Friday, December 19, 2014

The Infant of Prague Novena will not fail us



My mom recently flew back to Hawaii.  No sooner did she arrive at baggage claim when she started thanking the Infant of Prague for answering all her requests.  I believe one of them was for a safe and uneventful flight.

To my utter surprise, the Christmas novena to the Infant of Prague started the day after my mom's arrival!  I should have learned by now that there are no coincidences.  My mom is very confident that the Divine Infant will not let us down.  He will answer our prayers...at least the way God wills it.

INFANT OF PRAGUE NOVENA PRAYER 

O Jesus, Who has said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you 
shall find, knock and it shall be opened," through the 
intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I 
ask that my prayer be granted. 

(Make your request) 

O Jesus, Who has said, "All that you ask of the Father in My Name, 
He will grant you," through the intercession of Mary Your Most 
Holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask your Father in your name 
that my prayer will be granted. 

(Make your request) 

O Jesus, Who has said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My 
word shall not pass away," through the intercession of Mary Your 
Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted. 

(Make your request) 


PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING 

Divine Infant Jesus, I know You love me and would never leave me. 
I thank You for Your close Presence in my life. 

Miraculous Infant, I believe in Your promise of peace, blessings, 
and freedom from want. I place every need and care in Your hands. 

Lord Jesus, may I always trust in Your generous mercy and love. I 
want to honor and praise You, now and forever. Amen. 

INFANT OF PRAGUE NOVENA - EWTN

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent Moment - O Wisdom!



O Sapientia (December 17) O Wisdom (Eccl 24: 5), you came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sir 24: 30), and reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wis 8: 1). Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isa 40: 14).
Catholic Culture


We have a week left before Christmas Eve is here.  Let us take a moment to collect ourselves:

Are we ready for the Baby Jesus' arrival? Or, have we lost sight of Him in the hustle and bustle in our preparation for Christmas?  If the second one is our answer, then we should really consider pausing what we are doing.

We still have time to do the following:

1.  Attend an Advent penance service or go to a priest for confession.

2.  Learn more about the Church's ancient tradition of the O Antiphons.  You can start by clicking the link to Catholic Culture above.

3.  Light the Advent candles and do spiritual reading with your family or just sit still, and listen for God's gentle whisper.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chaldean Patriarch asks pre-Christmas fast for Iraqi Christian refugees

The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church has asked his people to undertake a pre-Christmas fast for the needs of Christian refugees in Iraq.

Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako suggested fasting from December 22 through Christmas Eve, and avoiding “worldly celebration” on Christmas and New Year’s days, in solidarity with “displaced brothers and sisters, who are going through indescribable suffering.” He encouraged prayer, fasting, and acts of charity for the refugees during the remainder of Advent.

“We fast for the liberation of Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh plains, so that peace and security will return to these areas, and everyone will be able to return to his or her home, job and school,” the Patriarch said.
Catholic Culture

Christmas Novenas December 17th to December 25th


Some of you may be praying the. Andrew Christmas Novena.  Here are two more novenas for those of you who aren't.

1.  Thanks to TRIREGNUM sensus catholicus  for sharing about the novena to the Divine Infant King. More information can be found by clicking the link above.

2.   EWTN's Christmas Novena can be found here.

Wishing you and your family a good Advent journey to Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2014

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE A NATIONAL SYMBOL OF MEXICO



Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

          One would be hard pressed to find a better example of a highly evocative national symbol than the Virgin of Guadalupe of Mexico. Like her famous Polish counterpart, the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Guadalupe embodies abstract principles and precepts of the nation where she dwells.

          The complexity and heterogeneous nature of Mexico are reconciled in Our Lady of Guadalupe in a special way that no other symbol can rival. Political overtones are blended with individual and societal aspirations, especially for the Indian, because it was an Indian to whom she revealed herself in 1531.

          Several decades ago Eric Wolf (1923-1999), noted anthropologist, compiled a masterful analysis of the Guadalupe phenomenon. This is an attempt to summarize his findings. With the recent canonization of St. Juan Diego, this topic is timelier than ever.

          Now and then we encounter a symbol that seems to embody the major hopes and aspirations of an entire society. Such a master symbol is Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patroness – and Empress of the Americas.

          During the Mexican War of Independence against Spain, her image preceded the insurgents into battle.  Emiliano Zapata and his agrarian rebels fought under her emblem in the Great Revolution of 1910. Today the Guadalupe image of Juan Diego’s tilma adorns house exteriors and interiors, churches and home altars, bull rings and gambling dens, taxis and buses, restaurants and houses of ill repute. Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated in song and poetry popular and sacred. Annually her shrine at Tepeyac, a little north of Mexico City, is visited by millions of pilgrims ranging from the Indian villages to the members of the socialist trade unions. As one scholarly observer reported, “Nothing to be seen in North America or Europe equals it in the volume and vitality of its moving quality or in the depth of its spirit of religious devotion.”

          Eric Wolf referred to the holy image and the ideology surrounding it as the Mexican master symbol. He identified it as a cultural form or idiom of behavior operating on the symbolic level, and not restricted to one set of social ties, but referring to a wide range of social relationships.

          The history of the image and shrine are well known. The Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, a neophyte Indian of ordinary standing, and addressed him in Nahuatl, his native Indian language. The encounter occurred on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531, ten years after the Spanish Conquest of Tenochtitlan. Mary directed Juan Diego to visit the bishop of Mexico and to inform him of her desire to have a church built in her honor on Tepeyac. Twice unsuccessful in his mission, Mary miraculously provided her messenger colorful roses in a spot where normally only desert plants would grow. Juan Diego gathered the roses into his tilma, and was told by the Virgin Mother to present the roses and tilma to the Franciscan Bishop-elect Zumarraga. When St. Juan Diego unfolded his tilma before the bishop, the roses cascaded to the floor and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously impressed to the cloth. The bishop acknowledged the miracle and ordered a shrine to be built where Mary had appeared to her humble servant.

          Now the tilma bearing the sacred image of Mary is displayed above the main altar of the basilica, showing a young woman with her head lowered demurely in her shawl. She wears an open crown and flowing gown, and stands upon a half moon.

          This Marian shrine, however, had been preceded on Tepeyac hill by the pagan temple honoring the earth and fertility goddess, Tonantzi -- our lady mother, who like Our Lady of Guadalupe, was also associated with the moon. In pre-Hispanic times, that temple was the site of large-scale pilgrimages.

          The veneration accorded Our Lady of Guadalupe at first commingled with and was influenced by the earlier pagan worship of Tonantzin.  Several Spanish friars attest to this over those early years.

          Fray Bernardino de Sahagún writing fifty years after the Spanish Conquest bemoaned the fact that the Indian pilgrims to the shrine were calling Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin, too. “The term refers to that ancient Tonantzin,” he wrote, “and this state of affairs should be remedied, because the proper name of the Mother of God is not Tonantzin but Dios and Nantzin. It seems to be a satanic device to mask idolatry.”

          Later, Fray Marin de León expressed a similar concern: “On the hill of Our Lady of Guadalupe they once adored an idol of the goddess called Tonantzin, which means our mother. This is the name they also give to Our Lady, and they always say they are going to Tonantzin, or they are celebrating Tonantzin; and many of them understand this in the old way, and not in the new way.

          In the 17th century the syncretism was still alive. Discussing the pilgrimages to the shrine at Tepeyac, Fray Jacinto de la Serna noted, “It is the purpose of the wicked to worship the goddess and not the Most Holy Virgin, or both together.”

          The cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe increased steadily in the 16th century and thereafter, and gathered emotional impetus during the 17th century. The 17th century saw the first pictorial and artistic representations of the miraculous original; poems were composed in honor of the Virgin and her chosen messenger; sermons presented the implications of her supernatural appearance in Mexico and among Mexicans. Wolf’s opinion is that historians tended to neglect the 17th century, which seemed “a kind of Dark Age in Mexico.” But in this period the institution of the hacienda begins to dominate Mexican life, and “New Spain” ceases to be “new” and is regarded as Spain. These new experiences required a new cultural idiom, and in the Guadalupe cult the various segments of colonial society found cultural forms in which they expressed their parallel interests and longings.

          The evolution of the Guadalupe symbol took on functional aspects in relation to the major social relationships of Mexican society. Primary among these relations are the ties of kinship, and the emotions arising in the interplay of relationships within families. Wolf suggests that some of the meanings of the Virgin symbol in general and the Guadalupe symbol in particular derive from these emotions. He says “derive” rather than “originate” because the form and formation of the family in any given society are themselves determined by other social factors: residence, economy, technology, and political power. The family is one relay in the circuit within which symbols are generated in complex societies.

          Mexican family life may be understood in terms of two major types of families. The first type of family is congruent with the closed and static life of the Indian village. This is the Indian family. The husband is ideally dominant, but in reality labor and authority are shared equally between both marriage partners. Exploitation of one sex by another is atypical; sexual feats do not add to a person’s status in the eyes of others. Physical punishment and authoritarian treatment of children are rare. The second type of family is congruent with the much more open, manipulative life of a nation, a life in which power relationships between individuals and groups are of great moment. This is the Mexican family. The father’s authority is unquestioned on both the real and ideal planes. Double standards regarding sex prevail, the male sexuality is charged with a desire to exercise domination. Children are ruled with a heavy hand. Physical punishment is common, even frequent.
          The Indian family pattern is consistent with the behavior toward Our Lady of Guadalupe noted by John Bushnell in the Matlazinca-speaking community of San Juan Atzingo in the Valley of Toluca. There the image of the Virgin Mother is addressed in passionate terms as a source of warmth and love; and the pulque  (century plant beer) drunk on ceremonial occasions is identified with her milk. Bushnell assumed that Our Lady is identified with the mother as a source of early satisfactions, never again experienced after separation from the mother and emergence into social adulthood. She embodies a longing to return to the pristine state in which hunger and unsatisfactory social relations are minimized. The Mexican family pattern is also consistent with a symbolic identification of Virgin and mother, within a context of male and adult dominance and sexual assertion, discharged against submissive females and children. In this context the Guadalupe symbol is charged with the energy of rebellion against the father. Her image is the embodiment of hope in a victorious outcome of the struggle between generations.

          The symbolism is further extended by that struggle. Successful rebellion against power figures is equated with the promise of life; defeat is equated with the promise of death. John A. McKay saw additional symbolic identification of the Virgin Mother with life, of defeat and death with the crucified Christ. Mexican artistic tradition and Hispanic artistic tradition in general seldom depict Christ as an adult man, but usually as a helpless child, or as a person beaten, tortured, defeated, and killed. This symbolic equation strikes at the roots both of the passionate affirmation of faith in the Virgin Mother, and of the fascination with death that characterized Baroque Christianity in general, and Mexican Catholicism in particular. Our Lady of Guadalupe stands for life, for health, for hope; Christ on the cross, for despair, for death, for salvation.

          Supernatural Mother and natural mother are equated symbolically, as are earthly and other-worldly hopes and desires.
          However, family relations are seen as only one element in the formation of the Guadalupe symbol. They illuminate the feminine and maternal attributes of the more widespread Virgin symbol. Our Lady of Guadalupe is important to Mexicans not only because she is a Supernatural Mother, but also because she embodies their major religious and political aspirations.

          To the Indians the symbol is more than an embodiment of life and hope. It restores to them the hopes of salvation. The Spanish Conquest signified not only military defeat, but the defeat also of the old gods and the decline of the old ritual. The apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to an Indian commoner represented in one way the return of Tonantzin.  Tannenbaum had observed, “The Church gave the Indian an opportunity not merely to save his own life, but also to save his faith in his own gods.” But on a deeper level the apparition served as a symbolic testimony that the Indians as much as the Spaniards were capable of being saved, capable of receiving Christianity. To be understood properly, this must be seen against the background of the bitter theological and political disputes that followed the Conquest and divided clerics, religious, officials, and conquerors into two camps: those who believed that the Indian was incapable of conversion, was inhuman, and therefore a subject of political and economic exploitation; and those who held the opposite and knew that this exploitation had to be tempered by the demands of the Catholic faith and of orderly civil processes of just government. Consequently the Guadalupe event validates the Indian’s right to legal defense, fair government, citizenship, and salvation from random oppression.

          If that sacred event guaranteed a rightful place to the Indians in the social system of New Spain, it held special appeal to the large group of illegitimate offspring of Spanish fathers and Indian mothers. These progeny were disinherited, impoverished, acculturated, and bereft of any status with the Spanish population or the Indian. For these people there was no proper place in the social order for a considerable length of time. Their very right to exist was questioned because of their inability to command the full rights of citizenship and legal protection. While the Spaniard and the Indian stood squarely within the law, the mestizo landed in the intersections and margins of constituted society. Although they acquired influence and wealth in the 17th and 18th centuries, they still found themselves outside the pale of social recognition and power by prevailing economic, social, and political order. For them the Guadalupe event symbolized not only the possibility of a place in heaven, but also an assurance of their place in society here and now. Politically the desire for a return to a paradise of food and warmth, a life without defeat and sickness, gave rise to a wish for an earthly Mexican paradise. There the illegitimate would possess the country and the irresponsible Spanish overlords who never acknowledged the social obligations of their paternity would be driven from the land.

          In the writings of 17th century clerics, the Guadalupe event looms as a harbinger of this new order. A book published by Miguel Sanchez in 1648 offered the view that the Spanish Conquest of New Spain is justified solely on the ground that it allowed the Virgin Mary to become manifest in her chosen country, and to found in Mexico a new paradise. As Israel was chosen to produce Christ, Mexico had been chosen to produce Guadalupe. Sanchez equated Our Lady of Guadalupe with the apocalyptic woman of Revelation 12:1, “arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars,” who is to realize the prophecy of Deuteronomy 8:7-10 and lead the Mexicans into the Promised Land. Hence, colonial Mexico became the desert of Sinai; independent Mexico the land of milk and honey.

          Writing in 1688 Fray Francisco de Florencia coined the slogan that made Mexico not merely another chosen nation, but the Chosen Nation: non fecit taliter omni nationi (he did not act in such a way for every nation) – words which still adorn the portal of the basilica and shine in lights at night.

          An additional elaboration had been expressed on the eve of Mexican independence when Servando Teresa de Mier claimed that Mexico had been converted to Christianity long before the Spanish Conquest. St. Thomas the Apostle had brought the image of Guadalupe Tonantzin to the New World as a symbol of his mission, just as St. James the Elder had converted Spain with the image of Our Lady of the Pillar. This made the Spanish Conquest unnecessary and erasable from the annals of history. In that perspective the Mexican War of Independence marked the final realization of the apocalyptic promise. The banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe led the insurgents. Their cause was labeled “her law.”

          In this ultimate extension of the symbol, the promise of life proffered by the Supernatural Mother has become the promise of an independent Mexico, liberated from the Spanish father oppressors and restored to the Chosen Nation whose election had been manifest in the apparition of the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac. The land is finally possessed by the rightful heirs. The symbolic circuit is closed. Mother; food, hope, health, life; supernatural salvation, rescue from oppression; Chosen People, national independence. All find expression in a single master symbol.
         
          The symbol of Our Lady of Guadalupe links together family, politics, and religion; colonial past and independent present; Indian and Mexican. This reflects the salient social relationships of Mexican life, and embodies the emotions generated. It provides a cultural idiom through which the import and emotions of these relationships can be expressed. Ultimately the Guadalupe symbol is a way of talking about Mexico: a “collective representation” of Mexican society.
         
         



Litany of Our Lady of Guadalupe



Litany of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.God our Heavenly Father, Creator through whom we live,
have mercy on us.God the Son, the One who owns what is near and beyond,
have mercy on us.God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy of us.Holy Mary of Guadalupe,
pray for us.*Holy Mary, Mother of America,
Holy Mary, Star of the New Evangelization,
Holy Mary, Perfect and Ever Virgin,
Holy Mary, Mother of the True God,
Holy Mary, Mother worthy of honor and veneration,
Holy Mary, Mother most merciful,
Holy Mary, Mother of those who love you and have confidence in you,
Holy Mary, Mother of those who cry to you and search for you,
Holy Mary, Mother who cures all our pains, miseries, and sorrows,
Holy Mary, Mother who remedies and alleviates our sufferings,
Holy Mary, Mother who keeps us within her compassionate and merciful gaze,
Holy Mary, Mother who shows us her help, love and compassion,
Holy Mary, Mother who chooses those who are humble and simple,
Holy Mary, Mother who graciously repays all who serve her,
Holy Mary, Mother who has us under her shadow and protection,
Holy Mary, Mother who carries us in her embrace,
Holy Mary, Fountain of our joy,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray
Almighty and Eternal God, your message of mercy, entrusted to Our Lady of Guadalupe, invites all your children to place all their trust in you. Through the intercession of the mother of your Son, may your message of Merciful Love inflame our hearts that we may be faithful heralds and instruments of this Divine Mercy to the world.
(Mention your intentions)
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Amen.

Shared by Mary Jane.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

NOT PAINTED BY A HUMAN HAND



Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Picture source

          In the past five centuries since 1531 each generation of scientific researchers have found the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the tilma of St. Juan Diego an unsolvable puzzle.  Our Blessed Mother left a portrait painted by a heavenly hand on material produced by human hands.  Keep in mind this happened only a handful of years after Columbus discovered the western hemisphere and the Spaniards colonized what is now Mexico.   Juan Diego was among the first converts of the Franciscan missionaries.

          A tilma was the broad cloak worn by the early  Aztecs of Mexico.  It was woven from the thick and coarse fibers of the agava plant (cactus ayate), and had the color of raw linen.  Anything made with these fibers generally disintegrates completely within two decades.  Because of its coarse and uneven surface and its loose weave, the fabric is unsuitable as a canvas for a painting. 

          Scientific studies verify that the Guadalupe tilma is formed from the fibers of the agava plant.  After almost 500 years no sign of any decay has been detected and it endures in its pristine condition.  This baffles modern science. Amazing also is the freshness of colors in this incredible image.  Equally impressive is the absence of any indication of spoilage even though the image hung unprotected over a hundred years and was exposed to a variety of pollutants like incense smoke, soot, perfumes, and  the burning wax of innumerable votive candles. 

          The noted Mexican painter, Miguel Cabrera,  reported that in 1753 he observed in a period of two hours the pilgrims touching the image about 500 times with a variety of objects.  Under similar conditions any other image would be damaged beyond recognition.  Yet this image of Our Lady of Guadalupe remains intact and vibrant.  For unexplainable reasons its material is resistant to dust, insects, bacteria, and mold.

          Dr. Phillip Callahan, University of Florida, studied the Guadalupe image in 1979, and reported that one lighted votive candle emits over 600 microwatts of light. In such enclosed premises and in the presence of hundreds of burning candles and thousands of pilgrims  one would expect the colors to fade and the image to suffer irreparable damage.  But the image has been resistant to nay harmful agent.

          The perfect preservation of the fabric and its colors has elicited genuine wonder among scientific experts and art specialists.  Some skeptics and rationalists confronted with the facts resulting from their studies of the holy image abandoned their unbelief and bowed before the mystery of God.  In 1975 Ramirez Vasquez, the renowned Mexican architect entrusted with the design of the new Guadalupe basilica, was permitted to scrutinize the holy image.  The results of his study persuaded him both intellectually and spiritually to renounce agnosticism and he became an ardent Catholic. 

          Throughout its centuries-old history the image experienced numerous incidences of preservation from unfortunate circumstances.  In 1791 a worker accidentally spilled an entire bottle of nitric acid on the image when cleaning its silver frame.   During the 1920s the Church in Mexico suffered bloody persecution under Plutarco Calles, and many met death because of their Catholic faith.  The atheistic Masonic regime closed all the churches in the country except the Guadalupe basilica and planned to destroy Our Lady's image as well as to kill the members of the hierarchy. 

          November 14, 1921, government agents planted a powerful time bomb in a flower vase under the tilma.  At 10:30 a.m. the bomb exploded as a Pontifical Mass was being celebrated.  The blast rocked entire basilica and destroyed the floor, altar, and stained glass windows.  Some people suffered minor wounds, but miraculously no one was killed.  The miraculous image survived untouched. 

          Over the years the Guadalupe image underwent careful examination by many scientific researchers and art experts to determine if its preservation was the result of natural causes.  Studies were conducted with the help of electron microscopes, infrared irradiation, and other state-of-the-art methods.  The conclusions were always the same: no human hand could have painted the image.  
     
          In 1936 Dr. Richard Kuhn, chemist and Nobel Prize laureate at the University of Heidelberg, ran meticulous tests on fibers of the tilma.   His results  concluded that the dyes used to produce the image are unknown to natural science, and are not of animal, plant, mineral, or synthetic origin, 

          Microscopic studies in 1946 showed that the image bears no trace of brushstrokes or a preliminary sketch or an artist's signature.    Additional studies in 1954 and 1966 by Dr. F. Camps Ribera and his associates reinforced these previous findings.  Authorities have agreed that the greatest artist could not have painted the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

          Professional photographer Alfonso Gonzales in 1929 enlarged Our Lady's face many times and discovered that her eyes showed the clear reflection of a bearded man's face.  This prompted a series of detailed studies of her eyes from 1950 to 1990.  The results of all researchers indicated that Mary's eyes are like those of a living person.  They exhibit extraordinary depth, the phenomenon of reflection that occurs only in living persons, and the best of painting techniques cannot replicate this.  Scientists enlarged Mary's eyes up to 2500 times, and this showed that 12 persons are reflected in her eyes -- the scene of Juan Diego's meeting with Bishop Zumarraga and his associates.  The scene is so lucid that it shows details such as tears of emotion, earrings, Aztec sandal laces, a bald man with a white beard, another man with an aquiline nose and whiskers on his cheeks, and other details. 

          These scientific studies rule out any possibility that a human hand may have painted the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the tilma of St. Juan Diego.  Among the experts conducting these studies were some of the world's leading scientists in the fields of optics and ophthalmology: Dr. Charles Wahling, Dr. Francis Avignone of Columbia University, Dr. H. G. Noyes, Edward Gebhardt of NBC, Dr. Italo Mannelli of the University of Pisa, and others of this caliber.

          Only faith can tell us that the author of this image is God Himself.  The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a sign calling all people to conversion.  Gazing on the miraculous image we can experience the maternal love of the Mother of the Redeemer and our own spiritual mother, who is concerned about the salvation of all her children.  This extraordinary sign reminds us that true happiness is found in God alone.
         
         


Friday, December 05, 2014

Monday - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - Hour of Grace Reminder



Picture source

Just a reminder that on Monday, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, there is the traditional Hour of Grace. Click HERE FOR MORE DETAILS. There are only two holy days of obligation in the Diocese of Honolulu and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is one of them. Christmas is the other.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ORIGIN OF OUR THANKSGIVING DAY

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.


          St. Paul urged us to give thanks to God always.  Our forebears and our founding fathers, active Christians, often followed this sage counsel.  And eventually our national day of Thanksgiving evolved.

          The very first Thanksgiving was celebrated on September 8, 1565, in what is now St. Augustine, Florida, by Spanish settlers and Timucua Indians.  On that day the first Mass, an act of thanksgiving, was celebrated on American soil, and it was followed by a feast of bean soup.

          Another Thanksgiving was observed in El Paso, Texas, under the leadership of Spanish explorer Don Juan de Onate, who declared: “In the name of the Most Holy Trinity…I take possession of this whole land this April 30, 1598, in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on this day of the Ascension of Our Lord ….”  Mass was celebrated and a feast of geese, cranes, and ducks was enjoyed by the colonists, followed by a play organized by the Franciscan missionaries honoring the Native American converts.

          Another interesting note concerns Squanto, the Native American who helped the Puritan pilgrims and Native Americans arrange at Plymouth Rock in 1621 what is the historical forerunner of our Thanksgiving.  Squanto had
previously been captured and enslaved by the English, but was freed by the Spanish Franciscans, and was baptized a Catholic.  Thus, a Catholic contributed to arranging our Thanksgiving Day. 

          Thanksgiving is one of the most loved and honored American holidays.  Some travel considerable distances to spend this day with family.  Spending time with family is surely a special blessing.  But it is important to remember that Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and football.  Unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day and the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is clearly religious in nature.  As a nation of faith with Christian foundation, we set aside this day to thank God for his many blessings.

          During his first year in office, 1789, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

          In 1815 President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgements to Almighty God for his great goodness.”  But after Madison Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in the New England states for 48 years.

          During the Civil War a concerned magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hales, petitioned the Lincoln administration in 1863 that a day of Thanksgiving “now needs national recognition and official fixation to become permanently an
American custom and institution.”  That year President Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”


          Thoughts to ponder this Thanksgiving.  Thanks be to God!

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Advent...


This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent.  As is my personal tradition, I like to make Advent resolutions in anticipation of the birth of the little baby Jesus.

So, this Advent I will:

- abstain from frivolous entertainment (or at least cut back on them considerably).  This means, less time playing games and watching certain TV programs that I really like.

- not fall into the trap of having to compete with the crowds for finding that special gift.  I will also put myself on a budget.

-  pray more, talk less.

-  make the special feast days that fall within the Advent season, more special, especially the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe's Feast day.

-  try to make frugal meals as a small sacrifice for those who do not have enough to eat.

-  remember the less fortunate, either by prayer or in some concrete way.

-  spend quality time with the family in the evening when we light our Advent candles, read from our Magnificat's Advent Companion.

-  make a supreme effort to conquer my faults.

-  forgive anyone who has hurt me and reach out to anyone I may have hurt.

-  hold off on trimming the tree and putting out the other Christmas decorations until the last week of Advent.

-  not open any Christmas card until the last week of Advent.

-  spend quality time with Jesus in Adoration.

-  smile or greet anyone who looks sad or lonely.

-  make it a point to be still and not fall into the frenzy of the worldly Christmas spirit but be more reflective in the spiritual Christmas spirit.

-  give a gift to someone who isn't expecting anything and who cannot reciprocate.

- watch spiritually uplifting programs and movies, including childhood favorites like the Little Drummer Boy, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and  How the Grinch Stole Christmas so that I can relive the magic of the Christmas anticipation when I was a young girl.

-  sing Advent hymns and carols.

- be joyous.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Meatless Fridays - Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil or Aglio e Olio



This is a super easy meal to make yet very delicious.  Yesterday, I looked into the refrigerator to see what I could have for lunch.  I only had a small container of cooked spaghetti but no sauce.  It was then I remembered my mom used to make pasta with olive oil and garlic as a snack.  The following recipe will be for a pound of pasta.

1 lb. of pasta such as spaghetti or linguine cooked al dente, and drained (time it so it is done with the sauce is ready.  Pasta should be hot).
1 head of garlic (not one clove), peeled and chopped coursely NOTE:  add more garlic if you'd like
Approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of a good extra virgin olive oil (TIP:  a good olive oil does come from California.  Check out the organic extra virgin olive oil from California Olive Ranch).
I small bunch of Italian parsley (chopped as finely as is your preference)
1 large pinch of crushed red pepper
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat up a skillet and add the olive oil and garlic.  Fry the garlic until golden brown.  Then add the salt and pepper along with the crushed red pepper.  Mix well as it continues to fry for a few seconds and then add the lemon juice and parsley. At this point you can add the cooked pasta in batches (which means you would have to make the sauce two times) or you can just add the entire sauce to the hot cooked pasta in a pasta bowl.

For a variation, you can add anchovies at the time the lemon juice and parsley is added.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY

Picture source
Shared by Mary Jane.

After each invocation say:
My Jesus, mercy

O JESUS, Thou didst suffer and die that all mankind
might be saved and brought to eternal happiness.
Through the Agony of Thine Crown of Thorns
 I offer it to Thy Eternal Father that Thou wilt
hear our pleas for further mercy on the souls of:

My dear parents and grandparents,

My brothers and sisters and other near relatives,


My godparents and sponsors of Confirmation,


My spiritual and temporal benefactors,


My friends and neighbors,


All for whom love or duty bids me pray,


Those who have offended me,


Those who have suffered disadvantage of harm through me,


Those who are especially beloved by Thee,


Those whose release is near at hand,


Those who desire most to be united to Thee,


Those who endure the greatest suffering,


Those whose release is most remote,


Those who are least remembered,


Those who are most deserving on
account of their services to the Church,


The rich who are now the most destitute,


The mighty who are now powerless, 


The once spiritually blind, who now see their folly,

The frivolous, who spent their time in idleness, 


The poor, who did not seek the treasures of Heaven, 


The tepid, who devoted little time to prayer,


The indolent, who neglected to perform good works,


Those of little faith, who neglected
 the frequent reception of the Sacraments,

The habitual sinners, who owe
 their salvation to a miracle of grace,


Parents who failed to watch over their children,

Superiors who were not solicitous
for the salvation of those entrusted to them,


Those who strove for worldly riches and pleasures,

The worldly minded, who failed to
 use their wealth and talents in the service of God,

Those who witnessed the death of others,
but would not think of their own,


Those who blasphemed and committed
 sacrilege without due reparation,


Those who violated the dignity of the human body
 and mind through impurity,


Those who are Purgatory because of me,


Those who did not provide for the life hereafter,


Those whose sentence is severe because
of the great things entrusted to them,

The popes, kings and rulers,


The bishops and their counselors,


My teachers and spiritual advisors,

The deceased priests of this diocese,

The priests and religious of the Catholic Church,


The defenders of the holy Catholic Faith,

Those who died on the battlefield,


Those who fought for their country,


Those who were buried in the sea,

Those who died suddenly in accidents
 and from other causes,


Those who died of sudden illness,


Those who suffered and died of lingering illnesses,

Those who died without the last rites of the Church,


Those who shall die within the next twenty-four hours,


For those who procured abortions or aborted their children,


For those who promoted or practiced contraception,


For those who gave scandal, especially to children,


My own poor soul when I shall have to
 appear before Thy judgment seat.

PRAYER
Eternal rest grant unto all of these,
O Lord; and let the perpetual light of 
Thine countenance shine upon them soon. Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Meatless Meal Idea - CURRIED LENTILS AND BROWN RICE WITH KALE & ROASTED SWEET POTATO

This is a dish I came up with because a) I wanted to use legumes b) I wanted to use leftover rice and sweet potatoes that were starting to sprout and c) I wanted it to be something tasty that would make my family forget the flavor of meat.


1 cup uncooked brown lentils (washed, picked over and cooked)
Approximately 3 to 4 cups cooked brown rice (preferably cold and sitting in refrigerator a few days)
½ cup to one cup chopped fresh kale (or frozen kale that has been thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture)
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
3 large garlic cloves, minced
5 to 10 curry leaves if available or 1 tablespoon prepared powered curry
3 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
A large pinch of crushed red pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon of cumin

Heat a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the oil.  Add the garlic and onion slices.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes.  Add the curry leaves.  Fry the curry leaves until brown and aromatic.  (or add the curry powder at this point).  Add the crushed red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cold rice and fry for two or three minutes.  Add the kale.  Continue frying for approximately 3 to 5 minutes or so. Add the drained, cooked lentils and cook for an additional 3 minutes.   Add the roasted sweet potatoes on top of the curried lentil rice.

You can serve four people as a main dish or more as a side dish.

ROASTED SWEET POTATO
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
3 medium Okinawan sweet potato (or yam), washed, dried and cut into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast the sweet potatoes for approximately ½ hour or until a fork goes through the sweet potato cube.  Set aside.




Friday, November 07, 2014

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue Comes to Hawaii

"The role of Mary is to lead us to Jesus"

As previously reported here, Our Lady of Fatima's pilgrim statue is visiting the Hawaiian islands this month.  Yesterday, we were privileged to see this beautiful statue of our Lady at Star of the Sea in Honolulu.  Her custodian Patrick Sabat accompanies her all of the world.  There are two statues in Fatima of our Lady.  One is permanently in Fatima and the other one is the pilgrim statue.  This particular statue has actually wept tears.  To the faithful, it is a sign that our blessed mother is very sorrowful.  So much sin and suffering abound in the world.  People are turning away from her son.  However, since the start of her visit in Hawaii a week ago, the statue has not wept.

In 1972 this statue wept.  Just two months later Roe v. Wade made the crime of abortion legal in the United States.



"The world at prayer is a world of peace." - Father Patrick Peyton

The statue is on a teaching mission as it travels the world.  We are asked to respond to Mary's request at Fatima.  She asked us for prayer. "Pray a great deal for many soul's go to hell because there is no one there to pray for them or make sacrifices for them."

"The white square of Fatima vs. the Red Square of Russia." - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

We are called to be holy.  "To do great things with great love."  Just doing our ordinary duties can be holy.

Patrick Sabat challenging us "Are you willing to accept he suffering God wishes for you." 

We should accept this suffering for the conversion of sinners.  Just like the little shepherd children at Fatima did.

"My tears speak louder than my words" - Blessed Mother 1984

"Anyone who looks upon the face of my holy statue will
receive from my son and I {sic} an imprint of His heart and soul and will have peace of mind."
- Virgin Mary 1981

I would like to take this opportunity to share a portion of the latest email I, as a division leader, received from the World Apostolate of Fatima:

In 1989 the Blue Army USA address list included over 500,000 supporting members; 10 years later that had dropped to 125,000; by 2009 I was told we had only around 10,000 members left. The principal reason for this rapid decrease in supporting members seems to be the fall of the Soviet Union and consequent elimination of the threat of a communist takeover of the world and possible nuclear war. Also, perhaps more significantly, our culture has undergone a rapid change from Christianity to agnosticism, due in large part to the spread of the "errors of Russia" foretold by Our Lady of Fatima if her requests were not fulfilled. Even "devout" Catholics seem to pray much less than 50 years ago and the daily Rosary is quite out of fashion even among Catholics who consider themselves devout.

Five years ago we tried a new approach to growing WAF membership in the less devout Catholic atmosphere of our country. Through the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue Program we invited Catholics to make a pledge to pray every day for the conversion of sinners and to offer our daily crosses (everything we wish didn't happen in our lives, great or small) as reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners, using the formula given to us by Our Lady at Fatima. In just five years our membership has grown by over 51,000 new members!

The Blue Army/WAF Pledge is still a principal goal of our apostolate (everyone in a leadership position is expected to sign the Pledge) but the simpler pledge of prayer and reparation for the conversion of sinners -- strongly requested by Our Lady -- is now considered sufficient for new members. This allows us to bring in new members who don't feel ready to sign the WAF Pledge but are willing to pray and make daily reparation for the conversion of sinners, so that we can form them in the Message of Fatima and motivate them to make the WAF Pledge. In this regard, the new members are like novices, who need to learn about the Message and grow into the spiritual life requested of us all at Fatima. We can only spiritually form those we can reach, and the simpler introductory pledge has proven effective in bringing in new members who aren't yet ready to make the WAF Pledge. It's also important to remember that Our Lady revealed that peace can be obtained only by converting sinners through prayer and reparation...
Reminder: Tomorrow is a First Saturday. Please take this opportunity to answer our Lady's call to Prayer: Penance: Rosary and Reparation.

Poor Souls Novena Prayers for Every Day - Day Seven

Picture source

SATURDAY

O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood
which gushed forth from the sacred Side of Thy divine Son jesus
in the presence and to the great sorrow of His most holy Mother,
deliver the souls in purgatory and amng them all especially
that soul which has been most devout to this noble Lady,
taht it may come quickly into Thy glory,
there to praise Thee in her, 
and her in Thee 
through all the ages.  
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest, etc.

EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Novena for the Poor Souls - Day Six


Picture source

FRIDAY

O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which
Jesus Thy divine Son 
did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross,
especially from His sacred Hands and feet,
deliver the souls in purgatory,
and particularly that soul for whom I am
most bound to pray,
in order that I may not be the cause which hinders
Thee from admitting it quickly to the
possession of Thy glory where it may praise Thee
and bless Thee for evermore.
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest, etc.


EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Novena for the Poor Souls - Day Five


Picture source

THURSDAY

O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the
Precious Body and Blood of 
Thy divine Son Jesus,
which He Himself
on the night before His passion gave as meat and drink
to His beloved Apostles and bequeathed
to His holy Church 
to be the perpetual Sacrifice and life-giving nourishment
of His faithful people,
deliver the souls in purgatory,
but most of all 
that soul which was most devoted to this Mystery
of infinite love,
in order that it may praise Thee
therefore,
together with
Thy divine Son and the
Holy Spirit in Thy glory forever.
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary
Eternal rest...

EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Novena for the Poor Souls - Day Four


Picture source

WEDNESDAY

O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of 
Thy divine Son Jesus
that was shed in the streets of Jerusalem whilst He
carried on His sacred shoulders the heavy
burden of the Cross,
deliver the souls in purgatory and 
especially that one 
which is richest in merits in Thy sights,
so that,
having soon attained the high place in glory
to which it is destines, it may
praise Thee
triumphantly and 
bless Thee for ever.
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest...

EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Prayer for a Happy Death


from Franciscan Mission Associates, Mt. Vernon, NY.

Poor Souls Novena Prayers for Every Day - Day Three


Picture source

TUESDAY

O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of 
Thy divine Son Jesus that
was shed in  His bitter crowning with thorns,
deliver the souls in purgatory, and
among them all,
particularly that soul which is in the 
greatest need of our prayers,
in order that it may not long be delayed in praising Thee in Thy glory
and blessing Thee for ever.
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary,

Eternal rest, etc.




EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Monday, November 03, 2014

San Martincito de Porres



"...When [Saint] Martin died at the age of sixty, November 3, 1639, the grief of all in Lima and the surrounding country was terrible to behold.  Only the knowledge that Martin was now in heaven and only the numerous miracles worked at his tomb were able in some measure to assuage their sorrow.  Perhaps, after a while, they began to understand that Martin's mission of kindness, now that he was in Heaven was to assume word-wide extension..."

Prayer to Saint Martin

Most humble Martin of Porres,
whose burning charity embraced not only thy needy brethren.
but also the very animals of the filed, splendid example of Charity, we hail thee and invoke thee!
From that high throne which thou dost occupy,
deign to listen to the supplications
of thy needy brethren that, 
by imitating thy virtues, we may live contented
in that state in which God has placed us and
carrying with strength and courage our cross,
we may follow in the footsteps of Our Blessed Redeemer and His most
afflicted Mother, that at last we may reach
the Kingdom of Heaven through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Invocation Prayer to Saint Martin de Porres

In the name of the Most Holy Trinity,
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
In the name of Mary, Queen of Heaven,
In the name of Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church,
Saint Martin cure (help) me (him, her)
For the honor and glory of God
and the Salvation of souls.
Amen.

Invocation to be said when applying the Blessed de Martin relic, picture or medal to the sick, or when held in the and by those who are in need.





from The Blessed Martin Guild

Poor Souls Novena Prayers for Every Day - Day Two


Picture source

MONDAY

O Lord God omnipotent, 
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood
which Thy divine Son Jesus
shed in His cruel scourging, 
deliver the souls in purgatory,
and among them all,
especially that soul which is nearest to its
entrance into Thy glory,
that it may soon begin to praise Thee and bless
Thee for ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest..., etc.

EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest, etc.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Poor Souls Novena Prayers for Every Day - FIRST DAY


Source of this beautiful image of a Mass being offered for the souls in Purgatory is from Mystics of the Church.

The following novena is from an old Catholic booklet distributed by Mr. and Ms. Frank M. Foran, 7306 West Archer Avenue, Summit, IL.

(Prayers from the The Raccolta, 594-595)

SUNDAY

O Lord God omnipotent,
I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood,
which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in the Garden,
deliver the souls in purgatory, 
and especially that one which is the most forsaken of all, and bring it
into Thy glory, where it may praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary,
Eternal rest, etc.

EVERY DAY FOR THE NOVENA

O Lord, Hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful;
grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins:  that through
our devout supplications they may obtain
the pardon they have always desired.
Who livest and reignest world without end. Amend.

Eternal rest, etc.