Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beautiful Mother - Our Lady of Fatima

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Giving Money to the Homeless

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I believe it was New Advent that shared this article on Twitter.

The comments were very interesting too.

Should You Give Money to Homeless People?

The homelessness problem appears to be getting out of hand everywhere, including Hawaii.  Paradise is seeing an influx of homeless people from the mainland. 

We are continuously warned that homeless people will use the money we give them for drugs and alcohol. I also remember a now deceased monsignor telling us that may indeed be true. But God will judge us on whether or not we help the homeless we meet and not how they ultimately end up spending the cash we may give them.

I do not see why it is wrong to give cash to the these street people. I am pretty certain that the ones I have become familiar with will not be using the little money we give them, for something illicit. The ones I am familiar with are elderly, or mentally ill or just "down on their luck", to use the old phrase for homelessness. I know the two woman (one is the one I wrote about previously) I sometimes offer to give a little cash to, often tell me that I do not have to give them money. They really need the money but they have their pride too.

One way of supposedly helping the homeless really bothered me when I first moved to Hawaii. People would leave leftover food and a dollar bill in the trash can. "What an inhumane and undignified way of helping your fellow human being" I often remarked. Then it was explained to me that the homeless often look through the trash for something to eat. But still... I think they would far more appreciate the smile and sincere concern that went along with the money than the money itself.  They need to know they are still part of society and not invisible.

But my family will not give money to just anyone. We noticed that those brazen enough to ask for money will never be satisfied with what you give them. For example, a homeless lady once asked us for a dollar to eat. I think we gave her the dollar or maybe a few dollars. She responded "well, can't you give me a 20.00?" That has happened on a few occasions. Those who really need it, don't seem to be able to ask for help. We have to keep our eyes open to those who really need our help.

Armless Pilot Gives Pope Her Guinness World Record Medal

I thought this was quite moving.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Feast of the Annunciation and St. John Eudes' 12 Reasons for Honoring the Heart of Mary

"The feast of the Annunciation commemorates the greatest miracle of the marvelous Heart of this admirable Mother, which on that day becomes an unfathomable depth of wonders, where greater and more prodigious things take place than have ever happened or ever will happen, no matter how great or worthy of admiration, in all centuries past, present and yet to come."
- St. John Eudes in The Admirable Heart of Mary

Detail of The Annunciation by Guido Reni

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1. We ought to honor and love the things that God loves and honors, and through which He is loved and glorified. Now, after the most adorable Heart of Jesus, there is no heart in heaven or on earth which has so loved and honored God, or has rendered Him so much glory and love, as the most worthy Heart of Mary, the Mother of the Saviour.

2. Who could possibly describe the ardent flames of love in the incomparable Heart of the Mother of God toward her Beloved Son Jesus? Count, if you can, all her thoughts, all her words, all her actions, labors, anxieties and vigilance in feeding, clothing, protecting and rearing our divine Saviour, and you will count so many reasons obliging us to love and praise her most amiable Heart.

The Annunciation by Guido Reni

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3. Count also all the thoughts, feelings and affections which filled her motherly Heart with regard to our salvation, and you will count so many obligations on our part to love and honor Mary.

4. Picture yourself the means employed by the Mother of mercy to cooperate with her Beloved Son our Saviour in the great work of the Redemption of the world, that is, here prayers, fasts, mortifications, tears, sufferings, and her most poignant sacrifice of her dear Son at the foot of the cross, her Heart utterly consumed with love and charity, and you must realize that all these facts are just so many additional obligations on our part to revere and love her most worthy Heart.

by Perugino

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5. The holy name of Mary has always been so highly honored in the Church, that, according to Surius, St. Gerard, Bishop of Pannonia, ordered the people of his diocese to prostrate themselves on the ground at the mention of her holy name. Blosius reports that in his time it was the universal custom of the Church, that, whenever the holy name of Mary was pronounced, everyone knelt, and ll the faithful prayed, sighed and wept with most extraordinary devotion and fervor. This devotion is not dead, because the feast of the Holy Name of Mary is celebrated in a number of churches, especially in the Order of the Redemption of Captives, where the office of her holy name is recited on all Saturdays not assigned to an office of nine lessons. If the venerable name of Mary be worthy of such great veneration, what honor should we not render to her Admirable Heart?

6. Holy Church never ceases to sing daily, in addressing the only Son of Mary, "Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck", because we can never sufficiently praise and revere the consecrated womb in which she bore the Son of the eternal Father, nor the blessed breasts at which she nursed Him. What honor and praises should be given to her most worthy Heart?

by Agostino Ciampelli

7. According to the aspirations of St. Paul the hearts of the faithful become the abodes and dwellings of Jesus Christ, and Christ Himself assures us that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit reside in the hearts of all who love God, so who can doubt that the Most Blessed Trinity dwells perpetually in a most admirable and ineffable manner in the virginal Heart of her who is the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary who alone loves God more than all other creatures combined? This being the case, with what devotion should we not honor her immaculate heart?

8. If we are indebted to the holy Evangelists for having left us the written records of the life of our Redeemer and the mysteries of our Redemption, how much more do we owe to our most holy Mother for having preserved for us this precious treasure in her maternal Heart?

by Domenico Beccafumi

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9. Is it not we miserable sinners who pierced this most innocent Heart of Mary, at the time of the Passion of the Saviour, with countless thousands of shafts of sorrow by our innumerable sins? How greatly we are obliged, then, to render all the honor within our power in order to make some reparation for the most bitter anguish that we caused her loving Heart to suffer.

10. The Admirable Heart of Mary is the perfect image of the most divine Heart of Jesus. It is the pattern and model for our own hearts; and all our happiness, perfection and glory consists in striving to transform them into so many living images of the sacred Heart of Mary, just as her holy Heart is a consummate likeness of the adorable Heart of Jesus. Therefore it is most useful, good and beneficial to exhort Christians to practise devotion to the most august Heart of the Queen of Heaven. The sovereign devotion is to imitate what we honor, says St. Augustine, so who can fail to perceive that, in encouraging the faithful in devotion to the most amiable Heart of the Mother of God, we are also exhorting them to imitate the most eminent virtues that adorn it, to engrave its likeness on their own hearts and to render themselves worthy children of such a Mother?

by Antoniazzo Romano

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11. Not only is the Heart of the Mother of Our Saviour the prototype and model of our own hearts, but her Heart, after the adorable Heart of Jesus, is also Sovereign Ruler of all the hearts that have been created to love God, since she is Queen of the universe. For that reason all hearts should look upon and imitate the Heart of Mary as their model, but in addition they are obliged to render it all the homage that they owe to it as to their Sovereign.

12. Finally consider all the attributes and perfections of the incomparable Heart of the Mother of Fair Love, and you must realize that there are just that number of reasons compelling us to praise, honor and love this most praiseworthy and lovable Heart.

-The Admirable Heart of Mary by St. John Eudes
by Giorgio Vasari

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Lazarus

by Fyodor Bronnikov
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Today's Magnificat's meditation was a commentary by St. Jerome.

St. Jerome begins by explaining that Jesus' names Lazarus by name because he is a saint. We do not know the rich man's name. Lazarus' name means one who has been helped by God. The rich man is not condemned because he was avarice, or adultery, etc. but because of the sin of pride!
"...Most wretched of men, you see a member of your own body lying there outside at your gate, and have you no compassion? If the precepts of God mean nothing to you, at least take pity on your own plight, and be in fear lest you become such as he. Why do you save what is superfluous to your pleasures? Give in alms to your own m ember what you waste. I am not telling you to throw away your wealth. What you throw out, the crumbs from your table, offer as alms...

...If your eyes disdained to look upon putrid flesh, did not your ears, at least, hear his plea? "Who lay at his gate, covered with sores." He did not have just one sore, his whole body was sores, so that the magnitude of his suffering might arouse your utmost compassion.

- St. Jerome

It was very powerful and it touched me deeply.  You see, I have my own Lazarus.  It is a homeless lady.  She has lived on the street for as long as I have lived here.  Now she is wheelchair bound.  We have come to know each other from walking my dog around the neighborhood.  She is dirty, smelly and her legs are covered with sores and they are swollen.  This is what life on the street does to people.  Sometimes she is very friendly and we chat about my dog and she gives me advice.  Sometimes she is angry and defensive.  She has yelled at me to get away from her on a couple of times, when I tried to help her.  I do not take it personally.  No, it is not the smell or her occasional unfriendliness that makes me avoid her.  I avoid her because she keeps asking me to help her find a home.  I don't know how to tell her that where she wants to live is not possible for her. I do not want to dash her hopes.  I avoid her because she offers me clothes to wear that she carries in her bags.  I avoid her because I don't want to take the time to speak to a lonely woman.  So I take the cowardly way out and cross the street when I see her.  That is until today.

After Mass this morning and hearing the Gospel of the day, I looked for my Lazarus.  I couldn't find her.  Her little cart with all her things were not where they usually are.  I hope and pray she is alright.  I know I will try to never again avoid her or any other person in need.  After all, today's Magnficat quotation from Jeremiah reminds us "...For every person that God puts on our path becomes the way to the fulfillment we seek..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reality Check: How Am I Doing So Far This Lent?

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The following are some resolutions I made before Lent began. We are in week two of Lent and I really needed to step back and review. I will share the reality check** next to each resolution:

I resolved to simplify my daily routine in order to give God more time.

- Cut back on technology considerably. Limit the use of the internet to 3 times a day to answer important emails and to blog on spiritual things.

RC*: Although, I am busy with my household responsibilities, the computer is just too conveniently placed and continuously on. That means, I am drawn to it even though I know I should have the will power to resist its attraction. I may have to force myself to shut the computer off and turn it on each time. Since this procedure takes a long time to do, it may just help me in avoiding the computer every few minutes to check email and Twitter.

- Limit TV viewing to EWTN and spiritual movies and documentaries on Netflix.

RC: We are watching more EWTN programs. We have also watched the first part of Teresa de Avila, the mini series. But since there are not many programs for streaming to choose from on Netflix, we are stretching the definition of religious to find interesting programs to watch...e.g. Angel on My Shoulder starring Paul Muni. Come on, really? Angel in the title of this movie is quite a stretch in the spirituality department, wouldn't you agree? I have to admit we made an exception to Dark Shadows because we were in the middle of that Gothic soap opera. I better start moving all the Catholic movies in the queue to the top.

- Get rid of clutter even it means shredding every paper in the file cabinet. This is my attempt on not being attached to material things.

RC: Little by little we are making progress here. So far, I have cleaned out two of the more cluttered shelves in my closet. I have actually thrown away old cards and my some of son's school and artwork when he was more stinking sentimentality for me! Actually, I don't even want to think about what I tossed out.

My son is actually a pretty good organizer. He has organized my dish cabinet and cleaned out and organized the well as his room. He is setting a good example for me to follow.

- Spend at least 1/2 hour twice a day on reading good books.

RC: If you recall, I made a list of 40 books for Lent. I am in the process of reading approximately 6 of them simultaneously. I read them throughout the day. I also am reading a few on my iPod Touch. I do feel there is room for more reading here though. I haven't really been reading the Holy Bible as I planned on doing.

- Keep a Lenten journal and fill it up with doodles, prayers, thoughts and quotes.

RC: Except for the doodling part, yes, I am doing what I resolved to do. It is a big help when I want to see what areas in my life need improvement. It is a good way to examine my conscience. Yes, this was a very good idea.

- Curtail shopping to just necessities and not wants.

RC: This has been hard for me because sometimes it is hard to differentiate what I need and what I want. But for the most part, I am sticking to buying only food and things we need like soap, toothpaste, etc. I am trying to keep a list of all the things we are not spending on in hopes of adding that amount to the rice bowl. We are not really eating out either or going to movies, etc.

- Give money to our church's outreach.

RC: Lots of home for improvement here because other things come up such as the recent earthquake in Japan, unexpected expenses, etc. But I have to make an effort here and with the homeless people we know and see.

- Limit interaction with friends so to limit saying the wrong things and therefore offending God.

RC: Not that I planned it but my interaction with friends has been limited for several reasons, one being the weather since I cannot get together with my regular group and our dogs. I am not complaining because the temptation from saying the wrong thing is somewhat removed for the moment.  My problem here is listening to gossip. I don't really join in but listening is just as bad.

- Clean one part of the home diligently each day.

RC: This is hard. It seems like every time I clean one area, the other area I just cleaned needs cleaning again. I do what I can but I am not going to be fanatical about this resolution. I'd rather be cooking or baking to make my family happy.

- Mind my own business, stop asking people too many questions and refrain from reading the news, etc.

RC: I am not reading the paper and I am trying to mind my own business without being uncaring about others. I need to get off of Twitter where the temptation to read "news" is too great.

There are more resolutions but this is a good start for review.

Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo

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I know it's a little late in the day but I couldn't let the day end without me posting on a saint from Peru.

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Lord, You who wanted to expand the Church through the ministry of Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo and his great love of the truth, also raise up now in the Christian people those same virtues that shines forth in this holy bishop, so that the Church may grow constantly in faith and be renewed in holiness. Through Your son our Lord Jesus Christ.

Señor, tú que quisiste dilatar la Iglesia por medio de la actividad apostólica de santo Toribio de Mogrovejo y por su gran amor a la verdad, suscita también hoy en el pueblo cristiano aquellas mismas virtudes que resplandecen en este santo obispo, para que así la Iglesia crezca, constantemente en la fe y se renueve por la santidad. Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo, tu Hijo.

Prayer Source

Please be sure to visit Idle Speculations - Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo for beautiful pictures of the saint's statue

and Catholic Fire - St. Toribio de Mongrovejo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saintly Words of Encouragement

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"We must not be discouraged by our faults for the children fall frequently." - St. Therese of the Child Jesus, The Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Therese

I think these are words uttered by our beloved Saint Therese to give us hope. We all commit sins no matter how hard we try to avoid doing so. Instead of being discouraged when we fall again and again and usually by the same faults and failings, let us remember the above words and resolve with all our hearts to no longer offend God.  I believe our Heavenly Father will judge us by our sincere efforts in trying to become perfect and not whether or not we actually achieve perfection.

Mother Angelica Live Classics - Suffering and Other Things - Mother Ange...

I think this is the episode where Mother talks about a bidet. One of my favorites ;-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saintly Advice - On Never Speaking Ill of Others

Santa Teresa de Avila

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"...I never spoke ill of anyone in the slightest degree. For my usual practice was to avoid all evil speaking. I used to remind myself that I must not wish or say anything about anyone which I should not like to be said of me. I was extremely particular about observing this rule on all possible occasions, although I was not so perfect as to not fail now and then when faced with difficult situations..."

From The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila.

Very simply, we should ask ourselves: do I want someone to talk about me, discuss me, criticize me, judge me and condemn me? Or would I rather have someone give me the benefit of the doubt, pray for me, be merciful and charitable toward me? After all, the amount of mercy shown to us by God will be gauged in relation to the amount of mercy we showed others.

What good comes out of voicing our opinions about someone? Is this pleasing to God? What satisfaction do we derive? St. Joseph's feast day was just the other day, wouldn't it benefit our souls more by following his example of silence?