Deuteronomy, Chapter 31, Verse 6
Be strong and steadfast; have no FEAR or dread of them, for it is the
LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.
“Lord, thank you for helping me see more clearly than
ever that “what I am” is your gift to me and “what I become” is my gift back to
you.” (Poem by Melvin Banggollay)
He did not
create us out of necessity; He did not need us. He did not create us out of justice;
He owed us nothing. No, it is to His sheer love that we owe our existence.
Therefore, we must strive to be humble in accepting our mistakes, to know how
to say, “I was wrong.” You have good qualities—great qualities. Are you not a
marvel of creation, made in the image of God? You are a masterpiece of His
love, wounded, disfigured by sin, but remade by the Redeemer, more beautiful
than before—and at what a price! Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by
good. One drowns very quickly in gall. Keep watch, therefore, over your soul;
swallow the bitterness, as Jesus swallowed the vinegar on Calvary, and know how
to smile at those who cause you pain. Poverty, austerity, fasting, prayer, and
the gift of miracles, without love of our brothers, all are pure illusion.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, give me Your Heart to love my neighbor. The
doctrine of abandonment, which sees God in everything, will make you
marvelously available for this work. This is one of its richest secrets, for it
obliges us to renounce, when necessary, our own views and our little personal
plans, even our plans for sanctification. This total abandonment is the
pinnacle of holiness and love, because it identifies us more perfectly with
Jesus, who lived only to do the will of His Father.
Introit of the Mass is again a song
of joy: " Receive the joy of your glory, alleluia; giving thanks to God,
alleluia; Who hath called you to a heavenly kingdom. Attend, O My people, to My
law, incline your ears to the words of My mouth."
May the power of the Holy Ghost be
with us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, which may mercifully purify our hearts and de
fend them from all adversities. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who liveth and
reigneth in the unity of the same.
EPISTLE. Acts viii. 14-17.
In those days: When the apostles
who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God;
they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For He was not as yet come upon any of
them: but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid
their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
The Samaritans had been converted
and baptized by Philip the Deacon. Peter and John administered to them, by the
imposition of hands and prayer, the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Is Confirmation a sacrament?
Yes, for Jesus Christ has promised
the Holy Ghost not only to the apostles, but also to all the faithful, to
confirm them fully in faith and charity.
What is the outward sign of this sacrament?
The imposition of the bishop’s
hands, the anointing with the chrism, and the words of the bishop.
What grace is conveyed through this sacrament?
Through holy Confirmation, God
confirms and completes in the Christian the grace of Baptism, and strengthens
him for the combat with his spiritual enemies. Confirmation, like Baptism,
cannot be received more than once, because the grace received in these
sacraments is always efficacious if we only cooperate with it; and because in
these sacraments we receive also an in delible character, which forever
distinguishes the souls of those who have been baptized and confirmed from
those who have not.
GOSPEL. John x. 1-10.
that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: Amen, amen, I say to you: he that
entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the
same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the
shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice:
and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath
let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because
they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because
they know not the voice of strangers. This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But
they understood not what He spoke to them. Jesus therefore said to them again:
Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as
have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. I am the
door. By Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go
out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to
kill and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more
How is this parable to be understood?
The sheepfold is the Church, or congregation of the
faithful; the door for the flock is Baptism; for the pastors, lawful vocation
and mission from God, through their spiritual superiors; the chief pastor is
Christ; the sheep are the faithful; the invisible door-keeper is the Holy
Ghost, inasmuch as He prepares hearts for Jesus; the visible door-keeper is the
bishop or his representatives. The thieves and robbers are the Pharisees and
heretics of all ages, who lead astray the sheep of Christ, and destroy their
spiritual life by false doctrines. If we would not become the prey of thieves
and murderers, we must follow the doctrines of the teachers and pastors whom
Christ has appointed for His Church.
McCain notes in his study of leadership that Saint Joan of Arc (feast day: May
30) was an example of leadership that was characterized by authenticity. At the
command of voices that only she could hear, she rode to battle and saved her
country. SHE COULD NOT READ OR WRITE, BUT SAINTS AND ANGELS SPOKE TO HER.
Michael the Archangel, and Catherine and Margaret, the patron saints of France,
commanded the thirteen-year-old peasant girl to pray vigilantly and attend Mass
regularly. She is remembered as very beautiful, a slight seventeen-year-old
girl with black hair who could ride for long hours in heavy armor without any
sign of discomfort. She kept silent for long periods but could be roused to
great anger at men swearing or behaving in some other sinful manner.
She prayed and
fasted often and seemed most comfortable in the company of poor priests. Before
they embarked, she had dictated to a priest a letter for the English commanders
in Orléans, warning them to “go away back to England . . . or I will drive you
out of France.” This is the first the English had ever heard of Joan of Arc. To
the French, and their dauphin, who now placed their trust in her, she was
becoming a saint. As they marched to Orléans, she saw to the spiritual needs of
her soldiers, ordering them to abandon their vices, to refrain from looting and
harming civilians, to confess their sins and attend Mass regularly, which they
did. Men who had refused to serve Charles in what they believed was a losing
cause now rushed to her standard and prepared for battle. A few days later, the
rest of her army began to arrive with much needed supplies, just as word was
received that another English army was marching to the aid of her enemies. She
went to sleep that night happy in the knowledge that the moment was at hand
when she would accomplish what her saints had commanded her to do. She awoke in
the middle of the night and stirred her generals with the news that they must
attack immediately. In fact, a battle had already begun at the nearest English
fortification. Joan commanded her page to bring her horse, as she dressed in
her armor, and then raced to join the fight carrying her banner. When she
reached her soldiers, she saw that they were losing the battle, but her
presence inspired them, and they rallied to take the fort. After the battle
Joan wept for the fallen, French and English alike. On the next day they took
another English fort, and the day after one more. But the fighting during the
third battle had been ferocious. Joan was wounded by an arrow through her
shoulder as she attempted to scale one of the fort’s walls and was carried to
safety. Seeing her hurt and carried from the field, her troops lost courage,
and the assault was suspended. Some witnesses say she removed the arrow
herself. Others remembered her soldiers treating the wound. Whatever the case,
legend has it that she responded to her soldiers’ fears by telling them to
rally to her when they saw her banner strike the fort’s wall. And when they did
see it, they recovered their courage and took the fort. The next day the
English abandoned the siege. Orléans was saved. Both English and French
generals gave the credit to Joan. She gave it to God. Then she rode to meet
Charles. When they met, she bowed to him, and urged him to hasten to Reims,
where his crown awaited him. But Charles hesitated. His will was weak, for he
was not a man of great courage, and his advisors at court, some of whom
resented Joan’s interference, cautioned him to proceed slowly, for there were
still many powerful English armies in France that had to be destroyed. Joan, as
always, rode in the front, carrying her banner, urging her soldiers to victory.
Inspired by her courage, and by the obvious favor of God that protected her,
they carried the day, routing the English and opening the road to Reims. The
English and all the French, those loyal to the dauphin and those who fought for
Henry, recognized that this strange young girl, now known as the Maid of
Orléans, must be in the service of a sovereign more powerful than any earthly
king. Joan in the end like the eternal King she served was abandoned by her
earthly King and was captured by the Burundians. John of Luxembourg took her to
his castle, where, she twice tried to escape, once by jumping from a castle
tower into the moat below. Attempts to ransom her were refused, as were French
attempts to liberate her by force. After several months, Luxembourg handed Joan
over to the English, and she was taken to the city of Rouen, where a corrupt
bishop, Pierre Cauchon, was instructed to put her on trial for heresy. The
rules of war did not permit the English to condemn Joan for opposing them in
battle. So, they sought her death by falsely accusing her of witchcraft.
Cauchon tried for weeks to compel her to confess, but despite threats of
torture and execution, she steadfastly refused to divulge her conversations
with Charles or to concede that the saints who spoke to her were demons or
merely inventions of her own blasphemy.
She was denied permission to attend Mass and receive the
She was often
kept in chains and became very ill. Yet she stayed true to herself, and to her
saints. She wore a dress when they brought her to a church cemetery to hear her
sentence read, condemning her to be burned at the stake. She asked that her
conviction be appealed to the pope. Her persecutors refused her. And then, Joan
of Arc, for the first and only time in her brief life, tried to be someone she
was not. Fearing the flames, she confessed to being a heretic and recanted her
claim to have heard and obeyed her saints, and begged her enemies for mercy.
Mercy they had little of but having taken from her what their armies could not,
they no longer thought her life such a great thing that it could not be spared.
She was now nothing more than a confessed imposter. They had wanted to destroy
her truth, that she was God’s messenger. Having done so, it mattered little
whether she died or suffered long imprisonment. Their work done, they left her
in her cell, to the taunts and abuses of the guards, and commanded her to dress
only in women’s clothes. When they next saw her, a few days later, she was
attired in the clothes of a boy. She had recovered her courage and her truth.
Her saints had reproached her for denying them, and she had begged their forgiveness.
She had become her true self again. She was the Maid of Orléans, a pretty,
pious nineteen-year-old girl who had left her father’s house and taken up arms
for more than a year, as heaven had commanded her. And with heaven’s
encouragement she had defeated France’s enemies in battle after battle, frightened
and awed the bravest English heart, rallied a nation to her banner, and made a
weak, defeated man a king. God’s messenger went bravely to her death, forgiving
her accusers and asking only that a priest hold high a crucifix for her to see
it above the flames. She raised her voice to heaven, calling out to her saints
and her Savior. Even her enemies wept at the sight. Her executioner was shaken
with remorse, and an anguished English soldier who witnessed the crime feared
for his soul. “God forgive us,” he cried, “we have burned a saint.”
Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost? They are the twelve following:
should be visible in the Christian, for thereby men shall know that the Holy
Ghost dwells in him, as the tree is known by its fruit.
Notice I have
placed the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in stairstep fashion so we may
reflect on them seeing that by concentrating on each step of our growth in the
spirit we may progress closer and closer to our heavenly Father. Today we will
be focusing on the second step which is continency.
Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
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,
III. Worthy Reception of Holy
Communion – Conforming our life with Christ.
55. The beautiful and rich
Liturgy of the Church, which has been passed down to us from the first century,
contains many expressions of devotion and faith in the real presence of Christ
in the Eucharist. For example, we call to mind that the main reason our churches
are decorated with beautiful and precious art is because here in the Church
building, Jesus is present in the tabernacle, always accompanying us and
interceding for us. We also celebrate our Masses with beautiful music and
vestments, incense, candles, and many other details that allow us to express
our faith and gratitude to Christ who has loved us so much that He has decided
to stay with us, really present in the Eucharist, until the end of time. Many
churches hold special hours of prayer and adoration of the Eucharist, to honor
and thank our Lord, and to bring all our needs before Him. We dress
respectfully for Mass knowing that we come to worship and receive our Lord who
comes to us at the altar and especially in our hearts. All these expressions of
devotion flow from a lively faith in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.
56. As the Eucharistic faith of
the Church expresses itself in so many beautiful ways, so also, our faith in
the Real Presence should move us to desire and strive with all our efforts to
prepare and receive Jesus worthily in Holy Communion.
57. At the moment of Holy
Communion, the priest holds up the consecrated Host and says, “the Body of
Christ”. When we reply “Amen” and then receive the Body of Christ, we are
expressing not only our faith in Jesus Christ but also our desire and effort to
live in friendship with Him. By receiving the Body of Christ in Holy Communion
we manifest our union with the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Therefore,
if with our “Amen,” we refuse to accept and live by the whole teaching of
Christ and His Church, we are not in communion with Him but living a ‘fake’
union, one that overlooks truth and justice. In the same way, when we commit a
mortal sin and deliberately fail in a serious matter of “rejection of communion
with God… then we are seriously obliged to refrain from receiving Holy
Communion until we are reconciled with God and the Church” through the
Sacrament of Penance (USCCB “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper”: On
Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist).
To be continued…
of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION ONE-"I BELIEVE" -
CHAPTER TWO GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
Article 2-THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION
I. The Apostolic Tradition
75 "Christ the Lord, in
whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the
apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the
prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own
lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all
men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral
In the apostolic preaching. . .
76 In keeping with the Lord's
command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";
- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".
. . . continued in apostolic
77 "In order that the full
and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles’ left
bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching
authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed
in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous
line of succession until the end of time."
78 This living transmission,
accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from
Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the
Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every
generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The
sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this
Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of
the Church, in her belief and her prayer."
79 The Father's
self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present
and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to
converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom
the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the
world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell
in them in all its richness."
reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion
· Pray Day 9
of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops
Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
Litany of the Most Precious
Blood of Jesus
 d'Elbée, Jean C.J. (2013-12-10). I
Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of
 McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random
House, New York.