Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catholic Homeschooling Mom's Miraculous Come Back

It has been a while since I received any updates on Catholic Homeschooling mom Kathy H. The last I heard, we were asked to storm heaven for a miracle because Kathy health was rapidly failing. Kathy went from having a failing kidney transplant removed, to being diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of kidney cancer. She was a young mom with two little girls and a husband who loved and needed her.

I believe it was Easter who suggested that we ask Blessed Mother Marianne Cope for her intercession in healing Kathy. Blessed Mother Marianne still needs one miracle attributed to her in order for her to be proclaimed a saint.

It was during this time that my family and I went on our first trip to Kalaupapa. We specifically prayed in front of Bl. Mother Marianne's gravesite, for Kathy's intentions.

Like Easter, I firmly believe it was Blessed Mother Marianne who has indeed interceded for Kathy's healing.

Easter shared on her blog an incredible story of Kathy's recent finish at the  Aloha Run.

St. John Vianney on the Blessed Mother

...The Holy Virgin is often compared to a mother, but she is much better still than the best of mothers; for the best of mothers sometimes punishes her child when it displeases her, and even beats it: she thinks she is doing right. But the Holy Virgin does not so; she is so good that she treats us with love, and never punishes us.
The heart of this good Mother is all love and mercy; she desires only to see us happy...

...The most Holy Virgin places herself between her Son and us. The greater sinners we are, the more tenderness and compassion does she feel for us. The child that has cost its mother most tears is the dearest to her heart. Does not a mother always run to the help of the weakest and the most exposed to danger?...

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Newly Elected President of Costa Rica

American Catholic: President Laura Chinchilla-She is my type of Socialist!

Practical Lenten Suggestions

These suggestions come from Fr. Trigilio over at the Black Biretta

Don't Lent Lent Pass You By

Picture Source

Thanks to the Sinner's Guide for sharing the following tips:
Here are some tips to make this a great Lent:

1. Do things that bring you closer to Christ. I know this is obvious but seriously why give up sweets when you know what is keeping you from a passionate relationship with the Lord is an addiction to television.
2. Write down commitments and their reasons. For example if you are giving up coffee because of an addiction to caffeine write Coffee: Because addictions affect my ability to surrender myself to God.
3. Pick the obvious commitments first. If you clearly have an issue that’s keeping you from giving yourself totally to Christ then work on that this lent. For example if laziness is an issue then wake up early and have a prayer time. If you can easily get to mass everyday but you haven’t been going then make a commitment to go.
4. Remember the focus of Lent should be to rid yourself of the world and sin in order to make more room for God.
5. Most importantly ask God to reveal to you those things that are hard to spot but are hindering your full surrender.

Silence and the Radical Christian Life

Picture Source for Into the Great Silence still

I found this inspiring new blog today. It will be added to the sidebar.

The recent post on silence could not have come at a better time. This Lent, I am striving to listen to God more.

The Sinner's Guide - Silence and the Radical Christian
Some tips to help cultivate silence in your daily life:

1. Make it a priority. Set aside time each day to not only pray but listen to God
2. Make it the same time each day. This builds a habit and shows how important it is to us
3. Turn off EVERYTHING. (TV, Radio, Cell Phone, Laptop Etc.)
4. Write down things that are distracting you. For example things you need to accomplish
5. Work hard to keep your mind on the conversation with God
6. Use the little times to practice. (In the car, the shower, as you are falling asleep)
7. Most of all: Ask God for his help. He wants to speak to each one of us. His message is personal.

An Examination of Conscience Based on St. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises Blog:  The Examination of Conscience

The Fatima Seers Help You Have the Best Lent Ever

Modeling our Lenten practices in the spirit of the Fatima message:

1. During Lent, Fatima’s constant theme of prayer, penance and amendment of life becomes ever more relevant in our daily lives.

Nowadays, many are accustomed to the conveniences that technological progress provides. Fast food, TV dinners, cell phones, ATM’s, express delivery, Internet, email, on-line shopping, etc – modern inventions that fuel that frenetic desire to get things done quickly and easily. Everything comes at one’s fingertips at one’s beckoning. And voila! The recurring mantra jumps out, “I want it and I want it NOW.” In short, no fuss, no delay; period!

• The appeal of the Seven Capital Sins

In a fast paced world as such, instant gratification is the rule. Sadly, it also opens the door wide to sin and vice. The myriad of ads that one watches or reads these days appeal in more ways than one to the seven capital sins. A new facial anti-wrinkle cream flatters a 50-year-old’s vanity; a luscious and tantalizing food product feeds one’s gluttonous tendencies; the Jones’ new car spur’s one envy; an exotic perfume wakes up ones passion and lust; a sales pitch for faster delivery service mitigates one’s anger over a previously botched job; and so it goes down the line.

• Our Ruling Passions

From another vantage view, each individual suffers from a ruling passion or vice that dominates all others and, frequently causes one to fall from grace. Be it pride or sensuality, intemperance, a loose tongue or what not, we know, more or less, our own weaknesses. Thankfully by the grace of God, Lent offers the opportunity for one to tackle this or that defect through serious reflection, prayer and the practice of mortification.

Would it burden us much if we cease to be creatures of comfort starting this Lenten season and mortify our senses for the good of our souls? Let us turn to the children of Fatima for inspiration and courage...
Read the rest HERE

Prayer Request for the Soul of Universal Rosary's Patti Melvin's Sister

I received the following email:

Dear Apostles of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

It is with great sorrow, I share the sudden death of my little sister. This angel of mercy spent herself entirely. She helped everyone with everything, forever, without hesitation, and with never a thought of herself. She simply burned on and on, until she was totally burned out. She gave herself in love to all souls, generously and tirelessly, all for Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May Sister Mary Francisca rest in eternal peace! I have traveled to Idaho for the funeral and to spend ten days with my dear mother who is blind. Please pray for my mother, Dorothy Klotz, who is absolutely devastated by this loss. Sister did everything for mom...
Please click here to read the rest of Patti's letter.

Please pray for the repose of Sister Mary Francisca, and for comfort of her family during this very sad time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Shrine of St. Jude - Our Lady of Victories Paterson, NJ

Loci Lenar recently visited a shrine and church that is very near and dear to my heart. Shrine of Saint Jude

This was our parish when we were little kids. I made my First Holy Communion at this Church. Monsignor Vincent Puma was the pastor then. He went on to become the founder of Eva's Kitchen and later Eva's Village, an charitable organization that helped the downtrodden and homeless.

During this time, Father John Catoir was also assigned there. Father Catoir is the syndicated columnist and author of many spiritual books, and one time host of The Christophers.

Thanks Loci for the trip down memory lane.

US Marine - St. Michael the Archangel Intervention

U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet
...He turned it over to display the picture card tucked inside, depicting Michael the Archangel stamping on Lucifer's head. "I don't need luck," he said...
H/T to Loci for this remarkable story.

Holy Father Tells Homeless: The Church Will not Abandon You

It was bittersweet watching this video. On the one hand, I was happy to see the Holy Father's compassion toward the homeless in Italy and on the other hand, being struck by the hard reality that there is a homeless problem in Italy.

Every day on the way to daily Mass, I cannot help but be moved by seeing the street people sleeping on the cold and hard concrete sidewalk. One man sleeps on the corner wrapped in his blanket. He sleeps with a blaring light that is on all night long.  He arises at approximately 6:00am, and spends the day clad only in a towel around his waist.

Across the street from the church there is an elderly lady who has been on the streets for over 20 years. She is now reduced to reclining on a bundle of rags and a cushioned mat someone was kind enough to give her. She used to spend her days and nights on the hard bus stop bench. But the City had the benches removed thinking that would alleviate Honolulu of its homeless problem. 

Today, a few feet away from this elderly woman, there was another elderly woman. This lady was in her wheelchair, surrounded by her worldly possession.

How do we help the endless number of homeless street people?

We do it one person at a time.

YEAR FOR PRIESTS - Curé of Ars Lenten Reading Plan

The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer

Cure of Ars Lenten Reading Plan from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday

...The texts provided...are taken from the catecheses, exhortations, and sermon excerpts of the Holy Curé of Ars, Saint John Vianney. During this Year for Priests, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has held up this important saint as a model for all parish priests. His writings contain a great depth of spirituality and wisdom...

The following is an excerpt from yesterday's Ash Wednesday reflection:
...Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble....

A big mahalo to my friend Maryellen for sharing this one.  The link will be placed on the sidebar under Year for Priests links until after Easter.

Fast From-Feast On

Thanks to Father Vince Inghilterra for sharing the following:

Keeping a Holy Lent

Fast From-Feast On

• Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.

• Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of life.

• Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.

• Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.

• Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.

• Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.

• Fast from anger; Feast on patience.

• Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.

• Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.

• Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.

• Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.

• Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.

• Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.

• Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.

• Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.

• Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.

• Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.

• Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that uplift.

• Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.

• Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.

• Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on the sunlight of serenity.

• Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.

• Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that strengthens.
-William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself |

Photo by Esther G.

We still ask ourselves as Ash Wednesday approaches, "What am I doing for Lent? What am I giving up for Lent?" We can be grateful that the customs of giving up something for Lent and abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent have survived in our secular society. But, unfortunately, it is doubtful that many practice them with understanding. Many perform them in good faith and with a vague sense of their value, and this is commendable. But if these acts of self-denial were better understood, they could be practiced with greater profit. Otherwise, they run the risk of falling out of use.
Read the rest here

Don't Waste Lent

Fr. Euteneuer has some excellent tips for keeping a holy Lent.
... go for high spiritual impact. That is, identify and practice faithfully just one really magnificent goal for your personal conversion this Lent. I say conversion and not "personal improvement" lest anyone interpret the call to spiritual discipline as a chance to lose weight or quit smoking! What Lent demands of us is to look into our vicious, slot
hful and petty nature and challenge it with the full prophetic force of the Gospel...
You can read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Preparing for a Holy Lent

The following are suggestions for keeping a holy Lent during this 40 day journey.  There are many, many more things you can do to grow spiritually this Lenten season, such as journeying with Jesus as He carries His cross, with the Stations of the Cross.  Most parishes do this during Lent.  These are just some ideas that I wanted to share with you.

1. Read only spiritual books, books that will feed your soul. Refrain from reading secular books and magazines. 

2. In the same vein, try to avoid watching television programs or movies that are secular in nature. There is excellent Lenten programming on EWTN. Be sure to check out their schedule. You can even sign up for their weekly programming schedule at their website. This is also a good opportunity to watch good movies with your family. There are many excellent movies with Catholic themes available at local public libraries too. Vatican's Best Films List

3. Make a holy hour of Eucharistic adoration. If you are already doing so, make an additional hour or more of adoration.

4. Attend daily Mass during Lent.

5. Considering praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet at other times during the day, in addition to the 3:00 PM traditional time, for a soul in need of mercy.

6. Consider the 40 Trash-Bag Challenge as a way of de-cluttering and simplifying one's life during Lent. A H/T to Ellen for this suggestion.

7. Pray the Holy Rosary with your family every evening during Lent, if you do not do this regularly. If you do, pray an extra Rosary for someone else's intentions.

8. Pray the Litany of Humility daily during Lent. The Litany can be found on this blog's sidebar.

9. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen, parish food pantry, or homeless shelter during Lent.

10. Go through your closets and dresser drawers, pull out clothes that you do not wear and donate them to a homeless shelter or a family in need.

11. If you are an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, consider volunteering to bring Holy Communion to the hospital bound patients.

12. Consider writing someone in prison a letter like falsely imprisoned priest Fr. Gordon MacRae. You can find his story and contact information here

13. Have Masses offered for someone who died. Have the Mass card sent to the family.

14. Try to patiently bear the crosses that will inevitably come your way.

15. If someone you know is doing something morally wrong, offer your Holy Communion for that person.

16. During these 40 Days, consider depriving yourself of the company of too many people. Try to limit your get-togethers, lunches, etc. until after Easter.

17. Make a thorough examination of conscience and go to Confession during the Lenten season.

18. Try very hard not to speak about yourself. Listen quietly while others talk about themselves.

19. Bring up a spiritual topic at dinner time and let everyone in the family contribute to the discussion.

20. Before speaking, picture Christ crucified before you so that you may temper your words with kindness and humility.

21. Forgive someone who has hurt you deeply, from the bottom of your heart.

22. Sign up for the Spring 40 Days for Life closest to you and make a commitment to pray in front of an abortion clinic. You may be saving someone's live that day.

23. Pray the act of contrition wholeheartedly, every evening during Lent.

24. Pray for a person who you find difficult to love.

25. Consider offering lunch or money to a street person, especially one who is really down and out. Do not worry what he or she will do with the money. Just see Jesus in that person.

26. If you are unable to offer lunch or money to a street person, at least smile kindly and greet them. Confirm in them that you see them as a child of God.

*27. Think of the relationship in your life where pride is the most destructive and take concrete steps to deal with that person more positively and humbly.

*28. Be the first to offer an apology when the need arises, for the sake of peace and unity.

29. Read True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by St. Louis de Montfort and prepare yourself to consecrate yourself to her. The online version can be found on this blog's sidebar.

*30. Take a hard look at your life to identify the areas where duplicity manifests itself and take a concrete step toward living with more integrity.

*31. Think of the people you dislike or are indifferent to, and consider at least one of their good qualities. If the opportunity arises, speak well of them, and if possible, do a good deed for them.

32. Fast from social networking such as Facebook or Twitter during Lent.

33. Make a sacrifice and only eat three moderate meals during Lent, try abstaining from unnecessary snacking.

34. Drink only water with your meals during Lent, as an act of mortification.

35. Let others help themselves first, even if it means you will end up with lesser portions of food or the least appetizing pieces.

36. Refrain from adding salt if salt is needed or sugar if something is not sweet enough.

38. Put other people's interest first, especially if you do not like a particular person.

39. Consider spiritually adopting a priest during Lent, even if only God and you know about it.  Pray daily and offer sacrifices for your spiritual son.

40.  If you fail in your Lenten resolutions, ask God for strength and resolve with your whole heart and mind to do even better the next day.

*A few of the above suggestions came from past Lenten Resolutions shared by Regnum Christi.

Monday, February 15, 2010

YEAR FOR PRIESTS: Alter Christus

HM Television, together with the Holy Sees Congregation for the Clergy, presents Alter Christus, a fast-paced film on the many aspects of the priesthood in the life of the Church. Centered on the life of St. John Vianney, the topics covered range from the Priestly Identity to the Sacraments, from Celibacy to the Mission.

Thank you Kathy for sharing this with me.

Feast of Blessed Michael Sopocko

"This is the visible help for you on earth.
He will help you to carry out My will on earth" (Diary, 53).

Divine Providence entrusted a very important role in St. Sister Faustina's mission to her confessor and spiritual director Fr. Michael Sopocko. During Sister Faustina's stay in Vilnius (Lithuania)
in the years 1933-1936, he was for her an irreplaceable help in discerning interior inspirations and visions. Obedient to his orders, she wrote a DIARY, which is an now an extraordinarily valuable document of Catholic mysticism. In the DIARY one can also find evidence of Fr. Sopocko's extraordinary character and his work in fulfilling the desires of the Lord Jesus.

"He is a priest after My own Heart
(...) Through him it pleases Me to proclaim
the worship of My mercy" (Diary, 1256).

"His thought is closely united with Mine, so be at peace about
what concerns My work. I will not let him make a mistake,
and you should do nothing without his permission" (Diary, 1408)
Source: St. Mary Faustina Kowalska: The Divine Mercy

New Website Added to the Sidebar

Please check out this new website dedicated to the Infant of Prague.

To kick-off this new site, the owner is offering an Infant of Prague Medallion for a limited time, for those who request it.