Saturday, June 24, 2006

Gospel for June 24, Solemnity: The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

From: Luke 1:57-66, 80

The Birth and Circumcision of John the Baptist

[57] Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. [58] And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. [59] And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, [60] but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John." [61] And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name." [62] And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. [63] And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marvelled. [64] And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. [65] And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; [66] and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.

[80] And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.


59. Circumcision was a rite established by God under the Old Covenant to mark out those who belonged to His chosen people: He commanded Abraham to institute circumcision as a sign of the Covenant He had made with him and all his descendants (cf. Genesis 17:10-14), prescribing that it should be done on the eighth day after birth. The rite was performed either at home or in the synagogue, and, in addition to the actual circumcision, the ceremony included prayers and the naming of the child.

With the institution of Christian Baptism the commandment to circumcise ceased to apply. At the Council of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:1ff), the Apostles definitely declared that those entering the Church had no need to be circumcised.

St. Paul's explicit teaching on the irrelevance of circumcision in the context of the New Alliance established by Christ is to be found in Galatians 5:2ff; 6:12ff; and Colossians 2:11ff.

60-63. By naming the child John, Zechariah complies with the instructions God sent him through the angel (Luke 1:13).

64. This miraculous event fulfills the prophecy the angel Gabriel made to Zechariah when he announced the conception and birth of the Baptist (Luke 1:19-20). St. Ambrose observes: `With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith untied what had been tied by disbelief" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam. in loc.").

Zechariah's is a case similar to that of St. Thomas, who was reluctant to believe in the resurrection of our Lord, and who believed only when Jesus gave him clear proof (cf. John 20:24-29). For these two men God worked a miracle and won their belief; but normally He requires us to have faith and to obey Him without His working any new miracles. This was why He upbraided Zechariah and punished him, and why He reproached Thomas: "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29).

80. "Wilderness": this must surely refer to the "Judean wilderness" which stretches from the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea to the hill country of Judea. It is not a sand desert but rather a barren steppe with bushes and basic vegetation which suit bees and grasshoppers or wild locusts. It contains many caves which can provide shelter.
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, June 23, 2006

CDW Secretary Supports Reform of Negative Results of Liturgial Changes

Vatican, Jun. 23 ( - The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has conceded some "negative results" of liturgical changes since Vatican II, and voiced his support for reform of the post-conciliar liturgy, in an interview with the I Media news agency.

Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told I Media that the Council fathers had hoped to reinvigorate the sense of an active encounter with God through the liturgy. "But unfortunately," he said, "after the Council, certain changes were made rapidly, without reflection, in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past." The result, the archbishop said, was quite different from the Council's intent.

And it is none too soon after decades of impoverishment (what an understatement)...

Court: San Diego Veteran Memorial Cross Must Come Down

ANN ARBOR, MI, June 23, 2006 ( – A three–judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to stay Federal District Judge Gordon Thompson’s order to remove San Diego’s Mt. Soledad Cross pending an appeal.

According to a court order, the City of San Diego must remove the Cross by August 1, 2006, or face fines of $5,000 per day thereafter. In its decision, however, the Ninth Circuit scheduled oral arguments on the matter for the week of October 16, 2006, weeks after the Cross is to be removed.

Washington Welcomes Donald Wuerl as Archbishop

Three thousand people, many of them Pittsburghers, filled a huge basilica yesterday to witness the Most Rev. Donald Wuerl become archbishop of the nation's capital
"In an age that so desperately needs to hear the gospel of life, to witness the splendor of truth, and to live the challenge of faith and reason, the church -- you and I -- gathered around the successors to the apostles, one with Peter, must lovingly, persuasively and fearlessly reflect the light of Christ," Archbishop Wuerl said.
He turned to face his predecessor and offered praise to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was often a target of criticism by the far Catholic right for refusing to publicly condemn Catholic legislators who supported abortion rights, and for his bold stands in favor of justice for the poor worldwide.

"Cardinal McCarrick, you have set the bar very high -- very high -- as spiritual leader and pastor of souls and also as an archbishop engaged in the wider community, so that the work and voice of the gospel is always a part of whatever discussion occupies our community and our country," he said.
Very high, high that even those who advocate, promote, or defend the murder of innocent unborn children - even that of Partial Birth Abortion - are always welcomed to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord...Something which "far right" Catholics find abhorrent and repulsive. Such will be McCarrick's legacy, I predict.

The symbolic highlight was when Archbishop Sambi and Cardinal McCarrick escorted him to his throne in the basilica. Archbishop Wuerl took his seat, Archbishop Sambi handed him the crozier, or shepherd's staff, of the archbishop, and Cardinal McCarrick moved back out of sight, to take his seat with the other cardinals.

We should keep Archbishop Wuerl in our prayers as he assumes his new assignment. May he, with God's help and blessing, lead those in Washington to the fullness of the faith.

Archbishop Burke on the New Translations for Mass

. . .Before commenting on the changes, I note that they are not yet final. The text which the conference of bishops approved June 16 must now be reviewed by the Holy See for final approval.

Why the new translation?

The translation of the Order of the Mass, which we are presently using, was prepared in the early 1970s, according to principles of translation which have, in recent years, been carefully and thoroughly reviewed and revised. Here, it is helpful to remind ourselves that Latin is the language of the original text from which all of the translations of the liturgical texts into the various languages of the Church are made. Latin, the official or mother tongue of the Church, provides an important service to the unity of belief and practice throughout the world. The Latin text is the standard by which the accuracy and beauty of a translation are measured.

The key principle of our present translation, known as "dynamic equivalence," permitted the translator to interpret the content of a text, apart from the actual content of the words. As a result, texts which were very rich in scriptural and theological meaning were often rendered in an English version which stripped them of their richness. "Dynamic equivalence" is an inadequate tool for all translations and especially for texts of the Sacred Liturgy. The revision of the principles of translation of liturgical texts can be found in the document of the Holy Father’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Liturgiam authenticam, "Fifth Instruction on the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy," issued on March 28, 2001.

Some examples

One translation which has struck me as particularly impoverished is our response when the priest holds up the Sacred Host before Holy Communion. Presently, we respond: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." From the time of my childhood, I was impressed by the scriptural allusion to our Lord’s cure of the Roman Centurion’s servant (Luke 7:6-7) in the Latin text, which, of course, I knew through my St. Joseph Missal: "Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea." In the new translation, the richness of the Latin text is restored, with the beautiful reference to the healing presence of our Lord: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

Other changes reflect important realities of our participation in the Holy Mass. For instance, the word Credo, at the beginning of the Profession of Faith after the Gospel and Homily, is now accurately translated as "I believe" instead of "We believe," to make the Profession of Faith a proper personal and individual act, done in communion with our brothers and sisters present.

It is not possible for me to comment on all of the changes, but, when they are finally approved by the Holy See, care will be taken to explain each change. The changes are not that numerous and, I can assure you, no change was made for the sake of change. All of the changes have a sound foundation in our greatest treasure, the Catholic faith, and its most perfect expression, the Sacred Liturgy.

Change as a time of grace

The changes in the responses of the faithful are not numerous, nor are they difficult. While some have expressed frustration at having to learn a new version of their responses, I believe that the new translations, because of their greater fidelity to the original text, will actually assist us to enter more fully into the profound reality which is the Eucharistic Sacrifice. For my part, I have been inspired by studying the new translations. They reflect much more the great beauty of the Sacred Liturgy and invite us to a deeper participation in the action of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Some experts and commentators on the matter have suggested that the "rank and file" faithful will not understand the changes in translations or will resist them. I do not share their opinion in any way. From my pastoral experience, I can only imagine that the new translations will be welcomed with gratitude and attention, and that any initial awkwardness in adapting to the changes will be rapidly overcome. At the same time, if I as archbishop and our good priests provide a careful explanation of the changes, they will be more than understandable and, in fact, will be an occasion for our growing in eucharistic faith.


A month or so before the meeting of the conference of bishops, I received a letter from a young Catholic who was received into the full communion of the Church some three years ago. He has literally fallen in love with the Catholic faith and, above all, with the Holy Eucharist. He is now a daily participant in Holy Mass. Reading about the proposed new translations, he wrote to assure me that he welcomes the prospect of a more faithful and, therefore, richer translation of the liturgical texts into English: "I only write this letter because I thought it would be good for you to have on record the thoughts of at least one lay Catholic, unworthy as he is to receive Our Lord’s Body and Blood every day, about what he thinks of the new proposed translation. I love the liturgy, and I feel particularly blessed to be in such a fine Archdiocese as St. Louis where both the old and new rites are celebrated with reverence."

May we all accept the new translation of the Order of the Mass, when it is finally approved, with a deep faith in the Holy Eucharist and a deep love of our eucharistic Lord. May the changes in the translations be the occasion for us to deepen our eucharistic faith and practice.


Archbishop Burke's Homily for the Solemn Mass of St. Josemaria Escriva

Giving Thanks to God for 50 years of the Apostolate of Opus Dei in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis

This is the Archbishop's homily from the Mass at the Basilica on June 19. (This is a PDF file).

Gospel for June 23, Solemnity: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

From: John 19:31-37

Jesus' Side Is Pierced

[31] Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross of the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. [32] So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; [33] but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. [35] He who saw it has borne witness--his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth--that you also may believe. [36] For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of him shall be broken." [37] And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced."


31-33. Jesus dies on the Preparation day of the Passover--the Parasceve--that is, the eve, when the paschal lambs were officially sacrificed in the Temple. By stressing this, the evangelist implies that Christ's sacrifice took the place of the sacrifices of the Old Law and inaugurated the New Alliance in his blood (cf. Heb 9:12).

The Law of Moses required that the bodies should be taken down before nightfall (Deut 21:22-23); this is why Pilate is asked to have their legs broken, to bring on death and allow them to be buried before it gets dark, particularly since the next day is the feast of the Passover.

On the date of Jesus' death see "The Dates of the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ" in the "The Navarre Bible: St. Mark", pp. 48ff.

34. The outflow of blood and water has a natural explanation. Probably the water was an accumulation of liquid in the lungs due to Jesus' intense sufferings.

As on other occasions, the historical events narrated in the fourth Gospel are laden with meaning. St. Augustine and Christian tradition see the sacraments and the Church itself flowing from Jesus' open side: "Here was opened wide the door of life, from which the sacraments of the Church have flowed out, without which there is no entering in unto life which is true life. [...] Here the second Adam with bowed head slept upon the cross, that thence a wife might be formed of him, flowing from his side while he slept. O death, by which the dead come back to life! is there anything purer than this blood, any wound more healing!" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang., 120, 2).

The Second Vatican Council, for its part, teaches: "The Church--that is, the kingdom of Christ--already present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 3).

"Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for men, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. People, their happiness and their life, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 165).

35. St John's Gospel presents itself as a truthful witness of the events of our Lord's life and of their spiritual and doctrinal significance. From the words of John the Baptist at the outset of Jesus' public ministry (1:19) to the final paragraph of the Gospel (21:24-25), everything forms part of a testimony to the sublime phenomenon of the Word of Life made Man. Here the evangelist explicitly states that he was an eyewitness (cf. also Jn 20:30-31; 1 Jn 1:1-3).

36. This question refers to the precept of the Law that no bone of the paschal lamb should be broken (cf. Ex 12:46): again St John's Gospel is telling us that Jesus is the true paschal Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (cf. Jn 1:29).

37. The account of the Passion concludes with quotation from Zechariah (12:10) foretelling the salvation resulting from the mysterious suffering and death of a redeemer. The evangelist thereby evokes the salvation wrought by Jesus Christ who, nailed to the Cross, has fulfilled God's promise of redemption (cf. Jn 12:32). Everyone who looks upon him with faith receives the effects of his Passion. Thus, the good thief, looking at Christ on the cross, recognized his kingship, placed his truth in him and received the promise of heaven (cf. Lk 23:42-43).

In the liturgy of Good Friday the Church invites us to contemplate and adore the cross: "Behold the wood of the Cross, on which was nailed the salvation of the world", and from the earliest times of the Church the Crucifix has been the sign reminding Christians of the supreme point of Christ's love, when he died on the Cross and freed us from eternal death.

"Your Crucifix.--As a Christian, you should always carry your Crucifix with you. And place it on your desk. And kiss it before going to bed and when you wake up: and when your poor body rebels against your soul, kiss it again" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 302).
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, June 22, 2006

The Lumberjack and the Sacred Heart

The Lumberjack and the Sacred Heart
From: "Trésor d'Histoires sur le Sacré-Coeur"
by Father Millot, 1914

EVERYONE in the area knew Jean-Marie Duclos the lumberjack. An old soldier, a sapper, he had taken part in every campaign during the Second Empire: Mexico, Crimea, Italy, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Finally he had returned to his native mountains with decorations on his chest and a Prussian bullet in his right thigh. Jean-Marie had taken up his ax again at once, but he had never married.

When anyone asked him why he had not, he would mumble between his teeth, "I wouldn't want to see any woman in such poverty!"

He was not a bad fellow, and he was certainly no enemy of priests. True, he didn't go to Mass on Sunday, having abandoned that habit on the battlefield, but he had a well-founded respect for priests. No one was going to make him believe that the priests had paid the Germans to come in and shed French blood and steal Alsace. He had seen too many good priests risking their lives to help soldiers die, or not die at all. It was something you just never forget. That very memory had been haunting him like a reprimand for the past two days. But why?

First of all, the previous Monday, after he had just finished felling an old oak tree, the three little Brothers from the Catholic school had come walking by the edge of the forest. Seeing the sweat streaming from his brow and his old hand trembling a little from fatigue, one of the Brothers, the oldest one, had said to him, "Here, Jean-Marie, let me have your ax," and picked it up without waiting for a reply. The second one picked up his hatchet and the third his saw, and in no time at all they had trimmed all the branches off that big oak. Oh, the strapping fellows had worked heartily and struck true! Surely they were the sons of lumberjacks!

Then, that very evening the parish priest had come to his cabin to call on him with a Capuchin Father. That Capuchin, a magnificent man with a sapper officer's beard, had asked him straight on, holding out his hand like a friend, "So, Jean-Marie, will you be coming to the mission this evening?"

Instead of answering, he looked for a moment at the gray robe, the bare feet, the manly face, the bright, clear eyes, and asked in his turn, "You were a soldier, right?"

"Yes, my friend, I was with the Western Volunteers. I was at Patay and Le Mans."

"I was at Patay and Le Mans, too. What time is the mission?"

"Eight o'clock every evening, all week long."

"I'll be there."

He had gone that evening and every other. But what was he to do after that? It wouldn't be very nice to stop going to church again. That wouldn't be very logical. This problem kept churning around in his old lumberjack's head. At the men's meeting on the third day of the mission, Jean-Marie took a place up against the big pillar in the nave facing the pulpit, for he was very proud to be listening to an old comrade in arms who spoke so well. That evening the Capuchin Father surpassed himself: his warm words - even clearer, more vibrant, more incisive than usual - penetrated the souls of those mountain folk like an ax biting into the core of a tree. He spoke about fidelity to religious duties:

"What would you think about a son who abandoned and denied his father? A servant who betrayed his master's interests? A soldier who deserted the battlefield and passed over to the enemy?

"Jesus is here in the Tabernacle, hidden but alive. He is our God and consequently the Father of us all, our sovereign Master and King. We owe Him love, obedience and fidelity. We must fight for Him against Hell, and against ourselves and our vices. What would you say about someone who falls back in such a battle?"

"That man's a coward!" a voice replied, hammering out the syllables with savage energy.

It was Jean-Marie Duclos the lumberjack. With pale face and trembling lips he stood up, his hand stretched out towards the altar in an almost tragic gesture, and continued, "Yes, that man's a coward. And that coward is me. But all of that is finished!"

You can imagine the rest. Ten minutes later he followed the missionary into the sacristy - grace had done its work.

Now, the next time New Year's came around, Jean-Marie the lumberjack went to pay his respects to his parish priest and wish him a Happy New Year. Actually, he had been coming often to the rectory ever since the unforgettable mission that had turned him into the most faithful man in the parish, the one with the deepest conviction. He even came every Sunday after High Mass to pick up "La Croix" (a religious newspaper) that he brought to his cabin. He read it from one end to the other, starting with the Sunday Gospel and turning to the news from Morocco. It was certainly a better way to pass the time than going to the cafe.

So then, as we were saying, on New Year's Day he came to pay his respects to his pastor and to the priest's sister Mariette.

"It's very good of you to come, Jean-Marie, even though the weather's not very good up on the Wolf Trail, is it?"

"No, by thunder, it's not, Father! There's a North wind blowing..."

"Mariette, please bring us a bottle of rum."

With this request the lumberjack gave a start: "Rum? Oh no, Father, not for me! I promised the Lord I would never drink again. I did too much drinking in the past."

"Good for you! Now, tell me what you'd like. A cup of coffee or some tea?"

"Not really, Father. But there is something (as he said this, Jean-Marie started tugging at his ear), there is something . .. but you'll probably think it's sort of..."

"No, not at all! What is it?"

"Well, I would like it if you gave me a beautiful picture."

The priest was certainly not expecting such a request, and he could not help but laugh.

The old sapper went on:

"I knew you'd think it was childish. Even so, Father, a picture of the Lord or Our Lady, His Mother, would be a lot better than wood shavings for marking the pages of the Mass in my missal! Besides, Jesus says that we have to be like little children."

The good shepherd was no longer laughing. Admiring the man's faith - simple and naive, but strong and active, too - he was deeply moved. The priest stood, went to his breviary, took out some beautiful pictures and laid them on the table in front of the lumberjack, inviting him to choose one of them. The man took a magnificent Sacred Heart of Jesus.

When he got home, the old soldier lit his candle, put on his thick glasses and read all that was printed on his picture. These words in particular impressed him: "Promise of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Blessed Margaret Mary: I promise you, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who go to Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance. They shall not die in My disfavor, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their secure refuge at that last hour."

He thought about it all night long. The next day, Sunday, he had a little conversation with the priest on the subject, the practical conclusion being that as of the next Friday, which was the First Friday of January, Jean-Marie would receive Communion every First Friday of the month, no matter what. To do otherwise would be imprudent: there had been too many escapades in his life!

And have no fear, he did not forget! Besides, his heart was so content that he even began to look younger, and his hand had never been so steady with the ax. February, March, April, May, June, July, August went by like a dream. It was now the day before the ninth Communion, and that morning he said to himself as he got up, "Tomorrow, Jean-Marie, victory is yours. Oh, what a great day!"

All day long he chopped and cut and sawed so energetically and so well that by evening time he was chopping down his sixth oak, a colossal tree that would have given more than one young man quite a battle.

The iron of his stout ax bit deep into the thick roots; one by one they gave way, and already the enormous head was beginning to tremble and sway. Four more blows and the mountain giant would fall.

Before dealing them, since the tree was close to the road, the old man stopped and looked to see if anyone would be passing by. No one was coming, so there was no danger. Again, the heavy ax rose and fell, and suddenly the mighty oak fell to the ground with a tremendous crash. But unfortunately, the terrific sound of its fall was answered by a horrible cry of pain. Stepping back rapidly, the old lumberjack had slipped: both his legs were pinned to the ground, crushed beneath the enormous trunk.

Was he going to die like this, all alone in the approaching night without help, without a priest, before making his ninth Communion? He called out for help a long time, but the only reply was his answering echo. He felt his life ebbing away; his suffering was atrocious. For a moment he despaired. No, God had not been able to forgive him for all his sins, they were too great. That was why He had permitted this accident before he had made his last Communion of the nine First Fridays. He was damned. The thought of it tortured him far more cruelly than his injuries.

But as the moon rose slowly in the sky, calm and radiant, escorted by thousands of stars, the dying man began to hope again. Wasn't the Heart of Jesus infinitely good? Wasn't He almighty? Wasn't He the One who had sent that Capuchin Father last year and who had inspired him to ask the priest for a holy picture?

Suddenly the injured man gave a start, lifted his head, looked down the road and listened... Yes, there it was: someone was coming! The sound of steps came closer. Gathering his fading strength, he called out with unspeakable anguish in his voice: "Help! Help! I need a priest!"

Finally - thank You, O Lord! - a shadow materialized and made its way straight for him. The poor lumberjack thought he was dreaming when he recognized his pastor.

"Oh, Father, is it really you? God is so good!"

"I just gave the Last Sacraments to old monsieur Hugon."

"Father, it's the Sacred Heart Who sent you!"

As he spoke, the priest attempted to move the tremendous trunk and free the lumberjack's legs.

"Let it be, Father. It's too heavy, you won't be able to move it. Besides, I can feel it: I'm finished. I don't have more than two hours left. Please hear my confession."

The priest knelt down, heard his last accusations, gave him absolution and followed it with Extreme Unction, for he had the holy oils on his person.

Then the dying man murmured:

"Tomorrow is my last First Friday. I would be so happy if..."

Yes, of course. I understand. I'll be back in three quarters of an hour."

"Thank you, Father."

And the priest dashed off down the road that led to the village. As he passed the sacristan's house, he woke him with a cry:

"Quick, Mr. Lucas! Send your boy to church for me, and go tell the doctor that Jean-Marie the lumberjack is injured in the hills, up at the bend near Great Rocks!"

Then he went to get Holy Viaticum. His altar boy arrived and they climbed quickly back up to Great Rocks. It was half past midnight when he arrived. The lumberjack was still alive and praying. When he heard the little silver bell, he raised himself painfully and made the Sign of the Cross, a big tear running down his pale cheek. He received Holy Communion, and a few minutes later he passed away gently in the peace of the Lord.

In his sermon on Sunday, the pastor told the people of the man's predestined death. The entire parish turned out for his funeral. And on the little cross over his grave, they inscribed the following words:


Devotion to the Sacred Heart


O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


Devotion to the Sacred Heart was the characteristic note of the piety of Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), Benedictine nun and renowned mystic. She was, in fact, the first great exponent of devotion to the Sacred Heart. In our efforts to honor the Heart of Jesus we have this prayer as a model for our own:
Hail! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, 0 my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen.
Saint Gertrude


O most holy Heart of Jesus, shower Thy blessings in abundant measure upon Thy holy Church, upon the Supreme Pontiff and upon all the clergy; to the just grant perseverance; convert sinners; enlighten unbelievers; bless our relations, friends and benefactors; assist the dying; deliver the holy souls in purgatory; and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Thy love. Amen.


O God, who didst in wondrous manner reveal to the virgin, Margaret Mary, the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart, grant that loving Thee, after her example, in all things and above all things, we may in Thy Heart find our abiding home.
Roman Missal


Reveal Thy Sacred Heart to me, O Jesus, and show me Its attractions. Unite me to It for ever. Grant that all my aspirations and all the beats of my heart, which cease not even while I sleep, may be a testimonial to Thee of my love for Thee and may say to Thee: Yes, Lord, I am all Thine;
pledge of my allegiance to Thee rests ever in my heart will never cease to be there. Do Thou accept the slight amount of good that I do and be graciously pleased to repair all m] wrong-doing; so that I may be able to bless Thee in time and in eternity. Amen.
Cardinal Merry del Val

Remember, O most sweet Jesus, that no one who has had recourse to Thy Sacred Heart, implored its help, or sought it mercy was ever abandoned. Encouraged with confidence, O tenderest of hearts, we present ourselves before Thee, crushes beneath the weight of our sins. In our misery, O Sacred Hear. of Jesus, despise not our simple prayers, but mercifully grant our requests.
Prayer Source: The Prayer Book
by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A.,
The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Mental Prayer for June 23 - Christ's Joyfulness

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To be filled with Christ's joyful spirit.

The Idea: To hear some people talk, you would think Christ never smiled or joked. Actually He was the most joyous of men. His life opened with the singing of angels. He grew up loving everything thing about life: the blue skies, the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the scarlet sunsets. He liked weddings and parties - and people loved to have Him come. He was slandered as a glutton and wine drinker - because He enjoyed the food and table talk! How good-natured He must have been for children to clamber about Him!

Christ came to bring men the good news of salvation, of eternal joy in heaven. What a smile of pleasure the faith of the centurion brought Him! Christ forbade fretting over future needs: if the Father cares for the lilies, how much more for you! He wanted men to know God as a father, loving and merciful. Even though He had to promise suffering to His followers, He assured them of the eternal joy to come and even of the present joy that love would bring.

At the Last Supper, Jesus summed up His mission as "that they may have joy."

My Personal Application: Have I caught something of Christ's joy, His sincere love of all men and all things? I don't know the real Christ unless I catch this spirit and understand why it animated Him.

I Speak to Christ: Lord, give me your joyous outlook on life, your ability to marvel at the wondrous beauty of nature, to see the good in all men, to keep the unequaled joy of heaven ever before me. Help me to love as you did, and to infect others with the joy of Christianity - which finds God's world so good.

Thought for Today: "That your joy may be full."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

I have to agree with SNAP in this case...

Southern Kalifornia dioceses are backing away from background checks and fingerprinting to avoid losing volunteers who are illegal immigrants. In an unbelievable display of insanity and foolishness, they resort to implementing senseless and potentially dangerous double standards which could place children and others at risk.

Of course, church officials state that these volunteers will be supervised when working with children. What a relief! Everyone should be able to rest easier now...Let's just hope that perverted criminals don't get wind of this. What, after all, prevents such a reprobate from voluteering, claiming to have no papers?

LOS ANGELES - The Roman Catholic dioceses of Los Angeles and Orange have backed away from pledges to prevent pedophiles from working with children by subjecting volunteers to fingerprint background checks, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Church leaders said they didn't want to lose illegal immigrant volunteers, who lack the legitimate government-issued photo IDs that are required for the checks.

Volunteer candidates without photo IDs in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can give a sworn affidavit stating that they have not been convicted of any crime, officials said. In Orange, they can provide a sworn affidavit and two character reference letters.
Does a sworn affidavit really mean anything to a criminal?
"They are just trying to be too politically correct, even though it means putting the kids at risk," said Rita Milla, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-area Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "If someone can't prove who they are, they shouldn't be volunteering."

As I said, this is one of the few times I agree with SNAP.

Local Teachers Storm Chancery....

...Not really but it sounds catchy and grabs one's attention, and they did show up unannounced - with reporters. They apparently did not tell the archdiocese but did tell the media - go figure! It really does not serve one very well if one notifies everyone but the party with whom one wishes to meet. Didn't they learn basic common courtesy somewhere in their lives?

ST. LOUIS - A couple dozen elementary school teachers in the Archdiocese of St. Louis tried to meet with Archbishop Raymond Burke Thursday to present a book of grievances alleging job insecurity and poor treatment by school administrators.

But they got no guarantees that Burke himself would receive their book of concerns and were asked to leave the premises. Archdiocesan spokesman Tony Huenneke, clearly bothered by their unexpected appearance, told reporters who accompanied the teachers that the archdiocese had no comment.

ACEE (which is supported by Catholic Action Network, BTW) has been up to their 'antics' for years. Archbishop Rigali did not agree to their demands so now they keep trying their tactics on Archbishop Burke.

[The Archdiocese] doesn't recognize, nor will it negotiate with, the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators [ACEE], which formed a dozen years ago, president Mary Chubb said. An attempt in the 1970s to have union representation also failed.

I know this is short notice, but...

CATHOLIC Action Network has announced that:

The Holy Families group of CAN will be at PrideFest June 24th and 25th, Tower Grove Park.

And if this "Catholic" action is not enough, CAN is planning a protest, (a nonviolent vigil) at St Louis University in the the opening day of The Courage National Conference on Thursday, July 27th.

These people really do need our prayers. They fight against purity and chastity and the will of God while proclaiming that living in a homosexual "relationship" is loving and wonderful - the bottom line is that they reject God's moral law and the teachings of the Church.

Let us not forget to pray for them.

NEA Removes Endorsement of Gay "Marriage "

The National Education Association (NEA) has pulled a resolution in support of gay marriage after it was highlighted by a pro-family group. The national teachers union posted the following on its Web site:

"The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all these diverse groups and individuals."
Of course, the NEA backs away from this because it was exposed - have no doubt that this group will be back again with the same or similar proposal. This, and other moraly bankrupt ideas, are apparently what drives the NEA - not the proper education of children form whom they seem to have little concern.

HT to Darla M. for the update!

Archbishop-elect Donald Wuerl to be installed today

Mass in Washington, D.C., will mark his debut as archbishop

Cardinal Bertone named Vatican Secretary of State

Is there something in the water?

Today, no smiley faces or peace signs...What's for tomorrow? Who knows for certain - maybe a ban on necklaces or earrings with crosses?

Some suggested that it might be time to shop somewhere else where company policy makers aren't the result of inbreeding.

Gospel for Thursday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 6:7-15

An Upright Intention in Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting (Continuation)
(Jesus said to His disciples:) [7] "And in praying do not heap up empty
phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for
their many words. [8] Do not be like them, for your Father knows what
you need before you ask Him. [9] Pray then like this: Our Father who
art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. [10] Thy kingdom come, Thy will
be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. [11] Give us this day our daily
bread; [12] And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our
debtors; [13] And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil. [14] For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly
Father also will forgive you; [15] but if you do not forgive men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."


7-8. Jesus condemns the superstitious notion that long prayers are
needed to attract God's attention. True piety is not so much a matter
of the amount of words as of the frequency and the love with which the
Christian turns towards God in all the events, great or small, of his
day. Vocal prayer is good, and necessary; but the words count only if
they express our inner feelings.

9-13. The "Our Father" is, without any doubt, the most commented-on
passage in all Sacred Scripture. Numerous great Church writers have
left us commentaries full of poetry and wisdom. The early Christians,
taught by the precepts of salvation, and following the divine
commandment, centered their prayer on this sublime and simple form of
words given them by Jesus. And the last Christians, too, will raise
their hearts to say the "Our Father" for the last time when they are on
the point of being taken to Heaven. In the meantime, from childhood to
death, the "Our Father" is a prayer which fills us with hope and
consolation. Jesus fully realized how helpful this prayer would be to
us. We are grateful to Him for giving it to us, to the Apostles for
passing it on to us and, in the case of most Christians, to our mothers
for teaching it to us in our infancy. So important is the Lord's
Prayer that from apostolic times it has been used, along with the
Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Sacraments, as the basis of
Christian catechesis. Catechumens were introduced to the life of
prayer by the "Our Father", and our catechisms today use it for that

St. Augustine says that the Lord's Prayer is so perfect that it sums up
in a few words everything man needs to ask God for (cf. "Sermon", 56).
It is usually seen as being made up of an invocation and seven
petitions--three to do with praise of God and four with the needs of

9. It is a source of great consolation to be able to call God "our
Father"; Jesus, the Son of God, teaches men to invoke God as Father
because we are indeed His children, and should feel towards Him in that

"The Lord [...] is not a tyrannical master or a rigid and implacable
judge; He is our Father. He speaks to us about our lack of generosity,
our sins, our mistakes; but He also does so in order to free us from
them, to promise us His friendship and His love [...]. A child of God
treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile, he is
not merely formal and well-mannered; he is completely sincere and
trusting" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 64).

"Hallowed by Thy name": in the Bible a person's "name" means the same
as the person himself. Here the name of God means God Himself. Why
pray that His name be hallowed, sanctified? We do not mean
sanctification in the human sense--leaving evil behind and drawing
closer to God--for God is Holiness Itself. God, rather, is sanctified
when His holiness is acknowledged and honored by His creatures--which
is what this first petition of the "Our Father" means (cf. "St. Pius
Catechism", IV, 10).

10. "Thy Kingdom come": this brings up again the central idea of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ--the coming of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God
is so identical with the life and work of Jesus Christ that the Gospel
is referred to now as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, now as the Gospel of
the Kingdom (Matthew 9:35). On the notion of the Kingdom of God see
the commentary on Matthew 3:2 and 4:17. The coming of the Kingdom of
God is the realization of God's plan of salvation in the world. The
Kingdom establishes itself in the first place in the core of man's
being, raising him up to share in God's own inner life. This elevation
has, as it were, two stages--the first, in this life, where it is
brought about by grace; the second, definitive stage in eternal life,
where man's elevation to the supernatural level is fully completed. We
for our part need to respond to God spontaneously, lovingly and

"Thy will be done": this third petition expresses two desires. The
first is that man identify humbly and unconditionally with God's
will--abandonment in the arms of his Father God. The second that the
will of God be fulfilled, that man cooperate with it in full freedom.
For example, God's will is to be found in the moral aspect of the
divine law--but this law is not forced on man. One of the signs of the
coming of the Kingdom is man's loving fulfillment of God's will. The
second part of the petition, "on earth as it is in Heaven", means that,
just as the angels and saints in Heaven are fully at one with God's
will, so--we desire--should the same thing obtain on earth.

Our effort to do God's will proves that we are sincere when we say the
words, "Thy will be done." For our Lord says, "Not every one who says
to Me, `Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does
the will of My Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21). "Anyone,
then, who sincerely repeats this petition, `Fiat voluntas tua', must,
at least in intention, have done this already" (St. Teresa of Avila,
"Way of Perfection", chapter 36).

11. In making this fourth petition, we are thinking primarily of our
needs in this present life. The importance of this petition is that it
declares that the material things we need in our lives are good and
lawful. It gives a deep religious dimension to the support of life:
what Christ's disciple obtains through his own work is also something
for which he should implore God--and he should receive it gratefully as
a gift from God. God is our support in life: by asking God to support
him and by realizing that it is God who is providing this support, the
Christian avoids being worried about material needs. Jesus does not
want us to pray for wealth or to be attached to material things, but to
seek and make sober use of what meets our needs. Hence, in Matthew as
well as in Luke (Luke 11:2), there is reference to having enough food
for every day. This fourth petition, then, has to do with moderate use
of food and material things--far from the extremes of opulence and
misery, as God already taught in the Old Testament "Give me neither
poverty nor riches; feed me with the food which is needful for me, lest
I be full, and deny Thee, and say, `Who is the Lord?' or lest I be
poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8).

The Fathers of the Church interpreted the bread asked for here not only
as material food but also as referring to the Blessed Eucharist,
without which our spirit cannot stay alive.

According to the "St. Pius V Catechism" (cf. IV, 13, 21) the Eucharist
is called our daily bread because it is offered daily to God in the
Holy Mass and because we should worthily receive it, every day if
possible, as St. Ambrose advises: "If the bread is daily, why do you
take it only once a year [...]? Receive daily what is of benefit to
you daily! So live that you may deserve to receive it daily!" ("De
Sacramentis", V, 4).

12. "Debts": clearly, here, in the sense of sin. In the Aramaic of
Jesus' time the same word was used for offense and debt. In this fifth
petition, then, we admit that we are debtors because we have offended
God. The Old Testament is full of references to man's sinful
condition. Even the "righteous" are sinners. Recognizing our sins is
the first step in every conversion to God. It is not a question of
recognizing that we have sinned in the past but of confessing our
present sinful condition. Awareness of our sinfulness makes us realize
our religious need to have recourse to the only One who can cure it.
Hence the advantage of praying insistently, using the Lord's Prayer to
obtain God's forgiveness time and again.

The second part of this petition is a serious call to forgive our
fellow-men, for we cannot dare to ask God to forgive us if we are not
ready to forgive others. The Christian needs to realize what this
prayer implies: unwillingness to forgive others means that one is
condemning oneself (see the notes on Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:21:21-35).

13. "And lead us not into temptation": "We do not ask to be totally
exempt from temptation, for human life is one continuous temptation

(cf. Job 7:1). What, then, do we pray for in this petition? We pray
that the divine assistance may not forsake us, lest having been
deceived, or worsted, we should yield to temptation; and that the grace
of God may be at hand to succor us when our strength fails, to refresh
and invigorate us in our trials" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 15, 14).

In this petition of the "Our Father" we recognize that our human
efforts alone do not take us very far in trying to cope with
temptation, and that we need to have humble recourse to God, to get the
strength we need. For, "God is strong enough to free you from
everything and can do you more good than all the devils can do you
harm. All that God decrees is that you confide in Him, that you draw
near Him, that you trust Him and distrust yourself, and so be helped;
and with this help you will defeat whatever hell brings against you.
Never lose hold of this firm hope [...] even if the demons are legion
and all kinds of severe temptations harass you. Lean upon Him, because
if the Lord is not your support and your strength, then you will fall
and you will be afraid of everything" (St. John of Avila, "Sermons, 9,
First Sunday of Lent").

"But deliver us from evil": in this petition, which, in a way, sums up
the previous petitions, we ask the Lord to free us from everything our
enemy does to bring us down; we cannot be free of him unless God
Himself free us, in response to our prayers.

This sentence can also be translated as "Deliver us from the Evil One",
that is to say, the devil, who is in the last analysis the author of
all evils to which we are prone.

In making this request we can be sure that our prayer will be heard
because Jesus Christ, when He was on the point of leaving this world,
prayed to the Father for the salvation of all men: "I do not pray that
Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep
them from the evil one" (John 17:15).

14-15. In verses 14 and 15 St. Matthew gives us a sort of commentary of
our Lord on the fifth petition of the "Our Father".

A God who forgives is a wonderful God. But if God, who is thrice-holy,
has mercy on the sinner, how much more ought we to forgive others--we
sinners, who know from our own experience the wretchedness of sin. No
one on earth is perfect. Just as God loves us, even though we have
defects, and forgives us, we should love others, even though they have
defects, and forgive them. If we wait to love people who have no
defects, we shall never love anyone. If we wait until others mend
their ways or apologize, we will scarcely ever forgive them. But then
we ourselves will never be forgiven. "All right: that person has
behaved badly towards you. But, haven't you behaved worse towards
God?" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 686).

Thus, forgiving those who have offended us makes us like our Father,
God: "In loving our enemies there shines forth in us some likeness to
God our Father, who, by the death of His Son, ransomed from everlasting
perdition and reconciled to Himself the human race, which before was
most unfriendly and hostile to Him" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 14,
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, June 21, 2006

Mental Prayer for June 22 - Christ, the Man of Prayer

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To regard prayer as Christ did.

The Idea: It can be said that Jesus was first and above all a man of prayer. He began His public life with 40 days of prayer in the desert. Often the Gospels tell of our Lord, after an exhausting day, slipping off to pray, or rising early in the morning to go out into the desert to pray. He prayed in advance whenever He faced an impor­tant decision. He prayed the whole night before He chose His twelve Apostles; He prayed at the tomb before He raised Lazarus from the dead; He prayed on the eve of His passion, and especially on the cross. The Apostles so often saw Him nt prayer that finally they requested, "Lord, teach us to pray."

My Personal Application: Christ was setting me an example. He wants me to be, like Himself, a man of prayer. He wants the happiness, strength, and understanding that come from prayer to be mine. If I am to bring Christ to others, I must first have the knowledge of Him and His teachings that comes only through prayer. If I am to persevere as a Catholic, I must have the close friendship with God that only prayer can bring. I cannot avoid sin nor grow in virtue and Christ-likeness without prayer. Prayer must be the power of my life.

I Speak to Christ: Lord, give me your esteem for prayer. Help me to persevere in it and thus come to real knowledge and love of you. Lord, teach me to pray!

Thought for Today: I must be a man of prayer.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

The Lunacy Continues....

'Repressed memory' abuse case filed against St. Louis Archdiocese
A man who says he now remembers that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was an altar boy in 1982 filed a civil suit today against the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and is the first in Missouri in the wake of a state supreme court ruling last week allowing so-called "repressed memory" cases to go forward.
Of course, the priest alleged to have committed the act is dead and is unable to defend himself. But why should that matter? Apparently it's enough that the alleged victim finally remembered what happened...God help us!

"Mother Jesus"?

Presiding Bishop-elect Schori Calls on "Mother Jesus"

This is after stating that, presumably, acts of homosexuality are not sinful...

The quote is in question:
Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children.
My emphasis above...This should be a boon to those wishing to change the language of Sacred Scripture and remove any references to male nouns and pronouns. But I can help but wonder why it's "mother Jesus" followed by the possesive "His" later in the sentence...


Bishop Fernando Rifan on the Latin Mass, tradition, communion with the Pope

Another good interview from Brian Mershon and the Wanderer with Bishop Rifan whose apostolic administration is a "floating diocese" in Campos, Brazil.

Bishop Rifan states that the real reasons people love, prefer, and preserve the Classical liturgical form of the Roman rite are:

for a better and more precise expression of our faith in eucharistic dogmas,

for safety, for protection against abuses,

for the good of whole Church, in contribution for liturgical crisis' reform,

for wealth and solemnity of rites,

for better precision and clarity of rubrics (giving no space to "ambiguities, liberties, creativities, adaptations, reductions, and instrumentalizations," as complains Pope John Paul II in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, nn. 10, 52, 61),

for the sense of sacredness,

more wealth and precision of prayers' formulas, in reverence,

for personal and ritual humility,

for elevation and nobility of ceremonies,

for respect, beauty, good taste, piety, sacred language, tradition, and legitimate right recognized by Church's Supreme Authority.

Alter Christus - Reparation to the Sacred Heart in the Holy Eucharist

The cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not one particular devotion, but expresses the whole of Christianity under its most enlightening and most appealing aspect: God is love [Deus caritas est], and He wants to be loved.

Reparation forms an essential element of the cult as proposed by the Church: "Ut, illi devotum pietatis nostrae praestantes obsequium, dignae quoque satisfactionis exhibeamus officium."


"Reparation" in its general aspect means making up for the ingratitude by which men repay the love of the Sacred Heart; in this sense it extends to all sins and offences com­mitted in the world. But for the present we may consider it more especially under its limited aspect of expiation for offenses against the holy Eucharist. It is of these offences that the Sacred Heart complained most sorrowfully: more than all others they should cut priestly hearts to the quick.

One cursory glance across the vast world: we see it dotted with innumerable tabernacles, where the Sacred Heart dwells, a prisoner of love; but, all around, millions of men, - objects of that Love, - who live and die as if there were no Blessed Sacrament, in total ignorance of it. What an appalling sight!

Far worse: the multitude of those who know, but only to heap ridicule, insults and crimes upon the Sacrament of Love. What Christian heart does not shudder at the thought of this?

And again, can we not visualize the coldness and indifference that envelop so many of the faithful kneeling in apparent devotion before the Blessed Sacrament, which, like a thick mist, cut off com­munication between their hearts and the Sacred Heart? At this, unhappily, we hardly shudder; but it wounds His loving Heart most cruelly.

That is what I see around me. But what of myself?

Let me pass in review my Eucharistic life, say, of yesterday; how often did I visit the Blessed Sacrament, and with what practical effects on my faith in the Real Presence?

What must Jesus have been thinking of me, when He missed me perhaps the whole day, or when He saw me at His feet so distracted, careless, uninterested? ...What has been my fervour at the altar during the holy Sacrifice, and my devotion during thanksgiving while the Sacred Heart was beating against my heart? And have I ever thought again, in the course of the day, of those stupendous mani­festations of His love for me ?

Alas! for such poor return of love to "the Heart which has loved men so much" . . . And let me remember Our Lord's sad complaint: "What pains me most is that I am treated thus by hearts con­secrated to me."


The duty of Reparation is incumbent on all Christians, as Pius XI points out in his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor. But we ought to be moved to fervour in it more than others, particularly for the offenses against the holy Eucharist.

The Blessed Sacrament is our own Sacrament, in a very special way. Priests are its ministers and custodians. From the day of a priest's first Mass, it has been truly for him the BLESSED Sacrament: filling his life with glory and beauty and joy and strength.

None can realize the burning love that consumes the Eucharistic Heart of
Jesus more than the "alter Christus", the priest who renews every morning at the altar the Sacrifice of Calvary... Does it not follow that none more than the priest ought to be moved by the ingratitude shown to that loving Heart, none stirred to greater generosity in expiating all offenses against the holy Eucharist?

Moreover, we ought to feel a special grief at the fact that the crimes against the Sacrament of love which wound the Sacred Heart most, come from brothers in the priesthood who repay the greatest of loves by the blackest of ingratitudes.

Let us be faithful to what we promise in our consecration to the Sacred Heart: "ipsorum expiare delicta, resarcire damna, et dolorem quo Te afficiunt amoris nostri consolatione minuere". The greater our love for the Blessed Sacrament, the greater will be our zeal for reparation. And, in turn, the delicacy of our love will grow with every act of reparation.


A priest's first care must be to suppress, as far as it depends upon him, all negligences in the external cult of the Blessed Sacrament. He should examine himself on this point: v.g. what is his vigilance concerning the cleanliness and decorum of the church, altar and tabernacle, of all that is used for the holy Sacrifice?

Then he must endeavour to foster in his flock a great interior devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and give the example of it, by his behaviour in church, at the altar and during his thanksgiving.

Here again is abundant matter for a serious examination of conscience, perhaps for a much-needed reform in Eucharistic piety.

Does our whole attitude in church and at the Eucharistic functions breathe faith, reverence, devotion?

But Reparation proper is chiefly practised by specific prayers of Reparation, voluntary mortifications, the oblation of good works (the morning offering of the Apostleship of Prayer puts the seal of Reparation on one's whole day), by Holy Hours, nocturnal adoration, etc.

How far do we show our love for the Sacred Heart by our fervour and constancy in at least some of those practices, and by our zeal to encourage them among our fellow Catholic brothers and sisters?

Generosity in Reparation will secure for us more abundantly the great blessings promised to those who have a true devo­tion to the Sacred Heart. Perhaps we have failed to experience the abundance of those blessings up to now, because we have given too little place, in our devotion, to Reparation?

"Heart of Jesus, burning with love of us, inflame our hearts with love of thee."

"May the Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 42.

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

Gospel for June 21, Memorial: St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

From: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

An Upright Intention in Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [1] "Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven.

[2] "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [3] But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, [4] so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[5] "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [6] But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[16] "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [17] But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, [18] that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."


1-18. "Piety", here, means good works (cf. note on Matthew 5:6). Our Lord is indicating the kind of spirit in which we should do acts of personal piety. Almsgiving, fasting and prayer were the basic forms taken by personal piety among the chosen people--which is why Jesus refers to these three subjects. With complete authority He teaches that true piety must be practised with an upright intention, in the presence of God and without any ostentation. Piety practised in this way implies exercising our faith in God who sees us--and also in the safe knowledge that He will reward those who are sincerely devout.

5-6. Following the teaching of Jesus, the Church has always taught us to pray even when we were infants. By saying "you" (singular) our Lord is stating quite unequivocally the need for personal prayer--relating as child to Father, alone with God.

Public prayer, for which Christ's faithful assemble together, is something necessary and holy; but it should never displace obedience to this clear commandment of our Lord: "When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father".

The Second Vatican Council reminds us of the teaching and practice of the Church in its liturgy, which is "the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows [...]. The spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is indeed called to pray with others, but he must also enter into his bedroom to pray to his Father in secret; furthermore, according to the teaching of the Apostle, he must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium", 10 and 12).

A soul who really puts his Christian faith into practice realizes that he needs frequently to get away and pray alone to his Father, God. Jesus, who gives us this teaching about prayer, practised it during His own life on earth: the holy Gospel reports that He often went apart to pray on His own: "At times He spent the whole night in an intimate conversation with His Father. The Apostles were filled with love when they saw Christ pray" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 119; cf. Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; etc.). The Apostles followed the Master's example, and so we see Peter going up to the rooftop of the house to pray in private, and receiving a revelation (cf. Acts 10:9-16). "Our life of prayer should also be based on some moments that are dedicated exclusively to our conversation with God, moments of silent dialogue" ("ibid", 119).

16-18. Starting from the traditional practice of fasting, our Lord tells us the spirit in which we should exercise mortification of our senses: we should do so without ostentation, avoiding praise, discreetly; that way Jesus' words will not apply to us: "they have their reward"; it would have been a very bad deal. "The world admires only spectacular sacrifice, because it does not realize the value of sacrifice that is hidden and silent" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 185).
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, June 20, 2006

Mental Prayer for June 21 - Knowing Christ

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To come to a real knowledge of Christ.

The Idea: There's a world of difference between knowing about Christ and knowing Christ. Many good people read many pious books, hear sermons, avoid sin, and yet never know Christ. What is lacking? Prayer! Real prayer that is not just thoughts and resolutions, but a personal contact and conversation with a close friend.

The Gospel shows a Christ looking with tender­ness on every form of human suffering. But we won't know Christ, we won't know His kindness, until we approach Him with our own load of sin and difficulties - and experience His compassionate eyes on us, His tenderly lifting the load from our shoulders.

Christ seeks to be known and loved. "Come and see," He tells us. "The whole country was stirred" to go see Him when He passed by. "Never did man speak as this man." His enemies lamented, "The whole world is gone after Him." He wants us to come, too.

My Personal Application: Do I know Christ? Do I really understand His mercy, strength of character, love for all men, zeal, generosity, courage? Christ is my ideal, my model; I want to have this intimate knowledge of Him.

I Speak to God: Lord, draw me close to you. Reveal yourself to me, that I may be set on fire with love for you and zeal for your cause.

Thought for Today: Seek to know Christ through prayer.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

National Education Association Set to Endorse Homosexual "Marriage"

From an AFA email, we learn of this:
Teacher's union begins plans to promote homosexual marriage in public schools

The National Education Association is set to endorse homosexual marriage at their convention coming up in Orlando June 29 through July 6.

The new NEA proposal essentially says schools should support and actively promote homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage (two men and one woman, three women, two women and three men, etc.) in their local schools.

The new proposal, expected to pass overwhelmingly, is found under the B-8 Diversity paragraph:

The Association... believes in the importance of observances, programs and curricula that accurately portray and recognize the roles, contributions, cultures, and history of these diverse groups and individuals.

The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all these diverse groups and individuals.

Translated, that means the NEA will promote homosexual marriage in every avenue they have available, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. Their plans will include every public school in America.

Take Action

First, please forward this to all parents with children in public schools. They need to be aware of the plans the NEA has to indoctrinate their children with their pro-homosexual, homosexual marriage agenda.

Click here to send your email to your NEA state affiliate.

Please forward this to public school teachers you know so they can be aware of the NEA's plans. In fact, their membership dues will be used to help implement the new NEA plan.

AFA encourages teachers who do not approve of their dues going to the NEA to find an alternative teacher's group to help them retain their benefits. Teachers might want to give the CEAI home page a look or find another alternative in their state.

Louisiana governor signs bill that would ban most abortions

Reshuffling at the Vatican

Speculation mounts over new Secretary of State
(ANSA) - Rome, June 19 - The most important move in Pope Benedict XVI's reshaping of the Vatican administration after his election in 2005 will be announced soon, according to Vatican-watchers in Italy .

The current Vatican Secretary of State, the 79-year-old Cardinal Angelo Sodano, is widely expected to step down later this year and Benedict must choose a replacement.

According to persistent rumours, the job will go to one of Benedict's closest collaborators over the last ten years, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the archbishop of Genoa .

Portrait of Our Lord

Throughout our prayer, as throughout our lives, Christ our Lord should be the center of attention. And so we should want to know Him if we are to come to love Him. Many words have been used to describe Him. But actions describe better than words. We have already seen many of His actions, but let's look more closely now at the way in which they de­scribe our Lord. In upcoming meditations, we shall look at a portrait of Christ.

Gospel for Tuesday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus and His Teaching, the Fulfillment of the Law (Continuation)

(Jesus said to His disciples,) [43] "You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. [45] So that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [47] And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."


43. The first part of this verse--"You shall love your neighbor"--is to be found in Leviticus 19:18. The second part--"hate your enemy"--is not to be found in the Law of Moses. However, Jesus' words refer to a widespread rabbinical interpretation which understood "neighbors" as meaning "Israelites". Our Lord corrects this misinterpretation of the Law: for Him everyone is our neighbor (cf. the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37).

43-47. This passage sums up the teaching which precedes it. Our Lord goes so far as to say that a Christian has no personal enemies. His only enemy is evil as such--sin--but not the sinner. Jesus Himself puts this into practice with those who crucified Him, and He continues to act in the same way towards sinners who rebel against Him and despise Him. Consequently, the saints have always followed His example--like St. Stephen, the first martyr, who prayed for those who were putting him to death. This is the apex of Christian perfection--to love, and pray for, even those who persecute us and calumniate us. It is the distinguishing mark of the children of God.

46. "Tax collectors": the Roman empire had no officials of its own for the collection of taxes: in each country it used local people for this purpose. These were free to engage agents (hence we find reference to "chief tax collectors": cf. Luke 19:2). The global amount of tax for each region was specified by the Roman authorities; the tax collectors levied more than this amount, keeping the surplus for themselves: this led them to act rather arbitrarily, which was why the people hated them. In the case of the Jews, insult was added to injury by the fact that the chosen people were being exploited by Gentiles.

48. Verse 48 is, in a sense, a summary of the teaching in this entire chapter, including the Beatitudes. Strictly speaking, it is quite impossible for a created being to be as perfect as God. What our Lord means here is that God's own perfection should be the model which every faithful Christian tries to follow, even though he realizes that there is an infinite distance between himself and his Creator. However, this does not reduce the force of this commandment; it sheds more light on it. It is a difficult commandment to live up to, but along with this we must take account of the enormous help grace gives us to go so far as to tend towards divine perfection. Certainly, perfection which we should imitate does not refer to the power and wisdom of God, which are totally beyond our scope; here the context seems to refer primarily to love and mercy. Along the same lines, St. Luke quotes these words of our Lord: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36; cf. note on Luke 6:20-49).

Clearly, the "universal call to holiness" is not a recommendation but a commandment of Jesus Christ.

"Your duty is to sanctify yourself. Yes, even you. Who thinks that this task is only for priests and religious? To everyone, without exception, our Lord said: `Be ye perfect, as My Heavenly Father is perfect'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 291). This teaching is sanctioned by chapter 5 of Vatican II's Constitution "Lumen Gentium", where it says (40): "The Lord Jesus, divine teacher and model of all perfection, preached holiness of life (of which He is the author and maker) to each and every one of His disciples without distinction: `You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect' [...]. It is therefore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society."
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.

Alter Christus - At the Founts of Divine Love

The love of God is the supreme need of our life. For that love is the exact measure both of our own perfection and of the fruitfulness of our ministry. Where it reigns, all else is included: "Super omnia autem caritatem habete, quod est vinculum perfectionis"; whilst without it, however active we may be, we are but "aes sonas, cymbalum tinniens." If we realized this fully, how we would hunger for that love in our life, and strive to communicate it to souls around us! "Sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova, sero te amavi... Coruscasti, splenduisti, et fugasti caecitatem meam... O amor, qui semper ardes et nunquam exstingueris, caritas Deus meus, accende me" (Confessions of St Augustine, Bk X, ch. 27 & 29 ).

What opportunities does not this time of the year bring us: the feasts of Pentecost, the Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart. All stupendous mysteries of divine love! If only we understood: "si scires donum Dei. . . ".


The feast of the Holy Spirit reveals to us the very source of that love, the "Altissimi donum Dei" which brings the love of God into our hearts: "Caritas Dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris per Spiritum Sanctum qui datus est nobis."

Then for eight days we shall live in the constant supplication that the Holy Spirit may fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of divine love. And we shall be meditating on the sublime work and operations of the Holy Spirit in our soul: sanctifying grace, actual graces, infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost...

"Si scires donum Dei!" It is the gift which Christ has merited for us on the Cross and by which He vivifies all the members of His Mystical Body; it is His spirit, His very life that He communicates to us... If we long for an intimate participation in the life of Christ, let us not separate devotion to the Holy Spirit from our devotion to the Sacred Heart.

* May we realize more and more what place that devotion should have in our spiritual life. - Our daily "Veni, Sancte Spiritus" ought to be a real, heartfelt yearning, as for the coming of a Friend most dear and most needed. - And we ought to keep ourselves always in a humble, vigilant and eager docility to the promptings of the "Dulcis Hospes animae".


The feast of the Most Holy Trinity will stir us, no doubt, to renewed fervour in our praise and adoration of the infinite Majesty of God. But it should bring us also an increased realization of our ineffable union with divine love through the presence of God in our soul. For "God is love" and God dwells in the soul adorned with sanctifying grace, as a friend dwells with a friend: " eum veniemus et mansionem apud eum faciemus".

If we lived more habitually with the sense of that presence in us of the God of Love, how we would grow in that love: avoiding all deliberate faults that might diminish it, per­forming all our actions from the motive of love and under its direct influence.

* Let us guard ourselves against ought that might dim the brightness of that love, by remembering, especially in times of temptations, that we are "the temple of God". ­Let us endeavour to grow in the spirit of recoItection, so necessary for that intimate union with God: "Converte, (Domine), obsecro, cor meum ad Te introrsum in fundum animae meae ..." (Lessius). - Even each one of our signs of the cross might become for us a sealing as it were, a consecration of our body as the dwelling-place of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as the sanctuary of Love itself.


Sanctuary of Love again, however unworthy our poor heart, every time we receive the most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord: "manet in me et ego in eo". May the feast of Corpus Christi quicken our faith and our trust in the transforming power of the Sacrament of Love! Does it not contain and bring to us the Sacred Heart and all its love, and with Christ the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity and their infinite love? Each holy Communion therefore puts us in possession of the fullness of divine love. Its special, 'sacramental' grace is the 'fervour of love'.

* What are our faith and eagerness, every day, at holy Mass and holy Communion? And how do we prepare for it? - How much time and what care do we give to thanks­giving? Do we close the eyes of the body to the things of the world and open the eyes of the soul to the secrets of divine love within us? (Cf. Imitation of Christ, bk IV, ch. 13.)


And if yet those hidden sources of divine love do not move us sufficiently, then let us, in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on His feast day, behold the visible signs of that love: the "last effort" of Christ to kindle in men's hearts the fire He came to cast upon the earth... May the vivid remembrance of that vision and revelation make us realize how true devotion to the Sacred Heart is but a constant stirring of love and consequently a shortcut to holiness of life: it radiates the heat of love from the "Fornax ardens caritatis" and sets us on fire with it in the degree in which we surrender ourselves to its action. . .

* Has our devotion to the Sacred Heart that deep meaning? - Are our various practices of the devotion real exercises of love? - Love sums up the whole life of the Sacred Heart; true devotion compels us to surrender in return our heart entirely to Him, so that His love may be the keynote of our whole life: "Praebe, fili mi, cor tuum mihi."

" Illo nos igne, quaesumus, Domine, Spiritus Sanctus inflammet : Quem Dominus noster Iesus Christus misit in terram et voluit vehementer accendi" (Saturday after Pentecost).

Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 18.

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

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mental Prayer for June 20 - The Necessities of Life

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God.

Grace I Ask: To value my spiritual food, you yourself.

The Idea: An outstanding athlete from a starving country? A strong Olympic team from such a place? You just don't hear of them. Why? The youths simply don't have the strength, the muscle to be great... with a diet that barely keeps people alive. This may sound like a TV commer­cial, but could you be a champ without the proper food?

My Personal Application: My soul is living, grow­ing. As a spiritual athlete I need proper food. What is this food? "My flesh is meat indeed." This food is our Lord Himself. In Holy Com­munion we get strength to grow, energy for activity. Christ gives us the strength we need when temptation comes. He gives us strength, too, when we labor in His service, bringing others to this same union with Him. We must be in condition; He Himself is food for our soul.

I Speak to God: Lord: I sometimes complain about the body you've given me... how I grow, how I look. I suppose I can't do much about that. But I can do something about a more important thing: my spiritual growth and appearance. I don't want to be a spiritual weakling. When I look at myself completely, may I see myself grown tall, strong, balanced. You, in Communion, bring me that nourishment which I need. Make me eager to receive it. And Lord, there are so many people who are completely starving themselves of this most necessary food. With the strength that you give me, may I help bring them to you, so that all of us may be united in your Church at your holy table.

Thought for Today: "I have come that they might have life."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Presbyterians Think Of Changing 'Father, Son, Holy Spirit'

With the current state of affairs in the Episcopal community in America, this is something which really should not come as a surprise to anyone.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The divine Trinity -- "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" -- could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

"This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership," legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday's debate on the Trinity.

While some may claim that the theological position will remain unchanged, this is an erroneous statement since such a change in language and terminology nearly always results in changes of belief and thinking.

Some other proposed Trinity options include:

"Lover, Beloved, Love"
"Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"
"King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

There are some in the Catholic Church who attempt similar acts. We should pray that these confused souls come to their senses and permit their minds to be enlightened by the grace of God and that their faith might become grounded in the revealed truth who is Jesus Christ.

Creating the Perfect Master Race

British fertility specialists have developed a powerful new way to test embryos for inherited diseases, offering hundreds of couples their first realistic chance of having healthy children. The procedure has been hailed as a big advance, boosting the number of diseases clinics can test for from about 200 to nearly 6,000.

The new test will allow doctors to see which male embryos are free of the disease-causing mutation, so fewer embryos will be wasted.
Wasted? If we concede, which we must, that a human embryo is a human life, then we are witnessing yet another groteseque and macabre assault on humanity and the sanctity and dignity of human life. One wonders how long God is going to permit His will to be mocked and scorned?