The Greatest Announcement

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

Who doesn’t love surprises? I’m sure I have had my share in the 48 years of my existence. But as I try to recall which one had the most impact, not even one comes to mind. Now that surprises me!

Let me see. Well, a wedding proposal might have surprised me. I would have loved to be in the receiving end of one. But sorry for me. Because during our time, it was not necessary. Not because we were less romantic. It was just that the wedding and marriage were already being discussed over the courtship stage that it was in itself, already a proposal and a yes.

And yes, a diagnosis from my OB once surprised me. But in a negative way though. So I would not want to count it in.  And the proper term should be “scare” instead of surprise. If scare is the word, then I have a lot stored in my memory.

So let us go back in time with Mary; when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was going to be the mother of God, and she will call Him, Jesus. Now that was a big surprise to her. Imagine, in her simplicity and meekness, she found favor with God. Imagine her wonderment. Imagine a life-changing surprise in all her innocence.

But what differs us now, with Mary then when she received God’s word?

Mary was young and inexperienced, while we are older and “matured”, so to speak, and have years of religious instruction in school and the church. Yet when she got the greatest announcement of her life, she trusted God wholeheartedly and believed in His grand plan for her absolutely. She humbly went on with her daily life, even with the knowledge that she was (and still is) most special.

How about us? How do we accept the big surprises that come our way? It may be an unexpected promotion, a huge bonus, a love life that’s long overdue, healing for our ailments, maybe even winning the lottery. Do we receive them with humble and grateful acceptance? Or do we get drunk with self-entitlement that we fail to see the hand of God in all the merriment? And do we even remember to thank Him?

Like Mary, the greatest announcement we could ever receive in our lives is Jesus. Let us be innocent like Mary. Ever trusting. Ever thankful. Because whenever we least expect it, Jesus will continually surprise us with His everlasting love.  And it would be pleasing to Him if we respond exactly like His Mother.

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happy feet

“And how can men preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”  Romans 10:15

my birth month is almost over.  as i contemplate on all the blessings the Lord showers me with day by day, the Bible passage above, prompted me to stare at my own two feet.  they are relatively small and dainty, which definitely don’t match my short and fat limbs, nor my chubby yet huggable torso.  but they apparently do the work.  and as i ponder on the value of these feet which i always look down to, i’m amazed how far they already have taken me; from baby steps to short walks to school and church, to long walks to the park, malls, work, airports even.

these same feet which i took for granted, enables me to attend birthday parties, weddings, funeral processions; join campings, hikings, engage in sports or simply climb flights of stairs.  who knows what else my feet can do for me? run for my life maybe.

i remember during high school, there were these branded clogs which were in fashion called happy feet.  they were so cool, probably because they were the classy version of the local bakya.  back then, it was some sort of status symbol.  but since my parents could only afford bantex and spartan, i didn’t get the privilege to wear one. twenty-five years later, as we stroll around the mall and bhoy saw the child-like delight on my face when i saw racks and racks of happy feet, he couldn’t help but finally buy me the bakya of my youthful dreams. but then again, other than slip my feet on them, or to some other pair of sleek, thin-strapped sandals to showcase how pretty they are, i haven’t given much thought how hard my poor, little feet have served me thus far.

until now.

days before my birthday, i had to stop working and undergo total abdominal hysterectomy.  the procedure rendered me totally incapable to do just about anything.  and when finally, i’m able to walk again, that’s more or less what my ob gyn, nurses and internet researches advised me to do. just walk. from baby steps – again, i struggled to move forward without the bend and crouch and the twitch on my face .  you can just imagine how happy i was when last week, i was finally able to walk 1km along the corniche; breath in the fresh scent of the sea and bask in the early morning winter sunshine.

as my birth month ends, life goes on.  and as i walk on through the rest of my journey, i want to share the lessons of joy and hope from my humble, little feet.  at times when we may be looked down or stepped upon; at times when we slip or stumble; at times when the burden of the world weighs us down – stare at the same feet.  they never give up no matter how heavy we are literally.  they won’t really care how sad and frustrated we can become, they are always on standyby, ready to take us wherever we want to be, regardless of the danger and how rough the road ahead maybe.

they serve… and they endure.  because that’s what the happy feet are here for.  and so are we.

trick or treat!

“Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age,  he should become a ‘fool’, so that he may become wise.”  1 Corinthians 3:18

truth hurts.  and so is the discovery that the perceived truth was actually a lie afterall. then you wouldn’t know exactly which is worse.

what can exactly make a difference is the “who”.  strangers can lie all they can, so what?  if it does not involve us in any way, it wouldn’t matter at all.  but if it is someone with whom a mutual trust we thought exists, the truth hurts even more.

all of us, at some point in our lives, experience this sad truth.  betrayed, tricked, duped, deceived, bluffed, even stabbed at the back.  what can be more painful?

but it’s okey to feel bad.  it is a proof that we are alive and normal.  because to be numb is like being dead. 

but then again, if we continuously wallow in the pool of  lies and betrayal, then we will soon drown in the negativity of our self-inflicted pain.  and we’re just as good as dead.  because we can no longer move on and see things in a different light.

let’s make our “wallow episodes” short and significant.  like boosters to help us surge upwards, consider the trickery that once pulled us down, good luck in disguise.  the beautiful lie that finally appeared as the ugly truth, would teach us painful lessons that would eventually make us better persons. 

our “trust-o-meter” may malfunction for quite sometime.  but be patient.  people in our lives who stay true under any circumstance would calibrate it again like new.  we would eventually realize our true alliances, and they would enable us to be survivors in life.  these are the ones to whom our focus should be on, to cherish and value even more.

truth is a bitter pill, sugar-coated with lies.   in the end, we decide – to swallow or not.

trick or treat!

Opinion: Be Courageous Prophets! Restore the Family as the Foundation of Society

REPOST

From:  Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • By Jennifer Hartline
  • 6/28/2010
  • Start at home, but do not stay there. Be courageous prophets.

    As our culture sinks deeper into a moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.  What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.” Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.” 

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The answer is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

     WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Catholic Online) – “A society built on a family scale is the best guarantee against drifting off course into individualism or collectivism, because within the family the person is always at the center of attention as an end and never as a means… Without families that are strong in their communion and stable in their commitment peoples grow weak… The priority of the family over society and over the State must be affirmed.”  (paragraph 213, 214, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church)

    Perhaps you saw these stories this week:  A school board in Provincetown, MA approved a condom distribution policy where any student in the district can ask for condoms from the nurse, and be given an educational demonstration on how to use them properly.  There is no minimum age requirement or age limit.  1st graders are welcome to ask for condoms and be taught how to use them.  The policy also states that “the school district will not honor requests from parents that students not be allowed to receive condoms.”  That’s right.  Parents cannot object or exercise their rightful authority over their own minor children – even 1st graders.
     
    In Iowa, the high school kids in Shenandoah got instruction on graphic sexual acts from a Planned Parenthood representative during their state-mandated sex-ed class.  Students were shown how to do female exams, and with the aid of a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ, shown how to use a condom.

    The teens were also treated to a demonstration of the sex act in various different positions using stuffed animals, as well as photographs that some parents called “pornographic.”    When many parents – who, of course, had not been informed of the content of this sex-ed class – complained, the principal was reportedly “mortified” and apologized.  The superintendent said, “It’s a political hot potato.  It’s a religious hot potato.  It’s a parental hot potato.  It’s all these things that cause a crack in the system between society, parents, and schools, and we’re still required to do it.”

    In Texas, a 14 year-old girl has been arrested after giving birth in a friend’s apartment and then smothering her infant son with the amniotic sac.  She then put the child in a plastic bag and asked a neighbor to help get rid of the body, and the neighbor told police he put the baby in a large trash bin at the apartment complex.  They also threw away the linens, clothing and the bed.  The 14 year-old’s younger sister was the only one who knew of the pregnancy.  She also witnessed the birth – and death –  and told a school counselor what happened.  The police officer said, “Everybody’s parents work, they were unaware of what was going on.”

    The baby – that little person who was suffocated and then treated as garbage – is lost now to all but God, for by the time police learned of the death, the trash had been collected and taken to a landfill that they said was too big to search.

    No grave; no dignified resting place; just a mucky, rotting landfill.  And anyway, who really cares?  So what?  It’s not like he was a human being.

    We are in a moral and cultural freefall.  These three infuriating and somber stories are all symptomatic of the collapse of the family unit in our society.  In my own lifetime I have witnessed this collapse accelerate at an alarming rate.  But I don’t recall hearing alarm bells while I was growing up.  The adults I encountered were mostly indifferent, unaware, or otherwise enthusiastically indulging in the amoral home-wrecking they were inflicting on us.

    Clanging the alarm bell now seems a lot like crying out, “Iceburg!” after the Titanic already plowed into the thing.  We are sinking fast, and looking anywhere other than to God and His Church for rescue is a waste of time and life.  Just rearranging deck chairs…

    Allow me to be direct:  Divorce, remarriage, single parenting by design or default, shacking-up, abortion, babies manufactured and destroyed at will, the demand for same-sex “marriage” rights and parenting rights, and a culture that worships sex – all these things combined make for one very deadly potion that America’s been guzzling for decades.

    Being drunk and sick, we began abdicating our parental responsibilities and allowed public authorities to have more and more influence, more and more control, and now they simply run roughshod right over parents, particularly when it comes to sexual “education” and anti-God, politically-correct indoctrination.

    The icing on this disastrous cake has been too many years of far too many wishy-washy, weak-willed, confused, apathetic Catholics who are utterly ignorant of their faith and so put up little to no resistance against the destruction of the most vital component of our society:  the family.

    What is the cure for an aggressive public authority that usurps the authority of parents?  A community of strong, cohesive families who meet their moral, spiritual, educational and material obligations to their children.

    What is the cure for the life-hating era we live in, where girls barely past the onset of menstruation are having sex, becoming pregnant, and killing their own children?  The answer again, is a strong, cohesive family where mother and father are both present in the home; where human dignity is communicated and demonstrated; where commitments are kept; where virtues are lived and taught; where life is held sacred and God is still God.

    The cure is not government programs or entitlements or more mandates or restrictions.  The only cure is to return to an attitude of reverence for the foundation of our society:  the family, “born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman.”  (Paragraph 211, CSDC)

    As our culture sinks deeper into this moral abyss, the cure is not less Church but more Church.  Those whose faith was badly or never formed, and those who are timid and reluctant need to shape up, learn their faith and step out with courage to witness by their lives to the truth of God’s plan for the human person and the family.

    What is the remedy for a culture that rejects God, denies the natural law, places the State in authority over the children and celebrates every manner of immorality?  The Christian family; the “domestic Church.”

    “The Christian family is called therefore to be a sign of unity for the world and in this way to exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the Kingdom and the peace of Christ, towards which the whole world is journeying.”  (paragraph 220, CSDC) “Christian families have then, in virtue of the sacrament received, a particular mission that makes them witnesses and proclaimers of the Gospel of life.  This is a commitment which in society takes on the value of true and courageous prophecy.”  (paragraph 231, CSDC)

    No – timid, milquetoast Catholicism will not get the job done.  Our time is crying out for heroes of the faith to show themselves in every walk of life, in every nook and cranny of the public square, in every community.  For too long we have bought the lie that our faith must remain at home in private – no longer.  There can be no separation of faith and living!

    Be courageous prophets.  Our mission is to rescue and firmly reestablish the family according to God’s plan and design.  Start at home, but do not stay there.  Be courageous prophets.
    ————-
    Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
    – – –
    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    Novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

     

  • 5/14/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
  • On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul.

    WASHINGTON,DC  (Catholic Online) – Catholic Online is pleased to offer the novena of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The novena officially begins on the day after the Solemnity of the Ascension, Friday the 6th week of Easter and continues until Pentecost Sunday.

    The prayers for each day are printed below.  Please join us in praying this powerful prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and all God’s people, that we might be strengthened to carry on the work of the New Evangelization.

    Come Holy Spirit, and enkindle in us the fire of your love!

    A novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest form of all novenas. It was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

    ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

    PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
    To be recited daily during the Novena

    O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You  and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

    *****

    FIRST DAY (Friday after Ascension or Friday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

    The Holy Spirit

    Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin- Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

    Prayer

    Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SECOND DAY (Saturday of 6th Week of Easter)

    Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

    The Gift of Fear

    The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

    Prayer

    Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter or transferred Ascension)

    Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

    The Gift of Piety

    The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

    The Gift of Fortitude

    By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

    The Gift of Knowledge

    The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

    If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.

    The Gift of Understanding

    Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

    The Gift of Counsel

    The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

    Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

    The Gift of Wisdom

    Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

    Prayer

    Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

    *****

    NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

    Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

    The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

    The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

    Prayer

    Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

    Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
    Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts
    – – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    some kind of light

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” John 21:18

    my daughter megan was compared by my mom with Christmas lights that blink and blink.  when she was younger, she had  a temper which she undoubtedly got from me.  fortunately she got the ‘flash’ type temper.  ’twas here, next second pfft, nada, gone. 

    i wish i could control my temper like that when i was younger.  like a switch, i could have just turned it off as quickly in a flick.   and so should the spanking too.  (if that caused my behind to be this plump,  something good came out of it somehow, ha-ha.)

    this is just to point out that as we grow older, the more subdued and considerate we become.  when as infants, we cry when we were hungry or wet,  no matter if it was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep.  or we smiled and giggled when we feel like it, even when there was no one around  to smile with us.  who cares?  as kids, we were carefree. no worries, no inhibitions.  walang pakialam sa mundo.  at walang kamalay-malay. we didn’t care what time of day, or night it was.  our parents took care of everything we need.

    when we matured as teenagers, tougher rules were implemented.  parents stared at the clocks longer. tick-tock, tick-tock.  “time to do this, time to do that”.   “you’re late again”.   darn! these were played on and on like broken records.  that’s the reason we couldn’t wait until college graduation was over.  when finally, we would be able to find decent jobs and meet financial bliss minus parental restrictions.  aaaahhh sweet freedom!  haha! or so we thought…

    we don’t realize it until later that as we went about to build careers and eventually settle down and raise kids of our own, that we were never  free afterall.  when we signed employment contracts, we were bound.  when we get married, we tied the knot.  and the marriage contract didn’t even have an expiration date.  and the power over our own life would remain a dream, because our sense of responsibility decides when to turn on and off our self-indulgence.  we will forever be prisoners of time, jobs and loved ones.  or on a grander scale, prisoners of our own organization, company or advocacies.  

    by prisoner here meant to be involuntarily restrained.  as adult human beings, it is an instinct to belong.  and to belong means that one exists no longer for himself alone, but for someone else or something that he puts higher importance to, at times even more than himself. this requires sacrifice and self-denial especially when one’s desires and comforts are set aside for the well-being of another.   

    when we stretch out our hands to be tied down or when we allow ourselves to be taken and girded to be carried to where we would not want to go, we are perceived to be prisoners by human standards. but when we conform to a higher spiritual order, the restraints become the most profound symbol of freedom.  chains are made of love instead of steel.  and the prison walls of  warm embrace, instead of concrete.  when we are finally freed from the bondage of our own selfishness, we finally taste freedom of the sweetest kind.

    Jesus stretched out his hands to be crucified.  He allowed himself to be girded by others and carried away to where we would not want to go, to Golgotha where His body and blood were sacrificed so that we may be all be free from the bondage of sin.  it was not about weakness.  but obedience.  and love.

    the fate of St. Peter was predicted to be like that of his Savior, only upside down.  though he “blinked” 3 times, when he denied Jesus, he freed himself from the anguish and shame by accepting his designated task on earth.  to be the rock upon which the Church would be built.  to be the shepherd of Jesus’ flock after His Ascension.

    wouldn’t it brighter, if instead of blinking lights, we would rather be spotlights?…ever radiant and focused where the hand of God sets us upon.

    Easter Sunday: The Risen Jesus is Our Hope

  • By Fr. James Farfaglia
  • 4/3/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well.  

    He is truly risen! The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well.

    He is truly risen! The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (CATHOLIC ONLINE) – The resurrection of Jesus is a reality beyond doubt.  The liturgical season of Easter fills us with immense joy and profound hope.  However, each time we contemplate the gospel passages detailing the resurrection of Jesus we are faced with a sense of strangeness.  The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him.  The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness.  He continually demonstrates his physical reality.  The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him.  Thomas is told to touch his wounds.  The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical.  He has truly risen. 

     The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ.  Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt.  Their response shows us that although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary; his physical reality is now different than before.  The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body.

     Repeatedly the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred.  The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed.  His life is different from what it once was.  His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space.  For this reason, he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires.  At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord’s physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.

     The clarity of the physical reality of the risen Jesus provides us with the certainty of the existence of the Lord and the veracity of everything that he has taught us.  The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. 

    Applied to our practical daily living, the reality of the Risen Jesus fills us with profound peace.  There is no need to worry or to fear.  He is truly with us.  With Jesus, we know that we are journeying, not to the sunset, but to the sunrise.  We enter into a new relationship with God when we really believe that God is as Jesus told us that he is.  We become absolutely sure of his love.  We become absolutely convinced that he is above all else a redeeming God.  The fear of suffering and death vanishes, for suffering and death means going to the one God who is the awesome God of love.  In reality, our life long journey is a journey to the eternal Easter in Heaven.

    When we truly believe, we enter into a new relationship with life itself.  When we make Jesus our way of life, life becomes new.  Life is clad with a new loveliness, a new light and a new strength. When we embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior, when we develop a personal relationship with him, we realize that life does not end, it changes and it goes from incompletion to completion, from imperfection to perfection, from time to eternity.

     When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled with sin; we are freed from the loneliness of a life without meaning.  When we walk with Jesus and follow his way, life becomes so powerful that it cannot die but must find in death the transition to a higher life.

     The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead makes our entire journey to eternal life tangible, real, certain, and credible.  Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). Because Jesus has truly risen from the dead and ascended to the Father, we await with joyful hope his return in glory.

     Nevertheless, despite the victory of Jesus over death, the attack of evil continues. 

     The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is unique.  His death on Calvary completes and surpasses all the other sacrifices of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Christ´s reign is to be fulfilled with his Second Coming in glory.  Until that day occurs, Satan continues his attack even though he has been already conquered definitively by Christ´s sacrifice on Calvary (cf. CCC 671).

    In our own times, it is not hard to notice an ever-increasing presence of evil powers in the world.  The battle continues and it seems as if humanity is out of control. 

    The perversions of a world that has rejected the Savior of the world continues to carry much of humanity down the blind road of self-destruction.  The crisis of our age is rooted in the presumption that we can decide for ourselves what is good and evil without reference to God.

    The reality of the risen Jesus fills us with peace and consolation because he is truly with us.  His resurrection assures us of his final victory over evil.  The genuineness of Easter keeps us from worry, fear, and discouragement.  It sustains us in times of trial and it opens the heart to the expectation of eternal life.  However, this Easter should inspire us to be apostles of life because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. 

    “We are the people of life because God, in his unconditional love, has given us the Gospel of life and by this same Gospel we have been transformed and saved.  We have been ransomed by the ´Author of life´ at the price of his precious blood.  Through the waters of Baptism we have been made a part of him, as branches which draw nourishment and fruitfulness from the one tree.  Interiorly renewed by grace of the Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life, we have become a people for life and we are called to act accordingly” (Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, #79.1)

    The culture of death makes itself manifest in numerous ways throughout our modern world.  Abortion, euthanasia, excessive use of capital punishment and continuous wars are a concern to us all.  However, of all of these terrible manifestations of the culture of death, abortion is the worse of them all.

    If we can destroy innocent human life inside of the womb of a mother, and this no longer shocks us or concerns us, then nothing else will ever shock us or gain our concern. 

    If a society can justify the killing of an innocent unborn child, then there is no limit as to what else a society can justify regarding any other person.

    This is why if we really desire to have respect for the sick, the elderly and the dying; if we really want to curb the incorrect use of capital punishment; and if we truly desire lasting peace throughout the world, the first thing that we must assure is the right to life of the unborn child.

    As long as abortion remains an unchecked course of action, violence and injustice will continue to submerge the world in a continual spiral of chaos. 

    The Church must not, and cannot remain silent. 

    The issue of abortion becomes obscured when it is lumped together on an equal basis with every other social issue that concerns us.  Wisdom allows us to make objective distinctions and carefully understand the causes and effects of sinful human behavior on society.

    Ideologies only polarize the Church and obscure the efficacy of its mission here on earth. 

    As we joyfully celebrate the bodily resurrection of the Risen Lord, let us renew our commitment to the cause of life and the building up of a new culture of life. 

    However, given the present intensity of the battle for life, many have become discouraged.  Many maybe tired of the battle. 

    My dear friends remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough” (Poesías 30).

    Abandon yourself into the loving hands of an awesome God that loves us unconditionally.  Allow yourself to be purified. Do not let yourself be consumed by anger, anxiety, frustration, discouragement or resentment.  Enter into the dark night of the spirit.  Do not be afraid.  Allow yourself to be a transparent witness of the God of life. 

    —–

    Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Father has a hard hitting blog calledIllegitimi non carborundum.  He has also published a book calledMan to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. He is a contributing writer to Catholic Online. 

     – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!

    message sent

    “And the angel said to her ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom, there will be no end.’…

    …And Mary said ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:30-33, 38

    have you ever wondered how simple misunderstandings result to  severed ties, destroyed friendships, couples split-up and broken families?  how about workplace foul-ups?  ha-ha, now tell me about it.

    yesterday was my lucky day.

    a corporate volcano spewed verbal pyroclastics and an emotional flow of  utter annoyance  from the intense heat had taken place.  if  i had given into temptation, a full-blown eruption could have ensued.  but thank God,  i was able to hold my composure, and my joyful nature prevailed. 

    it all started with a simple email, the response of which should have been the answer to my query, or a simple idk ( i don’t know).  but instead the recipient confronted me asking me why i sent him the email, that he was not the right person to send it to, that he doesn’t have any idea of what i was asking for.  i tried to reason out with him but instead his voice took on a higher and angrier tone.  i was dumbfounded because i have absolutely no idea where all that furor was coming from.

    God knows how much patience kept my tolerance to a manageable level.  until finally the guy got tired, probably because he did not get the reaction that he expected.  he started to walk away.  as he did, when i realized he already let his guard down, i told him with poise and dignity intact,  “your reply could have been just a simple yes, no or i don’t know.  no more, no less.”  we could have spent our time in more productive endeavors, and preserved a bit of whatever is left of the wee respect that we still have for him.

    the trouble with people is, sometimes we tend to read between the lines instead of accepting the message at face value.  we are always suspicious that maybe, we are told with what was meant otherwise.  if we keep living in doubt, then where will we find certainty?

    today is the feast of the Annunciation.  when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she will be the mother of God, indeed she was full of grace, she had enough faith to believe.  just imagine if she did not say “let it be done unto me according to your word”

    Jesus is the message sent by our Father for our salvation.  let us then, pray for discernment.  so that when we respond, it wouldn’t rot in the outbox.  but rather, by our acts of faith, we would be able to forward them.  and through us, that same message of  God would be sent.

    Pope Benedict the XVI on “All Saints Day”

    10/30/2009

    Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

    ‘With great joy, we celebrate today the feast of All Saints. Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of their own personality and their own spiritual charism’

     

    On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part.
    On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part.
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    ROME (Catholic Online) – The feasts of “All Saints” and “All Souls” are celebrated as Holy days and the “offices” which report the news from the Holy see are closed. We present the 2008 Homily of our beloved Holy father, Pope Benedict XVI and will present his homily for this year after the Holy Days:

    Pope Benedict XVI ON “All Saints Day”

    Dear brothers and sisters!

    With great joy, we celebrate today the feast of All Saints. Visiting a nursery garden, one remains taken aback at the variety of plants and flowers, and spontaneously begins to think of the Creator’s fantasy that made the earth a marvelous garden. These same sentiments come to us when we consider the spectacle of holiness: the world appears to us as a “garden,” where the Spirit of God has sustained with remarkable wonder a multitude of saints, male and female, from every age and social condition, of every tongue, people and culture.

    Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of their own personality and their own spiritual charism. All, however, were marked by the “seal” of Jesus, the imprint of his love, witnessed upon the Cross. All now are at joy, in a feast without end as, like Jesus, they reached this goal across toil and trial, each one encountering their share of sacrifice to participate in the glory of the resurrection.

    The solemnity of All Saints became recognized in the course of the first Christian millenium as a collective celebration of the martyrs. Already, in 609, Pope Boniface IV had consecrated the Pantheon in honor of the Virgin Mary and All the Martyrs. But this martyrdom could be interpreted in a wider sense, that of loving Christ without reserve, a love expressed in the total gift of oneself to God and one’s brothers and sisters.

    This spiritual measure, to which all the baptized are called, is accomplished in following the way of the evangelical beatitudes, that the liturgy offers to us on today’s solemnity. It’s the same path traced by Jesus and that the saints pushed themselves to follow, always aware of their human limits. In their earthly existence, in fact, they were poor in spirit, pained by their sins, myths, starved of and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness’ sake. And God himself gave them a share in his own happiness: previewed in this world and, in the hereafter, enjoyed in its fullness. They are now consoled, have inherited the earth, are sated, pardoned, see the God whose children they are. In a word: “theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3,10).

    On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. As a celebrated “spiritual” song says: “When the saints go marching in, oh how I’d want, Lord, to be in their number!”

    May this beautiful aspiration burn in all Christians and help them to surpass every difficulty, every fear, every tribulation! Let us place, dear friends, our hand in the maternal one of Mary, Queen of All Saints, and let ourselves be led by her toward our heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits “of every nation, people and language.” And let us unite ourselves in prayer already recalling our dear departed ones who we’ll commemorate tomorrow.

    – – –

    Deacon Keith Fournier asks that you join with us and help in this vital mission by sending this article to your family, friends, and neighbors and adding our link (www.catholic.org) to your own website, blog or social network. Let us broadcast, we are PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC!