Be Holy, Be Happy!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Via Lucis - The First Station! (two submissions)

Jesus Rises from the Dead

Here is the center of it all, the center of all the mysteries and of all of life. Without Jesus rising from the dead, faith in him is in vain. The Lord suffered and died and rose again. How simple and how mysterious! No sin, no pain, no suffering could hold him bound. At this first station of light, I pray to be overtaken by the joy in the resurrection, overwhelmed with the power and mystery of it all because even if I don't understand it all, in faith I believe and I accept. (Msgr. Andrew Vaccari)

Jesus Rises from the Dead
We believe in Love even though facing an empty tomb (Giuliana 1998).

In the spiritual life we are reminded to embrace the darkness. Darkness is evil but it has much to teach us. Darkness with God’s grace reveals our brokenness, our wounds, our hurts, our pride and our emptiness without Him. Facing the darkness we are forced to turn towards the light and there we find hope, we find meaning, we see the patterns that lead us to look up and see that our God is alive! He has risen and our spirits cannot be kept down but rise with Him! He promised and he kept His word! He is raised! Amen!
(Teresa Monaghen)

Via Lucis - Easter Stations!

Join us in reflecting on the Stations of Light or Via Lucis started by Pope John Paul II.

Write your reflections and submit them to the Blog: comment, share and exchange.

We offer these reflections in honor of our late Holy Father and in thanksgiving for his life and legacy. We commemorate his death on April 2, 2008

Following is one of many suggestions for Via Lucis stations.
1. Jesus rises from the dead;
2. The disciples find the empty tomb;
3. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalen;
4. Jesus walks with the disciples to Emmaus;
5. Jesus reveals himself in the breaking of bread;
6. Jesus appears to the disciples;
7. Jesus confers on his disciples the power to forgive sins;
8. Jesus confirms Thomas in faith;
9. Jesus appears to his disciples on the shore of Lake Galilee;
10. Jesus confers primacy on Peter;
11. Jesus entrusts his disciples with a universal mission;
12. Jesus ascends into heaven;
13. Mary and the disciples await the Holy Spirit's Pentecost;
14. Jesus sends the Spirit promised by the Father to his disciples.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's the Octave!

Easter in Elkhorn, Ne

Urbi Et Orbi Message
of His Holiness Benedict XVI Easter 2008

Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum– I have risen, I am still with you, for ever. These words, taken from an ancient version of Psalm 138 (v. 18b), were sung at the beginning of today’s Mass. In them, at the rising of the Easter sun, the Church recognizes the voice of Jesus himself who, on rising from death, turns to the Father filled with gladness and love, and exclaims: My Father, here I am! I have risen, I am still with you, and so I shall be for ever; your Spirit never abandoned me.

In this way we enter the depths of the Paschal mystery. The astonishing event of the resurrection of Jesus is essentially an event of love: the Father’s love in handing over his Son for the salvation of the world; the Son’s love in abandoning himself to the Father’s will for us all; the Spirit’s love in raising Jesus from the dead in his transfigured body. And there is more: the Father’s love which “newly embraces” the Son, enfolding him in glory; the Son’s love returning to the Father in the power of the Spirit, robed in our transfigured humanity. From today’s solemnity, in which we relive the absolute, once-and-for-all experience of Jesus’s resurrection, we receive an appeal to be converted to Love; we receive an invitation to live by rejecting hatred and selfishness, and to follow with docility in the footsteps of the Lamb that was slain for our salvation, to imitate the Redeemer who is “gentle and lowly in heart”, who is “rest for our souls” (cf. Mt 11:29).

Dear brothers and sisters! Let us allow the light that streams forth from this solemn day to enlighten us; let us open ourselves in sincere trust to the risen Christ, so that his victory over evil and death may also triumph in each one of us, in our families, in our cities and in our nations. Let it shine forth in every part of the world.

Urbi Et Orbi Message of Benedict XVI Easter 2008


Sunday, March 23, 2008


"I Have Seen the Lord"
by Jackie Logue,
Aspiriant Cooperative
"But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping. Then as she wept, she stooped to look inside..."
John 20: 11-18

I imagine Mary this morning, her thoughts racing, her pulse elevating as she finds the stone rolled from the entrance of the tomb. Immediately, she reacts. In her panic, she decides she knows what the problem is: Someone has taken his body. And she’s going to do everything in her power to fix it.

Her anguish, which causes her to see the empty tomb as a problem that she needs to fix, threatens to block her receptivity of the gift of the Resurrection, her identity as well as her mission. If she stays within her grief and never empties herself of it, she will receive her identity from that grief and be forever know as the angry, bitter woman at the empty tomb wailing, “They have taken my Lord away!”

Fortunately, this is not how the story ends!

But how does Mary move out of this false responsibility? How does Mary come to RECEIVE her identity in the love of our Resurrected Lord and RESPOND in mission?

I think the answer is in her weeping. She empties her heart out to God. Can you imagine how each and every molecule in each and every tear carried with it the complicated contents of her heart? As she empties herself of anguish I imagine that the Holy Spirit infuses her soul with an awareness of her identity, the one she received the day she first turned to the Lord. She belongs to Jesus. She is His. As this awareness breaks through the waves of grief, freedom returns.

Then, with the courage of a bride in search of her bridegroom, she moves into the dark tomb where she expects to have her suspicions confirmed. He is gone. But it is precisely in what she thinks will be an abyss of loneliness that she discovers that she is not alone. Exactly where she expects to find nothing she finds everything. All her assumptions are up-ended. She receives the gift of the Resurrection, and in it, her deepened call to mission, personally and particularly. It all happens there in the darkness of the grave in the presence of her beloved Jesus.

Jesus, in my anguish I have no capacity for imagining the awe of your plan, to dispel all evil, wash guilt away, restore lost innocence, and bring mourners joy. But when you speak my name, my heart harkens back to the first time I heard your voice and received my identity as your bride. I remember the love you stirred in me back then, and in gratitude, I am filled with desire to receive more of you, to RECEIVE my identity once again and RESPOND in mission as Mary did.

“Go to the brothers, Mary. Tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God.” With her identity deepened and mission reiterated, her anguish transformed, she runs to her brothers and sisters saying more compellingly than ever, “I have seen the Lord!”


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Friday a call to embrace holiness...Jesus, truth!

Good Friday

by Teresa Monaghen

"Over his head they hung the accusation: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."Mt. 27:37

"Where is he who has been born King of the Jews, for we have see his star in the East and have come to worship him." Mt. 2:2

The Jews and the Romans did not recognize the King, but the foreigners did! All the signs were there, but so few had their eyes and their hearts open. I am touched by those who did, those who were able to see Jesus for who he truly was: the centurion, the good thief, the women...they knew, but most, however were blind. The fact that they tormented him excessively reveals they did believe; Jesus was King of the Jews and Son of God. Their hearts were deeply bothered by this awareness because truth challenges us, antagonizes and troubles us. Just being in the presence of the truth can stir us to reaction.

I pray that this Good Friday Night, this most holy night when we spend many long hours before the Cross, contemplating the cross, and confronted by the cross that the eyes of our inner life will be opened and strengthened to see and follow truth: to know who is the King of the Jews, the Gentiles and of our lives and embrace HIM

Who is He? He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords; He is King of our lives, come let us adore Him. Amen.

Lord, I know that you have loved me from eternity. You love me and long to make my relationship of love with you stronger and stronger throughout the years. Grant that this knowledge be the light that leads my every step, the norm that guides my every action, and especially the flame that burns in my heart instilling renewed strength for my journey.
(G. Giaquinta)


Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Thursday: The Way of Holiness

The Way of Holiness
by Kris McGregor (Spirit Catholic Radio KVSS 88.9)

The Church in her great wisdom gives us the Gospel of John on this celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Instead of repeating the institution narrative, which we hear with every Eucharistic prayer, we are given a teaching that offers us the deeper meaning of the Eucharist.

The washing of the feet is not a miracle. (Or is it?) But it is one of Jesus’ supreme signs. It sums up His whole life and teaching. This action is so compelling that if we don't undergo it on some level, we will never really understand Him. We will never truly appreciate what is given to us in the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist. It is to encounter the overwhelming nature of divine love; a love that is given, received and poured out for the sake of all. Without this encounter, we will never truly know the way to respond to our universal call to holiness.

In this passage, Jesus was once again turning his culture upside down. Feet-washing was normally done by slaves, children or wives. By washing the pollution of the day from the feet of men, Jesus humbles himself even more completely. In this humility, He loves His friends and betrayers with the same love that He shares with His Father. Peter rejects the invitation to have his feet washed by the Master because he doesn't understand it. He resists and rejects an act of supreme love. Peter feels shame, insecurity and unworthiness (perhaps not unlike Adam after the fall in the Garden?). Jesus persists and forces him to confront the darkest and deepest part of himself and calls him, along with all of us, to a new way of receiving love. At the same time, Jesus insists that this same act of love be shared with others. Through this washing, pollution is replaced by cleanliness. Through the persistence of divine love, Peter’s humiliation, and ours as well, is replaced by humility. Jesus says to all who follow Him “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” The light on the path of holiness now shows us the way.

Reflecting on the great mystery of this action St. Ambrose said:

“ I, then, wish also myself to wash the feet of my brethren, I wish to fulfil the commandment of my Lord, I will not be ashamed in myself, nor disdain what He Himself did first. Good is the mystery of humility, because while washing the pollutions of others I wash away my own. “

The Lord loves each of us unconditionally. His love has power to set us free to serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility. All the saints understood this mystery of self-giving love. It is the great response of Mary’s “fiat”. Does the love of Christ rule in your heart, thoughts, intentions and actions?

"Lord Jesus, your love conquers all and never fails. Help us to love others freely, with heart-felt compassion, kindness and goodness. Continue to help us in responding to our call to holiness"

The Gospel for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Special Guest Blogger: Fr. Bert Buby, S.M. Scripture Scholar

Passion Sunday: What does the death of Jesus mean to me today?

Scripture: Isaiah 50:4-7. Philippians 2:6-11. Psalm 22:8-9.17-20.23-24. Matthew's Passion Narrative: Matthew 26:14-27,66.27:11-54. Lectionary # 38

Passion Sunday will be celebrated with a procession with palms and the reading of Matthew's Passion Narrative. The Synoptic Gospels take their turn in the A.B.and C cycles of the liturgical calendar. Since we follow the traditional western order, Matthew (A), Mark (B), Luke (C) we are to listen to Matthew.

A good way of paying attention to this is first to read all of the last two chapters of Matthew which are the full Passion, Death, and Resurrection narratives that also contain the Last Supper. By asking ourselves what does this death of Jesus mean to me as I read the perspective of it given to me by Matthew this year?

The other readings and Psalm 22 are a way of looking at the Passion Narrative in order to deepen our motivation in answering the question what does Jesus' death mean for me today. We are aware that the Passion Narrative of Mark is closest to the happenings of the Jesus who lived in the first third of the first century.

His last two days occupy more space than the other days in these narratives of the evangelists. We can learn more about Matthew through reflecting upon his chief source that of Mark's Gospel. He changes very little but where he does we find the perspective of Matthew. This theological point of view is important for us on this Sunday when we concentrate on Matthew' account of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. We will help ourselves to ponder over what Matthew is telling us about these last forty-eight hours of Jesus life by carefully taking note of the many explicit as well as implicit referencees to the Old Testament. He crafts his detailed story by using the fulfillment citations throughout his Gospel and now in the Passion of the Christ they are more prevalent. Some are implicit others quite explicit. We,like Matthew, are rereading the prophets especially Isaiah II and Zechariah with the viewpoint of Matthew, probably a converted Jewish scholar or tax-collector as suggested in the tradition about this author. He probably has written this some ten to fifteen years after Mark's Gospel.

As we read the fulfillment texts through the footnotes in our Bible or the parallels to the Old Testament we see that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings (Psalms). We realize how much Matthew relied on these divinely inspired writings and brought them to bear on Jesus life and death and resurrection. The innocence of Jesus is seen in the shedding of his blood as in a sacrifice made willingly to the God of love, his Father. When the chalice or cup is prayed over Matthew adds that this is done for the forgiveness of sins. Here is where our question about how does the death of Jesus affect me can be more deeply pondered over with our hearts, our minds, and our whole being. We see that Judas himself who betrayed Jesus is the one who contrasts with him but struggles with the innocence of Jesus' blood.

We take up the Psalm that most closely resembles what Jesus is going through and make it our prayer. This urgent plea to God not to forsake us helps us to identify with Jesus' death. We can also use the beautiful liturgical hymn that Paul gives us about the meaning of Jesus who was equal to God but took on our limited human nature so that through his total surrender in suffering and death he could return to his Father and have the name above all other names in his glorified state as Son of God.

Matthew will remind us throughout the Passion Narrative to meditate on Jesus as the Son of God. Since we are for the most part Gentiles who will be listening to this Passion Narrative on this Sunday we can join in the final expression of faith in the Roman soldiers who confirms Jesus is dead but proclaims, Truly this man was God's Son! Amen.

(Fr. Bert Buby, SM, Professor at the International Marian Research Institute, Dayton and good friend of Teresa Monaghen. Fr. Bert writes a daily reflection on the scriptures of the day. Go to


Sunday, March 9, 2008

March 15, 2008, Solemnity of St Joseph

Today we honor Joseph, the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus. Just as we know that Mary was chosen by God from all women to be the mother of Jesus, so to we should be aware that Joseph was chosen by God to be his earthly father—both because of his lineage being from the line of David, and also because of his strong and honorable character.

We also know that Joseph listened and did as the angel of the Lord instructed both in the instance in the gospel prior to Jesus’ birth and several instances thereafter. In reflecting on this quality, we must ask ourselves how attentive we are to the still small voice within us to do as the Lord asks us both in the big and little decisions of our lives

When we think of our own fathers, we see them as men of honor who work hard to provide for us materially but also to set an example of selflessness and compassion. We can emulate these qualities as well by doing what we can to respond to the material and spiritual needs around us.

We also cannot forget that we too are in the lineage of Christ, his brothers and sisters, adopted sons and daughters of God Himself. In Romans 8:15-16 we read: For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption through which we cry “abba, Father”.

Let us strive to live fully this high calling as we continue to journey closer to Easter

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Gospel Maximum of Love and Holiness

Fifth Sunday of Lent

By Joan Patten

“Master, the one you love is ill.” This was the urgent message that Mary and Martha sent to Jesus. There are three positions to examine in this short line: the one who spoke the message, the one the message is about, and the one whom the message is addressed.

What is first striking is the intimacy of the relationship that Martha and Mary have with Jesus. They freely and confidently ask Jesus for His help, His gifts, and His presence. Both Martha and Mary believe in His love for them. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” This line should make us pause and ask ourselves, is our relationship with Jesus like this? Do we confidently bring our needs to Him and let Him love us? In the Gospel it says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” See how much Jesus loves the family of Bethany: He calls Lazarus His friend and He cries with Mary. There is an exchange of love between them and Jesus, a mutual attending of one another’s hearts. They profess their belief and trust in Him and He gives them the gifts of His love and presence. So deep is this relationship, that Martha and Mary recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Do we know who Jesus is and who we are as a result of our relationship with Him? Sharing the same sentiment, Bishop Giaquinta’s prayer exclaims: “Tell me my Lord that you love me, speak to my heart once again, cry out to me ever stronger, I am breathless when faced with your love.” Yes, tell us how much you love us, Lord, and then we will know who we are: the one you love.

The second position in the passage: “Master, the one you love is ill” is the one loved by Jesus, the one who is sick. This is me, this is you, this is our brothers and sisters. Bishop Giaquinta always had an eye on “the others”. Do we notice the needs of my brothers and sisters; do we see them and love then as the ones Jesus loves? Like Jesus, we must look at others with compassion, especially those who have forgotten that they are loved by Jesus or do not know that they are loved. As Pro Sanctity members we have been entrusted to announce the Universal Call to Holiness. Do we believe that all of our brothers and sisters are beloved sons and daughters of the Father and do our attitudes reflect this belief? We have often heard that sanctity is s community project; no one should go to Heaven alone! Giuliana Spigone wrote a beautiful letter on the resurrection of Lazarus in 2002. In it she reminded us that we must first reach out to those immediately around us. “Many times we feel compassion toward people who are far from the Lord and make intercessions for them, yet we find it difficult to recognize our own internal and mutual need for the Lord’s presence. All too often we do not notice the need that our [family has] for the Lord, need for my help to meet the Lord, and to love - my [family’s] truest illness.” Do we love each other enough that we pull each other up, closer to the tabernacle, closer to the Heart of Jesus?

The third position is the Lord’s, for this plea: “Master, the one you love is ill” is made to Him. He is the God who loves us and keeps His promises. In the first reading from Ezekiel, we read, “I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord. I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.” As you read today’s readings, look for His promises. They are promises made to us today, not promises of yesterday. Underline these promises as they come up, because it is a sign of His love for us. Today, Jesus made the promise to us, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Can we answer with Martha, “Yes, Lord.” Treasure the promises that He has made to us like His faithful presence in the Eucharist and His assurance to be with His Church. Simply rest in knowing you are loved by the King and Creator of the Universe and He desires to dwell in you. In Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Spe Salvi, he states: “it is the great hope based upon God's promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad.” Mary, our Mother did not let hope die, even under the tragedy of the cross. We too, must pray for the trust to turn to God in all areas in our lives and those of our brothers and sisters. We pray that our hope will never die, but grow stronger as we look ahead towards the promise of our Heavenly home.

For today's readings from the USCCB web site

Fr. Cantalamessa wrote a commentary on today’s Gospel: Resurrection of the Heart

For Giuliana Spigone’s letter The Resurrection of Lazarus


Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Gospel Maximum of Love and Holiness

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Sunday Readings
by Jessi Kary

Born blind from birth, the man in this Gospel likely had a heightened sense of hearing. Without the ability to see, his other senses would have developed more fully in an attempt to compensate for his lack of sight. Perhaps we can consider this a particular way the Father cultivated his heart to receive the Good New and profess faith in Jesus Christ. The blind man was disposed to listening. He listened not only to the external world with a profound acuteness, but also the whisperings he found within his own heart. Thus, when he heard the voice of Christ, he spoke to Jesus of the desires of his heart.

Do I take time to pause and listen to the thoughts, feelings, and desires in my heart?
Do I bring them to Jesus without reservation?

The blind man is also an example to us because he allowed Jesus to use his poverty to glorify the Father. He boldly professed faith in Jesus – both to Christ and to the Scribes. He offered not only the poverty of his blindness to be transformed by Christ but also the poverty of his status. The teachers of the law ridiculed him for trying to teach them. Yet, touched and transformed by Christ, the man said, “He is a prophet.”

Do I offer Jesus my poverty, my weakness, my inability, my insufficiencies, trusting in God’s strength rather than my own?
Or do I ignore my poverty or try to overcome it, trusting in my own strength.

Giuliana invites us into the apostolic silence that transforms the world. The blind man surely pondered in silence and responded with courage to the invitation of Christ and became a powerful witness of Jesus. We are invited into apostolic silence as well.

“I would like only to remind us of the times when the Virgin Mary was silent, ‘Pondering in her heart all the wonders of the Almighty.’ Mary’s silence is full of meaning; it is filled with the Word. It is almost like an Easter Vigil, preparing Mary for other silences; the silence under the Cross, in order to accept with fortitude the death of her Son; the silence of the Cenacle, in order to bring forth her sons, courageous witnesses of the Resurrection.

Mary’s silence becomes our silence, a heroic silence about self and every thing in order to treasure the wonders which the Lord does in and through us. May we accept silence in reparation for the weaknesses and failures that fill our days. May our silence, like suffering accepted in love, produce Redemption. May the Virgin Mary teach us apostolic silence and help us speak only one phrase, ‘Here I am.’” (Giuliana Spigone).

Am I afraid or unwilling to say, “Here I am” – just as I am?
Am I honest as I speak to the Lord – presenting myself just as I am?

May the Virgin Mary teach us apostolic silence and help us speak only one phrase, Here I am.’”