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Catholic Culture

The Mercy of God to a Penitent

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

from St. Maximus the Confessor

healingGod’s will is to save us, and nothing pleases him more than our coming back to him with true repen­tance. The heralds of truth and the ministers of divine grace have told us this from the beginning, repeating it in every age. Indeed, God’s desire for our salvation is the primary and preeminent sign of his infinite good­ness. It was precisely in order to show that there is nothing closer to God’s heart that the divine Word of God the Father, with untold condescension, lived among us in the flesh, and did, suffered, and said all that was necessary to reconcile us to God the Father, when we were at enmity with him, and to restore us to the life of blessedness from which we had been exiled.

He healed our physical infirmities by miracles; he freed us from our sins, many and grievous as they were, by suf­fering and dying, taking them upon himself as if he were answerable for them, sinless though he was. He also taught us in many different ways that we should wish to imitate him by our own kindness and genuine love for one another.

So it was that Christ proclaimed that he had come to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous, and that it was not the healthy who required a doctor, but the sick. He declared that he had come to look for the sheep that was lost, and that it was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel that he had been sent. Speaking more obscurely in the parable of the silver coin, he tells us ‘that the purpose of his coming was to reclaim the royal image, which had become coated with the filth of sin. You can be sure that there is joy in heaven, he said, over one sinner who repents. (more…)

Video – Visitations of Mary Pilgrimage – Variety 241

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Click to Play Video
Variety #241 – ( 26min) >>> Play

Ave Maria!

Video highlights of the “Visitations of Mary” Pilgrimage with Fr. Joseph Michael McShane, FI.

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Learning to Suffer Well

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

To suffer gladly when we must for the love of others is indeed not only the closest imitation of Christ, it is the essence of our own “Christhood”; but when Christ is formed in us (as he certainly is when we have learnt that much about suffering) we shall have a desire to adore God. This is bound to be so, because our minds will be like Christ’s mind.

We shall desire to be grateful, to respond for every good thing, every flower or star, every moment spent happily, we shall want to thank someone, we shall want to be conscious of the presence of One whom we can love without measure, in whom we can delight without fear of loss, in whom ultimately our griefs  will be lost as a flame is lost in the light of the sun-in a word, we shall want to adore. This is certain, for Christ’s intellect was concentrated wholly on adoration of his Father; therefore he did not only pray, he made himself a sacrifice, the most complete adoration; the sacrifice of the cross.

This we also can do through our suffering. Adoration-were it widespread on earth-would not only use, as it were, this great burden of grief that is everywhere, it would lift it and put it on the plane of joy, for it would gradually draw every heart to the light of God, making us conscious of him in everything, and in him there is our only lasting joy.

Here, then, are reasons to learn to suffer well natural and supernatural. We increase human happiness by allowing suffering to enrich our natures; we grow in understanding, pity, and natural love; we pay our share for the debt of sin; we grow in “Christhood” and have the power of Christ to move God.  We keep Christ’s Passion ever before God’s eyes, and finally, with the very heart and mind of Christ, we adore God.

+Caryll Houselander

Mar 18 – Homily – Fr Matthias: The Catechism and Homosexuality

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Click to Play

Homily #140318n ( 13min) Play – Father Matthias undertakes the task of explaining the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts by pulling from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and recent statements by Pope Francis. Finally, he emphasizes that those with homosexual attractions have the same call we all do–be holy.
Ave Maria!
Mass: Tuesday 2nd Week of Lent – Wkdy – Form: OF
Readings: 
1st: isa 1:10, 16-20
Resp: psa 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Gsp: mat 23:1-12

Audio (MP3)

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Shield of St. Patrick

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation. (more…)

Father, Why do I Need Lent?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

I had just placed ashes on his head. I was looking at him – with his dirty forehead lying there on the white sheets of the hospital bed – when he said, “Father can I ask you a question?”

“Yes,”, I replied, realizing full well there was an ashen cross on this sinner’s forehead too.

Then he asked: “Why do I need Lent?”

I thought for a moment and answered: “Lent confronts the horror of my sin before the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who knew no sin (See 2 Cor. 5:21). Without coming to grips with my sin, I can’t see how much I need God’s love. I need to see His love for me in the cross of Christ and the glory of Easter.”

Sins really do matter. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are not really that bad compared to everyone else – God is not really concerned about my little sins. We have an eternal soul and Lent is a mini-purgatory. In purgatory the soul stands before God Almighty, helpless, stripped, naked just like the Lord has always seen us. We can’t dress up our sin to hide it from God. We stand like our Lord Jesus stripped of His garments before He was nailed to the cross. (more…)

The Presentation: Fruit of the Mystery is Obedience

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Mary and Joseph take the baby Jesus to Jerusalem “to present him to the Lord” (Lk 2:22). The presentation of Jesus in the temple is in fulfillment with the Jewish law. Every male child must be taken to the temple and an animal must be offered as a sacrifice. That is why Joseph is usually artistically depicted in this scene holding a cage with two doves in it.

The prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna meet the Holy Family while at the temple in Jerusalem. Simeon was told by God that he would see the Savior before he died. When Simeon sees baby Jesus he takes him from Mary and holds Him in his arms and praises God proclaiming, “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation” (Lk 2:29).

Simeon then blesses Mary and Joseph and prophesies to Mary: “Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” (Lk 34-35)  Even though this is a joyful occasion you can see in the words of Simeon a foreshadow of the sorrows that will be shared between Jesus and his Mother Mary. Mary suffered with Jesus from the beginning to the end.

Anna also proclaims that this child, the baby Jesus, is the long awaited Messiah. After all this the Holy Family leaves Jerusalem and returns to Nazareth. There they live in peace and joy for many years before Jesus begins His public life.

For the Bible says… “The child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom; and the grace of God was in him.” (Lk 2:40)

From: http://www.how-to-pray-the-rosary-everyday.com/presentation-of-jesus-in-the-temple.html

Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

PRAYER OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS:

I give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, who have been pleased to nourish me, a sinner and your unworthy servant, with the precious Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: this through no merits of mine, but due solely to the graciousness of your mercy.

And I pray that this Holy Communion may not be for me an offense to be punished, but a saving plea for forgiveness. May it be for me the armor of faith, and the shield of good will. May it cancel my faults, destroy concupiscence and carnal passion, increase charity and patience, humility and obedience and all the virtues, may it be a firm defense against the snares of all my s course.

And I beseech you to lead me, a sinner, to that banquet beyond all telling, where with your Son and the Holy Spirit you are the true light of your Saints, fullness of satisfied desire, eternal gladness, consummate delight and perfect happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

On Magnanimity

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Magnanimity:  Lord, give me a generous heart, capable of undertaking great things for You.   

Whoever aspires to sanctity should have a generous, magnanimous heart, which is not satisfied with doing little things for God, and tiny acts of virtue, but is eager to do great things and give great proofs of love. Just as there is no sanctity without heroic virtue, so it is impossible to attain to heroism without performing great acts of virtue.

Some think there is pride and delusion of the devil in fostering great desires, or in wanting to do great things for God. There would be, certainly, if in this we sought honor for ourselves, or praise from others, of if, in trying to do great things, we were to neglect the small details of our daily duties. The virtue of magnanimity, on the contrary, inclines the soul to do great things for God, but never to the detriment of obedience, humility or the fulfillment of duty. Generous souls, precisely in this domain, will often meet with arduous, difficult things which call for much virtue, but which usually remain hidden from the eyes of others. (more…)

Why Give Your Love to the World?

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

From a sermon on man’s mortality by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr:

Our obligation is to do God’s will, and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we should rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ.

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live forever. Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God’s will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows. That will show people that we really live our faith. (more…)

Holy Name of Jesus

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

The heart of every Christian should respond to this invitation and exalt the most Holy Name of Our Savior, that is, His very Person, for the Name of Jesus expresses what  He is: Savior, Redeemer. This sacred Name, announced by the Angel to both Mary and Joseph, was given to Our Lord by God Himself. “Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).

This Name expresses and synthesizes the great mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption; it is at the center of the universe like a point of contact, like a bridge between God and all mankind. Man can reach God only by means of Jesus and in the Name of Jesus : “for there is other Name under heaven whereby we must be saved”.

O glorious Name! Gracious Name! Name full of love and virtue! Through You, sins are forgiven, enemies overcome, the sick healed, and sufferers strengthened in adversity! You are the honor of believers, the Master of preachers, the comfort of those who toil, the support of the weak. Holy desires are nourished by the ardor of Your fire; and by it, necessary suffrages are obtained, contemplative souls are inebriated, and the triumphant are glorified in heavenly glory! By Your most Holy Name, O sweet Jesus, You make us reign with the Blessed, You, their glory, You who triumph gloriously with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in perfect Unity and Trinity, forever and ever.

O Name of Jesus, exalted above every other Name! O triumphant Name! O joy of Angels! O terror of hell! All hope of pardon, of grace and of glory is found in You! O sweetest Name, You pardon the guilty, You reform evil habits, You fill the timid with divine sweetness and drive away terrifying visions! O glorious Name! By You, the mysteries of eternal life are revealed, souls are inflamed with divine love, strengthened in time of struggle, and freed from all dangers. O desirable Name! Delightful Name! Admirable Name! Venerable Name! Little by little You raise the souls of the faithful by Your gifts and graces to the heights of heaven. All to whom You communicate Your ineffable grandeur, by Your power attain to salvation and glory!”

(St. Bernardine of Siena).

God is With Us

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations encore

At first God communicated his image to man; now woman communicates her image to God! His flesh is hardly a mother’s armful; yet by an astounding  miracle it is the food of all other flesh in the grand Sacrament of the altar.

It is our Lord’s body with which we have most to do on earth. It is his Body which is prominently worshipped rather than his Soul, in the Blessed Sacrament. It is his pre-eminently which is trusted to our keeping, and which abidingly among us in tabernacles made with hands.

It is his Body which we ourselves spiritually are; for his Church is truly his Body, and it is this which makes the condition of schism so blighted and forlorn. He touches us by his Body, feeds us by his Body, makes us one by his Body, yea, makes us his Body, it is the Hand both of his Soul and of his Divinity, the Hand to baptize, the Hand to confirm, to absolve, to communicate, to anoint, to marry, to ordain, the Hand that touches and does the miracles, that takes hold and lifts up, that points the way and leads on, that strikes those who deal over-lightly with it and that heals so often with the compassionate roughness of its  blow. That Infant Body is shrouding its glory, as we gaze it; but that is no trial to our faith. We see the glory for all it makes itself invisible.

Fr. F.W. Faber (Bethlehem)

Mary, the Mother of God, Immaculate, or rather the “Immaculate Conception” itself, as she deigned to call herself at Lourdes.  We know what “mother” means. But we cannot grasp with our  minds and our limited brains what “Mother of God” means. Only  God comprehends perfectly what the “Immaculate” means.   She is God’s. She belongs to God in a perfect way although she is a finite creature. Moreover she is not only a “handmaid”, “a daughter”, “a property”, “a possession”, etc., but also Mother of God!  Here one is seized with giddiness…she is almost above God, as a mother is above her sons who must respect her. The Immaculate is Spouse of the Holy Spirit in an unspeakable way…she has the same Son as the heavenly Father has. What an ineffable  mystery!

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

 

Awaiting our Christmas Holy Communion

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

The Lord has shown his great mercy. Enkindle in your hearts ardent desires and burning wishes for Our Lord to come to you in the virtue of his charity, love of the Father, and of every human being. Say with the Royal Prophet, “I opened my mouth and panted.” And your Savior will respond, “Surely I come quickly; you shall see me very soon.”

Your eyes at the midnight Mass will gaze upon the elevated Host and your lips will utter, “My Lord and my God.” A few minutes more and the little Infant will have come to you. His Immaculate Mother did not hold him more truly in her arms that first Christmas midnight than you will have him, heart to heart. Then all the love of that Infant Redeemer will be poured out upon you. It’s a thirst of the heart of every creature that desires to be loved, and the love which can alone satisfy that craving is the Divine Love.

Let your heart delight in the love your God has for you, personally, individually. No soul ever in ardent fervor desires to unite herself to our Lord in Holy Communion, as our Lord desires to unite him­self to her. So Holy Communion is a delight to your Infant Savior; because he loves you, oh, how immea­surably! He tells you in his heart to heart interview that he has become a little Infant so that you may love him with a human love without fear. He wants you to confide in him, approach to him with a con­viction that his Great Majesty is annihilated that you may no longer see in him but a little Child, with a body and soul just as you have. And the mystery of love is this: that he unites his Body to your body and your soul to his Soul, so that yours may be a member of his very own.

This Christmas Holy Communion will unite you to our Lord, it is my prayer, more intimately than ever before in all your lives so that even the smallest of your actions may by this union be animated with divine Life – and all for the honor of the Father and the salvation of souls. May you participate in his life of charity, and may a divine light illumine you to see the depths and heights of the charity of a God made Man to redeem that which was lost. You participate in the spirit and the immense charity of Christ so as to be born this Christmas to a new life of charity – for “he that abides in charity, abides in God.”

St. Katherine Drexel

St.Joseph’s Mission

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations encore

And Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.” (Mt 1:16)

Among the Jews, as among other peoples of nomadic origin, the genealogical tree was of vital importance. A person was known fundamentally of the clan or tribe to which he belonged rather than by the place where he lived. Among the Hebrews we have the added circumstances ­of belonging to the chosen people through ties of a person’s ancestry being traced through the male. Joseph, as the husband of Mary, was the legal father of Jesus and, as such, carried the duties of a true father. Joseph, like Mary, was of the house and family of David of whom would be born the Messiah.

It would also be Joseph’s responsibility to name the Word incarnate, in accordance with the instructions given him by the angel: You shall call his name Jesus.

God had foreseen that his Son would be born of the Virgin Mary, in a family just like any other, and that in her he would develop in his humanity. The life of Jesus had to be in this respect the same as that of other men. He was to be born defenseless, in need of a father who would protect him and teach him the things that all fathers should teach their sons. The essence and ultimate meaning of Joseph’s life had to lie in the fulfillment of his mission as Mary’s husband and as the father of Jesus. He was born into the world to act as the father of Jesus and to be Mary’s most chaste spouse, in the same way that every person who comes into the world has a specific vocation from God, in which is rooted the whole meaning of his life. 

When the angel revealed to him the mystery of the virgin birth of Jesus, Joseph quietly accepted the vocation to which he was to remain faithful until death. St Joseph’s whole glory and happiness lay in his knowing how to understand what God wanted of him and in his having faithfully carried it out to the end. (more…)

Holy House of Loreto

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Ave Maria Meditations

Prayer to Our Lady of Loreto:

O Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, we gratefully honor you in this your humble house which the Most High has made so great by the ineffable Mysteries here accomplished.

Within these hallowed walls where you were conceived without sin and spent your girlhood days in prayer and most sublime love, the Angel saluted you as “Full of Grace” and you answered him with those words of profound humility which opened the heavens and made the Savior of the World descend.

With your worthy spouse Saint Joseph, in the joy of the Word Incarnate who made Himself your Son, you served the Lord aid privations and labor, preparing your heart for the great sacrifice, which together with that of the Divine Victim, you afterwards offered on Calvary to become the Mother of all men redeemed by the Blood of Jesus.

O Mary, grant that our homes may resemble yours; and that, living in grace and without sin, we may some day, together with you, be inhabitants of the House of God, in the eternity of Paradise.

 

Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us!  And for the Franciscans of the Immaculate, whose founder was inspired by his visit to your holy house to found his Order.

For more information on the history of the Holy House of Loreto and how it came to be in Italy, see the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13454b.htm