Friday, January 31, 2014

Become a better husband and father ...

This award winning classic has helped generations of men become better husbands and fathers.

For over forty years, The Father of the Family has shown Christian men how to be the loving husbands and gentle fathers that Christ calls them to be.

Rooted firmly in Scripture, these pages call on husbands to stop thinking of themselves simply as bosses and breadwinners.

Rather, says author Clayton Barbeau, husbands should see themselves as co-creators with God, imitators of Christ’s love for His people, high priests in the domestic Church, teachers of their children, witnesses to society, providers of spiritual and material goods, and models of holiness.

But Barbeau offers more than just a sublime vision of marriage. Drawing on his own experiences as a husband and a father, he gives you practical tips to help you transform that vision into a daily reality in your own marriage.

Armed with Barbeau’s wisdom, you’ll grow closer to your wife and to your children while deepening your love for God. You’ll be able to lead your family to holiness amidst the troubles and temptations that threaten even the best of families today: infidelity, divorce, materialism, loneliness, and despair.

The Father of the Family makes good fathers — and good fathers are the secret to happy homes. Let Clayton Barbeau show you how to make your marriage and family life better today!

The Father of the Family
by Clayton Barbeau
160 pages - $11.95

Order online

Save 30% when you order the set:

Original Price:

Order the set at this link
for only $22.99!

On January 1, 2000, Holly Pierlot pounded her fist on the kitchen table and yelled at her husband, “I can’t take it anymore!”

Motherhood and homeschooling had overwhelmed her. The house was dirty, the laundry undone. Holly felt frustrated, discouraged, and alone. She couldn’t find time to snuggle and have fun with her five children or to go out with her husband. Yes, she loved Philip and she did love God, but she had come to resent Philip’s freedom and she almost never found time for prayer.

Today, everything’s better.

Holly still homeschools, but the house is cleaner, she gets more done, and the kids are happier. There’s less stress, less strife, and less housework. Holly’s been healed of past wounds that troubled her soul and her marriage. Best of all, she spends at least an hour each day in prayer and time each evening with Philip.

Holly brought about these changes with what she calls her Mother’s Rule of Life, a pattern for living that combines the spiritual wisdom of the monastery with the practical wisdom of motherhood.

Holly’s Rule is not just another set of schedules; it’s a way for Christian mothers to answer God’s call to holiness.

With the help of your own Rule, you can get control of your own household, grow closer to God, come to love your husband more, and raise up good Christian children. In these wise and practical pages, Holly shows you how.

Do you want to be a better wife and mother? To have more order in your life? To grow in union with God? Are you desperate yet?

With your own Mother’s Rule of Life, you’ll transform motherhood and its burdens into the joyful vocation it’s meant to be. Learn from Holly Pierlot how to craft a Rule that’s right for you and your family. Then use that Rule to help God draw you, your husband, and each of your children into Heaven!
Order the two-volume set

Or, save 40% 
when you order the three-volume set

Original Price:

Order the set at this link
for only $29.99!
 First published fifty years ago, How to Raise Good Catholic Children is a rare treat for today’s parents: a wise and readable book on child care that derives its wisdom from the Catholic home rather than from psychologists.

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children — even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Let Mrs. Newland show you how to introduce even your littlest ones to God and develop in your growing children virtues such as:
  • The habit of regular prayer
  • Genuine love of the Rosary
  • A sense of the dignity of work
  • Devotion to Mary and the saints
  • A proper love for the things of this world and for the things of Heaven
  • Attentiveness at Mass
  • Love for the Eucharist
  • An understanding and love of purity
  • The ability to make good confessions
  • And dozens of other skills, habits, and virtues that every good Catholic child needs


Save 40%
when you order the set



(Consumer orders to U.S. addresses only)


Order online above, or call


Save up to 40%
when you join Sophia's

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Abuse of Discretion

The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade

by Clarke D. Forsythe - published by Encounter Books, 2013
A Book Review by Father John McCloskey
This must-read book by Clarke D. Forsythe, the senior counsel at Americans United for Life, is perhaps the saddest whodunit story ever written, since it deals with the 1973 Supreme Court abortion decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
We continue to live with the appalling aftermath of those decisions, including the deaths of tens of millions of innocent unborn children.
And it did not have to happen. Who are the villains responsible for our ongoing holocaust? The author fingers a number of people and events. An important milestone was the marketing of the birth-control pill in 1961, which created an expectation that women could control reproduction and a demand for backup measures for the inevitable failures. Another major player was eugenics and population control, funded and promoted by the Rockefeller Foundation and (of course) Planned Parenthood.
However, while the author describes all the various influences that prepared the way for this deadly decision, in the last case, it was the Supreme Court, ably abetted by the Catholic Justice William Brennan, that bears the onus for introducing abortion on demand, a decision that the American people were as a whole not clamoring for.
Forsythe asks all the crucial questions surrounding that decision: "1. Why did the justices not leave the issue to the states and local public-health officials? 2. Why did the justices expand the right beyond viability? 3. Why did the justices expand the right beyond what the public supported? 4. Why did the justices stake out a broader position than almost any nation in the world?"
Then he does his impressive best to provide the answers through a recreation of the time, the place, the arguments, the assumptions, the politicking, the infighting, the misunderstandings, the misinterpretations, the misappropriated science and the misapplied law that gave birth to Roe and Doe.
But neither Forsythe nor, I trust, you, dear reader, have given up the fight for a truly post-Roe-and-Doe world — that is, a world in which Roe and Doe, together with the disordered mentality and transposed values that supported them and were propagated by them, are no more.
The author concludes his definitive account by concluding that at the heart of Roe is not the Constitution, nor values rooted in American history and culture, but a short-sighted view of America and human liberty.
Despite the heavy imposition of a nationwide judicial edict proclaiming abortion to be a "fundamental right" for 40 years, millions of Americans have rejected that impoverished view of the human spirit by supporting pro-life efforts. That life-supporting view provides a more solid formation for human flourishing in our democratic country than the transient impulses upon which the justices erected a legal guillotine in Roe v. Wade.
We shall overcome!
First appeared in National Catholic Register, January 2014.

Monday, January 27, 2014


WHY do you look for rest when you were born to work? Resign yourself to patience rather than to comfort, to carrying your cross rather than to enjoyment.

What man in the world, if he could always have them, would not readily accept consolation and spiritual joy, benefits which excel all earthly delights and pleasures of the body? The latter, indeed, are either vain or base, while spiritual joys, born of virtue and infused by God into pure minds, are alone truly pleasant and noble.

Now, since the moment of temptation is always nigh, since false freedom of mind and overconfidence in self are serious obstacles to these visitations from heaven, a man can never enjoy them just as he wishes.

God does well in giving the grace of consolation, but man does evil in not returning everything gratefully to God. Thus, the gifts of grace cannot flow in us when we are ungrateful to the Giver, when we do not return them to the Fountainhead. Grace is always given to him who is duly grateful, and what is wont to be given the humble will be taken away from the proud.

I do not desire consolation that robs me of contrition, nor do I care for contemplation that leads to pride, for not all that is high is holy, nor is all that is sweet good, nor every desire pure, nor all that is dear to us pleasing to God. I accept willingly the grace whereby I become more humble and contrite, more willing to renounce self.

The man who has been taught by the gift of grace, and who learns by the lash of its withdrawal, will never dare to attribute any good to himself, but will rather admit his poverty and emptiness. Give to God what is God's and ascribe to yourself what is yours. Give Him thanks, then, for His grace, but place upon yourself alone the blame and the punishment your fault deserves.

Always take the lowest place and the highest will be given you, for the highest cannot exist apart from the lowest. The saints who are greatest before God are those who consider themselves the least, and the more humble they are within themselves, so much the more glorious they are. Since they do not desire vainglory, they are full of truth and heavenly glory. Being established and strengthened in God, they can by no means be proud. They attribute to God whatever good they have received; they seek no glory from one another but only that which comes from God alone. They desire above all things that He be praised in themselves and in all His saints -- this is their constant purpose.

Be grateful, therefore, for the least gift and you will be worthy to receive a greater. Consider the least gift as the greatest, the most contemptible as something special. And, if you but look to the dignity of the Giver, no gift will appear too small or worthless. Even though He give punishments and scourges, accept them, because He acts for our welfare in whatever He allows to befall us.

He who desires to keep the grace of God ought to be grateful when it is given and patient when it is withdrawn. Let him pray that it return; let him be cautious and humble lest he lose it.

The Imitation of Christ
Thomas à Kempis
Book 2: The Tenth Chapter

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Mass Readings - January 26, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 8:23–9:3
23 First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles. Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. 9: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
P S A L M - Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
R: The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? (R) One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple. (R) 13 I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord. (R)
2ND READING - 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
10 I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. 12 I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom and cured every disease among the people.
Matthew 4:12-23
12 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” 17 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. 19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.


One day, a compassionate king brought home to the palace a beggar whose right leg was amputated. He told the beggar, “I will give you everything you could possibly desire.” The king brought the beggar to the treasury and told him, “Take everything you can carry with your two hands.” Immediately, the beggar filled his hands with gold coins piled everywhere. Then the king told the beggar, “I still have something more to give, but to get it, you have let go of some of your gold coins.”

       The beggar saw that the king was hiding something behind his back. He thought that it must be so small to exchange it for some of his precious gold coins. So he shook his head. The king looked at him and sighed, “I wanted to give you this key to my treasury instead of just a handful of coins. But you would not let go of what you already had.”

       In today’s Gospel, we heard how Jesus called two pairs of brothers to become His first disciples. When He called Simon and Andrew, and then James and John, to become “fishers of men” instead of fishers of fish, “immediately they abandoned their nets” and followed Jesus.

       Those who decided to become disciples of Jesus had to let go of something first. They must have felt uneasy upon leaving behind everything, but they sensed that in giving up something, they would gain more.

       When we let go of things we consider precious and entrust them to God, we always end up as winners. But more often than not, we have difficulty in letting go of our resentments, unforgiveness, negative thoughts, self-pity, false guilt feelings. And the consequences are not compatible with our being followers of Christ. For example, the love of God, which has been poured into our hearts at baptism, remains cold and paralyzed. In order to have deep inner joy, we need to have the thoughts of God and the heart of God. And that means letting go of all that is not godly in our hearts and letting God take its place. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: To whom or to what are you overly attached?
Lord, You made me aware that I have difficulties in letting go — of persons, possessions, and, yes, of negative attitudes. Help me to get rid of these attachments so that I will be free to follow You.

Sts. Timothy and Titus, bishops, pray for us.

Do you want to receive this in your email. To get Bo Sanchez to send it to you personally, register and log-on to

Friday, January 24, 2014

Learn to pray like a saint!

You've matured,
but have your prayers?

Or do you simply pray, year after year, as you were taught as a child?

If your prayers are difficult or boring, your problem may not be failure of will.  It may be a lack of knowledge about how mature souls pray.

Most of us have been praying so long that we pray automatically without really thinking about it.

The good news is that such problems are easily overcome!
In his classic book, The Art of Praying, Msgr. Romano Guardini offers practical ways you can improve your prayers today and grow closer to God.

These remarkable pages include . . . 
  • How to pray well even when your heart is empty
  • Determining the prayer schedule that’s right for you
  • The Rosary — just how much of it should you be saying?
  • The posture of prayer — should you pray sitting, standing, or kneeling? It makes a difference!
  • Family prayer: practical hints to make yours even better
  • St. Francis of Assisi — the five words that gave this holy man an entire night of contemplation
  • The saints: why all Christians should pray to them — and with them!
  • Spontaneous prayer — why it can be less genuine than formal prayers
  • “Vague cosmic worship” — has it crept into your prayers?
  • The Psalms, adoration, liturgical prayer…and much more!

Simple, direct, and profound, The Art of Praying is a helpful guide for the average person in the pew . . . and even for those rare few who are far advanced in prayer.

“An inspiring prayer guide for us all! Highly recommended.”
Scott Hahn 

“Long ago, Guardini helped teach me to pray. I rely on his thought.”
Rev. Benedict Groeschel
“This book by a true man of prayer has helped me pray better.”
Rev. George Rutler

The Art of Praying
by Msgr. Romano Guardini
192 Pages - List Price: $15.95

Order online

Save 30%
when you order the set: 

 Original Price: $30.90

Order the set at this link
for only $21.99!

From the ashes of Revolutionary France:
A manual to help you hold fast to Faith in a faithless world.

We found this lost classic among the cherished works that French Catholics risked everything to save when the Church was under attack — in the frenzied days of the French Revolution and its aftermath.
Written by Fr. Jean Nicolas Grou, The Spiritual Life is a tough, uncompromising handbook to help you deal with all the obligations and problems of the spiritual life. As such, it teaches you what you need to know and to do when the comforts and supports of life have been swept away.
Indeed, Fr. Grou reminds you right at the beginning that salvation is only won at a great price. He wrote this book for those who are willing to pay that price themselves. His focus is firmly on Christ, whom he maintains should be the model for your own spiritual life — not just in theory, but in the hard fact of sacrifice and love so great as to pierce your heart.
Our times are not so far removed from the Godless irrationality that swept across France in Fr. Grou’s day. That’s why, in our own tumultuous age, The Spiritual Life is so desperately needed. It’s the one guide that offers you real help to navigate the treacherous spiritual waters of today’s world, and through it all, to keep the Faith.

Save 30%
Order the set online



(Consumer orders to U.S. addresses only)


Order online above, or call


Save up to 40%
when you join Sophia's


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Think about...

Only in GOD we are truly safe and secure. Anything else is false security. Whether you are surrounded by mighty walls of stone, a comfortable home, abundant money, no one can predict what tomorrow may bring.

GOD is the only security that cannot be taken away.

GOD bless....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


O Holy Spirit of God, take me as your disciple; guide me, illuminate me, sanctify me. Bind my hands that they may do no evil; cover my eyes that they may see it no more; sanctify my heart that evil may not dwell within me. Be my God; be my guide. Wherever you lead me, I will go: whatever you forbid me, I will renounce; and whatever you command me, in your strength, I will do. Lead me, then, unto the fullness of your truth. Amen.

From A Catholic Prayer Book ‪#‎ChooseToBeBrave‬

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hope for the Pro-Life Movement

by Father John McCloskey

Is the annual March for Life, held on the 22nd of January, worth the trouble? Is there really any reasonable hope of ever overturning Roe v. Wade, of ever stopping the court-sanctioned baby killing?
Since the Supreme Court legislated abortion on demand 41 years ago, after casting about for constitutional justification and settling on an unenunciated privacy right lurking in the penumbras of the Constitution, abortion has been present in every state in the union, breaching the unborn's own uterine privacy in which to grow and develop on a trajectory towards birth. Nearly 50 million future citizens have been lawfully destroyed by this means in a country that has long signified to the world sanctuary from persecution and tyranny. What has become of the destiny of our country, a nation that Ronald Reagan loved to refer to as a "city on a hill", drawing on a biblical image of Jerusalem that New England settlers also applied to their fledgling American colony?
Despite the horrors of 50 million sets of small body parts disposed of as trash, however, the answer to my opening question is yes, it is still worthwhile holding the yearly March for Life.
Below are some suggestions—in no particular order of likelihood or importance—of possible ways (some perhaps more likely than others!) in which the overturning of Roe and Doe could happen over time. Of course, as each day a fresh set of unborn lives are in jeopardy, the sooner legalized abortion is overturned in our country, the better!
1) In addition to giant failures in other areas, the very excesses of our President in his thirst for ever-wider abortion rights could spell political disaster for his party. Talk about a zombie apocalypse! In any case, there is a real possibility that both the House and Senate could shift to Republican control. Now, Republican control in the past has not brought a reversal of Roe. However, despite the rumblings of discontent from moderate Republicans, the Republican Party may continue to be strongly influenced by the Tea Party, which (though primarily formed to counter Big Government and fiscal irresponsibility) has a considerable membership overlap with serious Christian conservatives, both Evangelicals and Catholics, for whom social issues such as abortion are also injustices crying out to be righted. Again, considering outcomes that are possible if not probable, we can even hope to elect a Catholic president who will have the opportunity to choose new Supreme Court justices willing to revisit Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and their unhappy progeny. Although we likely could not expect recognition of a constitutional right to life from conception, overturning Roe would at least return abortion to the states. Many of these states would then adjudicate or legislate their own bans on abortion and most of these might at least place greater restrictions on the right than the Supreme Court has thus far allowed (Please note that I am well aware of all the "ifs" in this scenario!)
2) Shifting to the states: long live and grow the red states, which are still populated by serious Christians who vote their convictions in state elections for legislators and pro-life governors eager to limit and (if given the slightest opening) shut down abortion completely within their state boundaries. Of course, red state citizens seeking abortions retain the option of traveling to the nearest blue state; nonetheless, there is much hope in this area for at least regional decreases in abortions.
3) Polls show a general decline for support for legal abortion, and markedly so with younger people, presaging, we can hope, both better legislative prospects down the road and more life-affirming individual choices even while abortion remains legal. Although laws tend to both influence what we think of as "right" behavior and deter us from illegal behavior through fear of the consequences, in the end we do need the conversion of minds and hearts on this subject in order to truly protect the unborn. Therefore, the shift in the poll numbers, particularly for the young, is a hopeful sign that this conversion to pro-life convictions is possible even four decades after abortion has been legalized—and that it is, in fact, happening.
4) Of course, the annual March for Life itself is overwhelmingly populated by teens and young adults, who not only descend on Washington in droves, but also represent hundreds of thousands more back home. The March constitutes for them an eye-opening opportunity to see the potential power for change in their numbers and their youthful energy. In addition, participants are exposed to great and inspiring pro-life speakers in rallies and prayer vigils on the day before and the day of the March, as well as informational booths and displays set up by pro-life organizations from around the country. These show the rich gamut of pro-life activity, from political and educational activities to assisting women in crisis pregnancies or suffering post-abortion trauma to campus pro-life organizations, including support groups for pro-life law and medical students, etc.
5) Let's not forget that in the decades ahead, as couples continue to avoid births through contraceptive means (which in most cases are actually abortifacient means) and to abort children conceived by "accident," those who welcome some or many children are likely to gain a greater share of the population and to vote their convictions, hopefully attracting others to our cause to overturn abortion through the ballot box.
6) Then there is another possibility course of action, which, while ranking low in probability with the bookmakers, should not be ruled out: secession. I wrote about this elsewhere some years ago and stirred up no small amount of controversy. The red state/blue state dichotomy could—perhaps sooner than we might think—result in states opting to pull out of the union. My guess is that if that were to happen, the armed forces of the United States (who tend to be more conservative and religious than the general population) would be reluctant to exercise military force to stop seceding states. In addition, perhaps paradoxically, the generalized modern sense that we should not dictate personal lifestyle choices for others (although it coexists in many liberal minds with intolerance of traditional morality) may make blue states reluctant to impose continued membership in the United States on red states that choose to secede. On the other hand, given the United States' status as a major superpower for the past century, for strategic reasons there may be more official resistance to secession than we might think. We pray the secession option does not happen, but ultimately the protection of innocent life trumps any tyrannical regime that cannot protect even the smallest of its future citizens.
7) Let us also not forget what Mother Teresa said: "The ultimate fruit of abortion is Nuclear War!" Of course in God's Providence, He may simply close the operation down and proceed to the General Judgment, where all persons will receive their deserved reward or punishment. Precisely because we know not the day or the hour, we can never rule out this possibility, although on the other hand we cannot claim an ability to definitively read the signs of the times. Over the centuries, history has shown us crowds of end-times enthusiasts prematurely pronouncing that the end is nigh. God's patience clearly exceeds our own, since He has tolerated human wrongdoing even on an epic scale. His merciful response to millennia of misbehavior was to become Man as the baby Jesus, Our Savior, and Herod then did his unsuccessful best to kill his incarnate God. The Holy Innocents paid the price and were rewarded with Paradise. However, despite this massacre of the innocents, God did not intervene to end human history but went on to offer his Son for our redemption on Calvary, the "successful" deicide that Herod's attempt presaged, and God has also borne with humanity through countless other periods of human misery and depravity. So although we list the End of the World as a possible outcome of our current situation, since it will someday come to pass, we know that we are highly unlikely to be correct in any specific attempt to pinpoint the time.
In any case, however, a country that kills its own eventually will come tumbling down, thus facing its own individual "end time." Our own responsibility to restore justice is also the best way of defending our country from such an inglorious end. That is ultimately why we march on January 22: to witness to our inflexible determination to protect human life at its weakest and most innocent, motivated by love for God, love for the human life he has created and redeemed, and, yes, love for our country. In doing so, although we have received no private revelation and caught no glimpses of the future in a crystal ball, we know that someday, whether by one of the means enumerated here or by another as yet unknown, we will overcome! After all, God, who is ultimately the Lord of History, wills it!
Published January 2014 on Truth and Charity Forum.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, January 19, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 9:1-6
1The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone.2You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest as men make merry when dividing spoils. 3For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. 4For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. 5For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him: Wonder-counselor, God-hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace. 6His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!
P S A L M - Psalm 98: 1,2-3,3-4,5-6
R: All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
1Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R2The Lord has made his salvation known in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. 3He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song: sing praise. (R5Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song.6With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord. (R)
2ND READING - Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has a blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,  4as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love 5he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, 6for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted un in the beloved. 15Therefore, I, too, hearing your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, 16do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. 18May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones.
         The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, places it in their midst,3and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. 10See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”


Seldom do I have the chance to visit the beautiful city of Cebu, but whenever I go there, my first visit is to the Basilica of the Sto. Niño, where I pay my respect to the revered image of the Child Jesus.

       It is quite different from the Baby Jesus we have venerated at Christmas. There the Baby Jesus was covered only in skimpy swaddling clothes. In Cebu, the Sto. Niño stands before us in the full regalia of a king. He wears a crown and royal purple cloak. He holds the scepter as a symbol of power and the globe as a symbol of the universe. Before us stands the King of kings, the King of the universe.

       Looking at the Baby Jesus in the belen (nativity scene), we can easily think: What a small, weak, cute but harmless baby Jesus is. This impression is corrected by the image of the Sto. Niño. The Baby Jesus did not remain a baby but grew up and became a powerful, often demanding, preacher. This helpless baby of Bethlehem later uttered uncomfortable things like, “Love your enemies” or “He who wants to follow Me must take up his cross.”

       And so the image of the Infant Jesus in royal robes reminds us to look beyond its appearance and discover the adult Jesus, our Lord and Savior. When the late Pope John Paul II visited Cebu, he also paid a visit to the image of the Sto. Niño. In a homily, he reminded the faithful of what we just said: Jesus did not remain a child; He grew up. And then he continued, “In the same way, we must grow up in our faith.” To face the trials and demands of life, we need a strong and mature faith.

       To grow spiritually, we need regular nourishment through the sacraments. Especially in the Holy Mass, we receive even double nourishment. First, the Word of God that nourishes and guides us in our daily life. Then we receive the Eucharist, where Jesus becomes our nourishment.

       The feast and the image of the Sto. Niño then encourage us to grow spiritually, to trust God like a child and so mature in a faith that enables us to face whatever difficulties may lie ahead.Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: The Infant Jesus in royal robes asks today: Are you still developing your faith? What are you doing to strengthen your faith?
Jesus, help me to deepen my faith, to mature spiritually and so become a more effective follower of Yours.

St. Fabian, pray for us.

Do you want to receive this in your email. To get Bo Sanchez to send it to you personally, register and log-on to

Friday, January 17, 2014

End mind-wandering during Mass

Do you struggle to
focus your attention during Mass?

Does Mass sometimes
become boring and routine?

Do you grow spiritually
at each Mass or does it seem stale?

The profound wisdom found in Meditations Before Mass will help you to quiet your soul, concentrate your mind, and grow more receptive to God's grace in the Holy Mass.

Written for ordinary Catholics who are struggling to become closer to Christ, this classic book by Romano Guardini is full of wisdom and offers practical, straightforward advice that will help you overcome distractions and restlessness while leading you into a more enriching experience when you enter into Holy Communion with God.


Over fifty years ago, Msgr. Romano Guardini resolved to help his parishioners move beyond petty hindrances — to which we are all prone — to full participation in the Mass. Just before Mass each Sunday, he gave a brief talk on some aspect of the Mass, teaching his congregation week by week, topic by topic, how to prepare themselves to participate more prayerfully.

So helpful were these talks that they were soon published and have since been reprinted countless times in numerous countries and languages, helping generations of Catholics to deepen their devotion during Mass.

In these pages, you'll discover:
  • What to do when Mass becomes boring and "routine"
  • How to achieve a genuine — not superficial — stillness
  • The one indispensible element for living a liturgical life
  • How to gain control over your wandering attention
  • One tendency we must overcome when listening to Scripture readings
  • The real meaning of "keeping holy" the Sabbath — and its special importance for the family
  • The importance of listening, and the inner barriers that prevent it
  • Why it's good to arrive early at Mass whenever possible
  • The true significance of standing and kneeling in church
  • And dozens of other practical ways to enrich your worship
Practical, straightforward, and full of wisdom, Meditations Before Mass will help you to quiet your soul, concentrate your mind, and grow more receptive to grace.

"I encourage you to prayerfully read these reflections to help you participate more fruitfully in the Mass, the 'source and summit of the whole Christian life.'"
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

"Insightful and inspiring."
Rev. Michael Scanlan

"You will encounter in these reflections one of the most important spiritual writers of this century."
Fr. Henri Nouwen

Meditations Before Mass
by Msgr. Romano Guardini
List Price: $12.95 - 208 pages

Order online

Order the set for only

Order the set at this link
for only $16.99!

If you still drag your feet about going to Confession, here's the help you need to overcome your reluctance and open your soul to the vast reservoir of mercy found in Confession.

This down-to-earth, practical guide shows you how to transform your confessions from embarrassing moments in a dark room into profound experiences of God's love.

The author, Fr. John Kane, provides solid guidelines for how you can (and must) make the most effective possible use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even better, he shows you how to carry the grace of Confession into your daily life, so that you'll start winning — consistently — your battles against sin.

This is a book you can return to again and again in order to renew your sense of God's mercy — as well as to gain Fr. Kane's help in examining your conscience and bringing your life into greater conformity with the light of the gospel.

Get Fr. Kane's help to confess well and avoid sin:
  • How to tell whether you're sorry for your sins — even if you don'tfeel sorry
  • The embarrassment of going to Confession — how it can actually help you imitate Christ!
  • One truth you must realize, or you'll never drive sin from your soul
  • Three characteristics of the truly forgiven sinner: do you have them?
  • Your past sins: startling ways they can help you love God more today
  • True repentance and its counterfeits: three ways to find the genuine article
  • Two reasons why God forgives sin, but still punishes the sinner
  • The heavy price of your sins: no, you probably don't realize it, andyes, it's worse than you think
  • Why hating sin does not mean hating the sinner
  • Why true saints will always consider themselves sinners
  • Sorrow for sin: how it deepens your compassion for others
  • How to take advantage of Lent each year to overcome your sins
  • And much more that will help you get more spiritual fruit out of Confession than you may even have thought was possible!
"It is a great thing to make a good confession, and this is a good book about how to do it."
Fr. George William Rutler

"This magnificent handbook helps you deepen your repentance and make it lasting. Don't go to Confession without it!"
Patrick Madrid

"A marvelous book. Can provide spiritual nourishment throughout the whole process of repentance, confession, and spiritual growth."
Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J.

"A welcome blessing. It offers a fine examination of conscience, ideally presented to meet today's needs."
Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R.

The set is only $16.99
Order HERE


(Consumer orders to U.S. addresses only)


Order online above, or call


Save up to 40%
when you join Sophia's