Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What If They Were All Going to Confession?

So I was trying to turn at an intersection clogged with people and I thought: wouldn't it be something if all these folks were headed to Divine Mercy services?   Maybe they're all headed to confession so they can reap the benefits of Our Lord's generosity.  Wouldn't that be something?  But alas they were not.  They were headed to the latest fad in come-as-you-are everyone-is-welcome jack-in-a-box churches that have sprung up.  There is no sin, no abomination and no real beliefs.  I'm not sure what their purpose is but they do draw a lot of people.

My mother asked me to take her to a parish near her home that was holding Divine Mercy Sunday observances so this meant no TLM and no after-church social gathering today. The service consisted of the Chaplet, Vespers and Benediction in a gorgeous adoration chapel that actually has a sky light, a first. The little chapel was very crowded but what saddened me is that I am 53 years old and nearly the youngest person there.   Don't younger people need mercy too?

It was a different but welcome way of paying homage to Divine Mercy. Last year I went to services where lay people did the preaching, instead of just allowing for silent prayer after Exposition.  They meant well but ...

We prayed the Litany of Reparation to the Sacred Heart, a prayer I think all of us need to pray at least once a week if not more often than that. Here is Jesus, scarcely a week after we commemorated His Passion, holding out His Mercy for all to take but so few could even be bothered.  The lukewarm souls strike again.

I shouldn't be surprised when I can't even get my own family motivated.

We prayed for all the souls who will die today, unprepared for death. Jesus has done everything possible and still His advances are ignored or worse, outright refused.

Pray and do penance.  Because there are so few to do this for Him that it is left to the few friends He has.  There but for the grace of God go I.  And I thank Him every day for that grace which the devil has tried so hard to pry away from me. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blatant In-Your-Face Hatred of Divine Love

While I have no problem rising early for Mass, doing so for work is another story. Sometimes I drive in my own little world, a bit oblivious to my surroundings. It's possible I was behind the black car adorned with satanic messages for awhile before I realized it. Once I started paying attention I wanted to be sick on the side of the road. 

I won't repeat any of the vile things I read but at first the rear brake light distracted me from the most offensive emblem on the bumper. The depraved owner of this car hates Jesus Christ so much that their rear-window brake light didn't merely light up, it bore a digital satanic message. 

It reminded me of a time about ten years ago when a pervert first tried to run me off the road and then flashed a handwritten obscenity-laden sign.  The cold hard stare of evil shook me to my core. 

And then I saw it - an upside-down cross mocking the Crucifix. 

I veered around the car and pulled in front of it. Then, at the next light, I clutched the Crucifix hanging from my rear-view mirror and held it up where the driver couldn't miss it. I would have kissed it but couldn't with my seatbelt on.  Then I made the sign of the cross 3 times and prayed Hail Mary's until I saw that the car finally turned off the road. I was shaking. 

I prayed in reparation and for the conversion of the driver when I got to Mass after work.  I was thinking about it again when I went to bed. 

"How dear Lord?  How do such things happen to people? What could make someone hate You so much?"

One word: Pride. 

It was the devil's pride that made him think he could or should be equal to God. 

Pride then festers and self-adoration evolves into hatred for anyone else. 

Maybe the person in question was disappointed by God.  Maybe some tragic event happened for which they blame God. Or maybe, they just love themselves and the world so much they can't accept that there is a Creator and they are His creature subject to Him.  Maybe they're just seeking attention but I don't think that was the case. 

If you are up to it, please join me in making some act of reparation to Jesus and pray for the release of this person's soul from the filth and corruption to which they have enslaved it. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Gifts

I don't know about you, but it feels like Lent never came to an end. I won't get into the particulars but I was concerned enough that I went to confession today. I rarely let a week pass without going to confession and after reading St Pio's recommendation, it is a practice I will continue.  Afterward I went to the Adoration chapel, silently asking Jesus how long He will put up with me and my mood swings. And then "they" came in, seemingly floating in their spotless white habits. A group of 6 nuns, all of them young,  kneeling down in front of their Eucharistic Spouse.

What's more, it was announced that the Mass would take place in the upper church, a space I have been dying to see but which is closed to the public on weekdays. Friends, I was in Heaven. I think this has to be the most beautiful church in all of Phildelphia and it is kept in immaculate condition. The Stations of the Cross were nothing short of exquisite. The statuary was breathtaking. I saw what looked like a little side chapel and discovered just that -a small but gleaming chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The high altar rivaled anything I saw in Italy.  Statues of The Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph so beautiful it made me want to cry. The Crucifix behind the altar was shadowed by a stained glass depiction of the Resurrection.   All this to take in plus the nuns sitting in front of me during Mass. I certainly didn't think I deserved such beauty considering the blackness of the mood in which I entered  that church just an hour before. 

The fact that this church is in a very poor neighborhood made its beauty that more moving. 

The priest's sermon was about Christ seeking out Mary Magdalene, not the other way around, and how Christ came looking for her.  He reminded us that Christ seeks each of us in the same way.

I needed to hear that message for a number of reasons. I didn't deserve any of the beauty I saw, nor did I deserve the most beautiful Gift of all - the Son of God visiting me personally in the sacrament of  Holy Communion.

I am struggling to make my soul a place of respite for Him. Most days it feels like I fail miserably at this task. 

A friend included me in a group email she titled: " To my holy friends". I wanted to reply: please take me off this list, I am not holy. I wanted to say: Holy women don't snap at their children and their husbands and they don't get discouraged.  Holy women embrace every opportunity to suffer - they don't complain and show their displeasure.  Holy women put everyone else first and never feel despair over having to endure unpleasant people and unpleasant tasks. They don't feel sorry for themselves when they think they're being ignored or overlooked. They rejoice "to be little", they never resent it.  They embrace every cross. They don't ask: How much longer do I have to do this?  

I am so NOT holy. 

But I am determined to keep trying. In fact I think that might be my new motto:

Get holy or die trying.

 I am sure of God's mercy. I am sure of His love. This must suffice.  And with the help of the Mother of God and all the angels and saints, it will.   

Fall down and get back up because tomorrow is another day.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why Do You Seek The Living Among The Dead?

What a glorious Easter Sunday!  May the peace of Christ our Passover be with all who visit this blog, regardless of the reason you decided to stop by today.

His the Victory, His the Crown.

Unbearable grief replaced by unspeakable joy!

May the Risen Lord grant us the grace to serve Him in this life so that we might enjoy with Him and all the angels and saints an everlasting Easter Sunday.

God bless you!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Wait

For logistical purposes to which I am not privy, our Easter Vigil is scheduled to start in a few hours.  Thus some of my Holy Saturday rituals have been omitted or abbreviated.  I do not go shopping on Good Friday and since my Holy Thursday  ( except for evening) was taken up with caring for 2 post-op teenagers, that left today for procuring the leg of lamb for tomorrow's dinner. 

I also decided to visit the cemetery yesterday between the hours of Noon and 3 instead of today.  Truth be told, I visit the cemetery as an act of charity toward my mother.  If means a lot to her that someone else visits her mother's grave and so I have taken to doing this the last several years. I must admit it is a ritual I love. 

I decided not bring anything to place on the grave. The departed do not need garlands and bouquets that wither and die.  They need our prayers and sacrifices so I decided to pray the Rosary at the gravesite.  My grandmother was a woman who not only carried her own cross but several others as well. When the time came for her to get on her cross and be crucified with Christ, she did it without ever uttering a word of complaint. I don't know where her soul resides but I worry far less about hers than I do about other deceased family members.  This includes her husband, my grandfather that I never knew. 

I love walking through the cemetery and studying the monuments of hope depicting The Lord, His holy Mother and the angels and saints. But it was Good Friday so I didn't didn't indulge. A horrible thought came to me last night before I went to bed. How many of the souls buried there beneath those glorious monuments will actually make it to Heaven?  I offer every single Mass every single day for the souls in Purgatory. Someday, God-willing, they will return the favor. 

It isn't easy to enter the narrow gate because it isn't meant to be. And the only means of entrance is Christ, Who gives us everything we need but do not deserve, to make things right with Him.  This means so much that He asked for a Feast celebrating His Mercy that gives even the stragglers a fighting chance to make it to Heaven.  

Yesterday, I attended liturgies in two separate rites. In the morning I was with the Maronites for the Signing of the Chalice and the afternoon was spent at my TLM home.  I was fading just a bit towards the end of the latter and it occurred to me that nowhere in any Gospel passage is Christ heard asking: how much longer do I have to hang on this cross?  When is this torment going to end.  I wish to love Him so much that I might never again be heard complaining about anything, whether it's my job or my co-workers or life in general. I wish to love Him so much that I will gladly forego any pleasure or endure any hardship for Him and souls. I'm not there yet. 

It wasn't so long ago that I belonged to the ranks of the lukewarm, the souls that pain Him most of all. It's good that I never lose sight of this because it helps to staunch the bleeding of graces that occurs with the judgment of others. 

After a Lent I have loved but not deserved, I am now reconciled to the fact that its over and that it is a good thing that it is.  It is nearly time to meet the Risen Christ in His sacrament of love. 

We adore You, o Christ, and we bless You,  because by Your Holy Cross and Glorious Resurrection,  You have set us free.  May we never be separated from You. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Am Only Hidden By The Priest

I know all sorts of priests.  Some are friends, some are acquaintances and some are those I encounter in confession but whose faces and names I do not even know.  Some are traditionally-minded while others teeter on the verge of heresy.  Some are good listeners and some give the impression they'd rather I not speak to them at all.  Some are more worldly than others. Some appear to be saintly. Others are more obviously struggling. Some priests offer Mass as if their lives and our salvation depended on them. Others treat the Mass like a stage show where they get to tell jokes or reveal how clever they really are.  Some priests clearly believe that when the raise the Host above them they are receiving into their hands the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Others - well, let's just say it's not clear what they believe.

Yet no matter how faithful, reverent and paternal a priest is or isn't, he is still an alter Christus who can absolve sins, confect the Eucharist, anoint the sick, bury the dead and baptize the newly-born.  They are the most powerful men in the world because the power of Jesus Christ to do all these things was conferred upon them.  

Our Lord reminded St Faustina that He hears our confession and absolves our sins. 

"I am only hidden by the priest". 

Disrespect any of them and you disrespect Him.  Let (s)he among you without sin cast the first stone. 

On the commemoration of the institution of the priesthood, remember to pray for these men in a particular way, especially the ones who you might think least appear Christ-like. It is for Him alone to judge. It is for us to pray for all of them. 

No priests, no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no life. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

His Love Does Not Stop With Our Brokenness

The more we seek His mercy, the closer He will draw us to Him.  Maybe you are reading this blog and haven't been to confession in a long time. Please go. There is no secret that can be hidden from Jesus Christ and no sin He cannot forgive. How happy you will make The Lord by kneeling down before the alter Christus and acknowledging your sins. 

Did you fall off the wagon this Lent?  Maybe set out to make some sacrifices and then never followed through?  Remember how the vineyard laborers were repaid?  You still have a few days left to make things right with Jesus. 

As He told St Faustina, soon our exile will be over, and with it our opportunity to earn merit for Heaven. Think of His Passion and resolve to thank Him by doing those thing most pleasing to Him:

-go to confession
-receive Him worthily in Holy Communion
- seek Him and serve Him in the least of our brethren
- make even the smallest sacrifice and offer it to Him as solace in commemoration of that time when He sought comfort and found none to give it to Him. 

Judas did not seek God's mercy. St Peter had some problems of his own on Holy Thursday but his brokenness did not stop Jesus from loving and forgiving him. 

I heard a sermon today reminding us that the apostles were brave men up until the events of the Lord's Passion. They gave up wives, children and livelihoods to follow Him, not such an easy feat. Surely society at the time had a thing or two to say about their actions.  Clearly, they risked all to become His disciples.  They were rewarded beyond human comprehension. 

What are we prepared to put at stake for Him?

God bless you. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

That Souls May Not Perish

"Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation ; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity." -St Faustina's Diary (965)

"Do not grow weary of praying for sinners. You know what a burden they are to My Heart. Relieve My deathly sorrow: dispense My mercy." (975)

Let us in a particular way remember the souls of those priests who submitted to the advances of the devil.  There are so many many of them but who will pray for them if not you and me? 

Pray for the most vile people you encounter. It may be for this purpose that God put them in your path. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

These Three Virtues

"My daughter, let three virtues adorn you in a particular way: humility, purity of intention, and love." - St Faustina's Diary (1779). 

That is all for today. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Minding My Own Plank

This morning I was on the verge of committing a sin of which I have been guilty numerous times before. I had the urge to watch how a particular person was going to receive Holy Communion when that voice chastised me for engaging in such wickedness while waiting to receive The Lord. 

"What do you think is more displeasing to Me: the way I am received physically or the way I am received in a soul? How can you pay proper attention to Me if you are watching others?"

I know there are many Catholics who use their blogs to complain and/ or point out the faults of others, including priests. I have more than dabbled in this practice myself before concluding there isn't much point in it if by posting nothing will change. Why do I feel the need to affirm over and over that which I know is wrong?  What is the point?  Eventually, such exercises are going to lead my soul into trouble. 

I have done some heavy lifting this Lent and although it is not yet Easter, I already see the fruits of my labors. I do not fret as to whether or not I will be able to keep up these practices because if it's God's will that I do, He will supply the grace necessary to sustain me. But I feel the greatest thing He has accomplished thus far in me is the ability to see how sinful I really am and what it is I must do to make my soul a place of refuge for Him. 

Some years ago I went to confession on Good Friday to a priest who later became a good friend.

"I believe The Lord has called you to a different kind of life. Now go live it."

I believe this too, but I also think I squandered this calling innumerable times.  The beautiful thing is that there is no "this is the last time I'm going to trust you" with Jesus. He doesn't treat me how I treat others. He loves for me to beg forgiveness but He would prefer I think more carefully next time and avoid my constant sins of pride, judgment and other Pharisaical acts that offend Him greatly. 

"Would you be as the mediocre souls?"

My God, let it not be so. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Ingratitude of Souls

"My heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces"
St Faustina's Diary (367a)

"To comfort you, let Me tell you that there are souls living in the world who love Me dearly. I dwell in their hearts with delight. But they are few. In convents, too there are souls that fill my heart with joy...Their number is very small.  They are a defense for the world before the justice of the Heavenly Father and a means of obtaining mercy for the world.  The love and sacrifice of these souls sustain the world in existence. The infidelity of a soul specially chosen by Me wounds My heart most painfully. Such infidelities are swords which pierce My heart ." (367b)

It is difficult to read these words, to acknowledge that even among consecrated souls there is infidelity. What little respite the Savior finds, even in places where He should find it most!

How many convents and monasteries do you suppose there are in the world whose charism is focused solely on Christ?  If these souls cannot be faithful, how much more time does the world have?  

And why do we have time for everything but Him?  In the words of St Therese, would you be as the mediocre souls, the souls that offer Jesus nothing but complaints, neglect and indifference?  Is He an afterthought or the center of your life?  

A daily practice of mine is to measure the time spent on foolish pleasures compared to the time I devoted to God.  If I haven't given Him at least one hour a day, I know I've been neglectful and need to cut out some nonsense somewhere.  

The Good God is not much loved in this world. What are you and I doing to change this so that in least in our souls He might find solace and rest? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Man of Suffering

I was waiting for a light to change at a very dangerous and chaotic intersection when I saw him   - a young, unkempt and obviously homeless man way too young to be carrying such a burden. Despite the warmth of the day, he was wearing a winter coat that was on the verge of becoming filthy. His hair was a tad too long and a mess and the beard on his face revealed that his last shave was at least two weeks ago. He wasn't carrying anything. No bag, no suitcase. Nothing. He appeared to literally have nothing than the clothes on his back. 

I have encountered homeless men in this area before a bit like this young man but it's been a long time since I saw someone who struck so heartbreaking a pose.  His face said it all and yet it said nothing. It said: I have nothing. I am exhausted. I have nowhere to go and no one to care. I have reached rock bottom. What his face didn't say is what event or chain of events had brought him to this. 

I wanted to do something but it's not like I could pull the car over without risking a catastrophe. The young man was looking around but I could see he hadn't yet reached the point of desperation where no shred of pride remained.  He wasn't going to beg or ask for anything because he wasn't ready  to face rejection. So he continued walking, trudging along really, with that look of despair nearly unbearable to behold. 

When I got to Adoration I was still letting myself have it for not doing something. What the something would have been I don't know. Bleeding heart or not, I wasn't about to offer a man I don't know a lift or the use of my bathroom to clean up. I couldn't get him out of my mind and kept asking myself why I didn't do something. 

Then that voice that has so often illuminated my path simply said: Why don't you at least pray for him?

So that's what I did. 

I will go looking for him sometime in the next few days but I will go on foot and with someone. People like him have broken my heart before and The Lord has always given me a second chance and enabled me to find them.  

"There was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, no appearance that would attract us to Him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity. One of those from whom men hide their faces spurned, and we held Him in no esteem." (Isaiah 52:2-3)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More Thoughts on Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form

So I made it to the early weekday TLM a few more times since last week. I think if I were able to get to this Mass more regularly I wouldn't struggle so much as I have.  The priest we had these last few times has a tendency to do everything quickly.  I have never heard Latin spoken so fluently or so rapidly. I could barely turn the pages of my Missal to keep up with the prayers at the foot of the altar, which I like to pray silently, as I do all the other parts of the Mass.   Some of the prayers I know by heart ( in English) but not all of them. It's also a bit of a challenge to remember responses when you're accustomed to chanting them but now must speak them. Truth be told, so long as the server is making the responses, I don't feel obliged to say them audibly. 

When I mentioned the "speed" of the Mass to my husband, who was often a server at the 6:30 AM when he was a boy, he said that's how he recalled it. There's no sermon at the TLM I attend and I'm not sure if that's the norm either. 

What is most remarkable is the absolute silence during the Canon, which is what I love and have observed at High Mass as well.  No disruptive cell phones going off in the middle of the consecration and no disruptive sign of peace either. Also, immediately after Mass the priest kneels down and leads us in the Leonine Prayers. 

When I first started to attend the Missa Cantata on Sundays at my parish church, I found it best not to try to keep up but to just watch, pray and absorb.  Eventually you figure things out. Perhaps that might be the best approach with Low Mass as well. One thing for certain: no matter how lost I may become during any other part, this is not the case during the consecration. 

Here is a beautiful passage from the Missal I use, written by Pope Pius XII regarding the Eucharist. 

"The great moment is fast approaching when the High Priest, Jesus Christ, by an unbloody immolation will offer Himself a most acceptable Victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the Cross" - Mediator Dei. 

I try to remember this no matter what form I attend. 

I will go to this Mass again when my work schedule permits but I have to say I am very content with the parish where I attend the Novus Ordo after work, particularly when the pastor is the celebrant. He has us chant the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei and he never uses an Extraordinary Minister at Holy Communion. He also gives excellent homilies and is a sound and orthodox priest in the confessional as well.    

My one "problem" switching back and forth between forms is that I sometimes forget to say "Amen" before receiving Holy Communion at the Ordinary Form. No priest has made an issue of it. 

I can't say it enough how blessed I have been with all the choices I have for Mass this season of Lent. I can never thank Jesus enough for this supreme gift. 

It's never too late to try to make daily Mass part of our routine. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

" I Cannot Bear It"

I think a fair number of devout Catholic women, at some point in their lives, think about what life would be like as a religious sister. I remember the terror I felt when  I read a bit about Saint Maria Magdalene de Pazzi and her visions of Purgatory.  She saw a nun who was sent there until the end of time because she grumbled so much when she was assigned to Adoration. Make no mistake about it: priests and nuns are held to a different standard than we are.  

The following is one of the more unforgettable excerpts I read in St Faustina's diary, and this passage refers to what happens when Our Lord comes to the heart of a religious that is not true. 

"Write for the benefit of religious souls that it delights Me to come to their hearts in Holy Communion. But if there is anyone else in such a heart, I cannot bear it and quickly leave that heart, taking with me all the gifts and graces I have prepared for the soul. And the soul does not even notice My going. After some time, inner emptiness and dissatisfaction will come to her attention. Oh, if only she would turn to me then, I would help to cleanse her heart, and I would 
fulfill everything in her soul; but without her knowledge and consent, I cannot be the Master of her heart." - St Faustina's Diary(1683).


I always think of traditional nuns as the balm for the wounds in His Sacred Heart.  Our dear Lord cannot even depend on all 
those espoused to Him to offer Him respite from the indifference of the world. 

Pray for priests, but pray for nuns, too. As one Carmelite prioress said, no proposal could be more flattering than the call from Jesus to be consecrated to Him alone.  Pray for nuns and sisters alike to keep no one or no thing in their hearts but their Divine Spouse. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Thought for the Day

"The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls." - St Faustina's Diary (1602). 

That's all. And yes, my statues are draped in purple cloth (that I bought from the Amish). 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Struggle of This Soul

"We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we should speak. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God." - St Faustina

During Adoration I grasped that retorts, defenses, excuses, and other reactions to real or perceived criticisms are weaknesses of two kinds. One is pride and the other is judgment.

Our desire to be justified in everything is giving in to pride. Our weakness in responding is both falling to pride and judgment.  How often do we defend ourselves by pointing out the weakness  and failures of our accuser?  By doing so we render judgment.

It occurs to me that we could, in such moments, imitate Christ when He was mocked and laughed to scorn but responded with silence. When His face was spit upon, He offered no response.  What profound effect might our silence have were we to truly imitate Him?

"Where there is pride, I am not there."

Friday, April 4, 2014

"Where There Is Pride, I Am Not There"

I can think of so many ways I commit sins of pride on a daily basis. Yesterday it occurred to me that between the time I left the confessional and returned to my pew, I gave in to pride. It is insidious, just like the enemy himself.

I even gave in to pride IN the confessional when the priest told me I made a beautiful confession and I said thank you.

"Don't thank me, thank the Holy Spirit. It is only by his grace that you were able to make this confession.  Don't take credit that doesn't belong up you."

"Only the humble soul is able to receive My grace." - St Faustina's Diary (1220)

I know when I become stagnant in my spiritual life the first thing I need to take account of is how much pride has infested my soul.  Nothing roots out pride like prayerful mortification. And if we are fortunate enough to be provided with the opportunity to be humiliated, we have to offer it up and forget it immediately. Dwelling on embarrassments is just another manifestation of pride.  When something happens that calls unwanted attention to ourselves, we should consider whether or not it is an act of pride to have to keep apologizing or explaining. Let go of it as soon as possible.

Nothing we accomplish that is any good occurs because of anything we do but rather what God accomplishes through us. Accolades that are dwelt upon are poisonous to our sense of humility. We accept them out of charity and then they, like past injuries borne, must be forgotten lest they, too fester and rob our souls of needed graces.

"Where there is pride, I am not there."

Humility is the nectar that draws Him near.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Yesterday, I assisted at my first ever weekday Low Mass.  There is a beautiful parish about 6 miles from where I work that offers a TLM weekdays at 7 am. I have attended Low Mass on Sundays and feasts but these included hymns and homilies. I have to say that I was playing catch-up at times because I was lazy and didn't bring the Missal I use on Sundays.  Therefore I had to read the Epistle and Gospel later in the day.  It seemed like we spent most of the Mass kneeling. I sat way in the back so I could follow the lead of the "regulars."  It was a wonderful way to start the workday.   I went to this church on a whim (more like the urging of the Holy Spirit).  I got lost and thus arrived at 7am on the dot which I hate to do - getting to Mass at the last minute. When it happens on Sundays I don't fret so much because I'm coming directly from Adoration. Going to an unfamiliar church I would especially want to arrive on time but a little humiliation never hurts, especially during Lent.

My other "first" was 7am Mass at the Convent of Divine Love, monastery of the Pink Sisters.  I saw a few of our TLM regulars at that Mass as well.  Both Masses of course made kneeling for Holy Communion the rule and not the exception.

I have been exceedingly blessed this Lent to have such orthodox churches from which to choose. I used to get anxiety in new places but now I just remind myself that while the churches may differ, Our Lord is the same yesterday, today and always.


Yes Kathy, these are the same "Pink Sisters" that are also in Missouri. They live a contemplative life and have Perpetual Adoration.  Their chapel is open to the public 12 hours a day every day except during the Easter Triduum. 

Allison, one of these days we WILL finally meet.  If you miss Father, you should come to Mass one Sunday when he is the celebrant. 

Manny, thank you for all your comments. One of these days I will catch up with you on little Matthew's latest adventures :)   

God bless you all!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Misery of a Soul

"My daughter, write that the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy"-St Faustina's Diary (1577)

Yes, Christ died for the ungodly. In His words to St Faustina, He gave His assurance that He wants to save all souls.  Yours, mine, and theirs. There is no Chaplet of Fraternal Correction.  This is left to those with the faculties to dispense such correction by virtue of their ordination. The rest of us are charged to pray for ourselves and those sinners who have not learned to trust in His mercy.

One of the trials of this Lent has been a sudden preoccupation with the moment of my own death and the torment of the enemy that may accompany it.  It is like a dark curtain that separates night from day and permits no light to permeate it. This is when Christ urges us to trust His mercy most. Show Him a heart contrite and humble but also completely trusting in His promises and He will take care of everything else.

The pains of Hell are very real but should not be the impetus in winning souls. Rather, let us sinners realize that the greater our offenses, the greater His joy when we implore His mercy and pray for others to do the same.

"I cannot punish the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion but on the contrary, I justify him in My Unfathomable and inscrutable mercy.  

...he who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice."  St Faustina's Diary (1146) 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Carefully Do We Pray?

I will return to my meditations on Divine Mercy very soon. For now, here is something I read on the FSSP's Facebook page. It really hit home with me in my struggle to pray with reverence, focus and proper devotion. 

If we spend time in prayer in a poor and careless manner, we are robbing time of God- St Francis DeSales 

This has surely been me on too many occasions. The Lord is helping me but He does not want me to forget how poorly I manage without His constant help.  I picture myself as a child on a bike from which the training wheels have been prematurely removed.  If the adult guiding the bike lets go, I crash in seconds. 

When I write about prayer and I am critical, it is not intended as pointing at anyone other than me.  What I share is most certainly a current or past struggle that I discuss  in the hope it might be helpful to someone else. 

I mention the Rosary, Adoration and Mass so often not to boast but to invite more of you to take advantage of these spiritual treasures.  I squandered many years away from The Lord, dining on the empty pods the swine rejected, that I can never demonstrate the love and devotion adequate to repay His kindness and mercy toward me. 

I also know the surpassing value of these devotions and so I want everyone to avail themselves of them.  

An 8.0 magnitude earthquake just struck Chile. There are still many people missing in the recent mudslides that struck in Washington state.  This has been one of the harshest winters in recent memory. I believe if these are not signs that The End is closer than we think, they are, at the very least, a wake-up call. A price must be paid for a world that aborts its most vulnerable, engages in unjust war and wanton destruction of life and embraces abomination as the New Normal. 

The sacraments and prayer are our lifeboats.  Use them for all they're worth.