Saturday, May 18, 2013

Devotion for today: For Strength is made perfect in weakness

I received this beautiful reflection from a friend who knew I was going through a particularly rough week. She said, “I want to share this thought of Blessed Columba Marmion, who, if canonized and made a Doctor of the Church, will be the Doctor of Divine Adoption, because he talked, preached and taught all his life about our Divine Adoption by our Heavenly Father:”

He said for us not to be "disheartened by trials, by things that stand in our way. They will be greater and deeper as God calls us higher...
God has a powerful hand and His purifying activity reaches depths that only the Saints know - the Vinedresser prunes the branch to make it bear more fruit (Jn.15:2). By the temptations He permits. By the adversities he sends, by the feelings of being deserted and the frightful loneliness He sometime produces in the soul, He tries that soul in order to detach it from what is merely created. He digs deep into it in order to empty it of itself; He 'pursues' it, He 'persecutes' it, in order to possess it' (words of Dom Pie de Hemptinne, a disciple of Blessed Columba Marmion);

He delves to its very marrow; He 'breaks its bones in order to reign in it alone'. Blessed the soul that abandons itself into the hands of this Divine Worker...Undoubtedly in these moments that are rich in graces, the soul is plunged into sorrow and suffering, into aridity and dryness. Let it remain firm beneath the blow of the Supreme High Priest! For God puts the unction of His grace even into the bitterness of the cross!" Jesus said to St. Paul, who cried out in his anguish to Him because of the many trials he was suffering: "My grace is sufficient for you, for strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). "Christ's strength is never shown so strikingly as in the difficulties over which it will triumph." - Blessed Columba Marmion,
"The Mysteries of Christ", Book Two, Ch. 21 - Christ, Crown of All Saints.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Devotion for today: O Christ, Surround Me

When someone takes the time to give me a prayer, poem, song or personal reflection, I like to use it immediately or weave it into a future blog. This week two people have felt moved to give me gifts for my blog. We read my friend’s piece on mothers that his grandfather wrote in Tuesday’s blog, and today we will depart from our study of Mary’s messages to read and listen to a song that my husband asked me to post. He received it at His Lightworks Lectio Divina study and felt I needed to share it right away. So here it is, and what a beautiful message it delivers. Read each verse very carefully and allow yourself to feel God surround you. Then pay particular attention to the last verse. If you can be this in life, you will hear God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.

God be the Love

God be the love to search and keep me
God be the prayer to move my voice
God be the strength to now uphold me
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me

Bind to myself the name of Holy
Great cloud of witnesses enfold
Prophets, apostles, angels witness
O Christ, surround me
O Christ surround me

Brightness of sun and glow of moonlight
Flashing of lightning, strength of wind
Depth of the sea to soil of planet
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me

Walking behind to hem my journey
Going ahead to light my way
And from beneath, above, and all ways
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me

Christ in the eyes of all who see me
Christ in the ears who hear my voice
Christ in the hearts of all who know me
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Devotion for today: Pray the Rosary everyday!

Deuteronomy 31:8: It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

At Guadalupe….As for the sign for the bishop, Mary told Juan Diego to go to the top of the mountain and pick some flowers. He went up to the hill which was dry and barren — a place for cactus — and found roses like those grown in Castille, but foreign to Mexico. He gathered them in his tilma, a garment like a poncho. He brought them to Mary who arranged them and said to take them to the bishop.

The Second Apparition at Fatima: 13 June 1917
About fifty people turned up at the Cova da Iria on June 13, as the three children assembled near the Holmoak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary, as she spoke to Lucia: "I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want."

Today we see Mary return to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, reminding them to pray the rosary every day! If we haven’t gotten the message by now, I don’t know what else Mary can do to remind us of the power of this prayer. The rosary, all 15 decades, encapsulates the entire life of Jesus for our meditation. When prayed in its entirety, we travel with Jesus, through Mary, from the announcement of Mary’s motherhood until her Coronation. To pray the rosary every day is to use the most powerful weapon on earth to fight evil in our families and in our world

Lucia asked Mary to take them to heaven and was reassured in this way: "I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly; but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by me to adorn his throne." This last sentence is found in a letter written in 1927 by Sr. Lucia to her confessor.

Mary uses flowers and the reference to flowers in several other apparitions. She used them as the proof of her appearance to Juan Diego at Guadalupe; she referred to the people gathered at Kibeho as flowers, and she is referred to in the Old Testament in this way: "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley."
(Canticles 2: 1) My blossoms bear fruit fair and rich." (Sirach 24: 13-17). The beauty of Mary is that she loves us so much. She constantly intercedes for us. She presents us to God when we die if we follow the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, and she does it in such a lovely way, that only the image of flowers can capture the splendor of this.

Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply, saying: "Am I to stay here alone?" Mary replied: "No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don't lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."

Again, as we saw in yesterday’s apparition, Mary’s words parallel those of God the Father and God the Son. She is never seeking to draw attention to herself, but only to God. Here she reminds us all that even when we are asked to suffer, she will help us through it. We can always participate in the act of redemptive suffering knowing we will never be alone in doing it. Do not be afraid to suffer and offer it up for the reparation of sin.

O holy Mother of the Children of God! When shall I rest in thy immortal arms? Our souls should be wholly consumed by this desire. But I will restrain myself and peacefully await the hour which the divine Savior has destined for me, to overwhelm me with that bliss. In the meantime, let me have only one desire, to please Him by doing His holy will in all things. What God wishes from us, be done; we are His for time and eternity. Amen. (The Prayer Book, Catholic Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1958)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Devotion for today: The grace of God will be your comfort

Today we resume our study of the apparitions of Mary at Fatima. Again, our emphasis is on the message that Mary has for us as participants in her work of bringing all sinners back to her Son.

The first apparition of Our Lady to the children at Fatima occurred on May 13, 1917. Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia were watching their sheep and playing when light flashed in front of them. It was a beautiful sunny day with no storm in sight. Still, the children headed home, and as they descended the hill, a second flash occurred, and they saw "a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun". The lady spoke to them and said: "Fear not! I will not harm you." "Where are you from?" the children asked. "I am from heaven" the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon.” She then answered several questions and revealed to the children that she would visit them for six consecutive months, on the same day (13th) and hour every month. As she prepared to depart, she asked the children, “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?" "Yes, we do." said the children. "You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them : "Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war." Then she was gone.

Matthew 28: 1-8: 5-10: The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

2 Timothy 3:12: Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen:  “The power of the rosary is beyond description."

In this first visit, Mary reminds us to have no fear, that she is a loving mother who worries about all her children and wants the rest of the family to help those who are weak. Mary is asking us, through the little children, to remember that we must pray for all sinners in the world, that the closer we get to God, the more we will suffer as He did, but that we can participate in this “redemptive suffering” for the conversion of the world. Want to end abortion? Then pray and sacrifice for the hard hearts of people today to be softened. Want to stop violence and war? Then pray and sacrifice for the peace of Christ to enter into our brothers and sisters and stop them from hating. Want a weapon against the crimes of persecution in the world today? Grab your rosary, and pray. Mary came from heaven to tell us we need to get busy, and fast, to turn the world around. Our Blessed Mother reminds us that we are members of one big family, and she needs us to join with her to bring back our prodigal brothers and sisters. Let’s start today to pray one rosary every day to convert sinners and bring peace into the hearts of those who hate, who support death at all stages of life, and who place themselves ahead of God. Then the peace of Christ will set us all free, and we will no longer need to be afraid.

 Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Devotion for today: Woman’s name is Mother

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Today I will digress from my regularly scheduled blog to present a beautiful essay on motherhood that was given to me today, by a good friend, after daily Mass. His grandfather, Hector DeFazio wrote this at the age of 85, in 1963. Call her Mary, call her all mothers.

Woman’s Name is Mother

Woman, thy holiest name is Mother. Mother not by the number of children you bear, but by the deepest instinct of your nature, by the passion of your soul.

Mother is the name of woman, whether she bears and mothers her own children, or the waifs of a city or the refugees of desolation.

Call her intuition for she has the sense of future events.

Call her courage, for she is braver than the bravest of the brave – the lonely path she takes into the primal darkness, where no man has ever gone but whence every man has come, is a more fearsome adventure than questing the continents and the charting of the seas.

Call her comfort, for even God could find no richer figure. Also, he whom his mother comforteth so will I comfort you.

Call her sacrifice, for she gives her all: body, mind and spirit, and gives all gladly, and weeping only though, having given all, she has nothing left to give.

Call her patience, for in her, this grace has its perfect work.

Call her forgiveness. Aye! Call her forgiveness and into forgiveness blend the colors, the fadeless colors of unchangeableness.

She is the same way yesterday, today and forever. Heaven and earth may pass away for you, Sir, but your mother will never move.

She will be waiting, waiting for you when, hungry and naked, you come whimpering back.

All others may condemn you for your weakness and curse you for your sin, but she will piece together your broken life, and with her naked hands, lift your heart again to God, and claim for you His healing.

And faith, call her faith at the last and to the last, faith when all else fails, all others flee.

Intuition, courage, comfort, sacrifice, patience, forgiveness and faith, these are the seven perfect parts of mother love, mother love which next to the love of Christ is most sublime. (Hector DeFazio)

The Prayer, Thanksgiving for Mary, Our Mother

O Jesus, Divine Master, I thank and bless Your most merciful Heart for having given us Mary most holy as our Mother, Teacher and Queen. From the cross You placed us all in her hands. You gave her a great heart, much  wisdom and immense power. May all mankind know her, pray to her! May all permit themselves to be led by her to You, the Savior of mankind! I placed myself in her hands, as You placed Yourself. With this Mother I want to live now, in the hour of my death, and for all eternity. Amen.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Devotion for today: Fear not, I am the Angel of Peace

This week we will take a look at one of the most famous and popular apparitions of Mary, her appearance to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal. These visions began on May 13, 1917 as the children were pasturing their flocks. We begin today with the three visits by the “Angel of peace” to the children which preceded this first apparition. Pay very close attention to the words and prayers of the Angel. In them, we will find guidance as to what Jesus and Mary ask of us in our daily lives.

 They began a year before, in the spring of 1916. While the children were attending their sheep, a strong wind began to blow, and a white light enveloped them. A cloud in the form of a man appeared before them who said, “Fear not, I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”  The children and the Angel knelt and bowed low, and repeated the words of the Angel’s prayer three times, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.” The Angel then rose to leave and said, “Pray this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.

Here we find a prayer we should say every day, and a way to lead our daily lives, by offering all of the graces, mercies and blessings we may obtain throughout the day for the salvation of those who no longer, or who never, felt it necessary, to believe in, adore, hope in or love God. It is not enough to work for our own salvation; we must daily work and pray for the salvation of all.

The second apparition of the Angel occurred in the summer. The children were playing when the Angel appeared and said, “What are you doing? Pray! Pray a great deal. The hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices continually to the Most High.” When the children asked how this could be done, the Angel replied, “Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners. By this you will bring peace to your country. I’m its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission all the suffering the Lord will send you.” The children then spent many hours every day praying the prayer the Angel taught them.

Now the Angel gives us our marching orders: all of our thoughts, words, deeds and sufferings are to be offered up to God. God has great plans for those of us who believe in Him and have dedicated our lives to Him. Will we achieve worldly recognition? No way. At best we will be gently tolerated; at worst we will be vilified for trying to say that sin exists and that actions of family, friends and society are offending God.  The world needs us to be warriors, praying it back to God. We must live the life of redemptive suffering, believing that we can offer up all of the pain and sadness we receive in life as a petition for the conversion of sinners. Looking at recent events in the news should be enough for all of us to see what happens to people who choose the prince of darkness over God. We need to follow the prayer of the Angel of Peace, pray constantly, and make our lives a prayer for the world. It is good to note that countries have Guardian Angels and we should pray to the Guardian Angel of our country.

The Angel made his last appearance in the autumn of 1916. He appeared holding a chalice with a host suspended above it. Drops of blood dripped from the host into the chalice. The Angel knelt with the children and prayed three times, “Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I adore Thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”  Then, giving the host to Lucia and the contents of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco he said, “Take the body and blood of Jesus Christ  horribly outraged by thankless men. Recover their sins and comfort your God."

The Angel makes it perfectly clear to all of us: there is no “winking” at sin in the eyes of God. Parents today must call a sin a sin and risk the ire of their children. Leaders of society must stop the outrages of abortion and euthanasia and bring life back to the culture. Friends must be told the truth about their prideful stands on issues which cause the body and blood of Jesus Christ to be horribly outraged. It is not love to tolerate sin. It is weakness and lack of trust in God. It is saying, “I will live my life for God, but I will not risk losing my friends and family for Him.” In other words, I would rather they offend God and love me than offend me and love God.  We all need to take a hard look at ourselves today and see if the words of the Angel apply to us, and begin today to choose God over ourselves.

“Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I adore Thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Devotion for today: Happy Mother’s Day!

Holy God,
You compare Your own love for Your people
to the love of a mother for her children.
Look with kindness on this mother,
give her comfort in moments of sorrow,
and joy in her work for her family.

Listen to her prayers,
and bless + her in all she does for You.
Let her share with Jesus Your Son
and Mary our mother
in the everlasting happiness of Heaven.

we ask this grace
through Christ our Lord.