The Faith-Filled Shoe Store … Tuesday, September 17

Roman soldier from a Calvary

Put yourself in his sandals.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion … I’ve often wondered, when it comes to the passerby or the people who just happened to be there, what the personal thoughts and emotions were, what sort of heart and gut reactions they had, when a person was witness to what we call a “Mystery of the Rosary”. Like a nondescript Roman soldier at the Crucifixion. Not one that pushed Him along as He walked to Calvary, not the one with hammer and nails, but the guy in the background. When he saw Mary there at the Cross, when he heard the seven last words of Christ, when he saw the sky darken and felt the earth tremble, how did he feel and what did he think? Was there sympathy? Was he disgusted with the cruelty? Did he take a private joy in seeing a subjected, weaker people get what he thought they deserved? And then there is a “Why?” attached to all these possibilities. Why feel sympathy or disgust or joy or anything else? Because of the way he was raised? Was it something that his mother said to him when he was little? An experience he had latter in life? What? We might like to put ourselves in his place and watch our own reactions. We might like to ask ourselves “Why?” Its a fruitful way to learn about ourselves. In learning about our own heart and mind we can better understand others. In understanding both self and others, by knowing hearts and minds, we can better understand why Jesus went to Calvary and allowed Himself to be crucified. Some of these “revelations” might surprise us.

St. Peter Arbues

Today … St. Peter Arbues was an Augustinian inquisitor. He was born in Aragon, Spain, and became a master of Canon Law at the University of Bologna before becoming an Augustinian canon at Saragossa in 1478. In 1484 he received appointment as Inquisitor of Aragon and soon earned the enmity of the Marranos, Jews who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism. Peter was murdered by a group of Marranos in the cathedral of Saragossa. His name has been associated with acts of wanton cruelty and inhumanity in the fulfillment of his office as Inquisitor, although these have never been substantiated. (I know of one priest who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct. There was no truth in the rumors spread but because of them he is now in a sort of diocesan hiding for his own safety because there a people without discernment who would do him harm. This at a time when there is a shortage of priests.) Now here is a grand opportunity to exercise the concept mentioned above, a sort of “putting yourself in the other person’s shoes”. Is it ever right to force people to convert to anything? Of course not. Did the Church force these Jews to convert? And here is where discernment comes into play. Something the world and the news media often purposely overlook. No, the Church didn’t force these people to convert. Say what?! It wasn’t the Church that did this, it was misguided people within the Church. There is a difference. Do people like that make the whole Church look bad? You know they do. And the news, media along with people of ill will and bad temperament, revel in things like this. Put yourself in the shoes of those forced to convert. If you thought our saint was one of the people responsible how might you have reacted? Without Christ in my life I can honestly say I might well have done exactly what they did. Now put yourself in the Shoes of the Fisherman, guided by God’s Holy Spirit, and blessed with true spiritual discernment. Now you see the truth of the matter. Our saint? Was a saint. One last pair of shoes to try on. St. Peter Arbues. Consider that the feet in those shoes now reside with God in Heaven. How do you feel about it all now?

Shoes … If they pinch our feet maybe we don’t so much need to break them in as we need a new pair. Hearts and minds can be broken in. Or they can be set aside and replaced. As Catholics we have the opportunity to exchange ours for the Mind of Christ.


Following all the way … Friday, July 26

Christ on the Cross cropped. Crop of old Mass ...

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. ” … if we walk without the Cross, how much do we build without the Cross? And, when we confess Christ without the Cross, then we are not disciples of the Lord.” Pope Francis. Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, the Promised One, the Son of God, didn’t he? When Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was they gave Him a long list of possibilities. The world around us still wonders at the possibilities. Who was, who is this Jesus? Peter knew the answer. When Jesus asked, “Who do YOU say that I am?”, there was no hesitation in Peter’s answer. But a little later, when Jesus began to talk of His death, Peter spoke up (Peter did that a lot) and began to tell Jesus all about why this ought not to be. Jesus is very popular. Without the cross. Lots of folks like Jesus, and would be more than pleased to have Him in their lives. But only without a cross. You can’t really believe in Jesus without really believing in the crucifixion. And you can’t really have Jesus in your life without the very real crucifixion of self. If we follow Him? We follow Him all the way.

Today …

Parents of Our Lady

Sts. Joachim and Anne<br>Parents of Our Lady

Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of Our Lady.

By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary’s father and mother come to us through legend and tradition. We get the oldest story from a non-canonical (an uninspired bit of fiction, that may, however, contain some factual info, and may not) document called the “Gospel” of James. The legend told in this document says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah — Anne — in 1 Kings). For those who wonder what we can learn from people we know nothing about and how we can honor them, we must focus on why they are honored by the church. Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured Mary, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God’s request with faith, “Let it be done to me as you will.” It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified and still believe.Which tells us that these two saints recognized crosses to be a necessity of life, regardless the worldly view.

Think … Life and crosses are synonymous.

Carrying your Tree of Life … Tuesday, July 23

"Tree of Life"

“Tree of Life.” “In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” … Revelation 22:2.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “And bearing the cross for Himself, He went forth to the place called the Skull.” John 19:17. ” … the place called the Skull.” Carrying crosses never leads in what looks like a good direction, does it? There always seems to be death and despair at the end of such a journey, thoughts that make us cringe the closer we get. Dread. Sometimes its just as bad as we think its going to be, mostly it’s not. But here and now isn’t the point. It’s the “then and there” that we tend to focus on. Because not knowing just makes a cross heavier, more burdensome. The hardest thing in the world can be to look past the place called the Skull, our own personal Calvary, as we carry our own personal cross. But that’s what we have to do. Our focus can’t be on the dreaded “then and there”, the place of the Skull. It has to go beyond that, to another “then and there”. Because the place of the Skull is NOT the end of the road. Calvary, ours or Jesus’, was just one more phase of a journey that led, not to a dreaded ending, but to a life filled beginning. Calvary takes us to an empty tomb. His empty tomb and, if we carry our cross faithfully, our empty tomb. When we remember these things crosses, rather than being dreadfully burdensome, become the Tree of Life.

Today …

St. Anne

St. Anne

St. Anne was a Hermitess, also called Susanna. Born in Constantinople in 840 to aristocrats, she fled the city to avoid marriage to Agarenus whose marriage proposal was supported by Emperor Basil the Macedonian. Anne went to Leucadia, Epirus, about 896. She lived as a hermitess there until her death. Anne may be the “Maura” listed in the Roman Martyrology as suffering martyrdom in Constantinople.She fled, she lived a life of solitude with all its blessings AND torments, and, possibly, she died a martyr. Crosses? She had plenty. And the end of her journey she arrived where? At the place of the Skull or someplace beyond that?

Remember … Proverbs !3:12 promises … “Hope that is deferred afflicteth the soul: desire when it cometh is a tree of life.”


“It is Jesus Who stirs in you …” … Tuesday, June 4

Copia desde la Crucifixion dibujada hacia 1540...

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And bowing His head, He expired.” John 19:30 & Luke 23:46.

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”

This quote is from John Paul II. It’s hard to see all of these things if all we see on Calvary is a crucified criminal. But that’s not what He was, is it? In looking, in seeking, we see, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Truth. Here is God Almighty calling out to us. Peter said on Pentecost, ” … you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38b. Look at a Crucifix. What do you see? It’s the Holy Spirit that brings us, if we’re willing, to God. And that gift of the Holy Spirit? Look at a Crucifix. That’s Him, the Gift.

Today …

St. Petroc

Petroc was born in Wales, possibly the son of a Welsh king. He became a monk and with some of his friends, went to Ireland to study. They immigrated to Cornwall in England and settled at Lanwethinoc (Padstow). After thirty years there, he made a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem, at which time he is also reputed to have reached the Indian ocean where he lived for some time as a hermit on an island. He then returned to Cornwall, built a chapel at Little Petherick near Padstow, established a community of his followers, and then became a hermit at Bodmir Moor, where he again attracted followers and was known for his miracles. He died between Nanceventon and Lanwethinoc while visiting some of his disciples there. I have to admit that sometimes I pick a saint just because of the name. I saw “Petroc” and the first thing that came to mind was, “You are PETer and upon the ROCk I will build My Church.” What a cool name! And his life story, what do you think he saw when he looked at a Crucifix?

Quote … Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” ~ Pope John Paul II ~

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Pull back the curtain and let the Son shine in … Friday, May 17

English: The Holy of Holies; illustration from...

The Holy of Holies. The curtain has been taken out of the way.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And the sun was darkened, and the earth quaked, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” Luke 23:45, Matthew 27:51. It took all of this, the agony of Christ, to tear that curtain in two. Tearing the curtain in two made the Holy of Holies assessable. There was no longer a barrier between God and man. The sacrifice of Jesus takes this away. Now we have access to the Holy of Holies, we can come to God with no veil in between. Think of the Eucharistic Presence. We can go to Him because He comes to us. Even creation reacted with an awe that made the sun hide its face and the ground tremble. Nothing like this had ever happened before and would never happen again. When we compare the various Gospel accounts we see that the rocks split and some of the saints of old came out of their graves and walked the streets of Jerusalem. The stoney material that sin has made of our hearts can be broken away, and we can walk away free, alive, and with Christ Jesus. It didn’t look that way then (looks can be deceiving) but its our reality now.

Today … St. Restituta

St. Restituta

“I am the Virgin Martyr. I suffered in the persecutions of Valerianus. My birth was at Ponizara, Africa. I was tortured in Carthage by fire. Almost like the later Vikings funerals, I was tied to a board, which was loaded with incendiaries, and accelerants. The vessel was set afire. The grace of God allowed me to drift to the coast of what was later to become Italy with my remains. I died a martyr in 255 at Carthage.”

Quote … “What the soul is in the body, let Christians be in the world.” ~ St. John Chrysostom ~

The only Jesus someone might ever see … Tuesday, April 30

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (Czech Republic...

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (Czech Republic) – one of reliefs in the inner chapel depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ ” Luke 23:34. Jesus had sympathy even for the ones who were killing Him. Most people, hanging there, dying on a cross, hurled curses at their tormenters. Jesus’ reaction was altogether different. And people noticed. The Good Thief noticed and converted. The Roman Centurion noticed and proclaimed, “Truly, this was the son of God.”  We’re not told of any others but the chances are good that these weren’t the only two. His words, His prayers, were something so very different that they would be hard to miss. People were watching Him there on the cross as He died. He’s not here to watch any more, is He? So who do people watch now? They can’t watch Him die so they, “they” being the world and the people of it, do the next best thing. They watch His followers live. Just as the example Jesus set on the cross had a profound effect on many of those watching (the Church received her first canonized saint, St. Dismas, out of the deal) so our example in daily living has an effect on those around us. Do they see us dying to the world, like Jesus on the cross, or do they see us living for it? Given our daily actions how many saints, like Dismas, will be the result of our example?

Today …

St. Joseph Cottolengo

St. Joseph Cottolengo

St. Joseph Cottolengo

Joseph was born at Bra, near Turin, Italy. He was ordained and engaged in pastoral work. When a woman he attended died from lack of medical facilities for the poor in Turin, he opened a small home for the sick poor. When it began to expand, he organized the volunteers who had been manning it into the Brothers of St. Vincent and the Daughters of St. Vincent (Vincentian Sisters). When cholera broke out in 1831, the hospital was closed, but he moved it just outside the city at Valdocco and continued ministering to the stricken. The hospital grew and he expanded his activities to helping the aged, the deaf, blind, crippled, insane, and wayward girls until his Piccola Casa became a great medical institution. To minister to these unfortunates, he founded the Daughters of Compassion, the Daughters of the Good Shepherd, the Hermits of the Holy Rosary, and the Priests of the Holy Trinity. Weakened by typhoid he had contracted, he died at Chieri, Italy, and was canonized in 1934. Now here is a good example. I wonder Who HE was watching, to have gathered such heart as to set this example? Who are we watching? Watching the right One will no doubt improve our example.

Remember … You may be the only Jesus some people ever see.

Who is the disciple Jesus gave His mother to? … Friday, April 12


(Photo credit: nikoretro)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” John 19:27. Up until the crucifixion Mary had been the responsibility of Jesus. Now, at the end of His earthly life, its time to make continuing provision for His mother. She will stay behind, at least for now. And Jesus gives her to who? “The disciple.” We know this disciple to be the disciple Jesus loved, nameless here. Why nameless? Because we know also that its John. Why not say John? Maybe to leave a blank that you and I HAVE to fill in. We know, no, let’s make it personal … You know, I know, that Jesus loves us. He proved it and He proves it over and over. The only name that anyone can use to fill in this blank is their own. So now, who does Jesus give His mother to? Who is it that takes her into their own home, as their own mother, to keep and care for? If He trusts us so much that He would give us His mother to be ours, if she willingly comes with us to our door, and if we follow Him, what must our attitude be towards this trust and this gift? In one of His parables Jesus spoke of a ruler who went into a far country to take care of business. Before he left he gave each of his servants an amount of money to care for while he was gone. Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-28. How much more precious than gold is His, and our, mother? What do we do with such a wonderful gift? Treasure and tend it, or bury it? Remember that we bury corpses. Remember also where He was when He gave us this gift. It obviously means a great deal to Him. We show Him by our living how much it means to us.

Today …

St. Zeno of Verona

St. Zeno of Verona

St. Zeno of Verona. Bishop of Verona, Italy, theological writer. A native of Africa, he was named bishop in 362 and proved an ardent opponent of Arianism. He also promoted discipline among the clergy and in liturgical life, built a cathedral, and founded a convent. Zeno wrote extensively on the virgin birth of Christ and other theological matters. He was the subject of numerous legends. Hard worker, lots going on, lots to do. Zeno probably didn’t have much free time. Many of us don’t. I wonder if he made time for his mother? Being a saint I suppose he did. Do we?

And just how many mothers do we have? …

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
~ George Cooper ~

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If you’re a child of God’s every day is Mother’s Day … Tuesday, February 26

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration

Mary Mother Of Jesus, and the rest of the family too. (Photo credit: Vectorportal)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, thy son.’ Then He said to His disciple, ‘Behold, thy mother.’ ” John 19:26-27. As followers (disciples) of Jesus, what do we see when we look at Mary? A fourteen year old Jewish girl of 2,000 years ago? A woman faithful to God to the point of, by His grace, living a sinless life? The wife of Joseph, a carpenter? We can see a great many things, she’s multifaceted, more than three-dimensional. But what did Jesus say to see? “Behold (look, see), thy (yours, mine, ours) mother.” Mother. A mother, a real and true one. A mother, one that is real and true, does lots of things for her children. She gives them life. Mary brought THE Life into the world, and because of THAT Life we can have life too. A mother listens. A mother gives medicine when a sick child needs it, even when the gooey, smelly syrup on the spoon tastes bad. A mother stays up late and watches, watches over the sick child and looks for the wayward one to come back home, praying all the while. A mother comforts. A mother also stands aside when the time comes for the Father to administer loving punishment, because both the mother and the Father know it’s in the child’s best interest. And a mother wipes tears, after a fall, after bad tasting medicine, even after deserved punishment. She’ll read us stories out of the Book too, if we’ll be still long enough to listen. After coming to Him as little children we set at the feet of Jesus. We’re supposed to follow Him, to copy, to emulate Him. Like little children. And when He was a little Child, whose feet did He set at?

Today … St. Isabel of France was the sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile, she refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors to continue her life of virginity consecrated to God. She ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother, founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess. She died there on February 23, and her cult was approved in 1521. She would have known all about Queens and mothers and Queen Mothers.

Quote … “The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~

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The Precious Blood of the Lamb … Friday, January 4

Lamb of God

Lamb of God (Photo credit: Nick in exsilio)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. “And when they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him.” All things culminate here. Without this sacrifice there is nothing else. Without Calvary the Lord’s Supper, the Mass, wouldn’t be a sacrifice in and of themselves. Calvary reaches back to the meal in the Upper Room, it reaches forward to the Mass offered daily around the world for nearly 2,000 years now. This is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8b. This had always been God’s plan. A place called the Skull is very fitting. The death’s-head. Of course we all know that this isn’t the end of the story. Pity those who think it is. Sincerely. The Romans and the Jews of that day thought they’d put a stop to all this foolishness, this pretender to the throne of David. And there are people today who think the same thing. For them He was dead and buried and still is. And that’s a pity. Because in believing this, and in living this belief, they are in fact crucifying Him all over again. But we’ll pray for better things, ask for better attitudes, for both them and us. This sacrifice was planned from eternity. As terrible as the shedding of His Blood was there is no remission of sins without it, Hebrews 9:22, and the proof of this is that the life, yours and mine and even those that don’t believe, is in the Blood, Leviticus 17:14 and John 6:54. But our life, the life in the Blood, doesn’t come from bulls or goats, Hebrews 10:4. Only His suffices, Revelation 1:5b. Pray this Mystery, the Crucifixion, and ask for two things. That we who believe might have a deeper appreciation for what He does for us, and that those who don’t believe be brought to a proper understanding.

Today … St. Hermes. Martyr with Gaius and Aggaeus. There is some debate and doubt about the exact site of their martyrdom. They were once revered as martyrs of Bologna, Italy, but there is little evidence that they were martyred there. The town of Bologna, in Asia Minor or Bononia, on the Danube are more likely. Ever notice how, with some saints, there’s a bit of confusion over certain details? Legends grow up around them and the facts get blurred. And, bottom line, it doesn’t really matter. That they were, and are, saints is whats important. And whats even more important is the Life’s Blood of any saint. Because their life is not their own. It’s His.

Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus … O Precious Blood of Jesus, infinite price of sinful man’s redemption, both drink and laver of our souls, Thou who dost plead continually the cause of man before the throne of infinite mercy; from the depths of my heart, I adore Thee, and so far as I am able, I would requite Thee for the insults and outrages which Thou dost continually receive from human beings, and especially from those who rashly dare to blaspheme Thee. Who would not bless this Blood of infinite value? Who doth not feel within himself the fire of the love of Jesus who shed it all for us? What would be my fate, had I not been redeemed by this Divine Blood? Who hath drawn it from the veins of my Savior, even to the last drop? Ah, this surely was the work of love. O infinite love, which has given us this saving balm! O balm beyond all price, welling up from the fountain of infinite love, grant that every heart and every tongue may be enabled to praise Thee, magnify Thee and give Thee thanks both now and for evermore.
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Saturday, December 22

A Rosary Meditation … The First Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. “Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 15:20. Its easy enough to see how these words applied to the followers of Jesus when you think about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. But how might they be applied to us personally, today? We can take joy in the Resurrection, that’s true. But does it stop there? Should it stop there? Is there nothing else to be joyous about? The Crucifixion was a bad experience for the disciples, seeing their much-loved Leader put to death like a common criminal. But the Resurrection offered nothing but joy and understanding. Joy because He lived again, understanding because this new life of His presented to them a glimmer of understanding of their own new life in Him. After this understanding began to dawn that first Easter morning the Crucifixion took on new meaning and didn’t look the same. And all of this should be an encouragement for us today. Because the joy and understanding didn’t stop there. When things look dark today we can remember all of this and look forward to tomorrow. Read 2 Corinthians 4, its short. Because as bad as things might seem right now we can trust God to bring something good out of it all. I’ll use myself as an example. Setting there in a doctor’s examination room and  being told you’re going to die and there’s nothing much anyone can do about it other than try to postpone it for a time is not a joyous occasion. But it brought me back to Church and a closer relationship with God and I have Hebrews 12:6 as a great consolation. I tell people I love my cancer. Is it any wonder? When things look dark with no light in sight, when you’re in a tunnel looking for the light at the end of it and find out the tunnel is a dead-end, that’s no reason to give up hope. It is the perfect time to take great joy in a Living, Loving, miracle-working God.

Today … St. Hunger. OK, if you’ve ever read the section titled “About me and my blog” listed over there on the right side of this page you know I admit to having an odd sense of humor. I’m trying to lose a few pounds and, well, when I started looking for a saint of the day this one just kinda stood out. But, turns out he is a good choice. Between running from Vikings and dealing with King Lotharius he seems to have had problems enough. Kings and Viking hoards aside, he was a bishop. If there was ever a bishop without headaches I’ll eat my mitre. (And no, I don’t have a mitre but, like I said, I’m trying to lose a few pounds and at this point just about anything looks appetizing.) I think St. Hunger knew dark days and sorrows. But being close to God I don’t think the darkness prevailed. How could it when Hunger possessed the Light? John 1:4. When things look dark for you remember St. Hunger and ask him to help you never to lose sight of the Light emanating from that empty tomb.

Hope … Having hope is how we express our faith in God when things look bleak.