My Mother

The Virgin Mary

Have you ever been alone in the dark? Alone in the dark, and scared? I think we all have. I remember being alone in the dark and scared. More than once. I remember being that way as a child. I recall being that way as an adult. When I was a child it was a literal thing. As I grew older the dark moved. It stopped being on the outside. It came in. That made it even scarier. There isn’t any light switch inside me. Its broke. It was broken before I was born. The broken part is what a theologian would call sin and the sin nature. It makes me scared of the dark … inside. A Lady lost a coin. I didn’t think much of it, it was only a coin. Small change. But she knew its worth. So she lit a lamp and got out her broom. Started to sweep by the lamp light. She knows my switch is broke. She swept by the light of that lamp until … Guess what? She found the coin. But she didn’t stop there. I´d have thought that was enough, but this Lady went and gathered her neighbors. She was so happy that the coin was found that she wanted everyone to rejoice with her. Now let’s think this through … In the Psalms I´m told that the Word is like a lamp for my feet. I guess if I had a Lamp like that I wouldn’t need to be afraid of the dark. Inside dark or outside dark. In the Gospel of John I´m told that the Word was made flesh, and that the Word was the Light of the world. That Word, that Light was Jesus. He died on Calvary. Why? To fix my broken switch. But who lit the Lamp? Oh, the Lady with the broom. She lit the Lamp, helped bring the Light of the world into the world. She said yes when the Archangel Gabriel asked her to be the first to accept that Light into her life. And then she gave birth to the Light and shared him with … Everyone. So she could find that lost coin that’s me. So that she could tell all her friends to rejoice that I´d been found. There’s a lot of rejoicing in Heaven when a coin is found. I think finding the coin is called repentance, conversion. Know what else? After she lit the Lamp, and the Light of the world showed her where the lost coin was … That same Light gave that same Lady to the found coin (me) to be his Mother too. Some story, huh? I love my Mother. I love her because She reflects the Light. Know what else? I´m not afraid of the dark anymore.

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Our Queen … Saturday, August 31

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Glorious Mystery, the Coronation. Something different today. I know I’m a little late with this, but better late than never. (At least on this side of eternity.)

 

 

Today …

 

 

St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

Aidan of Lindisfarne, born in Ireland, may have studied under St. Senan before becoming a monk at Iona. At the request of King Oswald of Northumbria, Aidan went to Lindisfarne as bishop and was known throughout the kingdom for his knowledge of the Bible, which knowledge means he understood Mary’s Queenship, his learning, which means he understood Mary’s role in redemption, his eloquent preaching, which at times no doubt spoke of Mary his Queen, his holiness, patterned after God’s Holiness as it shines forth through His saints with Mary as the Queen of all saints, his distaste for pomp, remembering the simplicity of his Lord and His Mother, his kindness to the poor, as King Jesus and Queen Mother Mary are kind, and the miracles attributed to him as a result. He founded a monastery at Lindisfarne that became known as the English Iona and was a center of learning and missionary activity for all of northern England. He died in 651 at the royal castle at Bamburgh.

And also … “Popular devotion invokes Mary as Queen. The Council, after recalling the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in “‘body and soul into heavenly glory’”, explains that she was “exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rv 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death.” ~ Pope John Paul II the Great ~ (Lumen Gentium, n. 59).

The Privilege of Suffering … Friday, August 30

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. ‘When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.’ — St. Sebastian Valfre. Have you ever considered what a privilege it is to take an active part in Redemption? To be able to offer up sufferings for the salvation of souls? God doesn’t need our help, but He lets us help because He loves us and wants us to be a part of and not apart from. And pain? A lot of folks think pain is something to run from. Now, I’m not suggesting that any one invite pain. (If you saw all the pills I take you’d realize quickly that I’m no masochist.) Some pain is, however, unavoidable. But pain is a sign that something is wrong and needs attention. Bodily pain is a very good example of that. Denial of a pain in your chest won’t make the pain go away, but it might lead to a heart attack or worse. Pain is not an enemy, it is an ally. Pain is not the enemy. Running from pain is the enemy. If we don’t run from it, if we use it as God intends, then we’ve shown ourselves to be willing servants and also children of our Father in Heaven who takes the bad and mean things in life and brings out the good for all.

Today …


 

 

St. Pammachius

Of the Furii family, Pammachius was a Roman senator and a friend of St. Jerome. Pammachius married St. Paula‘s daughter Paulina in 385. His denunciation to Pope St. Siricius of Jovinian, who was later condemned at a synod at Rome, and by St. Ambrose at Milan, caused Jerome to write a treatise against Jovinian’s teachings that Pammachius criticized, which led to two more letters from Jerome defending his treatise. Paulina died in 397, and Pammachius devoted the rest of his life to study and charitable works. With Fabiola he built a hospice at Porto for poor and sick pilgrims coming to Rome (the first such in the West) and had a church in his house (a site now occupied by the Passionists’ SS. Peter and Paul Church). He often tried unsuccessfully, to tone down the polemics of some of Jerome’s controversial treatises and particularly the bitterness of Jerome’s controversy with Rufinus. Pammachius urged Jerome to translate Origen’s DE PRINCIPIIS, and Pammachius’ letter to tenants on his estate in Numidia in 401 to abandon Donatism evoked a letter of thanks from St. Augustine. Pammachius died in Rome.

An Invitation … Gee, have you ever noticed how long ago so many saints lived? Its like there aren’t as many anymore. Maybe. Maybe today would be a good day for you and me to try to change that.

Looking … Always … Thursday, August 29

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, Peter Gunn, Sam Spade … You don’t need a private eye to find Jesus. But you do need to keep looking. Always.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. “Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: ‘Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.’ And the Mother Church that gives us Jesus gives us our identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging. Identity means belonging. This belonging to the Church is beautiful.” ~ Pope Francis. There are lots of people looking for Jesus and there are lots of ways to find Him. Each life is a personal journey. But when He is found He is always found in the same place. It’s true that some Christians are what we’ll call “outside the full communion” of the Church, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally separated from it. The fact is that they’ve found Jesus and found Him in the Church, it’s just that they don’t realize this fact. It’s easy to get side tracked when looking and finding. That doesn’t mean the search or the finding aren’t valid. It just means that the puddles some folks waded through while searching got all stirred up and the water was muddied as a result. But what about the folks on the “inside”, the people who are IN the Church, fully, and know it? There is never a time when we can rest from looking. Finding Jesus is a never-ending endeavor. He is the Infinite God. How can we ever find all of the infinite? We can’t. But the more we look the more we find. The more we find the more we grow. And this gives us hope that someday those outside the full communion of the Body of Christ will be in full communion, having found enough of the Infinite Jesus to make the Truth a little brighter, a little easier to see. The closer any of us gets to the Light the better our vision gets.

Today …

St. Sabina


 

 

St. Sabina

We know St. Sabina only through legend, and there is some question as to its trustworthiness. Even the century in which she lived is unknown. Supposedly Sabina was converted to Christianity by her Syrian servant Serapia. During the persecution of Emperor Hadrian, Serapia suffered martyrdom for her Christian Faith. It is believed that St. Sabina was murdered for the Faith about a month later. The renowned basilica on the Aventine in Rome is dedicated to and named after her. Some sources hold that Sabina herself had it constructed in the third or fourth century. In an age when our Faith is ridiculed as being outmoded, we take heart in the lives of so many martyrs, like St. Sabina, who gave their lives under terrible conditions to defend and sustain their Faith. This confers on us a strong desire to persevere in God’s love. And to never stop looking for more of Jesus.

Take this to heart … “When you approach the tabernacle remember that he has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.” – St. Josemaria Escriva.

Heavenly perspective … Wednesday, August 28

English: Portrait of Pope Pius XII in the Basi...

Portrait of Pope Pius XII in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. “We are inspired by the certainty that your eyes which wept over the earth, watered by the Blood of Jesus, are yet turned toward this world, held in the clutch of wars, persecutions, and oppression of the just and the weak.” ~ Pope Pius XII. Mary looks down upon the earth from Heaven now because she was first taken up. She sees the world’s problems from a Heavenly perspective now. And she can help us acquire this better, more lofty, outlook if we’ll ask. We can rise above our problems just as she has, and in the same way. Who was it that lifted Mary up, keeps her in place, and sustains her? The same One will do the same for you and me. Oh, we may not be assumed into Heaven but our attitude, our outlook, our perspective, can be.

Today …

St. Hermes


 

St. Hermes

St. Hermes. Martyr with companions in Rome, who suffered at the hands of a judge named Aurelian. They are mentioned in the Acts of Pope St. Alexander I . Their cult was confined to local calendars in 1969. He is invoked against mental illness. Isn’t an earthy, worldly view a sort of mental illness? St. Hermes might be a good prayer partner as we strive for the gift of Heavenly perspective.

Think … “And we, poor sinners, whose body weighs down the flight of the soul, beg you to purify our hearts, so that, while we remain here below, we may learn to see God, and God alone, in the beauties of His creatures.” ~ Pope Pius XII.

Getting out from under … Tuesday, August 27

St. Augustine, Florida: Mission Nombre de Dios...

Crosses. They come in different sizes, they’re made of different materials. These things are secondary. Recognizing crosses, and accepting, embracing, them is what matters most.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “All that crucifies is good: do not look at what wood the crosses are made of, as long as it is a “cross wood.” Great crosses present themselves rarely, little crosses are given to us at every moment. Make sure not to lose any of them.” — BL. EDWARD POPPE. Getting out from under. Out from under crosses that is. You know, for the past several weeks my sciatica has been acting up. Now that’s a cross. Saturday, at Vigil Mass, it was all I could do, about half way through Mass, to stand there. My left foot felt like it was the size of a watermelon, it radiated numbness while the rest of the leg was in acute pain. It was all so pronounced that I got shaky and weak. I felt like I was borderline, and just across the line was passing out. So I watched myself, I was careful, and when I got home I took pills, plural, and laid down. It got better. Sometimes, when something like this happens, I feel almost guilty that I try to get relief. I tend towards scrupulosity and I know it. I mean, didn’t I offer up all my crosses just this morning? And here I am doing everything I can to get out from underneath one. (If you see yourself in any of this read on. If not, you might like to scroll down and just read about today’s saint.) It occurred to me, when I read the above quote, that trying to get some relief from my sciatica is a cross in itself. Its smaller than ongoing sciatica, but it’s still a cross. And because I was feeling guilty (Just a little. I tend to scrupulosity but I’m not stupid.) I was missing the smaller cross. Intent on the sciatica, the type of wood this cross is made from, I was, in trying to ditch the “big” cross, losing the small one. Maybe a cross is just a cross. Maybe size doesn’t matter, maybe it does. My point being that any cross, if recognized and utilized, regardless the size of it or the type of wood, is good if I can recognize it for what it is. And it is a blessing meant to purify me, to get me ready for Heaven, ready to stand in the Presence of the Crucified One.

Today …


 

 

St. Monica

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370. He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, “it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” This thought, coupled with a vision that she had
received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.

Consider … “If you seek to carry no other crosses but those whose reason you understand, perfection is not for you.” — ST. TERESA OF AVILA.

The Communion of Saints … Monday, August 26

English: BABY JESUS

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. “I am the light of the world.” This is what, Who, Simeon held close in the Temple. When Mary handed Simeon the Baby Jesus he was holding everything that mattered. He was holding all of Life and Love and Grace and more than the Universe could, or can, contain. We might say, “How blessed he was! I wish I could be so blessed as to experience what Simeon did.” Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Bad news first. You can’t have the experience that Simeon had. Ever. Mary isn’t here to present you with Him and you aren’t in the Temple. What happened to Simeon? Happened only once and for only one man. Sorry. OK, now for the good news. And this good news? You can take it as gospel. You can have a greater experience than Simeon did and you can have it every day of your life. You can have Jesus with you, hold Him closer than Simeon did, and not have to wait for years to have it happen the way Simeon did.

Today …

Bl. Zepherin Namuncura


 

 

Bl. Zepherin Namuncura

Zepherin Namuncura was the eighth of twelve children of the chief of the Araucano Indians of the Argentine Pampas, Chief Manuel Namuncura. Zepherin’s ambition was to lead his people to the religion of the one true God. When Zepherin was two, his father gave him to the Salesian priest, Father Dominic Milanesio, to be raised up in the faith. Zepherin was educated at the Salesian mission school in Buenos Aires. At the age of seventeen, he went into the seminary where he studied hard enough to become second in his class. Zepherin was also growing in virtue and was often found in front of the Blessed Sacrament. On September 24, 1903, with the permission of his Superiors, Zepherin organized a procession in honor of Our Lady of Mercy. That night he fell into bed tired from his day’s labor. He awoke coughing and spitting up blood. Zepherin had tuberculosis. In April of 1904, Zepherin accompanied Archbishop Cagliero to Rome where it was thought that the warm dry air might be good for his health. In March of 1905, Zepherin took a sudden turn for the worse. He lost weight alarmingly, and seemed to be often in pain. His director wrote, “He got worse day by day, yet he was never impatient. He suffered, but he held onto his cross generously.” In April, Zepherin was transferred to the hospital run by the Brothers of God in Rome. Here he bore his cross of suffering heroically, constantly praying the Rosary for his people. This saintly seminarian died on the morning of May 11, at the age of eighteen, surrounded by several of the brothers who were praying for him. He was buried in Rome, but at the insistence of his people, his body was taken back to Patagonia in 1924 and buried at the Salesian school of Fortin Mercedes. Zepherin was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1972.

Think about it and pray …. The next time you receive communion, which is the blessing you have that’s bigger than the one Simeon received, pray for vocations. There is no Real Presence with out the very real presence of a priest.

Want to go to Heaven? Get in line … Sunday, August 25

If a deacon participates, he reads the Gospel....

Being there is one thing. Taking part is another.

The Gospel of the Lord … Luke 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.  Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

~

Have you ever wondered if you’ll make it to Heaven? I think most of us do, at some point in time. I’d think that the fact we’re concerned enough to think about it would tell us something.

From the above scripture, given the question posed to Jesus, folks were wondering about just this sort of thing even then. And what does Jesus say? What answer does He give? “Strive to enter … “, and for those who don’t strive, “Depart from me, all you evildoers!”

Lots of folks will have excuses. “We ate and drank in your company.” … “I went to Mass and received communion.” … “You taught in our streets.” … “I listened to all the sermons, heard the Gospel preached.” But did these people “strive to enter”? Please don’t misunderstand. I’m certainly not endorsing scrupulosity here, because it would be easy to go from here in that direction. But wherever a person’s heart is, well, that’s where their treasure is. Lip service is one thing, heart service is something else. Heart service is striving and not just going through the motions.

The best way to get to Heaven? Live like you intend to go there, and the going will take care of itself. Strive. Striving most assuredly includes Mass, communion, listening to the Gospel (and actually hearing it) and more. The “more” is doing the right thing for the right reason. And there’s the striving. The heart service.

In all of this don’t worry about your place in line. Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. Jesus will take care of the seating arrangements in Heaven. Our part is to live our lives as though we’re in the line.

Published in: on August 25, 2013 at 3:00 am  Comments Off on Want to go to Heaven? Get in line … Sunday, August 25  

The willingness to receive … Saturday, August 24

Holy Spirit

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Glorious Mystery, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. “‘And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit‘ (Acts 2:3-4).They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles.” ~ St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

The people who received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were able to receive for two reasons. God’s willingness to give, and their willingness to accept. No gift can be received without acceptance. And to accept in this instance meant sacrifice on the part of the ones who received. They gave up self-will in preference to His Divine will. The results were, and are, changed lives. Nothing has changed. If we’ll set self aside He’ll give us of Himself. Lives will be changed for the better. Both ours and the lives of those around us. Some people hesitate in accepting a gift. They feel unworthy or they fear being placed in a position of “owing” the giver, of being indebted. God gives freely, there is no worry, or shouldn’t be, about being indebted to the One we belong to anyway. We’ve been indebted to Him since day one. And the unworthy? The more unworthy you are the more He desires to give Himself to you. The greater the need, the greater His love.

Today …


 

 

St. Bartholomew

St. Bartholomew, of the 1st. century. All that is known of him with certainty is that he is mentioned in the synoptic gospels and Acts as one of the twelve apostles. His name, a patronymic, means “son of Tolomai” and scholars believe he is the same as Nathanael mentioned in John, who says he is from Cana and that Jesus called him an “Israelite…incapable of deceit.” The Roman Martyrology says he preached in India and Greater Armenia, where he was flayed and beheaded by King Astyages. Tradition has the place as Abanopolis on the west coast of the Caspian Sea and that he also preached in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. The Gospel of Bartholomew is apocryphal and was condemned in the decree of Pseudo-Gelasius.

Consider … God is willing to give. The real question is: Are we willing to receive?

What Kind of Thorns? … Friday, August 23

Rose et amour....rosa y amor ....rose d'amour ...

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns.

“What I am certain of (this comes from the Catholic monks who have lived in the Jerusalem area since the time of the crusades) the ONLY  TYPE OF THORN BUSH/SMALL TREE NATIVE TO THE JERUSALEM AREA is a locust tree. Unlike most thorn trees or bushes, this thorn-bush/small locust tree has a distinct double thorn pattern (the locust tree’s seeds are where carob comes from – probably what John the Baptist was eating as well as locust insects). Each thorn is approximately ½ -1 inch long. The thorns are extremely sharp. SO MUCH FOR ALL THE PICTURES CROWNS OF THORNS WE HAVE ALL SEEN WITH LONG 2-3 INCH THORNS!!! Do you think the monks are lying? I don’t. All though some researchers are very confident that this double thorn-bush is surely the type the Romans used to make Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns – others are not so certain. Consider these other factors. It is EXTREMELY unlikely that any thorn bushes were growing inside the city of Jerusalem itself. They would have been chopped down and used for firewood for hundreds of years. It is also very unlikely that a Roman soldier would leave the military courtyard (on the spur of the moment) in the middle of scourging, mocking, spitting on, and torturing Jesus of Nazareth. He would have to run at least ½ mile to get outside the city walls in order to find some thorns to make a special crown for the man who calls himself “The King of the Jews”. The probability of that happening is very remote, especially when the Romans soldiers had rose bushes full of thorns branches growing right there in Pilate’s beautiful courtyards. The Romans were very big into flowery courtyards where roses were in fact one of their favorite flowers. If you have ever trimmed rose bushes you know how their thorns have a tendency to grab and hold whatever bit of skin they snag. Would it not be ironic that the one who is referred to in scripture as “the rose of Sharon” might have been tortured by the very thorns from the kind of flower mankind has continually used to say I love you with?” ~ This is borrowed from http://www.naturesdesignsonline.com.

Strictly speaking, the reference to the Song of Solomon 2:1 is more aptly applied to either the Jewish people or, prophetically, the Church or the Blessed Virgin Mary. Having gotten that out of my system … What WAS Jesus crowned with? What type of thorns? Bluntly, no one really knows. What’s more important now are the thorns used currently. Bigotry, willful ignorance, gossip, grumbling, hardness of heart. These and others are more in vogue, and readily available, today. We each, given the way we live our lives daily, have an opportunity to crown Christ with thorns or to present Him with a victor’s garland. No one is responsible for the florists bill but us.

Today …

St. Rose of Lima

Virgin, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there the 24 of August, 1617. St. Rose of Lima is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. This South American Saint’s real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained. As she grew older, she became more and more beautiful, and one day, her mother put a wreath of flowers on her head to show off her loveliness to friends. But Rose had no desire to be admired, for her heart had been given to Jesus. So she put a long pin into that wreath and it pierced her so deeply, that she had a hard time getting the wreath off afterward. Another time she became afraid that her beauty might be a temptation to someone, since people could not take their eyes off her. Therefore, she rubbed her face with pepper until it was all red and blistered. St. Rose worked hard to support her poor parents and she humbly obeyed them, except when they tried to get her to marry. That she would not do. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled. Rose had many temptations from the devil, and there were also many times when she had to suffer a feeling of terrible loneliness and sadness, for God seemed far away. Going through a “dark night of the soul” isn’t an indication that God has turned His back on us. It might just as easily mean that, as a person struggles and remains faithful anyway, they are more saintly than anyone, themselves included, might think. She cheerfully offered all her troubles to Christ. In fact, in her last long, painful sickness, this heroic young woman use to pray: “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.” Many miracles followed her death. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, the first American to be so honoured. Her feast is celebrated 23 of August. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.

Think … The crown we’ll receive when all is said and done will be wonderful, but no crown is more precious, or telling, than the one we give.