Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Visitation

Today is the feast of the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. I pray today for all those women who are considering abortion, to think of how the baby in Elizabeth's womb, John the Baptist, jumped for joy as he recognised the prescence of God in Mary's womb. I pray that they will consider their child as a living human being and not as a burden to be gotten rid of. I pray that they will understand the great blessing it is to be able to give life to their child, and how soul-destroying it is to choose to kill their baby. I pray that women everywhere will take responsibility for their actions, and refrain from sexual relationships if they are not prepared to raise a child. I pray that women will not fall prey to the latest slick ads for birth control and realise that birth control is just another way of killing babies. I pray for the beginning of a morally uplifting society that will lead to the return of good family values . Love life, and love God. Amen.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I Place My Trust in Thee

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee,

Whatever may befall me, Lord, though dark the hour may be;

In all my woes, in all my joys, though nought but grief I see,

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee.
When those I loved have passed away, and I am sore distressed,

0 Sacred Heart of Jesus, I fly toThee for rest.

In all my trials, great or small, my confidence shall be

Unshaken as I cry, dear Lord, I place my trust in Thee.
This is my one sweet prayer, dear Lord, my faith, my trust, my love,

But most of all in that last hour, when death points up above,

O sweet Savior, may Thy face smile on my soul all free.

Oh may I cry with rapturous love, I've placed my trust inThee.

Jesus is the only true friend of our hearts.
(St. Margaret Mary)

Memorare to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Remember, O most kind Jesus, that none who have had recourse to Your Sacred Heart, implored its assistance, or called for mercy, have ever been abandoned. Filled, and animated by this same confidence, O divine Heart, Ruler of all hearts, I fly to You, and oppressed beneath the weight of my sins, I prostrate myself before You. Despise not Your unworthy child, but grant me, I pray, an entrance into Your Sacred Heart. Sustain me in all my combats and be with me now, and at all times, but especially in the hour of my death. O gracious Jesus! O amiable Jesus! O loving Jesus!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Prayer to Mary

To Our beloved Mother I offer this prayer from Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Mary:

Most kind Mother of God, Virgin Mary, I beg you, deign now and always to show me, who am your poor and weak servant, your fidelity and the utterly sweet love that has always filled you. I ask you to instill into the depths of my heart drops of the sweetness that you carried in your bosom and preserved hidden in your womb.
Then I shall be able to love you with a pure and undivided heart, and to praise you with great devotion and above all things, O Blessed Mother, together with your only Son and Our Lord, Jesus Christ. From this I shall receive a great blessing, namely, that through all the days of my earthly life I may serve you and your only Son with a loving and fervent spirit.
Virgin Mary, golden rose, wholly sweet and beautiful, I ask that my insistent prayers may reach you. By means of them I knock at the door of your dwelling in the house of the Lord, trusting in your generous mercy now and in every trial, because you are the Mother of Mercy and through you sinners obtain their greatest hope of forgiveness.
But your kindness and fidelity are greater than we can possibly grasp here on earth, for you are far beyond all praise and the glory even of the Saints, and you surpass in sweetness even the Angels, O Blessed Virgin and revered Lady.
If this were not so, how could you pour into the wretched and sinners such great, sweet consolation? How could you communicate so great a hope of forgiveness? On the other hand, you could never fail to do so, because for nine months you carried Jesus Christ, the fountain of infinite goodness, in your womb.
You are the jewel of heaven, the delight and joy of all the Saints, the golden pillow of the Saint of Saints, the joy and expectation of the ancient Patriarchs.
Through you, Blessed Mother and Virgin forechosen in an extraordinary way, all who ask for God's mercy are promised and given the forgiveness of sins, the glory of the children of God, and endless happiness in the kingdom of heaven.
Mary, you are the brightest star that shines in the heavens, Queen of heaven, and Mistress of the world. No virgin filled with heavenly virtue can be compared with your virginal beauty, because, after your only Son, Jesus, you are the first of all the Saints.
You are also the noblest creature whom God the Father foresaw before all the ages and created in the fullness of time so that you might be the Virgin Mother of your only-begotten Son. Him you brought forth with incredible joy as an indescribable and everlasting miracle for the salvation of all believers.
O ever-Virgin Mary, you have been appointed Mediatrix for all the world, and the entire human race praises, glorifies, venerates you beyond all others. It loves you deeply with great jubilation of heart and pure affection.
You are the incomparibly beautiful Queen of all virgins, and every heavenly and earthly creature, whom God created for the praise and glory of His exalted Name, sings the sweetest melodies in thanksgiving to you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

From The Western Catholic Reporter:

Music and art join earth to heaven

Christian art reflects beauty of God - pope

By CAROL GLATZCatholic News ServiceVatican City
Christian-inspired art, architecture and music are not dead artifacts from the past, but are living treasures reflecting the beauty of God and the joy of being a child of God, Pope Benedict said.
The Christian culture is “born out of faith, born from the heart of one who has encountered Christ” and has felt his truth and love, he said.
As long as this “faith stays alive, this cultural heritage does not die, but stays alive and timely,” he said during his May 21 general audience.
The pope focused his catechesis on the life and contribution of St. Romanus the Melodist, a sixth-century poet and composer.
"Cathedrals are not medieval monuments, but houses of life."
Pope Benedict
He said this patron saint of Church singers shows how powerful “symbolic communication” is when it “joins earth to heaven” in the liturgy and “uses imagery, poetry and song to lift our minds to God’s truth.”
Joy of God’s children
Byzantine icons “are not things from the past,” but still “speak to the hearts of believers today,” the pope said.
“Cathedrals are not medieval monuments, but houses of life where we are at home encountering God, meeting one another,” he said.
“Great music” like that created by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the composers of Gregorian chant, the pope said, is not a thing of the past, but lives on “in the vitality of the liturgy of our faith.”
The pope said creativity and innovation that bring in a new Christian culture do not discard Christianity’s cultural past, but are part of the same, continuous heritage and represent “one single reality.”
“The beauty of God, the joy of being a child of God are present” in all Christian-inspired art, both traditional and modern.
The pope said if one’s faith is alive then Christian culture will always be renewed and the faithful will be able to do as one psalmist implores: “Sing to the Lord a new song.”

I sincerely hope that those who are composing "a new song" will draw from the rich tradition of Sacred Music instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The World and the Church

Earthquakes in China. Cyclone in Burma. Thousands upon thousands dead. Hurricane season in the U.S. expected to be a bad one this year. The price of food going up so much that more poor will starve. Partial birth abortion and killing the babies that make it through partial birth abortion alive. The destruction of the family by gay rights activists. Children killing other children. How much worse will it get?
I think we are in a time of chastisement. This much evil cannot continue.
There is a story on Spirit Daily about Rosario Toscano and Marian apparitions near Catania, Italy. So far, the Church "has always assumed a careful attitude, as the Church certainly must do with such phenomena: yet the Church has always been clearly inclined to judge them authentic. In confirmation of this, the Archbishop of Catania, His Excellence Msgr. Bonmarito, has always kept a very close contact with Rosario, and, in many interviews, has defined the visionary "the clean boy of Belpasso".
The part of this story that I find particularly interesting is this:
One day Rosario told me that "something that was forgotten" would be restored. Concerning the people of God who will enjoy the benefits of the seventh secret, Rosario explained that "whoever comes back to the Church and leads a life of faith that reflects the light of the Gospel, can consider himself to be a member of the people of God".

Concerning the words "something forgotten", Rosario, after a prayer, gave me the following hint:
"Don’t think of disobedience against God’s commandments, or something that infringes the truths taught by the Church; rather one must think of something that was once in use in the life of the Church and then has been disregarded, but will come back into use, depending on the circumstances that will present themselves". And he made a comparison: "The sailor who, with his ship, is bound for a harbor doesn’t change his destination if the sea is stormy: instead, following the lighthouse, he doesn’t run the risk of losing his course, and gets assistance in order to reach the harbor more easily. Now, the sailor is the people of God. The harbor is the refuge, eternal salvation. The lighthouse is the seventh secret, which helps us reach the harbor more easily, and, in plain terms, the refuge."

Can it be that the "something forgotten" is the Tridentine Mass, which was once in use in the life of the Church, and then had been disregarded? It is indeed a safe haven and place of refuge where our faith is guided away from the rocky ground of liberalism, modernism, and ambiguous translations that undermine our Sacred Tradition. This Mass of the Ages is proving to bring young people into the Catholic faith, and breathes new life into those of us whose faith has been dulled and disregarded by the bland NO Mass. Thank God for Pope Benedict for paving the way for the return of the TLM.
I pray that there will be many more people who come back to the Church, and that the TLM will be available and well attended in every parish, and that those who lift themselves up to God will never turn around and do evil to their brothers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Journey, Continued

From The Imitation of Christ:

Resisting Temptation

SO LONG as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written in Job: "The life of man upon earth is a warfare." Everyone, therefore, must guard against temptation and must watch in prayer lest the devil, who never sleeps but goes about seeking whom he may devour, find occasion to deceive him. No one is so perfect or so holy but he is sometimes tempted; man cannot be altogether free from temptation.
Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is humbled, purified, and instructed. The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away. There is no state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from them as long as he lives, for they come from within us -- in sin we were born. When one temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because we have lost the state of original blessedness.
Many people try to escape temptations, only to fall more deeply. We cannot conquer simply by fleeing, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all our enemies. The man who only shuns temptations outwardly and does not uproot them will make little progress; indeed they will quickly return, more violent than before.
Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather than by severity and your own rash ways. Often take counsel when tempted; and do not be harsh with others who are tempted, but console them as you yourself would wish to be consoled.
The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.
Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.
Someone has said very aptly: "Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength." First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.
Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others toward the end, while some are troubled almost constantly throughout their life. Others, again, are tempted but lightly according to the wisdom and justice of Divine Providence Who weighs the status and merit of each and prepares all for the salvation of His elect.
We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit.
In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest.
When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress.
Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on their own strength in great ones.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Chant Album

I hope I can find this album to buy! More on this here

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Journey, Continued

Excerpts from St. Alphonsus Liguori's Sermons; The sermon for Pentecost Sunday:

If we wish for the gift of divine love, we must constantly beseech the Holy Ghost to make us know and do the will of God. Let us continually implore His light to know, and His strength to fulfil the divine will.

First point: Our sanctification consists entirely in conformity to the will of God.

Second point: How, and in what we ought to practice conformity to the Will of God.

That we may feel a facility of doing on all occasions the divine will, we must beforehand offer ourselves continually to embrace in peace, whatever God ordains or wills.
St. Teresa offered herself to God fifty times a day that He might dispose of her as He pleased; and declared her readiness to embrace either prosperity or adversity. The perfection of our oblation consists in offering ourselves to God without reserve. All are prepared to unite themselves to the divine will in prosperity; but perfection consists in conforming to it, even in adversity. To thank God in all things that are agreeable to us, is acceptable to Him; but to accept with cheerfulness what is repugnant to our inclinations, is still more pleasing to Him. Father M. Avila used to say, that "a single Blessed be God in adversity is better than six thousand thanksgivings in prosperity".
We should conform to the divine will, not only in misfortunes which come directly from God- such as sickness, loss of property, privation of friends and relatives- but also crosses which come to us from men, but indirectly from God- such as acts of injustice, defamations, calumnies, injuries and all sorts of other persecutions. But you may ask, does God will that others commit sin, by injuring us in our property or reputation? No; God wills not their sin; but He wishes us to bear with such a loss, and with such a humiliation; and He wishes us to conform, on all such occasions, to His divine will.

St Alphonsus goes on to say: great is the folly of those who resist the divine will, and, instead of receiving tribulations with patience, get into a rage, and accuse God of treating them with injustice and cruelty! Perhaps they expect, that, in consequence of their opposition, what God wills shall not happen? "Who resisteth His will?"_Rom, ix 19. Miserable men! Instead of lightening the cross which God sends them, they make it more heavy and painful. "Who resisteth Him and hath peace?" _Job ix.4. Let us be resigned to the divine will, and we shall thus render our crosses light, and shall gain great treasures for eternal life. In sending us tribulations God intends to make us saints. "This is the will of God, your sanctification"_Thess iv. 3. He sends us crosses, not because He wishes evil to us, but because He desires our welfare, and because He knows that they are conducive to our salvation.

And the saint concludes:

We should constantly beg of God to teach us and help us to do His will. Let us, at the same time, offer ourselves to accept without reserve whatever He ordains, saying, with the Apostle "Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" Acts ix. 6. Lord, tell me what thou dost wish me to do; I desire to do Thy will. And in all things, whether they be pleasing or painful, let us always have in our mouths that petition of the Pater Noster- "Thy will be done". Let us frequently repeat it in the day, with all the affection of our hearts. Happy if we live and die saying: "Thy will be done! Thy will be done!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To all mothers and Godmothers, may the Lord bless you this day. May He bless your children and have Mercy on the souls of those who are no longer with you. May He hear and answer your prayers. I place all mothers today within the Immaculate Heart of Mary .

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Small Step Forward

This is an article from Edmonton's Western Catholic Reporter:

Archbishop backs Unborn Victims of Crime bill
Archbishop Richard Smith
Special to the WCREdmonton
Bill C-484 makes an important recognition of a woman's right to give birth - a point being neglected in much of the current debate over the bill, says Archbishop Richard Smith.
Smith has welcomed the introduction of the bill, which would amend the Criminal Code to make it a specific offence to harm or kill an unborn child during an attack on its mother.
The Unborn Victims of Crime Act, sponsored by Conservative MP Ken Epp of Edmonton-Sherwood Park, has passed second reading in the House of Commons and is now before a parliamentary committee.
Opponents denounce the bill as an infringement of women's rights and warn that giving an unborn child any legal status at all could eventually lead to restrictions on abortions.
Smith maintains the proposed law would actually support a woman's decision to give birth and recognize the family's great loss when that choice is violently taken away.
"The fact is, most pregnant women in Canada do want to give birth and do welcome their newborns with great joy," he says. "It's important that our culture and our society honour that fact, and this change to the law is one small way to do that."
At a weekend march in support of life, Smith called for a renewed appreciation in the wider culture of "the conviction that human life is beautiful, that human life has inherent dignity, that human life is always to be welcomed and celebrated, and that human life, at every stage, deserves real protection."
If adopted, Bill C-484 would not mark the first time legal recognition would be given to the unborn in Canadian law.
In 2005 Alberta became the first province to enact a law that allows children to sue for injuries suffered in the womb as a result of auto accidents.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Power of the Hail Mary

Our beloved prayer, the Hail Mary, is such a powerful weapon! (Think of the football players who, when attempting to throw a pass that is nearly impossible, call it a "Hail Mary pass"!) I have heard of times when a person, who normally is not devout or prayerful, is in danger,the first thing they do is pray the Hail Mary. It seems natural for us to call on our Blessed Mother in times of trial, strife, or danger, for we know that a mother's role is to protect her children. We should also call upon her daily to assist us in our constant battle to stay free from sin.

Here is an excerpt from The Imitation of Mary by Thomas A Kempis:

When a certain brother experienced trials, he used to call upon Jesus and His most merciful Mother, and when he was tempted by any evil passion or sadness, he would take refuge in meditation on the Passion of Christ; he would recite the Hail Mary and call upon Jesus and Mary for help against the temptation.
One night, in a dream, he saw the devil appproach him with the intention of making him do something evil. Fearful of being worsted, and having no way of escape, he began to recite the Hail Mary in a low voice. When the devil heard him calling upon Jesus, he immediately departed and began a swift flight. Seeing this, the brother began to cry out after him,"Jesus! Jesus!"
The more loudly he cried this name, the more swiftly did Satan distance himself, for he was terrified of the sweet Names of Jesus and Mary, His Mother; he finally disappeared. Because of the unexpected joy over what he had seen, the brother awoke and said: "If I can make the devil flee with a single Hail Mary, what have I to fear?"

Another point to be made here, is that praying the Hail Mary is calling upon Jesus, and asking His Mother to pray for us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Journey, Continued

From The Imitation of Christ:

Avoiding Idle Talk
SHUN the gossip of men as much as possible, for discussion of worldly affairs, even though sincere, is a great distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and captivated by vanity.
Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated with men. Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip among ourselves when we so seldom part without a troubled conscience? We do so because we seek comfort from one another's conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts. Hence, we talk and think quite fondly of things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely. But, sad to say, we often talk vainly and to no purpose; for this external pleasure effectively bars inward and divine consolation.
Therefore we must watch and pray lest time pass idly.
When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something that will edify.
Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue. Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.

As you know, I live in a rural community, and opportunities for edifying spiritual conversations are sparse, with the exception of some wonderful conversation with my husband. And so I am happy that we have the internet and blogging as a means to associate with others of a like mind, and that we can enrich each other spiritually.

Monday, May 5, 2008

On living my faith

Over the last few years, as my understanding of my Catholic faith has grown, I have been able to more freely live my faith. When I first started out, I would hide what I was doing- for example if I was praying and someone asked me what I was doing, I would say "oh, nothing". But as I grew stronger, I stopped worrying about human respect, and now I am happy to share what I am doing. I now make the sign of the Cross and say grace in restaurants, make the sign of the Cross when driving by a Catholic church, wear a mantilla in my NO church, but most important of all, living my faith has changed the way I talk. Of course, that means I no longer take the name of God in vain, but the biggest change is in the way I talk about others. I used to be quick to complain about others if I didn't like what they were doing, or talk about others behind their back. Now I find myself being very careful in what I say, and try to see something good in everyone, even if I don't agree with what they are doing. After all, I don't want Jesus to only look at MY faults, but to find the good in me! But there is something I want advice on. How do you deal with people who are always swearing , taking God's name in vain, damning everyone. I usually silently say, Blessed be God's Holy Name forever! But that is no help to the person I am talking with. Do you come right out and ask them not to swear?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mary's Month

May is the month dedicated to our Blessed Mother. To honour her, I am praying the Thirty Days prayer from the book, My Favorite Prayers and Novenas. It's a very beautiful prayer, which takes you through the Passion and Death of Our Lord.
May is a great month; this year it contains the Solemnity of the Ascension, Pentecost Sunday, the Most Holy Trinity, The Body and Blood of Christ, The Sacred Heart and The Feast of TheVisitation! What a Holy month! Heaven will be resounding with joy! And on a more mundane level, we also have mothers day and a long weekend- so there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to be unhappy this month.

Ascension Thursday

Can you imagine how it was for the apostles as they saw Jesus rising in glory to His Father?