Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe

"The eyes that gaze on it now see it exactly as Bishop Zumárraga and the others saw it when the roses spilled from Juan's mantle and it was first revealed. Millions have viewed it..."

Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Legionaries of Christ, Thornwood, NY

Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Gaudalupe, mystical rose, make intercession for Holy Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee in their necessities, and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
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By now everyone should be familiar with the story of Guadalupe--"The story of an Indian of simple faith, and of the Mother of God. The basilica which today is the Shrine of Our lady of Guadalupe is a part of the teeming metropolis that is Mexico City.  But back of its great high altar is the tilma of Juan Diego, whose love and devotion toward Mary, the Mother of God, has given the world one of the greatest of her shrines."

-The Holy Years of Mary by William A. McLoughlin, O.P.The John C. Winston Company

Original Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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"...Swiftly news of the church to be built in the precinct of the Mother-goddess on Tepeyac was carried from village to village.  The Indians' own church, requested through one of themselves!  Volunteer laborers appeared, more than could be employed.  In only thirteen days the simple chapel-like structure was completed. On the day after Christmas the sacred Image was brought to it in a great procession and installed about the altar; the church was blessed and the Mass celebrated...."

Bishop Juan de Zumárraga
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"I have had the news published-sent a messenger to Cuernavaca- an Indian to Fray Toribio-am preparing the festival and keeping with me a little longer your honor's trumpeters.  How glorious it will be!  The joy of all is indescribable.  Tell my lady the Marquesa (Cortés'' wife) that eventually I want to dedicate my cathedral to the Immaculate Conception because it was during that feast (December 8-17 in the missal used in Mexico) that God and his Blessed Mother deigned to shower the land you won with this great favor.  No more now."
The Bishop Elect, filled with joy.

Letter to the conqueror Hernán Cortés' written by Bishop Zumárraga on Christmas Eve, 1531.

Note:  Between the years 1532-38, eight million natives were baptized.

-A Woman Clothed with the Sun, edited by John J. Delaney, Image Books

Friday, December 10, 2010

Practicing Silence

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There is also a time for silence, not only exterior silence, but above all interior silence, so that I may reconnect with God and fully hear and receive His Word in me.

As Mother Teresa of Calcutta speaks about this sacred silence, may her words find a home in my heart:
To make possible true interior silence, we shall practice:

Silence of the eyes, by seeking always the beauty and goodness of God everywhere closing it to the faults of others and to all that is sinful and disturbing to the soul.

Silence of the ears, by listening always to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor and the needy, closing it to all the other voices that come from the evil one or from fallen human nature:
e.g. gossip, tale-bearing, and uncharitable words.

Silence of the tongue, by praising God and speaking the life-giving Word of God that is the Truth that enlightens and inspires, brings peace, hope, and joy and by refraining from self-defense and
every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain, and death.

Silence of the mind, by opening it to the truth and knowledge of God in prayer and contemplation, like Mary who pondered the marvels of the Lord in her heart, and by closing it to all untruths, distractions, destructive thoughts, rash judgment, false suspicions of others, revengeful thoughts, and desires.

Silence of the heart, by loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength and one another as God loves, desiring God alone and avoiding all selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and greed. Our silence is a joyful and God-centered silence; it demands of us constant self-denial and plunges us into the deep silence of God where aloneness with God becomes a reality.

To foster and maintain a prayerful atmosphere of exterior silence we shall:

* respect certain times and places of more strict silence,
* move about and work prayerfully, quietly and gently,
* avoid at all costs all unnecessary speaking and notice,
* speak, when we have to, softly, gently, saying just what is necessary,
* look forward to profound silence as a holy and precious time, a withdrawal into the living silence of God.”

Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Under the Light and Guidance of the Holy Spirit, let us walk with Jesus, into the embrace of the Father.

Source via Sue Cifelli

Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus

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LORD Jesus by faith in Your merits, I now take Your Precious Blood and sprinkle it over myself and my family right from the crown of my head to the very soles of my feet. I claim total and complete protection for my life and my family. Lord Jesus, keep me free today from evil, sin, temptation, Satan's attacks and afflictions, fear of darkness, fear of man, sickness, diseases, doubts, anger, all calamities and from all that is not of Your Kingdom.

FILL me Lord Jesus with the gifts of Your Holy Spirit and grant me the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, understanding and discernment, so that I will live today in Your Glory by doing what is right.

I praise You Jesus, I thank You Jesus,

I love You Jesus, I adore You Jesus.

Prayer Source via Sue Cifelli.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Saint Juan Diego

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Prayer to St. Juan Diego

You who were chosen by Our Lady of Guadalupe as an instrument to show your people and the world that the way of Christianity is one of love, compassion, understanding, values, sacrifices, repentance of our sins, appreciation and respect for God’s creation, and most of all one of humility and obedience;

You whom we know is now in the Kingdom of the Lord and close to our Mother;

Be our angel and protect us, stay with us as we struggle in this modern life often not knowing where to set our priorities;

Help us to pray to our God to obtain the gifts of the Holy Spirit and use them for the good of humanity and the good of our Church, through the Heart of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Heart of Jesus. Amen.

Prayer Source and where you can order the prayer cards.

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Information for children becoming members of the Saint Juan Diego Guild can be found here. Their mission is: To encourage and assist children in imitating the positive virtues of (Saint) Juan Diego.

Venerable John Paul II's Homily: Canonization of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

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Prayer to Saint Juan Diego for Happy Employment

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Saint Juan, you now enjoy the beatific vision of God and the company of our beautiful Mother Mary. On this, your feast day, we ask that you and Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us that we may never fear to boldly proclaim the truth in the hope that if each of us does our part, no matter how small, millions will come to know God.
Prayer source

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Saint Juan Diego: Model of Humility

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Saint Gabriel the Archangel: When the Dawn from On High Broke Upon Us

Father Gordon MacRae's post this week is one you won't want to miss.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel: When the Dawn from On High Broke Upon Us

The Tradition of the Christmas Crib

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Following a beautiful and firmly-rooted tradition, many families set up their crib immediately after the feast of the Immaculate Conception, as if to relive with Mary those days full of trepidation that preceded the birth of Jesus.

Putting up the crib at home can be a simple but effective way of presenting faith, to pass it on to one's children. The crib helps us contemplate the mystery of God's love that was revealed in the poverty and simplicity of the Bethlehem Grotto.

St. Francis of Assisi was so taken by the mystery of the Incarnation that he wanted to present it anew at Grecio in the living nativity scene, thus beginning an old, popular tradition that still retains its value for evangelization today.

Indeed, the crib can help us understand the secret of the true Christmas because it speaks of the humility and merciful goodness of Christ, who "though he was rich he made himself poor" for us (2 Cor. 8:9). His poverty enriches those who embrace it and Christmas brings joy and peace to those who, like the shepherds in Bethlehem, accept the Angel's words: "Let this be a sign to you: in a manger you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes." (Lk 2:12). This is still the sign for us too, men and women of the third millennium.

There is no other Christmas.

Pope Benedict XVI

from December 2010 Magnificat

To learn more about the tradition of the Christmas creche please visit Women for Faith and Family.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Immaculada Concepción con Colegiales by Francisco Zurbaran
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Venerable Brethren,
Health and the Apostolic Blessing.

An interval of a few months will again bring round that most happy day on which, fifty years ago, Our Predecessor Pius IX., Pontiff of holy memory, surrounded by a noble crown of Cardinals and Bishops, pronounced and promulgated with the authority of the infallible magisterium as a truth revealed by God that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was free from all stain of original sin. All the world knows the feelings with which the faithful of all the nations of the earth received this proclamation and the manifestations of public satisfaction and joy which greeted it, for truly there has not been in the memory of man any more universal or more harmonious expression of sentiment shown towards the august Mother of God or the Vicar of Jesus Christ...


Immaculada Concepción by
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

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Prayer for a Holy Life

Virgin Immaculate,
Mother of God and my Mother,
from your throne in heaven
turn your merciful eyes upon me.
With full confidence in your goodness and power,
I beg you to help me in this journey of life,
which is strewn with dangers for my soul.

I entrust myself completely to you,
that I may never be the devil's slave through sin,
but may always live a unable and pure life.
I consecrate my heart to you forever,
since my sole desire is to love your divine Son Jesus.
O Mary,
since none of your devoted servants has ever perished,
let me too attain salvation.

Immaculada Concepción by Pedro Saenz

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You are all fair, O Mary;
the original stain is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem,
the joy of Israel,
the great honor of our people,
and the great advocate of sinners.
O Mary, Virgin most prudent,
Mother most merciful,
pray for us;
intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Immaculada Concepción by Antonio Cortina Farinós

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To the Immaculate Queen

O Virgin most pure, wholly unspotted,
O Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of the universe,
thou art above all the saints,
the hope of the elect a
and the joy of all the blessed.
It is thou who hast reconciled us with God;
thou art the only refuge of sinners and the safe
harbor of those who are shipwrecked;
thou art the consolation of the world,
the ransom of captives,
the health of the weak,
the joy of the afflicted,
and the salvation of all.
We have recourse to thee,
and we beseech thee to have pity on us.

- Saint Ephrem the Syrian
The Immaculate Conception Patroness of the Redemporists

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Blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God.

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By your Immaculate Conception,
O Mary,
make my body pure and my soul holy.

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O Mary,
who entered the world without stain of sin,
obtain for me from God
that I may leave it without sin.
Immaculada Concepción by Alonso Cano

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Virgin Mother,
you were never touched by any spot
of original or actual sin.
I commend and entrust to you the purity of my heart.
Immaculada Concepción

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Glorious things are told of thee,
O Mary,
for He who is mighty
hath done great things unto thee.

- Source The New Marian Missal for Daily Mass, 1956

Immaculada Concepción by Tiepolo Giambattista

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Prayer sources: Mew St. Joseph's People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing
The Prayer Book, Catholic Press

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


St. Ambrose

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Prayer that we May Seek God and Find Him

Lord, teach me to seek you,
and reveal yourself to me when I seek you.
For I cannot seek you
unless you first teach me,
nor find you
unless you first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek you in longing,
and long for you in seeking.
Let me find you in love,
and love you in finding.

- St. Ambrose of Milan (340-397)
Bishop, Writer and Doctor

Prayers before Holy Communion - Prayer of St. Ambrose

Lord Jesus Christ, I approach your banquet table in fear and trembling, for I am a sinner, and dare not rely on my own worth but only on your goodness and mercy. I am defiled by many sins in body and soul, and by my unguarded thoughts and words.

Gracious God of majesty and awe, I seek your protection, I look for your healing. Poor troubled sinner that I am, I appeal to You, the fountain of all mercy. I cannot bear your judgment, but I trust in your salvation.

Lord, I show my wounds to You and uncover my shame before You. I know my sins are many and great, and they will fill me with fear, but I hope in Your Mercies, for they cannot be numbered.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal king, God and man, crucified for mankind, look
upon me with mercy and hear my prayer, for I trust in You. Have mercy on me, full of sorrow and sin, for the depth of your compassion never ends.

Praise to You, saving sacrifice, offered on the wood of the cross for me and for all mankind. Praise to the noble and precious blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away the sins of the whole world. Remember, Lord, your creature, whom You have redeemed with Your Blood. I repent my sins, and I long to put right what I have done.

Merciful Father, take away all my offenses and sins; purify me in body and soul, and make me worthy to taste the holy of holies.

May Your Body and Blood, which I intend to receive, although I am unworthy, be for me the remission of my sins, the washing away of my guilt, the end of my evil thoughts, and the rebirth of my better instincts. May it incite me to do the works pleasing to You and profitable to my health in body and soul, and be a firm defense against the wiles of my enemies.


- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book
Text source

The story of the Immaculate Conception reflected in Vatican Museum frescoes

Handel's Messiah - 'Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted'

Isaiah 40: 1 - 11
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
6 A voice says, "Cry!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
10 Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Thanks EWTN!


Monday, December 06, 2010

Saintly Quotes - Foregiveness

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"May we never risk the life of our souls by being resentful or by bearing grudges." - St. Gregory of Nyssa

"Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession." - St. Isidore of Seville

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"In whatever state a soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer." - St. Faustina

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"Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God's true nature. God's heart is more gentle than the Virgin's first kiss upon the Christ. And God's forgiveness to all, to any thought or act, is more certain than our own being." - St. Catherine of Siena

"I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand." - Blessed Mother Teresa

"If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive." - Blessed Mother Teresa
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"This Blood that but one drop of has the power to win. All the world forgiveness of its world of sin." - St. Thomas Aquinas

"Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again." - Saint Augustine

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." - Honore de Balzac

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”If a man finds it very hard to forgive injuries, let him look at a Crucifix, and think that Christ shed all His Blood for him, and not only forgave His enemies, but even prayed His Heavenly Father to forgive them also. Let him remember that when he says the Pater Noster, every day, instead of asking pardon for his sins, he is calling down vengeance on himself.” -Saint Philip Neri

"To the extent that you pray with all your soul for the person who slanders you, God will make the truth known to those who have been scandalized by the slander." -St. Maximos the Confessor

"Avoid slander because it is difficult to retract. Avoid offending anyone for to ask forgiveness is not delightful." -Saint John Cantius

"Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave." -St. John Chrysostom

"The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offenses from his heart; when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit." -Imitation of Christ

"If a man does what he can and is truly penitent, however often he comes to Me for grace and pardon, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live"; I will no longer remember his sins, but all will be forgiven him." -Imitation of Christ

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Like A Shepherd He Feeds His Flock St. Louis Jesuits Hymn

Forgiving from One's Heart

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Why is it sometimes hard to forgive?

We are blessed to have God forgive our most egregious offenses, no matter how many times we commit the same sins. Yet, even the tiniest slight by someone offends us to a point where we cannot overlook it. Then we are left with a hurt that cannot be comforted or forgotten. The saddest reality is that the inflicter of the pain may not even realize she or he has offended us.

The sin of pride is the culprit here. If we were truly humble,  we could welcome slights, offensives, and hurts, because we would be empathizing with all the humiliations our innocent Lord had to endure,  especially during His passion during His short time on Earth.

We need to really let the words of the Our Father touch us to the core when we pray "...forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

We not only have to forgive but also forget any intentional or unintentional wrongs done to us.

There are many good quotes by the saints on forgiveness. But something that helps me to forgive is something I read in an advice column once: "Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head."

This Advent season, let us love the person who offended us, and also thank him or her for giving us the opportunity to make this small sacrifice for Jesus.

An Examination of Conscience for Families

G. Molteni, La confessione, 1838
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The following is a part of Father Robert Fox's examination of conscience from his Prayer Book for Catholics.
1. Have I contributed to happiness and harmony in my family by patience, kindness, forgiveness and understanding?

2. Have I obeyed my parents?

3. Have I taken a united front with my spouse in disciplining children in justice and love?

4. Have I participated in daily family prayer?

5. Have I helped instruct children in the faith or delegated it entirely to others, forgetting that parents are the primary educators of their children?

6. Did I give good example to my children by participating in Holy Mass and frequently the sacraments?

7. Do I take an active interest in whether each of my children is growing in knowledge and love of his faith and identifying with Christ's Church?

8. Do I observe whether my teenagers go to confession frequently.

9. Do I really know each one of my children?

10. Have I been a good example in manifesting positive Catholic thinking and conversations and by exercising living authority as a parent?

11. Have I been sensitive to the needs of my spouse?

12. Have I caused hurt to self and family members by the use of drugs or drink?

14. Have I prudently guided my older children into Catholic marriages or advised them kindly to select a spouse who will help lead them to salvation?

16. Have I been faithful to my (husband/wife) in my heart and in relations with others?

17. Do I visit and keep in frequent touch with elderly parents?

18. Have I given sufficient time to each of my children or am I more married to my work?

19. Do I provide good Catholic reading in my home and watch what literature comes into the home?

20. As a parent do I have good moral standards as to which television programs are harmful and which can assist to develop wholesome Christian principles in family members?

21. Do I understand love for family members means sacrificing self?

22. Have I tried to uplift my spouse in moments of suffering, discouragement?

23. Do I show appreciation for my spouse's (parent's) good points or only criticize negatively?

24. Have I caused pain and sorrow to my parents?

Feast of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas - Patron of Greece
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Wonder-working follower of Christ,
from your early years you practiced fasting
and were outstanding in generosity.

You quickly distributed to the poor
what you had inherited from your parents.

Traveling to Palestine, you became a bishop
and dared to preach the Gospel
for which you were thrown into prison.

As "Santa Claus" you are still loved today.

Teach us to be generous like you!

- New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing