Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

If you desire the worship that you give to God to be pleasing to Him and valuable for the salvation of your soul, put it properly into practice. Begin by preparing for holy Mass as soon as you awake, uniting yourself to all the Masses which are being said at that moment...

When you come out from your home, think about what you are going to do and what you are going to ask of God. Begin by clearing your mind of earthly matters so that you will be thinking of God only. Avoid all sorts of unnecessary conversations which serve no other purpose than to make you hear Mass badly. When you enter the church, recall to yourself what the holy patriarch jacob said: How awesome is this place! How holy it is! It is truly the house of  God and the gateway to heaven!
From the Sermons of the Cure of Ars, Translated by Una Morrissy

Please pray for the repose of the soul of the Rev. James Schleicher, a priest of the diocese of Cleveland who passed away recently.

Peace be with you!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterreuptedly from the consent which she gave loyally at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up into heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation... Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #969

May she hold each child of God in the palm of her hand.

Our Lady Reconciler of All People and Nations
Information on the Apparitions at Betania, Venezuela to Maria Esperanza

(photos:statue in St.Colette Church, Brunswick, Ohio)
Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spiritual Direction with St. John of the Cross

The Gift of Contemplation-Prayer of the Heart

The soul that is called to the gift of contemplation or infused prayer, is at first perpexled and fearful of what is happening within his soul.  He may seek help from a spiritual director.  During this period of transition when the soul is being led from discursive meditation  (using reason & imagination) to the prayer of simplicity of heart,it is important to have the right spiritual counsel.  St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross have many things to say about this subject.  Today we recall what St. John of the Cross says about certain spiritual masters who do not understand this spiritual transition in a soul:

These spiritual masters, not understanding souls that tread the path of quiet and solitary contemplation, since they themselves have not reached it and do not know what it is to part with discursive meditation, think these souls are idle.  They hinder them and hamper the peace of restful and quiet contemplation that God of his own was according them, by making them walk along the path of meditation and imaginative reflection, and perform interior acts. In doing this, these souls find great repugnance, dryness, and distraction; they want to remain in their holy idleness and quiet and peaceful recollection.                          LF, Stanza 3, No. 53

During this holy season of Lent when the entire Church is on retreat, individually, we can try to seek greater solitude with the Lord. Secular Carmelites are required to take this little retreat daily by remaining in prayer for 1/2 hour in an atmosphere of quiet and solitude.  Let us remember the friars and sisters of our Order who seek the face of God in prayer daily on our behalf in an atmosphere of great silence and solitude, far from family, friends, and the noise  and distractions of every day life.

The Hermits of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a Carmelite (O.Carm) Community of men who seek the face of God in prayer on our behalf.  Please remember them and all of our Carmelite religious in prayer during this holy season of Lent.  We only give up certain things during Lent.  They give up much more on a daily basis.  Please visit their beautiful website.

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Catechism Quote

Catechism #776

Pentecost-The Birthday of the Church

As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all," the universal sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God's love for men." 199 The Church
"is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires "that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit.200

199 LHG 9s2,48 s2;GS45 s 1.
200 Paul VI, June 22, 1973; AG 7s2; cf. LG 17. are 'Rock,' and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18

Secular Carmelites are called to pray on behalf of the church. We are called to "...bear witness to Christ by their life of prayer (Article 8 of the Secular Carmelite Rule)."  The catechism quote above states that the Church is the "visible plan of God's love for humanity."  As secular Carmelites, members of the body of Christ, our call to be a witness to Christ through the charism of contemplative prayer gives witness indeed, to the world, that Christ's love is alive in the Church. Since the Church is the universal sacrament of salvation, we, as members of the body of Christ, participate in his plan of salvation for all by our faithfulness to contemplatiave prayer.

The union with God that we desire in prayer is a reflection of the union that God desires with us, his Church, to form one Body of Christ, one people of God.

Let us pray that all may be one in Christ!

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Anne Church
Rittman, Ohio

Established: 1855
Cluster Parish of St. Mary, Wooster, Ohio 
and St. Agnes, Orrville, Ohio

Prayer of John Paul II to Saint Anne
Good Saint Anne, I have come to honour you and invoke you with all these pilgrims in the Shrine of Beaupre. Since the beginning of the Church in Canada, many people have experienced the effect of your power and kindness.

O Good Saint Anne, faithful witness to the expectation of the Lord’s coming, you watched tenderly over Mary, who was to become the Mother of our Saviour and of us all. Through its history, you have been the Protectress, the Patroness, a Bulwark of the Church of Quebec.

Extend your kindness to the Church of today. May everyone, forever proud of their culture and faith, experience an authentic encounter with God and all the others for whom Christ is the only way.

 Quebec, Canada

Peace be with you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Saint of the Day


Peace be with you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday of the Year for Priests

Now between 1827 and 1859--despite the skepticism of the times--the little village church of Ars was always full. As early as 1828, pilgrims came thick and fast. Monsieur le Cure, Catherine Lassagne once said to her pastor, the other missionaries run after sinners, even into foreign lands. But with you, it is the sinners who run after you!
This fascination of a single man, toward whom vast crowds converged for thirty years, is perhaps unique in the history of man and in the annals of the Church. In any event the total context of Ars was unique, for it was a prodigious brew of miracles and satanic infestations, of seething crowds and modest ordinary lives, and above all a place habitually immersed in the realm of the supernatural.
Here is how one good man expressed his reaction to Father Monnin: "Before I came to Ars, before I saw the good Father, I found it hard to believe all that I read in the lives of the saints. Many things seemed impossible to me. Now I believe everything because I have seen all these things and still more with my own eyes."
From The Remarkable Cure of Ars, by Michele de Saint Pierre

More about St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney had a great devotion to
St. Philomena-Read more about this saint

Peace be with you!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

Prayer to the Queen of Carmel

O glorious Virgin Mary! Queen of Carmel, Mother of God and of poor sinners; special Protectress of all those who wear your holy Scapular, I beseech you, by the glory that has been accoreded you by the Incarnate Word in choosing  you for His Mother, to obtain for me the pardon of my sins, amendment of my life, salvation of my soul, consolation in my pains, and in particular the grace I now ask, provided it be the will of your divine Son. Amen.

The first Carmelite Monastery in the United States

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spiritual Life Dictionary


The gift of discernment helps one to ascertain whether one's motives are influenced by God, the devil, or worldly desires. This gift may be acquired or given to a soul as an infused gift from God.

We know from the lives of the saints that many of the saints possessed the gift of discernement of spirits along with the gift of reading hearts that seem to go hand-in-hand with discernement of spirits.

The great St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, could read the hearts of his penitents.  If one came into his confessional without true remorse (not a pure motive) but out of curiosity, the Cure of Ars would  admonish the penitent severely!

Discernement of spirits is a great help in the spiritual life.  One seeks to discern the will of God for his or her life and may turn to St. Ignatius of Loyola for his help in this area because of his teaching in the Spiritual Exercises.  This classic and timeless teaching has been a great help to many people discerning religious vocations.

Discernment of Spirits is also a great help to those who are called to contemplative prayer. For Secular Carmelites we hear throughout the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus that we must use caution when accepting every spiritual consolation that comes our way.  She advises us over and over again to test the spirits and to seek spiritual direction from a holy and intelligent director to help us discern if our consolations come from God and if we are being led by faith and not spiritual sweetness.

Many people get led astray, even from the practice of the Faith, because they did not have the humility to test the spirits-fearing they would have to leave their own ideas and opinions aside to follow God's will and not their own.  We only have to pick up a newspaper or see the evening news to hear about scandals within the church of people following their own will and desires.

True discernment of spirits is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps and befriends those who love Him. St. Teresa teaches us that if we are faithful to prayer, God will come to our assistance and make haste to help us-help us to discern His will and not our own.

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Three Pillars of Lent

The Three Pillars of Lent:

The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These items are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).
Catechism #1439

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Paul Church
Akron, Ohio

The Rev. Ralph Thomas

The church was beautifully
decorated-Confirmation had
been celebrated on Sunday.
I visited St. Paul's on the
feast of St. Blaise

Come to me with Your saving presence, and let me in spirit taste Your sweetness, which lies hidden in the most Blessed Sacrament as in a plentiful fountain. Give light to my eyes, too, that I may gaze upon this great mystery, and strengthen me to believe it with persevering faith...

Who can come humbly to the fountain of sweetness wihtout carrying away with him some of its sweetness? Or who can stand by a blazing fire and not feel some of its heat? You, O Lord, are a fountain, ever full and overflowing, a fire always burning and never dying out.
Imitation of Christ, Book 4, No. 3

Keep watch with our Eucharistic Lord 24 hours a day

Peace be with you!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Stained Glass Flowers-Little Accounts of the Miraculous

From the life of St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:

It seemed that from the time Juanita was young she had the presentiment or a certain interior illumination that she would die early in life. Her choice of Carmel was reinforced by the desire to find a particularly suitable environment wherein she could attain holiness as rapidly as possible. One day she pressed Father Blanch to tell her where she could be sanctified more quickly, because "Our Lord had made me understand that I would live only a short while."

In March of 1920, when Lent had already begun, Sister Teresa told her confessor-Father Avertano, a Discalced Carmelite--that she would die within a month. She asked that he authorize her to intensify her penance for the sins of mankind.

On Good Friday of the same year, she was discovered to have a high fever from Typhus.

On April 5 she requested the Sacraments of the sick.

On April 7 she was granted permission to make her religious profession.

On Monday April 12, 1920 she died very sweetly, at seven fifteen at night.

She was canonized on March 21, 1993 by Pope John Paul II

Peace be with you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

From St. John Maria Vianney we learn a deep connection between the priesthood and the sacrifice: He taught his parishioners: “If one wants to destroy religion, he begins to attack the priest, because where there is no priest, there is also no sacrifice, and because where there is no sacrifice, there is also no religion any longer.”
(Excerpt from Opus Angelorum-to view the website click here)

The Cure of Ars was subjected to extraordinary diabolic interventions...he was subjected to what demonologists call infestation, that is, situations in which devils reveal their presence by troublesome vexations, which are more terrifying than painful...

He himself has related the beginning of these unbelievable persecutions which were to continue for many years:
"The first time the devil came to torment me was one night at nine o'clock, just as I was about to go to bed. Three loud knocks resounded on my courtyard door, as if someone wanted to break it in with an enormous sledge hammer. I immediately opened my window and asked: Who is it?...But I saw nothing and went quietly to bed, recommending myself to God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to the holy angels. I was not yet asleep when three more knocks made me jump. These were more violent than the first, and struck not against the outside door but against the one at the foot of the stairs leading to my room. I got up and cried out a second time: Who is there? No one answered...

 Now Father Vianney was subject to fear like anybody else. But he overcame it. One of the persons whose help he sought in the first days to protect him was none other than the village wheelwright, Andrew Verchere.

He reported the following: "That night I went to the rectory. I talked with the Cure until ten o'clock, meanwhile warming myself. 'Let us go to bed,' he said at last. He let me have his room and went into the one next to it. I did not go to sleep. About one o'clock in the morning I heard the handle and latch of the outside door being violently shaken. At the same time I could hear heavy blows against the same door, while inside the rectory there was a thunderous noise as of the rolling of several carriages...The rectory was swaying as if from an earthquake. "'So you're afraid?' Monsieur le Cure asked. " 'No, I said, I am not afriad but I feel my legs giving way. The rectory is going to collapse.' "What do you think it is?' " 'I think it is the devil.'
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michele de Saint Pierre

Peace be with you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

as  you carried your Divine Child
in your womb you rejoiced
and glorified the Lord.

Touch with pity
the hearts of those women
pregnant in our world today
who think of murder,
not motherhood.

Help them to see
that the child they carry
is made in God's image--
as well as theirs--
made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear
and selfishness and
give them true womanly hearts
to love their babies
and give them birth
and all the needed care
that a mother alone can give.

MARY, Mother of Christ
and of us, show us all one day
the blessed fruit of your womb,
From Queen of Heaven prayer book
photos: Walsh College, North Canton, Ohio-Prayer Garden

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. John of the Cross-Sayings of Light & Love

Saying #43

Bear in mind that your flesh is weak and that no worldly thing can comfort or strengthen your spirit, for what is born of the world is world and what is born of the flesh is flesh. The good spirit is born only of the Spirit of God, who communicates himself neither through the world nor through the flesh.

Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

Receive, O Holy Spirit of Love, the perfect and absolute consecration of my whole being which I make to Thee this day, in order that henceforth, at every moment of my life and in each of my actions,Thou mayest deign to be my Director, my Light, my Guide, my Strength, and all the Love of my heart. I abandon myself without reserve to Thy Divine operations, and I wish to be always responsive to Thy holy inspirations.

O Holy Spirit deign to form me, with Mary and in Mary, according to the model of our Divine Jesus.
Glory be tot he Father, the Creator Glory be to the Son, the Redeemer, Glory be to the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier.

Peace be with you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes

February 11
Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes
and World Day of Prayer for the Sick

Mary, you showed yourself to Bernadette in the crevice of the rock. In the cold and grey of winter, you brought the warmth, light and beauty of your presence, in the often obscure depths of our lives, in the depth of the world where evil is so powerful, bring hope, return our confidence!

You are the Immaculate Conception, come to our aid, sinners that we are. Give us the humility to have a change of heart, the courage to do penance. Teach us to pray for all people. Guide us to the source of true life. Make us pilgrims going forward with your Church, whet our appetite for the Eucharist, the bread for the journey, the bread of life.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon earth. You have the same influence now in Heaven. Pray for us; obtain for us from your Divine Son our special requests if it be the Divine Will. Amen.
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength,and consolation. Amen.
(Prayer in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Lourdes)

(Our Lady to St. Bernadette)

(video by Rosemarie)

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

St. Peter's Shadow

One of my favorite scripture passages is taken from Acts 5:15:

The people carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mattresses, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes-TheWorld Day of Prayer for the Sick.  In Lourdes, the sick are treated with great respect.  They are given "first-place" in all the celebrations. Many times throughout the day in Lourdes and especially during the afternoon Eucharistic procession the sick are wheeled out into the esplanade area or the sanctuary of the Grotto. Many people are on stretchers.  When the blessing of the sick takes place, the priest makes his way through the aisles formed by sick pilgrims, blessing them with our Eucharistic Lord in the monstrance he carries. The hopeful pilgrims are waiting for the rays of His love and mercy and compassion to fall upon them.

Scripture tells us that St. Peter's shadow was powerful.  So powerful indeed, that not only were the sick cured, but those with unclean spirits were delivered as well.  So, we can imagine what a sight it must have been to see those that had been brought in on mattresses and cots standing up totally cured and praising God! 

Why was Peter's shadow so powerful? A shadow is produced by light! Christ is the light that reflected off of St. Peter.

St. Peter's shadow is still passing over us today in the Catholic Church through the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ who administer to us the Sacraments Jesus instituted.

In this "Year of the Priest" let us recall the power and mercy of St. Peter's shadow when we see any priest (usually dressed in black) pass by us, offer the Sacraments and show us the love and mercy of Christ.

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week




If the people of ancient times showed such reverence and devotion to God in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, how much greater should be the reverence and devotion to Your presence in the Blessed Sacrament paid by me and all Christian people, as also in the receiving of the precious Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Many people travel great distances to visit the relics of Saints and marvel on hearing of their remarkable deeds. They gaze upon magnificent churches dedicated to them, paying homage to their blessed remains, wrapped with silk and covered with gold.

But You, my God; the Saint of saints, Creator of all things, and Lord of Angels, are here present on the altar before me!

O God, the invisible Creator of all the world, how wonderful are Your ways with us!
From the Imitation of Christ, Book 4 No. 8-10

Peace be with you!