June 25, 2017

Pope Francis’ Silence: Will He Answer the Dubia?

Pope Francis

LifeSite reports on an opinion piece by a former Vatican official discussing Pope Francis’ refusal to answer the dubia issued by four of his cardinals concerning the doctrinal implications and proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, the post-synod apostolic exhortation on the family. The confusion that emerged in the wake of Amoris’ release has resulted in myriad conclusions and widespread uncertainty.

The LifeSite article begins: "Why doesn’t the Pope respond to the Dubia? The former director of the Vatican Bank thinks he knows why. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi suggests that Francis is sending two messages through his silence: that he can contradict himself if he likes and that he wishes to impose a 'New Catholic Morality' on the Church. This new morality would be based not on doctrine but on the subjective opinions of the individual conscience... Ultimately, Francis’ silence — which allows doubts to continue to flourish — is a denial of objective truth."

Mr.Tedeschi observes, "In the past, the Church’s concern was to keep the faithful 'strong in the Truth' in order to conserve the faith. She therefore discouraged a disposition to interpret doctrine and the magisterium in a subjective and dangerously misleading manner." He continues, "Indeed, back then the task of pastors was to confirm the certainties of faith by teaching not just by 'listening.'"

We wrote about this issue last April: "How should the faithful respond to Amoris Laetitia? Cardinal Burke (one of the authors of said dubia) makes clear that it should be received with all the respect due the Supreme Pontiff. However, such respect should not be equated with an obligation to believe every utterance or written statement that the pope makes" Pray that Francis clarifies Amoris soon.

Prayer for the Holy Father Pope Francis

Almighty God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Pope Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, Priest

Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

Optional Memorial - June 6th

Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January 9, 1902, the second of six children. His parents, José Escrivá and María Albás, gave their children a devout Christian education. In 1915, when Jose Escriva's business failed, the family moved to Logrono. There, as a teenager, Josemaria initially sensed his religious vocation. Moved by the sight of footprints left in the snow by a barefoot friar, he believed that God was calling him. He entered the seminary and studied philosophy and theology, first in Logrono and later in Saragossa.

He was ordained to the priesthood in Zaragoza, Spain on March 28, 1925. Then, on October 2, 1928, during a spiritual retreat, Fr. Josemaria saw what it was that God was asking of him: to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. From that day forward, he carried out this task, while ministering especially among the poor and the sick.

When Civil War broke out in Madrid, religious persecution forced Fr. Josemaria to exercise his priestly ministry clandestinely and to move from place to place seeking refuge. Eventually, after a harrowing escape across the Pyrenees, he took up residence in Burgos. When the war concluded in 1939, he returned to Madrid and obtained his doctorate in law. In the years that followed he gave numerous retreats, and continued working assiduously to develop Opus Dei.

Traveling frequently from Rome to various European countries, and to Mexico on one occasion, he extolled the need for heroic virtue in everyday life and worked to spark the growth of Opus Dei in those places. In 1974 and 1975, he made two long trips to a number of countries in Latin America, where he met with large groups of people and spoke to them about their Christian vocation to holiness.

On June 26, 1975, St. Josemaria Escriva died suddenly in Rome, after a final affectionate glance at a picture of our Lady on the wall. Pope Saint John Paul II canonized St Josemaria in Rome on October 6, 2002. His feast day is celebrated on June 26. In his discourse to those who attended the canonization, the Holy Father said that, "St. Josemaria was chosen by the Lord to proclaim the universal call to holiness and to indicate that everyday life, its customary activities, are a path towards holiness. It could be said that he was the saint of the ordinary."

Homily for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 2, 2017, Year A

Jesus Christ carrying his cross

Fr. Charles Irvin
Senior Priest
Diocese of Lansing


When I was a little boy and went to my catechism lessons the nuns, our teachers, used the famous Baltimore Catechism for their teaching guide. Many times they required us to memorize parts of the Baltimore Catechism and today I want to begin with its first section in which the question was asked: “Why did God make you?” The answer we memorized was: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.”

Later on we had to memorize the Ten Commandments, and the first one was: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me.

In the Old Testament’s Book of Exodus we find God speaking to Moses about the covenant between God and His people. God tells the Hebrews: “You shall not worship any other god, for the LORD is the Jealous One; a jealous God is he.” (Exodus 34:14)

In the New Testament’s Book of Acts we learn of St. Paul and his companions traveling to Europe for the first time, to an area now in northern Greece, near the city of Philippi, to be exact. In Acts 16:13-15 we hear that: “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,’ and she prevailed on us.’

Why am I putting all of these things together in this homily? Because they are all firsts, and many times the first things are the most important things. We have here the first lesson in the Baltimore Catechism, the First Commandment, the beginning of the Covenant between God and His people represented by Moses, and the first European to be baptized, Lydia, the businesswoman living in Philippi.

The readings in today’s Mass are about what’s first in our lives, or what should be first, namely our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have in our lives. Our relationship with God is the most important thing we can lose in our lives. God offers Himself to us, we respond. If we don’t respond, we’re telling God that His offer has no value for us and that His offer doesn’t mean anything to us. Whether or not our immortal souls live in eternal life in heaven depends on our relationship with God here on earth.

Our lives are filled with “busy-ness”; there are so many things we need to do and so many things we consider to be important. But what about God? Where is He in our lives? What sort of attention do we give to God? We need to ask that question from time to time and today’s readings challenge us to do just that not only today, or on Sundays, but each and every day of our lives.

There are two big points to draw from today’s readings; the first being the question of how important God is to us in our lives. The second has to do with God’s messengers.

God uses messengers, intermediaries, to relate to us. How important are they to us?

We live in a sort of “do it yourself” world. We like to take care of things all by ourselves. But we really can’t live that way, can we? We all need to depend on others in one way or another.

That’s true when it comes to the way God reaches us. The woman in the first reading and the businesswoman named Lydia paid a lot of attention to God’s messengers. As a result, God reached her and changed her life. Are we open to God’s messengers in our lives? God cares for you, He loves you, and He wants your attention and love. We all need to make more room for Him in our lives, our hearts, and our thoughts. If we don’t, our souls are in peril.

Summertime is upon us, a time when our busy-ness is not so demanding. It’s a time of recreation and a time during which we can be reflective. What about reading some good books, especially books and things to read that turn our thoughts toward God. What about some quiet time spent in reflection about God’s presence in our lives?

Pick up some spiritual reading now so you can have it over your summertime. Spend some thoughtful, quiet, and reflective time during which you can pay attention to God and what He has to say to you. Spend some time asking yourself what’s important in your life and how important God is to you in your life. After all, He made you to know Him, love Him and serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

What, after all, is your life really all about?

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for July 2017

Pope Francis' coat of arms Please remember the Holy Father Pope Francis' intentions in prayer throughout the month of July:

Lapsed Christians

That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.

Urgent Intention - To be Announced

Each month, following the first Sunday Angelus, the Holy Father will announce an additional prayer intention related to current events or urgent needs.

2017 Novena to St. Maria Goretti Begins June 27th

Saint Maria Goretti

Saint Maria Goretti is the Church's youngest canonized saint. She was born near Ancona, Italy into a poor peasant family. Known for her cheerfulness and piety, Maria attended Mass often and loved God completely. At the age of 11, she was assaulted by her neighbor's son. Marie chose to die rather than lose her virginity.

Enraged by her refusal, Maria's attacker stabbed her nine times. Before she died, she forgave her assailant. Her mother was present at Saint Peter's in 1950, the first time a parent witnessed their child's canonization. Over one half million souls attended St. Maria's canonization Mass, the largest attendance up to that time.

St. Maria Goretti Novena Prayers - Day 1

St. Maria Goretti, beautiful model of purity, you defended your virginity unto death. Even at a young age, you held dear to your heart what is dear to our Lord's: your purity. Pray that we may do the same, especially when faced with temptation. Through your intercession, may God grant us the strength to avoid sin and live a life meritorious of eternal Beatitude with you and Christ our Lord.

Please pray also for (mention your intentions here). Amen.

O God, author of innocence and chastity, who bestowed the grace of martyrdom on your handmaid, the Virgin Saint Maria Goretti, in her youth, grant, we pray, through her intercession, that, as you gave her a crown for her steadfastness, so we too may be firm in obeying your commandments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns with you, and with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever. Amen.

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Homily for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 25, 2017, Year A

Hell

Fr. Charles Irvin
Senior Priest
Diocese of Lansing


Sparrows are the most common and the most plentiful of all birds. This being so, they are not valued very highly at all. If as a species they were becoming extinct you can safely bet, however, that committees and campaigns would spring up to save them. But what about human life?

There are over seven billion human beings alive on this earth today. In this century, more than in any other century in human history, human life is less and less valued. Paradoxically the baby-boomer generation, namely all those born after the end of WWII, is committed to individual rights, to individual expression and personal choice, to the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the sexual revolution as no other generation in human history. But what about commitment to the right to life?

Perversely and paradoxically, the people of this century are given to abortion and euthanasia as never before. Human life is disposable on a scale never before known to mankind. Nightly news broadcasts tell us of the loss of life in Africa, the Middle East, and the reported killings of people here in America. Life in our century is cheap, and while we ever more forcefully advocate individual rights we witness individual human lives being discarded and disposed of on a scale that boggles the mind.

You may remember that in the early days of coal mining here in our country the miners brought canaries in cages along with them into the mines. If the canaries began to die the miners knew the odorless and tasteless lethal gases would soon kill them too. It was an accurate prediction of what was to come.

In much the same way, the way human beings are treated in our world today is symptomatic of the forces that threaten our social fabric. Homelessness and the abuse of children reveal our lack of value for human life along with the rise of abortion and mercy killings in the past few decades.

In the midst of all this we hear our Church proclaim today’s gospel message throughout the world: “Are not two sparrows sold for next to nothing? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted; so do not be afraid of anything. You are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows.“

Recently we commemorated the death of Robert F. Kennedy, a champion of underprivileged and ignored human beings. In one of his most famous speeches he said:

“Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of repression and injustice.”

All of us here sometimes feel small and insignificant in our huge and indifferent world. As a priest I buried many people in the same cemetery that is the site of my father’s grave and my mother’s, too, along side of his. My father’s name and my name are exactly the same, so when I see his name on the gravestone I see mine. It gives me pause to meditate!

When I die, I will be buried in the priests’ circle in that cemetery. My name will be cut into a granite stone and placed over my buried mortal remains. A few people will have gathered around it for a few minutes, but when the committal service is finished they will get into their cars and drive off. My name will then melt into the hundreds of other names buried there and shortly be forgotten. So, too, will memories of my presence in this world as a priest. It won’t take long at all, believe me.

Like sparrows, we feel helpless and insignificant in the strong winds of life and in this world’s ever quickening passage of time. And, like sparrows, we appear to be so common as to have little or no value at all. We feel that we will make little difference in our world.

What, then, of our concern as Roman Catholics for the sanctity of human life, particularly each and every human life? Many people in this world intensely dislike us for our Pro-Life stance, particularly when it comes to abortion and euthanasia. We are told to keep quiet and to stop “imposing our religious beliefs and moral values upon others.” We’re lectured about the mythic Wall of Separation of Church and State and told that we’re being un-American with our convictions about the sanctity of human life, both in its beginnings and in its endings.

Jesus tells us here and now the same thing He told His apostles: “Do not let men intimidate you. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, and nothing hidden that will not become known. What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops…” “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown before my Father in heaven.“

Jesus wants to us understand that with God there is no such thing as a nameless, faceless individual human life. Every person lives in God’s family and in His house. God knows in detail each and every aspect of our lives. And He cares, profoundly cares, about what happens to each of us. Even though at times we may feel small, worthless and of no significance whatsoever, that is not how God our Father feels about us. We are not sparrows. We are His sons and daughters, ones that God loves so much that He allowed His Son to die for us.

Which is why we have crucifixes in our churches. For the crucifix tells us how much God cares for each and every one of us, and likewise shows us the length, the breadth, the height and depth He has gone to demonstrate His love for us. It is in that crucifix that you and I can recognize our true worth and the value that we have in the eyes of God.

“Are not two sparrows sold for next to nothing? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted; so do not be afraid of anything. You are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows.”

June 24, 2017

Reflection for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The devil

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is from Matthew's Gospel, chapter 10. Our Lord instructs the twelve apostles, "Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." (Matthew 10:26-28)

The one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna is Satan the devil, king of demons, and of hell. He is the father of lies and a cruel deceiver of men. When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we ask that God, "... lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The Catechism of the Catholic Church (§2851) states: “In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who 'throws himself across' God's plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ.”

Likewise, in John’s Gospel, Jesus addresses the unfaithful with words of warning and unequivocal censure, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Indeed, Satan is the “father of lies”. He told the first lie to Eve, in the Garden of Eden as recorded in Genesis. Having sown seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with his question, he then contradicts God’s Word, telling her, “You will not certainly die”. With this, Satan successfully tempts Eve and her husband Adam to reject God and commit the original sin. Prior to the Fall, the created world and everything in it functioned precisely as God intended. After the Fall, paradise was lost. Satan’s lie condemned humanity to lives of sin, drudgery and inexorable physical death.

The devil is an active force, a living, spiritual being. We must remain vigilant in hope for, "sin lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it." (Genesis 4:7) We can overcome the devil’s incessant attacks through God’s grace and heroic virtue. Ultimately, it is our decision to sin or to love that determines where we spend eternity. God respects our free will, even if we chose vice over virtue. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

June 23, 2017

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

The Birth of St. John the Baptist

June 24, 2017

Ordinarily the Church observes the day of a saint's death as his feast because that day marks his entrance into heaven. To this rule there are two notable exceptions, the birthdays of the Blessed Virgin and of Saint John the Baptist.

The Gospel of Luke relays how Saint John the Baptist’s birth was foretold by the angel Gabriel to his father Zechariah as he offered incense in the Temple. Even before his birth John would be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the womb of his mother Elizabeth John recognized the presence of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by leaping for joy. His mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah and to urge the disobedient back to the path of righteous. John’s witness would bring innumerable souls to Christ.

On the day of Christ's baptism, John immediately recognized Jesus as the long awaited Anointed One heralded by the prophets, and spoke the words Catholic’s hear at every Mass during the Consecration, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) As Jesus rose from the water, the Spirit of God descended like a dove, alighting upon the head of Our Lord, as a voice from heaven declared, “This is my Son, with whom I am pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your family may walk in the way of salvation and, attentive to what Saint John the Precursor urged, may come safely to the One he foretold, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

June 22, 2017

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus | 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 23rd

The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost. In addition to the sacred liturgical celebration, many devotional exercises are connected with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Of all devotions, devotion to the Sacred Heart was, and remains, one of the most widespread and popular in the Church extending from ancient times to the present. Since the priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus, we especially remember both individual priests and the ministerial priesthood on this occasion.

Understood in the light of Scripture, the term "Sacred Heart of Jesus" denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person considered in its most intimate essential: Son of God, uncreated wisdom; infinite charity, principal of the salvation and sanctification of mankind. The "Sacred Heart" is Christ, the Word Incarnate, intrinsically containing, in the Spirit, an infinite divine-human love for the Father and his children. (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy)
Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.
— Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque
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Prayer in Homage to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that font of heavenly gifts. Through Jesus Christ your Son, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

June 21, 2017

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist
The Naming of John the Baptist, Fra Angelico, 1435. 

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

June 24, 2017

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois

Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139; Acts 13: 22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80
“John is his name.” (Lk 1:60)

Have you ever considered yourself to be the most unqualified person to be placed into a situation where you were compelled to lead? Shortly after my ordination to priesthood, my first pastor died of cancer. In my mid-twenties, I was thrust into the leadership role of that parish until a new pastor was appointed. It was a daunting task as the parish was large and active. In the months leading up to the pastor’s death and the weeks after his funeral, the parish looked to me to lead and guide them through the daily parish activities and the transition to a new pastor. I was the most unlikely person to do so; at the time, I was the youngest and most inexperienced priest in the diocese. With God’s help and a lot of prayer, the parish and I not only survived the time, we actually grew in our faith. God made it happen!

The Bible is filled with such stories. Moses himself knew he wasn’t the perfect candidate to lead Israel into freedom. Jeremiah even accused God of “duping” him. Our Blessed Mother Mary was a poor, young girl with no political or social status whatsoever. The apostles certainly weren’t trained for their roles in Christianity, and Paul was perhaps the most unlikely apostle of them all, having murdered many Christians prior to his conversion. By worldly standards, these were all unlikely people to accomplish God’s will. But by God’s ways, they were the right candidates at the right time and place to do His will. God sees the heart of each person and knows what he is capable of.

Today’s Gospel, which should be read in conjunction with the Gospel of the Vigil of this feast (Luke 1:5- 24), tells the story of a couple who would be the most unlikely by today’s standards to accomplish God’s will. Enter Elizabeth and Zechariah. Elizabeth is a “kinswoman” of Mary’s. She and her husband, Zechariah, are barren and advanced in years. Zechariah was of the priestly class and it was his turn to go into the sanctuary to offer incense to God. The crowd anxiously prayed outside the sanctuary while he incensed. While Zechariah was performing his task, an angel appeared to him letting him know that he and Elizabeth would conceive a son who would be the forerunner of the Lord. Zechariah was dumbfounded; he told the angel he and Elizabeth were too old for this. It is impossible! The angel let him know it was God who would make this happen and that because he didn’t believe it, he would be mute until the events took place.

Do you see Zechariah’s point of view? His all-too human response would be yours and mine. This is an unlikely situation and by human standards could not happen. God proved otherwise, and Elizabeth and Zechariah were added to the list of unqualified candidates through whom God intervened in the world.

It is clear that while Zechariah was struck mute by the angel he did some soul searching. Indeed, Elizabeth was now with child. While Zechariah is not part of the visitation story, he must have been there and thus knew that Mary, too, was with child. What could all of this mean? In this period, Zechariah learned to be patient with God. His heart was opened to God, and he began to see that God indeed does things differently. Maybe ... just maybe ... God’s hand was in this and God knew what He was doing! There was a discussion at John’s birth concerning his name. Elizabeth wanted John, but there was no John in their family. Zechariah called for a tablet and wrote: John is his name. At this point, he was able to speak, and he praised God. Zechariah is the unsung hero at John’s birth. He learns to be patient with God and trust in His will, even when it doesn’t seem that what is happening is in accord with human standards.

And so it goes with you and me, thousands of years later. God is still working through unlikely candidates. We lead parishes, schools, families, businesses, and communities. Not a one of us is qualified by human standards for any of it. We are prideful, sinful, and stubborn. Yet, in spite of all of our human foibles, God still works through us in whatever vocation He made our own. He knows us and knows our gifts. Today we learn from Zechariah to be open to God’s grace, to be patient and to trust in Him. Like Zechariah we praise God, seek His help and protection, and allow Him to work through us. And thus will our names be added to the “unlikely candidate” list in the Bible—what great company!

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena 2017 | Day 9

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 22, 2017

Let us pray for more hopeful hearts so to live in imitation of Christ each day. May we face every cross and trial with confidence in the promises of Our Savior. This version of the novena comes from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque who is most commonly associated with the ancient devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena Prayers - Day 9

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (name your request)

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O' Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us..

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Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, English Martyrs

Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More

Optional Memorial - June 22nd

Saints Thomas More and John Fisher were talented and energetic Renaissance men who contributed to the humanist scholarship of early modern England. More wrote theological treatises while making a career as a lawyer and government official. Bishop John Fisher worked as an administrator at Cambridge, confronted the challenge Martin Luther presented to Christianity and served as Bishop of Rochester. He dedicated himself to preaching at a time when prelates tended to focus on politics. Both men corresponded with Erasmus, who helped Fisher learn Greek and Hebrew, and famously referred to More as "a man of all seasons".

Above all their accomplishments, these heroic disciples of Christ bore witness to a deep faith in God and his Church. More considered entering religious life and was assiduous in his devotional practices. A married man, he committed himself wholly to his vocation as a father. In the 16th century, disciplinary measures with children tended to be severe, but More’s children testify to his warmth, patience and generosity. St. John Fisher was a model shepherd and evidenced remarkable humility. He remained in the small Diocese of Rochester his entire episcopal ministry, devoting himself to his local church rather than seeking a promotion.

More and Fisher are well-known for opposing King Henry’s divorce. Ultimately, it was their refusal to sign an oath of supremacy that led them to be executed. King Henry VIII claimed to be the supreme head of the Church in England, asserting sovereign power over English Christians. Neither Fisher nor More could abide this claim, and their steadfastness to their consciences put them in conflict with the king. They were sentenced to death for defending the indissolubility of marriage.

When More made his way to the gallows, he is said to have stated, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” Both More and Fisher were patriots. They never rose up to incite rebellion or foment revolution. They were no traitors. But when the law of the court came into conflict with the law of Christ, they chose Christ. These men gave their lives for the freedom of the Church and for freedom of conscience. They bear witness to the truth that no government can make a claim on a person’s soul. O God, who in martyrdom has brought true faith to its highest expression, graciously grant that, strengthened through the intercession of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, may we bravely live the faith we profess.

St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop and Confessor

Saint Paulinus of Nola

Optional Memorial - June 22nd

Saint Paulinus was born of a patrician Roman family in Bordeaux, Gaul. He was successively prefect, senator and consul. His wife, wishing to consecrate herself to God, gave up rank and riches; he followed her example and went to live an austere hermit's life in Nola. There he became a priest and then bishop of the city, and gave his people not only an example of virtue but also wise guidance during the ravages and calamities of the Gothic invasion. A Church Father, he was a contemporary of St Augustine to whom he was bound by a firm friendship. He died in 431, at the age of 78, and was buried in Nola near the tomb of St. Felix.

Of his life and profound literary works Pope Benedict XVI observed:

"Paulinus' conversion impressed his contemporaries. His teacher Ausonius, a pagan poet, felt 'betrayed' and addressed bitter words to him, reproaching him on the one hand for his 'contempt', considered insane, of material goods, and on the other, for abandoning his literary vocation.

Paulinus replied that giving to the poor did not mean contempt for earthly possessions but rather an appreciation of them for the loftiest aim of charity. As for literary commitments, what Paulinus had taken leave of was not his poetic talent — which he was to continue to cultivate — but poetic forms inspired by mythology and pagan ideals.

A new aesthetic now governed his sensibility: the beauty of God incarnate, crucified and risen, whose praises he now sang. Actually, he had not abandoned poetry but was henceforth to find his inspiration in the Gospel, as he says in this verse: 'To my mind the only art is the faith and Christ is my poetry' (At nobis ars una fides, et musica Christus: Carm., XX, 32)."

O God who the Bishop Saint Paulinus of Nola outstanding for love of poverty and for pastoral care, graciously grant that, as we celebrate his holy merits, we may imitate the example of his charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is June 23rd. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was privileged to receive visions of Christ beginning in childhood. Our Lord entrusted to her the divine mission of establishing the devotion to His Sacred Heart in the world. Criticism did not hamper her enthusiasm, and her charity toward her opponents won them over to her message. The following quotations from the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque show her great love for the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

And He [Christ] showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which His heart is the source. 
— Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque
I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
— Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque
The Sacred Heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure. 
***
This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need.
***
Our Lord Jesus Christ desires that we should, for sanctifying ourselves, glorify His all-loving Heart; for it was His Heart that suffered the most in His Sacred Humanity.
*** 
Choose the divine Heart for your sacred oratory, wherein to offer to God your petitions and prayers that may be pleasing to Him.

Pour out on us, O Lord, the spirit with which you endowed St. Margaret Mary, so that we may come to know that love of Christ which surpasses all understanding.

June 20, 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena 2017 | Day 8

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 21, 2017

Let us pray for more loving hearts so as to be like Christ in living selflessly. This we ask in Jesus' name; that we may love others as much as God loves us. This version of the novena comes from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque who is most commonly associated with the ancient devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena Prayers - Day 8

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (name your request)

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O' Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us..

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St. Aloysius Gonzaga's Prayer to the Blessed Mother

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Act of Dedication to the Virgin Mary

O Holy Mary, my Mother,
into your blessed trust and custody,
and into the care of your mercy
I this day, every day,
and in the hour of my death,
commend my soul and body.
To you I commit all my anxieties and miseries,
my life and end of my life,
that by your most holy intercession
and by your merits
all my actions may be directed
and disposed according to your will 
and that of your Divine Son. Amen.

A Life Devoted to Christ

This young man was a saint among saints. He received his First Holy Communion from St. Charles Borromeo and, during his novitiate, his spiritual director was St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J. Born into distinguished nobility in Northern Italy, his father wanted him to become a soldier and enlisted the support of eminent church people to persuade his son to embrace the more “normal” vocation. But Aloysius was determined to enter religious life. Transferring his inheritance to his brother, he became a Jesuit. During the 1591 plague, the Jesuits opened a hospital. Aloysius contracted the disease while helping to nurse the poor and died several weeks later. In a letter to his mother shortly before his death, he reveals a steward’s understanding that everything, even death, is God’s gift: "When [God] takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasures elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have." St. Aloysius Gonzaga pray that we love as you did.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the Patron of Young People

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

On June 21st, the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, a 16th century Jesuit seminarian known for his radiant purity and holiness. He was born March 9, 1568, in Castiglione, Italy, to a wealthy and influential family. His father had big plans for his oldest son. He sent Aloysius to serve in the court of King Philip II of Spain. Although destined for the military, unbeknownst to his father, at age 9, Aloysius dedicated himself to religious life, making a vow of perpetual virginity. Saint Charles Borromeo gave him his first Holy Communion.

A kidney disease prevented Aloysius from having a full social life. Consequently, he spent his time praying and reading about the lives of the saints. He was drawn to spiritual things more than material wealth. As a teenager, he asked permission to renounce his inheritance and to pursue his religious vocation. At first his father opposed him, but in time relented. When he was 18, Aloysius joined the Jesuits.

In 1591, a plague ravaged Rome. The Jesuits would open a hospital in response. As a young seminarian, Aloysius went around the city looking for the sick whom he carried to the hospitals where he bathed them himself and prepared them for death. Because he nursed patients, washing and caring for them, he contracted the disease. His fever persisted and he was so weak he could scarcely rise from bed. Still, he maintained his great discipline of prayer, knowing he would die.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was born into eternal life on June 21, 1591, at the age of 23. He was named the patron of youth by Pope Benedict XIII at his canonization. In addition to his selfless love for others, especially the sick, the helpless and the dying in whom he saw the crucified Christ. he was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Almighty ever-living God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence to a true innocence of life, grant through his merits and intercession that we may follow his example and imitate him in penitence.

June 19, 2017

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Priesthood

The Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Priesthood is the Love of the Heart of Jesus.
— St. John Vianney
______________________________________________

In reflecting upon this profound insight from the Curé d'Ars, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI observed, “This touching expression makes us reflect, first of all, with heartfelt gratitude on the immense gift which priests represent, not only for the Church, but also for humanity itself.” Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may worthily receive our measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena 2017 | Day 7

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 20, 2017

Let us pray that we may have more pure hearts like Christ. As disciples of Jesus and the children of God, such an aspiration is fitting. Let's pray that we may see and treat others with selfless love while putting all judgement and malice aside.

This version of the novena comes from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque who is most commonly associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena Prayers - Day 7

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (name your request)

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O' Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us..

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The Sacred Heart of Jesus and Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy

Pope Pius XI taught that devotion to the Heart of Jesus is "the summary of our religion." And in 1956 Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical on the Sacred Heart, "Consequently, the honor paid to the Scared Heart is such as to raise it to the rank—so far as external practice is concerned—of the highest expression of Christian piety. For this is the religion of Jesus which is centered on the Mediator who is man and God, and in such a way that we cannot reach the Heart of God, save through the Heart of Christ."

The devotion to the Sacred Heart calls for reparation of sin, and the devotion should lead us to a deeper understanding of His infinite love and mercy for us. Our Lord told St. Faustina, "My daughter, know that My Heart is mercy itself. From this sea of mercy, graces flow out upon the whole world. No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away unconsoled" (Diary, 1777).

And yet, when we look at the Image of the Merciful Savior, we see rays of Blood and Water emanating from the area of His pierced Heart. The rays are emanating outward—they are going out to a hurting world. That is perhaps one of the differences; the Sacred Heart enables us to get a deeper understanding of the infinite mercy and calls us to reparation, yet the Divine Mercy now calls us to live that message to a hurting world.

Our Lord asked St. Margaret Mary that the image of His Sacred Heart be honored and venerated by all the faithful. In His first apparition to her in 1673, He said, "My Divine Heart is so passionately in love with men that it can no longer withhold the flames of that burning love." And in a later apparition St. Margaret Mary wrote, "It must be honored under the symbol of this heart of flesh, whose image He wished to be publicly exposed....Wherever this sacred image would be exposed for public veneration He would pour out His graces & blessings." [Sorce]

St. Romuald, Abbot, Founder of the Camaldolese Order

Saint Romuald

Optional Memorial - June 19th

Anyone who knew Romuald as a youth might have been surprised at what he would eventually become. Like many of us, however, the good impulses of his heart needed time, and, in the case of Romuald, much discernment to come to full fruition. His life of prayer and penance would become the model for many.

Romuald was born into Italian nobility in the city of Ravenna around the year 950. Like many of his contemporaries who were raised in the faith, Romuald desired holiness, but the allure of the world was too much to overcome. His actions and lifestyle were given over to the pursuit of worldly pleasures, but they would come to an abrupt and unexpected end when he was about 20 years old.

It was then that his father, Sergius, obliged him to be his second in a duel. What is more, the person with whom his father was dueling was a relative, and the dispute was over property. When Romuald witnessed his father kill the other man, he was so horrified that he fled to the monastery of Sant Apollinare, near his home. Though initially intending to stay for 40 days to atone for his father’s sin, Romuald would remain for three years and became a Benedictine monk.

The future saint soon developed a reputation for extreme holiness, which made his fellow monks uncomfortable. He was eased out of Sant'Apollinare and spent the next 30 years wandering in Italy, founding hermitages and monasteries wherever he went. In every place, he sought a life of severe penance and continual prayer. At one point, Romuald greatly desired to be a martyr for the faith. He petitioned for and was granted permission by the pope to preach in Hungary. Each time he attempted to do so, he was struck with a severe illness that prevented him from proceeding. It became clear that God had other plans.

That did not mean that Romuald’s religious vocation was straightforward. At one monastery, he was falsely accused of causing grave scandal, resulting in a severe penance and brief period of excommunication. He endured a prolonged period of spiritual dryness, which was eventually relieved by the words of Psalm 31: “I will give you understanding and I will instruct you.”; an insight that never left him.

The contribution for which Romuald is perhaps best remembered occurred at Camaldoli, in Tuscany. Here, around the year 1012, he founded the Order of the Camaldolese Benedictines, which united a monastic, or community, way of life with the eremitical, or solitary, way. His first disciples were Saint Adalbert and Saint Boniface of Russia, and martyrs, Saint John and Saint Benedict of Poland.

According to legend, a man named Maldolus had had a vision of monks dressed in white, ascending into heaven. Acting on this vision, he gave Romuald the land on which was built the first motherhouse of the Camaldolese Order. To this day, Camaldolese monks live lives of austerity and prayer in the spirit of their founder.

Saint Romuald died alone in his monastic cell, as he himself predicted, on June 19, 1027. Pope Gregory XIII canonized him in 1582. Almighty God, who through Saint Romuald renewed the manner of life of hermits in your Church, grant that, denying ourselves and following Christ, we may merit to reach your heavenly realms on high. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns together with you, and with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

June 18, 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena 2017 | Day 6

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 19, 2017

Today, let us pray for more generous hearts that we may be like Jesus in giving everything of ourselves to God and God's people. May we give to others without judging their worthiness, but instead, see them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This version of the novena comes from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque who is most commonly associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena Prayers - Day 6

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (name your request)

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O' Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us..

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Reflection for the Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: May Our Hearts Become the Heart of Christ.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 23, 2017

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois

In the ancient world, the heart was considered the center of the body. It was the seat of life, wisdom, conscience, thought, emotion and love. In reality, the ancients ascribed to the heart what today would be called the work of the brain. So, if this solemnity were to be renamed with today’s knowledge, it would the “Solemnity of The Most Sacred Brain of Jesus.” However, in the popular culture the heart is still considered the seat of emotion and love. People love with one’s “whole heart” and “give their hearts away” to others. Some speak of having “their hearts broken” at the end of a relationship. Although modern science has proven the brain as the central organ of the human body, the heart carries more weight in the world of emotion and love. 

On this feast, the Church celebrates the heart, or core organ, of Jesus Christ. That heart is holy and sacred. It is that heart that suffered and died upon the cross. It is his heart that was raised from the dead by God the Father. The blood from his heart is that blood that poured out from his side when pierced by the soldier. It is the blood of Christ under the appearance of wine that we drink at Mass, reminded that his blood is true drink. As his blood flows through his heart and then into our chalices and bodies, it is the life of Christ himself who is coursing through our veins. In receiving the Eucharist, we touch the heart the Christ. 

Thus the heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ. And if the heart is the seat of love, emotion, and conscience, then the Christian is to love like Christ loved. How has Christ loved? Let’s take a quick look at some of the ways …. 

Jesus taught Christians about forgiveness. Stories from the Gospels abound of his forgiving others their sins. The woman at the well was treated with kindness after she had been ostracized by her kinfolk (Jn 4:1-42). Those who crucified Jesus were forgiven by him while he was on the cross (Lk 23:34). The woman caught in adultery was forgiven, and told to go and sin no more (Jn 8:1-11). The prodigal son was welcomed home and forgiven by his father (Lk 15:11-32). If the heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ, then that Christian must forgive like Jesus. 

Ultimately the cross, death, and resurrection of Jesus was the way in which he showed his love to all. He laid down his life for all people, and three days later came back from the dead to bring hope and new life to a world in desperate need of it. In doing so, Jesus deems all of humanity redeemable and that the path to God is now wide open. Now each and every Christian makes the journey from the cross of Jesus to his empty tomb. To the cross, one brings all sinfulness, suffering, and death. With eyes of faith, the Christian can see beyond the cross to the empty tomb, to his resurrection. 

The heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ. Because Jesus is the source of all hope, so the Christian is a person of hope, new life, and resurrection. The heart of the Christian becomes the heart of Christ through prayer, most notably the Eucharist. The Blood of Christ will draw the Christian in closer to Christ and thus into a life of personal prayer. Ultimately, prayer is not so much the multiplication of words as it is about uniting oneself with Christ in contemplation of his presence. In quiet prayer with the Scriptures, an icon, or picture, the Christian unites herself with Jesus, thus uniting her heart to his. The heart of the Christian thus becomes the heart of Christ. 

It is the call of every Christian to unite his heart with Christ’s. Through the Eucharist, prayer, and loving service to one’s neighbors, the Christian will feel that unity in heart and soul, and thus be one with the Lord Jesus.

Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), 2017, Year A

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.
Provincial Superior, La Salette Missionaries of North America
Hartford, Connecticut

Corpus Christi
(Click here for today’s readings)

I wonder how long I will be remembered after I die. I wonder, too, what I will be remembered for. Shakespeare wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

What would you like to be remembered for? What do you think you will actually be remembered for? You might have to write your memoirs to ensure that the answer to both questions is the same.

What will guarantee that remembrance? Photos? Mementos? The day will surely come when someone will look at those pictures and say, “They should have written the names on the back.” And the mementos will end up in a box and someone for whom they no longer have meaning will one day discard them.

A monument would be nice!

The Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial was sculpted by Daniel Chester French. It’s a “memorial” precisely because it guarantees that Lincoln’s memory will live on; but where is Daniel Chester French’s memorial? Actually, his memorial is... that same statue of Lincoln! It’s his greatest achievement, for which he will be forever remembered.

There are different ways, of course, to make your mark. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, for example, will certainly never be forgotten.

Neither will Florence Nightingale or Rosa Parks, but for totally different reasons.

In today’s Old Testament reading, Moses’ first word is “Remember,” which he repeats a few verses later with the negative phrase, “Do not forget.” The saving acts of God on behalf of his people were not to be taken lightly. The Passover and many other festivals were meant precisely to keep the memory of them alive.

Jesus did not want to be forgotten. So he “left us a memorial,” as we heard in the opening prayer of today’s Mass. The memorial Jesus left us is unique, because it doesn’t point only to the past. It’s much more than a reminder. In it we believe that he is actually present among us. We believe that he gives himself to us, truly, as food and drink. As St. Paul reminds us, “The cup of blessing that we bless is a participation in the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a participation in the body of Christ.”

“Do this in memory of me.” These are the words that conclude the Consecration of the Bread and Wine, taken from St. Luke’s and St. Paul’s accounts of what Jesus did at the Last Supper. They are a command, but they can also be taken as a plea, a solemn request, that we never forget him. On the eve of his death, he gave us something to remember him by. He wanted to be remembered for his gift of self.

The memorial is the Sacrament. The memory, however, resides in the whole Church, which passes on the story and the teaching of Jesus from generation to generation. Every time we share in the memorial, our memory is refreshed.

In the Eucharist, however, the concept of “memorial” is turned upside down. Listen again to Jesus’ words: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” Instead of just keeping someone’s memory alive, this memorial actually gives life—and eternal life, at that—to those who engage in the act of remembering.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a famous poem with the recurring refrain:
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget.
From a Catholic perspective, that prayer is answered perfectly in the Eucharist!

June 17, 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena 2017 | Day 5

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 18, 2017

Today, let us pray for more generous hearts that we may be like Jesus in giving everything of ourselves to God and God's people. May we give to others without judging their worthiness, but instead, see them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This version of the novena comes from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque who is most commonly associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena Prayers - Day 5

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of (name your request).

Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of (name your request)

Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O' Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

Venerable Matthew Talbot Won Sobriety With Faith

Venerable Matt Talbot

(In 2017, this feast is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.)

For anyone who has ever struggled with alcoholism, it should come as no surprise that Matthew Talbot, who sank to the depths of heavy drinking and soul crushing despair, also rose, through his struggle for sobriety, to the heights that the Church calls “venerable.” His story is an inspiration, not only to recovering alcoholics, but to anyone struggling with a seemingly overwhelming obsession.

Matt Talbot was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1856, the second of twelve children of Charles and Elizabeth Talbot. He began drinking when he was only 12 years old. after becoming a messenger for liquor merchants. In fact, with the exception of his oldest brother, all the Talbot men, father and sons, drank to excess often.

For the next 15 years, Talbot continued to drink heavily. It wasn’t until he was 28 that he finally "hit bottom" and promised his mother he would "take the pledge." Her reply was prescient: "May God give you strength to keep it." Matt went to confession and attended daily Mass. He prayed as intensely as he used to drink,

From that time forward, Talbot was a changed man. He began to pray and attend Mass with the same zeal he had formerly devoted to drinking. In 1891, at the age of 35, he joined the Third Order of St. Francis. Once known for his drunken rages, he instead became known for piety, humility, and generosity. His drinking had compromised his health and he suffered from kidney and heart ailments.

On June 7, 1925, Matthew Talbot collapsed and died as he was walking to Mass on Trinity Sunday. Matthew Talbot was declared venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1973. His feast day is June 18th. Lord, in your servant, Matt Talbot you have given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty, and of lifelong reverence for the Holy Sacrament. May his life of prayer and penance give us courage to take up our crosses and bravely follow Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi Sunday | 2017

The Last Supper

June 18th

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins."

— Matthew 26:26-28

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father and with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.
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Today's celebration of the Body and Blood of the Lord originated in the Diocese of Liege in 1246 as the feast of Corpus Christi. In the reforms of Vatican II, Corpus Christi was joined with the feast of the Precious Blood to become the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord. We celebrate today Christ's gift to us of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our life together as the Church. The Council of Trent declared that we must honor Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist publicly so that those who observed the faith of Catholics in the Most Holy Eucharist might be attracted to the Eucharistic Lord and believe in the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in this great Sacrament. "The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the God-man are really, truly, substantially, and abidingly present together with his soul and divinity by reason of the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This takes place in the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass." [Source]

Father's Day | 2017

Saint Joseph with the Christ Child

A father's love reflects something of the infinite perfection of God. Like Joseph, who humbly accepted his role as guardian, husband and father in the Holy Family, a father should protect and provide. May fathers everywhere recognize their divine calling as models of selflessness love in their families and the world.
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Prayer for Fathers

God our Father, you govern and protect your people and shepherd them with a father’s love. You place a father in a family as a sign of your enduring love and constant protection. May fathers everywhere be faithful to the example shown in the Scriptures: steadfast in love, forgiving and sustaining forces in their families by caring for those in need. Grant wisdom to fathers so that they may encourage and guide their children. Guide every father with the Spirit of your love that they may increase in holiness and draw their family ever closer to you. Amen.

Happy Father's Day to all Fathers.