Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mental Prayer for December 3, Monthly Checkup, On Confession

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To see clearly how I have been making my confessions, to rejoice over successes, to be sorry for failures, to do better in the future.

Check-Up: Have I made my examination of conscience faithfully each night? This practice will help me a lot in preparing for confession. How often have I gone to confession?... once a week?... at least every two weeks? Do I go to a regular confessor, one who can get to know me and help me with my particular problems, encourage me to make progress?

Do I examine my conscience carefully, though, not scrupulously, before going to confession? Do I always put special emphasis, besides, on being really sorry for my sins, striving for perfect contrition?

When making my confession, do I realize that I am telling my sins to Christ, whose place the priest takes? Do I always put the bigger or harder-­to-confess sins first? Am I always completely open and honest (something that requires real courage at times) in the confessional? Do I answer any questions the priest may ask? Do I pay attention to the priest if he gives me advice?... do my best to follow it? Do I always say and do my penance?

I Speak to Christ: O Lord, let me realize that you gave me confession to be a help in living my life for you. Give me the grace to use this wonderful sacrament correctly. Help me to avoid the same sins in the future and to make sure I stay away from my occasions of sins. Let my attitude toward confession be that it is the place where I meet you for forgiveness and grace.

Thought for Today: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Is Mental Prayer Easy?

Anyone who has a real desire to be saved, and who believes that the opinion of St. Alphonsus, and all other spiritual teachers, that mortal sin and mental prayer can not live together, but are mutually destruc­tive, is really true, must feel a desire to adopt so certain a means of salvation. But many are faint-hearted, and dread the little difficulty they feel in beginning a new exercise, and many more lack the courage and self-denial necessary to continue in it after the novelty has worn away, and the yoke of perseverance begins to gall. Blessed are they who courageously persevere, for their salvation is secure!

Those who find it difficult to begin, or are tempted to abandon this powerful means of salvation, must pluck up heart, and encourage themselves by remembering that mental prayer requires no learning, no special power of mind, no extraordinary grace, but only a resolute will and a desire to please God. In fact the hard matter is to convince people how easy and simple a matter mental prayer really is, and how the difficulty is far more imaginary than real. This difficulty often rises from not hav­ing grasped the true idea of what is meant by mental prayer, and the false idea of the exercise once formed, is often never corrected, the consequence being that the practice is either abandoned in disgust, or persevered in with extreme repugnance, and little fruit.

One common cause of misunderstanding, perhaps the most common of all, is the custom of calling the whole exercise by the name of one subordinate and not most important part, that is meditation. From this, the idea arises that it is a prolonged spiritual study, drawn out at length with many divisions and much complicated process, and this notion frightens many good souls, and makes them fall back on vocal prayer alone. They imagine that the soul must preach a discourse to itself, and they feel no talent for preaching. Many, if they spoke their minds clearly, would say, "I can not meditate, but if I might be allowed to pray during that time instead, I could do very well!" This is no imaginary case, as any one who has had any experience will testify, and this miserable misunderstanding, that so often holds souls back for years, is partly brought about by defective teach­ing, but partly also by the name "meditation" being used, instead of the more comprehensive one of mental prayer.

Mental prayer properly understood, will be found to be easy and within the power of all who desire salvation. Of course there are many degrees of prayer, and to pray perfectly is no doubt a matter of great difficulty, but to pray well and in a way very pleasing to God, and very profitable to the soul, is an easy and simple matter. If we remember how many thousands have excelled in mental prayer though not even able to read, we shall see that this holy exercise can not require any special power of mind or any degree of culture. St. Isidore, a farm laborer, is an example of a man utterly devoid of human learning, but rising, by God's grace, to the sublimest prayer.

In order to pray with fruit and without distraction, it is very useful and in most cases necessary, to spend some time in meditation or pious thought on some definite subject, and from this fact, as before stated, the whole exercise is often called meditation, instead of mental prayer. This often misleads people into imagining that meditation, that is, the use of the intellect in thinking on a holy subject, is the main end to be aimed at, whereas in fact it is only a means to the end, which is prayer or con­versation with God. Meditation furnishes us with the matter for conversation, but it is not itself prayer at all. When thinking and reflecting, the soul speaks to itself, reasons with itself; in prayer it speaks to God.

Meditation in its wide sense is any kind of attentive and repeated thought upon any subject and with any intention, but in the more restricted sense in which it is understood as a part of mental prayer, it is, as St. Francis de Sales puts it, "an attentive thought, voluntarily re­peated or entertained in the mind, to excite the will to holy and salutary reflections and resolutions!" It differs from mere study in its object: we study to improve our minds and to store up information, we meditate to move the will to pray and to embrace good. We study that we may know, we meditate that we may pray.

We must then use the mind in thus thinking or pondering on a sacred subject for a few minutes, and in order to help the mind in this exercise, we must have some definite subject of thought upon which it is well to read either a text of Holy Scripture or a few lines from some other holy book (perhaps, the Catechism). St. Teresa tells us that she thus helped her­self with a book for seventeen years. By this short read­ing, the mind is rendered attentive and is set on a train of thought. Further to help the mind you can ask your­self some such questions as the following:
What does this mean?
What lesson does it teach me?
What have I done about this in the past?
What shall I now do, and how?

Here, two remarks are most important. The first is, that care must be taken not to read too much, but to stop when any thought strikes the mind. If the reading is prolonged, if, for example, in a short prayer of half an hour you were to read for ten minutes, the exercise would be changed into spiritual reading. The second remark is, that you must not be distressed if you find the mind sluggish, and if only one or two very simple thoughts pre­sent themselves. It is by no means necessary to have many thoughts, or to indulge in deep and well arranged reflections. The object of mental prayer is not to preach a well prepared and eloquent sermon to yourself: the object is to pray. If one simple thought makes you pray, why distress yourself because you have not other and more elaborate thoughts? If you wanted to reach the top of a roof you would not trouble yourself because your ladder was a short one, provided it was long enough to land you safely on the roof. The end is gained. If one simple reflection enables you to pray, you would, in reality, be merely distracting yourself from prayer in order to occupy yourself with your own thoughts, if you were to go on developing a lengthy train of thought. This would be to mistake the means for the end, and it is a very common mistake and the cause of great discouragement. This mistake will be evident if you remember that while you are following out a line of thought, for instance, when you are answering the questions suggested above, you are conversing with your­self.

It is plain therefore that as your object is to converse with God, you should not remain too long in talking to yourself, and that, therefore, if you feel a difficulty in doing this, you need not be distressed. "The progress of a soul," says the enlightened St. Teresa, "does not consist in thinking much of God, but in loving Him ardently; and this love is gained by resolving to do a great deal for Him."

I have said that misunderstanding this point is the most fruitful source of discouragement, and one of the most common reasons for abandoning mental prayer in disgust, and the reason is, because very few people are accustomed to prolonged or deep thought on any subject. Few indeed are capable of it. If, therefore, they imagine that prolonged, if not deep thought, is necessary for mental prayer, they are in constant trouble and discour­agement, which ends in their abandoning the whole exer­cise in despair. "If I might only be allowed to pray," they will sigh to themselves, "how much easier it would be!"

Let such persons then clearly understand, that many thoughts are not necessary, that their reflections need not be deep and ought not, especially in a prayer of half an hour, to be long, lest prayer should be neglected and the exercise be changed into a study. "Meditation," says St. Alphonsus, "is the needle, which only passes through that it may draw after it the golden thread, which is composed of affections, petitions, and resolutions." The needle is only used in order to draw the thread after it. If then you were to meditate for an hour, and think out a subject in all its details, but without constant acts and petitions, you would be working hard with an un­threaded needle.

Men's minds differ as much as their features, and some men, especially those employed in very distracting duties, need more thought before they can pray than others, but many, especially women, will find that the effort, after prolonged reflections, will generally defeat itself and end in distraction.

As soon, therefore, as you feel an impulse to pray, give way to it at once in the best way you can by acts and petitions, in other words, begin your conversation with God on the subject about which you have been thinking. Do not imagine, moreover, that it is necessary to wait for a great fire to burn up in your soul, but cherish the little spark that you have. Above all, never give way to the mistaken notion that you must restrain yourself from prayer in order to go through all the thoughts suggested by your book, or because your prayer does not appear to have a close connection with the subject of your meditation. This would simply be to turn from God to your own thoughts or to those of some other man.

To meditate means in general nothing else than to reflect seriously on some subject. Meditation, as men­tal prayer, is a serious reflection on some religious truth or event, united with reference and application to our­selves, in order thereby to excite in us certain pious sen­timents - such as contrition, humility, faith, hope, charity, etc. - and to move our will to form good resolutions con­formable to these pious sentiments. Such an exercise has naturally a beneficial influence on our soul and greatly conduces to enlighten our mind and to move our will to practise virtue.

"Meditation," writes Madame Cecilia, in her admir­able work At the Feet of Jesus, " consists in occupying ourselves mentally and prayerfully with some mystery of the faith. We call to mind the chief facts, ponder over them, and then stir up our will to regulate our conduct in consequence. Hence, meditation is an exercise of the faculties of our soul - memory, understanding, and will. Some persons are also aided by the imagination; to others it is a hindrance. Do you complain that you can not meditate? Well, let me ask you: Have you ever received an affront that cut you to the quick? Then, perhaps, you did meditate; you thought over it for an hour or more. Memory recalled the facts, imagination supplied extra details and coloring, the intelligence dis­cussed the motives, such as ingratitude, jealousy, pride; it considered the baseness and the unexpectedness of the insult; finally, the will took a firm resolution to avoid that person. Now, what was all this but a meditation in which you employed all the powers of your soul? Moreover, it was probably made without a single distraction, which is of very rare occurrence when we medi­tiate on a mystery of our holy faith.

"Unfortunately, the subject was not well chosen, but at least it may help you to understand that you are ca­pable of making a meditation. Suppose that, instead of reflecting on a personal affront, you had chosen for sub­ject the insults received by Our Lord at the court of Herod. You pictured out the scene, recalled the facts, pondered them over, weighed the motives, and then stirred up yourself to imitate your divine model. This would have been an excellent meditation. Now it is true that the Holy Spirit is the great Master Who teaches us how to pray, but this does not dispense us from means which He has placed at our disposal, for 'God helps those who help themselves,' in this as in temporal enterprises. The masters of the spiritual life have traced out methods of mental prayer for their dis­ciples. The one laid down by St. Ignatius, in his 'Spir­itual Exercises,' is perhaps the best known."

It consists of three parts: (1) preparation, (2) meditation proper, (3) exercise of the affections. Each of these parts is subdivided, and a few words on them may be useful to the reader.
Adapted from Prayer-Book for Religious
A Complete Manual of Prayers and Devotions for the Use
of the Members of all Religious Communities
by Fr. F. X. Lasance (© 1914 by Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Saturday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:34-36

The Need for Vigilance

(Jesus said to His disciples), [34] "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; [35] for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. [36] But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."


34-36. At the end of His discourse Jesus emphasizes that every Christian needs to be vigilant: we do not know the day nor the hour in which He will ask us to render an account of our lives. Therefore, we must at all times be trying to do God's will, so that death, whenever it comes, will find us ready. For those who act in this way, sudden death never takes them by surprise. As St. Paul recommends: "You are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:4). Vigilance consists in making a constant effort not to be attached to the things of this world (the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life: cf. John 2:16) and in being assiduous in prayer, which keeps us close to God. If we live in this way, the day we die will be a day of joy and not of terror, for with God's help our vigilance will mean that our souls are ready to receive the visit of our Lord; they are in the state of grace: in meeting Christ we will not be meeting a judge who will find us guilty; instead He will embrace us and lead us into the house of His Father to remain there forever. "Does your soul not burn with the desire to make your Father-God happy when He has to judge you?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 746).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mental Prayer for the First Saturday of December

First Joyful Mystery (Annunciation)
The Hail Mary

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Understanding of this great prayer.

Hail Mary... These are the words of the angel's greeting to you... I repeat them... I say "good morning" to you... knowing that you are listening... May my prayer be pleasing to you.

Full of grace... grace makes us like God... you are full of grace... as much like God as you possibly can be... help me to become spiritually "graceful."

The Lord is with thee... because you are pleasing to Him... because you are full of grace... I will always find Him if I turn to you... for He is always with you... Please help me to stay with you both... always.

Blessed art thou among women... "blessed" means happy... you are surely the happiest of all women... because you are the closest to God... Help me to understand that lasting happiness and joy can be found only in God.

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb... how happy anyone would be to have you for a mother... yet you are my mother... for you were given to me by... Jesus... God and Man... your Creator and your Son... who came as King to rule my life... Help me to obey His commands and follow His advice.

Holy Mary... sinless Mary... all-pure Mary... most powerful Mary... help me... to be a little like you.

Mother of God... mother of Christ... mother of divine grace... my mother... never turn away from your children, but...

Pray for us... for us... in our place... be our substitute... for us... all of us... all Catholics, all who need your help... for we are all...

Sinners... who have failed your Son so often... help us...

Now... for we are weak at every moment... help us today, tomorrow...

And at the hour of our death... stand by our cross as you stood by that of your Son... help us to die in God's favor... and come to life without end.

Amen... please, may it be so !

Thought for Today: Mother of God, pray for us!
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Slipping Down the Dark Road of Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

An Interview with Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., was trained as a neuroscientist at Yale University. After finishing his doctoral work, he worked for Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He studied for the priesthood in Rome, where he focused on bioethics and dogmatic theology. Father Pacholczyk is now director of education and a staff ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Walter Camier of Crusade Magazine interviewed Father Pacholczyk.

Crusade: What do you say to those who claim the embryos used by scientist are really not human?

Father Pacholczyk: One example I use a lot when giving testimony before lawmakers involves a 1940 American law protecting the bald eagle. The law states that if you come across a bald eagle’s nest containing eggs and you decide to destroy one of those eggs, you suffer the very same sanctions and penalties as if you had shot an adult bald eagle out of the air. What is so special about that bald eagle’s egg? What is inside that egg? The answer is very simple. It is an embryonic eagle. It is the very same creature that flies gloriously in the sky. Even an atheist can appreciate the cogency of such a law. We are eager to protect all sorts of animal life.

Yet when it comes to our own humble embryonic origins as humans, we go through sophisticated mental gymnastics to tell ourselves that we were never embryos. We are all too willing to sacrifice young humans on the altar of stem-cell research. There is a profound double standard here that people really need to assess and confront.

Archbishop Burke on "Advent: Preparing for Christ's coming"

Advent: Time of consolation and encouragement

We begin a new Liturgical Year with the celebration of the First Sunday of Advent. Fittingly, we begin the Church Year with four Sundays of preparation for Christmas, the celebration of the great mystery of the Incarnation. The two principal celebrations of the mystery of the Incarnation are the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25), in which we recall the conception of God the Son in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit; and the Solemnity of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ (Dec. 25).

Advent means, literally, coming or arrival, namely, the coming or arrival of God into our midst with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son made man. In truth, Christ first arrived in our midst at the moment of His conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary, at the Annunciation. At Christmas, we celebrate the first fruit of His conception, His birth at Bethlehem.

The Advent Season is a time of great consolation and encouragement for us. It is a time of consolation, for it reminds us of how much God loves us. God loves us so much that He has made His home with us first at Bethlehem and now in the Church. It is a time of great encouragement, for it brings us the grace to live more intensely in the company of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Burke's column, a wonderful reflection on Advent, is rich with suggestions to help us prepare for the birth of our Savior. He highlights aspects which are fundamental to our proper preparation:
Preparation for Christmas
Preparation for Christ's coming in the Church
Preparation for Christ's coming on the last day
Preparing by growing in knowledge
Preparing by growing in prayer
And among these, he reminds us and recommends to us the means of growing in our prayer life my frequent confession and daily Mass. It's also the perfect time to commit to spending an hour with the Lord in Adoration each week, if we are not already doing so - and during this time with Jesus, we can read the Gospel of Luke and learn more about the mystery of the Incarnation by studying the Catechism.

He also suggests that we renew our devotion to the Sacred Heart at this time as well as continuing (or starting) to pray the Rosary, and joining the Rosary Crusade for Life, especially noting that Christ and all of us, began our earthly journey as embryos.

We are also reminded that we are live our faith in Christ - to love with an authentic love, that self-sacrificing love, as did our Lord. It is in this way that we may be effective as the instruments of God in converting the hearts of those who have succumbed to the secularization and promises of the current culture which emphasizes selfishness over charity, death over life, slavery over freedom.

Archbishop Burke's column can be read in its entirety here. And check back as more reflections and meditations will be posted throughout the month.

LA Archdiocese Settles 45 Abuse Cases... the tune of 60 million dollars. That's an average of $1,333,333 per case! And the archdiocese is facing over 500 more lawsuits...At the current per case rate of $1.3 million, it could be facing over an additional $666 million...Coincidental number, yes?

The nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese said Friday it has agreed to pay $60 million to settle 45 lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests.
The cases were among more than 500 pending against the archdiocese.

"I pray that the settlement of the initial group of cases will help the victims involved to move forward with their lives and to build a brighter future for themselves and their families," Cardinal Roger Mahony said in a news release.


Peter Visits Andrew – And Prays at the Blue Mosque

For Benedict XVI, reconciliation between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Churches is part and parcel of the Church’s proclamation to non-Christians. The symbol of the Hagia Sophia
by Sandro Magister

Alter Christus - Advent: The Coming of Christ

With the first days of December begins Advent. Forcibly then our thoughts are turned at once to the main purpose of this holy season. If from the very outset we keep that purpose before us, we shall secure four weeks of real fervor and come to Christmas with hearts fully prepared for the "coming of Christ". For this is what Christmas, primarily and above all, means to us. Of the other associations of Christmas much may be taken away this year owing to the gloomy situation of the world. What of it? Indeed it may be a gain if it makes us prepare the more eagerly, throughout Advent, for the spiritual realization of Christmas: "ut Christum lucrifaciam."


The first disposition we should have is an ardent desire for this new coming of Christ to our soul: the earnestness of our desires is a determining factor of the abundance of His grace. True, Christ always lives in a soul adorned with sanctifying grace, and He is ever trying to grow in that soul by new communications of His life. But, if entering into the spirit of the liturgy, we prepare ourselves with fervor to commemorate the great Mystery of Christ's Nativity, and spend four weeks in earnest longing for the spiritual rebirth of Christ in our soul, surely the Divine Child will give us a most abundant communication of His spirit and His virtues. It is the aim of His coming: "ut vitam abun­dantius habeant".

Let us live in that longing day by day, throughout Advent: Christ is our most precious treasure; we can have no more profitable desire than to seek for a growth of His life in us. Nor can we seek for anything better for our flock: "Filioli mei, quos iterum parturio donec formetur Christus in vobis."

* Let us resolve, then, to make our Advent a time of uninterrupted desire to bring Christ deeper and deeper into our life. - Instill that desire in the souls entrusted to us. ­

Spare no pains that the designs of the Sacred Heart's mercy be realized in them, with a special intention perhaps for some souls whose conversion hangs in the balance, or who feel a special urge towards a more intense Christian life.


To be productive of solid results our desire for Christ must be accompanied by a great readiness to welcome Him with all His claims upon our soul. All good Christians profess the desire to have Christ enter more and more into their lives. But when it comes to the test of letting Christ have His way with them, how few prove sincere in their desires. Those who truly long for Christ's coming must be ready to sacrifice whatever is opposed to the spirit of Christ and to the new life He wishes to impart to them. That implies a generous disposition, for as often as not those mysterious" advents" of Christ spell sacrifices; and at times it may require great courage to let God play havoc, so to say, with our little plans of life, our cherished dreams, our manifold attachments. Yet, if we are not ready thus to surrender to Christ, we frustrate His designs for our sanctifica­tion, we let Him knock in vain at the door of our heart.

How many a Christmas perhaps has passed without any marked transformation in our spiritual life, because we preferred to remain as we were rather than to "put on Christ" and share something of the poverty and the humility and the mortification He teaches us from the Crib?

* Examine the sincerity of our dispositions and deter­mine to "prepare the way of the Lord" in our soul, during this Advent. .. Let us see if there is anything in our heart, about our person, in our presbytery, that should be put in order if the Babe of Bethlehem is to come there as unto His own... Promise Our Lord to refuse no sacrifice He will ask of us, cost what it may.


Among all the means we can use to make this season of Advent a fruitful preparation for the graces of Christmas in ourselves and in our flock, the most obvious one is prayer.

Indeed the sacred liturgy forces upon us, day by day, both in the breviary and in the Mass, appropriate prayers of humble and urgent supplication. If we say them "attente et devote" they cannot fail to increase in us a sincere longing for Christ, and they will make us very earnest in our spiritual preparation and in our zeal to prepare our flock.

Besides, we have in our daily Mass a sublime reminder of the mystery of Bethlehem. In the words of Tertullian, the priest gives to the world the same God who was born of the Virgin: "Your lips bring Him forth, your hands and your heart are the manger, and the sacramental species the swad­dling clothes." If the priest were animated with such living faith at every Consecration, and devoutly observed the rubrics of the Missal "genuflexus adorat", how much closer to the Sacred Heart would not each Mass bring him and thus prepare him for that singular growth in the life of Christ towards which Advent leads him.

* Let us determine to live in a greater spirit of prayer and recollection during this holy season, . . . to avoid mechanical routine and mere formalism in our Advent prayers, . . . and, by renewed fervor at the Consecration of our daily Mass, to keep our heart nearer to the Sacred Heart and ready for the fulness of His coming at Christmas.

"Excita, quaesumus, Domine, potentiam et veni . . . Excita, Domine, corda nostra ad praeparandas Unigeniti vias: ut per ejus adventum purificatis tibi mentibus servire mereamur . . . Concede ut, qui sub peccati iugo ex vetusta servitute deprimimur, exspectata unigeniti Filii tui nova nativitate liberemur . . ." (Orations of Advent ).
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 12.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Gospel for Friday, 34th Week and Final Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:29-33

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem
and the End of the World (Continuation)

[29] And He (Jesus) told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; [30] as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. [31] So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Kingdom of God is near. [32] Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. [33] Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."


31. The Kingdom of God, announced by John the Baptist (cf. Matthew 3:2) and described by our Lord in so many parables (cf. Matthew 13; Luke 13:18-20), is already present among the Apostles (Luke 17:20-21), but it is not yet fully manifest. Jesus here describes what it will be like when the Kingdom comes in all its fullness, and He invites us to pray for this very event in the Our Father: "Thy Kingdom come." "The Kingdom of God, which had its beginnings here on earth in the Church of Christ, is not of this world, whose form is passing, and its authentic development cannot be measured by the progress of civilization, of science and of technology. The true growth of the Kingdom of God consists in an ever deepening knowledge of the unfathomable riches of Christ, in an ever stronger hope in eternal blessings, in an ever more fervent response to the love of God, and in an ever more generous acceptance of grace and holiness by men" ("Creed of the People of God", 27). At the end of the world everything will be subjected to Christ and God will reign for ever more (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24, 28).

32. Everything referring to the destruction of Jerusalem was fulfilled some forty years after our Lord's death--which meant that Jesus' contemporaries would be able to verify the truth of this prophecy. But the destruction of Jerusalem is a symbol of the end of the world; therefore, it can be said that the generation to which our Lord refers did see the end of the world, in a symbolic way. This verse can also be taken to refer to the generation of believers, that is, not just the particular generation of those Jesus was addressing (cf. note on Matthew 24:32-35).

[The note on Matthew 24:32-35 states:
32-35. Seeing in the destruction of Jerusalem a symbol of the end of the world, St. John Chrysostom applies to it this parable of the fig tree: "Here He also foretells a spiritual spring and a calm which, after the storm of the present life, the righteous will experience; whereas for sinners there will be a winter after the spring they have had [...]. But this was not the only reason why He put before them the parable of the fig tree, to tell them of the interval before His coming; He wanted to show them that His word would assuredly come true. As sure as the coming of spring is the coming of the Son of Man" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 77).

"This generation": this verse is a clear example of what we say in the note on Matthew 24:1 about the destruction of Jerusalem being itself a symbol. "This generation" refers firstly to the people alive at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. But, since that event is symbolic of the end of the world, we can say with St. John Chrysostom that "the Lord was speaking not only of the generation then living, but also of the generation of the believers; for He knows that a generation is distinguished not only by time but also by its mode of religious worship and practice: this is what the Psalmist means when he says that `such is the generation of those who seek Him' (Psalm 24:6)" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 77).]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mental Prayer for the First Friday of December, Ingratitude to the Sacred Heart

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To experience or to realize how ungrateful I have been for the love of Christ.

The Idea: Have you ever been hurt by one you love very much? When someone we love coldly and cruelly ignores or, even worse, intentionally slights our expression of affection, we feel crushed. Yet we often coldly and cruelly ignore Christ; we often deliberately slight Him. He has showered on us every possible sign of His love, even unto death. And yet we so frequently ignore Him, or even, with eyes wide open, maliciously wound His Most Sacred Heart. Christ is a real living person who loves us intensely. He is not just an impersonal vague reality represented on a holy card. Until we come to think of Him in terms as real as our parents or friends, the notion of ingratitude to Him will never be fully realized.

My Personal Application: Do I try to realize that each time I commit the slightest sin, I actually wound His Sacred Heart? Do I make any effort to make Him a part of my life? Or am I so swallowed up in material things that I hardly have time ever to give Him a thought? And most of all, do I realize that, as all persons who love, He desires to be part of our lives? He died to give me life ; can I be so ungrateful as completely to ignore Him?...intentionally to wound His Sacred Heart?

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, please help me to realize that by sinning and by being indifferent to your love I actually have wounded you. Help me to see how ungrateful I've been in the past.

Thought for Today: Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses, have mercy on us.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Great Weather in St Louis - Freezing Rain, Sleet and Snow

Just days ago temperatures were in the mid to upper 60's and low 70's...It was so warm over the weekend I was surprised to notice that I was starting to sweat while putting up more Christmas lights...

We were able to leave work early today since sleet was building up on the roads. And, of course, there were the usual clowns driving as if the roads were dry, passing those cars which were traveling at a safe speed. And it was no surpise to see them spin out and run off the road.

Anyway, forecasters are predicting 4-8 or more inches tonight on top of the icy roads - always great for driving...So it might be time to stoke up the fireplace, grab a glass of merlot and follow the Holy Father's visit to Turkey on EWTN - I have to pass on the Novena of the Immaculate Conception tonight at St Francis de Sales since it's about 40 miles from the house.

I do love a big snowfall, especially the first snowfall of the season - as long as I don't have to go to work or be on the road. And this reminds me - I need to load the sandbags in the bed of the truck tonight before it gets too late.

And from what I'm hearing, from central Missouri to Chicago, someone is in for a boatload of snow - maybe 1 to 2 feet...!

And since we have several hours of sleet and snow ahead, please keep the travelers and the homeless in your prayers. may our Lord keep them all warm and safe.

Light and Tears: Benedict XVI in Istanbul

This ia a wonderful report from Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine who is with the Holy Father in Turkey...

Benedict XVI, arriving in Istanbul on the second day of his four-day trip to Turkey, was received with honor by the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch, Bartholomew.

"This moment in my life I will treasure until the day I die." - Victoria Moskos, an American Greek Orthodox woman, in Istanbul on November 29, standing on the balcony at the back of the church at the moment Pope Benedict XVI entered the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Continued here...

Moynihan has been covering the Holy Father's trip to Turkey and this report os from day 4...More can be read at Inside the Vatican here.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary Podcasts-Great Stuff!

Blogging seminarian Jeff Geerling ( was kind enough to let me know of this great new podcasting service of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

The two most recent, and without a doubt, must hear podcasts are:
Francis Cardinal Arinzé - Lecture and Question/Answer Session with Seminarians, November 12, 2006

Francis Cardinal Arinzé - Lecture and Question/Answer Session with Priests, November 12, 2006

I have only begun to listen to these, and as expected, they are great and I'm eager to listen to the remainder.

And coming soon will be the homilies from the Advent/Christmas Novena which begins December 4 and ends on December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. More information on the Novena is available here...

I'll add a permanent Podcast Link later this evening and a link to Jeff's site as well.


"Picturing Mary" Documentary to Debut on Public Television in December

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- No one knows what she really looked like, yet the Blessed Virgin Mary stands among the most popular artistic subjects in history. In every medium, with every imaginable material, in tiny personal images and gigantic mosaics, artists have depicted her the world over.

"Picturing Mary," a stunning new high-definition documentary to debut next month on public television, explores how images of the Virgin reflect numerous traditions, devotional practices and cultures. The one-hour program leads viewers on a pictorial journey through history from the earliest times to the present day and presents a stunning array of art from 12 locations in eight different countries.

"Picturing Mary" is a joint effort of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) and New York public television station Thirteen/WNET. The documentary follows their previous collaboration on the 2001 Emmy award-winning "The Face: Jesus in Art." The documentary is narrated by actress Jane Seymour and features quotations read by actor James Keach.

A Spanish version can be accessed using the SAP (secondary audio program) television control.

"Picturing Mary" will be distributed to public television stations nationwide by American Public Television (APT) in December. Already more than 100 stations, including stations in all top 10 markets, have scheduled it to air in December. (For a list of air dates and times, visit DVD copies of Picturing Mary will be available for purchase at $19.95 from USCCB publishing -- or 800-235-8722.
This looks to be a keeper...Prepare to set your Tivo, DVR, or like some of us, your VCR, when this is set to air.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who recourse to thee.

Gospel for Nov 30, Feast: St. Andrew, Apostle

From: Matthew 4:18-22

The First Disciples Called

[18] As He (Jesus) walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. [19] And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. [21] And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. [22] Immediately, they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.


18-22. These four disciples had already met our Lord (John 1:35-42), and their brief meeting with Him seems to have had a powerful effect on their souls. In this way Christ prepared their vocation, a fully effective vocation which moved them to leave everything behind so as to follow Him and be His disciples. Standing out above their human defects (which the Gospels never conceal), we can see the exemplary generosity and promptness of the Apostles in answering God's call.

The thoughtful reader cannot fail to be struck by the delightful simplicity with which the evangelists describe the calling of these men in the midst of their daily work.

"God draws us from the shadows of our ignorance, our groping through history, and, no matter what our occupation in the world, He calls us in a loud voice, as He once called Peter and Andrew" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 45).

"This divine and human dialogue completely changed the lives of John and Andrew, and Peter and James and so many others. It prepared their hearts to listen to the authoritative teaching which Jesus gave them beside the Sea of Galilee" ("ibid"., 108).

We should notice the words of Sacred Scripture used to describe the alacrity with which the Apostles follow our Lord. Peter and Andrew "immediately" left their nets and followed Him. Similarly, James and John "immediately" left the boats and their father and followed Him. God passes by and calls us. If we do not answer Him "immediately", He may continue on His way and we could lose sight of Him. When God passes by, He may do so rapidly; it would be sad if we were to fall behind because we wanted to follow Him while still carrying many things that are only a dead weight and a nuisance.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mental Prayer for November 30, Discovering the Root of the Trouble

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: O my God, enlighten my mind and guide me in my search for self-knowledge.

The Idea: Before a military leader tangles with the enemy, he spends long hours with maps and charts of the battleground. He also does some consulting with officers experienced in that particular method of attack. Our Particular Examination is a power­ful weapon, but it must be used correctly. It must be aimed at the nerve center of the enemy. Our first objective: pinpoint that spot. How? Our confessions will give us a good lead. What sins keep coming up week after week? Also, keep an ear open for chance remarks dropped by friends. Unintentionally they often help us toward se1f-­knowledge. Don't be in a rush to select a target for the Particular Examination. Consulting with someone who knows us can be a big help - a regular confessor, a counselor, or a teacher.

My Personal Application: Maybe in my case there is a sinful habit that stands out clearly, and I know it for such. I might be skilled in tearing down other people's reputations. I may often lie and cheat. Perhaps I have a wrong attitude toward authority, and this might show up in frequently disobeying them. Could laziness be the cause of my troubles at school, at home, at work? Am I just plain selfish, thinking always of what I'm going to get out of something, never thinking of the other people? Perhaps none of these fits me. But I do have bad habits. An intense search will find them.

I Speak to God: My God, you know me perfectly... so much better than I know myself. Show me where to begin this "Operation Cleansweep." Looking at myself, I feel lost... I feel as though I am looking at a stranger. Let me get to know myself... to see myself through your eyes.

Thought for Today: "Give me the grace to know myself."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Bishop Bruskewitz - Faithful Leadership in Lincoln

Examples of greater traditionalism or orthodoxy in the Lincoln Diocese:

* Only boys, not girls, may be altar servers.

* Women act as [extraordinary] eucharistic ministers only in extraordinary situations.

* Vocations to the priesthood are high, with few signs of the priest shortage that is plaguing other dioceses.

* Lincoln is one of few dioceses that is successfully recruiting nuns.

* All parishes follow the traditional form and wording of the Mass.

* Lincoln’s Catholic schools are healthy and well-supported, while Catholic school systems in some other places have closed.

* There’s a strong emphasis on religious devotion and worship. Many parishioners attend daily Mass or participate in perpetual adoration.

* Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz requires strict adherence to correct doctrine and practice.

* In 1996 Bruskewitz issued a list of 12 groups local Catholics are forbidden to join, calling them “perilous to the Catholic Faith.” They include several Masonic groups, Planned Parenthood, Catholics for a Free Choice, Society of St. Pius X, Hemlock Society and Call to Action.

How wonderful would it be if every diocese was so blessed as to have a bishop like His Excellency, Bishop Bruskewitz? (or Archbishop Burke, Bishops Vasa, Olmsted, Sheridan and others who are faithful to Christ and His Church?) It's something well worth praying to our Lord about.

The main article is here...Kudos to Patte G for the link!

In Turkey, Benedict XVI Becomes a Defender of Freedom...

And he appeals that “the religions utterly refuse to sanction recourse to violence.” As an example of the “particular charity” between Muslims and Christians, he cites an Arab prince of the eleventh century, one esteemed by Pope Gregory VII.

by Sandro Magister

Urgent Help Needed to Stop CEDAW Treaty

The following message is from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute:

New pro-abortion Congress Will Try to Ratify Dangerous UN Treaty….

Pro-abortion Catholics to lead the fight…

Your help needed right now…

November 29, 2006

Dear Friday Fax Reader,

There is a real and immediate danger that a radical UN treaty may be forced through the US Senate. The treaty is called CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).

If ratified by the United States government, Roe V. Wade MIGHT NEVER BE OVERTURNED. Why? Because the CEDAW Committee at the UN has determined that abortion on demand is a part of the treaty and therefore binding on states that ratify it.

Here is the further problem. With the impending change in Senate leadership, pro-abortion Democrats will soon be running the Senate Committee that has the power to send CEDAW to the Senate floor for ratification. And the pro-abortionists now hold power in the Senate…..

Pro-abortion Catholic Joseph Biden of Delaware is chair of that committee. Sitting with him on the committee is radical pro-abortion Catholic John Kerry. Sitting with them is the equally pro-abortion Senator Diane Feinstein.

As a Friday Fax reader you know about the CEDAW Treaty. What you also know from reading the Friday Fax is that this innocuous sounding treaty has been used by UN radicals to force pro-life countries to change their laws on abortion. It has been used to coerce governments from listening to religious leaders.

The CEDAW Committee has…

…directed Ireland to legalize abortion…
…directed China to legalize prostitution…
…directed Krygystan to legalize lesbiansism…
…directed Belarus to cancel Mother's Day…
(because it "perpetuates" a negative cultural stereotype)
…criticized Ireland for allowing the Catholic Church to great a voice in public policy…

Almost alone the US has stood firm against ratifying this crazy treaty…but now I am worried….


The coming weeks are absolutely crucial to putting a stop to this treaty and so I come to you for help.

As you know the Friday Fax has been a beacon of learning and of hope for thousands and thousands of social conservatives all over the world but especially in the United States. The Friday Fax is the only weekly source of pro-life and pro-family news coming out of the UN.

The Friday Fax has alerted the pro-life and pro-family world to literally dozens of impending crises at the UN and elsewhere. The Friday Fax has literally gathered hundreds of activists at UN conferences in New York and elsewhere.

Once more the Friday Fax is going to be a crucial warrior in this fight against ratification of CEDAW by the US Senate. The Friday Fax stands at the crucible of this fight.

Over the next few weeks I will outline our plan to fight back against CEDAW. To start, we are asking you to go immediately to and sign the "Petition to Stop CEDAW". While you are there I urge you to also make a much needed contribution to this campaign and to support the Friday Fax.

I fully expect that in the coming few weeks we will garner upwards of 50,000 signatures that we will HAND DELIVER to the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Yes, we will march across town, knock on their doors and hand the petitions to them.

While you are signing the petition I also humbly ask you to donate to this "Friday Fax Campaign to Stop CEDAW." You can sign the petition at and right there is a menu button which will take you to our secure donations server!

In order to fight CEDAW we have an immediate need of $150,000. And we need it in the next 37 days (and counting)! We began this campaign last week and have raised $35,000, a very nice start.

I know $150,000 sounds like a lot but is it really that much when we are talking about defending the sovereignty of the United States and defending the defenseless unborn from pro-abortion radicals at the UN?

I urge you to go to, SIGN THE PETITION and give as much as you can to help the Friday Fax stop CEDAW.

Remember, that the US stands almost alone in not ratifying CEDAW. The US remains a beacon to all those countries who want to change their minds on CEDAW. We have to give them hope by making sure the US NEVER SIGNS OR RATIFIES THIS RADICAL TREATY.

Can you make a sacrificial gift of $1000 to keep the Friday Fax fighting for the unborn and for the family? What about $500? Or even $100. Send whatever sacrificial gift you can afford!

Go to right now and give. There are four ways to give.

1. Credit card, by using our SECURE CREDIT CARD SERVER.
2. Calling 1-866-353-2326
3. Mailing your donation to:
C-FAM/Friday Fax
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
4. Sending a donation by wire transfer

All of these methods of helping us are explained at

Go there now and give us as much as you can. With your help we can use the Friday Fax to stop CEDAW and to protect the unborn.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse
President, C-FAM
Editor, Friday Fax

PS If we do not stop CEDAW no one will. Help us stop this radical treaty aimed like an arrow right at the heart of unborn babies. Go to and give now.

PPS And it does not matter if you are not American; these Democrats always make a big deal about how the US must pay attention to global opinion. Well, give it to them!!!

End of email alert

Let us pray that our bishops will personally address and resolve the notorious scandals and crimes against the unborn being perpetrated by those professed "Catholic" politicians whose souls are in grave danger because of their willful support of abortion, homosexuality and other evils.

Ford Motor Co. Promotes Homosexual Marriage

Another email alert (from AFA):
Ford endorses voter guide urging defeat of state constitutional amendments banning homosexual marriage

In March, AFA called for a boycott of Ford Motor Company because of their support for the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage. We asked Ford to remain neutral in the culture war over homosexual marriage, as Wal-Mart has decided to do. Ford refused and elected to throw their company resources behind the promotion of homosexual marriage.

Prior to the recent elections, Ford Motor Company sent an e-mail to their salaried employees pointing them to one of the most liberal, anti-family Web sites on the Internet. Ford urged their employees to go to for information on how to vote on issues including homosexual marriage. (Go to 4th paragraph where it says "check out the 2006 BISC Picks [our yes and no votes]." The Ford-recommended Web site urged voters to vote against constitutional amendments which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman in Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. (PDF file).

Of the hundreds of voters guides Ford could have endorsed, Ford chose Ford's endorsement of this site clearly indicates that Ford favored the positions promoted on The Web site accused those who favored the marriage amendments of "extreme bigotry" and said the amendments were an "attack on marriage equality, civil unions and all domestic partnerships." This is the Web site Ford sent its employees to for information on how to vote.

Your efforts helped convince Wal-Mart to remain neutral in the homosexual marriage battle. AFA is asking that you do the same with Ford.

Take Action
1. Sign the Boycott pledge letting Ford Motor Company know you are joining the Ford boycott.

2. Very Important! Forward this e-mail to Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, and/or Land Rover dealers in your area. (All these are owned by Ford Motor Company.) Find their e-mail address here (click on the auto icon). Ask the dealer to forward this e-mail to Ford CEO Mulally.

3. Forward this e-mail to all your family and friends who may not be aware of Ford's promotion of homosexual marriage.
I'd already committed to not buy another Ford product because of countless problems with reliability and workmanship, but this only reinforces my commitment to stay clear of the company. One would think that Ford's employees would be leading an effort, for job security, to effect change in the corporate leadership so that they could focus on building automobiles rather than being advocates for unnatural and deviant sexual behavior.

Minting Cowardice and Political Correctness

New U.S. dollar coins hide 'In God We Trust'

WASHINGTON – "In God We Trust," the official national motto since 1956 and a familiar sight on U.S. coins and currency, will be hard to find on the new presidential dollar coins scheduled for release to the public Feb. 15, 2007.

The new gold-colored dollar pieces, featuring images of U.S. presidents, will move the inscription from the face of the coin to the thin edge, along with the year and the previous national motto, "E Pluribus Unum," Latin for "Out of Many, One."

Gospel for Wednesday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:12-19

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem
and the End of the World (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples), [12] "But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name's sake. [13] This will be a time for you to bear testimony. [14] Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; [15] for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. [16] You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; [17] you will be hated by all for My name's sake. [18] But not a hair of your head will perish. [19] By your endurance you will gain your lives."


19. Jesus foretells all kinds of persecution. Persecution itself is something inevitable: "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). His disciples will have need to remember the Lord's warning at the Last Supper: "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you" (John 15:20). However, these persecutions are part of God's providence: they happen because He lets them happen, which He does in order to draw greater good out of them. Persecution provides Christians with an opportunity to bear witness to Christ; without it the blood of martyrs would not adorn the Church. Moreover, our Lord promises to give special help to those who suffer persecution, and He tells them not to be afraid: He will give them of His own wisdom to enable them to defend themselves; He will not permit a hair of their heads to perish, that is, even apparent misfortune and loss will be for them a beginning of Heaven.

From Jesus' words we can also deduce the obligation of every Christian to be ready to lose life rather than offend God. Only those will attain salvation who persevere until the end in faithfulness to the Lord. The three Synoptic Gospels locate His exhortation to perseverance in this discourse (cf. Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13) and St. Matthew gives it elsewhere (Matthew 10:22) as does St. Peter (1 Peter 5:9)--all of which underlines the importance for every Christian of this warning from our Lord.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mental Prayer for November 29, Particular Examination

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Lord, give me the realization of my need for this weapon in my battle as a Christian.

The Idea: This meditation and the two following bring to a close the first main division of the battle, dislodging the enemy. We have taken a long look at sin. We have seen its results. And now we are sure we want no part of it.

Our work, then, is cut out for us: rooting out our habits of sin, and planting habits of virtue. And here we get a sure-fire weapon - the Particular Examination ­ with its double action, offensive and defensive. We'll use it at night during our general examina­tion of conscience.

First, its defensive action. The target is some sinful habit strangling our soul. Aim at a particular one, and only one. Work on the exterior habits first, the ones that others notice. Each night we write down how often this habit has mastered us during that day. Notice where, when, with whom. Make plans against these weak spots. In preparing for weekly confession, concentrate on this particular fault. Under such concentrated fire, no evil habit can last long. The target remains the same until demolished.

On the offensive, we'll use the Particular Examination to gain a good habit, for instance, recalling to mind that God is here and now present within me. Again, just one at a time. Each night we'll check up: how often did I recall God's presence today? Concentrate. It will grow.

I Speak to God: O my God, this is just the strategy I need. It is going to call for some real soul power to stick to it day after day. But I know it will work. Others, like Francis of Assisi and Mother Cabrini, have used it toward becoming saints. Often I will be tempted to forget about it, give it up. That's when I'll need an extra push from you. With you, I know I can succeed. What fault should I start with?

Thought for Today: "My God, show me where I should begin."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Famous Latinist fired from Gregorian University

Rome, Oct. 18, 2006 (CNA) - Fr. Reginald Foster, one of the most renowned Latinists in the world, was fired last week from the Gregorian University by the Society of Jesus, stating that too many students were taking Fr. Foster’s classes without paying tuition.

Fr. Foster said his superior received the news from the university’s Jesuit administration in an e-mail Saturday evening. The letter reportedly stated that "Fr. Foster would no longer be teaching Latin at the Gregorian.” The administration has cancelled Fr. Foster's Latin program and substituted another class for that time slot.

However, in breaking the news with great regret to his students yesterday, Fr. Foster also announced his intention to found a new Latin institute in the Eternal City.

Gospel for Tuesday, 34th and Final Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:5-11

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem and the End of the World
[5] And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, He (Jesus) said, [6] "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." [7] And they asked Him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" [8] And He said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. [9] And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once."

[10] Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; [11] there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."


5-36. The disciples are in awe of the magnificence of the temple, and Jesus uses the occasion to give a long discourse, known as the "eschatological discourse" because it has to do with the last days of the world. The account given here is very similar to those in the other Synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 24:1-51; Mk 13:1-37). The discourse deals with three inter-connected subjects--the destruction of Jerusalem (which took place some forty years later), the end of the world, andthe second coming of Christ in glory and majesty. Jesus, who also predicts here the persecution of the Church will experience, exhorts His disciples to be patient, to pray and be watchful.

Our Lord speaks here in the style and language of prophecy, using images taken from the Old Testament; also, in this discourse prophecies which are going to be fulfilled very soon are mixed in with others which have to do with the end of the world. It is not our Lord's intention to satisfy people's curiosity about future events, but to protect them from being discouraged and scandalized about what is going to happen in the days immediately ahead. This explains why He exhorts them: "Take heed that you are not led astray" (v. 8); "do not be tempted" (v. 9); "watch at all times" (v. 34).

8. On hearing that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, the disciples ask what sign will be given as a warning of these events (vv. 5-7). Jesus answers by telling them "not to be led astray," that is to say, not to expect any warning; not to be misled by false prophets; to stay faithful to Him. These false prophets will come along claiming to be the Messiah ("I am He!"). Our Lord's reply in fact refers to two events which in the Jewish mind were interrelated--the destruction of the Holy City and the end of the world. This is why He goes on to speak of both events and implies that there will be a long gap between the two; the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem are a kind of sign or symbol of the catastrophes which will mark the end of the world.

9-11. Our Lord does not want His disciples to confuse just any catastrophe--famine, earthquake, war--or even persecution with the signals of the end of the world. He exhorts them quite clearly: "Do not be tempted," because although all these has to happen, "the end will not be at once;" in spite of the difficulties of all kinds the Gospel will spread to the ends of the earth. Difficulties should not paralyze the preaching of the faith.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Debating Same-sex “Marriage”...

Down Your Throat and In Your Face?

The debate about same-sex “marriage” is often reduced to outrage toward those who dare offer opposition. Rarely is there a calm debate over the real issues involved.

Instead, pro-family promoters are brutally stereotyped as hate-filled Bible-thumping conservatives who are attempting to push their narrow-minded beliefs down the throats of all in society. Their in-your-face attitude is labeled dangerous and irrational.

It is ironic that those liberals who rail against stereotyping should be so ardent in practicing it. Even a most elementary reading of most serious pro-family materials would be enough to dismiss such stereotypes. Even worse is the fact that the use of this stereotype has become a battering ram against those who would dare oppose any aspect of the homosexual agenda.

In face of such irrational attacks, perhaps it would be helpful to analyze not the pro-family arguments but the stereotype. Are all those opposed to same-sex “marriage” really hate-filled Bible-thumping conservatives attempting to push their narrow-minded beliefs down the throats of all in society?

This article from the American TFP offers a realistic and timely response to those who do all they can to persuade others to avoid the truth and who are quick to project their intolerance towards Catholics and other Christians who choose to defend the family, the natural moral law, lawful marriage for the good of society, and the tenets of Christianity as practiced and lived for 2000 years.

On Mental Prayer

Prayer is called by St. Gregory Nazianzen a conference, or conversation with God. St. John Chrysostom speaks of prayer as a discourse with the divine majesty. According to St. Augustine it is the raising up of the soul to God. St. Francis de Sales de­scribes it as a conversation of the soul with God, by which we aspire to Him and breathe in Him, and He, in return, inspires us and breathes on us.
Father Bertrand Wilberforce, in his tract "Mental Prayer," writes:
All prayer is the speaking of the soul to God. This may be done in three ways. For the prayer may be either in thought only, unexpressed in any external way, or on the other hand the secret thoughts and feelings of the soul may be clothed in words; and these words, again, may either be confined to a set form, or they may be words of our own, unfettered by any form, and expressing the emotions of our soul at the moment. In the first case our prayer will be purely mental; in the second, in which we employ a set form of words, it will be vocal prayer; in the third case, where the prayer is chiefly in thought, but these thoughts are allowed to break forth into words in any may that at the moment seem best to express the feelings of the soul, it is a mixture of mental and vocal prayer, but as the words are spontaneous and not in any prescribed form, it may justly be considered as mental prayer.

In an audience with the Pope, we might read a written address to his Holiness, or we might trust to the words that might occur at the moment, to express what we de­sired to convey to his mind. But if God were to enable the Pope to read the thoughts of our mind, we might then simply stand silent in his presence, and he would see all that we wanted to express. The formal address would be vocal prayer, the silent standing before his throne would be purely mental prayer, the conversa­tion with unprepared words would be a mixture of the two, and might be called mental prayer in a more gen­eral and extended sense. God knows our secret thoughts more clearly than we can express them, more certainly than we ourselves can know them, and words therefore are not necessary in our intercourse with Him, though often a considerable help to us.

A set form of words spoken, or read, can not be called prayer at all, unless the mind intends it as prayer, and gives some kind of spiritual attention, either to the actual sense of the words themselves, or to God Himself while they are being uttered. Shakespeare spoke as a theologian when, in Hamlet, he put into the mouth of the king, who asked for pardon without repentance:
My words go up, my thoughts remain below, Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

God condemned the merely material homage of the Jews by declaring, "This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.," All prayer, there­fore, of whatever kind, must be "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23), but vocal prayer is confined to a prescribed form of words, whereas mental prayer is the spontaneous utterance of the soul either with or without words. When St. Francis said an Our Father, or recited his office, he used vocal prayer; when he knelt before God without a word his prayer was purely mental; when he spent the whole night in saying "My God and my all," his mental prayer was mingled with words which expressed the burn­ing love of his seraphic soul.

St. Alphonsus says, "He who neglects meditation (a part of mental prayer), and is distracted by the affairs of the world, will not know his spiritual wants, the dangers to which his salvation is exposed, the means he ought to take to conquer temptations, and will forget the necessity of the prayer of petition for all men; thus he will not ask for what is necessary, and by not asking God's grace, he will certainly lose his soul."

In the same way St. Teresa asks: "How can charity last, unless God gives perseverance? How will the Lord gives us perseverance if we neglect to ask Him for it? And how shall we ask it without mental prayer? With­out mental prayer there is not the communication with God, which is necessary for the preservation of virtue."

The holy Doctors agree that those who persevere in mental prayer will live in God's grace. The following words are the deliberate sentence of the holy Doctor St. Alphonsus, the conclusion gathered from his vast learn­ing and experience: "Many say the Rosary, the Office of Our Lady, and perform other acts of devotion, but they still continue in sin. But it is impossible for him who perseveres in mental prayer to continue in sin, he will either give up mental prayer, or renounce sin. Mental prayer and sin can not exist together. And this we see by experience; they who make mental prayer, rarely fall into mortal sin; and should they have the misery of fall­ing into sin, by persevering in mental prayer, they see their misery, and return to God. Let a soul, says St. Teresa, be ever so negligent, if she perseveres in mental prayer, the Lord will bring her back to the haven of salvation."

If this were merely the opinion of St. Alphonsus him­self it would be of immense weight, considering his re­splendent sanctity, his vast spiritual learning, and the varied experience of his long and active life, but besides this the holy Doctor is here only summing up, in one sen­tence, the teaching and experience of all the doctors, saints, writers, preachers, and confessors of the whole Church since the beginning. What stronger argument could be used to prove the importance and necessity of mental prayer?

Coming soon..."Is Mental Prayer Easy?"

Adapted from Prayer-Book for Religious
A Complete Manual of Prayers and Devotions for the Use
of the Members of all Religious Communities
by Fr. F. X. Lasance (© 1914 by Benziger Brothers)

Upcoming Events at St Francis de Sales Oratory

Novena to the Immaculate Conception, beginning Nov 29.

Conference on the Architecture of St Francis de Sales, Dec 17

Christmas Schedule

Mental Prayer for November 28, The Act of Contrition (II)

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My Savior, grant that I may see more clearly what it means to offend you.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments.

But most of all... even if there were no hell... and I was sure of going to heaven... yet I would hate... and detest... all my sins.

Because I have offended Thee... I, a puny creature... dares to offend... to slap the face... of my Creator... my Savior... Infinite Holiness... thinking I know what is best for me... better than He... who is Infinite Wisdom.

Who art all-good... an ocean of goodness without a shore... greater than the skies... deeper than the universe... so that every bit of goodness around us... is a mere reflection of your infinite good­ness... and all for me!

And deserving of all my love... all my thanks... my prayers... my best efforts at keeping the command­ments... loving God... in myself... in my friends... in my parents... in all my neighbors... because you are Love Itself... and all your creatures are manifestations of that Love.

I firmly resolve... quietly... deep down... peace­fully... solidly and sincerely.

With the help of Thy grace... for without that grace I am helpless in turning to you... but with it... no matter how great the temptation... I can win... and God's grace... enough to help me conquer... will always be with me... if I cooperate... do my part.

To sin no more... the rest of my life... this year... this week... this day... without any sin.

To avoid the near occasions of sin... companions... places... things... whatever causes me to sin.

Thought for Today: Next time I say the Act of Contrition, I'll say it slowly, meaning each word.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Dec 9 - Catholic Lecture Series with Fr Eugene Morris, Dr Kenneth Howell

(The Catolic Lecture Series is the 2nd Saturday of each month)

Date: Saturday, December 9, 2006
Time: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Holy Mass - 11 :30 a.m.

Where: Old St. Ferdinand Shrine
1 Rue Saint Francois
Florissant, Missouri 63031

Rev. C. Eugene Morris is the Director of Worship for Kemick-Glennon Seminary and Assistant Professor of Sacramental Theology. Fr. Morris received BA degrees from St. Louis University, Masters of Divinity and Masters of Arts in Church History from Kenrick and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome. In addition to teaching for Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and the Paul VI Institute, Fr. Morris is the Director of Liturgical Formation for the Permanent Diaconate. Fr Morris is currently working on his doctorate at the International Marian Research Institute, University of Dayton. In addition to these duties, Fr. Morris has a radio show on WRYT Catholic Radio on Sacraments, Sacramentals, and the Sacramental Life of the Church and he works with the Marian Catechists of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

Dr. Kenneth Howell is Director and Fellow at The John Henry Newman Institute of Catholic Thought and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Program for the Study of Religion at the University of illinois at Urbana­-Champaign, where he teaches classes on the history, theology and philosophy of Catholicism. A former Presbyterian minister, he holds a Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and doctorates from Indiana University and Lancaster University, United Kingdom. While a seminary professor, Dr. Howell's own teaching of Sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers led him to the Catholic belief in the reality of Christ's Body in the Eucharist. He entered the Catholic Church in June of 1996.

Questions call Lu @ 714-473-7980

Pope Benedict Asks for Prayers for Trip to Turkey

VATICAN CITY, NOV 26, 2006 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus with the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled how tomorrow, Tuesday, he begins his apostolic trip to Turkey where, between November 28 and December 1, he will visit Ankara, Ephesus and Istanbul.
. . .
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by asking everyone to accompany him "with prayer, that this pilgrimage may bring the fruits that God desires."

Gospel for Monday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Luke 21:1-4

The Widow's Mite

[1] He (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; [2] and He saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. [3] And He said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; [4] for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living she had."


1-4. Our Lord, surrounded by His disciples, watches people putting offerings into the treasury. This was a place in the women's courtyard, where there were various collection boxes for the offerings of the faithful. Just then, something happens whose significance Jesus wants His disciples to notice: a poor widow puts in two small coins, of very little value. He describes this as the greatest offering of all, praising the generosity of giving alms for this purpose, particularly that of those people who give part of what they need. Our Lord is moved by this tiny offering because in her case it implies a big sacrifice. "The Lord does not look", St. John Chrysostom comments, "at the amount offered but at the affection with which it is offered" ("Hom. on Heb", 1). Generosity is of the essence of almsgiving. This woman teaches us that we can move God's heart if we give Him all we can, which will always amount to very little even if we give our very lives. "How little a life is to offer to God!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 42).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mental Prayer for November 27, The Act of Contrition

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: My God, whom I have offended, give me the grace to understand the deep meaning of this prayer.

O my God... my Creator... my Father in heaven... who has given me all that I have... so forgiving... coming after me when I tried to forget you... looking for me... my Good Shepherd... my Savior... helping me to rise from sin... cleansing me.

I am heartily sorry... I have done wrong... acted like a fool... disobeyed you... I am sorry... serious­ly... quietly... even though I may not shed tears... real sorrow... not mere shame... deep down.

For having offended Thee... I'm so small... so in­significant... who knows me? Who is my Greatest Friend? Who is always with me?... to help?... to encourage? And I have gone against you... the all-powerful... without whom I cannot lift a finger... take a breath... even exist... cannot think... cannot talk without God's help... and I dared to offend you.

I detest all my sins... that I committed today... yesterday... last week... and all the sins of my past life... the big ones... the little ones... I hate them... I wish I had never committed them.

Because of Thy just punishments... for one mortal sin... I deserve hell... eternal fire... suffering without end... and the loss of heaven... never to see thee... for whom I was made. And for one venial sin... so many graces missed... punishment in purgatory... delay in seeing you in heaven.

But most of all because I have offended Thee, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

Thought for Today: Say the Act of Contrition carefully several times today.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Sunday, Nov 26, Solemnity: Christ the King

(34th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

From: John 18:33b-37

The Trial Before Pilate: Jesus Is King

[33b] Pilate said to Him (Jesus), "Are You the King of the Jews?" [34] Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about Me?" [35] Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed You over to me; what have You done?" [36] Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if My kingship were of this world, My servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but My kingship is not from the world." [37] Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."


33-34. There is no onus on Pilate to interfere in religious questions, but because the accusation leveled against Jesus had to do with politics and public order, he begins his interrogation naturally by examining Him on the main charge: "Are You the King of the Jews?"

By replying with another question, Jesus is not refusing to answer: He wishes to make quite clear, as He has always done, that His mission is a spiritual one. And really Pilate's was not an easy question to answer, because, to a Gentile, a king of the Jews meant simply a subverter of the Empire; whereas, to a Jewish nationalist, the King-Messiah was a politico-religious liberator who would obtain their freedom from Rome. The true character of Christ's messiahship completely transcends both these concepts--as Jesus explains to the procurator, although He realizes how enormously difficult it is for Pilate to understand what Christ's Kingship really involves.

35-36. After the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, Jesus refused to be proclaimed king because the people were thinking in terms of an earthly kingdom (cf. John 6:15). However, Jesus did enter Jerusalem in triumph, and He did accept acclamation as King-Messiah. Now, in His passion, He acknowledges before Pilate that He is truly a King, making it clear that His kingship is not an earthly one. Thus, "those who expected the Messiah to have visible temporal power were mistaken. `The kingdom of God does not mean food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Romans 14:7). Truth and justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That is the kingdom of Christ: the divine activity which saves man and which will reach its culmination when history ends and the Lord comes from the heights of Paradise finally to judge men" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 180).

37. This is what His kingship really is: His kingdom is "the kingdom of Truth and Life, the kingdom of Holiness and Grace, the kingdom of Justice, Love and Peace" (Preface of the Mass of Christ the King). Christ reigns over those who accept and practise the truth revealed by Him--His Father's love for the world (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9). He became man to make this truth known and to enable men to accept it. And so, those who recognize Christ's kingship and sovereignty accept His authority, and He thus reigns over them in an eternal and universal kingdom.

For its part, "the Church, looking to Christ who bears witness to the truth, must always and everywhere ask herself, and in a certain sense also the contemporary `world', how to make good emerge from man, how to liberate the dynamism of the good that is in man, in order that it may be stronger than evil, than any moral, social or other evil" (John Paul II, "General Audience", 21 February 1979).

"If we (Christians) are trying to have Christ as our king we must be consistent. We must start by giving Him our heart. Not to do that and still talk about the kingdom of Christ would be completely hollow. There would be no real Christian substance in our behavior. We would be making an outward show of a faith which simply did not exist. We would be misusing God's name to human advantage. [...]. If we let Christ reign in our soul, we will not become authoritarian. Rather we will serve everyone. How I like that word: service! To serve my king, and through Him, all those who have been redeemed by His blood. I really wish we Christians knew how to serve, for only by serving can we know and love Christ and make Him known and loved" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 181-182.

By His death and resurrection, Jesus shows that the accusations laid against Him were based on lies: it was He who was telling the truth, not His judges and accusers, and God confirms the truth of Jesus -- the truth of His words, of His deeds, of His revelation-- by the singular miracle of His resurrection. To men Christ's kingship may seem paradoxical: He dies, yet He lives for ever; He is defeated and is crucified, yet He is victorious. "When Jesus Christ Himself appeared as a prisoner before Pilate's tribunal and was interrogated by him.. did He not answer: `For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth'? It was as if with these words [...] He was once more confirming what He has said earlier: `You will know the truth and the truth will make you free'. In the course of so many centuries, of so many generations, from the time of the Apostles on, is it not often Jesus Christ Himself that has made an appearance at the side of people judged for the sake of the truth? And has He not gone to death with people condemned for the sake of the truth? Does He ever cease to be the continuous spokesman and advocate for the person who lives `in spirit and truth'? (cf. John 4:23). Just as He does not cease to be it before the Father, He is it also with regard to the history of man" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 12).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.