Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 21, Secret Weapons

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To know my deepest self.

The Idea: When the devil tricks me into sinning, he wins a battle. But he wants more than that: he wants to win the war. He wants to get me to serve wholeheartedly under his banner, so that I can join him some day in hell and bring many souls there with me. Can he ever succeed in winning over a follower of Christ? He can, and some­times does. He does it by aiming his attacks at the deepest hidden desires of the human heart.

My Personal Application: To protect myself I have to know the deepest underlying desires of my heart, the real reasons that make me act, the things I look for in all I do. So I must examine myself honestly, searchingly, deeply (there is no one to fool but myself):

What do I really want most in all of life? Really - not just in my imaginary, heroic picture of myself, but as I really am, day by day, act by act?

What motives actually make me try my hardest and do my best? Praise? Love? Reward? Self-satisfaction?

What do I like and admire most in others? Of all the people I've ever heard of, whom do I think the most successful, admirable? Whom would I most like to be like? Why?

When I'm just daydreaming, what do I imagine myself as being, as doing? What would I like other people to say about me?

I Speak to God: Dear God, help me to see below the surface of my own thoughts and acts. The devil will use the hidden forces in me to destroy me if he can. Give me ligbt, give me strengtb, to escape his many traps.

Thought for Today: "A man's enemies are those of his own household."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Gospel for Saturday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:20-21

His Relatives Are Concerned About Jesus

Then He (Jesus) went home; [20] and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. [21] And when His friends heard it, they went out to seize Him, for they said, "He is beside Himself."
20-21. Some of His relatives, whose outlook was too human, regarded Jesus' total commitment to apostolate as excessive: the only explanation, they thought, was that He was out of His mind. On reading these words of the Gospel, we cannot help being moved, realizing what Jesus did for love of us: people even thought Him mad. Many saints, following Christ's example, have been taken for madmen--but they were mad with love, mad with love for Jesus 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.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 20, Campaign Strategy

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To know myself.

Mental Picture: Christ and Satan... two opposing generals planning their battle strategy... they look over the land they want to conquer... that is, they study me.

They look at me inside and outside - at my character... my personality... my habits... my passions. They study how best to use all these to win the war... the war is over me.

My Personal Application: I know whom I want to win this war. And yet, much as I want to be on Christ's side, lined up under His banner, I know that there are many tendencies within me which seem to go directly against Christ, which push me toward the camp of the enemy.

I have traitors inside myself: my pride... my selfishness... my laziness... love of the easy way... habits of follow­ing whatever others do... blindly... without much thinking on my own; my desires for clothes... cars... money; my longing to be liked... admired by others... human respect; my flesh... my weaknesses... I can be my own worst enemy.

Do I know the weak points and the strong points of my own character. If my soul's defenses are weak in spots, I'll have to watch and work on those spots where Satan and his forces will be sure to attack me.

I Speak to God: My Lord, open my eyes to these danger spots within myself. Make me alert and strong to defend them all. The devil knows my weakest side very well. Let me know it too, or I will be in real trouble.

Thought for Today: "Your enemy the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

More on the "Hounding" of Fr Mitchell

Those of us who have a great love of justice and fairness were saddened to see one of the priests assigned to this Archdiocese leave rather abruptly after being, as the Yakima diocesan vicar general explained it, "hounded". He was "hounded" by those whose pain has blinded them to even the most basic fairness and justice; many of them seem to have forgotten what charity truly is. Many are consumed with suspicion and fear - a deadly sort of fear and suspicion in which a "suspect" priest is always guilty - and the suspect remains guilty in their minds (and often in the eyes of the public) forever.

The wrongly accused priest, even after having been found in violation of no laws, is still harrassed, ridiculed, and made an object of scorn, disdain and calumny - and sometimes, those, with the suspicious minds and pointed fingers, even engage in libel and/or slander. Nevertheless, the outcome for the accused priest is nearly always that of a man whose good name is ruined and whose life is shattered. While it seems that righteous indignation toward those who commit such acts of malevolence is warranted, we should always remember to pray for them in the hope that they might accept God's grace to be more prudent before engaging in unjustifiable accusations and other violations of the Eighth Commandment.

My thoughts on this matter have been reinforced after receiving the following comments from a priest from the Diocese of Yakima - and, after coming home from spending a couple of hours before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, Benediction, and Prayers for Vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious life...I come home and witness, yet again, God's wonderful Providence! I spend time with Him and He sees that we are provided with great insights from one of His own priests on behalf of another!
As a priest of the Diocese of Yakima, and friend of Fr. Mitchell, I have read this thread with great interest. Until just recently Fr. Mitchell's name had not been made public by the local newspaper, since he was never charged with a crime. Now his name is everywhere, including on a list of suspected priests, kept by Until recently, a blogged story on that website contained a quote that erroneously labeled him a pedophile. Even though it appeared to be an honest mistake, it was still libelous (I was a journalist for 10 years before ordination, so my opinion is an informed one). It took me five days of earnest e-mailing to get the error removed.

I have disagreed with our bishop on some aspects of his handling of this case, but I do think Fr. Mitchell has been treated unjustly, and I don't believe that children have been endangered by his presence in his parish assignments. Here are some aspects of the situation that might be helpful to people as they reflect on what has occurred, perhaps with emotions cooling somewhat.

1) Fr. Mitchell was removed promptly from active ministry when it was brought to the bishop's attention that images of nude boys were printed from his computer. He agreed to the bishop's request that he enter a treatment facility in St. Louis while those images were examined by the authorities. The diocese did turn over the computer to authorities. It didn't happen immediately, and Fr. Mitchell could have accessed the computer. The program on his computer that could have removed illicit materials is also used by people to protect financial data. While the advertising for the program is provocative, to say the least, in claiming it is forensic-proof, it's sold routinely for $149, less than a lot of standard Microsoft programs people have on their computers.

2. After several months of treatment, Fr. Mitchell was deemed NOT to be a pedophile or ephebophile. The FBI investigation of the computer dragged on because of a backlog at their crime lab. Because the bishop had confidence in the doctors' opinions in St. Louis, and because there had been no evidence of any type of abuse in Fr. Mitchell's assignments, the bishop placed him in the cathedral parish where he could be closely supervised by the diocese's vicar general. The parish happened to have a school. Fr. Mitchell had little or no contact with the students.

3. Eventually both the federal and local authorities deemed that the images that had been printed did not meet legal standards for child pornography. The local decision came after reports surfaced that a priest was under investigation, and after Fr. Mitchell left the parish to which he was assigned because of complaints about his placement there (albeit with still no public identification of him in the press).

4. Local members of a Voice of the Faithful Chapter that formed in response to Fr. Mitchell's situation demanded a further investigation of his past assignments. During this period, Fr. Mitchell had a supervised assignment for a time in St. Louis, and also spent time at home with family.

5. The private investigation found no evidence of sexual abuse of any kind in Fr. Mitchell's other parish assignments. At this point, our bishop felt comfortable in certifying him for a full return to ministry. Unfortunately, he did not publicize the results of the investigation. My personal feeling is that he did not do so because he did not believe that those opposed to Fr. Mitchell's return to ministry would ever treat him fairly. But let's recap: no criminal charges; the images printed from his computer that were a source of scandal to the parish employee who found them were deemed not pornographic; no evidence of sexual abuse of minors was found in any of his parish assignments.

6. Fr. Mitchell received permission to be assigned to a parish in St. Louis, and he was assigned to St. Ambrose, where he served without incident, I believe, for five months. I wish he would have stuck it out. I think most people, with a fair and dispassionate recounting of what happened, would say that he has suffered more than
enough for his inappropriate behavior, and most important: that he has gotten the help he needs so that this will never happen again.

I agree wholeheartedly with the "one strike and you're out" policy established by the U.S. Bishops in dealing with perpetrators of sexual abuse of minors. But to continue the baseball analogy, this seems more like "one foul ball and you're out." Is that fair?

Of course, it may be a moot point. If I were subjected to the same level of "hounding," to use the word our vicar general used, would I want to continue in the priesthood? Though perhaps that is what embracing the cross is all about. Still, having had the experience of having our parish picketed by the Westboro Church from Kansas, I often wonder why it is Christians that seem to treat their fellow Christians the most harshly.

Fr. Robert Siler

Thanks you so much, Fr Siler, for helping those of us who have watched this sad event unfold before our very eyes this past week. Your generosity is much appreciated and be assured that you, Fr Mitchell and all of our priests will remain in our prayers.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2007

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

America was founded on the principle that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to life and that every individual has dignity and worth. National Sanctity of Human Life Day helps foster a culture of life and reinforces our commitment to building a compassionate society that respects the value of every human being.

Among the most basic duties of Government is to defend the unalienable right to life, and my Administration is committed to protecting our society's most vulnerable members. We are vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups. Through the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002," the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003," and the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004," we are helping to make our country a more hopeful place.

One of our society's challenges today is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning practices that violate the dignity of human life. With the right policies, we can continue to achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical and moral responsibilities.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all forms, not just those considered healthy, wanted, or convenient. Together, we can work toward a day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 21, 2007, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

# # #

St Gianna, an Inspiration for Holy, Devoted Vocations

I missed Archbishop Burke's Column last week because I was attending the annual Marian Conference. I was reviewing his Column this week as well as last week's and noticed both of these were devoted to vocations and the life of St Gianna.

Archbishop Burke asks us to pray for our young people that they "will know the will of God for them and respond to it with a completely generous heart, following the example of St. Gianna."

In his column from last week, he explains his meeting with the family and friends of St Gianna and that he has a first-class relic to be placed in the altar of the new St Gianna Parish Church when it is built and consecrated.

In his column for today, Archbishop Burke reflects more deeply on the inspiration and example of St Gianna, and that our vocations in life, in fidelity to Chist, require that we be ready to accept the sufferings and trials that come to us:

St. Gianna, wife, mother and physician, is an inspiration for our young people in responding to their vocation. What is more, she will intercede for them, so that they will unite themselves to our Lord, above all, in His Eucharistic Sacrifice, doing whatever He asks of them (John 2:5).
. . .
St. Gianna is an outstanding example of someone who came to know her vocation through prayer, especially through participation in Mass each day, daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the daily recitation of the Rosary. Her parents formed her in the habits of daily Mass, prayer and devotion.
. . .
St. Gianna practiced a life of generous self-giving, especially through her involvement in Catholic Action, a lay spiritual movement which helps its members to follow Christ by the threefold way of prayer, action and sacrifice.

At the end of her life, St. Gianna offered her life in death, to save the life of the infant in her womb. When she was urged to save her life by a surgical procedure which would have destroyed her unborn child, she responded that nothing could justify taking the life of the child. At the same time, she embraced the suffering of her approaching death with serenity, seeing her suffering as a true share in Christ’s Passion and Death.
. . .
When she was dying, St. Gianna was heard praying repeatedly the words: "Jesus, I love you!" Indeed, St. Gianna loved Jesus, doing God’s will with trust in His promise of salvation.

In union with the intentions of Archbishop Burke and for God's blessings of an abundance of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, we pray:

Let us all pray each day that our young men and women will come to know their vocation through prayer and will embrace the sufferings which responding to their vocation inevitably entails. Let us pray that they, like St. Gianna, will trust in God’s providence, doing His will with confidence that He will provide for them in all things.

Committed to saving souls

Archbishop Michael Sheehan, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez and Bishop Donald Pelotte announced Thursday that they support an end to cockfighting in New Mexico.

"The bishops recognize that cockfighting is abusive of God's good creation and is not a cultural treasure," said Allen Sanchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Cockfighting promotes violence."

Accounting Committee Urges Tighter Internal Finance Controls for Nation’s Parishes

WASHINGTON (January 18, 2007)— The Accounting Practices Committee, a group of lay experts who advise the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has called for tighter internal controls over finances in the nation’s more than 19,000 parishes.

The Committee made several recommendations for parishes, which deal primarily in cash from the collection plate, and urged “effective oversight by the bishop for compliance.”

Gospel for Friday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:13-19

Jesus Chooses Twelve Apostles

[13] And He (Jesus) went up into the hills, and called to Him those whom He desired; and they came to Him. [14] And He appointed twelve, to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach [15] and have authority to cast out demons; [16] Simon whom He surnamed Peter; [17] James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom He surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; [18] Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, [19] and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.
13. "He called to Him those whom He desired": God wants to show us that calling, vocation, is an initiative of God. This is particularly true in the case of the Apostles, which is why Jesus could tell them, later on, that "you did not choose Me, but I chose you" (Jn 15:16). Those who will have power and authority in the Church will not obtain this because first they offer their services and then Jesus accepts their offering: on the contrary, "not through their own initiative and preparation, but rather by virtue of divine grace, would they be called to the apostolate" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

14-19. The Twelve chosen by Jesus (cf. 3:14) receive a specific vocation to be "people sent out", which is what the word "apostles" means. Jesus chooses them for a mission which He will give them later (6:6-13) and to enable them to perform this mission He gives them part of His power. The fact that He chooses "twelve" is very significant. This is the same number as the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, and the Apostles represent the new people of God, the Church founded by
Christ. Jesus sought in this way to emphasize the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. The Twelve are the pillars on which Christ builds His Church (cf. Gal 2:9); their mission to make disciples of the Lord (to teach) all nations, sanctifying and governing the believers (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:45-48; Jn 20:21-23).

14. The Second Vatican Council sees in this text the establishment of the College of the Apostles: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mk 3:13-19; Mt 10:1-42). These apostles (cf. Lk 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from amongst them" (cf. Jn 21: 15-17) [...]. "That divine mission, which was committed by Christ to the apostles, is destined to last until the end of the world (cf. Mt 28:20), since the Gospel, which they were charged to hand on, is, for the Church, the principle of all its life for all time. For that very reason the apostles were careful to appoint successors in their hierarchically constituted society." ("Lumen Gentium", 19-20). Therefore, the Pope and the bishops, who succeed to the College of the Twelve, are also called by our Lord to be always with Jesus and to preach the Gospel, aided by priests.

Life in union with Christ and apostolic zeal must be very closely linked together; in other words, effectiveness in apostolate always depends on union with our Lord, on continuous prayer and on sacramental life: "Apostolic zeal is a divine craziness I want you to have. Its symptoms are: hunger to know the Master; constant concern for souls; perseverance that nothing can shake" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 934).

16. At this point, before the word "Simon" the sentence "He formed the group of the twelve" occurs in many manuscripts (it is similar to the phrase "He appointed twelve" in v. 14) but it is not included in the New Vulgate. The repetition of the same _expression and the article in "the twelve" show the importance of the establishment of the Apostolic College.
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, January 18, 2007

Bible Story Project with Jim Caviezel as Christ

Star Studded Bible Story Project with Jim Caviezel as Christ Co-Produced by EWTN's Raymond Arroyo

To hear an advance audio clip montage trailer of the project, presented in dramatic audio theater, visit: (low-res) (high-res)

This sounds great - Scheduled to be available October 2007.

Mental Prayer for January 19, The Two Armies


Against our Leader and Lord is ranged the whole power of Satan. Of course, we would not follow him. But he may be able to trap us if we do not thoroughly understand and appreciate our Lord's campaign and battle plan, and the cam­paign and plan of Satan.

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask : To know more about my place in this greatest of wars.

Mental Picture: I have answered Christ's call to fight in the war to save the souls of men. I look closer today at the two great opposing armies. They have fought through all of history... fought over every single soul that ever lived.

On one side is the army of the good. Christ is the Leader... strong, attractive... standing in the midst of His followers... sending them forth to teach the truth... to lead men to heaven.

The enemy camp... headquarters of all the forces of evil... all the temptations... the evil desires... the lies, the wickedness of the worst of men and of all the devils of hell... all gathered around their evil chief, Satan himself... seated proudly on a high throne... surrounded by smoke and fire... Satan, hating the human race... sending his agents into every single human life... into my life... to work, to watch for their chance. Satan... evil... hating... cruel.

My Personal Application: Christ's forces and Satan's forces both aim at conquering me. My soul is a prize in this war. Christ wants me in a place in the center of His camp, fighting under His banner. Satan wants to win me to himself. My every thought, my every move, brings me closer to one leader or the other, closer to life or destruction.

I Speak to God: Dear Lord, as I stand looking at the two armies, one fills me with inspiration and love and draws me to itself; one fills me with horror and fear. Let me join the good and learn to defend myself and others against all the attacks of the evil.

Thought for Today: "He who is not with me is against me."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

A Catholic Priest Cooperating with a Death Peddler

Catholic Priest Has Only Glowing Praise for Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual Marriage Candidate Barack Obama
By Cassidy Bugos

CHICAGO, January 18, 2007 ( – Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago wants people to know that pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage Senator Barack Obama “is the best thing to come across the political scene since Bobby Kennedy.”

Father Pfleger says he has known Obama for 20 years. “I think Barack Obama is in a class of his own,” he said.
He sure is...maybe not as slick as "slick Willie", but pretty close...

And "Father" Pfleger is certainly not a priest I would want teaching my children (or my friends or fellow Catholics, for that matter).

Not convinced that Obama, like his comrades in the Senate and House, is a "death peddler"?

He had a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives.

One vote that especially riled abortion opponents involved restrictions on a type of abortion where the fetus sometimes survives, occasionally for hours. The restrictions, which never became law, included requiring the presence of a second doctor to care for the fetus.
. . .
Abortion opponents see Obama's vote on medical care for aborted fetuses as a refusal to protect the helpless. Some have even accused him of supporting infanticide.
And more of the same here.

Coffee, A Life Lesson

Via email today:

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:

"If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

"Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

"Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee."

The happiest people don't have the best of everything - they just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

This is a MUST READ..."the protocol of the elders of Boston"

On Leila's advice, I skipped the opening chapter and watched the rest of the documentary Hand of God, produced by a native of Salem, Massachusetts, concerning the sexual abuse of his brother, Paul Cultrera, by the late Fr. Joseph Birmingham of the Archdiocese of Boston. You can watch it chapter by chapter here.
. . .
The documentary centers not on the sexual villainy of Birmingham but, fittingly, on the duplicity and moral cowardice of Father, now Bishop, John McCormack. McCormack not only lied about his awareness of the sexual predations of his seminary classmate and rectory housemate Birmingham, but gave false assurances to worried parents who had guessed the truth about him -- this when McCormack was Archdiocesan Secretary for Ministerial Personnel. Cultrera's dealings with McCormack began in 1994, after he first reported his abuse of thirty years earlier and McCormack, to keep him mum, fed him smoke.
You can read Diogenes' report here...I can't help but feel numbed and angered by the lies and evil of some clerics, and unbearable sadness, tears and compassion for those who have been victimized.

May our Lord grant His healing power and His infinite grace to those who have been harmed and may each of those who have inflicted such hideous crimes be brought to conversion and repentance before his day of judgment before the Lord!

Please Pray for this Baby

Aid to Women of Toronto, Canada is desperately searching for an adoptive/foster family for a spina bifida pre-born twin. The mother is abortion-minded because of pressure from the sphere of influence around her. The twins are due to be born next month.

For more information from a mom who did adopt a Spina Bifida baby, who is now a grown man, please call Joanne at 905-309-3340.

The offers have been coming in but the mother has not even been approached yet. This will happen tomorrow. Also, it is felt that is the adoptive/foster family might be in the general Toronto area, the mother might be more receptive. So they are pretty much limiting their search to the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area.

What they need most and immediately is prayer. Thank you.

Please contact Ann 416-921-6016

HT to Patte G for the update!

More on Centering Prayer

Since there seems to be some discussin on the subject, I thought I'd post something to read and ponder:

Centering Prayer and Enneagram are pagan
The Centering Prayer empties the mind through repetition of a mantra: it is neither Catholic nor prayer. Fr Thomas Keating involved in this and other New Age practices and Tarot.

(Editor's note: Susan Beckworth's previous article in the past week touched upon New Age practices among some Catholic and other Christian clergy. It received considerable comment both pro and con. The following is offered by Ms. Beckworth as a response to readers' comments. She plans to offer another article soon about the involvement of Catholic hierarchs in the New Age movement.)

Christian meditation has always been about entering more deeply into union with the Lord Jesus Christ and with Him, God the Father and the Holy Ghost. It consists of turning our thoughts, our hearts, our desires and our love to the Living God.

In stark contrast, “Centering Prayer” focuses on emptying the mind of all thought through the repetition of a mantra (though proponents of centering prayer don't use the term "mantra" and would object to me using it). Centering Prayer by emptying one’s mind seeks to achieve an ALC - Altered Level of Consciousness.)

Authentic Prayer, however, has its goal which is union with God. It fosters holiness in the individual. In the Church if meditation is truly authentic, it will possess the following characteristics:

1. It is Christ-centered and Trinitarian.
2. It will acknowledge the cross of Christ and suffering.
3. It will encourage an awareness of sin, a turning away from it, and trust in God’s mercy.
4. It encourages a sacramental life, especially the Eucharist.
5. It encourages a disposition of obedience to Church teaching.
6. It is Marian.
7. It looks beyond this world to eternity.

And another article from This Rock Magazine on "The Danger of Centering Prayer" can be read here.

Many people assume centering prayer is compatible with Catholic tradition, but in fact the techniques of centering prayer are neither Christian nor prayer. They are at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.
. . .
In order to see clearly that centering prayer departs from Catholic tradition, let us review the differences between Christian spirituality and that of Eastern religions. These differences flow, above all, from their concepts of God, of man, and of their relationship. In light of this contrast, we should be able to see more clearly from which of these centering prayer draws its approach and techniques.

Is centering prayer really Catholic? Hardly...

From CWNews: Special Vatican meeting on Chinese Church

Vatican, Jan. 18, 2007 ( - Pope Benedict XVI has called a special meeting of top Church officials to discuss the situation facing the Catholic Church in China.

The 2-day meeting, to take place at the Vatican January 19 and 20, will be chaired by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State. The participants are expected to include both leading Vatican officials and Asian prelates including Cardinals Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Paul Shan, the retired Bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Because of severe restrictions imposed by the government, no bishops from mainland China are expected to attend. The discussions will be confidential

Gospel for Thursday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 3:7-12

Cures Beside the Sea of Galilee

[7] Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea [8] and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing all that He did, came to Him. [9] And He told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him; [10] for He had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon Him to touch Him. [11] And whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." [12] And He strictly ordered them not to make Him known.


10. During our Lord's public life people were constantly crowding round Him to be cured (cf. Luke 6:19; 8:45; etc). As in the case of many other cures, St. Mark gives us a graphic account of what Jesus did to these people (cf. Mark 1:31, 41; 7:31-37; 8:22-26; John 9:1-7, 11, 15). By working these cures our Lord shows that He is both God and man: He cures by virtue of His divine power and using His human nature. In other words, only in the Word of God become man is the work of our Redemption effected, and the instrument God used to save us was the human nature of Jesus--His Body and Soul--in the unity of the person of the Word (cf. Vatican II, "Sacrosanctum Concilium", 5).

This crowding round Jesus is repeated by Christians of all times: the holy human nature of our Lord is our only route to salvation; it is the essential means we must use to unite ourselves to God. Thus, we can today approach our Lord by means of the sacraments, especially and pre-eminently the Eucharist. And through the sacraments there flows to us, from God, through the human nature of the Word, a strength which cures those who receive the sacraments with faith (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa theologiae", III, q. 62, a. 5).
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, January 17, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 18, How Do I Make a Good Retreat?

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Dear God, help me to do everything I should to make a good retreat this year.

The Idea: A retreat is a private, personal exercise. Its success does not depend upon teamwork, except in the sense that those of us making the retreat together can make it easier or harder for each other to get the most out of it. Just as an exercise such as weight-lifting depends upon in­dividual work to build muscles, so a retreat will result in growth of spiritual strength only inas­much as I work to make it well. Therefore it is up to me to "retreat" from ordinary occupations and distractions, to keep silence - which means not only not talking, but also staying away from TV, from games, from anything at all that would take my mind off the eternally important exercise of my soul.

I can't concentrate as I should on the two most important realities - God and myself ­- unless I really withdraw from other interests in order to give my entire attention for these days to the purpose of my life. Growth in con­viction as to how I must act, growth in knowledge of my own problems and weaknesses, building up my spiritual strength for the future - these will result only if I make my retreat as I ought. Silence, work at the personal exercise of my soul, sacrifices in order to get closer to Christ - if I do these things, I shall be well on my way to making a good retreat.

I Speak to God: Dear God, it's not going to be easy to stay silent and to give all my attention to the exercise of my soul for a proper and worthwhile retreat. Please give me the strength I need to make a good retreat.

Thought for Today: "Come aside and rest awhile."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Catholic clergy abuse lawsuit against Vatican can go ahead, judge rules

WASHINGTON (CNS) – A federal judge in Louisville, Ky., has denied a Vatican request to dismiss a sex abuse lawsuit seeking damages from the Holy See.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled Jan. 11 that U.S. bishops and priests are employees of the Vatican within the terms of the Federal Sovereign Immunity Act.
Hmmm, if they're "employees", then surely the "boss" can terminate those bishops and priests whose incompetence is so outrageous? Shall we nominate those who deserve to receive special "pink slips"? (pun intended)

And coming soon from another mentally challenged "judge" somewhere will be a ruling that one can sue God for those occurrences deemed to be "Acts of God" as found in so many insurance policies.

Many days, it seems that the lunatics really are running the asylum, if you will excuse the cliche...The only place where peace and solace can be found anymore in before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Link to article here.

Archbishop Chaput Fires 1st salvo at (Catholic) Gov. Ritter

The full text of Archbishop Chaput's column can be read here.

Phoenix Priest Leaves Priesthood Over Homosexuality

Gospel for Jan 17, Memorial: St Anthony, abbot

From: Mark 3:1-6

The Curing of the Man with a Withered Hand

[1] Again He (Jesus) entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. [2] And they watched Him, to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. [3] And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." [4] And He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. [5] And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. [6] The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Him, how to destroy Him.


5. The evangelists refer a number of times to the way Jesus looks at people (e.g. at the young man: Mark 10:21; at St. Peter: Luke 22:61, etc). This is the only time we are told He showed indignation--provoked by the hypocrisy shown in verse 2.

6. The Pharisees were the spiritual leaders of Judaism; the Herodians were those who supported the regime of Herod, benefiting politically and financially thereby. The two were completely opposed to one another and avoided each other's company, yet they combined forces against Jesus. The Pharisees wanted to see the last of Him because they considered Him a dangerous innovator. The most recent occasion may have been when He pardoned sins (Mark 2:1ff) and interpreted with full authority the law of the Sabbath (Mark 3:2); they also want to get rid of Him because they consider that He lowered their own prestige in the eyes of the people by the way He cured the man with the withered hand. The Herodians, for their part, despised the supernatural and eschatological tone of Christ's message, since they looked forward to a purely political and temporal Messiah.
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, January 16, 2007

Archbishop Wuerl, Not Doing His Job

HLI Leader Says: "I don't believe Archbishop Wuerl is doing his job"
Washington Archbishop Wuerl Won't Discipline or Deny Communion to Pro-Abortion Speaker Pelosi
By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, January 16, 2007 ( - Perhaps it was a bad omen when at the installation Mass for the new Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl last June, pro-abortion Democratic Senator John Kerry was given Holy Communion and caught on camera in the act. During the entrance procession, Archbishop Wuerl shook hands with Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy. (see coverage: )

Dr Edward Peters: Denial of Communion is not Excommunication

Reports are circulating that Nigerian bishop Francis Okobo (Diocese of Nsukka) told his people that voting is their sacred duty and that those who fail to register to vote will be denied reception of Holy Communion. One headline put it: "Excommunication for non-voters: Nigerian bishop decrees".

Mental Prayer for January 17, What Should I Get Out of Retreat?

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Dear Lord, help me to realize the eternal importance of making a good retreat.

The Idea and My Personal Application: I am in danger of losing heaven so long as I do not desire to go there more than to have anything in this world: money or fame or popularity - anything. The chief result I should get out of a retreat is the real conviction that my one real purpose for being alive is to serve God and so to gain eternal happiness in heaven. Nothing else is truly important. During the year, when I am so taken up with fun, dreams about a wonderful future in this world, desires for pleasure, I forget this truth. I "retreat" from the world in order to understand it once again so that in the future I will always live for this one purpose. The exercise of the retreat
should make me know my own weaknesses, temp­tations, sins - where I am spiritually "out of con­dition," where I am hurting myself and my work for others. It should make me stronger in over­coming these weaknesses, ready to fight Satan every step of the way, closer than ever before to Christ and His Blessed Mother. It should particularly help me to overcome any really serious personal difficulty or to solve any important personal problem, such as the choice of my state of life, a choice that does or will affect me and through my influence, countless others too. This is what a retreat is for.

I Speak to God: Dear God, you know even better than I do how badly I need to make a good retreat. I want to make this year's perfectly - to do what­ever I must in order to live rightly, to exercise myself in such a way that I will be stronger in resisting the temptations Satan puts in my path.

Thought for Today: "Seek the Lord with your whole heart."
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Tridentine Mass in Lafayette Diocese

Latin Masses returned to the Lafayette Roman Catholic Diocese on Sunday, Jan. 14, when the Rev. Jerome Frey celebrated the initial Latin Tridentine service at St. Peter’s Church in Carencro.
Read more here...

Gospel for Tuesday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:23-28

The Law of the Sabbath

[23] One Sabbath He (Jesus) was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way His disciples began to pluck ears of grain. [24] And the Pharisees said to Him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" [25] And He said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and hungry, he and those whowere with him: [26] how he entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" [27] And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; [28] so the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."


24. Cf. note on Matthew 12:2. [Note on Matthew 12:2 states: "The Sabbath": this was the day the Jews set aside for worshipping God. God Himself, the originator of the Sabbath (Genesis 2:3), ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day (Exodus 20:8-11; 21:13; Deuteronomy 5:14) to leave them free to give more time to God. As time went by, the rabbis complicated this Divine precept: by Jesus' time they had extended to 39 the list of kinds of forbidden work.

The Pharisees accuse Jesus' disciples of breaking the Sabbath. In the casuistry of the scribes and the Pharisees, plucking ears of corn was the same as harvesting, and crushing them was the same as milling--types of agricultural work forbidden on the Sabbath.]

26-27. The bread of the Presence consisted of twelve loaves or cakes placed each morning on the table in the sanctuary, as homage to the Lord from the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Leviticus 24:5-9). The loaves withdrawn to make room for the fresh ones were reserved to the priests.

Abiathar's action anticipates what Christ teaches here. Already in the Old Testament God had established a hierarchy in the precepts of the Law so that the lesser ones yielded to the main ones.

This explains why a ceremonial precept (such as the one we are discussing) should yield before a precept of the natural law. Similarly, the commandment to keep the Sabbath does not come before the duty to seek basic subsistence. Vatican II uses this passage of the Gospel to underline the value of the human person over and above economic and social development: "The social order and its development must constantly yield to the good of the person, since the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons and not the other way around, as the Lord suggested when He said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The social order requires constant improvement: it must be founded on truth, built on justice, and enlivened by love" ("Gaudium Et Spes", 26).

Finally in this passage Christ teaches God's purpose in instituting the Sabbath: God established it for man's good, to help him rest and devote himself to Divine worship in joy and peace. The Pharisees, through their interpretation of the Law, had turned this day into a source of anguish and scruple due to all the various prescriptions and prohibitions they introduced.

By proclaiming Himself `Lord of the Sabbath', Jesus affirms His divinity and His universal authority. Because He is Lord He has the power to establish other laws, as Yahweh had in the Old Testament.

28. The Sabbath had been established not only for man's rest but also to give glory to God: that is the correct meaning of the _expression "the Sabbath was made for man." Jesus has every right to say He is Lord of the Sabbath, because He is God. Christ restores to the weekly day of rest its full, religious meaning: it is not just a matter of fulfilling a number of legal precepts or of concern for physical well-being: the Sabbath belongs to God; it is one way, suited to human nature, of rendering glory and honor to the Almighty. The Church, from the time of the Apostles onwards, transferred the observance of this precept to the following day, Sunday--the Lord's Day--in celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

"Son of Man": the origin of the messianic meaning of this _expression is to be found particularly in the prophecy of Daniel 7:13ff, where Daniel, in a prophetic vision, contemplates `one like the Son of Man' coming down on the clouds of Heaven, who even goes right up to God's throne and is given dominion and glory and royal power over all peoples and nations. This _expression appears 69 times in the Synoptic Gospels; Jesus prefers it to other ways of describing the Messiah--such as Son of David, Messiah, etc.--thereby avoiding the nationalistic overtones those expressions had in Jewish minds at the time (cf. "Introduction to the Gospel according to St. Mark", p. 62 above).
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, January 15, 2007

Archbishop Wuerl Update - Spinectomy was a Success

Not his style
Archbishop Donald Wuerl goes on record: he will take no action to prevent Nancy Pelosi from receiving Communion despite her obstinate support of abortion and same-sex marriage.

Some had already assumed this to be the case. He and his brother bishops who fail to govern and teach do not seem to understand the scandal they cause by their inaction against those "Catholics" who promote abortion, ebryonic stem cell research and same sex unions...By their silence in addressing public scandalous behavior, they, in effect, have become accomplices in the evil perpetuated by so-called "Catholic" politicians. May God have mercy on their souls for the harm they willingly permit to be inflicted on the body of Christ. The faithful must pray the the vicar of Christ will someone appoint bishops who are men and who have the courage to act as Christ's shepherds of His flock, many of whom are left wandering in the wilderness.


The Minister of Baptism

"He (Jesus) manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him." St. John, 2:11.

In the fall of the year 1841 the saintly and zealous Jesuit, Father De Smet, and his companions saw the completion of the first church in the state of Montana, at a place now known as Stevensville. No sooner was the chapel finished than one of the Indians exclaimed: "Why, this is the very place where little Mary said the House of Prayer would be built." Who was little Mary? She was a thirteen-year-old Indian girl who had taken seriously sick. When she fell ill there was no priest near, so she asked one of the Iroquois Indians to baptize her. And he did. In her joy she cried out: "There is no happiness on earth. Happiness is found only above." She lifted her weak, trembling hands, and raised her eyes heaven­ward: "I see the heavens open and God's mother calls me up there." Then she turned to those around her: "Listen to the Blackrobes when they come; they have the true prayer; do all they tell you. They are coming and will build the House of Prayer where I am dying." That is what the Indian meant when he reminded the others: "This is the very place where little Mary said the House of Prayer would be built."

This story brings out the fact that anyone can baptize. Even a pagan can confer this sacrament. How ocean-like is the mercy of God, who wills to have all men saved.

Ordinarily a priest is the minister of Baptism. It is a sacred and official act, and one who by his life and calling is dedicated to sacred things should perform the ceremony. The priest knows exactly what to do and how to do it. Ordinarily, too, the pastor of the one to be baptized has the first right to perform the ceremony. Exceptions are made, but that is the usual procedure. In any case, consult him first. The pastor can delegate his power and right to another, and often does.

In case of necessity anyone can baptize who has the proper intention. The one baptizing need not be a Catholic. Even a Jew or pagan, as in the case of little Mary, can give this sacrament, if he intend~ to do what the Catholic Church wants done. "In case of necessity" means that a person is in danger of death and no priest is available. For a lay person to baptize when a priest could easily be obtained would be a mortal sin.

We must follow a certain order with regard to those who are not priests and who are called upon to baptize. A Catholic should be asked in preference to a non-Catholic, a stranger in preference to relatives. Nevertheless, the one most capable of performing the ceremony should be elected for the honor. It might happen, for example, that a non-Catholic doctor is attending a dying baby. Everyone about the sick room is a Catholic, but no one is certain and secure about the ceremony. The doctor does (or should) know how. Let him perform the ceremony.

It is absolutely necessary that the one who baptizes has the intention of doing what the Church wants done. That is what Christ wants done. It stands to reason that if Christ made Baptism necessary for salvation and the sight of God, Christ also laid down the requirements. These require­ments the Catholic Church has always observed.

The one baptizing must know how. No vague, uncertain knowledge will do. Some, like doctors, nurses, mid-wives and parents, have the grave duty of knowing exactly what to do and say. The essentials are the pouring of the water and the saying of the words.

Suppose you are called upon to baptize in a case of necessity. Secure some clean, pure water. However, any kind of water will do. Pour the water over the top of the head, or on the forehead, and while pouring the water repeat these words: "John (the person's name), I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The important point is to pour the water and say the words at the same time. Don't be nervous or worried. You need not make the sign of the cross with the hand pouring the water. The water simply must flow over the skin to represent true exterior washing.

It would be a good idea for those of you who might expect to be called upon to baptize to practice this sometime. Pour the water and say the words at the same time. However, do not practice on a person.

As soon as possible inform the priest of this baptism which you per­formed. Should the baptized person recover, the other ceremonies are supplied in Church. However, the priest does not repeat the actual pouring of water and saying of the words. You have already performed that essential action. And it counts.

Parents should know how to baptize. God forbid, but should there be a miscarriage, and no priest or other person is immediately available, the father or mother should perform the ceremony at once. There is a soul to save. Don't permit the excitement of the occasion to turn your mind from the essential action: Pour the water and say the words at one and the same time.

Baptism works a wonder greater than the one performed in Sunday's Gospel. Jesus changed water into wine; in that wonderful change He showed His glory. We might say that in Baptism the one baptizing works by means of water wonders of grace in the soul of the one baptized. Here, too, Christ's glory is shown. His mercy and goodness are without limit. He wants all to be saved. From little Mary of our story, who was baptized by a pagan, to the last helpless infant, God wants all to be saved. May His mercy be praised. Amen.
Adapted from Talks on the Sacraments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne,OFM (© 1947)

Mental Prayer for January 16, What Is a Retreat?

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: Dear God, help me to realize the eternal importance of making a good retreat.

The Idea: A retreat is not something to listen to, but something to do. The real value of my making a good retreat will not be measured by how good the retreat master's talks are, but by how much I myself grow in spiritual strength. Just as the real football game begins not in the locker-room when the coach gives his last-minute pep-talk, but only when the two teams begin to fight for victory on the field, so my real retreat work will be in the struggle in my own soul against the shifty plays of Satan, who constantly is trying to cheat me out of eternal joy in heaven. A retreat is a time of spiritual exercise, and it should result in a toughening of my spiritual muscles.

My Personal Application: Because this is com­pletely personal exercise inside my own soul, we call these days a retreat, that is, a turning away from the occupations and distractions of ordinary daily life. This exercise demands my full attention to just two things: God and myself. It is the one time of the year when I can sit down and really understand why I am alive, what I am supposed to do in order to live rightly, how I have failed to do so, and why - and most importantly, what I must do to get back on the right track and stay there.

I Speak to God: Dear God, help me to prepare my soul during the time before my retreat, so that I will make it the best way possible.

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

Catholic Parish to Hold "Women Led Liturgies"?

Jan 11 - First a little backgroud...Catholic Action Network (CAN) claims to work on various "social justice" issues. CAN also claims that its most active projects are "Holy Families" (homosexuality) and "Justice for Women in the Catholic Church" (women's ordination).

With respect to "Justice for Women in the Catholic Church," CAN states:

JWCC is a local group that collaborates with the Women's Ordination Conference to work for women's equality in the Catholic Church.

We like to have a mix of home grown liturgies, national speakers and actions to bring the justice issues for women into the light. (emphasis added)

Email CAN to receive updates and meeting times for this group!

What's New
Women Led-Liturgies
an opportunity for Catholic women (especially those called to ordination) to lead prayer

Saturday, December 2nd @ 9am
Center for Theology and Social Analysis: 1077 S. Newstead @ Manchester (map here)

Check out our Liturgy from September 2006 here.

Gatherings for Women Called
Do you feel called to ordination? Discerning how to deal with this call?
Meet and share with other women in a safe environment.
Contact CAN if you’re interested.

Notice the "Women Led Liturgies"?

CAN also has posted this:
Flyer for our 2007 Prayer Service schedule, which will be held monthly, here!
Hmmm, "Women Led Liturgies" and "Women Led Prayer". Now, I think I know the distinction. But, what exactly is this - what does this statement from the flyer mean?

We need folks to help with planning, play music, offer reflections, and participate in the liturgies- hope you will join us!

What are the "liturgies" to which the flyer is referring? What to know more?

The "events" are held every third Saturday at:
St. Cronan’s Parish
1202 S. Boyle
one block south of Manchester on Boyle Avenue, in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

As the flyer states:
Services include readings, music, rituals, shared prayer and reflections. All are welcome! (emphasis again added)
Given the background of this collaborative effort, this certainly seems to be at odds with the position of the Church. Since this parish is associating with Catholic Action Network which advocates the ordination of women, is it unreasonable to expect clarification of the position of the parish in this regard? Hopefully, that clarification will be forthcoming.

The Next Battle For and Against Jesus Will Be Fought by the Book

And the new book announced and released by Joseph Ratzinger will be the best-seller of the year. Here is the complete preface, in five languages...
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Monday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 2:18-22

A Discussion on Fasting

[18] Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to Him (Jesus): "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" [19] And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. [20] The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. [21] No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. [22] And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins."


18-22. Using a particular case, Christ's reply tells about the connection between the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testamentthe Bridegroom has not yet arrived; in the New Testament He is present, in the person of Christ. With Him began the Messianic Times, a new era distinct from the previous one. The Jewish fasts, therefore, together with their system of religious observances, must be seen as a way of preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah. Christ shows the difference between the spirit He has brought and that of the Judaism of His time.

This new spirit will not be something extra, added on to the old; it will bring to life the perennial teachings contained in the older Revelation. The newness of the Gospel--just like new wine--cannot fit within the molds of the Old Law.

But this passage says more: to receive Christ's new teaching people must inwardly renew themselves and throw off the straight-jacket of old routines.

19-20. Jesus describes Himself as the Bridegroom (cf. also Luke 12:35; Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:29), thereby fulfilling what the Prophets had said about the relationship between God and His people (cf. Hosea 2:18-22; Isaiah 54:5ff). The Apostles are the guests at the wedding, invited to share in the wedding feast with the Bridegroom, in the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Matthew 22:1-14).

In verse 20 Jesus announces that the Bridegroom will be taken away from them: this is the first reference He makes to His passion and death (cf. Mark 8:31; John 2:19; 3:14). The vision of joy and sorrow we see here epitomizes our human condition during our sojourn on earth.
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, January 14, 2007

Mental Prayer for January 15, Christ and His Parents

Mental Prayer Meditation Helps

Presence of God

Grace I Ask: To understand the meaning of family living.

The Idea: Christ grew up as a member of a family. Let me look into the house at Nazareth and watch Him at home. Could Mary and Joseph complain that He did not appreciate them... that He did not show that He knew all they were doing for Him... and that He never showed His thanks? I hardly think so. Could they complain that He was never home except when He had to be? No.

It is not hard to imagine them sitting around talking, enjoying each other as all families should at times. Could His parents complain that He was grouchy, sharp, even critical at home? Certainly not! His home was HOME and He loved it. Let me quietly watch the three of them for a while to see how they act toward each other, Mother, Father, and Son. See how they show their love for each other in so many little ways.

My Personal Application: Being a member of a family means much more than living in the same house as my parents and brothers and sisters. What is my attitude toward my home? Is it just a place to eat and sleep? Oh, not in so many words - but deep down do I act as if it were only that?

I Speak to Christ: Help me to appreciate my family life. I've got so much to learn.

Thought for Today: Lord, teach me to see my family as you saw yours.
Adapted from Mental Prayer, Challenge to the Lay Apostle
by The Queen's Work,(© 1958)

Are you a....

The Following was sent to me - I thought I'd share it:

Are you a Protestant, Pagan, New Ager, Progressive, Masonic, Pseudo-Catholic?
Are you attending a Protestant, Pagan, New Age, Progressive, Masonic, Pseudo-Catholic church?

You might be if...

  • if you attend Mass in a "worship space"

  • if you have a nun that is a Reiki Master

  • if you look forward to Lent because you like the sand and seashells in the holy water fonts

  • if you've ever dreamed of being a liturgical dancer

  • if your lifetime dream is to be a priest and you are female

  • if you have more than 20 EMHCs at your Mass

  • if you think God is your Mama

  • ii you pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for Her help

  • if your RCIA program leaves out the Mass

  • if you have a Social Justice Dept instead of a Pro-life Office

  • if you think the Friday abstinence has been abolished

  • if your priest or nuns ever quote "Sister" Joan Chittister or "Fr" Richard McBrien

  • if you match your underwear to your rainbow sash

  • if your priest has been on TV because he "speaks for The Church"

  • if your parish calls handing out the bulletins a "ministry"

  • if you have carpal tunnel from too much Orans position

  • if your parish offers a course in mandella making

  • if you've ever been late for a "Voice of the Faithful" meeting

  • if you're a member of "Call to Action"

  • if you've never watched EWTN

  • if you've ever attended an "ordination" in the middle of a river

  • if you have found your "sacred self"

  • if you think of Disney's "Let There Be Peace on Earth" as sacred music

  • if your Sunday best means a new pair of designer blue jeans

  • if you think Gregorian Chant is a couple of monks simging "Ohmm,...Ohmm,...Ohmm"

  • if you've ever let your birth control prescription expire

  • if you have a parish workshop that promises to "empower you in the spirit"

  • if you've ever bowed to the "Spirit of Four Directions"

  • if your parish has more than 18 "ministries"

  • if you can't hear the words of the Consecration over the sound of Hot Wheels

  • if you have never prayed to a Saint

  • if you saw a woman with a veil and wondered if she was Amish

  • if for you, the highlight of the Mass is when you get to sing a Haugen and Haas tune

  • if you've never gone to Adoration

  • if you saw someone with his/her head down in prayer and wondered if they were sick

  • if you think Roger Mahony would make a good pope

  • if you think Call to Action should replace the College of Cardinals

  • if you help the priest "lift up" your heart to the Lord

  • if you refer to cleaning the sacred vessels as "doin' the dishes"

  • if you "take" Holy Communion

  • if you have a banner hanging from your church's podium

  • if your confessional doubles as a broom closet

  • if you've ever "found God" during centering prayer

  • if you attend a some other kind of "worship service" when you miss Mass

  • if you can't think of any sins you commited since you went to Confession a year ago

  • if the tabernacle in your church has a revolving door and an "Everyone Welcome" sign

  • if you can chew gum and receive Holy Communion at the same time

  • if speaking in tongues makes you feel "special"

  • if the homilies you hear are given by everyone BUT the priest

  • if your priest tries to consecrate a sheetcake

  • if the Mass you attend has more people on the altar than in the pews

  • if you wore a Halloween costume to Mass and nobody noticed

  • if you have ever been part of the crowd gathered around the Altar during the Consecration

  • if you call your priest by his first name

  • if before your Mass it sounds like a noisy theater before the curtain goes up

  • if your baptismal "font" can seat eight

  • if yours is a "community" rather than a church

  • if you've never prayed the Rosary or worn a scapular

  • if your church has a "mission statement"

  • if you check with the USCCB before you pick a movie to go see

  • if your kids don't know Who is in the Tabernacle

  • if your church has a "Coffee and Doughnuts Ministry"

  • if your "pastoral" council voted "Yes" for a Stephen Ministry but "No" for the Rosary before Mass

  • if your priest uses no altar cloth during Mass

  • if you can't pray without holding another person's hand

  • if you've ever worn a t-shirt, sweatshirt or shorts to Mass

  • if you think "sisters" should look like misters

  • if you pray you'll be a better person in your next life

  • if your church does not give Mass envelopes to the children

  • if you have let your child eat breakfast during Mass

  • if your head nun thinks she is a "leader of The Church"

  • if you have ever walked the wicca labyrinth

  • if your church bulletin doesn't have room for Mass and Confession times but lists the home phone of the organist

  • if your parish has a workshop with enneagrams

  • if your Prayers of the Faithful included "for women priests"

  • if you have never prayed for the end to abortion

  • if your CCD classroom reading includes "The Cosmic Christ"

  • if you use your Catechism for a doorstop

  • if you've ever been an abortion clinic escort

  • And if you took offense over more than any two on the list, maybe someone needs to throw Holy Water on you.

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle....
    ====End of email ====================

    Feel free to post your comments or tirades - I will not take offense.

    Thanks to Patte for the email..

    Gospel for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

    From: John 2:1-11

    The Wedding at Cana

    [1] On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; [2] Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. [3] When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." [4] And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." [5] His mother said to the servants. "Do whatever he tells you." [6] Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. [8] He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. [9] When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom [10] and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine till now. " [11] This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


    1. Cana in Galilee was probably what is now Kef Kenna, seven kilometers (four miles) north-east of Nazareth.

    The first guest to be mentioned is Mary: St Joseph is not mentioned, which cannot be put down to St John's forgetfulness: his silence here and on other occasions in his Gospel leads us to believe that Joseph had already died.

    The wedding celebrations lasted quite a while in the East (Gen 29:27; Judg 14:10, 12, 17; Job 9:12; 10:1). In the course of the celebrations relatives and friends would come to greet the newly-weds; even people passing through could join in the celebration. Wine was regarded as an indispensable element in meals and also helped to create a festive atmosphere. The women looked after the catering: here our Lady would have lent a hand, which was how she realized they were running out of wine.

    2. "To show that all states in life are good, [...] Jesus deigned to be born in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary; soon after he was born he received praise from the prophetic lips of Anna, a widow, and, invited in his youth by the betrothed couple, he honored the wedding with the power of his presence" (St Bede, "Hom. 13", for the second Sunday after the Epiphany). Christ's presence at the wedding at Cana is a sign that he blesses love between man and woman joined in marriage: God instituted marriage at the beginning of creation (cf. Gen 1:27-28); Jesus confirmed it and raised it to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. Mt 19:6).

    3. In the Fourth Gospel the Mother of Jesus--this is the title St John gives her--appears only twice: once here, and the other time on Calvary (Jn 19:25). This suggests Mary's involvement in the redemption. A number of analogies can be drawn between Cana and Calvary. They are located at the beginning and at the end of Jesus' public life, as if to show that Mary is present in everything that Jesus did. Her title--Mother--carries very special tones: Mary acts as Jesus' true Mother at these two points in which his divinity is being revealed. Also, both episodes demonstrate Mary's special solicitude towards everyone: in one case she intercedes when "the hour" has not yet come; in the other she offers the Father the redeeming death of her Son, and accepts the mission Jesus confers on her to be the Mother of all believers, who are represented on Calvary by the beloved disciple.

    "In the public life of Jesus Mary appears prominently; at the very beginning when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of the miracles of Jesus the Messiah (cf. John 2:1-11). In the course of her Son's preaching she received the words whereby, in extolling a kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, he declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God (cf. Mk 3:35; Lk 11:27-28) as she was faithfully doing (cf. Lk 2:19, 51). Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf. Jn 19:25), in line with the divine plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son the intensity of his passion, with his sacrifice, associating herself in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple, with these words: 'Woman, behold thy son' (Jn 19:26-27)" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 58).

    4. For the meaning of the words of this verse see the section on our Lady in the "Introduction" above (pp. 35ff). It should also be said that the Gospel account of this dialogue between Jesus and his Mother does not give us his gestures, tone of voice etc.: to us, for example, his answer sounds harsh, as if he were saying, "This is no concern of ours". But that was not the case.

    Woman" is a respectful title, rather like "lady" or "madam"; it is a formal way of speaking. On the Cross Jesus will use the same word with great affection and veneration (Jn 19:26).

    [The sentence rendered What have you to do with me?" (RSV) is the subject of a note in RSVCE which says "while this _expression always implies a divergence of view, the precise meaning is to be determined by the context, which here shows that it is not an unqualified rebuttal, still less a rebuke." The Navarre Spanish is the equivalent of "What has it to do with you and me?"] The sentence "What has it to do with you and me?" is an Oriental way of speaking which can have different nuances. Jesus' reply seems to indicate that although in principle it was not part of God's plan for him to use his power to solve the problem the wedding-feast had run into, our Lady's request moves him to do precisely that. Also, one could surmise that God's plan envisaged that Jesus should work the miracle at his Mother's request. In any event, God willed that the Revelation of the New Testament should include this important teaching: so influential is our Lady's intercession that God will listen to all petitions made through her; which is why Christian piety, with theological accuracy, has called our Lady "supplicant omnipotence".

    "My hour has not yet come": the term "hour" is sometimes used by Jesus to designate the moment of his coming in glory (cf. Jn 5:28), but generally it refers to the time of his passion, death and resurrection (cf. Jn 7:30; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1).

    5. Like a good mother, the Virgin Mary knows perfectly well what her son's reply means--though to us it is ambiguous ("What has it to do with you and me?"): she is confident that Jesus will do something to come to the family's rescue. This is why she tells the servants so specifically to do what Jesus tells them. These words of our Lady can be seen as a permanent invitation to each of us: "in that all Christian
    holiness consists: for perfect holiness is obeying Christ in all things" (St Thomas Aquinas, "Comm. on St John, in loc.").

    We find the same attitude in Pope John Paul II's prayer at our Lady's shrine at Knock, when he consecrated the Irish people to God: "At this solemn moment we listen with particular attention to your words: "Do whatever my Son tells you". And we wish to respond to your words with all our heart. We wish to do what your Son tells us, what he commands us, for he has the words of eternal life. We wish to carry out and fulfill all that comes from him, all that is contained in the Good News, as our forefathers did for many centuries. [...] Today, therefore, [...] we entrust and consecrate to you, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church, our hearts, our consciences, and our works, in order that they may be in keeping with the faith we profess. We entrust and consecrate to you each and every one of those who make up both the community of the Irish people and the community of the People of God living in this land" ("Homily at Knock Shrine", 30 September 1979)."

    6. We are talking about 500-700 liters (100-l50 gallons) of top quality wine. St John stresses the magnificence of the gift produced by the miracle--as he also does at the multiplication of the loaves (Jn 6:12-13). One of the signs of the arrival of the Messiah was abundance; here we have the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies: "the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase", as Psalm 85:12 proclaims; "the threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil" (Joel 2:24; cf. Amos 9:13-15). This abundance of material goods is a symbol of the supernatural gifts Christ obtains for us through the Redemption: later on St John highlights our Lord's words: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10; cf. Rom 5:20).

    7. "Up to the brim": the evangelist gives us this further piece of information to emphasize the superabundance of the riches of Redemption and also to show how very precisely the servants did what they were told, as if hinting at the importance of docility in fulfilling the will of God, even in small details.

    9-10. Jesus works miracles in a magnificent way; for example, in the multiplication of the loaves and fish (cf. Jn 6:10-13) he feeds five thousand men--who eat as much as they want--and the left-overs fill twelve baskets. In this present miracle he does not change the water into just any wine but into wine of excellent quality.

    The Fathers see in this good wine, kept for the end of the celebrations, and in its abundance, a prefiguring of the crowning of the history of salvation: formerly God sent the patriarchs and prophets, but in the fullness of time he sent his own Son, whose teaching perfects the old Revelation and whose grace far exceeds the expectations of the righteous in the Old Testament. They also have seen, in this good wine coming at the end, the reward and joy of eternal life which God grants to those who desire to follow Christ and who have suffered bitterness and contradiction in this life (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on St John, in loc.").

    11. Before he worked this miracle the disciples already believed that Jesus was the Messiah; but they had too earthbound a concept of his salvific mission. St John testifies here that this miracle was the beginning of a new dimension in their faith; it became much deeper. "At Cana, Mary appears once more as the Virgin in prayer: when she tactfully told her Son of a temporal need, she also obtained an effect of grace, namely, that Jesus, in working the first of his 'signs', confirmed his disciples' faith in him" (Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 18).

    "Why are Mary's prayers so effective with God? The prayers of the saints are prayers of servants, whereas Mary's are a Mother's prayer, whence flows their efficacy and their authority; and since Jesus has immense love for his Mother, she cannot pray without being listened to. [...]

    "To understand Mary's great goodness, let us remember what the Gospel says. [...] There was a shortage of wine, which naturally worried the married couple. No one asks the Blessed Virgin to intervene and request her Son to come to the rescue of the couple. But Mary's heart cannot but take pity on the unfortunate couple [...]; it stirs her to act as intercessor and ask her Son for the miracle, even though no one asks her to. [...] If our Lady acted like this without being asked, what would she not have done if they actually asked her to intervene?" (St Alphonsus, "Sunday Sermons", 48).
    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.