Saturday, August 24, 2013

Devotion for today: The burning of Christian Churches in Egypt


Luke 23:34: Father forgive them for they know not what they do. 

This is the terrible truth that you haven’t heard in the mainstream media about the attack on churches and Christian Institutions in Egypt. Please pray for our brothers and sisters suffering in this terrible conflict.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri Appeals For End of Violence in Egypt
Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches Calls For Dialogue and Reconciliation
By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY, August 23, 2013 ( - In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, called for an end to the continuing violence in Egypt….Recently hundreds of Christian churches have been looted, burned or desecrated in attacks by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, who are protesting the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi. Fighting on both sides of the conflict has resulted in hundreds of deaths across the country.

Aida Nasif, a professor of politics at Cairo University and a senior member of the Free Egyptians Party, voiced dismay at the inaction of UNESCO, the UN’s educational, cultural and scientific organisation, in the face of the attacks on historical Christian sites. The historical churches that had been attacked, she noted, did not only belong to Egypt but were the property of humanity as a whole.
Nasif said that Brotherhood supporters had burned a fourth-century church in Beni Mazar, and no amount of restoration work could begin to repair the damage. However, she also voiced the hope that “such terrible actions will not undermine the unity of all Egyptians,” adding that many Muslims had been helping to protect churches in the Cairo suburb of Helwan against potential attacks by pro-Morsi marauders.
The Coptic bishop of Menya, Anba Makarius, denounced the attacks on churches in his diocese. Urging Christians to keep the faith, he said that “the scent of incense becomes more pervasive when it embraces the flames of fire. On this day, which some see as a bloody day, we are suffering grief and pain, but we trust that God will come to our aid. If suffering is something we have to go through because we are Christians, then it is a source of pride. To feel pain for Christ, to be robbed and insulted, to have lies told about us, these are things we can deal with. What has happened and what may happen in the next few days will only make us more attached to Christ and more loving of Egypt.”
The bishop added that “nothing is worse than seeing your church burn in front of your eyes. It is as if you are watching your only son being slain, and you cannot do anything to save him. It is as if your home or your business was being turned to dust in front of your eyes, and you cannot defend them. But we trust in God, who protects us through faith, and God is able to defend His house. We will restrain ourselves when anger threatens to overtake us, and we will not give in to the lust for revenge that threatens to rise inside us. Indeed, we must pray for those who wronged us, for they know not what they do.”

These are the churches and Christian institutions currently burning in Egypt:
Father Maximus Church
St George Church | Burned
Good Shepherds Monastery | Nuns attacked
Angel Michael Church | Surrounded
St George Coptic Orthodox Church
Al-Eslah Church| Burned
Adventist Church | Pastor and his wife kidnapped
St Therese Church
Apostles Church | Burning
Holy Revival Church | Burning
Beni Suef
The Nuns School
St George Church | al-Wasta
St Fatima Basilica | Heliopolis | Attempted Attack
Fayoum (Five churches)
St Mary Church | El Nazlah
St Damiana Church | Robbed and burned
Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) Church
Evangelical Church | al-Zorby Village | Looting and destruction
Church of Joseph | Burned
Franciscan School | Burned
Diocese of St Paul | Burned
Father Antonios
Atfeeh Bishopric
Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram | Delga, Deir Mawas
St Mina Church | Abu Hilal Kebly, Beni Hilal
Baptist Church | Beni Mazar
Deir Mawas Bishopric
Delga Church | Attacked
The Jesuit Fathers Church | Abu Hilal district
St Mark Church | Abu Hilal district
St Joseph Nunnery
Amir Tadros Church
Evangelical Church
Anba Moussa al-Aswad Church
Apostles Church
St Mary’s Church | Attempted Burning
St George Church
St Damiana | Attacked and burned
Virgin Mary | Attacked and burned
St Mark Church & Community Center
Anba Abram Church | Destroyed and burned
St Saviours Anglican Church
Franciscan Church and School | Street 23 | Burned
Holy Shepherd Monastery and Hospital
Good Shepherd Church (molotov cocktail thrown)- Relationship with Holy Shepherd Monastery unknown.
Greek Orthodox Church
Christian Institutions
House of Father Angelos (Pastor of Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram) | Delga, Minya | Burned
Properties and Markets of Copts | al-Gomhorreya Street, Assiut
Seventeen Coptic homes | Delga, Minya | Burned
YMCA | Minya| Burned
Coptic Homes | Qulta Street, Assiut | Attacked
Offices of the Evangelical Foundation & Oum al-Nour | Minya
Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels | Karnak and Cleopatra Streets, Luxor | Attacked and Looted
Dahabeya Nile Boat | Minya| Church-owned
Bible Society bookshop | Cairo | Burned
Bible Society | Fayoum
Bible Society | al-Gomohoreya Street, Assiut

All donations going to CopticWorld with comment of “Egypt” will go towards the Coptic Churches that have been destroyed. You can donate by going to:
Donate in the “Donate to CopticWorld” seciton and put “Egypt” in the comment.

Resources for more information:

Please pray the Chaplet to St. Michael to end this horrible situation.
The Chaplet of St. Michael 
O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc.
[Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]
1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.
2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.
3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.
4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.
5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.
6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.
7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.
8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.
9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.
Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.
Concluding prayers:
O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.
Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence. This we ask through the merits of
Jesus Christ Our Lord.


Friday, August 23, 2013



Mark 4:35-41: On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.  A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.  He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

This prayer was sent to my by Father Neil Buchlein (
In these times of so many natural disasters, I think it is good to have this prayer on hand, along with a blessed candle.  Use it in times of emotional storms as well, especially when you feel your family is being attacked. Substitute where necessary, and remember, “Be Not Afraid”.

Lord and Holy Protector, like the disciples who were caught in their tiny boat in the midst of a mighty storm, 

we come to beg Your Help.

We are fearful as we are surrounded by danger.

We feel helpless and small before the great power of this storm which is beyond our control.

While everything seems dark and dangerous, we place our trust in You, our Lord and God.

Sheltered here in our home, we are also shielded by Your Love against all that might harm us.

We know that You hear all prayers; so we now, filled with confidence, lift up our petitions to You, our God.

(silent prayer) 

Lord, we fear for our home, for our lives and for all we hold dear.

Your Sacred Blessing is upon this home and upon each of us as well.

We are secure in the power of that blessing.

May the saving power of the Cross of Your Son, Jesus, encircle us and our home.

May all evil, all harm and injury be repelled by that Sacred Sign of the Cross.

May the light of this candle be for us a holy sign of Your Divine Presence that fills our home in the midst of this danger.

Lord and Creator of Storms and of Rainbows, be with us in this time of danger.

Amen +

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Devotion for today: A meditation for the Feast of the Queenship of Mary

Today we celebrate Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. I have gathered some material from various sources to give us a contemplative approach to honoring Mary today. May she always lead us to her Son!

Let us reflect on the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary: The Coronation of Mary

Reflection: Catechism of the Catholic Church 966 – “Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”

Our Father: Revelation 12:1: A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
 Reflection: Mary is the Queen of Heaven and earth. She will crush the head of the serpent with her heel: her humble children who obediently follow God’s will cause Jesus, her Son, to reign in every heart.1

Hail Mary: Song of Songs: 6:10: Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops?
 Reflection: What a marvelous woman, to be the mother of her own Creator! What an amazing distinction for a woman to have a Son in common with God. The Father loves his Son; the Mother rejoices in her Son. The Father tells his Son: From the womb, before the morning star, I begot you; the Mother says to her same Son: From the womb, I a virgin brought you into the world.2

Hail Mary: Psalm 45:12: So shall the king desire your beauty: for he is your lord, and you must worship him. 
Reflection: She is amazed at her own glory, nor can she herself understand her elevation, for by the very fact of being made Mother of the Creator, she became with the best…mistress and queen of all creation.3

Hail Mary: Titus 2:11-12: For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless way and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.
Reflection: Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth by grace, as Jesus is the King of them by nature and by conquest. Now, as the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart or the interior of man – according to the words, “The Kingdom of God is within you” – in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of man; that is to say, his soul. And it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and so we can call her, as the saints do, the Queen of all Hearts.4

Hail Mary: John 6:40: Indeed, this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day.
Reflection:  Mary is raised to the height of glory because she allowed God to bring her to the depths of humility. This Fifth Glorious mystery assures us of the final victory of Jesus and Mary and the Church. Because the Church is an image of Jesus and Mary, what happens to Jesus and Mary will happen to the whole Church.5

Hail Mary: Song of Songs: 6:9: One alone is my dove, my perfect one, her mother’s chosen, the dearest of her parents. The daughters saw her and declared her fortunate.
                Reflection: While Mary contemplated all she had come to know through reading, listening and observing, she grew in faith, increased in merits, and was more illuminated by wisdom and more consumed by the fire of charity. The heavenly mysteries were opened to her, and she was filled with joy; she became fruitful by the Spirit, was being directed toward God and watched over protectively while on earth.6

Hail Mary: Psalm 45:3: Grace is poured out upon your lips; thus God has blessed you forever.
                Reflection: I invoke your royal name of Mary, that is, sovereign Lady, and beg of you with all my heart to admit me into the privileged circle of your family as one of your servants, to do your will as a humble slave and a loving child.7

Hail Mary: Luke 1:28: And he came to her and said, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
                Reflection: It was fitting that the Virgin should be given such gifts and be full of grace, since she has bestowed glory on heaven and has brought God and peace to the earth, faith to the pagans, an end to vice, order to life and discipline to morals.8

Hail Mary: Luke 1:46-47: And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
                Reflection: If we would go up to God, and be united with Him, we must use the same means He used to come down to us to be made Man and to impart his graces to us. This means is a true devotion to our Blessed Lady.9

Hail Mary: John 6:40: Indeed this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day.”
                Reflection: This is the glory of humility and final victory! These two victories of Jesus and Mary must go hand in hand because they are one and the same.10

Hail Mary: 1 Kings 2:20: "Make your request, Mother, for I will not refuse you."
                Reflection: Our Lord comes back to us again through Mary as Queen of Heaven, passing His Life and His blessing through her hands as the Mediatrix of all graces. He came through Her in Bethlehem; through her, we go back to Him – and through her He comes back again to us.11

Regina Angelorum by G.K. Chesterton(Collected Poems, 1935)

Our Lady went into a strange country
                And they crowned her for a queen
For she needed never to be stayed or questioned
                But only to be seen;
And they were broken down under unbearable beauty
                As we have been.

Our Lady wears a crown in a strange country
                The crown He gave,
But she has not forgotten to call her old companions
                To call and crave;
And to hear her calling a man might arise and thunder
                On the doors of the grave.

References: 1, 5, 10: Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament; Fr. Vincent Lucia Martin, Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration, Mt. Clemens, MI
2, 3, 6, 7, 8: Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1988
4,9: Preparation for Total Consecration, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, NY
11: The World’s First Love, Fulton J. Sheen, Ignatius Press, 2011
Also used for Bible references: A Scriptural Rosary, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Devotion for today: Blessed are they in whom Jesus will reign eternally

In reading the book  “Homilies in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary” ( Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1993) which is a collection of talks given by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the saint we discussed yesterday, I came across this beautiful passage which I share with you today. I think it is one of the most passionate and sincere calls to Jesus I have ever read. May it serve you well in your meditation today.

“Who is there among us who, in keeping with the etymology of the name Jacob, supplants* the devil from his heart* and struggles* with his vices and evil desires to prevent sin from holding sway in the body of his death* and to let Jesus reign there now by his grace and for eternity by his glory.

Blessed are they in whom Jesus will reign eternally*, for they will reign with him and of his kingdom there will be no end*. Oh how glorious is that kingdom where kings have assembled, have come together  to praise and glorify him who is above all*, King of kings and Lord of lords*, in the brilliant contemplation of whom the righteous shine as the sun* in the kingdom of their Father.

Oh, if only Jesus would remember me, a sinner, when he shows favor to his people*, when he comes into his kingdom*. Oh, if on that day when he delivers his kingdom to God the Father* he would but deign to visit me in his salvation that I might be admitted to the prosperity of his chosen ones and rejoice in the gladness of his nation that even I might praise him with his heritage*.

Come, meanwhile, Lord Jesus*, thrust out all causes of sin from your kingdom, my soul,  that you may reign there as you should. Avarice comes and claims a throne within me; vainglory craves to hold sway in me; pride wants to lord it over me. Sensuality cries, ‘I will rule’; ambition and detraction, envy and anger fight over me within me. Yet I, as far as I can, put up a fight. I push them back with all my might. I call out to my Lord Jesus. I defend myself for his sake, for I know that I am his by right. I hold him as my God, I hold him as my Lord, and I declare, ‘I have no other king than Jesus’.

Come, then, Lord, scatter them by your power, and you shall reign over me, for you are my King and my God who order deliverance for Jacob*.

 The Bible passages below accompany the passage from St. Bernard’s which I share in this meditation and serve as a great reference to contemplate the deep meaning of this passage. They are given in the order in which you see the asterisks.

Genesis 27: 36:  Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times.

Luke 8:12: The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Genesis 32:24: Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Galatians 5:24: And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Luke 1:33: He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Revelation 20:6:  Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him a thousand years.

Ephesians 4:6: one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

1 Timothy 6:15: which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Matthew 13:43:  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Psalm 106:4: Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
    help me when you deliver them;

Luke 23:42: Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into[a] your kingdom.”

1 Corinthians 15:24: Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.

Psalm 106:4-5: Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;  help me when you deliver them;  that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,  that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory in your heritage.

Revelation 22:20: The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Psalm 44:4: You are my King and my God;  you command victories for Jacob.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Devotion for today: "If you desire to live in this house, leave your body behind; only spirits can enter here." August 20th, the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Matthew 6:24: No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast we celebrate today, uttered the quote which is the title of this devotion. “Leave your body behind.” Bring only your soul into the daily workings of your life. Imagine your joy in waking every morning to the thought that all else was inconsequential except your love for God, your prayers to God, your work devoted to God. Imagine not caring if you were recognized or applauded, if you were the best looking or the thinnest person in the room, if your food was for survival and not for gluttony! How marvelous to leave our body behind and let our spirits soar!
This, of course, is not easy to do in the world, and it was difficult for St. Bernard as well.

When St. Bernard entered the Cistercians at the age of twenty-two, he had only one desire:to live hidden and forgotten, concerned only with God.” How many of us have days where we wish we could just make the world go away and spend our time in prayer and contemplation? How many times do we feel overwhelmed with the needs of others and the demands they place on our time and energy? Sometimes I just read the passage  in the Bible where Jesus got in a boat and went to a secluded place. I picture myself rowing in a beautiful lagoon surrounded by blue skies and gorgeous clear water, the sound of birds chirping and fish splashing, and then the phone rings and the dryer buzzer goes off and the alarm on the stove blares me back to my real world. It is then I remember that God didn’t put me here to simply rest in His arms. That life He chose for someone else. For me, He uses His arms to gently push me out into the world. That is where I belong. That is the life I must live. So it was with St. Bernard.

St. Bernard’s life was filled with anxiety and worries, so much so that he developed severe stomach trouble, much like those of us who worry and fret internally yet never lose the faith. He was an eloquent preacher and writer, a gifted mediator and problem solver, an advisor to Popes and Bishops and kings alike, and the abbot of his monastery as well. Many miracles occurred when he would bless the sick or pray over people. He truly was a man of God, unwavering and unflinching in his defense of the Church’s teachings in the face of many heresies in the 12th century. No matter what opposition was preached at the time, Bernard always stayed on the side of the ancient doctors who trusted wholly to Scripture and faith and mystical experience. He is an excellent role model for those of us who refuse to believe what the societies of the world tell us to believe: that truth is relative, God is made in man’s image, and the pursuit of earthly happiness tops the sacrifices necessary to obtain eternal life. St. Bernard suffered great personal attacks and opposition, yet because he stayed true to God, it is said of him that he had "carried the twelfth century on his shoulders." May we, too, be looked upon as people who carried the love and mercy of Christ into our century, and may we have the strength and conviction of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, truly a saint for our times.  At one point, toward the end of his life, he even admitted that "The saints were moved to pray for death out of a longing to see Christ, but I am driven hence by scandals and evil." I think we can all identify with that statement!! Let us follow the words of Jesus, and choose to serve God and not man. St.  Bernard made that choice, and it served him well all the days of his life. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.

Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts by St. Bernard
Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts, Thou fount of life, thou Light of men,
From the poor bliss that earth imparts, We turn unfilled to thee again.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood; Thou savest those who on thee call; To them that seek thee, thou art good, To them that find thee, all in all.
We taste thee, O thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon thee still; We drink of thee the Fountain-head, And thirst our souls from thee to fill.
Our restless spirits yearn for thee, Where'er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad, when thy gracious smile we see, Blest, when our faith can hold thee fast.
O Jesus, ever with us stay; Make all our moments calm and bright, Chase the dark night of sin away; Shed o'er the world thy holy light.
Information on St. Bernard’s life was obtained from