Support the Holy Father and pray with him!
-Pope Benedict XVI
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Here is the lyric used on this particular arrangement
Lord, let Your servant go in peace
For Your Word has been fulfilled.
A Child shall be born to the Virgin,
And His Name shall be called, "Emmanuel."
My own eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared for all men.
A Light shall reveal to the nations
And the glory of Your people, Israel.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
To me, there is no doubt that we must keep the “big picture” in mind always. God was, is, and always will be, the biggest picture, and in the end, he will be the only picture left – only he will matter. So the first part of the phrase – ‘seek ye first the Kingdom of God’ can thus be satisfactorily explained. We must, at all times, regardless of our surroundings and circumstances, put God first. Now, how about the second part?
Initially, when I came across the phrase, ‘and all these things will be given unto you’, it struck me that it is almost like a barter trade of sorts – but we know this cannot be so, God does not need to, nor is it in his nature to “trade” with us or indeed, anything else. God is complete and perfect by himself. Rather, I think the phrase is one that teaches us to have faith and hope, by placing love first. Let me try to explain.
Jesus said that we can move mountains if we have faith merely the size of a mustard seed. And he told Martha that she worries and frets over many things, yet few indeed are important. Perhaps, in our context today, we can learn from these two phrases – about the mustard seed and about Jesus’ apparent admonishment to Martha. We need to have faith that the word of God – Jesus must come first in our lives, and not worry so much about the gifts God gives us (i.e. Exam results, etc), but the Giver himself. God himself is the gift. And like the Martha’s of old, perhaps we focus too much on ancillary matters, even when God is directly in our midst.
So if we remember Mary (Martha’s sister), Jesus told her that ‘she has chosen the better part, it is not to be taken away from her’ – we know therefore that because she put Christ first, ‘all other things were given unto her’: she recognised that the biggest gift was the giver! And Mary’s wisdom was fuelled by faith. Are we perhaps too much like Martha by fretting over unimportant things? I certainly have. And unlike Martha, who, at the very least, served the Lord of Hosts with food and drink, some of the unimportant things that occupy my attention at times, are sometimes not even remotely connected to God.
So to summarise, we need faith to allow our wisdom to grow, so that we can truly put God first in all times, with the confidence he will give us what we need, at that particular time. We recall that even the number of hairs on our head God knows; the number of sparrows in the skies God knows. So, let us ‘seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be give unto us’.
I conclude with an exam prayer from CSS (In the Name, etc):
Sometimes I feel a little strange praying to you because of an exam – it doesn’t really seem all that significant when you consider the “big picture”. But right now, the exam looms so large that it is all I can see before me.
I pray to you for three things: the strength to handle the pressure that I feel, the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge and preparation, and the ability to keep a good perspective on it all. Help me to keep in mind what is really important, even as I focus all of my time and energy on this exam in the immediate future.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The fruit of loyalty is obedience, and the test of the latter is the readiness to accept situations and decisions which are unpalatable and let it be remarked-to accept them cheerfully. This prompt and cordial obedience is always difficult. Sometimes, to give it violates one's natural inclinations to such an extent as to amount to heroism, to be in fact a sort of martyrdom. And in such terms does St. Ignatius of Loyola speak of it. "Those," he says, "who by a generous effort resolve to obey, acquire great merits; obedience in its sacrifice resembles martyrdom." The Legion expects from its children everywhere that spirit of heroic and sweet docility to proper authority of every sort.
The Legion is an army - the army of the Virgin Most Humble. It must exhibit in its everyday working what is forthcoming in profusion from any earthly army - heroism and sacrifice, even supreme sacrifice. Demands of a supremely exacting character are all the time being made on legionaries, too. Not so often are they called on to offer their bodies to laceration and death, like the soldiers of the world. But let them rise gloriously higher in the things of the spirit. Let them be ready to offer their feelings, their judgment, their independence, their pride, their will, to the wounds of contradiction and the death of a wholehearted submission, when authority requires.
"Deep harm to disobey, seeing obedience is the bond of rule," says Tennyson, but the Legion's life-line can be sundered by more than wilful disobedience. The same result is achieved by the officers whose neglect of the duties of attendance or correspondence cuts off their praesidia or councils from the main tide of legionary life. The same deep harm is done by those, whether officers or members, who attend their meetings, but whose attitude there - from whatever cause-is calculated to promote disunion.
Obedience is one the the characteristics I simply love in the Legion - it makes it so intensely Catholic. Obedience has been a hallmark of the true Catholic right from the earliest martyrs, to the saints through the ages (think of St Teresa of Avilla's obedience to her spiritual director, even when she knew he was wrong, St Pio's obedience to the Church's order to cease his public celebration of Holy Mass), right down to the spirit that today urges us to honour and obey the Pope, and that compels priests, missionaries, religious brothers and sisters to obey their superiors.
I'm also proud to say that I see obedience in action among my Legionary brothers and sisters: when they put aside their conveniences and wishes for the sake of the Legion meeting and Legion work; in those who, despite the need to travel long distances, and in spite of heavy workloads, faithfully attend meetings on campus, volunteer for Legion work and always put the shoulder to the wheel when needed.
This is why I mentioned at the retreat that I feel what separates us from most groups is our Legionary heroism: what is more heroic that "the death of a wholehearted submission"?
The question continues being how to find life, what to choose, how to choose life. And we know the offers generally made: Go to the disco, obtain everything possible, consider liberty as doing everything you want, whatever occurs to you in any given moment. But we know on the other hand -- and we can show it -- that this is a false path, because in the end, life is not found there, but rather the abyss of nothingness.
Choose life. The reading says it: God is your life, you have chosen life and you have made the choice: God. This seems fundamental to me. Only in this way are our horizons broad enough and only in this way do we remain within the fount of life, which is stronger than death, stronger than all of the threats of death. Thus, the fundamental choice is this one that is indicated: Choose God. It is necessary to understand that one who begins a life without God in the end finds himself in darkness, even though there can be moments in which it seems he has discovered life.
Another step is how to find God, how to choose God. Here we arrive to the Gospel: God is not a stranger, a hypothesis of the first cause of the cosmos. God has flesh and bones. He is one of us. We know him with his face, with his name. It is Jesus Christ who speaks to us in the Gospel. He is man and he is God. And being God, he chose man to make it possible for us to choose God. Thus it is necessary to enter into knowledge of and afterward friendship with Jesus, to walk with him.
I came across this photograph of Obama showing what he keeps in his pockets...
Did you notice the Miraculous Medal among the trinkets and charms? Pray it does him some good.
Isn't there also a medal of Mary, Help of Christians? Very odd...but very interesting.
One commenter on CMR points out that there seems also to be an icon of Shiva the Hindu deity also known as "The Destroyer"
pray for us who have
recourse to thee.T
Legionaries are encouraged, however, not to wait passively for people to come to them at the Barrow. They should not hesitate to approach people in the vicinity, not necessarily for the purpose of selling more literature, but in order to establish a contact, which can be used as described in the preceding paragraph.
(So let's not be timid and hide behind the counter out of a fear that we don't know enough)
And remember then that when you go out and speak honestly about the Faith, you are on the side of truth. This of course shouldn't fill us with arrogance and over-confidence, but it should leave us with the certainty that the Truth will always eventually triumph, even in spite of the unworthiness of its messenger.
I feel the book barrow is an excellent opportunity to get to know our Legionary brothers and sisters better, get to know their views on the Legion, on Legionary service, on the Faith, etc. For the younger Legionaries, it's an excellent time to put into practice the Legion's master and apprentice system of formation (HB Chap 10.7). And I'm sure the seniors would have a lot to learn from the juniors too. It would also be an perfect chance to let non-Legionaries see what the Legion is all about, what we do, our spirit and system.
So let's make the most use of this book barrow!
Don't forget to sign up for slots!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
To be holy does not mean being superior to others; the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy.
-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Allocutio by Fr Frans:
A leper said “Lord, if you want to, cure me”, and the Lord said “Be cured”, we must let God take care of our burdens and allow his forgiveness to recreate us. But the Lord told the leper to keep his healing to himself, why? Because Jesus didn’t want his messianic status to be revealed back then and seen simply as sensationalism. A Follower of Christ is called to be simple and see our Ordinary life to be holy too, what we do in our daily life should be sanctified and made extraordinary. We must discover the sacredness of our ordinary normal life. Many are happy when baptised, but even after that we should return to our daily lives and be aware of the presence of God in our daily life, not just in the extraordinary things.
The Servant of God, Alphonsus Lambe, also known as Alfie Lambe, is a hero through his service to God in the Legion of Mary. Born in Ireland on the feast of St. John the Baptist, Friday, 24th June 1932, he proved his heroic love for God in his 27 years of life.
After spending his youth in the novitiate of the Irish Christian Brothers, he found his vocation in the Legion of Mary when he was almost 18.He found that a majority of the people were baptized but knew little about their Faith. Many had to be reintroduced to the Christian way of life. He always taught legionaries of all walks of life and of all ages that everyone must be invited to join the Legion of Mary. Once, Alfie was meeting with a young railroad employee, Miguel Mancini. Alfie asked him if he would like to work for Our Blessed Lady. The reply Miguel gave him was that he was baptized but didn’t go to Mass that often. Alfie persisted. A month later Miguel became President of his praesidium, and is now Rector of one of the largest seminaries in South America.
no one is too bad to be Legionary.
One challenge in being Legionary is to keep the Legionary alive within us, to pass it on especially to the newer Legionary. We have our Handbook and apprenticeships, to learn from the more experienced. We need to build this sense of always to be on duty wherever we are.
Alfie was never seen sad or depressed, never without patience, he always had a smile. And he bore those qualities up to his death. C. S Lewis commented that, “Joy is the serious buseness of heaven”. On this Fr Bede McGregor commented “ How are we going to recruit new members if we are not genuinely happy and joyful? Saints are not glum and neither are apostolic men and women? Our Lady is the cause of our joy since She gives us Jesus and She gives us the privilege of sharing with her the joy to gives Jesus to others!”
A group of 14 of them accompanied Alfie on a 24 hour train journey. He set up the miniature Legion altar he brought with him and they held their first Legion meeting in the carriage. He then assigned them in pairs to go through the carriages and speak to the passengers about the Mass and what devotion to Our Lady means to a Catholic. After two hours they reported back and discussed what they learned. During that journey four Legion meetings and work assignments took place.
Alfie Lambe has been a true example of one who really live the spirit of the Legionary service, as it is stated on chapter 4 in our Handbook. He lived the spirit of lay apostolate – one character of the Legion of Mary, its laity, he ‘put on the whole armour of God’, ‘be a living sacrifice’ even to the heroic level, ‘not turn from toil and hardship’, ‘live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us’ by his joyfulness and selflessness, ‘and he ‘finish the race’ very well, making use of all the times God has given to him for the glory of God.
But in another way, what we struggle with is what the poet T.S. Eliot defined, when he wrote:"The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-treeBecause we are physical creatures who can only perceive reality by referring to such concepts as "space" and "time," we think that the life of an unborn baby who dies in utero is unbearably, unbelievably short; we may similarly think that a person who lives past the century-mark has lingered on this earth far too long, especially if all those years have not added wisdom nor increased grace, as may sometimes happen. For the one to have only weeks while the other's life spans decades seems like a strange riddle, a puzzling paradox beyond our comprehension. Many find themselves doubting the existence of a merciful and benevolent God when they look at the question this way: why should the young and innocent perish, or the aged and (sometimes) wicked flourish?
Are of equal duration."
But if we frame the question that way, we forget that reality that Eliot so beautifully expresses. We don't have years--none of us. We don't have decades or minutes or hours or even seconds in their brevity. We have only moments; we have only now.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The Greek word for converting means: to rethink—to question one's own and common way of living; to allow God to enter into the criteria of one's life; to not merely judge according to the current opinions. Thereby, to convert means: not to live as all the others live, not do what all do, not feel justified in dubious, ambiguous, evil actions just because others do the same; begin to see one's life through the eyes of God; thereby looking for the good, even if uncomfortable; not aiming at the judgment of the majority, of men, but on the justice of God—in other words: to look for a new style of life, a new life.
-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Via St John's Valdosta Blog
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Practically, this means that a friar's/monk's/nun's ministry and life in the community is directed by a fellow friar/monk/nun who is elected to authority by the community. For DP's, their ministry and life in the diocese is subject to the bishop. Now, all religious orders within a diocese are subject to the bishop in so far as that bishop must approve any religious ministry in his diocese. Bishops have no authority over the internal workings of a community. So, if a priory or monastery elects as prior/abbot someone the bishop doesn't like, he is not empowered to dispose of that election. He can revoke the faculties of the priests in the house, or fire any offending religious who works for the diocese. But he cannot step into the internal affairs of religious.
There are other prominent differences between RP's and DP's. One big difference is the taking of religious vows. RP's are made religious priests by making solemn vows regarding poverty, chastity, and obedience. DP's do not make religious vows. At ordination, all priests promise chastity and obedience to an "ordinary" superior. For religious priests at ordination, we make these promises to both our immediate superior and the bishop. DP's do not take a vow of poverty b/c they are considered "self-employed" by the IRS. RP's usually have access to community cars, funds, medical care, room and board, and other essentials for daily living. DP's provide most of these for themselves as "employees" of the diocese. In practical terms, the vow of poverty is about not owning anything in one's own name. RP's cannot own a car. DP can. Same goes for houses, boats, etc.
Do read the rest of this article by Dominican Fr Philip Neri Powell here