Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary Pope Benedict !

"We should not be superstitious," he wrote, "but at the moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird -- perhaps a lark -- flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song. And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words, 'This is good; you are on the right way.'"

From Zenit...

Joseph Ratzinger's Happiest Day

June 29 Marks 60th Anniversary of His Ordination at Age 24

This Wednesday (today) , Benedict XVI will be celebrating the "high point of his life" as he marks the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

Joseph Ratzinger was ordained at age 24, together with his brother Georg, and more than 40 candidates, at the cathedral of Freising, near Munich, by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber.

"Adsum," (here I am), were the words the young Ratzingers pronounced in Latin before God and the people.

As the universal Church relives that day on Wednesday, the Pope has not wished it to be a moment of personal exaltation. Rather, it has been designated a day to promote thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood and to ask him to call forth new vocations.

In his Memoirs of 1927-1977, Ratzinger recalls that "radiant summer day."

"We should not be superstitious," he wrote, "but at the moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird -- perhaps a lark -- flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song. And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words, 'This is good; you are on the right way.'"

The following four weeks of discovery were like "an unending feast," the memoirs recount.

"Everywhere we were received even by total strangers with a warmth and affection I had not thought possible until that day," he remembered. "In this way I learned firsthand how earnestly people wait for a priest, how much they long for the blessing that flows from the power of the sacrament. The point was not my own or my brothers' person. What could we two young men represent all by ourselves to the many people we were now meeting?

"In us they saw persons who had been touched by Christ's mission and had been empowered to bring his nearness to men."

60 hours

The whole Church is celebrating the day as a time of prayer for priests.

The Congregation for the Clergy has invited the faithful to mark the anniversary with 60 hours of Eucharistic adoration.

A note signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza and Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta, prefect and secretary of the congregation, notes that the anniversary is a "particularly propitious" occasion to draw near to Benedict XVI, and to express to him gratitude, affection, and communion in the service of God and his Church and, above all, in that "shining of the Truth on the world," which he calls us to.

The congregation proposed that the prayer vigil can culminate on July 1, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Day of Prayer for Priests.

"Thus," the dicastery proposes, "homage could be rendered to the Pontiff with an extraordinary wreath of prayer and of supernatural unity, capable of showing the real center of our lives, from which every missionary and pastoral effort derives, and the authentic face of the Church and of her priests."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Christ Alone Holds Our World Together

"I did not even know who Christ was, that He was God. I had not the faintest idea that there existed such a thing as the Blessed Sacrament. I thought churches were simply places where people got together and sang a few hymns. And yet now I tell you, you who are now what I once was, unbelievers, it is that Sacrament, and that alone, the Christ living in our midst, and sacrificed by us, and for us and with us, in the clean and perpetual Sacrifice, it is He alone Who holds our world together, and keeps us all from being poured headlong and immediately into the pit of our eternal destruction. And I tell you there is a power that goes forth from that Sacrament, a power of light and truth, even into the hearts of those who have heard nothing of Him and seem to be incapable of belief. "

— Thomas Merton from The Seven Storey Mountain

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse on Marriage

Marriage is under attack in our country, and all over the world. We should make ourselves familiar with the threats against Marriage. Dr. Jennifer Morse is very good at opening our eyes on this important matter. This video is long but I believe it is well worth watching in its entirety. We need to be educated!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Corpus Christi 2011

Let us return to Jesus’ act in the Last Supper. What happened at that moment? When He said: This is my body which is given to you, this is my blood shed for you and for the multitude, what happened? Jesus in that gesture anticipates the event of Calvary. He accepts his passion out of love, with its trial and its violence, even to death on the cross; by accepting it in this way he transforms it into an act of giving. This is the transformation that the world needs most, because he redeems it from within, he opens it up to the Kingdom of Heaven. But God always wants to accomplish this renewal of the world through the same path followed by Christ, indeed, the path that is Himself. There is nothing magic in Christianity. There are no shortcuts, but everything passes through the patient and humble logic of the grain of wheat that is broken to give life, the logic of faith that moves mountains with the gentle power of God. This is why God wants to continue to renew humanity, history and the cosmos through this chain of transformations, of which the Eucharist is the sacrament. Through the consecrated bread and wine, in which his Body and Blood is truly present, Christ transforms us, assimilating us in him: he involves us in his redeeming work, enabling us, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to live according to his same logic of gift, like grains of wheat united with Him and in Him. Thus unity and peace, which are the goal for which we strive, are sown and mature in the furrows of history, according to God's plan.
Without illusions, without ideological utopias, we walk the streets of the world, bringing within us the Body of the Lord, like the Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Visitation. With the humble awareness that we are simple grains of wheat, we cherish the firm conviction that the love of God, incarnate in Christ, is stronger than evil, violence and death. We know that God is preparing for all people new heavens and new earth where peace and justice prevail - and by faith we glimpse the new world, that is our true home. Also this evening as the sun sets on our beloved city of Rome, we set out again on this path: with us is Jesus in the Eucharist, the Risen One, who said: "I am with you always, until the end of world "(Mt 28:20). Thank you, Lord Jesus! Thank you for your loyalty, which sustains our hope. Stay with us, because the evening comes. "Jesus, good shepherd and true bread, have mercy on us; feed us and guard us. Grant that we find happiness in the land of the living". Amen.

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI homily for Corpus Christi - read more HERE

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Marriage License

I enjoyed the last few days with my wife discovering Stockbridge, Massachusetts - an absolutely lovely town, full of history. We spent part of one day at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Rockwell was an amazingly talented artist, who understood the human person well. The painting above, The Marriage License, really captured my eye. It was painted in 1955, my birth year. A young man and woman plan to be married, so they go see the (state) clerk to acquire a marriage license. How excited they must be.

This is the way God planned it - a man and a woman - preparing for marriage. Pope Benedict XVI says "The marriage bond, in which man and woman together constitute a life-long association, ordered by its very nature for the good of the spouses and the generation and education of children," is the basis of the family, the heritage and shared wealth of humanity." Marriage, between a man and a woman, and their children - family - it is what keeps our country strong. Let us pray that it stays that way.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

God Bless the Big Man

I heard the news today that Clarence Clemons has died. A great loss, not only for his family, for Bruce, the E-Street Band, but for all of us. I remember when I was young, it was all Beatles and Grateful Dead. Then something special came along - an album called "Born to Run." On the cover, a man named Bruce and a man named Clarence. All changed for me after that. Jungleland - a song of New Jersey. My home State - and I still love New Jersey! God bless you Clarence, I never heard a sax played like you play it - right into my heart!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Young women answer the call.

Young women are answering the call to religious life, a sure sign of their "Christian Hope." God bless them!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pieta at Holy Rosary Church

I spent some time yesterday at Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, New Jersey, taking pictures of statues restored by artist Nancy Forte. The above image is the restored Pieta - absolutely beautiful. The "white" is extraordinary.

Holy Rosary Church is the first Italian Parish in the State of New Jersey, established 125 years ago. You can read more about the parish HERE.

I will be posting more pictures of the restored statues in days to come!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan defends "True Marriage."

"The True Meaning of Marriage"

The stampede is on. Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.

The media, mainly sympathetic to this rush to tamper with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good, reports annoyance on the part of some senators that those in defense of traditional marriage just don’t see the light, as we persist in opposing this enlightened, progressive, cause.

But, really, shouldn’t we be more upset – and worried – about this perilous presumption of the state to re-invent the very definition of an undeniable truth – one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and fidelity, hoping for children – that has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start?

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

But, please, not here! Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.

Please, not here! We cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought; we acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a “right.” And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?

Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people. The Church affirms the basic human rights of gay men and women, and the state has rightly changed many laws to offer these men and women hospital visitation rights, bereavement leave, death benefits, insurance benefits, and the like. This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition. Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits: It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children. Please don’t vote to change that. If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so. This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense.

Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago. We believers worry not only about what this new intrusion will do to our common good, but also that we will be coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the newest state decree. (If you think this paranoia, just ask believers in Canada and England what’s going on there to justify our apprehensions.)

But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values.

The Archbishop's Blog is HERE

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Michelle Bachmann - Pro-Life President

I watched Rep. Michelle Bachmann last night on the CNN debates. I believe she will make a fine president. Check out this video....

LifeSite News article HERE

Friday, June 10, 2011

Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same

Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same

He would declare and could himself believe
That the birds there in all the garden round
From having heard the daylong voice of Eve
Had added to their voice an oversound,
Her tone of meaning but without the words.
Admittedly an eloquence so soft
Could only have had an influence on birds
When call or laughter carried it aloft.
Be that as may be, she was in their song.
Moreover her voice upon their voices crossed
Had now persisted in the woods so long
That probably it never would be lost.
Never again would birds' song be the same.
And to do that to birds was why she came.

Robert Frost

* image> Robin at the Loyola House, Morristown, NJ

Thursday, June 9, 2011

J.S. Bach

I found this video on the "Whispers in the Loggia" blog. The music, by J.S. Bach, is so beautiful, I decided to post it here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Love of God is in Everything

"To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.

Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference." — Thomas Merton

* Above image by Simon Clayton, China

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tale of Two Friars

Here is a good story about two Franciscan friars, twin brothers, born on the same day, and died hours apart - at 92 years old!! A lifetime of service to the Lord...

By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press..

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Identical twins Julian and Adrian Riester were born seconds apart 92 years ago. They died hours apart this week. The Buffalo-born brothers were also brothers in the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor. Professed friars for 65 years, they spent much of that time working together at St. Bonaventure University, doing carpentry work, gardening and driving visitors to and from the airport and around town.

"It was fun to see them, just quiet, gentle souls," Yvonne Peace, who worked at the St. Bonaventure Friary for nearly 21 years, said Friday.

They died Wednesday at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., Brother Julian in the morning and Brother Adrian in the evening.

Both died of heart failure, said Father James Toal, guardian of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, where the inseparable twins lived since moving from western New York in 2008.

"It really is almost a poetic ending to the remarkable story of their lives," St. Bonaventure spokesman Tom Missel said. "Stunning when you hear it, but hardly surprising given that they did almost everything together."

Julian and Adrian Riester were born Jerome and Irving on March 27, 1919, to a couple who already had five daughters. They took the names of saints upon their ordination in the Catholic church.

* Read the rest of the story HERE

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

From today's Office of Readings..from a homily of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop

When love has entirely cast out fear, and fear has been transformed into love, then the unity brought us by our saviour will be fully realised, for all men will be united with one another through their union with the one supreme Good. They will possess the perfection ascribed to the dove, according to our interpretation of the text: One alone is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only child of her mother, her chosen one.
Our Lord’s words in the gospel bring out the meaning of this text more clearly. After having conferred all power on his disciples by his blessing, he obtained many other gifts for them by his prayer to the Father. Among these was included the greatest gift of all, which was that they were no longer to be divided in their judgement of what was right and good, for they were all to be united to the one supreme Good. As the Apostle says, they were to be bound together with the bonds of peace in the unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. They were to be made one body and one spirit by the one hope to which they were all called. We shall do better, however, to quote the sacred words of the gospel itself. I pray, the Lord says, that they all may be one; that as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so they also may be one in us.
Now the bond that creates this unity is glory. That the Holy Spirit is called glory no one can deny if he thinks carefully about the Lord’s words: The glory you gave to me, I have given to them. In fact, he gave this glory to his disciples when he said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit. Although he had always possessed it, even before the world existed, he himself received this glory when he put on human nature. Then, when his human nature had been glorified by the Spirit, the glory of the Spirit was passed on to all his kin, beginning with his disciples. This is why he said: The glory you gave to me, I have given to them, so that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, I want them to be perfectly one.
Whoever has grown from infancy to manhood and attained to spiritual maturity possesses the mastery over his passions and the purity that makes it possible for him to receive the glory of the Spirit. He is that perfect dove upon whom the eyes of the bridegroom rest when he says: One alone is my dove, my perfect one.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lila Rose with Fr. Benedict Groeschel

On Sunday night I watched a wonderful conversation between Ms. Lila Rose, of Live Action, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel. Lila Rose is an amazing young woman, doing her all to save the most innocent of our society, the unborn. I posted the conversation below. It is about fifty minutes - so if you have the time, get your cup of coffee, sit down and watch. It is enlightening!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No meat on Friday's ? Ever?

It seems that some bishops in Great Britain would like Catholics to abstain from eating meat on Friday's - every Friday throughout the year....

Out of by Francis X. Rocca, Vatican City...

Every year during the 40 days of Lent, millions of Catholics honor Jesus's crucifixion by foregoing meat in their Friday meals. But starting this September, if the bishops of England and Wales have their way, Catholics there will abstain from meat every Friday, year-round. This change marks the revival of a practice that the church abandoned a half-century ago—and it's the latest of several in recent years.

Catholic tradition calls for acts of penance every Friday, the day of Jesus's death, but observance of that tradition has changed dramatically since the modernizing reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Bishops in most countries eliminated abstinence from meat or limited it to Lent alone, and each Catholic became free to choose his own form of Friday penance: skipping television, perhaps, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This effectively meant the disappearance of Friday penance altogether. In my 11 years of Catholic schooling, I don't recall hearing it mentioned once.

That's why the announcement by the bishops of England and Wales is so significant. To anyone with a taste for sushi or smoked salmon, missing hamburger once a week might present little inconvenience. But then, lightly beating one's breast, as Catholics do in one version of the Penitential rite during Mass, isn't a serious form of corporal mortification either. Catholicism is a fundamentally symbolic religion whose teachings are typically embodied in conventional signs and gestures.

Read the rest HERE!