Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer For The Unborn
Lord Jesus,

You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence the Church and the history of men; You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood render us participants in divine Life and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life; We adore and bless you.
Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life, truly present and alive among us, we beg you.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life, make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb the miraculous work of the Creator, open our hearts to generously welcoming every child that comes into life.
Bless all families, sanctify the union of spouses, render fruitful their love.
Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies with the light of your Spirit,so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect the sacred nature of life, of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors, so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person, and no one endures suppression or injustice.
Give creative charity to administrators and economists, so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions so that young families can serenely embrace the birth of new children.
Console the married couples who suffer because they are unable to have children and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children, so they may experience the warmth of your Charity, the consolation of your divine Heart.
Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer, in whose womb you took on our human nature, we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior, the strength to love and serve life, in anticipation of living forever in You, in communion with the Blessed Trinity.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Devotion for today: another ordinary life lived in an extraordinary way

 Today we will look at a very fascinating candidate for extraordinary living.

Scripture for today: Proverbs 21:13
He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard.

Christ tells us: Matthew 25:35-36; 40
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me. I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”

Dorothy Day, Servant of God
Dorothy Day’s life was a journey toward the fulfillment of Christ’s commandment that we love one another. The Sermon on the Mount characterized her work with the poor on New York’s Lower East Side, and her founding of Catholic Worker Houses of Hospitality, farming communes, and retreat centers. It also found expression in her practice of nonviolence and solidarity with workers and the poor. For Dorothy Day, to be a Christian meant not only participating fervently in the prayer and liturgy of the Church, but also finding Christ in others. She was born in Brooklyn New York on November 8, 1897, the third child of Grace and John Day….  In 1916, she… moved to New York City where she worked as a journalist on socialist newspapers, participated in protest movements, and developed friendships with many famous artists and writers. During this time, she also experienced failed love affairs, a marriage, a suicide attempt, and an abortion. Dorothy had grown to admire the Catholic Church as the “Church of the poor” and her faith began to take form with the birth of her daughter Tamar in 1926. Her decision to have her daughter baptized and to embrace the Catholic faith came at great personal cost, the end of her common law marriage and the loss of many friends. Dorothy struggled to find her role as a Catholic. While covering the 1932 Hunger March in Washington, DC, for several Catholic magazines on Dec. 8, she visited the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and prayed for guidance on how to use her special gifts in service of the hungry and the poor. The following day, back in New York, she met Peter Maurin, an immigrant from France and former Christian Brother, who had a vision for a society constructed of Gospel values. Together they founded the Catholic Worker newspaper which spawned a movement of Houses of Hospitality and farming communes that has been replicated throughout the United States and other countries. At the Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day lived a life of fidelity to the Scripture, practicing voluntary poverty, the works of mercy, and working for justice and peace. Many of the positions she espoused were prophetic, but always emanated from the Gospel and the example of the saints, like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Teresa of Lisieux. Always present for Dorothy Day, was a question expressed in her autobiography, The Long Loneliness, “ Why was so much done in remedying evil instead of avoiding it in the first place…Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to slaves, but to do away with slavery?” Dorothy Day was shot at while working for integration, prayed and fasted for peace at the Second Vatican Council, received communion from Pope Paul VI at the 1967 International Congress of the Laity, and addressed the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia. Her pilgrimage ended at Maryhouse in New York City on November 29, 1980, where she died among the poor. (All information in this section can be found at

My thoughts: In order to be effective in society, we sometimes have to be radical. Merely sitting on the sidelines and hoping that things will get better for the least members of society isn’t going to have much of an effect. For those of us who are ill, house-bound, or committed to raising families and caring for family members, our constant prayers are the greatest gift we can give. For the rest of us who have a million reasons why we cannot do more, a radical change of heart is in order.  All of us are not called to be Dorothy Days, yet all of us are, in some way, called to make a difference. Let us keep this in mind as we pray to find our role in making the world a better place.

Prayer of Abandonment:
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Charles de Foucauld

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Devotion for today: leading ordinary lives in extraordinary ways

Let’s take time during “ordinary time” to look at a few individuals who did their ordinary jobs in extraordinary ways.

Scripture for meditation: Galatians 2:19-20
I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Christ tells us: John 15:13
There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

Father Vincent Capodanno, Servant of God. LT, CHC, USNR (The Grunt Padre)
Vincent Capodanno was born on February 13th, 1929, in Staten Island, New York. After attending a year at Fordham University, young Vincent Capodanno entered the Maryknoll Missionary Seminary in upstate New York in 1949…. After finishing officer candidate's school, Father Capodanno reported to the 7th Marines, in Vietnam, in 1966. When his tour was complete, he requested an extension, served in the naval hospital and then reported to the 5th Marines. He gained a reputation for always being there--for always taking care of his Marines. Lieutenant Joseph E. Pilon, MD states: “Over here [Vietnam] there is a written policy that if you get three Purple Hearts you go home within 48 hours. On Labor Day, our battalion ran into a world of trouble- when Father C. (Capodanno) arrived on the scene it was 500 Marines against 2500 North Vietnamese Army Regulars. Needless to say, we were constantly on the verge of being completely overrun and the Marines on several occasions had to advance in a retrograde movement. This left the dead and wounded outside the perimeter as the Marines slowly withdrew. Casualties were running high and Father C. had his work cut out for him. Early in the day, he was shot through the right hand which all but shattered his hand- one corpsman patched him up and tried to med evac him but Father C declined saying he had work to do. A few hours later, a mortar landed near him and left his right arm in shreds hanging from his side. Once again, he was patched up and once again he refused evacuation. There he was, moving slowly from wounded to dead to wounded using his left arm to support his right as he gave absolution or Last Rites, when he suddenly spied a corpsman get knocked down by the burst of an automatic weapon. The corpsman was shot in the leg and couldn't move and understandably panicked. Fr. C. ran out to him and positioned himself between the injured boy and the automatic weapon. Suddenly, the weapon opened up again and this time riddled Father C. from the back of his head to the base of his spine- and with his third Purple Heart of the day- Father C. went home.” On May 21, 2006, thirty-nine years after his death on the battlefield of Vietnam, Capodanno was publicly declared Servant of God, the first step towards canonization.
Of Father Capodanno's involvement in Operation Swift, John Lobur has said “I did not see Father when we embarked and I did not notice him anywhere as we approached the shooting.  I assumed he was with Lieutenant Murray who was our company commander at the time. Typically a chaplain would remain with the command post as he- like the skipper, a corpsmen, air and artillery forward observers and radiomen- were not expected to run right up the gut like we were.”
Bill Avery states: “I served with India Co. 3rd Bn 5th Marines from March 1967 to April 1968. I also fought on operation Swift. Prior to Ops Swift, I had complained to Senior Officers about the lack of spiritual comfort in the jungles, since we were in the bush & jungles on a continuous basis. July 1967 a Chaplain got off a helicopter in a very hostile area of the jungle. He set up a cross on a fallen tree in a small clearing. He held services as gunfire was all around. Chaplain Capodanno lifted my heart and soul with his words and prayers. It has been 44 years, but I will never forget the relief I felt. Chaplain Capodanno did make a difference! (All information for this section is taken from
For more information on Fr. Vincent Capodanno, read The Grunt Padre by Fr Daniel Mode, priest of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, VA.

My thoughts: How can we, in our simple, everyday lives, be extraordinary like Fr. Capodanno? It is quite easy, and we can start today. Why don’t we say the following prayer? It gives God total control to use us as He sees fit. I think Fr. Capodanno, Servant of God, would be proud of us if we did.

Prayer:  Jesus, I’m very weak. I don’t have much to offer. In fact – too often I’ve been distant as I’ve followed you – and yet – behold, here I am, Lord. Take me and use me as you desire. Use me to make you known and loved, weak though I am. Help me to love you. Jesus, I see how gentle you are, and I trust you. I know that you know me better than I know myself. You know what I can take. I put myself completely into your hands. Use me to help you, weak though I am. You may not be able to do much with me…then again, I’ve seen you work miracles before. Do with me what you can. Behold, I believe. Help my unbelief. I trust in you. (Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MI; Marian Press, copyright 2011,)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Devotion for today: Psalm 23 and the Eucharist
Jesus said, “I Myself am the Bread of Life”. The fifth Mystery of Light: The Gift of the Eucharist
Scripture for meditation: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.

Christ tells us: John 6:51
“I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”

Fr. Vincent Martin Lucia tells us: (This is a big long, but well worth the read) Jesus described the good shepherd as the one who does not run away but stays with his flock. In the Blessed Sacrament “Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is: ‘God with us.’ Day and night He is in our midst; He dwells with us full of grace and truth.”(Mysterium Fidei)

He said: “I Myself am the Bread of life.” We pray “My Shepherd” because His love is a personal love. Though He loves everyone with an infinite love, He loves you as if you were the only one in the world. The Blessed Sacrament is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who is present before you for no other reason that He loves you. He is here to draw you closer to Himself, to deepen the love and friendship you have together with Him. This individual, personal love is described by Pope John Paul I when he said “Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love.”

Because He gives us all we need, “there is nothing I shall want.” What He inspires in us is to want only Him and His holy Will. In this way, we “repose” in the divine love of His Eucharistic Heart.

The “fresh and green pastures” are the new graces He nourishes our spirit with. Leading us to the Blessed Sacrament, He invites us to drink from “restful waters,” the springs of salvation, flowing from His everlastingly glorious wounds, by which we are continually being healed.

In the Blessed Sacrament “He restores morality, nourishes virtues, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak.” (Mysterium Fidei)

“He is true to His Name” means He is always faithful to us and all the promises He made to us.

No evil to fear is a call to faith that God is in control of everything. Out of any evil allowed, He only brings a greater good. His staff is the strength He gives us in this Sacrament. He is infinitely more powerful than all the onslaught of hell put together.

The “banquet” is Jesus Himself who said, “I Myself am the Bread of Life.” Divine love is the food He serves us. The grace-filled love, peace, and joy He offers us when we come before Him in the Blessed Sacrament were prepared for us on Calvary. Holy Thursday goes together with Good Friday, as the Eucharist is the gift of our Lord’s Passion. Like wheat crushed before becoming bread, Jesus was crushed on the cross to become our spiritual nourishment, suffering torment to give us comfort, rejection to fill us with love, dying in darkness to bring us the light of hope, opened by a lance to pour out His peace.

An overflowing cup signifies that our Lord gives us incomparably more than we ask for, even though we may not always feel it. Whatever sacrifice we have made to come to make our holy hour, cannot in any way compare to what we received now and in eternity.

“Goodness and kindness” describe the very name and personality of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Who dwells with us “all the days of our life.” For this reason, our desire is to remain with Him “in the Lord’s house.” (Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament by Fr. Vincent Martin Lucia, Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration)

My thoughts: In this, the last Mystery of Light, we learn that Christ gave us Himself to dwell with us “all the days of our lives.” Can we do the same for Him?

Our prayer to God: Let us prayerfully reflect on today’s beautiful Eucharistic explanation of Psalm 23 as we pray the fifth Luminous Mystery, the Gift of the Eucharist.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Devotion for today: He was transfigured before them.

The fourth Mystery of Light is the Transfiguration.

Scripture for Meditation: 2 Corinthians: 13-18
We are not like Moses, who used to hide his face with a veil so that the Israelites could not see the final fading of that glory. Their minds, of course, were dulled. To this very day, when the old covenant is read the veil remains unlifted; it is only in Christ that it is taken away. Even now, when Moses is read a veil covers their understanding. “But whenever he turns to the Lord, the veil will be removed.” The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image by the Lord who is the Spirit.

The Gospel of Matthew tells us: Matthew 17: 1-3, 5-8
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before their eyes. His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them conversing with him. …suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them. Out of the cloud came a voice which said, “This is my beloved Son on whom my favor rests. Listen to him.” When they heard this, the disciples fell forward on the ground, overcome with fear. Jesus came toward them and laying his hand on them said, “Get up! Do not be afraid.” When they looked up they did not see anyone but Jesus.

Blessed John Paul II tells us, in his apostolic letter “ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE”:
9. “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Mt 17:2). The Gospel scene of Christ's transfiguration, in which the three Apostles Peter, James and John appear entranced by the beauty of the Redeemer, can be seen as an icon of Christian contemplation. To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ's face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul's words can then be applied to us: “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2Cor 3:18). 21. The mystery of light par excellence is the Transfiguration, traditionally believed to have taken place on Mount Tabor. The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:  Collect for the Mass of the Feast of the Transfiguration
God our Father, in the transfigured glory of Christ your Son, you strengthen our faith by confirming the witness of your prophets, and show us the splendor of your beloved sons and daughters. As we listen to the voice of your Son, help us to become heirs to eternal life with him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, forever and ever. Amen. (St. Joseph Weekday Missal, Volume II, 1975, Catholic Book Publishing Co.)

My thoughts:  Blessed John Paul II tells us that this mystery is the Mystery of Light par excellence. It is in this event in Christ’s public life that he displays his God-nature. Whereas in yesterday’s mystery of the Proclamation of the Kingdom we were called to action, today’s Mystery of the Transfiguration calls us to contemplation. Today we are to study the face of Christ, to see its radiance and glory, and to live. Christ came so that we would no longer be afraid of God, for He is a glorious God, one who wants to fill us with his glory. He radiates light as we are to do; we learn from gazing upon him, in the Eucharist, on the cross, as he is transfigured. May we never veil our faces so that our glory is hidden, but fearlessly allow ourselves to be the children of light that God wants us to be. God commands, “Listen to Him”, and we must take time to be silent and do just that. Let God speak in the silence of your heart. Contemplation, and action: the two cornerstones of a well-balanced spiritual life, are both found in the Mysteries of Light.

Our prayer to God: As we pray our decade today, concentrating on the Mystery of the Transfiguration, let us remember what Blessed John Paul II told us: we must remember that in accepting the glory, we also accept the cross. May our prayer today include our willingness to do just that.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Devotion for today: Proclaiming the Kingdom of God

The Third Mystery of Light is the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
Scripture for meditation: Acts 8:27-31, 35
It happened that an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official in charge of the entire treasury of Candace (a name meaning queen) of the Ethiopians, had come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was returning home. He was sitting in his carriage reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” Philip ran ahead and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He said to him, “Do you really grasp what you are reading?” “How can I,” the man replied, “unless someone explains it to me?” With that, he invited Philip to get in and sit down beside him. Philip launched out with this Scripture passage as his starting point, telling him the good news of Jesus.

John’s gospel tells us: John 1:35-37
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. As he watched Jesus walk by he said, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard what he said, and followed Jesus.

The Summons, by John Bell and Graham Maule:
Will you come and follow me, if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know, and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown; will you let my name be known; will you let my life be grown in you, and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind, if I but call your name? Will you care for cruel and kind, and never be the same? Will you risk the hostile stare, should your life attract or scare? Will you let me answer prayer in you, and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see, if I but call your name? Will you set the prisoners free, and never be the same? Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen, and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide, if I but call your name? Will you quell the fear inside, and never be the same? Will you use the faith you’ve found, to reshape the world around, through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Prayer: Lord, your summons echoes true, when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you, and never be the same. In your company I’ll go, where your love and footsteps show. Thus, I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me. (Copyright 1987, Wild Goose Resource)

My thoughts: The Third Mystery of Light centers on Christ’s proclamation of the Kingdom of God. He didn’t stay on earth, however, to do this forever. He left the job to you and me. Just as Philip responded when the Holy Spirit led him to the eunuch, we must follow the promptings of that same Spirit when given an opportunity to share our faith. We don’t have to preach. We can lend a willing hand, a comforting word, a sweet smile, a listening ear. If called to do so, then we should be willing to speak about the faith that makes our lives so meaningful and blessed. John the Baptist pointed the disciples to Christ. So must we. The Summons asks us if we will let God work in our lives. We should say yes. I marvel that so many people have Tim Tebow (quarterback for the Denver Broncos) so wrong. He doesn’t pray to win football games; he prays to use his God-given talents to the best of his ability to bring people to Christ. Does he meet with hostile stares? Yes. Does his life scare some people? You bet. Does he care? I don’t know. I do know he is an example for all of us to put our fear of mockery and snickering aside and stand up for what we believe to be true: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). You know this, and I know this. Let us begin today to let God answer other people’s prayers by using us, by quelling the fear inside, and by moving and living in God, and God in us.

Our Prayer to God: Let us pray the Third Mystery of Light today, asking God to use us in any way He sees fit. Spend time rereading The Summons, picturing yourself face-to-face with Christ, as one of His disciples would do, because, you see, you really are one. (To hear the song, “The Summons” go to You Tube and search The Summons by December Snow 1231.)