Friday, May 27, 2016

The Virtues of the Good Thief

The Crucifixion by Tintoretto

Picture source

"He believed,
he repented,
he confessed,
he preached,
he loved,
he trusted,
he prayed."

- Arnold of Chartres
via The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Maxims by Saint Philip Neri

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Philip Neri. The following are some of the maxims for the month of May.  May it inspire us to living a holier life.

-  Men are generally the carpenters of their own crosses.

-  We must not give up praying and asking because we do not get what we ask all at once.

-  We ought to abhor any kind of affection, whether in talking, dressing or anything else.

-  As much love as we give to creatures, just so much we steal from the Creator.

-  Avarice is the pest of the soul.

-  He who wishes for goods will never have devotion.

-  All sins are highly displeasing to God, but above all sensuality and avarice, which are very difficult to cure.

-  If we find nothing in the world to please us, we ought to be pleased by this very not finding anything to please us.

-  He who wishes to attain to perfection must have no attachment to anything.

-  The greatness of our love of God must be tested by the desire we have of suffering for His love.

-  Let us strive after purity of heart, for the Holy Spirit dwells in candid and simple minds.

-  The Holy Spirit is the master of prayer, and causes us to abide in continual peace and cheerfulness, which is a foretaste of Paradise.

-  If we wish the Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray, we must practice humility and obedience.

-  A virtuous life consists in mortifying vices, sins, bad thoughts, and evil affections, and in exercising ourselves in the acquisition of holy virtues.

-  Let us be humble and keep ourselves down:  Obedience! Humility! Detachment!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Prayer for Persecuted Christians

Picture source

The following prayer is from an old prayer book.

in Your mysterious providence,
Your Church must share in the sufferings of Christ Your Son.
Give the spirit of patience and love 
to those who are persecuted for their faith in You
that they may always be true and faithful witnesses
to Your promise of eternal life.

New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book

ACN News - Bishop cries out as ISIS devastates Syrian towns

By John Pontifex

A Syrian prelate has described desperate efforts to tend to the injured and the dying following multiple ISIS attacks on Tartous and Jableh which have left more than 200 dead and nearly 650 injured.

Bishop Antoine Chbeir told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church (ACN) that the May 23 attacks in his diocese were the first of their kind in an area where displaced Syrians had gathered by the hundreds of thousands.

The coastal region has remained under Syrian government control and was considered to be one of the country’s last remaining safe havens for Muslims and Christians alike.

The prelate warned that the attacks on the two coastal cities may prompt a surge in people fleeing Syria: “If there are no safe areas in Syria, still more people will leave the country—probably for good. Many of them will go by sea.”

According to local news reports, the apparent aim of ISIS was to strike the Assad regime in its core stronghold, which is backed by the nearby Russian fleet.

The Maronite bishop of Latakia described the desperate efforts of clergy and laity diocese to come to the aid of victims, adding that today priests have begun burying the dead.

Bishop Chbeir said: “We are trying to help the people and are taking care of the wounded. It is a very dramatic situation and when the disaster struck we wondered if we could cope.”

“Right now, our priests and people are on the scene. They are visiting the people – many of them have broken legs and deep wounds, not to mention the psychological effects.”

Bishop Chbeir continued: “First of all, we need physical and material help, just to help those affected to have something to eat and to help them take care of those who are suffering the most.”

The bishop also added: “We care for people not because of their particular religion but because they are human beings. In this month of May, we are praying to Our Lady to help us.”


Editor’s Notes:

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thought for Today - Suffering in Silence

Should we keep our sufferings to ourselves or should we get talk about it with someone we trust?  Should we bear our crosses patiently?  Do we lose the merits we could have gained in Heaven by seeking comfort from another human being?  An answer to this question is not very easy.  Maybe the following prayer can help.

"O Jesus, let me never yield to despair.  Let me come to You in hardship and spiritual distress."

- Stations of the Cross reflection

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thought for the Day - The Sacrifice of a Mother

There is nothing that pull our heartstrings more than the thought of our own dear mother's sacrifices for us.  I remember when I was a child, reading the story of the great ballerina Anna Pavlova.  I don't remember much about the book except for the part when her poor widowed mother made the huge sacrifice of letting her daughter go.  It had been the two of them for so long but the young girl dreamed of dancing in the prestigious Russia ballet company in Moscow.  Her mother would do everything she could to make that dream come true.

It still brings tears to my eyes remembering their touching good-byes.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thought for the Day - Comforting Words

"You are in my prayers."  - Just by praying a simple Hail Mary for someone can bring s much comfort and hope.

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.

For more urgent prayer needs consider praying Blessed Mother Teresa's express novena that is never known to fail, the Memorare prayed nine times consecutively.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. 

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. 


Friday, May 20, 2016

Today's Thought - The Silent Soul

Why is it so difficult to keep quiet when someone says something hurtful.  Jesus remained silent during His passion.  His Blessed Mother pondered things in her heart.  Can we do less?

We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we should speak.  A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence.  The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God.  - St. Faustina (477 in Diary)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thought for Today - Real Peace

It is no coincidence that being in the presence of our Lord brings true peace to our heart, mind and soul.  And, once we leave His divine presence we may again experience anxiety, worry, and unrest. For this reason we should continuously ask Our Lord to keep us close to His Sacred Heart.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir - Book Review

Jean Heimann,  known for her extensive knowledge of our saintly friends, and who blogs at Catholic Fire, has written a new book  Learning to Love with the Saints:  A Spiritual Memoir.

When I first received the book, I was already reading three other books that I wanted to finish before Lent was over, but my curiosity took over and I took a peek at Jean's book.  Within a day or so, I had finished reading Jean's memoir.

I was touched by the way that Jean shared intimate details of her life.  We come to learn about a girl, a teenager, and a woman named Jean, who came from a good and devout Catholic family.  She may have made mistakes or made the wrong choices along the way.  Yet, she never gave up.  Her love for God has made her who she is today and that is evident by reading this special book.  There is an admirable quality in a writer who writes from the heart without trying to impress anyone.

Accompanying her admissions and family memories are pertinent quotes and qualities of some saints who came to her help during difficult times in her life.  One cannot help but realize how much her life, both during the good and bad times, was influenced by these saints. It is evident that the ones who first influenced her most were her own saintly parents.

After all these years of getting to know Jean in the blogging circles and other social media, I have grown to respect her as being a fine, devout Catholic.  My admiration has grown even more because of her sincerity in sharing facts about herself that could not have been easy to write about or even to remember.  Her humility, compassion, and trust in God is clear on those pages of her book.

There are many things in the book most readers may relate to, such as growing up in a large family, having loving parents who sacrifice for their children, spreading our wings, and making mistakes. In the end, the book is about trusting in the Lord and his friends, the Saints.

Please do yourself a favor and read this wonderful spiritual memoir.

Book Blog Tour Schedule for Learning to Love with the Saints:  A Spiritual Memoir

Here is the blog tour schedule:

Friday, May 13 -- Ellen Gable Hrkach, ReviewPlot, Line, and Sinker   

Saturday, May 14 -- Rosemary Bogdan, Review, A Catholic Mother’s Thoughts 

Sunday, May 15 -- Carolyn Astfalk, Review, My Scribbler’s Heart Blog 
Book Giveaway!

Monday, May 16 -- Lisa Mladinich, Interview, Patheos 

Tuesday, May 17—Nancy HC Ward, Review, Joy Alive in our Hearts 
Book Giveaway!

Wednesday, May 18 -- Esther Gefroh., Review, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii 

Thursday, May 19 -- Barb Szyszkiewicz, Review, Franciscan Mom    
Book Giveaway! and Catholic Mom  

Friday, May 20--Jeannie Ewing, Interview, Love Alone Creates  
Book Giveaway!

Saturday, May 21-- Patrice Faganant McArthur, Review, Spiritual Woman 

Sunday, May 22 -- Melanie Jean Juneau, Review, Association of Catholic Women Bloggers  and Joy of Nine  

Monday, May 23--Virginia Lieto, Review, Virginia Lieto  Book Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24 -- Tony Agnesi, Review, Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life