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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…)

Triumph of the Holy Cross

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Ave Maria Mediations

“I slipped His fingers, I escaped His feet,  I ran and hid, for Him I feared to meet.  

One day I passed Him, fettered on a Tree,  He turned His Head, and looked, and beckoned me. 

Neither by speed, nor strength could He prevail.  Each hand and foot was pinioned by a nail.  

He could not run or clasp me if He tried,  But with His eye, He bade me reach His side. 

For pity’s sake, thought I, I’ll set you free.  ‘Nay — hold this cross,’ He said, ‘and follow me.  This yoke is easy, this burden light,  Not hard or grievous if you wear it tight.’ 

So did I follow Him Who could not move,  An uncaught captive in the hands of Love.”

Elizabeth Cheney

And  a meditation from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:

We are at the end of a tradition and a civilization which believed we could preserve Christianity without Christ, religion without a creed, meditation without sacrifice, family life without moral responsibility, sex without purity, and economics without ethics. We have completed our experiment of living without God and have proven the fallacy of a system of education which calls itself progressive because it finds new excuses for sins.


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

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
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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 16 – Homily – Fr Matthias: Conditions For Communion

Sunday, August 16th, 2015
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Homily #150816n ( 16min) Play – At the start of the 19th century, the conditions placed upon receiving Communion were overly rigid and almost impossible to regularly meet. This wasn’t according to the desires of the Church, and Father quotes from the Council of Trent to show this, but due to the widespread influence of a Calvinistic stress on the depravity of man. However, Saint Pope Pius X clarified and defined what the needed conditions to receive the Eucharist frequently were, and encouraged frequent, even daily, communion. Father gives us these conditions from the sainted pope, stressing the need for preparation and thanksgiving, and closes with a quote from St. Therese, whose influence lead Pius X to promote frequent communion, about how to make a good preparation and thanksgiving for communion. Ave Maria!
Mass: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Form: OF
1st: pro 9:1-6
Resp: psa 34:2-3, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
2nd: eph 5:15-20
Gsp: joh 6:51-58

Audio (MP3)


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

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
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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)


Aug 05 – Homily – Fr Maximilian W: He Wants Our Faith

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
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Homily #150805n ( 07min) Play – Father comments on the Gospel reading, telling us that just as Jesus was looking for the woman’s faith, He is looking for ours; how do we respond? Do we really believe and live it? Father closes by commenting on the origins of the basilica St. Mary Major, who’s dedication we celebrate today.
Ave Maria!
Mass: Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major – Opt Mem – Form: OF
Readings: Wednesday 18th Week of Ordinary Time
1st: num 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Resp: psa 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-22, 23
Gsp: mat 15:21-28

Audio (MP3)


Jul 26 – Homily – Fr Matthias: The Eucharist and Practical Comments

Sunday, July 26th, 2015
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Homily #150726n ( 17min) Play – Today’s Gospel reading is a prefigurement of the Eucharist, Father Matthias tells us. Our Lord taught that He is really present in the Eucharist, and didn’t back down when challenged. Likewise, the Church has never backed down on her teaching of transubstantiation, that after the consecration, only the appearance and physical attributes of the bread and the wine remain. The Eucharist is like spiritual food, it sustains and heals us much like physical food sustains us physically, but much more profoundly. A dead body cannot eat normal food, likewise, someone in a state of separation from God (mortal sin) cannot benefit from receiving the Eucharist, but must first receive the Sacrament of Penance. Two practical conclusions of this consideration is that it is better to receive on the tongue and not to receive communion in the hand. The Church’s preference is for communion on the tongue, and communion on the hand is only a concession to widespread disobedience. Also, we should make a thanksgiving after Holy Communion of, preferably, at least 15 minutes, for until the host dissolves, Jesus is really and truly within us. Let us not invite Him in only to ignore His abiding presence.
Ave Maria!
Mass: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Form: OF
1st: 2ki 4:42-44
Resp: psa 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
2nd: eph 4:1-6
Gsp: joh 6:1-15

Audio (MP3)


Jul 22 – Homily – Fr Maximilian W: Mary Magdalene, the Gospel, and Us

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
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Homily #150722n ( 06min) Play – The parable of the sower and the seed is read in today’s Gospel and as we remember Saint Mary Magdalene, Father Maximilian tells us that we may know the Gospel, but do we live it? Or are we withered by the sacrifices it calls for and choked by the distractions of the world. For an example, he presents St. Mary Magdalene who had lived a life of sin, but came out of it and loved Our Lord so much that His first recorded appearance after the Resurrection was to her. If she can go from a life of sin to being a great saint, we also can go from sin and mediocrity to great sanctity. In both her and us, Jesus casts the seed of the Gospel, but it is we who must respond. Let us respond with a love and generosity like Mary Magdalene’s, go to the Cross, search for Jesus at the Tomb, and here Him call us by name.
Ave Maria!
Mass: St. Mary Magdalene – Mem – Form: OF
Readings: Wednesday 16th Week of Ordinary Time
1st: exo 16:1-5, 9-15
Resp: psa 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28
Gsp: mat 13:1-9

Audio (MP3)


The Glory of Jesus’ Humanity

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Ave Maria Meditations

When Christ decided to give site to a man blind from birth, He placed mud on the man’s eyes, an action that was much more suited to blinding those who see then to giving sight to the blind who could not see. So, too, the passion and death of Christ was more likely to destroy the faith of those who believed that He was the only begotten son of God, as was clear in the case of the apostles and disciples, then to command faith to nonbelievers. And yet He says: “when I lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.” (Jn 12:32) 

…After the cross, after the suffering, after the disgraceful, shameful, repulsive death of the cross, I shall turn the world to faith in Me, so that the world will believe that I am the Son of God, the true Messiah…

We see with other clarity that this is what has happened. Christ came into this world to do battle against satan, to do away with idolatry, and return the world to faith and piety and the worship of the true God. He could have accomplish this by using the weapons of His might and coming as He will come to judge in glory and majesty just as He manifested himself and His Transfiguration. Who would not then had believed in Christ? 

But in order that His victory might be more glorious, He willed to fight satan in our weak flesh. It is as if an unarmed man, right hand bound, where to fight with his left hand alone against a powerful army; if he emerged victorious, his victory would be regarded as all the more glorious. So Christ conquered satan with the right hand of His divinity bound and using against him only the left hand of His weak humanity.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi  (Doctor of the Church, Feast Day is July 21st)

Jul 20 – Homily – Fr Joachim: Following Jesus is Risky

Monday, July 20th, 2015
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Homily #150720n ( 06min) Play – St. Apollinaris is a martyr from the early Church–he was martyred in 79AD–and Father Joachim tells us about his life and sufferings for Christ. Following Jesus involves risks, even of our lives, but, as Father reminds us, we will all die and appear before the Lord. Remembering the sufferings of the Martyrs will give us the courage and strength to make the small, daily sacrifices of the Christian life.
Ave Maria!
Mass: St. Apollinaris – Opt Mem – Form: OF
Readings: Monday 16th Week of Ordinary Time
1st: exo 14:5-18
Resp: exo 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gsp: mat 12:38-42

Audio (MP3)


Jul 17 – Homily – Fr Matthias: The Mass, Sacrifice of the Cross

Friday, July 17th, 2015
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Homily #150717n ( 06min) Play – In the first reading, we see the institution of the Passover sacrifice. This was a rite which was to be repeated by the Israelites as a symbol of the past Passover event and as a prefigurement of Christ’s sacrifice. However, when Jesus came, He fulfilled this rite on the Cross, and instituted it as an enduring sacrifice. When we celebrate Mass, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present again, and we are at the foot of the Cross with the same exact reality as Mary and John were. Let us remember this, and live it.
Ave Maria!
Mass: Friday 15th Week of Ordinary Time – Wkdy – Form: OF
1st: exo 11:10-12:14
Resp: psa 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
Gsp: mat 12:1-8

Audio (MP3)


On the Love of God

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015


“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth.”
-St. Bonaventure, the “Seraphic Doctor”

1. Let us give our thoughts to what the Seraphic Doctor says on the love of God. He tells us that it should be the aim of our lives, according to the words of our Lord: “This is the greatest and the first commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind” (Matt 22:387-38). Not as though the love of God were the only virtue and that we need not concern ourselves about any other, but without the love of God the other virtues are not true virtues and cannot lead to salvation. Moreover, the other virtues derive their luster and strength from the love of God, as material things do from the sun. — Unless your industry, temperance, charitable activity, and even your piety are enlivened and filled with the love of God, they are worthless. Have you given this sufficient consideration in the past?

2. Consider that the love of God is of such inestimable value because it excludes all sin. “To love God,” says the Seraphic Doctor, “means to wish God well. But every sin is something evil, an offense against God. Hence, sin cannot co-exist with the true love of God.” The more perfect your love of God is, the more you will abstain from sin. It is, of course, true that the perfect love of God, which implies that all our acts and desires are directed towards God alone, is not possible here upon earth; it will constitute our bliss in eternity. Nevertheless, even here on earth the love of God must exclude everything that is displeasing to God. — If you still fall into many sins, is it due to the fact that you do not love God enough?

3. Consider whence St. Bonaventure derived his ardent love of God. It was from keeping his eyes on the crucifix and meditating on the sufferings of Christ. “The wounds of Jesus,” he said, “are arrows that wound the hardest hearts, and flames that kindle the coldest souls.” Whoever truly contemplates our suffering Savior on the cross can hardly yield to sin. The love of Him who loved us to such great lengths must of necessity fill us with zeal to avoid whatever displeases Him and to make our hearts agreeable to Him. May the powerful intercession of the great Doctor of the Church assist us in following his words and example.

from July 15: St. Bonaventure, The Franciscan Book of Saints, Habig.

Jul 12 – Homily – Fr Joachim: Being a Prophet is Tough

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
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Homily #150712n ( 05min) Play – Father reflects on the prophetic calling of the Church, and tells us that while many want the message to change, the Truth brought by Christ will not, can not, change. Many within worldly authority, society, and even within the ranks of the Church what the Church to “update” to the times. A favorite tactic is to twist and spin the words of Pope Francis. However, let us rest secure in this, that if we stay with the Truth in the face of adversity, we stay with God, and God is with us.
Ave Maria!
Mass: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Form: OF
1st: amo 7:12-15
Resp: psa 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
2nd: eph 1:3-14
Gsp: mar 6:7-13

Audio (MP3)


Jul 09 – Homily – Fr Joachim: Never Swerve From the Faith

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
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Homily #150709n ( 05min) Play – Father tells us that the heretics of the 16th century attacked primarily the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church. Today’s martyrs suffered for these teachings of Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church. Let us take these men as our models and follow the exhortation of St. Peick “Never swerve a hair’s breath from the Catholic Faith.”
Ave Maria!
Mass: St. Nicholas Pieck and companions – Opt Mem – Form: OF
Readings: Thursday 14th Week of Ordinary Time
1st: gen 44:18-21, 23-29, 45:1-5
Resp: psa 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Gsp: mat 10:7-15

Audio (MP3)


On Martyrdom

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

1. There are times when martyrdom is a sacred duty. Thus the martyrs regarded it. They testified to the words of our Savior: “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Matt 16:26). In order to save our soul for eternity, we, too, must be ready to sacrifice blood and life rather than separate ourselves from God and our Faith. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us” (2 Tim 2:12). — Have you always taken eternity into account?

2. Martyrdom is a great grace. Many of us shudder when we hear an account of the gruesome tortures inflicted on the martyrs, and we ask in fear, “How could they endure it?” But why should we be afraid? On the one hand, God never asks the impossible of us. On the other, when the decisive moment comes, the same good God raises the soul to such heights of love that it cries out with St. Paul: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or persecution, or the sword? But in all these things we overcome because of Him who has loved us” (Rom 8:35-37). — No one, including yourself, has reason to become fainthearted or to despair.

3. Martyrdom brings a superabundant reward. Christ has assured us: “Greater love than this no man has than that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Therefore, making the sacrifice of our life for our best Friend, Jesus, cancels all our sins and all the guilt of sin and takes us at once to heaven. That is why the martyrs said to their torturers, in the words of the Machabees: “You indeed destroy us out of this present life; but the King of the world will raise us up to life” (2 Mac 7:9). — Always keep eternity and the bliss of eternity in mind, and everything will be easy.

from July 8: St. Gregory Grassi and Companions, The Franciscan Book of Saints, Habig.

St. Gregory Grassi friars nunsSt. Gregory Grassi and Companion Martyrs with the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.  All from the 120 Martyrs of China.