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Catholic Culture

Father St. Francis: What is Perfect Joy?

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations


One day in winter, as St Francis was going with Brother Leo from Perugia to St Mary of the Angels, and was suffering greatly from the cold, he called to Brother Leo, who was walking on before him, and said to him: “Brother Leo, if it were to please God that the Friars Minor should give, in all lands, a great example of holiness and edification, write down, and note carefully, that this would not be perfect joy.”

A little further on, St Francis called to him a second time: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor were to make the lame to walk, if they should make straight the crooked, chase away demons, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and, what is even a far greater work, if they should raise the dead after four days, write that this would not be perfect joy.”

Shortly after, he cried out again: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor knew all languages; if they were versed in all science; if they could explain all Scripture; if they had the gift of prophecy, and could reveal, not only all future things, but likewise the secrets of all consciences and all souls, write that this would not be perfect joy.”

After proceeding a few steps farther, he cried out again with a loud voice: “O Brother Leo, thou little lamb of God! if the Friars Minor could speak with the tongues of angels; if they could explain the course of the stars; if they knew the virtues of all plants; if all the treasures of the earth were revealed to them; if they were acquainted with the various qualities of all birds, of all fish, of all animals, of men, of trees, of stones, of roots, and of waters – write that this would not be perfect joy.” (more…)

September 24th: Feast of Our Lady of Ransom

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

The story of Our Lady of Ransom is, at its outset, that of Saint Peter Nolasco, born in Languedoc about 1189. He conceived the idea of establishing a religious order for the redemption of captives seized by the Moors on the seas and in Spain itself; they were being cruelly tormented in their African prisons to make them deny their faith. On August 1, 1218 the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter, to his confessor, Raymond of Penafort, and to King James I, and through these three servants of God established a work of the most perfect charity, the redemption of captives. Its members would undertake to deliver Christian captives and offer themselves, if necessary, as payment.

Word of the apparition soon spread over the entire kingdom, and on August 10 the king went to the cathedral for a Mass celebrated by the bishop of Barcelona during which Saint Raymond narrated his vision with admirable eloquence and fervor. The king besought the blessing of the bishop for the heaven-sent plan, and the bishop bestowed the habit on Saint Peter, who emitted the solemn vow to give himself as a hostage if necessary.

The Order, thus solemnly established in Spain, was approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy and spread rapidly. Eventually a feast day was instituted and observed on September 24, first in the religious order, then in Spain and France, and on February 22, 1696 Innocent XII extended it to the entire Church. To this day, the Mercedarians keep this day as a first class feast, with a vigil, privileged octave, and proper Office under the title: Solemnitas Descensionis B. Mariæ V. de Mercede(more…)

From Evangelium Vitae as the 40 Days for Life begins Nationwide

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

The 40 Days for Life runs from September 23rd-November 1st, 2015

1. The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture.

At the dawn of salvation, it is the Birth of a Child which is proclaimed as joyful news: “I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). The source of this “great joy” is the Birth of the Saviour; but Christmas also reveals the full meaning of every human birth, and the joy which accompanies the Birth of the Messiah is thus seen to be the foundation and fulfilment of joy at every child born into the world (cf. Jn 16:21).

When he presents the heart of his redemptive mission, Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10)…

The incomparable worth of the human person …

The Church knows that this Gospel of life, which she has received from her Lord,  has a profound and persuasive echo in the heart of every person-believer and non-believer alike-because it marvelously fulfills all the heart’s expectations while infinitely surpassing them. Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree. Upon the recognition of this right, every human community and the political community itself are founded.

In a special way, believers in Christ must defend and promote this right, aware as they are of the wonderful truth recalled by the Second Vatican Council: “By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being”. This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person.

St. John Paul II

A Prayer for the Year for Consecrated Life

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

One Minute Meditation

As we continue on in this dedicated year:

Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life:

Oh God, throughout the ages You have called women and men to pursue lives of perfect charity through the Evangelical councils of poverty, chastity, and obedience. During this Year of Consecrated Life, we give You thanks for these courageous witnesses of faith and models of inspiration. Their pursuit of holy lives teaches us to make a more perfect offering of ourselves to You.

Continue to enrich Your Church by calling forth sons and daughters who, having found the pearl of great price, treasure the kingdom of Heaven above all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Seeking the Intercession of St. Monica for our Children

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

In this day and age, many tearful parents and grandparents are so greatly concerned over the loss of faith among their dear family members…

Prayer to St. Monica

Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all parents in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.

St. Louis the King: Patron of Franciscan Tertiaries

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

St. Louis, King of France (1214-1270)   Feast Day is August 25th

from a spiritual testament by King Saint Louis IX to his son:

My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin. If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it.

If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either though vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts. Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can.

Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father.

In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a son. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil.  And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him and praise him unceasingly. Amen

Fall River Pro-Life Boot-camp – Variety 275

Monday, August 24th, 2015
Balloon with "life" written on it

Variety #275 – ( 10min) >>> Play

Ave Maria!

Several interviews with the organizers of the 2015 Pro-Life Boot Camp in the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. The video was filmed at the prayer vigil across the street from the Four Women Health Services (the local abortion clinic) in Attleboro, Massachusetts, on June 18th, 2015.

Audio (MP3)


Aug 23 – Homily – Fr Joachim: Importance of the Eucharist

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
Click to Play

Homily #150823n ( 10min) Play – The subject for the past few Sundays has been John 6, which is all about the Eucharist and how essential is it in order to have the life of Christ within us. Father covers the whole chapter, and observes that many disciples left after this teaching (Father notes this verse is John 6:66), and many Christians still refuse to accept this teaching and its implications for our moral lives. Let us receive this hard teaching of Jesus with faith, saying with Peter, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Ave Maria!
Mass: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Form: OF
1st: jos 24:1-2, 15-17, 18
Resp: psa 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23
2nd: eph 5:21-32
Gsp: joh 6:60-69

Audio (MP3)


Aug 15 – Homily – Fr Maximilian W: Mary, Scripture, and Spiritual Warfare

Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Click to Play

Homily #150815n ( 10min) Play – Father asks if the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is scriptural, is it found in the Bible? Is it explicitly in there? No, but neither is the Trinity, the Hypostatic Union, nor the inerrancy of Scripture. This are all inferred from Scripture. Father points out where we find this scriptural backing for the Assumption in Luke and Revelations. He focuses on chapter 12 of Revelations which speaks of the battle between the Blessed Virgin Mary and Satan, and tells us that this spiritual warfare is still going on today, in fact, it is particularly intense today. If we are with Mary, we will triumph over the dragon, but if we are not, we will be consumed.
Ave Maria!
Mass: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Solemnity – Form: OF
1st: rev 11:19, 12 1-6, 10
Resp: psa 45:10, 11, 12, 16
2nd: 1co 15:20-26
Gsp: luk 1:39-56

Audio (MP3)


Aug 14 – Homily – Fr Matthias: St. Maximilian’s Greatest Work

Friday, August 14th, 2015
Click to Play

Homily #150814n ( 06min) Play – Saint Maximilian Kolbe did many great things, but all of them were means to his driving goal: to become more and more the Immaculate’s. Father quotes from a letter of St. Maximilian to prove this, and asks if we are to take this as mere empty spiritual rhetoric? No, he says, this really is the truth, “All good things come to us with Her”. We must never forget this, and become more and more Her’s every day. This is the greatest thing St. Maximilian did, let us seek to do the same.
Ave Maria!
Mass: St. Maximilian Kolbe – Solemnity – Form: OF
Readings: Friday 19th Week of Ordinary Time
1st: jos 24:1-13
Resp: psa 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22, 24
Gsp: mat 19:3-12

Audio (MP3)


Aug 12 – Homily – Fr Maximilian W: Say Yes Every Day

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Click to Play

Homily #150812n ( 04min) Play – Father gives us a short biography of today’s saint — wife, mother, foundress, religious — and speaks of her teaching on the “martyrdom of love” that we are all called to, where we say ‘yes’ to God every day and allow Him to work in us. Let us follow St. Jane Frances de Chantal and say yes every day.
Ave Maria!
Mass: St. Jane Frances de Chantal – Opt Mem – Form: OF
Readings: Wednesday 19th Week of Ordinary Time
1st: deu 34:1-12
Resp: psa 66:1-3, 5, 8, 16-17
Gsp: mat 18:15-20

Audio (MP3)


St. Dominic and the Rosary

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

It was only in the year 1214 that the Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.  

Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, where he prayed continuously for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma.

At this point our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said,

“Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?”

“Oh, my Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.”

Then our Lady replied, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”   (more…)

Aug 04 – Homily – Fr Matthias: Pray for Our Priests

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
Click to Play

Homily #150804n ( 06min) Play – After a biography of St. John Vianney, Father Matthias tells us how he was a “martyr of the confessional” spending about 15 hours in the confessional a day. Sometimes he was overwhelmed by his responsibilities, knowing his own weakness. Three times he fled from his parish, each time to return by obedience to his . He knew that the bishop’s call showed that, despite his unworthiness, this ministry was the will of God for him. Father tells us how essential it is for us to pray for our priests that they may be faithful to the grave responsibilities they have before God.
Ave Maria!
Mass: St. John Vianney – Mem – Form: OF
Readings: Tuesday 18th Week of Ordinary Time (Opt 2)
1st: num 12:1-13
Resp: psa 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 12-13
Gsp: mat 15:1-2, 10-14

Audio (MP3)


A Priest Meditates about the Holy Mass

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

The month of July has traditionally been consecrated and devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus. To learn the telos (the ends) of the Mass would be a great resolution for this month.  To reveal those goals, I want to show the prayer that every priest (before Vatican II) would pray before the Mass.   It’s in Latin, traditionally, but with the English there, too.  I give here my translation a bit more word-for-word:   I will to celebrate Mass and to confect the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the rite of the Holy Roman Church, unto the praise of the omnipotent God and all the Triumphant Church, for my good and the good of the entire Church Militant, for all who have commended themselves to my prayers—in general and specifically, and for the happy state of the Holy Roman Church.  May the omnipotent and merciful Lord grant us joy with peace, amendment of life, space for true repentance, consolation of the Holy Spirit and perseverance in good works.

Jesus offers Himself in the re-presented sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass. The prayer tells us, in order of importance, the telos of the Mass, taking the italics below from the prayer above.

Here’s the top seven goals of the Mass according to that prayer:

1) The Blessed Trinity: Unto the praise of the omnipotent God.

2) The priest: For my good.

3.) All the Saints: All of the Triumphant Church.

4) All the Catholics on earth: The good of the entire Church Militant.

5) Those who have generally given themselves to the prayers of the priest:  For all who have commended themselves to my prayers—in general.

6) Those who have commended themselves specifically to that priest’s prayers at Mass:  For all who have commended themselves to my prayers…specifically.

7) For the happy state of the Holy Roman Church.

In the last part of the prayer before Mass, I ask God to “grant us joy with peace, amendment of life, space for true repentance, consolation of the Holy Spirit and perseverance in good works.” (more…)

Keeping the Commandments

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

Keeping the Commandments

The Decalogue, the “Ten Words” or Ten Commandments, which comes from the Torah of Moses, is a shining star of faith and morals for the people of God, and it also enlightens and guides the path of Christians. It constitutes a beacon and a norm of life in justice and love, a “great ethical code” for all humanity. The Ten Commandments shed light on good and evil. on truth and falsehood, on justice and injustice, and they match the criteria of every human person’s right conscience…

The Ten Commandments require that we recognize the one Lord, against the temptation to construct other idols, to make golden calves. In our world there are many who do not know God or who consider Him superfluous, without relevance for their lives; hence, other new gods have been fabricated to whom man bows down. Reawakening in our society openness to the transcendent dimension, witnessing to the one God is a precious service…

The Ten Commandments call us to respect life and to protect it against every injustice and abuse, recognizing the worth of each human person, created in the image and likeness of God. How often, in every part of the world. near and far, the dignity, the freedom, and the rights of human beings are trampled upon! Bearing witness together to the supreme value of life, against all selfishness, is an important contribution to a new world where justice and peace reign, a world marked by that “shalom” which the lawgivers, the prophets, and the sages of Israel longed to see.

The Ten Commandments call us to preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which there personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive “Yes” of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life. To witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practiced is a precious service offered in the construction of a world with a more human face.

 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI