Sunday, February 18, 2018

An Eastern Chant of Psalm 50

Psalm 50

A Psalm of Asaph.

The Mighty One, God the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.
Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, I will testify against you.
    I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
    your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.
“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother's son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fr. Jozo: Your only enemy is the one who can separate you from the altar

The following comes from the Into God's Company 2 site:

Father Jozo and the Eucharist:
He that can separate You from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other.


Place your life upon this altar. You will witness how a priest will place a drop of water within a chalice full of wine. That drop of water intermingles with the wine and signifies you in the Holy Mass. You can become one, unite with and intermingle with Jesus. That is why the Holy Mass is called Communion ...union with God ...you and your God together ...that is the Holy Eucharist. All of us together and Jesus. That is the church, and that is where the one, holy Catholic apostolic church comes from.

He who can separate you from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other.

Every time we come into the church and celebrate the Holy Mass, that is our embrace, our hanging onto Our Lord and saying, "Lord where would we go, for you are the Word of Life."

Where did the martyrs gain so much strenght from? In the Church, where did the witnesses gain their strength from?

To date, in this year, 23 missionaries have been murdered around the world in four months. That is a lot. How can a man give his life for Jesus simply, with delight? It is the Holy Mass that does this within us, so that for you I'm able to give my very eyes, my arms and my life, my everything as Jesus gave His all; and the same way the Christian must give his all. Yes, once again, I must return to the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist.

Why is it that churches and sects do not tolerate the Mass, do not respect Our Lady? Because they go hand-in-hand. Yes, they go together. Our Lady teaches to come to love Jesus, to fall in love with Him, and that is why she places us before the Holy Eucharist, and pleads with us to pray before this holy, blessed Sacrament, so from Jesus we may learn to become bread for others; so that I not have fear to say, "Take this, all of you, of me, and eat of it."I know a lot of Anglican and Protestant priests, ministers, that were in Medjugorje.

I know of a Presbyterian bishop that I have met from Washington. He had sent a multitude of his priests to Medjugorje as well. When I was in Washington a few years ago, I visited him because he visited me and came to Medjugorje. He had a problem, a cross, that was inflicted upon him. His son was shot in Vietnam and became paralyzed. When his son returned from the war, he said to his wife, "Let us make a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I believe Our Lady will hear us." And Our Lady gave a miracle. The son was healed and converted the parents. The bishop desired that all of his priests come to know Our Lady. Eight of those priests to date have become Catholic priests, without any shouts, without publication, without media. Our Lady works in miraculous ways. She was always the sign, the sign of a better world, the sign of peace and unity in the Church, the sign of our salvation. May it also truly be the same in your city or town. Let us commence Holy Mass by preparing ourselves and involving this great grace.

This article was taken from the Medjugorje Newletter, published by Weible Columns.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Is there more to Lent than just giving up the stuff that you love?

The following comes from NOLA.com:

Open the Bible and you won’t find the word “Lent” anywhere. So where does Lent come from? Why does it last for 40 days — 40 long days? And what exactly are we supposed to be doing? Is it really just about giving up coffee, chocolate and Coke? Or is there more to it?


The answers can be found by exploring the biblical roots of the season. Every year on Ash Wednesday, we read Jesus’ teaching about prayer, fasting and almsgiving (Matthew 6:1-18). And every year, on the first Sunday of Lent, we read about Jesus’ 40 days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-15; Luke 4:1-13).

First, the 40 days of Lent are modeled on Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert: “At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1). I bet he was! Here we see the deepest reason for the Lenten season: the 40 days of self-denial are done in imitation of Jesus. He prayed and fasted 40 days, so we follow his example with 40 days of self-denial. Now, we could just stop there. And many people do. But there is more to Lent than just “giving up” food and drink. For Jesus not only fasts, he also overcomes three powerful temptations:

The devil tries to get Jesus to transform stones into loaves of bread (Matthew 4:1-4). The temptation is for Jesus to break his fast and satisfy his hunger, which by this point must be ravenous.

The devil offers to give Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence” if Jesus will bow down and worship him (Matthew 4:8-10). Here the devil tries to tempt Jesus by offering him possession of the kingdoms of the world, which were handed over to the devil by Adam in the Fall (see Luke 4:6).

Finally, the devil tries to get Jesus to “prove” he is really the Son of God by throwing himself down from “the parapet of the Temple” in Jerusalem and letting the angels catch him. Here the devil tries to tempt Jesus to perform a miracle that everyone would be able to see.

Of course, Jesus rebuffs each temptation by declaring that a person lives by the word of God, not by bread alone; that God alone is to be worshipped, and that one should not put God to the test. But why these temptations? Why does the Gospel tell us that “when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from (Jesus) until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13)?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Story of Ash Wednesday

The following comes from The Catholic Exchange:


Q: A Protestant friend asked me why Catholics use ashes on Ash Wednesday. What are the origins of Ash Wednesday and the use of ashes?
The liturgical use of ashes originates in Old Testament times. Ashes symbolized mourning, mortality and penance. For instance, in the Book of Esther, Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes when he heard of the decree of King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes, 485-464BC) of Persia to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (Est 4:1). Job (whose story was written between 7th and 5th centuries BC) repented in sackcloth and ashes (Jb 42:6).
Prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, Daniel (c. 550BC) wrote, “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Dn 9:3). In the 5th century BC, after Jonah’s preaching of conversion and repentance, the town of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, and the king covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the ashes (Jon 3:5-6). These Old Testament examples evidence both a recognized practice of using ashes and a common understanding of their symbolism.
Jesus Himself also made reference to ashes: Referring to towns that refused to repent of sin although they had witnessed the miracles and heard the good news, our Lord said, “If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, they would have reformed in sackcloth and ashes long ago” (Mt 11:21).
The early Church continued the usage of ashes for the same symbolic reasons. In his book, De Poenitentia, Tertullian (c. 160-220) prescribed that the penitent must “live without joy in the roughness of sackcloth and the squalor of ashes.” Eusebius (260-340), the famous early Church historian, recounted in his The History of the Churchhow an apostate named Natalis came to Pope Zephyrinus clothed in sackcloth and ashes begging forgiveness. Also during this time, for those who were required to do public penance, the priest sprinkled ashes on the head of the person leaving confession.
In the Middle Ages (at least by the time of the 8th century), those who were about to die were laid on the ground on top of sackcloth sprinkled with ashes. The priest would bless the dying person with holy water, saying, “Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.” After the sprinkling, the priest asked, “Art thou content with sackcloth and ashes in testimony of thy penance before the Lord in the day of judgment?” To which the dying person replied, “I am content.” In all of these examples, the symbolism of mourning, mortality and penance is clear.
Eventually, the use of ashes was adapted to mark the beginning of Lent, the 40-day preparation period (not including Sundays) for Easter. The ritual for the “Day of Ashes” is found in the earliest editions of the Gregorian Sacramentary which dates at least to the 8th century. About the year 1000, an Anglo-Saxon priest named Aelfric preached, “We read in the books both in the Old Law and in the New that the men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast.” As an aside, Aelfric reinforced his point by then telling of a man who refused to go to Church on Ash Wednesday and receive ashes; the man was killed a few days later in a boar hunt. Since the Middle Ages at least, the Church has used ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, when we remember our mortality and mourn for our sins.
In our present Ash Wednesday liturgy, we use ashes made from burned palm branches distributed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. The priest blesses the ashes and imposes them on the foreheads of the faithful, making the sign of the cross and saying, “Remember, man you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”
As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven. In essence, we die to ourselves, and rise to a new life in Christ.
As we remember the significance of these ashes and strive to live it during this time of Lent, we must allow the Holy Spirit to move us to charity toward our neighbors. Our Holy Father in his Message for Lent, 2003, said, “It is my fervent hope that believers will find this Lent a favorable time for bearing witness to the Gospel of charity in every place, since the vocation to charity is the heart of all true evangelization.”
He also lamented that our “age, regrettably is particularly susceptible to the temptation toward selfishness which always lurks within the human heart…. An excessive desire for possessions prevents human beings from being open to their Creator and to their brothers and sisters.” This Lent, acts of self-giving love shown to those in need must be part of our penance, conversion and renewal, for such acts constitute the solidarity and justice essential for building up the kingdom of God in this world.

Ash Wednesday

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Modern Lourdes Miracle

The miracle of Lourdes continues as a new modern miracle is reported at Catholic News Agency. Hat tip to Spirit Daily for this one! The following comes from CNA:

A woman who suffered from a severe nerve disease now no longer uses her wheelchair and has even gone for a run, after she visited to Lourdes earlier in August. The woman credits the baths at Lourdes for the ‘gift’ of her improved health.

Antonia Raco, 50, had been in a wheelchair for four years because of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She made a trip to the shrine at Lourdes on August 5.

''Ever since I came back I have been walking, doing everything normally, and I've even run,'' Raco told ANSA.
Raco, who is from a village near the southern Italian city of Potenza, said she would rather talk about the change as “a gift, an act of mercy, rather than a miracle.”

She reported to ANSA that when she was in the healing bath at Lourdes, “I felt a voice encouraging me and a strong pain in my legs.”

On Tuesday, Raco will be examined by a specialist at the prestigious Molinette Hospital in Turin. The hospital’s specialist, Adriano Chiro, has been treating her since 2006, according to Italian news reports.

Lourdes, France has been the site of pilgrimage and devotion since the 1858 Marian visions of peasant girl St. Bernadette Soubirous at a grotto.

Following the guidance of the Virgin Mary, Bernadette scraped away soil besides the grotto until a spring of water began trickling out.

The spring produces 27,000 gallons of water every day. Many miracles have been attributed to the shrine’s waters and Our Lady of Lourdes

A Girl Who Inspired Archbishop Fulton Sheen


The following comes from St. Mary Valley:

A few months before he died in 1979, Bishop Fulton Sheen gave a tv interview. The reporter asked, “Your Excellency, you have inspired millions. Who inspired you? Was it the pope?”

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not the pope or a cardinal or another bishop or even a priest or nun. It was an eleven-year-old girl. He explained that when the communists took over China in the late forties, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory. Looking through the window, he saw the soldier enter the church and break open the tabernacle, scattering the Blessed Sacrament on the floor. The priest knew the exact number of hosts: thirty-two.

Unnoticed by the soldiers, a young girl had been praying in the back of the church and she hid when they came in. That night the girl returned and spent an hour in prayer. She then entered the sanctuary, knelt and bent over to take one of the hosts on her tongue.

The girl came back each night, spent an hour in prayer and received Jesus by picking up a sacred host with her tongue. The thirty-second night, after consuming the final host, she made an accidental sound, awakening a soldier. He ran after her and when he caught her, he struck her with his rifle butt. The noise woke the priest – but too late. From his house, he saw the girl die.

Bishop Sheen said that when he heard about this, it inspired him so much that he made a promise that he would spend one hour each day before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He always said that the power of his priesthood came from the holy hour.

Tonight, brothers and sisters, we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist. At the end of the Mass we will have a procession inside the church to adore our Savior. We will invite you to spend an hour with Jesus. From him comes our strength.