Just like the moon, most lovely one.

Just like the morning’s dawning bright
She rises to the heavenly height,

Maria, splendid as the sun
Just like the moon, most lovely one.

[from a hymn]

Happy Feast of the Assumption!

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A Beautiful Habit

“When a man’s intellect is constantly with God, his desire grows beyond all measure into an intense longing for God and his incensiveness is completely transformed into divine love. For by continual participation in the divine radiance his intellect becomes totally filled with light; and when it has reintegrated its passible aspect, it redirects this aspect towards God, as we have said, filling it with an incomprehensible and intense longing for Him and with unceasing love, thus drawing it entirely away from worldly things to the divine.” – St. Maximos the Confessor

Today’s is the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua – Holy Mass Readings here…

In the Midst of Challenges, Joy.

Thank you, Jesus.

“As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen.” – St. Patrick

Feast of St. Patrick’s Day Holy Mass Readings

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for Us!

“Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you.” – The Blessed Virgin, to St. Juan Diego

Today’s Holy Mass Readings here…

small gifts, great love

The Catholic Calendar for Monday, February 26, 2018
Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Deuteronomy 9:4b-10
Psalm 79:8, 9, 11 and 13
Luke 6:36-38

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Luke 6:36-38).

Where else in the New Testament does Jesus speak so intimately to each of us? None of us has the same opportunities to be merciful, to love, to forgive. Jesus gives each of us different talents that match the role He assigns us. Talents come in as many varieties as there are people, and all are equally important to His perfect plan. But we must use our talents to do His will by giving away gifts we design from our own passions and from our own desire to give.

A smile is a gift when it transforms a life. A prayer is a gift when it alters the direction of a soul. Wealth is a gift when it feeds a stranger. A word of encouragement is a gift when it lifts the spirit of someone we find hard to love. These gifts seem minor to us, but their weight is measured by Jesus alone. Our small gifts given with great love are just as precious to Him as a gift given by someone we hold high, like Mother Teresa, whose arms were a gift to countless children as she held them with their last breath.

Jesus places people of His choice, not ours, in our path for us to love. We must not waste the opportunity, but move forward according to this assumption, using our free will.

Our reward will be measured on its own and against no one else’s. We’ll recognize that our gift was considered great in Jesus’ eyes when the measure He returns to us fulfills the deepest desires of our hearts.

Once again, we learn that loving acts bring us the greatest joy!

e.

Until You Become

“Fancy a sculptor who sends for a piece of wood which he wishes to form into a fine statue. The wood-choppers carry to his shop a rough and shapeless log. The sculptor begins to smooth it down, using first the hatchet, then the saw, afterwards the plane, and finally the chisel. What does the wood do? Does it make any resistance? No, it allows itself to be worked upon until it becomes a beautiful statue.” – St. Paul of the Cross

It changes everything into love.

‘Take up your abode in the lovable Heart of Jesus, and you will find therein imperturbable peace and the strength to carry out the good desires He gives you. Bring to this divine Heart all your troubles and afflictions, for whatever emanates from the Sacred Heart is sweet: It changes everything into love.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Blessed Lent!

Happy Hearts Day!

xo

“Every Child is a Special Gift from God” – President Donald J. Trump, today at the March for Life

Today is the March for Life in Washington, DC.  There are over 100,000 amazing people in attendance.  While I can’t be there to support this wonderful day, I’m elated to see our President speaking there, the first President to ever attend.  Most people don’t even know this event takes place every year.

Today I’m in a very optimistic mood for the future of the unborn because we’ve come so far with President Trump in office.  I believe he realizes this issue is God’s most important.  May He bless this disciple of Christ and keep him, the First Lady and and their family safe.  Keep him going, Lord.  And dear babies, we’re coming for you, coming to save you from evil and ignorance.  In the meantime, I’m with you in spirit, each precious one of you.  e.

Crowd Control

A reflection on today’s Gospel:

St. Mark describes crowds of people traveling long distances to experience the miracle of Jesus.  Crowds so large and desperate,  Jesus expected to be crushed by them.  Imagine!

How quickly word would spread if Jesus were here with us today, curing the sick and healing the sick of heart.  With our technology, word would spread so quickly, Jesus would be crushed during his first appearance.  Even if you weren’t sick, imagine touching Jesus! We couldn’t build an auditorium big enough to hold such crowds.

Since Jesus isn’t with us in the physical sense, the “crowds” of today are more like large gatherings. Even with the growing popularity of mega-churches and worship halls, there’s no threat of anyone being “crushed” or “pressed upon.”  The only crushing and pressing that comes to mind are among frantic shoppers on Christmas Eve or mobs of rock fans waiting to get good seats to a Stones concert.  How sorry we might see ourselves as we enter eternal life, standing before the beautiful Light of the World crying, “You are the Son of God” (Mark 3:11) and recalling the hours we spent seeking material pleasures while Jesus waited in the long line of our life to touch us.

Jesus fulfilled His mission on earth so that we, in the present, can touch Him through faith.  He’s reserving a front row seat in eternity for each of us.  Follow the road to Him and He’ll make the journey short…no crowds, no long lines – no waiting!

e.

Like Snow Before the Sun

“My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” – St. Jean Vianney

Today’s Holy Mass Readings here

“Believe me, do not be cast down or grieved at the small vexations by which it pleases our Lord to try your love and patience; but endeavor rather to conform your will to His, letting Him do with you according to His desire, which is, that you should remain peaceful and resigned in the midst of your difficulties.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

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‘There is no affliction, trial, or labor difficult to endure, when we consider the torments and sufferings which Our Lord Jesus Christ endured for us.” – St. Teresa of Jesus

Today’s Holy Mass Readings…

“Love alone harmoniously joins all created things with God and with each other.” St. Thalassios the Libyan

“Know that He wishes more love than fear from you. Therefore, abandon yourself to His love, and let Him act in you, with you and for you, according to His desire and good pleasure.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Today’s Holy Mass Readings

 

“Keep the commandments, and you will find peace; love God, and you will attain spiritual knowledge.” – St. Thalassios the Libyan

‘To attain the knowledge of God is impossible for those who are still under the control of their passions. Therefore they cannot attain the salvation they hope for as they have not obtained any knowledge of God.

He who fails to attain this end is clearly subject to the charge of being ignorant of God, and ignorance of God is shown by a man’s manner of life.”

– St. Clement of Alexandria

Today’s Holy Mass Readings

Paradise is Unlocked

“Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ‘in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.” – St. John Chrysostom

See Today’s Holy Mass Readings here.

Holy Family

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Luke 1:39-47

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

“How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
(Luke 1:43)

Each year for the past several Christmases, a special manger has sat beside our Christmas tree. I’d been searching for the perfect Nativity set since I was married 37 years ago, but never found one that suited my heart, and since my mother knows precisely my taste, was also on the lookout for just the right one.

The day she found it, it was summertime. She excitedly called to tell me how she’d come across it at a garage sale for just $2.00. She knew the moment she saw it that I’d love it and couldn’t wait for me to see it. She was right. The next time I visited, I was thrilled as she carefully pulled the manger and each statuette out of the box. Although it was daylight, we plugged in the cord and together admired each of the figures the little bulb was illuminating. It was a special moment between us, and our hearts leapt for joy like the child in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary greeted her!

Later that year when the Christmas season arrived, I couldn’t wait to set up the manger and its figurines. It was an old set, but well preserved; similar to the one I’d grown up with. Whoever owned it previously had kept it intact, but now, for reasons unknown to me, could no longer carry on their tradition. So I was doing it for them, and would see to it that their joy would be shared with new Christmas visitors. My last task was to hook the angel carrying the banner, “Gloria” onto the tiny nail at the top of the roof. I plugged in the light, and my heart leapt for joy all over again.

As guests would look in at our Christmas tree, they’d each have a different, but wondrous reaction as their eyes reached my “new/old” manger. One quietly gasped and another drew near and gazed into the welcoming glow the little bulb was giving as it streamed light onto the three Wise Men who never stopped seeking Jesus the way I never stopped seeking what is now the most significant part of my Christmas. I was pleased for the faith and wonder of my guests and silently prayed for them the way Elizabeth did when Mary greeted her in today’s Gospel, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

I especially remember the reaction of a friend who, unable to call to mind the name “Holy Family,” asked me, “Is that the Loving Family?”  “Yes,” I answered. “It is.”

e.

Thrill of Hope

The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, December 6, 2017 
Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 25:6-10a
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Matthew 15:29-37

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

They glorified the God of Israel! (Matthew 15:31)

Wherever we turn these days, Christmas music plays, and for some of us this year, the words to the traditional carols we’ve come to know by heart have suddenly taken on new meaning. Old, familiar jingles about Christ’s birth now seem to resound with significance, bursting with the presence of His Gospel!

The popular hymn, O Holy Night, is full of such moving words; it speaks of the world lying long in sin, “’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Such were the great crowds of the lame, blind, deformed and mute in today’s Gospel. Imagine them, the sick and weary, the hungry, approaching Jesus up on the mountain, filled with “a thrill of hope.” Envision them, “falling on their knees” as our compassionate Savior placed them at His feet and cured them! Jesus took pity on that crowd of four thousand and fed them with only seven loaves and a few fish.  Imagine the “weary souls rejoicing!”

Jesus holds no less compassion for our weariness and hunger as He continues to heal us with His Word and feed us through the Eucharist. We give thanks for these gifts which we receive in faith, and rejoice along with the souls on that mountain, “Sweet hymns of joy! In grateful chorus raise we! Let all within us praise His holy Name!”

e.

Today’s Readings

“In prayer, the soul is united to God through love.” – St. Paul of the Cross

When it comes to prayer, I tend to agree with the words of St. Philip Neri who once said, “To pray well requires the whole man.”  But Jesus sees even our slightest glance toward Him and comes to help us in His time.  Believing in this is the miracle of faith He longs to see in each one of us.

From Today’s Responsorial Psalm:

“He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save” (Psalm 72:12-13).

“Give us new life and we will call upon Your name” (Psalm 80:19).

Today is the First Sunday of Advent!

If you have an Advent wreath, you’ll light the first of four candles today.  If you don’t have one, you can watch the priest light it just before Holy Mass.

What did Mother Teresa say about Advent?  Something beautiful.

“ADVENT IS LIKE SPRINGTIME IN NATURE WHEN EVERYTHING IS RENEWED, FRESH AND HEALTHY. ADVENT REFRESHES US, MAKES US HEALTHY AND ABLE TO RECEIVE CHRIST IN WHATEVER FORM HE MAY COME TO US. AT CHRISTMAS HE COMES AS A LITTLE CHILD, SMALL, HELPLESS AND IN NEED OF HIS MOTHER AND ALL THAT A MOTHER’S LOVE CAN GIVE. HIS MOTHER’S HUMILITY ENABLED HER TO SERVE. IF WE REALLY WANT GOD TO FILL US, WE MUST EMPTY OURSELVES THROUGH HUMILITY OF ALL THE SELFISHNESS WITHIN US.”

Beautiful.

“Jesus is the Truth that Must be Shared”

Mother Teresa wrote, “Jesus is the Truth that must be shared, and today’s Gospel is certainly one I couldn’t keep to myself.  With love, here it is, Readers…

“Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man”  (Luke 21:34-36).
Find more of today’s Holy Mass Readings here.

“One of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice” (Luke 17:15).

Jesus always responds to prayers made in faith. The faith of the ten lepers brought them a miraculous cure, but the faith of one brought him back to the feet of Jesus, where he learned that his conviction had brought him something even greater – salvation, Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)

All things are possible with God, but only in faith can we accept the mystery of His power the way the lone leper did when he returned to thank Jesus. One would expect such a reaction from a leper whose lesions suddenly disappeared, but it didn’t happen that way for the other nine. And it doesn’t always happen that way for us, even though the miracles in our own lives go beyond physical healings every day!

God has pity on us every time we ask, not just when His answer is visible like the lepers. Trusting in this is the miracle of faith, and in its fullness we find salvation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

e.

Season of Giving

Today’s Gospel Reading
Luke 14:12-14

Jesus calls us to invite the needy to our banquet table. His message doesn’t discourage us from welcoming friends, family and wealthy neighbors, but asks that we bear in mind our intentions. It’s against human nature to give lavishly without looking for repayment. But Jesus insists that we give without expectations. How do we do that?

Perhaps we can start by practicing generosity toward those with no means of reciprocation. Consider the young lady in prison without loved ones to send money for an occasional luxury such as a soda or bag of chips. The retired nun on a small income, standing in the grocery checkout line. The father of nine, longing to take all of his children to a ballgame, but can’t afford one ticket. The poor beggar with nothing but her clothes and unassuming nature. We may find it’s easier to give without the prospect of receiving, when we give to such persons.

But something wonderful happens to us when we give of ourselves to the least of these. Jesus rewards us by bringing joy to our hearts. We become the needy ones; constantly looking for opportunities to encourage, until giving becomes a beautiful habit. Jesus’ gifts also begin to increase, as we find ourselves offering our support to the poor and affluent alike, with no expectation of receiving. Ultimately, we find ourselves longing to be like Him in love, and sharing that love with everyone.

So, as we enter this beautiful season of giving, let us be generous with all our brothers and sisters and recognize that our repayment comes from God alone. Our most precious reimbursement . . . His amazing grace.

e.

Peace Be With You

The Catholic Calendar for Thursday, October 18, 2017
Saint Luke, Evangelist

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
2 Timothy 4:10-17b
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
Luke 10:1-9

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

The kingdom of God is at hand for you”  (Luke 10:9).

Jesus appointed seventy-two of His disciples to peacefully spread this message to others, and since God’s kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, we must do the same!

When this fabulous message reaches our hearts, it’s difficult for us to keep it from others.  We find ourselves naturally and very comfortably sharing the peace of Jesus in our daily conversations. Sometimes when we set out to do this, the other person’s peace may rest on us instead.  This happened last week, when a dear friend of one of my friends died, leaving four young children behind. At the funeral, my friend felt compelled to share the peace of Jesus with the 11-year-old daughter who had just lost her mother, saying, “It’s okay to cry, I know how you feel because when my dad died, I felt very sad, and I miss him so much, my eyes still water almost every day.”  The young girl responded by sharing her own peace with my friend, “I’m all right, and so are you, because my mom and your dad are with Jesus.”

May the peace of Jesus be with you!

e.

‘The more a soul enjoys peace and solitude, the more apt it is to seek and find its Creator.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola

No Excuse

“Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen”

(Romans 1:16-25).

Today’s Gospel Reading

 

Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

Today’s Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary takes me to a day long ago just before our class was to let out for Easter break. I knew something special was in store when Sister Jacinta asked us to clear our desks of everything but crayons. Excitedly, I lifted my creaky desktop and stuffed my things inside. Holding the heavy lid open with my elbow, I hunted around for my 8-pack of Crayolas then ran my sleeve over the desktop to clear away all trace of pink eraser dust.

“It’s a contest!” Sister announced in her melodious voice – I was fascinated by her. She was the nicest and prettiest nun in school, and I felt lucky to have her as my second grade teacher. She was soft-hearted and regarded everyone with affection while most of the other nuns were serious – yet, even the most austere of them would speak of Sister Jacinta’s constant inner joy.

When the handouts finally reached the back row where I was seated, I took mine and looked it over, enchanted. It was a drawing of a mother duck boasting an oversized Easter bonnet with her ducklings behind her, running after the Spring flowers that were spilling out of her basket. Sister announced that a special prize would be given for the most beautifully colored picture.

Focused on winning, I colored with passion, doing my utmost to bring the drawing to electrifying life with 8 crayons. At last, we held up our pictures for Sister to see, but I knew my efforts were lost behind the rows of upstretched arms in front of me. Still, I hoisted my masterpiece as high as I could, hopeful she’d catch a glimpse of it.

“ELIZABETH,” she announced my name. “Come up, please.” My heart jumped, then my feet after it as I marched to the front clutching my work of art, thrilled at having been selected. With a smile, Sister reached into her drawer and pulled out a white plastic lace case and gave it to me. I unsnapped it and gasped at the “big girl” rosary inside. I took it out of the case and felt its weight as the pink glass beads and silver crucifix shone under the fluorescent lights. Even then, my young mind knew it had been impossible for her to see and critique my work from such a distance. But with God all things are possible, so perhaps, I considered, this was Our Lady’s doing.

Now I’m certain it was, and my beautiful rosary is still with me today, bringing me special graces and protection as our Lady promised. It’s brought me peace, strengthened my faith, hope and my love for God and others, and that’s why today’s Memorial evokes for me one of the most treasured memories of my life.

Elizabeth

“According to our purpose and our intention shall be our reward, and though our intention be ever so good, it is necessary to bring it to a good will and great diligence.” – Thomas a’ Kempis

“What are you, then, who dread a mortal man so deeply? Today he is, and tomorrow he does not appear. Fear God, and you will not need to fear man. What can man do to you in words or injuries? He hurts himself more than he hurts you, and in the end, whoever he be, he will not escape the judgment of God. Have God always before the eye of your soul, and do not answer to the charge in many words. If you seem for a time to suffer confusion that you have not deserved, do not count it as little, and do not, through impatience, diminish your reward. Rather, lift up your heart to God in heaven, for He is able to deliver you from all confusion and wrong and to reward every man as he deserves, and much more than he can deserve.” – Thomas a’ Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

“For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory” (Psalm 149:4).

Dear Father in Heaven, our hearts wrench for our neighbors caught in Harvey’s aftermath, yet we’re deeply touched by the selfless love of the Good Samaritans. Let us not question why human suffering exists but trust in Your Will, which we can see as Your grace flowing through those giving souls. Let us see the love and kindness of Your Son Jesus in this time of heartbreak and realize the power of prayer, which is so needed by us now, from afar.

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15:28)

Today’s Gospel Reading

“We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola