Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jay Leno is a Catholic?

A friend informed me, today, that Jay Leno is a "devout Catholic who is very outspoken in his Faith".

With all due respect to Mr. Leno, this really surprised me.

I was stunned that someone who has spent their entire career "talking trash" and "feeding the depraved desires of the flesh" of the millions of "voyeurs" who wish to "get a little piece of the action" of Hollywood, sex, drugs, gossips, and politically-correctness, would be a "devout Catholic".

This caused me to wonder something; which is why I am posting it the hopes that you will share your thoughts with me.

It caused me to wonder how a person could justify a career that is so wrought with outward sinfulness and sometimes base and offensive words and/or actions that clearly contradict God's ways.

It caused me to wonder, further, if people, "in general", consider God and their career as co-existing. By this, I mean, doesn't everyone (at least all Christians and most especially "devout" Catholics) ask themselves if the job they are accepting is going to "jive" with their beliefs, convictions, and faith?

Or, is it just me?

Have I taken for granted that we should always make sure the employment we choose is not offensive to God; or, does not have a tendency to lead people astray?

I have been confronted with topics before where the answer was "less than clear" for me; such as:

I have a friend whose husband is a driver for a delivery service. He is a Christian. Well, very often, the packages he delivers to people's doorsteps contain their monthly subscriptions or bulk orders of pornography. My friend's husband needs his livelihood; obviously. They have family to support.
He is the driver. He does not read the materials. Yet, he feels AWFUL every time he leaves this garbage on someone's front porch. Usually, the way he has been able to deal with it, is that he prays for the resident of the home; that he/she will be convicted to stop using pornography and turn their hearts toward the Lord.

I honestly think I'd have to find another job. But, I speak out of turn because I've never been the sole bread-winner for a growing family; so, I don't really know WHAT I'd do in that situation.

Anyway, that's a bit of a divergence from Mr. Leno; however, not really, because it's sort of all lumped together under "What is our obligation, as Catholics, when it comes to the careers we choose...and/or do we HAVE any obligation, to begin with"?

What say you?

Imagine ...

Imagine you are face to face with St Peter at the Gates of Heaven.

He asks you: "Have you enjoyed life on earth?"

What do you answer?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


"Then He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people's sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.' " John 20: 22-23.


Why would Jesus and the Disciples not forgive sins?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quick Bytes #26: Holy Spirit vs Google

Then: The Disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to preach in different tongues.  They walked hundreds of miles during their lifetime to convert people, often one by one.

Now:  Google lets us translate anything into any language with just a click.  We can reach millions of people at once with just one tweet - from the comfort of our couch.

Who was more effective?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Veni Creator Spiritus

While I love the scriptures chosen for Pentecost Sunday, an excerpt from The Divine Consolation of Blessed Angela Foligno was especially helpful for understanding personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, Stained Glass Image
The Holy Spirit appeared to her and said, "I have not willed to send thee another messenger.  I am the Holy Spirit, who am come unto thee to bring thee such consolation as thou hast never before tasted . . . I will bear thee company and will speak to thee all the way . . . My daughter who are sweet unto me, my daughter who art my temple:  My beloved daughter, do thou love Me, for I do greatly love thee and much more than thou lovest me . . . . My beloved and my bride, love thou Me!  All thy life, thy eating and drinking and sleeping and all that thou dost is pleasing unto Me, if only thou lovest Me."

In a later appearance the Holy Spirit said to her, "Infinite is the love which I bear thee, but I do not reveal it unto thee -- yea, I do even conceal it . . . . for I desire that in this world thou shouldest hunger and long after Me and shouldest ever be eager to find Me. . . . So great is the love I bear thee that I no more remember thy sins, albeit Mine eyes do see them, for in thee have I much treasure."

Blessed Angela was overwhelmed by the consolations when she perceived so strongly her sinfulness.  She asked the Holy Spirit for a sign, for a ring.

The Holy Spirit told her, "Therefore will I give thee another sign, better than the one thou seekest, and which will be forever with thee, and in thy soul thou shalt always feel it.  The sign shall be this:  Thou shalt be fervent in love, and the love and the enlightened knowledge of God shall be ever with thee and in thee.  This shall be a certain sign unto thee that I am He, because none save I can do this."

Beautiful, right?

Some scripture references for the Holy Spirit:

Joel 2:
28"And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
29And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

Numbers 11:
27And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!”
29Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

Ezekiel 36:
26“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
28“Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

John 20: (institution of Sacrament of Confession)
21So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
22And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

John 7:
37On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
39But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 14:
15If you love Me, keep My commandments.
16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-
17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
25These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.
26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Acts 2:
1When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

Psalm 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.

Pope Benedict XVI on June 8, 2011 greeted young people in Vatican City telling them the Holy Spirit will make them "fearless witnesses of Christ".
He told them and tells us, "I exhort you, dear young people, to frequently invoke the Holy Spirit who makes you fearless witnesses of Christ."

Prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Holy Spirit,
Open our minds to know Jesus.
Open our hearts to receive His Love.
Holy Spirit,
Send your cleansing wind.
Blow away our doubts and fears.
Give us the wisdom to know
Your will and the courage to follow it
Give us the mind of Jesus.

Holy Spirit,
Ignite your holy fire in our souls.
Burn away anger and resentment
Warm us with love for You and for
one another.
Make us all one as you, the Father
and the Son, are one.

Holy Spirit,
Send us Your light.
Drive out confusion and despair.
Teach us to know Your truth.
Teach us to understand one another.

Holy Spirit,
lead us on the path
of justice and peace.

Holy Spirit,
send us forth to witness to the
Gospel by word and example.
May all who have been redeemed
by the blood of Christ, come to
know You, the one true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom
You have sent.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Arrival in Wind and Fire

Jean Restout's: Pentecost

I wrote the following reflection Pentecost Sunday two years ago. It has remained at the top of my "Most Visited" posts for some time now. I thought in celebration of Pentecost this year, I would share it here.
A very Happy and Blessed Birthday to our Catholic Church!

The Holy Spirit's Arrival in Wind and Fire
What must it have been like to be in that room among the 120 or so disciples of Christ along with His Blessed Mother? Jesus' Apostles were there, but also many who witnessed Him after His resurrection. They all believed, but their faith was at various stages and degrees. Despite that, there they all gathered waiting for the arrival of the Holy Spirit; Jesus' last promise before He ascended to His Father.
The atmosphere of that room must have been one of excitement, anticipation. and maybe even a little fear. After all, once the promised Spirit arrives, what next? And arrive the Spirit did in a driving wind and in tongues of fire descending upon all those gathered.
Pentecost is an ancient Jewish feast, so there were many Jews from various places all gathered in Jerusalem for the feast; not everyone spoke the same language. When the disciples emerged from the room and began preaching, everyone understood in their native tongue. The division that God had inflicted at Babel was now being transformed into unity in the coming of the Holy Spirit~ even if would just last for that day. In that moment, the prayer of Jesus seemed to be answered~ they were all one.
Our Church today is the "one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church", yet there still remain divisions. This Pentecost let us take up the prayer of Jesus and pray that the Church and all Christians will be one. Let us ask the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, to continue to breathe life into the Church.

St Augustine's Prayer To The Holy Spirit
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday's Prayer Throughout the Week

Hi everybody!  I've been out of order for some time now with various infections, struggling to get the garden started, and generally coping with weakness and fatigue, which is why I haven't offered anything for some time.  But now I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and show up here a little more often.

This past Sunday we celebrated the "Sunday After the Ascension" in the 1962 liturgical books.  Here is the lovely prayer which is repeated throughout the week during the Divine Office:

Almighty and everlasting God, make us always bear towards Thee a devoted will, and serve Thy Majesty with a sincere heart.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end, Amen.

Sometimes the short prayers are the ones chock full of food for meditation, so I hope you will find inspiration from it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In defence of Judas

Judas' name has gone down in history as the betrayer of Jesus. A man with no redeeming features whatsoever.

But when we consider the story of the last days before the Crucifixion we can't help but wonder. Did Judas have a choice?

Was Judas actually following God's plan in betraying Jesus? Was Christ's death dependant on there being a betrayal?

In John 17:12 Jesus prays for His disciples. He says: "While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true."

What does Jesus mean here? Does He imply that Judas was following the will of God and it was his destiny to betray Christ?

We know how the story ends. Judas hangs himself.

Was this an act of desperation? Or was there remorse involved too?

Did he seek God's forgiveness for what he had done? And was he forgiven I wonder?

These, and many other questions may still surround the name of Judas. But more pertinant. Here's a question for us all to ponder.

How about us? How many times have we betrayed Jesus by what we have done and said; or omitted to do or say?

There are more ways of betraying the Son of God than through a kiss.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

At the Gates of Heaven

This post has been written especially at the request of Mary who, in turn, has written a very serious post which, I believe, we should all read. Please visit Mary HERE.
One day I died and went straight to Heaven where I was met by St Peter at the Gates.

“Ah … you’ve arrived!” he said looking at his electronic notepad, “it says here that you claimed to have a sense of humor when alive … let’s test that shall we?

“Tell me a joke … make me laugh and I’ll let you in!”

I was astounded at his attitude on such a solemn occasion; I stumbled to find the right thing to say.

“Ah … not so funny now, are you?” continued the Saint.

“But … ehm …” I mumbled sensing my throat getting drier with nervousness.    

“So … what will it be? A funny joke … or will you go straight down without a parachute?” chuckled St Peter through his thick beard.

“You’ve just laughed … a little …” I pointed out sheepishly, but not without a modicum of forlorn hope, “surely that counts as a joke!”

“That’s true …” replied St Peter, “you’ve always been ridiculous to look at anyway … so I’ll let you in.”

I smiled, wiping the cold sweat from my brow.

“Not so fast … not so fast …” said St Peter standing at the doorway blocking my view of who was already there. “I need to check a few things first to see whether you need to spend some time at the Purification Center.”

“Purification Center?” I asked.

“Yes …” he replied with a chuckle, “you Catholics call it Purgatory. It’s like a car-wash to make sure everyone who enters here is cleansed.”
I gulped and waited as he tapped furiously on his electronic notepad. It bleeped once or twice and then he said.

“I see that a few years ago you prayed an indulgence to St Victor; your namesake. I remember he was quite pleased about it at the time. Not many people tend to mention him in prayers and for weeks he went around with a big smile on his face. Normally people pray to the more popular Saints … First Division Saints, you know.

“It works both ways I suppose. It’s nice to get so many prayers and requests; but quite honestly I get so many that I hardly have time to read them all.

“Anyway … for your indulgence to St Victor you get one week off from the Purification Center.”

I smiled silently.

“What’s this I see … you also started another indulgence to some obscure Saint I’ve never met. This place is so large it’s just full of Saints. You can hardly walk a few yards without bumping into one. But I’ve never met this one.”

I tried to remember that particular indulgence but couldn’t.

“That’s a pity …” said St Peter, “you never finished the indulgence. So it doesn’t count. In fact I’ll have to add two extra weeks in the Purification Center.”

I began to despair when the telephone in the little guard-house by Heaven’s Gate rang. He answered it and then said.

“Hmmm … it looks like you have friends in high places here. I’ve been asked to let you in.”

I smiled and moved forwards a few feet; but he blocked my way yet again.

“You’ll have to get changed first.” he said, “Go behind that curtain and put this white gown on … we all wear them here!”

“But …” I hesitated gaining a little confidence, “this looks very much like the gowns they give you in hospital … it is all open at the back!”

“That’s right …” he replied, “it is exactly the same gown. As I said, we all wear them here … just don’t stand too close to a hot radiator, and watch out when you sit on a cold park bench!” then he chuckled very loudly once again.

He saw my hesitation and then continued in a much gentler voice with as serious a face as he could muster.  

“We like people to be helpful to each other here in Heaven; it’s not a selfish place you know. When you wear this gown, go around and find someone who is very handy with a thread and needle and ask them to sew it up at the back. That’s what everybody does. Help each other.

“In time, you’ll learn to sew and then you too will be able to help newcomers.

“Also, this gown will teach you humility. You’ll be able to swallow your pride and ask others for help. You’ve always been a bit proud and a little independent … Now’s the time to learn how to rely on other people and to accept their offer of help. Oh … and be grateful too when they help you. Don’t forget to say: Thank you!”

“I will … I will …” I replied timidly.

“Remember” he said, “this gown open at the back will teach you to help one another, will give you humility, make you accept people’s offer of help, and remind you to say Thank you! You’ll also learn how to sew, and of course how not to stand too close to a hot radiator!”

He laughed heartily once again and then said, “So, what will it be? Will you wear the gown or are you going down with no parachute?”

I grasped the gown from his hands and woke up in a cold sweat clutching the bedcovers tightly in my hands.
I must stop having cheese and whisky before bedtime!

Monday, May 14, 2012

We Are Never Alone

"A faithful friend is a source of strength; whoever finds one has found a treasure." - Sirach 6:14
Sometimes we feel alone. Abandoned. Maybe even rejected. But God is always with us. Sometimes we just need a reminder.

I remember one time when I felt rejected and abandoned by some friends of mine. I felt so lost that all I could pray was "Help me, Lord."

I immediately thought of my girlfriend, Bonnie. I have known her for over 50 years. We grew up together and we are still close, even though we live over 1000 miles apart. So I wrote her a letter. And I thanked God for reminding me that I was really blessed with such a faithful friend.

But that whole week went by with me still feeling hurt. One day I went into the chapel to pray. "Please, Jesus," I cried. "Help me to forgive and let go."

I suddenly became aware of how rejected and abandoned Jesus had felt on the cross. Judas had betrayed him. Peter had denied him. His apostles had all run away. Jesus had even felt abandoned by his Father.

Jesus was telling me he knew exactly how I felt. I was overcome with gratitude. The hurt just melted away. I was not carrying my burden alone. I had never been carrying my burdens alone.

And in case that message wasn't enough, I went home and was surprised to find a letter from Bonnie in the mailbox. It was dated the same day I had written my letter to her! Bonnie wrote that she had just been thinking of me and had a strong urge to write to me to see if I was ok.

God promises to be with us always, but sometimes we forget. Sometimes we need God to remind us that we never need to search far for a friend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What does God want?


Many people spend their lives in prayers. Rosaries recited times on end. Preferred prayers and litanies from Saints. Novenas repeated ad infinitum. Or even just talking to God (with little listening perhaps) and asking Him over and again for our needs and wants.

But … apparently, this is not enough.

Others spend their lives reading about the Saints and other learned books about Christianity and our Faith?

Is this enough … or not yet?

Others attend Mass regularly, perhaps daily, take Communion, go to Confession and do as the Church teaches and commands.

Are we getting there … do we have a pass to Heaven or not yet?

Some people immerse themselves in good deeds. They do good works in Church. Attend Committee Meetings, help with the day to day running of the place, clean the church and do whatever else is needed.

How is our score now? Enough good points to enter Heaven?

And then … there are people who visit the sick, the elderly, the prisoners … they feed the poor and the down-and-outs and spend a lifetime of generosity both in time and effort as well as in financial terms doing as Christ commanded.

Surely they at the very least deserve Heaven.

The thing is … we really don’t know, or have not been taught WHAT GOD REALLY WANTS.

Christ made His commandment clear:

Love God and love one another as I have loved you.

But is this really possible? Has He set us an impossible task?

How can you love someone who has wronged you and continues to do so?

How can you spend your time helping others less well off than yourself when in reality there are times when you’d rather be at home with your family doing something else more pleasant?

How can you keep up doing good deeds and sacrificing yourself for others when you feel that you owe it to yourself (so they tell you) to be happy and to have it all? Being selfless and always thinking of others seems so unachievable at times.

The real reality is that we cannot love like Christ.

Because He is Christ, the Son of God, and we are not.

He loved and forgave His enemies on the Cross; but this is a step too far for most of us.

We are humans and He is God. He lived and died and was Resurrected again as God.

He loved and still loves as God. And His mercy and caring for us are the fruits of the love of God.

We cannot, nor are we meant to, love one another as He has loved us.

So we satisfy ourselves with acts of devotions, prayers and “too much religiosity”. We try to be kind and charitable and forgiving towards each other – and often fail to reach the standard required of us. But we try again, and should continue to do so.

We aim, and perhaps fail again, to achieve Sainthood. For His sake, For His mercy. And for His love.

But I suspect that Saints are made and not born. We are born sinners and through our deeds and actions we strive to walk the road to Sainthood.

Only He, through His Grace, can make us Saints.

Our job is to take the first step, in Faith, in Trust, and let Him do the rest.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Quick Bytes #25: Magnify

Mary said  "My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"

What a beautiful image.  Our Holy Mother as a magnifying glass ... expanding God's light throughout all creation.

We can do that too.

The funny thing, though, is that when a magnifying glass is pointing the wrong way it condenses light instead of expanding it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Calling Doctor Therese! Paging St. Therese!

"We live in an age of inventions.  We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs.  And I was determined to find an elevator to carry me to Jesus, for I was too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection.  So I sought in Holy Scripture some idea of what this lift I wanted would be, and I read, 'Whoever is a little one, let him come to me' (Lk 8:16).  I also wanted to know how God would deal with a 'little one' so I searched and found:  'As one whom a mother caresses, so I will comfort you, you shall be carried  . . . ' (Is 66:12-13) Ah!  Never did words more tender and more melodious come to give joy to my soul.  It is your arms, Jesus, which are the elevator to carry me to heaven.  So there is no need for me to grow up.  In fact:  just the opposite.  I must become less and less." - St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul

So many of us in this Community have been helped by our beloved St. Therese.  If you would like to share how St. Therese's little way of great love has been a blessing to you as you seek to grow in deep love of our Lord, please do so in the comments, inclusive to sharing links to posts you have on this great saint.

Patricia, whose profile name at I Want to See God is "littlesoul2" has written meany beautiful posts especially on
St. Therese's Act of Oblation to Merciful Love.  

Recently she was sharing and teaching me more about St. Therese in the comment box to one of her posts.  If you do take the hyperlink that is to the offering itself.  There is a series of beautiful posts leading up to it that you may want to review first.  You can see all of them if you hit St. Therese in the tag cloud at the bottom of her blog page.

Many of us are drawn to St. Therese, and even Fr. Gaitley in Consoling the Heart of Jesus uses her as an example of how all of us little souls can follow her example of love to grow in holiness.  Not to discourage anyone from following her Little Way of Great Love for fear of suffering, but rather to help us appreciate her great love for Jesus and souls more, I wanted to share with all of you what Patricia taught me.

Regarding St. Therese, you are absolutely correct about the great trials she suffered, and the many trials which all of those who truly wish to love Our Lord will no doubt encounter. Therese used to pray, “Jesus, make me resemble You.” Because, the beloved of Jesus seeks to be like her Divine Lover…she too is “thirsty” for souls, and desires to unite any sufferings God permits in her life to those of Jesus to “help” win souls for Him.

Therese, wishing to leave ALL to God’s Will did not desire to ask for greater suffering, (as some Saints have done), but rather to accept whatever joys and sorrows the Will of God destined for her. Her genius, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was to say to God, through her Act of Oblation, that she wished to live her entire life as “one act of perfect love”….her life would be the “holocaust,” and God’s Love would be the Fire. She begged Him to consume her unceasingly, so that she would become a “martyr to Your Love, O my God.” She desired that the “waves of infinite tenderness” rejected by others would flow into her, and God’s Heart would be relieved of this Love “locked within.” Her great grace was to believe so confidently in His Love…the immensity and tenderness of It, and His “need” to find someone to receive it. But again, if we are to have this deep love relationship with Jesus, He will share with us His Passion..the greatest expression of His Love… but our suffering will have untold merit, because it will be so intimately united with His Own.

Therese spent the last 18 months of her life, enduring a horrendous trial of faith…she even wrote out the Creed in her own blood. In addition, she suffered immensely from the pains of tuberculosis which caused her unbearable agony, and the Prioress at the Carmel would permit no morphine or any pain medication recommended by the doctors.

She truly resembled her beloved Jesus in His experience of abandonment and torture on the Cross. She clung to Him in her darkness and pain and died making an act of love…”Oh, I love God, I love You!”

Thank you, Patricia!  I told you that this was so beautiful it would help others, and this is my attempt to share it.

There has just been a book published by a survivor of sexual abuse, Dawn Eden, that also gives beautiful insight into the wisdom of our beloved doctor of the church, St. Therese.  While trying to find an image for this post I stumbled on a review of her book that included the following beautiful and helpful excerpt from Chapter 4.  Reflecting on it gives me a glimpse of how St. Therese came to find joy and peace in the midst of suffering.

The Love that Transforms:Learning the true meaning of spiritual childhood with St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Most of what we know of St. Thérèse (1873–1897), a nun of the Carmelite convent at Lisieux, France, is from The Story of a Soul, a collection of autobiographical writings. In 1895, Thérèse began the work in obedience to an order given by the prioress of her community, Mother Agnes, who happened to be her real-life sister Pauline. Mother Agnes had enjoyed hearing Thérèse speak of her childhood memories and wanted to have a permanent record of them.

Thérèse, although only twenty-two, was already well advanced on the path to holiness at the time she began her autobiography. She saw her sister’s order as an opportunity to "begin to sing what I must sing eternally: ‘The Mercies of the Lord.’"

With those words, Thérèse shows us the proper role of memory. Memory is not to be feared; it is to be purified in the white heat of divine love. As divine love’s light enters into the wounds left by past sorrows, we come to realize how the divine mercy carried us even during the times of our lives when we felt abandoned by God.

That is why, in the opening pages of her autobiography, Thérèse stresses that she is thankful for the gift of remembrance: "God granted me the favor of opening my intelligence at an early age and of imprinting childhood recollections so deeply on my memory that it seems the things I’m about to recount happened only yesterday."

Her memories were inseparable from her gratitude for divine providence. All the things that had happened to her, whether pleasurable or painful at the time, were now visible to her only through the light of God’s loving plan for her life. This is a saint who, even while enduring the most intense physical sufferings on her deathbed, was able to say, “everything is a grace” and really mean it.
As she continues her story, it seems Thérèse stresses her gratitude partly to steel the reader for the many childhood sufferings she will recount. One could say, in a sense, that she sees her life as the story of a soul who went from suffering without God to suffering with God.

Of course, as Thérèse would be the first to say, God is never truly absent from us.However, we can will to deny him entrance into our heart. When we hold onto resentment that our own will is not being done, we become locked in a solitary prison of self-pity.

Thérèse herself experienced the interior pain of this prison. The key that freed her is what she wants to share with us: the realization that, to the degree that we can say “Not my will, but thy will be done,” suffering can become the foundation for a closer union with God. Thérèse spoke of this during her final illness: “I have suffered very much since I have been on earth, but, if in my childhood I suffered with sadness, it is no longer the way I suffer. It is with joy and peace."

Excerpted from My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints by Dawn Eden. Copyright 2012. Ave Maria Press Notre Dame, IN. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beautiful Reasons for Praying the Rosary Even More Often

Copied from Fr. John Hampsch, C.M.F.'s blog where he provided the following encouragement to pray the rosary.  All of this with this exception of the quotes from Father Amorth was written by Fr. John Hampsch. I didn't want to put the whole thing in italics as a distraction.

Father Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican writes:
One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism, “Every Hall Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.”
The secret that makes this prayer so effective is that the Rosary is both prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Father, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Holy Trinity, and is a meditation centered on Christ.”
I write in addition to the above:
Please enunciate each word of the Rosary clearly and distinctly. Do not trample on the heels of the words of anyone with your words. Do not speak over the leader if you are following or the respondent if you are leading the Rosary. Remember that they also are having a conversation With Mary Our Mother and it is not polite to speak when someone else is speaking.
In the case of the public Rosary there are only two people speaking: the Leader and the respondents. Each is speaking to the Blessed Mother and listening carefully to her response within their hearts as they meditate on the scene before them in their consideration of the mystery being spoken of and interpreted and translated into their lives.
Spread this powerful prayer of exorcism, the Rosary, which contains the Our Father, the Perfect Prayer, prayed five times in the recitation of each set of the Rosary’s Mysteries, backed up by the powerful prayers of Our Mother who prays with us as we pray 53 Hail Mary’s.
The Eternal Father described to a group of us, through a Visionary Friend of mine, what happens when we pray the Rosary, saying, “When you pray Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now ….. , the Blessed Mother comes instantly to your side to pray with you. And she does not come alone. She brings angels with her. And not just one or two for she is the Queen of Angels, so choirs of angels come with her. And she and Jesus are joined at the heart and cannot be separated so she brings Jesus with her. And Jesus cannot be separated from the Trinity so He brings the Father and the Holy Spirit with Him. And where the Holy Trinity is, all of creation is, and you are surrounded by such beauty and light as you cannot imagine in this life.
Your Mother comes as Our Lady of Grace with her hands outstretched. Rays of light emit from her hands piercing your body, healing you and filling you with graces. This is your inheritance, which was poured out from the heart of Jesus on the Cross, when the centurion pierced His Heart with the spear, into the only pure vessel ready to receive such graces at that time, Your Mother.
Now as you pray the Rosary, or even just recite one Hail Mary, you receive your portion of these graces.
He also said at this time, “Anyone who goes to Mary and prays the Rosary cannot be touched by Satan.” Is it any wonder that anyone who prays the Rosary from the heart is so blessed and protected and powerful in their prayers for others?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Say it as it is ...

There are times in life when you know what you want to say. You're sure of your facts and you just have to state your opinion and leave it at that. Whether people accept it or not. This is your point of view. Well thought out and considered.

Jesus came to that point many years ago. He was with His disciples and followers and in conversation He said " I am the bread of life ... unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them." (John 6: 25 onwards).

Very confusing words indeed. If I were there at the time I would have said "Hein? What are you talking about?"

Actually, this is what some of Christ's followers said. They asked "What does He mean? Eat His flesh and drink His blood?"

They thought that this time He had gone too far. Of course, He often spoke in parables and it was left to them to interpret what He was saying ... but this time it was clear. He said, more than once, that we should eat His flesh and drink His blood. 

Not surprisingly, quite a few felt that this was too much. Better to distance themselves from this Man who is talking way beyond any sensible person can take. They decided to leave Him and stop being associated with Jesus.

So what did Jesus do?

Did He call them back and say "Wait a minute ... let me explain what I meant. It was only a figure of speech. Don't take it too literally ..."

No. He just let them leave.

He knew what He was saying. He was sure of His facts. He said them clearly and left it at that. Take it or leave it. The choice is yours.

In fact, He gave His twelve disciples the choice to leave too if they felt this was too much for them.

Peter replied for them all when he said "To whom shall we go. We believe in You".

Today, years later, nothing has really changed.

We have His words. And we have a simple choice.

To believe (without questions and without trying to understand) ... or not.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Gate

In the Gospel of John Chapter 10 Jesus says several times "I am the gate".

In Chapter 10 - 9 He says "I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture."

This seems strange at first. We can understand when Jesus says "I am the Way" or "I am the Good Shepherd"; but gate? What does all that mean?

To understand this we need to visualise how a sheep pen at the times of Christ looked like. It was a circular or square enclosure built out of stone, wooden fencing or just hedges. And it had an opening through which sheep got in and out.

But shepherds in those days were poor people. They certainly would not have the money to build gates at the opening of the pen. They stayed "watching their flocks by night" with their sheep.

The pen looked something like this:

And the shepherd would lie across the opening, sleeping with his sheep, and making sure that none would get out during the night. Also protecting them from wolves or other predators.

So, the shepherd was in fact the gate.

That's what Jesus meant when He said He is the gate.

He protects us from evil and stops us from going astray.