Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Forgiving Ourselves

When we fall we must get right back up!
May I be always honest and forthcoming with all who share the desire to be the extended hands of Our Blessed Mother and Jesus in this world. When we call upon our Blessed Mother she comes and brings her Son with her however someone unwelcome is not far away.  He waits and allows one to think they are doing well in serving the Lord and then in very small ways creeps closer. Without uttering his name we know who this is lurking about waiting for a moment of weakness. He does not first attack at our strengths but goes right for our weaknesses.  It is often when our spirituality seems to be going the best that we are most vulnerable to complacency.  There can be no complacency.  We must all be on guard and vigilant.  
May I share with you that over these past weeks the Lord has poured blessings and love beyond my expectations as many novenas were being said and completed.  Pushing ahead joy filled my heart.  I was amazed that I felt little temptations at first.  This was to put me off balance as I was ready immediately for the temptations but when they did not come I became more lax with myself.  My weakness may I share with you is how I treat the people who are closest to me.  I find myself quick to lose my temper with my children and instead of lovingly correcting them I get upset at them.  The temptations as I have found over these past few days seem to come in clusters for the whole family so that there is a tendency if one is not careful for things to get worse.  The readings today seemed perfectly timed for my present struggles. The responsorial psalm from today: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment” (Psalm 51:3-4).
The first reading from today shows us God’s boundless Mercy.  God commands Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh that in forty days they will be destroyed.  The people trust in the Lord’s compassion and mercy and begin a great fast and wear a sackcloth.  Even the King fasts.  “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them.”(Jonah 3:10)
Jesus tells Saint Faustina that His mercy is His greatest attribute. Saint Faustina recounts in her diary “Jesus made known to me how very pleasing to Him were prayers of atonement. He said to me, The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of My Father and draws down an ocean of blessings”.(diary 320)

Lord may we all see that although we struggle and fall Your mercy and forgiveness are burning to be spent we need only ask for them.  Lord help us to forgive ourselves and see that despite our sins You still love us. Amen
Evil is waiting for us to look away from the Lord and give up.  We may have the temptation to feel we are unworthy to be the extended hands of our Lord or there is no way he could use us due to our sinfulness but that would be to deny the power of Divine Mercy.  May we all hold on tight to our faith in God's love, compassion, forgiveness and Mercy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:30-32)
A year and a half ago I was sitting in a Providence Church before Mass.  A women entered and  asked if she could sit next to me. She was unsteady on her feet and had braces attached to both arms that helped her walk.  As I have a problem myself that I dislocate joints if I am bumped I was a bit nervous to have her sit next to me but said yes to her request.  We began to speak and she shared with me that she has had cerebral palsy since birth. She was rather young maybe in her early forties and she had been brought from a local nursing home for Mass.  In her teens she shared with me she did something to which she was ashamed.  She had an incestuous relationship and gave birth to a daughter.  Since that time she felt she had much to repent for.  
I was aware that this church had perpetual adoration.  She humbly shared with me that she was instrumental in getting the 24 adoration started.  She did this by living at the church for 2 years.  Sometimes going to the lower level to rest but otherwise stayed at the church round the clock.  I asked what she ate and she replied only the Eucharist. I had never heard of anyone living solely on the Eucharist but there was no doubt in my mind that what she was telling me was the truth.  I also asked her how she dealt with bathing.  She replied she really didn’t beside using the rest room.  Her appearance was a bit rough so this too I could believe.  There was another disabled women not far from where we were sitting who asked this women to stop talking to me.  I could see that the women knew my new friend and the way that she was spoken to allowed me to see this friend of mine was no stranger to humility.  She had many scapulars on and had holy oil which she regularly placed on herself.  She had a joy about her despite her rather stark existence of living in a nursing home at such a young age.  
When the Mass began several priests processed in to an inspired choir with many musical instruments accompanying them.  When the priests reached the alter they turned to the tabernacle behind them and looked up at a large crucifix.  They began clapping.  Those in their seats began clapping and the floor was almost shaking as the whole Church was full of song and clapping.  We all were facing the crucifix.  It was so emotional that for a moment the joy of the event felt as if I was in heaven.  The reverence and joy in this Parish lifted me up.  Surely Mary and her Son were smiling that evening.  

The evening ended and I am embarrassed to say I don’t know this women’s name who was sitting next to me.  I am also embarrassed that I did not help her find her ride as I was rushing out to meet my husband and begin a rather long drive. This is something I think back on often.  I wished I had taken the time to help her and get her contact information.  Meeting this women was a gift from the Lord.  It allowed me to see that one person can change a whole Parish.  The Spirit was alive in that Parish.  This women and my experiences at this Parish exemplify the Gospels from yesterday and today.  Yesterday, Mark speaks of Jesus in the Desert for forty days when he leaves and resumes preaching He says, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."(Mark 1:15) Mark in his brevity of words uses the word repent.  Therefore it must be extremely important.  We all have sinned, some more than others.  Often those who have the most grievous sins are just the people the Lord chooses to work through.  Luke in his gospel from today echoes this, the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:30-32)
Jesus also tells St. Faustina that sinners have first access to His mercy.  Paul, Matthew, and Mary Magdalene are perfect examples of those with serious sins who the Lord calls to witness to others.  
Lord may the children’s rosary and all associated with us experience true repentance for our sins this Lent and through our lives witness Your Love. Amen

Saturday, February 25, 2012


"Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."(Matthew 4:4)

The gospel of Matthew yesterday raises the question of fasting. Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast". (Matthew 9:14-15)
As we enter Lent and begin the obligatory Ash Wednesday Fast and Friday fasts from meat it is worth revisiting the importance of such an old tradition.  We have evidence of the usefulness of fasting from the book of Jonah.  God shared with Jonah that he would destroy the city of Nineveh.  However,  when the people of Nineveh repented and began fasting God was merciful and saved the city.  This shows us that we can disarm the anger and wrath of God for our sins by sincere fasting from the heart.  To deny oneself for Love of God brings both forgiveness and blessings. 

According to Saint Alphonsus De Ligouri, "God has given us the goods of the earth, not only that we may enjoy them, but also that we may have the means of ... showing him our love by the voluntary renunciation of his gifts, and by the oblation of them to his glory. To abandon, for God’s sake, all worldly enjoyments, has always been the practice of holy souls."
We are governed either by the flesh or the spirit.  Galatians 5:17 states:“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh for these are opposed to each other...” If we choose to abide by the flesh we withdraw ourselves from God.  However, when we choose to deny the flesh the Spirit begins to govern our bodies and we seek direction from above.  The flesh does not go quietly and while one begins to fast there is a struggle but as the fast is continued the flesh finally gives into the Spirit. Scripture tells us that "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is profitable for nothing."(John 6:63) How good is our Lord to share with us a tool, fasting out of love for Him, that helps us be led by the Spirit.  
We were given a Free Will that we might be able to choose how we are to direct ourselves.  Jesus through example embraced His passion for love of us.  We may not be called to be physically crucified on a cross but we can choose to reject the things of the flesh.
Galatians 5:24 “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.”

Suggestions for Fasting more than the minimum prescribed by the Church.
A thread of common practices of fasting exists within the Church. The most prominent of which was fasting on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Fasting to this extent may seem excessive, but prior to the 20th century, this form of fasting was commonplace in the Church.
According to Saint Peter the Hieromartyr: “Let no one fault us that we fast on Wednesday and Friday, according to a custom rightly commanded by tradition."  Wednesday on account of His being betrayed and Friday on account of His passion.
Likewise Saint Faustina wrote in her diary in1938:  "On three days a week, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, there will be a strict fast [on bread and water]...During the two great fasts, ember days and vigils, the food will consists of a piece of bread and some water, once a day." 
As Jesus fasted from food for 40 days in the desert he was tempted by satan.  The Lord is showing us something from this encounter and that is fasting is important when confronting evil.  Although His body was hungry his Spirit was strong and he responds to satan's taunts for Him to change stones into bread by saying, 
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’(Matthew 4:4) 
 Another thing one can contemplate is the extent of Jesus’ fast.  He abstained from all food. Fasting out of love allows the body to do things it normally wouldn’t be able to do.  We might not be able to skip a meal without feeling sick or some may develop a headache if they eat too many carbohydrates.  However,  when you fast out of Love for the Lord these feelings usually don’t happen.  The ability to fast is a gift.  If you cannot fast for some reason pray for the gift of fasting.  If you cannot fast on bread and water then consider fasting from something else.  St. John Vianney often fasted from sleep.

For those of us who can fast might we try beginning to fast more than the minimum fast prescribed by the Church.  Could we begin fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays on unlimited bread and water out of love for Jesus.  
In a special way I pray that the children’s rosary and all associated will be given the gift of fasting.   I also pray that those who receive this gift will choose to use it for the Glory of God.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Take up Your Cross and Follow Me

In todays gospel by Luke, Jesus tells us "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"(Luke 9:23-25)

Our Lord is  Christ crucified therefore as he tells St. Faustina the bride must resemble the bridegroom.  To walk with Him involves suffering.  We are told through the Saints and Mother Mary to pray that suffering will become a joy for us.  Saint Faustina in her diary shares with us some of the beautiful gifts of suffering. "Suffering is the greatest treasure on earth; it purifies the soul. In suffering, we learn who our true friend is"(342 diary)."True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering"(343 diary).

St. Andre Bessette
Our time on earth is precious.  "Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow".(Psalm 144:4)  We have  such a short time to use our suffering for the benefit of others.  St. Faustina in her diary shares, "Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how much God loves it, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Someday, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer. The present moment is ours." (diary 693)

So many of us pray for a miracle to end our suffering.  However, St. Andre tells us we can experience a miracle daily by choosing to carry our cross for God. “People who suffer have something to offer to God. When they succeed in enduring their suffering, that is a daily miracle.”

Suffering should not be viewed as a punishment but a gift for those especially close to the Lord.  It is also a way He keeps these chosen souls close to Him as St. Padre Pio shares "Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."(Secrets of a a Soul p.47)

As we enter Lent one way to remember Jesus' passion is by praying the Stations of the Cross.  The Lord is generous with those who honor His passion by Way of the Cross.  The following are the promises to those who have a devotion to the Way of the Cross. These promises were relayed to Brother Estanislao.

  1. I promise eternal life to those who pray, from time to time, the Way of the Cross.
  2. I promise them my greatest graces.
  3. I will deliver the faithful from purgatory on the first Tuesday or Friday after their death.
  4. I promise them a special glory in Heaven.
  5. I will grant them everything they ask through praying the Way of the Cross with faith.
  6. I will grant them the remission of all their sins, even if they be as scarlet; if they be more than the grains of sand on the seashore and the stars in the heavens, all of them will be erased by the Way of the Cross.
  7. I will preserve them from sudden death.
  8. I promise them my special protection; my hands will always be open to protect them.
  9. I will bless them at each Way of the Cross and my blessing will follow them everywhere on earth, and after their death, in Heaven for all eternity.
  10. They will be assured of being joined to the Supreme Choir Of Angels.
  11. will give them the grace never again to commit a mortal sin for I will give them the grace never again to separate themselves from me.
  12. I will lift all power from the devil at the hour of death that they may repose tranquilly in my arms
  13. will make of each one of them a living ciborium in which it will please me to pour my graces
  14. I will give them a special drought from the fountain of My Deity.
  15. As I am nailed to the cross, so also will I always be with those who honour me in making the Way Of The Cross frequently. 
Brother Estanisloa was born in 1903. At an early age, he entered the Christian schools of charity in Bugedo, Spain. Here he took vows of regularity, perfection and pure love. In October 1926 he offered himself to Jesus through Mary. Soon after this heroic donation he fell ill and was obliged to rest. He died in the odor of sanctity in March, 1927 of tuberculosis. According to the master of novices he was a privileged soul who received messages from heaven. Confessors and theologians recognize these supernatural facts. His spiritual director asked him to write down the promises made by Our Lord to those who have devotion to the Way of the Cross.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday in the Mountains

May I share with you an experience from the spring of 1997.  I was a college student aspiring to go to dental school and was traveling with a dental team to Nicaragua to provide preventative dental care to children.  The morning I was to fly out I went to Mass at my hometown Church in Natick, MA.  At the conclusion of the daily Mass the priest and congregation extended their hands and prayed over me. As we were leaving Mass a women approached me.  She told me she was originally from Nicaragua.  She lived in Boston some 20 or so miles from Natick.  She had a desire to go to adoration and found out my church had 24 hour adoration.  She had gone to adoration the night before and found herself praying all night.  As morning approached she heard there was 8AM Mass and decided to go.  It was then that she heard about my trip to Nicaragua.  We were all overcome with the providence that she should find herself in our church as I was leaving for her home country. She went outside with me and had a trunk full of prayer cards in Spanish and a Spanish Bible.  She wanted me to bring them with me.  I was on my way to the airport but added these things to my bags.

One of the first villages we went to in Nicaragua was several hours away by car.  With unusually heavy rains travel was difficult.  In our jeep we slid side to side on the muddy dirt roads.  We made our way to the top of a mountain.  The village was called Papaturro.  It was at least three days walk to leave the remote mountainous area.  The children began appearing from the thick jungle.  They were alone often holding the hands of a sibling. Most were barefoot and only traveled on foot.

Before entering the region we were given strict instructions not to eat or drink anything as it was an area where Cholera was endemic.  After a morning of screenings and establishing a fluoride rinse program I was assigned to give each child a toothbrush.  As they came to me for their brushing demonstration(it was their first time seeing a toothbrush) I handed them a prayer card.  It was Ash Wednesday.  The family hosting us brought out some chicken and egg with rice. The team looked at each other.  This impoverished family had sacrificed their chicken and given us more food then they probably eat in a month.  There was no way we were not going to eat it regardless of the risk.  We sat and ate.  Sitting on the mountain with no houses anywhere in site other than the one we were at and only jungle around us we could have been the only people on earth.  The Lord had arranged this beautiful communal meal.  Sharing from their want they thanked us for the little it felt we had done for them.  This dental mission with no religious affiliation had become a beautiful sharing of faith and sacrifice for one another.  To a young college student it was a memory not to be forgotten.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus

Shroud of Turin


To Sr. Mary of St. Peter,

Carmelite Nun of Tours, France, in favour of those who honour His Holy Face.

  1. "By My Holy Face you shall  work miracles."
  2. "By My Face you will obtain the conversion of many sinners."
  3. "Nothing that you ask in making this offering will be refused to you."
  4. "If you knew how pleasing the sight of My Face is to My Father."
  5. "As in a kingdom you can procure all you wish for, with a coin marked with the King's effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven you will obtain all you desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face."
  6. "Our Lord has promised me that He will imprint His divine likeness on the souls of those who honour His most holy Countenance."
  7. "All those who honour My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation will, by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica."
  8. "According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemies, so will I take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint therein My image and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the Baptismal font."
  9. "Our Lord promised me that all those who defend His cause in this work of reparation, by words, by prayers, or in writing, He will defend them before His Father; at their death He will purify their souls by effacing all the blots of sin and will restore to them their primitive beauty."

LORD Jesus Christ, in presenting ourselves before Thine adorable Face to ask of Thee the graces of which we stand most in need, we beseech Thee, above all, to grant us that interior disposition of never refusing at any time to do what Thou requirest of us by Thy holy commandments and divine inspirations. Amen.
O GOOD Jesus, who hast said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you, " grant us, 0Lord, that faith which obtains all, or supply in us what may be deficient; grant us, by the pure effect of Thy charity, and for Thine eternal glory, the graces which we need and which we look for from Thine infinite mercy. Amen.
BE MERCIFUL to us, 0 my God, and reject not our prayers, when amid our afflictions, we call upon Thy Holy Name and seek with love and confidence Thine adorable Face. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Thy Son Jesus. We present It to Thee with confidence, to implore Thy pardon. The All-Merciful Advocate opens His mouth to plead our cause; hearken to His cries, behold His tears, 0 God, and through His infinite merits hearken to Him when He intercedes for us poor miserable sinners. Amen.
ADORABLE Face of my Jesus, my only love, my light and my life, grant that I may know, love and serve Thee alone, that I may live with Thee, of Thee, by Thee and for Thee. Amen.
ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the adorable FACE of Thy Beloved Son for the honour and glory of Thy Name, for the conversion of sinners and for the salvation of the dying.
DIVINE Jesus, through Thy Face and Name, save us. Our hope is in the virtue of Thy Holy Name!

"O Jesus, through the merits of Thy Holy Face, have pity on us, and on the whole world". (Three times.)

These inestimable promises are drawn from the works of St. Gertrude, of St. Mechtilde and from the writings of' Sister Maria de Saint-Pierre, a Carmelite, who died at Tours, in the odour of sanctity.

Prayer of St. Therese of Lisieux 

St. Therese's name in Religion was 'Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face' 

  "Jesus, Who in Thy bitter Passion didst become  

'the reproach of men and the Man of Sorrows,'  

I venerate Thy Holy Face on which shone 

the beauty and gentleness of Divinity.  

In those disfigured features I recognize Thine Infinite Love,  

and I long to love Thee and to make Thee loved....." 

'May I behold Thy Glorious Face in Heaven!' 

Monday, February 20, 2012


 "All things are possible to him who believes."(Mark 9:23)
At his annual Christmas speech to the Roman Curia on Dec 22 2011, Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI cited an "ethical crisis" and a "crisis of faith" as the cause of the financial and economic crisis in the West.  This crisis of faith results in a triumph of selfishness over social responsibility.  

Jesus encountered a lack of Faith while he was on earth,  as the gospel from today describes.  "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?"(Mark 9:19) The disciples had brought a man with his sick son possessed by an evil spirit which they had been unable to cast out.  Jesus tells the father who beseeches him for help, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes."(Mark 9:23)  The man responds "I believe; help my unbelief!"(Mark 9:24)

This reading gives us such hope that with total faith anything is possible.  Even when we have little faith if we acknowledge our complete dependance on God and call upon his pity He in His love will reach out and pick us up. The man in the gospel acknowledges his lack of faith and Jesus makes up for his inadequacies and his son is healed.
Faith is a gift.  It is one of the fruits of the rosary.  It is the fruit of the first Glorious Mystery: the Resurrection. It is the most important fruit of the rosary.  The second most important fruit is grace of a happy death which is associated with the Fourth Glorious Mystery: the Assumption of Mary. We must pray to strengthen our faith.  When our faith deepens the Lord can work greater and greater things in us.  
When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."(Mark 9:29)  How powerful is prayer!  Through prayer we can increase our faith and ward off evil.  To pray more is a decision. To pray better is a grace.  The more we pray the better we will pray. 
Below is a beautiful story of a small boy with immense faith.  May it inspire you...
To recite a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas, "Lord grant us an unconquered heart that no hardship can wear out". 
May the children's rosary and all who are associated with us experience a deepening of faith and find that they possess an unconquered heart.  May the Spirit of Prayer descend upon us that we may have a desire to pray more and the grace to pray better.  Thank you Lord for your Love and Mercy. Amen

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Could You be the New Thing?

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)

Our Pastor today singled this passage out of the first reading from Isaiah.  He used it to commission us to be the "new thing" in our community.  He took a very well known and beautiful prayer by St. Francis of Assisi and had us imagine if we really prayed and desired to be an instrument of our Lord what would our lives be like.  He acknowledged it might be scary to really pray with all our heart for such a thing but if we did what would result.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
How timely for our pastor to call his congregation to look within and really examine whether we want to be an instrument of the Lord and what that would mean.  Speaking to him after Mass I found out he was not aware of our many novenas underway praying that we would be the extended hands of Mary and her Son.

It was so clear to me that the Holy Spirit was bringing our efforts together.  It was not neccessary that we had spoken, the Holy Spirit would unify our efforts.  Prayers said deep in our hearts were heard and resounded by another.  The person to proclaim the invitation was Jesus' representative here on earth his Holy priest.  Lord thank you for responding so beautifully to our prayers and spreading the message.

It was indeed a day to be inspired.  It was over 50 degrees in the middle of February in CT.  Last winter we were under 2 feet of snow.  Having spent a few hours outside today and hearing the birds and seeing the bushes begin to set buds it was as if the image of St. Francis above was carried here in the middle of winter.  Anything and everything is possible with God.  Amen

Here is the intention being prayed for to the following list of Saints:

Novenas to the following Saints have been completed:
St Gerard Majella
St. Joseph,
St. Theresa the Little flower
St Padre Pio
Bl. John Paul II
St. Rita
St. Theres Avila
St. Peter
St. Blaize
St. Bernadette
St. Thomas More
St. Ann
St. John Bosco
St. Philomena
St. Peregrine

St Vianney
Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta
St. Odilia

Novenas underway:
St Faustina
Bl. Pier Giorgio
St. Michael
St. Gianna Beretta Molla
St. Dymphna
St. Cuthman
St. Apollonia
St. John Baptist
St. John Evangelist
St. Aloysius
St. Francis of Assisi
St. James the Apostle

Individuals only have to tell the Lord in prayer that they want to be part of our group to begin receiving the benefits of all these prayers and novenas. See Feb 14th post to see how one of these saints can choose you and your family.

St. Francis of Assisi Song sung by Angelina...Enjoy!!!