Friday, May 27, 2016

The Virtues of the Good Thief

The Crucifixion by Tintoretto

Picture source

"He believed,
he repented,
he confessed,
he preached,
he loved,
he trusted,
he prayed."

- Arnold of Chartres
via The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Maxims by Saint Philip Neri

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Philip Neri. The following are some of the maxims for the month of May.  May it inspire us to living a holier life.

-  Men are generally the carpenters of their own crosses.

-  We must not give up praying and asking because we do not get what we ask all at once.

-  We ought to abhor any kind of affection, whether in talking, dressing or anything else.

-  As much love as we give to creatures, just so much we steal from the Creator.

-  Avarice is the pest of the soul.

-  He who wishes for goods will never have devotion.

-  All sins are highly displeasing to God, but above all sensuality and avarice, which are very difficult to cure.

-  If we find nothing in the world to please us, we ought to be pleased by this very not finding anything to please us.

-  He who wishes to attain to perfection must have no attachment to anything.

-  The greatness of our love of God must be tested by the desire we have of suffering for His love.

-  Let us strive after purity of heart, for the Holy Spirit dwells in candid and simple minds.

-  The Holy Spirit is the master of prayer, and causes us to abide in continual peace and cheerfulness, which is a foretaste of Paradise.

-  If we wish the Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray, we must practice humility and obedience.

-  A virtuous life consists in mortifying vices, sins, bad thoughts, and evil affections, and in exercising ourselves in the acquisition of holy virtues.

-  Let us be humble and keep ourselves down:  Obedience! Humility! Detachment!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Prayer for Persecuted Christians

Picture source

The following prayer is from an old prayer book.

in Your mysterious providence,
Your Church must share in the sufferings of Christ Your Son.
Give the spirit of patience and love 
to those who are persecuted for their faith in You
that they may always be true and faithful witnesses
to Your promise of eternal life.

New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book

ACN News - Bishop cries out as ISIS devastates Syrian towns

By John Pontifex

A Syrian prelate has described desperate efforts to tend to the injured and the dying following multiple ISIS attacks on Tartous and Jableh which have left more than 200 dead and nearly 650 injured.

Bishop Antoine Chbeir told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church (ACN) that the May 23 attacks in his diocese were the first of their kind in an area where displaced Syrians had gathered by the hundreds of thousands.

The coastal region has remained under Syrian government control and was considered to be one of the country’s last remaining safe havens for Muslims and Christians alike.

The prelate warned that the attacks on the two coastal cities may prompt a surge in people fleeing Syria: “If there are no safe areas in Syria, still more people will leave the country—probably for good. Many of them will go by sea.”

According to local news reports, the apparent aim of ISIS was to strike the Assad regime in its core stronghold, which is backed by the nearby Russian fleet.

The Maronite bishop of Latakia described the desperate efforts of clergy and laity diocese to come to the aid of victims, adding that today priests have begun burying the dead.

Bishop Chbeir said: “We are trying to help the people and are taking care of the wounded. It is a very dramatic situation and when the disaster struck we wondered if we could cope.”

“Right now, our priests and people are on the scene. They are visiting the people – many of them have broken legs and deep wounds, not to mention the psychological effects.”

Bishop Chbeir continued: “First of all, we need physical and material help, just to help those affected to have something to eat and to help them take care of those who are suffering the most.”

The bishop also added: “We care for people not because of their particular religion but because they are human beings. In this month of May, we are praying to Our Lady to help us.”


Editor’s Notes:

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 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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thought for Today - Suffering in Silence

Should we keep our sufferings to ourselves or should we get talk about it with someone we trust?  Should we bear our crosses patiently?  Do we lose the merits we could have gained in Heaven by seeking comfort from another human being?  An answer to this question is not very easy.  Maybe the following prayer can help.

"O Jesus, let me never yield to despair.  Let me come to You in hardship and spiritual distress."

- Stations of the Cross reflection

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thought for the Day - The Sacrifice of a Mother

There is nothing that pull our heartstrings more than the thought of our own dear mother's sacrifices for us.  I remember when I was a child, reading the story of the great ballerina Anna Pavlova.  I don't remember much about the book except for the part when her poor widowed mother made the huge sacrifice of letting her daughter go.  It had been the two of them for so long but the young girl dreamed of dancing in the prestigious Russia ballet company in Moscow.  Her mother would do everything she could to make that dream come true.

It still brings tears to my eyes remembering their touching good-byes.