Saturday, January 5, 2013

Devotion for today: the perfect start to a new year

Well, we have spent the past week spiritually preparing ourselves for the New Year. We have one final step left, and that is to make a good confession and start on a clean page. I offer you just a few thoughts on this incredibly refreshing and cleansing sacrament, one where we get the chance to speak to God through his priest ‘In Persona Christi’ and receive the amazing gifts of forgiveness, mercy and love. We leave the confessional rid of all our personal weeds which have turned the gardens of our souls into ugly patches of overgrowth. We transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual one, where God waits for us with loving arms and great expectations for us. We mirror the day we pass from life to death. Only in this sacrament, we pass from the death of sin into the life of God. How beautiful is that!

John 20: 22-23: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

Archbishop Chaput, Diocese of Philadelphia, tells us in his book “Living the Catholic Faith”: The key to unlocking the richness of the Eucharist and the fullness of the Christian life is the Sacrament of Penance, which prepares the heart to recognize and receive its Savior. The most important single thing any of us can do to grow in Christ, reform our hearts, renew the Church, and change the world is simply this: God back to Confession, regularly and sincerely. Forgive and seek forgiveness. Everything else will follow.

Rosalind Moss tells us in the “Women of Grace” study guide: “What if I have been away from Confession for years?” you may ask. “What if I have been away from the Church?” God will say to you, “Come home, dear child. I've already paid for all your sins at Calvary. I came that you might have life and have it abundantly. There is no sin that is greater than my mercy. I will forgive you. I will restore you. I will heal you. And you’ll find rest for your soul, and peace, and happiness, and life beyond all you've ever known.” Don’t wait. Run to the nearest confessor. God will meet you there. God bless you.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton tells us: Oh my soul, when our corrupted nature overpowers, when we are sick of ourselves, weakened on all sides, discouraged by repeated lapses, wearied with sin and sorrow, we gently, sweetly, lay the whole account at his feet, reconciled and encouraged by his appointed representative, yet trembling and conscious of our imperfect dispositions, we draw near the sacred fountain. Scarcely the expanded heart receives its longing desire, than wrapped in his love, covered with his righteousness, we are no longer the same.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Devotion for today: a time to forgive, and a time to ask for forgiveness

Mary asked us to always begin our prayers with a plea for forgiveness from God. This will keep us humble, honest and sincere in our prayers and in our dealings with each other. To begin the new year on a good foot, we now examine our lives based on the Beatitudes, the basis for all good Christian living. Take a really long, hard look at each of these and see how you fail. It is truly humbling and yet freeing. If you find yourself treating this as a test where you hope to get to the end without scoring any “sins” then trust me, you have missed the point. Ask me how I know. So then go back and do it again slowly, allowing God to pull up those nasty weeds for you to see, ask forgiveness for, and get rid of. Your will be amazed at how light and free you will feel.


Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Yet we are preoccupied with money and worldly goods
and put our trust in what we possess
rather than in your care for us.

Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Yet we are so concerned about our own rights and self-interest
and so little concerned about serving others.
Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Yet we are impatient under our burdens
and unconcerned about the burdens of others.
Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.

 Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall have their fill.
Yet we do not thirst for you,
the fountain of all holiness,
and we are satisfied with half-measures and mediocrity.
Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive
mercy. Yet we are so quick to condemn, so slow to forgive.

 Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.

 Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Yet we have often regarded persons
created in your image as objects of our own lusts
and cannot raise our eyes to you.
Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus Christ, you said:
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called the children of God.
Yet we are so often ruthless with each other,
and our homes and our world are full of discord and resentments.
Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.
Lord, Jesus Christ. you said:
Blessed are those who suffer persecution for holiness' sake,
for the Kingdom of God is theirs.
Yet we suffer no opposition because we have been ashamed of you,
our Crucified Savior,
and have lived worldly compromises of your Gospel.

Have mercy on us,
O Lord, have mercy on us.

Act of Contrition:
O My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee;
And I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments;
But most of all, because they offended Thee, my God,
Who art all good, and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more,
and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

Lord Have Mercy, by Michael Smith and Amy Grant

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Devotion for today: a clean sweep

Let us end our week of New Year’s resolution-making and soul searching with a prayer to ask God to free us from any evil we may have invited, knowingly or unknowingly, into our lives. It is a prayer that we probably have never prayed, yet it is time to do so. Remember, do not be afraid. God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God. That is what we want to be free to do from now on. Live only in and for God.

Prayer for Deliverance
My Lord, you are all-powerful,
You are God, you are Father.
We beg you, through the intercession and help of the archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel
For the deliverance of our brothers and sisters who are enslaved by the evil one.
All saints of heaven, come to our aid.

From anxiety, sadness and obsessions, we beg you, free us, O Lord.
From hatred, fornication, envy, we beg you, free us, O Lord.
From thoughts of jealously, rage, and death, we beg you, free us, O Lord
From every thought of suicide and abortion, we beg you, free us, O Lord
From every form of sinful sexuality, we beg you, free us, O Lord
From every division in our family and every harmful friendship, we beg you, free us, O Lord
From every sort of spell, malefic, witchcraft, and every form of the occult, we beg you, free us, O Lord

Lord, you who said, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you,” grant that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we may be liberated from every evil spell and enjoy your peace always in the name of Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

There, now on to a new year and a fresh start! Amen and halleluiah!!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Devotion for today: healing for the New Year

As we begin 2013, let us get rid of all past hurts and baggage we may be carrying around, and let us ask God to heal us, make us new, and allow us to begin again as His beautiful children. Please pray every line of this prayer slowly and with a sincere heart.

Prayer for Healing

Lord Jesus, you came to heal our wounded and troubled hearts.
I beg you to heal the torments that cause anxiety in my heart;

I beg you, in a particular way, to heal all which are the cause of sin.
I beg you to come into my life and heal me of the psychological harms that struck me in my early years

And from the injuries that they caused throughout my life.
Lord Jesus, you know my burdens.

I lay them all on your Good Shepherd’s Heart.
I beseech you – by the merits of the great, open wound in your heart – to heal the small wounds that are in mine.

Heal the pain of my memories,
So that nothing that has happened to me

Will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety.
Heal, O Lord, all those wounds that have been the cause of all the evil that is rooted in my life.

I want to forgive all those who have offended me.
Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive.

You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart,
Please, heal my own heart.

Heal, my Lord Jesus, those intimate wounds that cause me physical illness.
I offer you my heart.

Accept it, Lord; purify it and give me the sentiments of your Divine Heart.
Help me to be meek and humble.

Heal me, O Lord,
From the pain caused by the death of my loved ones, which is oppressing me.

Grant me to regain peace and joy
In the knowledge that you are the Resurrection and the Life.

Make me an authentic witness to your Resurrection,
Your victory over sin and death,

Your living presence among us. Amen.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Devotion for today: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Our Lady of Kibeho
The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows
This devotion goes back to the Middle Ages but has gained new popularity following the Church-approved Marian apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda in the 1980s. In her apparitions, Our Lady of Kibeho recommended that people pray the Chaplet (or Rosary) of the Seven Sorrows to obtain the favor of repentance.
Father Leszek Czelusniak, MIC, who is in charge of the Marian mission in Rwanda, interviewed Nathalie, one of the visionaries of Kibeho and asked her to summarize the messages of Mary. Here was Nathalie's response:
"The Holy Virgin insisted on the need for prayer. She said that the world is bad. It is necessary to pray, to pray, to pray a lot for this world that is bad, to pray for sinners, to pray for their conversion. She insisted a lot on the need for conversion: Convert to God! Convert to God! Convert to God! While saying that people don't respect God's commands, that people have a hard heart, she also asked us to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary and to recite it every day. She also taught us the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. She asked us to pray it every Tuesday and Friday. She asked us to obey the Church, to love God in truth, and to love our neighbor in humility and simplicity. She spoke of the need for mortification, a spirit of penitence and sacrifice. She also spoke of the need for suffering, to bear our sufferings every day. She said that no one enters heaven without suffering. She also told us that acts of charity for the poor make us beautiful flowers that God likes. She wanted a chapel to be constructed here in Kibeho, so everyone would remember her visit and pray for the Church and religious. Holy Mary spoke to us in Kinyarwanda [the language of Rwanda] with her very soft voice."
How to pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows;
To begin, make the Sign of the Cross and say this prayer: “My God, I offer You this rosary for Your glory, so I may honor Your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, so I can share and meditate upon her suffering. I humbly beg You to give me true repentance for all my sins. Give me wisdom and humility so that I may receive all the indulgences contained in this prayer.
Follow now with the Act of Contrition. For each of the next three beads, say a “Hail Mary”.
Before each sorrow, pray, “Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Meditate on the First Sorrow of Mary, and say an Our Father, followed by seven Hail Mary’s.
The First Sorrow of Mary: The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:22-35): “And a sword shall pierce your heart”
 Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Meditate on the Second Sorrow of Mary, and say an Our Father.
The Second Sorrow of Mary: The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15): Mary’s heart broke and her mind was greatly trouble when Joseph revealed to her the words of the angel: they were to wake up quickly and flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Jesus.
Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Meditate on the Third Sorrow of Mary, and say an Our Father.
The Third Sorrow of Mary: The Loss of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52): Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, but He was also Mary’s child….As the Holy Mother looked anxiously for her beloved boy, deep pain welled in her heart.
Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Meditate on the Fourth Sorrow of Mary and say an Our Father.
The Fourth Sorrow of Mary: Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31): Mary’s eyes, so full of tender love and compassion, met her son’s eyes, which were pained and covered in blood. Their hearts seemed to be sharing the load; every pain He felt, she felt as well.
Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Meditate on the Fifth Sorrow of Mary and say an Our Father.
The Fifth Sorrow of Mary: Mary stands at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25-27): As they hammered the nails through His hands and feet, Mary felt the blows in her heart; the nails pierced her flesh and they tore into her son’s body.
Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.” 
Meditate on the Sixth Sorrow of Mary and say an Our Father.
The Sixth Sorrow of Mary: Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms (John 19:38-40): As she washed her son, she prayed that everybody would know the riches of paradise and enter the gates of heaven. She prayed for every soul in the world to embrace God’s love so her son’s torturous death would benefit all humankind and would not have been in vain. 
Most merciful mother, remind us always about the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Meditate on the Seventh Sorrow of Mary and say an Our Father.
The Seventh Sorrow of Mary: Jesus is placed in the tomb (John 19:41-42): Our sorrowful mother, with the help of John and the holy women, devoutly placed Jesus’ body in the sepulchre…and went home with great pain and tremendous sorrow.
Concluding Prayer: Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much. I beg you, by the merits of the tears you shed inn these terrible and sorrowful ties, to obtain for me and all the sinners of the world the grace of complete sincerity and repentance. Amen. (Say three times: Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us.)
Now make the Sign of the Cross to wipe away the tears Mary shed during the Passion of Jesus. (selections taken from Our Lady of Kibeho, Immaculee Ilibagiza, Hay House, 2008).

Monday, December 31, 2012

Devotion for today: a new year’s resolution that will change your life

Our Lady of Kibeho
 “Thirteen years before the bloody 1994 genocide that swept across Rwanda and left more than a million people dead, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ appeared to eight young people (three of the visionaries have already been approved by the Church, unheard of given the length of time it normally takes to approve visions-my words). Through these visionaries, Mary and Jesus warned of the looming holocaust, which, they assured, could be averted if Rwandans opened their hearts to God and embraced His love.” (Our Lady of Kibeho, Immaculee Ilibagiza, Hay House, 2008). Although tens of thousands of pilgrims came to Kibeho, the sight of the apparitions, many did not take the messages seriously and did not repent, give up hatred and pride, and turn their lives over to God. As a result, many of these same pilgrims participated in the killings. Mary left many messages at Kibeho which, she said at the time, were not just warnings and pleadings for Rwanda, but for the world. I give you today Mary’s plea for us to change the way we pray and live, to humble ourselves before God and beg for His forgiveness and then to show that same mercy and forgiveness to others. Mary told us at Kibeho that the tragedy which would befall Rwanda would only happen there and to the rest of the world if men choose to ignore God’s ways and keep themselves as their own Gods. Sadly, the title of Immaculee’s latest documentary on Kibeho, Rwanda, says it all: “If Only We Had Listened.” For more information on Our Lady of Kibeho, and on Immaculee Ilibagiza, a young woman who survived the holocaust and has written several books on her experiences, go to or If you make any resolutions this year, resolve to read Imaculee’s books and take the messages to heart.
Here is what Mary said in Kibeho:
My children, there are many who want to pray, who try to pray, but do not know how to pray. You must ask for the strength and knowledge to understand what is expected of you. My love goes out to you all, for there are many here who want to reach the road to heaven, but do not have the strength or knowledge to ask for God’s help. My dear children, listen to my words, for I will teach you how to pray from the bottom of your hearts.
You must begin your prayers by offering God all you conceal in your soul. God sees your every action and knows your every thought; you can hide nothing from Him. But you must tell Him yourself – you must be willing and strong enough to confess all of your transgressions of body, mind and spirit to Him. Hold back nothing; admit all your bad deeds and thoughts. Then, you must ask for God’s forgiveness from the bottom of your heart. Rest assured that if you confess and seek forgiveness sincerely, He will forgive you. By beginning this way, the sins you carried will not distract you from praying sincerely. You can then speak to Him knowing that your heart is clean and your conscience is clear. Pray to Him fervently, make a petition, beg His favor, ask for His blessing; God sees into your soul and knows you seek His help with a repentant heart.
Then, my children, you too must offer forgiveness by asking God to forgive all those who have trespassed against you, all who have caused you suffering or given you insult or injury. Forgive them in prayer and ask God to bless and help them.
Then pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of your relatives, for all of your brothers and sisters, that God may bless them. Then give thanks to Him for having received and answered your prayers. Most important, you must ask God for the strength you need to do His will; ask for the strength not to stray from his light, Pray for the courage and wisdom to walk only the road leading to heaven.
And never forget, my children, to pray for the strength to be humble. Your prayers have no meaning if they do not come from the depths of your heart, and you cannot open your heart to the Lord without humility. I love you, my children. When you lack the strength to pray, ask for my help. Pray for my intercession, and I will strengthen you and bring you to my Son and to the Father through your prayer.
My friends: Will We Listen?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Devotion for today: Feast of the Holy Family

The Holy Family Prayer

JESUS, Son of God and Son of Mary, bless our family. Graciously inspire in us the unity, peace, and mutual love that you found in your own family in the little town of Nazareth.

MARY, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, nourish our family with your faith and your love. Keep us close to your Son, Jesus, in all our sorrows and joys.

JOSEPH, Foster-father to Jesus, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm. Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.

HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH, make our family one with you. Help us to be instruments of peace. Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass. May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you. Amen.