Friday, February 25, 2011

On Friendship by the Book of Sirach

Sacred Heart Church, Honolulu

...A kind mouth multiplies friends, and gracious lips prompt friendly greetings. Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant. When you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him for one sort of friend is a friend when it suits him, but he will not be with you in time of distress.  Another is a friend who becomes an enemy, and tells of the quarrel to your shame.  Another is a friend, a boon companion, who will not be with you when sorrow comes.  When things go well, he is your other self, and lords it over your servants; but if you are brought low, he turns against you and avoids meeting you. Keep away from your enemies; be on your guard with your friends. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself.

Sirach 6:1-18

The guidance given above in the Book of Sirach should really be taken seriously by everyone. Seems like everyone uses the word "friend" very lightly.  I know I am one of those culprits.  In reality, aren't those we consider friends really just acquaintances?  It is not a negative thing to have many acquaintances.  Yet not everyone is blessed to have a really good friend.  If you have such a friend, be grateful.

Even if we don't feel like we have a close friend, remember that we do.  It is Jesus and He is always there for us.

Wise Words from St. Theresa of Avila

Escuela del Cuzco: La Segunda Conversión de Santa Teresa circa 1694

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He always gives us more than we ask him for. Always.

There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.

I know that many persons who say vocal prayers are raised by God to high contemplation without their knowing how.

It is our prayer that the Lord gives light to understanding His truths.

From silly devotions and from sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.

Our prayer must, therefore, be very earnest for those who give us light. What should we be without them in the midst of these violent storms which now disturb the Church.

Take care not to miss this wonderful opportunity. Say the 'Our Father' slowly without rushing. He is listening very closely to you. This is the best way to praise and honor His name.

Granting that we are always in the presence of God, yet it seems to me that those who pray are in His presence in a very different sense; for they, as it were, see that He is looking upon them, while others may go for days on end without even once recollecting that God sees them.

We have to become men and women of prayer, people who know how to deal personally with the one who loves us above everything.

There is no greater cause of straying from the path of faithful perseverance than letting up in prayer.

Recollection is nothing else, in my opinion, but being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with Him, who we know loves us.

To argue over who is the more noble is nothing more than to dispute whether dirt is better for making bricks or for making mortar.

Whenever I read in the lives of Saints of how they converted souls, I seem to feel much more devout, more tender, and more envious of them than when I read of all the martyrdoms that they suffered. This is an inclination given me by Our Lord; and I think He prizes one soul, which by His mercy and through our diligence and prayer we have gained, for him, more than all the other services we can render Him.

Don't be curious of matters that don't concern you; never speak of them, and don't ask about them.

To wish to act like angels while we are still in this world is nothing but folly.


Shared by Sue Cifelli

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Padre Pio's Secret: His Shoulder Wound

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Padre Pio's Secret: His Shoulder Wound by Frank M. Rega

Shortly after World War II was over, a young Polish priest who was studying in Rome, Fr. Karol Wojtyla, visited Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo. This encounter took place around 1947 or 1948. At that time in post-war Italy, it was possible to have access to Padre Pio, since travel was difficult and great crowds were not besieging the Friary. The young priest spent almost a week in San Giovanni Rotondo during his visit, and was able to attend Padre Pio’s Mass and make his confession to the saint. Apparently, this was not just a casual encounter, and the two spoke together at length during Fr. Wojtyla’s stay. Their conversations gave rise to rumors in later years, after the Polish prelate had been elevated to the Papacy, that Padre Pio had told him he would become Pope. The story persists to the present day, even though on two or three occasions "Papa Wojtyla" denied it.

Recently, new information about this visit has come to light, according to a new book in Italian published by Padre Pio's Friary, Il Papa e Il Frate, written by Stefano Campanella (1). As reported in this book, the future Pope and future Saint had a very interesting conversation. During this exchange, Fr. Wojtyla asked Padre Pio which of his wounds caused the greatest suffering. From this kind of personal question, we can see that they must have already talked together for some time and had become at ease with each other. The priest expected Padre Pio to say it was his chest wound, but instead the Padre replied, "It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated." This is extremely significant, not only because it reveals that Padre Pio bore this wound, but because, as far as is known, the future pope is the only one to whom Padre Pio ever revealed existence of this secret wound.

Centuries earlier, Our Lord himself had revealed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in a vision, that his shoulder wound from carrying the heavy wooden cross caused him his greatest suffering, and that the cross tore into his flesh right up to the shoulder bone.

At one time, Padre had confided to his paisano from Pietrelcina, Brother Modestino Fucci, that his greatest pains occurred when he changed his undershirt. (Brother Modestino is currently the doorkeeper at Padre Pio’s friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.) Modestino, like Fr. Wojtyla, thought Padre Pio was referring to pains from the chest wound. Then, on February 4, 1971 Modestino was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the items in the deceased Padre’s cell in the friary, and also his belongings in the archives. That day he discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder.

This reminded Brother Modestino that he had once read about a devotion to the shoulder wound of Jesus, caused by his bearing of the heavy cross beam, the patibulum, to Calvary. The beam could weigh up to 100 pounds. Part of this devotion to the shoulder wound of Christ is to pray daily three Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s, to honor the severe pains and lacerations Our Lord suffered from the weight of the patibulum.

On that very evening of February 4, 1971, Brother Modestino asked Padre Pio in prayer to enlighten him about the meaning of the bloodstained undershirt. He asked Padre to give him a sign if he truly bore Christ’s shoulder wound. Then he went to sleep, awakening at 1:00 AM with a terrible, excruciating pain in his shoulder, as if he had been sliced with a knife up to the shoulder bone. He felt that he would die from the pain if it continued, but it lasted only a short time. Then the room became filled with the aroma of a heavenly perfume of flowers – the sign of Padre Pio’s spiritual presence – and he heard a voice saying "Cosi ho sofferto io!" – "This is what I had to suffer!" Modestino remarked that he had a strange sensation after the pain subsided: that being deprived of this pain was also a suffering. His body had suffered from it, but his soul had desired it. He said, "It was painful and sweet at the same time."

What is the mystical and spiritual significance of the shoulder wound of St. Padre Pio? The book by journalist Saverio Gaeta, Sulla Soglia del Paradiso (2), reports that Padre Pio said this of his spiritual children: "When the Lord entrusts a soul to me, I place it on my shoulder and never let it go." From this statement, it can reasonably be inferred that the saint offered up the suffering and the extreme pain of his shoulder wound for his spiritual children.

Cleonice Morcaldi once said in the presence of Gaeta, "On the shoulders of Padre Pio rests the whole world and the Church." This expression seemed an exaggeration to the writer. But on the very same day that Gaeta had heard this, he later joined Padre Pio and some others in conversation. Padre Pio was telling the story of St. Christopher, and how he had carried the child Jesus on his shoulders across a river. Then, turning his gaze to look directly at Saverio Gaeta, Padre Pio pointedly said to the writer, "On my shoulders is the whole world."


1. Campanella, Stefano, Il Papa e Il Frate, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, Edizioni Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, 2005.

2. Gaeta, Saverio, Sulla Soglia del Paradiso, Edizione speciale per Famiglia Christiana, San Paolo Edizioni, 2002.

Based on the author’s earlier article in the December 2007 Newsletter of the Padre Pio Foundation, Cromwell, CT., USA Padre Pio

Lent for Life.

Thanks to Sue Cifelli for sharing Steve Lopez's idea for a pro-life Lent. I do not think Steve is a Catholic because in his email he admits having to do some research when he first heard the term Lent. But as you can see, he understands the significance of sacrifice during this solemn church season.

...I would like to invite everyone out to Planned Parenthood during Lent. What better place to remember the suffering of Jesus Christ than outside of Planned Parenthood...?

I know we all have very busy lives so I tried to come up with a few suggestions that would allow everyone to spend some time during each day of Lent in front of Planned Parenthood with their spiritual brothers and sisters.

1) If you exercise on a treadmill daily -- that activity can be given to God during Lent. Walking and praying in front of the Planned Parenthood each day during Lent is a great way to have communion with God and increase your physical fitness.

2) Have lunch with God outside of the Planned Parenthood. Anyone who thinks they don't have time to commune with God because they're too busy with work still has to eat. Bring a sack lunch to Planned Parenthood where you can eat and pray with fellow pro lifers during Lent.

3) Have breakfast with God -- bring a bagel and stand outside of the Planned Parenthood during Lent. Alternatively, if you're fasting during breakfast, lunch, or dinner that time can be given to God outside of the Planned Parenthood in t

BTW, 40 Days for Life coincides with Lent so if you are participating in 40 Days for Life, you can still use the above suggestions. Catholics can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Holy Rosary during this time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What is a Christian Home?

It is a fortress built by the hand of God founded and instituted at His command, sanctified by His Divine love. It is...a home in which religion holds the first place in which the name of our Lord is a familiar sound and where the parents govern themselves and rule their children by the principles of a Christian life.

The Christian home is easily discovered. The very walls of the house will tell you at a glance who it is that holds the first place in the minds and hearts of its inmates. If on looking around the eye rests on emblems of our holy faith, if you find in every room the crucifix or the image of Our Lady, or a religious picture; if you see the holy water stoup well replenished, along with other tokens of faith, then the very appearance of the house will afford presumptive evidence that Our Divine Lord holds His rightful place in the bosom of the family dwelling there.

- Excerpt from Essays on Catholic Life by Thomas O'Hagan, Books for Libraries, Inc.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chair of St. Peter

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"How blessed is the Church of Rome, on which the apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood!" - Tertullian

Prayer to St. Peter

O glorious Saint Peter, who, in return for thy lively and generous faith,
thy profound and sincere humility,
and thy burning love,
wast honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges,
and, in particular,
with the leadership of the other Apostles and the primacy of the whole Church,
of which thou wast made the foundation stone,
do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith,
that shall not fear to profess itself openly,
in its entirety and in all of its manifestations,
even to the shedding of blood,
if occasion should demand it,
and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender.
Obtain for us likewise,
a sincere loyalty to our holy mother, the Church;
grant that we may ever remain most closely and
sincerely united to the Roman Pontiff,
who is the heir of thy faith and of thy authority,
the one, true, visible Head of the Catholic Church,
that mystic ark outside which there is no salvation.
Grant, moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and
meekness, her teaching and her counsels , and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth
to enjoy a peace that is sure
and undisturbed, and
to attain one day in haven to everlasting happiness.
Pray for us, Saint Peter the Apostle,
R. That we may be made worthy of the premises of Christ.

Let us Pray

O God, who has given unto Thy blessed Apostle Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the power to bind and loose: grant that we may be delivered, through thee help of his intercession, from the bonds of all our sins: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

The Prayer Book, The Catholic Press, Inc.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sermon by St. John M. Vianney - "Be Religious or Be Damned!"

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There is always the person who says to me: "What harm can there be in enjoying oneself for awhile? I do no wrong to anyone; I do not want to be religious or to become a religious! If I do not go to dances, I will be living in the world like someone dead!"

My good friend, you are wrong. Either you will be religious or you will be damned. What is a religious person? This is nothing other than a person who fulfills his duties as a Christian. You say that I shall achieve nothing by talking to you about dances and that you will indulge neither more nor less in them. You are wrong again. In ignoring or despising the instructions of your pastor, you draw down upon yourself fresh chastisements from God, and I, on my side, will achieve quite a lot by fulfilling my duties. At the hour of my death, God will ask me not if you have fulfilled your duties but if I have taught you what you must do in order to fulfill them. You say, too, that I shall never break down your resistance to the point of making you believe that there is harm in amusing yourself for a little while in dancing? You do not wish to believe that there is any harm in it? Well, that is your affair. As far as I am concerned, it is sufficient for me to tell you in such a way as will insure that doing this I am doing all that I should do. That should not irritate you: your pastor is doing his duty. But, you will say, the Commandments of God do not forbid dancing, nor does Holy Scripture, either. Perhaps you have not examined them very closely. Follow me for a moment and you will see that there is not a Commandment of God which dancing does not cause to be transgressed, nor a Sacrament which it does not cause to be profaned..
Read the rest here

Strong words by by this very holy priests as he addresses young people and dancing.

Shared by Sue Cifelli.