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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Worthy Cause

Here is something we can all join in; if we can't get up off our couches to stand in front of an abortion clinic, or if we are too self absorbed to speak out about our faith, the least we can do is pray and fast. Starts Friday, folks.

The 17th International Week of Prayer and Fasting to begin October 2

Washington D.C., September 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For the seventeenth year, a pro-life coalition is encouraging all Christians to join in a week of prayer for an end to the culture of death from October 2-12.

The International Week of Prayer and Fasting Coalition hopes that by mobilizing Christians all over the world to pray, it will achieve its goals of "the conversion of nations, an end to abortion, and peace."

The week of prayer and fasting this year focuses on an increased threat from terrorism across the United States. In a press release, Milagros Callao, one of the coalitions leaders, says, "As problems have accelerated in the world especially with global terrorism, and economic and moral decline, this global movement has grown."

The Coalition is specifically focused on the end to abortion, which it says is one of the worst forms of terrorism. "In the past 37 years, we have allowed another form of terrorism, the killing of the innocent unborn child … Globally, we have allowed the killing of the Innocents and we now have US leaders who support infanticide."

The Coalition, which is a grassroots movement that has worked together for over 17 years, encourages Christians to make time during this one week to perform spiritual acts for an end to the culture of death. Some suggestions the Coalition makes include fasting from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., turning off the television for one week, and attending holy hour prayer vigils.

However, it has also organized a series of larger events across the nation to promote prayer. In Chicago the Coalition has set up prayer vigils at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic parish.

Also, the group plans to hold a number of talks and times of prayer in the Washington D.C. area. Events for the weekend include:

- Saturday, October 10: Journey: God's Plan for Life and Love Conference at the John Paul II Cultural Center, 9am to 6pm. Speakers include Chris Horn, Chris Padgett, Christina Condit, Kristan Hawkins, and Fr. Clement Machado. For more info,www.journeydc.org
- Sunday, October 11: God's Plan for Life and Love Awards Banquet at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 5:30pm. Reception and dinner with renowned speaker former US Senator Rick Santorum.
- Monday, October 12: Eucharistic Prayer Vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 9am to 5pm. Speakers include Jennifer O'Neill, Dr. John Jackson, Fr. Clement Machado, Fr. Frank Pavone, Patty Fason, Melissa Ohden, and Dan Lynch.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mother of Mercy, continued

There is a good example and explanation in The glories of Mary that, without the explanation, would have all the Protestants saying "Aha! See! You elevate Mary higher than Jesus!" But it is not so, as you will see:
Example.
The Franciscan Chronicles relate that a certain Brother Leo saw in a vision two ladders the one red, the other white. On the upper end of the red ladder stood Jesus and on the other stood His holy Mother. The brother saw that some tried to climb the red ladder; but scarcely had they mounted some rungs when they fell back, they tried again but with no better success. Then they were advised to try the white ladder and to their surprise they succeeded for the blessed Virgin stretched out her hand and with her aid they reached heaven.
Explanation.
This apparition is by no means incredible ; nor is it right to say that it makes the power of Mary superior to that of Christ. The symbolic significance of the vision must be borne in mind. The idea has been expressed repeatedly in the words of St. Bernard and more recently by Popes Leo XIII and Benedict XV : " As we have no access to the Father except through the Son, so no one can come to the Son except through the Mother. As the Son is all powerful by nature, the Mother is all powerful in so far that by the merciful disposition of God she is our mediatrix of graces with Christ. Therefore says Eadmer: :Frequently our petitions are heeded sooner when we address ourselves to Mary the Queen of Mercy and Compassion than when we go directly to Jesus who as King of Justice is our Judge."

Doesn't get any clearer than that, does it?

I just found a link on Spirit Daily that also illustrates my point in the post below this one:

WE NEED MARY IN ORDER TO DIE TO OURSELVES

“Thoroughly recognize, by the light of the Holy Ghost, our inward corruption, our incapacity for every good thing useful for salvation, our weakness in all things, our inconstancy at all times, our unworthiness of every grace, and our iniquity in every position. The sin of our first father has spoilt us all, soured us, puffed us up and corrupted the dough into which it is put. The actual sins which we have committed, whether mortal or venial, pardoned though they may be, have nevertheless increased our concupiscence, our weakness, our inconstancy and our corruption, and have left evil remains in our soul” (de Montfort, pp 48-49).

Christ spoke of dying to self, using the grain of wheat as a metaphor. “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (Jn. 12:25-26). Paul, likewise said, “I die daily, I protest by your glory, brethren, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord “1 Cor. 15:31).

There is no purer way to be drawn to this death than through Mary. It is she who holds the secret of grace that will most easily free us of our bondage to self.

WE NEED MARY AS OUR MEDIATRIX WITH OUR MEDIATOR, JESUS CHRIST

“It is more perfect, because it is more humble, not to approach God of ourselves without taking a mediator. Our nature, as I have just shown, is so corrupted that if we rely on our own works, efforts and preparations in order to reach God and please Him, it is certain that our good works will be defiled or be of little weight before God in inducing Him to unite Himself to us and to hear us. It is not without reason that God has given us mediators with His Majesty” (de Montfort, p. 51).

Undoubtedly, there are many who can recall—as a child—wanting to ask for (or admit to) something of his or her father, but feared imminent rejection or wrath. How many of us turned, instead, to our mothers to ask for her intervention? Because of her special relationship with the father, a child feels more confident of success if a mediator presents the request.

. . .and in order to give us access to His mercies, He has provided us with powerful intercessors with His Grandeur, so that to neglect these mediators, and to draw near to His Holiness directly, and without an recommendation, is to fail in humility. It is to fail in respect toward God, so high and so holy. It is to make less account of that King of Kings than we should make of a king or prince of this earth, whom we would not willingly approach without some friend to speak for us (de Montfort, pp 51-52).

Jesus is our Mediator to God the Father and Mary is our mediator to the majestic Mediator. He came to us through her and it is only fitting that we go to Him through her. Like our own mothers, Mary is perfect charity and will refuse no one who seeks her intercession.

. . . we have three steps to mount to go to God: the first, which is nearest to us and the most suited to our capacity, is Mary; the second is Jesus Christ; and the third is God the Father. To go to Jesus, we must go to Mary; she is our mediatrix of intercession. To go to God the Father, we must go to Jesus; for He is our Mediator of redemption (de Montfort, p. 53).

Mother of Mercy

When my Evangelical sister commented to me a while ago that she prays to Jesus only, and that Catholics have to pray to Mary, as if that was a silly and lowly thing to do, it kinda got my dander up that she couldn't understand the great benefits of praying to Mary. So I found this paragraph in The Glories of Mary, by the great St. Alphonsus Ligouri, who explains things much better than I'll ever be able to.
"....we more easily find salvation by having recourse to the Mother than by going to the Son- not as if Mary was more powerful than her Son to save us, for we know that Jesus Christ is our only Saviour, and that He alone by His merits has obtained and obtains salvation for us;but it is for this reason:that when we have recourse to Jesus, we consider Him at the same time as our judge, to whom it belongs also to chastise ungrateful souls and therefore the confidence necessary to be heard may fail us; but when we go to Mary, who has no other office than to compassionate us as Mother of Mercy and to defend us as our advocate, our confidence is more easily established and is often greater. "
How often little children turn to their mother when they have done something wrong, rather than going at once to their father; for they know that their mother's love will deflect the wrath of the father, just as Mary can present out pleas to her Son and present us to Him as her loving children, as long as we have confidence in her and a good intention of amending our ways.
We must remember also that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, and although Jesus is our Saviour, full of mercy, love, and compassion for our sorry selves, He is also our just judge and sees our innermost thoughts and desires. Surely He can see our attachment to sin, even the little venial ones. An examination of conscience will reveal to us our sins, and it is a humbling thought that we must stand before Him on judgement day, all the imperfections of our soul exposed, and how consoling it is to know that we may ask the Blessed Virgin to shelter us beneath her mantle, to say to Jesus, "I love this soul, who loved me, and had recourse to me". We can be sure that Jesus will listen to the pleas of his Mother, and be merciful to us for her sake.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lead us, please.

In light of the recent uproar over the Kennedy funeral, I'd like to share with you a little bit from a recent newsletter from the Fraternal Society of St. Peter (FSSP). This was written by Fr. Eric Flood, North American District Superior. The words in italics are my interjections.

At ordination, the soul of the priest is so configured to Christ that we should be accustomed to saying, "there is another Christ" whenever we see a priest. St. Denis calls the priest a divine man since he takes care of God's concerns on earth, for the life of the priest is at the service of the Bride of Christ, immolating himself as he gives his life to feed the flock of Christ and to seek out the lost sheep.
As the priest continually dies to self, his human nature fades away, and Christ is made "more present" in his life. While a person is alive, it is common to fear the death of our bodily life, but the priest must die at every moment of each day as he places himself as an obstacle over the mouth of hell so that none of the souls entrusted to him will get past him.

Lets pause here. How many priests do you know of who truly care for their parish in this manner?

Fr. Flood goes on to say,
Because of his dignity, we are then called to reverence, respect, and give honor to all priests. We may know of their shortcomings, and we may not get along with their personality, but St. John Chrysostom says that the person who honors a priest, honors Christ, but the person who insults a priest, insults Christ. Even if their example is not that of Christ, the saints say to refrain from showing contempt for them, speaking ill of them, or taking them to secular courts.
.......we must show respect and honor to each priest and bishop. We leave it to God to deal with priests as He knows best, for the priest will have to make an account of the gift bestowed upon him at ordination.
As we continue this Year for Priests, we should frequently pray for all priests, as St. John Vianney says we receive the priest we pray for. In particular, we should pray for the priest who is in charge of our soul, and at each Mass this year, implore God to shower that priest with a multitude of graces.
Fr. Eric Flood

That being said, it is still up to us to call our priests and bishops to account when they stray from the teachings of the magisterium of the church. I believe that faithful Catholics who defend their faith are under attack right now, and we really need our priests and bishops to be strong leaders for us, and not to fall prey to the manipulations of secular society. And I believe we need the help of our Blessed Mother more than ever.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Old Wine

This week we are fortunate to have a priest from the FSSP offering daily Mass here aside from the daily Mass also offered by our parish priest. I can't attend all of them as they are in the afternoon when I am working, but I went Tuesday, and am going tomorrow morning, Sunday, and Monday. I am rather disappointed in the attitude of our parish priest about this. He wouldn't let it be advertised in the bulletin last week, calling it a private Mass- which it isn't; anyone can come. Really, they advertise funeral Masses, which are private Masses, so why not the Tridentine Mass? Sour grapes, perhaps?
Today's sermon definitely bothered me. Let me start by saying that this is not intended to be a criticism of our local priest, but is a reflection on the way things have gotten out of hand when it comes to respecting the traditional ways of the Church- or should I say, the lack of respect. Fathers commentary on the Gospel reading, in which Jesus talked about not putting new wine in old wineskins, and feasting when you are with the bridegroom instead of fasting, was interpreted as Catholics needing to embrace change, and not hang on to the old ways; that change is always with us. He totally ignored the last line in the Gospel reading where Jesus says that after tasting the old wine, one would not want the new.
For me, after having been blessed with just one Tridentine Mass, and a low Mass at that, the Mass I attended today (Novus Ordo) was rather like new wine compared to the richness of the old wine of the Tridentine Mass.
Fill my wineskin with old wine, please.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Praying the Rosary with Fr. Corapi

Do you ever wish you had someone to pray the Rosary with? I do, because sometimes it's hard to stay focused, and I get sleepy. So far, my husband does not want to pray with me. (And I trust Mary to inspire him to start praying the Rosary with me....) Anyway, in the latest newsletter from Fr. Corapi there is a link to his new website. In it is a section for interactive prayer with father, and one of them is a virtual Rosary. So you can click on this link, and Father will pray the Rosary with you! It works really well, and has all the Mysteries. Give it a try!