Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Holyween


Reclaim the Celebration of All Saints
By Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

"What bad dude ‘from subterranean levels’ changed the ‘saints’ from ‘All Saints Eve’ to goblins, spooks, and devils?" So asked one of cartoonist Johnny Hart’s characters in his "B.C." strip about eight years ago.

At the time, I was master of novices for the Dominican friars in Oakland, California, and decided that I would break with tradition and not have the novices put on the annual Halloween party. The Church celebrates all its holy ones with the rank of "solemnity" and rightfully so.

These after all, are the heroes and heroines of humanity, the people who knew what humanity is about—that we are more about God than about us, and that we owe him the worship and love of our lives.When one begins to investigate the lives of these remarkable men and women who are the saints, it is impossible to ignore the extent of their diversity.

While the categories of martyrs, confessors, virgins, and holy men and women have their liturgical uses, they become irrelevant in the light of personal histories that are so spiritually exalted and at the same time so humanly identifiable.

"We were overwhelmed with grief, but she held her gaze steadily upon us and spoke further: ‘Here you shall bury your mother.’ I remained silent as I held back my tears. However, my brother haltingly expressed his hope that she might not die in a strange country but in her own land" (from the Liturgy of the Hours for August 27, Memorial of St. Monica.) Would you have expected such tender words from the great doctor of the Church, Augustine?

Read more here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Prayers Needed


Sorry I haven't been posting. I ask for prayers for a family member who is experiencing some difficulty in life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Motivational Poster Entries


Here are my entries to the motivational poster contest.

I hope you like them. Please click on the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Scripture Speaks To Me Today


Psalms 139: 1 - 3, 13 - 15
1 O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me!
2 Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar.
3 Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
13 For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well;
15 my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.


Luke 10: 38 - 42
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.
40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."
41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."

St. Francis Borgia


Feast Day: October 10. Francis was a young nobleman at the court of the King of Spain. He became a Duke when he was only thirty-three and lived a happy, peaceful life with his wife Eleanor and their eight children. But unlike so many other powerful nobles, Francis was a perfect Christian gentleman, a true man of God and his great joy was to receive Holy Communion often. This happy life ended when his beloved wife died. Francis did something that astonished all the nobles of Spain; he gave up his Dukedom to his son Charles and became a Jesuit priest.

So many people came to his first Mass that they had to set up an altar outdoors, but his Superior tested him by treating him in exactly the opposite way he had been used to all his forty-one years of life. He who had once been a Duke had to help the cook, carrying wood for the fire and sweeping the kitchen. When he served food to the priests and brothers, he had to kneel down in front of them all and beg them to forgive him for being so clumsy! Still he never once complained or grumbled. The only time he became angry was when anyone treated him with respect as if he was still a Duke.

Once a doctor who had to take care of a painful wound Francis had gotten said to him: "I am afraid, my lord, that I have to hurt your grace." The saint answered that he would not hurt him more than he was right then by calling him "my lord" and "your grace." It was not too long before the humble priest accomplished wonderful works for God's glory as he preached everywhere and advised many important people. He spread the Society of Jesus all over Spain and in Portugal. When he was made Superior General of the Jesuits, he sent missionaries all over the world. Under his guidance, the Jesuits grew to be a very great help to the Church in many lands. Through all such success, St. Francis Borgia remained completely humble. His feast day is October 10. (Catholic Online)

Monday, October 09, 2006

All Saints Meme


Here's goes another tag... this time from Moneybags, slightly modifying the name as the All Saints meme.

1. If you were invited to an All Saints Day Costume Party, which saint would you dress up as and why? (The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is not an option.)

I would probably dress up as St. Michael the Archangel as a reminder that we are in a spiritual battle on earth and that we need to fight Satan and win souls for God.

2. Which saint or other person would accompany you to the party?

Of course it would be the Archangels, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael.

3. What famous quote would help others identify you?

“Who is like God?”

4. Describe your costume.

A red cape, an armor, helmet and a spear. At the end of the spear is the serpent’s head with the mouth wide open indicating it's defeat.

5. Which movie or film best depicts the life of this saint?

None that I know of.

6. What is your favorite book written about this saint or that he or she has written?

I haven't read many books about St. Michael so can’t really say that I have a favorite but I know of a book called “St. Michael and the Angels”.

Anyone who wants to be tagged is now hereby tagged!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary



What actually is the Rosary? A compendium of the Gospel. It brings us back again and again to the most important scenes of Christ's life, almost as if to let us "breathe" his mystery. The Rosary is the privileged path to contemplation. It is, so to speak, Mary's way. Is there anyone who knows and loves Christ better than she?

... At the same time, with the tranquil rhythm of the repetition of the Hail Mary the Rosary calms our spirit and opens it to saving grace.

~ Pope John Paul II,
apostolic address in Pompei, 2003

Image and history of Our Lady of Pompei from here.

Dominican Rosary

The rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Divine Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), during the course of which the monks daily prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50, or even 150, Ave Marias (Hail Marys) for the Psalms.

This prayer, at least the first half of it so directly biblically, seems to date from as early as the 2nd century, as ancient graffiti at Christian sites has suggested. Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Aves.

The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (died in 1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the Faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin. Read more here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St. Francis of Assisi


Here is a short excerpt of the greatness of St. Francis:

...But one of the earliest glimpses we have of him shows him as simply selling bales of cloth from a booth in the market; which his mother may or may not have believed to be one of the habits of princes. This first glimpse of the young man in the market is symbolic in more ways than one.

An incident occurred which is perhaps the shortest and sharpest summary that could be given of certain curious things which were a part of his character, long before it was transfigured by transcendental faith.

While he was selling velvet and fine embroideries to some solid merchant of the town a beggar came imploring alms; evidently in a somewhat tactless manner.

It was a rude and simple society and there were no laws to punish a starving man for expressing his need for food, such as have been established in a more humanitarian age; and the lack of any organised police permitted such persons to pester the wealthy without any great danger.

But there was I believe, in many places a local custom of the guild forbidding outsiders to interrupt a fair bargain; and it is possible that some such thing put the mendicant more than normally in the wrong.

Francis had all his life a great liking for people who had been put hopelessly in the wrong. On this occasion he seems to have dealt with the double interview with rather a divided mind; certainly with distraction, possibly with irritation.

Perhaps he was all the more uneasy because of the almost fastidious standard of manners that came to him quite naturally. All are agreed that politeness flowed from him from the first, like one of the public fountains in such a sunny Italian market place. He might have written among his own poems as his own motto that verse of Mr. Belloc's poem--

"Of Courtesy, it is much less

Than courage of heart or holiness
Yet in my walks it seems to me
That the grace of God is in Courtesy."

G.K. Chesterton

Image from here.

Break for a Meme


Tagged by Carmel!

1. A Place You've Visited and Your Favorite Thing there.

I've been to the Vatican and I would like to go again because one of my favorite things to do there is to attend the Pope's Wednesday audience and to visit St. Peter's Basilica.

2. A Country You'd Like to Visit and Why

I'd like to visit Germany because it's the Holy Father's homeland and there is just so much history. I'd like to visit the shrine of the Three Kings in the Cologne Cathedral.

3. A Place From History You'd Like to Visit and Why

I would like to visit the home of St. Therese of Lisieux because she is one of my patron saints.

4. A Place You Know A Lot About

The City of St. Francis

5. A Place You'd Like to Learn More About

There is so much to learn about Eastern Europe.

6. A Fictional Place You'd Like to Visit

Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Anyone who wants to do this, go for it!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Feast of the Guardian Angels


See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. Be attentive to him and heed his voice. - Exodus 23:-20-21a

Update: Here's a prayer that Carmel so kindly directed to me:


O MOST holy Angel of God, appointed by God to be my guardian, I give thee thanks for all the benefits which thou hast ever bestowed on me in body and soul. I praise and glorify thee that thou condescended to assist me with such patient fidelity, and to defend me against all the assaults of my enemy.

Blessed be the hour in which thou were assigned me for my guardian, my defender and my patron. In acknowledgmentand return for all thy loving ministries to me, I offer thee the infinitely precious and noble Heart of Jesus, and firmly purpose to obey thee henceforward, and most faithfully to serve my God. Amen.

O my good Angel, whom God, by His Divine mercy, hath appointed to be my guardian, enlighten and protect me, direct and govern me this day. Amen.

Catholic Tradition

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Pope's Intentions for October 2006


General: That all those who are baptized may mature in their faith and manifest it through clear, coherent and courageous choices in life.

Mission: That the celebration of World Missionary Day may everywhere increase the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation.

Pope Encourages Praying the Rosary


Dear brothers and sisters,

Today, the first day of October, I would like to dwell on two aspects which characterize this month for the ecclesiastical community: the praying of the Rosary and a commitment to the missions.

On October 7th, Saturday, we will celebrate the feast of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, and it is as if every year, Our Lady invites us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple but so profound. The beloved John Paul II was a great apostle of the Rosary: we remember him on his knees with the rosary in his hands, immersed in the contemplation of Christ, as he himself has invited us to din his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

The rosary is a contemplative, Christ-centered prayer, inseparable from meditation on the Sacred Scriptures. It is the prayer of the Christian who advances along the pilgrimage of faith, following Jesus, preceded by Mary.

I wish to invite you, brothers and sisters, to recite the Rosary this week as a family, in the community and in the parishes for the intentions of the Pope, for the mission of the Church and for peace in the world. October is also missionary month, and on Sunday, October 22, we will celebrate the World Day for Missions.

The Church is by nature missionary. "As the Father sent me, I also send you" (jn 20,21), said the resurrected Jesus to the Apostles in the Cenacle. The mission of the Church is to prolong Christ's mission: to bring to all the love of God, announcing itwith the word and with the concrete testimony of charity. In the message for the coming World Day for Missions, I wanted to present charity as the 'spirit of mission.".

St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wrote: "The love of Christ pushes us 92 Cor 5,14). My every Christian make that his own words, in the joyous experience of being a missionary of lovewherever Providence has put us, with humility and courage, serving our neighbor without ultimate purposesand dzrawing from prayer the strength for a happy and hardworking charity. (cf Deus caritas est, 32-39).

The universal patron of missions, along with St. Francis Xavier, is St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Carmelite virgin and doctor of the Church, whom we remember today May she, who indicated as the 'simple' way to holiness a trustful abandon to the love of God, help us to be credible witnesses for the Gospel of charity. Most Blessed Mary, Virgin of the Rosary and Queen of missions, lead us all to Christ the Savior.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following in Italian:

Yesterday I had the joy of meeting with His Beatitude Emmanuel III Dellay, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeas, who told me of the tragic reality that the beloved people of Iraq must face daily, where Muslims and Christians had lived for 14 centuries as children of the same land.
I hope that these links of brotherhood shall not be drawn apart while, with my spiritual nearness to them, I invite everyine to join me in asking almighty God for the gift of peace and concord for that troubled country.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the annual World day for Habitat, dewsignated by the United Nations and dedicated this year to the theme "Cities - magnets of hope". Managing the rapid process of urbanization - which is one of the consequences of growing migration towards the cities, represemts one of the most severe problems that man in the 21st century is called on to confrnt.

I express my encouragement to all those local and international levels who work so that persons living in the neglected peripheriesmay be assured worthy living conditions, thsatisfaction of their primary needs, and the possibility of realizing their own aspirations, particualrly in their family life and in a peaceful social coexistence.

Later, he addressed English-speaking pilgrims: I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors gathered here today, including the pilgrims from Rotterdam who are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of their diocese.

In this month of October, dedicated to the Holy Rosary, we ponder with Mary the mysteries of our salvation, and we ask the Lord to help us grow in our understanding of the marvellous things he has done for us. May God fill you with his love and may he bestow upon all those dear to you his blessings of joy and peace.

Papa Ratzi Forum

The Little Flower


The Little Flower is one of my dearest and beloved saints close to my heart as she helped me in my discernment to the Third Order Dominicans.

St. Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of the Missions

Prayer to St. Therese

O beautiful Rose of Carmel, Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, deign according to your promise to descend from heaven to visit those who implore you.

Pour down on us in profusion those celestial graces that are symbolized by the shower of roses that Jesus, your spouse, has put at your disposition.

Your power is great with His Heart. He can only listen and hear your prayer. I have then recourse to you, O Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, assist me in this circumstance.

Speak for me to Jesus and Mary and obtain for me to live a holy life and die a happy death. Saint Therese, hear my prayer. Show your power with God and cure me if it be for the honor of God and the good of my soul. Amen.

Prayer to St. Therese

St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day, more and more. St. Therese of the Holy Face of Jesus, pray for us.

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

The Twenty-Four Glory Be to the Father's is said particularly from the 9th - 17th of the month. Pray 24 Glory Be's and between each say "St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us".

Holy Face of Jesus Prayer of St Therese of Lisieux

O Jesus, Who in Your bitter passion became the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, I venerate Your sacred Face whereon there once shone the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper!

Nevertheless, under those disfigured features I recognize Your infinite love, and I am consumed with the desire to love You and make You loved by all men. The tears which well up abundantly in Your sacred eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value.

O Jesus, Whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore you to fix deep within me Your divine image and to set me on fire with Your love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Your glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.
(Miracle Rosary Mission)

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

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

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