Be Holy, Be Happy!

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.

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.

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

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.

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.
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.


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.”


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!


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:

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

Love, Jessi

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?


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.


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

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

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?


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)


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?


Saturday, October 11, 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 12: New Saints!
Today Pope Benedict XVI will canonize four new saints: Mary Bernard Bütler, Gaetano Errico, Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception (Anna Muttathupadathu), and Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán. These saints have known us for a long time, but do we know them? Let's get to know them better and make them our friends!
Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception is the first woman of India to be canonized.At her beatificat
ion, John Paul II said:

"...the path to holiness for Sister Alphonsa was clearly a different one. It was the way of the Cross, the way of sickness and suffering.Already at a very young age, Sister Alphonsa desired to serve the Lord as a religious, but it was not without enduring trials that she was finally able to pursue this goal. When it became possible, she joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. Throughout her life, which was a brief thirty-six years, she continually gave thanks to God for the joy and privilege of her religious vocation, for the grace of her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

From early in her life, Sister Alphonsa experienced great suffering. With the passing of the years, the heavenly Father gave her an ever fuller share in the Passion of his beloved Son. We recall how she experienced not only physical pain of great intensity, but also the spiritual suffering of being misunderstood and misjudged by others. But she constantly accepted all her sufferings with serenity and trust in God, being firmly convinced that they would purify her motives, help her to overcome all selfishness, and unite her more closely with her beloved divine Spouse. She wrote to her spiritual director: 'Dear Father, as my good Lord Jesus loves me so very much, I sincerely desire to remain on this sick bed and suffer not only this, but anything else besides, even to the end of the world. I feel now that God has intended my life to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering' (20 November 1944).

She came to love suffering because she loved the suffering Christ. She learned to love the Cross through her love of the crucified Lord.
Sister Alphonsa knew that by her sufferings she shared in the Church’s apostolate; she found joy in them by offering them all to Christ. In this way, she seemed to have made her own the words of Saint Paul: 'I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church' . She was endowed by God with an affectionate and happy disposition, with the ability to take delight in ordinary and simple things. The weight of human suffering, even the misunderstanding or jealousy of others, could not extinguish the joy of the Lord which filled her heart. In a letter written shortly before she died, at time of intense physical and mental suffering, she said: 'I have given myself up completely to Jesus. Let him please himself in his dealings with me. My only desire in this world is to suffer for love of God and to rejoice in doing it' (February 1946)."

For the Vatican's biography on St. Alphonsa click here!

Our Founder, Bishop Giaquinta had a deep love for India. In 1975, the Pro Sanctity Movement began to form in Kerala. Today, the movement has fully blossomed with many members committed to spreading the universal call to holiness! Bishop Giaquinta's prayer for India expressed his desire for the holiness of her people.

O mother India,
a prayer is lifted up to Christ for you:
may your children become
brothers and sisters in faith and love.
Behold the reason for which we sing:
Kerala, palms’ land,
Kerala, India’s jewel:
Ascend over your people;
You are a symbol of holiness.

(Giaquinta, excerpt from Hymn to Kerala)

With the recent violence against the Catholic Church in India, let us pray for our brothers and sisters with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI:"While I firmly condemn every attack against human life, whose sacredness demands the respect of all, I express my spiritual closeness and solidarity to the brothers and sisters in the faith who have been so harshly tried. I implore the Lord to accompany and sustain them at this time of suffering and to give them the strength to continue in the service of love on behalf of all. I ask religious leaders and civil authorities to work together to re-establish among the members of the various communities the peaceful coexistence and harmony that have always been a hallmark of Indian society."

St. Alphonsa, Pray for us!


Monday, October 6, 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 7,
Our Lady of the Rosary
or Our Lady of Pompei

They did it again! Pope John Paul II and Bishop William Giaquinta put their heads together and have some beautiful words about Our Mother Mary for us!

"It would be impossible to name all the many Saints who discovered in the Rosary a genuine path to growth in holiness."(JP2)

Pope John Paul II in his apotolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, gives us a little history of this memorial. "As a true apostle of the Rosary, Blessed Bartolo Longo (pictured below) had a special charism. His path to holiness rested on an inspiration heard in the depths of his heart: 'Whoever spreads the Rosary is saved!'. As a result, he felt called to build a Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Pompei, against the background of the ruins of the ancient city, which scarcely heard the proclamation of Christ before being buried in 79 A.D. during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, only to emerge centuries later from its ashes as a witness to the lights and shadows of classical civilization. By his whole life's work and especially by the practice of the 'Fifteen Saturdays', Bartolo Longo promoted the Christocentric and contemplative heart of the Rosary, and received great encouragement and support from Leo XIII, the 'Pope of the Rosary'."

"With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer."

(John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae)

Bishop Giaquinta taught us that "the rosary is a contemplation of the mystery of Jesus, seen through the eyes of Mary, and therefore it must be prayed with a peaceful and gentle spirit, as a simple and loving prayer."

" is good to pause on each of the mysteries and meditate on them, for they form the essence of the Rosary, but at the same time we must realize that the repetition of the Hail Mary provides a special form of prayer of petition. You know that the prayer of petition is the prayer through which we ask. With the Rosary, we turn to Mary and plead: 'Pray for us. Pray for us. You, Mary, pray for us, for we do not know how to pray.' Do you think that after we repeated this plea one hundred times, 'Pray for us', Mary will refuse to listen to us? Isn’t this form of petition what Jesus suggested: 'Beg and you shall receive?' Remember what we read in the Gospel: 'Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.' Ultimately, we must learn to blend the two elements of the Rosary, contemplation and petition, and learn to gaze upon the mysteries with the eyes of Mary, and imitate what they suggest, as Mary did." (Giaquinta, Our Life as Apostolic Oblates)

May we entrust all our needs and intentions to Mary, Our Mother and let her lead each of us and our nation to Jesus!


Sunday, October 5, 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 5, Respect Life Sunday
John Paul II and Bishop William Giaquinta, spiritual fathers who accompany us on the road to holiness!

Both John Paul II and Bishop William Giaquinta dreamed and prayed for the holiness of our society. Their dream has been entrusted to us and challenges us to examine our fidelity in being "leaven in the world" and "building a culture of life".

Excerpts from Pope John Paul II's encyclical,
Evangelium vitae:

"The Creator has entrusted man's life to his responsible concern, not to make arbitrary use of it, but to preserve it with wisdom and to care for it with loving fidelity. The God of the Covenant has entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters, according to the law of reciprocity in giving and receiving, of self-giving and of the acceptance of others. In the fullness of time, by taking flesh and giving his life for us, the Son of God showed what heights and depths this law of reciprocity can reach. With the gift of his Spirit, Christ gives new content and meaning to the law of reciprocity, to our being entrusted to one another. The Spirit who builds up communion in love creates between us a new fraternity and solidarity, a true reflection of the mystery of mutual self-giving and receiving proper to the Most Holy Trinity. The Spirit becomes the new law which gives strength to believers and awakens in them a responsibility for sharing the gift of self and for accepting others, as a sharing in the boundless love of Jesus Christ himself."

"We need to bring the Gospel of life to the heart of every man and woman and to make it penetrate every part of society."

ll together, we must build a new culture of life: new, because it will be able to confront and solve today's unprecedented problems affecting human life; new, because it will be adopted with deeper and more dynamic conviction by all Christians; new, because it will be capable of bringing about a serious and courageous cultural dialogue among all parties. While the urgent need for such a cultural transformation is linked to the present historical situation, it is also rooted in the Church's mission of evangelization. The purpose of the Gospel, in fact, is 'to transform humanity from within and to make it new'. Like the yeast which leavens the whole measure of dough (cf. Mt 13:33), the Gospel is meant to permeate all cultures and give them life from within, so that they may express the full truth about the human person and about human life.

"Excerpts from Bishop Giaquinta's Love is Revolution:
"We cannot expect to overthrow society, but we must have the courage of presenting to everyone an exact idea of what a world of authentic brotherhood and sanctity would be like.
True Christianity has more of a job than just making known the maximum of love toward God, or sanctity; it must also make the maximum of love toward the brethren lived, a maximum that derives from the vocation to holiness, the vocation to Christ’s brotherhood. This is the third dimension of sanctity."

"It is necessary for us to know and to make known this need for totality in our relationships, and to arouse everywhere therefore a need for generous and profound living
of Christ’s brotherhood."

"If everyone would begin to believe these principles, to speak of them, to discuss them, to defend and spread them with every means available, we would already have accomplished a work of fundamental importance in leavening society."