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.

Monday, May 16, 2016

EWTN Statement on Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Ruling In HHS Mandate Case

Irondale, AL (EWTN) – The following is a statement by Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network, on the May 16 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in theZubik v. Burwell case:

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling reversing the decisions of four federal appellate courts on the HHS Mandate is a clear victory for EWTN and all of the plaintiffs who have spent the last several years fighting against the government’s attempt to hijack our employer-sponsored health care plans in order to force us to provide contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures.  The Supreme Court has now said what we have been saying throughout our challenge of the Mandate, that the government does indeed have less restrictive means to accomplish its goals without forcing religious organizations like EWTN and the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate our strongly held moral beliefs or face crushing fines. The government itself was forced to admit this as part of its case before the Supreme Court. With regard to EWTN’s own case, today’s ruling by the Supreme Court strikes down several of the key decisions upon which the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based its previous ruling against EWTN. While we await further action by the 11th Circuit in the EWTN case, we are even more confident that we will prevail.”

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 35th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 networks broadcast the Gospel message in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 264 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. Properties include direct broadcast satellite television and radio services; AM & FM radio networks transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 Catholic domestic and international radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio station; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and two global wire services; as well as a publishing arm.

ACN News - A Tale of Mercy in Rwanda

In just 100 days in 1994, approximately 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda. The genocide counts as one of the greatest human tragedies in African history. Fr. Stanislaw Filipek SAC, a Polish missionary in Rwanda for over 30 years, has devoted his service to spreading awareness of God’s Mercy, building a Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Kigali and most recently coordinating the first continental Congress on God’s Mercy in Africa to be held in September 2016.

During his visit to the international charity Aid to the Church in Need he spoke of his work in introducing Divine Mercy as experienced by Saint Sister Faustina Kowalska, the world-renowned apostle of Divine Mercy, in Rwanda today.

Hope in the midst of hopelessness

“Christ revealed Himself to Sister Faustina between the two World Wars” reflects Fr. Stanislaw. “At a moment of deep hopelessness, when people were afflicted with tragedy after an evil that was done, exactly in this very moment, out of the deepest hopelessness when everything was lost, ruined, God revealed Himself as merciful. God can fix it all. He can transform evil into good. We are being constantly invited to learn this, and this is the leitmotif of our pastoral work in Rwanda.”

The purifying experience of the Cross

Fr. Stanislaw draws a parallel to the Rwandan experience through a story. “A young woman, some 20 years ago when she was a young girl, gave false testimony against a man who lived in a house that somebody else wanted to take. This false testimony was enough to put the man in jail for eight years. He suffered from being in jail while innocent and from the growing need for revenge.”

“While in jail he had a personal encounter with Jesus. He converted and began a process of inner forgiveness. Meanwhile, the woman who accused him realized that when she prayed, the name of this man kept ringing in her head. Her conscience awoke and she started sharing with a priest and soon they concluded that she needed to find this man and beg for his forgiveness.”

“So began a long process of searching. She searched the prisons for years. One day, she learned the man had been released and she finally found his house. Scared and not knowing how he would react, she asked for his forgiveness. ‘I forgave you long ago’ was the reply. ‘I wanted to wreak a vengeance on you, but I have converted and now I am aware that God led me through a Way of the Cross - a very difficult one - but one that released me. And so I forgive you.’ He hugged and kissed her. These people are now friends.”

Good out of experienced evil

The devotion to God’s Mercy in Rwanda “was sown into fertile ground,” says the missionary “because in this post-war context a great question arose: How to talk about forgiveness? In Rwanda I often hear this question: ‘who should forgive first’? There is no easy answer, but I keep repeating: he, who is wiser, he, who is closer to God, he should learn to forgive. One never loses forgiving. On the contrary, you can only win.”

“I think that John Paul’s II words from Dives in Misericordiae are helpful here. He said that the art of God’s Mercy consists in bringing good out of experienced evil. This means that we should not focus on evil - one that we have caused or one that we have experienced - but on the good that we can do. I think that this is the most effective, and probably the only way to reconciliation.”

The Sowing

“The idea of God’s Mercy spread all over Rwanda in a quite simple way,” explains the missionary. “The Pallottines in France published a small brochure on the Devotion to God’s Mercy including the Rosary of Mercy, Sunday of Mercy, the Hour of Mercy, etc. We translated it into Kinyarwanda, one of the official languages and it spread quickly.”

“At some point the bishops started asking, ‘What is this all about, this God’s Mercy’. They didn’t know and they were afraid it was some kind of sect.” To answer the growing interest in the topic, the Pallottines in 2008 proposed to Rwanda’s Episcopal Conference to take responsibility for the movement and it has since grown rapidly with national chaplains, a national committee of Divine Mercy Groups and from September 9 to 15, 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda a first African Continental Congress on God’s Mercy will be held.

Supported by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the theme of the meeting is ‘God’s Mercy as a source of hope for the New Evangelization of the African Continent.’

“After the tearing of a society apart by genocide, war and mourning the victims, we see clearly that God’s Mercy might be the answer, an antidote to all this evil, by which people are afflicted” rejoices Fr. Stanislaw.

With picture of baptism in Kabuga, Rwanda (© ACN)

Editor’s Notes:

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.