June 29, 2010

John Paul II’s Prayer to Our Lady of Guadaloupe

O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church!, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities and our sorrows. Grant peace, justice and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother. We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church; hold us always with your loving hand.

Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the Bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Contemplate this immense harvest, and intercede with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole people of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries.

Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever.


June 27, 2010

Explanation of the Mass, Part 2

II Liturgy of the Word

Liturgy of the Word - The major part of the Mass between the Opening Prayer and the preparation of the Gifts during which the Word of God is proclaimed, responded to, authoritatively explained, accepted and held fast, and appealed to. Includes the following:

First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation (Alleluia), Gospel Reading, Homily, Silence, Profession of Faith (Nicene Creed) or (Apostles' Creed - Children Only), General Intercessions (Prayer of the Faithful), Church Public, Authorities Salvation of the World (Oppressed), Local Community

The reading of Scripture has always been an integral part of the Liturgy. When the first Christians gathered to "break bread", they kept the Jewish custom of the "breaking open the Word", as well. From the Hebrew Scriptures, they read the Books of the Law and the Prophets; they shared letters written by early missionaries like Peter and Paul; and they shared, of course, their own story - the Gospels.

June 26, 2010

More Excellant Pro-Life Videos

Thought of the Day

The rich man is not one who is in possession of much, but one who gives much.

-- St. John Chrysostom

June 25, 2010

Explanation of the Mass

I Introductory Rites

The section of the Mass preceding the Liturgy of the Word that confers a quality of preparation and introduction on the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The intent is that the assembled group unite as a community properly prepared to hear God's Word and celebrate the Eucharist. Includes the following:

Entrance Antiphon, Greeting Penitential Rite (Rite of Blessing & Sprinkling), Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy), Gloria (Glory to God), Opening Prayer

"'Liturgy' is the participation of the people of God in the work of God. Through the liturgy Christ, our Redeemer and High Priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through the Church." (CCC no. 1069) Since the Mass, the Church's highest form of prayer, is a gathering of the community, it stands to reason that ceremonies/rituals have developed over the years to set our Sunday gatherings apart from other kinds of assemblies.

Thought of the Day

He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps.

-- Pope St. Gregory the Great

June 23, 2010

Pro-life Commercial Banned By NBC, CNN

For your information here is the powerful pro-life ad rejected by NBC and CNN that was to run during the 2009 Super Bowl. President Obama's support of abortion is ironic since a disproportionate number of the victims of abortion are female and minority babies.

June 22, 2010

Fatherhood in the Time of Christ

We're a little behind in our posting. The following was intended for Father's Day. Still, better late than never. In keeping with the theme of fatherhood, we thought we would consider a father's role and responsibilities at the time of Christ.

In addition to providing and protecting their families, fathers had vitally important ceremonial roles. I use ceremonial in the solemn, not the perfunctory sense. In a ritual recalling the Israelites flight from Egypt and the taking of the first born (Egyptian) male children, every Jewish father would go to the Temple and "redeem" his first son. Presenting his son to the Priest he would say (to his infant son) "I redeem thee," three times.

After the first born son was redeemed he was circumcised. Circumcision was a sign in the male flesh of the Covenant which God made with the nation of Israel. Every Jewish male was circumcised. The father was to ensure this.

Finally, the father was to lead the Passover meal commemorating God's generosity and protection of the Jewish people before, during, and after the Exodus.

Happy Father's Day

This post is dedicated to my Father and to fathers everywhere. Icons represent and make present spiritual realities beyond us. Fatherhood is a special icon of God's love. My Dad's fatherly care has sustained our family. Because of him it is easy to believe that God is loving.

June 19, 2010

Homily: 11th Sunday in Ordinary time – Year C

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.  

Thirty-five years ago, I worked at a college seminary. There was a seminarian whose parents divorced when he was young, because his father was an alcoholic, and now he was, just getting to know his father. Unfortunately I had to tell him a few months later that his father had died, beaten with a baseball bat.

A number of priests from the seminary went to the funeral. But the Pastor said to us: “I can’t allow you to concelebrate. This guy was the town drunk. We don’t have more than one priest even for our good people. We can’t have so many for this guy!”

This is similar to the Gospel story of the woman who wept at the feet of Jesus. The Pharisees were right about her. She was a sinner. In some notorious way she violated the Torah, the law of God. Everybody knew “who and what sort of woman” she was. The Pharisees even turned this against Jesus. He couldn’t be a real prophet after all, if he didn’t know who she was.

Jesus didn’t care, because that was the only one there who knew who he was.

The Pharisees were right about the woman. But they were wrong about Jesus.

The woman was right about herself, and right about Jesus. That is why he told her, “Your faith has saved you.”

When we are inclined to judge others, we should remember that the Church is something like Alcoholics Anonymous; it could be called “Sinners Anonymous.”

After all, at every Mass we begin by acknowledging that we are sinners.

In AA the only requirement is a genuine desire to seek a life of recovery. Not overnight. Not alone. In “SA” the only requirement is a genuine desire to seek a life of grace. Not overnight. Not alone.

Let us hope and pray that no one shall ever be turned away who comes to the Church seeking the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, that no one shall ever be turned away who comes seeking Jesus in our midst.

Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. is the Director of the La Salette Shrine in Enfield, NH.

June 18, 2010

A Wonderful Invitation to Pray

“Come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us. . . “

Psalm 95, also known to Catholics as the Invitatory psalm, is said by most clergy and religious and many lay persons each morning before Morning Prayer. Its first two lines invite us to pray, to sing, to shout with joy and to give praise and thanksgiving. The next three lines expound on the mighty God and His domination over the earth, the mountains, the sea and the dry lands. The next two lines again invite us to pray because He is our God and we are his flock.

Lastly, the psalm reminds us of the consequence of challenging and provoking God with our sins just as the Israelites challenged God in the desert after they had been lead from Egypt and had seen the miracles that God had performed. (He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us, or not?" Exodus 17:7) As a consequence of that challenge the Israeli people spent forty years wandering in the desert and a whole generation of Israelites including Moses were denied access to the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.

Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

The Lord is God, the mighty God, the great king over all the gods.

He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well.

He made the sea: it belongs to him, the dry land too, for it was formed by his hands.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, out maker.

For he is our God and we are his people, the flock he shepherds.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:

Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did in the wilderness,

When at Meriba and Massah they challenged me and provoked me,

Although they had seen all of my works.

Forth years I endured that generation.

I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.”

So I swore in my anger,

“They shall not enter into my rest.”

June 17, 2010

More Pro-life Videos

Thought of the Day — Mother Teresa on Spiritual Poverty

Thought of the Day
I believe that the rich are poorer than the poor, because they are often unhappy. The more they have, the more they want. But not everyone is like this.
-- Mother Teresa

June 15, 2010

Review: Calling God Father

Calling God “Father” addresses significant omissions and distortions in the current critique of biblical patriarchy and shows how the Bible fostered and might continue to support a high culture of fathering. According to author John Miller, “Due to the marginality of males in the reproductive process, fathering is a cultural acquisition to an extent that mothering is not. When a culture ceases to support a father's involvement with his own children through its teaching, laws, mores, symbols, models and rituals, powerful natural forces take over in favor of the mother-alone family.”

Join the Rosary Confraternity

Fr. Michael J. Woolley

Do you pray the Rosary daily?

Do you want hundreds of thousands of people praying for you?

Then join the Rosary Confraternity!

The Rosary Confraternity is a 500 year old, world wide, Papal approved movement entrusted to the Dominican Order.

Click here for more information and click here to enroll online. There are no meetings or dues, just lots of graces and blessings!

“If anyone has the happiness of being in the Confraternity of the Rosary, he has in all corners of the world brothers and sisters who pray for him.” - St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars

June 10, 2010

Making a Good Confession, Part 6

This is the last in our series of posts on how to go to confession.

Examination of Conscience (2 of 2 Parts)

Have I offended against purity in thought, word, or deed?

Have I stolen or destroyed another’s property?

Have I accepted stolen goods?

Have I failed to pay my just debts?

Have I scandalized or been a bad example to my family or others?

Have I lied, repeated gossip, or hurt another’s character?

Have I been sinfully proud, greedy, angry, envious, jealous, or intemperate in eating or drinking?

Have I used illegal drugs or abused controlled substances?

Have I failed to observe the Church’s laws of fasting and abstinence?

Have I failed to support the Church?

Have I failed to receive Communion during Eastertime?

Have I sinned against the duties of married life?

Have I failed to show the love, respect, and good example due my spouse?

Have I neglected my duties to my children concerning their religious instruction, education, or cultivation of good habits?

June 8, 2010

Thought of the Day — The Angelic Doctor on Pride

There are two sides to every sin: the turning of the will toward fleeting satisfaction and the turning away from everlasting value. As regards to the first, the principle of all sins can be called lust--lust in its most general sense, namely, the unbridled desire for one's own pleasure. As regards to the second, the principle is pride-- pride in its general sense, the lack of submission to God.

-- St. Thomas Aquinas

Making a Good Confession, Part 5

This is the fifth in our series of posts on how to go to confession.

Examination of Conscience (1 of 2 Parts)

How long has it been since my last confession?

Did I conceal any sin?

Did I fail to do my penance?

Have I neglected my home or family duties, work or school?

Have I been lazy, neglectful, or willfully distracted at prayer or Holy Mass?

Have I used God’s name irreverently or taken false of unnecessary oaths?

Have I missed Holy Mass on Sundays or Holy Days through my own fault?

Have I done unnecessary work on Sunday?

Have I disobeyed, or been disrespectful to my superiors (parents, teachers, employer)?

Have I been unjust or unkind to those under my authority?

Have I quarreled with, or purposely hurt, anyone?

Have I been cruel (physically or mentally to anyone?

Have I had an abortion or assisted someone else in having one?

Have I caused or led anyone else to commit sin?

Making a Good Confession, Part 4

This is the fourth in our series of posts on how to go to confession.

After Your Confession

Perform your penance as soon as you can, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the Sacrament of Penance

The Spiritual Benefits of Confession

The Catechism lists the spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace; reconciliation with the Church; remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins; remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin; peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation; and an increase of spiritual strength of the Christian battle. (ccc 496)

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offended You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace to confess my sins, do penance and amend my life. Amen.

June 5, 2010

The Two Paths

One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them.

And I saw the other road, or rather a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings.

(Diary of St Faustina, entry # 153).

H/T Love Undefiled

June 3, 2010

Seven Habits of a Happy Marriage

The Europe for Christ newsletter has an excellent piece by P. Johannes Lechner CSJ on the seven habits of a happy marriage.

1. Bring joy to your spouse. e.g. embody the love of kindness. mindfulness of the other is the key to their heart.

2. Maintain pleasant rituals and traditions of love and friendship. Create a world of symbols in which over and over again visible gestures remind us of our inner love. Compliments, calling each other every day and celebrating birthdays etc.

3. Speak openly and honestly with one another. Talk about fears, frustrations, feelings, desires.

4. Be skilful in difficult matters and smart in communication.

5. Always turn to the other. Do not turn away from one another.

6. Let a mutual life be inspired by a joint vision.

7. Keep up mutual prayer. Prayer connects people with God and with one another.

Making a Good Confession, Part 3

This is the third in our series of posts on how to go to confession.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

How to Make a Good Confession

Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to help you make a good confession. Make an examination of conscience by asking yourself what sins you have committed since your last good confession. Tell God you are sorry for your sins.

Once in the confessional, kneel, make the sigh of the cross, and say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned; it has been (however long) since my last confession.” Name your sins and how many times you committed each one. Then say, “I am sorry for these sins and all the sins of my past life”.

The priest will then give you a penance (usually some prayers), and perhaps advise you. While the priest is saying the words of absolution (forgiveness), pray the Act of Contrition or say a prayer expressing your contrition in your own words. The priest will then say, “God bless you,” or “Go in peace,” or something similar. You say, “Thank you, Father,” make the Sign of the Cross, leave the confessional, and complete your penance.

Making a Good Confession, Part 2

This is the second in what will be a series of posts on how to go to confession.

What Must I Confess?

You need to confess all mortal sins committed since your last good confession that you can recall after a thorough self-examination. Mortal sin (ccc 1857) is sin whose object is a grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent. It is important to confess them with their frequency (how many or how often) and circumstances (anything that adds another sin, i.e., to angrily strike someone is a sin against the fifth commandment, but to commit this offense against your father is also a sin against the fourth commandment).

If you commit a mortal sin, make a sincere act of contrition right away and go to confession as soon as possible. If you have perfect contrition for a mortal sin, God forgives you and forgives the sin right away, but you may not receive Holy Communion until you confess it in Confession.

You needn’t confess your venial sins, but it is helpful to do so, especially in overcoming bad habits. You may also renew your contrition for sins already confessed.

To deliberately omit telling a mortal sin in confession is itself a mortal sin of sacrilege. This is called “making a bad confession” and to rectify it, you must confess that you made a bad confession, confess the omitted mortal sin(s), and also any mortal sins you have committed since then (including the reception of Holy Communion while in this state.)

If, after a sincere examination of conscience, you forget to confess a mortal sin, your confession is valid and God has forgiven your sins.

For the Reluctant

You may go to any priest at any Catholic Church. You need not give the priest your name or any details that would identify you. The priest is never allowed to tell anyone, communicate, or made any record of any sin he has heard in confession (the “Seal of Confession”), even in a court of law or to a religious superior.

June 1, 2010

Principles for Family Life

The Holy Family
Father René Butler

It’s easy to imagine the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. All we have to do is picture the perfect family: never a cross word, no signs of impatience… None of the unpleasant things that are part of the life of most families.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a beautiful theology of the family. But it isn’t theology that makes family life good. Of course what the Catechism teaches is true. Family prayer is important. But healthy common sense is what families need, an understanding of what it takes to live together.

What follows is a talk I have given to members of religious communities, but the principles apply to family life too. There are eight principles, each with consequences.

PRINCIPLE 1 – Snowflake principle: People are like snowflakes, no two are alike.

Consequence: I cannot be what I am not. I can admire others without having to become like them. I can accept myself with my imperfections. That door swings both ways: I can accept others with their imperfections. If persons X, Y, Z can’t be X, Y, Z, who are they supposed to be?

Other consequence: Not to be used as an excuse. I still need to work on my faults.

PRINCIPLE 2 – Elbows and toes: You can’t rub elbows with the same people day in and day out without sometimes stepping on each others toes.

Consequence: Expect and accept the occasional tension. Be realistic.

PRINCIPLE 3 – Hello, I’m nobody!
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!

-- Emily Dickinson
Consequence: We need a sense of humor about others and about ourselves.

Other consequence: Believe it or not, the universe doesn’t revolve around me; you either. I’m OK, you’re OK.

PRINCIPLE 4 – Remember to forget. The story is told that Clara Barton, on being reminded by someone of an offense she had suffered years before, replied, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Consequence: The burden of resentment usually weighs me down more than the person who offended me in the first place.

PRINCIPLE 5 – “Of course.” We all know what people are like and how people behave. E.g.: Of course people talk about me behind my back.

Consequence: Anticipate and live with certain universal behaviors, bad days, etc.

PRINCIPLE 6 – Avoid Funagalo language. (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, p. 21.) "They taught us Funagalo, which is the language used for giving orders underground [in the mines]. It is a strange language.... It is a language which is good for telling people what to do. There are many words for push, take, shove, carry, load, and no words for love, or happiness, or the sounds which birds make in the morning.")

Consequence: share more than work-related ideas and plans, but love of arts, etc. Anything that brings light into your life. Even – why not? – faith.

PRINCIPLE 7 – Everyone needs a home In “The Death of the Hired Man” (Robert Frost), the wife of a farmer tells her husband that a former worker has returned. The farmer doesn’t want him. The conversation continues as follows:
Wife: He has come home to die.
Husband: Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.
Wife: I should have called it
Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.
Consequence: Difference between a house and a home.

PRINCIPLE 8 – Somebody’s got to do it. There are things that I can't or won't do that need doing, maybe by people very different from me, whether I like them or not.

Consequence: Be supportive, don’t get in the way.


Family life needs, more than anything else, acceptance. The starting point is to recognize how deeply we are accepted and loved by God. If we can then learn to accept and love ourselves and others as we and they are accepted and loved by God, our families will be transformed.