Saturday, December 01, 2007

Our Blessed Mother

BVM
Picture shared by Sue and prayer by Barb

Thou art all fair, O Mary,
The Original Stain is not in thee.
Thou art the glory of Jerusalem,
Thou, the joy of Israel,
Thou, the great honor of our people
Thou, the advocate of sinners.
O Mary,
O Mary,
Virgin most prudent,
Mother most merciful,
Pray for us,
Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Advent Pledge

angel
Shared by Barb.
During the holy season of Advent, I will prepare "My Christmas Gift to Jesus" by :

1. Remembering the real meaning of Christmas - it is the Birthday of Jesus.

2. Thinking more often of Jesus - than Christmas presents and other distractions.

3. Attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion, as often as possible.

4. Making Him a manger in my heart, through my little daily sacrifices.

5. Helping by our good example to lead others to Jesus, as the Christmas star did.

6. Asking our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph to bring me closer to Jesus.

7. Praying during Advent for "Peace on earth".

8. Placing Jesus at the center of Christmas in our homes with a Christmas Crib.

9. Sending Catholic Christmas cards to help "Keep Christ in Christmas".

10. Preparing our hearts to receive Jesus in Holy communion on Christmas Morning.

GIFTS TO GIVE

- To a personal enemy, forgiveness;
- To a friend, your heart;
- To your child, a good example;
- To your parents, respect and conduct that will make them proud of you;
- To your neighbours, love;
- To yourself, respect;
- To all men, charity.
Author unknown to me. If anyone knows, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Spiritual Direction

From Regnum Christi
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me not to worry, not to close myself off from you and your presence in my life. If I were convinced that you were with me, how could I worry? How could anxieties of daily life oppress me so much? Increase my faith in you. Help me to detach myself from the fleeting pleasures of this passing world. You endure for ever; your love is the strength of my heart.

Resolution: I will make a small sacrifice at each of my meals today for the souls in purgatory

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nurturing a Priestly Vocation

St. Tarcisius
I have posted about this topic on a few occasions in the time I've been blogging. As the mother of a devout Catholic son, I want to encourage my son to be open to God's calling to the priesthood, should he received it. I have to be careful though not to make him feel I am forcing him into a vocation other than what God wants for him. I don't want him to do it for me because I want a son who's a priest.

What do I do? I pray every single day for this intention. I pray especially during the Consecration at daily Mass. More vocations to the priesthood is my main intention when we are at Adoration and I pray especially for my son. I also ask every priest I meet to pray for my son's vocation.

But I want to share with you what the father of a priest advises us to do. It is an email he shared with my friend Easter and posted on her new blog:

Advice of a Father Whose Son is a Priest

The following is the Diocesan Prayer for Vocations

Heavenly Father,
Your divine Son taught us
to pray to the Lord of the harvest
to send laborers into His vineyard.

We earnestly beg you
to bless our Diocese and our world
with many priests, deacons, and religious
who will love You fervently and gladly
and courageously spend their lives
in service to Your Son's Church,
especially the poor and the needy.

Bless our families and our children,
and choose from our homes
those whom you desire for this holy work.
Teach them to respond generously
and keep them every faithful
in following Your Son Jesus Christ,
that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
and with the inspiration of
Blessed Damien and Blessed Marianne
the God News of redemption
may be brought to all.

We ask this through Christ our Lord,
Amen.

Vocations Office, Diocese of Honolulu
1184 Bishop Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
808-585-3343
manao@rcchawaii.org
vocations.catholichawaii.org

There's Always Someone To See Bad in Something so Good

Thanks to Jean of Catholic Fire for sharing this.

For a few years now, Fr. Antoine of Children of Hope has been bringing more and more children to Eucharistic Adoration. Very young children are learning to love and adore our Lord, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

One would think Father Antoine's ministry was noble, holy and beyond reproach.

However, a writer for traditional Catholics finds fault in these Children's Holy Hours.

I direct you to Margaret C. Galitzin's article Muslim Style Adoration for Catholic Children

I am of the opinion that children, like all of us, want to see something larger and grander than themselves in the God they worship. They long for the glory and majesty of God. Parents be warned: This is missing in the Children of Hope Eucharistic devotion, which ultimately offers an egalitarian vision of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, turns devotion into a casual chat session with Jesus, and encourages a Muslim-style way to pray for youth and adults.
If what Fr. Antoine is doing is so wrong, why is he a prominent figure for both The World Apostolate of Fatima (Blue Army) and EWTN?

I wonder what Ms. Galitzen's opinion would be of moms in Hawaii who permit their children to do their religion school work in front of Jesus, who read saint stories in front of Jesus, who actually sit in the chairs provided in the Adoration Chapel!!

The purpose of Adoration is to love and adore God in our presence. Children will grow in a deeper more intimate way with our Lord, if they are permitted to see our God as someone who they can actually "talk" to.

I'm not sure why these children are kneeling the way they are in the picture in the article. My guess is that they seem to be able to meditate better with their eyes closed and that it may be a more comfortable position.

I've never been to a Children's Holy Hour by Fr. Antoine so I cannot make a judgment either way on why they are on mats.

Hope Springs Eternal...

Holy Father
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733


Just another Catholic blog posting about the Holy Father's new encyclical:

Spe Salvi

SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Addition to the Side Bar - Pray for Our Priests

Holy Orders
I received an email letting me know about this website
PRAY FOR OUR PRIESTS:
I thought you might be interested in my web site. Pray for Our Priests It was inspired by the responses from 43 Bishops & Archbishops to a letter of support sent to them in 2006. Your own Bishop Clarence (Larry) Silva was one of the 43 bishops who responded. I just sent a second mailing inviting your Bishop to join the Pray for Our Priests movement. The only Diocese currently integrated into the site is my home diocese,
Covington, KY. I hope you can check the site out and consider linking it to your site if/when your Diocese decides to join the movement.
Mahalo Damien!

Novena Starts Today - Immaculate Conception

OLOL

From EWTN Novena

PRAYER TO THE
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain,
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end.

Amen.

Saintly Quote - Fr. Solanus

Fr. Solanus
Shared by Sue Cifelli. Fr. Solanus is one of my favorite modern "saints".

Worry is a weakness from which very few of us are entirely free. We must be on guard against this most insidious enemy of our peace of soul. Instead, let us foster confidence in God, and thank Him ahead of time for whatever He chooses to send us.
Venerable Solanus Casey (1870-1957)

A Pre-Christmas Day Poem

blinkie
Thanks to Irena for sharing.
Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
Why the Politically Correct Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a " Holiday ".
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday !

A Reflection

From Regnum Christi

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, forgive me for the times that I worry and get preoccupied with the passing things of this world. Increase my faith in you. Help me to see your work in my life. Increase my hope, that I might not get discouraged as I see my faults and lack of progress.

Resolution: I will offer my Mass today for the Holy Father and my bishop

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Update on EWTN and Oceanic Cable

Yesterday I posted this reply from Oceanic Cable as to why they cannot bring us EWTN. Today, the west coast rep from EWTN called me and we had a pretty interesting conversation.

It appears that EWTN has been trying for many years to work with Oceanic Cable in bringing their channel to Oahu. Interesting, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai do carry EWTN through the cable company. Now in all fairness, I am not sure if OC is also the cable company on the neighbor islands.

Mr. P (the EWTN rep) also informed me that since EWTN is free, there should be no problem. But that isn't the case here is it? And, that EWTN has spend a lot of money trying to bring EWTN here. Keeping in mind that they rely solely on the support of viewers. Mr. P in fact, has made many trips to all the islands in an attempt to bring EWTN to Hawaii.

So what is the problem? Apparently, Oceanic Cable is not being truthful or forthcoming with the real reasons why after many years, they still will not add EWTN.

As it stands right now, we will have to wait until December 1st when the person in charge of marketing returns Mr. P's telephone call regarding the above.

To all the readers of Hawaii, all I can say is keep calling and emailing OC. Don't give up.

I wonder how much slower DSL is?

Prayer Against Every Evil

Shared by Sue of Half the Kingdom
Spirit of our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Most Holy Trinity, Immaculate Virgin Mary, angels, archangels, and saints of heaven, descend upon me.

Please purify me, Lord, mold me, fill me with yourself, use me.

Banish all the forces of evil from me, destroy them, vanquish them, so that I can be healthy and do good deeds.

Banish from me all spells, witchcraft, black magic, malefice, ties, maledictions, and the evil eye; diabolic infestations, oppressions, possessions; all that is evil and sinful, jealousy, perfidy, envy; physical, psychological, moral, spiritual, diabolical ailments.

Burn all these evils in hell, that they may never again touch me or any other creature in the entire world.

I command and bid all the powers who molest me - by the power of God all powerful, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary - to leave me forever, and to be consigned into the everlasting hell, where they will be bound by Saint Michael the archangel, Saint Gabriel, Saint Raphael, our guardian angels, and where they will be crushed under the heel of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen

Heading the Divine Worship Committee for the USCCB

Bishop of Paterson

According to Fr. Z: The Bishop of Paterson Arthur J. Serratelli is now the Committee Chair! Hip, hip, hurray!!

Check out Fr. Z's blog for the rest of the new members.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Feast of the Miraculous Medal

MM

Organizing Books is Hard Work

BooksBehind my computer desk I have two large wooden book cases. They are specifically there to keep our Catholic books handy. However, whenever I need a book, I can't seem to locate it.

With yesterday's delivery of the new books, I thought it was time to organize our books. I took all the books down and placed them in piles on the floor: woman saints, men saints, popes, Pope JPII, Sisters, Priests, Catholic teaching, children, etc., etc., etc.

In the midst of this organization I called Father Duffy to see how he was doing. He asked me what I was up to and I told him, organizing books. He advised that I sell them.

My husband came home a little after that. He too asked me what I was doing. "Organizing books" I told him. He also advised me to sell them. I could probably make good money he added.

Well, I don't know about you but I couldn't part with my collection of books. Maybe someday I will but not now.

Tomorrow, Joey gets to alphabetize them. I did find a duplicate or two but now I can't remember which it was.

Fr. Grace's Article

Fr. GraceLooks like we have a published writer here folks!

I was speaking with my dear mom this morning. She told me Fr. Grace's article (his conversion story) was published in the winter issue of Medjugorje Magazine. I believe the article is entitled I Heard Our Lady's Call.

Although, I have already had the privilege of reading Father's story ( he send it to me a few months ago), I look forward to reading it in print.

Congratulations Fr. Grace! Now, let's get to work on that book :-)

EWTN and Hawaii's Cable Company

Yesterday, our local paper reported that Oceanic Cable, a Time Warner company, would be carrying Logos, a new Gay and Lesbian channel. Since for the 14 years I have been living here, continuously asking them to carry EWTN, I was a little perturbed by this news. I sent Oceanic Cable an email and received the following response today: (The emphasis added is mine)
Aloha!

Thank you for your recent inquiry. We have attempted to carry the EWTN
channel and have honestly tried to negotiate a deal with them. But EWTN
is unwilling to pay for the necessary equipment to process their signal
and transmit it to us. Nor did they want to air on the airtime we have
available.

I too am stymied as to why a Catholic channel would be unwilling to make
this investment to reach their congregation, especially considering the
Catholic Church is the wealthiest and largest church in the world.

The new channels that we do add, including the gay and lesbian Logo
network and other protestant religious channels have all made the
necessary investment in equipment necessary to create and broadcast
their channels to us. As to why EWTN refuses to do the things every
other channel has to do is beyond me. Only EWTN can answer these
questions.

Thank You for being an Oceanic Time Warner Cable Customer!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail us again
or contact our Customer Care Department at 643-2100. When replying to
this e-mail, please include this message as well as all previous
correspondence regarding this issue.


Thank you,
Nick S.
Oceanic Time Warner Cable
643-2100

Original Message Follows:
-------------------------


Contact Us
***************************************

Comment: We are long time customers of both the cable and internet. For
many years we have been requesting the EWTN Channel Eternal Word
Television Network. For many years, Oceanic Cable has given us
different excuses why they cannot carry it. Today I find out that OC
will be carrying a new Gay and Lesbian Channel and frankly I am very
unhappy. The reason is not because I do not believe Gays shouldn't have
their own channel but because every other type of channel, including
Protestant channels, take preference over a leading and very popular
Catholic Channel.
Although, it would hurt my family somewhat, I am really considering
unsubscribing to both the cable and internet through OC.
I would appreciate a response.
Thank you,
Esther Gefroh
I did response briefly to their little comment about the Church being the wealthiest church...and that they probably wanted to relegate EWTN to some obscure time. More importantly, I emailed a copy to EWTN asking them to respond directly to Oceanic Cable.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Hour of Grace

MOG
Shared by my friend Betty.

THE REQUEST OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE :

1. Day and time of the Hour of Grace: December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to be started at 12:00 noon and continuing until 1:00 p.m. for one full hour of prayer.

2. During this hour, the person making the "Hour of Grace" either at home or at Church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephones, or answer any doors, or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this special Hour of Grace).

3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three (3) times the 51st Psalm with out-stretched arms. (Psalm 51 appears below)

4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus, saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way, or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other psalms, etc.

Please copy and distribute this message. Remember to pray for your country during this hour. The Blessed Virgin has requested that her important message be sent throughout the entire world. Please help her Mission: that all souls be drawn to GOD, and that JESUS will be loved in every heart. This is the perpetual song of her heart. Let it also be ours.

PSALM 51

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

Their Last Stop...But At Least They're Coming...The Police

Wow, I can't believe it!! The Police are going to Hawaii on February 16th!

Article from the Honolulu Advertiser

I saw them in concert in Atlantic City when I was 21. These guys were terrific! I know most all the girls had a thing for Sting. But for me it was the drummer Stewart Copeland.

Now there are two things keeping me from immediately buying tickets on Saturday:

1) Convincing my DH that they are worth the prices they are charging to see a bunch of middle-age rockers :-). Tickets will be $225, $95 and $75 x 3 and

2) The start of Lent next year.

Synchronicity II

Advent Preparation

Annunciation
Advent

The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking and we have therefore been robbed of much of the true meaning of this season.

During Advent we recall the history of God's people and reflect on how the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This gives us a background for the present. Today we can reflect on the past track record of God and so begin to understand what it means to us now for the sake of what is to come, in our own future and that of our world.

© Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Catholic Online
Well, my favorite liturgical season will soon be here. Yes, Advent! The other day on the phone my mom asked me if I had decorated our home for Christmas. She reminded me that it was my habit of decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I cringed when my mom reminded me of how ignorant I was about our Faith. For years, I completely overlooked the season of Advent.

For a few years now, my family here in Hawaii and I have been observing and trying to get the most out of Advent as a way of rectifying our past ignorance.

There are many things we plan on doing starting on Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent:

1. Advent Candles and Wreath - Usually these two are combined. The Advent candles have already been bought and they were blessed yesterday. I hope to be able to obtain an evergreen wreath before Sunday. If not, we will make do without. Living in Hawaii makes it difficult to have the fresh pine branches available for the picking.

2. Advent Calendar - Our large wooden Advent Calendar with the little drawers is ready to be placed somewhere in the living room area. Usually, I write out little sacrifices and mortifications for each day of Advent. This year that duty has been delegated to our dear son and the whole family will be opening the little drawers this year. In the past, it was just him. Of course, I have a feeling that the treats that fill each drawer will still be my responsibility.

3. Nightly Rosary will continue as well as reading from the Magnificat Advent Companion. This has been a tradition since our parish has been good enough to provide these little treasures of a booklet for us each year.

4. A Family Retreat with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen - After the above rosary and readings, we will be sitting down to watch one of the lectures by Archbishop Sheen. The following is from the back of the DVD:
A Family Retreat: One of his best retreats, preached before a live audience in a church toward the end of Archbishop Sheen's active life. The church was filled with people of all ages; young children, teenagers, and their parents. In this moving presentation, the Archbishop speaks about topics that apply to everyone: Mass, Confession, Youth & Sex, the Devil, Making the Right Choice, Suffering, True Love, and many more..." We saw this at Pauline Books and Media on Saturday and we all agreed it would add to our Advent exercises.
5. Empty Manger - Usually we remove the babe from our Nativity set. This year will remove the new babe we also purchases at the Daughters of St. Paul's Book store. It has the most angelic face I have seen on a baby Jesus in a long time!

6. St. Nicholas Day - My son and I will also be celebrating St. Nicholas' Day with friends from our old Catholic Homeschooling group.

7. Feast Days - Of course, there are special days like the one above but also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.

As you can see, we will be very busy this Advent Season. I just hope I remember to prepare for Christmas!

The following is a video I prepared for Advent. I hope you like.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Solemnity of Christ the King

Christi Rex

Christ's reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him - 1 Corinthians 15:25

The Lord says to my lord:
"Sit at my right hand,
till I make your enemies your footstool."
The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your foes!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day you lead your host upon the holy mountains.
From the womb of the morning
like dew your youth will come to you.
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
"You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.
Psalm 110: 1-5, 7 (RSV)

Source: Christ the King Sunday Prayers and New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing.

St. Pius XI and Christ the King

Christ the King

Our pastor gave a very moving homily on today's feast day. One thing he talked about was Pope Pius XI and the Feast of Christ the King.
If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface... We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior.
QUAS PRIMAS (On the Feast of Christ the King)

For that Hard to Shop For Catholic on Your List

Pope's Cologne
H/T to Denise

PRIVATE FORMULA POPE PIUS IX

"...aristocratic, Old World cologne with suprising freshness..."

Saintly Quote - Blessed Miguel Pro

Christ the King
Shared by Sue of Half the Kingdom
Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with sufferings? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ.
- Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro (1891-1927) - Martyred in Mexico

Llega su vida a ser de día a día más dolorosa, más opresiva, más repleta de sufrimientos? Bendito es él mil veces quien desea eso. Si la vida es más dura, el amor la hace más fuerte también, y sólo este amor, basado en sufrimientos, puede cargar la Cruz de mi Señor Jesucristo.

The Gift That Never Fades...A Spiritual Bouquet

bouquet
Shared by Sue of Half the Kingdom
Anne Marie was one of those people who truly lived the commitment and calling of being Christ's follower. She had raised her family and kept a home by dint of sacrifice. As she edged into her retirement years, they fully reflected a life of faith. Even with health challenges of her own, including cancer, she attended to the forgotten among us, with regular visits to those in need - the hungry, those in hospitals as well as nursing homes.

Her get-well cards for those she knew well and loved with a Christian heart were starling. They were homemade spiritual bouquets.

"I have remembered you:
in 9 Masses
in the reception of Eucharist 9 times
in 9 rosaries
in the Way of the Cross 9 times
in Eucharistic Adoration 9 times
and offered them for your intentions"

and so on. Each unique. And each, life-giving.

"I was a girl in Catholic school the last time I experienced anything like this" one elderly woman exclaimed. She had experienced wave after wave of disabling illnesses. And that little card and greeting said so much to her. She was not alone but part of a larger body - the Body of Christ. Held before the Lord in prayer (reminding her that she was, of course, held gently and lovingly by her heavenly Father at all times.)

A wonderful gift. Thoughtful and steeping in reality as much as any gift could be.

Advent is a wonderful time to revive your own experience of the spiritual bouquet. You learn the needs of others in a myriad of ways; arrange the "bouquet" in the way best suited to the gift recipient.

Fill it with spiritual gifts offered throughout the Advent season. Embellish it with real or silk flowers, perhaps presented in a small basket, gathered in the festive cellophane wrapping used for artsy gifts and baskets.

Give a Spiritual Bouquet to your parents, if you are privileged to have them with you still. Remember a sick or shut-in friend with a Bouquet. And give them liberally to the young. Their questions, their sense of wonder will grow as a learning experience in faith, as they unwrap your spiritual gift.

And invite the children in your family to create their own Spiritual Bouquets at Christmas - wonderful gifts for parents and grandparents. They will delight in your instruction, in sharing a project with you.

The Spiritual Bouquet will make this a memorable Advent and Christmas for you and your family.
Author Unknown

A few years ago, we were celebrating Fr. Schmidt's birthday. He was a Maryknoll priest who celebrated Mass for our group of Catholic Homeschoolers. One mom had the idea of presenting him with a bouquet of flowers on which we pinned the spiritual bouquet would be offer for him. It has now been over 5 years and I still remember to pray for Fr. Schmidt what I had offered as a Spiritual Bouquet. Since then I have given Spiritual Bouquets to our parents, Fr. Duffy and our Holy Father John Paul II. When he went home to God, Pope Benedict XVI inherited that daily Hail Mary meant for him.

Unity With the Clergy

Mother Angelica
"You need to be united to your parish priest, and I don't care who he is, what he is, what he does, or what he doesn't do. I've had people say, 'Oh, but if you lived under my pastor, you wouldn't say that.' Do you ever think what a sick heart he has? How lonely he is? What suffering he might have had in his life that made him what he is?

Then you gripe about the bishops. Do you ever realize the terrible responsibility of being a bishop? And no matter what you do, somebody is unhappy with you. You can't stand criticism on a little level; can you imagine what they endure? You need to develop a spirit of compassion so deep that it embraces the whole world. Laity and clergy must be united in spirit for the greater glory of God."
From Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality edited by Raymond Arroyo and published by Doubleday.