New York

I have felt many strong thoughts regarding the abortion law recently passed in NY. I’ve asked for the intercession of our patron of the Americas and our only pregnant apparition, Our Lady Of Guadalupe, as a desperate plea for these Holy Innocents. 

My thoughts though, keep going back to the Creator and His children.  The suffering of the aborted babies absolutely, but they are with Jesus. What about the other souls?

I think about the lost ones, signing their names, wielding surgical instruments, and raising this cause of death.  

I think about the pain of losing even one of my children for an eternity.  

I think of our Savior sacrificed on a cross, and His words…”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I think we need to help our Father save His children…all of them.

Note: The writing of this didn’t come easy. It is a difficult realization as a citizen of the USA that we have come to this. May the Creator have mercy on us, and on the whole world

A Week of Saints (January 27- March 2, 2019)

Sunday, January 27t:  St Angela Merici, Reiligious, founder (1474-1540)

St Angela Merici founded the order of the Ursulines and establish schools for girls.  Her order was the first teaching order of women in the Church.She was told in a vision that she would one day found a religious community. When on a trip to the Holy Land she was stuck blind in Crete.  She insisted on finishing the trip, and on the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost.  She believed in re-Christianizing family life, through sound Christian education of future wives and mothers.  Her community existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.

“My last word to you, is that you live in harmony, united together, all of one heart and one will.  Be bound to one another by the bond of charity, esteeming one another, bearing with one another in Christ Jesus.”

Patron:   sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents

Monday, January 28:  St Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor (125-1274)

He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor. Thomas abandoned his family’s plans, to become a Benediction Abbot, but instead joined the Dominicans. His mother had him captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year. Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne to further his studies.  Thomas’ greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The Summa Theologiae, his last and uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology.

When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, 

“I cannot go on…. All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.”

“The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.”

Patron:  against storms, apologists, book sellers, Catholic academies, schools, chastity, philosophers, learning, publishers, pencil makers

Tuesday January 29:  St Gildas the Wise, Abott, founder (500-570)

Gildas was noted in particular for his piety  and good education, and was not afraid to publicly rebuke contemporary monarchs at a time when libel was answered by a sword, rather than a Court order.Gildas lived for many years as a hermit on an Island in the Bristol Channel. There he established his reputation for that peculiar Celtic sort of holiness that consists of extreme self-denial and isolation. According to the Welsh, he also preached to the mother of St David, while she was pregnant with the Saint.  He also wrote moral tales and sermons on the moral laxity of rulers and of the clergy. He was an influential preacher and founded a monastery.

Patron: Welsh historians, bell founders

Wednesday, January 30:  St Hyacintha Mariscotti, (1585-1640)

Hyacintha was born to a noble family in Italy.  She was forced to enter a convent, which followed the Third Order Rule of St. Francis.  She was rebellious and lived a lavish life of indulgence. When seriously ill, she received Holy Communion in her room.  Upon seeing how comfortable that Hyacintha was living her confessor advised her to live more humbly.  A serious illness required that Hyacintha’s confessor bring Holy Communion to her room. Scandalized on seeing how soft a life she had provided for herself, the confessor advised her to live more humbly. She acted upon this advice and developed a special devotion to the sufferings of Christ and by her penances,  She became an inspiration to the sisters in her convent. 

Thursday, January 31:  St John Bosco, Priest (1815-1888)

John Bosco believed in a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and creating an environment to remove temptation to sin. He encouraged frequent Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly advice  He founded the Salesians, The Oratory of St Francis de Sales for boys. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.

 “All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time.”

Patron:  apprentices, editors and publishers, schoolchildren, magicians, juvenile delinquents

Friday, February 1:  St Brigid Of Ireland, (451-525)

Brigid was born out of wedlock, the daughter of a pagan cheiftain and a Christian slave woman. Her mother was sold, but Brigid was returned to the chieftain, but was treated like a servant. Brigid’s faith found expression in feats of charity, she gave generously to the poor. Her father became enraged, threatening to sell Brigid to the King, but the Christian king understood Brigid’s acts of charity and convinced the Cheiftain to grant his daughter her freedom. She even disfigured her own face, marring her beauty in order to dissuade suitors. Brigid, with an initial group of seven companions, is credited with organizing communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland. St Mel accepted Brigid’s profession as a nun, and on that day her beauty returned.  Under Brigid’s leadership, Kildare played a major role in the successful Christianization of Ireland. She is traditionally associated with the Cross of St. Brigid, a form of the cross made from reeds or straw that is placed in homes for blessing and protection.

“I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.”

Patron:  dairymaids, cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, newborn babies

Saturday, February 2:  Presentation Of The Lord

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,”and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him, by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: 

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation,j which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted(and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.  And, coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

Luke 2:22-38

You Shall Be Called My Delight

When my son was little, someone observed, “You never take your hands off of him”.  I suppose it was true.  I was always holding him, hugging him. Planting a kiss on his cheek, rustling the hair on his head, rubbing his back, or he was sitting on my lap.  I wanted him to be assured of my presence and affection.

This comment came to me this Sunday as I heard the lector read, from Isaiah at Mass.  

You shall be called “My Delight, “and your land “Espoused.”

For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse.

I thought, How our Father must touch His “delight.”  When I was reaching for my son, it was so natural and subconscious.  It was ordinary moments, he might just be standing next to me, and I would squeeze his arm, or hold his hand.  When I was young, I would have playful moments in the wind, imagining God touching me with the wind. I wonder though how He communicates His touch to me today.  How does He tangibly manifest His delight. I think the Sacraments are an easy answer, but where are His Spontaneous touches?   The wind? Prayer? Adoration? An inspiration of a friend in a note, an invitation, a comment? An awareness of His presence within, or in nature? Being moved and filled with joy? An epiphany?  

My son often didn’t even notice my touch, but it was pretty cool, when he did, and rewarded me with a smile.  So today, I’m going to work on noticing, and smile.

A Week of Saints, January 20-26, 2019

Sunday, January 20: St Sebastian, Roman Soldier, martyr (d 288)

St. Sebastian was a Roman Soldier and was imprisoned for refusing to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods. His parents tried to convince him to denounce the church, but Sebastian convinced both parents to convert to Christianity. According to historical records, he defended the city of Rome against the plague in 680. He survived being shot with arrows, but was eventually martyred by being beaten to death.

Patron: athletes, soldiers

Monday, January 21: St Agnes (c 304)

Agnes consecrated herself to Christ, consequently was murdered at age thirteen for refusing to marry.

“I would offend my Spouse,” she said, “if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!”

Patron:  young girls, chastity, rape survivors

Tuesday, January 22: St Vincent Pallotti, Priest (1795-1850)

St Vincent was a huge advocate for the poor, and spent large sums for the poor and underprivileged. He founded the Society for Catholic Action, which opened agriculture schools, loan associations, orphanages and homes for girls.

“Remember that the Christian life is one of action; not of speech and daydreams.  Let there be few words and many deeds, and let them be done well.”

Wednesday January 23:  Sts Vincent, St Marianne Cope and Bl Henry Suso

St Vincent, deacon (d 304)

He was commissioned by the Bishop to preach in Spain. Diocletian was persecuting Christians in Spain and Vincent was put in prison. He was very outspoken, angering the governor, thus Vincent was inflicted with much torture. He was stretched on the rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks, his wounds were rubbed with salt, and he was burned alive upon a red-hot gridiron. Finally he was cast into prison and laid on a floor scattered with broken pottery, where he died. During his torture he had such peace and tranquillity that it astonished his jailer, who then converted.

Patron: wine and vinegar makers

St Marianne Cope, religious (1838-1918)

St Marianne was known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. She held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. She was a natural leader, and when asked to care for the people of Hawaii,  who were afflicted with leprosy, she went. Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride, and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.  She is celebrated by the Hawaiian people, and her order has many vocations there.

“We bring no gift to Your Majesty except our service in behalf of your suffering people, whose infirmity we bear in our hearts.” 

Patron:  lepers, outcasts, those with HIV/AIDS

Bl Henry Suso, Dominican Friar (1300-1366)

Henry was a Dominican, mystic and spiritual writer.

“Worldly people often purchase hell at a very dear price, by sacrificing themselves to please the world.”

Thursday, January 24: St Francis de Sales, Priest, Bishop, Doctor (1567-1622)

St Francis came from nobility, studied to be a lawyer, but knew he was called to the priesthood.  He diligently tried to bring the people to Christ, but when they wouldn’t open their doors to him, he slipped sermons under the door.  He came to bring 40,000 Calvinists back to the Church.  He believed that every Christian was called to holiness, living within their own state in life. Francis laid the groundwork for what is now known as the universal call to holiness. Francis by example of his own life, proved that people could grow in holiness while involved in a very active occupation. He identified Christian Marriage as a way to holiness, and offered spiritual direction to lay people.  His most famous writing is “Introduction to the Devout Life” and and he founded, with his dear friend St Jane de Chantel, The Visitation Monastery, for women who were widowed or not up to the rigors of religious life in other orders.

“Try interrupting the meditations of someone who is very attached to her spiritual exercises and you will see her upset, flustered, taken aback.  A person who has this true freedom will leave her prayer, unruffled, gracious toward the person who has unexpectedly disturbed her, for to her it’s all the same, serving God by meditating or serving Him by responding to her neighbor:  Both are the will of God, but helping the neighbor is necessary at that particular time.”

Patron:  Catholic writers, the Catholic press, the deaf, journalists, adult education  

Friday, January 26: The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle, Martyr (c-67)

Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,* he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”  The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.

Acts 9:1-7

Saturday, January 27: Sts Titus and Tomothy

Titus, Bishop (c 94)

Titus was a disciple of St Paul and Bishop of Crete.  He died of natural causes at the age of about ninety.

Timothy, Bishop martyr (c-97)

Timothy was a convert of Paul, and joined him in his apostolic work. He was with Paul at the founding of the Church in Corinth. For 15 years he worked with Paul, and became one of his friends. He was sent on difficult missions by Paul.

Patron: invoked against stomach and intestinal problems

Inspiring Thoughts

This is the definition of sin: the misuse of powers given us by God for doing good, a use contrary to God’s commandments. On the other hand, the virtue that God asks of us is the use of the same powers based on good conscience, in accordance with God’s plan.

St Basil the Great