Jesus answered: ‘Will you lay down your life for me?’ - John 13:38

Support the Holy Father and pray with him!

"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!"

-Pope Benedict XVI

Pray for Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for this month. Find out more here.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lord, let your servant go in peace

I heard this song first time when I accompanied a choir on a Sunday Mass in Cathedral back home last December.. and since then, this beautiful and peaceful tune, and this beautiful prayer by Simeon keep humming in my mind.. It feels very peaceful, hopeful, and, yes, Lord! Let your servant go in peace...

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

Keeping things in Perspective

‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given unto you’ – is a Biblical phrase we are all familiar with. I think that this phrase is particularly apposite as we are in the midst of our exam period. But what exactly does this phrase mean?

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):

Dear Lord,

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

Heroism in Obedience

Chapter 29

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"?

Pope Benedict XVI: Choose Life, Choose God


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.

There's hope after all...

This seems rather unbelievable. Look at what CMR reports:

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"

O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have
recourse to thee.T

The Book Barrow

Chapter 37, Point 8.

Legionaries might conduct a Book-barrow or a portable bookstall in a public place, preferably in or near some busy street. Experience has shown the immense value of this as a legionary work. There is no more efficacious way of carrying on a comprehensive apostolate directed to the good, the mediocre, and the bad, or of bringing the Church to the notice of the unthinking many. Therefore the Legion earnestly desires that in every large centre there should be at least one of these.

It should be made so as to afford the greatest possible display of titles. It should be stocked with an abundant supply of inexpensive religious publications. Legionaries would form the staff.
Besides those whose primary purpose is to look through the stock with a view to purchase, almost every type of person will be drawn towards this. Catholics desirous to talk with their co-religionists; the thoughtless and the indifferent, killing time or led by curiosity; the mildly-interested who are not of the Church, and who would be reluctant to place themselves more directly in touch with it. All these will enter into conversation with the gentle and sympathetic legionaries in charge, who should be trained to look upon the enquiries and purchases as so many openings for the establishment of friendly contact. The latter will be utilised to lead on all of those encountered to a higher plane of thought and action. Catholics would be induced to join "something Catholic." Non-Catholics would be helped towards an understanding of the Church. One person will leave determined to undertake daily Mass and Holy Communion; another to become a legionary, active - or auxiliary, or a Patrician; a third to make his peace with God; another bearing in his heart the seeds of conversion to the Church. (Remember these categories, and remember to be respectful, gentle but also bold in our suggestions and advice to those we encounter). Visitors to town will be interested in the Legion (which otherwise they might not see), and may be induced to start it in their own places.

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.

It should be unnecessary to remind legionaries that the persevering following up of the introductions and friendships initiated is a necessary part of the whole work.

The proposal to start such a work will always elicit the objection that exceptionally well-versed Catholics would be required to do it, and are not available. It is true that special knowledge of Catholic Doctrine would be most useful. But the lack of this need not deter legionaries from starting. For the personal appeal will be the great consideration. As Cardinal Newman says: "Persons influence us, voices melt us, looks subdue us, deeds inflame us. Many a man will live and die upon a dogma: no man will be a martyr for a conclusion.". In a word, earnestness and sweetness are more important than deep knowledge. The latter is inclined to lure those who possess it into deep water and tortuous channels which lead nowhere, whereas a candid confession of one's weakness: 'I do not know, but I can find out', will keep a discussion on bedrock.
(So let's not be timid and hide behind the counter out of a fear that we don't know enough)

It will be found that the vast bulk of the difficulties which are voiced spring from a great ignorance, and that the ordinary legionary is well able to deal with them. Less simple points will be brought to the praesidium or to the Spiritual Director.

Attacks on the Church on the score of evil-doing, persecution, and lack of zeal could be argued indefinitely, and hopelessly confuse the issue. An element of truth may underlie some charges, and thus add complication to confusion. To satisfy the hostile critic on these and all other minor points of dispute is completely impossible, even if great erudition is enlisted in the task. The course to be taken by the legionary must be that of persistently reducing the discussion to its very simplest elements: that of insisting that God must have left to the world a message - what men call a religion: that such religion, being God's voice, absolutely must be one, clear, consistent, unerring, and must claim divine authority.

These characteristics are to be found only in the Catholic Church. There is no other body or system which even claims to possess them. Outside the Church, there is only contradiction and confusion, so that, as Cardinal Newman crushingly puts it: "Either the Catholic religion is verily the coming of the unseen world into this, or that there is nothing positive, nothing dogmatic whither we are going."

There must be a true Church. There can be only one true Church. Where is it, if it is not the Catholic Church? Like blows, ever directed to one spot, this simple line of approach to the Truth has over-whelming effect. Its force is manifest to the simple. It is unanswerable in the heart of the more learned, though he may continue to talk of the sins of the Church. Remind such a one briefly but gently that he proves too much. His objections tell at least as much against any other religious system as they do against the Church. If he proves the Church to be false by proving that Churchmen did wrong, then he has only succeeded in proving that there is no true religion in the world.

The day has gone when a Protestant would claim that his own particular sect had a monopoly of the truth. Nowadays he would more modestly contend that all Churches possess a portion or facet of the truth. But a portion is not enough. That claim is equivalent to an assertion that there is no known truth and no way of finding it. For if a Church has certain doctrines that are true and therefore others that are untrue, what means are there of recognising which is which; when we pick, we may take the ones that are untrue! Therefore the church which says of its doctrines: "Some of these are true", is no help, no guide for the way. It has left you exactly where you were without it.

So, let it be repeated until the logic penetrates: There can be but one true Church; which must not contradict itself, which must possess the whole truth; and which must be able to tell the difference between what is true and what is false.

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!

"From the moment...."

"From the moment I was given the charge of souls, I saw at a glance that the task was beyond my strength, and quickly taking refuge in our Lord's arms, I imitated those babes who when frightened hide their faces on their father's shoulder: 'thou seest, Lord,' I cried, 'that I am too small to feed thy little ones, but if through me thou wilt give to each what is suitable, then fill my hands; and without quitting the shelter of thy arms, or even turning my head, I will distribute thy treasures to the souls who come to me asking for food. When they find it to their liking, I shall know that it is not to me they owe it, but to thee; while if on the contrary they complain, finding fault with its bitterness, I shall not be at all disturbed, but shall try to persuade them it comes from thee, and I will take care to give them none other'." (St. Therese of Lisieux) - Handbook p.216

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Heroic virtue

Heroic virtue does not mean that the saint performs a type of “gymnastics” of holiness, something that normal people do not dare to do. It means rather that in the life of a person God’s presence is revealed—something man could not do by himself and through himself. Perhaps in the final analysis we are rather dealing with a question of terminology, because the adjective “heroic” has been badly interpreted. Heroic virtue properly speaking does not mean that one has done great things by oneself, but rather that in one’s life there appear realities which the person has not done himself, because he has been transparent and ready for the work of God. Or, in other words, to be a saint is nothing other than to speak with God as a friend speaks with a friend. This is holiness.

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

During the 992nd meeting of Regina Coeli:
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.
Allocutio by Sr Immaculata:

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.

The Moment of The Rose

by Erin Manning


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-tree
Are of equal duration."
Because 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?

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.

Read the full post here >>

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

Retreat Photos!

16.1.09 to 18.1.09 - Legion Retreat

And here are the Pauls engaged in a battle of minds (click on the "thumb"nail for the video):
From 16.1.09 to 18.1.09 - Legion Retreat

Ave Maria (Bach)

When we made our resolutions during the retreat, I wandered over to the church. The choir was practicing and after some time, the pianist played this wonderful piece.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The difference between religious priests and diocesan priests

In the Catholic Church there are two kinds of priests: religious and diocesan. The primary canonical difference between the two is based on who serves as an immediate ecclesial superior. For RP's the immediate ecclesial superior is the local prior, abbot, or major superior; that is, a member of that priest's order/monastery who exercises canonical authority in virtue of holding an office within the order/monastery. My immediate ecclesial superior is the prior of this convent. For DP's, the immediate ecclesial superior is always the bishop of the priest's diocese.

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

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I know this is a week late...

But we're still in the Christmas season. And this is just great :)


More good videos:

I love the last one :) :)