Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fabio's Three Gifts To Jesus

In a Christmas letter I received from the Superior of the Missionaries of Charity, there is a wonderful story about a little boy named Fabio. Fabio learns that Jesus thirsts for us. Jesus wants to take all our problems and pains to Himself - and set us free. This freedom is our Christian hope. We await that glorious reality. Because of this knowing, our lives are forever changed.

Here is Fabio's story...

Fabio, 8 years old, is sitting in front of the crib and gazing at Baby Jesus. After some time he falls asleep and in his dream Baby Jesus becomes alive and looks at him with loving eyes and gently smiles at him. Jesus moves his lips, saying: "Fabio, will you give me three gifts?" He loved Baby Jesus very much and he thinks that maybe Jesus will ask him for his new bicycle, the new picture book and his new sweater. Seeing Jesus' expecting eyes, Fabio answers bravely: "Yes, Jesus, whatever you ask from me, I will give it to you."

"Fabio, will you give me the last composition you wrote at school?" Fabio holds his breath: "But Jesus, that one with the teacher's remark "failed"?" "Fabio, that one I want you to give to me and promise me that everything that fails in your life, you will always give to me." Fabio is relieved: "Yes, Jesus, I promise to do that."

"The second gift I want you to give me is your milk glass." Fabio feels very bad. "Jesus, it is broken." "I want it, and promise me that you will give me all that is broken in your life. Will you do that?" Fabio promised it willingly.

"The third gift I ask from you is the answer you gave your mother, when she asked you, how your milk glass got broken." Now Fabio breaks into tears, and cries bitterly: "This I cannot give you, Jesus. I told a lie, saying it dropped from my hand, but in reality I had smashed it on the floor in anger." "I want you to give me this lie, and all the lies in your life. Will you do that?" Fabio's eyes are downcast, slowly he lifts his head and he looks at Jesus' loving eyes and his gentle smile. Hope and trust fill his heart as he promises: "Yes, Jesus, I will always give you my lies."

Then Fabio wakes up and his heart is filled with deep peace and a new joy. He knows: "Jesus, my Saviour, is born in my heart today."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary And Joseph

Consecration to the Holy Family

O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou protect us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by living according to the divine pattern of Thy family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by the kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, help us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal needs; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be (3X). Amen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

St. Stephen's Day

At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist (Greek-speaking) Christians complained about the Hebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.... (Acts 6:1-5)

Today is St. Stephen's Day. St. Stephen, the protomartyr and archdeacon, gave his life for Christ. St. Stephen is a most special saint for all deacons today, especially the permanent deacon. The permanent deacon is a unique sign and instrument of what Jesus Christ is for the Church, and of what the Church must be for the sake of Christ. The permanent deacon serves the bishop. He serves in two worlds, the secular and the Church, although these worlds are closely intertwined. Most permanent deacons are married with children, they work full time jobs, they minister to the poor and downtrodden - and also serve at the altar. Please pray for deacons and for diaconal vocations.

Friday, December 25, 2009

It’s Christmas time in New Jersey! Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas time in New Jersey

“It’s Christmas time in New Jersey, come see and hear,
all the sights, sounds and the glow and sparkle of lights so pretty,
that comprise the heartbeat, rhythm and sparkle of our great,
big wonderful welcoming state and cities.

It’s Christmas time in New Jersey our cities, towns and villages,
are now all adorned in their most glorious dress,
as church elders prepare the baby Jesus creche.

Christmas trees on town halls, stores, homes, lawns and malls are all shining bright.
Gaily decorated in colored bells, tinsel, garlands, angels and lights, that glow and sparkle day and night,
boy oh boy what a magnificent and inspirational sight.

As Santa Clause makes out his Christmas list, making sure no girl or boys requested
toy will be forgot or missed. as Santa Claus extends his warm and welcoming Christmas
greeting to everyone throughout our great state.

” Merry,Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to one and all.
”For, it’s Christmas time in New Jersey.”

©Joseph P. Martino – Poet, Writer Millburn

above Photo "Cristmas Trees in Brookdale Park©bjm

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Revered mother of our Redeemer,
the way to heaven for us, now and always,
come to our help as we fall and strive to rise.

All nature stood still in wonder
when you gave flesh
to your own flesh’s Creator.
Virgin at Gabriel’s greeting,
Virgin now and always –
take pity on us sinners.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Tis Love That's Born Tonight!

Last year I received as a gift the James Taylor Christmas CD. One of the songs on the CD is "Some Children See Him." I don't know why, but I had never heard this song before. It was written by Wihla Hutson & Alfred S. Burt in 1951. I sat down and listened - the marriage of the words and music were overwhelming. It is one of the finest songs I have ever heard. It touched my heart. And it is an important song - especially today.

Some children see Him lily white,
the baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
with tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
this Savior whom we kneel beside.
some children see Him almond-eyed,
with skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
and, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
will see the baby Jesus' face
like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
and filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering,
come worship now the infant King.
'Tis love that's born tonight!

Wihla Hutson & Alfred S. Burt 1951

Sunday, December 20, 2009

St. Dominic of Silos, 4th Sunday of Advent

Saint Dominic of Silos

(Santo Domingo de Silos) (1000—December 20, 1073) is a Spanish saint, to whom the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos is dedicated.Dominic was a saint who loved solitude. Christians are called to spend time in solitude, most especially now in this Advent season. Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Very soon our Saviour will be born to us. Are we ready? Maybe today is that time to spend in quiet reflection, on the meaning of this season, on the meaning of the Incarnation, of "God with us."

Last evening we experienced our first snowstorm here in New Jersey.

I love the snow - it makes everything quiet. Maybe today's weather is a gift from God, it tells us to slow down, listen to His words, and dream of heavenly things.

In the words of Thomas Merton:

"Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it."

* Image B-R, My Backyard

Friday, December 18, 2009

World Day of Peace Message 2010

The Holy See has released Pope Benedict's "World Day of Peace" message for January 1st, 2010. Here is an excerpt...

At the beginning of this New Year, I wish to offer heartfelt greetings of peace to all Christian communities, international leaders, and people of good will throughout the world. For this XLIII World Day of Peace I have chosen the theme: If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation. Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because “creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works”,and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind. Man’s inhumanity to man has given rise to numerous threats to peace and to authentic and integral human development – wars, international and regional conflicts, acts of terrorism, and violations of human rights. Yet no less troubling are the threats arising from the neglect – if not downright misuse – of the earth and the natural goods that God has given us. For this reason, it is imperative that mankind renew and strengthen “that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying”.

You can click
HERE to read the whole message or print it.

God bless!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Words By Blessed Mother Teresa

When I was now in Oslo, they told me I had disturbed the Parliament because I spoke very strongly against abortion. I said that abortion is nothing but murder, a mother murdering her own child. I asked also: “Who was the first person to receive Christ, to acknowledge His presence? It was the unborn child” When Mary came with haste into Elizabeth’s house, the little child in the womb of his mother leaped with joy acknowledging the presence of Jesus. So he was the first human being, besides Our Lady, the first human being to recognize the presence of Christ. So I want you to pray very specially that we bring this more and more: that we really preserve the life of God in the unborn child….

I was surprised the other day, after I had spoken, everybody, even the king, came up said: “Thank you for speaking, nobody could have spoken as you spoke.” I prayed to God before I spoke. Afterwards this priest came to me and said: “Show a little mercy on those mothers that are doing that, don’t be so hard on that.” I said: “Father, I need to tell the truth and Jesus said: “I am the truth”, and we have to tell the truth and it is for them to use it or leave it.” …

* photo- mc

Monday, December 14, 2009

Diaconal Spirituality By Deacon Bob Yerhot

I grabbed this thoughtful reflection off Deacon Bob Yerhot's website. Deacon Bob, I hope you don't mind.

The Trinitarian Dimension of Diaconal Spirituality

December 13th, 2009

Much is written about diaconal kenosis, that is, radical self-emptying, self-donation for the sake of the other in the manner of Jesus who emptied himself of all trappings of his divinity in taking on our flesh for our salvation. This kenotic outpouring of a deacon’s life then is a reflection of the Trinitarian life of God Himself. God is so giving of himself, Father to Son and Son to Father that the Holy Spirit is present and the Triune God is revealed.

The thought that a deacon’s spirituality draws him into divine Trinitarian life reminds us of the dignity and depth of diaconal life. We share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ by our self-sacrifice, our self-effacement for the sake of others.

It demands we develop a spirit of humility and authority that are profound but without imposition. We seek not honors or titles or grand placement. We must put aside our egos. We become Icons of Jesus the Servant.

A deacon is kenotic in his service at the Eucharistic altar but most especially in the hidden moments of service to the poor and the forgotten. A deacon is truly deacon when he ministers in the background.

Our authority comes from our bishop. And we need speak boldly when proclaiming the Gospel in the liturgical assembly and when we preach the Word in homily. No time for timidness here. Our bishop sends us forth to preach and teach. But we must remember that we are merely the sound, the voice, not the Word. Our voices must evaporate after we have proclaimed the Word who takes up residence in the hearer.

We diminish as Jesus grows.

The Holy Spirit renders our lives effective if we are attuned to the Word of the Father, and as bearers of that Word, we revere the Father who sends us forth. Our spirituality gives witness in this way to the life of the Trinity.

God help us in this wonderful vocation.

Catholic Faith and Reflections

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaudete Sunday

"A Prophetic Proclamation Destined for the Whole of Humanity"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this Third Sunday of Advent, the liturgy invites us to the joy of the spirit. It does so with the famous antiphon as part of an exhortation of the Apostle Paul: "Gaudete in Domino", "Rejoice in the Lord always... the Lord is at hand" (cf. Phil 4:4, 5).

The first Reading of Mass is also an invitation to joy. The Prophet Zephaniah at the end of the seventh century B.C. spoke to the city of Jerusalem and its people with these words: "Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem...! [T]he Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory" (Zep 3:14, 17).

God himself is portrayed with similar sentiments, as the prophet says: "The Lord... will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love... as on a day of festival" (Zep 3: 17-18). This promise was fully brought about in the mystery of Christmas, which we shall be celebrating in a week and which asks to be renewed in the "today" of our lives and of history.

The joy that the liturgy reawakens in the hearts of Christians is not reserved for us alone: it is a prophetic proclamation destined for all humanity and for the poorest of the poor in particular, in this case, those poorest in joy!

Let us think of our brothers and sisters who, especially in the Middle East, in several regions of Africa and other parts of the world, are experiencing the drama of war: what joy can they live? What will their Christmas be like?

Let us think of all the sick and lonely people who, in addition to being tried in their body, are also sorely tried in their soul because they often feel abandoned: how can we share joy with them without disrespecting their suffering?

But let us also think of those people, especially the young, who have lost their sense of true joy and seek it in vain where it is impossible to find it: in the exasperated race to self-affirmation and success, in false amusements, in consumerism, in moments of drunkenness, in the artificial paradise of drugs and every form of alienation. We must obviously face the liturgy today and its "Rejoice" with these tragic realities.

As in the times of the Prophet Zephaniah, it is particularly to those being tested and to "life's wounded and orphans of joy" that God's Word is being addressed in a special way.

The invitation to rejoice is not an alienating message nor a sterile palliative, but on the contrary, it is a salvific prophecy, an appeal for rescue that starts with inner renewal.

To transform the world, God chose a humble young girl from a village in Galilee, Mary of Nazareth, and challenged her with this greeting: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you". In these words lies the secret of an authentic Christmas. God repeats them to the Church, to each one of us: Rejoice, the Lord is close! With Mary's help, let us offer ourselves with humility and courage so that the world may accept Christ, who is the source of true joy.

Pope Benedict XVI, 2006

Friday, December 11, 2009

Louie, Louie - A Great Blog

Hello Friends,

For those of you who have a keen interest in Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis), his writing, poetry, photography, contemplative activism - you will not find a better blog than Louie, Louie.

Check this great blog out HERE

The English Welsh Equality Bill

English, Welsh bishops say Equality Bill redefines who can be priest

I grabbed this story out of CNS. Could this happen here in the USA? Sure could. Better keep alert,

By Simon Caldwell Catholic News Service

LONDON (CNS) -- The Catholic bishops of England and Wales said they could be at risk of prosecution under a proposed law unless they accept women, sexually active gays and transsexuals as candidates to the priesthood.

They made their claims in a briefing for Catholic members of the House of Lords, Britain's upper political chamber, ahead of a scheduled Dec. 15 debate on the Equality Bill, which aims to stamp out discrimination in the workplace.

The bishops said the bill defines priests as employees rather than officeholders. Under the terms of the bill, the church would be immune from prosecution only if priests spend more than 51 percent of their time in worship or explaining doctrine.

According to the briefing, a copy of which was obtained by Catholic News Service Dec. 8, the government definition will, in effect, make it "unlawful to require a Catholic priest to be male, unmarried or not in a civil partnership, etc., since no priest would be able to demonstrate that their time was wholly or mainly spent either leading liturgy or promoting and explaining doctrine."

"The bill fails to reflect the time priests spend in pastoral work, private prayer and study, administration, building maintenance, etc.," the briefing said.

"This contentious definition was drafted without consultation and has been maintained by the government despite the concerns of the bishops' conference and representations made by most religious bodies in the U.K.," the briefing added.

The bishops asked Catholic lords to try to either strike out the contentious definition or widen it to protect priests and lay employees "whose credibility ... would be fatally compromised if their personal lives were openly at variance with the church's teaching."

In a Dec. 8 statement given to CNS, a government spokesman rejected the claims of the bishops, saying that an exemption "covers ministers of religion such as Catholic priests."

An amendment to the bill to protect the liberty of the churches was voted down in the House of Commons in November. The bill is likely to become law early next year.

Richard Kornicki, the bishops' parliamentary coordinator, told CNS in a Dec. 8 telephone interview that the bishops believe it is not possible to meet the criteria of the government definition of a priest.

According to legal advice received by the bishops, he said, this could lead to legal actions for sex discrimination if the church rejected women, married men, gays in civil partnerships or transsexuals who asked to join the priesthood.

"The government is saying that the church cannot maintain its own beliefs in respect of its own priests," he said.

Neil Addison, a Catholic lawyer who heads the Thomas More Legal Centre, which specializes in religious discrimination law, said that in the worst-case scenario the church could not only be sued but bishops could face imprisonment and unlimited fines and church assets could be sequestered. He said the bill would have the effect of making it impossible for the bishops to discipline clergy who wanted to live "alternative lifestyles."

Earlier, the bishops said the bill could force Catholic schools and health care institutions to remove crucifixes from their walls in case they offend non-Christian employees.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Senate Defeats Nelson Amendment, How Sad

I am appalled, saddened and disgusted. Health care? How can you call a bill health care if it mandates the killing of children? And what about this president - the president of change. Didn't Mr. Obama say there would not be federal funding for abortion in this "health care" bill?
I hesitated to say it - but the truth must be heard. This president is a "LIAR." Politicians who vote yes to a bill that funds abortion are nothing but EVIL. I am called to pray for them, but it won't be easy.

The Senate Vote on Motion to Table (Kill) Nelson Amendment HERE

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, prepared a worthy dwelling place for thy Son, we beseech thee that, as by the foreseen death of this, thy Son, you preserved her from all stain, so too you would permit us, purified through her intercession, to come unto thee. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Above image > Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1618-1682) Immaculate Conception

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kevin Jennings Must Go !!!!

Click HERE for Jennifer Hartline's article "An Open Letter to Obama."

It is important for you to read!

Friday, December 4, 2009

God Always Listens

A first essential setting for learning hope is prayer. When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. When I can no longer talk to anyone or call upon anyone, I can always talk to God. When there is no longer anyone to help me deal with a need or expectation that goes beyond the human capacity for hope, he can help me. When I have been plunged into complete solitude ...;
if I pray I am never totally alone. The late Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, a prisoner for thirteen years, nine of them spent in solitary confinement, has left us a precious little book: Prayers of Hope. During thirteen years in jail, in a situation of seemingly utter hopelessness, the fact that he could listen and speak to God became for him an increasing power of hope, which enabled him, after his release, to become for people all over the world a witness to hope—to that great hope which does not wane even in the nights of solitude.

* excerpt from "Spe Salvi"

* forest image solitude©bjm

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Nice Christmas Present

Alma Mater: Featuring The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI

This CD will be a nice Christmas present!

Alma Mater, the album with prayers by the Pope, dedicated to Our Lady can be heard worldwide as of November 30th. It includes 6 prayers and meditations accompanied by the Philharmonic Academy in Rome and classical hits by the U.Ks Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Advent Poem by Thomas Merton


Charm with your stainlessness these winter nights,
Skies, and be perfect! Fly, vivider in the fiery dark, you quiet meteors,
And disappear.
You moon, be slow to go down,
This is your full!

The four white roads make off in silence
Towards the four parts of the starry universe.
Time falls like manna at the corners of the wintry earth.
We have become more humble than the rocks,
More wakeful than the patient hills.

Charm with your stainlessness these nights in Advent,
holy spheres,
While minds, as meek as beasts,
Stay close at home in the sweet hay;
And intellects are quieter than the flocks that feed by starlight.

Oh pour your darkness and your brightness over all our
solemn valleys,
You skies: and travel like the gentle Virgin,
Toward the planets' stately setting,
Oh white full moon as quiet as Bethlehem!

Thomas Merton 1946

* Above image by Thomas Merton