Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mental Prayer for Divine Mercy Sunday, Heaven - Happiness Without End

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: My Lord, let me have some little realization of that "forever" which will be mine in heaven with you.

The Idea: Ever since we were children, we have been taught that hell is forever. Remember the story of the bird taking one grain of sand every century... that he would remove the whole earth before eternity really began? Well and good, but look at it the other way, the way it's going to be for us. Our heaven will hardly have begun by that time either.

Have you ever been with a fine, wholesome person, perhaps at a party, or just walking on a beautiful day in the sun, and wished it would go on and on and never stop? Or listened to exceptionally fine music, and hoped it would never stop? Or stood on a hilltop, taking in the panoramic view, and wanted never to leave? And as beautiful as these are, they will all some day cease to be, and their combined beauty can't touch that of heaven. There we'll see the author of all that beauty, not mirrored by something on earth, but as He really is. Then finally we'll be able to yield to that desire of "staying here for­ever."

My Personal Application: Because everything we experience in this life is passing, "forever" is difficult to grasp. But Christ promised me a never-ending, perfect happiness if only I stick to the job of life. Would I be ready to inherit that "happy forever" if He called me right now'?

I Speak to Christ: It's a bit overwhelming, my Lord, that for only a short service, you repay me with a forever of happiness. I can't ever be worthy of
it, but make me a bit less unworthy as the days go by. Show me the worth of it all.

Thought for Today: "Your reward will be exceed­ingly great."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Something in the wind?

This email just in:
We interrupt this weekend with a special news alert:

This morning, Pope Benedict called together all the heads of the Roman Curia.

The meeting had not been previously announced; the subject was not disclosed.

Something is happening. It's easy to speculate, but let's just say: watch this space!

- Phil Lawler

Catholic World News
A web service from Trinity Communications.
(c) All material copyright 2006 -- all rights reserved.

The New Translation of the Missal?

A sampler...

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned greatly
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.
Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels ad Saints,
and you my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us and lead us, with our sins forgiven, into eternal life. Amen.

The Creed:
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only-begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial wit the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated a the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and he Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
More here.

Gospel for Saturday within the Octave of Easter

From: Mark 16:9-15

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene and to Two Disciples

[9] Now when He (Jesus) rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast our seven demons. [10] She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. [11] But when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

[12] After this He appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. [13]And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Jesus Appears to the Eleven. The Apostles' Mission

[14] Afterwards He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they sat at table; and He upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. [15] And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation."


11-14. When reporting these first appearances of the risen Jesus, St. Mark stresses the disciples' disbelief and their reluctance to accept the fact of the Resurrection, even though Jesus foretold it (cf. Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34). This resistance shown by the Apostles is a further guarantee of the truth of Jesus' resurrection; they were to be direct, specially-appointed witnesses to the risen Christ, yet they were reluctant to accept this role. They had personal, direct proof of the truth of the Resurrection.

However, our Lord will say: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29). In the Apostles' case, they needed, in addition to faith in the risen Christ, clear evidence of His resurrection, for they were to be the eye-witnesses, key witnesses who would proclaim it as an irrefutable fact. In this connection [Pope] St. Gregory the Great comments: "The reason why the disciples were slow to believe in the Resurrection was not so much due to their weakness as to our future firmness in the faith; what other purposes does this have (the very Resurrection being demonstrated by many arguments to those who were in doubt) than that our faith should be strengthened by their doubt?" ("In Evangelia Homilae", 16).

12. Our Lord's appearance to these two disciples is reported more fully by St. Luke (cf. 24:13-35).

15. This verse contains what is called the "universal apostolic mandate" (paralleled by Matthew 28:19-20 and Luke 24:46-48). This is an imperative command from Christ to His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. This same apostolic mission applies, especially to the Apostles' successors, the bishops in communion with Peter's successor, the Pope.

But this mission extends further: the whole "Church was founded to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all men partakers in redemption and salvation....Every activity of the Mystical Body with this in view goes by the name of `apostolate'; the Church exercises it through all its members, though in various ways. In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member plays a purely passive part, sharing in the life of the body it shares at the same time in its activity. The same is true for the body of Christ, the Church: `the whole body achieves full growth in dependence on the full functioning of each part' (Ephesians 4:16). Between the members of this body there exists, further, such a unity and solidarity (cf. Ephesians 4:16) that a member who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself.

"In the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in His name and by His power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God" (Vatican II, "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 2).

It is true that God acts directly on each person's soul through grace, but it must also be said that it is Christ's will (expressed here and elsewhere) that men should be an instrument or vehicle of salvation for others.

Vatican II also teaches this: "On all Christians, accordingly, rests the noble obligation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation" ("ibid.", 3).
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, April 13, 2007

Mental Prayer for Easter Saturday-The Great Day of the Last Judgment

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: King of Victory, let me feel in pre­view the emotions of victory and success promised to your soldiers.

The Idea : If a spectator can throw his cap in the air, scream and shout, and pound people on the back for a victory he didn't even win, what will I feel like on the day of my own great victory? That's exactly what the last judgment will be for all who have been loyal soldiers of Christ in this life. On that day all the tough breaks and raw deals, all the embarrassments and humiliations, all the failures and disappointments which are daily fare in this world will be erased forever; and in their place will appear a perfect happiness in the union and love of God. The battle against sin will be' eternally won.

My Personal Application: The celebration on judgment day will be for me if I am loyal to Christ's commands. Imagine what a football hero feels like when he's carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates! On judgment day, I will deserve and get a lot more congratulations than that. My teammates will be every worth­while man and woman who ever lived. The hardest things I had to do or suffer on this earth will then seem small when I see the reward pre­pared for me.

I Speak to God: Burn deep into my heart the conviction of the reward which awaits me, O Lord. May the expectation of that victory spur me on to conquer here and now my inclinations to evil and my lackadaisical attitude toward doing good.

Thought for Today: "Hail, King of Victory."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

San DIego Diocese Finances Questioned

98 parishes, 770 bank accounts
Bankruptcy judge questions finances of San Diego diocese, orders filing of new financial statements sworn to by bishop under penalty of perjury


Gospel for Friday within the Octave of Easter

From: John 21:1-14

The Miraculous Draught of Fish

[1] After this Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and He revealed Himself in this way. [2] Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. [3] Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.

[4] Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. [5] Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered Him, "No." [6] He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. [7] That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. [8] But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

[9] When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. [10] Jesus said to them, "Bring some fish that you have just caught." [11] So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. [12] Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. [13] Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. [14] This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.


1-3. There are some very significant things in this account: we find the disciples "by the Sea of Tiberias", which means they have done whatthe risen Christ had told them to do (cf. Matthew 28:7); they are together, which shows that there is a close fraternity among them; Peter takes the initiative, which in a way shows his authority; and they have gone back to their old jobs as fishermen, probably waiting for our Lord to give them new instructions.

This episode is reminiscent of the first miraculous draught of fish (cf. Luke 5:1-11), where our Lord promised Peter He would make him a fisher of men; now He is going to confirm his mission as visible head of the Church.

4-8. The risen Jesus goes in search of His disciples, to encourage them and tell them more about the great mission He has entrusted to them. This account describes a very moving scene, our Lord together with His own: "He passes by, close to His Apostles, close to those souls who have given themselves to Him, and they do not realize He is there. How often Christ is not only near us, but in us; yet we still live in such a human way!... They, the disciples, recall what they have heard so often from their Master's lips: fisher of men, apostles. And they realize that all things are possible, because it is He who is directing their fishing.

"Whereupon `the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord!' Love, love is farsighted. Love is the first to appreciate kindness. The adolescent Apostle, who felt a deep and firm affection for Jesus, because he loved Christ with all the purity and tenderness of a heart that had never been corrupted, exclaimed: `It is the Lord!'"

"`When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes and sprang into the sea.' Peter personifies faith. Full of marvelous daring, he leaps into the sea. With a love like John's and a faith like Peter's, what is there that can stop us?" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 265-266).

9-14. We can sense here the deep impression this appearance of the risen Jesus must have made on the Apostles, and how sweet a memory St. John kept of it. After His resurrection Jesus showed the same tenderness as characterized His public ministry. He makes use of natural things--the fire, the fish, etc.--to show that He really is there, and He maintains the familiar tone typical of when He lived with the disciples.

The Fathers and Doctors of the Church have often dwelt on the mystical meaning of this episode: the boat is the Church, whose unity is symbolized by the net which is not torn; the sea is the world, Peter in the boat stands for supreme authority of the Church, and the number of fish signifies the number of the elect (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St. John, in loc.").
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, April 12, 2007

Mental Prayer for Easter Friday - My Resurrection

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: The grace to keep the Resurrection before my eyes - the pledge of my eternal reward.

The Idea: Christianity is not an easy way out; no one ever claimed that. We carry the cross of Christ through life, and that means work and sacrifice. But the most important thing is this: it's worth the trouble. Christ's resurrection is the pledge of our reward - a reward which will surpass our wildest imagination. And that for eternity, if only we are loyal for a few short years here on earth.

My Personal Application: What do I do when the cost of following Christ seems too high? I Do I turn my attention to the reward He promises to find encouragement? What do I want to get out of life? Do I consider anything worth more than the reward promised by Christ? Have I ever stopped to think what eternal, perfect happiness with Him means ?

I Speak to Christ: O risen Christ, when the wealth and honors of this world draw me away from Your company, turn my thoughts to the reward which You have prepared for those who love You. When I am tempted and discouraged, stand before me in the glory of Easter morning as a pledge and a challenge to take up my cross and follow You.

Thought for Today: "Your labor in the Lord's service cannot be spent in vain."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

President Will Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2007 ( - US President Bush has said he’ll veto a bill that would increase taxpayer funding for human embryonic stem-cell research, if the Senate votes to pass the measure today, Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink reported.

“The administration strongly opposes Senate passage of S. 5, which would use federal taxpayer dollars to support and encourage the destruction of human life for research,” the White House said in a statement April 10. “Destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical problems, and millions of Americans consider the practice immoral.”
And how many of the professed Catholic Senators are voting for this bill? Are there not in league with the evil one? Why are they not summarily excommunicated, or at the very minimum, why do they not receive the canonical penalty of interdict for the manifest rejection of the Church's teachings?

Spokane Catholics Ask Bishop Skylstad To Resign

Four prominent Spokane Catholics have asked Bishop William Skylstad to resign, saying the $48 million bankruptcy deal he struck to settle sex-abuse claims against the Spokane Catholic Diocese is a “complete disaster.”

The four men, Donald Herak, Thomas Tilford, James Workland, and Ronald Caferro, met with and wrote letters to Skylstad and vowed, “we will not contribute one dime to this unfortunate, costly and mistaken mediated settlement.”
* * *
“We detect a backlash in the parishes, which we believe will only become more active when the complete details of the settlement are disclosed to the parishioners,” they wrote, calling themselves The Committee Seeking the Resignation of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane.
* * *
After the bishop replied, Herak, Tilford, Caferro and Workland wrote again, taking exception to the bishop’s insistence that the Catholic community of today must atone for the actions of pedophile priests decades ago.

“We are the perpetrators of the abuse,” Skylstad wrote in his reply. “That ‘we’ is the perceived community of bishops, priests and laity, in communities over a 50-year period. You may not like being in that ‘we,’ but that is the way it is.”
It's awfully nice for the good bishop to include the "laity" as "perpetrators of the abuse"...Most, I'm certain were unaware that they were complicit in the crimes of certain bishops and priests...What a guy to share the blame so generously! In all honesty, he needs ours prayers as do those who were the victims of such vile criminal deviants. May God grant the victims the graces for true peace and forgiveness. And may He enlighten the minds of the confused.

The "structures" are working, but are the children safe?

From the propaganda bureau of the USCCB, we read:

Dioceses Compliant with Charter, 98 Percent of Volunteers Trained in Child Protection, Independent Audit Shows

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2007) — Virtually all U.S. dioceses are compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, according to a report on the 2006 audits conducted by the Gavin Group, a Boston-based company that monitors diocesan adherence to the U.S. bishops’ plan to address clergy sexual abuse of children.

The Gavin Group also reported that based on information provided auditors, “98 percent of the volunteers for whom training is required have been trained.”
And what does this prove, exactly? What is so frustrating for some in this matter is that there seems to be a failure to address and deal with the real issue of the renegade and criminal behavior of some priests and bishops, and it seems that most of the effort of this "plan" was shifted to screen and check the laity and give children "training" using questionable materials. Was this not termed, after all, the "clergy" sexual abuse scandal? And were not the majority (80%+) of the cases homosexual in nature?

Bishop William Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), noted the report’s significance.

“Vigilance to ensure the safety of children is now a way of life,” he said.
It's a shame that vigilance was not exercised in the selection, training, and oversight of priests and bishops.

The audit report noted that “as they had in 2005, the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska and the Eparchy of Newton for Melkite Catholics refused to participate in the 2006 compliance audit process.”

Seventeen of the focused audits centered on Article 12, concerning Safe Environment programs that call for education and training of children, youth, parents, ministers, educators and others who come into contact with children. . .

The Diocese of Baker, Oregon, and the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark for Syriacs refused to participate in the focused audit process, which was required by their failure to comply with Article 12 in the 2005 audit.

One bishop was heard discussing this "nebulous Safe Environment program" and indicated that he was really unclear where he should start since, in reality, it could conceivably encompass just about anything, including playground equipment and glass doors and more. And the education of the children is a right of the parents - and that a number of the "programs" for children were, shall we say, less than adequate. (Anyone remember Fr Robert Altier and what happened when he exposed one of these programs?)

Patricia Ewers, PhD, chair of the National Review Board, voiced discouragement that four dioceses/eparchs would not comply with the audits.
Last year Bishop Bruskewitz responded to the bureaucrat Ewars who criticized him for not playing along with the National Review Board:

Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People", has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln." The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.

It is well known that some of the members of Ewers' Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

The words attributed to Ewers seem to confirm the suspicion that the members of her Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism. Rather than concerning themselves with the Diocese of Lincoln about which they appear completely ignorant, Ewers and her colleagues would occupy themselves in a better way by learning something about the Catholic religion and the traditions and doctrines and laws of the Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.
The Church needs more bishops like Bruskewitz and Vasa. And the faithful would be well served to have fewer of those who put together and support this bureaucratic con job which is little more than a waste of money and time except for those whose job security is at stake:

Teresa Kettelkamp, head of the U.S. bishops’ Office for Child and Youth Protection, noted the effectiveness of the audits.

“The audits have solidly proven that the structures of the Charter are working,” she said. “But this does not mean the job is done. Victims continue to come forward, and a welcoming hand needs to reach out to them. Children still need our protection, and a safe environment must be maintained for them.”
Read again slowly...The audits have "solidly proven that the structures of the Charter are working"...but are they "protecting the children" and maintaining a "safe environment"? Who really knows, but the Charter, the audits and the NRB are providing employment opportunities.

The USCCB report is here.

Gospel for Thursday Within the Octave of Easter

From: Luke 24:35-48

[35] Then they (the disciples) told what had happened on the road, and
how He (Jesus) was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus Appears To The Eleven And Their Companions

[36] As they were saying this, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" [37] But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. [38] And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? [39] See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." [40] And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. [41] And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" [42] They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, [43] and He took it and ate before them.

Jesus' Last Instructions And Leave-Taking

[44] Then He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." [45] Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, [46] and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, [47] and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. [48] You are witnesses of these things."


36-43. This appearance of the risen Jesus is reported by St. Luke and St. John (cf. John 20:19-23). St. John reports the institution of the sacrament of Penance, whereas St. Luke puts the stress on the disciples' difficulty in accepting the miracle of the Resurrection, despite the angels' testimony to the women (cf. Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-11) and despite the witness of those who had already seen the risen Lord (cf. Matthew 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-13; Luke 24:13ff; John 20:11-18).

Jesus appears all of a sudden, when the doors are closed (cf. John 20:19), which explains their surprised reaction. St. Ambrose comments that "He penetrated their closed retreat not because His nature was incorporeal, but because He had the quality of a resurrected body" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc".). "Subtility", which is one of the qualities of a glorified body, means that "the body is totally subject to the soul and ever ready to obey its wishes" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 12, 13), with the result that it can pass through material obstacles without any difficulty.

This scene showing Christ's condescension to confirm for them the truth of His resurrection has a charm all of its own.

41-43. Although His risen body is incapable of suffering, and therefore has no need of food to nourish it, our Lord confirms His disciples' faith in His resurrection by giving them these two proofs--inviting them to touch Him and eating in their presence. "For myself, I know and believe that our Lord was in the flesh even after the Resurrection. And when He came to Peter and his companions, He said to them, `Here, feel Me and see that I am not a bodiless ghost.' They touched Him and believed, and were convinced that He was flesh and spirit [...]. Moreover, after the Resurrection, He ate and drank with them like a man of flesh and blood, though spiritually one with the Father" (St. Ignatius of Antioch, "Letter to the Christians at Smyrna", III, 1-3).

44-49. St. Matthew stresses that the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Christ, because His immediate audience were Jews, who would accept this as proof that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. St. Luke does not usually argue along these lines because He is writing for Gentiles; however, in this epilogue he does report, in a summarized way, Christ's statement to the effect that everything foretold about Him had come true. By doing so He shows the unity of Old and New Testaments and that Jesus is truly the Messiah.

46. From St. Luke's account we have seen how slow the Apostles were to grasp Jesus' prophecy of His death and resurrection (cf. 9:45; 18:34). Now that the prophecy is fulfilled Jesus reminds them that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead (cf. Acts 2:1-4).

The Cross is a mystery, in our own life as well as in Christ's: "Jesus suffers to carry out the will of the Father. And you, who also want to carry out the most holy Will of God, following the steps of the Master, can you complain if you meet suffering on your way?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 213).

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, April 11, 2007

Mental Prayer for Easter Thursday-Christ's Triumphant Army

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To appreciate my post with the army that can never lose!

The Idea: The armies of Hannibal died in the mountains of Italy. Napoleon led a great army into Russia, and the deadly snow covered their dead bodies. The vast war machine built by Hitler was crushed and died in defeat. These men were leaders whose people, whose armies trusted them, but who led them to defeat.

There was another great leader. His enemies murdered Him. But death couldn't stop this leader. Christ has never been conquered! His army, still fighting, can never lose. The men and women of His ranks live and die courageously, assured of victory.

My Personal Application: I want to win. I wish to do something important with my life, not to waste it on a cause that may lose. At my death, I want to know I have fought the good fight and have won. There is only one army which can promise that: Christ's army of men and women fighting for Him.

I Speak to Christ: Thank you for letting me belong to your army. I'm not quite sure of my vocation yet; but your troops - composed of Catholic lay men and women, nuns, priests, and brothers - have a place for me. As a Catholic I already am a member. Having been confirmed, I have promised to fight in a special place in your army.

Thought for Today: "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Catholic School Libraries Stock Books and Videos Promoting Homosexuality

Years ago, a Catholic would never have thought such perversions and moral sickness within a so-called Catholic school would be possible - now days, this seems to be the norm rather than the exception. What is the reason for such affronts to God and His creation? Is it sheer stupidity? - in which case one must wonder why some who seem to be so ignorant are in the field of education? Or is this because of flagrant and open dissent? - which causes one to wonder why one would be involved in Catholic education in the first place...except perhaps, to foster rot and decay from within? Regardless of the reasons, there is no excuse whatsoever for such poison to be in a Catholic school.

KITCHENER, April 10, 2007 ( - Catholic schools in Ontario have books and videos in their libraries which promote homosexuality despite Church teaching that homosexuality is disordered.

After being alerted by a concerned Catholic teacher, Defend Traditional Marriage & Family, a pro-family group headquartered in Kitchener, contacted the local Catholic school board to alert them to the fact that some of its schools have in their libraries books and videos misleading Catholic students and teachers on the issue of homosexuality.

On March 26, the family group's Communications Director Jack Fonseca wrote the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) informing them of the book "Open Minds to Equality: A Sourcebook of Learning Activities to Affirm Diversity and Promote Equity", in the Teacher resource section of a library.

Page 16 of the book states: "The heterosexism in our society fosters homophobia, the fear and hatred of homosexuality which is grounded in prejudice and stereotyping." The book provides role play and group activities which train children into viewing the homosexual lifestyle as normal and natural.
God helps us all!

Oregon - at it again

'Gay'-rights bill lets court define church's 'purpose'
'Most sweeping and culturally devastating law in Oregon history, establishing pagan morality'

A plan being shoved down a fast track in the Oregon Legislature would give homosexuals a vast range of new state laws they could use to impose their moral perspective on Christians across the state, according to opponents who fear for their speech and religious expression rights.
Continued here...

The long-awaited Motu Proprio next Monday

From What Does Prayer Really Say, we read:
The Italian daily Il Tempo has published an unsigned article claiming in the headline that the Motu Proprio will be issued next Monday, 16 April, after the celebration for the Holy Father’s 80th Birthday.
Here is the article from Il Tempo in Fr. Z's translation

Easter in Rome: The Secret Homilies of the Successor of Peter

They’re secret, except for those who were able to listen to them in person, while Benedict XVI was pronouncing them. In the "urbi et orbi" message, too, the pope presented much more than a list of countries at war. Here are the complete texts.
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, April 11, 2007 – The image above is taken from a painting by Caravaggio. The risen Jesus appears to the apostles, and to the doubting Thomas he says: “Put your finger here, and see my hands; put forth your hand and place it in my side, and be no longer unbelieving, but believe!"

The incredulity of Thomas and his following profession of faith – “My Lord and my God!” – are at the center of the message that Benedict XVI addressed to the world on Easter Sunday.

Pope Joseph Ratzinger said that “we may all be tempted by the disbelief of Thomas.” The countless evils that afflict men put faith to a hard test. But it is precisely in the wounds of the risen Christ that the true face of God appears: “the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity.” It is here that a nearly dead faith is reborn: because “only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith.”

Gospel for Wednesday within the Octave of Easter

From: Luke 24:13-35

The Road To Emmaus

[13] That very day two of them (disciples) were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, [14] and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. [15] While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. [16] But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. [17] And He said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. [18] Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, "Are You the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" [19] And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, [20] and how our chief priests and rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. [21] But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. [22] Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning [23] and did not find His body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. [24] Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see." [25] And He said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! [26] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?" [27] And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

[28] So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, [29] but they constrained Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So He went in to stay with them. [30] When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. [31] And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished out of their sight. [32] They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?" [33] And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the Eleven gathered together and those who were with them, [34] who said, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" [35] Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


13-35. In the course of their conversation with Jesus, the disciples' mood changes from sadness to joy; they begin to hope again, and feel the need to share their joy ith others, thus becoming heralds and witnesses of the risen Christ.

This is an episode exclusive to St. Luke, who describes it in a masterly way. It shows our Lord's zeal for souls. "As He is walking along, Christ meets two men who have nearly lost all hope. They are beginning to feel that life has no meaning for them. Christ understands their sorrow; He sees into their heart and communicates to them some of the life He carries within Himself."

"When they draw near the village, He makes as if to go on, but the two disciples stop Him and practically force Him to stay with them. They recognize Him later when He breaks the bread. The Lord, they exclaimed, has been with us! `And they said to each other: "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?"' (Luke 24:32). Every Christian should make Christ present among men. He ought to act in such a way that those who know Him sense `the aroma of Christ' (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:15). Men should be able to recognize the Master in His disciples" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 105).

13-27. Jesus' conversation with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus gives us a very good idea of the disillusionment felt by His disciples after His apparent total failure. Cleopas' words summarize Christ's life and mission (verse 19), His passion and death (verse 20), the despair felt by His disciples (verse 21), and the events of that Sunday morning (verse 22).

Earlier, Jesus had said to the Jews: "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to Me" (John 5:39). In saying this He indicated the best way for us to get to know Him. Pope Paul VI points out that today also frequent reading of and devotion to Holy Scripture is a clear inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "The progress made in biblical studies, the increasing dissemination of the Sacred Scriptures, and above all the example of tradition and the interior action of the Holy Spirit are tending to cause the modern Christian to use the Bible ever increasingly as the basic prayerbook and to draw from it genuine inspiration and unsurpassable examples" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 30).

Because the disciples are so downhearted, Jesus patiently opens for them the meaning of all the Scriptural passages concerning the Messiah. "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?": with these words He disabuses them of the notion of an earthly and political Messiah and shows them that Christ's mission is a supernatural one--to save all mankind.

Sacred Scripture contained the prophecy that God would bring about salvation through the redemptive passion and death of the Messiah. The Cross does not mean failure: it is the route chosen by God for Christ to achieve definitive victory over sin and death (cf. 1 Corinthians1:23-24). Many of our Lord's contemporaries failed to understand His supernatural mission because they misinterpreted the Old Testament texts. No one knew the meaning of Sacred Scripture like Jesus. And, after Him, only the Church has the mission and responsibility of conserving Scripture and interpreting it correctly: "All that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 12).

28-35. The Master's presence and words restore the disciples' spirits and give them new and lasting hope. "There were two disciples on their way to Emmaus. They were walking along at a normal pace, like so many other travelers on that road. And there, without any fuss, Jesus appears to them, and walks with them, His conversation helping to alleviate their tiredness. I can well imagine the scene, just as dusk is falling. A gentle breeze is blowing. All around are fields ripe with wheat, and venerable olive trees, their branches shimmering in the soft glowing light.

"Jesus joins them as they go along their way. Lord, how great you are, in everything! But You move me even more when You come down to our level, to follow us and to seek us in the hustle and bustle of each day. Lord, grant us a childlike spirit, pure eyes and a clear mind so that we may recognize You when You come without any outward sign of Your glory.

"The journey ends when they reach the village. The two disciples who, without realizing it, have been deeply stirred by the words and love shown by God made man, are sorry to see Him leaving. For Jesus `appeared to be going further' (Luke 24:28). This Lord of ours never forces Himself on us. He wants us to turn to Him freely, when we begin to grasp the purity of His Love which He has placed in our souls. We have to hold Him back (`they constrained Him') and beg Him: `Stay with us, for it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent' (Luke 24:29).

"That's just like us--always short on daring, perhaps because we are insincere, or because we feel embarrassed. Deep down, what we are really thinking is: `Stay with us, because our souls are shrouded in darkness and You alone are the light. You alone can satisfy this longing that consumes us.' For `we know full well which among all things fair and honorable is the best--to possess God for ever' (St. Gregory Nazianzen, "Epistulae", 212).

"And Jesus stays. Our eyes are opened, as were those of Cleopas and his companion, when Christ breaks the bread; and, though He vanishes once more from sight, we too will find strength to start out once more--though night is falling--to tell the others about Him, because so much joy cannot be kept in one heart alone.

"The road to Emmaus--our God has filled this name with sweetness. Now the entire world has become an Emmaus, for the Lord has opened up all the divine paths of the earth" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 313f).

32. If you were an apostle, these words of the disciples of Emmaus should rise spontaneously to the lips of your professional companions when they meet you along the way of their lives" ("The Way", 917).

33-35. The disciples now feel the need to return to Jerusalem immediately; there they find the Apostles and some other disciples gathered together with Peter, to whom Jesus has appeared.

In sacred history, Jerusalem was the place where God chose to be praised in a very special way and where the prophets carried out their main ministry. God willed that Christ should suffer, die and rise again in Jerusalem, and from there the Kingdom of God begins to spread (cf. Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). In the New Testament the Church of Christ is described as "the Jerusalem above" (Galatians 4:26), "the Heavenly Jerusalem" (Hebrews 12:22) and the "new Jerusalem" (Revelation 21:2).

The Church began in the Holy City. Later on, St. Peter, not without a special intervention of Providence, moved to Rome, thereby making that city the center of the Church. Just as Peter strengthened these first disciples in the faith, so too Christians of all generations have recourse to the See of Peter to strengthen their faith and thereby build up the unity of the Church: "Take away the Pope and the Catholic Church would no longer be catholic. Moreover, without the supreme, effective and authoritative pastoral office of Peter the unity of Christ's Church would collapse. It would be vain to look for other principles of unity in place of the true one established by Christ Himself [...]. We would add that this cardinal principle of holy Church is not a supremacy of spiritual pride and a desire to dominate mankind, but a primacy of service, ministration and love. It is no vapid rhetoric which confers on Christ's vicar the title: `Servant of the servants of God'" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Ecclesiam Suam", 83).
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, April 10, 2007

Mental Prayer for Easter Wednesday-Apparition to St. Thomas

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, help me to have a firm faith and a lively hope in your promises.

Mental Picture (cf. John 20: 24-29) : It is a week since Jesus rose from the dead. His disciples are gathered together. Thomas alone has not seen Jesus. This Apostle refuses to believe "unless I see in His hands the print of the nails and put my hand into His side." Suddenly Jesus is present. "Thomas, see my hands and feet; bring your hand here and touch... be not faithless, but believe!" Great faith now burns in Thomas' soul; from dead ashes his hope springs up. "My Lord and my God."

My Personal Application: Willingly has Jesus sub­mitted to Thomas' test; He has shown His hands and His side. Then He speaks for our benefit: "Blessed are they that have not seen, but have believed!" And it is especially to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament that we must express this belief. When He comes upon the altar, faith prompts us to answer: "My Lord and my God!" Yet Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament should fire our hope too, for He is the risen Jesus, the victorious Lord, the King of glory without end, and it is He who says to us : "Fear not; I have overcome the world."

I Speak to Christ: My risen Lord, by faith I know that in the Host which I see with my eyes You are present, and present as my Savior now risen and glorious. When You come to me in Communion, You are telling me that I too will one day rise with You and reign gloriously in heaven with You. So teach me to put all my hope and trust in You.

Thought for Today: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus; He has risen even as He said."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

From: John 20:11-18

The Appearance To Mary Magdalene

[11] But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; [12] and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. [13] They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." [14] Saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing Him to be gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." [16] Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). [17] Jesus said to her, "Do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God." [18] Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that He had said these things to her.


11-18. Mary's affection and sensitivity lead her to be concerned about what has become of the dead body of Jesus. This woman out of whom seven demons were cast (cf. Luke 8:2) stayed faithful during His passion and even now her love is still ardent: our Lord has freed her from the Evil One and she responded to that grace humbly and generously.

After consoling Mary Magdalene, Jesus gives her a message for the Apostles, whom He tenderly calls His "brethren". This message implies that He and they have the same Father, though each in an essentially different way: "I am ascending to My Father"--My own Father by nature--"and to your Father"--for He is your Father through the adoption I have won for you and by My death. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, shows His great mercy and understanding by gathering together all His disciples who had abandoned Him during His passion and were now in hiding for fear of the Jews (John 20:19).

Mary Magdalene's perseverance teaches us that anyone who sincerely keeps searching for Jesus Christ will eventually find Him. Jesus' gesture in calling His disciples His "brethren" despite their having run away should fill us with love in the midst of our own infidelities.

15. From Jesus' dialogue with Mary Magdalene, we can see the frame of mind all His disciples must have been in: they were not expecting the resurrection.

17. "Do not hold Me": the use of the negative imperative in the Greek, reflected in the New Vulgate ("noli me tenere") indicates that our Lord is telling Mary to release her hold of Him, to let Him go, since she will have another chance to see Him before His ascension into Heaven.
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, April 09, 2007

Mental Prayer for Easter Tuesday-Apparition to Mary Magdalene

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: May I show my true friendship for Christ by rejoicing with Him in His great victory and joy.

Mental Picture (cf. John 20:11-17): A young lady distracted with grief wanders through a cemetery garden... it is Mary Magdalene. Her sorrow leads her again to the cold opening of the empty tomb. "They have taken away my Lord." Suddenly there is a stranger near her; she supposes he's the gardener. But He says, "Mary." She looks up and recognizes the living Jesus! In complete joy she falls at His feet; "Master!"

My Personal Application: Today, truly Christ is alive; He is victorious; He is the conqueror of sorrow and death; He is filled with joy. Can I find it in my heart to rejoice and be glad with Him? Can I forget my own little sorrows and sufferings enough to rejoice just because He is joyful, because He has won His great victory?

I Speak to Christ: My joyful Savior, Mary Magda­lene showed that she really loved you, because she could forget her own sorrows when she saw that you were risen in victory. She could be glad just because you were joyful. Teach me to have such love; make me often think: "Christ has overcome the world; Christ is gloriously risen." May the thought of your victory help me forget my own troubles and rejoice with you.

Thought for Today: "Rejoice, I have overcome the world.'
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Monday within the Octave of Easter

From: Matthew 28:8-15

Jesus Appears To The Women

[8] So they (Mary Magdalene and the other Mary) departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples.[9] And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. [10] Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee; and there they will see Me."

The Soldiers Are Bribed

[11] While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. [12] And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers [13] and said, "Tell people, `His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.' [14] And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." [15] So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.


1-15. The resurrection of Jesus, which happened in the early hours of the Sunday morning, is a fact which all the evangelist state clearly and unequivocally. Some holy women discover to their surprise that the tomb is open. On entering the hall (cf. Mark 16:5-6), they see an angel who says to them, "He is not here; for He has risen, as He said." The guards who were on duty when the angel rolled back the stone go to the city and report what has happened to the chief priests. These, because of the urgency of the matter, decide to bribe the guards; they give them a considerable sum of money on condition that they spread the word that His disciples came at night and stole the body of Jesus when they were asleep. "Wretched craftiness," says St. Augustine, "do you give us witnesses who were asleep? It is you who are really asleep if this is the only kind of explanation you have to offer!" ("Ennarationes in Psalmos", 63, 15). The Apostles, who a couple of days before fled in fear, will, now that they have seen Him and have eaten and drunk with Him, become tireless preachers of this great event: "This Jesus, they will say, "God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32).

Just as He foretold He would go up to Jerusalem and be delivered to the leaders of the Jews and put to death, He also prophesied that He would rise from the dead (Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34). By His resurrection He completes the sign He promised to give unbelievers to show His divinity (Matthew 12:40).

The resurrection of Christ is one of the basic dogmas of the Catholic faith. In fact, St. Paul says, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14); and, to prove his assertion that Christ rose, he tells us "that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me" (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). The creed states that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day ("Nicene Creed"), by His own power (Ninth Council of Toledo, "De Redemptione Creed"), by a true resurrection of the flesh ("Creed" of St. Leo IX), reuniting His soul with His body (Innocent III, "Eius Exemplo"), and that this fact of the resurrection is historically proven and provable ("Lamentabili", 36).

"By the word `resurrection' we are not merely to understand that Christ was raised from the dead...but that He rose by His own power and virtue, a singular prerogative peculiar to Him alone. Our Lord confirmed this by the divine testimony of His own mouth when He said: `I lay down My life, that I may take it again....I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again' (John 10:17-18). To the Jews He also said, in corroboration of His doctrine" `Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up' (John 2:19-20) [...]. We sometimes, it is true, read in Scripture that He was raised by the Father (cf. Acts 2:24; Romans 8:11); but this refers to Him as man, just as those passages on the other hand, which say that He rose by His own power, related to Him as God" ("St. Pius V Catechism", I, 6, 8).

Christ's resurrection was not a return to His previous earthly existence; it was a "glorious" resurrection, that is to say, attaining the full development of human life--immortal, freed from all limitations of space and time. As a result of the resurrection, Christ's body now shares in the glory which His soul had from the beginning. Here lies the unique nature of the historical fact of the resurrection. He could not be seen by anyone but only by those to whom He granted that grace, to enable them to be witnesses of this resurrection, and to enable others to believe in Him by accepting the testimony of the seers.

Christ's resurrection was something necessary for the completion of the work of our Redemption. For, Jesus Christ through His death freed us from sins; but by His resurrection He restored us all that we had lost through sin and, moreover, opened for us the gates of eternal life (cf. Romans 4:25). Also, the fact that He rose from the dead by His own power is a definitive proof that He is the Son of God, and therefore His resurrection fully confirms our faith in His divinity.

The resurrection of Christ, as has been pointed out, is the most sublime truth of our faith. That is why St. Augustine exclaims: "It is no great thing to believe that Christ died; for this is something that is also believed by pagans and Jews and by all the wicked: everyone believes that He died. The Christians' faith is in Christ's resurrection; that is what we hold to be a great thing--to believe that He rose" ("Enarrationes in Psalmos", 120).

The mystery of the Redemption wrought by Christ, which embraces His death and resurrection, is applied to every man and woman through Baptism and the other sacraments, by means of which the believer is as it were immersed in Christ and in His death, that is to say, in a mystical way he becomes part of Christ, he dies and rises with Christ: "We were buried therefore with Him by baptism unto death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

An ardent desire to seek the things of God and an interior taste for the things that are above (cf. Colossians 3:1-3) are signs of our resurrection with Christ.
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, April 08, 2007

Mental Prayer for Easter Monday - Christ Comes to Mary

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: Lord, that I may try to find my happiness by pleasing you in all I do.

Mental Picture: Early morning... the first Easter... Jerusalem lies quiet... Mary prays in her small room... hoping, waiting for Him. Suddenly, a ray of light... not the morning sun... but her Son... the light from His glorified body fills the room... dazzling... warming. Mary once again holds her divine Son close to her. No words are needed... never was there greater love... never was there greater happiness on this earth. The sorrows, the pains, the death on the cross... seem nothing in comparison with the glory of this meeting... the risen Savior and His beloved Mother.

My Personal Application: God made me to be happy. With His grace I will someday be in heaven - to be happy forever with Him, with the Glorified Christ, with His Mother and all the saints. Mary shows me the way. She lived her life with Him. She worked with Him, suffered with Him, and now He is her reward.

I Speak to Christ and Mary: O my Risen Savior and my holy Mother in heaven, you were so happy on that first Easter. All of your great sufferings seemed small then. Please help me share in your glory by doing your will as perfectly as I can. Let all my happiness come from being close to you.

Thought for Today: "I arose and am still with thee."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Easter - The Joy of the Church

"He is not here, but has risen." St. Luke, 24:5.

World-famous and full of wonders is the Vatican Museum in Rome. One long corridor leaves a particularly lasting impression upon the visi­tor. Along one side you see a row of epitaphs or writings on tombs, to­gether with emblems of the heathens and their idols. On the other side you see Christian memorials. The heathen part is cold and cheerless; the Christian part is full of hope and happiness. The heathen side is dark and joyless; the Christian, bright and cheery. The heathen relics make death the end of all; the Christian relics make death the beginning.

Along that lengthy corridor one sees clearly the contrast between faith and no faith, the striking contrast between those who believe in Easter and those who do not. Face to face those two worlds stand, One brings despair; the other brings hope. On the one side is death; on the other life. Look one way and you see destruction, represented, for in­stance, by lions seizing on horses. Look the other way and you see the Good Shepherd carrying home the lamb. On one side the stone is still there; on the other, the stone is rolled away.

That corridor echoes the contrast between Christianity and paganism through the centuries. We find an example in the catacombs, where we read inscriptions like this: "Alexander is not dead, but lives above the stars."

At the same time the Roman people were reading Cicero's hopeless letters to Sulpicius on bereavement.

In a word, the difference between faith and no faith is the difference between bright hope and black despair, the difference between shining joy and gloomy fate. One source of our Christian joy is the resurrection of Christ, which we celebrate today. That is why, with deepest convic­tion and sincerity, I wish everyone of you a Happy Easter. The Catho­lic Church is happy today for several reasons, reasons which make us individually happy also:

1. Because of her intense love of Jesus, the Church is happy that Christ has risen from the grave. No bride loves her bridegroom, no mother loves her child, as the Church loves Christ, her Spouse and Redeemer. We Catholics love Christ for His own sake; because He is so loving and lovable in Himself. We love Him because He has been good to us. He has done everything for His Church, His spouse. That is why we are happy beyond words as we behold this loving Savior come forth from the tomb this Easter morning.

2. The Church is happy because of the graces she received from the resurrection of Christ. That resurrection introduced the Church to the world. Without Easter there would be no Catholic Church. She would have been helpless. No one would have believed the apostles, for they preached the resurrection as the cornerstone of the new faith. The fact that Christ rose from the grave led men to believe in Him.

3. Another reason for the Easter joy of the Church is that she is now assured she will continue to the end of time. Our Lord promised that the powers of evil and error would never prevail against His Church. His resurrection proved Christ was God and that He would keep this promise. Never will His Church be destroyed. We Catholics share that joyful confidence today, when our brothers and sisters in Christ are suf­fering in many lands. The enemies of Mother Church may oppress us; they can never suppress us. He who rose from the grave will be with us to the end.

4. The Church is particularly happy on Easter day, because the resur­rection proves the truth of Catholic faith and Catholic teaching. Our faith has come directly from Christ, the Son of God. Not only are we sure that we received the faith pure and clear as it came from the lips of Christ, but we are also sure that His Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, will keep that faith pure and clear to the end of time. He who conquered death and the grave, will also conquer error and mistakes in faith and morals. Mother Church is the official teacher of truth. She has the God-given right and the God-given duty of instructing all na­tions in what is true and what is right. Her motherly hand must lead all to their heavenly home.

5. The Church is glad today because the words of the angel, "He is risen," confirm her power for the salvation of all men. Christ appointed the Church as His representative on earth. To her He gave the power to announce His teaching, to offer the Holy Sacrifice, to confer the sacra­ments. To her Christ gave everything needed to purify and sanctify man. To her He said:
"Amen I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven." St. Matthew, 18:18.

Not often enough and not deeply enough do we think of the God­-given powers of the Catholic Church. World leaders have power over the bodies of men, and just for a time. Mother Church has power over the souls of men, and for all eternity. At times the world may seem to triumph. In certain places at certain periods the material may temporar­ily triumph over the spiritual.

But, on Easter morning the spiritual wins a decisive victory. Christ conquers death and the grave and the merely material. His spirit over­comes the physical; He rises, up from a grave, up to the heights of Easter happiness. With Mother Church we have every reason to rejoice on this glorious day.

Yes, that corridor in the Vatican museum, with blind fate on one side, and bright faith on the other, stretches through the world, right down into our own town. The family living next door or across the street, may not have that faith. Oh, what they are missing.

Thanks to the risen Savior, you and I are on the bright side, the happy side. You and I stand in the camp of those who know that Christ has risen from the grave. In that certainty we are happy; in that cer­tainty I can wish everyone of you a truly Happy Easter. Amen.
Adapted from Lent and His Last Words
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1953)