Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Priceless Quote


A wonderful quote via Antonia.

You must love, venerate, pray and mortify yourself for the Pope, and do so with greater affection each day. For he is the foundation stone of the Church and, throughout the centuries, right to the end of time, he carries out among men that task of sanctifying and governing which Jesus entrusted to Peter.

– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, #134

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

St. Matthew Teaches Us Detachment


Here is the Pope's message for today's Wednesday Audience:

Vatican, Aug. 30 ( - "Christ excludes no one from his friendship," Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on August 30. But someone who chooses to follow Christ cannot remain attached to sinful habits, the Pontiff said.

Speaking to about 8,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium at the Vatican, the Holy Father continued his series of reflections on the apostolic tradition with some thoughts on St. Matthew, the apostle who left his work as a tax collector to follow Jesus.

As a tax collector, the Pontiff reminded his audience, Matthew was held in contempt because he "not only handled money that was regarded as impure because it came from people not belonging to the people of God, but also because he was collaborating with a foreign authority." But when Matthew responded to the call from Jesus, the Pope continued, he "evidently understood that being close to Jesus would not allow him to continue with the activities of which God disapproved."

In his own recounting of that call (Mt 9:9), St. Matthew says simply, "And he rose and followed Him." Pope Benedict remarked that "the brevity of that sentence clearly reflects the alacrity with which Matthew responds." But if St. Matthew answered the call immediately, he could not have made his choice lightly, the Pope observed, because he was "leaving everything behind-- especially what had guaranteed him a secure income, however unjust and dishonorable."

Responding to Christ's call entailed a dramatic conversion, the Pope said. He remarked that the moment is captured brilliantly in Caravaggio's painting, "The Calling of St. Matthew," which is displayed in Rome's church of St. Luigi dei Francesi.

Applying the example of St. Matthew to one's own life is simple, the Pope said. "Today too, attachment to things incompatible with following Christ, such as wealth dishonestly obtained, is inadmissible." Christianity requires "detachment from occasions of sin and a conscious choice of a new way of life." Following Christ means "leaving behind-- sometimes at great cost-- everything that is incompatible with true discipleship and embarking upon a new life."

Pope Benedict made his final public audience of August after a trip from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The Holy Father-- who appeared relaxed and refreshed as the summer weeks draw to a close-- was accompanied by his private secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, who recently returned from his own vacation.

Catholic World News

Monday, August 28, 2006

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist


The Church, having celebrated the earthly birthday of St. John the Baptist on June 24, today honors the anniversary of his martyrdom. Besides our Lord and our Lady, St. John the Baptist is the only one whose birth and death are thus celebrated. Today's Gospel relates the circumstances of his execution. He had the courage to blame Herod to his face for the scandal of his illegal union with his sister-in-law Herodias, whose husband was still alive. Herodias contrived to make Herod imprison him and took advantage of an unexpected oppportunity to obtain through her daughter Salome the beheading of the saint.


Meme Break


Danny from Irish Dangerous and Catholic tagged me with this meme.

If you could meet and have a deep conversation with any five people on earth, living or dead, from any time period, who would they be? (Explaining why is optional.)

Name five people from each of the following categories: saints, those in the process of being canonized, heroes from your native country, authors/writers, celebrities.

1) Mary, Queen of All Saints
2) St. Peter
3) St. Dominic
4) St. Therese of Lisieux
5) St. Anthony of Padua

Those in the Process of Being Canonized
1) Pope John Paul II
2) Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
3) Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC
4) Blessed Giorgio Frassati, TOP
5) Fr. Solanus Casey, OFM Cap.

Heroes From Your Native Country
1) I can’t think of any right now

1) Pope Benedict XVI
2) Pope John Paul II
3) G.K. Chesterton
4) Jane Austen
5) Mark Twain

1) Pope Benedict XVI (he is kind of a celebrity isn't he?)
2) Bob Hope
3) Danny Kaye
4) Audrey Hepburn
5) Mel Gibson

If you have a blog, I hereby tag you! (Except for Danny of course and those who've been tagged already)

St. Augustine of Hippo


Born of middle class parents, Patrick and Monica, in the town of Thagaste, North Africa, in 354 AD, Augustine quickly demonstrated both an independent spirit and a gifted, enquiring intellect.

Not yet baptised, he rejected the fervent Christianity of Monica and immersed himself in the pagan immoralities common among the adolescents of his time.

At the age of seventeen he took a common-law wife, and with her had a son, Adeodatus ("Godsent"). To her he was utterly faithful until they parted some sixteen years later. After that, he had much difficulty in bridling his sexual impulses, even to taking another mistress until his young intended bride should come of age a few years later.

This difficulty came to an abrupt end as a result of his famous conversion in the garden of a villa outside Milan when he was 32 years of age. Baptised by Ambrose, bishop of Milan, during the Easter Vigil of 387, and following the deaths of both Adeodatus and Monica, he gave himself over to a monastic life of contemplation and prayer in the company of his close friends and followers.

Four deep convictions motivated Augustine's life: (1) that we were made by God for union with God; (2) that only by God's mercy extended to us in Christ Jesus could that union be accomplished; (3) that only through Jesus Christ could humanity come to the knowledge of the truth; and (4) that friendship founded on the love of God is a powerful instrument of God's grace.

Throughout his thirty five years as bishop of Hippo, he never failed to preach his great loves - those of God, Christ, the Church and his fellow human beings. He died in 430 CE, and his body is venerated today in the Augustinian Basilica at San Pietro in Ciel D'Oro, Pavia, Italy.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pope Explains Apolcalypse


“Apocalypse Now”: The Pope Rewrites the Script by Sandro Magister

In his latest Wednesday catechesis, Benedict XVI has deciphered for the faithful the enigma of the book of Revelation. It is not the Dragon that triumphs, but the Lamb: “Do not be afraid of the silence of God”.

Read the entire message here.

Sunday Angelus: Ss. Monica and Augustine


Click here to listen to Pope's Sunday Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we remember Saint Monica, and tomorrow her son Saint Augustine - their Christian witness can be a great comfort and help to so many families even in our time.

Monica, born to a Christian family in Tagaste in what is now Tunisia, lived in exemplary manner her mission as wife and mother, helping her husband Patrick to discover the beauty of faith in Christ and the power of evangelical love, capable of triumphing over evil with good.

After her husband's early death, Monica dedicated herself with courage to raising three children, one of them Augustine, who initially made her suffer because he had a somewhat rebellious temperament.

As Augustine himself would later say, his mother delivered him twice: the second time required a long spiritual labour of prayers and tears, but crowned at the end by the joy of seeing him not only embracing the faith and receiving Baptism, but even dedicating himself entirely to the service of Christ.

How much difficulty there is even today in family relationships and how many mothers are anguished because their children have strayed onto wrong paths!

Monica, a wise woman who was firm in her faith, invites mothers not to be discouraged, but to persevere in their mission as wife and mother, keeping firm their trust in God and holding fast with perseverance to prayer.

As for Augustine, all his existence was a passionate search for truth. At the end, but not without long interior torment, he discovered in Christ the ultimate and full sense of his own life and of the entire human story.

Attracted by earthly life in his adolescence, he 'threw himself' into it - as he himself confided (cfr Confessions 10,27-30) - in an egoistic and possessive manner, behaving in ways that caused not a few sufferings to his pious mother.

But through an effortful route, thanks to her prayers, Augustine started opening up to the fullness of truth and love, until his covnersion which took place in Milan under the guidance of the bishop Saint Ambrose. And so Augustine became a model for one path to God, the supreme Truth and the highest Good.

"Late did I come to love you," he writes in his famous book of Confessions, "Beauty that is so old and so new, late did I come to love you. But You were within me, and I was outside where I searched for You...You were with me but I was not with You...You called me, you cried out, you broke through my deafness. You blinded me, srurck me with lightning, and finally healed my blindness" (ibid).

May St. Augustine obtain the gift of a sincere and profound encounter with Christ for all the young people who, thirsting for happiness, look for it by going down the wrong pathways and losing themselves in dead ends.

St. Monica and St. Augustine invite us to address ourselves with trust to Mary, Seat of Wisdom. To her, let us entrust Crhstian parents so that like Monica, they may accompany with their example and with their prayers their children's way in the world. To the Virgin Mother of God, we commend our youth so that, like Augustine, they may always tend towards the fullness of Truth and Love - Christ who alone can satisfy the profound desires of the human heart.

Before proceeding to greet the pilgrims in various languages, the Pope said this:

Next September 1, the Church in Italy celebrates the first Day to Safeguard the Environment - creation which is God's great gift that is now exposed to serious risks by choices and styles of life that can degrade it. Environmental degradation helps make the life of the poor on earth unsustainable. In dialog with Chistians of other confessions, we should commit ourselves to taking care of nature, without exhausting its resources but sharing them in a spirit of solidarity.

On this occasion, I am happy to welcome today representatives of a pilgrimage that followed the Via Francigena from Switzerland to Rome to promote awareness and respect for the environment.

Later, in English, he said: I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Sunday Angelus including the new students from the Pontifical North American College, and the former All-Ireland Hurling champions from Offaly.

Today’s Gospel invites us to join Peter and profess our complete trust in the Lord, who alone has the words of eternal life.

May your stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome renew your faith in Christ, and may God bless you all!

Papa Ratzinger Forum

Friday, August 25, 2006

Good Night Papa!


"Good night my son!"

A kiss for the Holy Father.

This gentleman did just that.

Catholic Press Photo

The Holy Face


Jesus, may the contemplation of Your sufferings move me with the greatest compassion, as they moved St. Veronica when she wiped Your Holy Face on the road to Calvary; make me hate my sins, and kindle in my heart a more fervent love for You. Imprint Your Image in my mind so that I may never forget what my sins have done to You. Guide me, that I may one day be transformed into Your likeness. My beloved Jesus, grant that I may never cease to love You, and do with me as You will. Amen.

Holy Face of Jesus, Be my joy. Holy Face of Jesus, Be my strength. Holy Face of Jesus, Be my health. Holy Face of Jesus, Be my courage. Holy Face of Jesus, Be my wisdom. Holy Face of Jesus, Image of the Father, Provide for me. Holy Face of Jesus, Mirror of Thy Priestly Heart, Be my zeal. Holy Face of Jesus, Gift of the Spirit, Show me Thy love. Holy Face of Jesus, saddened by sorrow, Grant my requests through Thy merits. Amen.

~~by Rev. Emery Pethro (Two Hearts Network)

"The 'Veronica's Veil' is seen at the Saint Veil monastery in Manoppello, central Italy, August 24, 2006. Pope Benedict XVI will make a pilgrimage to a remote monastery in the Abruzzo region, east of Rome, next week to visit the mysterious icon which many believe shows the face of Christ. Picture taken August 24, 2006. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli (ITALY).

Quote for the Day


"You will never make a decision that you are absolutely sure about. The only certainty is God's love. Every decision that we make to respond to His love, every step we take on the path of faithfulness, every choice we make to fulfill the responsibilities He has entrusted to us carries an element of risk. Despite everything, we might be wrong…. It takes courage to venture in faith. Courage is not a virtue separate from the rest. It is the way we develop every virtue."

~Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR What Does GOD Want?, Our Sunday Visitor Press

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pool Reporter Peeks Into Benedict's Papacy


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - "You must know everything about this place," Pope Benedict said.
"Not as much as I would like to, Your Holiness," I replied.

It was June 17, 2005 and I was one of two journalists present in the papal apartments in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to cover a visit by the president of Slovakia as a "pool reporter" for the Vatican press corps.

It was my first time under the new papacy, then little more than two months old. Under John Paul, I had been in that same room with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Nelson Mandela.

After the Pope and the visit or conclude private talks, delegations and pool reporters are allowed into the private study.

The hope is that a newsworthy tidbit will emerge from the pleasantries.

However, this is not the White House. Reporters are told not to ask questions -- on pain of not being allowed back. You try to behave like a fly on a wall, albeit a frescoed wall.

Read more from here.

St. Bartholomew Apostle


St. Bartholomew, a doctor in the Jewish law, was a dear friend of St. Philip the Apostle. Because Bartholomew was a man "in whom there was no guile," his mind was open to the truth. He went willingly with Philip to see Christ, and recognized the Savior immediately as the Son of God. After having received the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, Bartholomew evangelized Asia Minor, northwestern India, and Greater Armenia. In the latter country, while preaching to idolaters, he was arrested and condemned to death. Read more here.

Liturgical Celebration Nourishes Hope


"the experience of the goodness of God in the liturgy becomes a renewal of the gift of hope."

"On freeing man's heart from daily anxieties," it continues, "the celebration of the liturgy gives new confidence; the moment of celebration communicates the joy of hoping for a better world, of living in the Church, of being loved by God and of being able to love again, of being forgiven and saved."

"For this reason, the believer must be helped to understand that to guard, revive and communicate hope he must again celebrate, contemplate Jesus, the Risen One," the message states. "Then prayer opens our life to God's plan, it leads us to be docile instruments in his hands to transform our way of living and, consequently, the history of our environment.

"Thus, the liturgical celebration embraces several aspects of existence: the world of emotions and relationships, shared frailty and weaknesses, the experience of work and rest, always proclaiming the primacy of the love of God." ~Benedict XVI


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Queenship of Mary


Encyclical AD CAELI REGINAM of Pope Pius XII

11. St. Gregory Nazianzen calls Mary "the Mother of the King of the universe," and the "Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world,"[12] while Prudentius asserts that the Mother marvels "that she has brought forth God as man, and even as Supreme King."[13]

12. And this royal dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is quite clearly indicated through direct assertion by those who call her "Lady," "Ruler" and "Queen."

Image from

More information on Mary's Queenship from here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Angelus Message on St. Bernard

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today the calendar lists among the saints of the day St. Bernard of Claravalls (Clairvaux,Fr.; Chiaravalle,It.) a great doctor of the Church who lived in the 12th century (1091-1153). But his example and his teachings have shown themselves to be even more useful in our time.

Having retired from the world after a period of intense interior work, he was elected abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux at age 25, and remaining so for the next 35 years until his death.

Dedicating himself to silence and contemplation did not keep him from carrying out intense apostolic work. He was also exemplary for the commitment with which he fought to dominate his impetuous temperament, as for the humility with which he recognized his own limitations and failings.

The richness and value of his theology lay not so much in having opened new ways of thought but in succeeding to restate the truths of the faith in a style so clear and incisive as to fascinate his listeners and inspire them to meditation and prayer.

In each of his writings we sense the echo of a rich interior experience which he managed to communicate to others in a surprisingly persuasive manner.

For him, the greatest force in spiritual life was love. God who is love created man to love, and rescued him through love. The salvation of all human beings, mortally wounded by original sin and weighed down with our own personal sins, consists in firm adherence to divine charity which is fully revealed in Christ crucified and resurected.

Through His love, God restores health to our will and our intelligence, elevating them to the highest level of union with Him, namely, to holiness and to mystical union. It is this which St. Bernard writes about, among other things, in the brief but substantial Liber de deligendo Deo.

I also wish to point out another writing by him, De consideratione,which was addressed to Pope Eugene III. The dominant theme here was the importance of interior meditation, an essential element of piety.

The saint observes that one must guard against the dangers of any excessive activity, under any condition or office, because this can lead to "hardness of heart"... which is "nothing else but a suffering of the spirit, a waywardness of intelligence, and a dispersion of grace" (II, 3).

His admonition is valid for any kind of occupation, even those concerned with the governing of the Church. The words which Bernard addresses in this respect to the Pope - already his disciple at Clairvaux - are provocative: "Here is where these concerns may lead you if you continue to lose yourselves in them - you will leave nothing of yourself for yourself" (ibid). How useful even for us this reminder to pray and meditate! May St. Bernard help us to concretize this in our own lives - he who knew how to harmonize the monk's desire for solitude in the quiet of the cloister with the urgency of important and complex missions in the service of the Church.

Let us entrust this wish to the intercession of Our Lady, whom he loved from boyhood with a filial and tender devotion that merits him the title of "Marian Doctor." Let us invoke her to obtain the gift of true and lasting peace for the entire world.

St. Bernard, in one of his famous speeches, likened Mary to the star which mariners look to in order not to lose course: "In the rise and fall of events in this world, one feels not to be walking on firm ground but to be buffeted between wind and waves. Do not take off your eyes from the splendor of this star if you do not wish to be swallowed by the waves...Look at the star, pray to Mary...Following her, you will not lose your way...If she protects you, you will not fear; if she guides you, you will not tire; if she favors you, you will reach your goal" (Hom. super Missus est, II, 17).

After the Angelus, he said this in English:

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Sunday Angelus. In today’s Gospel Jesus reveals himself as the Bread of Life, who comes down
from Heaven. May our celebration of the Lord’s Day be always a time of joyful thanksgiving for the gift of new life in Christ! I wish you all a pleasant stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome, and a blessed Sunday!

Papa Ratzinger forum

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thoughts of St. Jane Frances de Chantal


Patron saint of: Forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows.

++ Delight in prayer is no measure of our love of God. But if we bear difficulties patiently, resist the urgings of self-love resolutely; and fulfill our duties in life willingly, if we live trusting in Providence and desiring to be known only by God - then we will show that we truly love God! Such deeds are unmistakable signs of love. Let us always be faithful in doing God's will because all else is unworthy of the name of love.

++ May we love and serve the Lord reverently with a loving, filial fear of offending our heavenly Father and of displeasing Jesus, our Divine Beloved. As long as we are in this life, we would do well to follow the well-traveled ways to holiness. Fear of God is the first step on this path. We cannot maintain a truly productive desire of serving God unless we have a holy fear of displeasing Our Savior and of being negligent in
responding to grace and inspirations.

++ May all our actions, words, thoughts, and spirit be centered in God, on God, and for God! Let us keep our passions well-disciplined and our spirit pure and faithful. Fidelity to our way of life will help us keep our thoughts centered on God. Then our words will be an inspiration to family, friends, and acquaintances.

++ Let us do everything in a spirit of peace and love! Attracted by the example and virtues of Jesus Christ our Lord who did the will of His Father, let us walk and even run in the way of God's divine will, not letting ourselves be pulled and pushed about like puppets. Unless we do everything lovingly from a sincere and simple desire for God's glory and the salvation of the world, we will never succeed in obeying this Divine Will. Instead, we will render fruitless the graces of our way of life.

++ Cordial love of the neighbor does not consist in feelings. This love flows not from a heart of flesh but from the heart of our will. We must stop twisting and turning about to discover what we like or dislike. Whether we experience aversion or inclination for something really does not matter, provided only that in our wills, we remain firm and unswerving in pure love. Then we will give God proofs of love amidst the strongest distastes and aversions as well as during consolations and sensible love. Only if we proceed in this way will we improve!

Read more here.

Via Catholic Culture

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Angelus Message on Mary's Assumption


Dear brothers and sisters,

Christian tradition has placed in the heart of summer one of the oldest and most suggestive of Marian feasts, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Just as Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, in the same way, Mary, at the end of her earthly existence, was assumed into heaven.

The liturgy today recalls this consoling truth of faith to us, while it sings the praises of she who has been crowned with incomparable glory. "In Heaven," we read in the passage from Apocalypse that is offered for our meditation today, "a grandiose sign appeared: a woman dressed in the sun, with the moon beneath her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars." (12,1)

The Fathers of the Church recognized Mary in this woman bathed in light. In her triumph, the Christian people - pilgrims through history - see the fulfillment of their expectations and the sure sign of their hope.

Mary is an example and a support for all believers: she encourages us not to lose faith in the face of difficulties and of the inevitable problems of everyday. She assures us of her help and reminds us that the essential thing is to search for and think of "the things above, not of this earth" (cfr Col 3,2).

In the grip of our daily concerns, we risk indeed thinking that the ultimate goal of human existence is here, in this world in which we are only passing through. But it is Paradise that is the true goal of our earthly pilgrimage. How different our days would be if it was that prospect which animates them! That is the way it was for the
saints. Their existence is testimony that when one lives with the heart constantly turned to heaven, earthly realities are lived according to their true value in the scale of things because they are illuminated by the eternal truth of divine love.

To the Queen of Peace, whom we contemplate in her celestial glory, I wish to entrust once more the concerns of mankind about every place in the world that is torn apart by violence. We join our brothers and sisters who, at this time, are gathered at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa for a eucharistic celebration presided by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who went to Lebanon as my special envoy, to bring comfort and concrete solidarity to all the victims of the conflict and to pray for the great goal of peace.

We are also in communion with the priests and the faithful of the Church in the Holy land, who are gathered in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, along with the Pontifical Representative in Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Antonio Franco, to pray for the same intentions. My prayers also go to the dear nation of Sri Lanka, threatened once more by a deterioration of ethnic conflict, and to Iraq, where the frightening daily trail of bloodshed makes the prospect for reconciliation and reconstruction seem more remote.

May Mary obtain for all sentiments of mutual understanding, the will towards such understanding, and a desire for concord.

After the Angelus prayers, he said this in English: I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. May the example of her life of obedience to the will of God, recognised by her exaltation into glory, be for all Christians a source of hope and inspiration! I wish you a blessed feast day, and a pleasant time in Castel Gandolfo and Rome!

From Papa Ratzinger Forum

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Today is a holy day of obligation.

Peace comes through the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is not a coincidence that a cease-fire went into effect on the vigil of the feast of the Assumption. Thank you Blessed Mother for hearing our prayers! Let us continue to pray for reconciliation and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Father in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Image from

Read Pope Pius XII's encyclical MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS on defining the Dogma of the Assumption.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Pope Speaks


UPDATE: Watch the Pope's interview! Listen to the broadcast with English translation here.

H/T to Amy and Fr. Stephanos

Here's an excerpt:

Question: Holy Father, let’s talk about your travels. You live in the Vatican and maybe it hurts you to be far from people and separated from the world, even in the beautiful surroundings of Castelgandolfo. You’ll be turning 80 soon. Do you think that, with God’s grace, you’ll be able to make many more trips? Do you have any idea of where you’d like to go? To the Holy Land, or Brazil? Do you know already?

Benedict XVI: To tell the truth I’m not that lonely. Of course there are, you may say, the walls that make it more difficult to get in, but there’s also a “pontifical family”, lots of visitors every day, especially when I’m in Rome. The Bishops come and other people, there are State visits. There are also personalities who want to talk to me personally, and not just about political issues. In this sense there are all kinds of encounters that, thank God, I have continually. And it’s also important that the seat of the Successor of Peter be a place of encounter, don’t you think? From the time of John XXIII onwards the pendulum began to swing in the other direction too: the popes started going out to visit others. I have to say that I’ve never felt strong enough to plan many long trips. But where such a trip allows me to communicate a message or where, shall I say, it’s in response to a sincere request, I’d like to go – in the “measure” that’s possible for me. Some are already planned: next year there’s the meeting of CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council, in Brazil, and I think that being there is an important step in the context of what Latin America is living so intensely , to strengthen the hope that’s so alive in that part of the world. Then I’d like to visit the Holy Land, and I hope to visit it in a time of peace. For the rest, we’ll see what Providence has in store for me.

Question: I insist further. I admire you every Wednesday when you hold your General Audience. 50,000 people come. It must be very tiring. How do you manage to hold out?

Benedict XVI: Yes, the Good Lord gives me the necessary strength. When you see the warm welcome, you’re obviously encouraged.

Question: What role does humour play in the life of a Pope?

Benedict XVI: I’m not a man who constantly thinks up jokes. But I think it’s very important to be able to see the funny side of life and its joyful dimension and not to take everything too tragically. I’d also say it’s necessary for my ministry. A writer once said that angels can fly because they don’t take themselves too seriously. Maybe we could also fly a bit if we didn’t think we were so important.

Question: When you have an important job like yours, Holy Father, you are much observed. Other people talk about you. I was reading and I was struck by what many observers say: that Pope Benedict is different from Cardinal Ratzinger. How do you see yourself, if I may be so bold as to ask?

Benedict XVI: I’ve been taken apart various times: in my first phase as professor and in the intermediate phase, during my first phase as Cardinal and in the successive phase. Now comes a new division. Of course circumstances and situations and even people influence you because you take on different responsibilities. Let’s say that my basic personality and even my basic vision have grown, but in everything that is essential I have remained identical. I’m happy that certain aspects that weren’t noticed at first are now coming into the open.

Question: Would you say that you like what you do, that it isn’t a burden for you?

Benedict XVI: That would be saying a bit too much, because it really is tiring. But in any case, I try to find joy here too.

Assumption Novena: Ninth Day


O Blessed Mother Assumed into Heaven, after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, we rejoice that you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in Heaven by the Holy Trinity. Lift our hearts with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach us how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make us realize that death is the triumphant gate through which we shall pass to your Son and that someday our bodies shall rejoin our souls in the unending bliss of heaven. From this earth, over which we tread as pilgrims, we look to you for help. In honor of your Assumption into Heaven we ask for this favor (mention your request). When our hour of death has come, lead us safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of God for all eternity together with you. Pray for us O Queen Assumed into Heaven, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Assumption Novena: Eighth Day


Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, we rejoice at your title as Queen of Heaven and Earth. You have given your holy fiat to God and became the Mother of our Savior. Obtain peace and salvation for us through your prayers, for you have given birth to Christ our Lord, the Savior of all mankind. Intercede for us and bring our petitions before the Throne of God (mention your request). Through your prayers, may our souls be filled with an intense desire to be like you, a humble vessel of the Holy Spirit and a servant of the Almighty God. Pray for us O Queen Assumed into Heaven, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Assumption Novena: Seventh Day


Mary, Queen of every heart, accept all that we are and bind us to you with the bonds of love, that we may be yours forever and may be able to say in all truth: “I belong to Jesus through Mary”. Our Mother, Assumed into Heaven and Queen of the Universe, ever-Virgin Mother of God, obtain for us what we ask for if it be for the glory of God and the good of our souls (mention your request). Our Mother, assumed into Heaven, we love you. Give us a greater love for Jesus and for you. Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Israel Close To Ceasefire


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has accepted a ceasefire agreement.

Praise God! Let us continue to pray that the Isreali government will give its final approval.

In the meantime, let us continue to pray for lasting peace in the Middle East, our families, our country and throughout the world. Let us pray our rosaries daily!

Prayer for the Immaculate Queen of Peace

Most holy and immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our loving Mother, being his Mother, you shared in his universal kingship. The prophets and angels proclaimed him King of peace. With loving fervor in our hearts we salute and honor you as Queen of peace.

We pray that your intercession may protect us and all people from hated and discord, and direct our hearts into the ways of peace and justice which your Son taught and exemplified. We ask your maternal care for our Holy Father who works to reconcile the nations in peace. We seek your guidance for our President and other leaders as they strive for world peace.

Glorious Queen of peace, grant us peace in our hearts, harmony in our families and concord throughout the world. Immaculate Mother, as patroness of our beloved country, watch over us and protect us with your motherly love. Amen.

Catholic Online

St. Clare


St. Clare of Assisi was the first woman to practice the life of entire poverty as taught by St. Francis. Placed by him at the head of a few companions in the small convent of San Damiano, she governed her community for forty-two years thus founding at the gates of Assisi the Order of Poor Clares. Their Rule included austerities hitherto unknown in monasteries of women. They went barefoot, slept on the ground, kept perpetual abstinence and made poverty the basis of their lives. St. Clare died on August 11, 1253, and was canonized two years after her death.


God of mercy, you inspired Saint Clare with the love of poverty. By the help of her prayers may we follow Christ in poverty of spirit and come to the joyful vision of your glory in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Catholic Culture)

Check out the new community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Arizona.

Assumption Novena: Sixth Day


Mary, our dear Mother and mighty Queen, take and receive our poor hearts with all their freedom and desires, all the love and all the virtues and graces with which they may be adorned. All we are and all we might be, all we have and hold in the order of nature as well as of grace, we have received from God through your loving intercession. Help us dear Mother to surrender to God all that we have including our petitions (mention your request). Our Lady and Queen, into your sovereign hands, we entrust all, that it may be returned to its noble origin. Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mass Quiz


How well do you know the Mass?

here to take the quiz. HT to Dymphna's Well.

Assumption Novena: Fifth Day


O merciful and loving Mother, may your glorious beauty fill our hearts with a distaste for earthly things and an ardent longing for the joys of Heaven. May your merciful eyes glance down upon our struggles and our weakness in this vale of tears. Hear then loving Mother, our request and plead to Jesus for us (mention your request). Crown us with the pure robe of innocence and grace here, and with immortality and glory in Heaven. Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ways To Intensify Prayers For Peace


The Pope continues to beg for everyone's prayers for peace and the cessation of violence and war in the Middle East. He says that his thoughts turn to sorrow as he laments over those ravaged by the war. He insists that peace is still possible if only adversaries would lay down their arms.

Prayers are needed at this time. You can help in any little way possible!

Here are some ways how we can continue to pray for peace. If there are other suggestions, please feel free to leave in the combox.

  • Offer your daily communion for a ceasefire and reconciliation in the Middle East.
  • Fasting and mortification (any form however little is pleasing to the Lord) for the protection from further devastation.
  • Beg the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for an end to the war and for lasting peace.
  • Pray the Rosary daily asking Our Lady's intercession to pour out her graces upon those afflicted.
  • Say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of hearts of world leaders.
  • Meditate on Our Lord's Passion and the Dolors of Mary to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so that they may aid those who suffer.

30 Day Novena to St. Joseph


If you want to start a 30-day novena to St. Joseph, click here.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross


How can we be closer to Jesus? St. Benedicta tells us how in her meditation on the feast of St. John of the Cross.

LOVE OF THE CROSS by St. Benedicta of the Cross

We hear repeatedly that St. John of the Cross desired nothing for himself but to suffer and be despised. We want to know the reason for this love of suffering. Is it merely the loving remembrance of the path of suffering of our Lord on earth, a tender impulse to be humanly close to him by a life resembling his? This does not seem to correspond to the lofty and strict spirituality of the mystical teacher. And in relation to the Man of Sorrows, it would almost seem that the victoriously enthroned king, the divine conqueror of sin, death, and hell is forgotten. Did not Christ lead captivity captive? Has he not transported us into a kingdom of light and called us to be happy children of our heavenly Father?

The sight of the world in which we live, the need and misery, and an abyss of human malice, again and again dampens jubilation over the victory of light. The world is still deluged by mire, and still but a small flock has escaped from it to the highest mountain peaks. The battle between Christ and the Antichrist is not yet over. The followers of Christ have their place in this battle, and their chief weapon is the cross.

What does this mean? The burden of the cross that Christ assumed is that of corrupted human nature, with all its consequences in sin and suffering to which fallen humanity is subject. The meaning of the way of the cross is to carry this burden out of the world. The restoration of freed humanity to the heart of the heavenly Father, taking on the status of a child, is the free gift of grace, of merciful love. But this may not occur at the expense of divine holiness and justice. The entire sum of human failures from the first Fall up to the Day of Judgment must be blotted out by a corresponding measure of expiation. The way of the cross is this expiation. The triple collapse under the burden of the cross corresponds to the triple fall of humanity: the first sin, the rejection of the Savior by his chosen people, the falling away of those who bear the name of Christian.

The Savior is not alone on the way of the cross. Not only are there adversaries around him who oppress him, but also people who succor him. The archetype of followers of the cross for all time is the Mother of God. Typical of those who submit to the suffering inflicted on them and experience his blessing by bearing it is Simon of Cyrene. Representative of those who love him and yearn to serve the Lord is Veronica. Everyone who, in the course of time, has borne an onerous destiny in remembrance of the suffering Savior or who has freely taken up works of expiation has by doing so canceled some of the mighty load of human sin and has helped the Lord carry his burden. Or rather, Christ the head effects expiation in these members of his Mystical Body who put themselves, body and soul, at his disposal for carrying out his work of salvation. We can assume that the prospect of the faithful who would follow him on his way of the cross strengthened the Savior during his night on the Mount of Olives. And the strength of these cross-bearers helps him after each of his falls. The righteous under the Old Covenant accompany him on the stretch of the way from the first to the second collapse. The disciples, both men and women, who surrounded him during his earthly life, assist him on the second stretch. The lovers of the cross, whom he has awakened and will always continue to awaken anew in the changeable history of the struggling church, these are his allies at the end of time. We, too, are called for that purpose.

Thus, when someone desires to suffer, it is not merely a pious reminder of the suffering of the Lord. Voluntary expiatory suffering is what truly and really unites one to the Lord intimately. When it arises, it comes from an already existing relationship with Christ. For, by nature, a person flees from suffering. And the mania for suffering caused by a perverse lust for pain differs completely from the desire to suffer in expiation. Such lust is not a spiritual striving, but a sensory longing, no better than other sensory desires, in fact worse, because it is contrary to nature. Only someone whose spiritual eyes have been opened to the supernatural correlations of worldly events can desire suffering in expiation, and this is only possible for people in whom the spirit of Christ dwells, who as members [Glieder](62) are given life by the Head, receive his power, his meaning, and his direction. Conversely, works of expiation bind one closer to Christ, as every community that works together on one task becomes more and more closely knit and as the limbs [Glieder] of a body, working together organically, continually become more strongly one.

But because being one with Christ is our sanctity, and progressively becoming one with him our happiness on earth, the love of the cross in no way contradicts being a joyful child of God. Helping Christ carry his cross fills one with a strong and pure joy, and those who may and can do so, the builders of God's kingdom, are the most authentic children of God. And so those who have a predilection for the way of the cross by no means deny that Good Friday is past and that the work of salvation has been accomplished. Only those who are saved, only children of grace, can in fact be bearers of Christ's cross. Only in union with the divine Head does human suffering take on expiatory power. To suffer and to be happy although suffering, to have one's feet on the earth, to walk on the dirty and rough paths of this earth and yet to be enthroned with Christ at the Father's right hand, to laugh and cry with the children of this world and ceaselessly to sing the praises of God with the choirs of angels this is the life of the Christian until the morning of eternity breaks forth.

Volume IV of the Collected Works of St. Edith Stein The hidden life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Discalced Carmelite Edited by Dr. L. Gelber and Michael Linssen, O.C.D. Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included.

Assumption Novena: Fourth Day


O Dearest Mother Mary, God placed you at His right hand that you may dispose of the treasures of grace by a singular title – that of Mother of God. In the midst of all the Saints you stand as their Queen and ours – dearer to the Heart of God than any creature in God’s Kingdom. You pray for your children and distribute to us every grace won by our loving Savior on the Cross. With your most holy title, please intercede for us in our needs and ask Jesus to grant our request if it be for the good of our souls (mention your request). Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Galileo Affair


If you've met someone (as I have) accusing the Church of "demonizing" science, I propose that you read this great article on the whole Galileo Affair, via the Curt Jester.

St. Dominic


St. Dominic

O Holy Priest of God and glorious Patriarch, St. Dominic, thou who wast the friend, the well-beloved son and confidant of the Queen of Heaven, and didst work so many miracles by the power of the Holy Rosary, have regard for my intercessions.

On earth you opened your heart to the miseries of your fellow man, and your hands were strong to help them; now in heaven your charity has not grown less nor has your power waned.

Pray for me to the Mother of the Rosary and to her divine Son, for I have great confidence that through your assistance I shall obtain the favor I so much desire: (mention your intentions). Amen.

Read about the life of
St. Dominic

Know more about the
Dominican Family.

Update: Irish Dangerous and Catholic has posted Pope Benedict XV's enclycical "Fausto Appetente Die" - a rich source of nourishment for every Dominican.

Assumption Novena: Third Day


O Mother, Assumed into Heaven, because you shared in all the mysteries of our Redemption her below, Jesus has crowned you not only with glory but with power. With your most glorious and powerful intercession, help us O loving Mother and present to Jesus our request (mention your request). O Queen assumed into Heaven, pray for us. Amen.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cell phone versus the Bible


I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phones.

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?

What if we used it as we traveled?

What if we used it in case of an emergency?

What if we upgraded it to get the latest version?

This is something to make you go “ hmmm… where is my Bible?”

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!

(Taken from a parish bulletin)

Assumption Novena: Second Day


Mary, Assumed into Heaven, we venerate you as the Queen of Heaven and earth. Your own Son led you to a throne of glory in Heaven next to His own. As you tasted the bitterness of pain and sorrow with Him on earth, you now enjoy eternal bliss with Him in Heaven. As our loving Queen, intercede for us in our needs (mention your request). We thank Jesus for having put a most beautiful crown upon you head, while all the Angels and Saints acclaim you as their Queen. O Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us. Amen.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Angelus Message on Feast of Transfiguration


The Pope renews call for peace as he reflects on the feast of the Transfiguration.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today the evangelist Mark narrates how Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to a high mountain and was transfigured before them, becoming so luminous that "no cleaner in the world could have made his vestments so white" (cfr Mk 9,2-10).

The liturgy today invites us to focus on this mystery of light. On the transfigured face of Christ shone a ray of the divine light that He kept within Him. This same light would blaze from the face of Christ on the day of the Resurrection. In this sense, the Transfiguration was an anticipation of the Paschal mystery.

The Transfiguration invites us to open the eyes of the heart to the mystery of the light of God present in the whole story of salvation. Already at the start of Creation, the Almighty says, "Fiat lux", let there be light! (Jn 1,2) and light separates from darkness. Like His other creatures, light is a sign that reveals something of God: it is the reflection of His glory which accompanies His manifestations. When God appears, "His splendor is like the light, flashes of lightning come from His hands" (Ab 3,3f).

Light, it is said in the Psalms, is the mantle in which the Lord wraps Himself (cfr Ps 104,2). In the Book of Wisdom, the symbolism of light is used to describe the essence of God itself: wisdom, an effusion of God's glory, is "a reflection of eternal light", superior to any created light (cfr Wos 7,27-29f).

Read its entirety here.

German TV Interviews the Pope

Assumption Novena: First Day


Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, we believe in your triumphant assumption into heaven where the angels and saints acclaim you as Queen of Heaven and earth. We join them in praising you and bless the Lord who raised you above all creatures. With them we offer you our devotion and love. We are confident that you watch over our daily efforts and we pray that you may intercede for us in our needs (mention your request). We take comfort from the faith in the coming Resurrection and we look to you, our life, our sweetness and our hope. After this earthly life, show us Jesus, the blest fruit of your womb, O kind, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary. O Queen Assumed into Heaven, pray for us. Amen.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Patron of Priests


I would like to thank my niece Chris in helping me post this. She is such a blessing to me because she helps me now and then in my posts. God bless her!

Catechism on Priesthood
by Saint John Vianney (feast day: August 4)

My children, we have come to the Sacrament of Orders. It is a Sacrament which seems to relate to no one among you, and which yet relates to everyone. This Sacrament raises man up to God. What is a priest! A man who holds the place of God -- a man who is invested with all the powers of God. "Go, " said Our Lord to the priest; "as My Father sent Me, I send you. All power has been given Me in Heaven and on earth. Go then, teach all nations. . . . He who listens to you, listens to Me; he who despises you despises Me. " When the priest remits sins, he does not say, "God pardons you"; he says, "I absolve you. " At the Consecration, he does not say, "This is the Body of Our Lord;" he says, "This is My Body. "

Saint Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary; and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest -- always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest.

Go to confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an angel; will they absolve you? No. Will they give you the Body and Blood of Our Lord? No. The Holy Virgin cannot make her Divine Son descend into the Host. You might have two hundred angels there, but they could not absolve you. A priest, however simple he may be, can do it; he can say to you, "Go in peace; I pardon you. " Oh, how great is a priest! The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love. The other benefits of God would be of no avail to us without the priest. What would be the use of a house full of gold, if you had nobody to open you the door! The priest has the key of the heavenly treasures; it is he who opens the door; he is the steward of the good God, the distributor of His wealth. Without the priest, the Death and Passion of Our Lord would be of no avail. Look at the heathens: what has it availed them that Our Lord has died? Alas! they can have no share in the blessings of Redemption, while they have no priests to apply His Blood to their souls!

The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you. After God, the priest is everything. Leave a parish twenty years without priests; they will worship beasts. If the missionary Father and I were to go away, you would say, "What can we do in this church? there is no Mass; Our Lord is no longer there: we may as well pray at home. " When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion.

When the bell calls you to church, if you were asked, "Where are you going?" you might answer, "I am going to feed my soul. " If someone were to ask you, pointing to the tabernacle, "What is that golden door?" "That is our storehouse, where the true Food of our souls is kept. " "Who has the key? Who lays in the provisions? Who makes ready the feast, and who serves the table?" "The priest. " "And what is the Food?" "The precious Body and Blood of Our Lord. " O God! O God! how Thou hast loved us! See the power of the priest; out of a piece of bread the word of a priest makes a God. It is more than creating the world. . . . Someone said, "Does Saint Philomena, then, obey the Cure of Ars?" Indeed, she may well obey him, since God obeys him.

If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the angel. The latter is the friend of God; but the priest holds His place. Saint Teresa kissed the ground where a priest had passed. When you see a priest, you should say, "There is he who made me a child of God, and opened Heaven to me by holy Baptism; he who purified me after I had sinned; who gives nourishment to my soul. " At the sight of a church tower, you may say, "What is there in that place?" "The Body of Our Lord. " "Why is He there?" "Because a priest has been there, and has said holy Mass. "

What joy did the Apostles feel after the Resurrection of Our Lord, at seeing the Master whom they had loved so much! The priest must feel the same joy, at seeing Our Lord whom he holds in his hands. Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the drinking cup of the Blessed Virgin and of the Child Jesus, at Loretto. But the fingers of the priest, that have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus Christ, that have been plunged into the chalice which contained His Blood, into the pyx where His Body has lain, are they not still more precious? The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus. When you see the priest, think of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

From Catholic Forum.

Photo from here.

Resist the Devil!


It is said that the Devil told St. John Vianney, "If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined." The Saint, for his part, developed a remarkable sense of humor about the supernatural assaults, saying, "Oh! the grappin" – his nickname for the Devil – "and myself? We are almost chums."

It's not likely that we'll ever have to struggle with Satan the way St. John Vianney did, but we should be familiar with who he is and what he does – and why he must be resisted. That begins with acknowledging that he exists and that he wants to destroy us. It means knowing that although he is powerful, Satan is limited and he is already defeated (CCC 2852, 2864). Imagine a person so dedicated to God that he becomes like St. John Vianney. That saint could be you.

From Ignatius Insight.

St. John Marie Vianney is one of my favorite saints. Here are some wonderful links:

The Secret of His Holiness

On Temptation

On Sloth

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pope Renews Call For Peace


Vatican City, Aug. 02, 2006 (CNA) - At the conclusion of his weekly General Audience today in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers for those in the Middle East and renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in region.

The Pope said, “with a heart overflowing with sorrow, I renew yet again my pressing appeal for the immediate cessation of all hostilities and violence.”

“I would like to repeat,” the Pope said, “that it is never possible to justify the spilling of innocent blood, no matter from which side it comes!”

The Pontiff, who has been calling for peace since the hostilities began, invited everyone to continue praying for the region. “Our eyes are filled with the chilling images of the tortured bodies of many persons, above all of children - I think especially of Qana in Lebanon.”

Benedict referred, in part, to an apartment building, which was targeted by Israeli missiles on Sunday. The bombing left nearly 60 Lebanese refugees dead, most of whom were children.

The Guardian reports today that UNICEF estimates 290 children have been killed in the conflict to date and that somewhere near 45% of those forced to flee their homes have been children.

The Holy Father also exhorted the international community to get involved immediately to, “push the conditions for a definitive political solution to the crisis - one which is able to deliver a more peaceful and secure way for generations to come.”

Photo from here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pope's Intentions for August 2006


General: That orphans may not lack the care necessary for their human and Christian formation.

Mission: That the Christian faithful may be aware of their own missionary vocation in every environment and circumstance.

+ Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary + Click to play "REGINA CAELI"

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

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