Be Holy, Be Happy!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In the spirit of the Holy Land Pilgrimage - Mother Teresa

A Simple Path

"They returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth"
You can pray to the Holy Family for your own family:
Our Father, who art in heaven, You have given us a model of life
in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Help us, most loving Father, to make a new Nazareth
of our own families, where joy and peace will reign.
May it be deeply contemplative,
fervently Eucharistic and joyfully vibrant.
Help us to stay together through good and ill
thanks to our praying as a family.
Teach us to encounter Jesus
in every member of our own families
especially those who suffer and are wounded.
May the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus
make our hearts as meek and humble as His (Mt 11,29).
Help us to fulfill our vocation as a family in holiness.
May we love one another as God loves each one of us
more and more every day
and forgive each other's faults
as You forgive our sins.
Most loving Father, help us
to accept all You give to us
and give all You take from us
with a big smile.
Immaculate heart of Mary, cause of our joy,
pray for us.
Holy Guardian Angels
be always with us,
guiding us and protecting us.
Amen.

Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of Charity

 


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message from the Holy Land

My Mother, My Confidence!

 

Dearest ones,

 

Thank you for your prayers! We just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that we are fine. We have seen a little of the news, so we thought you might be worried. We are safe and paying attention. Do not worry.

 

Today we had Mass at St. Ann's Church and went to the birth place of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation. Tomorrow we will go to Gethsemane and have Mass at the Church of the Nations. We will also go to the place of the Transfiguration.

 

It is very difficult to find the Blessed Sacrament, except, of course, at the Churches we stop at...but they do not give us much time to pray!  :(  It helps us to look for Jesus all day long, though, so that is a gift! We are having a wonderful, grace-filled time!

 

You are all in our loving prayers. Thank you for your prayers. We love you!!

 

(We probably will not write/call again b/c it is expensive and difficult.)

 

Love,

Jessi and Joan

--
Pro Sanctity Movement
All Saints! All Brothers and Sisters!
www.prosanctity.org
Check out our Blog! http://prosanctity.blogspot.com/


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Advent Reflections


Eve

The wait is almost over
Time is near
Anticipation fills the air
Everything is almost ready

Bethlehem is within sight
It is drawing close
Look at the lambs upon the hills
Settling in for the night

There is the inn
It looks too full
Just as your belly is
There is no room

The time is close
Stars shine brightly
Wait there is a stable
All has been prepared

The hay is warm
Cattle breathe their warmth
Joseph prepare a space
Time has come

Anne Zugelder
12/22/08
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Spend some time with St. Joseph this Advent!

Meditation by Nick Emanuel

Take a minute to read the Nativity passage from the Gospel of Matthew.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and 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." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Pay particular attention to St. Joseph and his actions. Here's a man who is preparing to marry a beautiful and holy woman, Mary. He then finds out that she is pregnant with child, a child which is not his. Being an honorable man he chooses to divorce Mary quietly rather than turn her into a public spectacle which certainly would have led to her public humiliation, maybe even her stoning. This is the good and prudent thing to do, at least as far as human understanding can take it. And if St. Joseph had done the good and prudent thing then things would have gone completely different. St. Joseph was open to the deeper mystery of Christ, so open that an angel was able to speak to him in a dream and he was able to obediently live out his call to be the father of Jesus.

How about us? How often do we just do the good and prudent thing? We go to the staff Christmas party because we should. We will visit relatives because it's what we've always done. We shop for presents because it's what we do at Christmas time. We can go a long time doing the good and prudent thing and never reach the deeper meaning of Christ in our lives. In fact, we can so shut him out that we become the ones who determine what the good and prudent thing is rather than turning to God to experience the deeper reality of a life in union with Christ.

This Christmas, go deeper with Christ. Don't settle for the good and prudent thing, let Christ show you a deeper reality.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Silent Stillness of Advent

Caryll Houselander, in her book The Reed of God, speaks of the invitation during Advent to be attentive to Christ growing within us as Mary was attentive to Christ growing within her. Noticing, paying attention to, and receiving a "growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are" compels us to respond to the impulse of love that rises up in our heart. Amidst all the ordinariness of daily life, we can possess a profound confidence that we are hastening toward the Father if we remain attentive to the reality of the life of Christ growing within us, possessing us. "It seems that this is Christ's favorite way of being recognized, that He prefers to be known, not by His own human features, but by the quickening of His own life in the heart, which is the response to His coming."
As a pregnant woman is constantly aware of the child in her womb, we are called by our Baptism - and given the grace - to be constantly aware of the indwelling Trinity. As we grow more and more aware of this indwelling presence, rather than becoming absorbed withinn ourselves, we are propelled in mission to serve our brothers and sisters, rejoicing always in the eternal life welling up in our heart. In these days of Advent, Mary desires to teach us to be aware of the Life growing within us, the Life being formed from the greatest poverties of our being, the Life that transforms every moment and every detail.

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word, and I shall be healed."

"The Body of Christ."

"AMEN!"
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Immaculate Conception!


Mary, the Immaculate Conception is the Patroness of the United States. Let us remember that she is always interceding for the holiness of our Nation. Today we join her in praying for the conversion of our leaders and for the renewal of true Hope in Christ.

Loving Mother of the Redeemer,
Gate of heaven, star of the sea,
Assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again,
To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,
Yet remained a virgin after as before,
You who received Gabriel's joyful greeting,
Have pity on us, poor sinners.

May she who carried within her womb the hope of all the nations intercede for the people of this country, so that all may be made new in Jesus Christ her Son. -Pope Benedict XVI
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Nine:

John Paul II was able to touch the hearts of many because he deeply knew the needs of others. This is especially reflected in his writings and addresses to women. How did this man become such as an expert on women? He knew the Woman. Mary, the Woman first spoken of in Genesis, was his instructor. At an early age she became John Paul II's mother. As a young seminarian and priest, she was his queen when he consecrated himself totally to her. As pope, she was his constant companion and helper and his papal crest placed Mary in her most powerful postion, under the cross. Throughout his writings, John Paul II creates some of his own titles for Mary as he came to know her more and grew closer to her. In our ENDOW study, we also created our own litany with John Paul II's "Letter to Women" and with our own titles for her as well. We encourage you to write your own litany and ask Mary to show you where she is present in your life and where she wants to be more present to you today.


Litany to Mary Inspired by John Paul II’s "Letter to Women"


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us

God, the Father in Heaven, have mercy on us

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us

God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us

Purest Light…...pray for us

Love Defined,

Mother of patience,

Pool of serenity,

Mary, Mother of the Whole World,

Lady of Peace,

Mary, Mother of the Morning,

Perfect Virgin,

Mary, full of insights,

Mary, my comfort,

Our Lady of Light,

Mary, servant of love,

Mary, gift to all humanity,

Mary, Mother of the Unbelievers,

Mary, Companion of the cross,

Mary, guiding Light,

Mary, beacon of hope,

Mary, perfect model of femininity,

Mary who patiently endured life,

Mary, highest expression of the feminine genius,

Source of constant inspiration,

Wife and mother in the family of Nazareth,

Handmaid of the Lord,

Mary, at the service of love for God and others,

Mary, perfect woman,

Queen of heaven and earth,

Mary, mother of believers

Mary, icon of the Church,

Mary, Queen of Love,

Spotless bride,

Mary, gift for your Son,

Mary, gift for the sons and daughters of the whole human race,

Mother, who awakens profound trust in those who seek guidance along the difficult paths of life,

Mary, whose vision saw through all dark and confusing situations to the heart of Christ,


Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Let us pray: O God, we thank you and praise you for in Mary is found the perfection of what you desire for all women. “Precisely through this service Mary was able to experience in her life a mysterious, but authentic reign.” Invoking her as Queen, we turn to her our model, “for her, ‘to reign’ is to serve! Her service is ‘to reign’! We thank you for “the mystery of woman and for every woman-for all that constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity”. May Mary watch over all “women and their mission in service of humanity, of peace, of the spread of God's Kingdom!” Amen.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Eight:
…there is great significance to that ‘womanhood’ which was lived in such a sublime way by Mary. In fact, there is present in the ‘womanhood’ of a woman who believes, and especially in a woman who is ‘consecrated’, a kind of inherent ‘prophecy’ (cf. Mulieris Dignitatem, 29), a powerfully evocative symbolism, a highly significant ‘iconic character’, which finds its full realization in Mary and which also aptly expresses the very essence of the Church as a community consecrated with the integrity of a ‘virgin’ heart to become the ‘bride’ of Christ and ‘mother’ of believers. When we consider the ‘iconic’ complementarity of male and female roles, two of the Church's essential dimensions are seen in a clearer light: the ‘Marian’ principle and the Apostolic- Petrine principle (cf. ibid., 27).” (John Paul II, Letter to Women, 11)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church draws from the wealth of John Paul II’s wisdom as well:

#773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. "[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine”.

Today, allow Jesus to attend to your heart. Ask Him to do so. For just as "the Eternal Father Himself accomplished in the holy heart of His beloved daughter, the glorious Virgin Mary, that which He commands all faithful souls to do when He says, 'Put me as a seal upon Thy heart' (Song 8:6). With His own hand He has impressed on her heart a perfect semblance of the divine qualities of His love, which consequently is a perfect image of the sanctity, wisdom, goodness, mercy, benignity, charity, and all the other perfections of the infinite love of the Father."
–St. John Eudes

The Bride of Christ, the Church, is often crying out for His love through her members who are broken and wounded. They are in need of the love of Christ, the Man who was pierced and wounded for His Bride. Lowering Himself for her, Christ not only loves His wounded Bride, but also sees in her the fullness (holiness) she is called to in all her beauty. It is in Christ’s redeeming love that she is perfected and made whole. Therefore, the Bride is invited to respond to this love which is poured upon her. Today let Jesus love you in your weaknesses, pain, and brokenness. Pray that you may love with the heart of Mary, that you may attend to the Heart that longs to be loved by you.

Mary, Queen of Love, pray for us!
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Seven:

"In fact, there is present in the "womanhood" of a woman who believes...a powerfully evocative symbolism, a highly significant "iconic character," which finds its full realization in Mary and which aptly expresses the very essence of the Church as a community consecrated with the integrity of a "virgin" heart to become the "bride" of Christ and "mother" of believers." (John Paul II, Letter to Women, 11)

While there is great peace and joy to be found in realizing our dignity in who God created us to be as man and woman, there is also a great challenge and responsibility. The heart of what it means to be a woman is reflected in the beauty and grace of the Church. As members of the Church, we are all called to fulfill that role to some degree. Mary lived her life in a perfect representation of the Church as virgin, bride, and mother. As virgin, she exemplifies the virtue of purity. Purity of thought, purity of action, purity of desire. Her every word, her every relationship, was dedicated to the purest motive of bringing others to her Son. When we ask Mary to pray for us, we ask with confidence knowing that her prayers are pure and without our own selfish motives. As bride, Mary personifies service. At the Wedding at Cana, Mary served the wedding party by ensuring an abundance of wine. But she serves us today with the same words she spoke then: "Do whatever He tells you." She serves us best by fulfilling the deepest needs of our heart, directing us to Jesus. As mother, Mary embodies sacrificial giving. In motherhood, a woman gives her body, her energy and her life to nurture and care for her child. Mary sacrificed the greatest gift of her Son to nurture her spiritual children, to give us the opportunity to know Love.

The Church answers to the same call to be virgin, bride and mother. We are called to purity of heart, purity of prayer, purity of spirit. Today, ask yourself where selfishness and greed taint your motives. Ask Mary to be an example of humility and generosity. We are called to serve others in the way that Mary served humanity, always leading others to Christ. It is the richest service we can offer another. Today, ask Mary to help you recognize where God might be using you to lead another to Him. We are called to make a sincere gift of ourselves in a sacrificial way as spiritual mothers. In placing the needs of others before our own, we invite God to work through our gift. Today, invite the Holy Spirit to give you the courage and the strength to give of yourself in a new way so that another may be nurtured and cared for. Reflect on the great sacrifice of Mary and pray in gratitude for her example of perfect motherhood.
(Reflection by Michelle Z.)

Mary, spotless Bride and icon of the Church, pray for us!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Six:
Our ability to recognize this dignity [of women], in spite of historical conditioning, comes from the use of reason itself, which is able to understand the law of God written in the heart of every human being. More than anything else, the word of God enables us to grasp clearly the ultimate anthropological basis of the dignity of women, making it evident as a part of God’s plan for humanity.” (Letter to Women, 6)

As Christians, we are aware that God created man and woman with equal dignity. Each unique, but loved the same by our Creator. However, through our fallen nature the differences between man and woman have not always been seen as ‘good.’ Often, feminine qualities have implied weakness and, in certain circumstances, unfair conditions have been imposed on women.

The tragic cases throughout the world where women are not respected are grievances shared by Christians and the secular world alike. The “law of God written in the heart” brings us back to this truth. It is a universal truth that women and men are equal and even complementary. Reason and nature tell us this, yet the hardness of our hearts and fallen nature interfere.

But as Christians, we have countless stories and examples in Scripture of how God has blessed women and used them throughout salvation history. We especially have Mary. Conceived without sin. Full of grace. God chose a woman to be the model of humanity. She is the New Eve and God looked on her, as he did with our first parents, and saw that she was ‘very good.’ How blessed, particularly, is the role of motherhood because God chose Mary to give life and love to His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Reflection by Jenny Janeczko) (The picture is a tapestry in Notre Dame de France Church in London)

Mary, gift for your Son, gift for the sons and daughters of the whole human race, pray for us!
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Five:

"We are told from the very beginning, man has been created 'male and female' (Gen 1:27). Scripture itself provides the interpretation of this fact: even though man is surrounded by the innumerable creatures of the created world, he realizes that he is alone (cf. Gen 2:20). God intervenes in order to help him escape from this situation of solitude: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him' (Gen 2:18). The creation of woman is thus marked from the outset by the principle of help: a help which is not one-sided but mutual." (Letter to Women 7)

During the beautiful time of this novena, we have the chance to really meditate on the mystery of the Immaculate Conception: Mary conceived in the womb of St. Anne completely and totally without original sin. God in his abundant grace created her spotless, without blemish. She is for us a "New Eve," showing us what should have been "from the beginning."

One of the ways Mary embodies the New Eve is through this role as "helpmate" bestowed on the first Eve. Indeed, throughout the history of the Church, the title of "help" has been bestowed upon her (Mother of Perpetual Help; Mary, Help of Christians). We go to her and ask for her help because she is our mother. She sees our need and hastens to the throne of God with our prayers. Likewise, she is there with us through out all of our times of need. When we call upon her, she removes the shroud of loneliness. Her very presence as Mother of the Church gives us companionship, for "it is not good that man should be alone." From the very beginning, God included Mary in His plan of salvation to be with us. She walks with us as she walked with her Son Jesus up to Calvary. She visits us in our need as she visited her cousin Elizabeth. She searches for us as she searched for Jesus in the temple.

This Advent, allow Mary to be with you. Allow her to be your help in preparing for her Son. (Reflection by Mary Janeczko)


"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
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Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Four:


"It is thus my hope, dear sisters, that you will reflect carefully on what it means to speak of the 'genius of wmen,' not only in order to be able to see in this phrase a specific part of God's plan which needs to be accepted and appreciated, but also in order to let this genius be more fully expressed in the life of society as a whole, as well as in the life of the Church" (Letter to Women 10).


For women especially, being "in control," can be a great struggle. Many of us make lists for groceries, activities of the day, class schedules, plans for the future, etc. Some of us even have lists of our lists. We plan, plan, plan and have these ideas of how we want things, which can often leave us dissapointed and maybe even bitter or resentful when things happen differently than we planned. We must learn to "let go and let God"as the phrase goes. Seeing Mary as our model at the Annunciation, she was not anxious and did not fervently relay her plans pleading with God for something else to be her vocation. Instead, she said "Let it be done." Simple, receptive, trusting. She "accepted and appreciated" God's plan for her. She was herself perfectly and gave herself to God perfectly. She did not have the whole story, she didn't know how everything in her life would turn out. She knew one part of God's plan and chose to say yes!

We are not called to fit into some mold outside of ourselves where there is no freedom for personality, but to be purified and become who we truly are. "It is in becoming who we are that we will set the world ablaze" -St.Catherine of Siena. There is a freedom in being yourself no matter who is looking. Let us not be afraid or try to hide or distort our feminity as often is the case in our world today. We can't control how others will receive us, what others think or do. And when we try to do just that, we are not following Mary as our model but Eve. All we can control is what we think, what we say, how we act, how we respond to others and to God.

My challenge is that we work on being the best version of ourselves.
Lord Jesus, we thank you and praise you for what you have given us and how you show us your love for us each day. Please bless us during this novena and especially today as we ask for your Mother's help in becoming who we are meant to be. Lord, how can I live this day live for you? What do you have planned for me? Help me say yes.

"The nation . . . doesn't simply need what we have. It needs who we are." - Edith Stein
(Reflection by Jenna Wilson)


Mary, highest expression of the "feminine genius", Pray for us!



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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Three:

"The Church sees in Mary the highest expression of the 'feminine genius' and she finds in her a source of constant inspiration. Mary called herself the 'handmaid of the Lord' (Luke 1:38). Through obedience to the Word of God she accepted her lofty yet not easy vocation as wife and mother in the family of Nazareth. Putting herself at God's service, she also puts herself at the service of others: a service of love. Precisely through this service Mary was able to experience in her life a mysterious, but authentic 'reign'. It is not by chance that she is invoked as "Queen of heaven and earth." The entire community of believers thus invokes her, many nations and peoples call upon her as their 'Queen'. For her, 'to reign' is to serve! Her service is 'to reign'!" (Letter to Women 10)

The world has a misconstrued view of service. More often than not, it doesn't have a positive spin, since the world tells us to "do whatever we want", encouraging selfishness and irresponsibility. The Church has an entirely different view of service, raising it to great heights, finding deep meaning in giving of ourselves to others. And according to Pope John Paul II, Mary is our model and guide. It was she who gave her fiat, her yes to God. It was she who was the perfect model of love and service to others. Did she not hasten off to see her cousin Elizabeth as soon as the angel left her? She helps us yet today; we are her children. She is our Mother! We should let her intercede for us. How can Jesus refuse what His Mother asks of Him?

Each of us should imitate Mary's virtue and example. We are called to serve, as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, grandparents, sons and daughters, neighbors, brothers and sisters. It is in giving of ourselves that we fulfill our vocation, whatever it may be. And God has given us gifts and filled us with His grace so that we can serve with strength, joy, and in the spirit of love.

Today do a random act of kindness. Make the world brighter, more human!
(Reflection by Mary Patten)

Mary, Our Sweet Queen and Our Mother, pray for us!
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Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women

Day Two:

"Progress usually tends to be measured according to the criteria of science and technology. Nor from this point of view has the contribution of women been negligible. Even so, this is not the only measure of progress, nor in fact is it the principal one. Much more important is the social and ethical dimension, which deals with human relations and spiritual values. In this area, which often develops in an inconspicuous way beginning with the daily relationships between people, especially within the family, society certainly owes much to the 'genius of women'" (Letter to Women 9).

Often, things that are of great importance are also small and not easily noted. For example, one of the beautiful realities of Sacred Scripture is what it does not say. Most of the lives of Mary and Jesus are left un-related, unspoken, hidden in petals of obscurity. The beauty here is the sound of the Lord's voice as He calls us to unpetal the rose of Scripture in intimate prayer and allow the Spirit to work through our imaginations and show us what Jesus looked like as He began to walk, how Mary and Joseph's faces lit up as they spoke with one another, what Mary talked about with her neighbors, how many times Jesus ran out of the house to look up at the birds flying in the sky, whether Mary borrowed more flour from her neighbors or vice versa...the list goes on.

These things are important because, as John Paul II says above, world changes have their roots in "daily relationships with people, especially within the family" (Letter to Women 9). How much attention do we pay to the small aspects of relationships that are easy to miss? Eye contact, the tone of our voice, gestures, the phrasing of our questions; all of these things contribute to forming the people around us, whether into persons that trust in the love that God has for them, or into persons who begin to expect that no one will respond to them with anything but sarcasm and pessimism, or inattention. The most powerful way that this can be seen is in the image of a woman who is with child. All of her actions profoundly affect the new person within her. All of us, whether we are male or female, contribute to the spiritual growth of those around us (and many of us are still spiritual fetuses, newborns, and toddlers!!). Although John Paul II points out that it is the genius - the essence - of women to receive others with love and foster their growth, all of us are called to do this for others.

Today, take an image from Scripture to unpetal in which someone is exhibiting a nurturing attitude: Mary, pregnant with Jesus; Anne, pregnant with Mary; God the Father leading Israel through dangers to the Promised Land; Jesus teaching His disciples; Paul encouraging the new Christian churches at the beginning of his letters. Ask the Lord how He is calling you to measure the progress of your day according to the inconspicuous details of your daily relationships, and nurture His love in those around you.
(Reflection by Heidi Essay)

Wife and mother in the family of Nazareth, pray for us!
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Immaculate Conception Novena: Reflections from Women


Pro Sanctity recently sponsored an ENDOW study on John Paul II's Letter to Women. It was a beautiful study and the participants received much grace! The women of the study have been asked to share their reflections and graces as we prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Day One:

The maternal ‘reign’ of Mary consists in this; she who was, in all her being, a gift for her Son, has also become a gift for the sons and daughters of the whole human race, awakening profound trust in those who seek her guidance along the difficult paths of life on the way to their definitive and transcendent destiny. Each one reaches this final goal by fidelity to his or her own vocation; this goal provides meaning and direction for the earthly labors of men and women alike” (John Paul II, Letter to Women, 10).

There is sometimes a certain amount of fear and hesitation in giving of ourselves because deep down we want to be received and fear that we will not be. Even more so for women, the desire to be fully received is strong in our hearts. Therefore, we sometimes create safety nets when we give. In giving gifts, we give people gift receipts in case they do not want it. We excuse or belittle our efforts with “This might not be good or right, but…” We hold back in relationships and do not share who God has made us to be. In Letter to Women, John Paul II recalls Vatican II teaching that man "cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self" (Gaudium et spes, 24).

In order to fully give of ourselves, we must first believe that we have received Everything from God. He will give us all we need to respond to what He is asking of us to give. Mary is the perfect example. God made Mary “full of grace” and gave her every gift necessary to be the Mother of God; then He asked her to be the Mother of God. She was asked to receive the Love of God by opening herself to the power of the Holy Spirit. We too are asked to let God into our lives and to allow Him to give us Everything! Like Mary, we are asked to receive without fear and trust in God’s particular love for each of us. At his inaugural Mass, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us?” “No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.” “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ- and you will find true life. Amen.”

Can we make a sincere gift of ourselves? We can only if we first give ourselves to God who delights in our gifts and always wants to receive us again and again. He dreams of our holiness and longs for our company in Heaven forever. He calls us all day long to receive His love and grace. He wants us to trust Him, and not in ourselves; for it is He who perfects our gifts and gives us the grace to be gifts to others.
For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfill their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.” (John Paul II, Letter to Women, 12).

Let us pray today for the grace to receive with Mary, the Love of the Father that casts out all fear. (Reflection by Joan Patten)
Mother, who awakens profound trust in those who seek guidance along the difficult paths of life, pray for us!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Pro Sanctity!

Eucharist means thanksgiving

A heart set on Jesus is a Eucharistic Heart. It is a heart filled with gratitude. The word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek meaning “thanksgiving”. Regardless of whether the blessings from God are great or small, I am one with the Eucharistic Heart of +Jesus. I live with a grateful heart.

A Eucharistic Heart is also a Sacrificial Heart. I am willing to be broken poured out as Jesus was for me. A sacrificial heart never cries out in times of trial or tribulation: “Why me, Lord?” In gratitude, it prays: “Why am I so loved?” Why am I so loved to be worthy to unite myself to the sufferings of +Jesus? (Fr. Mike Murphy, Retreat 2007)

Let us pause and give thanks for the Love we have received! Happy Thanksgiving!



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Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Saints, All Brothers and Sisters!

“God Chose Us...”
Eph 1:4


A reflection by Franca Salvo


“God chose us... to be holy... to be full of love.” I have meditated on and contemplated these words of St. Paul over the years, savoring them with great delight.

As I was reflecting on the deep effect that they continue to have in my heart, it became clearer and clearer to me that the word of God is alive. “It is not just ‘informative’ but ‘performative’; it can change our lives[1]”. Therefore the more I let the word of God abide in me, remain with me, the more God changes me and I become what I meditate and love: I am the chosen one! He makes me holy! He fills me with His love!

Yes, God chose us! God chose us to be holy! God chose us to be full of love!

He chose me, you, and you! Our Heavenly Father manifested His will and empowered us in His Son, Jesus the Lord, to be holy, to be full of love, to go about throughout the day, every day of our life, enveloped by His love, sowing love, singing for joy, until we see Him face to face!

Let us sing with the Psalmist:
Shout joyfully to God...
sing praise to the glory of His name;
proclaim His glorious praise
[2].

Filled with gratitude for the sacramental and liturgical life of Mother Church that empowers us to live rooted in faith-hope-love, let us continue our journey under the gaze of Mary, our Mother,
“eager in purpose
dutiful in conscience
hastening for joy.”
[3]

Then we will be ready to celebrate November 1st, All Saints Day, aware of God’s great love for all people, filled with zest for a world of All Saints, All Brothers and Sisters.

[1] Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, Nov. 30, 2007, #4
[2] Psalm 66:1-3
[3] St. Ambrose
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day Nine

All Saints and All Brothers and Sisters United in Suffering
by Larry Weigum

Suffering and joy are so interconnected that one cannot exist without the other.
If we fail to accept life’s suffering, we also reject the joy for which God made us.

Reflection:
Failing to accept and profit from suffering is to reject God’s gift. It is a kind of disobedience. To be obedient is to not sin. Jesus accepted his own suffering in love of us. Because he allows our suffering, we come to know His Love. In this way, we gradually understand suffering as a redemptive journey toward heaven where sin will be no more. In this understanding, we can rejoice and be glad for the reward will be great in heaven. We can rejoice in suffering, and as suffering is accomplished, so is felt a sense of achievement…and this leads to joy!

If we look at suffering only as a punishment for sin, suffering is not tolerable. We then can endure suffering only to the extent of our will. Our will taken on its own will fail. Suffering experienced only on this level is to not seek to understand the fullness and depth of God’s love. Therefore, we must then seek knowledge.

The Living Word is metered out to us each day to aid in our progress towards knowledge. The more we know, the more pain and grief are felt at the offences we commit against our Lord. This drives us on further, deeper. When we suffer at this level, it is for the desire of God’s Will for us. God knows our heart. We know that we can hide nothing from our Lord. We then completely empty one’s self out to the Lord, trusting in His Mercy. We seek patience to endure according to His will.
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Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day Eight

Novena Reflection by Monica Hejkal

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.” Colossians 1:24

“But in order to perceive the true answer to the ‘why’ of suffering, we must look to the revelation of divine love, the ultimate source of the meaning of everything that exists. Love is also the richest source of the meaning of suffering, which always remains a mystery….We must above all accept the light of Revelation…as it illuminates [the order of justice] with Love, as the definitive source of everything that exists. Love is: also the fullest source of the answer to the question of the meaning of suffering. This answer has been given by God to man in the Cross of Jesus Christ.” Salvifici Doloris, Pope John Paul II

Reflection:
We so frequently are scared of suffering. Why? Is it because we are unsure of having the strength to remain faithful? Are we just scared of having to feel pain? Why are you afraid of suffering?

The Lord through St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians tells us: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Ask Jesus to heal you of all your fears, all your worries. Give everything to Him and ask Him to teach you how to love as He loved—to the maximum. May we all experience “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” and rejoice in our sufferings for His sake.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day Six and Seven


The Mystical Body of Christ

by Joan Patten

A reading from I Cor. 12:12-2
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
Let us pray for the gift of piety: “The Holy Spirit leads the soul to a sense of familiarity with God. The soul tastes the beginnings of a life of union with God; she savors it! She starts to savor her friendship with God and her life of grace; she starts to experience the reality of the Mystical Body and to acknowledge its members as her own sisters and brothers because they belong to the same family. They form one reality.” (Giaquinta, Gifts of the Holy Spirit)

The Mystical Body in Time and Space- Adapted from Program of Spiritual Life for the Apostolic Oblates, Bishop Giaquinta (Chapter 11, Pro Sanctity Formation Book 2008-2009)

As the physical body is located in time and space, so is the Mystical Body, or at least a part of it. Since we live in the world of today, we have responsibilities toward the people who are around us today. We must stress and develop ‘mystical relations’ with our brothers and sisters of today. Let us try to live, as intensely as possible, the life of the Mystical Body as the Lord offers it to us today – in the present environment. We are to be responsible for our brothers and sisters of today, and perhaps partially responsible for our brothers and sisters of tomorrow, but not for our brothers and sisters of yesterday. It is not only an unproductive and essentially fruitless occupation to look back to the past, but also a spiritually harmful one.

Solidarity within the Mystical Body requires that all its members be aware that the body must grow and multiply according to God’s command (Genesis 1:28), The Mystical Body of Jesus must expand on this earth through the multiplication of the soldiers of this militant Church in order that its Catholicism and universality may be actualized. The militant church will then find its fulfillment and completion in the Church of eternity. Called by Baptism to live the life of this Body, we must also feel the obligation to actively contribute to the multiplication of the children of God.
Reflection:
The first time I started paying attention to what the Church taught about the Mystical Body of Christ was when I joined the Legion of Mary. The Legion taught its members that they were to see Christ in all those they served. At the same time, we were to be Christ to others. Each member had a role and was part of the body with Christ as the head. Our Lady is the neck that joins the head and the body, but she is also the heart that that gives life by first receiving and then distributing life to the rest of the body. Recalling how we are all united in Christ’s body should inspire us to pray for one another’s sanctity.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day Five


Novena Reflection
By Kay Parlor


Holiness – Excerpts from Magnificat, 6/08, Holiness, Louis Lavelle © 2008 by Magnificat USA LLC

“The mark of holiness is to lay bare to us the relation between two worlds, the material and the spiritual….The saint stands at the frontier of the two worlds. In the midst of the visible world he (she) is a witness to the invisible – to something which is present in the deep life of all of us, but which the visible world hides or reveals according to the way we look at things. It is necessary that the saints should live among us, that they should be subject, like us, to all the wretchedness of our human condition, and that they should even seem to be overwhelmed by it; for in this way they teach us to be indifferent to all the glory of the world, proving to us in a striking manner that our true good lies elsewhere. The essence of holiness often manifests itself most clearly in the frustration the saint endures, in the pain which is inflicted on him, or which he inflicts on himself, in torture or in martyrdom….Not all saints are called to be martyrs. Yet our imagination needs these great examples as a measure of the distance there is between holiness and success. Holiness is the supreme success in the spiritual order; it is indifferent to worldly success and indeed despises it.”

Reflection:

Maybe it’s “an American thing”, but I always want big results, even when I feel I am doing God’s will. In the mission of promoting the call to holiness, we are often met with blank stares (lack of awareness), unread spiritual gems (lack of interest), empty seats (worldly busy-ness), etc. I’d be less than truthful if I said that I never battle against frustration or discouragement.

As I was reading the excerpt above, I was reminded of two of the ‘seed parables’ that appear in Mark’s gospel. (Mk. 4:26-32) Familiar to everyone is the mustard seed, that, though the smallest (seemingly insignificant) yields an enormous tree. The other parable teaches about the farmer who plants the seed and continues to go on about his life as normal--sleeping and rising day after day--while the seed grows, sprouts, and matures.

It is often like that in our apostolate also. Perhaps we are just one or two people, meeting to pray together or share Scripture, but Our Lord can use those small beginnings to work mightily! Sowing tiny “seeds” of love, hope, joy, confidence, etc. wherever we are can often flourish while we go about our business. St. Paul reminds us that “it is God who gives the growth!” (1Cor. 3:7) How liberating those words are to me—I just need to do my small part and leave the results to Him!

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Vote Catholic! Check it out! Please!!

Dear Pro Sanctity Members and Friends,

Many of the Bishops have been speaking courageously and eloquently about our duty as Catholics when we vote. In case you haven't seen Cardinal Egan's amazing letter, here is the link: http://www.cny.org/archive/eg/eg102308.htm

We who have the responsibility for formation of conscience must assist our bishops in forming the consciences of our brothers and sisters - with maximum determination (as JP2 says in the spirit of our Founder).

We recently offered a formation opportunity called Vote Catholic in 3 different parishes within the archdiocese. It is very good and a wonderfully clear teaching of Mother Church's wisdom and formation.

Please take the time to listen to it and share it with all your members. Under Hot Topics at www.prosanctity.org

Love, Jessi
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day Four


Day Four by Pro Sanctity Member.Marcus Knecht


1 Cor 8:13 ~ "Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin."


Paul teaches the church in Cornith that it's wise not to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols and pagan gods - not because there is any merit to the sacrifices, but because new Christians (who used to partake in such food under different beliefs) might not realize this, and be scandalized/confused. Paul teaches us about accountability on a deeper level. Not only are we held accountable for our own actions in-and-of-themselves, but also (to a certain extent) for what they cause others to do or convince them to believe. Obviously, eating food sustains us, which is a general good. How we obtain that food or the steps that are taken to bring that food to us might cause scandal or be offensive to those immediately around us. So, Paul isn't telling us to become vegetarians, he is telling us to be aware of our surroundings. Get to know those who are around us. We are given a lesson in relationship. The type of relations hip that fosters communion, not confusion. This takes time, heart, and energy.


Bishop Giaquinta realizes, like Paul, that this begins with our personal decisions: "I must be the first one to start my inner conversion. I must be the one to love my brother and not deceive him. I must be the first one to help him, to understand him. I must be the first one of all to convert my family if I want it changed. I must be the one first of all, if I want to transform this world."


What choices do I usually make, actions that I usually take, phrases that I'm known for saying that may cause others around me to question my Christianity? How can I transform the world if I am not in the process of transforming myself first?


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day Three

All Saints, all Brothers and Sisters who United in the Trinity
by Margaret Mathew - on the occasion of her birthday
!

“For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity – all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ – we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church.”CCC# 959


“Jesus…was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens. ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”Mk 1:9-11

This bible passage we can see the unity of the Trinity. When Jesus was baptized by John, and the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. Also the Father’s voice came from heaven “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” What a wonderful event! The same thing happened us when we were baptized, Heaven opened, the Holy spirit descended upon us, and also the Father’s, same voice came from heaven, Sometimes we forget this! We are God’s daughters and sons. We are call to be a dwelling place of Most Holy Trinity.

“The spirituality we present takes its orientation from the Father, Christ, and the Spirit. With these words we have traced the content of the first dimension of holiness. But how can we speak of a house, a Father, an older Brother, and a Spirit of Love, without thinking of those who live near us? They are our brothers because they are loved by the same Father, redeemed by the same Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit and have the same vocation to love-holiness that we do. We are all brothers living under the same roof, and at the same time, pilgrims toward the Father’s love”. Bishop William Giaguinta.

We can pray with St. Francis Xavier: "I adore you, God the Father who created me; God the Son who redeemed me; I adore you, O Holy Spirit who have so often sanctified me and are still sanctifying me. I consecrate to you my whole day for the pure love of you and for your greater glory. I do not know what is to happen to me today, whether troublesome things or pleasant ones, or whether I shall be happy or sad, in consolation or in grief. It will be as you please. I abandon myself to your providence and I submit to all your wishes.” Amen.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call To Holiness DAY TWO

October 24th

We are "no longer strangers and sojourners". It is so easy, isn't it to think of ourselves as strangers to one another-- to quietly lead our separate individual lives, to go about our days at school and at work without much thought of others-- that is until we need HELP. There is nothing like an unexpected event to wake us up to make us realize how much we truly need one another. Just over a month ago we were affected by a car accident. We were so grateful that no one was seriously hurt, but it put us in a place of humility and dependence, which we have learned is most often where God wants us to be. The blessing of this event for us has been twofold. It has filled us with gratitude for those around us who have shown us their care in deep practical ways, and it has also made us aware of our lack of giving to others. How much time does it take, really to do simple things such as make a phone call, write a letter, or share a kind word of greeting to show someone we care about them.

If we all just took that little bit of time to do what we could, great or small, to care for one another, just think how much closer we would be to Bishop Giaquinta's dream of All Saints, All Brothers and Sisters

Lord help us to put into practice the care for others that you constantly showed while you were on earth

Dan and Joan Kash
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Novena for the Celebration of the Universal Call to Holiness - Day ONE

October 23, 2008

“You can do something I cannot do. I can do something you cannot do. Together let us do something beautiful for God.” Mother Teresa

Among Others – While the body needs bread, the heart needs love. Each of us is a living part of our brothers and sisters, and we owe material aid and, especially, spiritual assistance. All who cross your path are your brothers and sisters, but those persons with whom you usually associate are even more so your brothers and sisters – approach them as though you have always known them.

For those who ask nothing of you nor want anything from you, give them the gift of a most attentive prayer. Founder Bishop G. Giaquinta


Reflection by Anne Zugelder

Lord Grant Us Saints

Two years ago, I was asked to participate in the prayer core group. My first thought was I have no time. I was sick. I was tired. Then there were others who could participate in this endeavor. Dan would write the letter inviting them to prayer. I would add the prayer intentions and make copies. Marion would stuff the envelopes and mail them out. It didn’t take a lot of time and the rewards have been great. Prayers have been answered and lives have been changed. Today people call, send emails and slow mail asking for prayers which are included in the prayer letter each month.

For me I am more aware of the goodness of God in others lives. I am amazed at the trust some people put in god. I pray that my own trust in God will increase. I see the interconnectedness among the people of God in this simple act of prayer. How much comfort prayer gives to those who are suffering.

Anne Zugelder
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

In Preparation for Novemeber 1st: let us align ourselves with the angels and saints as we journey toward the day of Universal Sanctification!

October 17, St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Ignatius and St. Paul: Wheat of Christ, bread for others


Bishop Giaquinta recalled the martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch in his retreat, Theology of the Cross: "The spiritual aspect of the Cross St. Ignatius of Antioch showed. Before being tossed to the lions, he rejoiced at the thought of being 'chewed to become immaculate bread of Christ.' He wrote his faithful in Antioch (he was a bishop) not to impede his martyrdom by appealing to Rome, for he was glad to die as Christ 'who died for us'. He reminded them that by his death he was not abandoning the world but living, as Christ, for it."

Bishop Giaquinta also teaches us how to follow the example of St. Ignatius of Antioch through examining the spirit of St. Paul. In Love is Revolution, he said:

"The way we must follow is exactly the same one that Paul followed on his way to Damascus. From the moment he surrendered himself unconditionally to love, he did not know how to deny anything to the Master and the brethren. Was the dream Paul had of converting the proud pagan world, in his adoration of the Just One on the Cross, any less utopian than our dream of a world of saints? The Apostle to the Gentiles did not hesitate; he let himself be consumed in a total gift of self to a tremendously demanding but immensely beautiful ideal.

The vocation to love is the most fascinating part of our Christian faith, even if living it and making it become lived is not easy and demands generosity. But are we not the sons and daughters of just such generosity? We read in the Letter to the Romans (Rom.1:14) that St. Paul considers himself obliged to all.


Also we are, above all toward those who with their generosity have handed down to us an ideal of faith and holiness. We are grateful to Peter because he accepted the condition of loving every other person more to become a servant to all the brothers; to Paul who abandoned himself to conquering love; to Ignatius of Antioch who spoke to us of mystical love that yearns to reach union with Christ by being devoured by beasts; to Benedict, to Francis, to Catherine, to Teresa, to John of the Cross, to Therese of. Lisieux, to the humble Cure of Ars and a hundred others who, like John, believed in love. (1John 4:12).

We, too, want to believe in love and make its self-giving the purpose of our lives. We are sure that if, by the end of our existence, we have increased by even a few degrees the intensity of love for the Father and our brethren, we will have done our part to make the utopia of saints more real for humanity, who are so much in need of it."


How does this challenge me today?

Do I desire to "make the utopia of saints more real for humanity" today?



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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Preparation for Novemeber 1st: let us align ourselves with the angels and saints as we journey toward the day of Universal Sanctification!


October 16, St. Hedwig and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
“I have come to bring fire upon the earth. How I wish that it were kindled!” (Lk 12:49).

We have a double header of holiness today! What did these two saints who lived hundreds of years apart have in common? They both were saints after the heart of God and burning with holiness. Their lives show how they sought to please God through faithfully living out their vocations, one a queen and one a nun.They strengthened their relationship with God through prayer and charitable works.

Bishop Giaquinta's own heart was also one with the heart of God. In Spirituality of the Pro Sanctity Movement he said,

"When we analyze the heart of Jesus, what do we find? We find the marks of redemption. When Jesus revealed his heart to St. Margaret Mary, He showed her a flame and a cross – the symbols of his redemptive love. What is, I dare to ask, the soul of the heart of Jesus? It is redemptive love – the love that prompted Him to all the consequences that we heard. Ultimately, why did Jesus become flesh, suffer and die on the cross? He did it to elicit from us an act of potentially infinite love. The highest and most intimate expression of Jesus’ redemptive love is summarized in one word: 'Sitio', 'Thirst.' Jesus came for souls, suffered for souls up to his last breath, and uttered his thirst for souls. Jesus’ 'Sitio' is not only the ultimate expression of his love, but an invitation to us to understand the extent of his love."


"This mystery of the love of God and of Jesus is extremely vast, gently sweet, but also tremendously challenging. It is a mystery that does not allow us to remain indifferent, to waver or to be faint-hearted. Rather, it impels us, as we said, to use the logic of our mind and heart and seriously strive to become saints." (Giaquinta)




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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Preparation for Novemeber 1st: let us align ourselves with the angels and saints as we journey toward the day of Universal Sanctification!

October 15, St. Teresa of Jesus

St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila, was well aware of St. Paul's teaching on the Body of Christ. See 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:13


Prayer of Teresa of Avila

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.


We each have a role to fulfill in the Body of Christ, and it begins with holiness! When it comes to saints, the Church desires quality over quantity. Bishop Giaquinta was not concerned with the number of members, but with each member's interior life. He considered Teresa of Avila's example in The Spirituality of the Pro Sanctity Movement:


"St. Teresa affirms that, 'the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, benefits more from the presence of one saint than the presence of a thousand people who try just to be saved.' This is because the life of the Church depends not so much on the quantity, but on the quality, and the intensity of love and the fervor of charity. These are two very important elements that need to be considered. In the Church, when a person becomes a saint, love grows in intensity and spreads in quantity according to the fervor with which it is received and responded to. Consequently, the greater the holiness of a saint, the more the grace merited for our brothers and sisters."


Thus, we help each other grow in holiness by our example, prayers, and by being God's instruments. There are no excuses that can be made for not responding to the call of holiness. In fact, Bishop Giaquinta cites Teresa of Avila again in Program of Spiritual Life:


"Let us meditate on what St. Teresa of Avila wrote in Interior Castle, and let us keep in mind that we will never be able to find the perfect environment for our sanctification. It is in the environment where we live here and now that we must become holy. But we will be able to do this only if we keep in mind the following three principles: we must sanctify ourselves within the shortcomings of the environment - without dreaming of an ideal world like the one that may be found only in Heaven. We must sanctify ourselves in spite of the shortcomings of the environment - without letting them overcome and drown us. We must sanctify ourselves through the defects of the environment - which must give us an incentive to strive more firmly for holiness."


Let us strive to sanctify our environment, beginning with ourselves. Are we praying for the sanctity of our brothers and sisters, especially those who "rub us the wrong way"? How are we helping each other to Heaven?


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