Friday, November 30, 2007

Our Lady of Hope - Part II



The Apparition at Pontmain

January 1871 was one of the darkest times in the history of France. The Empire had fallen before the advance of the Prussian armies, Paris was under siege, and the enemy forces were driving West. On January 17, the Prussian armies were at the outskirts of Laval. That afternoon the Bishop of Saint-Brieuc signed a solemn vow to Our Lady of Hope, which was read, in the cathedral at six o'clock. Mary chose this particular time to show, in a most extraordinary way, that the prayers of the French people would be answered.

It happened on January 17th, 1871. The German army neared the west of France. The mass of its deserters was endless. They would not heed the commands of their officers, and even though two were executed, it did not stop others from running away.

The snowy weather made for miserable discomfort. All day and night wagons passed through Laval from east to west. All bearing wounded whom needed care.

The countryside farmers feared the onslaught of needy and hid their possessions of money, food, wine and linens. Typhoid had broken out and Small pox threatened all. Everything seemed doomed.

Just days before, the Aurora Borealis produced fear and awe in many. Some reported the evening lights as tall masts of ships and others claimed them to look like the steeples of a great cathedral.

The worst fear came with an earthquake at about half past twelve the day of January 17th. No one saved hope for anything. Despondency surmounted unbeatable. Shouts of "No use in praying. God doesn't hear us!" prevailed from even the most optimistic

In a barn, a family of two young boys and their father crushed thorns to feed the horses. Eugene Barbedettes, twelve and his brother, Joseph, aged ten, were fascinated with the Northern lights and were anxious to see the show that night.

It was in a little village of Pontmain, near the northern end of the diocese of Laval, that the miraculous event occurred. From six to nine that evening the Blessed Virgin appeared continuously in the sky over one of the houses in the village.

The apparition was witnessed by four small children, Eugene and Joseph Barbadette, Francoise Richer, and Jeanne-Marie LeBosse. Joseph, who later became an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, described the Lady as about twenty years of age and very beautiful.

She was dressed in a star-studded robe of dark blue with slippers of the same colour. A black veil on which she wore a gold crown decorated with a red band covered her head. It was in a little village of Pontmain, near the northern end of the diocese of Laval, that the miraculous event occurred. From six to nine that evening the Blessed Virgin appeared continuously in the sky over one of the houses in the village.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls VIII


Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

"Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, Nicodemus also, who had at first come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. And Joseph rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment." (Mt 27:59; John 19:38-42; Lk 27:55-56)
Meditation
"My beloved Son, shall I see you no more? I look upon your sacred hands, pierced so mercilessly by nails. I remember holding them when you were a baby, how warm they were against my cold skin. I remember how you would reach for me when you were learning to walk. I remember how faulty they were when you were learning to drink from a cup. O, my Son, I remember how you held my face in my your holy hands as you comforted me at the death of Joseph. And now your hands are so cold. You have left with world and left me here. I wish to be with you and yet You will that I remain. Thy will be done. You are God, you are my only Son. You are my life and I give myself to you without reserve. With you here, in this cold tomb, I leave my heart. Farewell. Amen+"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Lady of Hope - Part I


BACKGROUND


In the tenth century, a wave of barbarism had spread across Europe after the break-up of the Empire of Charlemagne. Constant warfare menaced the life of the average Christian. Yet in the year 930, Confidence in Mary, Mother of God, triumphed over pessimism in a little town of Northern France. At Mezieres, the first known shrine was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope. The next two centuries saw numerous sanctuaries dedicated to Mary under the same or similar titles. In face, throughout the Middle Ages and even down to the 17th Century, the erection of new shrines to Our Lady of Hope proved the widespread popularity of this devotion. Devotion to Our Lady of Hope was gradually eclipsed by the newer and better publicized devotion of modern times.

The revival of devotion to Our Lady of Hope in modern times was due to the zeal of a young Breton priest, Paul-Marie Prud'homme, later Canon of the Cathedral of St. Brieuc. When a seven-year-old child, hopelessly ill of typhoid fever, was cured through her intercession, the young priest threw himself wholeheartedly into the Apostolate of Hope. That was in February 1848, and the revolution, which broke out later in the same month providentially, aided his cause. The chapel of Our Lady of Hope became the centre of a crusade of prayer for France.

New Patron for 2008


Thank you Angela Messenger for my new Patron Saint - St. Bridget of Sweden!


St. Bridget of Sweden ~ Ora Pro Nobis

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Excellent Blog Post


Go here for a must read my Uncle Di over at Off the Record, my favorite blog.

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls VII


Mary Recieves the Dead Body of Her Son

"In order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow." (John 19:31-34;38. Lamentations 1:12)
When I am imploring some grace from God, the place I go to be heard by Him is at the feet of Mary as she holds the body of her Son in her arms. Surely the merits the Mother of God received at this time in her life shines amongst the heavens as the sun. Compassionate your mother's sorrows, bring your sorrows and place them at her feet. Ask her to intercede on your behalf - ask her to cover your requests with the tears she shed as she held her Son. God cannot refuse this of her if your request is in accordance with His holy will. Amen+

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lord of Mercy


"If you are discouraged because of your sinfulness, do not depend on your virtue or the strength of your case before God. Rather, depend entirely upon His mercy, for no one is righteous. We are all sinners. But this is not a cause for discouragement, for Christ came for sinners!" Quote Mark Mallet, see full article here.


I have a fault of falling pray to this sort of discouragement on a regular basis. I do not trust enough in God's mercy, but rather place too much emphasis on my own, very small strength to resist temptation. Lord, have mercy on me. I place my trust in You and depend upon your grace and mercy for my own salvation and that of my family.


Mary, Mother of God, be my salvation!

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls VI


Piercing of the Side of Jesus
"But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water."
After witnessing the death of her Son, Mary now sees the soldiers approach to break the legs of those on the crosses to expedite their deaths. Imagine Mary seeing them come near, fearing more damage be done to His holy body, she along with the others present inform the soldier that Jesus is already dead. At this point to confirm this one plunges his lance deeply between the ribs of our Savior. At this point the blood and water of our redemption pour forth. Mary is sometimes depicted as not knowing of or anticipating this event. I'm often irritated by far too many who depict our Lady as being dull and unaware, some sort of unknowing victim of her circumstances. No, I believe firmly she was highly intelligent, very knowledgable and fully aware of her life and her role in salvation history. She knew who her Son was and why He was here. Despite this intense suffering, she willingly submitted to God's will, offering no reluctance whatsoever. This piercing of the heart of Jesus was perhaps His last "bodily" gift of sacrifice, that even after His soul has fled back to His Father, the very last He has is poured out for our behalf.




Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls V


Death of Jesus
"And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his Mother, and his Mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your Mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "E'lo-i, E'lo-i, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. (Mk 15:22; John 19:18; Mk 15:34; Lk 23:46)

For some reason, I find this sorrow of Mary to be one of the more difficult ones to meditate upon. Perhaps its because her sorrow at this time is incomprehensible, perhaps because I don't want to really face what it would be like to witness your own child murdered, or more likely, its that I have little faith. Whether praying the rosary's fifth sorrowful mystery, or Mary's sorrow at the death of Jesus - I often picture her before the cross, much like in the above painting. I imagine her offering her own pain together with her Son's to the Father for the redemption of the whole world. I see her stretch out her arms to Him who is her life as He suffers unbearably. Mostly I just throw myself at her feet in spirit and simply spend time there. It it well to simply be there when one cannot say or do anything. Love can be expressed quite well with only presence, no words, prayers or mystical contemplations are neccessary.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Father of Mercy


Go here for an excellent post by Wolftracker at Kansas City Catholic. Please join in praying for the souls of those involved.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
Let perpetual light shine upon them,
May they rest in peace. Amen+

Mass for the Holy Souls


Nabbed this great picture from Hallowed Ground. I invite you to closely examine this image. The mass is being said with great reverence and solemnity. The altar boys are kneeling in prayer, one is reading from a missal. All are totally unaware of the unseen souls being lifted up and delivered from Puratory. The painter lifts up the corner of the veil between the seen and the unseen works of the Mass. We would do well to be mindful the of miraculous events which are invisible to us. Have masses said for the dead, pray for them and remember them in your communion intentions.

New Header!


A special thanks for Vincenzo for creating for me a beautiful header image for Our Lady's Tears! This one is for you Vincenzo:
Sub Tuum
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen+

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Supreme Pontiff

(photo credit)


Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls IV


"So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross. And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!' For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). John 19:1, Luke 23:26-32.

I remember reading some of the writings of St. Thersa of Avila. Her spiritual director had suggested a certain spiritual practice that I've attempted to use and will illustrate here. I'm in no way stating I'm good at it mind you, but I do find this technique helpful in calming the mind which makes it easier to focus and concentrate on the topic of meditation, which is now Mary meeting her Son as He carries His cross. The idea is to focus on one thing, one image, letting go of the rest. Specifically, St. Teresa was given the idea of the hands of Jesus. She was instructed to approach Jesus through His humanity and to meditate upon His hands as he went through the various stages of His life.

We can use the same technique to focus and clear out the debris of our meditation on any topic. Think of Jesus' little baby hands, tucked in lovingly by His mother as she places Him in the manger. Imagine his 12 year hold hands as he talked with the scribes in the Temple, etc.

Now applied to this current meditation: See the hands of Jesus as they grasp His cross. His were strong, masculine hands, muscular from years of working with St. Joseph. Now see them swollen, covered with dried blood, perhaps even slipping from this heavy weight from time to time in this hard labor. His hands are not yet pierced, but carry on them the wounds of abuse. He most likely fell upon them along the road to Calvary. See them reach out to His mother as she stands by the roadside, quietly dying inside to see her Son this way. Did He have a moment to meet her outstretched hand? "Son, I would carry this cross for you if I could. You are not alone, I am with You..." Did He touch her face one last time? Oh, now they have not the strength to continue, blood loss, thirst and fatigue threaten this life and Simon must now take up the cross. See His holy hands now falling limp at His side, blood dripping from His fingertips as He walks like the lamb to its slaughter behind the cross they could not longer bear. "No, do not weep for Me, but weep for my mother, assist her in her sorrow for love of Me...for I love her more than myself." O look, we are almost there....they have the nails and the hammer ready!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ok, just one more!

video

Ok, forgive me, but just had to post one more. In this one you get a glimpse of me, another daughter and of course, a whole lot of the DAWG!

Stupid Dog Tricks

video

Ok, so this is a departure from my usual postings. One of my daughters made this video and it was so cute I had to post it. Making these movies is a favorite past time in our home, that and reading - since we don't have TV for anything but videos. Of course the favorite topic is THE DOG. He's a 7 year old mutt named Charley. He's the greatest and best behaved dog I've ever known. Enjoy...

On Detraction...



Go here for an excellent blog post from Diane at Te Deum Laudemus! Here's a small excerpt:


"{Father Benedict Groeschel} at the end of yesterday's Sunday Night Live, made an appeal to Catholic bloggers: Don't engage in detraction, and if you have, know that it is a mortal sin. As Father pointed out, even if something is true, it can be a mortal sin to pass it along. I must say that Father appeared disappointed, and was firm in his catechesis on detraction which is not well understood these days."

Definition of Detraction: Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them.

I would like to publicly apologize and officially repent of any and all sins of detraction and rash judgement I have ever engaged in. I'm not aware of any on this blog, but I may have entered into it to some degree in comboxes at other blogs. It behooves us all to understand more of the sins of detraction, rash judgement and calumny. Every one of us ought to examine our consciences thoroughly! Those of you who blog - remember others read every word you write! Be aware of the scandal, however slight you can cause by careless words! These sins are so very common in our age. They are serious sins and if we are aware of what we do, could be the cause of mortal sin. I commit to never commit this sin again, by the mercy and grace of God.
I confess to Almighty God, to my Lord and Saviour Jesus , to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to You, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and You, Father, to pray to the Lord Our God for me. May God have mercy on me, forgive me my sins, and lead me to eternal life. Amen+

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Written just hours prior to martyrdom...


Here is a translation of a letter from Bartolomé Blanco Márquez, written to his girlfriend from prison the day before he was executed during religious persecution in 1930s Spain. Márquez was beatified Oct. 28; the letter is published in the “Summarium Super Martyrio” of his beatification cause.

Bartolomé Blanco Márquez was born in Cordoba in 1914. He was arrested as a Catholic leader -- he was the secretary of Catholic Action and a delegate to the Catholic Syndicates -- on Aug. 18, 1936. He was executed on Oct. 2, 1936, at age 21, while he cried out, “Long live Christ the King!”

Provincial prison of Jaen,
Oct. 1, 1936
My dearest Maruja:

Your memory will remain with me to the grave and, as long as the slightest throb stirs my heart, it will beat for love of you. God has deemed fit to sublimate these worldly affections, ennobling them when we love each other in him. Though in my final days, God is my light and what I long for, this does not mean that the recollection of the one dearest to me will not accompany me until the hour of my death.

I am assisted by many priests who -- what a sweet comfort -- pour out the treasures of grace into my soul, strengthening it. I look death in the eye and, believe my words, it does not daunt me or make me afraid.

My sentence before the court of mankind will be my soundest defense before God's court; in their effort to revile me, they have ennobled me; in trying to sentence me, they have absolved me, and by attempting to lose me, they have saved me. Do you see what I mean? Why, of course! Because in killing me, they grant me true life and in condemning me for always upholding the highest ideals of religion, country and family, they swing open before me the doors of heaven.

My body will be buried in a grave in this cemetery of Jaen; while I am left with only a few hours before that definitive repose, allow me to ask but one thing of you: that in memory of the love we shared, which at this moment is enhanced, that you would take on as your primary objective the salvation of your soul. In that way, we will procure our reuniting in heaven for all eternity, where nothing will separate us.

Goodbye, until that moment, then, dearest Maruja! Do not forget that I am looking at you from heaven, and try to be a model Christian woman, since, in the end, worldly goods and delights are of no avail if we do not manage to save our souls.

My thoughts of gratitude to all your family and, for you, all my love, sublimated in the hours of death. Do not forget me, my Maruja, and let my memory always remind you there is a better life, and that attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration.

Be strong and make a new life; you are young and kind, and you will have God's help, which I will implore upon you from his kingdom. Goodbye, until eternity, then, when we shall continue to love each other for life everlasting.

[Translation by ZENIT]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Heaven

More Angels


St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle...
Don't forget to thank your Angel Guardian for not falling with them. Amen+

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls III



"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; When the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, They sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." He said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" Luke 2:41-50.


Anyone who is a parent can identify readily with Mary's suffering as she sought sorrowing her only child. Imagine also, St. Joseph, the head and protector of the holy family, his heart heavily laden with sorrow as he wondered why Jesus had left them. Have we done something wrong? Have we offended Jesus is some way? Why has He left us? Is it already His time? Joseph and Mary are exceedinly holy people, yet did they suffer such doubts?

When my youngest child was 4, I had all my children at the grocery store with me. My routine involved requiring the younger ones to have one hand on the cart at all times as we walked through the store. The little guy was fine, holding onto the cart and jabbering about something when I stepped only a few feet away to grab something out of the dairy section. I turned, came back to my cart and he was gone. His sisters were right there - "Where did your brother go?" They had no idea....

About 4 minutes later I found him at the opposite end of the store, looking lost and crying. He had panicked and ran. I'll never forget the thoughts that went through my mind as I searched for him. Did someone take him? Will they hurt him? Will I ever see him again? How could I have taken my eyes off him? How will I ever live without him?

Upon finding him, I remember kneeling down and wrapping my arms around him. I then grabbed his shoulders and through my tears and sobs saying "Never, never do this to me again! I thought I'd never see you again! Mommy was so worried about you!"

I am a sinner, a regular old person who feels alarm with a hardened heart that knows sin and concupiscence. Our Lady who never sinned, pure and immaculate, must have felt pain that was unimaginable to you or I. Let us go with her, compassionate her sorrows as she searches for her son. Amen+


Now THIS is a surprise!

Your Inner European is Russian!

Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

I don't normally do these blog thing things, but me an inner Russian?? I'm definately more of an inner French or Swede!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mary Crushing the Head of the Serpent

Mary crushing the serpent, Artist Unknown
To Jesus through Mary! Mary I consecrate the entire world to thine Immaculate Heart. Think often on my loved ones and on my poor soul. I entrust our salvation to thy prayers. Amen+

Pope Benedict XVI


Words cannot express how in love I am with the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Thank you God for blessing us poor, ungrateful creatures with such a wonder that is your Catholic Church. I solemnly profess to believe all of her teachings. I wish to live and die a Roman Catholic. Bless our Supreme Pontiff, our prelates and all priests and religious. Amen+

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls II

(photo credit)
The Flight Into Egypt
"When the Magi had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream He said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage. He sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under. But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel." Matthew 2:13-21.

When I think of this sorrow of Mary's I try to place myself into the scene. I imagine myself to be a small servant girl, employed by the Holy Family, the lowliest and least of all. Picture St. Joseph, head of the family, suddenly roused from sleep, moving quickly to wake his wife and bid her to gather their son. "We must flee now to save the Child!" Mary who is perfectly obedient, does not question her holy husband, but quickly does as he directs. No time to take much at all - no their lot is of pure trust in God's providence - surely He will provide for all our needs on such a perilous journey into the unknown. Shuffle along after this holy trio who grab what they can and rush out the door, into the darkness toward Egypt. Walk beside them in fear and trepidation for the life of this little innocent One. Feel the cold wind blow through your hair. Look up at the stars in the black sky. Feel the still warm sand on your feet....imagine the sorrow of leaving all you know, family, customs, language and faith for a place you've never been, fleeing for the life of a small baby, such a beautiful baby.

"Haste! Make haste, for the wolves are at the door!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Great Article



An excellent blog - Totus Pius, go here for a great post by our Supreme Pontiffs of happy memory regarding the BALANCE we must strive to have in our souls and our understanding of God between His LOVE and His JUSTICE. We ought not the focus on one to the exclusion of the other. Amen+

More Angels

Angel Guardian, thanks and praise and all glory be to God in the highest for His mercy and benevolence upon mankind and my poor soul! I think about you not, but rather stumble and fall through this miserable life. You think about me at all times, praying for me and assisting me...how little do I look to you for help! What a miserable, wretched, ungrateful soul am I? Look not upon my neglect, but upon my soul striving and longing for our God, for we do surely worship the same God. Pray dear angel, for the glorious day, the day you escort me to the feet of Jesus my savior! Amen+

Extremely Busy...


Posting has been very sparse and I apologize. My practice is getting busier and I thank God for that, but this leaves me less time to blog. My internet connection at home is also not working so my only access to the web is at work - where I'm busy!
So here's a beautiful image of an angel. I do not care for angel paintings/pictures depicting angels as women. Angels have no gender being pure spirits, but often when they do appear to us humans they appear in the form of men. This picture is unclear - rather could be male or female but more specifically genderless. Genderless is only good in an angel :)
I heard Mother Angelica on EWTN years ago talking about angels. One thing she said struck me deeply and I wonder at it regularly. She said that all the eons ago when God created the angels, specifically the guardian angels, He had the human in mind for that specific angel. He created them in little US in mind. Our angel then waiting patiently, witnessing God's creation, the progression of human times, waiting for the moment, that awesome moment when we were created. They love us, pray for us, and are with us constantly. We will not be parted from them until we either enter Heaven, or are condemned to hell. In purgatory they will assist us. What a consolation it must be to finally be able to look upon our angel!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The problem of truth and human fellowship - Great Article


Wresting with the Truth - Jacob Wrestling with the Angel
Gustav Doré1855 (160 Kb); Granger Collection, New York
(photo credit)

"The problem of truth and human fellowship is important for democratic societies; it seems to me to be particularly important for this country [United States], where men and women coming from a great diversity of national stocks and religious or philosophical creeds have to live together. If each one of them endeavored to impose his own convictions and the truth in which he believes on all his co-citizens, would not living together become impossible? That is obviously right. Well, it is easy, too easy, to go a step further, and to ask: if each one sticks to his own convictions, will not each one endeavor to impose his own convictions on all others? So that, as a result, living together will become impossible if any citizen whatever sticks to his own convictions and believes in a given truth? Thus it is not unusual to meet people who think that not to believe in any truth, or not to adhere firmly to any assertion as unshakeably true in itself, is a primary condition required of democratic citizens in order to be tolerant of one another. May I say that these people are in fact the most intolerant people, for if perchance they were to believe in something as unshakeably true, they would feel compelled, by the same stroke, to impose by force and coercion their own belief on their co-citizens..."

The entire article is an excellent read, available here. Enjoy!

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls I


"When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. He took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples. And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:22-35.

It is a good and holy thing to meditate on God, His life, His family. I propose you join me in this meditation on the first sorrow of Mary. Regard the photo posted: notice the heads of Our Lady and St. Joseph, bowed in sorrow as they hear the words of the prophet Simeon tell them that their Son, the very Messiah - will be rejected by the people He had come to save. Think if you will what this must have been like. So full of joy, so very willing to do the will of God Mary and Joseph are! They have been obedient in carrying out the Mosiac law of presenting the first male child to God. What transports of joy they must have felt as they ascended the steps to give this Child to the Father! Here is the One we have waited for since the time of Abraham!

How much sadness must have enveloped their hearts to hear that this child, their beloved Son would indeed be rejected. Mary also learns her own very soul also shall be pierced. No, this will not be a life of earthly glory and comfort. Happiness is not promised them in this life - no, rather a sword. Being the saints they are, Mary and Joseph perfectly accept this as the will of God. We don't know to what degree they understood these things, but we can be assured they did not resist, but rather trusted, pondering these matters in their hearts. In this they provide an excellent example of how to accept adversity. God so loved His parents that He deemed to give them a large portion of His cross. Amen+

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, may eternal light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen+