Saturday, December 05, 2009

On Our Repentance and God's Infinite Mercy

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
The Sorrow of the Student

There lived in the great city of Paris a young student who had committed many sins. God gave him the grace of sincere repentance. He went to the monastery of St. Victor in that city, and asked to be conducted to the Father Superior. As soon as he had entered the room he fell down at the feet of the priest, and began to make his Confession. But he had scarcely uttered a few words when he stopped. His sorrow was so great, and his tears so abundant, and his signs so continuous that he could not utter another word.

"Perhaps, my child." said the Father to him, "if you were to write down your sins on a piece of paper, you would be better able to confess them"

The student did this, and, going to a tablet wrote down the sins he had committed, and then returned to the priest.

As soon as he began to read them his tears again choked him, and he could not pronounce a word. The Confessor asked him to give him the paper, that he might know the sins he had committed. He gave it to him. But as there arose in his mind certain doubts about some things that were written there, he asked the permission of the penitent to go to the Father Abbot to obtain his advice.

This permission the penitent gave very willingly, and the Confessor went to the Abbot with the paper in his hand.

Having unfolded it, he was surprised to find that there was no writing on it at all. "This is most strange," he said. "A few moments ago I read his whole confession written on this paper."

They both examined the paper, and there was not the least mark or letter on it. It was pure and white. Then they knew that God had been pleased to show by this wonder that He had blotted out the sins from the man's soul, as He had blotted them from the paper they held in their hands.

- The Catechism in Examples by Rev. D. Chisholm
NAS Letter December 2009

On the Sufferings of the Souls in Purgatory

Holy Souls and Our Lady
A Voice in the Garden

One evening the venerable Stanislaus of Poland was saying the Rosary in the garden attached to his monastery. Suddenly he heard beside him sounds of grief and wailing. He looked on all sides but saw nothing. He cried out: "Who is moaning so piteously, and where are you, that I may come to your assistance?" Still there was no answer, and the said sounds continued as before.

Stanislaus began to think that this must be a temptation of Satan to put distractions in his mind at his prayer; so, making the sign of the Cross, he aid: "I command you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, to tell me what you want."

Then he heard these words: "I am a soul from Purgatory, condemned by the justice of God to suffer unutterable sufferings. Oh that I were able to let the living know the awful punishments with which God punishes sin when the soul has left the body. If Christians knew it, even in part only, they would have a horror even for the smallest sin.

"Go and tell everyone what I have just revealed to you," continued the suffering soul, "for God has sent me to ask you to do it. Tell them that the smallest faults are punished in Purgatory with intense sufferings, and that everything they have not blotted out by penance on earth must be satisfied for in these terrible flames."
NAS Letter December 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows

Sorrowful Heart of Mary
Mary's Greatest Sufferings:

What caused Mary the greatest pain was to see that by her presence and her sorrow she was increasing the suffering of her son. "The grief which filled Mary's heart," says St. Bernard, " flowed like a torrent into the heart of Jesus and aggravated His martyrdom to such an extent that on the cross Jesus suffered more from compassion for His Mother than from His own torments." Speaking in the name of our Blessed Lady, St. Bernard says: "I stood with my eyes fixed on Him, and His on me, and He was more sorry for me than for Himself." And then speaking of Mary beside her dying Son, he says: "She stood there dying, without being able to die."
Nocturnal Adoration Letter December 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Reminder - Hour of Grace - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception

THE REQUEST OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE

Day and time of the Hour of Grace - December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception

- to begin at 12 noon and to continue until 1 pm (one full hour of prayer)

- During this hour the person making the 'Hour of Grace' either at home or in the Church must put away all distractions. (Donot answer the telephone, or answer any doors, or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this Special H our of Grace).

- Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms

- The remainder of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent prayer before God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus, praying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other Psalms, etc.

You can read more about the Hour of Grace HERE

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for Life

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Dear Blog Readers and Visitors, I hope you join in praying this Novena for Life. Thank you Ian for letting me know:
Hey Esther! Can you post this up? The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is coming up soon and I think it is vital that people do the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the pro-life cause...

Look below:

As the battle to rid our society of all forms of the culture of death (abortion, contraception, embryo stem cell research, euthanasia, etc.), let us continue to pray without ceasing, that life be respected from conception to natural death.

You are invited to pray the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The prayers are not long. It is very easy to do. Invite all ministries (youth ministries, young adult ministries, prayer groups, Eucharistic ministries, priests, religious, all laity) to do this Novena. Do it together as a group. As all of you know, the prayers and intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, are very powerful. Our Lady of Guadalupe is known as the patroness of the unborn. It is encouraged to look up more information on Our Lady of Guadalupe and the many miracles that occurred.
Here is a website:

You can download and distribute this novena to everyone. Like I said, encourage your families and more groups to do this Novena. This Novena was compiled together by the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. You can download it and print it from the link below:

NOVENA PRAYERS CAN BE FOUND BELOW ON LINK BELOW

here

Like I said...PRAY ANYWHERE YOU LIKE.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, PRAY FOR US!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fr. Fox's last television interview on EWTN

Father Fox
EWTN Favorite Fr. Robert J. Fox, who died Nov. 26, gave his last television interview to EWTN’s Doug Keck, host of “Bookmark.” This interview, in which Fr. Fox discusses his last literary works, will air at 1 p.m. ET, Thursday, Dec. 3, and will encore at 11:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 4. Father Fox, who is best known as director of the national Fatima Family Apostolate and Youth for Fatima pilgrimages, as well as editor of the Immaculate Heart Messenger, spoke to Keck about the books, “Mary Teaches the Faith at Fatima,” “Eucharist: Heaven and Earth Unite,” and his children’s book, “Fox in a Box.”

Thanks Gus F.

10 Ways to Honor CHRIST Publicly This Christmas

Christ in Christmas

The following is from America Needs Fatima:

1. Never use the "H" words

2. Decorate your lawn and home

3. Send Christmas cards

4. Share a Christmas meditation

5. Organize a Public Square Nativity Scene

6. Plan a Eucharistic adoration

7. Visit the sick

8. Prepare yourself

9. Write Christmas cards to our troops

10. Don’t let secularists purge Christmas from the Public Square



1. Never use the “H” words:

Never say “Happy Holidays.” The secular term means nothing and only serves to erase the memory of Christ from Christmas and the Holy Season we celebrate.

Avoid “X-Mas” too. Wherever you go, wish others Merry Christmas: at the supermarket, on the phone, in e-mails. You’ll be surprised. Many will appreciate your conviction.

Warning: A few may not appreciate it. Don’t let it bother you. Say a prayer for them.

2. Decorate your lawn and home:

Hang beautiful Christmas ornaments from your doors and windows. Pick up some large poster board and markers at the bookstore and make signs that read, for example, “Just Say Merry Christmas!” Write with big clear letters. Tape one sign to your window facing out for everyone to see. Place another on your door. Encourage your friends to do the same.

3. Send Christmas cards:

Send a Christmas card with a religious message to your friends. Mention that you will pray for them. You can also send a card to your town mayor or elected representative. Also, look for an opportunity to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about Christmas. Letters receive avid and wide readership. Try it.

4. Share a Christmas meditation:

The message is ready to go. Just download and print this inspiring reflection (To download, you need Adobe Reader, available for free here.)

A Christmas Meditation by the Holy Crib

Give the flyer to your friends and family. Include it in your Christmas cards. Post it on bulletin boards or wherever people will read it. Share it far and wide.

5. Organize a Public Square Nativity Scene:

Set up a Nativity scene in your town square or in a visible public place. Invite your friends to help. Be creative. Sing traditional Christmas carols like Silent Night. Pray the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary as a group. Meet for refreshments afterwards. Talk about the meaning of Christmas. Keep it simple.

For legal help in case you face opposition, please contact the Alliance Defense Fund. They are quick and effective free help. Phone: 1-800-TELL-ADF. Fax: 480-444-0025. Website: www.alliancedefensefund.org

6. Plan a Eucharistic adoration:

Find an Adoration Chapel near you, ask your friends to join you for a holy hour before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in honor of Christmas. Mark your calendar for a convenient time. Evenings are best. After your holy hour, go out for dinner, or get a good cup of coffee or hot cider and have a discussion about the significance of Christmas.

Click here to find a chapel near you.

7. Visit the sick:

Those suffering in hospitals and nursing homes faintly remember the joy of Christmas. Illness, pain and loneliness overwhelm them. It is a work of mercy to visit the sick. You can bring them Christmas cheer. Your local nursing home likely welcomes visitors. Take something to give away; for example, Miraculous Medals. Everyone likes them. To order free Miraculous Medals, call 1-888-317-5571.

8. Prepare yourself:

Advent prepares us to celebrate the Birth of Our Lord worthily. We should erect a throne in our souls to receive the King of kings. For that reason, it is an excellent time to make a good Confession before Christmas and make sacrifices. For example, give up watching TV or surfing the Internet.

9. Write Christmas cards to our troops:

Thank them for their sacrifice and service. Show them your support. Wish the troops a blessed Christmas and tell them you will remember them in your prayers or thoughts during Midnight Mass. Remind them people back home appreciate the military.

Click here to send a message to the troops.

10. Don’t let secularists purge Christmas from the Public Square:

Christmas is vehemently opposed by secularist groups such as the ACLU, Freedom From Religion, and Americans United For Separation of Church and State. If these pressure groups had their way, nativity scenes, Christian Christmas carols, and religious symbols would be swept from the public square.

So we Catholics should take the initiative and set up Nativity Scenes on public property all across America. The Supreme Court has decided that we have this right.

Matt Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, explains:

“In contrast to a publicly sponsored nativity scene on public property, a privately sponsored nativity scene on public property does not need a secular symbol to be constitutional. For example, some towns allow private citizens to put up signs or displays on public property. In that case, if a church sponsors a nativity scene on public property, there is no requirement that a secular symbol be placed within the context. The requirement of the secular symbol only arises when a nativity scene is sponsored by the government. To avoid any confusion, the privately sponsored nativity scene should probably have a sign acknowledging the private sponsorship.”

Full text here

For complete details on Nativity scenes in Public Places: Click here



Pass it on: If you care about preserving the spirit of Christmas, click here to forward this article to your e-mail list of friends and family.

Violence threatens dialogue in the Philippines

ACN-USA News

12/2/2009
Violence threatens dialogue in the Philippines



A leading expert in dialogue with Islam in the Philippines has warned that the attacks which killed nearly 60 people will exacerbate religious tensions in a region increasingly infiltrated by fundamentalists.

Father Sebastiano D’Ambra said it was crucial to re-double efforts aimed at inter-faith cooperation in the troubled island of Mindanao after massacres on Monday, November 23rd, claimed the lives of at least 57 people.

Although the killings are widely seen as political, taking place ahead of elections in May, Fr. D’Ambra indicated that they are part of a breakdown in inter-faith relations in an island conscious of unique status within the Philippines as a mainly Muslim region.

The Italian priest’s comments also follow the kidnapping in Mindanao of Irish missionary Fr. Michael Sinnott, who was released earlier in November after a month in captivity.

Fr. D’Ambra is the founder of an inter-faith initiative called the Silsilah Movement and has worked on religious cooperation in the region for almost 30 years. He said that relations with Muslims have declined sharply since the 1960s.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which supports the work of the Silsilah movement, he said, “Religious dialogue today is becoming more and more complicated because of the influence of groups which do not encourage dialogue between Christians and Muslims.”

The priest had come to Europe in order to take part in a conference in Frankfurt, Germany, examining Christianity in Asia. He added: “Before the 1970s, there was a traditional way of living Islam in this region. Relations between Christians and Muslims were quite good, but for many reasons there has been a deterioration.”

Referring to the “infiltration” of extremists, he said, “We have seen the spread of Wahabi [extremist Sunni Islam].”

Also referring to the rise of Muslim insurgency groups including the Abu Sayyaf, he said, “The decline of Muslim-Christian relations is already serious and will get more serious unless the political situation improves, and, in the context of killings like those [on Monday], I do not see that happening soon.”

Fr. D’Ambra did insist that the Silsilah movement and other work towards better Muslim-Christian relations could yet succeed, despite the setbacks.

Set up 25 years ago, the movement creates opportunities for inter-faith cooperation centering on the 14-acre Harmony Village in Zamboanga city, which comprises an institute for religious dialogue, a training center, activities for young people from different religions as well as both a chapel and a mosque.

Fr. D’Ambra wants to expand Silsilah’s work with a media center that will prepare materials for television and radio and promote religious peace initiatives and inter-faith advocacy initiatives aimed at tackling exploitation by employers. One such program involves lobbying to stop a mining company from working in an area that risks cutting off a crucial water supply to villagers.

He said, “The Silsilah movement is working very hard. We have to be convinced of our work for dialogue. If our efforts are to work, they have to be sustainable.”

The priest added, “We have to remember that there are many groups in Mindanao who work for dialogue. Indeed most groups have a peaceful approach.”


With picture of Father Sebastiano D’Ambra


Editor’s Notes:

Your browser may not support display of this image.

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 michael@churchinneed.org 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. Aid to the Church in Need

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Father Gordon's New Spiritual Communion Page

St. Stephen
Photo by Esther G.


Some people, including yours truly wanted to join in Spiritual Communion with Father Gordon MacRae when he celebrates Mass in his cell. If you have been reading the posts I have shared here you will remember that it is only recently that Father has that privilege to do so. In light of the interest shown, Father's blessed helpers have created a page for Spiritual Communion. You can leave prayer requests at Father's blog.
We encourage you to join us in a weekly Holy Hour. If you’re able, your Holy Hour may coincide with a weekly opportunity that Fr. MacRae has to celebrate Mass in private in his cell. The weekly Mass is celebrated each Sunday between 11 pm and midnight Eastern Standard Time.

We included a New Hampshire clock on the Spiritual Communion page. If you’re unable to join us in prayer at that time, please consider an hour in prayer with us at some other time.
Please visit Father's blog for more details.

Please spread the word.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Novena - Immaculate Conception Begins Today

Immaculate Conception
Thanks to Mary Jane for sharing this Novena

ADVENT - Season of Anticipation

First Week of AdventPhoto by Esther G.

By Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.


The season of Advent has a twofold character, a double meaning. Advent prepares us for Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s first coming to us. And it also reminds us to direct our minds and hearts to be prepared for Christ’s second coming at the end of time.

In Christian usage the word “advent” (adventus) has a special liturgical significance, but the origin of the word is pagan.

At the time of Jesus’ birth the pagans observed a manifestation of their pagan divinity that came to dwell in its temple at a certain time each year. This pagan feast was called advent, and it marked an anniversary of the return of their pagan god to the temple. During this special time the temple was open. Ordinarily the temple was closed.

In the days of the Roman emperor, advent also celebrated the coming of the emperor.

The word “advent” was suitable to describe the coming of the Son of God in the temple of his flesh. Gradually the use of this word was limited to describe the coming of the Lord. This advent, the coming of the Lord and the anniversary of his birth, replaced the advent and birth of the unvanquished sun of the winter solstice. This use of the word “advent” gained prominence during the reign of the Emperor Constantine (306-337). To grant tolerance to all religions and to allow the open practice of Christianity, he issued the Edict of Milan in 313. As Christian feasts were adopted and celebrated, pagan festivals were soon replaced and forgotten.

The ancient idea of advent underlies the prayers of Advent that call forth the coming of the Lord, often with the same image of the temple.

Now Advent signals a time to prepare for Christmas, the celebration of the first coming of the Lord. But the prayer texts and Scripture readings of the Sunday Masses and the Liturgy of the Hours give ample attention to the second coming of the Lord to which we look forward.

In reality the three distinct accents of the Liturgy of the Advent season are defined by the three comings of the Lord: yesterday, at Bethlehem, when the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary; today, in our world, where he is incarnate in the Church, in the sacraments, and in the faithful baptized into grace; tomorrow, when he returns in glory.

This, then, is the rich meaning of Advent. From the beginning of the liturgical year we celebrate the whole panorama of the mystery of salvation history.

The variety of this season is not only desirable, it is truly appropriate because Advent is oriented toward the one who has come once for all, who is coming, and who will come.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent 2009 - Reminder from the Late Father Robert Fox

Father Fox
The following is from an older post I shared a while back which Father Fox had written for his blog:
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.