In Defense of Mother Church

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jesus embracing sinner

Inspirational 1

 
This is the Message I keep re-reading b/c it is the most poignant and hits closest to home. And indeed, it DOES bring me peace of mind, heart & soul:
 
"Children, you must learn to depend upon grace to show you a solution when human affect does not. Nothing escapes My view, as I am Omnipresent and Omnipotent. This, then, is your reason to trust in Me. There is no problem - no situation - which grace cannot act upon. Proceed in Holy Love which carries you forward without fear."
 
"Trust is your vehicle of action. Do not fear man more than you trust in Me. The unknown power of My Grace awaits your beck and call. Fear only the power of your lack of trust. Every challenge is only a test in your trust."
 
Inspirational 2
“Nothing happens by chance. Everything is My Will. Every aspect of every present moment is ordained by Me. Therefore, it is best not to question - but to pray to accept what I allow in your every present moment. I also provide the grace in each moment to help you to accept everything. My Permitting Will is your anchor in grace. I permit the grace you need for every moment in time - this is where your trust comes into play. Trust in My love for you. In and through this love, I support you in good times and in difficulties. I give you nothing that you and I cannot handle together. I deliver you from evil. I cover you in the grace of every solution you need. I make strong your prayers. I show you the light on the path where there was nothing but darkness. Therefore, fear nothing. Trust in My Strength always. I will be your strength and your guide.”
 
I’m a failure at accepting His Will.
 
Seems like I’ve probably questioned His Will, on average, about 1/2 dozen times a day.
 
Pretty sad!
 candles image for website
 
When the people of Israel offered worship, in the Old Testament they did so amid the flicker of many lights. ‘So Solomon made… the lamp stands of pure gold, five on the south side and five on the north, before the inner sanctuary’ (1 Kings 7:48-49).  So important were these candelabra that the main one, the Temple menorah, because the most recognizable symbol of all Judaism. In the New Testament, we find St. Paul preaching in a crowded room. St. Luke notes that ‘there were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered’ (Acts 20:8).  Lights are so important, that St. John warns us in the book of Revelations, that if a Church is falling slack in its devotion, God could remove its lamp stand (Rev 2:5). 
 
The lamp was itself a symbol of Jesus Christ, who consistently spoke of His Gospel and even of Himself in terms of light; ‘I AM the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (Jn 8:12).  As such, during the Easter Vigil liturgy, the priest holds aloft the paschal candle and proclaims, ‘Christ out Light’ three times!
 
St. Jerome, who is probably the greatest scholar in the ancient world, states; ‘whenever the Gospel is to be read the candles are to be lighted…’.  Additionally St. Jerome also stated, ‘Your Word is a lamp unto my feet’ (Ps 119:05). 
 
Finally, we have all noticed that a lamp is constantly lit next to the Tabernacle; signifying HIS presence! This comes not only from Scripture (Jn 8:12), but from Tradition as well. As you will note from the sketch below, according to Jewish Traditions, the Priest of the Temple maintained a lit Menorah next to the veil, covering the Ark of the Covenant! The same is true today in Mother Church.  
*Signs of Life by Scott Hahn

 

 
This is a story about a man called Joseph, who had the misfortune to get caught in a serious flood.  The water was rising all around him and was soon up to his knees.  He climbed the staircase to the first floor but still the waters rose.  It wasn’t long before the water was up to his waist and he looked out of the window to see what was happening to his neighbors.   
 
A boat was passing and the occupant shouted, “Hey, Joseph!  Quick, climb aboard my boat and I will take you to safety.”  Joseph smiled and replied, “Thank you very much, but I have had a word with God and He will take care of me. You use the space on your boat to help others less fortunate than myself.”  Soon the boat was out of sight.   
 
The flood would not stop and the water continued to climb.  Joseph was forced onto the roof of his home and he surveyed the catastrophe below him.   
 
A helicopter flew over Joseph and a man used his microphone to tell Joseph that worse was yet to come.  He threw a rope down to Joseph and cried, “Quick, Joseph, climb up while you still have a chance!”  Nevertheless, Joseph had been a good man all his life and placed his faith in the Lord, so he declined the offer, requesting that they go in search of other people.  “You don’t have to worry about me,” he shouted, “I have spoken with God and He will not let me die.”
 
The helicopter flew away and the waters rose and rose until finally it was all over.  Joseph was taken from this earth.
 
As stated earlier, Joseph was a good man, so naturally he was taken to the pearly gates to meet St. Peter.  On entering heaven he was taken and introduced to God who welcomed him with open arms.  But, Joseph was not content and asked God, “I am confused my Lord, I have been a devout follower my entire life, and never once have I strayed from your chosen path.  I believe I was too young to die now.  I prayed to you and asked you to save me, but my faith let me down.  How could you have been so cruel?”
 
And the Lord replied, “What do you mean I let you down?  I sent you a boat to save you, and a helicopter as well.”   -author unknown

 

I’ve learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
 
I’ve learned....That when you’re in love, it shows.
 
I’ve learned ....That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.
 
I’ve learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
 
I’ve learned....That being kind is more important than being right.
 
I’ve learned....That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
 
I’ve learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in any other way.
 
I’ve learned....That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
 
I’ve learned....That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
 
I’ve learned....That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
 
I’ve learned....That life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
 
I’ve learned.... That money doesn’t buy class.
 
I’ve learned....That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
 
I’ve learned....That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
 
I’ve learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
 
I’ve learned....That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
 
I’ve learned....That love, not time, heals all wounds.
 
I’ve learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
 
I’ve learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
 
I’ve learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
 
I’ve learned....That life is tough, but I’m tougher.
 
I’ve learned....That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones 
you miss.
 
I’ve learned....That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
 
I’ve learned....That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
 
I’ve learned....That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
 
I’ve learned....That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
 
I’ve learned....That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you’re hooked for life.
 
I’ve learned....That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
 
I’ve learned....That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
 

marine in hospital ward

 
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
 
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.
 
She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.  
 
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand.   The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.  
 
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.  Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
 
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.  
 
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.  
 
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.  
 
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.  
 
“Who was that man?” he asked.
 
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
 
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”  
 
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”  
 
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.
 
When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”
 
I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman’s name?
 
The Nurse with tears in her eyes answered, Mr. William Grey.
 
The next time someone needs you ... just be there.  Stay.
 
 
WE ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. WE ARE SPIRITUAL BEINGS GOING THROUGH A TEMPORARY HUMAN EXPERIENCE. 

 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Summer is upon us, bringing vacations, picnics and beach parties.  Actually we have been blessed with summer-like weather for several weeks.  The warm weather has also brought out summer apparel earlier than usual.  Unfortunately, skimpy garb more suitable for vacations picnics and beach parties has also made its way into Church as the clothing of choice for many people.  In visiting many or our parishes this spring for Confirmation as well as attending some commencement ceremonies, I have noticed more and more people wearing short shorts, tank-tops and flip-flops.  Even the more formal wear with slit-leg dresses bare midriffs and strapless tops looks more suited to a House of Blues than the House of God.

Now I’m sure some people will immediately object to my making these observations, rationalizing that it is better that these people come to Church even if they’re not properly dressed rather than not have them there at all.  They argue that we should just be happy that they’re in Church, regardless of what they wear.  I disagree.

St. Paul said “to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,” adorned “not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).  Similarly, St. Peter wrote, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

In the parable of the wedding banquet, Jesus said that “when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.  He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’  The man was speechless.  Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

Of course, Jesus did not tell this parable to give a literal instruction on how to dress at a wedding, but to illustrate God’s righteousness as “garments of salvation” and “robes of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10), where the acquisition of these qualities is likened to clothing given us at a wedding.  But Jesus could tell this parable because His listeners were familiar with the custom that refusal to wear a proper wedding garment was an insult to the father of the groom and could get a guest ejected from the festivities.

The Church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27) and the faithful, clothed in their wedding garments, are called to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:8-9).  Our revised translation of the Roman Missal now brings out that imagery more clearly when the priest presents the Body and Blood of Christ to us at Mass saying, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”  As we go up to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we should not insult the Father by not dressing properly for this, for taste of the heavenly banquet.

For now, one very practical area that we could work on would be for everyone to dress with proper dignity for Mass, whether it is celebrated in the ordinary or the extraordinary form.

May God give us this grace.  Amen.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Who is the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit)?

The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

(a) The Holy Ghost is also called the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Love.

From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?

The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

(a) The Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Father and the Son by spiritual generation. Only the Son proceeds from the Father by generation. This is one of the mysterious truths that we know only from revelation.

Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the Son?

The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.

(a) Because of the oneness of nature in the Blessed Trinity, the Father is entirely in the Son and in the Holy Ghost; the Son is entirely in the Father and in the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost is entirely in the Father and in the Son. No one of the three divine Persons is outside the other, for none precedes the other in eternity, nor surpasses the other in power, nor exceeds the other in any way. This indwelling of one divine Person in the others is called circumincession.

What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind?

The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.

(a) Although the sanctification of mankind, like all other outward works of God, is performed by all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, it is attributed to the Holy Ghost, the third Person. The sanctification of mankind is attributed to the Holy Ghost because He is the love of the Father and the Son and because the sanctification of man by grace shows forth God's boundless love.

st john  St. John         

st james the greater in courtyard St. James the Greater

St. James is called “the Greater” in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle James.  He is the brother of St. John the Evangelist.

The two youths were fishing with their father when Jesus came by and invited them to follow Him.  They were present at the Transfiguration, and were near Christ in His Agony in the garden.

After the dispersion of the Apostles, St. James preached the Gospel in Spain and then returned to Jerusalem, where he was the first of the Apostles to drink the cup of Christ’s sufferings.  By order of Herod Agrippa he was beheaded at Jerusalem around the feast of Easter, in the year 44.

St. John became the “beloved disciple” and the only one of the Twelve who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the Cross, whence the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother.

St. John’s later life was passed chiefly in Jersusalem and at Ephesus.  He founded many Churches in Asia Minor.  He wrote the fourth Gospel and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him.  Tradition relates that, brought to Rome, he was by order of Emperor Domitian cast into a caldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Patmos for a year.  He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow Apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.

mary with infant jesus gray background

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime when the angel appeared and said ”You’re doing a little of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said “Have you read the specs on this order?”

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;

Run on black coffee and leftovers;

Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;

A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointing love affair;

And six pairs of hands.

The angel shook her head slowly and said “six pairs of hands ... no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” says the Lord.  “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she ask, ‘what are you kids doing in there?’  when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course, the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goes up and says, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.

“Lord” said the angel, touching his sleeve gently, “come to bed. Tomorrow...”

“I can’t” says the Lord, “I’m close to creating something so close to Myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick. Can feed a family of six with one pound of hamburger... And get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly.  “It’s so soft,” she sighed.

“But tough!” said the Lord excitedly.  “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her fingers across the cheek.  “There’s a leak,” she pronounced.  “I told you we were trying to put too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “it’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride.”

“You’re a genius,” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber.  “I didn’t put it there.”

   Erma Bombeck

praying family

This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen and is so true: I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said,’This is the Receiving Section.’ Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received. I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world. Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section. The angel then said to me, “This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.” I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth. Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. “This is the Acknowledgment Section”, my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed. “How is it that there is no work going on here?” I asked. “So sad,” the angel sighed. “After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.” “How does one acknowledge God’s blessing?” I asked… “Simple,” the angel answered. Just say, “Thank you, Lord.” “What blessings should they acknowledge?” I asked. “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s healthy.” “And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.” “If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.” “If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world…” “If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.” “If your parents are still alive and still married….you are very rare.” “If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you’re unique to all those in doubt and despair…..” Ok, what now? How can I start? If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

peter image for website

You are Petros (Kephas), and on this rock I will build my Church. (Mt. 16:18)

• Son the Jonah.

• Brother of Andrew.

• Born in Bethsheba.

• Married

• “Protos” which means “first” (always listed first on list of Apostles).

•Received the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven •Mentioned 182 times in Scripture (John is next mentioned 34 times in Scripture) • Jesus preached from his boat • While Jesus was there, Peter witnessed two miraculous harvests of fish • He attempted to walk on water • Was told by Jesus, “Get behind me, Satan”  • Cut off Malchus’ ear • Denied Christ three times    Healed Aneneas at Joppa... and raised Tabitha • Was first to enter the empty tomb of Christ • At Pentecost, 3,000 were brought into the Church... announce the Great Proclamation  “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” • Told to feed His lamb and tend to His sheep; spokesperson for Apostles.

Tradition holds that around 65 A.D., persecutions of the followers of Christ by the emperor Nero began in earnest.  First, he had self-acknowledged Christians arrested and tortured.  Based on information from them, large numbers of others were condemned. Their methods of death were varied:  some dressed in wild animal skins, they were torn to pieces by wild dogs; or they were crucified and made into torches to be ignited after dark as substitutes for daylight.  Because of these persecutions, Christians in Rome feared that the Catholic Church would become extinct if anything happened to St. Peter and urged him to go into hiding.

Upon leaving Rome, St. Peter was said to have been confronted by the Risen Christ. It was in this setting that St. Peter asked Christ, who was walking towards him carrying a cross, “Why are you coming here?” The Lord replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified again, since St. Peter seemed intent on running away. Ashamed, St. Peter immediately turned back to Rome. He was soon captured and kept chained to a column nine months in a dungeon called the Tullian Keep.  The guards were continually changed, as they were converted almost as soon as they were assigned to him. In the year 67 A.D., St. Peter was crucified upside down at his own request; for he stated that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Savior. After St. Peter was put on his cross,  he continued to preach for three hours.  St. Peter’s tomb is located directly below the main Altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy.

st helena statue

I am not sure many people do!  Do you?  You see, many people knew my son, or they did back in the day.  Today, he is for the most part forgotten; me?  Well, they knew me only as - his mother.  If we had met back then, you would most assuredly know him, and for the most part, you would know of me as well.  You see, we lived in the middle of the 3rd Century (year 250)... my son, was the ruler of the world.  Do you know of him, he was, for the most part, ruler of the world!  His name was Constantine the Great!  And of course, I am his Mother... I was a devout Christian.

One day, he told me of a dream, in which he saw a heavenly manifestation, a brilliant light in which he believed he described the cross or the monogram of Christ.  Strengthened by this apparition, he advanced courageously to battle, defeated his rival and won the supreme power.  It was the result that gave to this vision its full importance, for when the emperor afterwards reflected on the event it was clear to him that the cross bore the inscription: HOC VINCES (in this sign wilt thou conquer).  For what it is worth, the monogram of Christ is something you see the Priest wear in Church on Sundays, in particular your Fr. Mark and Fr. Howard.  You see, in the Greek language, the first 3 letters of the word ‘Christ’ are written with the letter X (which is our “Ch”), followed by the letter P (which is our “r”)... ‘Christ!’  Watch what Father wears next Sunday; anyway, before I digress he came to me about Him... I told him everything that I knew!  My son sent me on a mission to collect all the relics of this God, Jesus Christ, which I cold find.  And boy, did I find some... I was so blessed to find so many wonderful relics, that you can see even today!  I found the Cross of our Savior, I found the inscription that was placed above His head (INRI), I found one of the nails used in His hands, and I even found part of the Crown of Thorns.  And last but not least, I found the steps Christ walked upon, in receiving His judgment from Pilate.  You can see below, or in person at my Church, Santa Croce in Rome.

Do you know me!  I am often times portrayed holding a large cross in my hands.  I pray that if you do not know me, that you will come to know my Savior, and yours, Jesus Christ!  You will find him in my Church here in Amite, you see... My name is St. Helena!

donkey donkey cross on back

No matter what their color, almost all Miniature Donkeys share the distinctive mark of a cross that extends down their back and across their shoulders.  While genetics account for this coloration, poet Mary Singer has a more touching explanation:

The Donkey’s Cross

“Bring me a colt of a donkey,” was the Master’s request.

A young donkey was brought to Jesus to bring Him to Jerusalem.  A week later Jesus was ordered crucified.

The little donkey so loved the Lord that he wanted to help Him carry the cross.

But alas, he was pushed away.

The sad little donkey waited to say goodbye until nearly all had left.

As he turned to leave, the shadow of the cross fell on his back  and shoulders.

And there it has remained, a tribute to the loyalty and love of one of the humblest of God’s creatures.

 

When a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than you.  But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers his head and shrinks into himself.  He abases himself.  And the greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes.

But when does our littleness so come home to us as when we stand in God’s presence?  He is the great God, who is today and yesterday, whose years are hundreds and thousands, who fills the place where we are, the city the wide world, the measureless space of the starry sky, in whose eyes the universe is less than a paricle of dust, all-holy, all-pure, all-righteous, infinitely high.  He is so great, I so small, so small that beside Him I seem hardly to exist, so wanting am I in worth and substance.  One has no need to be told that God’s presence is not the place in which to stand on one’s dignity.  To appear less presumptuous, to be as little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hears still further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing.

Therefore let not the bending of our knees be a hurried gesture, an empty form.  Put meaning into it.  To kneel, in the soul’s intention, is to bow down before God in deepest reverence.  On entering a Church, or in passing before the Altar, kneel down all the way without haste or hurry, putting your heart into what you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God.  It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and everytime you kneel it will do your soul good.

-Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs, “Kneeling” (Translated by Grace Branham)

cricket on street for website

Two friends were walking along a busy Manhattan street during the lunch hour, and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, one of them said, “What an interesting place to hear a cricket.”

His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!”

“No, I’m sure of it,” his friend said, “I heard a cricket.”

“That’s crazy,” said his friend.

The man, who thought he had heard a cricket, listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.

“That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have superhuman ears!”

“No,” said the man who heard the cricket. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

“But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.”

“Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.”

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. Then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within 20 feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

“See what I mean?” asked the man who heard the cricket. “It all depends on what’s important to you.”

guardian angel tamer elsharouni

O Most faithful companion, whom God have appointed to watch over me, my guide and protector, ever at my side, what thanks can I offer you for your love, your constancy, and your innumerable benefits?  You watch over me in sleep You console me in sorrow, You raise me when I fall, You ward off dangers, You prepare me for the future, You withdraw me from sin, you urge me to good, You move me to do penance, and reconcile me with my God.  Already, perhaps, I should have been thrust into hell, unless You by your prayers had averted from me the dreadful wrath of God.  Desert me not, then, I beseech thee; encourage me in adversity restrain me in prosperity, protect me in dangers, and assist me in temptations, lest at any time I yield to them.  Offer to the Divine Majesty all my prayers and sighs and works, and obtain for me the grace to die in the friendship of God, and so to enter into life eternal.  Amen.

 st valentine image

Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and commonly associated with “courtly love.”

Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably known, and whether or not the stories involve two different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome.

One common story about St. Valentine is that in one point of his life, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was on house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine pledged the validity of Jesus. The judge immediately put Valentine and his faith to the test.

St. Valentine was presented with the judge’s blind daughter and told to restore her sight. If he succeeded, the judge vowed to do anything for Valentine. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision.

Judge Asterius was humbled and obeyed Valentine’s requests. Asterius broke all the idols around his house, fasted for three days and became baptized, along with his family and entire 44 member household. The now faithful judge then freed all of his Christian inmates.

St. Valentine was later arrested again for continuing to try to convert people to Christianity. He was sent to Rome under the emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II). According to the popular hagiographical identity, and what is believed to be the first representation of St. Valentine, the Nuremberg Chronicle, St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during Claudius’ reign. The story tells that St. Valentine was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Both acts were considered serious crimes. A relationship between the saint and emperor began to grow, until Valentine attempted to convince Claudius of Christianity. Claudius became raged and sentenced Valentine to death, commanding him to renounce his faith or be beaten with clubs and beheaded.

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on February 14.

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