Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Morning Prayer


O God, may you ever find me
as attentive to you
as you show yourself to me.
Then I shall attain to that perfection to which
your justice allows your mercy to raise a soul
weighed down with the weight of the flesh,
which always resists your love.
May I breathe my last breath
in the protection of your close embrace,
with your all-powerful kiss!
May my soul find herself without delay
there where you are,
whom no place can circumscribe,
indivisible, living, and exulting
in the full flowering of eternity.
— – St. Gertrude the Great

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1 Nehemiah 8: 2-4a, 5-6, 8-10

Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand. Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate, he read out of the book from daybreak till midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform  that had been made for the occasion. He opened the scroll so that all the people might see it for he was standing higher up than any of the people; and, as he opened it, all the people rose.

   Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,  "Amen, amen!" Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground. Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest scribe and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: "Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep" for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. He said further: "Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!"


Psalm 19: 8,9, 10, 15

R. (cf John 6:63c) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.


Reading 2 Corinthians 12: 12-30

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

   Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, "Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, "it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, "Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body, " it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I do not need you, "nor again the head to the feet, "I do not need you.” Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

    Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Gospel Lk 1: 1-4; 4: 14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus,  so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

   Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

   He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom  into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me  to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Conversion of St. Paul


Paul's entire life can be explained in terms of one experience his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot's hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: "...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment" (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was "entered," possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior.

   One sentence determined his theology: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.

   From then on, his only work was to "present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me" (Colossians 1:28b-29). "For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction"  (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).

   Paul's life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ's victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.

   So Paul's great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more "works" than the Law could ever contemplate.

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle


Reading 1 ACTS 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”


Responsorial Psalm PS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Some Prayers for Today


Lord, open our eyes
that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears
that we may hear the cries of the hungry,
the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts
that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit.
Lord, free us and make us one.

- Bl. Teresa of Calcutta



My God, I give you this day.
I offer you, now,
all of the good that I shall do,
and I promise to accept, for love of you,
all of the difficulty that I shall meet.
Help me to conduct myself during this day
in a manner pleasing to you. Amen.
— – St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time





Reading 1 IS 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, “
or your land “Desolate, “
but you shall be called “My Delight, “
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10

R. (3) Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Reading 2 1 COR 12:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Gospel JN 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.

A Couple of Prayers for Today

Lord, I believe that before you left this earth you gave me the Eucharist for my food and Mary for my mother. I believe in your Real Presence and choose to receive you reverently and often. I trust that Mary will be there for me and accompany me in whatever I need. I love you, Lord, for giving me a mother who is so concerned about me that she is willing to do whatever is necessary to help me in my mission and vocation.



Holy Spirit, enlighten our hearts.
Give us light and strength
to know your will, to make it our own,
and to live it in our lives.
Guide us by your wisdom;
support us by your power; for you are God,
sharing the glory of Father and Son.
You desire justice for all:
enable us to uphold the rights of others;
do not allow us to be misled by ignorance
or corrupted by favor.
Unite us to yourself in the bond of love
and keep us faithful to all that is true.
Help us to temper justice with love,
so that all our decisions
may be pleasing to you,
and bring us the inheritance
promised to good and faithful servants.
You live and reign with the Father
and the Son, one God, for ever and ever.

- Adapted from a prayer said before every session of the Second Vatican Council

Friday, January 18, 2013

Desire to see God's face fulfilled in Christ, Pope affirms


VATICAN CITY, January 16 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Benedict examined salvation history as the story of man's relationship with and thirst for God at his general audience this week at the Vatican.

“The desire to truly know God, that is, to see the face of God, is inherent in every human being,” he said Jan. 16 in Paul VI Hall.

“Perhaps we also, unconsciously, have this desire to simply see who he is, what he is, who he is for us. But this desire is fulfilled in following Christ so...we finally see God as a friend, his face the face of Christ.”

Pope Benedict began his audience by referring to Christ as “the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.” Salvation history begins after the fall of Adam because God “offers the possibility of his friendship.”

This friendship with God was offered especially through Abraham and then the people of Israel, who were chosen “not with criteria of earthly power, but simply for love's sake.”

This election of Israel by God “remains a mystery,” but his election is always for the sake of the other, said the Pope.

The process by which God revealed himself was gradual, and involved mediators, including Moses and the prophets, who kept alive “the hope of the full and definitive realization of the divine promises.”

“It is the realization of these promises that we have contemplated in Christmas,” continued Pope Benedict. “God's revelation reaches its peak, its fullness...God himself became man.”

In John's Gospel, the pontiff recounted, Philip asked that Christ show the Father to the apostles.

Christ's response, “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father,” Pope Benedict said, “lead us into the heart of Christological faith.”

“In this expression is summarized the novelty of the New Testament, the novelty that appeared in the cave of Bethlehem: God can be seen, God has manifested his face, and is visible in Jesus Christ.”

The Pope noted that “seeking the face of God” is a theme throughout the Old Testament – some 100 times it speaks about the face of God. The Old Testament recounts the desire for God as a “you,” a person with whom we can enter into relationship.

“God is certainly above all things, yet he turns to us, listens to us, sees, speaks, extends covenants, and is capable of loving,” said Pope Benedict. But this relationship is never completed in the Old Testament.

“Something completely new occurs, however, with the Incarnation. The search for the face of God is unimaginably changed because this face can now be seen. It is that of Jesus, of the Son of God who is made man.”
“He is the fullness of this revelation because he is the Son of God as well as 'the mediator and the fullness of all revelation'...Jesus, true God and true man, is not simply one of the mediators between God and humankind, but is 'the mediator' of the new and eternal covenant.,” the Pope reflected.

Christ's humanity is essential to our relationship with God because “ in him we see and encounter the Father...and are given salvation.”

“Our entire existence must be directed toward meeting Jesus Christ, toward love for Him. In such an existence, love for our neighbor must take a central position; that love that, in light of the Crucifix, allows us to recognize the face of Jesus in the poor, the weak, and in those who are suffering,” Pope Benedict exhorted his audience.

We can do this, he concluded, primarily through “the mystery of the Eucharist.”

“The Eucharist is the great school in which we learn to see the face of God, to enter into an intimate relationship with him.”

St. Margaret of Hungary

Daughter of King Bela I of Hungary and his wife Marie Laskaris, born 1242; died 18 Jan., 1271. According to a vow which her parents made when Hungary was liberated from the Tatars that their next child should be dedicated to religion, Margaret, in 1245 entered the Dominican Convent of Veszprem. Invested with the habit at the age of four, she was transferred in her tenth year to the Convent of the Blessed Virgin founded by her parents on the Hasen Insel near Buda, the Margareten Insel near Budapest today, and where the ruins of the convent are still to be seen. Here Margaret passed all her life, which was consecrated to contemplation and penance, and was venerated as a saint during her lifetime. She strenuously opposed the plans of her father, who for political reasons wished to marry her to King Ottokar II of Bohemia. Margaret appears to have taken solemn vows when she was eighteen. All narratives call special attention to Margaret’s sanctity and her spirit of earthly renunciation. Her whole life was one unbroken chain of devotional exercises and penance. She chastised herself unceasingly from childhood, wore hair garments, and an iron girdle round her waist, as well as shoes spiked with nails; she was frequently scourged, and performed the most menial work in the convent.Shortly after her death, steps were taken for her canonization, and in 1271-1276 investigations referring to this were taken up; in 1275-1276 the process was introduced, but not completed . Not till 1640 was the process again taken up, and again it was not concluded. Attempts which were made in 1770 by Count Ignatz Batthyanyi were also fruitless; so that the canonization never took place, although Margaret was venerated as a saint shortly after her death; and Pius VI consented on 28 July, 1789, to her veneration as a saint. Pius VII raised her feast day to a festum duplex. The minutes of the proceedings of 1271-1272 record seventy-four miracles; and among those giving testimony were twenty-seven in whose favour the miracles had been wrought. These cases refer to the cure of illnesses, and one case of awakening from death. Margaret’s remains were given to the Poor Clares when the Dominican Order was dissolved; they were first kept in Pozsony and later in Buda. After the order had been suppressed by Joseph II, in 1782, the relics were destroyed in 1789; but some portions are still preserved in Gran, Gyor, Pannonhalma. The feast day of the saint is 18 January. In art she is depicted with a lily and holding a book in her hand.

Death of Saint Margaret of Hungary. Photo by József Molnár

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Prayer for Today

Lord, thank you for this time we will spend together. I wish to step away from the world and all its activities to be alone with you now.  You are my beginning and my end: you created me, and you are leading me home to you in heaven. Thank you for your love. I know I deserve nothing from you and that my sins compound my unworthiness, yet you would still enfold me in your unfathomable love.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pope's Twitter success praised as evangelization breakthrough


Vatican City, Jan 11, 2013 / 01:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict's mass of 2.5 million followers in eight languages during his first month on Twitter has one Vatican priest calling the pontiff's online presence “a new frontier” of evangelization.

Father Paolo Padrini, a collaborator of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said it is good that the Pope has so many followers, but it even more important that the Pope “seeks to co-exist and share on Twitter.”

“Being present in social media is evangelizing, if just for the fact that he is present with his words,” he told CNA Jan. 11.

“It’s a great joy to see the Pope’s words being disseminated, a joy that is held by all believers.”

Twitter is a social media service that allows users to send out 140-character messages, called “tweets,” to other users who follow their accounts. Followers and others may then share these tweets with their own followers with a “re-tweet.”

The Pope’s first tweet on his personal account went out on Dec. 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over 64,000 people retweeted his introductory message on his English-language account “Pontifex,” while over 33,000 did so for his Spanish-language account “Pontifex_es.”

As of Jan. 11, he has sent out only 21 tweets. He has shared his favorite memory of Christmas, asked for prayers for an end to the Syria conflict and exhorted others to look to Jesus Christ.

“Following Christ's example, we have to learn to give ourselves completely,” the Pope said on Twitter Jan. 9. “Anything else is not enough.”

Anyone on Twitter may interact with any other user. Those who have replied to the Pope range from the devout, the appreciative and the inquisitive to the flippant, irreverent and even obscene.

The Pope’s followers are numerous indeed. His English-language account has over 1.4 million subscribers, his Spanish-language account has 575,000 and his Italian-language account has 265,000.

His tweets also go out in French, German, Polish, Portuguese and Arabic. His Arabic-language account is the least popular but still has a respectable 18,000 followers.

By comparison, President Barack Obama has acquired 25 million followers in almost five years. The Dalai Lama has about six million followers on Twitter.

U.S. religious figures on Twitter include Christian speaker and author Joyce Meyer with over 1.6 million followers; Texas televangelist Pastor Joel Osteen with over 1.2 million followers; the California-based evangelical Pastor Rick Warren with 840,000 followers; and non-denominational Texas Pastor T.D. Jakes with 790,000 followers.

The Pope’s Twitter following quickly surpassed Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who has 72,000 followers.

Claire Diaz Ortiz, Manager of Social Innovation at Twitter, said the company is “thrilled” any time a leader joins their network to connect with his or her followers.

“For the Pope, the decision will be a way for him to better connect his flock of 1.2 billion. That many of those interactions can now take place on Twitter is an inspiring fact for believers everywhere,” she told CNA Jan. 11.

She said that the company has seen a wide range of spiritual leaders form large followings on Twitter.

“Many religious leaders have embraced Twitter to minister to their community, listen to their concerns and share meaningful content,” she said.

Diaz said the Pope’s Twitter debut showed an “incredible emphasis” on internationalization.

“Launching in eight languages was an unprecedented use of the platform by any large leader,” she said. “Although the dynamic brought with it many challenges that the Vatican worked hard to address, ultimately the current eight accounts (with more to come) are wonderful examples of how one leader can connect in many different languages with Twitter followers throughout the world.”

Fr. Padrini, who has developed and implemented pontifical council communications initiatives like the website pope2you.net and the iPhone app iBreviary, said that he thinks the Pope’s success on Twitter is “major.”

“It has really warmed my heart. It’s a beautiful thing. But I didn’t have any doubt in my mind that it would be successful,” he said.

Judging from what he has read and heard in informal conversations, he thinks the Pontifical Council for Social Communications must be “very happy” that Pope Benedict’s communications are “more widespread than ever thanks to social media.”

The priest was optimistic about Twitter as a medium, even though little can be said in a single tweet.

“One hundred and forty characters are few but the number of years of Jesus on earth were also few,” he said. “The important thing is to be present and to do so with quality.”

Fr. Padrini added that the Pope has helped inspire others on the internet.

“I feel that because of the Pope’s presence online, all of the work of all of us who work in evangelization online is also valued.”

Great Week

Certainly something has happened to me this week. I have to classify this as a great week. Why? Well in joining the original parish I have found the Cursillo group and that has been wonderful. I really missed the spirituality of the Ultreya get together and also it has enabled me to be at a different level with the Lord.
 I have finally started to listen more when I pray and to reflect more and most importantly thank the Lord more for what I do have and not worry and fret about what I do not have. If anything my inner peace has grown.
 I was hesitant at first to go as I am generally ashy almost an introvert if you will but somehow at these Ultreyas I am moved by the spirit and more open and forthcoming and sharing very personal feelings. It feels great to be able to do this. It is a wonderful group and I thank the Lord for guiding me there.
 Next step to start going to other groups at the parish to deepen my relationship with the Lord and to learn more about the scriptures.
 Thank you God!

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord


Reading:
 Is 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by a strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Ps 104:1b-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul.
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
you are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
You have spread out the heavens like a tent-cloth;
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
You have constructed your palace upon the waters.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you travel on the wings of the wind.
You make the winds your messengers,
and flaming fire your ministers.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
the sea also, great and wide,
in which are schools without number
of living things both small and great.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
They look to you to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.
If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul.

 Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Gospel LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

A Prayer for Today


Take, O Lord, and receive
my entire liberty, my memory,
my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess
you have given me:
I surrender it all to you
to be disposed of according to your will.
Give me only your love and your grace;
with these I will be rich enough,
and will desire nothing more. Amen.
— – St. Ignatius Loyola

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Prayer for Today


O Jesus, I come before you
at the beginning of this day.
Take, Lord, and receive my heart:
the words of faith that I speak,
the works of justice that I do,
my joys and sufferings.
When I come to the eucharistic table,
gather my offering to your own
for the life of the world.
At the end of the day,
place me with Mary, your mother,
and for her sake take me to your heart.
Amen.

- Maryland Province Jesuits

Thursday, January 10, 2013

'You are not alone,' Pope tells those suffering from sickness


VATICAN CITY, January 9 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Ahead of the World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his closeness to those with illnesses and reaffirmed that Jesus Christ's sufferings give meaning to their own.

“You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image,” said the Pope, quoting Pope Paul VI's words from the Second Vatican Council.

The 21st World Day of the Sick will be celebrated Feb. 11 on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Pope Benedict released his message for the day on Jan. 8.

The Pope said the observance is a day for the sick, health care workers and the faithful to engage in prayer, to offer one’s sufferings “for the good of the Church” and to recognize in those who suffer “the Holy Face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind.”

The Pope used the parable of the Good Samaritan as a point of reflection. Jesus’ parable “helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain.”

The parable recounts how the Good Samaritan cared for a man who had been injured in an attack by thieves. The Pope said its concluding words, “Go and do likewise,” show how his disciples should behave towards others, especially those in need.

“We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be.”

Pope Benedict said this is true for everyone: pastoral workers, health care workers, and the sick themselves.

He cited his 2007 encyclical “Spe Salvi,” which said healing is found not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering “but rather by accepting it and “finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.”

The Pope noted that many Church Fathers saw Jesus in the Good Samaritan. In the man who fell among thieves and was injured, they saw the wounded and disoriented humanity of sinful Adam.

Jesus, he said, “does not jealously guard his equality with God but, filled with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope.”

Pope Benedict encouraged Catholic health care workers and institutions, dioceses, religious congregations, and all those involved in the pastoral care of the sick.

“May all realize ever more fully that ‘the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick’,” he said.

The World Day of the Sick will be observed at the Marian Shrine of Altotting in Germany. The Pope asked that the Virgin Mary help health care workers and “always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Morning Prayer


God be in my head
and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes
and in my looking.
God be in my mouth
and in my speaking.
God be in my heart
and in my thinking.
God be at my end
and at my departing.
— – Sarum Primer

Pope says Epiphany shows universality of Jesus Christ


VATICAN CITY, January 6 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday said that the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child commemorated at the Feast of the Epiphany shows that Jesus Christ is “the light of the world that guides the path of all peoples.”

“The faith of Mary becomes the first fruits and the model of the faith of the Church, the People of the New Covenant," the Pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square Jan. 6. “But this people, from the beginning, is universal; and we see this today in the figure of the Magi, who come to Bethlehem following the light of a star and the indications of the Sacred Scriptures.”

He said that Christmas shows the faith of the Virgin Mary, of Joseph and of the shepherds, while Epiphany shows “the faith of the Magi” who came from the East to adore the King of the Jews.

Pope Benedict explained that the Virgin Mary represents the “branch” of Israel and the remnant “foretold by the prophets, from which the Messiah will spring forth.”

In contrast, the Magi represent the people, “the civilizations, the cultures, the religions” that are “on the path to God, in search of his reign of peace, of justice, of truth, and of liberty.”

Mary embodies the “nucleus of Israel,” the people who “know and have faith in that God that was revealed to the Patriarchs.” Her faith is like that of Abraham, because it is “the new beginning of the same promise” that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The Pope added: “the light of Christ is so clear and strong that it makes the language of the cosmos and of the Scriptures intelligible, so that all those who, like the Magi, are open to the truth can recognize it and join in contemplating the Savior of the world.”

In English, he greeted pilgrims including the boys of the Palestrina Choir of Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. They had sung at the Sunday Mass of the Epiphany at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Benedict celebrated that Mass, during which he ordained three priests as bishops: Angelo Vincenzo Zani, who is named secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Fortunatus Nwachukwu, who is named the apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua; Georg Ganswein, the nominated Prefect of the Papal Household; and Nicholas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin, the nominated apostolic nuncio to Guatemala.

The Pope asked the faithful to pray for the new bishops and their respective ministries.

“May the new bishops be faithful successors of the Apostles, always bearing witness to Christ, who today reveals the face of God to the nations. May the Lord bless all of you and grant you his peace!” the Pope prayed.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Old is New Again

So I did it. I have gone back to my old parish and it has been wonderful! Yesterday I attanded the Cursillo group and it was wonderful. Full of joy and fellowship. Certainly lifted me up spiritually and the warmth of the people was amazing. I was excepted as if I had been there all my life.
 Now I will look for another group or groups to join to help me on this road. I certainly have to thenk God for pointing me this way.

Morning Prayer


O God,
by your heavenly star,
you guided those who were wise
to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
May your blessing come to rest us.
Make us wise with your wisdom,
energized by your love,
and ready to proclaim your Son as our savior.
May your Word made flesh
make his home among us. Amen.

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord


Reading 1 Is 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.

R. (cf. 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Second Reading Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Gospel Mt 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jesus' birth should deepen trust in God, Pope teaches


Vatican City, Jan 2, 2013 / 11:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The birth of Jesus causes joy because it gives us the certainty that God “works wonders in weakness,” Pope Benedict XVI said Jan. 2.

“The Nativity of the Lord once again illuminates the darkness that often surrounds our world and our hearts with his light, bringing hope and joy,” he said during his weekly general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

The pontiff opened and closed his remarks with Pilate's question to Christ at his trial: “Where do you come from?”

Pope Benedict answered that the Gospels show Christ's “true origin” is from God the Father, and that he “comes entirely from him.”

That Christ “by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,” is a mystery “central to our profession of faith,” he stated.

“At this phrase we kneel because the veil which hid God is, so to speak, lifted and his unfathomable and inaccessible mystery touches us directly,” the Pope reflected.

He said that sacred music composed by the “great masters … lingers especially on this phrase, as if to try to express in the universal language of music what words cannot: the great mystery of God who becomes Incarnate, becomes man.”

The Pope mentioned in particular Mozart's Coronation Mass as an example of the beautiful expression of the Incarnation in sacred music.

He also reflected on how the Creed gives particular importance to Mary, the Mother of God.

“Without her, the entry of God into human history would not have come to its end.”

Mary's acceptance of God into her life is an example for us when we are discouraged, he told his listeners. When we feel inadequate, we can look to the humble maid of Nazareth and take heart.

“God chose a humble woman, in an unknown village, in one of the most distant provinces of the great Roman Empire. Always, even in the midst of the most difficult problems to face, we must trust in God, renewing faith in His presence and action in our history, like in that of Mary.”

With God, the Pope affirmed, our lives are built on solid ground and we can be “open to a future of firm hope.”

He said that the Holy Spirit “overshadowing” Mary as she conceived Christ is an image of the creation of the world and of the cloud which led the Israelites through the exodus from Egypt.

The gift of faith given in baptism, Pope Benedict recalled, allows believers to share in Christ's relationship with God the Father.

“Only if we open ourselves to God … our life takes on a new meaning and a new face: that of the children of a Father who loves us and never abandons us.”



A Morning Prayer


Thanks be to you,
my Lord Jesus Christ.
For all the benefits
You have given me.
O most merciful Redeemer,
Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by day. Amen. 
 St. Richard de Wyche, Bishop of Chichester

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Morning Prayer Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Mary, I love you.
Mary, make me live in God,
with God, and for God.
Draw me after you, holy mother.
Mary, may your children persevere
in loving you.
Mary, mother of God
and mother of mercy,
pray for me and for the departed.
Mary, holy mother of God, be our helper.
In every difficulty and distress,
come to our aid, O Mary.
O queen of heaven,
lead us to eternal life with God.
Mother of God, remember me,
and help me always to remember you.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to you.
Pray for us, O holy mother of God,
that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray to Jesus for me.
— St. Philip Neri

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God


Reading 1 Nm 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading 2 Gal 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

Gospel Lk 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

SPIRITUAL PROTECTION of the HOME PRAYER:

[At this time of spiritual warfare and agitation in all aspects of life -- in the family, in the Church, in media, in society -- let us sta...