I would like to add here another brief comment with some relevance for everyday living. There used to be a form of devotion—perhaps less practised today but quite widespread not long ago—that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it. What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ's great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love. Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves.
Support the Holy Father and pray with him!
-Pope Benedict XVI
Saturday, February 28, 2009
To the things I wish to say?
How your sweet eyes used to glisten
As you watched Him at His play!
And when He'd creep up to your knee,
And when He'd pause for rest,
You'd lift Him, O so tenderly,
And clasp Him to your breast.
Baby lips would lisp their secrets-
Precious words into your ear.
And you held Him tight and listened,
While you wiped away a tear.
Mother Mary, I've been playing,
And I've come to you for rest.
Lift me up as you did Jesus-
Clasp me safely to your breast.
I will whisper all my secrets-
Halting words into your ear. Though they're not as sweet as His were,
Mother Mary, won't you hear?
Monday, February 23, 2009
taken from Maria Legionis 4/2008
"If you see a problem while you are in the Legion, do not drop out, maybe it is your expertise that is needed. Be part of the solution! If you drop out, you will increase the problem for others and you will always look back on it as part of your squandered life.
Mary has given us the example we must follow: In the Annunciation, without warning, out of the blue, totally unexpected, the Angel Gabriel stood before her and asked her if she would become the mother of the Son of God. Fortunately, she said "Yes, be it done to me according to your word!"
Look where God took her! She is now fourth in command, after the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and far above the rest of us!
But, supposing she had said, "no, not me, I'm too busy" or "No, let Mary Jones do it, she's better qualified than I". Then, for the rest of her life, she would have looked back on her squandered life. So, stay in there - say "yes" and see where God takes you!
How blessed we are to be members of the Legion of Mary!
The Legion is constantly striving to make us saints!
So always remember.....
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, LEAVE THE LEGION OF MARY
(For those doesn't know, Maria Legionis is our legion magazine - Guys, i recommend you to do take a look at this magazine that we received monthly...a LOT of good stuff inside!!)
I would like to read to you a little poem. It is directed to God the Father and is taken from the first sentence of almost every Preface of every Mass that is celebrated. The title of the poem, taken from the first sentence, is.....
"We Do Well Always and Everywhere to Give You Thanks"
(in other words, always and everywhere we should give God thanks)
Teach me Lord to live this prayer,
That I may thank you everyday for everything!
Oh, I do at times give you thanks, for what seems good:
For my health, for my success, for love, and all that benefits me,
ant yet how thoughtless I am, how blind I am,
not to thank You for what is truly good.
For the pain, the unkindness, the criticism, the blame,
For every Legion invitation to become an offices of a Praesidium, or council,
to go house to house, to go on a Columban drive,
In a word, for every hurt, and for every invitation that comes from a person,
place or from my Legion work.
By these keen instruments would You, Divine Physucuan,
Remove from me the harmful growths of self, to give new life
Your own true life - and peace abundantly.
But I am blind and I do now see your loving hand in every invitation
that comes from persion, place or legion work. And so, in saying, "No, I'm too busy, I don't have time"
or "No, let Mary Jones do it, she's better qualified than I".
in resisting, I suffer more and I spoil your work.
Had I accepted all with gratitude, I might long since have been a saint,
and happy - for a grateful heart cannot be otherwise.
Forgive me, then, O my God my blindness and my squandered life,
And give me the grace, this day, to see
Your chastening hand in every legion initation that comes to me,
and in all of my hurts,
And not to blame your instruments.
But give me the grace to take each Legion invitation, each purifying cross,
And then, to give THANKS TO YOU, with all my heart.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I am reading a conversion story and apologetical book called An Invitation Heeded published at the end of the 1800s with a view to editing it for re-publication by the Coming Home Network. In the chapter on infallibility the author makes the very good point that rather than the Catholic Church's stance on infallibility being nonsensical, it is the churches who deny infallibility that are absurd. The essential Protestant position is, "Our church is merely a human institution. It is not infallible." And yet they demand allegiance of the faithful to the beliefs and moral teachings of their church. But if their church, by their own insistence, is fallible how can they demand obedience and loyalty to their teachings? There is a logical hiccup here of enormous magnitude.
I hope to share this 2 pieces of news which I have come across today when reading the papers.
1. 'Reject abortion support'
Pray for the direction US is taking on this matter and may Obama see the light
2. Franciscan nuns die in car crash
Pray for the souls of the Franciscan nuns. It's a terrible tragedy.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
We are all called to be a reflection of God’s love. Because our world and society frequently lacks this love, we as legionaries should always try to actively bring love to others. To do this involves more than just our own will and intention, but demands a planned sense of purposefulness. Meaning, we should have the discipline to plan how we are going to go about our life, what directions we ourselves want to take, in terms of occupation or final life goals, so that we can be clear as to how to lead a life with a sense of purposefulness and through our works, in the service of others, bring them closer to God somehow.
Before God fashioned man out of Earth, I’m sure he must have planned how to create this wonderful creature called “Man”. Thus, similarly, whoever wants to make something out of one’s life, should make up one’s mind as to what kind of virtue we want to forge, or we labour in vain.
Anthony Campolo took a survey of 95 year olds, asking them if they could live their life over, what would they have done differently. They answered that they would 1) reflect more, and 2) Do more things that would last beyong our lifetime.
Frequently we think that our legionary daily works might be small, but its effects might last beyond our lifetime. Think about the great legionaries like Edel Quin and Alfie Lambe, if not for their efforts, the legion might not have spread far and wide in the world, and its effects, are carried on even after they have returned to be with God.
Life should be lived with a long-range view in mind. Short sighted living only breeds selfishness and meaninglessness, the desire to acquire as much as possible for the enjoyment of the present. Long range living helps us to aim towards a greater goal or purpose and continue questioning what is God’s will and plan for us.
However to carry out our plans requires more than just planning as well. It requires deep prayer and a heart that will never tire, or even if it does tire, it must be strong enough and have enough determination to try again. The heart is the centre of emotions, where the Holy Spirit dwells and the source of vigour and energy. If the brain tells you that something might be futile, or how small you are, the heart can tell you how great you can be, how God meant for us to not just be ordinary, but be extra-ordinary. The Lord has said “I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart. I will put my spirit in you and I will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
No structure – social, medical, political, is wide enough to solve the problems of the world. They still exist. Only the law of love without reservations offers the best solution,. Think about it, Jesus dying on the cross for us, fulfilling His purpose, was borne out of Love, and through Jesus’s love, came the great gift of Salvation for all. The law of love demands that we see ourselves not just as material beings but spiritual beings, believing that the spirit is stronger than any material force, and believing in our spirit’s true home and resting place with God in heaven one day. Our sense of purposefulness thus also comes from walking faithfully and dilligently to this final destination (heaven lah), because of our spirit’s desire of true love that comes from God, with God. The law of love also demands that we refrain from being overly critical when we see people fall short of the true love that God. The real test is to come up with constructive alternatives to help each other and society to better become sources of love and wellsprings of goodness. To overcome the ills of the world without being sucked into the negativities of it. The law of love also calls us to live without fear, to examine all the artificial barriers of our life, be they psychological or material, and to eliminate them. No self-discipline, no task is without pain, and when we seek for growth, we must take steps of first consecrating ourselves to the Lord, learning the art of surrendering of our will and sacrifice. A commitment is needed and as legionaries we have already made our initial commitment through our promise. A commitment is also to make a little progress daily, that at the end of the week you can say: I have done a few good work and taken a few baby stepss; and the end of the month, several good works and am learning to walk steadily, and at the end of the year, perhaps taken 365 steps towards the Lord through my little acts of daily work.
Let us be reminded of what the law of love is, it goes like this: “I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains – but if I have no love, I am nothing.
Love is patient and kind; It is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail”, (1 Corinthians 13). Thus, if we do not see enough love in this world, and we ourselves hunger for it, let us try to BE that love and give that love instead of just always wishing to receive it. Genuine love does not take from another person; it gives to the one who is loved. Jesus said to gain life, “a man should love God with all his heart, mind and strength, and should love his neighbour as himself. May Mother Mary who loved enough to want to help in God’s redemptive plan for man, who loved enough to say Yes to the Lord always, help us to fulfill our purposes as well.
Let us pray for a heart that is patient and good, happy to help;
A strong heart able to face any discouragement; a devoted heart, which does not refuse sacrifices; a cheerful heart, which spread joy and optimism; a tender heart, which knows how to please by its attentions; a heart with a living faith, which sees in each person the image of God.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
“It is better to limp along the way than stride along off the way. For a man who limps along the way, even if he only makes slow progress, comes to the end of the way; but one who is off the way, the more quickly he runs, the farther away he is from his goal.”
St. Thomas Aquinas
"To those who do not march with Mary, we apply the words of St. Augustine: 'Bene curris sed extra viam': 'you run well, but you are out of the path.' Where will you arrive in the end ?" (Petitalot)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
There's something in human nature that wants to join and belong. We want to be a part of clubs, institutions, nations, federations, confraternities, fellowships, friendly societies, unions, movements and armies and organizations. We need to belong to a group, a family, an order of like minded brothers and sisters. We want to work together with shared beliefs to change the world. We want to fit into a hierarchy, a chain of command and an ordered society.
There's also something in human nature that needs to be subversive. We want to undermine all the clubs and coteries, all the gangs and groups, all the secret societies and establishment associations. We distrust such groups and long to undermine them all. We want to be part of a guerilla movement, a renegade army of radicals. We want to belong to 'we few, we faithful few'--an idealist group of individuals who never compromise and are willing to die for their beliefs.
As a Catholic you can do both at once...
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Mary’s Legion of Angels
In our modern Christian culture today, the notion of God being nice, loving, and all-merciful is widely prevalent. Some people have the idea that as long as they believe in God, God will forgive their sins because he is loving and merciful. Of course, it is true that God is infinitely loving and merciful, but that’s not all. Nowadays we focus too much on these attributes of God that we pick out to make us feel good, but that’s not the whole story! Most Christians have lost the repulsion for sin, and the devil, and hell, and rarely get to hear about them from the pulpit. Most Christians have lost the early Church’s notion of spiritual warfare, of the eternal battle for souls that is being waged intensely between the forces of good and evil. Some people even doubt the existence of satan. I think most people would prefer to shy away from these thoughts because it is disturbing and makes them uncomfortable. As legionaries, however, we have taken up the call to engage ourselves in this eternal battle for souls, and we need to be constantly aware of the urgency and the immensity of the raging battle that has been fought on both the material and immaterial worlds for several millenia.
In order to understand fully the gravity of this battle, we turn to St. Michael and the angels, who were the first to wage war against satan and his forces even before creation. There is a reason why St. Michael the Archangel and Mary’s Legion of Angels are invoked as the Legion’s patrons at every meeting. Here is what the handbook has to say about them:
“Angels are a heavenly counterpart of the legionary campaign. Every legionary, active and auxiliary, has a guardian angel who fights blow for blow at his side. In a sense that battle means more to the angel than to the legionary, for the angel perceives vividly the issues at stake: God’s glory and the value of the immortal soul. So the interest of the angel is most intense, and his support unfailing. In addition, the entire angelic army hastens to the scene. For our battle is part of the main struggle which from the first they have maintained against satan and his minions.” P. 141, Handbook
To understand the greatness of St. Michael and his role as the commander of the army of the Lord, we go back to the time before there was time and space, when only spiritual beings were in existence. We know that they are immaterial beings of pure intellect and had free will, and that they were given an option. Nobody knows what that option was exactly, but we have an idea: God must have illumined the angelic mind and let them know that he was going to create another universe – a material world – that had dirt, soil, air, birds, cockroaches… and then, he mentioned us. Imagine God telling them: I’m going to create a creature that is like you but is also not like you. And I am going to make that creature the crown of material creation. I will give that creature intellect and will, and I will love that creature so much that I will reach down through your angelic world into that material world and I will assume that nature unto myself and make his glory unmatched by even yours. This must have made one of the angels cringe. And then, the final blow: And you will serve that creature. You will serve man.
That was too much for the angel of light – Lucifer – his pride was so intense that he could not bear the thought of serving a creature made of mud. And because of the way they communicated with each other – telepathically, instantaneously, the angels knew about this choice. From the lower ranks of angels, one lowly angel cried out, one who is like God: Who are you to not serve? That angel was Michael. He was revulsed by an angel, a mere creature, daring to challenge the Creator. And the war in heaven broke out, and Michael and his legion of angels casted away satan and his dragons.
Revelation 12: 7 And there was a great battle in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels. 8 And they prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him.
12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.
And now, the new battlefield – your soul, my soul. We can feel a war raging inside us.
Throughout human history, man’s existence has been marked with a great struggle as described by Pope John Paul II in Gaudium et Spes:
The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.
We all have guardian angels – powerful spiritual allies. We should be calling on them by the minute; whenever a temptation comes to mind, ask Michael, ask Our Mother, to chase them away. Satan is so proud that he cannot stand being in the same room as the person who kicked his butt.
This may be disturbing, but Satan hates you. We are incapable of hating anything more than Satan hates you. They want to get you to hell because they don’t want you to get the glory. Fight them! This is what our faith, our legionary service is all about: we do battle! We must battle the power of darkness, of sin, in ourselves or in others. That’s why we’re here. Go out, preach, teach, baptize, save the world! That’s the whole point of the sacraments. Don’t keep them to yourself. Take up the sword that has been given you in baptism. Heed the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the word of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. - Eph 6: 10-18
The only way to overcome him is through humility and prayer, based on the examples of Jesus and Mary, who trusted in God the Father completely. As we go out into the battlefield, ask for the help of Our Queen and Mother, whom satan fears immensely, and St. Michael the archangel, who has defeated satan in heaven.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech thee to send thy holy Angels, that under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe. Most holy Mother, send thy Angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us. Amen.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
We might define apostleship as the pouring of faith in
and love of Christ into the mind and heart of another.
It is the radiating of conviction rather than the
spreading of knowledge. This becomes evident when we
consider the conversions of the early days of
Christianity. They were brought about by the common
people, the workman, the slave, the little, feeble and
oppressed members of that powerful, rich, enlightened
society in which they lived. The fact is that then and
now every convinced Catholic, even though his
knowledge of his faith is imperfect, has a certain
mental picture of what the Church means to him and
possess the capacity to convey this impression to the
mind of another whom he seeks to influence. Our
Handbook quotes a former Archbishop of Birmingham as
saying, ”We must always remember that religion is
caught, not taught. It is a flame set alight from one
person to another; it is spread by love and not in any
other way. We take it only from those whom we think
friendly to us. Those whom we regard as indifferent or
hostile cannot recommend religion to us.”
Argument, controversy and bitterness must be avoided
by Legionaries like the plague. We might almost make
it a principle that when we win an argument we lose a
soul. If we put ourselves in the position of a
non-Catholic who finds his beliefs being attacked by a
Catholic we will have to admit that the first thing we
would do under such circumstances would be to go out
and find an answer to the Catholic’s attacks or
objections. When our faith is criticised by our
separated brethren we may know the answer or, if we do
not, we soon find one. Therefore, attacking the
beliefs of others or attacking others in any way at
all is not the Legionary’s way of apostleship.
We may meet those who are fond of bandying texts. They
will quote the Scriptures and give the impression that
they are experts. But we ought not to let them make
the ground. Gently and ever so sweetly we ought to ask
a few simple questions about the authority for what
they quote. How do they know that it is inspired word
of God? Who told them that so many books made up the
whole Bible? Who made the choice of those books from
the many which are in circulation in the fourth
century? How do they know that their interpretation of
the texts is correct when it is questioned by many
other non-Catholics? Let them see that they need an
authority. They may appeal to the Holy Spirit. With
kindness we can point out that is what so many people
do who contradict one another in essentials and so
make the eternal Spirit of Truth responsible for
contradiction- and that is surely absurd.
Above all, out technique with both lapse Catholics and
non-Catholics should be to make them appreciate the
treasures of the Church. Tell them something about the
wonders of intimacy with Christ really present in the
Holy Eucharist. Talk to them enthusiastically about
the Eucharistic devotions in our Church. Let them know
how we love the Mass and why. Speak to them about the
liturgical year and how it makes Christ live again in
our lives. Tell them about the lives of the Saints,
never hesitating to point out that all those whose
names are household words were Saints because they
lived up to the means of holiness which the Catholic
Church offers to all. Tell them of the happiness of
being able to turn to the Church for certain guidance
in the moral problems which perplex the human race
today. Speak to them of the joy which comes when we
know that our sins have been forgiven in confession.
Bring them in spirit to the grotto at Lourdes, God’s
miracle factory, and sweetly explain the significance
of the heavenly things which have taken place there.
Do not hesitate to talk to them about the love of Mary
as a dear Mother who inevitably leads us to the Heart
of her Son.
That is our aim, rather like that of the modern
walk-round store. People go in, never intending to
spend a penny. They see something they think they
want. There and then they decide to buy it; so with
our Catholic faith. Most of those outside know little
about it. More often than not such knowledge as they
have is false or inadequate. Those who think they have
a true picture of it have but a caricature. Even those
who have fallen away have probably only a blurred or
prejudiced image in their minds. By speaking to them
simply but enthusiastically about our deepest
convictions we will make them jealous and desirous of
possessing our treasures. Our aim must be to attract
them to the Church. Our greatest ally in this is the
holy Mother of God.
From Paul C.