Friday, April 30, 2010

Take Time to Think





















* from a sign on the wall of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta

** image: MC Chapel Newark, NJ

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Arizona Immigration Bill - A Good Decision?

When I first heard the news about Governor Jan Brewer signing the Arizona Immigration Bill, I thought it was a good decision. The purported fact that much of the crime is perpetrated by persons who are in Arizona illegally, and that a majority of Arizona residents favor the bill, suggested to me that the bill may be justified. When President Obama stated that the bill was "misguided", I was more inclined to favor the bill. This was (and is) because of my strong distrust of the president and his administration. I realize now that I am not thinking as a Catholic should think. I must think with the mind of the Church.

The following article was posted by Archbishop Timothy Dolan on his blog "The Gospel in the Digital Age." I advise you to read it - it is certainly food for thought.

Immigration Reform

Here we go again!

Anyone who does not believe that “history repeats itself” has only to take a look at the unfortunate new law in Arizona.

Throughout American history, whenever there is tension and turmoil in society — economic distress, political rifts, war, distrust and confusion in culture — the immigrant unfailingly becomes the scapegoat.

It’s a supreme paradox in our American culture — where every person unless a Native American, is a descendent of immigrants — that we seem to harbor an ingrained fear of “the other,” which, in our history, is usually the foreigner (immigrant), the Jew, the Catholic, or the black. (cf. Religious Outsiders, by R. L. Moore, or Immigrants and Exiles, by K. Miller).

So we can chart periodic spasms of “anti-immigrant” fever in our nation’s history: the Nativists of the 1840’s, who led mobs to torch Irish homes and Catholic churches; the Know-Nothings of the 1850’s who wanted to deny the vote to everyone except white, Protestant, native-born, “pure” Americans; the American Protective Association of the 1880’s and 1890’s who were scared of the arrival of immigrants from Italy, Poland, and Germany; the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s who spewed hate against blacks, Jews, Catholics, and “forn-ers”; the “eugenics movement” of the 1920’s and 1930’s who worried that racial purity was being compromised by the immigrant and non-Anglo Saxon blood lines; and the Protestants and Other Americans United of the 1950’s who were apprehensive about Catholic immigrants and their grandkids upsetting the religious and cultural concord of America.

And, here we go again! Arizona is so scared, apparently, and so convinced that the #1 threat to society today is the immigrant that it has passed a mean-spirited bill of doubtful constitutionality that has as its intention the expulsion of the immigrant.

What history teaches us, of course, is that not only are such narrow-minded moves unfair and usually unconstitutional, but they are counterproductive and harmful.

Because the anti-immigrant strain in our American heritage, however strong, is not dominant. Thank God, there’s another sentiment in our national soul, and that’s one of welcome and embrace to the immigrant.

That’s the ethos we New Yorkers are most at home with, as we look out at the Statue of Liberty, whose torch of welcome has caused tears of joy in the eyes of millions of our grandparents as they arrive exhausted and nearly desperate, and as we today live next door to Latino, Haitian, Asian and mid-eastern neighbors.

That’s the ethos most especially a part of the Catholic — the word means everybody — culture, which has been a spiritual mother to immigrants to America, who were and are mostly Catholic, who have found a home in parishes and schools which helped get them moved-in and settled in America.

From even a purely business point of view, a warm welcome to immigrants is known to be good for the economy and beneficial for a society.

To welcome the immigrant, to work hard for their legalization and citizenship, to help them feel at home, to treat them as neighbors and allies in the greatest project of human rights and ethnic and religious harmony in history — the United States of America — flows from the bright, noble side of our American character.

To blame them, stalk them, outlaw them, harass them, and consider them outsiders is unbiblical, inhumane, and un-American.

Yes, every society has the duty to protect its borders and thoughtfully monitor its population. The call is to do this justly, sanely, and civilly.

My brother bishops in Arizona worry this is not the case there. They have been joined by Cardinal Roger Mahony, Jewish, other Christians, and various civic and human rights groups.

I’m on their side.

I want history to repeat itself — but the “Statue of Liberty side,” not the Nativist side.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Merton Prayer

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Thomas Merton

Monday, April 26, 2010

Imitating Mother Teresa by Recognizing Calcutta in Our Midst

Inspire: Imitating Mother Teresa by Recognizing Calcutta in Our Midst

Here is a very good article out of Catholic Online by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. For all of my MC family friends, I know you will enjoy it!!

NEW MILFORD, CT - What struck me the most about Mother Teresa when I saw her for the first time was her diminutive size and the rounded hump on her back. I attributed the hump on her back to her constant stooping to care for the poorest of the poor. Here was this world renowned peacemaker, lover of the world's poor and a Noble Peace Prize recipient - a giant - but in the body of someone not much taller than my young daughter!

I first caught sight of Blessed Teresa about twenty years ago in the Missionary of Charities convent chapel as she came in for daily Mass. I had been visiting the sick and dying at the convent with my family and the Missionary of Charities Sisters invited us to come back to their private Mass the following day.

My family arrived at the chapel door the following morning, took off our shoes, as was the custom there, and filed in quietly. Well, as quietly as we could with three children; one of them under two years old and a little squirmy. We knelt down and bowed our heads to say our prayers before Mass. It was truly a treasured experience to be able to participate at holy Mass with a chapel filled with holy nuns and then to top it all off, in walked Mother Teresa! I felt her presence as she walked right by me quietly and unobtrusively. She then took her place on the bare chapel floor, kneeling to pray. We celebrated holy Mass together; an experience that is etched in my memory.

By the grace of God, I was given a privileged opportunity to converse with Mother Teresa after Mass when she came over to me because of my children. She had seen my daughter, Chaldea genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament and was touched to see a child remember to bid Jesus "good bye" before leaving the chapel. She gave Chaldea a big hug and then focused her attention on my lively daughter, Jessica who was in my arms, while my oldest child, Justin stood nearby taking it all in. Blessed Teresa gave us each a blessed Miraculous medal and talked to us about the poor that she cared for, about the blessing of families and about her love for life. She asked for our prayers and promised us hers. What an incredible and blessed conversation! I felt as if I were standing with Jesus Himself, if I am allowed to make that analogy. Incredible love and joy radiated from that petite saintly woman.

That blessed meeting with holiness led to a correspondence between the two of us that spanned almost a decade. I have learned remarkable insights and wisdom from that humble little holy woman who continues to teach me even after her death. Her courageous, "Yes" to God in her living out the Gospel has changed the way the world views the poor and our responsibility to care for them. She taught us that the poor are not only those who are hungry for a piece of bread but also those who are hungry for love.

"God has identified himself with the hungry, the sick, the naked, the homeless; hunger not only for bread, but for love, for care, to be somebody to someone; nakedness, not for clothing only, but nakedness of that compassion that very few people give to the unknown; homelessness, not only just for a shelter made from stone but for that homelessness that comes from having no one to call your own," Blessed Teresa has told us.

Blessed Teresa has admonished each one of us to do our part to help the poor in our own lives. She has opened our eyes to look for the poor right in our midst. She said that we can find Calcutta all over the world if we have eyes to see. She reminds us again and again about Jesus' message to us in the Gospel of Matthew and how to see and find the poor so that we can care for them. "Today, the poor are hungry for bread and rice - and for love and the living word of God. The poor are thirsty - for water and for peace, truth and justice. The poor are homeless - for a shelter made of bricks, and for a joyful heart that understands, covers, loves. The poor are naked - for clothes, for human dignity and compassion for the naked sinner. They are sick - for medical care, and for that gentle touch and a warm smile."

Read the rest of the article HERE

Sunday, April 25, 2010

4th Sunday of Easter

From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope

Christ the Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. I know my own – by which I mean, I love them – and my own know me. In plain words: those who love me are willing to follow me, for anyone who does not love the truth has not yet come to know it.

My dear brethren, you have heard the test we pastors have to undergo. Turn now to consider how these words of our Lord imply a test for yourselves also. Ask yourselves whether you belong to his flock, whether you know him, whether the light of his truth shines in your minds. I assure you that it is not by faith that you will come to know him, but by love; not by mere conviction, but by action. John the evangelist is my authority for this statement. He tells us that anyone who claims to know God without keeping his commandments is a liar.

Consequently, the Lord immediately adds: As the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. Clearly he means that laying down his life for his sheep gives evidence of his knowledge of the Father and the Father’s knowledge of him. In other words, by the love with which he dies for his sheep he shows how greatly he loves his Father.

Again he says: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them; they follow me, and I give them eternal life. Shortly before this he had declared: If anyone enters the sheepfold through me he shall be saved; he shall go freely in and out and shall find good pasture. He will enter into a life of faith; from faith he will go out to vision, from belief to contemplation, and will graze in the good pastures of everlasting life.

So our Lord’s sheep will finally reach their grazing ground where all who follow him in simplicity of heart will feed on the green pastures of eternity. These pastures are the spiritual joys of heaven. There the elect look upon the face of God with unclouded vision and feast at the banquet of life for ever more.

Beloved brothers, let us set out for these pastures where we shall keep joyful festival with so many of our fellow citizens. May the thought of their happiness urge us on! Let us stir up our hearts, rekindle our faith, and long eagerly for what heaven has in store for us. To love thus is to be already on our way. No matter what obstacles we encounter, we must not allow them to turn us aside from the joy of that heavenly feast. Anyone who is determined to reach his destination is not deterred by the roughness of the road that leads to it. Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveller who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing that he forgets where he is going.

Above image > from the mosaic floor of Worcester College's chapel c.1791.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Spirit Acts in Every Corner of Creation

NASA released the first new images of our Sun today from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a probe launched on Feb. 11 to examine the layers of the sun, monitor solar storms and investigate the mysteries of the sun's inner workings.
The image is awesome. How awesome is our God !!

From our dear John Paul II :

The Spirit of God, present in creation and active in all the phases of salvation history, directs all things towards the definitive event of the Incarnation of the Word. Obviously, this Spirit is no different from the one who was given "not by measure" (cf. Jn 3:34) by the crucified and risen Christ. The same identical Holy Spirit prepares the advent of the Messiah in the world and, through Jesus Christ, is communicated by God the Father to the Church and to all humanity. The Christological and pneumatological dimensions are inseparable and not only run through the history of salvation, but the entire history of the world.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Therese of Lisieux - A Quote for Today

“Each prayer is more beautiful than the others. I cannot recite them all and not knowing which to choose, I do like children who do not know how to read, I say very simply to God what I wish to say, without composing beautiful sentences, and He always understands me. For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fr. Michael Pfleger - Heretic

Check out this video - I find it quite disturbing. I think it is time for the Church to tell Fr, Pfleger to take a hike!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

3rd Sunday of Easter

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’
In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’ John 21:1-19

Thursday, April 15, 2010



Lord, source of eternal life and truth,
give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit
of courage and right judgment, a spirit
of knowledge and love. By governing
with fidelity those entrusted to his care,
may he, as successor to the Apostle
Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your
Church into a sacrament of unity, love
and peace for all the world. Amen.

V/ Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.

R/ May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

V/ May your hand
be upon your holy servant.

R/ And upon your son,
whom you have anointed.

Jill Stanek - The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Here are some words by Jill Stanek concerning the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act - which became law in Nebraska on April 13th. Let's keep up the good fight. We can make abortion (killing) illegal in our time. With God, nothing is impossible!

I wrote in my Jan. 27, 2010, column that if Nebraska's fetal-pain bill were ever signed into law, it would create a world of hurt for pro-aborts, pardon the pun.

Such a law would be as difficult for the other side to defend from a PR standpoint as were the Partial Birth Abortion Bans.

Both pieces of legislation evoke vivid mental images of late-term preborn children being torn limb from limb.

But Nebraska's Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which indeed became law yesterday, ups the ante.

It bans all abortions past 20 weeks based on studies that babies assuredly feel pain at that point, corroborated by emerging protocols requiring surgeons who operate on late-term preborn babies provide them pain relief.

Abortions hurt the baby.

Pro-aborts did not see the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act coming and are scrambling to rebut. According to the Associated Press yesterday, although the "bill is sure to be challenged in court," no one is sure who will do the challenging. Neither Nebraska late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart nor the Center for Reproductive Rights have determined whether they will participate. Pro-aborts are probably drawing for the short straw as I write.

Actually, our side didn't see Nebraska's fetal-pain act coming, either.

Ironically, it was prompted by the murder of late-term Kansas abortionist George Tiller.

In the aftermath, Nebraska late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart made several conflicting statements to the press indicating he aborted contrary to either the spirit or letter of Nebraska law that prohibits abortions when "the unborn child clearly appears to have reached viability, except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother."

According to Newsweek, Aug. 15, 2009:

There are many circumstances that can bring a woman to seek a late-term abortion. But whether she is that suicidal rape victim or a well-heeled New Yorker who just discovered a fatal fetal defect, her options for ending the pregnancy are limited. Since Tiller's death, there are fewer than 10 doctors across the country willing to help. LeRoy Carhart is one of them.

But late-term abortions for fetal anomalies are disallowed by Nebraska law; and that Carhart will abort a mother claiming she is suicidal demonstrates its "mental" health loophole.

Meanwhile, Carhart told Newsweek "he won't, for example, do elective abortions past 24 weeks, because the fetus is likely viable."

But according to the New York Times on Dec. 3, 2009:

Dr. Carhart has also begun performing some abortions "past 24 week," he said in an interview, and is prepared to perform them still later if they meet legal requirements and if he considers them medically necessary. …

Dr. Carhart declined to provide specifics on how late in a pregnancy he would be willing to perform an abortion. … Dr. Carhart's fee schedule lists prices for abortions up to 22 weeks and 6 days (at that point, $2,100 in cash or $2,163 on a credit card), but notes that abortions after 23 weeks are available "after consultation with our doctor," and that abortions after the 27th week may take four days.

Carhart's sloppy big mouth prompted pro-life Nebraska Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood to ask Nebraska Right to Life to help craft a new law to constrict Carhart, since the current late-term abortion ban clearly wasn't working.

That's when Mary Spaulding Balch of National Right to Life conceived the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The Associated Press calls the law both "groundbreaking" and "landmark."

It is both, attacking the Roe and Doe abortion decisions on two fronts: fetal viability and mental health. Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said "this would be like taking a huge hacksaw to [abortion] rights."

Hope so.

At this point the other side's primary argument is that the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists "knows of no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain at 20 weeks' gestation."

That's because ACOG is pro-abortion and automatically opposes any legislation limiting doctors' rights. But ACOG did not testify at any of the fetal-pain committee hearings nor has it publicly released any data supporting its claim that fetal pain is merely a notion.

Nebraska Right to Life submitted nine studies finding late-term babies feel pain. The only study the other side has is not a study at all but a 2005 "review" of previous fetal pain studies, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by abortion activists. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

But their seven-page article has a weakness: It does not mention that one author is an abortion-clinic director [Eleanor A. Drey], while the lead author – a medical student [Susan J. Lee, JD] – once worked for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

AMA Editor in Chief Catherine D. DeAngelis said she was unaware of those facts, and acknowledged it might create an appearance of bias that could hurt the journal's credibility.

Just as the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court could not possibly have considered that someday abortionists would deliver a baby breech up the head, pierce her skull and suction her brains out, it had no way of knowing preborn babies can feel pain.

And just as with the Partial Birth Abortion Bans, pro-lifers will soon be asking the court to reconsider its previous decision based on additional new information.

Jessica Pieklo at wrote:

On some level you have to hand it to anti-choice activists. Their singular focus of preventing women from accessing reproductive health services
illustrates a commitment to purpose that, frankly, progressives and even moderates seem unable to match. …

[T]he Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act may just be the biggest showing of legislative hubris yet.

Thanks for the compliment, Jessica. But The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is merely another of our responses to the biggest showing of judicial hubris ever, the Roe v. Wade decision.

Jill Stanek fought to stop "live-birth abortion" after witnessing one as a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. In 2002, President Bush asked Jill to attend his signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. In January 2003, World Magazine named Jill one of the 30 most prominent pro-life leaders of the past 30 years. To learn more, visit Jill's blog, Pro-life Pulse.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hizzoner Speaks.....

I grabbed this article out of Zenit.

Ed Koch: Anti-Catholicism Evident in Media

Says Criticism Isn't From Jewish Groups

JERUSALEM - The Jewish former mayor of New York is affirming that "continuing attacks" by the media on the Church and Benedict XVI have become "manifestations of anti-Catholicism."

Edward "Ed" Koch, who also served as a U.S. Congressman from 1969 to 1977, stated this in a blog published online Thursday by The Jerusalem Post.

"The procession of articles on the same events are, in my opinion, no longer intended to inform, but simply to castigate," Koch asserted.

He acknowledged that the sexual molestation of children is "horrendous," noting that this is a point of agreement among "Catholics, the Church itself, as well as non-Catholics and the media."

On this point, the politician and political commentator said, the Pope has openly proclaimed his abhorrence for the crime and compassion for the victims.

Koch noted that "many of those in the media who are pounding on the Church and the pope today clearly do it with delight, and some with malice."

He continued: "The reason, I believe, for the constant assaults is that there are many in the media, and some Catholics as well as many in the public, who object to and are incensed by positions the Church holds, including opposition to all abortions, opposition to gay sex and same-sex marriage, retention of celibacy rules for priests, exclusion of women from the clergy, opposition to birth control measures involving condoms and prescription drugs and opposition to civil divorce.

Salad bar

"My good friend, Cardinal John O'Connor, once said, 'The Church is not a salad bar, from which to pick and choose what pleases you.'

"The Church has the right to demand fulfillment of all of its religious obligations by its parishioners, and indeed a right to espouse its beliefs generally."

The Jewish politician clarified that he personally does not agree with the Catholic position on these issues, but he added that the Church "has a right to hold these views in accordance with its religious beliefs."

He affirmed: "Orthodox Jews, like the Roman Catholic Church, can demand absolute obedience to religious rules. Those declining to adhere are free to leave."

Koch stated his belief that "the Roman Catholic Church is a force for good in the world, not evil."

As well, he said, "the existence of 1 billion, 130 million Catholics worldwide is important to the peace and prosperity of the planet."

"Of course, the media should report to the public any new facts bearing upon the issue of child molestation," Koch affirmed, "but its objectivity and credibility are damaged when the New York Times declines to publish an op-ed offered by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan on the issue of anti-Catholicism and offers instead to publish a letter to the editor, which is much shorter and less prominent than an op-ed."


He asserted, "I am appalled that, according to the Times of April 6, 2010, 'Last week, the center-left daily newspaper La Repubblica wrote, without attribution that certain Catholic circles believed the criticism of the Church stemmed from a New York Jewish lobby.'"

Koch clarified that if these "certain Catholic circles" were referring to the Times, it should be stated that the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., is not Jewish, but rather Episcopalian, and its executive editor, Bill Keller, is also a Christian.

"Enough is enough," Koch said.

He continued: "Yes, terrible acts were committed by members of the Catholic clergy.

"The Church has paid billions to victims in the United States and will pay millions, perhaps billions, more to other such victims around the world.

"It is trying desperately to atone for its past by its admissions and changes in procedures for dealing with pedophile priests."

Koch concluded by quoting the words of Jesus, as recorded in John 8:7: "He [or she] that is without sin among you, let him [or her] cast the next stone."


Monday, April 12, 2010

Nine Days That Changed The World

The Official Movie Trailer for the film Nine Days That Changed The World, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich. Pope John Paul II's historic nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in June of 1979 created a revolution of conscience that transformed Poland and fundamentally reshaped the spiritual and political landscape of the 20th Century.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Divine Mercy Sunday

St. Paul to the Colossians 3:1-17

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry. And it is the way in which you used to live when you were surrounded by people doing the same thing, but now you, of all people, must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language and dirty talk; and never tell each other lies. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

For "Divine Mercy Sunday" click HERE

Friday, April 9, 2010

E-Letter by Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, C.F.R

Happy Easter! The Victory of the Resurrection:

There is something in the human heart that loves a battle and longs for victory. We all desire to win, be victorious, triumph, succeed, prevail, overcome, conquer and surmount! Every good movie, TV show, novel and story tries to tap into this eminent human quality. Beyond merely being competitive, it is as if this aspiration for victory is in the blue-print of our being.

The deification of sports is an example of this human attraction to the contest, the battle. My memories of growing up in basketball-obsessed-Indiana were rekindled as I watched Butler almost topple Duke in the NCAA Championship basketball game (A.K.A. “March Madness” or “The Big Dance”). I couldn’t fall asleep for hours after the game was over. Our brothers in Ireland were recently embroiled by controversy because they suggested it was wrong for Catholics to replace church with a rugby match on Good Friday (I guess the brothers kicked the sacred cow).

There must be something from God our creator in this human yearning for victory. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the culmination and fulfillment of our deepest desire for victory …

Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, C.F.R.
Saint Joseph Friary, Harlem, New York

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Elizabeth Scalia Speaks to NPR

On Good Friday, Elizabeth Scalia, the blogger known as "The Anchoress", posted an article on NPR's website. Yes, NPR! If you have read "The Anchoress", you know that Elizabeth Scalia is a devout Roman Catholic and a wonderful, insightful writer. I think you will like her article.

On Good Friday, Here's Why I Remain Catholic by Elizabeth Scalia

The question has come my way several times in the past week: "How do you maintain your faith in light of news stories that bring light to the dark places that exist within your church?"

When have darkness and light been anything but co-existent? How do we recognize either without the other?

I remain within, and love, the Catholic Church because it is a church that has lived and wrestled within the mystery of the shadow lands ever since an innocent man was arrested, sentenced and crucified, while the keeper of "the keys" denied him, and his first priests ran away. Through 2,000 imperfect — sometimes glorious, sometimes heinous — years, the church has contemplated and manifested the truth that dark and light, innocence and guilt, justice and injustice all share a kinship, one that waves back and forth like wind-stirred wheat in a field, churning toward something — as yet — unknowable.

The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.

But then, my country is the most generous and compassionate nation on Earth; it is also the only country that has ever deployed nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

My government is founded upon a singular appreciation of personal liberty; some of those founders owned slaves.

My family was known for its neighborliness and its work ethic; its patriarch was a serial child molester.

The child molester was also a brilliant, generous, talented man — the only person who ever read me a bedtime story. I will love him forever, for that, even when I wake up gasping and afraid.

I am a woman with very generous instincts, and I try to love everyone, but I am capable of corrosive scorn. Have I been much sinned against? Yes. So have you. Have I sinned against others? Oh, yes. So have you.

Like a pebble cast into a pond, our every action ripples out toward the edges, reaching farther than we intended, touching what we do not even know, for good and for ill. It all either means nothing, or it means everything.

As a Catholic, I believe it means everything.

That doesn't mean I do not suffer for the sins of my church; we people in the pews are roiling with feelings of betrayal, shame, revulsion.

Having survived sexual abuse in the family and the public schools, I identify deeply with the pain, the sense of powerlessness and abandonment that the victims of some of our priests and administers have endured. I grieve for them — and for my church, and for my pope, and for all of the countless good priests and religious who are tarnished by the actions of a depraved minority.

I am saddened beyond words to know that these very real sins of commission and omission will repel people, who will miss the consolations of the church in light, out of concern for its shadows.

But the painful and incomplete news stories that have dominated this Holy Week helpfully illustrate how and why I am able to continue on in faith. Particularly during the Easter Triduum, we are thrust deeply into the crucifixion narrative of the Gospels. There, on the wood of the cross, we encounter Jesus, son of Mary, who knew shame, betrayal, abandonment, scorn, jeering, ridicule, unimaginable pain and sorrow, and submitted to them, in order to draw us into a consoling embrace that says, "I know what you are feeling; I know what you are thinking. You tortured ones, you shamed ones, you innocent ones, you slandered ones; I am the One who knows, and we are actually all in this together, and quite outside of time."

I want my church to shine. But I understand that everything, from our institutions to our innermost beings, are seen through a glass, darkly. Arms outstretched, listening for the Word, and its echoing liturgy, I make my way forward, in bright hope.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Spiritual Warfare

I grabbed this article out of Catholic On-Line - it is an important read!

GREENVILLE, SC - Read the history. You will see that in every age and in every place Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has been attacked by two evils: corruption from within and persecution from without.

In the recent child abuse crisis both forces have gone on the attack at the same time. The corruption and wickedness of a very few priests, and the complacency, weakness, ignorance, incompetence and willful cover up by some of the hierarchy has caused serious damage to the Church and Christ's message. There is nothing to be said on this count except that those in responsibility must continue to do everything possible to put our house in order.

But while the attack through corruption within has been real, so has the attack in the form of persecution from without. The enemies of the Church have used the child abuse crimes to attack the church viciously and often unreasonably. There have been good journalists who have reported fairly, recorded facts and given a true perspective, but there have been too many others who have slandered, lied and distorted the truth.

Much has been made of the fact that an exorcist in Rome has called the attacks 'demonic'. I believe this is true, but he forgot to add that the attacks through corruption within the church are also demonic. Both forms of attack are inspired by the powers of evil in the world. Priests are tempted by lust, money, influence, power and prestige and they often take the bait. At the same time, many outside the church have minds and hearts darkened by sin and they hate the church and will do anything they can to attack her.

There is only one remedy to both forms of attack: Sanctity. Sanctity is strong and wise and courageous and good. Sanctity has clarity. Sanctity has charity. Men and women who have been transformed into the image of Christ have the power to cleanse the church of the corruption within and stand up to the persecution from without.

Pope Benedict has said that 'Scripture can only be understood through the lives of the saints.' It might also be said that 'All things can only be understood through the lives of the saints.' How does a saint respond to corruption within the church? He or she confronts it and stands up to it and whenever they have the power they root it out fearlessly.

Read the lives of the saints and see how they defended the church from heretics and false shepherds and corrupt leaders. They were warriors. They cared nothing for their own reputation, but rooted out the rot like terriers going after rats. How could they do this? Only through their own sanctity. Those who are less than saints fear to do this because they are aware of their own failures and the are weighed down by their own hypocrisy and they are weakened by their lack of moral courage.

Likewise, regard the saints as they stood up to persecution from without. They cared nothing for their own lives. Without having a persecution complex or paranoia, they joyfully went about the Lord's business, and if that meant losing all and imprisonment and loss of their reputation and martyrdom, well, that was part of the deal to start with. "You cannot be my disciples is you will not take up your cross and follow me." "You cannot be half a saint!" cries St Therese, "You must be a whole saint or not a saint at at all!" So the saints engage in the battle, when they must, with the persecution from without. They do so with a joyful courage, a clarity and focus that is amazing to witness.

The battle is not just for the clergy or the religious. It is a battle that each and every one of the baptized must be engaged in. If the recent crisis has done anything for the church it should be this: that all of the baptized see clearly the two forces that always attack the church; that all of the baptized realize that a battle is engaged--that corruption within and persecution without are the enemies, and that each of us should realize that it is 'us and them' and there is no middle ground.

Finally, the same two enemies that attack the church also attack each one of us. I am attacked by corruption from within. I am attacked by persecution from without. The battle is cosmic, but the battle is also waged in my own heart and life.

All that remains for me is to take up the sword, for my part in the battle is important, and my decisions and actions may make all the difference.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is chaplain to St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina, and serves on the staff of St. Mary's Parish, also in Greenville. He was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church from Anglicanism in 1995 and, years later, ordained a Roman Catholic Priest. He is a prolific writer, sought after speaker and dedicated blogger. Fr's blog is HERE


Monday, April 5, 2010

Quote for Today

The faith of those who live their faith is a serene faith. What you long for will be given you; what you love will be yours for ever. Since it is by giving alms that everything is pure for you, you will also receive that blessing which is promised next by the Lord: the Godhead that no man has been able to see. In the inexpressible joy of this eternal vision, human nature will possess what eye has not seen or ear heard, what man's heart has never conceived. -- Pope St. Leo the Great

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday - "He Is Risen"



Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim magnificatus est.

“Let us sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!” (Liturgy of the Hours, Easter, Office of Readings, Antiphon 1).

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I bring you the Easter proclamation in these words of the Liturgy, which echo the ancient hymn of praise sung by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea. It is recounted in the Book of Exodus (cf 15:19-21) that when they had crossed the sea on dry land, and saw the Egyptians submerged by the waters, Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, and the other women sang and danced to this song of joy: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed wonderfully: horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!” Christians throughout the world repeat this canticle at the Easter Vigil, and a special prayer explains its meaning; a prayer that now, in the full light of the resurrection, we joyfully make our own: “Father, even today we see the wonders of the miracles you worked long ago. You once saved a single nation from slavery, and now you offer that salvation to all through baptism. May the peoples of the world become true sons of Abraham and prove worthy of the heritage of Israel.”

The Gospel has revealed to us the fulfilment of the ancient figures: in his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has freed us from the radical slavery of sin and opened for us the way towards the promised land, the Kingdom of God, the universal Kingdom of justice, love and peace. This “exodus” takes place first of all within man himself, and it consists in a new birth in the Holy Spirit, the effect of the baptism that Christ has given us in his Paschal Mystery. The old man yields his place to the new man; the old life is left behind, and a new life can begin (cf. Rom 6:4). But this spiritual “exodus” is the beginning of an integral liberation, capable of renewing us in every dimension – human, personal and social.

Yes, my brothers and sisters, Easter is the true salvation of humanity! If Christ – the Lamb of God – had not poured out his blood for us, we would be without hope, our destiny and the destiny of the whole world would inevitably be death. But Easter has reversed that trend: Christ’s resurrection is a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant. It is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of good, of life, of pardon. We are free, we are saved! Hence from deep within our hearts we cry out: “Let us sing to the Lord: glorious his triumph!”

The Christian people, having emerged from the waters of baptism, is sent out to the whole world to bear witness to this salvation, to bring to all people the fruit of Easter, which consists in a new life, freed from sin and restored to its original beauty, to its goodness and truth. Continually, in the course of two thousand years, Christians – especially saints – have made history fruitful with their lived experience of Easter. The Church is the people of the Exodus, because she constantly lives the Paschal Mystery and disseminates its renewing power in every time and place. In our days too, humanity needs an “exodus”, not just superficial adjustment, but a spiritual and moral conversion. It needs the salvation of the Gospel, so as to emerge from a profound crisis, one which requires deep change, beginning with consciences.

I pray to the Lord Jesus that in the Middle East, and especially in the land sanctified by his death and resurrection, the peoples will accomplish a true and definitive “exodus” from war and violence to peace and concord. To the Christian communities who are experiencing trials and sufferings, especially in Iraq, the Risen Lord repeats those consoling and encouraging words that he addressed to the Apostles in the Upper Room: “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:21).

For the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are seeing a dangerous resurgence of crimes linked to drug trafficking, let Easter signal the victory of peaceful coexistence and respect for the common good. May the beloved people of Haiti, devastated by the appalling tragedy of the earthquake, accomplish their own “exodus” from mourning and from despair to a new hope, supported by international solidarity. May the beloved citizens of Chile, who have had to endure another grave catastrophe, set about the task of reconstruction with tenacity, supported by their faith.

In the strength of the risen Jesus, may the conflicts in Africa come to an end, conflicts which continue to cause destruction and suffering, and may peace and reconciliation be attained, as guarantees of development. In particular I entrust to the Lord the future of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Nigeria.

May the Risen Lord sustain the Christians who suffer persecution and even death for their faith, as for example in Pakistan. To the countries afflicted by terrorism and by social and religious discrimination, may He grant the strength to undertake the work of building dialogue and serene coexistence. To the leaders of nations, may Easter bring light and strength, so that economic and financial activity may finally be driven by the criteria of truth, justice and fraternal aid. May the saving power of Christ’s resurrection fill all of humanity, so that it may overcome the multiple tragic expressions of a “culture of death” which are becoming increasingly widespread, so as to build a future of love and truth in which every human life is respected and welcomed.

Dear brothers and sisters, Easter does not work magic. Just as the Israelites found the desert awaiting them on the far side of the Red Sea, so the Church, after the resurrection, always finds history filled with joy and hope, grief and anguish. And yet, this history is changed, it is marked by a new and eternal covenant, it is truly open to the future. For this reason, saved by hope, let us continue our pilgrimage, bearing in our hearts the song that is ancient and yet ever new: “Let us sing to the Lord: glorious his triumph!”

* Let us keep our Holy Father in our prayers!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday


Basilica of St John Lateran
Holy Thursday, 13 April 2006

Mass of the Lord's Supper

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate
and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (Jn 13: 1).
God loves his creature, man; he even loves him in his fall and does not leave him to himself. He loves him to the end. He is impelled with his love to the very end, to the extreme: he came down from his divine glory.

He cast aside the raiment of his divine glory and put on the garb of a slave. He came down to the extreme lowliness of our fall. He kneels before us and carries out for us the service of a slave: he washes our dirty feet so that we might be admitted to God's banquet and be made worthy to take our place at his table - something that on our own we neither could nor would ever be able to do.

God is not a remote God, too distant or too great to be bothered with our trifles. Since God is great, he can also be concerned with small things. Since he is great, the soul of man, the same man, created through eternal love, is not a small thing but great, and worthy of God's love.

God's holiness is not merely an incandescent power before which we are obliged to withdraw, terrified. It is a power of love and therefore a purifying and healing power.

God descends and becomes a slave, he washes our feet so that we may come to his table. In this, the entire mystery of Jesus Christ is expressed. In this, what redemption means becomes visible.
The basin in which he washes us is his love, ready to face death. Only love has that purifying power which washes the grime from us and elevates us to God's heights.

The basin that purifies us is God himself, who gives himself to us without reserve - to the very depths of his suffering and his death. He is ceaselessly this love that cleanses us; in the sacraments of purification - Baptism and the Sacrament of Penance - he is continually on his knees at our feet and carries out for us the service of a slave, the service of purification, making us capable of God.
His love is inexhaustible, it truly goes to the very end.

"You are clean, but not all of you", the Lord says (Jn 13: 10). This sentence reveals the great gift of purification that he offers to us, because he wants to be at table together with us, to become our food. "But not all of you" - the obscure mystery of rejection exists, which becomes apparent with Judas' act, and precisely on Holy Thursday, the day on which Jesus made the gift of himself, it should give us food for thought. The Lord's love knows no bounds, but man can put a limit on it.

"You are clean, but not all of you": What is it that makes man unclean?

It is the rejection of love, not wanting to be loved, not loving. It is pride that believes it has no need of any purification, that is closed to God's saving goodness. It is pride that does not want to admit or recognize that we are in need of purification.

In Judas we see the nature of this rejection even more clearly. He evaluated Jesus in accordance with the criteria of power and success. For him, power and success alone were real; love did not count. And he was greedy: money was more important than communion with Jesus, more important than God and his love.

He thus also became a liar who played a double game and broke with the truth; one who lived in deceit and so lost his sense of the supreme truth, of God. In this way, he became hard of heart and incapable of conversion, of the trusting return of the Prodigal Son, and he disposed of the life destroyed.

"You are clean, but not all of you". Today, the Lord alerts us to the self-sufficiency that puts a limit on his unlimited love. He invites us to imitate his humility, to entrust ourselves to it, to let ourselves be "infected" by it.

He invites us - however lost we may feel - to return home, to let his purifying goodness uplift us and enable us to sit at table with him, with God himself.

Let us add a final word to this inexhaustible Gospel passage: "For I have given you an example" (Jn 13: 15); "You also ought to wash one another's feet" (Jn 13: 14). Of what does "washing one another's feet" consist? What does it actually mean?

This: every good work for others - especially for the suffering and those not considered to be worth much - is a service of the washing of feet.

The Lord calls us to do this: to come down, learn humility and the courage of goodness, and also the readiness to accept rejection and yet to trust in goodness and persevere in it.

But there is another, deeper dimension. The Lord removes the dirt from us with the purifying power of his goodness. Washing one another's feet means above all tirelessly forgiving one another, beginning together ever anew, however pointless it may seem. It means purifying one another by bearing with one another and by being tolerant of others; purifying one another, giving one another the sanctifying power of the Word of God and introducing one another into the Sacrament of divine love.

The Lord purifies us, and for this reason we dare to approach his table. Let us pray to him to give to all of us the grace of being able to one day be guests for ever at the eternal nuptial banquet. Amen!

* Image > Washing of the Lord's Feet - Duccio di Buoninsegna created this work using tempera on wood between the years 1308-1311. The dimensions are 50 x 53 cm. and it is located at the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, Siena.