Wednesday, December 13, 2017

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross
1542–1591 • SPAIN

One of the greatest figures in the Catholic church, St. John of the Cross is also one of the greatest poets in Spanish literature.

Born near Avila, Juan de Yepes Álvarez entered the Carmelite order when he was 21 and moved to Salamanca, Spain, where he studied philosophy and theology at the university. At 25 he was ordained a priest.

Around this time he met St. Teresa of Ávila, who inspired him with her work in reforming the Carmelite order, seeking to restore its original contemplative character. St. John worked with her for the next ten years, establishing and helping administer monasteries around Spain.

A group of his superiors, trying to counter their efforts, jailed him when he was 35. Though a higher Carmelite authority approved his work, he was imprisoned for nine months and treated harshly. Out of his tiny cell came his most famous work, The Spiritual Canticle. After nine months he escaped and continued his work. He was canonized in 1726, and in 1926 he was made a Doctor of the Church.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Guadalupe!



Guadalupe!
Holy Mary, who under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe
are invoked as Mother by the men and women of Mexico and of Latin America,
encouraged by the love that you inspire in us,
we once again place our life in your motherly hands.

May you, who are present in these Vatican Gardens,
hold sway in the hearts of all the mothers of the world and in our own heart.
With great hope, we turn to you and trust in you.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Pray for us.

His Holiness Benedict XVI
Prayer before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican gardens. May 11, 2005.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Marianist Monday


HONORING OUR BICENTENNIALS – A PAGE FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM
To celebrate the bicentennials of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Mary, FamilyOnline is featuring occasional peeks into the past.


American Marianists first arrived in the missionary field of Peru in 1939, and Fr. Robert Heil — shown in this circa 1940s photo — was among the first to serve there. The Marianists established schools and staffed parishes in Lima, Callao, Chupaca and Trujillo. Fr. Robert, a beloved teacher, pastor and basketball coach, died in Lima in 2006.


Photo from the National Archives of the Marianist Province of the United States

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent - Prepare

Image result for advent preparations
It was in 1907, that Baden-Powell, an English soldier, devised the Scout motto: Be Prepared. He published it in Scouting for Boys in 1908. And, two years later, in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was founded.

In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”More than a century later, preparedness is still a cornerstone of Scouting. Through its fun, values-based program, Scouting prepares young people for life. But it is the Advent calling as well. We must always be in a state of readiness in mind and body for the coming of Christ.

Saint Peter encourages us, "You should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles." When we engage in the Scriptures daily, we galvanize our memory of God's Word and more consistently live it out each day.

So, we are asked to pay attention to what it is that masters you. Saint Peter criticizes those false teachers for promising freedom while being "slaves of corruption" and then he makes a poignant statement: "People are slaves to whatever masters them." As we move through the Advent season, that's a great question to ponder: What is it that masters us? To what have we become a slave? Is it money, sex, power or something else? As Bob Dylan once sang, "It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody." Who are you serving?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Immaculate Conception

Image result for immaculate conceptionTota pulchra es, Maria. Et macula originalis non est in Te.
Thou art all beautiful, Mary. And the original stain is not in Thee.

Mary is beautiful because God loves her. In love, God her Father created her. In love, God her Son redeemed her. In love, God her Spouse dwelt in her always. The Blessed Trinity delights in Mary and so granted her first the fullness of grace on earth and then in heaven the highest glory.

Mary is also beautiful because she loves God. In childlike hope she trusted the Father and clung to the promises he made to Israel. In motherly openness she conceived and brought forth the Son, the Savior of the world. And in bridal ardor she united herself to the Holy Spirit. By grace, Mary is the true burning bush and tabernacle, the creature in which God becomes present and that burns with God’s love but is not consumed.

In all this, Mary never knew sin. In view of the merits of Jesus, God preserved his Mother totally pure. But why did God choose to make the all-beautiful, the Immaculate? He did so for love of us, to prepare for himself a beautiful and worthy Temple in which to dwell among his people. Mary Immaculate was the way God chose to come to us. As such, she is also the way for us to go to him. If we contemplate and love Mary, we will ever more deeply contemplate and love her Son, Jesus Christ.

Down through the ages, Catholic hearts have loved to contemplate the beauty of Mary as a way to approach her Son. This love moved the Church from early on to celebrate her mysteries in the liturgy. It also led Christian artists to create countless works of beauty. Poets and musicians sang her praises. Painters and sculptors imagined and portrayed her gracious countenance. Love of Mary encouraged saints and theologians to meditate and understand her place in our salvation. As a result, the Catholic patrimony boasts of many rich visual, verbal, and musical meditations on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In our own day this great inheritance of Marian piety is preserved, promoted, and developed in an exemplary way by the popular prayer aid Magnificat. This month Magnificat celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary since its foundation. To mark the occasion and to thank the Blessed Virgin for her assistance in their apostolate, the publishers have issued a lovely book of art and prayer.

In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary moves through the mysteries of Mary’s life. It presents forty beautiful, full-page reproductions of icons or paintings of the Madonna that have through these years graced the covers of the magazine. Reflections by Pierre-Marie Dumont, the founder of Magnificat, accompany each image. These provide insight into the images and take their inspiration from them to meditate on the divine realities they represent. In addition the book gives each “mystery” a voice through a traditional hymn from the Church’s liturgy and a brief thought or prayer from various saints and Christian authors.

The book, just like the issues of Magnificat, is attractively laid out and printed. It would make for a lovely coffee table book. More significantly, reading and looking at this book would be an excellent way to gaze on Mary and contemplate her, to get to know her and love her more. Through word and image this work could move those hearts who take it up to share the deep delight that God enjoys in beholding the Immaculate. And in drawing nearer to her, these souls would grow more desirous of that infinitely beautiful Love and Light, the Triune God, from whom she comes to us and to whom she wishes to lead us.

Br. Josemaría Guzmán-Domínguez entered the Order of Preachers in 2014. He is a graduate of Chaminade High School.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception


Mary's parents were Joachim and Anna.

Often confused with the Birth of Jesus, the "Immaculate Conception" is how Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, through sexual intercourse with Joachim BUT Mary was born without Original Sin, unlike the rest of us.

This is a brief reflection on it by Richard Rohr.

As Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, he will always love one and ignore the other” (Matthew 6:24). Our first and final loyalty is to one kingdom: God’s, or our own. We can’t really fake it. The Big Picture is apparent when God’s work and will are central, and we are happy to take our place in the corner of the frame.

Because I am a part of the Big Picture, I do matter and substantially so. Because I am onlya part, however, I am rightly situated off to stage right—and happily so. What freedom there is in such truth! We are inherently important and included, yet not burdened with manufacturing or sustaining that private importance. Our dignity is given by God, and we are freed from ourselves!

Today’s often misunderstood feast of the Immaculate Conception is saying that even Mary’s dignity was totally given by God from the first moment of her conception, and all she could do was thank God for it. It was nothing she merited. In that she is a metaphor and archetype for every human life.

Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr