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

Friday, September 23, 2011

St. Padre Pio, pray for us

Today is the feast day of St. Padre Pio, the saint I have chosen as my patron for this year. There is a very good post on These Stone Walls that I urge you to read. Padre Pio faced many unjust accusations, just as certain other well known priests today are facing.
In light of my last post, this bit of counsel from St. Pio that Fr. McRae had in his post is particularly relevant:
(Emphasis in bold mine)

From the Spiritual Counsels of Padre Pio:
“That which comes from Satan begins with calmness and ends in storm, indifference, and apathy.”
“The field of battle between God and Satan is the human soul. It is in the soul that the battle rages every moment of life. The soul must give free access to the Lord so that it be fortified by Him in every respect and with all kinds of weapons; that His light may enlighten it to combat the darkness of error; that it be clothed with Jesus Christ, with His justice, truth, the shield of faith, the Word of God, in order   to conquer such spiritual enemies. To be clothed with Jesus Christ, it is necessary to die to oneself.”
(Excerpts from the booklet, “Padre Pio Counsels,” National Center of Padre Pio, Norristown, PA)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Journey Continued

One of the benefits of waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep is the time it gives you to talk to God and the stillness of the night gives you the opportunity to take a good long look at yourself. There is no place to hide from your faults as you examine your soul; no distractions to cling to.
 One of the things that struck me tonight is how, in looking back on my sins, and the thought "how could I have done that" is the emphasis on "I". There is an unbecoming pride in that thought. So often we put ourselves on a pedestal, especially when we compare ourselves to others. Looking back, I see that at the time, I justified all my actions, and did not consider them wrong, but now I see them for what they were; and the thought, "how could I have done that" while it shows spiritual growth, also shows that I am still focused on "I" . I 'm not sure where I first read it, but there is a lovely piece of spiritual advice that says, Lord You must increase in me, and I must diminish.
For that to happen, I acknowledge that even though my ways have changed, I still need to let go of the pride that continues to justify my actions. And the only way to do that is through Grace. I am weak, Lord, and can do nothing without You

From The Imitation of Christ, Book III Ch. 55

O most blessed grace, which makes the poor in spirit rich in virtues, which renders him who is rich in many good things humble of heart, come, descend upon me, fill me quickly with your consolation lest my soul faint with weariness and dryness of mind.
Let me find grace in Your sight, I beg, Lord, for Your grace is enough for me, even though I obtain none of the things which nature desires. If I am tempted and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evils while Your grace is with me. This is my strength. This will give me counsel and help. This is more powerful than all my enemies and wiser than all the wise. This is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the consoler in anguish, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nourisher of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without grace, but dead wood, a useless branch, fit only to be cast away?
Let Your grace, therefore, go before me and follow me, O Lord, and make me always intent upon good works, through Jesus Christ, Your Son

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

My journey, continued

Over the last few days, I have become increasingly disturbed and disgusted at things that are going on in the world. If you subscribe to LifeSite news, you will know what I'm talking about; mothers who are killing their babies, the drive to get pedophilia legalized are just two of the stomach-churning stories.
So many people so full of hate! So much evil! How can this world survive? It seems that it is spiraling into oblivion. There is war on our children, especially in schools, there is indoctrination of women to make them think that it's ok to kill their children, war on modesty and chastity.
I'm thankful that I'm getting old. At the rate things are going, I don't want to see what the world will be like in 20 years. It's going to be bad enough in just the next few years.
The spiritual battlefield is fully engaged. I find no solace in thinking that God permits evil so that good can come from it, because the evil is almost more than I can bear. I'm sure history is full of such times, but it seems that each cycle of violence and hatred and evil is worse than the last.

I cry out with Isaiah 6:11.....
And I said: How long, O Lord? And he said: Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land shall be left desolate.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Holy Cross

This week on Wednesday  is the Feast of the Holy Cross, after which our parish is named. When we think of the Cross we can't but help to think of Jesus, struggling under it's weight, on the way through Jerusalem, bleeding, torn, weakened, but still carrying on. Or we think of Him, with His sacred Hands and Feet, nailed to the Cross, suffering for our sins and our redemption.
So many people only want the good things in life, money, comforts, fun pass times, perfect weather, good times with friends, and so on. Nobody wants to suffer. But we are told, throughout the centuries, that to reach heaven we must carry our own cross. Not just carry it, but accept it gladly. How can we do that? It seems impossible, and not something anyone would willingly aspire to. There is one way; and that is to follow our leader, our Savior, our Redeemer. Not just to follow Him, but to carry the Cross with Him.

From the Imitation of Christ, BookIII:

The Fifty-Sixth Chapter



MY CHILD, the more you depart from yourself, the more you will be able to enter into Me. As the giving up of exterior things brings interior peace, so the forsaking of self unites you to God. I will have you learn perfect surrender to My will, without contradiction or complaint.
Follow Me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way which you must follow, the Truth which you must believe, the Life for which you must hope. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the unending Life. I am the Way that is straight, the supreme Truth, the Life that is true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If you abide in My Way you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free, and you shall attain life everlasting.
If you wish to enter into life, keep My commandments. If you will know the truth, believe in Me. If you will be perfect, sell all. If you will be My disciple, deny yourself. If you will possess the blessed life, despise this present life. If you will be exalted in heaven, humble yourself on earth. If you wish to reign with Me, carry the Cross with Me. For only the servants of the Cross find the life of blessedness and of true light.


Lord Jesus, because Your way is narrow and despised by the world, grant that I may despise the world and imitate You. For the servant is not greater than his Lord, nor the disciple above the Master. Let Your servant be trained in Your life, for there is my salvation and true holiness. Whatever else I read or hear does not fully refresh or delight me.


My child, now that you know these things and have read them all, happy will you be if you do them. He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me. And I will love him and will show Myself to him, and will bring it about that he will sit down with Me in My Father's Kingdom.


Lord Jesus, as You have said, so be it, and what You have promised, let it be my lot to win. I have received the cross, from Your hand I have received it. I will carry it, carry it even unto death as You have laid it upon me. Truly, the life of a good religious man is a cross, but it leads to paradise. We have begun -- we may not go back, nor may we leave off.
Take courage, brethren, let us go forward together and Jesus will be with us. For Jesus' sake we have taken this cross. For Jesus' sake let us persevere with it. He will be our help as He is also our leader and guide. Behold, our King goes before us and will fight for us. Let us follow like men. Let no man fear any terrors. Let us be prepared to meet death valiantly in battle. Let us not suffer our glory to be blemished by fleeing from the Cross

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mary!

Today we celebrated the feast of the nativity of Mary with an outdoor Mass in the grotto at our church. The grotto is of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette.
I am thankful to our Blessed Mother, for saying yes to God, and teaching us to do the same. For interceding for us. For hearing my prayers, and taking them to her Son. For always pointing us to her Son. For her many appearances throughout history, like this one to St. Bernadette, who is the patron saint of my daughter. For giving us an example of perfection in the virtues. For giving us Jesus, and clothing Him in her flesh, so that He could do the work of Salvation.
Ave, Maria!

Sunday, September 4, 2011