Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thought for the Day - Comforting Words

"You are in my prayers."  - Just by praying a simple Hail Mary for someone can bring s much comfort and hope.

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.

For more urgent prayer needs consider praying Blessed Mother Teresa's express novena that is never known to fail, the Memorare prayed nine times consecutively.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. 

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. 


Friday, May 20, 2016

Today's Thought - The Silent Soul

Why is it so difficult to keep quiet when someone says something hurtful.  Jesus remained silent during His passion.  His Blessed Mother pondered things in her heart.  Can we do less?

We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we should speak.  A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence.  The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God.  - St. Faustina (477 in Diary)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thought for Today - Real Peace

It is no coincidence that being in the presence of our Lord brings true peace to our heart, mind and soul.  And, once we leave His divine presence we may again experience anxiety, worry, and unrest. For this reason we should continuously ask Our Lord to keep us close to His Sacred Heart.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir - Book Review

Jean Heimann,  known for her extensive knowledge of our saintly friends, and who blogs at Catholic Fire, has written a new book  Learning to Love with the Saints:  A Spiritual Memoir.

When I first received the book, I was already reading three other books that I wanted to finish before Lent was over, but my curiosity took over and I took a peek at Jean's book.  Within a day or so, I had finished reading Jean's memoir.

I was touched by the way that Jean shared intimate details of her life.  We come to learn about a girl, a teenager, and a woman named Jean, who came from a good and devout Catholic family.  She may have made mistakes or made the wrong choices along the way.  Yet, she never gave up.  Her love for God has made her who she is today and that is evident by reading this special book.  There is an admirable quality in a writer who writes from the heart without trying to impress anyone.

Accompanying her admissions and family memories are pertinent quotes and qualities of some saints who came to her help during difficult times in her life.  One cannot help but realize how much her life, both during the good and bad times, was influenced by these saints. It is evident that the ones who first influenced her most were her own saintly parents.

After all these years of getting to know Jean in the blogging circles and other social media, I have grown to respect her as being a fine, devout Catholic.  My admiration has grown even more because of her sincerity in sharing facts about herself that could not have been easy to write about or even to remember.  Her humility, compassion, and trust in God is clear on those pages of her book.

There are many things in the book most readers may relate to, such as growing up in a large family, having loving parents who sacrifice for their children, spreading our wings, and making mistakes. In the end, the book is about trusting in the Lord and his friends, the Saints.

Please do yourself a favor and read this wonderful spiritual memoir.

Book Blog Tour Schedule for Learning to Love with the Saints:  A Spiritual Memoir

Here is the blog tour schedule:

Friday, May 13 -- Ellen Gable Hrkach, ReviewPlot, Line, and Sinker   

Saturday, May 14 -- Rosemary Bogdan, Review, A Catholic Mother’s Thoughts 

Sunday, May 15 -- Carolyn Astfalk, Review, My Scribbler’s Heart Blog 
Book Giveaway!

Monday, May 16 -- Lisa Mladinich, Interview, Patheos 

Tuesday, May 17—Nancy HC Ward, Review, Joy Alive in our Hearts 
Book Giveaway!

Wednesday, May 18 -- Esther Gefroh., Review, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii 

Thursday, May 19 -- Barb Szyszkiewicz, Review, Franciscan Mom    
Book Giveaway! and Catholic Mom  

Friday, May 20--Jeannie Ewing, Interview, Love Alone Creates  
Book Giveaway!

Saturday, May 21-- Patrice Faganant McArthur, Review, Spiritual Woman 

Sunday, May 22 -- Melanie Jean Juneau, Review, Association of Catholic Women Bloggers  and Joy of Nine  

Monday, May 23--Virginia Lieto, Review, Virginia Lieto  Book Giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24 -- Tony Agnesi, Review, Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Thought for Today: Do we need to hear "thank you"?

Can't we be satisfied with doing an act of kindness just for the satisfaction that it will please God?


by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Origin of the Rosary
          The Rosary, the blessed beads that quietly slip between our fingers as we pray over the mysteries of Jesus’ redemptive life, has an ancient origin.  Most likely it originated in the ancient East and not in the medieval West, perhaps in India.  It was and still is a popular prayer device among the Muslims, who use the Arabic term masbahat , which means to give praise.  Devout Muslims used the masbahat  in repeating the attributes of God, just as it was used by the early Christian hermits.  Following the Crusades the Rosary found its way to the West.  The missionary who worked hardest to spread this devotion was Abed El-Ahad, Saint Dominic, and his Dominican companions.

          The Rosary became a popular method of prayer and spread quickly in the West during the Middle Ages.  For Christians it has always been “the Gospel strung on beads.”   It is a simple and easy prayer that can be employed for vocal prayer or silent contemplation by individuals, families, and communities.

Papal Encouragement
          Since the 16th century the popes have frequently encouraged the faithful of East and West to pray the Rosary.  The first was a Dominican pope, Saint Pius V, who wrote a papal letter about the Rosary in 1569 shortly after the Council of Trent, and instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

          In the late 19th century after the First Vatican Council the illustrious Pope Leo XIII wrote more than ten encyclicals and instructions promoting the use of the Rosary.

          To make pastoral applications of the Marian teachings of the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI in 1974 authored the apostolic exhortation Devotion to Mary (Marialis Cultus).  Paul VI discussed the Rosary at some length as a summary of the Gospel comprised of prayers based on Gospel texts.  He urged the faithful to pray the Rosary, and especially recommended the family Rosary in these words:

                   “We would like now to join our voice to the voices of our         predecessors and strongly recommend the prayer of the Rosary in       the family…because the Christian family is a family church….If the    family neglected this communal prayer, it would lose its character as   a Christian family.”

                    “In addition to the prayer of the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) …the Rosary of the Virgin Mary would be the most preferable          communal prayer for the Christian family.”

Pope Paul VI concluded his recommendation by saying: “We would like to repeat that the Rosary is an excellent and magnificent prayer….”

          In a pastoral letter about the 1987 Marian Year, our Patriarch, His Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, encouraged all Maronites to honor the Mother of God by praying the Rosary.

           Pope St.  John Paul II, enthusiastic devotee of our Blessed Mother, in 2002 issued  a pastoral letter entitled The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, in which he proclaimed October 2002 until October 2003 the Year of the Rosary, and put forth the Luminous Mysteries based on the public life of Jesus. 

          Our present Holy Father, Benedict XVI, values the prayer of the Rosary as a means of contemplating Jesus with Mary’s eyes.  For him pondering the mysteries of the Rosary calms a “restless spirit, allows the soul to settle into tranquility…and grants a vision of God.”  He associates the Rosary with consolation and healing, an inner refuge which enfolds us “in the rhythm of the prayer of the whole Church.”  “I do it quite simply,” he said, “just as my parents used to pray.”

The Rosary Today

          Unlike some Eastern Christians who erroneously consider the Rosary foreign to Eastern spirituality, Maronites have emphasized the prayer of the Rosary for centuries.  On a visit to Maronites in Lebanon in 1580, Jesuit Father Eliano recorded that he brought them “about one thousand rosaries.”

          Early on, the Rosary was a common method of prayer in the East among Christians and non-Christians.  Even though it came to us through Western missionaries, it was and still is an easy and rich method of prayer to help the faithful fathom the mysteries of God along the journey of salvation.  And we do so with a special companion, the Mother of God and our Mother.  Praying the Rosary, particularly in the family, is an excellent method of bringing us together in the faith under the protection of her who always and everywhere intercedes for all people.  Let us spare no effort to remain close to her.