Feast of Saint John Bosco…

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In honor of Saint John Bosco, who was a great teacher and example for young people, let’s share this video with as many people as possible.  Thanks to Christopher Stefanik for being a modern-day teacher and good example for all of us involved in educating young people in the faith.

Hopefully, more young people will think about the content of the programming on the TV and computer that they are consuming…Here is the first reading from the readings for Today’s Mass that prompted me to share this video again today…

FIRST READING          Phil 4:4-9
Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
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.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to share with me in the Word of God…Blessings on the rest of your day!

I hope it’s not too late…

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Today’s morning Mass was beautiful and amazing, for too many reasons to mention on my post, because it would take too much time to explain them all.  However, yesterday’s Mass was amazing for another reason, and it was what motivated this post.  Every once in a while, I get to really get into the readings before they are proclaimed at Mass.  Yesterday, the first reading really challenged me because of the tone that was so dark.  It ended with the Israelites being defeated by the Philistines, and the ark of the covenant being captured. It was the sense of despair that I felt creeping in to my heart as I read the first reading that prompted me to read the context of this reading.  It was 1 Samuel, chapter 4, and you can read it by clicking the hyperlink.  At the end of the chapter, we hear about Eli’s daughter-in-law who gave birth to a son, and named him Ichabod, because the ark of the covenant was no longer in Israel, and she said, “Gone is the glory from Israel”.   Our understanding of the name Ichabod is largely related to the Ichabod Crane character from Disney and “Sleepy Hollow” fame, but this version from the Bible has so much more to tell us.  The history and tradition of Phinehas’ son, Ichabod, is not very clear, but the history of what happened to the ark of the covenant next is very clear, and I believe, quite revealing.

If you read on in the book of Samuel about what the Philistines did with the ark and how the gods that they followed were placed in a place of submission to the God of the Israelites that was to be found in the ark, you will see that there was no doubt in these foreigner’s minds that the ark had power.  So much so, that they ended up returning it to the Israelites without a fight.

For me today, I learned that wherever the ark of the covenant was located, the people were tormented by disease and death, if they were not worthy of holding it.  I can’t help feeling like our nation today is tormented by the disease and death, because we are not worthy of holding the ark of the covenant.  In my eyes, the tabernacles that hold the Corpus Christi, are equivalent to the ark of the covenant, at least in terms of how we should look at them as a place that has been given to his chosen people as a container that we can glimpse God in.

Even for non-Catholics, it is important to show reverence for the tabernacle and the Body and Blood of Christ that we call the Eucharist, because as the Philistines showed us, lack of reverence for the one true God can lead to bad things.  Please take a moment and thank God for allowing our country to bow down and worship the one true God in communion with the millions of other believers in the world today.

Adoration...

Adoration…

Inside the church, at the grotto...

Inside the church, at the grotto…

The chief Shepherd

The chief Shepherd

communion

Thank you Jesus…I’m sorry Jesus…I love you Jesus!!!

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As I participated in the Mass this morning at Saint Pius X in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho again this morning, it was as if Father Roger was again speaking directly to me.  The title for today’s post and video are motivated by the Holy Name of Jesus that we celebrate today.   This is the second day that I have had the pleasure of participating in the liturgy with this great community of Christians. Father Roger made it clear yesterday that we should hear God asking us, “Who are you?”. If we are like Saint Basil and Saint Gregory that we celebrated yesterday, our hope should be that we would be called “Christians”. There is no greater gift than to be allowed to follow in the footsteps of Christ, as a Christian.
For me, I heard the call to be known by the name that I received from divine inspiration. The name is still John and I am still hearing the call to bring attention to the Mother of God, Mary, who is the Mother of John, by order of Jesus on the Cross, and Our Mother by adoption based on our Baptism as brother and sisters of the Lord. We celebrated the Eighth Day of the Nativity on Wednesday, where we also celebrated the fact that Mary is the Mother of God. I love the Greek word for Mother of God, Theotokos.  I believe that this should become a great celebration in the church, much the same way that Divine Mercy Sunday is becoming. For different reasons, of course, and mostly because we need “Our Mother” to lead us to Jesus, otherwise why would God have chosen to come into this world through her.
We are reminded of the fact that the other John, John the Baptist, in the gospel reading for today’s Mass, that the focus of devotion to Mary should be to bring us to a better understanding of who Jesus is. As John the Baptist calls Jesus, the Lamb of God, we are reminded just over a week after celebrating the birth of Our Saviour, that His name means that “He Saves!”. He came to share in our humanity, so that we could share in his divinity, through his saving grace that saves us all.
As Father Roger said this morning, even if you struggle with the actual date that we celebrate the birth of Our Lord, you cannot escape the reality that He was born into this world to change our reality into something that is radically different from those people who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Not for the purpose of changing just us, but for the purpose of changing the whole world. So, in order to continue the work that was begun by John the Baptist about 2000 years ago, I will say that you should find your way to a Catholic Church and seek out the Lamb of God, Jesus, who is waiting to forgive your sins.
If that is not possible for you right now, ask Jesus into your heart and get out your Bible and see what He says the next step is for you. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world…Amen!

My guardian angel is calling me by name…

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The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have looked for a validation for calling my guardian angel by name, and I was told that I should be more concerned about the name he knows me by, and not what I call when I pray.  The name that came to me was John, and at first I wanted to accept that this was my guardian angel’s name.  However, I was troubled by the fact that I felt like that was the name that I thought I would take, if I was ever to be blessed with joining a religious community that accepted me under a new name.  Still, I felt called to use that name until I read the gospel for yesterday’s Mass and heard in the naming of John by Zechariah that I am called to be like John the Baptist, a herald of the one who is to come.  Then today, I read in a post by an inmate in jail in prison in New York, that we are called to be like John the Evangelist, to “Behold our Mother!”, who is Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.

After completing the Consecration to Mary last year and completing the retreat of “Consoling the Heart of Jesus“, with the direction of Father Michael Gaitley and the spiritual direction of some amazing Saints, I have known that God is calling me to so much more than just a head knowledge or even the interior conversion that I have felt so wonderfully happening to me since taking on these two wonderful gifts of “do-it yourself” retreats.  This past week, our Advent Mission was directed by Father Philip Scott and I was directly told that I must make my life a complete gift to God and he is waiting for me to start the mission that he has for me.

As the writer of the blog from prison, These Stone Walls,  related happened to his companion, when he knew that God was calling him to greatness, and changed his name to Max, after Saint Maximillian Kolbe, I feel like from today on, I would like to be called John.  I would love to be known as the herald as the one to come, and I definitely want to be able to identify myself as a child of the Blessed Mother Mary, who is interceding for me now, as I write this post.  You can take this for whatever it means to you, but I think it is important for my guardian angel to know that I have made the conscious decision to be called by the name that I was given from heaven to be called…

I, John, do solemnly pray…Angel of God, my guardian Imagedear, to whom God’s love commits me here…Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!

Protectress of Unborn Children

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“The little white dove
Has returned to the ark with the bough;
And now the turtle-dove
Its desired mate
On the green banks has found.“  Saint John of the Cross

During the reading of the Office of Readings for today, where we celebrate the works of Saint John of the Cross and venerate him in heaven as a Priest and Doctor of the Church, I was struck bythefact that he was born on a fewshort years after “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, Mary, appeared in Mexico.  She appeared in 1531, and Saint John was born in 1542.  Of course, there is the Spanish connection, which I haven’t given much thought to.  However, the reformation of the church that was necessary back then, so that religious would start living more simply, to better identify with the Cross of Christ and less with the nobility and luxury of this world, I believe it started with the discovery of this mass of humanity that God was able to convert through the humility and obedience of a simple indigenous man, Saint Juan Diego.  I am not aware of whether the knowledge of the miracle on Tepayac Hill in Mexico would have reached Saint John of the Cross, but my suspicion is that in Spain there were plenty of people talking about what was happening in this new world.  It is the simplicity that Saint John of the Cross and Saint Theresa of Avila provided for the new order of Discalced Carmelites that supplied the seed bed for the teachings of “The little way of Saint Therese” that is essential today to convince people that it is not necessary to be a spiritual giant to be a “Saint” and made holy by the grace of God. 
To me, this poem from Saint John’s “Spiritual Canticle” tells the story of how the Holy Spirit found Mary and brought Jesus to the world. At least, that is what it says to me, and the gospel reading for today talks about the fact that Jesus said that John the Baptist was the prophet Elijah who was supposed to come to herald the coming of the savior, I believe Saint Juan Diego was the herald of Mary that was delivered to Saint John of the Cross to fill him with the power to reform the religious order that would give rise to Saint Therese, the little flower!
What does this have to do with us today? I will use part of the homily our pastor delivered to us at the Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe on Thursday night to explain the significance to all of us today. He mentioned how the image was responsible for converting millions of people in Mexico that would have made up a large percentage of the population in Mexico at the time. We can use that same image to convert our country and world away from the culture of death and back to a culture of life, and I will let the image explain itself there.

image

However, for those that need something more, but consider themselves to small or not spiritually gifted enough to ascend to the heights of a Saint John of the Cross or Saint Theresa of Avila, there is the little way of Saint Therese that looks to God like a child waiting to be picked up. For those that are up to the challenge, “The Dark Night of the Soul” and “Interior Castle” of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Theresa of Avila respectively stand ready as monumental works of theological mastery that I have started, but have not completed. Maybe I never will, but I have the image of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and obedience to the will of God to lean on until God graces me with the ability to grasp these amazing works of literature or the ability to let them go!

Protectress of Unborn Children

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“The little white dove
Has returned to the ark with the bough;
And now the turtle-dove
Its desired mate
On the green banks has found.“  Saint John of the Cross

During the reading of the Office of Readings for today, where we celebrate the works of Saint John of the Cross and venerate him in heaven as a Priest and Doctor of the Church, I was struck bythefact that he was born on a fewshort years after “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, Mary, appeared in Mexico.  She appeared in 1531, and Saint John was born in 1542.  Of course, there is the Spanish connection, which I haven’t given much thought to.  However, the reformation of the church that was necessary back then, so that religious would start living more simply, to better identify with the Cross of Christ and less with the nobility and luxury of this world, I believe it started with the discovery of this mass of humanity that God was able to convert through the humility and obedience of a simple indigenous man, Saint Juan Diego.  I am not aware of whether the knowledge of the miracle on Tepayac Hill in Mexico would have reached Saint John of the Cross, but my suspicion is that in Spain there were plenty of people talking about what was happening in this new world.  It is the simplicity that Saint John of the Cross and Saint Theresa of Avila provided for the new order of Discalced Carmelites that supplied the seed bed for the teachings of “The little way of Saint Therese” that is essential today to convince people that it is not necessary to be a spiritual giant to be a “Saint” and made holy by the grace of God. 
To me, this poem from Saint John’s “Spiritual Canticle” tells the story of how the Holy Spirit found Mary and brought Jesus to the world. At least, that is what it says to me, and the gospel reading for today talks about the fact that Jesus said that John the Baptist was the prophet Elijah who was supposed to come to herald the coming of the savior, I believe Saint Juan Diego was the herald of Mary that was delivered to Saint John of the Cross to fill him with the power to reform the religious order that would give rise to Saint Therese, the little flower!
What does this have to do with us today? I will use part of the homily our pastor delivered to us at the Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe on Thursday night to explain the significance to all of us today. He mentioned how the image was responsible for converting millions of people in Mexico that would have made up a large percentage of the population in Mexico at the time. We can use that same image to convert our country and world away from the culture of death and back to a culture of life, and I will let the image explain itself there.

image

However, for those that need something more, but consider themselves to small or not spiritually gifted enough to ascend to the heights of a Saint John of the Cross or Saint Theresa of Avila, there is the little way of Saint Therese that looks to God like a child waiting to be picked up. For those that are up to the challenge, “The Dark Night of the Soul” and “Interior Castle” of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Theresa of Avila respectively stand ready as monumental works of theological mastery that I have started, but have not completed. Maybe I never will, but I have the image of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and obedience to the will of God to lean on until God graces me with the ability to grasp these amazing works of literature or the ability to let them go!

Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary)…

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St Peter in Penitence

St Peter in Penitence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After getting out of the shower this morning, these words came to me as a reminder of what it takes to get rid of filth.  I remember reading the side of a shampoo bottle that explained how to wash your hair, and seeing these instructions:  Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary).  I remember asking myself, who needs to be told how to wash their hair?  I also remember asking myself, if your hair didn’t come clean after the first wash, do you really need to be told to repeat, if necessary?  Finally, I remember asking myself, is the shampoo company trying to convince me to wash more than once, so I will use up the shampoo faster?  Ok, so I have issues with instructions.  As I think back to the label of that shampoo, I realize that God was revealing something to me about the Sacrament of Confession, even before I was Catholic.

As I prepare to go to the Sacrament of Confession again tomorrow, I am looking forward to the dipping of my fingers in the bowl of holy water as I enter the church to WET my body, as a reminder of my Sacrament of Baptism.  I also look forward to the WASH of the recollection of my sins and absolution I will receive from the Priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is with joy, that I will dip my fingers into the bowl of holy water on my way out of the church as a RINSE of my soul from the stains of my past sins, in a further remembrance of my Sacrament of Baptism.  However, I will most remember the words, REPEAT, IF NECESSARY, to say that when I fall again, I will be welcomed back into the Confessional to again wash away the filth that I have picked up from my concupiscent self that lives in this fallen world.

This is the formula to combat any sin that we struggle with, but most especially those sins that continue to plague us, even after we have confessed them many times.  I believe it is important for us to remember that everyone, even the Pope uses this formula to fight off the temptation to justify or rationalize sinful behavior, by saying I couldn’t go back to confession to confess the same thing, and maybe it is not as bad as we know it is.  As for Pope Francis, I heard that he has a regularly scheduled appointment for Confession every two weeks and I think if we are being honest with ourselves, we know that we should have an appointment with our Confessor at least that often.  Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary)