. In their lives on earth, you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. Around your throne, the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing your praises forever. With their great company and all the angels in heaven, we, too, praise your glory, now and forever. Amen.
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FATIMA 100 YEARS MIRACLE OF THE SUN

On the one hundredth anniversary of the last public apparition of our Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima we honor her with reflections, prayers, and consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate heart of Mary our Mother.  Besides our natural mothers we have a heavenly Mother who Jesus gave to us to accompany us on our perilous path home to Him and all the angels and saints in heaven.

MIRACLE OF THE SUN
One hundred years ago on October 13, 1917, Our Lady Of Fatima made her last public appearance with a great miracle, the miracle of the sun. A great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia, Lucia shouted, “Look at the sun!” – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen. Then the immense disk began to “dance.”

The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky. Its light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors. After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd. All this lasted about ten minutes.

Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried. The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.

In the apparition of July 13, 1917 Our Lady warned the three children — Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy — that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world “by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father”, and that Russia would be His chosen instrument of chastisement. “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.”
FATIMA WARNINGS IF PEOPLE REFUSE TO CONVERT
Here are just a few of the warnings of Fatima if people did not get their act together and turn themselves back to God their Creator who knows what is best for His creatures. There will be wars. We have already had two World Wars with others pending. There are today wars in more than 50 nations. Nations will be annihilated, no more Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia as in past centuries. There will be hunger, drought, starvation, see Sudan and Chad. Persecution of the Church, an assassination on Pope John Paul II, Christians killed and persecuted in many countries.

In a 1957 interview, Sr. Lucia, elaborated more on Persecution of the Church by adding the diminishment of the shepherding of the Church. Of course this was before the pedophile priest scandal broke and before Vatican II unintended consequences. In regards the devil, the devil found the easiest way to seize souls was to undermine those consecrated to God, especially priests and bishops leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders which makes them easy prey for the devil.

One of God’s harshest chastisements is when he permits his people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests in name only. Our God is a loving God who seeks each one of us whether He must use the “carrot or stick” to get our attention. God cries out through his prophet Jerimiah, “Return, rebellious children and I will appoint for you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently!” Jeremiah 3:14-15

Now, in the 1950s, there was little indication that there would be this massive falling away of the clergy. There was little indication we would be deprived of good, solid Catholic leadership, which would result in confusion and a falling away among a great number of the Catholic Faithful.
VATICAN II UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
For the last 50 years since Vatican II, the Church Christ founded, has floundered from the very top with questions of objective Truth and relativity. The great tragedy is that we are in a unique point in history wherein a staggering number of Catholic churchmen, who occupy places of responsibility in the Church have fallen victim to the error of Modernism, the belief that some aspects of Catholic doctrine can change over time. All Catholics are bound to believe that dogma does not change, that we have to believe Catholic truth “in the same meaning and in the same explanation” as it has always been taught.

Many post-Vatican II reforms, which tend to “water down” the Church’s teaching, have been made in order to please the world, particularly our Protestant brethren. These post-Vatican II reforms include the abandonment of a distinctive religious habit for nuns, brothers and priests, a softening of the “offensive” teachings on artificial birth control, abortion and homosexuality, and the increasing involvement of the Church in socialist “causes.”

Devotions were down played especially to The Blessed Virgin Mary. Instead of having a Vatican II document on the Blessed Virgin alone, some bishops thought that the text should be included as part of another document, because this would help foster ecumenical dialogue with “the separated brethren” and also would help provide “an antidote to devotional excesses”.
THE FAITHFUL FIGHTS BACK
Keep doing your devotions, praying to saints, the rosary, First Fridays, First Saturdays, Divine Mercy Chaplet, even bury that statue of St. Joseph when you are putting your house up for sale. Why not? We need all the help we can get.

Live the Fatima Message of daily Rosary, Five First Saturdays of Reparation, offering daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice.“Encourage our clergy and hold them accountable; tell them you need to be fed Jesus’ word.

Do all in our power to promote the “TRUTH.” In this world, Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Each person must not only save his own soul but also help all the souls that God has placed on our path.

Fatima calls us to conversion, a daily turning away from sin. Pray the rosary daily for other souls, as the Blessed mother requested, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” Are we doing our part???

There is a cacophony of voices calling out to you; there are a thousand influences pulling you this way and that. What’s the one necessary thing? It is to listen to the voice of Jesus as he tells you of his love and as he tells you who you are.” Bishop Robert Barron

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THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

A MORNING PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. THERESE THE LITTLE FLOWER

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Thy Merciful Love. I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. Amen

ST. THERESE OF LISEUX THE LITTLE FLOWER
FEAST DAY OCTOBER 1

PROLOGUE
This year October 1 falls on a Sunday and Sunday liturgy takes precedent over feast days but I did not want anyone to miss out celebrating one of our greatest saints. Her autobiography Story of a Soul is one of the most popular spiritual books ever written and I recommend it to everyone.

With this blog, we honor her and thank her for not only telling us about God’s boundless Mercy but showing us by action what it means to turn ourselves over to that “furnace of mercy” of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, allowing us, in trust, to be consumed by God’s Mercy.

BACKGROUND

On September 30th, 1897, a young Carmelite nun living in France succumbed to the effects of tuberculosis, dying in obscurity, known only to her sisters in religious life. Like many Carmelite nuns before her, Therese’s death should have meant the culmination of a life of obscurity and faithfulness. Yet, this particular Carmelite nun would prove different in this respect because of a spiritual diary she had kept at the insistence of her Superiors.

 

Within years of her death, the spiritual diary and autobiography (Story of a Soul) of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, would captivate the Church. Miracles attributed to her intercession began to be reported.

 

In just a few decades after her death, the image of Therese of Lisieux would be immediately recognizable in the Catholic world. Canonization would soon follow. At the hundred year anniversary of her death, Pope John Paul II declared formally this obscure cloistered Carmelite nun to be one of the Doctors of the Church, a title given to only a privileged few of the Church’s saints.

THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

Thérèse worried constantly about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn’t want to just be good; she wanted to be a SAINT. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. “I have always wanted to become a saint. God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint”.

A turning point in her thinking came during a trip with her Father. They stayed at a hotel with an elevator or lift as she called it, one of those new fangled inventions at that time. That lift persuaded her that she did not have to do all the heavy climbing to the arms of Jesus.

“… for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in Holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

Therese discovered through God’s grace that one does not have to journey to lands hostile to the Faith and suffer martyrdom to know what it means to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Opportunities to know and serve the Lord will find us wherever we are, and when they do, will we rise to the occasion to seek to serve the Lord?  All for the love of Jesus who gave His all to us; isn’t our all to Jesus in return only fitting?

Therese took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining…so that she was often given the worst leftovers.

 

At the heart of Therese’s understanding of the spiritual life is the principle that holiness can be appreciated and accomplished not only in the performance of mighty deeds but in a willing surrender to the purposes of God as we engage the seemingly ordinary experiences of life.

St. Therese’s “Little Way” is an inspiration to all. Therese realized that it was not possible on her own to be a great saint, although that is what she desired more than anything. She gave us “the elevator metaphor” of a God that would come down to her and lift her up to Him. “As I decrease, He increases!”

Matthew 18:3, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is hard to think of ourselves as we age, especially in our senior years, as children but Matthew 18:3 above says that we better act that way if we want to get into heaven. This, of course, refers to being child-like (wholly trusting) in our relationship with God our loving Father, not child-ish, which is a big difference.

Therese’s “little way” seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life. Thérèse’s “little way” of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appeals to thousands of Catholics and others who are trying to find holiness in ordinary lives.

St. Therese said before she died at age 24 that she wanted to spend her time in heaven doing good on earth, and that she would let a shower of roses fall from Heaven. May St. Therese intercede for us and help us to be attentive to the presence of Christ in all the experiences of life.

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