Monday, May 23, 2011

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary







Blessed Pope John Paul II made this act of consecration of the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It will be the subject of my 5 day retreat in Fatima, May 23-27, 2011:

Consecration of the Modern World to Our Lady of Fátima (1982)

"We entrust, O Mary, and consecrate the whole world to your Immaculate Heart!"

(On Thursday, 13 May, after the concelebrated Mass in Fatima, Pope John Paul II made the following act of consecration of the modern world to Our Lady of Fatima.)

1. "We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God." As I utter the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, I find myself today in this place chosen by you, O Mother, and by you particularly loved.

I am here, united with all the Pastors of the Church in that particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college, just as Christ desired the Apostles to be in union with Peter.

In the bond of this union, I utter the words of the present Act, in which I wish to include, once more, the hopes and anxieties of the Church in the modern world.

Forty years ago and again ten years later, your servant Pope Pius XII, having before his eyes the painful experience of the human family, entrusted and consecrated to your Immaculate Heart the whole world, especially the peoples for which you had particular love and solicitude.

This world of individuals and nations I too have before my eyes today, as I renew the entrusting and consecration carried out by my Predecessor in the See of Peter: the world of the second millennium that is drawing to a close, the modern world, our world today!

The Church, mindful of the Lord's words: "Go... and make disciples of all nations... and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:19-20), renewed, at the Second Vatican Council, her awareness of her mission in this world.

And therefore, O Mother of individuals and peoples, you who "know all their sufferings-and their hopes", you who have a mother's awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, as though moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of disquiet for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.

In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be entrusted and consecrated.

"We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God: reject not the prayers we send up to you in our necessities.

Reject them not!

Accept our humble trust-and our act of entrusting!
2. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).

It was precisely by reason of this love that the Son of God consecrated himself for all mankind: "And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth" (In 17:19).

By reason of that consecration the disciples of all ages are called to spend themselves for the salvation of the world, and to supplement Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the Church (cf. 2 Cor 12:15; Col 1:24).

Before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, I today, together with the whole Church, unite myself with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for people, which only in his divine Heart has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.

The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. It overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the heart of man and in his history.

The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, unites herself, through the service of Peter's successor, to this consecration by our Redeemer.

Oh, how deeply we feel the need for consecration on the part of humanity and of the world-our modern world-in union with Christ himself! The redeeming work of Christ, in fact, must be shared in by the world by means of the Church.

Oh, how pained we are by all the things in the Church and in each one of us that are opposed to holiness and consecration! How pained we are that the invitation to repentance, to conversion, to prayer, has not met with the acceptance that it should have received!

How pained we are that many share so coldly in Christ's work of Redemption! That "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" is so insufficiently completed in our flesh.

And so, blessed be all those souls that obey the call of eternal Love! Blessed be all those who, day after day, with undiminished generosity accept your invitation, O Mother, to do what your Jesus tells them (cf. Jn 2:5) and give the Church and the world a serene testimony of lives inspired by the Gospel.

Above all blessed be you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obey the divine call!

Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!

Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, of hope and love! Help us to live with the whole truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.
3. In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you the consecration itself, for -the world's sake, placing it in your motherly Heart.

Oh, Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!

From famine and war, deliver us.

From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.

From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.

From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.

From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.

From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.:

From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.

From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.

Let there be revealed, once more. in the history of the world your infinite power of merciful Love. May it put a stop to evil. May it transform consciences. May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope.

Taken from Osservatore Romano, English Edition, issue of October 24, 1983, page 2.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Do not Diminish the Power of the Witness of Celibacy



Mass for the 5th Sunday of Easter

I was walking though a supermarket one day, minding my own business when a woman stopped me and asked me with disgust in her face, "What are you?" I prayed to the Holy Spirit. I heard myself reply, "I am Celibate. Jesus is Celibate to be totally dedicated to our salvation and so am I." She was one of those that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 19:11, "Not all can receive this, but only to those to whom it is granted." Not everybody can understand celibacy, however, that does not mean that we ought to diminish the sign that Jesus has made it by allowing people to tarnish its beauty or diminish its power.

When a man gifts his whole manhood in Christ to the Father for the sake of salvation ofsouls,it is powerful. He thinks, moves, and breathes for the pu
rpose of getting as many people to open their hearts to the One who loves them as possible. He does this day and night without rest because it is the reason for his existence, he is consecrated for it. I myself have the common experience of fatherly anxiety for my flock, waking up in the middle of the night praying for my parishioners, being preoccupied with their welfare and constantly concerned about their good. I can do this, I am free to do this because for this is I am consecrated. When I speak the words of consecration at Mass in which we believe that Jesus gives us his true Body and Blood, "This is my body," I don't just say it in Persona Christi, but I say it to my parishioners as well, this body is consecrated for you and is yours to serve you and to make you know that you are worth it, that God is worth it, worth a man laying down his whole life.

At this time, there is an attack on the witness of celibacy, and we ought to take care that through
our own negligence or ignorance we don't add to it. The modern media has tried to blame celibacy as the root cause of paedophilia. In a recent study conducted by the US bishops, it has been made clear that celibacy is not the cause of the priest crisis, as CNN and BBC would like you to believe. In fact Catholic priests have the least amount of offenders than in any other profession. Christian Pfieffer, the famed independent German criminal sociologist "reported that approximately 0.1 percent of all offenses are committed by priests. Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend" (Peter Seewald, Light of the World). Insurance claims in the United States report that while 13% of the offenders reported are from protestant married clergy, 6% are catholic priests - less than half!

It seems that priests are being branded, identified, or typified as the ones who are offending yet they are the very least of society and of most Christian denominations. Why then is the news media permitted to do this? Why is there a double standard? George Wiegel, a biographer of Pope John Paul II and a famous Catholic lecturer, has an interesting take on this. He says that it is an implicit recognition of the dignity of the Catholic priesthood. It should be held to a h
igher account because it is a higher calling than simply being Pastor Joe of Joe's church. And why not? There should be 0% cases. The law in every country is stricter on priests than any other group. The statute of limitations is absolutely waived in the United States. "Ernst Wolfgang Böckenförde, a former German constitutional judge, remarked, 'The words that Pope Benedict used years ago in the Untied States and now in his Letter to Irish Catholics could not be harsher,'" (Peter Seewald, Light of the World).

We must then hold celibate priests to a higher standard, yet not diminish the power of its witness by perpetuating lies or slurs that have been cast on its true purpose. I met an Anglican priest a few weeks ago. He said that he thought celibacy is an obstacle to vocations. "You don't really buy those lies, do you?" I asked him. We need to point out the lies to those around us, to unmask them. The fact is, this Archdiocese of Southwark has 39 men preparing for celibate priesthood while the Anglican diocese this priest belongs to has less than 4 candidates. It is a lack of faith that diminishes vocations, not the charism of celibacy. If anything, men are attracted to the high ideals and high standard, not repulsed by it.

Celibacy also has power to complement the married state. It is not in competition, does not diminish, or lessen, the dignity and vocation of marriage. When you see that a man can be faithful to his vow of celibacy you are inspired to be faithful to your vows of marriage and vice versa. If a man can be faithful to the flock of God another man can be faithful to his own little flock, his family. It is possible for him to be madly and passionately in love with one woman for his whole life because the same principle of chastity that is working in celibacy is working in marital chastity. The way a woman treats her spouse, thinks and feels about him, loves him or doesn't love him, is the very way she treats Jesus, thinks and feels toward him. At the end of her life, Jesus will ask her, how much did you love me and permit me to love you in your husband? Yes, this is not easy, but the witness of celibacy encourages us to be faithful.

The person who helps us be faithful is Mary most pure. She can obtain for the Church to be the shining witness of purity and holiness that Jesus calls us to. She can pray for us to obtain holy priests, who are preoccupied in a holy way with the salvation of souls and the welfare of the Christian people. May Our Lady bring about this shining witness and help us not to diminish the power of the witness of celibacy.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I am Preparing a Place in You

Listen to this homily mp3 audio:







If you have trouble playing this, click here.

Little Danny George was 3 years old when he found he had a terminal illness which gave him only a year to live. His family was very close to the Church and taught their children well in the love and fear of God. Danny exhibited such a great knowledge of the Catholic faith that his parents were encouraged to ask the local bishop for permission to allow him to receive holy communion at a very early age. He was three and a half years old when he received Jesus for the first time, only one year before his death. As he was dying his loved ones were surprised at the great wisdom he showed. His uncle was struggling to accept little Dann's sufferings. He told his uncle not to worry, that his sufferings will soon be over and he would be with God. I believe he even told his mommy, "I am going ahead of you to prepare a place for you."

One of the ways God prepares us for Resurrection, for eternal life, is by allowing those closest to us to go ahead of us, because it is in the closeness of the paths of our hearts of our loved ones that the graces of the paschal mystery flow. Because in some sense when we have great love for each other, we live the trinitarian life: just as the Father dwells in the Son so we dwell one within the other. When one of us then goes ahead of us to be with God, it is as if a part of our heart is already with God in heaven. I have experienced this every time one of my loved ones has died. It is as if the Resurrection becomes very tangible and that place of my heart that belonged to my loved one has become somehow galvanized in glory.

Jesus doesn't just prepare therefore a place for us. He prepares His place IN US. He lives in us in this lifetime that we may live with him in eternity. I remember when my niece was just three years old. She asked about our grandfather, "Is he in God with heaven? Wait a minute, I mean is he in heaven with God?" I think she had it right the first time. St Augustine said that heaven is that place that is IN GOD - one with him, united in adoration, praise, and thanksgiving.

In order to prepares us live in him he gives himself to us in Holy Communion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the Most Holy Eucharist is the "the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory" (CCC 1402). When we receive Jesus in holy communion he prepares in us his eternal dwelling that we may enthroned in God like a dove nestled in cleft of the rock (song of songs 2:14).

May Our Lady helps us to receive him well. She received him with faith to make up for the shipwreck of faith for entire nations and the humility which repaired for the arrogance of all the fallen angels. Her holly communions were the foundation of the missionary movements of the early Church and the forging of saints, martyrs, and holy ones of God. May Mary, Woman clothed with her Son, shine the light of heaven upon us that we may seek eternal life in all that we don.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

HOMILY: To Be Holy is to Serve as Jesus Serves

Listen to this homily mp3 audio:







If you have trouble playing this, click here.

There was a consecrated religious, a Redemptorist Brother, named Brother Bernie, who was a chaplain to a high school. He loved the kids very much, and they knew it and felt it. He had broken several drug rings in the school and reformed the religion department so that it was truly Catholic. They flocked around him always seeking from him a word, a look, an encouragement, which he was very ready to give. When he went home from school, there was a line of people waiting to meet him as well, mostly people who struggled with alcoholism. He himself had struggled in his early years with the drink and was very capable of offering the same consolation and healing that he himself had received. People always felt better after meeting him. He elevated them, lifted them up, made them better persons. He gave them the living Jesus Christ. He was a very icon of God's mercy to them.

I am sure we all know someone like this. We are all called to be like this, to be holy, to BE a living encounter with Jesus Christ for those around us. In today's Gospel, Jesus gives us the means of how to do this: to serve as he serves, to wash the feet of those around us with the love and redemption of God. If you want to know how to serve those around you just look at where you see Jesus serving them, how you see him washing their feet, and then do the same. "Were the master is, so the servant shall be," and "no servant is greater than his master, nor any messenger greater than he who sent him." God will place in your heart the grace, proportionate to your sincere desire to serve, to know what it is people really really truly need for you to give them, to serve, to love them, and thus elevate them, lift them right up into God.

However, we need first to realize that Jesus is washing our feet, that every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the Lord washes our unsightliness, our lowliness, our impoverished estate, by elevating us right into communion with the Most Holy Trinity. Want to see where Jesus is working in your life? Look down. Look at your feet at your littleness and you will discover the King of the Ages bending low in his audacious and incomparable humility to wash you in the Holy Spirit, in the ineffable Mercy of our Father.

On the other hand, if we claim to come to this table of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and do not let the grace of holy communion teach us to be servants and not masters of those around us, those terrifying words of the Gospel will ring true for us: "the one who ate my food has raised his heel against me". Our company will sadly then not be the saints and angels and all the ministers and servants of God, but Judas and his progeny, those betrayers, and the damned, who said, "I will not serve."

The person to help us serve as Jesus serves is Our Lady. She has the most beautiful servants heart. This is the Heart of a Mother, a refuge for all, a service station, one who fills up others, who lifts them up, interceding for them and pleading before God that he bestow upon them the covenant of communion of the Most Holy Trinity.

May the prayers of Mary, our Mother, all the angels and servants of the Lord, bring us to the holiness of God and the service of our fellow men.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why is Women's Ordination Infallibly Incorrect?


When Pope Benedict deposed the Australian bishop of Toowoomba diocese, he reconfirmed the infallibility of the Church's teaching on reserving ordination to men. This is not new. He clarified the matter as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 1995 with a Responsum ad Dubium (Response to Doubt) that Blessed John Paul II had in fact declared infallibly that women's ordination was impossible.

I would like to ask WHY? What particular marks of the Holy Father's declaration Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on priestly ordination for men only is infallible? Not only because so many people still kick up the dust, hemming and hawing about an issue that is supposedly dead and buried, but also because I believe that it has the power to contribute to the healing of
the modern feminine identity.
Let's look at Blessed Pope John Paul II's declaration, but first, what are the marks of an infallible statement? The Second Vatican Council states:

"This is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,(166) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals." (Lumen Gentium 25)

There are therefore 4 marks of infallibility (these are also confirmed by Vatican I):
1. He intends to Teach all the Faithful
2. By virtue of his Apostolic Authority
2. Intends it to be held definitively
4. Speaks on a Matter of Faith or Morals

Okay, let's look at the Pope's declaration:
"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in
virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."
Clearly:
1. Teaching in "in order that all doubt may be removed"
2. "In virtue of his ministry of confirming the brethren"
3. "I declare" it to be "definitively held by all the Church's faithful"
4. "A matter of great importance" i.e. faith and salvation of souls

The simple answer is "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women." WHY?

THIS QUESTION IS HUGE - WHY? Ask it. Women need to ask it.

Why did God create the most perfect, sublime, holy, and immaculate human person as a woman and not make her the first pope or at least a priest? Why?

Why is the canon of saints mostly women? Why?

Why are churches around the world overflowing with women and none of them chosen by God to be priests? Why?

The answer to these questions must be sought for, because when women seek it, they will find a correct form of feminism which the same Blessed Pope John Paul promoted - Equal but different. Men and women are not the same, Alleluia! Hmm looks like an Easter entrance antiphon for a nuptial mass. Women cannot be men nor should they seek to be like them. Femininit
y needs a reinvigoration of what it means to be a woman. For this, I highly recommend a Apostolic Letter of Blessed Pope John Paul II, called "The Dignity and Vocation of Women." In it, the Holy Father asks the question, Why? Why did God choose a woman to be the instrument of Redemption for all mankind? Why did he give to woman the task of rearing the Redeemer and standing by him faithfully at the foot of the Cross.

The answer for some of the painful questions of feminists can be found in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the most accomplished woman in history, because she gave birth to the Savior and gave him to mankind. May Our Lady bring about this reinvigoration of what it means to be a woman. Ave Maria!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

HOMILY: Following the Catholic Church Teaching on Contraception

Homily given for the 4th Sunday of Easter. Also celebrated is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations by the Vatican and the International Day of the Family by the United Nations. One of these attempts to build up the family, the other to destroy it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Good Film: Good Both in Art and Ethic

Every month at our parish we show a movie as part of the film club. This month we showed, "Life is Beautiful" (1997) directed by Roberto Benigni. It is one of Blessed Pope John Paul II's favorite films. Here is the English trailer.



It was said that when Blessed Pope John Paul watched the film, it brought tears to his eyes because it reminded him of his homeland experience in work camps and that it showed how to keep a noble joy amidst dehumanizing conditions.

The pope liked it, but what is a good movie? I remember not a few times where I got some recommendations from people about a movie they claimed was "great" and had a whole bunch of wonderful qualities, but when I watched it, it was either woefully lacking in the dialogue, meaning, and cinematography, OR it had dreadfully immoral parts in it that were an occasion for sin. On the other hand I have a bunch of Catholic nerd friends who think that we should promote ethical movies made by Catholics who are totally abhorent in their aesthetical content, what Barbara Nicalosi-Harrington, a Catholic Hollywood film specialist calls "at best, embarassing." A movie can be bad if it is terrible art or terrible situation for sin. So then,

What is a good movie?

Let me point out two things, according to Blessed Pope John Paul II, that makes for a "good" flick. In his teaching on the Theology of the Body, he has a teaching that is entitled, "The Ethos of the Body in Art and Media," (The first catechetical audience that discusses this was given on April 16, 1980) which I find is an excellent rule for discerning a good movie. He says when we look (aesthetical) upon art with the eyes, we should never separate the moral look (ethical) of the heart.

The word for look in Greek is aishanomai, which is the basis for the English word, aesthetic. This is a look of sensible quality, where a piece of art has certain characteristics of form, shape, realism, color, lighting, and meaning that a person says it is either good or bad art. Even though some might say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," especially for a parent who appreciates the art of a child or who has some subjective reason to call a thing beautiful, there is a very real objective sense of what is considered good and beautiful. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to have Academy Awards, and certain paintings would not be sold for millions of dollars while others only claim to fame is to be fastened by magnets to the refrigerator. Because film is an art form that without certain qualities such as an intelligent and moving script, layers or subtlety of acting capability, beautiful perspective in cinematography, special effects if necessary, and others, you cannot call it a GOOD MOVIE.

On the other hand, there is also the ethical "look" of a movie. This refers to Jesus' teaching on the Sermon on the Mount where he says, "Whoever looks at a woman to desire her [in a reductive way] has already committed adultery with her in his heart," (Mt 5:27-28). Here we encounter humanity as in need of redemption, and also subject to temptation. We encounter the historical man who is still plagued by concupiscence, the lust of the flesh, who, when put in certain aesthetical contexts may easily sin when enticed by images of the body designed to portray lustful thoughts, acts, or feelings. Here too there is clearly an objective, measurable according to the science of ethics, morally GOOD MOVIE.

The trick is the combination of both of these at the same time. I have been the chaplain for university students, accompanied young people in youth groups, and a teacher of toddlers. Many times I have been asked "What is a GOOD MOVIE?" In order to come up with an objectively measurable way of combining both of these I use two measuring sticks.

1. Aesthetically GOOD MOVIE: Rotten Tomatoes.com - this is a compilation of hundreds of movie critics around the world who are added together and then averaged to a percentage. I don't know how hundreds of movie critics who make their living by allowing other people to trust their aesthical judgment on these matters could be wrong about the quality of art.

2. Ethically GOOD MOVIE Kids-in-mind.com - this is a service for parents who are concerned about the objectively measurable quality of the movie. It is rated on a scale from ten to one in three levels: Sex/Nudity, Violence/Gore, and Profanity. Thus a movie that could be ethically GOOD MOVIE or at least morally permissible would be a 1.2.1 while an immoral or a bad movie would be 10.9.10.

Combine both of these together, and I would challenge you to have anything but a GOOD MOVIE in both the aesthetical and ethical "look."

Yet, ultimately I find it is important is to have someone who has developed both of these looks to finally SCREEN IT and not be afraid to say NO to either scale.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

VIDEO: Making a shift in receiving Jesus



The Eucharist: Sign of God and God of the Sign


The roads of England like this one are quite beautiful. As I was traveling on it today, it was a kind of sign, an analogy, a life experience, through which I experienced God speaking to me. I felt as if his Heart is full of these beautiful winding paths, mysterious roads that are full of adventure and discovery, the first of which is the realization of his love for me.

The Jews asked Jesus for a sign. They pointed out that Moses gave them bread from heaven, so mysterious and wonderful that it is named, Manna, which means, "What is it?" Jesus told them that he would give them a new sign, THE Sign, THE Bread from Heaven, Himself. The Eucharist is really the most pre-eminent sign of God's love for us, because it contains THE Signifer, or Author of all signs of God, God Himself.

Many people, fathers in particular, want to do wonderful things for their children, earn money for them, give them gifts, a good education, but the greatest gift that children look for, need, are really aching for, is none other than the gift of their father himself. The Presence of God is the same. The power of the Holy Eucharist to reveal God's love to us rests in this, that it is God's very presence on earth. All other gifts follow this one, that he heals, sanctifies, blesses, restores, and makes us whole, because his divine essence is present to us first.

Faith, is the necessary ingredient for us to be able to receive the Sign and Signifer who comes us under the humble appearances of bread and wine. The audacious humility of God, his great constancy and faithfulness in always coming to us can be manifest only when we have faith. The Eucharist is said to be a Sacramentum fidei, or sacrament of faith because we have access and understanding of the mystery and it's power only after we believe.

Faith also implies faithfulness. A minister of the Eucharist must faithfully preserve the sacredness of the rite in order to fully transmit the power it had to reveal the holy love of God. When the integrity of the rite is preserved, as prescribed by Jesus himself at the last supper and in the 40 days after his resurrection before ascending to the Father, the power of his divine love is permitted to shine forth on the earth. Also the holiness of minister himself, the quality of his homily to explain the grace given in the Mass to the people, the sacredness of the music, has the power to transmit more fully the Person of Jesus and dispose us to receive him well in Holy Communion.

How do you receive him well? Of course it is important to have the dispositions of faith, humility, and attentive reverence, but there is a deeper change of attitude that needs to orient a person. Let me point out two things Blessed Pope John Paul said in his Encyclical on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

First, we must be aware that Jesus is receiving us. We think a lot about receiving him, but this focuses us on whom? Ourselves. What is Jesus doing in the Sacrament? He is receiving us, taking us up into himself, transforming us, healing us, gracing us with his divine Mercy. There needs to be a polar shift here, from being egocentric to being Christocentric, so that the true Eucharistic pole of heaven and earth may eternally orient us to looking at what God is doing first.

Second, what does it mean for Jesus to receive us? We may have a concept of this in our minds but we don't know what this is experientially. Mary, the Mother of God, does know from experience. She allowed Jesus to take her whole being and transform it. and so, Bl Pope John Paul repeats an ancient practice reinvigorated by St Louis de Montfort, to listen to the conversation of love between Mary and Jesus, to receive Jesus' Heart with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ask Our Lady to prepare us for Jesus.

May Our Lady help us allow Jesus to transform our Heart like unto his own.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Medley Minute YouTube Videos

Here is a list of all the YouTube Videos that are quaintly called "Medley Minutes" for which this blog is named. N.B. Oh and, they are not going to all be 60 seconds so don't take the minute part literally.




Evangelization
Jesus is Coming
Song of Faith
Be set ABLAZE!
MOVE IT!
Embracing God
Preparation
Living Radically
Witness of Presence

Young & Alive
Religious Garb
Serving the Poor
Modern Media
Blessing for Curse
Cultures & Peoples
Supermarket Faith

Spirituality/Discipleship

Holy Rosary
Pray, Pray, Pray
Silence

The Cross
Childlike Trust
Jesus' Tears in Confession
Money
Time
Priorities
Praise God Always
Behold Your Mother
The Two Hearts

Weary?
Can't Sleep?
Turn it OFF!

Sexuality & Ethics

Theology of the Body 1

Theology of the Body 2
Pro-Life?
Natural Family Planning
Conception of Life
Contraception

Playing with Embryos?

Abortion
Priestly Celibacy

Chastity

Pornography

Secularism
Social Media

Liturgical Seasons
Ordinary Time
Thanksgiving
Advent
Prepare the Way

Immaculate Conception

Christmas Vulnerability

Warmth of Jesus

Epiphany

Mother of God

LENT (49 Videos)

Jesus' Leaves Us

Day and the Hour

LATIN: "Cool, Dude!" Why Latin is Gaining Popularity Among Young Catholics

"YUCK!" said a young man who was looking at a magazine with liturgical ballet dancers. "GROSS! EWEY!!! That is, like, soooo dumb! Why do people go for that goofy stuff?"

I was listening into a conversation of a group of young catholics at a local University discussing the Sacred Liturgy. They, like many of their contemporaries, had found that there was a certain something, something Other (which is English for Sanctus), in celebrating the Latin Extraordinary Form of the Roman Catholic Mass. I celebrated the EF Mass as a University chaplain once a week the past two years, and the average age of those in attendance was usually 19 or 20.

Young people all over the world, including newly ordained young priests and bishops, young religious men and women, and not so young people are re-discovering the treasures of our faith. Pope Benedict XVI has personally encouraged young people to learn the prayers of the Church in Latin. Recently, with the publication of the YouCat, the Catechism for Youth, especially to prepare for World Youth Day, has an appendix with prayers in Latin. Why?

Pope Benedict XVI says: Learning their prayers "will help Christian faithful of different languages pray together, especially when they gather for special circumstances." Do you mean, Holy Father, like World Youth Day? Yes, every time the Pope has met with young people, he has asked them to pray with him in their mother tongue.

"Wait a minute, I thought that went away with Vatican II," you say? Nope. Latin still is and remains, the official language of the Church. As Pope Benedict said when the new Catechism of Vatican II was promulgated,

"Latin, for centuries the vehicle and instrument of Christian culture, guarantees not only continuity with our roots, but remains as relevant as ever for strengthening the bonds of the unity of the faith in the communion of the church."

Here in England, when Cardinal Hoyos celebrated what was the most high profile Latin Mass since 1960 hundreds if not thousands of young people flocked to enjoy the patrimony of the Catholic Church. On the occasion, the Cardinal was told by a local Catholic journalist:

"There is tremendous enthusiasm among younger Catholics for the motu proprio, that many Catholics are deeply grateful to the Holy Father for making the change and many younger Catholics regard this as an extremely exciting development."

Why do they like the usus antiquior Latin Mass? Some say its the silence, some say the holiness the right inspires, some say they like the stability in connection with the thousands of years in the past. Do you really want to know? Attend a Latin Mass in your area (US and Canada or UK) and find out.

The first Mass I ever offered was a Latin Mass (Novus Ordo) with my SOLT community in Robstown, TX . Here is the hymn to Our Lady which was sung at the end of Mass in Thanksgiving for her intercession in becoming a priest:



Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,

vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.

ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae,

ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes

in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos

misericordes oculos ad nos converte;

et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,

nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.


P: Ora pro nobis sancta Dei Genetrix.

R: Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.


Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


P: Divinium Auxilium sit semper nobiscum

R: Amen

This is how I remember Blessed Pope John Paul the Great





This is a video of him when he visited Washington DC in 1979 to the Catholic University of America. Even though when I met him when he was old, weak, and suffering terribly, my impression of him is strong, young, and interacting joyfully with the youth.

Now he is risen in Christ and is very strong and young.

Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, Pray for Us!

Watch the second part of this video here.

WOMAN: You're Beautiful





The author and singer of this song wrote it about his daughters. I cannot help but think that it is the way God the Father sees each and every single beloved daughter. Read this short piece which is a selection from a book I am writing called "Graced Womanhood."

You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride,
an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed. (Song 4:12)

Woman is a wonderful mystery. Often even to herself, she is an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed. When approaching the topic of womanhood, and especially when approaching women, what is most important is to reveal that each woman is, like any wonderful mystery, meant to be accepted, contemplated, cherished, and most importantly, to be loved. This is ultimately what it what is at the heart of being feminine, to be a receiver of love, primarily the love of Jesus Christ. It is he who cries out, “How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!” (Song 4:10). It is he who is pursuing woman, knocking on the heart of each one, daily walking along side them, encouraging and affirming the mystery that they exist to remind the world that it exists primarily for God, to be loved by him and thus to become his beloved.

Despite the beauty of woman, today we find a terrifying cultural and social landscape, where women are not loved or accepted for the gift of who they are and are called to be. The ghastly result is that so many women are deeply wounded. At a time when women have more rights and privileges than never before in human history they are also never before more denigrated and objectified through the improper use of modern media, magazines, internet porn, and a role of women promoted in society that is not at all feminine or worthy of the beautiful mystery of woman.

Working on women’s retreats and days of recollection, teaching toddlers and children, high school and college students, and serving as a spiritual director for many married, single, divorced, widowed, and consecrated women, I found myself mingling tears not a few times with Jesus, who mourns the loss of so much beauty. At the same time, I find myself rejoicing with great thanksgiving at the healing that comes when women become who they are―persons primarily of relationships. It is in the grace and friendship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the graced-friendships with all creatures that takes the form of motherhood, that women find profound renewal and life, healing and growth, the fulfillment of their dignity and vocation.
There seems to be quite a bit of material on this topic already. What good is another book about it? A girl once asked St Edith Stein, “Why is it that at this time, so much is being said, even by men, about the nature and vocation of women? It is astonishing how this topic is constantly being taken up by various parties, and how differently it is being treated.”1 We could also ask, what good is a book about women by a man? What can man know about woman? I would not reply to these questions solely with the fact that the man who speaks here about woman is a priest and therefore a servant of women. True, a priest, because of his second-hand experience of the inner world of women may have a point of view that is unique in the vastness of their experience, especially the experience of their own sinfulness that they reveal in the Sacrament of Reconciliation which most women might not share even with their husbands or co-workers. Also a priest has the experience of the inner world of Jesus, particularly the experience of the redemption of woman. If he is ever so slightly attuned to the Priestly Heart of Jesus, he discovers his own heart to be a refuge and oasis for women, where “their tears are collected in his bottle” (Cf. Ps 56:8). This pastoral charity bears with it a certain wisdom that comes from desiring to lay down one’s very life in Christ for women and their redemption. When you would do anything for a person, even die for them, God gives you a special knowledge proportionate to your sincerity of how to love them and what to say to them, “the good things that they really need to hear, things that will really help them” (Eph 4:29). I must also say that I have experienced for many years a great love for women and an indebtedness to them. It seems that the Lord Jesus, finds himself, as every man, in some sense, indebted to women. Firstly because he would simply not exist, but more profoundly because he would not exist well, not experience the tender, maternal nurturing, by which the personhood of a man is developed and grows, “in wisdom, age, and grace,” (Luke 2:52). God has willed himself to need the love of a mother! Every man, especially every priest, also finds in his own heart a kind of indebtedness to women. Not only by his own mother, or by the Blessed Mother, but by so many women who a priest serves, finding himself receiving from them a continuous source of inspiration, wisdom, and courage to be a man. Many women too find themselves indebted to men. Not only would Jesus not exist without Mary, but of course, Mary would not exist without Jesus. God has made man and woman interdependent upon each other in a relationship mutual love. This is true also for the healthy growth and healing of both men and women.

In my moral theology class at the Angelicum in Rome I remember being told by a priest who would later become the Papal Theologian, Fr Wojciech Giertych OP, that future priests need to be formed and affirmed by both masculine and feminine saints, however, women saints have a special role in calling out the manhood of priests. Likewise, we can be certain, that men have a special role in calling out the feminine healing and sanctity of women. Why is this? It is perhaps because there is not only a very deep need in us when we are young to receive the adventurous masculine love of a father and the calming feminine love of a mother, but we also have this need a second time, when we cross the threshold of Christian emotional and spiritual maturity in love. The Lord Jesus himself has shown us this when he was born of a woman in a manger the first time in Bethlehem, and then spent most of his years as part of the plan of redemption in daily communion with the same woman in Nazareth. Then he brought forth a new birth of the mystical body of Christ, the Church through the same woman and her birth pangs at the foot of the Cross in Jerusalem.

It is to THE WOMAN of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we must look to find the path for every woman today. Every woman, like Our Lady, in her essence is a mother, and every woman lives out this motherhood in a real relationship with each person of the Most Holy Trinity as a beloved daughter of the Father, a mystical spouse of the Son, and as a real friend of the Holy Spirit. This book could be said to be a journey into the enclosed garden and sealed fountain of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is to Mary, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, that I entrust you dear reader. May Our Lady’s relationships with the Most Holy Trinity bring about healing and growth for every woman, a light for understanding the mystery of womanhood for every man, and the renewal of this world in Christ.

Get Serious: A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics by Fr James Farfaglia


All too often when new Catholics, converts, or people who just want to live their faith look for a book it has too much unnecessary stuff along with it, extra unneeded fluff or curly Q's that really have ought to been trimmed off.

This book is plain and simple how to be serious about your faith and what is ultimately necessary without giving you extra stuff that may be nice but not useful. Be a saint! Be simple. Be Christ to the world that terribly needs his light and truth.

WARNING: IF YOU AR NOT READY TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT GOD AND YOUR FAITH GO BACK TO READ SOME READERS DIGEST STORIES BECAUSE THIS STUFF IS HARD CORE!


From Fr Farfaglia's Blog, Do Not Be Discouraged:

I am very happy to tell you that my new book Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics is now available for you to purchase. The cost is only $14.95. The shipping and handling are free. If you want to live a serious Catholic life in a crazy world, then this book is for you.

Many of us have been deeply touched by a great Catholic classic An Introduction to a Devout Life by Saint Francis De Sales. A few years ago I picked up a copy and started to read it for the first time since I read it in college. I immediately thought that something new has to be written. Something new that answers the needs of today is so necessary. I decided to write a very practical book on how to live a serious spiritual life within the very difficult circumstances of our crazy world.

The project took me two and a half years to complete. Everything that I have been preaching about in my homilies is now in an easy to understand guide. The book is for adults and it is age appropriate for high-school students. It is an excellent tool for your entire family and it can be used for CCD classes, RCIA, and prayer groups.

My new book comes with endorsements from my dear friends Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic Online, nationally known author Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle, Spirit Daily's Michael Brown, Renew America columnist Matt C. Abbott, Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, TOB guru Steve Pokorny of the Archdiocese of San Antonio Family Life Office, and our dear Father Sam Medley, SOLT who is now a missionary in England. The book concludes with an epilogue from Catholic Online contributing author Jennifer Hartline.

This is a book that you need to read and pass around for others to read as well. I am very excited about this book because I know that it is going to shake up a lot of people. Click here to get your copy now.

God bless,
Father James

P.S. For bulk orders or for orders outside of the USA, contact Tricia Salinas directly at tslsalinas@hotmail.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

HOMILY: The Eucharistic Road to Resurrection

"And they recognized him in the breaking of the bread."










If you have trouble playing this, try here.

God meets us. He walks along side us every day. In fact, if you look at your life with the eyes of faith, you will not be able to stop seeing him in every person you meet, all day long. However, we are people of little faith. Jesus' reproach to the disciples, "Do you not understand?" applies directly to us. My immediate response to his question really is, "No, please explain."

Jesus rejoices to walk next to us and inspire, ennoble, and correct our faith. He corrects not only faith with a small "f," that is, the very subjective act of believing in him, but he also corrects our Faith with a big "F," that is, what we believe about him. He helps us with both of these at the same time, because they are often intertwined with one another. Our errors of what we believe, or really what we do not believe, are always related to our sin or the obstacles in us that keep us from understanding.

The biggest obstacle I see in modern man is that we do not believe that Jesus loves us, that we are lovable, that we are truly his. We may believe in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the Resurrection, the Hypostatic Union of the two natures united in One Person, but we struggle believing that this divine person loves us. This is what Jesus corrects when we walk along side him.

We find it difficult to see him in our life because we doubt his desire to be in it. Perhaps we have a wrong idea about his power. We might think that he came to make us healthy, wealthy, and wise in the eyes of the world. Nope. Jesus does not preach a health and wealth Gospel, it is not him. He even withholds himself from us many a time as he did from the disciples, in order to bring us freely to an act of faith. What is so novel, so wonderful, is that he walks WITH US. He is with us in our un-wealth, un-health, and even remains to help us with the bad decisions we have made.

He shows himself in our families, in our work, in our school, but in a special way the Lord walks next to us in a profound way in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Here he binds himself to married people in a sacred bond so that there are no longer two but one, and the way you think about, feel toward, and love your spouse is the way you are toward Jesus, who hides himself in your spouse. Here Jesus shows you how to love and be loved, to heal you of your selfishness, make you a person of service, forgiveness, and kindness.

But this is not easy. We don't know how our faith is corrected, how to find Jesus in all, especially in the married vocation. So he gives us the Sacred Eucharist. Here he opens for us the scriptures and opens for us his very Eucharistic Heart in the breaking of the bread. Here he trains our eyesight, corrects our faith, reveals himself in a consistent way, so that in the inconsistencies of life we may find him.

Also Jesus corrects us in the Liturgy from the false idea, the heresy, that he did not found a Church with rituals, sacramental structure, with a hierarchy, and with all the things necessary to preserve the Eucharist Sacrifice in all its splendor and integrity as he walks with man throughout human history. Jesus is not a hippie who does not care about rules and laws. He is God made man and he gives us a new way of living the law and he the very rule of life. He instituted this rituals of the Mass so that the rituals of our life might be sanctified.

If we come to Mass with an open mind and heart, Jesus will definitely help us recognize him better. Mary, our Mother, especially in this Month of May, dedicated to her, helps us see with the eyes of faith in a singularly powerful way. She intercedes for us and "prays faith into us" asking God to open our hearts to his mystery and the mystery of his love.

May the Holy Mother of God help us to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread that our our faith may be corrected, and that we may see Jesus every day and in every occasion.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ordinarate Ordains 8 New Deacons at Aylesford on Saturday, May 7th


Eight New Deacons for the Ordinariate and for the Church


Ordinandi lie prostrate will we sing the Litany of the Saints

L-R: Fr Sam, Newly Ordained Deacon Steven Bould, Msgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate, Fr Nesbitt, Parish priest of the ordinariate group in Folkestone

"Above all I would like to thank the Pope," Msgr Newton said at the conclusion of the ceremony, in which eight former Anglican priests were ordained to the order of the Sacred Diaconate for the Roman Catholic Church in the Aylesford Priory, in the evening of Saturday, May 7th. "I would also like to thank the priests, and everyone who has given us a very warm welcome, and this is important. The encouragement we have received from you has helped us on our journey."

I felt like he was thanking me personally because I personally have felt the desire to make our new brethren feel and know that they are mightily welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church. I remember seeing them at the Rite of Election back on March 12th this year. I do remember how markedly I wanted to let them know that I am their priest, their servant, their brother and friend who is with them to welcome them warmly and celebrate with gusto their new life. It has not been an easy journey for them, but I hope in some small way to let them know that the priests of the Catholic Church, THIS priest of the Catholic Church, is so grateful to God for the grace of their conversion and their sticking through with the what may be a very scary change in their lives toward the unknown.

I mean put yourself in their shoes. How very painful it must have been to try to come to terms with the fact that the Anglican ecclesial community had departed from the faith of Jesus Christ and that they had to cross not only the Tiber River into Rome, but also cross that landscape of separation between Catholicism and Anglicism. It is like having to bridge a deep inner gulf in, a cultural identity, a national identification with something they thought previously was the very icon of being a good Englishman, being a good Anglican.

Now it is clear that if you love England you will be a bridge between England and the One Faith of Jesus Christ that shines forth only in its fullness within the confines of communion with the successor of St Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. St Thomas Moore repeatedly said as he was on the long journey to his death that being a good Englishman is being faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. It is the Universality of the Faith that England needs now.

Some people think that because I am an American, that I ought not speak about such things. It is from the perspective as a missionary who is charged with loving the English and sacrificing my life for them that I speak. It is out of listening to the way that Jesus loves England that I feel I am not being impudent or disrespectful toward the situation, in fact the opposite is true. It is because I was sent here by the Church to be a sign of God's love for this land that I can speak with a different kind of respect and a different perspective about this situation.

May these new deacons and sacred ministers of the Church serve the Church and serve England well, to come to God's plan for her, that she may one day soon again be Our Lady's Dowry.

Guild of Catholic Bloggers Meeting at Westminster Cathedral


Today I went to the first "blognic," or meeting of people who first met in the blogosphere, at Westminster Cathedral. I was not expecting much. I did not hope to formulate a plan, a new website, a new network. I did hope for two things and these things I felt were achieved: Communio et Progresso. Communion and Progress was a Pastoral Instruction that the Second Vatican Council ordered be written to enunciate the principles of discernment and action with the modern means of social communication.

These two principles are the two guidepost that I seek in any Catholic blog or internet endeavor, its measure as it were, to see if it is accomplishing the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel in way that brings about communion with God and the building up, or authentic progress, of man's dignity and vocation.

Really. It ain't that hard folks. What is necessary for a Catholic blog, not only in name but in fact, is to be a bridge not an obstacle to communion and to edify, beautify, and even electrify man, giving him new energy and purpose.

Here are a few principles, questions for reflection on a blog's success in doing these things:

1. Does it bring about a greater knowledge of God, and therefore, of his supreme love for man, OR does it cloud this knowledge distracting a reader to what is ultimately important?

2. Does it call forth what is noble, pure, true, beautiful, and good in man, OR does it diminish these?

3. Does it bring forth an up-building and increase of faith, and therefore of faithfulness, particularly to the authenticated voice of the Faith and teaching of Jesus Christ transmitted by the Sacred Magisterium of the Church, the Holy Father, and bishops in communion with him? OR does it cause dissent and disbelief in Christ's living authority on earth in the Church?

4. Are its sources solid? Does it speak the truth, the historical, scientific, anthropological, philosophical, and most importantly the theological wellsprings of divine and catholic Truth reliable, OR does it seek to perpetrate an opinion that does not illumine but clouds the facts?

5. Does it leave you a better person than when it found you, OR does it detract from your dignity and vocation to be the living image of Jesus Christ to all?

I think if we follow a few principles, our Catholic blogs and social media endeavors will shine forth the living face of Jesus Christ to a world which desperately needs this witness. God love you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

HOMILY: 1st Saturday Fruitfulness



It's Because I am Wearing Black, isn't it?

Yesterday I went into a local shop, and being the next in line, I went forward to the next available cashier. The woman behind the desk looked at me out of the tops of her eyes with a very visible disgust, and her face wrinkled up as if she smelt a bad odor. As soon as I asked to make a transaction, she said, "I'm going to have to see some id." Her associate darted a quizzical look at her as did the customers. "Why do I need an id? I am not buying anything that requires it." I showed her my drivers license and said that I had a few more proofs that I am me. She said, "unless you have a passport, I can't help you." Then she looked at me with a very mocking smile as if to say, "Na, na, ha, ha!"

As I walked home, I tried my best to come up with the reasons why this woman treated me in such an irrational manner. I remembered her my eyeing me with contempt even before I opened my mouth. Suddenly I thought, "This is because I am wearing black, isn't it, because of my roman collar and that I am a Catholic priest!" If I look at these words on the screen it sounds very much like a sensitive reaction certain people have to racism.

In our world that supposedly opposes bigotry and valiantly claims to denounce all forms of prejudice, there is one form of hatred still allowed and encouraged by the leftist news media, the socialite elite groups, and the populace as a whole: Anti-Catholicism. Philip Jenkins discusses this in his book, The New Anti-Catholicism, the Last Acceptable Prejudice.

This has been a common theme in the catholic blogosphere lately. Yes it is true, people would never talk bad about Jews, Muslims, ethnic groups, but everybody loves to take a swing at Roman Catholics. What then should our reaction be?

I would like to radically claim that we ought not let reaction be our course at all. In fact, because anti-catholicism is itself a reaction, a kind of tell-tale sign that some grace is being resisted, that the message of the Gospel is being opposed, I would suggest a more proactive approach.

Why did this woman have disgust on her face? Who hurt her? Who didn't love her? Who didn't show her the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith? Such bigotry should draw out pity not scorn on my part, intercession not irritation, blessing not curse. A proactive approach means that God's mercy helps us to offer the witness of Christ crucified, who intimately loved his enemies from the heart and earnestly begged the Father for their conversion. Where such instances could be cause for anger, they instead be a moment of grace and the revelation of the glory of the face of Christ.

Here is an occasion where God asked me to give a blessing for a curse:



Devilish Disturbance? Dagger Prayers Cut Through it All

Lady Gaga theologizing, terrorist threat on the rise again, natural disasters raging, another clerical scandal- disturbed anyone?

God isn't the only one who is fighting to cut through the ordinary fabric of your day to change how you live. The devil is real and very much alive, and he's not waking around with a pitchfork and horns in a red suit, but uses psychological warfare to try to demoralize, distract, and disturb those who belong to God.

One of the chief weapons he uses is to poke us with sharp, intense, and frequent as possible images, sensations, or trains of thought that will agitate and discombobulate us. I just described the sensationalist media, you say? Well, God has something very sharp, intense, and full of power to use as well. They are called, "dagger prayers."

It was St Anthony of the Desert who originally coined this phrase. Immersed in spiritual combat, the Fathers of the Church noticed that certain short prayers of Scripture, the Sacred Liturgy, and popular piety of the Church, possessed a kind of immediacy, a now-factor, a power punch to bring about an intense communion with the Almighty , which could be compared to sticking the blade of the Word of God to old scratch and letting the devil get his for a change.

Of course these prayers are only directed at God not at the evil one, and are powerful because they involve an act of faith, hope, or charity, relate the mysteries of our faith to the present minute, and evoke the memory of the holiness of Jesus that we had experienced at an other time of extended prayer or liturgical worship.

The Venerable Bede and the Benedictines of Britain used to employ the practice of standing up from their desk or labors every 15 minutes or so and crying out, "O God come to my assistance; O Lord make haste to help me," or some similar phrase. Now this may be a bit impractical at the busy workplace with your coworkers wondering what's been put in your coffee, but the Church has got something that is very practicable: pious invokations.

Here's a list from the Church's Official Enchiridion. They used to carry the weight of a partial indulgence when you say them. My favorite daggers:

-Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on us!
-O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
-Jesus I trust in Thee!

My Irish grandmother who would hobble around saying, "Lord have mercy on us all!" had her own pithy dagger prayers, but I think they were intended to poke the listener with humor. I find that humor has a way of breaking through the evils of the day as well. St Thomas Aquainas said that good humor is an act of charity because it lightens your brother's burden. You probably can come up with some better ones than my grandma:

-Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick
-Faster than two shakes of a goat's left hind leg
-You're funny but your face beat you to it.

Got a Minute?

"Look around you," the little kids sitting on the floor at the parochial Catholic primary school Mass curiously looked around for something. "Every one you see will one day be dead." GASP! Deep breaths and shocked looks came many, especially from the parents that were sitting behind them. "This is one of the greatest truths of your life that you should keep before you every day, that one day it will end."

Such was the happy homily I gave the students this past Easter. Don't worry it really did end on a happy note. I shared with them the death and resurrection of two of our parishioners whom I had only a day before confessed, anointed, and hours later they both died, and I dare say they both rose. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is something that only becomes really truly present to us in this current moment when we are given a little wake up call, a moment of grace, a commercial from God.

Last year the radio station for the local diocese in which I was working asked me to start a "medley minute" and give a moment of inspiration, a living encounter with Christ, to wake people up to the presence of God around them.

This blog is attempting to do just that - to give a proverbial minute, not necessarily 60 seconds, but a moment in time to remind us of where we are going. Not all of us have a happy ending. Who doesn't shudder at the thought of the unhappy ending of, as my grandma used to say, "H - E - Double Toothpicks"? No this is not a hellfire blog. (I know my readers well enough to say that some of you are saying, "Awe c'mon, nobody talks about it anymore.") Sorry to disappoint you. I am convinced that nothing can wake us up in a permanent and fulfilling way than the supreme and unsurpassable love of Jesus Christ.

If you meditated for one minute, leaving all else aside and focusing only on the suffering and death of Christ that he offered for YOU, you would immediately experience his resurrection. It would be a minute that would change your day, your life, your direction.

No one helps us focus better on Jesus than Mary. It is in a special way that this blog is consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, the love of Our Mother for us, that as many as possible may be touched by the love of God and their eyes fixed on the happy and noble end to which we all aspire. God love you.