Saturday, December 22, 2018

Saint Ambrose's Description of Mary

"Her movement was not indolent, her walk was not too quick, her voice not affected or sharp; the composure of her person showed the beauty and harmony of her interior.  It was a wonderful spectacle to see with what promptness and diligence she performed her domestic duties, to which she applied herself with great solicitude, but always with tranquility and great peace.  Her forehead was serene, and a modesty more celestial than terrestrial pervaded her every movement.  Her words were few and ever dignified, prudent, and joyful.  In Mary, all and everything was well regulated."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Book Reviews -Loyola books for Children

The following is a book review by a guest reviewer.  Rosa Sautner is a Catholic homeschooling mom of twin girls on the East Coast. She also happens to be my dear sister.

by Amy Welborn, illustrated by Marina Seoane
Published 2018, Loyola Press, 177 pages
The Catholic Church is filled with signs and symbols which point to deeper, more profound mysteries.  In  this beautifully illustrated book, author Amy Welborn, explains and expounds upon  the many signs and symbols  we find in our Church, its Saints,  the Liturgical Seasons, the Sacraments and the Bible.  With lovely, full-colored illustrations and simply written explanations for each sign and symbol, this book will appeal to children and adults alike.  It is not only a lovely reference book but an engaging picture book as well. This book will inspire all who read it to see beyond the signs into the mystery that is God's plan of love for each of us.

Shhh...God Is in the Silence
by Fiona Basile, illustrated by Alice Mount
Published 2016, Loyola Press, 23 pages

With all the noise of our modern world, can we hear when God speaks to us?  Author Fiona Basile found during her silent retreat that one can only hear God when we silence ourselves to hear his gentle voice.  With repetition and sweet illustrations this book will gently explain to young children that we must quiet ourselves and listen to God speak to our hearts.  This lovely picture book brings home the message of God's great love for each of us found deep within the silence of our hearts. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Exaltation of the Holy Cross Reflection

"Men called up to Jesus hanging on the Cross that if He came down t hey would put their faith in Him.   Men still do that today to His Mystical Body, the Church.  They call out that if the Church would change her teachings on certain faith and moral principles, they would find the Church more believable.  They forget our Savior is a Crucified Savior and that unless we take up our cross daily, as He said, we are not worthy of Him.  They have lost faith who would take the Cross out of Christianity.  Christ without His Cross is not the true Christ but an anti-christ.  Religion without the Cross is a godless religion of worshipping self."

- Father Robert J.  Fox

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A List of Patron Saints

These were found in an old book of patron saints.

Cause or Patronage                  Name                                     Feast Day

Abused children                      St. Germaine Cousin             June 15
Actors                                      St. Ardalion                            April 14
                                                 St. Genesius the Comedien    August 25
Blind people                             St. Laurece the Illuminator   February 3
Book Lovers                             St. Aldhelm                           May 25
Booksellers                             Bl. James Duckett                 April 19
Breast Cancer                          St. Aldegund                          January 30
Cancer Sufferers                      St. Peregrine Laziosi             May 1
Catholic schools                       St. John Baptist de la Salle   April 7
Converting Muslims                Bl. Andrew Hiberon              April 18
Cooks                                     Bl. Eustochium of Padua        February 13
                                               St. Lawrence of Rome            August 10
Extreme Suffering                  Bl. Lydovina of Schiedam      April 14
Friends of the Holy Souls      St. Adelaide                             June 15
in Purgatory                            St. Catherine of Genoa           September 15
                                                Bl.  Mary of Providence         February 7
                                                St. John Vianney                     August 4
Gardeners                                St. Bandaridus                      August 9
                                                 St. Jonas                               February 11
                                                 St. Phocas the Gardener       July 23
Headaches                              St. Gerald of Sauve-Majeune April 5
                                                St. Ulric of Cluny                  July 14
Journalists                               St. Francis de Sales               January 24
Lawyers                                   St. Liphardus                        June 3
Mathematicians                        St. Anatolius                         July 3
Orphaned and abandoned        St. Jerome Emiliani              July 20
                                                 Bl. Margaret Cittadi Castello April 14
People with bad tempers         St. Jerome                              September 30
                                                Bl. John Colombini              July 31
Peru                                         St. Francis Solano                July 14
                                                 Bl. John de Massias             September 18
                                                 St. Martin de Porres             November 3
                                                 St. Rosa de Lima                  August 23
Rogation Days                        St. Mamertas                        May 11
                                                 St. Sidonius Apollinaris       August 23
Sacred Will of God                 Bl. James Gerius                   August 5
Sense of humor                       St. Athanasius                       May 2
Students                                    St. Joseph Calasanctius        August 27
                                                Bl. Louis Mary Palazzolo      May 1
Students and Teachers            Sts. Laurence of Nuvara
                                                and Companions                    April 30
Sweet Tempers                       St. Gerard of Brogne              October 3
Toothaches                               St. Apollonia                         February 9
Twins                                      Sts. Cosmos and Damian      September 27
                                                Sts. John and Benignus         July 21

Women of ill-repute                 St. John Eudes                      August 19
Workers                                   Bl. Leonard Muraldo             April 30


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Learning to Meditate on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

The Holy Rosary is a beautiful way to honor our Lady but it may not be the easiest devotion to do correctly in order to enrich our spiritual life.

It is easy to fall into the trap of just speeding through the Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Bes just to be able to say we said our daily rosary.  However, if we do that we are cheating ourselves out of the richness of what the Holy Rosary really is....Mary's Family Album.  Father Eric Bowman, a priest in Ohio and a friend, described the Holy Rosary in such a manner.  He pictured himself next the the Blessed Mother and she would show him the photos of the life of her Son, Jesus..."and this is when He was a baby being presented in the temple...and this was the time He was lost in Jerusalem..."

I made a promise a long time ago to pray the Rosary daily.  But I doubt I was enriched with the graces of praying Our Lady's Rosary by the way I said it.  I rushed through the Rosary in the morning, just to get it out of the way.  My mind meditated on my daily problems, food,  and duties I had to perform and never once on the mysteries of Christ's life.  Yet,  our Lady took pity on my poor attempts and gradually over the course of twenty years or so, I finally learned how to meditate on each mystery.

At first I used a little Scriptural Rosary book to help me.  I would read the scriptural passage pertaining to each mystery before I recited the Hail Mary.  I did not really meditate on the mystery but it was much better than the way I had been praying it so I persevered.

Then like a child learning to ride a bike without training wheels, it was time to let go of the Scriptural Rosary book and try to meditate on each mystery before the recitation of the Hail Mary.

I still used the method of recalling the scriptural passage but I found that when I tried to recall each passage myself, instead of reading it, it lead to another thought and another imagery regarding a particular mystery.  I did this for each of the four mysteries:  The Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Luminous and the Glorious.  Some meditations of the mysteries were more difficult than the others.  I found the Glorious Mysteries difficult to meditate on because I had trouble picturing Heaven.  The Sorrowful mysteries I found to be easy to meditate on,  and are also my favorites.  I was in awe on how much Jesus had to endure, in suffering, in torture and willingly, because He wanted to save our individual souls.  Sometimes, I brought myself to tears thinking of a particular mystery maybe because of how much Jesus or  Mary suffered for my sins but also because I could relate to it on a personal level.  For example,  after Jesus rose from the dead, I pictured Him being greeted by His dear Mother in the dark sepulchre, and then He has to leave her side to continue His work on redemption during the 40 days prior to His Ascension.  That mystery brought tears to my eyes as I recalled the day my son left home and my side to start his own life.

The following are examples of how to meditate on the mysteries.

1.  The First Sorrowful Mysteries:

a.  Imagine Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane with His chosen apostles.
b.  Imagine Jesus warning them to pray because He knew they were weak men.
c.  Imagine Jesus going off by Himself to talk to God in private, all this while experiencing an agony we cannot even begin to fathom.
d.  Remember His words:  "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me."
e.  Remember:  "Yet, not My will, but Yours be done."
f.  Imagine great drops of sweat like blood dripping from His sacred head.
g.  Imagine an angel ministering to Him but wiping His brow and giving him words of comfort. Sometimes I image the Blessed Mother sending the Angel to help Jesus.
h.  Imagine Jesus going back to His disciples because He needed them for strength and finding them sleeping.  Imagine how disappointed He must have been.
i.  Remember His words to them "Could you not keep watch with Me for even an hour?"
j.  Imagine how Jesus must have felt at being betrayed by one of His own.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

On Novenas and Trusting in God

For someone who really did not like to be tied down to praying novenas for nine days,  I have come to love a few of them very much.  The following are some of favorites:

1.  The oldest novena known is the Holy Spirit Novena.  We pray that one for the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The novena ends on the vigil of Pentecost.   That one is the best novena anyone can pray. 

2.  The second highly recommended novena is the Divine Mercy Novena which the Church prays starting on Good Friday and ending on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday.  We pray for the intentions of many people and the salvation on their souls.  Very powerful and we have Saint Faustina via St. John Paul II to thank for this novena.

3.  Saint Mother Teresa's Express novena is also one that helps a lot especially if you need help right away and don't have 9 days to wait.  You simply pray the Memorare nine times in a row.

4.  One of the newer novenas which is recommended by Pope Francis is the Mary, Untier of Knots novena.  This novena helps with things that complicate our lives or seem impossible to untangle.

5.  My own personal favorite is one that I have been doing for members of my family or my own personal intentions like before I travel.   It is a Mass and Holy Communion Novena and it entails 18 days total with nine in Petition and nine days in Thanksgiving. 

 Plot out 18 consecutive days hopefully ending with the vigil of a feast or solemnity.

1.  The first nine days are Novena for Petition.

- Mass intentions and attendance at Mass
-  During the Consecration at the elevation of the Precious Blood Chalice I again make the prayer request.
- Offering my Holy Communion for that particular intention

Optional:  Daily Rosary for that intention.

2.  Second 9 days are the Novena for Thanksgiving.

This is important because we should be confident God will answer our prayer request.  Whether He answers it in our time, His time, our way or His way, is up to Him but He will answer it.

- Mass in Thanksgiving and attendance at Mass.  If you can request Mass intentions for Thanksgiving that would be great.
- During the Consecration at the elevation of the Precious Blood Chalice I thank God for answering my prayers.
- Offering my Holy Communion in Thanksgiving.

Optional:  Daily Rosary in Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

How to Avoid Purgatory

How to Avoid Purgatory by Father Paul O'Sullivan via EWTN

 I am grateful to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.

How to Avoid Purgatory, Ch. 13

by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan
1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.
2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"

3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully. Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.

4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.

5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.
6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.

7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible. These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.
8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so . . . and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.
9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.

10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"

Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1997. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Archbishop Fulton Sheen's 3 Reasons for Making a Holy Hour of Adoration

According to the late Father Andrew Apostoli:

1.  FRIENDSHIP:  Jesus asked for it. 

2.  TRANSFORMATION:  When we pray in the presence of Jesus, the grace of the Lord begins to affect us.  Our hearts must be transformed and cleansed.

3.  REPARATION AND INTERCESSION:  for all the offenses against Jesus and "so no one will be lost and all will be saved". -  Saint Padre Pio.

Jesus told Sister Faustina that there are two thrones of His Mercy in this world.

I.  "The Tabernacle of my Eucharistic Presence".

II.  The confessional.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Holy Week Meditation - The Sins that will be Punished more Severely

"Ecce Homo" by Phillip de Champaign

Picture source

The following is Our Blessed Mother's instructions to Sister Mary of Jesus (Maria de Agreda)

"For in view of the patience and meekness of my most holy Son and my own example, the wicked and all mortals shall be covered with unutterable confusion because t hey have not pardoned each other with fraternal charity.

The sins of hate and vengeance shall be punished with greater severity than other sins on the judgment day; and in t his life these vices will soonest drive away the infinite mercy of God and cause eternal punishment of men, unless they amend in sorrow.

Those that are kind and sweet toward their enemies and persecutors, and who forget injuries, resemble on that account more particularly the incarnate Word:  for Christ always went about seeking to pardon and to load with blessings those who were in sin.  By imitating the charity and the meekness of the Lamb, the soul disposes itself to receive and maintain that noble spirit of charity and love of God and the neighbor, which makes it apt for all the influences of divine grace and benevolence."

Fourth Book of the City of God

Friday, March 02, 2018

On Mortification

It may be profitable to dwell for a moment on the advantages of mortification, for such a consideration is calculated to inspire us with more courage and generosity.  By mortification we may expiate the temporal punishment due to our sins.  We are aware of the fact that though the guilt of sin is remitted by a contrite Confession, there still remains a temporal punishment to be endured.  If in the present life we neglect to make atonement, we shall have to suffer in the fire of Purgatory.  "Except they do penance for their deeds," says Holy Scripture, "they shall be in a very great tribulation." (Apoc. 2:22).  St. Antonine relates that the choice was offered to a sick man (by his guardian angel) either to suffer three days in Purgatory or to remain two years longer on his sickbed.  The patient chose the three days in Purgatory.  He had hardly been there an hour when he complained to the angel that instead of a few days he had already spent several years in terrible torments.  "What is that you say," replied the angel; "your body is still warm on the deathbed, and you speak of years?"  If therefore, Christian soul, you have anything to suffer say to yourself:  This must be my Purgatory; I shall bear this suffering patiently to atone for my sins, and to gain merit for eternal life."

from The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, March 01, 2018


You must endeavor to be mild and amiable to everyone, under all circumstances and at all times. There are many," says St. Bernard, "who are full of sweetness as long as things go their way; but when they meet with contradiction they break forth in fire and flames, and fume like a veritable Vesuvius. They are like the coals that glow beneath the ashes." He who desires to become a saint must live like a lily among thorns; it is always a lily no matter how much the thorns may prick it. In other words, he must always be meek and amiable. The exterior of a soul that loves God will reflect the peace that reigns within alike in prosperity and adversity. If we must answer one who offends us, let us do so with meekness."A mild answer breaketh wrath," says Holy Scripture. (Prov.15:1) If we are too excited, it is better to remain silent. In the heat of passion it seems right to say everything that comes to the tongue; but when anger has subsided we find we have committed as many faults as we have spoken words.
From the 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It is Always Better to Think Well of Others

"In our neighbor we must direct our attention to the good and not to the evil. And if it should happen that we deceive ourselves by regarding as good what in reality is bad, we need not be disturbed, for St. Augustine says, charity is not grieved when by mistake it attributes something good to one who is evil." - St. Jane de Chantal

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Loving God - Self Denial

In order to attain to the perfect love of God it is necessary, moreover, to deny oneself by gladly embracing what is opposed to self-love, and refusing oneself what self-love demands.  One day when St. Teresa was sick, they brought her a very palatable dish; the Saint would not touch it.  The attendant urged her to eat, saying that the dish was well-prepared.  "That's just the reason I abstain from eating it," replied the Saint.  And so with us; what pleases us most, in that we must deny ourselves, and just because it pleases us.  For example, we must turn our eyes away from this or that object because it is most agreeable to us; do a service to an ungrateful person just because he is ungrateful; take a bitter medicine just because it is bitter.  According to St. Francis de Sals, our self-love ants to have a share in everything even in things the most holy.  For this very reason, says the Saint, we must love even virtue without attachment.  For example, it is necessary to love prayer and solitude; but when obedience or charity prevent us from devoting ourselves to prayer and solitude we should not be disquieted, but accept resignedly everything that happens by the will of God to thwart our inclinations.

The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Friday, February 16, 2018

3 Powerful Weapons Against the devil

According to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, they are as follows:

1.  The Holy Name of Jesus.  Satan cannot stand His Holy Name because at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in Heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2.9-10).

2.  The Blood of Christ.  Through the invocation of the Blood of Christ because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

3.  Our Blessed Mother.

The Devil - Venerable Fulton Sheen

Thursday, February 15, 2018

3 Things Necessary for Attaining Eternal Life

There are three things necessary for the attainment of eternal life: 

1.  the pardon of our sins;
2.  the victory over temptations,
3.  and the crown of all graces, a  holy death.

These three things are accordingly the objects of our hope.

- From the 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Growing in Virtue by Small, Sustained Mortifications

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Lenten Meditation - Being a True Follower of Christ

The following is an excerpt from The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation by St. Alphonsus Liguori. It is from the chapter on Faith.
This seems to be the place to correct a false impression that is very prevalent. There are many who imagine that a life in harmony with the precepts of our holy faith must necessarily be a sad and joyless life. The devil pictures our holy religion to them as a tyrant who imposes only burdens and cares upon her children, forces them to constant renunciation and interdicts the gratification of every desire. There is no doubt that for those whose only desire is to satisfy their sensual cravings, a life in accordance with holy faith has little that is attractive. "They that are Christ's," says the Apostle, "have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.' (Gal. 5:24)
The law of Jesus Christ commands us to battle against our inordinate inclinations, to love our enemies, to mortify our body, to be patient in adversities and to place all our hope in the life to come. But all this does not make the life of the truly faithful a sad and sorrowful one. The religion of Jesus Christ says to us, as it were: Come and unite yourselves to Me; I will lead you along a path which to the bodily eyes seems rough and hard to climb, but to those of good will is easy and agreeable. You seek peace and pleasure? Well and good! Which peace is to be preferred? That which when scarcely tasted, disappears and leaves the heart replete with bitterness, or that which will rejoice and satiate you for all eternity? You strive for honors? Very well! Which do you prefer, that empty honor that disappears like a puff of smoke, or that true and genuine honor which will one day glorify you before the whole world? Ask those who lead a life of faith if the renunciation of this world's goods makes them sad! Visit the holy anchorite Paul in his grotto, St. Francis of Assisi on Mount Alverno, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi in her convent and ask them if they miss the joys and pleasures of this earth! They will answer without hesitation: No, no; we desire but God alone and nothing else..."

Lent 2018 - St. Faustina's Visions of the Afterlife