Friday, February 27, 2015

Lenten reading acclaimed by Mother Teresa, Fr. Groeschel, & Fr. Hardon

Crucifixion

In Gethsemane,
Jesus begged His
disciples to
"watch one hour"
with Him.

 


This Lent will you finally manage to watch one hour with Jesus, or even grow closer to him in prayer?

If you're uncertain, then consider this remarkable book, written in Jerusalem in the 1920s by a Dominican priest who lived there.

It will make it easy for you to watch not just one hour with Jesus, but many.
 



"By means of this book," said Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "we enter right into the Heart of Jesus and discover how precious we are to Him and how much He longs for our love in return."  

*
 
 The late John Cardinal O'Connor called this book "beautiful, devotional, and insightful."

*
 
Fr. Benedict Groeschel proclaimed it
"a powerful aid to meditation"
and
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand says
"This book should be in the hands
of every single Christian."


 That's because its author, Rev. A.D. Sertillanges (1863-1948), wrote with the care of a scholar, the eye of a cinematographer, and the tenderness of a saint.

In the pages of this book, What Jesus Saw from the Cross, you'll be jostled by crowds as you enter Jerusalem with Jesus, choke on the dust of the narrow streets, breathe the rich smells of the city at festival time, and share the Last Supper with the disciples.  

You'll weep in Gethsemane, witness the kiss of Judas and the lying accusations made before Herod and Pilate. You'll stumble with Jesus through narrow streets, bumped by pack animals and hawkers selling wares to the thrill-seeking crowd, sneering at the Cross Jesus bears.  

You'll weep as soldiers drive home the nails and tremble as darkness covers the earth when Jesus dies.

So intense is Fr. Sertillanges' account of Jesus' last days --- and so faithful to the Gospel --- that generations of Catholics have used What Jesus Saw from the Cross to prepare themselves for Easter.  

*
 
 The late Fr. John Hardon said that:
"Father Sertillanges' book immerses us into every detail, every event, and every emotion that accompanies the drama of Christ's suffering and sacrifice on the cross. After reading this book, every Christian will experience the vivid sense of being an eyewitness to the death of His Lord and view the Crucifixion as a personal event that touches his daily life. This is a book for all times, for all places, and for all people, especially our own age."


* * *  

Will your faith grow
this Lent, or will
you settle with
"just getting by?"  

Join Mother Teresa, Cardinal O'Connor, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, and countless other good Catholics who have nourished their faith with What Jesus Saw from the Cross.

by Fr. A.G. Sertillanges
252 pages $18.95
Available in Paperback and Ebook

 
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This is the book you need for thosetimes in your life when even your most strenuous efforts to follow Christ end in frustration. Christian Self-Masteryexplains why following Him can be so difficult — and how you can start now to make progress even in the most vexing areas of your life.

Author Fr. Basil W. Maturin insists that no matter how hard you’re trying now, you can have a better relationship with God and greater self-mastery — if you follow his simple steps to getting your passions in check and improving your knowledge of your own motives, desires, and fears.

Fr. Maturin emphasizes the crucial role that self-discipline plays in your spiritual life and gives you solid ways you can distinguish it from counterfeits and avoid common mistakes people make when they try to change their habits and live for God.

This extraordinary book will help you in myriad ways to rise above your limitations and truly meet God!

Start on the way to true self-mastery as you learn:

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  • Self-discipline: how it will restore your soul to its full power. Three things you must have in order to gain this power
     
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Bishop Emeritus of Lincoln

 
“A thought-provoking guide to bringing all of life into conformity with Christ. Essential for everyone who wants to overcome sin.”
Patrick Madrid


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Thomas Howard


“Timeless advice for personal self-discipline and perseverance in the spiritual life. I recommend this classic to all who seek a deeper understanding of themselves and of the Lord.”
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop Emeritus of New York



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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rewrite your story..



I read a story once about a man named Alfred.

He was a Swedish chemist who made quite a fortune from his work of licensing weapons of mass destruction. One day, his brother died. A newspaper editor thought that the one who died was Alfred. The next day, Alfred sat at breakfast stunned while reading his own obituary. It indicated his name and a short description of him --- "a man who licensed weapons of mass destruction". Alfred thought to himself, "If I die today, this is how I will be remembered..."

On that day, Alfred came to a decision. He resigned from his job, and used his fortune to put up a foundation which worked for global peace. Today, this foundation awards people who work for peace. This foundation is known today as the Nobel Peace Prize. Such was the lasting legacy of Alfred Nobel.

Alfred Nobel decided to rewrite his story in order to determine how his story would end. The good news is this: Just like Alfred, we all have the power to rewrite our stories in order to determine how it would end.

And the Lenten Season is one of the best times to do just that.

Just because you were born in a broken family doesn't mean you should live a broken life. Rewrite your story now.

Just because you failed that board exam doesn't mean you're a failure. Rewrite your story now.

Just because you committed that big sin doesn't mean your soul is forever damned. There is still time. Rewrite your story now.

Just because you made some fatal mistakes doesn't mean you are sentenced to a lifetime of regrets. Rewrite your story now.

Jeremiah 29:11 says: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm and to give you a future full of hope'..."

Claim this promise in this season of new beginnings.

Rewrite your story now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prayer to Heal a Relationship


Dear Lord,

I offer you this prayer, to help me with my current relationship situation. Please take away all the pain and hurt in my heart. Fill it with love, joy, patience, and understanding. Bless me and my partner, so that we may never surrender to whatever challenges that come our way. 


Fill our hearts with love for each other, and may you make each one of us realize each other’s worth. Please touch the heart of my partner, fill it with much love for me. Make our complicated relationship become uncomplicated. I seek for your mercy and blessing that you may allow us to spend the rest of our lives with each other. Please make this feeling mutual for both of us. Lead us not into temptations. Guide us wherever we go. Always put us in each other’s heart and mind. Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer. I love you. 

Amen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The miracle of the Eucharist in Santarem, Portugal


Around the year 1225 there was a woman living in Santarem, who was very unhappy with her marriage. She was convinced that her husband did not love her, and was unfaithful. She initially tried numerous things to win back the affection of her husband, but to no avail. As a desperate last attempt, she went to a sorceress. The sorceress promised the wife that her husband would return to his loving ways, if the wife would bring her a Consecrated Host.
Eucharist-miracle-SantaremThis of course greatly frightened the woman, because she knew it was sacrilege, but nevertheless she finally gave in. She went to Mass at the Church of St. Steven, and received Communion, but did not consume the Host. Instead, she left the Church immediately, and took the Host out of her mouth, putting It into her veil. She then went to the sorceress.
Along the way, the Host began to bleed inside the veil. The wife was not aware of it until passersby brought it to her attention, thinking she herself was bleeding. Panic struck the woman and instead of going to the sorceress’ house, she rushed home. She then put the bloody veil containing the Host into the bottom of a trunk, not knowing what else to do. When her husband came home, she said nothing.
Later in the night they were awakened by mysterious bright rays of light coming from the trunk, penetrating the wood and illuminating the entire room. The wife then confessed her sin to her husband and both of them knelt in adoration for the remaining hours until dawn, when the parish priest was summoned.
News of the mysterious event spread quickly and attracted countless people who wanted to contemplate the miracle. Because of the furor, an episcopal Church investigation was promptly organized.

Santarem_Precious_Blood_CruetA miracle upon a miracle

The bloody Host was taken in procession to the Church of St. Stephen, where it was encased in wax (to contain the blood and the Host) and secured in the tabernacle. Some time later when the tabernacle was opened, another miracle was discovered. The wax that had encased the Host was found broken into pieces, and the Host was found miraculously enclosed in a crystal pyx, along with the precious Blood. This was later placed in a gold and silver pear-shaped monstrance with a “sunburst” of 33 rays, in which it is still contained today.
After the investigation and approval by the Church authorities, the Church of St. Stephen was renamed “The Church of the Holy Miracle.” The little house where the miracle occurred was on Via delle Stuoie in Santarem.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Chance to Live a Life


by Father John McCloskey

You may wonder why laws promoting ultrasounds before abortion don't have the impact that abortion opponents expected.
It is true that many people whose opinions about abortion have changed cite sonograms as critical to their confronting the reality of the unborn, and many pregnancy counseling centers find sonograms useful in this regard. However, even now, large numbers of pregnant women and their partners duck the implications of those prenatal images if the pregnancy is unwelcome.
The ultimate answer to the opening question derives, as all blindness to sin does, from the Original Sin of our first parents. As a result of that sin, in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "human nature is weakened in its powers; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the domination of death; and inclined to sin" (CCC #418).
Fallen human beings now want what we want when we want it, and in order to avoid uncomfortable sensations of guilt, we want to think that what we want is good. In our owholy-innocentsn especially self-indulgent times, the unruly desires that are a consequence of the Fall have drawn our nation into the culture of death.
How did we come to such a pass? Mankind has traveled so far from Eden that man has now generally lost sight of God, as witnessed by the enormous killing fields of the last century's horrendous World Wars! Life became cheap rather than priceless and consciences were deformed, not only in the totalitarian countries whose ideologies launched aggression in the two "hot" world wars and the Cold War that followed, but to a lesser degree in the nations that, in resisting totalitarianism, accepted large-scale premeditated deaths of civilians in, for example, the Dresden bombings and the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The decline of traditional Christianity in developed countries has spread throughout the world, and what is known as natural law (i.e., the Ten Commandments) is ignored or simply forgotten. However, without God-given rules, as a popular song put it, "Anything Goes"; even mothers who actually experience sonograms where they see their babies in the womb, ready to be delivered into the fullness of life, can resist accepting what they see in order to remain "free" of the consequences or their actions. Who has benefitted most from all the lies? Predatory men who take advantage of women as objects of their lust, counting on the Pill or abortion to escape responsibility for unwanted repercussions of their actions.
Only God and Satan know the whole story of how human beings let themselves be drawn into actions so brutally inhumane that monumental self-deception is necessary. But the broad outline of Satan's strategy is clear: Gradually, the new standard of the Good for many people became Technology: whatever could be done should be done, in hopes that some time in the future, thanks to medical technology, we will be able to live forever. Once we accept that life is made for pleasure rather than service of God and neighbor in preparation for the true life in heaven, the measure of a successful life becomes the absence of pain and the experience of pleasure.
But there is hope for our country and the world. After all, those that abort or contracept inevitably will decline in numbers, and the millions who are open to life, following the natural law and St. John Paul's Theology of the Body, will inevitably grow. In addition, many of our fellow Christians in denominations that have been conforming to the spirit of the age will likely abandon what is left of Luther and Calvin and reunite with the Church built on the Rock of Peter and with our Orthodox brethren.
What is most important for the Catholics in this year of the family is for the Church in America to clearly proclaim at every level the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death and the true foundation of religious liberty in the traditional family, open to life.
At the same time, we must continue to save this era's Holy Innocents by every legal means, including continuing the successful ventures in states to restrict abortions, with the eventual goal of circumscribing them out of legal existence.
Remember, a presidential election is coming up and we need to help elect a true pro-lifer (and not one in name only who will cave when the going gets tough). In addition, we need to extend ourselves in love and mercy toward those women who have been deceived by the siren songs of our time into procuring one or more than one abortion. Judge not so you may not be judged!
Finally, we need to offer up prayers and sacrifices large and small for an end to the killing of innocent children inside or outside the womb and for conversion of heart for our country and the world.
First appeared on The Truth and Charity Forum in February, 2015.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, February 22, 2015 with Reflection


1st Sunday of Lent

1ST READING - Genesis 9:8-15
God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark. 11 I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” 12 God added: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: 13 I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.”

P S A L M - Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.
Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. 5Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.(R) Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. (R) Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R)

2ND READING - 1 Peter 3:18-22
18 Beloved: Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit. 19 In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, 20 who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. 21 This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
Mark 1:12-15
12 The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, 13 and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. 14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

SABBATH


HOW’S YOUR DEFENSE?

On the night of March 3, 2014, NBA player LeBron James of the Miami Heat scored a 61-point career-high against the Charlotte Bobcats. But not everyone was impressed. NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins went on a Twitter rant, downplaying LeBron’s career night. He tweeted, “No denying he put on a shooting display. He was hot... But where is the defense? No close outs on defense, doubles were late, rotations were slow. It was too easy to score. At 54 years old, I could drop 40 on that defense.”

       While I have my own opinion on Wilkins’ rant and analysis, in a nutshell, Wilkins was saying this: LeBron scored 61 not because he was unstoppable but because the defense was weak.

       On this First Sunday of Lent, we read Mark’s account of the temptation of Jesus on the mountain. This Gospel account teaches us some things on the reality of temptation. One thing with sin is that the temptation is not always strong but that, at times, our defenses are simply weak, sometimes even non-existent. And when our defenses are weak, “the tempter” will always have a career scoring night against us.

       How do we fortify our defenses? First, through the defensive power of prayer. When the devil tempted Jesus, He was in a 40-day retreat in the desert. Prayer surrounds us with God’s shield and protection. Second, through the defensive shield of God’s Word. After each and every temptation, Jesus rebuked the devils’ wiles by countering with a quote from Scriptures.

         How do we resist the devil? How do we make him flee from us? It is by fortifying our inner fortress with the shield of God’s Word. I end with an old sage advice: “Unless we have within us that which is above us (i.e., God and His Word), we will easily yield and fall to everything that is around us.” I say it again, when our defenses are weak, “the tempter” will always have a career scoring night over us. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: How much time do you invest for prayer and Scripture reading?

Surround me always, O Lord, with the shield of Your Word. Amen.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Prayer for Hope


Heavenly father, I am your humble servant, I come before you today in need of hope. There are times when I fell helpless, There are times when I feel weak. I pray for hope. I need hope for a better future. I need hope for a better life. I need hope for love and kindness.

Some say that the sky is at it's darkest just before the light. I pray that this is true, for all seems dark. I need your light, Lord, in every way. I pray to be filled with your light from head to toe. To bask in your glory. To know that all is right in the world, as you have planned, and as you want it to be.

Help me to walk in your light, and live my life in faith and glory.

In your name, O Lord, I pray, Amen.