In Defense of Mother Church

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One time in 1949 Padre Pio was talking with a certain doctor who was very close to him.  They were discussing prayers for the dead.  Padre Pio said to him, “Maybe you don’t know that even now I pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!”  But the doctor remarked that he has been dead for many, many years.  Then Padre Pio explained, “For the Lord the past does not exist.  Everything is an eternal present.  These prayers had already been taken into account.  And so I repeat that even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!”Padre Pio Stigmata

Maria Valtorta, POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Chapter 34.

…Mary is sitting with the Child in Her lap and Joseph is standing near Her.  But She also gets up and bows when She sees the Magi entering.  She is all dressed in white.  She is so beautiful in Her plain white dress which covers Her from Her neck down to Her feet, from Her shoulders to Her slender wrists.  She is so beautiful with Her head crowned with Her blond plaits, Her face more rosy for the emotion, with Her eyes smiling so sweetly while Her mouth gives a greeting: "May God be with you", that the three Magi stop for a moment, completely astonished.  They then proceed and prostrate themselves at Her feet…

…The three Wise Men contemplate the Child, Who I think must be nine to twelve months old.  He is so lively and strong.  He is sitting on His Mother's lap and smiles and prattles with a shrill voice like a little bird.  He is all dressed in white like His Mother, with tiny sandals on His little feet.  His dress is a very simple one: a small tunic, from which His restless feet protrude, and His plump little hands which would like to get hold of everything, and above all, a most beautiful little face in which two dark blue eyes shine, and a pretty mouth with dimples at the sides shows its first tiny teeth when it smiles.  His pretty little curls are so bright and soft that they seem gold dust.

    The oldest of the Magi speaks on behalf of them all.  He explains to Mary that one night the previous December, they saw a new star of an unusual brightness appear in the sky.  The maps of the sky had never shown or mentioned such a star.  Its name was unknown because it had no name…

   They had seen it and had striven to understand its meaning.  They were happy to give up the little sleep they usually granted themselves and forgetting even their food, they devoted themselves entirely to studying the zodiac.  And the conjunctions of the stars, the time, the season, the calculation of the hours passed and of the astronomic combinations had told them the name and secret of the star.  Its name: "Messiah".  Its secret: "The Messiah had come to our world."  And they had set out to worship Him.  Each of them unknown to the others.  Over mountains, across deserts, along valleys and rivers, traveling by night they had come towards Palestine, because the star was moving in that direction.  Each of them unknown to the others.  For each of them, from three different points on earth, it was going in that direction.  And then they met beyond the Dead Sea.  God's will had gathered them there, and they then proceeded together, understanding one another, notwithstanding that each spoke his own language: by a miracle of the Eternal Father they were able to understand and speak the language of each country.

   …And they had come towards Bethlehem and as soon as they left the Holy City, the star had reappeared to them, and the night before their arrival in Bethlehem its brightness had increased;  the whole sky was ablaze.  Then the star had stopped over this house engulfing all the light of the other stars in its ray.  And they had understood that the Divine New-Born Baby was there.  And now they were worshiping Him, offering their gifts, and above all, their hearts, which never cease thanking God for the grace granted to them;  neither would they ever stop loving His Son Whose holy human body they had now seen.  Later they intended to go back to king Herod, because he also wanted to adore Him…

   …She lays Him in the arms of the oldest one, who kisses Him and receives His caress, and he then hands Him over to the other two…

     …The three Men go down the steps.  The caravan is already there waiting for them.  The horses' studs shine in the setting sun.  People have gathered in the little square watching the unusual sight.

     Jesus laughs clapping His hands.  His Mother has lifted Him up on the wide parapet of the landing and is holding Him against Her breast with Her arm so that He may not fall.  Joseph has gone down with the Magi and is holding the stirrup to each of them while they mount their horses and the camel.

     Servants and masters are now all on horseback.  The starting command is given.  The three Men bow down as low as the necks of their mounts in a final gesture of homage.  Joseph bows down.  Also Mary bows and then She guides Jesus' hand again in a gesture of goodbye and blessing…

1. The Holy Family actively participated in their response to God’s invitation.

In Luke’s Gospel, we see Mary responding with both a verbal response, “Let it be to me according to your word,” (1:38) and then living out her response through her actions of carrying and birthing her Son. In Matthew’s Gospel, we do not get to hear Joseph’s response, but we read the line of Scripture that shows his response through action, “He did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” (1:24) Jesus’ yes we see happening throughout Scripture as He grew into His ministry. All three members of the Holy Family actively participated in God’s invitation to bring about God’s Kingdom through their words and actions. We, too, are invited to actively participate in God’s invitation to us. Is God inviting us to a verbal response and/or a response of action right now?

2. The Holy Family’s yes to God was not just one time, but an ongoing yes.

As a parent, I know that raising a child requires an ongoing commitment to God’s invitation to be a co-creator in nurturing and parenting a child. Mary and Joseph did not just say yes once, but they continued their response to God’s invitation to raise and nurture Jesus. Their response to God’s invitation deepened in their lives. Jesus’ response to God’s invitation occurred over and over again as He fully entered into His public ministry and later His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

3. The Holy Family rooted their lives in God.

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were able to say yes to God because they had a relationship with God. While we only get a short glimpse into Mary’s and Joseph’s relationship with God, I can only imagine that it must have been strong and continuously nurtured. How else did they say yes to both birthing and raising the Messiah? The Gospels offer us many examples of Jesus turning to God the Father in prayer to help Him continue to say yes to His mission.  -Loyola Press

According to legend, a young man while roaming the desert came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water.  The water was so sweet he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher.  After a four-day journey he presented the water to the old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water.  The young man returned to his village with a happy heart.

Later, the teacher let another student taste the water.  He spat it out, saying it was awful.  It apparently had become stale because of the old leather container.  The student challenged his teacher: “Master, the water was foul.  Why did you pretend to like it?”

The teacher replied, “You only tasted the water.  I tasted the gift.  The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness and nothing could be sweeter.”

I think we understand this lesson best when we receive innocent gifts of love from young children.  Whether it’s a ceramic tray or a macaroni bracelet, the natural and proper response is appreciation and expressed thankfulness because we love the idea within the gift.

Gratitude doesn’t always come naturally.  Unfortunately, most children and many adults value only the thing given rather than the feeling embodied in it.  We should remind ourselves and teach our children about the beauty and purity of feelings and expressions of gratitude.  After all, gifts from the heart are really gifts of the heart.   

Once upon a time a psychology professor walked around on a stage while teaching stress management principles to an auditorium filled with students.

As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to a couple pounds.

She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

As the class shook their heads in agreement, she continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”

The moral: It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries. No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you. If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

     
                  When in doubt, pause.
                        When angry, pause.
                              When tired, pause.
                                    When stressed, pause.
                    And when you pause, pray.
  1. Prayer is not a “spare wheel” that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “steering wheel” that directs the right path throughout the journey.

2. So why is a car’s WINDSHIELD so large and the Rear View Mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.

3. Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few minutes to burn, but it takes years to write.

4. All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don’t worry, they can’t last long either.

5. Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don’t forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, “Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!

7. When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

8. A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He replied: “Yes, losing your vision!”

9. When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10. WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES, it takes away today’s PEACE.

rear view mirror copy

starfish coast beach sand particles cloudy 53057 1920x1200

As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he hurled things into the ocean.

As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.

Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man replied. “You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

Each of us is but one person: limited, burdened with our own cares and responsibilities. We may feel there is so much to be done, and we have so little to give. We’re usually short of everything, especially time and money.

When we leave this shore, there will still be millions of starfish stranded on the beach. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but there isn’t one of us who can’t help change one person’s whole world. One at a time. We can make a difference.

This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells...

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE WOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him … all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT’S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.

 

To let go does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization that I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To let go is not to be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to criticize, or regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can do.

To let go is to fear less, and to love more.


Today before you think of saying an unkind word–
think of someone who can’t speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food–
think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife–
think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.
Today before you complain about life–
think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before you complain about your children–
think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.
Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn’t clean or sweep–
think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive–
think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job–
think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.
But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another–
remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down–
put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.

Life is a gift – Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it, and Fulfill it.

blessing of the pets

Here's the surprising answer of a 6 year old child.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs' lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued,

"Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay for as long as we do."

SO:

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

• When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

• Take naps.

• Stretch before rising.

• Run, romp, and play daily.

• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

• When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

• Be faithful.

• Never pretend to be something you're not.

• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

That's the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog!!



One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for the test to begin. The professor walked around the class and handed the question papers with the text facing downwards.

Once he handed them all out, he asked his students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions, but just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor thoroughly read through everyone’s bewildered expressions and said- “I want you to write what you see there.”

The perplexed students began to do what they had been asked to do.

At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of them with no exceptions described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:

“I am not going to grade you on this test; I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our lives. This is exactly what we end to do with our lives. We have a white paper to hold onto and enjoy ,but we are so busy contemplating about the dark spots that’s in there. Life is a special gift and we will always have reasons to celebrate. It is changing and renewing everyday- our friends, jobs, livelihood, love, family, the miracles we see every day.”

And yet we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health issues that are bothering us, the money that we need to have, the luxuries we don’t have, complications in any relationship, problems with a family member, the disappointment with a friend and so on. You need to realize that the dark spots are very small and only few. And yet we allow these to pollute our minds.

Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you.

rosesA new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day.

Feeling a bit insecure about what God wanted him to do, he asked the older preacher for some advice.

The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.

The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.

But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.

It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher’s inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem…

“It is only a tiny rosebud, A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine.”
“The secret of unfolding flowers is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so easily, But in my hands they die.”

“If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom to unfold this life of mine?”
“So I’ll trust in God to lead me, each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance, in each step along the way.”

“For the path that lies before us, only our Lord and Savior knows.
So trust Him to unfold your life, just as He would this precious rose.”

I went to the Lord’s Clinic to have my routine checkup and I confirmed that I was ill. When Jesus took my blood pleasure, He saw I was low in tenderness. When he checked the temperature, the thermometer registered 40 degrees of anxiety. He ran an electrocardiogram and found that I needed several “love by-passes” since my arteries were blocked with loneliness and could not provide for an empty heart. I went to orthopedics, because I could not walk by my brother’s side and I could not hug my friends, since I had fractured myself when tripping with envy.

He also found I was short sighted, since I could not see beyond the shortcomings of my brothers and sisters. When I complained about deafness, the diagnostic was that I had stopped listen to Jesus’ voice talking to me on a daily basis.

For all that Jesus gave me a free consultation thanks to his mercifulness. So my pledge is to, once I leave this clinic, only take the natural remedies he prescribed through his words of truth.

Every morning take a full glass of gratitude. When getting to work, take one spoon of peace. Every hour, take one pill of patience, one cup of brotherhood and on glass of humility. When getting home, take one dose of love. When getting to bed, take two caplets of clear conscience.

Do not give into sadness or desperation for what you are going through today. God knows how you feel… God knows exactly with perfection what is being allowed to happen to you in your life at this precise moment. God’s purpose for you is simply perfect, he wants to show you things that only you understand by living, what you are living by being in the place you are now.

pushing a boulderOne man had a great desire to please God. He prayed day and night and once he heard the voice from above saying: “I want you to go and push that large stone.”

The man woke up and was so inspired. He ran to find the stone and started pushing it. He pushed and pushed, but nothing happened. He kept pushing the rock all day long.

The next day he did the same, but the stone did not move at all. For three months the man kept pushing the huge boulder. Finally he got tired and stopped pushing.

That night he had another dream, and he heard the voice saying:
“Why did you stop pushing the stone?”

“Nothing happened and the boulder is still there,” – answered the man.

“Nothing happened? Look at you! You have become so much more focused and stronger. You built up your muscles. You are a changed man now! Pushing has transformed you! Besides, I did not tell you to move the stone. I just told you to push it. When the time comes, I’ll move it Myself!”

It was about eight o’clock when her son who was asthmatic developed some complications. He had to be rushed to the nearest hospital about 1km away or else it would be fatal. She called a neighbor who had a car but the neighbor said the car had no fuel; she called the pastor who said he had visiting pastors from the neighboring country and could not leave them alone. She decided to carry the son to the hospital; she could not imagine loosing her only child to the same sickness that had killed the husband few years earlier. She had a problem with her leg and could not move fast enough and the son was also heavy for her to move faster.

Along the way she met people rushing home from work who just stared at her. She tried to beg them for help but they assumed her. She also tried to stop passing vehicles but they never responded. She fell many times but she had to keep moving. Then a man who was mad and used to roam the streets Unclad noticed her. He came running towards her and took the son from her. She could not talk but just pointed the direction of the hospital.

The crazy Unclad man could understand perfectly well what she meant since he saw the desperate boy struggling for breath. He put him on the shoulder and told the woman “all will be well” as he ran towards the hospital. The doctors on seeing the crazy man knew something was really wrong, they attended to the boy immediately.

Ten minutes later the mother arrived and the doctor broke the news “if he was brought five Minutes later, he would have died”.

No matter what may come your way, no matter what you are going through, your life is in His hands & He has good thoughts for you.

The Word of God says:

“For with GOD all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 )

“...for nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1: 37)

A 24 year old boy seeing out from the train’s window shouted...

“Dad, look the trees are going behind!” Dad smiled and a young couple sitting nearby, looked at the 24 year old’s childish behavior with pity, suddenly he again exclaimed... “Dad, look the clouds are running with us!” The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man... “Why don’t you take your son to a good doctor?” The old man smiled and said... “I did and we are just coming from the hospital, my son was blind from birth, he just got his eyes today...”

Every single person on the planet has a story.

“Don’t judge people before you truly know them. The truth might surprise you...think before you say something.

old carpentar

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.  He would miss the pay check, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.  

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”  

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well

.................................................................................................................................................

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

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Diocese of Baton RougeDiocese of Baton Rouge

We, at St. Helena Catholic Church, are concerned with educating, directing, and sustaining all who visit. 

In particular those who draw near to the teachings and traditions of Holy Mother Church. 

We strive to achieve this by utilizing the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude.

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