Saturday, December 16, 2006

Papal Quote

H/T to Sue C.

Blessed is the man who gives;
blessed is the man who does not spend his life for himself, but gives it;
blessed is the man who is merciful, good and just;
blessed is the man who lives in the love of God and of his neighbor.
In this way, we live well and do not have to be afraid of death,
as we live in the happiness that comes from God and that has no end.

Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, November 2, 2006)

Marriage, the Family and Homeschooling

H/T to Melissa C.

Marriage & Family

"Marriage is a liturgy of love. It requires constant effort to retain the first fervor of your wedding day. Early in marriage, joy, travel, gifts, and celebrations are necessary to weave the cloth of love. Later on, bereavement, failures and bitterness become the cementing forces of union. Love continues to develop through the lifetime of a couple in a punctuated way, interspersed with crises -- slow, vulnerable, wonderful. By doing little things for each other, by tender ingenuity, love is kept alive."

-- Jean Guitton

Homeschooling: A Pro-Life Beacon

by Anna Marie Barvick

Today in America a battle rages between the forces of life and death. Pro-life advocates are fiercely defending life against the evils of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, divorce and homosexual "marriage."

The blatant disregard for the sanctity of life has unforeseen consequences, including increases in random school shootings, promiscuity and child abuse. The coarsening of our sensibilities results in more brazen movies, television, music and dress.

How can parents protect their children from this dulling, deadening culture? A youngster, from infancy through the teen years, needs to grow up in a positive, nurturing atmosphere. They must be allowed to become the persons they were created to be. For many, homeschooling is a life-affirming solution. For others, it is a necessary measure to avoid having their children stolen from them morally, spiritually, and religiously.

Homeschooling parents usually keep a close eye on books, TV, movies, music and dress. Wholesome is in; profane is out. They realize that negative, destructive forces need to be controlled or eliminated.

This does not mean that a homeschooled child can't have fun! The average homeschooler is enrolled in 5 or more activities (sports, volunteering, art, music, politics, dance, debate, theater, etc.) with 98% engaged in at least two or more, according to Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institue.

Read complete article at weblink below:
Movement for a Better America

Eucharistic Quote by Saint Padre Pio

Holy Mass
Mahalo Sue C.

Jesus in the Holy Eucharist asks my for nothing but love . . . . He is so much in love with my heart that He makes me burn with His divine fire, with the fire of His love . . . . I often ask myself if any people exist who do not feel their breast burning with divine fire, especially when they are close to Him in the Blessed Sacrament"
St. Padre Pio

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe



Icon of the Church in the Americas

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

With her head tilted to the right, her hazel eyes are cast downward in an expression of gentleness and concern. The mantle covering her head and shoulders is turquoise, studded with gold stars and bordered in gold. Her hair is jet black and her complexion is olive. She stands alone, her hands clasped in prayer, an angel at her feet.

We have all seen her image. She is Our Lady of Guadalupe, a life-sized portrayal of the Virgin Mary as she appeared in 1531 on the cactus-cloth tilma, or cape, of St. Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant and devout convert. This happened merely a dozen years after Hernan Cortes had conquered the land that is now Mexico for the monarchy of Spain. Almost five centuries later the colors of that portrait have remained as vibrant as if painted this year. The coarse, woven, cactus cloth shows no signs of fading or deterioration, although that type of material seldom lasts 20 years.

Today the image is preserved behind an impenetrable glass screen in the basilica at Mexico City. Pilgrims can view it from a distance of 25 feet. Each year more than 10 million persons venerate the mysterious image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, making this shrine the most popular in the Catholic world after St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City. The Mexican faithful refer to her lovingly as La Morenita.

In 1979 when Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he acknowledged the enduring appeal of this unique portrait, addressing the Virgin directly: “When the first missionaries who reached America . . . taught the rudiments of the Christian faith, they also taught love for you, the Mother of Jesus and of all people. And ever since the time that the Indian Juan Diego spoke of the sweet Lady of Tepeyac, you, Mother of Guadalupe, have entered decisively into the Christian life of the people of Mexico.”

Accounts abound of the miraculous events attributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In the early 17th century when floods almost destroyed Mexico City, her image escaped unharmed. In 1921 during the Mexican Revolution, a bomb was planted in flowers placed before the altar behind which the image hung. When the bomb exploded, no one was hurt, but the altar was badly damaged. Yet not even the glass covering the picture was broken.

This venerable icon has come to be regarded widely as the national symbol of Mexico. Her image is found everywhere, even in unlikely places.

Forty years after La Morenita appeared to St. Juan Diego, she may have been responsible for a significant turning point in the history of Western civilization. Throughout Europe copies of the holy image had been circulated. One of the first copies was given to Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria, grandnephew of the renowned Admiral Andrea Doria. The young admiral took the picture aboard his flagship when he assumed command of a flotilla of ships sailing from Genoa to the Gulf of Lepanto.

Some 300 Turkish Muslim ships stood in battle array blocking entrance to the Gulf. A Christian massed navy of almost the same number of ships attempted to meet the Turks head on, but were outmaneuvered by the Turkish force.

Doria’s squadron was cut off from the rest of the Christian fleet. At this crucial hour Doria went to his cabin and knelt in prayer before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He implored her to save his men and his ships. Miraculously by nightfall the tide of battle turned. One Turkish squadron was captured, and others were thrown into panic and disarray. Much of the Turkish fleet was destroyed. That day 15,000 Christians enslaved in the Turks’ galleys were freed. The Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto was the last great naval battle fought under oars.

To this day Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to work wonders large and small, noticed and unnoticed.

Why hasn’t the holy image deteriorated after almost five centuries? Why do the colors remain bright? Why hasn’t the crude fabric shown signs of disintegration? The search for answers to these questions, regularly pursued by experts, persist from generation to generation. What they have learned is fascinating. However, the scientific investigations defy natural explanations.

Although the picture has been touched up from time to time, there is proof that the original image is made in a manner no artist has been able to imitate or to explain. Of particular interest is the fact that the eyes of the Virgin are done in a way never seen before in any painting.

Yet the greater, ongoing miracle is how the lives of millions are touched by Our Mother of Guadalupe.

Used with Permission.

Simple Ways of Keeping Christ in CHRISTmas

First for college students: According to TFP Student Action

By James Bascom and John Ritchie

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us.” This most grandiose, beautiful, and unfathomable mystery serves as a cornerstone of the holy Catholic Faith. Every heresy and attack against the Church somehow denies this mystery, whereas all Catholic beliefs are built upon it, and without it the Faith crumbles to the ground, for as St. Ephrem the Syrian said: “If Christ be not God, our salvation is a lie.”
What can be done about it? Tradition Family Property Student Action has compiled a list of ten very concrete actions you can do to celebrate Our Lord’s coming this Christmas Season.

1. Never use the “H” words

2. Decorate your college dorm

3. Send Christmas cards

4. Share a Christmas message

5. Organize a Christmas celebration

6. Plan a Eucharistic adoration

7. Visit the sick

8. Prepare yourself

9. Write a Christmas card to the troops

10. Help with this one

Please click title above for more details on each of these suggestions.

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers also want us to keep Christ in Christmas.

"We can endeavor to bring Christ back in Christmas, for ourselves and especially
for the young. After all--whose birthday is it, anyway?

Their suggestion list is as follows:

1. Use postage stamps having a religious theme.

2. Purchase an Advent calendar.

3. Make use of a creche in a window or on the lawn.

4. Place a lighted candle in the window.

5. Purchase carols on cassettes, records, CDs and all.

6. Call radio stations and television channels requesting carols and Christmas stories.

7. Ask in stores for Christmas wrapping paper and decorations. If enough requests are made, it will alert buyers and manufactureres.

8. Read Christmas stories to children.

9. Have the child purchase a gift, wrap it, and give it to the poor.

10. Look up and explain the story of the original Christmas tree to the children.

11. Utilize the Mexican custom of the Posadas.

12. Use bumper stickers with "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays".

13. Have a child place a straw in the creche during Advent for each good deed done as a gift to Baby Jesus.

"Above all, pray for the young, so that when they become adults they will not
regard Christmas as just another holiday free from work."

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

God Painting Picture courtesy of La Voz Catolica

Isn't this an unusual depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Here we see God the Father actually painting the tilma worn by Saint Juan Diego. You can see Jesus and the Holy Spirit looking on approvingly.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Advent Prayer - For the Barren

St. Elizabeth

Loving God and Father, time and time again, You bring fruit out of human barrenness. With the words of angels You communicated to the chosen people of the covenant but now we have Your Word Himself as our Lord and Savior. Help us always to hear Christ speaking in our hearts. He alone can relieve our fears and anxieties. Only Christ can bring Your life to this world. In His Holy Name then, give children to those who ask and give faith to those who are barren of heart, especially those in our families. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

From the Magnificat Advent Companion.

Saintly Quote by St. Padre Pio

Padre Pio Picture courtesy of Edizioni Padre Pio

Mahalo to Sue, a wonderful lady who evangelizes through emails.

"Accept all the suffering and incomprehension that comes from Above. In this way you will perfect and sanctify yourself."...Saint Padre Pio