Archive for January, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

St John Bosco

St John Bosco

1815-1888

My God, fortunate is he who has tasted how sweet

it is to work for the salvation of souls…..

Give me souls, Lord

And take all the rest.

Lord help us as individuals and as the church to come back to this kind of passion for the lost.

But I have this against you,

you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Remember then from what you have fallen,

repent and do the works you did at first.

—Revelation 2:4-5a

St John Bosco, pray for us.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   5:40 PM  |   0 comments
Friday, January 28, 2011

Hold on to Your Confidence

Remember the days past, when after you had been enlightened,

you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse or

affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.

You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,

knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;

it will have great recompense.

You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what He has promised.

For, after just a brief moment,

He who is to come, shall come;

He shall not delay.

But my just one shall live by faith,

And if He draws back, I take no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:32-38

What is your difficulty today my fellow wanderer? Do you know Christ but are enduring a great contest of suffering? Have you joined these trials with Christ’s wounds on the cross yet feel your confidence slipping ?

Don’t throw it away…Our challenge is to endure in doing the will of God ~ for the reward for our faith in Him will be great.

His coming will not be delayed..soon all this worldly pain and injustice will be

no more.

We are not among those who draw back and perish,

but among those who have faith and possess life.

—Hebrews 10: 39

On this feast of St Thomas Aquinas, may we grow in wisdom and holiness by imitating his faith.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   3:48 PM  |   0 comments
Friday, January 28, 2011

Where’s Your Peace ?

The other night we had a wicked storm roll in. It’s a part of life when you live here in the tropics, but no matter how accustomed to them you become, they can rattle your peace.

I write this blog because the noise of the world can become like that storm. We’re all used to it ..it’s a part of our life, but it’s robbing so many of us of our peace. Seems like it gets darker and louder every day. You can’t ignore the storms of life any more than you can mother nature’s wild dark horses thundering in a threatening storm.

We have to be realists. There’s a lot out there to make some noise about. All you have to do is spend 5 minutes on a news site. You’ll see enough to make you throw your hands up thinking hope is for fools. Or you might be tempted to hide your head in the sand believing if you just keep pressing on the storm will roll around you. Anger is a popular choice for some.

Unfortunately, none of these means of expression will either prevent nor postpone the realities we face nor promote peace in your life. So how do you process the turmoil and still keep your inner peace? First, you have to decide you want to have peace. It’s not going to come looking for you. You have to determine you want it.

By the way, there’s a lot of dangerous methods to help you on that mission, but they will all lead you into deeper darkness. I’m talking about the New Age methods of meditation and all it encompasses. It’s a counterfeit to the real peace that only Christ can give. Sadly, I’ve seen it promoted in churches and retreat centers.

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6

No body can give you the peace you’re looking for except Jesus.. Nothing will fix the fear and apprehension of the future except the only one who knows the future. Today, we have too many people who call themselves peacemakers, but they have not yet made peace within themselves… and I’m talking about church people. You can’t design a ‘peace program’ with signs and banners of good will alone. We have a lot of people willing to create a false peace and they’re selling out the truth to do it.

When the storm is raging,  you have to be able to see yourself as steady as a giant oak…like the one in my front yard that has probably passed through hundred’s of storms virtually untouched. I was watching it the other night as the winds were raging and I was praying quietly,

Look at that tree Lord..How does it stand so firm in the midst of the violent wind and rain ?

And I heard that still small voice saying,

It doesn’t stand but for the depths of it’s roots. It doesn’t have to struggle..because it’s security is built in it’s foundation.

‘Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them,

I will show you what he is like:

he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid his foundation upon a rock;

and when a flood arose,

the stream broke against that house,

and could not shake it,

because it had been well built.’

—Luke 6: 47-48

The louder and more intimidating the storm, the more stillness and prayer are required…

Be still and know that I am God.

—Psalm 46:10

Let the winds blow…

A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand;

but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes

and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,

the Most High your habitation,

no evil shall befall you,

no scourge come near your tent.

—Psalm 91: 7-10

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   2:01 AM  |   1 comments
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who Are You, Lord ?

The Conversion of St. Paul

Conversions are true miracles and they don’t just happen to people who get “knocked off their horse.” In fact, Scripture doesn’t actually say Paul was on one.

What he was on– was a mission to deliver those who believed in Christ to prison and death.. So righteous and zealous was his blindness that we first meet him assisting at the stoning of Stephan,  (Acts 7:59)

Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the

feet of a young man named..Saul.

Conversion happens when, by the mercy of God, the light goes on in our heart, we finally see Jesus as the source of our eternal life…and ourselves for what we really are; sinners saved by the grace of Christ’s completed work on the cross.

I love that Paul is never afraid to tell his story. He’s never too proud to tell others from what depths God has pulled him out. Paul tells his story three times that I know of.

Acts 9 : 1-22

Acts 22: 3-16

Acts 26: 12-18

The first reading of the Mass today used the second telling where Paul had been arrested by the Jews and was on trial in the temple for stirring up trouble by working to convert the world to …Christianity. Yes, the one who was once a persecutor becomes a follower of Christ … a teacher to the nations and now, the one being persecuted.

This my friends, is a miracle greater than any physical healing we may witness, because one is temporal..the other is eternal.

No doubt you have heard of Paul’s Damascus Road conversion. If you have not, you simply must read it..It is important for many reasons, including as it relates to the church– because this is where St Paul derived his whole theology of the mystical body of Christ, (Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12) and we learn that Baptism washes away our sins. ( Father Mitch Pacwa )

It was the great light from heaven that suddenly shone about Paul as he drew near Damascus. He fell to the ground when he heard a voice asking,

Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?

To which Paul answered,

Who are You, Lord ?

This is the question we all must ask. If you want the answer, Jesus will give it to you. If you open your heart, His light will come in just as it did for Saul, whom Jesus renamed, Paul.  All you have to do is ask.

That’s what I did at the age of 25, when life handed me a series of trials from which no one thought I would ever heal emotionally. I asked. He answered.

It was my Damascus Road experience and I have been walking with Him working out my salvation ever since.

Conversion doesn’t end when the light comes in. It only begins.

The most important thing of all to Paul, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else; were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers. He preferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than to be without that love and be among the great and honored.

—St John Chrysostom

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   9:08 PM  |   0 comments
Monday, January 24, 2011

Pray for Our Men and Women in Law Enforcement

I normally don’t post about news stories. Others do it much better than I ever could.

I’m called to stick with how the Scriptures and lives of the saints can give us hope and healing in the midst of these turbulent times we live in.

But today, close to my home two police officers were killed in the line of duty this morning. Again.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/

local/pinellas/reports-officers-down-st-pete-012411

January 20th two officers were killed in Miami…In June 2010 two were killed in Tampa.

This is close to my heart. I come from a family of police officers. My father was one… A gold shield New York City homicide detective who gave more of himself for the safety of others than I could ever give homage to here.. two of his brothers were also detectives.

My father would want me to ask you to pray for his fallen brothers and their families.

I’m going to add a link to my side bar to include prayer for protection over all our law enforcement officers.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Policeman’s Prayer

Another day, Lord to do my work,

unsure of what lies ahead.

It may hold the chance to help those in need,

and that would be my desire.

I pray that you will empower me to be a

peacemaker to all I come in contact with.

To the helpless, may I be a helper,

to the distressed, may I be a comfort.

To those who plan evil, may I be a deterrent,

and to those who have carried out their plans

may I be a sword of justice so they will no longer

prey on the weak and hurting.

I humbly ask that you surround me with your angels,

and a wall of fire for protection.

And if, in the course of your plan,

I find this day to be my last,

the concern of my life is that you would be

the Father to my children and,

the provider to my wife.

In Jesus’ name, Amen


+PAX



posted by Caroline  |   7:52 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, January 23, 2011

Come After Me-I Will Make You Fishers of Men

One of my favorite Bible teachers told me once

if you expect me to spoon feed you everything you need to know about a Scripture

you’ve come to the wrong class.

She taught me to study hard, but lean on the Holy Spirit to give the understanding.  This is my hope for you every time I post or comment about a Scripture.

Study the cross references, read each Scripture in context, meditate on how the Sunday readings relate to one another….What does the church teach, what does the Catechism say ?  Then ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding. Wait upon Him…

I promise– if you ask…He will give it to you.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,

who gives to all men generously and without reproaching,

and it will be given to him.

—James 1:5

My goal is to make you hungry .. To draw you to Christ that  He may satisfy your need.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Isaiah 8:23-9:3

1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17

Matthew 4:13-17

This Sunday’s gospel speaks of two sets of brothers whom Jesus sees as He is walking the Sea

of Galilee. They were casting their nets into the sea because fishing was the trade of their hands. It’s what they knew…

It’s how they put food on their table.  To Peter and Andrew He says,

Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.

At once they left their nets and followed Him.

Continuing on, Jesus sees James and John who were in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending nets; He called to them,

and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed Him.

There is so much food here for meditation:

  • the ordinary being called by name to do the extraordinary
  • the immediacy of their obedience
  • willingness to leave the security of their family and work
  • it helps if you know how to mend nets

Each of us in every generation, must hear the call of the Savior to enlarge the church and share the gospel. It always involves obedience and a resistance of the temptation to be sidetracked by other gods…earthly pursuits. No one escapes without leaving something familiar and secure behind .. but Jesus will always give You more of Himself as a reward.

What will you surrender to follow Jesus that He may make you “a fisher of men” ?

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   2:33 AM  |   2 comments
Friday, January 21, 2011

St Agnes, Meet Jersey Shore

St Agnes of Rome

D. 304

Have you seen Jersey Shore?  I don’t recommend it, but sadly it is representative of the aberrant sex infested “friends with benefits” culture we live in.

Innocence ? That will get you laughed off a college campus.. And probably the local middle school too.

Once, mature adults would have looked at these 20 somethings on reality TV who live every drunken, sexual excess imaginable and been horrified. But no, one of the stars, Mike “The Situation,” was on Dancing With the Stars and recently, Jay Leno. When they filmed on the shore, Jersey star Snooki, was arrested for drunken disorderly conduct on the beach. DJ Pauli, another tee shirt talent, was getting $40,000 for club appearances a year ago.

They’re famous, you know.

Saint Agnes of Rome is said to have been martyred for her faith in 304, at the age of 12 during the Emperor Diocletian’s vicious persecution. She had made a promise to God never to stain her purity. The legends that surround this beautiful young woman are not just stories, but are rooted in facts.

Agnes was relentlessly pursued by eager young men who desired to marry her, but it was Procop, the Governors son, who took revenge on her rejection by reporting her to the authorities because she was a Christian. His father attempted to persuade Agnes to change her mind threatening her with torture by fire…but she didn’t budge.

She was stripped and sent to a brothel where young men were urged to seduce her.

You may stain your sword with my blood, she said,

but you will never profane my body that I have consecrated to Christ.

One of the legends is that those present were so stunned by her presence no one but one young man even tried to touch her. He was struck blind, but Agnes healed him.

Finally, in humiliation and complete frustration, the Governor ordered her execution. Agnes was lead to Domitian’s stadium, where she bowed her head and prayed as the soldier’s sword struck her death’s blow.

St Agnes’s death taught us adults the meaning of valor while she was still a child.

She was adorned not with plaited hair, but with Christ Himself.

—St Ambrose

On the side bar of my site you’ll see I have a prayer-link  to pray for our youth.

It’s the most powerful tool we have to rescue our young people from the cesspool of sexual sin.

It might be ‘tee shirt time’ on Jersey Shore, but it’s prayer time in the church.

St Agnes, pray for us.

+PAX



posted by Caroline  |   1:23 AM  |   0 comments
Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eyes of Faith

Miss Eltrim.

I haven’t thought of her in years, but I did today because I was having a pity party.  I may have mentioned before that the Lord doesn’t attend them, but occasionally I still throw one anyway.

In March of 1989, I was having one on the way to the nursing home with two toddlers in tow. They were crying and fussing in the back seat, the youngest because breakfast wasn’t ice cream, the eldest because he couldn’t take his basket of 50 matchbox cars with us to visit Miss Eltrim. I was ready to turn back for home and call it a day, but it was only 9:00.

We were to meet her for the first time since she’d been assigned to me through our church ministry. I’d requested someone who had no family or visitors..Someone who needed to be shown the love of Jesus. There was no way for me to imagine that morning how much I would learn from her.

When we walked into her stark grey room, she had Sesame St. on her old black and white TV, stuffed animals on her bed sitting like a waiting audience for the boys to play with and on her nightstand two quarters, one for each to buy a soda from the machine down the hall. She put out her hand for me to clasp as we stood at her bedside and said,

Welcome to my little corner of the world the Lord has given me.

She ….was blind.

While the boys played she told me her story. The tears would come later, but as I stood there listening to her tell me how you must trust your life to the Lord for He knows best, suddenly her impoverished room transformed into a mansion of the Lord’s peace.

As the weeks passed we became fast friends and the boys… instead of pitching fits every Wednesday, couldn’t wait to get to the nursing home. For two years we visited Eltrim and never missed a week unless someone was sick. Every week the stuffed audience was waiting and Eltrim would ask me if I remembered to give thanks to the Lord for all my blessings. Each visit she reminded me that you don’t need physical eyes to see, but you do need,

eyes of faith to see the Lord.

One day she told me how she loved to sing because joy was the evidence that you were God’s child and handed me a tape one of the pastors made of her singing at the Sunday services there at the home. The title was,

Eyes of Faith

On nights when the boys were sick or couldn’t fall asleep it played next to their beds over and over….I still have the cassette tape.

Miss Eltrim went home to be with the Lord soon after we moved away from the area, but not before having her eyesight restored through a risky surgery and lots of prayer. That’s when the tears came…the day we walked in her palace of peace and I witnessed the sheer joy on her face as she saw the boys for the first time.

What a privilege it was to know her. Let’s see, what would she tell me tonight? I know.

Rejoice always.

Pray without ceasing.

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

—1 Thessalonians 5: 16 -18

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   5:07 AM  |   2 comments
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Anchor of the Soul

Anchor Cross

A combination of a cross and an anchor, emblematic of faith and hope.

It was often used as a sacred symbol in the catacombs.

—from: Saints.SQPN.com

I wonder how many of those martyred saints held Hebrews 6: 18-20 pressed to their hearts as they went to their death.

…we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope before us.

This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,

where Jesus entered on our behalf as a forerunner…

This is the hope before us; God’s promise and the oath He takes to fulfill it.. These are the two “immutable things, ” to which we may hold fast and take refuge. God alone is our anchor in the storms of our modern world which loves the tangible pleasures of: drugs, alcohol, sex and the possessions of life.

Although you should be teachers by this time, you need someone to teach you again the basic utterances of God.

You need milk and not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness,

for he is a child.

—Heb 5:12-13

We are spiritual children if we believe we can mold a future for our eternal destiny based on temporal satisfactions. Abraham believed the promise of God when he faced the impossible.

So did the martyrs of Rome.

The rope that anchors the ship of our life to Christ…is our faith.

+PAX



posted by Caroline  |   12:49 AM  |   0 comments
Monday, January 17, 2011

St Anthony, Abbot

Saint Anthony, Abbot

Tempted by a Heap of Gold

One of the things I have most enjoyed as an oblate novice this year has been learning about the desert fathers. Who would imagine that a third century wandering hermit in the Egyptian desert would have something to teach us. But listen to this:

Anthony is often pictured in art,

surrounded by debased creatures who gather to lure him into sin by offering the devil disguised in various cloaks, such as posing as a woman or an object of wealth.

—Wikipedia


He embarked on his life of prayer, fasting and work when, as a young man of 18 or 20 years of age he heard the powerful word of the gospel,

“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor,

and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

—Matthew 19:21

Not satisfied to simply reflect and meditate on the words alone, Anthony responded immediately…walked out of the church and began to act on what he’d heard. For him there was no good in hearing and observing only….he had to get up and become what Jesus was.

Even the inheritance of three hundred acres of land he gained upon the death of his parents didn’t hinder him. He gave all of it away except what his only sister would need to live on– holding to the promise of God,

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.

Today’s trouble is enough for today.

—Matthew 6:34

Anthony would eventually tell the Greek philosophers who came to seek his wisdom in the desert, that faith was the greatest ideal because it is founded in God. No rhetoric, no matter how lofty and articulately discoursed could ever excel over faith.

Faith is the greatest path to follow.

But the devil attacked him mercilessly and Anthony wrestled with him many times tempted to abandon the ascetic life.

- anxiety about his sister, longings for his relatives, thoughts of how he could have used his property for good purposes, desire for power and money. When Anthony was able to resist him, the devil then tried flattery, telling Anthony how powerful he was to beat him. Anthony relied on Jesus’ name to rid himself of the devil.

—via Catholic.org

See. I told you a man of the desert had something to teach us.

At the age of 55 he founded a community of monks who lived as hermits but came together for teaching and worship. Somehow, he always stayed in contact with the church in Alexandria eventually answering the request of his friend the great patriarch, Athanasius, to come to the city to support the persecuted Christians.. and with the wisdom learned in spiritual battle, help fight against heretics.

Anthony’s “potent remedies” against evil were the sign of the cross and the name of Jesus. Talk about a counter cultural witness.

How old do you think he was when he died ? How about 105..

Father, you called St Anthony

to renounce the world

and serve you in the solitude

of the desert.

By his prayers and example,

may we learn to deny ourselves

and to love you

above all things.

We ask this through our Lord

Jesus Christ, your Son

who lives and reigns with You

and the Holy Spirit

one God forever and ever.

Amen

—Opening prayer of the mass January 17

+PAX

source: http://www.catholic.org


posted by Caroline  |   4:43 AM  |   1 comments