VISITATION OF MARY-MEMORIAL DAY
His mercy is from age to age to those who FEAR him.
Christ the King is drawing near. We are to rejoice in her son just as Mary did in her Canticle of Praise when she entered the house of Zechariah.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I. The Graces of Holy Communion
ii. We become “One Body and One Spirit in Christ”
43. The “re-education camp” divided the prisoners into groups of fifty who slept on the floor as their bed. Each man had a foot and a half wide space. Of the fifty prisoners with Cardinal Van Thuan, only five others were Christians. With the cooperation of the non-Christian prisoners, they made arrangements so that at night they would be near each other. When lights went out at 9:30, then he quietly said Mass and distributed Communion to the Catholics. He kept one consecrated Host always in his shirt pocket. During the night, the prisoners took turns for adoration. During the day, even amid the cruelty of prison life, Cardinal Van Thuan and the few Christians focused their attention on Jesus. For them, Jesus in the Eucharist became a true companion. As a result of the Eucharistic presence that was clandestinely introduced into the prison camp, the Christian prisoners regained the fervor of their faith during those difficult times and even other non-Christians converted to the faith. The strength of Jesus’ love in the Eucharist is irresistible. The silent presence of Jesus in the Eucharist brought consolation to those who suffered, strength to a weakened faith and especially a fortified bond of unity among them.
44. How much we need the Eucharist in our world today! We are also struggling through a challenging time. We are emerging from a pandemic that has crippled many with FEAR and left much suffering in its wake. Throughout this time, we have also experienced great division within our country and even within our Church. A tangible and rapid decline of our culture produces empty noise and vain pleasures that drown out God’s invitation to enter into a loving relationship with Him.
45. What can we do to bring peace, justice and love to a world that is starving for God and His love? By ourselves, we can do nothing. But, in the Eucharist, God Himself is our nourishment and strength. We cannot transform our lives nor change the world with our own strength alone. The Eucharist as a Sacrament of communion and love motivates us inwardly to work tirelessly towards reconciliation and the restoration of justice; to work together to restore respect for the dignity of all men and women made in the image and likeness of God.
To be continued…
Feast of the Visitation of Mary
THIS day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because on it Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, whom, as the angel had told her, God had blessed with a son in her old age. In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: “Hail, holy parent, who didst bring forth the King Who rules heaven and earth forever. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak of my works for the King.”
Prayer. Vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto us Thy servants the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that, as in the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her visitation we may obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc. Amen.
EPISTLE. Cant. ii. 8-14.
Behold lie cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart; behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come: the voice of the turtle is heard in our land: the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come: my dove in the cliffs of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, show me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely.
GOSPEL. Luke i. 39-47.
At that time: Mary rising up went into the hill-country with haste, into a city of Juda: and she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
1. As soon as Mary heard that Elizabeth was with child, she hastened to her. The alacrity of the Blessed Virgin teaches us that we should take part with gladness in the happiness of our fellowmen, and quickly make ourselves ready to discharge our duties, sacrificing for that object, if necessary, even our own much-loved retirement, our devotions and other exercises of piety.
2. Mary visited her cousin out of real love, not out of unmeaning ceremony. Would that her example were followed in our visits!
3. By the visit of the Blessed Virgin John was sanctified in his mother’s womb, and Elizabeth, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, knew, by the miraculous movements of her child, that Mary was the Mother of the Lord. Such effects did this visit produce. What would Jesus effect in us if we received Him with due preparation!
EXPLANATION OF THE CANTICLE “MAGNIFICAT”
In this hymn Mary with joy praises God, the Lord, that He has regarded her humility, and made her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son, wherefore she should be called blessed by all generations; and she declares the truths and mysteries which the incarnation brought to light. The mercy of God, namely, reaches from generation to generation to them that FEAR Him. He scatters the thoughts of the proud, and puts down from their seats the mighty; but He exalts the humble. He fills those who hunger for justice with good things, but those who think themselves rich He sends away empty. He receives all true Israelites, and performs in them the promises which He gave to the fathers. This hymn is repeated by the Church every day at Vespers, in praise of the work of redemption, begun by the incarnation of the Son of God in Mary. Would that every Christian, since he becomes one only by Christ being, as it were, born in him, might share those feelings which the Blessed Virgin and Mother has expressed in this hymn of praise, and, with the Church, daily praise God for the mystery of the incarnation!
Aspiration. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who didst descend from the highest heavens to the womb of the Virgin Mary, didst therein rest for nine months, and with her didst condescend to visit and sanctify St. John, grant that we, by the practice of good works, particularly of humility, may become partakers of the fruits of Thy incarnation.
Things to Do
- Read Luke 1:39-47, the story of the Visitation. Read and meditate on the words of the Magnificat and the Hail Mary, two prayers from this feast. For those with children, depending on the ages, assign memorization for these prayers. Also discuss the meaning of the text as a family.
- This feast reminds us to be charitable to our neighbors. Try to assist some mother (expectant or otherwise), visit the elderly or sick, make a dinner for someone, etc.
Today is Memorial Day and we honor those who have paid the supreme sacrifice of devotion watching our nation. Pray today for the souls of those taken in battle. In the communion of saints, it is our duty; no, our honor to pray for the souls of those in our company who have died; especially those who have passed through the valley of fear in the heat of battle.
Memorial Day, first established in 1866 to honor Union soldiers of the Civil War, is now a day set aside to remember all of the American soldiers who have died in war in the subsequent 15 decades -- about 1.2 million in all. This number, while representing a tremendous loss, pales in comparison to the number of war-related deaths globally for the same time period. Estimates run from 60 to 85 million for the number of lives lost during World War II alone.
While stationed in Mons, Belgium I learned there is the legend of the Angels of Mons, where it was reported the British soldiers were saved by heavenly forces.
One thing is certain: There are no atheists in foxholes.
To honor our fallen let us stop what we are doing at 1500 hrs. (3 pm) and offer the Divine Mercy Prayer for those who have fallen in service of our nation.
God of power and
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Memorial Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Attend a Memorial Day parade. One popular parade is the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC.
· All Americans are encouraged to pause for one minute at 3:00 pm (local time). Think of the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers to provide freedom for all.
· Visit the grave of a fallen soldier.
· Have a picnic or go boating.
· Donate to a charity that serves veterans.
Memorial Day Facts & Quotes
· There have been over 2.7 million US military deaths since 1775.
· The deadliest US War was the Civil War with about 600,000 US deaths.
· It is customary to fly a US flag at half-staff till noon on Memorial Day.
· It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. - George S. Patton
Today in honor of Memorial Day I remembered my friend Paul Wolff.
The Wolff of the Ardennes
Men are frequently blinded by fear and as a result often harmed themselves. The grace of God gives confidence to see the right and to stand when called. Father Paul was called to stand and became General Patton’s guide during the “Battle of the Bulge” while he was still a teen. Father Paul Wolff was 15 years old when he first joined the Belgium resistance during the years of the Nazi occupation of World War II. He was the youngest member of the Belgium resistance. Unfortunately, he and other members of his group were captured and at 17 he was tortured, condemned to death and imprisoned in the Nazi Prison in Liege, Belgium. There he languished yet his faith would not allow him to lose all hope and the resistance still worked to get him and the others (256) out. Part of the plan was to get a radio to the prisoners. To do this the resistance secreted small parts of a crystal radio inside bars of soap. Interestingly these were “Lever” brother bars of soap and were large about the size of a brick. Father Paul related that during the Nazi occupation not all Jews were in German prisons if they were of use to the Nazi’s. In this case the soap bars were made by the Lever Jews and the radio parts were easily hidden inside the soap bars. Father Paul stated that when they received the soap, they then washed their hands raw in wearing away the soap to get to the radio part. Then after several bars they constructed the radio which was the Morse code type. Father Paul typed in code in English which he spoke along with German and French the words over and over “SOS SOS 256 prisoners in Liege prison condemned to death SOS SOS.” They hoped someone would get the message and somehow, they would be rescued. All they had was hope.
Father also related that it drove the Nazi’s crazy because they intercepted the message but never suspected it was coming from the prison. Father Paul said that in the cell they were in there was only one barred window, but it was so high that to look out it required a person to stand on the shoulders of a fellow prisoner. He further relayed that they when they would see women that were friendly with the guards coming and going, they would call them the nastiest things they could think of calling them. Yet one day during an air raid while the guards were hiding as deep as they could go; one of these young women (secret agent) came and taking the heel of her shoe wrote on the pavement that during the air raid they are going to be rescued by commandoes and they were. Father Paul stated neither he nor the others ever lost hope.
After his escape he went underground. He was a friend of King Leopold III. He served as General Patton's Belgian guide during the battle of the bulge.
December 24, 1944
Father Paul communicated to me the tale about the battle of the bulge that has not been recorded in history. During WWII the US Army was segregated and black men were not mixed with white men. Black men mostly served in support roles such as transportation and as cooks, etc. During the course of the Battle of the Bulge’ Hitler sent in a special operations team to confuse and destroy the American Army. It was composed of American NAZI’s and German’s, who spoke perfect American slang, knew the culture, baseball stuff, etc. These Spec Ops were equipped with American Uniforms and equipment that was captured by Gen. Rommel from North Africa. Father Wolff was at a meeting with Gen. Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower and the English Gen. Montgomery in Luxembourg City on the evening of Dec. 24th, 1944. The Generals were very excited and afraid because of the effect these NAZI spec ops were having in the warzone and due to the fact that they had murdered many men. They did not know what to do. Patton who was a visionary, suddenly stood up and said, I know exactly what to do. From this time forward, nothing in the American Army will move without a black American in the group. Patton knew there were no black NAZI’s. As a result, black units were moved forward and integrated and as far as I know this was the first time in American History since the Civil War. As a result, the NAZI spec ops team was neutralized.
My daughter Candace Faith in light of Memorial Day invited me to participate in the annual Murph. The Murph Challenge is the Official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forged®. It is also one of the primary means of funding for the Foundation on an annual basis. YOUR support is what drives our success!
Since 2014, Forged® has raised over $1,000,000+ for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge campaign. In 2018, The Murph Challenge Fundraiser provided a vehicle to raise nearly $250,000 in order to begin construction on the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum/Sea Cadet Training Facility in Long Island, NY! In addition to that, and ONLY with such overwhelming support and success, the Foundation was also able to add four additional scholarships in 2018, now providing the opportunity to award 27 or more scholarships each and every year!
World No Tobacco Day
World No Tobacco Day serves to generate awareness about the health risks of tobacco use and to advocate for more effective policies that can help reduce worldwide tobacco use.
World No Tobacco Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Think about your health. Quit smoking or encourage others to do so. Many help books are available online to coach you through the withdrawal and help you find alternative solutions to the cravings.
· Educate youth and teenagers in your neighborhood about the negative effects of smoking and encourage them to quit if they have already picked up the habit. The best way to eradicate smoking is by educating the new generation of the negative effects of tobacco use.
· Volunteer for the Freedom from Smoking program or another like program that helps smokers quit.
· Watch a movie or documentary about smoking and tobacco. Our favorites: The Tobacco Conspiracy, We Love Cigarettes and Passion for Cigarettes.
· Lobby for stricter tobacco advertisement laws and smoking laws in your community. Tobacco companies continue to be pressured legally to disclose the negative effects of their product and your help in supporting this legal action can lead to even stricter laws.
· Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
· Monday: Litany of Humility
Wildlife fills our life with joy and refreshment. Songbirds and birds of prey, squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and lightning bugs all carry a message worth discovering in early summer. Do we see and hear them, or do we overlook them, even despise them? Are they simply an annoyance, or do we come to know, love, and even serve these fellow creatures by providing protection and habitat?
June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus – The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the revelation of God’s immense love for us. It is often depicted as a fiery furnace, pierced and broken, but beating with love. The Sacred Heart is also a profound reminder of the humanity of our Lord, for his heart is not a mere symbol, but a true physical reality.
Overview of June
The month of June is dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. This month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time.
As we begin to feel the warmth of summer, we can reflect that we celebrate the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 11) and the Immaculate Heart of Mary (June 12). God is Love and the Sacred Heart of Jesus — present on earth in the Blessed Sacrament — is the human manifestation of God's Love for men.
Other principle feasts of this month are St. Justin (June 1), Sts. Marcellinus and Peter (June 2), St. Boniface (June 5), St. Ephrem (June 9), St. Romuald (June 19), Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More (June 22), the Birth of St. John the Baptist (June 24), St. Josemaria Escriva (June 26), the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29) and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome (June 30).
Appropriately June is considered the month for weddings where human hearts join and cooperate with the Creator in bringing forth new life. The family they create is a human reflection of the Blessed Trinity.
Following Pentecost, the Church begins her slow descent from the great peaks of the Easter Season to the verdant pastures of Ordinary Time, the longest of the liturgical seasons. Like the lush June growth all around us, the green of the liturgical season points to the new life won for us by the Redemption of Jesus Christ, the new life of Charity. For Our Lord came to cast the fire of His love on the earth, and to that end, sent His Holy Spirit at Pentecost in the form of tongues of fire. Ordinary Time is the hour to “go out to all the world and tell the good news.” The feasts of June highlight this expansion of the Church. At least ten times, the Church vests in the red of the martyrs whose blood is the very seed of her growth. She also celebrates the feasts of the apostles Peter and Paul, and the birth of St. John the Baptist, proto-disciple and prophet. We too are called to be witnesses like the apostles and martyrs. May the Heart of Jesus inflame our hearts so that we may be worthy of our Baptismal call to holiness. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896