Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dominus Vobiscum

Dominus Vobiscum; "The Lord be with You"

It is not enough to just say "dominus vobiscum," we must also apply it to our actions. We must suit the action to the word. We have to set the example of what we teach or believe.

Which means that we need to know exactly what this "dominus vobiscum" or any other circumstance requires of us.

To "be with the Lord" means to always be with Him and do all for Him. Imagine standing at a friends side, and yet planning or working against him-- That's treachery and wrong.

Jesus even said, "He who is not with Me, is against Me."

It is impossible to be neutral in times of reality and importance. We need to stand up for what we believe is right 100%. Not 80%, or even 95% because if we only stand up for what we believe 95% then we do not fully understand or really believe what we say we believe.

We cannot stay neutral in the times we are facing right now. The line is being drawn in many different aspects of our lives and we need to pick a side 100%.

Not to say that this is something easy to do! This is very hard, and involves immense pain and suffering. But if we are not willing to commit 100% to one side (hopefully the right side) than we are not for that side we may say we are for.

There is no gray area. Only black and white.

We need to decide now.

New CD's!!!

For Christmas I got some new CD's that I absolutely adore!!!

They are different CD's of gregorian chant, organ, choirs, music from Christmas and Holy Week all done by the Canons of Saint John Cantius.

(Links will take you to the SJC Webstore to sample and see the music available)

CHRISTMAS MUSIC FROM ST. JOHN CANTIUS
Various traditional carols and motets from SJC Christmas season.

IN QUIET CONTEMPLATION
Quiet and meditative sacred music CD of Gregorian Chant, Sacred Polyphony and Organ Music to calm the soul and draw the spirit into the presence of God.

MISERERE
This recording is of the six major services of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

ECCE REX
A fantastic collection of Christmas hymns, carols, and motets demonstrating the dynamic quality of the choir and the superb acoustics of St. John Cantius Church

DUO SERAPHIM
The Cantate Domino Choir of St. John Cantius Church of Chicago along with Organ Masterworks, and works by the Resurrection Orchestra. Music of Haynes (SJC), Dering, Albinoni, Haydn and Mozart.

I have to say that the "In Quiet Contemplation" CD is by far my favorite- although they are all very excellent and are well worth their price.

*Remember- Proceeds go to help the Canon's Regular of Saint John Cantius*

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I just wanted to wish all of my readers a Blessed and Merry Christmas!! I'm leaving in a matter of minutes to go to St. John Cantius in Chicago for Midnight Mass. I am SURE I'll write about it when I get home.

St. Mary's had such a wonderful Solemn High Rorate Mass last night. There were two seminarians in choir, six servers, the church lit solely by candlelight, and such care was taken in portraying the beauty and importance of the Mass. We are truly blessed there at St. Mary's.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Christmas Altar

Here are some pictures of our home altar decorated for Christmas. It took me a while to finally decide on this- I could spend all day trying to "perfect" it. ;)












Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rorate Mass

On the Wednesday of Ember week in Advent, the Mystery of the Annunciation is commemorated by many Churches. The Mass is usually sung early in the morning (although can be said at night), and the Church is illuminated with only candles, as a token that, "the world was still in darkness when the Light of the world appeared." The Mass is sometimes called the Golden Mass, possibly because in the Middle Ages, the Mass, or at least the initial letters, were written in gold — or on account of the solemnity and the special, ‘golden’ grace which, at that Mass, is obtained by numerous prayers. It is also called the Rorate Mass after the first words of the Introit of the Mass, Rorate Cœli:



Rorate cœli, désuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiátur terra, et gérminet Salvatórem. Cœli enárrant glóriam Dei: et ópera mánuum ejus annúntiat firmaméntum.

"Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just: let the earth open and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands." (Is. 45:8; Ps. 18:2)

(Photo of a Rorate Mass 2006 at Assumption Grotto, Detroit)
St. Mary's in Kalamazoo is having a High Tridentine Rorate Mass on December 23 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaudete in Domino semper

The third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. It is so named after the first word in the Introit: Gaudete (Rejoice!).

The Introit from the usus antiquior Romanus
(ancient Roman use):

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. Ps. 84:2 Lord, Thou has blessed Thy Land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum. Ps. 84:2 Benedixisti, Domini, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Advent still has most of the characteristics of the penitential season, which make it a kind of Lent, the middle (or third) Sunday corresponding with Laetare or Mid-Lent Sunday. On it, as on Laetare Sunday, organ and flowers, forbidden during the rest of the season, are allowed to be used; rose-colored vestments are allowed instead of purple.




This distinguishing liturgy is a present discipline of the Church. Gaudete Sunday, therefore, makes a break, like Laetare Sunday, in the midst of our penitential rites, and signifies the nearness of the Lord's coming.

In both the Divine Office and Mass throughout Advent, there is reference made to our Lord's second coming, and this is emphasized on the third Sunday by the additional signs of gladness and joy permitted on that day.

I already decorated our home altar with a rose cloth and Father had on rose colored vestments and a rose chalice veil at Mass. :)

Prayer for Chaplains

I just got off the phone with CH (CPT) Brian L. Stanley USA. He is finished with his basic training and leaves for Germany tomorrow morning at 11 and will arrive in Germany the following day. Please keep him, and his fellow comrades in your prayers!

PRAYER FOR MILITARY CHAPLAINS

O God, Who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the eternal High Priest for the glory of Thy Majesty and the salvation of mankind; grant that they whom He hath chosen to be His chaplains and the stewards of His mysteries, maybe found faithful in the fulfilment of the ministry which they have received.

Grant, O Holy and Mighty Trinity, that they may never lose that purity of heart with which they were ordained, though all around them lie terrors and the uncertainty of war. Give them an abundance of wise counsel, fortitude, temperance and justice and supernatural charity. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rising Above It All

In this post I may sound like I'm talking directly to YOU (the reader)-- but really, all that I write is being said right back to myself.

This Sunday I will be serving my first TLM High Mass. I know it's not much different than a low Mass (which I've served several times) but I'm still looking forward to it. I haven't served in a really long time. In the past I used to not want to, but as things change and our outlooks turn from gloom and self despair to courage and faith, I am really starting to miss it.

I feel so connected at Mass. At every Mass I go to I don't want it to end. I feel a calling to be at Mass, and yet, a feeling of unworthiness to be within God's presence so intimately as the TLM presents itself. Mass is what keeps me going; in my spiritual life, emotional life, and even in how much I write on here. I've been up and down with my motivation to write and talk about Catholicism for a long time now. But I'm getting back into it.




Easier said than done. ;-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Home Altar Decorated for Advent

Here are some pictures of our home altar decorated for Advent (Rose is to come for Gaudete Sunday).




(I like the little nativity below the crucifix, while Jesus, on the cross, is looking at it. It shows a kind of foreshadowing of His purpose in the incarnation.)



Midnight Mass- Christmas '09


This year for Christmas my family is going to Chicago to attended Midnight Mass at St. John Cantius and then returning home to family the following day. At 11 o'clock St. John Cantius is carrying out the ancient tradition of "Lessons and Carols."

The ancient tradition of "Lessons and Carols" is exactly what the name implies. It is a service in which the congregation can come to hear wonderful homilies, and sing Christmas Carols outside of the Mass.

At 12 o'clock (Midnight) the Solemn High Latin Mass for Christmas will be offered by Rev. C. Frank Phillips, CR, Pastor of St. John Cantius Church. And the choir will be singing the famous "St. Nicholas Mass" by Franz Joseph Haydn.



Somehow I think Fr. Sirico will understand our absence from St. Mary's Midnight Mass compared to where we are going. ;) (Which by the way, if you're near Kalamazoo you should go to St. Mary's Church for a Solemn High Tridentine Midnight Mass. I'm sure it will be beautiful!!)

UPDATE: St. Mary's is having a Novus Ordo Mass for Midnight Mass this year- I just found out my mistake a few days ago.

Music is Back Up!!

Well, Obviously...

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spammer...

I'll be spending my time today deleting every comment that a spammer posted on every single one of my posts.

I embrace my suffering with open arms God!! ;)

-Does anyone know how to permenantly block a URL? Or any other way to protect my blog from this? Please let me know!!! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Catholic Information Center

Go HERE to go to the new website for Kalamazoo's Catholic Information Center. They have a new location that my dad says is just wonderful (I haven't had a chance to stop in yet). They also host lectures and talks for free- so check out their schedule online to see what events are coming up! So please! If you get chance stop in!!

340 E. Michigan Ave. (p) 269/553-0482 (f) 269/553-0483

Open: M-F: 10 AM – 7 PM
Sat: 10 AM – 4 PM

Not to mention they sponsor a Catholic radio show every Sunday morning!





The BEST in Catholic-radio programming every Sunday!
10:30-11:00 AM on WKZO, AM590

St. Michael's Roses





Our family planted roses in the St. Michael garden earlier this past spring... and they are are still here!!!

...Half way through November... Coincidence?? ;)




Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prayer of Surrender

Lord Jesus Christ, I ask the grace to accept the sadness in my heart, as your will for me, in this moment. I offer it up, in union with your sufferings, for those who are in deepest need of your redeeming grace.

I surrender myself to your Father's will and I ask you to help me to move on to the next task that you have set for me.

Spirit of Christ, help me to enter into a deeper union with you. Lead me away from dwelling on the hurt I feel: to thoughts of charity for those who need my loveto thoughts of compassion for those who need my care, and to thoughts of giving to those who need my help.
As I give myself to you, help me to provide for the salvation of those who come to me in need.

May I find my healing in this giving.
May I always accept God's will.
May I find myself in you by living in a spirit of sacrifice and suffering.
May I die more fully to myself, and live more fully in you.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Requiescat In Pace

Yesterday morning my great grandma, Mrs. Bernice Mary Brunner Hills died at the age of 97. The last anyone saw her she was playing skip-bo (her favorite card game) with her friends after attending a dance that afternoon.


Bernice Hills was born of March 20, 1912. She was the third of seven children in her family and was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

At the age of 15 she began to work at Globe Knitting Works where she met a co-worker whom she fell in love with, Henry Brunner. They began dating and after a few months the two decided to elope. While on their way, their car got hit by a train. They then took her father’s car and continued on to Bristol, Indiana where they were married on June 19, 1930 when Bernice was 18 and Henry was 24.


(Bernice and Henry in front of their car demolished by train)


After their marriage, they settled in Comstock Park where they raised their children; Sally, Richard, Kurt, Walter, and Alma.

Bernices eventually got a job working at American Seating where she worked until she retired after 22 years.

Life unexpectedly changed for Bernice and her children in 1964 when Henry died of heart failure when he was just 60 years old.

Although she was deeply saddened, Bernice continued on with her life sustained by both her faith and the love of her family. A couple of years after Henry’s death Bernice became reacquainted with a friend she babysat for as a girl, Harold Hills. He was a widower with grown children and the two began dating, fell in love, and were married on May 14, 1966.

For many years later Bernice suffered from her own heart problems, as well as from macular degeneration which eventually led her to lose her ability to drive at the age of 93.

Grandma loved to knit. She knitted hundreds of newborn caps for babies and donated them to area hospitals-even when she was almost completely blind. Both of my sisters have winter caps that she made near the end of her life that have mis-stitches and holes because of her blindness. It's such a wonderful thing to have those hats to remind us of her.

Bernice Brunner Hills was a lovely woman who was treasured by so many. She loved sharing her love and her talents with those in her life. Bernice possessed a vibrant faith that brought her both joy and strength when her days became more challenging.

Bernice Mary Brunner Hills leaves behind her children, Sally Thelen, Kurt Brunner, Walter Brunner, Alma Verner; 13 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscat in pace. Amen.

Relic of St. Charles Borromeo

A few weeks ago a close friend of ours loaned us a relic of St. Charles Borromeo. So it came to stay with my family for a little while. He is shown in a previous post of pictures depicting our home altar (for those of you who've asked).


He's quiet, doesn't need much, and hardly takes up any space. An excellent house guest!! ;)





I thought today was a proper day to write about St. Charles relic since it's his Feast Day.

You can go HERE to see more pictures of St. Charles' remains and his relics at NLM.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pray for the Souls of Priests

Please pray for the souls of deceased priests especially in the next week to come following All Souls Day. This is the Year for Priests, and what's a better time to pray for deceased priests than right now!?! :)

O God, Thou didst raise Thy servants to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ, according to the Order of Melchisedech, giving them the sublime power to offer the Eternal Sacrifice, to bring the Body and Blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ down upon the altar, and to absolve the sins of men in Thine own Holy Name. We beseech Thee to reward their faithfulness and to forgive their faults, admitting them speedily into Thy Holy Presence, there to enjoy forever the recompense of their labors. This we ask through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

All Soul's Day

All Souls Day is celebrated on this upcoming Monday for those of us following the usus antiquior calender (November 3rd).

The day purposely follows All Saint's Day in order to shift the focus from those in heaven to those in purgatory. It is celebrated with masses and festivities in honor of the dead. While the Feast of All Saints is a day to remember the glories of Heaven and those there, the Feast of All Souls reminds us of our obligations to live holy lives and that there will be purification of the souls of those destined for Heaven.



Many people decorate their home altars for this Feast by putting up pictures of deceased relatives, lighting candles for them, burning incense, or setting up certain flowers, and decorative coloring (Black).

I'm going to decorate our home altar tomorrow, and try to get some pictures of it up.

"The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the faithful on earth can help them by prayers, alms deeds and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass" (Catholic Encyclopedia).

At All Soul's Day Mass the Priest (Sub-deacon and Deacon) will be wearing black vestments that are representative of fundamental Christian realities. While Christians are a people of hope, we are also a people aware of the reality of sin and God's judgement. It also is a reminder and symbol of our belief in purgatory where suffering souls require our prayers and especially Masses.

The sombre tone of the black vestments can be understood as a reminder of our sin (personal and original) and the reality of death. It emphasizes the reality of purgatory and the need for prayers which we should offer for the dead. Also, we, the living, are thus reminded of the need to care for the state of of our own souls.

Another symbolic tradition is the use of a catafalque or cenotaph representing a coffin for the deceased members of the world. It is covered with a black cloth or pall, on which there is a cross either of white or some other color. The catafalque is usually placed immediately outside the sanctuary, and is the center of the ceremonies of that part of the Mass known as the absolution, receiving the same attention as the corpse would if present. So, candles are burned all around the catafalque during the function, and it is blessed with holy water and then incensed.

Here is a beautiful video of a Solemn High Requiem Mass on All Soul's Day at St. John Cantius in Chicago. While the Mass is being prayed, Mozart's Requiem Mass is being preformed by choir and orchestra in the balconies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Those Mysterious Priests!

As of the moment I am reading, "Those Mysterious Priests," by Fulton Sheen. I just finished reading, "A Priest is Not His Own," by Sheen as well. Both books are very similar, but each is just as wonderful as the other!

Although,

I have a tendency to imagine a priest giving a loud evil laugh, disappearing around a dark corner when I hear the title, "Those Mysterious Priests."

;)
UPDATED:

My point exactly! (Photo: AP)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Marching Band Festival Today


St. Cecilia Pray for us!!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Instructional Video- St. Michael Chaplet

HERE is an instructional video on how to pray the Chaplet of Saint Michael for anyone interested.

-Does anyone know how to post a youtube player on my blog without having it stall and freeze when I play it on here??

Chaplet of St. Michael



O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father.... etc.

Then one 'Our Father' and three 'Hail Marys' are to be prayed after each of the following nine salutations.

1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions. Amen.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. Amen.

Next one Our Father is to be said in honour of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.


Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence. This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.






"The history of this Chaplet goes back to a devout Servant of God, Antonia d'Astonac, who had a vision of St. Michael. He told Antonia to honor him by nine salutations to the nine Choirs of Angels. St. Michael promised that whoever would practice this devotion in his honor would have, when approaching Holy Communion, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for those who would recite the Chaplet daily, he promised his continual assistance and that of all the holy angels during life." (EWTN)



Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Music's Down

My computer Crashed the other day, and I lost all of my iTunes Music. So there won't be any music until I upload all of my music back onto my computer (over 3,000 songs) and then upload them back onto my blog.

So basically, there won't be music playing on here for a while. :-)

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Carthusian Monk's Feast Day



Today is the Feast of St. Bruno, the Carthusian Monk's Patron Saint.


The Carthusian Order, also called the Order of St. Bruno, is an order of cloistered monastics. The order was founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns. The order has grown all around the world, and there is even one started in the United States!

In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. His film about them and their daily lives is caused "Into Great Silence." I have a copy of it, and I love it. Make sure when you watch it there are no distractions around, and that you have time to devout to it, it's a little long, but worth it!!

I briefly wrote about the movie HERE.

More and more I am attracted to an intimate, and more secluded life of prayer. Probably not as a Carthusian (maybe not yet), but maybe something that shares a similar lifestyle or principles that the Carthusians have. But then the question is raised, if I'm trying to be not of the world, than how could I stand to be halfway in it, or a quarter in it? Living "in the world" is not what I'm called to do, but how much I am supposed to be out of it is something that I need to discern.




To see more pictures or read a little bit more about St. Bruno, and this order go HERE to a NLM post that will give you links to previous archives on the Carthusian Monks. Or I suggest reading "Halfway to Heaven: The Hidden Life of the Carthusians." I read it and it's amazing!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Today's Feast

Today was the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

Did you get your pet blessed?! ;)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weighted Breviary

Over the past few months I haven't been praying my offices. There are countless reasons why I haven't, but those really don't matter. Along with not praying my offices, I haven't been reading any spiritual writings. A few days ago I came out of whatever "funk" I was in and went to pick up where I left off reading in Fulton Sheen's "A Priest is not his own," and it just happened to be that the chapter that I left off on was talking about praying the divine offices. (That's God!)

A lot of people have trouble praying the offices because it is sometimes tiresome and not as intimate a prayer as one can achieve (in most cases). But we need to remember that in it we gather up not only the intentions of the Church, but also all of the the sinners, those who turn away from God, and those who physically and emotionally can't pray.

Sheen relates this to Our Lord who was sinless, yet he took on the sins of the world. When we pick up the breviary we are picking up all unbelievers, fallen-away Catholics, and the burden of the Church throughout the world.

The breviary is not a personal prayer; it is an official prayer, that's why it's called "The official prayer of the Church." When we pray the divine offices we are praying for everyone else, and in a sense, isn't praying for others over our own personal prayers a good thing? If all of our prayers were personal wouldn't that be selfish?

In the breviary we are making an act of love not only for the Church, but for her enemies. The breviary is a test of our strength. It helps one to die to oneself for the betterment of humanity, the good and bad. We shouldn't look at praying these prayers as some kind of consolation, but rather as a struggle, as a little piece of the cross. In doing so, we will in turn learn to enjoy it and turn it to the glory of God.

What is so amazing about the divine offices is that it is the universal prayer that all religious take vows to pray all around the world. That means that 24/7, 365 days a year every second someone is praying for the Church and for the whole of humanity.

Not everyone is called to pray the divine offices, and that is perfectly fine! The clergy take care of that for us (the laity). They pray the offices for us who can't, who don't have time. The majority of the laity work inside "the world," and aren't able to pray for their redemption and the world's redemption all of the time. That's why there are monks and nuns! They take care of us who aren't able to pray. While we in turn carry out our lives in a christian manner and spread that faith to everyone else.

It is a bloodline that pumps the faith through the whole of humanity.

The church is the Body of Christ. So to have a body you need a heart, and that's the cloistered nuns and monks who pray for us who can't pray all of the time. They pump the blood (the faith) out to everyone else. The skin is the laity. The laity (or skin) is what everyone sees, it is the face of the church. We need lots of people to be laity so that they can spread the good news and live a christian life. Likewise, we don't need as many people to be the heart and live a cloistered life. Then all of the other religious are at different locations in the body, the diocesan priests are like the muscles who are closest to the skin (we need lots of muscles, but not as much as we need skin), while the deeper you go into the body the more of a monastic life you live until you reach the heart.

So, there are many reasons to pray the divine offices, and I'm going to try to get back to praying them, I really do love to pray them.

Act of Consecration to Jesus Christ the Incarnate Wisdom, by the hands of Mary

O Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most
adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the
Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore thee
profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father
during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal
bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of
Thine Incarnation.

I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated
Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me
from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify
Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself
to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make
me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful
and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises
which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I
have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be
called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is
nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy
repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy
and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have
recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother,
whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It
is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition,
the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition, and
preservation of wisdom.

Hail, then, O Immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the
Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden
and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen
of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is
subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of
sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires
which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end
receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I
present to thee.

I, (name), a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in
thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever
Satan, his pomps and works, and I give myself entirely to
Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross
after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful
to Him than I have ever been before.

In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee
this day for my Mother and mistress. I deliver and
consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my
goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of
all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to
thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all
that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy
good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and
in eternity.

Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my
slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection
which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy
maternity, in homage to the power which both of you
have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the
privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee.
I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek
thy honor and glory and to obey thee in all things.
O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His
eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by
thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me
the grace to obtain the true wisdom of God; and for that
end receive me among those whom thou lovest and
teachest, whom Thou leadest, nourishest and protectest
as thy children and thy slaves.

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a
disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom,
Jesus Christ Thy Son, that I may attain, by thine
intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His
age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Does God exist?!

So awesome.

(Taken for Te Deum Laudamus!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alright...

I'm sick of it. I'm not going to let the devil keep me from carrying out writing on my blog. I've had enough of it. I was knocked down pretty hard over the past month, but I'm starting to get back up and I'm ready for the fight. I'm going to do what God calls me to do, and I think continuing my writing on here is one of His callings.

When everything is taken away from us we always have God. If God IS, then that means that God IS in all that we receive, good or bad. Even when it feels as though the "perfect storm" hits, and every aspect of "our life" is falling apart, we still have God who is there for each of us intimately.

Frankly, I don't know how pagans do it!?!? How do they live their lives without God to help them? If there was no God, then life wouldn't be worth living. I couldn't do it! How would one keep going if God didn't exist!? Then again, one wouldn't be here if God didn't exist so one wouldn't have the chance to endure life without God... Hmm...

Anyways,

The devil is REALLY good at what he does. That's why he's the devil. But we have God on our side, who will ultimately prevail! We just need to stay strong and true to Him and we will come out of the fight with His abundant love and graces.

In the past I have talked about growing battles and trials that will ultimately cause us to stand up for our faith and how great suffering will come to the church, and we will reach a point at which we will have to stand up for our faith, and remain true to God and His teachings.

Well, it has begun. We are in the middle of it. We must stay strong and remain consecrated to Mary, the Saints and God. We mustn't stray away from His guiding light.

We are in a time of spiritual warfare. Whatever others may say, the devil, as far as Christian belief is concerned, is a puzzling but real, personal and not merely symbolical presence. You can't have one without the other. There is no good without bad. He who does not believe in the devil does not believe in the Gospel. We have to believe in both, and act on both rather than covering our ears to the thought of evil people who are actually trying to destroy us. This is a reality that we all face. The devil and his demons are real.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me; Body of Christ, save me; Blood of Christ, inebriate me; Water from the side of Christ, wash me; Passion of Christ, strengthen me; O good Jesus, hear me; within your wounds, hide me; let me never be separated from you; from the evil one, protect me; at the hour of my death, call me; and bid me to come to you; that with your saints, I may praise you forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Alma Redemptoris Mater

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



Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti, Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti, Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Taking up our Cross

From St Faustina's Diary for February 8:

True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering, Jesus. I thank You for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretations of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans.

Thank You, Jesus, for interior sufferings, for dryness of spirit, for terrors, fears, and incertitudes, for the darkness and the deep interior night, for temptations and various ordeals, for torments too difficult to describe, especially for those which no one will understand, for the hour of death with its fierce struggle and all its bitterness.

I thank You, Jesus, You who first drank the cup of bitterness before You gave it to me, in a much milder form. I put my lips to this cup of Your holy will. Let all be done according to Your good pleasure; let that which Your wisdom ordained before the ages be done to me. I want to drink the cup to its last drop, and seek not to know the reason why. In bitterness is my joy, in hopelessness is my trust. In You, O Lord, all is good, all is a gift of Your paternal Heart. I do not prefer consolations over bitterness or bitterness over consolations, but thank You, O Jesus, for everything! It is my delight to fix my gaze upon You, O incomprehensible God. . . .

O Uncreated Beauty, whoever comes to know You once cannot love anything else. I can feel the bottomless abyss of my soul, and nothing will fill it but God Himself. I feel that I am drowned in Him like a single grain of sand in a bottomless ocean.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Mystics

My dad is in the process of writing a four movement choral piece using four mystics and what they said. The piece will be in each of the mystics own language, and will have very unique styles and dynamics pertaining to the text being sung.

Here are the movements in their order (and some info. about the mystics):

I. Maria Faustina- Divine Mercy

"Jezu, Ufam Tobie"
(Jesus I trust in you)

II. John of the Cross- Noche Oscura
"En una noche oscura,
Con ansias, en amores inflamada,
!oh dichosa ventura!
Sali sin ser notada
Estanda ya mi casa sosegada.

A oscura y segura,
Por la secreta escala disfrazada,
!oh dichosa ventura!
A oscura y en celada,
Estando ya mi casa sosegada."
(One dark night,
Fired with love's urgent longings
--ah, the sheer grace!--
I went out unseen,
My house being now all stilled.
In darkness, and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised,
--ah, the sheer grace!--
In darkness and concealment,
My house being now all stilled.")

III. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
"Non sopporto più la mia croce"
(I cannot bear this cross anymore.)

IV. Venerable Solanus Casey
"We must be faithful to the present moment,
or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.
Blessed be God in all His designs!"


He is planing on having the Balladiers (Coldwater High School's top choral ensemble of sixteen) sing this. When we do, I will record it and post it on here for you to listen to. I will also be writing more about each of the four mystics, in relation to their writings being used, sometime in the near future.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

A mediator with our Mediator Jesus Christ

I have been reading St. Louis-Marie De Montfort's "The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin" over the past few days (Now I'm reading, "A Priest is Not His Own" by Sheen) and came across this truth that I thought I would share with you. So I will give credit where credit is due. Although this is my writing, it is based on his book and what he writes about.

When we approach God, it is right and humble to approach Him not by ourselves. That is, without a mediator. Our human nature is so corrupt that if we rely on our own works and efforts in order to reach God, our works will ultimately become tainted.

God gave us mediators for a purpose! He has seen our unworthiness and He has had pity on us. So to give us access to His mercies, He has provided us with powerful intercessors in able to obtain His mercies. So, to not use or recognize these mediators, and to approach Him directly is to fail in our humility and in our respect for God.

It is the same as if we were to approach some earthly king. We would not wish to approach him without some friend or some person to speak for us.

Our Lord is our mediator with God our Father. It is through Jesus that we ought to pray. It is by Him that we have access to God. "We should approach Him supported and clothed by the merits of His Son."

But we also need a mediator with the Mediator Himself! Is He not God, and in all respects equal to His Father, including all worthiness of respect as His Father is?

We need a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and the divine Mary is the most capable of fulfilling this position. It is by her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is by her that we must go to Him. If we fear to approach directly Jesus Christ who is God either because of His infinite greatness or because of our lowliness or sins, we should seek out the aid and intercession of Mary our Mother. She is kind and tender, there is nothing too sublime that we can't handle. "When we see her we see our own human nature."

She is not the sun nor its heat or light, which by the brightness and intensity of itself could blind and burn us because of our weakness. Rather, she is sweet and gentle like the moon, which receives the light of the sun (Son) and softens it in order to adapt it to our limited capacity.

All of this has been taught by St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure. According to them, we have three steps to take when we go to God: the first and nearest to us, is Mary; the second is Jesus Christ; and the third is God the Father. To go to Jesus we must go to Mary, our "mediatrix of intersection." To go to God the Father, we must go to Jesus: He is our Mediator of redemption. This is the order to be observed and practiced.

St. Montfort's book is a wonderful read! This book presents and talks about Mary being the essential and infallible key to the heart of Jesus. I highly recommend it for anyone who questions Mary's role in the Church and for anyone wishing to grow in a closer and true devotion with our lady.

Feast of St. Augustine

Yesterday was the Feast of my patron saint, St. Augustine of Hippo! No I didn't forget! I posted this late last night, but for some reason it didn't publish... So I'm re-posting it now! =D

"Lord, give me what you ask of me and ask me what you will."




May we obtain from God's mercy a true love for Jesus Christ our Lord and that He may receive the burning prayer which we offer with St. Augustine and all who truly love God today, on his feast day.

"Thou art Christ my Holy Father, my tender God, my great King, my good Shepherd, my only Master, my best Helper, my most Beautiful and Beloved, my living Bread, my Priest forever, my Leader to my country, my true Light, my holy Sweetness, my straight Way, my Excellent Wisdom, my pure Simplicity, my peaceful Harmony, my entire Protection, my good Portion, my everlasting Salvation.

Christ Jesus, sweet Lord, why have I ever loved, why in my whole like have I ever desired anything except Thee, Jesus my God? Where was I when I was not in spirit with Thee? Now, from this time forth, do ye, all my desires, grow hot, and flow out upon the Lord Jesus...

O sweet Jesus, may every good feeling that is fitted for Thy praise, love Thee, delight in Thee, admire Thee! God of my heart, and my portion, Christ Jesus, may my heart faint away in spirit, and mayest Thou be my life within me! May the live coal of Thy love grow hot within my spirit and break forth into a perfect fire; may it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart; may it glow in my innermost being; may it blaze in hidden recesses of my soul; and in the days of my consummation may I be found consummated with Thee! Amen."


Happy feast day to all those in the Augustinian family!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Words....

Band Camp....

Doctor's Homily

Here's Father Doctor's homily from last week. It's excellent! It needed to be said. I feel this is just a taste of what's to come. Pray for Fr. Doctor, and for all priests.

"Every time we come to Mass we are facing a challenge and must make a decision - will we serve the gods of this world and culture or the Lord who saved us and redeemed us?

Each Mass calls us to make a choice, or to renew a choice, to follow the Lord and not the sins and enticements of this world.

Each Mass is a chance to rise above this world and culture that has no real destination or plan for us and traps and destroys so many lives on a daily basis.

Each Mass calls us to make a choice - to answer the question

Do you also want to leave? Do we want to leave our Lord?
because the priest isn’t holy or attractive, or the music is bad
or we hate Spanish or Latin. or the church isn’t pretty enough

Do we want to leave Our Lord, giving up the Eucharist because for whatever reason we aren’t happy or entertained.

Decide today - Who are you going to serve. The culture and a world of sin and death or Christ the Lord

Do you really want to leave? Then go!! No one is holding you here
No one is forcing you to stay.

Decide - are you going to be a Catholic or a half baked, wishy-washy one with no chance of salvation?

Decide - are we convinced like St. Peter that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ? That Christ is really present in the Eucharist - Body, blood, soul and divinity?

Decide - Is Mass all about you…or is it about God - ?
Is the Church – St. Charles in Coldwater, MI or is the church far bigger, far holier marked as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic?

The One Church with over a billions members.

The Holy church that offers sacrifice not according the whims of the people or the culture, or the time period but under the direction of God’s representatives.

The Catholic Church that stand against sin and evil and chooses and rightfully so – to worship God as he requires!

The Apostolic Church that follows the directives of our Holy Father
when it come to faith and morals, and liturgy

Decide - Don’t sit on the fence not committing to either side

Decide for yourself. Who is your God? Who do you serve?
and then make your choice

As for me – like Joshua - I choose God. I choose to serve the Lord
to stand with St. Peter and all the Popes who came after him. I have decided to stay because I know that only in Christ are the words of everlasting life. Only in Christ have I become convinced and believe
that there is a God - who is real, true, loving, and merciful

I am convinced that there is no salvation for me anywhere else but in Christ. I believe that the Spirit of God is the one who gives me life; who will reward me with happiness; who is my peace in this life
who is my joy and my all in the next.

I choose to serve the Lord because He is my God. I choose to stay because there is nowhere else to go.

I have found my treasure…have you found yours?

Decide…"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

For Your Information;

I will be posting on here much more frequently in the weeks to come. We are done with our week-long vacations over the summer (which bring a week-long lack of posting) and I will be able to post much more consistently on here. =D

So please keep checking in and commenting!!

St. Anne's and the Sisters of Charity

Last Saturday my brother and I were invited to serve a Mass and a Holy Hour of Exposition at St. Anne's Chapel in Lawton (Owned by SJC). Fr. Adam's was called in to pray the Mass for seventeen Sisters of Charity (Mother Theresa of Calcutta's order) from Chicago who came there for a retreat on their order's feast, the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

After the Mass and Holy Hour the Sisters talked to our family and gave us some prayer cards with pieces of Mother Theresa's clothes inside (hopefully soon to be second class relics of a saint!) and they just happened to have Mother Theresa's rosary with them as well (it is passed around from order to order--they just happened to have it) so we kissed it.

My little sister has said that she wants to be a nun. Specifically, a "Dominican Tertiary." Remember, she's eight! =D She was so happy to meet these Sisters, and to talk to them. We don't have any sisters around us or our parish so we don't see them that often. Oh, how many vocations are lost due to this!!

Soon afterwards we left because the Sisters went to go fishing over in the pond near the chapel. They saw the row boat over by the pond and insisted that they wanted to go fishing. One said she had never been fishing before!!!

It was a very special day filled with God's graces.

New Playlist

I ask for your patience. I am installing a new Music Player that will have far more songs on it than the old one (better songs too!). It will have over seven hours of music for you to listen to. The only thing is, I have to enter each song individually. So it may take a while.

Sorry about the inconvenience.

Tulsa Bishop Explains Why He "Faces East"

A reader sent this to me and I thought you might be interested in reading it as well. It is rather long, but worth the time.

It's encouraging that there are Bishops supporting the recovery of this "authentic worship."

TULSA, Oklahoma, AUG. 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).

The bishop of Tulsa explains his decision to celebrate Mass at the diocesan cathedral "ad orientem" -- facing east -- as an effort to recapture a "more authentic" Catholic worship.

Bishop Edward Slattery affirmed this in an article featured in the September edition of the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic, titled "Ad Orientem: Revival of Ancient Rite Brings Multiple Advantages, Some Misperceptions."

In a discussion about liturgy, the prelate said, it is necessary to grasp this "essential" truth: "At Mass, Christ joins us to himself as he offers himself in sacrifice to the Father for the world's redemption."

He reminded his readers that "all of the faithful offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice as members of Christ's body" through baptism.

The priest has a unique role in this offering, the bishop affirmed, to stand "in the person of Christ, the historic Head of the Mystical Body, so that, at Mass, it is the whole body of Christ -- Head and members together that make the offering."

Bishop Slattery explained that "from ancient times, the position of the priest and the people reflected this understanding of the Mass."As well, he added, "everyone -- celebrant and congregation -- faced the same direction, since they were united with Christ in offering to the Father Christ's unique, unrepeatable and acceptable sacrifice."

The prelate continued: "When we study the most ancient liturgical practices of the Church, we find that the priest and the people faced in the same direction, usually toward the east, in the expectation that when Christ returns, he will return 'from the east.' "At Mass, the Church keeps vigil, waiting for that return. This single position is called 'ad orientem,' which simply means 'toward the east.'

"This traditional posture lasted for nearly 18 centuries in the Church, he noted, as something that was handed on from the time of the Apostles.

The bishop observed that this single eastward position "reveals the nature of the Mass" as an act of worship shared by the priest and the congregation.

However, he said, this "shared orientation was lost" as the priest and people became accustomed to facing opposite directions.

Bishop Slattery explained, "This innovation was introduced after the Vatican Council, partly to help the people understand the liturgical action of the Mass by allowing them to see what was going on, and partly as an accommodation to contemporary culture where people who exercise authority are expected to face directly the people they serve, like a teacher sitting behind her desk."Unfortunately, he added, this change had some "unforeseen and largely negative effects."

Not only was it a "serious rupture with the Church’s ancient tradition," the prelate asserted, but it also "can give the appearance that the priest and the people were engaged in a conversation about God, rather than the worship of God."

He stated that it also "places an inordinate importance on the personality of the celebrant by placing him on a kind of liturgical stage."

The bishop noted Benedict XVI's appeal to "draw upon the ancient liturgical practice of the Church to recover a more authentic Catholic worship."

He continued, "For that reason, I have restored the venerable 'ad orientem' position when I celebrate Mass at the cathedral."

This gesture, he stated, is not one of rudeness or hostility toward the faithful, nor an attempt to "turn back the clock."

Rather, Bishop Slattery affirmed, it represents the fact that "we journey together to God."

As well, he continued, it is an attempt to respond to the Pope's invitation to "discover what underlies this ancient tradition and made it viable for so many centuries, namely, the Church's understanding that the worship of the Mass is primarily and essentially the worship which Christ offers to his Father."

Website on New Mass Translations

It finally happened!!!!!

This website has been made to help prepare us for the transition into the use of these translations. This is merely a website that will be a resource for the faithful, for the clergy, for parish and diocesan leaders, and for music publishing companies so that they may become familiar with these translations.


Here's the article from CNA:


U.S. bishops launch website on new Mass translation

Washington D.C., Aug 21, 2009 / 11:14 am (CNA).- After years in the making, the English translation of the new Roman Missal is nearing its completion and is now awaiting the final approval of the bishops and the Vatican. In an effort to begin educating the faithful and clergy on the new translation, the U.S. bishops have launched a website.

The new website, which was launched on August 21, includes background material on the process of the development of liturgical texts, sample texts from the Missal, a glossary of terms and answers to frequently asked questions.

A press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says that content will be added to the website on a regular basis over the next several months.

Bishop Arthur Serratelli, who chairs the bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, welcomes the faithful to the new site in a video, saying, "In the years since Vatican II we have learned a lot about the use of the vernacular in the liturgy and the new texts reflect this new understanding." Describing the translation, Bishop Serratelli says, "The new texts are understandable, dignified and accurate. … They not only strive to make the meaning of the text accessible for the listener, but they also strive to unearth the biblical and theological richness of the Latin text."

The process of translating the new Missal began in 2003 and has been ongoing since then.

Now that they have studied, reflected and adjusted the translation for five years, the bishops are expected to conclude their review and approve the final portion of the translated texts at the end of this year, the USCCB says in a press release.

Following the approval of the bishops, the translation will require a final approval (recognitio) from the Holy See before the texts can be published and used in the liturgy.

Speaking in the video, Bishop Serratelli explains that he sees this time of waiting as an opportunity for the faithful to learn and prepare."

We have a great opportunity during this period not only to learn about the changes, not only to learn about the revised texts, but also to deepen our own understanding of the Liturgy itself," he says. "We encourage priests, deacons, religious, liturgical ministers, all the faithful to avail themselves of the information that we are making available."

The website dedicated to the new translation can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal

(Click on "Examples," it will walk you through the Mass and what is to be changed)


Wonderful!!! God's Graces are at work.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Serving the TLM

This past week I was trained and served at my first, second, and third Tridentine Mass. It was truly an incredible experience!!

While we were camping my Dad and I have been going to daily Mass in Paw Paw. One morning Fr. Adams (newly ordained priest!!) came over to me and asked if it would be alright if I served a TLM with him. I told him I never have before, but I would love to! So later that day he taught me and another boy to serve the TLM Low Mass. After our training he prayed Mass, and I was serving it.

Who would've thought that just a few hours after he asked me randomly I would be trained and be serving the TLM? Truly it was God's Grace at work. It came through Fr. Adams. He is a very Holy man. He gives off holiness, and compassion like an aroma. He is such an inspiration to me, and sets an example of what kind of a priest I want to be. Yet with such a GREAT love of God, there comes the GREAT power of the devil. The holier you are and the closer you are to God, the more the devil will work at pulling you away from Him. Pray for Fr. Adams and for all priests.

Words cannot describe the emotions felt in a TLM Mass. It is truly Right and truly Perfect. To serve at it, is amazing. You get IT!! You see the faith in the TRUE presence, the entering before God with fear and trembling, and Jesus being revealed to us all. He is the rising SON coming over the mountains to shine forth His light to the world. How amazing is that!? All of the actions have specific purpose and meaning. There is no room for personal preferences, or changes.

Everything makes sense in the TLM. It flows and moves with ease and gentleness. It shows absolute reverence, and puts the priest, servers, and faithful back to where they are meant to be. The priest becomes the person we shove up there before God. We say, "Here!! You go up there with God! You do it!" The congregation is praying for the priest and the servers while they, in return, carry out the sacrifice of the Mass and bring back from Calvary Jesus (LITERALLY!) and distribute Him to the faithful!! How AWE some!?

Anyways, it was an incredible grace and experience. Actually, the Mass was very simple to learn. I had it down the first day. I just need to work on my Confiteor. =D I hope to serve the Mass several more times this next week (we are going back to Paw Paw on Monday). It will be hard afterwards to not be able to serve it.

The Feast of the Assumption


The ark which God has sanctified,
Which He has filled with grace,
Within the temple of the Lord
Has found a resting-place.
More glorious than the seraphim,
This ark of love divine,Corruption could not blemish her
Whom death could not confine.
God-bearing Mother, Virgin chaste,
Who shines in heaven's sight;
She wears a royal crown of stars
Who is the door of Light.
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
may we give endless praise
With Mary, who is Queen of heaven,
Through everlasting days.

For hundreds of years, Catholics observed the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 -- celebrating Mary's being taken bodily to Heaven after her death -- but it was not until 1950 that the Church proclaimed this teaching a dogma of the Church.

Mary's Assumption is a sign to us that someday, through God's grace, we too may join the Blessed Mother in Heaven. The Assumption is a source of great hope for us. It points the way for all followers of Christ who through her take obedience to God's will. Where she is now, we are meant to eventually be, and may hope to be through God's grace. We must try to imitate her self-sacrificing love, her indestructible faith and her perfect obedience.


Line in the Sand--Revisited

Here is a post that I wrote back in June. I think needs to be said again. It is what we are facing at this very moment. It is what we need to prepare for. "God will prepare our arm for battle."

"More and more I am beginning to believe that we as a Catholic people, as moral people, are going to begin facing challenges and trials that will ultimately cause us to draw that line in the sand. There are always instances and times in our lives that call us into an act of faith and loyalty to our faith, but as I grow I sense a great suffering of the church, and a point at which we will have to stand up for our faith, and what the Church truly teaches.

In the past it seems as though we have followed an extremism in which we have cared and nurtured our emotions rather than our intellect. This, I believe, caused many problems to thus erupt, the main being the misunderstanding of Vatican II. One can still see the effect our emotions play in our logic and morality that we use everyday.

I'm not saying emotions are a bad thing. On the contrary, I think emotions are a wonderful thing. They are what drive us to love God. I am saying that we need to build these emotions, on Truths. Moral Truths.

If we as Catholics, and as Christians, use our intellect, with all emotions aside, we start to understand what the Church has to teach and why. Knowing this creates a stronger faith inside of the individual.

I believe we need both emotions and intellect. But, I believe we need to always rely and base our emotions off of our intellect and reasoning. For emotions with no (good) reasoning behind them are pointless and uncalled for.

The tide is shifting. Soon, I believe, we will be forced to fall back to our intellect and to then either stand up for our faith, and the Truth. Or, we run away, and fall. Sadly enough I think this is where most of the people who "leave" the Catholic Church digress. They do not have the faith in God, nor the strength. But would rather flee and run from the trial (even though, I believe trial will reach you in one form of another-- you can't out run it).

Notice I quoted ..."Leave" the Catholic Church. The reason I wrote it this way is because I believe one does not "leave" the Church, just the same as one does not enter the Church. We are all Catholics. Whether we accept it (know it) or not. We are all Catholics born into this world, and coming out of it. The Church consumes us. The Church takes us on. We do not take on the Church.

The Church has always gone through trials and hard times. Thus it still expands after 2000 years. With this growth in reform and tension in culture will come conflict. This conflict, I believe, will result in a great suffering and trials that we will have to endure.

Even though the church does not seek to be counter-cultural, but when the church is countered by society and culture of our day, it has no choice. The Church IS, and will never change. The church doesn't wish to create conflict between different standpoints. Really, the Church has, in the past forty years, been too tolerant and accepting of others' views.

But, in another sense, if the culture of our church - its practices, traditions, and moral thoughts- is the culture that is the One True Truth, then it is not a matter of the church being counter cultural anymore. Some would call this an extreme way of thinking, but it is that same extremism that says that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Christ IS the Church, so thus, our extreme claim for Christ becomes our extreme claim for His Church.

Today there is much that is counter to the Catholic way of being. Every day I encounter something that pushes me (us all) closer and closer to that line; whether it be ignorant teachers or other classmates. The moral Truth is not very popular right now, nor was it ever. But, ironically, it is we who try to follow our moral Truths that are questioned and seen as the "outcast" or "pessimist" to the rest of society's views.

Great trials have begun to come, and will continue to come in bigger forms. I think we as Catholics, as people, and as a country, need this. It is time for us to grow up and stand up for what we believe. We all need to strengthen our faith and catechesis - or else we have nothing but the fire. But I am not afraid. God will deliver. God will bestow upon us however much we can handle."

It continues...

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host
by the Divine Power of God
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


O Jesus, our great High Priest, Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priests, Give them a deep faith a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life. In their loneliness, comfort them In their sorrows, strengthen them In their frustrations, point out to them that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show them that they are needed by the Church, they are needed by souls, they are needed for the work of redemption. O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination, and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christin a world which needs him so much.

Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength, and especially help him to live and to defend the ideals of the Catholic Church. Amen.

Holy Virgin Mary, you are reigning in Glory, with Jesus, your Son. Remember us in our sadness. Look kindly on those who are suffering or fighting any difficulty. Have pity on the loneliness of our hearts; have pity on our weakness of our faith and love. Have pity on those who are weeping, on those who are praying, on those who are fearful. Holy Mother, please obtain for all of us hope and peace inside justice. Amen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm off to...

"Castel Gandolfo!!!" (Also known as our trailer on the lake) :-)

So that means there will be no posts until next Saturday!

I'll be sure to keep you in my prayers!!

Ad Orientem Resources

I had an inquiry regarding resources about Ad Orientem posture in relation to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal (GIRM). I've written about Ad Orientem a couple of times before, but here are some additional links.

First, go HERE to Fr. Zuhlsdorf's Blog---He has answered this question many times. When you go to this page, be sure to click on the link half-way down that says "What does GIRM 299 really say?" Or for more information go HERE.

Next got to this LINK on Amazon that allows you to read Chapter 3, "The Altar and Direction of Liturgical Prayer," of Cardninal Ratzinger's "The Spirit of the Liturgy."

HERE is a link to my blog where I made a very big post about Ad Orientem. It talks about all aspects of it, and I quote the Holy Father and his writtings about the subject (Spirit of the Liturgy), along with others.

For any more reading on this topic please read:

“Turning Towards the Lord” by Fr. Uwe Lang
“Spirit of the Liturgy” by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

(I quote these two books throughout my blog entry)

There's a case study regarding canon law, in which the bishop of Birmingham, Alabama decreed that Ad Orientem was NOT allowed, especially at televised Masses (remember this is where EWTN films their liturgies). Follow THIS link to see how canon law 838 pertains.

HERE is Fr. Longnecker's Blog where he has posted his letters to his parish about implementing Ad Orientem at Mass. Fr. Longnecker is an excellent resource as well.

Feast of St. Lawrence


St. Lawrence was a deacon of the Roman Church, and was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in 258.

At the beginning of the month of August, 258, the emperor issued an edict, commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death. This command was immediately carried out in Rome. On August sixth Pope Sixtus II was apprehended in one of the catacombs, and executed. Four days later, on the 10th of August, Lawrence, the last of the seven deacons in Rome, also suffered a martyr's death.

Lawrence is said to have been martyred on a gridiron. During his torture Lawrence cried out "Turn me over, this side's done!" ("Assum est, inquit, versa et manduca.") This is the legend often quoted explaining why Lawrence is the Patron Saint of Comedians.



St Lawrence is one of the most widely venerated saints of the Roman Catholic Church. Devotion to him was widespread by the 4th century.

St Lawrence is especially honored in the city of Rome, where he is one of the city's patrons. There are several churches in Rome dedicated to him, including San Lorenzo in Panisperna, traditionally identified as the place of his execution. The picture above is of the stone where St. Lawrence was laid after his death.


Here's the shrine in Rome containing the gridiron said to have been used to grill Saint Lawrence to death.

St. Lawrence, pray for us,

that the flames of Divine love may burn away all traces of vice within us,

and that we may be practical and zealous in the service of the poor.

Amen.

(Info. to Catholic Encyclopedia)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Virtual Tour Under St. Peter's

I found THIS, and thought that it was really cool!!!! It starts off with some videos and explanations then moves on to the virtual tour with things to click on that will explain things along the way. This is so wonderful!! Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Push

Last week my dad and I went to daily Mass in Paw Paw. We were planing on visiting St. Anne's Chapel in Lawton while we were there, so I asked Fr. Stanley if he could get us inside to take a look (He knows the couple whose property it is on).

One of the days we were at Mass we noticed a man (who I thought looked like a canon from St. John Cantius) in the back of the church who was in cassock and collar with a rosary on his cincture. Sure enough, he was: Brother Chad! Brother Chad was in Michigan on retreat to take care of the grounds around St. Anne's. Fr. Stanley talked to him and asked if he could show my dad and I inside St. Anne's.

Brother Chad was more than happy to give us a tour and talk with us, so about half an hour after Mass we met with him at the chapel. The chapel is just gorgeous inside!!! Amazing! He was one of two men who built the chapel. The chapel is designed after the polish mountain chapel.

It is intended to have a nailed on wood roof with no metal on top. But after the first rainstorm it drenched the inside. So Brother Chad and a few others spent almost a month caulking every crack in the roof. After that it leaked a little bit. Eventually the Superior, Fr. Phillips, decided that they would put on a copper roof over top of plywood. This caused so much additional weight that the walls started to bend out. They put in more braces at the top of the roof and put iron tension beams from one wall to the other to bring the walls back in.

Regardless of the beams and such, it is a beautiful little chapel! It has a choir set up before the altar rails and even has a small choir loft with an organ in the back of the chapel. It is such a wonderful place to send these priests and brothers away on retreat from the city!

We had a chance to talk with Brother Chad about vocations for about a hour and a half. It was just what I needed. I needed to talk to someone and ask them questions about SJC after my visit there a few weeks ago. He answered all of my questions and was very helpful.

Brother Chad is a very holy and loving man. They all are at SJC! We told him, "Ya know, we've noticed that you guys are always so joyful!" He replied with, "Well, I just think we're down-to-earth!" That's exactly it! The men of St. John Cantius are just "down-to-earth," joyful men. They love God and the church's liturgy, but they do not approach it with faces and attitudes of such somber seriousness as others do. They are joyful in their works and liturgies while still being very serious about them. They are just regular guys who are called to be priests and brothers.

Brother Chad gave a very wonderful analogy that I thought I'd share with you. It helps me to explain why I'm interested in SJC and their works. Along with how they fit into the church and it's mission.

He said that the church is the Body of Christ. So to have a body you need a heart, and that's the cloistered nuns and monks who pray for us who can't pray all of the time. They pump the blood (the faith) out to everyone else. The skin is the laity. The laity (or skin) is what everyone sees, it is the face of the church. We need lots of people to be laity so that they can spread the good news and live a christian life. Likewise, we don't need as many people to be the heart and live a cloistered life. Then all of the other religious are at different locations in the body, the diocesan priests are like the muscles who are closest to the skin (we need lots of muscles, but not as much as we need skin), while the deeper you go into the body the more of a monastic life you live until you reach the heart. Brother Chad said that the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are like the veins that bring out the faith from the heart to the rest of the religious on to the laity.

This is why I find SJC so appealing! They set an example for other religious who in turn set an example for the laity! They live both a monastic and a diocesan lifestyle. They minister to people, yet their mission is to keep that Catholic bloodline pumping out to the rest of us.

It was an excellent visit and an excellent talk. Just another push from God.

Four Newly Ordained Priests!!!


"Transitional deacons James Francis Adams, Christopher John Ankley, Joseph Bernard Gray and Harold Graham Potter will be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Kalamazoo by Bishop Paul J. Bradley on August 8 at St. Augustine Cathedral.

The Ordination will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a reception immediately following at the Crowley Cathedral Center.

James Adams, 26, St. John Bosco, Mattawan, is the son of Jim and Kris Adams and graduated from the Pontifical North American College of Rome. Christopher Ankley, 42, is originally from Imlay City, and the son of Carol Ankley and the late Paul Ankley. Chris graduated from Blessed John XXIII Seminary, Weston, Mass. Harold Potter, 43, from Harbor Springs, Mich., is the son of Roger and Roberta Potter and also graduated from St. John XXII Seminary. Joseph Gray, 60, from Eaton Rapids, Mich., is the son of Mary Gray and the late Tracy Gray and graduated from Holy Apostles Seminary, Cromwell, Conn." (Diocese of Kalamazoo)

Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!!

The Church is blessed to have such fine men like these enter into her Holy Priesthood!

Sadly, I was not able to attend the ordination Mass (My high school marching band had a parade to play at). But I will be attending Fr. Adam's (bottom left in picture) first Mass in Paw Paw: Sunday the 9th at 2pm. I know Fr. Adams personally, and he is a VERY holy and loving man. He is what I aspire to be.

Congratulations to you all!! Ad multos annos!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Are We Happy?

When we see crowds of people rushing into theaters, charging into their local bars, or seeking new thrills, we see that they have not yet found happiness, otherwise they would not be looking for it.

The fact that we can think of a greater happiness than we posses now is proof that we are not happy. If we were perfect we would be happy all the time. At one time or another in our lives we have tried to obtain what would make us happy, but when we get it, are we happy?

Remember how we look forward to a vacation or Christmas, and we thought about how great a time it was going to be and how happy we were going to be? But then as our vacation ended, or we are falling asleep in our beds after Christmas day, we feel that somehow or other it did not meet our expectations.

We want to be perfectly happy, but we are not. Our lives have been a series of disappointments, shocks, trials, sufferings, and disillusions. The real question lies in how we reacted to our disappointments; either we became cynical, or religious.

If we decide to become cynical, we decide that, since life is a snare and a delusion, we ought to get as much thrill and fun out of it as possible! In a case such this we grab at any excitement we see, making our lives a consistent search for a "good time." This would be the right attitude if we were just an animal. But we have a soul as well as a body. So there are joys in life as well as pleasures.

There is a world of difference between these two. Pleasure is of the body; while joy is of the mind and heart. One can become quickly tired of pleasures, but you can never tire of joys. A pleasure can keep building until it reaches a point where it stops being pleasure it may even begin to cause pain if carried beyond a certain point. Therefore, if we live focused on pleasure we are missing the joys of life.

Have you noticed that as our desire for pleasure increases, the satisfaction from the pleasure decreases? The drug addict, to have equal pleasure from his drugs, must increase his dose or kind of drug. Otherwise the thrill runs off. Any addict deals with this. You keep searching for the next big thing because the pleasure of the last wore off.

On the other hand, one will react to disappointments in a religious manner. If we see that we haven't found the happiness we are looking for we come to the conclusion that, "If we want happiness, we must have been made for happiness." We realize that we have been looking for happiness in all of the wrong places. Therefore we look for happiness somewhere else, in God.

If our philosophy is always to have a "good time," we have already learned long ago that we will never really have a "good time," because we are always in the pursuit of happiness without ever capturing it. We will spend our whole lives searching for happiness, and what ends up happening is that we go through life without noticing how happy we could be if we look to God for our happiness. "We turn the pages of life, without ever reading the book." --Fulton Sheen.

This is why those who live for pleasure become cynical. They blame things, rather than their self, and they end up chasing mirages until death overtakes them.

Our whole lives will be disordered and miserable if we base them on the principal of always having a good time, simply because happiness is an end product, not a goal. One should not seek happiness, but rather seek good and happiness will come as a result.

From all of this comes the question; "Why am I disappointed and unhappy?" The reason for this is simple; because we have such a large unbalance between our desires and our realizations.

For example, one would look forward to some earthly pleasure, or position, but once they attain it, they begin to feel the large unbalance between the idea they desired and the reality of what actually happened. This causes disappointment. The more material and earthly our goals are the more disappointment follows; the more spiritual and "God-centered" our goals are the less disappointment there is. That is why, if we devote our lives to God and His will we can ultimately find happiness in everything.

Certainly we would never want this perfect life, perfect Truth, perfect Love unless it existed. The very thought that we enjoy these things to the best of our abilities means there must be a place where we can enjoy these things in complete happiness. That's heaven! Would there be an eye if there was no beauty to behold? Then would there be a craving for unending life, perfect Truth, and ecstatic love unless perfect Life and Truth and Love existed?

In other words, we are made for God. Nothing short of the infinite satisfies us, and to be asked to satisfy with anything less would be to destroy us. That's why there is a heaven!

While we are on earth, we dream of heaven; we are creatures of time, and we despise it. We are constantly looking for the source of Life, Truth, and Love, and that something is God; and the times when we have been disappointed are when we have lost sight of Him!

It is God that we are looking for. Our unhappiness is not due to our want of a fortune, or a high position, or fame; it is not due to a want of something outside of us, but rather a want inside of us. We are made for perfect happiness. That is our purpose. No wonder everything short of God disappoints us!

But have you noticed that when you realize you were made for perfect happiness, how much less disappointing the pleasures of earth become? Once we realize that God is our end, we are no long disappointed! "This causes us to see that friendship, the joys of marriage, the sunset and the stars, masterpieces of art and music are all gifts from God! He dropped them into our life to remind us that these things beautiful. It is a small foretaste of His eternal kingdom in heaven!"

Life is not filled with disappointments- unless you expect more than what you have at that very moment. Disappointments are merely parts of life saying: "Perfect Happiness is not here." Every disillusionment, every destroyed earthly hope, every frustrated human desire points to God. Though our passions may be satisfied by things of this world, we are never satisfied until we are at peace with our One True God in His eternal Kingdom.