Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kids Skipping Mass? Blame Ignorance, Not Rebellion

Young people today are not against the Church; they simply don't know much about it, says the new director of the youth section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Zenit Article - Vatican Youth Director Considers Faith in the Young

Confession and the Saturday Evening Vigil Mass

Father Erik has an interesting take on why he thinks the number of people going to confession has declined Causes for the Decline in Confession.

I had never thought of his explanation and he may have a point.

In Hawaii though, I have observed weekly that the line for Saturday's 10 a.m. confession is usually about 10 people waiting for confession. If we attend the one prior to the Vigil Mass, that one has more people waiting to confess. Ten people may not seem like a lot but when I compare it to only one or two people going to confession as was the case about 10 years ago, it is.

The difference may be what Father pointed out, the priests at the churches around us do speak out about the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As for the Vigil Mass itself, since Sunday was the only day my family and I could sleep in a bit if we went on Saturday, we have been doing that a couple of times a month. I found that the Saturday Vigil Mass was originally intended only for those individuals who had just couldn't attend Mass on Sunday because of work. It wasn't really given to those of us who could attend Sunday Mass, as an option so we could sleep in on Sunday.

The day I forgot Joey and I were scheduled to be the altar server and one of the EMHC's and went to Saturday Vigil Mass instead, was the day my family and I decided that from now on it will be the early Sunday Mass for us from now on.

Now, off to confession!

Mary in Byzantine Doctrine and Devotion

I have previously shared articles written by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.
Here is one he wrote about our blessed Mother in the Byzantine Tradition which I do not think I had read before. It was published at Ignatius Insight.

Mary in Byzantine Doctrine and Devotion
Is There A Byzantine Mariology?

Researching this question leads to a seeming paradox. On one hand we find a tremendous richness of Marian thought in the liturgy, but on the other hand a virtual absence of specifically Mariological studies in theology. In the Eastern Churches the understanding and appreciation of the Virgin Mother of God developed differently, and is not the result of scientific theological reflection. The Mariological experience and piety of the Byzantine Churches—Catholic and Orthodox—seem to be embodied almost entirely in their worship. But we find no prominent theological reflection on the subject, nothing that would parallel the specialized Mariological treatises of the Western Church. Theology manuals contain no chapters dealing with the place of Mary in the economy of salvation. The veneration of Mary, which is so central in Byzantine worship, has not been extensively expressed, analyzed, or evaluated systematically. ..

Friday, December 05, 2008

I Think He's Right...We Are Spoiled!

H/T to Mama Says

Prayer Against Depression

St. Ignatius
A Prayer against depression

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

By Saint Ignatius of Loyola


Thanks Sue!

The Offering of All Masses

Picture from a Catholic blog
but I forgot which one. Sorry!

O Holy Father, I offer you all the Masses celebrated or to be celebrated throughout the whole Church this day, so that through the Blood of Jesus Your Son, and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary laden with sorrows beneath the Cross, You may deign to grant to the just the great gift of perseverance, to sinners the grace of a perfect conversion, and to all the faithful, and most of all me and my family, at the last hour of life, the grace of receiving the Holy Viaticum, of being anointed with the holy oil, and of dying a death precious in Your sight. Amen.

Lord, all hearts are in Your hands. You can bend as you will the most stubborn and soften the most obdurate. Do that honor this day to the Precious Blood, the merits, the sacred Wounds, the Holy Name, and the loving Heart of Your beloved Son by granting my requests.
(Make Your Request here...)

Catholic Prayers Online
Thanks to Sue

Maxims for Attaining Perfection

Holy Trinity
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.

2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.

3. Often to meditate on his Passion.

4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love.

5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.

6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.

7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ himself your own cross.

8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity.

9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.

10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ.

11. To rejoice in the happiness of God.

12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him.

13. To desire and to endeavor that all should love Jesus Christ.

14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.

15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ.

16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ.

17. To honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.

18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions,

19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for his love.

20 To be always determined to die rather than commit a willful venial sin.

27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, "Thus it pleases Jesus Christ."

22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ.

23. To pray as much as possible.

24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.

25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.

26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity.

27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect.

28. Not to complain in sickness.

29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ.

30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].

37. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ.

32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows.

33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ.

34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend.

35. To do good to those who do evil.

36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.

37. To help your neighbor as much as you can.

38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.

39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.

40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.

41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ.

42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything.

43. To like the lowest employment.

44. To like the poorest things.

45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself.

46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.

47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.

48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.

49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].

50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, "My Jesus, I desire to be all Yours, and You must be all mine."

Pick a Prayer

Thanks to Sue

Prayer Request for Luci

Prayer Request

Luci is the wife of one of our Church's deacons, Ron Nelson. The Nelsons are on the Board of Hawaii Right to Life as well as involved in the post-abortion ministry Hope Alive.
They were in the Philippine when Luci fell, and striking her head. She was taken to the hospital and developed a serious and life-threatening staph infection.

I am asking for prayers on her behalf as well of those of her husband and family. Her family wants to transport her back to Hawaii but right now it is very difficult medically and financially speaking.

Thank you!

Fine Art Friday - Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Mother and Child
Mother and Child, 1881
Barnes Foundation, Merion, USA

Girl With Watering Can
Girl with a Watering Can, 1876
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Madame and Daughters
Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children, 1878
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Confidences (Two Best Friends), 1878
Oskar Reinhart Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland

Woman Reading
Madame Chocquet Reading, 1876
Private Collection

Young Woman at the Piano
Flowers in a Vase, c.1866
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Flowers in a Vase
Flowers in a Vase, c.1866
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Child With Cat
Child with Cat (Julie Manet), 1887,
Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

Two Sisters
Two Sisters, 1881,
The Art Institute of Chicago

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (February 25, 1841–December 3, 1919) was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau".

Source Wikipedia

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe

First Day

Rose Dearest Lady of Guadalupe, fruitful Mother of holiness, teach me your ways of gentleness and strength. Hear my humble prayer offered with heartfelt confidence to beg this favor......
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.
My intentions for this Novena will be for the protection of the unborn babies.

Please join me.

Stone Soup for God's Children

Stone Soup

Our mom used to tell us lots of stories when we were little. This was one of my favorite stories.
Once upon a time, there was a famine in the land. People hoarded their food and hid it from neighbours and friends. One day, a stranger arrived in the village, all hungry and dishevelled. He went from door to door looking for someone to receive him and for something to eat. One after the other, the villagers told him they too were starving and so could not help him.

It was not until he reached the last house in the village that the poor woman who lived there told him that all she had left was water but he was welcome to share the water. He said that was more than enough. Then he told her that he had a magic stone with which he could make enough soup to feed the whole village. The starving old woman was excited and went to alert her neighbours. The stranger filled a large pot with the water and threw a round shiny stone into it. Villagers supplied the firewood and surrounded the large cooking pot to see the miracle of the Stone Soup.

The Stone Soup cooked and the hungry villages waited. Then the stranger tasted the cooking soup and said loudly, "Ahhh!, I love this Stone Soup. Of course, Stone Soup with a little cabbage is hard to beat." Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he had retrieved from its hiding place. He gave it to the stranger to add to the pot. "Wonderful!" cried the stranger, "I once had some Stone Soup with cabbage which had some onions in it that made it fit for a king!" Soon a second villager appeared with some onions and garlic for the soup. On and on he went, through "If only we had a few potatoes...How wonderful it might be with a couple of carrots" and so on. At last, there was a delicious meal for all.

The villagers offered the stranger a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell it and travelled on the next day. He probably made Stone Soup at the next village, too. Soon the famine ended but the people of the village never forgot about the finest soup they ever had.

When each of us contributes a little, we can feed the whole world village.

Fr Ernest Munachi Ezeogu

Shared by Sue

House Blessing

Holy Family
Dear St. Joseph here preside
Our home with blessings fill,
Let peace and charity prevail
And deference to God's Will.

May fear of Him and His chaste law
Our path to Heaven guide.
Dwell with us, we most willingly
To you the key confide.

Bar out all harm and lock us all,
Me and my loved ones too,
In Jesus' and in Mary's Heart
At Nazareth like you.

(Adapted from a German folk prayer)

Holy Devotions Blog

Thanks to Sue

Overdue Book Review - Behold Your Mother

Behold Your Mother

I guess by the title of the book you can tell a little of what the book is about.

This lovely little book was written by Catholic mom and writer Heidi Hess Saxton. It contains stories, meditations, and reflections from a Catholic convert's point of view. It is broken up into three sections: Personal stories, reflections and a personal Mary section for our notes.

As soon as I began reading the book I was drawn into the personal stories shared by the author.

As a cradle Catholic, I love to read conversion stories of what has drawn a person into the Catholic Church. I understand that our Lord's very own mother is usually the big stumbling block for many converts. Yet once they come fully into the Church, they have a love for the Blessed Mother that is so inspiring.

Heidi writes:

"As a new Catholic, I resisted the idea of praying to Mary. Why go to Jesus' mother when I could go directly to the Source of answered prayer?...The very idea of talking to Jesus' mother held no appeal. Heidi then goes on to share her story that changed that way of thinking.

The stories Heidi shares are stories that help me too as a Catholic go to our Blessed Mother for help. I would always go directly to Jesus for help. Ever since I was a teen I have always thought of him as my big brother and I never hesitated to ask for his help.

It was slowly over the years that I have grown in my devotion to the Blessed Mother in the way my sister and mom have always had.

Which brings me back to Heidi's book. I loved reading the personal stories she shared. I would have been very happy had the entire book been filled with these personal stories. Yet, the book also contains forty-eight sections on reflections of our the Blessed Mother's life through her many titles.

As a wife and mother, some of these reflections truly touched me. Take this one for instance:

"Mother of the Lamb"

This reflection was based on Luke 22:14, 19-20

..."This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."

"Call it mother's intuition. I had to be with him.
Is it such a terrible thin, a mother making sure that her
Son is eating well? So, they showed me the room, and I
shooed them out of my kitchen.
So much to do! Peeling and roasting and boiling.
My Son would have a feast.

After dinner I made coffee, and pondered
Jesus' words: "This is my blood."
I was just about to clear the dishes when I heard,
"Who is greater? The one seated at the table
or the one who serves?"
I glanced at my dishpan hands, and wondered,
What could it mean?

What mom could not relate to Heidi's reflection? We would do anything to make our child happy especially if he had friends over for dinner. Yet, just imagine being the mother of the savior of the world and listening to parts of the conversations held at the Last Supper!

Heidi's imagination in bringing us to the moment reminded me of the way Mother Angelica explains the scriptures to us.

BTW, that is the next book I need to review.

If you haven't already read this book, please do. Bring it with you to Adoration. Keep it by your nightstand to read in the quiet moments before to go to sleep. It is truly a beautiful little book.

If you would like to order the book as a gift you can find the details over at Behold Your Mother's blog

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

40 Days for Life - Successful Fall Campaign

Even though no photos were shown, Honolulu, Hawaii did participate.
40 Days for Life

St. Francis Xavier - Patron Saint of Missionaries

St. Francis Xavier
Statue of St. Francis Xavier - St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa,
Photo by Joey

Today is the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, S.J. He along with St. Therese are the patron saints of missionaries.

I found this interesting article regarding the depiction of St. Francis Xavier in art. You can read it here

Christ's Bell

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22 )
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).. I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
Who you are?

Keep this bell ringing...pass it on
'The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you;
The LORD turn His face toward you
And give you peace...
Numbers 6:24-26

Shared by my friend Sue on Maui

Red Skelton and the Pledge of Allegiance

Thanks to Barb for sharing this.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Father Daren's Homilies - Podcast

Don't Forget the Podcasts

I actually forgot. Sorry Father Daren! But I was listening to the Advent homily while blogging. It was pretty good. Joey didn't recognize Father's voice until I gave him a few hints... "Ah, Father Daren!" :-)

The podcasts can be found here

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar
Advent Calendar
I didn't have any ideas on reflections or mortifications to put into our Advent calendar drawers. Thankfully, Lisa shared A Spiritual Christmas Crib for Advent. One reflection for each day of this liturgical season. It was perfect!
Frequently during the day offer your heart to the little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home.

--Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and pure.

See that the roof of the stable is in good condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully avoiding every uncharitable remark.

--Jesus, teach me to love my neighbor as myself.

Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard especially your ears against sinful conversations.
--Jesus, help me to keep temptations out of my heart.

Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib. Diligently remove from your heart every inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this intention at least three times today.
--My Jesus, I want to please You in all I do today.

Build a fence about the crib of your heart by keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially at prayer.

--Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.

Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by abstaining from what you like most in the line of comfort and amusement.

--Dear Mother Mary, use these sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in Holy Communion.

DEC. 7 - HAY
Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.

--Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest sins.

Also provide your manger with soft straw by performing little acts of mortification; for instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit and stand erect.

--Dear Jesus, Who suffered so much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and thoughtfully.

--Jesus, help me love you more and more.

Provide the manger of your crib with soft warm blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and gentle to all.

--Jesus, help me to be meek and humble like You.

DEC. 11 - FUEL
Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own will; obey your superiors cheerfully and promptly.

--Jesus, help me do Your will in all things.

Bring fresh, clean water to the crib. Avoid every untruthful word and every deceitful act.

--Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for my sins.

Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a treat.

--Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.

See that the crib has sufficient light. Be neat and orderly about your person; keep everything in its place in your room.

--Jesus, be the life and light of my soul.

DEC. 15 - FIRE
Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful respect towards your parents and relatives.

--Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show my gratitude to You?

DEC. 16 - THE OX
Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without making excuses and without asking "why."

--I will obey for love of You, Jesus.

Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service of others.

--Jesus, accept my service of love; I offer it for those who do not love You.

Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say an extra decade of the rosary.

--Come, Jesus, to accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.

Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and patient. Do not murmur or complain.

--Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.

Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is important because Jesus will be born again in you.

--Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.

Provide the stable with a key to keep out thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful thought, every rash judgment.

-- Dear Jesus, close my heart to all that hurts You.

Invite the angels to adore God with you. Cheerfully obey the inspirations of your guardian angel and of your conscience.

--Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that you are with me always.

Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn from him silently and patiently to bear refusals and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

--Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy Christmas Communion.

Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the manger of your heart and beg her to lay the Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and telephone conversations and spend more time today thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
--Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Homeschooling "Fans"

Insight Scoop's Homeschooling, It's Not Just for Fantatics Anymore

In their post the reference this article Hoover Institution's Homeschool Goes Mainstream

At the time we decided to homeschool, we were happy with the public school our then 2nd grader was attending. But we knew as he grew older, we wanted him to have good influences from peers and we saw a problem in middle school and high school. We tried Catholic school when he was in the 8th grade and 9th grade. It was tough trying to find ways of paying for an increase in tuition. And, we probably would have made some sacrifices had the religious part of his education been more orthodox.

Our son made the difficult decision for us when he asked to be permitted to homeschool again.

Our son was always a good student. His father and I are convinced that homeschooling has really helped him excel as a student. He did not have to suffer through the peer pressure part of school.

We joke that when he graduates he will be the Valedictorian of his class ;-)

Only 150 Mass So Far Out of the 10,000 Masses Needed for the Unborn Needed

St. Michael

I received the following email:
...Thanks so much for the great news that 3 Masses will be offered at Sacred Heart in the diocese of Honolulu. I really appreciate it.

Presently, there are 131 Masses scheduled to be offered as part of the 10,000 MASSES FOR UNBORN BABIES.

God bless you.


Patrick Benedict

St. Michael the Archangel Organization

Please request a few Masses at your church. It is really easy to do. The unborn are counting on us.

So, What's Their Secret? - Many types of vocations blooming in Missouri diocese

Holy Orders

CNA Article

Encouraging and supporting vocations to the priesthood and religious life has been a top priority for Bishop Robert Finn since his installation in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph. Currently, the diocese has nearly 30 men studying to become diocesan priests while others have been called to nearby religious orders.

Dying to Self in Marriage

Our Lady's Wedding

The following is a response to this interview in Zenit - Marriage Leads to Heaven.
I think it is very telling that the Church chose to honor the Martins based in their wedding anniversary. During my marriage preparation in the Catholic church, we learned that a proper, holy marriage requires 'dying to self' each day. On the day I was married to my wonderful husband, I was blessed to feel a physical change take place - it was beautiful. In essence, the old me had died, and the new me, this man's wife, was ready to take on the challenges of married love. Praise the Lord!

Louis and Marie-Zélie Guérin Martin, pray for us!

Tara Szymanski
During this Advent Season, I have been thinking of doing more to die to myself. But after reading the above statement, I think I will concentrate more of dying to myself in my marriage. Like most couples who have been married awhile, we start to take our spouse for granted. I often do nice things for others outside my family. But when is the last time I did something special for my husband?

One of my good friend's husband has been found to be terminally ill from cancer. I see her pain and her regrets because she doesn't thing she has been a very good wife to him.

I do not know how long my husband and I will be together here on earth. I have to remind myself that each minute that God permits us to live is a gift and we should be mindful of that time.

My husband is a very good man and he has his faults that irritate me as I'm sure I have LOTS of faults that irritate him. But if I truly love him, I need to overlook those little failings and consider the man God chose to be my husband, and love him more and more each day.