Monday, April 30, 2012

St. Pius V

"O Lord, increase my sufferings and my patience!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jackie Robinson, A Christ Figure

Here is a good article out of Catholic News Agency by Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Beauty of Jackie Robinson

On April 15th 2009, a new custom was established in baseball. Henceforth, every on this date, all uniformed baseball personnel would wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42 in honor of this great ball player and American.

It was on this historic date in 1947, that he took the ball and bat at Ebbetts Field to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the color barrier in baseball with grace and perseverance. He suffered for the cause of the Negro and for all minority men and women in sports. 2012 marks the 65th anniversary of an integrated game of baseball. This year, April 15th passed quietly on a weekend when millions were commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Three Christ-Figures

Three figures of recent memory resemble Jesus and his mission. Mahatma Gandhi (d 1948) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (d 1968) entered public service for the sake of justice and ultimately gave their lives for it: Gandhi, to win India’s independence, and King, to implement Civil Rights in the United States. The events that unfolded in their lives became the context for their respective missions. They spoke of freedom in simple, profound, and authoritative words, drawing people from disparate places. The unjust oppression of the powerless provoked their reaction. In the face of legal but immoral laws, they resisted, but non-violently. Though Gandhi and King saw the inevitable dangers threatening their message, they accepted the real possibility of dying for their respective causes.

Jackie Robinson (1919-72) was not martyred for his cause. But he was a hero and a pioneer for having laid the groundwork for the mission of Martin Luther King, Jr. Between 1942-46, the future major league ball player served in a segregated US Army. As the son of a Georgian sharecropper keenly aware of racial prejudice, he barely escaped court martial when he refused to move to the back of a bus.

* read the rest of the article HERE

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love Your Deacons !

Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money: they must hold fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” Timothy (3:8-10, 12-13)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saint Justin, martyr

The first apology in defense of the Christians by Saint Justin, martyr

The celebration of the Eucharist

No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.

We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Saviour became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, “Amen.” The Eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our Saviour Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Levon Helm - A Giant

"We're all dealt with the same hand here, so to speak. I feel like I've had it a lot better than most people. I've had the opportunity to travel and play music all my life."

Levon Helm died today. A great loss to his family - and to the world. He was a giant. A brilliant musician. His voice in song carried me through my early years to today - from "The Weight" to the "Dirt Farmer." I just love this guy.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday 2012

I am sure that you have all heard the news about Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker. On Thursday he arrived home from work and found his next door neighbor’s house on fire. He ran into the house that was engulfed in flames. Hearing the cries of a woman in an upstairs bedroom, he ran up the stairs, grabbed the woman and threw her over his shoulders –suffering from burns and smoke inhalation; he punched his way through the kitchen and down the stairs. Both he and the woman collapsed outside the building. The Mayor is certainly a man of character. He stands with all of our firefighters, policemen and military who are willing to give their lives for their neighbor. Jesus said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.”

I was struck by a particular comment Mayor Booker made. He called this incident his “come to Jesus moment.” His statement is profound. It was a “Jesus” moment for sure. For where there is Good – there is God. His saving act was an act of mercy.

In April of year 2000, our beloved Pope John Paul II proclaimed today, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, “Divine Mercy” Sunday. He was inspired by a young nun who lived in Cracow Poland in the 1930’s. Her name was Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska. Sr. Faustina received extraordinary revelations or messages from Our Lord Jesus. Asked by Jesus to record the messages, she compiled them in notebooks – known today as the diary of St. Faustina Kowalska. The words of her diary contained God’s loving message of Divine Mercy - a message of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Our readings today speak of this very message.

St. Luke, in his Acts of the Apostles, speaks about the earliest community of believers. How they were all of one heart and one mind, keeping things in common so as not to have a needy person among them. Dorothy Day, who helped to start the Catholic Worker Movement, said “We have all known the long loneliness - and we have learned that the only solution is love - and that love comes with community.” By sharing with each other we bring down the Kingdom of God to earth. That is what we as Church do when we love one another.
Remember this today when we share the sign of PEACE. It is not a hello. It is a sign of us being community – being members of the Body of Christ – being of one heart and one mind – loving our neighbors as God loves us. St. John says the greatest proof of our love for God is to keep the commandments – to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole strength, and our whole mind – and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

John’s Gospel tells the story of a meeting between a “ doubting” Apostle and Jesus. The disciples were sitting in the upper room – with the doors locked. Mary Magdalene told them she had seen the Lord. It must have sounded unbelievable to them. Still, they were human – and they all had their doubts. Then Jesus appeared. His first words to them “Peace be with you.” In essence he was saying “Do not be afraid.” No longer doubt. God, in his great wisdom, knows us very well. Human beings always want proof. He showed the disciples his hands and his side.

In Jesus’ great mercy, as he once calmed the Sea of Galilee, he now calms the disciples and frees them from all anxiety.

One disciple was not there. Thomas. Where was Thomas? Why was he not with the disciples? Was Thomas not with the disciples because he was still in despair over the death of Jesus? Possibly. On the other hand, it is possible that Thomas is the only disciple willing to show his face outside of the locked upper room! Perhaps he is out in the streets; going about his life, willing to “take the risk” that someone might recognize him and arrest him as a follower of Jesus.
Later, when the disciples see Thomas, they share their fascinating experience with him. Not enough for Thomas. He still needs to see. So a week later Jesus appears again to the disciples, including Thomas. The Lord doesn’t chastise Thomas for not resting in his friend’s belief – He again offers a gift of mercy, proof of his resurrection by asking Thomas to see his hands, and to place his own hand in His side. Thomas’ only answer is “My Lord and My God.” Thomas would never be the same. He is the first to recognize Jesus as Lord and God after the resurrection.
Jesus says blessed are you who have seen – blessed are those who have not seen. That which we ‘have not seen’ is the glorious Body of the Risen One. However, we still see in another way, by listening to the Word of God and to the Magisterium of the Church and also ‘seeing’ the real Body of Christ which is the Eucharist.

After seeing the Lord in his Glorified Body, the disciples were now ready to proclaim the Good News, to offer their very lives for the Gospel. St. Thomas offered his life while converting the people of India. If you have a chance after Mass, look at the stained glass window “The Martyrdom of St. Thomas.” The image is frightening and inspiring. It shows Thomas on his knees, his arms raised, one hand clutching a cross. Soldiers carrying spears will soon put Thomas to silence. This image of Thomas is not one of a doubter, but one of a believer. And this belief is a direct result of Divine mercy.

And so it is with you and me – our faith is a gift – a direct result of Divine Mercy.

Jesus said to St. Faustina – “I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.”
Help me, O Lord that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors' souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors' needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.

Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.

Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.

Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.

Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness.

And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

He Is Risen

When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising.
They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ But when they looked they could see that the stone – which was very big – had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, ‘There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him, just as he told you.”’

Mark 16:1-8

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Merton on Holy Week

Photo by Thomas Merton

“The other day there was a beautiful whistling of titmice – and now today one of them lay dead on the grass under the house, which may well have been some fault of mine, as we dumped some calcium chloride on a couple of anthills – not as a poison but as something to move them elsewhere. What a miserable bunch of foolish idiots we are! We kill everything around us even when we think we love and respect nature and life. This sudden power to deal death all around us simply by the way we live, and in total ‘innocence’ and ignorance, is by far the most disturbing symptom of our time. I hope I at least can learn, but in the light of Holy Week I see, again, all my own internal contradictions – not all! Hardly! But the fact that I am full of them. And that we all are.

Thomas Merton - Nature Writings

Monday, April 2, 2012

Some words by Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Some words by Timothy Cardinal Dolan....

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says that although opponents of the federal contraception mandate face a difficult struggle, religious groups can achieve victory through persistence.

“We have to be very vigorous in insisting that this is not about contraception. It’s about religious freedom,” said the cardinal, who is president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

He said the debate is a “tough battle” because proponents of the coverage mandate have chosen an issue they know the Catholic Church is “not very popular on.”

The cardinal made his remarks in an interview with television talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, which was excerpted on the Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor on March 28 and broadcast on the March 29 edition of Conversations With Cardinal Dolan on SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel.

His comments focused on the Health and Human Services mandate, announced on Jan. 20, that requires almost all employers to provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs. The Obama administration has billed the mandate as an increase in “preventive care” for women’s health.

The mandate has caused problems of conscience for Catholics and others who have moral and religious objections to providing the required coverage.

Cardinal Dolan said that the bishops will “vigorously” continue their advocacy against the HHS mandate and will continue the “very effective interreligious and ecumenical coalition that we’ve got fighting this.”

“This is not just a Catholic issue. It is certainly not just a bishops’ issue,” the cardinal told O’Reilly.

“We’re not giving up on the administration,” he added, while acknowledging some pessimism about that path’s prospects for success.

Legislative resolutions are also possible, he noted. The U.S. Senate’s failed Blunt Amendment, which provided religious-freedom guarantees, received “a lot more support than people ever thought it would,” according to the cardinal. Another proposal in the U.S. House, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, could also remedy the problem.

A judicial resolution “might be the most promising road to take” in light of the Supreme Court decision Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which criticized the federal government for trying to define a church’s religious ministry.

Cardinal Dolan remarked upon the “remarkable unanimity” among Catholics against the Jan. 20 announcement that the mandate would be final. A Feb. 10 reputed compromise announced by the Obama administration appeared to weaken this unity.

“That’s been fractured a bit since Feb. 10, because there are some who say, ‘Okay, now the administration has seen our point and we can back off.’ We bishops don’t think we can. But I’m wondering if this is the issue that will bring us together.”

The cardinal told O’Reilly that the Catholic Church wants Catholics to be “a player in American politics,” though the bishops generally avoid telling Catholics whom to vote for.

He also criticized what he saw as a double standard in the treatment of the Catholic Church compared to other churches active in political life.

“Every week I open up the newspaper and I see political candidates speaking at a Baptist church. It doesn’t bother me.

“It bothers me that if they spoke at a Catholic church, you’d have editorials in hundreds of newspapers across the United States speaking about the violation of church and state.”

“Catholics in the United States have been rather shy about any public witness to their faith in the marketplace because of what? The innate ingrained anti-Catholicism that is part of the Puritan culture of the United States.”

The cardinal observed a worrisome trend among secular-minded people in media, entertainment and government to “duct tape” the churches and the role of religion in American life.

If this succeeds, he predicted a “huge void” in society that would be filled by “a new religion called secularism … which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing.”

This article is out of the