Saturday, December 29, 2007
Servant of God, Bishop William Giaquinta, pray for us!
Dear Jackie and Family,
Today, December 30, 2007 we think of you all and especially our "saint" in heaven, Bill. He was your dear husband, your children's beloved father, fine son of his parents and dear, dear friend to many, especially for those of us in the Pro Sanctity Family. We miss him terribly, but thank God we have his memory and even more, we have a deep awareness that our Founder interceded for him and that God willing he is already enjoying the view from heaven! He is closer to us now than he has ever been.
Jackie, it is still hard for us and even harder for you and the kids. We unite ourselves to you and to your children in prayer and spirit. May our Lady of Confidence fill your hearts with her trust, especially in the dark moments.
Much love and prayers, Teresa Monaghen and the Pro Sanctity Family
I ask all our readers to unite with me in prayer and send a note to this blog and we will send it on, or go to Jackie's blog and post it there.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Rosary in Honor of the Holy InnocentsThe First Mystery
“Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today's feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven's blessing stream down upon them.” –St. Augustine
Let us pray for all children, especially the unborn. We also remember children who are abused, poor, and those in foster care, correction centers, and shelters. We pray that they may experience the healing power of God’s love and the loving outreach of the members of the Body of Christ.
The Second Mystery
“Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers' womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod's cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom, are justly hailed as ‘infant martyr flowers’; they were the Church's first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.” –St. Augustine
Let us pray for all mothers, especially those who have lost their children because of a miscarriage, sickness, accident, or tragedy. We pray for the healing of mothers who have had an abortion.
“Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage. To destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children. You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers and fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong you own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.” –St. Quodvultdeus
Let us pray for the conversion and healing of all abortionists, nurses, and those who assist in any way. We pray that their eyes may be opened to the truth and their hearts to the grace of God.
“The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The Christ child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it. To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.” –St. Quodvultdeus
Let us pray for those who are persecuted for defending the truth. We pray for all legislators and those in positions of authority, that they may defend human life and fight against all that is contrary to the truth.
“It is impossible for Herod's henchmen to recognize with absolute certainty, among all the babies of Bethlehem and its vicinity, just which infant boy is Jesus Christ. Thus, seething with diabolical fury, Herod orders the massacre of all who resemble Jesus in gender and approximate age. This barbaric case of ‘mistaken identity’ becomes the source of incomparable exaltation for the Holy Innocents. For there is no greater glory than for a person to be mistaken for Christ himself. Perhaps the Lord had this in mind later in life when he declares that only those who change and become like little children can enter the kingdom of God. In our childlikeness, we are most like Jesus Christ. The blood of the Son Jesus that cleanses us from all sin beings to reach us and transforms us today in a powerful way through the blood of the martyred Holy Innocents.” -Magnificat: Christmas Issue 07Let us pray for the conversion of our own hearts, that we may have the courage to be like little children in a world that is not “child-proof”. Let us pray to be transformed into Christ and be willing to participate in the sufferings and joys of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Let us Pray: O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. -John Paul II Evangelium Vitae
December 28, 2007
Remember: December 29, 2007: Annual Day of Prayer for Pro Sanctity Family Members will be on Saturday, Dec. 29, beginning with Morning Prayer and Mass at 9:30 a.m. with Fr. Carl Zoucha followed by reflection, adoration and conclude with a birthday potluck lunch at 2:00 p.m.Pro Sanctity Center, Elkhorn. INFORMATION: email@example.com or 402-289-2670 ALL ARE INVITED!! COME FOR THE WHOLE DAY OR PART!!
Remember: Pray for the Apostolic Oblates in India. They are in the midst of the Week of the Institute (Annual Retreat and AO Meetings).
Remember: Please keep in prayer all the Moderators: Starting January 2, 2008, the Italian Moderators will be meeting and on January 11, the USA Moderators will meet in California.
Remember: December 28, 2007
Today is the birthday of Giuliana Spigone. She was the General Moderator of the Apostolic Oblates for 20 years. She passed away this May l, 2007 – We miss her, but she is with us in spirit.
Caterina Fava wrote this on Giuliana:
More than ever, on this day, we experience the need to be united around our charism, and find connection in a communal experience, namely: the absence of Giuliana as the sister, friend, and mother to each one of us. But while on the one hand we experience the lack of Giuliana’s physical presence, we also believe and are certain that she is close to us in spirit. Neither Giuliana nor our Founder has abandoned us. Though they are not in this world any longer, they continue to pray for us who are in the world that we may not become of the world. “Yes, Father, we are in the world, so help us to not fall into the grip of the world, but protect our fidelity and nourish it with a creative passion for all that is good in our world. Make our glances good and attractive, so that nothing may be impoverished by the way we look at things, and no person feel judged or excluded” (G. Spigone, Jan 5, 2007).
For all of us, Giuliana was a beacon of light that helped us find the right path in the middle of darkness or difficulties, always ready to indicate to us, with truth and love, that which was good or better for our personal and communal sanctification.
Each of us not only was known by her, but also supported and accompanied by her heroic example, her radical self-offering, her generous dedication, and her vigilant and concrete attention.
The last days of her life were the ultimate example of her entire existence totally spent for the Lord and for the Institute. She loved the Lord and gave herself totally to Him, adhering to the demands of redeeming love with faith and perseverance. She repeated her “Eccomi”, “Behold” to the will of the Lord until the end, and gave of her self to each of us to be eaten like flavorful and good, scented bread – a bread she offered with loving hands, like a mother who never grows weary in giving to her children.
To each of us, Giuliana left a piece of truth, a piece of her experience and of self-disclosure, which now we are to share and to witness to each other through mutual support, by rising above our self-centeredness, by recognizing the good in situations, by trusting those around us, including those who are different or incompatible.
More than ever, now, we have the responsibility to give reason to our hoping against hope, as Giuliana taught us. We have the responsibility to remain faithful, and to walk without hesitation – as she witnessed to us – and to be, at any cost, heroic in every virtue, according to her teachings.
More than ever, now, we are called to build together this new historical phase of the Institute, in which each one of us must lay a brick in order to make the edifice grow – this Institute entrusted to us first by the Founder, then by Giuliana. At the same time, however, the history of our Institute is an ever old history in that it is rooted in a charism thought by the Lord from eternity and entrusted into the hands of our ‘Father’ so that it may be proclaimed to all people.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
by Teresa Monaghen
Come to save us, Lord, Christ. I have heard it said we have lost the “sense” of needing a savior, an Emmanuel in our modern times. We are self sufficient and live for the day: “God, who needs God! We are capable of going on our own.” This could be true; we may act this way, but in my work of dealing with all kinds of people something very different emerges. I encounter many individuals, listen to them, see them and hear their anguish. Today I find so many who feel lost, confused, tormented, helpless…and on the list of individuals I place myself. We are a helpless, hopeless generation, and today, more than ever before in the history of humankind we need a savior, we need the Savior! Personally I do. I yearn for a Savior for I CANNOT do it alone, even when I step out in pride and think I can, I fall miserably. We all do. We need to allow God to be God and take our place behind Him. God is God and we are not, and only He can save us.
Come to save us Lord, O Lord our God. Amen.
BY MSGR. VACCARI
One of my favorite carols from childhood is O Little Town of Bethlehem. It speaks of the hopes and fears of all the years meeting in Bethlehem on the night of the birth of Jesus. Christ is the King of the Gentiles and of the Jews, the desire of every human heart, and who come in a dirty and smelly stable. He will come anywhere to meet his beloved - no place is too out of the way, too inconvenient, too messy. All the fears of my heart come to the Lord in Bethlehem so the little child may calm them. All hopes of my heart come to the Lord in Bethlehem so the little child may fulfill them!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
By Jessi Kary, A.O.
O Come, Divine Messiah; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus...so many of our Advent hymns remind us that we are waiting. Waiting for Jesus to come to us - in a new, amazing, the-world-is-never-going-to-be-the-same sort of coming.
Yes, it's true, I am waiting for Jesus - with eagerness and joy and anticipation and desire and pining...
But the deeper reality is that HE is waiting for me.
Waiting for me with an eagerness and joy and anticipation and desire and pining that exceeds what I can imagine. Waiting for me to turn, to be drawn to ever-greater conversion, to resist my mediocrity, to keep my gaze fixed on Him: to let Him be my Savior and my Beloved - at every moment, in every way, to the maximum.
Sometimes I seek Him; I pursue Him. Often, though, I become distracted and must "start over" and return to Him. His waiting pursues and strives to captivate me, is tireless and unceasing, meets me at every turn, and seeks me and seeks to be received by me. The poverty of the cave and the poverty of the cross reveal: Jesus waiting for me. For us.
As we wait for Jesus in these last days of Advent, may we prepare our hearts to respond, to the maximum, to Jesus Who waits for us.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Gathered in the big room to pray and share
by Msgr. Vaccari
One of my favorite Christmas hymns, Silent Night, speaks of the radiance of the infant Jesus: "radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace." Christ is the light, the one who frees the sinner from the darkness of sin. A light like no other, strong and sure, peaceful and warm, drawing to himself all the world that searches the darkness for a trace of light. The radiant face is the Key of David who opens the prison, but from the inside, because he has first come into the prison to be with us. Even though he is innocent and without in, he joins you and me in our prison and breaks it open! Lord Jesus, Come!
by Teresa Monaghen
O the prisons we make for ourselves are many. They are made up of secret sins that we don’t want to let go of or be free of; we love our vices: Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride). Yes, we really want to be free; we cry out the Savior; we turn often to reconciliation, but we are missing something important. The reason we sit in a kind of darkness and wonder why we are not progressing in the spiritual life and why we often feel bogged down and “un-free”is often of our own making We won’t let go because most of all, we want it our way, not God’s way. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to let God be God until we want something that God does not want for us. It could be as simple as our pride that says, “Before I go to pray, I have to get all my work done.” We make the rule, God cannot help us because we set ourselves up as the rule maker and then we wonder why we don’t get things done and we don’t get to pray and we become as a result of this dizzying pattern, weak, fainthearted and even more prone to sinful behavior!
O Lord, free us from the prisons we make. Come and set us free especially of our own will. We give it to you Lord; we want you to be Lord of our lives, really! And each time we renege on this promise, come again and open the door so that we may start over again and with your help alone Lord may we never tire of starting over again and again and again. Amen.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
WE PRAY AND PRAY AND PRAY FOR YOU, YOUR SISTER AND YOUR FAMILY!
Love and best wishes from all the members of the Pro Sanctity Family!
December 22, 2007: You are invited to a December Birthday Bash (thank you New York for the title)! We will celebrate on December 22, 2007. 5:00 with Advent Evening Prayer and Rosary, Birthday Pot-Luck Dinner! Please note, Leela Sebastian turns 50 years old this year!!!
Thought for the day ... G. GiaquintaThere can only be a universal call to holiness in as much as there is an individual call – a call of each person to holiness (Servant of God, Bishop Giaquinta).
As a gardener, I have seen dead things come alive - many times - every new season! I don't mean just the normal new growth that comes every spring; I mean what literally seemed dead, and even remained that way after everything else sprouts. A tree on our property this past spring seemed "dead dead" but one day, all of a sudden a green sprig popped out! It never fails to amaze me at the resiliency of roots.
It also never fails to amaze me at how God never gave up on us from our ancestors to this moment, he has never stopped believing in us, waiting for our new growth, and always waiting with open arms when we return to life. I believe that the awareness of the power of God's love is the greatest form of fertilizer! In our tragic time of horrific acts of violence, of young people killing others, of parents destroying their children...we need this kind of hope.
Dear Lord, O Shoot of Jesse,
With the life-giving force of your grace our dry souls can come alive and the hardened souls of those who seem dead to you will also revive. I pray for my conversion and the conversion of all sinners, especially for those who contemplate any form of violence agains others or themselves. I believe in your power to renew. I believe that peace will reign. Amen
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Dear little Nennolina, you walked at an early age before the holy presence of God, you followed His law of love written on your heart and you knew when the time came He would come to take you to him in heaven. You were not afraid. You did not run from suffering. You turned always to the saints and most of all Mary: "Dear little Virgin, you who are very good, take my heart and bring it to Jesus.” Intercede for us Nennolina that we too will make the Lord the ruler of our inner house and dwell with him always in our hearts. May this Christmas, Christ be born in our hearts as he was in yours. Amen.
Notes on our new little friend:
Benedict XVI approved Monday the decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Antonietta Meo, who died of bone cancer. Along with the recognition of Meo's virtue, the Pope approved six decrees recognizing miracles, and seven other decrees affirming lives of heroic virtue.
Born in 1930, Antonietta was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 5 after a fall caused by a knee injury would not heal.
The girl formed the habit of leaving a letter at the foot of a crucifix every night. At first, she dictated these notes to her mother; later she wrote them herself. The more than 100 letters and her diary reveal an intense mysticism and a surprising level of theological reflection, albeit hidden in simple phrases.
"Dear Jesus," one of the letters says, "I love you very much. I want to abandon myself in your hands [...] I want to abandon myself in your arms. Do with me what you want. [...] Help me with your grace. You help me, since without your grace, I can do nothing."
Her letters were written to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. In a letter to Mary from Sept. 18, 1936, she said, "Dear little Virgin, you who are very good, take my heart and bring it to Jesus."
Antonietta died July 3, 1937, five months before her 7th birthday.
In 1981, the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes removed the norm restricting "heroic virtue" only to those who had lived a "period of maturity." The change in the norm permitted the visionaries of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco, to be beatified in 2000.
Though she was very young, she showed comprehension and love for redemptive pain that you can't explain if you don't admit the intervention of an extraordinary Grace. She understood that everyone can and must complete in himself Jesus' pain for the salvation of every soul. She thought of pain in a personal way, as a reward to Jesus for all the pain He suffered. She understood that her pain could lessen the ones of Jesus who keeps suffering not in His physical body but in His mystic one, in the battle fields, in the many ways through which men suffer."You know, mum? I offered my leg to Jesus for the conversion of the poor sinners and so as to bless all the soldiers in Africa."". To her father: "Pain is like fabric, the stronger it is, the more it's worth". To her mother: "When you feel pain, you have to keep quiet and offer it to Jesus for a sinner. Jesus suffered so much for us, but He hadn't committed any sin: He was God. How could we complain, we who are sinners and always offend Him?".To her spiritual guide: "For an instant I lie down on my wound, so as to offer more pain to Jesus".If anyone asked her how she felt, she answered she was fine.She didn't want anyone to pray for her recovery, but to pray to do God's will. "I want to stay with Him on the cross because I love Him".
Prayer to obtain grace by intercession of "Antonietta Meo", God's servant
Oh God, Father of the humble, we thank You because with Antonietta Meo You gave us the gift of a live image of Your Love and Wisdom, revealed to the young. You, who gave her the grace of being joined to the Cross of Lord Jesus, and of suffering with fortitude and joy, make her glorious even now on earth, so that everyone can take her a bright example of loyalty to the Gospel, Grant us her simple and passionate loveFor the Eucharist and the Church; come towards our povertyAnd, by her intercession, according to Your Holy Will, Give us the grace, which we ask for faithfully. Amen
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Organizing has always been one of my weakest points. Even though I know it is best to keep files and papers in an orderly fashion, I have to be honest, I lose things often because I don't take the time to organize because it is just easier not to make the effort.
When I read about Wisdom "ordering all things mightily and sweetly". I think about how perfectly God made everything that is. From the wonder of the human body that although assailed by illness from time to time knows in it's own design how to repair itself, to the delicacy of a flower or a butterfly that is perfectly and uniquely formed, it fills me with wonder.
At this Advent time especially we should also be filled with wonder that God knew us so well that He knew we could not save ourselves. He sent His son not only to be a living example of how we should love one another, but to die for us on the cross.
Thank you God for your perfect Wisdom. Teach us to seek you more
As a child, I used to wonder how the stars hung onto the sky and when I would see one fall, I would think that the string or the paste or whatever adhesive God used must have given away! As an adult, I still am not exactly sure how those stars stay stuck in the heavens, but one thing I am sure of, is that God keeps them there as part of his divine plan and when they fall, well, that is part of the rhythm he put into nature. To stop and notice the patterns, the rhythms, the intricacies of this world is to stop and wonder at God's amazing ability. I think that the beginning of wisdom is recognizing that God is God! What is more, God has a plan and in that plan he included our redemption. He sent WISDOM into the world. Giuliana Spigone once said it so beautifully, "We needed a savior, one for which nothing is impossible!" If he can keep the stars in the sky than he can take care of me for eternity. Nothing is impossible for God!
Dearest Lord, Divine Wisdom, you were sent into our world that we might know the Father's will and have the gifts to walk according to the pattern that will lead us to holiness. Thank you, Lord, your world is amazing. Thanks for sticking the stars in the sky and thanks for sticking me right here, right now, to follow you in wisdom and love. Amen.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
by Msgr. Andrew Vaccari
Lord, I wish to make up for the love you were denied. you were born in a deserted stable, for no one wanted to take you in. It was the beginning of your silent, entreating journey in search of people who would receive you. We wish to welcome you, little Child. Thus we beg you, transform our hearts from cold dismal stables into the warm abodes worthy of the gift of you. Amen! (Servant of God, Bishop G. Giaquinta)
Lord, show us your kindness and grant us salvation. Father direct us to walk in the shadow of Christ, the Prince of Peace, so that we may live together, as Christians should and through our example bring peace to the world. Amen.
The Lord Jesus came as a little child. It was nearly two thousand years from the time of Abraham for the promise of a Messiah to be fulfilled and when he came there was no room for him in the inn. Had the Father planned originally for him to come to the inn, and only allowed that he go to the stable because the inn was full? It wouldn't surprise me at all. God writes straight with crooked lines. He adjusts his own plans to accommodate my mistakes so maybe the stable was not in God's original plan. But the stable is open to everyone and it has drawn my heart there once more this year.
For nine months the graces of Jesus unfolded within the womb of our Holy Mother. For nine months St. Joseph patiently awaited the birth of Christ. While Advent is a time for all the saints, today in particular as we prepare for this year's celebration of our Lord's birth, we can learn from the great trust that St. Joseph lived out as Mary was found with child.
The angel said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Mt 1 :20-21) One can imagine what questions must have filled St. Joseph's mind: Why me Lord? How can I do this? Surely someone else Lord is better suited? And yet he trusted.
And later, "Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem . . . there was no room for them in the inn." (Lk 2: 4, 7) Tired from their journey they arrive in Bethlehem only to find out that there is no room for them, how easily it would have been to walk away, to give up in the midst of such trials. And yet he trusted.
The joy that must have filled St. Joseph's eyes when he saw his son for the first time, we too are called to that same joy. I remember the same joy in my own father's eyes every time one of his children did well. Let this advent season be a reminder to us all to trust as St. Joseph did, and may Christmas bring us the same joy it brought him.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
A focal point or theme for Advent this year was quite literally ‘forced upon me,’ when over the course of 8 days at the beginning of December, my prayer sources and spiritual reading contained 6 references to following the will of God.
1. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane: “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done.”
2. Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel: “May it be done to me according to your word.”
3. Advice before starting to pray: Open ourselves to God’s will for men.
4. St. Teresa of Avila: “Those who give themselves up to prayer must …be ready to conform their will to the will of God.”
5. Ask Jesus for the grace to deal with our problems bravely, yet surrender ourselves to God’s will.
6. Begin every prayer with the Sign of the Cross to remind us to conform to God’s will.
What better way to spend Advent than focusing on doing the will of God?
Monday, December 10, 2007
St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, NE
January 18-20, 2008
Learn the fine art of listening and responding deeply to God’s call in your life. If you are:
· Searching for meaning?
· Trying to make sense out of life and make good decisions?
· Making an important life choice in the next year?
· Thinking about moving to another city?
· Choosing a marriage partner?
· Changing jobs?
· Going to, or back to school?
· Discerning God’s call to the vowed life as an option for your future?
… perhaps a few skills and tools for discernment would be just the thing.
This retreat, co-sponsored by the Omaha Archdiocesan Association of Consecrated Life, will offer you the tools to help you discern daily life choices in a prayerful manner, learning from the Saints, and assisted by caring spiritual directors.
Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB is the Director of St. Benedict Center, gives directed retreats and offers spiritual direction to men and women of all ages. He will share with us the spiritual wisdom of St. Benedict
A team of clergy and consecrated life members will present various aspects of discernment, share life stories and give a chance for personal input and reflection.
Teresa Monaghen, AO, the Moderator of the Secular Institute of the Apostolic Oblates and the National Director of the Pro Sanctity Movement, holds an STB in Theology from Rome and a MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, Omaha. Teresa has 30 years experience giving retreats and spiritual direction to people of all ages and backgrounds. She will lead you in an explanation of the Rules of Discernment by St. Ignatius of Loyola and other masters of the spiritual life. Reflection on how to say “Yes” to the Lord in the spirit of Mary will also be included!
Write, mail or email for registration:
St. Benedict Center
P.O. Box 528
Schuyler, NE 68661
FrThomas@StBenedictCenter.com Fr. Thomas
For more information about the retreat itself write to Teresa Monaghen at 402-289-2670 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Car-pooling will be available from Omaha, NE
Cost: more or less $145.00, depending on your meals.
"St. Benedict's hospitality should be like and oasis in the desert of life where people can find spring waters of new life
and a place of rest and relaxation in the shadow of God's presence." Abbot em. Fidelis Ruppert, OSB
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Take Lord, Receive
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To You, O Lord, I return it.
All is Yours, dispose of it wholly according to Your will. Give me Your love and Your grace, that is enough for me.
Prayer for Generosity
Teach us to be generous, good Lord; teach us to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing we do Your will.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
picture by Joan Patten
Sunset at the Pro Sanctity Retreat Center, Elkhorn, Nebraska on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007
Join us here on December 16th 3:00 p.m. for an
Advent Family Afternoon and Christmas Countdown:
O Mary, O Antiphons and O Come, O Come Emmanuel!
(fun, food, prayer, crafts for kids, Advent Sing-a-long with Stephen Tefft....)
Everyone is welcome, bring a side-dish, we will offer homemade soup. Pick up a gift too: Homemade Lasagna and Fresh Roasted Coffee!
Pro Sanctity Retreat Center, 11002 N. 204th St. Elkhorn, NE 68022
402-289-2670 or email@example.com
Saturday, December 8, 2007
In the midst of the messiness of carrying a child whose seed was planted in her womb by an unknown source, and the chaos that it must have caused in the environment among the relatives and above all the fiancé', there must have been a place of calm in the soul of Mary. I have no proof, but I believe that her immaculate conception must have touched her in more ways than just leaving her free from the sin. I believe it must have left her with the awareness that she had been touched by God. She was like us in every way but sin. She had moments when she would be troubled, just like we are, but then she would stop and "ponder things in her heart" I think that she went to that place within herself, a place of peace, an oasis of God's presence and there she found the inner strength to say YES, to move ahead, and to follow the path the Lord had planned for her.
Dear Mary, you had that inner place naturally, we can have it too, if we
will just look for it. Help us, dear Mother of God, to be present to this
sacred time and in the midst of the chaos of our daily lives to find the
sacred within and rest there. Amen.
Mary is immaculate in her will, which is always directed to the good of others. She wished good for her Son, and most of all, she wished good for all of humanity. May our will, too, be like Mary’s: always seeking the good of others; and may our will and desires be in conformity God’s will and desires – and pure like Mary’s. We were not conceived without sin, yet we carry within ourselves the image of God. Conceived in sin, we were restored to grace through Baptism.
No one on earth has loved God like Mary; no one has ever known Him as she did. We did not have the privilege of being born immaculate, but from the beginning of creation we were made in the image of God, and with Baptism we were given to participate in His life. Therefore, every human being is beautiful as the moon, and we should learn to read every situation with purity of mind and of judgment, free from prejudices, but always judging with charity and truth.
Purity of mind and of will: in community, in the world, especially in a society, which we often judge negatively, but in which much faith can be found. We should not always judge situations negatively, but rather, look at everything with eyes of hope and of trust. Giuliana Spigone
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection - and we do flee to you with the disaster that has happened today - implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided, inspired by this confidence we fly unto you O virgin of virgins our mother, to you do we come before you we stand sinful and sorrowful, O Mother of the Word Incarnate despise not our petition but in your mercy hear and answer us.
Mary, hold in your arms those who suffer this day and may the young man who suffered most, the perpetrator find your arms around him, holding him close to your heart. Amen
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The Eucharistic Life
Two are the central elements of a Eucharistic life: silence and time.
Silence is the ordinary background for a dialogue between God and his people. It is the best auditory channel that conveys his voice, which we can only hear by reducing to the minimum useless words and sounds…: unloving words, offensive voices. To yearn for silence in this time of grace is already a grace: a silence that is both expected and sought after as a gift, in the awareness that it is through it that the Lord comes, in silence.
Time is both a great treasure and a great temptation. We have been created and placed within time; we live in time, and it is in time that we experience our encounter with the Giver of all that is good. We often feel as the owners of time, but now, as yesterday and always, we wish to place the Lord at the core of our time, the Eucharistic Jesus.
The Eucharist is the vital and central core around which we gather to be nourished in faith and in communion, in order to savor the Son’s loving obedience, the delicate mercy of the Father, and the life-giving energy of the Spirit.
During ADVENT - in this atmosphere of silence and time, we can re-discover the clear structure of our days – a structure not made of norms, but of gestures of love, lived with fidelity within the logic and the coherence of faith: Lauds, meditation, encounter with the Eucharistic Jesus in adoration, etc. Our days are packed with work, but not with turmoil, for our encounter with God does pacify our hearts, dispels every anxiety, creates communion, and revives the heroism of a dedication that is humble, quiet, and non-compulsive.
At times, in our lack of humility and in our self-centeredness, we may get the impression that we walk the way of perfection with our own strength. Perhaps, this [ADVENT] will give us a new perception of God, and will make practical our desire to respond better to his project: to become a living hymn of praise, to be holy and apostles of holiness, to help others fall in love with the Eucharist.
By contemplating Christ in the Eucharist, and by welcoming his will, we can become saints and daring missionaries, for to live with Him and in Him means to become new creatures, meek and creative, as we draw from Him, as from the only wellspring, “meaning for human history, and the joy desired by every heart.” It is not enough to “speak” of Him. To be missionaries we must also “show” Him through the witness of our life. “We would like to see Jesus” (Jn 12:21) is the quest that many people address to us.
 All points are taken from the letter of Giuliana Spigone, the late General Moderator of the Apostolic Oblates December 8, 2004
Monday, December 3, 2007
Our culture today would tell us that Ephesians 5 is “not P.C.”, but have we prayed with it enough to embrace its teaching as the truth?
Friday morning at 10:00 am tune into the Holiness Helpers Hour on KVSS and join Anna Dendinger and Kay Parlor as they look at this culturally contentious chapter through the lens of Theology of the Body, with particular emphasis on the nature and dignity of women.
Spirit 88.9 FM Omaha
Spirit 103.1 FM Schuyler
Spirit 98.3 FM Norfolk
Website: http://www.kvss.com LISTEN LIVE!!
Catholic Radio for the Christian Community!
Pro Sanctity Holiness Helpers Hour - 10am-11am every Friday!
It is fun, faith filled and offers formation opportunities for all ages and needs: Information and Formation for transformation in Christ!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I don’t know what you may or may not have heard so, here’s the whole story as told by me… Sorry it’s so late in coming.
On Saturday, November 10, 2007, Nancy woke up with light contractions. She said they were around a 2 or 2.5 on the pain scale and they were occasionally 10-15 minutes apart. She’d have a set of three or four, then 30-40 minutes of nothing, then another set of three or so and an hour of nothing and so on. We didn’t think too much about it. Just her body getting ready to go.
We dropped Simon off with my Mom and Aunt Mary in the AM and went to our birthing class, just to refresh our memories of the breathing techniques. Thought we’d need it. Little did we know…
We left the class early, after watching the video on labor management and birth. You know, the one where they talk about how on average labor lasts 12-14 hours… even after the water breaks you probably still have hours until actual birth. The one that shows the mothers in extreme distress, grunting and screaming with each contraction… That one.
All day Nancy was contracting… same as before. It didn’t get any worse even if it didn’t get any better and there were 40-60 minute breaks. Again, we didn’t think much about it. We went to Scooters and I did my show (brilliantly, I might add.) and went home. No change in Nancy’s pattern.
After getting Simon to bed, I sent Nancy to bed and watched a bit more TV. I thought Simon might wake up and fuss a bit as he sometimes does when he’s over tired. Finally, I went to bed at 12:30, setting the alarm to get up for Mass.
Nancy tells me that at about 1:00, the contractions got a little worse. She got up and walked around a bit but didn’t want to wake me for what was probably nothing. At 2:30 AM, her water broke. Finally she woke me up and told me what was happening. I called the paging service to have our doctor call us. After a little while she did and told us to go to the hospital. When we got there they would call her and let her know. I called my sister, Jen, who said they’d come and watch Simon for us. I then called my friends, Greg and Jen to let them know I wouldn’t be at Mass, leaving a message. Then I started loading the car with the little things we’d forgotten to put in Nancy’s bag.
Between trips to the car, I checked in on Nancy, sitting in the bathroom. After her water broke, the contractions started coming every 3-4 minutes, but she said they didn’t seem that bad. Sharper than before, but not unbearable. I helped her with her breathing and waited for my Mom to get there. Once they arrived I started getting Nancy to the car. She couldn’t move very fast and my sister says it seemed to take forever. I remember everything going much, much faster.
From the bathroom to the front door Nancy had three (count them, 3) contractions. On the front porch she stopped for a contraction and after it was over she said, “We’re not going to make it.” I said, “It’s okay. Just breath. We’ll get to the hospital. Don’t push. Just breath.” Isn’t that what they say in the movies? Nancy said, with an unnatural calm, “You don’t understand, the head is out.”
I thought, “What? No way. She just means that it feels like the head is out. She’s not screaming in pain.” I said, It’ll be all right. We’ll get to the hospital. Just breath.” My Mom told my sister to call 911.
We took maybe three more steps into the yard when my sister yelled out, “They say she needs to lay down.” At that moment, Nancy slowly started to fall to the ground. I caught her and gently laid her back. Jen brought a blanket out and put it under her head and said, “They’re saying that she needs to be naked from the waist down.”
Now, this whole time, I’m not really thinking. I’ve had two hours of sleep and this type of thing really only happens in the movies anyway, right? My brain wasn’t running on all 6 cylinders. I was really only reacting to each new development. My Mom and I pulled Nancy’s pajama pants off and I tried to pull off her underwear. When I’d reached about mid thigh, I suddenly found myself holding a baby in my hands…. And everything seemed to stop.
Now, on the outside I must have appeared very calm, because no one seemed to notice. Inside I was absolutely stunned. My brain went into overdrive. What was I supposed to do now? Don’t let the baby drop! Is Nancy okay? “Are you okay, Nancy?” She said, “I’m fine. The tree is so pretty…” Out of the corner of my eye I could see the flashing lights of the ambulance. Jen went down to direct them in.
Meanwhile, I’m holding my newborn son about two inches off the walkway thinking, “What do I do? What do I do!?!” Slowly I start to think… “Is he breathing? Yes, I can feel him breath in my hands. Okay, good.” I look up over Nancy’s leg and see him for the first time. His eyes are open and he’s just calmly looking at me. Then he lets out two little cries. As if to say, “I’m here. I’m okay.”
The paramedics arrived at last, but they were prepared to load us up and get us to the hospital. They weren’t ready for a baby. In fact, as they looked down one actually said, “There’s a baby here.” They did a lot of rushing around, looking for flashlights and scissors. And I still just knelt there holding the baby off the ground.
When they finally got a light on the situation, we noticed that Billy’s head had poked through the leg of Nancy’s underwear and the umbilical cord was loosely wrapped around his neck and leg. Later I realized that if I had moved him, he could have been hurt. Thank God my guardian angel kept me from moving.
They cut the cord and loaded us up and drove us to the hospital. The whole time Billy was quiet. He didn’t fuss. He didn’t cry, He just looked around, taking it all in.
You know, writing this down doesn’t really do it justice. There was so much going on. It’s hard to wrap my brain around it all. Needless to say both Billy and Nancy are fine. Simon is adjusting to having a new brother, and other than the usual money problems and the lack of sleep, things are okay. We would appreciate any prayers you might be able to send out for us and we thank you for your friendship and support.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Here is a very special rosary put together by Franca Salvo and written by Pope Benedict XVI.
Franca uses passages from the Holy Father's new encyclical! This is a "meditated" rosary. The meditations are long. Read and reread them, pause to listen to the Lord and our Lady speak to you, then offer the decade of the Rosary.
Pray it slowly!
Taste the goodness of the Lord and our Lady!
Benedict XVI: From Spe Salvi, no. 49-50
Rosary: Mary, Star of the Sea
Introduction:Human life is a journey. Towards what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way. Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us? With her “yes” she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us (cf. Jn 1:14).
Holy Mary, you belonged to the humble and great souls of Israel who, like Simeon, were “looking for the consolation of Israel” (Lk 2:25) and hoping, like Anna, “for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:38). Your life was thoroughly imbued with the sacred scriptures of Israel which spoke of hope, of the promise made to Abraham and his descendants (cf. Lk 1:55). In this way we can appreciate the holy fear that overcame you when the angel of the Lord appeared to you and told you that you would give birth to the One who was the hope of Israel, the One awaited by the world. Through you, through your “yes”, the hope of the ages became reality, entering this world and its history.
Mary, you bowed low before the greatness of this task and gave your consent: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). When you hastened with holy joy across the mountains of Judea to see your cousin Elizabeth, you became the image of the Church to come, which carries the hope of the world in her womb across the mountains of history. But alongside the joy which, with your Magnificat, you proclaimed in word and song for all the centuries to hear, you also knew the dark sayings of the prophets about the suffering of the servant of God in this world.
Shining over His birth in the stable at Bethlehem, there were angels in splendour who brought the good news to the shepherds, but at the same time the lowliness of God in this world was all too palpable. The old man Simeon spoke to you of the sword which would pierce your soul (cf. Lk 2:35), of the sign of contradiction that your Son would be in this world.
When Jesus began His public ministry, you had to step aside, so that a new family could grow, the family which it was His mission to establish and which would be made up of those who heard His word and kept it (cf. Lk 11:27f). Notwithstanding the great joy that marked the beginning of Jesus's ministry, in the synagogue of Nazareth you must already have experienced the truth of the saying about the “sign of contradiction” (cf. Lk 4:28ff). In this way you saw the growing power of hostility and rejection which built up around Jesus until the hour of the Cross, when you had to look upon the Saviour of the world, the heir of David, the Son of God dying like a failure, exposed to mockery, between criminals. Then you received the word of Jesus: “Woman, behold, your Son!” (Jn 19:26). From the Cross you received a new mission. From the Cross you became a mother in a new way: the mother of all those who believe in your Son Jesus and wish to follow him. The sword of sorrow pierced your heart. Did hope die? Did the world remain definitively without light, and life without purpose? At that moment, deep down, you probably listened again to the word spoken by the angel in answer to your fear at the time of the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid, Mary!” (Lk 1:30).
How many times had the Lord, your Son, said the same thing to his disciples: do not be afraid! In your heart, you heard this word again during the night of Golgotha. Before the hour of his betrayal He had said to His disciples: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27). “Do not be afraid, Mary!” In that hour at Nazareth the angel had also said to you: “Of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:33). Could it have ended before it began? No, at the foot of the Cross, on the strength of Jesus's own word, you became the mother of believers. In this faith, which even in the darkness of Holy Saturday bore the certitude of hope, you made your way towards Easter morning.
The joy of the Resurrection touched your heart and united you in a new way to the disciples, destined to become the family of Jesus through faith. In this way you were in the midst of the community of believers, who in the days following the Ascension prayed with one voice for the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) and then received that gift on the day of Pentecost. The “Kingdom” of Jesus was not as might have been imagined. It began in that hour, and of this “Kingdom” there will be no end. Thus you remain in the midst of the disciples as their Mother, as the Mother of hope. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to His Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!
Please send me any dates of Pro Sanctity Members that we do not list or have a wrong date. Thanks!!
TWO CELEBRATION DATES
Where: Pro Sanctity Retreat Center, Elkhorn
December 22, 2007: You are invited to a December Birthday Bash (thank you New York for the title)! We will celebrate on December 22, 2007. 5:00 with Advent Evening Prayer and Rosary, Birthday Pot-Luck Dinner! Please note, Leela Sebastian turns 50 years old this year!!!
December 29, 2007: Annual Day of Prayer for Pro Sanctity Family Members will be on Saturday, Dec. 29, beginning with Morning prayer and Mass at 9:30 p.m. with Fr. Carl Zoucha followed by reflection, adoration and conclude with a birthday Potluck lunch at 2:00 p.m.
INFORMATION: firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-289-2670
(B-BIRTHDAY, F - FEAST DAY, PC-PROFESSION FOR COOPERATIVE, D.N.-DEATH DATE, M-MARRIAGE DAY)
1 Paula Szczepaniak B
3 Mary Hildman B
4 Barbara Chall F
Barbara Wagner F
Fr. Gregor Gorsic B
5 Vina Canales B
8 Ecclesial approval of Pontifical Right of the Secular Institute of the Apostolic
9 Gloria Florez 2000 PC
12 James Seberger B
16 Beginning Christmas’ Novena
20 Leela Sebastian B
21 Della Langan 1994 D.N.
Teresa Pauls B
22 Jessica Kary B
25 Renee Jarecki B
Natalia Aguilar F
26 Theresa & Len Gabriel 1987 M
Fr. Scott Stephen Traynor F
Giuliana Spigone B
30 Teresa Monaghen B
Fr. Carl Zoucha B
31 Colleen Gawley
What do we do in a Novena? Pray each day that the mystery deepen, enter the mystery and grow in greater awareness and conviction. Novenas are great because they give us this "time" to ponder a mystery that is much beyond our capacity to understand, and every year when the Novena time returns, we ponder anew and insights are given that help to enter into the mystery of the incarnation, to love it and live it!
What to do?
1. Take time to pray a little prayer each day (see below).
2. Ponder and pause upon the mystery of Mary's immaculate conception.
3. Be open to the graces the Lord wants to pour into your heart.
5. Remember that at the "designated time, you too will be full and filled with God's presence!
God's timing is perfect! Amen.
Let us pray, O Mary, Virgin most pure and spotless, who came to earth to propose to us anew, in all of its beauty, the ideal of new life in Christ, beckon us.
You show us what we should be, but are not.
Freed from evil before it even touched you, you invite us to the great battle between good and evil in which Christ, by crushing the head of the serpent, won His eternal victory.
This victory can be ours if, obedient to the word of God and hand in hand with you, Mary, we walk on the bright road opened to us by Christ.
Draw us to yourself, Mary, until the day when in joy everlasting we shall be able to contemplate the glorious face of Christ, unveiled forever. Amen.