Monday, June 1, 2015: Mary, the Visitrix

J.M.J. Generally, May 31st, which was yesterday, is the Feast of the Visitation; however, this year, yesterday was the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

Here is a reflection about Our Lady as the Visitrix--the one who went out of her way to see her cousin.

The Servant of God Terence James Cooke (1921-1983) was the Archbishop of New York for fifteen years (1968-1983). Over two decades after his death, he is fondly remembered for his tranquility and his willingness to suffer silently and uncomplainingly from grave illness.
In Meditations on Mary (New York: Alba House, 1993), which has an Introduction from Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., one finds a series of conferences that the then-Monsignor Cooke, who was secretary to the famous Francis Cardinal Spellman, gave at Lourdes, France in 1958 on the 100th anniversary of those cherished apparitions of Our Blessed Lady to little Mary Bernadette Soubirous.
In one of his meditations, the future shepherd of Gotham described the Madonna as one who visited others. “Mary’s life has been and still is a continual series of visitations of which that first visit to Elizabeth was the prototype. She is ever bringing Jesus to souls, and leading souls to Jesus. Alone she never comes, for Jesus is always with her. To her we owe every Holy Communion we receive, for it is the same Body, conceived and nourished in her immaculate womb, that is the food of our souls. To her we owe every spiritual visitation of Divine Grace, for she is the Mediatrix of all graces, interceding and obtaining for us favors and blessings even before we are aware of their necessity. To her we owe every good accomplished, every evil avoided, every temptation overcome, for ‘without Him we can do nothing.’ If He is with us or near us, in some way she is responsible for His nearness.”
We need not try hard to imagine Mary as seeking every opportunity to visit us—her sons and daughters. Her visits urge us, in turn, to “visit” her and her Son. How is this possible? Monsignor Cooke asserted: “Your daily sacrifices are your visitation to Jesus and Mary, to honor them, to offer thanksgiving, to make reparation, and to petition some new blessing. But before you began to make these sacrifices, or even to plan them, Mary has already made a visitation to you inspiring you to make them.”
Mary is justly hailed as the “Visitrix.” Now from Paradise, she cares for her beloved children. And we, according to Cardinal Cooke, approach her because we have been touched by her visits to us.
In encouraging his listeners to the sacred Grotto of Lourdes to consider attentively their relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus and His chaste Mother the Ever-Virgin, Monsignor Cooke concluded his remarks thus:
“In the Gospel for Christmas there are two lines which, no matter how often they are read, always have a sad, melancholy tone: ‘He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.’ ‘There was no room for them in the inn.’ Your coming on this pilgrimage of Our Lady is a sign that you have made room for them in the inn of your heart. They have come unto their own, and their own have received them.”
“It has been said, ‘Happy is the house which the Mother of God visits.’ We might say, ‘Happy is the heart which the Mother of God visits.’”
May our hearts be visited by the Queen of Heaven and embrace every chance to visit her in return.
Our Lady of the Visitation, pray for us! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015: The Most Blessed Trinity--Our Lady's Unparalleled Treasure

J.M.J. The refrain of “Sing Praise to Our Creator” is:

Praise the Holy Trinity, undivided Unity,

Holy God, Mighty God, God Immortal be adored.
The words of this melodious hymn speak of the unity of the Trinity. Yes, three distinct Persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—but only one God Who is “holy,” “mighty,” and “immortal.”
The third verse of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” is especially Trinitarian:

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Three We Name Thee,

While in essence only One, undivided God we claim Thee.
And adoring bend the knee, while we own the Mystery,
And adoring bend the knee, while we own the Mystery.

Again, we recall the unity of God, Who is three Persons in one God. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but equal and united.
We are constantly reminded of the Most Blessed Trinity. For example, think of how many times daily we make the Sign of the Cross!
One Church
The Holy Trinity is the central doctrine of the Christian religion. There are numerous aspects of this fundamental and essential dogma. One is that of unity. In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons who are separate but connected. God is united in Himself; there is no confusion or dissent. Each Person of the Trinity knows His role and fulfills it perfectly.
The term “unity” also refers to the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ founded only one Church—the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. These are the four “marks” of the Church. We proclaim these when we pray the Nicene Creed during the Mass.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them.” But the “great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity” (814).
Just as in God there is no confusion about the mission of each Divine Person, and each Person contributes to the Godhead, so in the Church each member is to know well his God-given task and to carry it out to the best of his ability, thereby ensuring that the Church will flourish in her multiple activities. Many persons with varying gifts enrich the Church at the universal, national, diocesan, and local levels.
Preserve the Unity
There is no chance that the unity present in the Most Holy Trinity will ever be broken or even compromised. When it comes to the Church, the Catechism declares that “sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity and so the Apostle (Saint Paul) has to exhort Christians to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’” (814).
That is not to say that what Jesus did in establishing His Beloved Church as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic is a failure. The work of Christ is without blemish. But it does mean that we can and do fail to live up to our sacred responsibility to preserve the unity among the members of His Church.
What is our duty here? It is threefold: to pray always that there will be unity where Catholics find themselves; to work strenuously to respond to God as He requires us; to encourage our brothers and sisters to do the same.
God loved us so much, Saint John the Evangelist exclaimed, that He sent His only Son so that “everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Jesus the Son of God has revealed the Trinity to us. We can come to know that God exists by our reasoning powers alone. But our reason alone does not lead us to know the Trinity. For that, we need faith—the gift that Jesus came to impart to us.
Unity in the Church is in some real sense derived from the unity in the Most Blessed Trinity.
The Trinity is, as Moses heard God proclaim, “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” The Name of the Trinity, Who instructs us in that indispensable unity, is “holy” and “glorious” and is “praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.”
Bidding farewell to the believers in Corinth, Saint Paul wrote: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” This is the best wish that we can have for someone—and even for ourselves: that we will always be united to the Most Holy Trinity. Then, we can better strive to imitate that unity in the Godhead and seek to live it among all the disciples of Christ.

Most Holy Trinity, You Who are Three Persons in One God, help us always to be united!

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Saturday, May 30, 2015: Our Lady--The Daughter of The Father, The Mother of The Son, The Temple/Spouse of The Holy Spirit

J.M.J. "4. Mary's threefold relationship with the divine Persons is confirmed in precise words and with a description of the characteristic relationship which links the Mother of the Lord to the Church: 'She is endowed with the high office and dignity of the Mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit' (Lumen gentium, n. 53).

"Mary's fundamental dignity is that of being 'Mother of the Son', which is expressed in Christian doctrine and devotion with the title 'Mother of God'.

"This is a surprising term, which shows the humility of God's only-begotten Son in His Incarnation and, in connection with it, the most high privilege granted a creature who was called to give Him birth in the flesh.

"Mother of the Son, Mary is the 'beloved daughter of the Father' in a unique way. She has been granted an utterly special likeness between her motherhood and the divine fatherhood.

"And again: every Christian is a 'temple of the Holy Spirit', according to the Apostle Paul's expression (1 Cor 6:19). But this assertion takes on an extraordinary meaning in Mary: in her the relationship with the Holy Spirit is enriched with a spousal dimension. I recalled this in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater: "The Holy Spirit had already come down upon her, and she became his faithful spouse at the Annunciation, welcoming the Word of the true God..." (n. 26)."

--Saint John Paul II, General Audience of Wednesday, January 10, 1996

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Friday, May 29, 2015: Our Lady according to Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

J.M.J. From Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906):

"No one has penetrated the mystery of Christ in all its depths except the Blessed Virgin . . . compared with the light given to Our Lady, the saints remain in shadow. The secret which she kept and pondered in her Heart, no tongue can tell, no pen record. This Mother is going to form my soul so that her little child may be a living, striking image of her 'First-born', the Eternal Son, the One Who was the perfect praise of His Father's glory. When I read in the Gospel that Mary went with haste into the hill country of Judah to fulfill her duty of charity to her cousin Elizabeth, I see her pass on her way, so beautiful, so calm and majestic, so recollected in the presence of God within her! Her prayer, like His, was always 'Ecce! Here I am!' Who? . . .  'the handmaid of the Lord,' the least of His creatures, she, His Mother!

"She was truly humble because she was always oblivious of self, unconscious of self, freed from self! . . . She is also the Queen of Martyrs, but again it was her soul that was 'pierced by the sword' for with her everything takes place within . . . How beautiful she is to contemplate . . . so enveloped in a majesty which breathes forth strength and gentleness . . . She is there at the foot of the Cross, and my Master says to me, 'Behold your Mother.' He gives her to me as my Mother! She is still there to teach me to suffer as He did, to make known to me the last utterances of His soul, which she alone, His Mother, was able to catch. It is Our Lady, full of light, pure with the divine purity, who will take me by the hand to lead me into heaven, that realm of dazzling brightness."

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Thursday, May 28, 2015: The Holy Spirit, Mary's Beloved Spouse

J.M.J. During these days after Pentecost Sunday, we gladly reflect on the Holy Spirit and His Descent upon us.

Here is the opening of Dominum et Vivificantem, the May 18, 1986 Encyclical of Saint John Paul II (1978-2005).

1. The Church professes her faith in the Holy Spirit as "the Lord, the giver of life." She professes this in the Creed which is called Nicene-Constantinopolitan from the name of the two Councils-of Nicaea (A.D. 325) and Constantinople (A.D. 381)-at which it was formulated or promulgated. It also contains the statement that the Holy Spirit "has spoken through the Prophets."

These are words which the Church receives from the very source of her faith, Jesus Christ. In fact, according to the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit is given to us with the new life, as Jesus foretells and promises on the great day of the Feast of Tabernacles: "If any one thirst let him come to Me and drink. He who believeth in Me as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" And the Evangelist explains: "This He said about the Spirit, Which those who believed in Him were to receive." It is the same simile of water which Jesus uses in His conversation with the Samaritan woman, when He speaks of "a spring of water welling up to eternal life," and in His conversation with Nicodemus when He speaks of the need for a new birth "of water and the Holy Spirit" in order to "enter the kingdom of God."

The Church, therefore, instructed by the words of Christ, and drawing on the experience of Pentecost and her own apostolic history, has proclaimed since the earliest centuries her faith in the Holy Spirit, as the giver of life, the One in Whom the inscrutable Triune God communicates Himself to human beings, constituting in them the source of eternal life. 

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015: Our Lady and Saint Joseph


Prayer to Saint Joseph
by Pope Leo XIII (1889)
To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, 
and having asked the 
 help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently 
ask your patronage also. 
 Through that sacred bond of charity which united you to 
the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God 
and through the fatherly love with 
which you embraced the Child Jesus, 
we humbly beg you to look graciously 
upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ 
purchased by His Blood, and to aid us 
in our necessities with your power and strength.

O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, 
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. 
Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood 
and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously 
assist us from Heaven in our struggle with 
the powers of darkness. And just as you 
once saved the Child Jesus from mortal 
danger, so now defend God’s Holy Church 
from the snares of her enemies and from 
all adversity. Shield each one of us by 
your constant protection, so that, supported 
by your example and your help, we may 
be able to live a virtuous life, to die 
a holy death, and to obtain 
eternal happiness in Heaven. 

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015: Our Lady and Families

J.M.J. Families are beautiful! Families are necessary! Families have responsibilities!
Our Blessed Lady, at home at the Holy House in Nazareth with your Divine Son Our Lord Jesus Christ and your chaste spouse Saint Joseph, pray for our families!

"And please, pray together at home too: at meals and before going to bed. Prayer does not only bring us nearer to God but also nearer to one another. It is a powerful source of peace and joy. Family life becomes more joyful and expansive whenever God is there and His closeness is experienced in prayer." Pope Benedict XVI, Vespers in the Cathedral in Munich, Sunday, September 10, 2006
“To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others and share their burdens (see Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:2).” Venerable John Paul II, Homily during Holy Mass on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sunday, October 7, 1979, #5

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Monday, May 25, 2015: O Mary, Teach Us to Use Well the Gift of Time!

J.M.J. On this Memorial Day, as we pray for the Souls of the war dead, many are thinking of summer.

What kind of thoughts come to mind when considering summer?
Children enjoying a break from school, families taking a vacation far from home, workmates playing ball, neighbors taking refreshing dips in the local swimming hole—all these are prominent among summertime images.
This season connotes rest from labor and a change of pace. But that doesn’t mean that these special months should degenerate into a period of sloth. They can be productive, as well. Relationships may be renewed, a new language studied and attractive literary classics read.
In the spiritual realm, an important truth must also be recalled. As one Catholic teacher said to her students before summer recess: “We never take a vacation from God.”
With the Easter season concluded and Advent months away, a dangerous lull can occur in our spiritual lives. For some, Sunday Mass may become optional, the Sacrament of Penance completely forgotten, devotion to Our Blessed Lady neglected and daily prayer and self-denial placed on the shelf.
That is unfortunate because summer is a perfect time to take a personal spiritual inventory. Use these special weeks to take stock of your friendship with Jesus.
Ask yourself: “How can I be a more faithful disciple of Christ? How can I detach from what’s not necessary so as to surrender myself wholeheartedly to the Almighty’s wise plan for my life?”
There are many ways to answer these questions, but it helps to have a spiritually proficient guide.
One of the most famous, and deservedly so, is Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, the 19th century English prelate known for his sanctity and learning, and who will be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI--an ardent admirer--this September in England.
Cardinal Newman wrote a reflection in The Idea of a University that makes beneficial summertime meditation and a basis for some inner searching.
The reflection offers a description of an authentic gentleman, a man whose character has strong Catholic underpinnings. Of course, Blessed John Henry’s words are also applicable to women striving to be holy ladies in Christ.
Here’s a portion of Cardinal Newman’s essay about the authentic gentleman:

“He is one who never inflicts unnecessary pain. 
He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action 
of those about him; his great concern being to make everyone at their ease and at home.

“He has his eyes on all his company; he is 
tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, 
and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect 
to whom he is speaking; he guards against unreasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate.

“He makes light of favors while he does them, 
and seems to be receiving when he is conferring.
“He is never mean or little in his disputes, 
never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes 
personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or 
insinuates evil he dare not say out loud. 

From a longsighted prudence, he observes the 
maxim of the ancient sage that we should ever 
 conduct ourselves toward our enemy as if he 
were one day to be our friend.

“He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults, 
he is too well employed to remember injuries, 
and too indolent to bear malice. He is patient, 
forbearing, and resigned on philosophical principles; 
he submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to 
bereavement, because it is irreparable, and 
to death, because it is his destiny.”

We might argue that it’s possible to adopt the attitudes saluted by Venerable Newman without any reference to Jesus Christ. True, a “pagan” can be “kind” in a merely human sense, devoid of any direct Christian meaning.
Nevertheless, for a follower of Christ, being a real gentleman or lady has added import--a closer conformity to the gentle Messiah. For Jesus Himself “raised” these attitudes and bestowed on them a supernatural charity--a virtue that distinguishes His flock from those animated with only a humanitarian flavor.
When a Christian looks after one who, for example, is bashful, distant or absurd, he does so with his own eyes fixed on the Savior. The Christian’s charitable act--far from being just polite--is loving and compassionate in imitation of the King of Kings.
Summer is a superlative time to attempt this practice. The season provides a backdrop by which we may grow in holiness. Turning with confidence to the Lord of the world, we beg His assistance in using these months for His honor and glory and--please God--for a renewal in our relationship with Him.

Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.

Solemnity of Pentecost, Sunday, May 24, 2015: The Special Friend of Our Lady

J.M.J. Invoking the Holy Spirit--the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity--is to be a constant exercise of love and adoration on the part of all Christians. Our genuine attention to the Consoler is to lead to imitation of Him and even to our abandonment to Him and all that He desires.
Today, Pentecost Sunday, highlights our desperate need for the Paraclete--a pressing need that we have every moment of each day.
The saintly Father Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970), a member of the Third Order Regular Franciscan Congregation, was known for his unabashed affection for, and obedience to, the Holy Spirit.
At the end of his excellent work entitled Vieni, O Spirito Santo! (“Come, O Holy Spirit”) is found some Prayers in which the incredible favors of the Holy Spirit are requested.
These Prayers are short but intense and are appropriate for daily use. Here are a few of them.
O Holy Spirit, sweet Guest of my soul, remain with me and assist me so that I may remain always with You.
Eternal Divine Spirit, I offer You all the prayers of the Virgin Mary and of the Apostles gathered in the Cenacle, and to those I unite all my prayers, begging You to come quickly to renew the face of the earth.
For the Gift of Tears
Almighty and most merciful God, Who made a fountain of water gush forth from the rock to quench the thirst of Your People, obtain from the hardness of our hearts the tears of compunction, so that we may cry on account of our sins and merit to obtain their remission through Your Mercy. Mercifully infuse into our hearts, Lord God, the grace of the Holy Spirit, which helps cancel—through our cries and tears—the stains of our sins, and obtains for us from Your generosity the effect of our desired pardon. Through Jesus our Lord. Amen.
To Expel Impure Thoughts
Almighty and most merciful God, hear favorably our prayers, and free our hearts from the temptations of impure thoughts, so that we may merit to become a worthy dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Deign, Lord, to purify our souls from impure thoughts, to guard them intact, and to illuminate them with the grace of the Holy Spirit. You Who enlighten every man who comes into this world, alas! Enlighten our hearts with the splendor of Your grace, so that we may always think of those things that are worthy and acceptable to Your majesty, and love You sincerely. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
No disciple of Christ worthy of the name would deny that the Holy Spirit is to be our sure Refuge and Guide. No authentic friend of Jesus would argue that presently in our world, the calming presence of the Counselor is recognized and adhered to as it should be.
We sadly but readily admit that the Holy Spirit and His wise wishes are not held in the required esteem. Obstacles have been built that stand in the way of His renewing the earth. Yes, He can surely overcome those hurdles. But often His approach is that He wants us to do what we can to break through those barriers so that His gentle and persuasive influence may be felt.
Therefore, our hearts must first be converted if there is any chance that the world will be. Our closeness and submission to the Holy Spirit paves the way for His further work in our society.
Our prayer to the Holy Spirit is simple: Come, Holy Spirit . . . Holy Spirit, come . . . transform our hearts so that we may join in Your labor to renew the face of the earth.
Mary, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015: Our Lady, Patroness of our Patria

J.M.J. We ask Mary, our Patronness, under her glorious title, "The Immaculate Conception" to pray for our patria--our homeland. 

Special gratitude is extended to the person who submitted "Magnificat of America" that is attributed to Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967), the Archbishop of New York (1939-1967), and that appeared in the July 2010 issue of Magnificat.

America, our America!
Hold to the vision of Mary,
Mary Immaculate.
Her glory fills the earth,
She is of our race,
Its "solitary boast."
She, alone without sin,
Keeps the doom of wrath from thee,
Who art defending Her glory.
She, Conqueror of evil,
Conquers evil for thee,
Who art resisting evil.
America, our America!
Pray always to Mary,
Mary Immaculate.
She, the Mother to nations--
She, the Mother of Christ,
The Lord of all nations.
She guards them and guides,
Subduing their hates,
Inspiring their spirits.
She mourns for the prodigals,
As childless mothers mourn,
Torn by their treasons.
America, our America!
Give thy heart to Mary,
Mary Immaculate.
Join Her prayer of praise,
All Heaven attending,
For our land that is free.
Sing thou Her song of joy,
All nations listening,
Giving thanks to God.
Sing thou the song of souls,
The Magnificat of Mary,
The Magnificat of America.

Friday, May 22, 2015: Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel


Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel

O, Virgin Mother, Lady of Good Counsel, 
Sweetest picture artist ever drew. 
In all my doubts I fly to Thee for guidance, 
O Mother, tell me, what am I to do?

By Thy face, to Jesus' Face inclining 
Sheltered deeply in Thy mantle blue, 
By His little Arms around Thee twining, 
O Mother, tell me, what am I to do?

Thursday, May 21, 2015: Saint Augustine's Prayer to Our Lady


Thanksgiving Prayer to Our Lady
by Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

O Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily give you the just dues of praise and thanksgiving, you who by the wondrous assent of your will rescued a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in your honor, since it is by your intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration?

Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have to offer here, though they be unequal to your merit; and, receiving our vows, obtain by your prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience and bring forth the gift of our reconciliation.

Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for you are the sole hope of sinners. Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the Clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God.

Be ever ready to assist us when we pray and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it your continual care to pray for the People of God, you who, blessed by God, merited to bear the Redeemer of the world Who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015: Our Good Mother

J.M.J. “The heart of this good Mother is all love and mercy. She desires only to see us happy. We have only to turn to her to be heard. The Son has His justice, the Mother has only her mercy.”

--Saint John Mary Vianney, Priest (1786-1859)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015: Venerable Sheen and Bella Dodd

J.M.J. You are in for a spiritual treat.

Read about the overwhelming kindness, but necessary firmness, that the Venerable Fulton John Sheen (1895-1979) displayed towards Bella Visono Dodd (1904-1969), a former member of the Communist Party of America, who returned to the Church with the assistance of Bishop Sheen in 1952.

Here is Chapter 17 of her book, School of Darkness.

Mary, House of gold, pray for us.

Monday, May 18, 2015: Thanks for the Holy Rosaries!

J.M.J. Three days ago, I received a very gracious letter from the Reverend Loyd G. Fiedler, S.V.D.

May 13, 2015 

Dear Monsignor Charles,

Greetings and Peace!

Upon returning to U.S.A. for vacation with family, your collection of 1,500 Rosaries was given to me. Please extend our thanks to all those who made this possible.***

Today is the Fatima feast. In my mission there were two fiestas in communities under our care. I hope they had a nice celebration and the message of Fatima was given attention besides the social and festivity.

Our school year begins the first Monday of June and by October our First Communions will be taking place where Rosaries are in high demand. Parishes, chaplancies and missions come to me for these Rosaries. So I'm ready for their needs thanks to your gift. Thanks a lot and please pray for us.

You are in our prayers too. God's blessings!

Salamat pong marami!

(Thanks alot!)

In the Divine Word,

Father Loyd G. Fiedler, S.V.D.
Saint Rosa de Lima Mission

***Pat Larson; Jan Motz

---   ---   ---   ---   ---

If Saint John Paul II were alive, he would turn 95 today!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saint John I, pray for us.

Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

Solemnity of the Ascension, Sunday, May 17, 2015: Our Lady's Son Ascended to His Father

J.M.J. “All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness.”
These words from the Psalmist hint at the incredible joy that we experience deep within us. The risen and ascended Jesus loves us without limit. He has done countless wonderful things for us. He has drawn us to Himself in Baptism. He has forgiven our sins in the Sacrament of Penance. He has fed us with His Flesh and Blood in the Most Holy Eucharist. He has sealed our commitment that we made to Him by the Sacrament of Confirmation. He has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven. Where He is now, we hope to follow. For this reason we turn to Him with gladness and proclaim His Holy Name.
Forty days after His Resurrection, Jesus ascended to His heavenly Father. Those forty days were the backdrop for various appearances that He made to His disciples. Since Christ was aware of His impending Ascension, He wanted to show Himself to His followers and strengthen them for the day He would return to His Father.
Jesus realized that His eleven Apostles whom He called to the mountain for His Ascension were often fragile in their faith. But that did not stop Him from commissioning them to go forward to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching.
Work for Christ!
Our risen and ascended Lord Jesus knows very well our own brokenness. In fact, He knows our weakness better than we ourselves do. Yet, He continues to associate us to His work. He sends us out to share His love and mercy.
It is a great thing to labor for Christ. In fact, there’s no better activity! We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are His “other self” in communicating His goodness to His brothers and sisters, who also are our brothers and sisters.
How empty our lives would be if we were not connected to Christ and His divine work. If we are not united to Jesus and did not participate in His mission to lead souls to Heaven, our God-given gifts would never be fully actualized as He desires. We would “miss out” in playing our role in collaborating with Christ.
We have a serious responsibility to share Jesus with our neighbors. Whether they are happy or sad, content or deprived, rich or poor, black or white, Catholic or not, they need Christ and His saving message. This is where we come in. He has chosen us. He has selected us. He has called us to be His genuine disciples who transmit His concern to those around us.
Strength Through the Sacraments
And thank God, Christ does not send us out to His friends without the necessary spiritual strength. We have the Sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Communion, that are always there for us. When we confess out sins frequently within the context of Confession and partake in the Most Holy Eucharist, we are buoyed to go forth and to bear fruit that will last.
Jesus gave instructions “through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom He had chosen.” Christ also gives “instructions” to us—the very same ones He gave to His disciples: “Go and make disciples of all nations . . . Remain in Me . . . Live on in My love . . . Take and eat . . . Take and drink . . . receive the Holy Spirit.” These imperatives are always relevant; they never grow stale. These mandates are valuable reminders that the work that Christ has given to us, which is really His work, must be performed with diligence and perseverance. We must seek His help in reaching out to His brothers and sisters. And He will give us the assistance we need. If we humbly ask Jesus for spiritual aid, He will always provide it for us.
The passage from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians seems to be especially for us today: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to His call.” We have been summoned by our ascended Lord to be His disciples. There is hope for us in His call. We really can become the persons He wants us to be. There is hope that we can be His helpmates in sharing the Good News with His sons and daughters.
Share Christ’s Word
Jesus ascended into Heaven is really, truly, and substantially present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. He is our lasting nourishment. We confide in Him and expect Him to supply what we need. Christ has promised to be with us “until the end of the age.” Do we trust Him? Are we confident that He has not left us orphaned but rather that He will grant the grace to us to be His disciples for His people?
I was ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Paul Dudley, a holy and kind shepherd who, before he celebrated Mass, would lead the priests, servers, and lectors in a prayer in the sacristy. Conscious of his sacred task in preaching Jesus Christ to all present, Bishop Dudley invariably prayed: “O Lord, give me Your Word for Your people.”
This is also our prayer. May Christ, ascended into Paradise, give us His Word to share with His people. They need it. And we need to give it.

Mary, Witness of Our Lord ascended into Heaven, pray for us.

Saturday, May 16, 2015: Our Lady's Brown Scapular and Saint Simon Stock

J.M.J. Today is the Feast of Saint Simon Stock, who is so closely connected to the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Here is a summary of his life from the Catholic News Agency.

On May 16 the Catholic Church remembers Saint Simon Stock, a twelfth- and thirteenth-century Carmelite monk whose vision of the Virgin Mary is the source of the Brown Scapular devotion.

Simon was born during 1165 in the English county of Kent. He is said to have been strongly devoted to God from his youth, to the point that he left home at age 12 to live in the forest as a hermit. Following the customs of the earliest monks, he lived on fruit and water and spent his time in prayer and meditation.

After two decades of solitary life in the wilderness, he returned to society to acquire an education in theology and become a priest. Afterwards, he returned to his hermitage until the year 1212, when his calling to join the Carmelite Order – which had only recently entered England – was revealed to him.

During the early 13th century, a group of monks in the Holy Land sought formal recognition as a religious order. Their origins were mysterious, and by some accounts extended back to the time before Christ, originating in the ministry of the Biblical Prophet Elijah.

The Carmelites’ ascetic, contemplative lifestyle was combined with ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is she who is said to have appeared to Simon Stock, telling him to leave his hermitage and join the order that would soon be arriving with the return of two English Crusaders.

Impressed by the Carmelites’ rigorous monasticism, Simon joined in 1212 and was sent to complete a course of studies at Oxford. Not long after his return to the order, he was appointed its vicar general in 1215. He defended the Carmelites in a dispute over their legitimacy, later resolved by the Popes.

In 1237, Simon took part in a general chapter of the Carmelites in the Holy Land. Facing persecution from Muslims, a majority of the monks there decided to make their home in Europe – including Simon’s native England, where the order would go on to prosper for several centuries.

After becoming the general superior of the Carmelites in 1247, Simon worked to establish the order in many of Europe’s centers of learning, including Cambridge, Oxford, and Paris.

Late in his life, Simon Stock reportedly received a private revelation about the Brown Scapular, a monastic garment worn by Carmelites.

“To him,” an early chronicle states, “appeared the Blessed Virgin with a multitude of angels, holding the Scapular of the Order in her blessed hands, and saying: ‘This will be a privilege for you and for all Carmelites, that he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire.’”

This vision was the source of the Brown Scapular devotion – a tradition which involves the wearing of an adapted version of the garment, along with certain spiritual commitments, by lay Catholics as well as priests and religious.

St. Simon Stock died in France in 1265, 100 years after his birth. He has been publicly venerated since the 15th century. 

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Our Lady of the Brown Scapular, pray for us. 

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saint Simon Stock, pray for us.