Friday, November 23, 2007

Feast Day of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, S.J.

Today at Mass, Fr. Paul shared the story of Blessed Miguel Pro during his homily. He told us that it wasn't that long ago that this happened. That got me thinking that this saint was martyred on November 23rd, 1927. That would have made my father 11 days old.

My mom and I were discussing him today and she asked me why he is still considered blessed when he was martyred. Shouldn't he be Saint Miguel Pro?

Padre Pro
Padre Miguel Pro kneeling in prayer before execution

Pro
The Firing Squad

Photo source: Here

Blessed Pro
"Viva Cristo Rey"


For more photos of that fateful day and a chronological report of what occurred, Check out this site. However, it is in Spanish. I will briefly explain the scenes below:

Scene 1: Six soldiers are ready to fire. The are surrounded by a wall and curious onlookers or witnesses to what is about to occur.

Scene 2: The officials in charge of the execution: Roberto Cruz, the police inspector. He is the one with his hand in his pocket. Next to him is Antonio Gómez Velasco, an integral part of the Presidency.

Scene 3: Padre Miguel Agustin taking the walk of the condemned man to the location of his execution.

Scene 4: Padre Miguel Austin, moments before his martyrdom, ask the official for permission to pray.

Scene 5: This is the most famous of all the photos taken of Padre Pro. It is the one with his arms outstretched. He serenely awaits the assail of bullets that will take him home. In one hand, he is holding his Rosary.

Scene 6: A soldier delivers the coup de grace. After Padre Pro is killed, his companions follow the same fate...Luis Segura Vilchis, Humberto Pro y Juan Tirado Arias. These four men were given the title of the Martyrs of Cristo Rey by Liga Nacional Defensora de la Libertad Religiosa

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Gift Not Soon Forgotten

hands
Shared by Sue of Half the Kingdom
The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment -- to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful.

Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student's art. And they were.

But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. He was the teacher's true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.

Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.

His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of God, for God feeds us. And so the discussion went -- until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.

When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas' desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was.

The little boy looked away and murmured, "It's yours, teacher."

She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, "Take my hand, Douglas, we'll go outside." Or, "Let me show you how to hold your pencil." Or, "Let's do this together." Douglas was most thankful for his teacher's hand.

Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.

The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglases of the world. They might not always say thanks. But they'll remember the hand that reaches out.


Author Unknown

Feast Day of St. Cecilia

St. Cecilia
A meditation on a saint by a saint.
"The catacombs, too, left a deep impression on me. They were exactly as I had imagined them when reading the lives of the martyrs. After having spent part of the afternoon in them, it seemed to me we were there for only a few moments, so sacred did the atmosphere appear to me,. We had to carry off some souvenir from the Catacombs; having allowed the procession to pass on a little, Celine and Therese slipped down together to the bottom of the ancient tomb of Saint Cecilia and took some earth which was sanctified by her presence. Before my trip to Rome I didn't have any special devotion to this saint, but when I visited her house transformed into a church, the site of her martyrdom, when learning that she was proclaimed patroness of music not because of her beautiful voice or her talent for music, but in memory of the virginal song she sang to her heavenly Souse hidden in the depths of her heart, I felt more than devotion for her; it was a the real tenderness of a friend. She become my saint of predilection, my intimate confidante. Everything in her thrilled me, especially her abandonment; her limitless confidence that made her capable of virginizing souls who had never desired any other joys but those of the present life. Saint Cecilia is like the bride in the Canticle; in her I see 'a choir in an armed camp.' Her life was nothing else but a melodious song in the midst of the greatest trials, and this does not surprise me because 'the Gospel rested on her heart,' and in her heart reposed the Spouse of Virgins!"

- St. Therese of Lisieux
From today's Meditation, Magnificat, November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monstrance
As The Tiber Jumper Reminds us "Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving better than the Eucharist"

Thanformer


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Presentation of Mary

Presentation of Mary

The following was shared by Barb:
How Mary was Presented in the Temple - by St. John Eudes (+1680)

God inspired in the Heart of the pure Virgin Mary His own intense Love for humility and abhorrence of pride. She possessed, even from her infancy, a far greater horror of pride and ambition, and a far deeper love for humility, than did all the Saints together. It was the first virtue that she practiced. She abased and humbled herself before all. She esteemed herself, and would have been happy to be treated by others, as the last of all creatures. By the marvelous radiance of her Immaculate Conception, she beheld herself susceptible to the guilt of the children of Adam, except that God miraculously preserved her; and she considered that she might have been capable of all the sins in the world, whose source is original sin. It was this humility which attracted to her the countless graces which rendered her worthy to be the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth. Give thanks to Almighty God who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, and offer him all the glory that this Maiden accorded to His Majesty by her practice of richest humility during her childhood and throughout the rest of her life.
and

The following is from St. Michael's Center for the Blessed Virgin located in the beautiful Aloha State. Mahalo Thomas!
The Catholic community commemorates the Presentation of Mary on November 21. Although this feast cannot be proven historically, the Protoevangelium of James, gave account of Joseph offering Mary to the Temple when she was three years old in fulfillment of a promise made to God when Anna was still childless. At the temple, Mary was taught, lived with other little girls and was cared for by pious women.

The Presentation of Mary emphasizes that even as a little Child Mary's life was centered on God. She studied the Sacred Scriptures and awaited and hoped for the coming of the Messiah. Mary faithfully continued to follow the Lord God through her early childhood and beyond. On this feast let us then ask Our Lady to help us to consecrate ourselves entirely to God.
Prayer
Heavenly Father, the Blessed Virgin Mary was dedicated to You by her parents when she was three. In the temple, she joined the girls who spent their days praying, reading Scripture, and serving the temple priests. Her holiness was very evident, and the high priest thought that You probably had great plans for her. I ask Mary to pray for the plans You have for my life. Where I have strayed onto a road of my own choosing, give me her hand to guide me back to where You want me. Where I need to wait for a new plan to begin, give me the grace remain patient and say, "Your will be done." Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for me. Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Luminous Mysteries

Carl's Garden

hose
Shared by Lloyd.

Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.

Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us.

He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII.

Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened.

He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?"

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with a malevolent little smile.

As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled.

Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him.

Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it.

"Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.

Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday."

His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you doing?"

"I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the calm reply.

Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose.

This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water.

When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done.

Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall, Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches.

As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.

"Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time."

The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.

"What's this?" Carl asked.

"It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet."

"I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?" The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like you We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate."

He stopped for a moment. "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back."

He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And with that, he walked off down the street.

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride who still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter.

Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church.

The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: "Person needed to care for Carl's garden.."

The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door.

Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young man said.

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl.

He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him."

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done..

In that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday."

"Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?"

"Carl," he replied..

That's the whole gospel message simply stated.

With a Single Stroke of a Pen

Jesus
Shared by Barb.

Click on the picture to see the image better.

Prayer to St. Faustina

St. Faustina
Also shared by Barb.

Prayer to St. Faustina

Dear St. Faustina, I have come to know you as a friend. I ask you to plead to the Lord for me the prayer I ask of you. In times of doubt, dear friend, implore the Lord's Mercy as you did so often here on earth, that I may remember who I am, and to what His mercy has called me.

In times of fear, implore His Mercy that I may ever remember to trust, and trust again, in joy, and in the knowledge that God is preparing me for a beautiful mission.

Please pray dear St. Faustina, that I may never forget that the abyss between my Lord and I has been bridged by His tender mercy. He will continue to be faithful and heal me of anything which stands in the way of His Will. My life is in His Hands.

Thank you dear friend. Pray with me the prayer Our Lord taught you to spread throughout the world; Jesus, I trust in You! Remind all pilgrims of life that if our trust is great, there is no limit to Jesus' generosity.

Amen.

Dear Blessed Mother Mary

BVM

Shared by Barb.

Mary, my Mother,
you have a great desire to see Jesus loved;
obtain for me this grace -
to love Him with a love that is exceeding great,
and to love no other but Him.

My Lady,
you always obtain from your Son all that you ask Him for.
Pray then for me and console me.
Ask for me also a great love for yourself
who are so much loved by God.

Through the sorrows that you bore on Calvary,
when you looked on Jesus dying on the cross
before your eyes,
obtain for me a good death.

Thus, dear Mother,
loving Jesus and you in this life,
I shall come to love you eternally in paradise.

- - -
"O my Jesus, he who does not love you,
does not know you."

- St. Alphonsus

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Holy Rosary - The Joyful Mysteries

I tried to have this done yesterday but could not. To the friend who requested it, I hope you like it.

Reminder From Fr. Robert Fox: Thanksgiving is not the Beginning of the Christmas Season

THANKSGIVING is a great family feast and time to thank God for His many blessings. But it is NOT the beginning of the liturgical Christmas season. In fact the Christmas season for the Church and all devout Catholics does not begin until Christmas Eve. THEN IT CONTINUES THROUGH EPIPHANY, Jan. 6, 2008 this year, unto the Baptism of Christ; then back into Ordinary time for a few weeks - until Lent. Advent ( begins evening of Dec. 1 this year ) and is the time to prepare during 4 weeks for the CHRISTMAS SEASON, the birth of Jesus Christ; the Incarnation. A SPIRITUALLY AWESOME TIME. Let us celebrate THE GREAT CHRISTIAN FEASTS AND SEASONS WITH THE CHURCH in our domestic churches, our families. Follow the Church; not the commercial world and consumerism. Prepare for Christ’s birthday during Advent, day by day FOR 4 WEEKS.
Advent: Not Thanksgiving - Real Christmas Season

Homily for Today's Gospel

St. MK

Fr. Martin Fox has an excellent homily for us.