Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle: November 30th

Isn't it interesting that St. Andrew's Feast Day is at the beginning of Advent? Perhaps we need to think not only of what we should do to prepare for the Coming of Our Lord, but to see what we need to "let go" in order to follow Christ? Sts. Andrew, Peter, James & John immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus. And it was life changing! As we prepare ourselves for the Birth of Christ, we need to leave behind sin, fear, and spiritual laziness. We need to become new, innocent, child-like in our wonder of God's mercy, love and gifts. Rest assure..God's loving response will be life changing!

St. Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus. He was the younger brother of Saint Peter and was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. The brothers were fishermen by trade. Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he would make them “fishers of men.”

The Gospel of John teaches us much about St. Andrew who was originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist. When John pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew understood that Jesus was greater and immediately left John to follow Jesus. He visited in Jesus’ home and later brought his brother Simon Peter, who Jesus also called to be an apostle.
It is believed that Saint Andrew and Saint Peter continued their trade as fishermen until Christ called them to a closer relationship, and they left all things to follow Jesus.
After Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, St. Andrew the Apostle preached the gospel in Asia Minor and in Scythia as far as Kiev.  Not much is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of Saint Andrew.
Saint Andrew was martyred by crucifixion at Patras in Achaea in Greece. Because St. Andrew deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ had been crucified, he asked to be tied to a Crux decussata or an X shaped cross. The Apostle Andrew did not die right away but instead he was left to suffer for two days while he continued to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ until he finally died.
Although little is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of St. Andrew, much can be learned through St. Andrew's life. He and Saint Peter gave up their lifelong careers and lifestyles, leaving everything behind, to follow Jesus. Their undying faith in a difficult world is an inspiration to all Christians.
His relics consist of a small finger, the top of his cranium and pieces of the cross. These are kept in a shrine at the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, Russia and Greece. Scots celebrate Saint Andrew's Day around the world on the 30th of November. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Powerful Novena To Live & Die In The State Of Grace: Nov 24 to Dec 2

Saint Francis Xavier was one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus,
 also known as the Jesuits.
The Origin Of The Novena Of Grace To St. Francis Xavier:

In Naples in 1633 there lived Fr. Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. He had taken the vow to ask to be assigned to the Japan Mission, then the most difficult; for at that time the Buddhist persecution was most cruel against the Catholic religion and the new form of martyrdom introduced was most excruciating. It was known as the "Pit" for the martyrs were kept hung, head downwards over a volcanic pit from which sulphurous gases and waters welled up. At times the martyrdom was protracted for several days before the victim expired.
The torture was so horrible that in 1633 the Provincial of the Japan Mission Fr. Ferrara after five days of agony over the "Pit" apostatized. But hundreds of others, priests and laymen, Europeans and Japanese in holy emulation reached the martyr's crown through the terrible "Pit".
When the news of the unfortunate Ferrara's apostasy reached Europe, many Jesuits vowed themselves to the Japan Mission to replace their martyred brethren and to atone for the apostate. Marcello Mastrilli was one of them.
Fr. Ferrara was subsequently reconverted and atoned for his fall by dying a martyr's death over the "Pit" in 1652.
While waiting for the passage to Japan, Mastrilli organized on a grand scale the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the College of Naples...Story of the Origin of the Novena of Grace continues here

This Novena prayer was passed down through the ages:
Attributed to Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J., 17th century

"Most amiable and most loving Saint Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings -- that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena.

Mention requests here…
In asking this favor, I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul."

V. Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Add 3 Our Father's and 3 Hail Mary's in memory of Saint Francis Xavier's devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and Glory be 10 times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his 10 years of apostleship

This post was emailed from http: http://www.americaneedsfatima.org/.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Snippets: Catholic Carnival

What did you post about this week? Stop by the weekly Catholic Carnival and share what you've been blogging. Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing and check out some posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week.  You're invited to share a blog post or two from last week. Here are my contributions for this week:
Waiting With Patience
Protest Blasphemous Statue of Our Lady
Disposable Babies
Naughty or Nice Stores For Christmas

Waiting with Patience

A Henri Nouwen Reflection:

How do we wait for God? We wait with patience. But patience does not mean passivity. Waiting patiently is not like waiting for the bus to come, the rain to stop, or the sun to rise. It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.

The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means "to suffer." Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God's glorious coming

The above reflection is taken from Bread For The Journey

(Crystal Cloud Graphics)
During Advent many of the Scripture messages pertain to waiting for some form of transformation and the promise of restoration. We are to look forward to a reign of peace. Christ speaks of the transition of one age to the next..not if it will happen, but when it will happen. He asks for patient expectation from His believers. He asks us not to go blindly through this life, but to be prepared for His Second Coming and our Hereafter.  At the same time, we are also waiting in anticipation for the Coming of the Christ Child. The fulfillment of the Promise is about to arrive!

But what about our Everyday Waiting? Do we have that feeling of expectation of what is around the corner, a sense of wonderment as our ordinary week unfolds? With the hustle and bustle of the Sacred Season....do we show that we are Christians by the patience we show as we wait on line in a department store? Do we cuss and cut people off in a parking lot?  Are we so absorbed with getting things done that we forget to be polite to the weary cashier?  It takes little effort to smile while we bag our own groceries and inquire how the cashier's day is going. Is she spending Thanksgiving or Christmas locally with family? Does she cook something special to bring to the table?

We don't know what's going on in some one's life. That person who cut in front of us may be rushing home to a sick child and aging parent....his/her mind not on displaying good manners. That sullen cashier might be worried that the earnings that week won't cover household expenses.  Patience, patience. Our nod of understanding, holding open a door or a kind word might be the soothing balm some poor soul needs. Our patience isn't always rewarded in the way we think it should be. I once waited patiently for a parking spot and just as I was about to pull in, a car zipped from the wrong direction and into MY spot. I honked at the driver and shook my head in disgust. Nothing more. The woman who exited her car shot me an ugly look and stomped into the supermarket. I was peeved...how dare she give me a nasty look...I was in the right! Not five minutes later we were standing side by side at a food display. She glanced at me and her eyes showed immediate recognition, her face reddened and she said in a rush, "I'm so sorry. It's been a awful day...I just wasn't thinking." She was so sincere. I couldn't doubt the ring of truth in her words. I accepted her apology and wished her a better day. What a different situation it would have been had I reacted badly in the parking lot or fussed at her when next we met.  Holding my tongue, a sort of patience like counting to ten, reaped a fruitful reward. One that I think pleased God.

Do we wait with joyous hope? Do we unwrap each day as if it were a gift from God? He is in every moment, around every corner, there when we least expect it....we just have to keep watch and be alert.  Have patience. The people of Israel have waited thousands of years for the Messiah. For Christians this wait is over. Christians have the joy of knowing that the Lord is alive and active in our every day lives. Emmanuel, God near us. Our hope is that when our earthly world passes away...Christ will be waiting for us with open arms and our patience will be rewarded with the words, "Well done, good a faithful servant."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Protest Blasphemous Statue Of Our Lady!

Warning: Caution.  This news is very disturbing.
Protest blasphemous statue of Our Lady
wrapped in a giant c o n d o m!!!

According to press reports, there is a statue of the Blessed Mother on display in the meeting hall of the Lower Austrian Diet, in Austria...

. . . it's being called the "C o n d o m Madonna" because it is wrapped in a giant c o n d o m and s p e r m.

This is shocking.  Outrageous.  Terribly blasphemous!

The statue was designed by the Australian "artist" Mark Rossell
This is a horrific insult to the Most Pure and Immaculate Mother of God.

And it tramples on the religious beliefs of millions of Catholics, because Our Lady is the Mother of God and ours, who is spotless and f r e e of sin and blemish.

Thank God, our sister organization in Austria is working hard to protest this horrific blasphemy.  Now, it is up to you and me to spread this peaceful protest all over the world.

 Please offer prayers of reparation for this terrible blasphemy.

Protest this blasphemy at America Needs Fatima

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Disposable Babies

     Aborted Babies

Found In Dumpster


How is this allowed? What has society come to? There would be hell to pay if these were kittens or puppies...why are human beings, the most vulnerable, the most innocent, treated so callously? God have mercy on us!

Warning: The following statement discusses details that are disturbing.
Right to Life of Michigan was shocked and saddened to learn that bodies of 17 aborted babies were found thrown into a common dumpster at a Lansing-area abortion business. The babies were found on February 26, 2010, which led to an investigation by the Michigan Attorney General and the Eaton and Saginaw counties sheriff departments.
Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director Ed Rivet said, “When the discovery was made known to Right to Life of Michigan, we offered advice as to current Michigan laws and processes for engaging law enforcement officials regarding a necessary investigation. We are appreciative that the sheriffs of Eaton and Saginaw counties, along with the state Attorney General and Eaton County prosecutor took this case seriously and conducted a thorough investigation. The fact that human remains and medical records were callously and carelessly tossed in the trash calls for something to be done.”

There is a convoluted set of legal facts in this particular case that may or may not result in any serious charges, penalties or fines being rendered. But clearly Michigan laws need to be updated so that the horrible practice of dumping the bodies of aborted babies into trash cans is not allowed to continue.
Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said, “For nearly four years, Right to Life of Michigan has been advocating for the passage of state legislation that would prohibit aborted baby bodies from being disposed of in either the trash or being ground up and flushed into the sanitary sewer system. Such practices are common in the abortion industry and the time has come for them to end.”
Right to Life of Michigan commends State Representatives Joe Haveman, Darwin Booher, Rick Jones, and Bob Genetski for taking the lead on legislation to bring dignity and respect to the memory of these tiny members of the human family whose lives have been tragically taken.

article found in : Right To Life Of Michigan

Naughty Or Nice Stores For Christmas?

American Family Associations's 2010 listing of top retailers and how they recognize Christmas

Based on current advertising, below is a list of companies that avoid, ban, or use the term "Christmas" in their advertising.  We will continually update the list, so check back often.
Criteria - AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company was "Christmas-friendly" in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers.
If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word "Christmas," then the company is considered as censoring "Christmas."
Color Code: (I changed the original color yellow to blue for better viewing)
GREEN: Company uses the term "Christmas" on a regular basis, we consider that company Christmas-friendly.
BLUE: Company refers to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.RED: Company may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it.
A company may be removed from the "bad" list by providing documentation to AFA.
For more information or other topics go to: American Family Association

SPECIAL ALERT! Legal group offers valuable resources
If you hear of instances of hostility toward Christmas expression, please let us know. AFA is working with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to provide resources for government and public school authorities laboring under the misimpression they must censor Christmas. You can contact ADF at (1-800-TELL-ADF ) for a copy of their legal analysis and memo on rights of seasonal expression at Christmas. We want to inform public officials about the law, and then encourage them to take a stand for Christmas.

Companies FOR "Christmas"
updated 11-17-10 
Bed Bath & Beyond
Best Buy
Big Lots
Collective Brands
Dollar Tree
Family Dollar
Dollar General
H.E.B. Stores
Harris Teeter Stores
Hobby Lobby
Home Depot* AFA boycott
JC Penney
JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts Stores
Michael's Stores
Neiman Marcus
Pier One Imports
Rite Aid
Super D Drug Stores
Wal-Mart/Sam's Club
Companies marginalizing "Christmas"updated 11-17-10

Bass Pro Shops
Banana Republic
Bath & Body Works
Gap Stores
Hancock Fabrics
Hy-Vee Stores
Old Navy
Limited Brands
Toys R Us
Whole Foods

Companies against "Christmas"
updated 11-17-10 
Barnes & Noble
CVS Pharmacy
Dick's Sporting Goods
Office Depot
Radio Shack
Victoria's Secret  

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Hallelujah!" Random Act of Culture

This will make you smile, cry and clap. What a blessing to see & hear. Let's start the joy of this Holy Season early!

A Blessed Sacred Season to all!!

Who loves Random Acts of Culture? You do! Knight Foundation’s national initiative to bring the classics out of the performance halls and onto the streets has caught your eye – to the tune of over 500,000 page views on KnightArts.org and one million YouTube hits, most notably the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s performance of Hallelujah [...] full article at link below...

To see and read more about Random Acts of Culture click here

Thursday, November 11, 2010

...Nasty Spiritual Weeds...

Modern man has a certain understanding of the virtues. When asked about them, meekness and kindness, even justice and fortitude immediately come to mind. However, there is one virtue which is almost entirely unknown. This virtue, which "…comprehends the rest, or supplies for all that may be wanting in them,"1 is vigilance.
The word vigilance means a close and alert watchfulness against danger. When applied to the spiritual life, it signifies the virtue whereby man directs this watchfulness against the three fetters pulling him towards damnation: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Like an army with no sentry, the man who lacks vigilance is defenseless against the continual assaults unleashed by the devil. In the Garden of Olives, Our Lord warned the apostles to this end, "Watch ye: and pray that ye enter not into temptation." (Matthew 26:41)
Three Steps to Vigilance
To better understand vigilance, and therefore simplify its practice, the great Catholic thinker, Plinio CorrĂȘa de Oliveira divided it into three main steps: suspicion, watchfulness and pugnacity.
Attempting to destroy the notions of good and evil in man, the Revolution2 denies the existence of Original Sin. As a result, modern man is not concerned about falling into sin and immerses himself in a world of immodest fashions, pornography and many other occasions of sin.
On the other hand, the Church teaches that after Original Sin man's inclinations are so corrupt and his passions so disordered that he is incapable of maintaining a friendship with God without the continual help of grace. Saint Paul calls men "bodies of sin" (Rom. 6:6) and speaking of the soul, Saint Louis de Montfort wrote:
We are naturally prouder than peacocks, more groveling than toads, more vile than unclean animals, more envious than serpents, more gluttonous than hogs, more furious than tigers, lazier than tortoises, weaker than reeds, and more capricious than weathercocks. We have within ourselves nothing but nothingness and sin, and we deserve nothing but the anger of God and everlasting Hell.3
Saint Louis also notes that man's "best actions are ordinarily stained and corrupted by…[his] corrupt nature."4
Understanding this corruption leads one to see all one's ideas, thoughts and tendencies with the utmost suspicion. This is the first step to vigilance.
Suspicion gives rise to watchfulness. The vigilant soul, mindful of his corrupt nature and the lengths to which the devil will go in his unholy struggle, is constantly on the look-out. "Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
Pointing out the addictive nature of vice, the Catholic Encyclopedia classifies it as "a habit inclining one to sin."5 Through watchfulness, the vigilant soul identifies his defects before they become habits and is therefore much more likely to overcome them.
In a generic sense, pugnacity is the practice of utterly destroying one's enemies whenever, wherever and however they exist. Pugnacity applies to vigilance when it is interiorly exercised against one's defects.
Defects, like weeds left unchecked, will grow out of control and take over the garden of the soul. Also like weeds, once uprooted, any part left in the soil will soon grow back stronger than before.
The pugnacious soul, like a good gardener, spares no effort in uprooting and completely overcoming defects as soon as they appear. History is full of examples of pugnacious saints doing violence to themselves to conquer their defects.
Saint Francis of Assisi, for example, while plagued with impure thoughts, reportedly threw himself out of a window to take his mind off them.
Our Lord Himself preached this same pugnacity. And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than thy whole body be cast into hell.
And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)
Vigilance and Confidence
Realizing that his neighbor has the same bad inclinations that he has, the vigilant soul regards him with the same suspicion he regards himself. This is not to say that he is overly critical and unfriendly, but rather that he puts none of his confidence in mere creatures which Saint Theresa called, "dry branches that break under the first pressure."6
Like the wise man who built his house on rock (Matthew 7:24-27), the vigilant man possesses that special confidence which is anchored only in the firm rock of God, His Divine Church and His Holy Mother. Satan may unleash tempests and floods of fury, and his secure house will not succumb.
Vigilance, the Key to Counter-Revolutionary Living
In his book Revolution and Counter Revolution, Prof. Plinio CorrĂȘa de Oliveira insightfully pointed out how the Revolution makes use of the tendencies of man to reach its insidious goals.7 It introduces temptations and obstacles inside culture contrary to the practice of Christian virtue. Because of this all-encompassing influence, vigilance is essential to identify and destroy these evils.
For this reason, anyone aspiring to a Counter-revolutionary life must especially consider this virtue in developing his spiritual life. Through this virtue, the ever-present assistance of Our Lady will give him the eyes to see and the power to overcome all adversity and attain sanctity to which all men are called.
Our Lady of Vigilance, pray for us.

To read this article and for footnotes, etc. visit:
American Needs Fatima: Pulling Nasty Spiritual Weeds From The Soul

Monday, November 8, 2010

Choosing the Blessings

It is an ongoing temptation to think of ourselves as living under a curse. The loss of a friend, an illness, an accident, a natural disaster, a war, or any failure can make us quickly think that we are no good and are being punished. This temptation to think of our lives as full of curses is even greater when all the media present us day after day with stories about human misery.

Jesus came to bless us, not to curse us. But we must choose to receive that blessing and hand it on to others. Blessings and curses are always placed in front of us. We are free to choose. God says, Choose the blessings!  (HenriNouwen.org)

Bread For The Journey In this daybook of wisdom and faith, Henri Nouwen shares 387 reflections 

“My hope is that the description of God’s love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover . . . God’s love in yours.” -Here and Now 

About Henri Nouwen

The internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor Henri Nouwen (pronounced Henry Now-win) wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. He corresponded regularly in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish with hundreds of friends and reached out to thousands through his Eucharistic celebrations, lectures and retreats. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy. Nouwen’s books have sold over 2 million copies and been published in over 22 languages.

Photo by Kevin Dwyer
Born in Nijkerk, Holland, on January 24, 1932, Nouwen felt called to the priesthood at a very young age. He was ordained in 1957 as a diocesan priest and studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. In 1964 he moved to the United States to study at the Menninger Clinic. He went on to teach at the University of Notre Dame, and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard. For several months during the 1970s, Nouwen lived and worked with the Trappist monks in the Abbey of the Genesee, and in the early 1980s he lived with the poor in Peru. In 1985 he was called to join L’Arche in Trosly, France, the first of over 100 communities founded by Jean Vanier where people with developmental disabilities live with assistants. A year later Nouwen came to make his home at L’Arche Daybreak near Toronto, Canada. He died suddenly on September 21st, 1996, in Holland and is buried in King City, Ontario.
Nouwen believed that what is most personal is most universal; he wrote, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.” His spirit lives on in the work of the Henri Nouwen Society, Henri Nouwen Stichting, the Henri Nouwen Trust, the Henri J. M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection, and in all who live the spiritual values of communion, community and ministry, to which he dedicated his life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Catholics Killed at Mass in Iraq

Catholic Online urges all global readers to pray for the dead, pray for their families, pray for the wounded and pray for - and stand in solidarity with - our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq. Stories such as this must be reported and shared to make the media and the world aware of the persecution of Christians throughout the world!

One report concerning the state of the Church after the security forces stormed in to attempt to rescue the Christians is particularly horrifying. It came from a police officer, "It's a horrible scene. More than 50 people were killed. The suicide vests were filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. You can see human flesh everywhere. Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands." It is time for an international outcry of Catholics and other Christians. We must stand with our Christian brothers and sisters.

Our Lady of Salvation Church

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Catholic Online) - They gathered in Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church for an evening Mass. They are members of an increasingly besieged and forgotten minority in Iraq, Catholic Christians. Their herosm and love for the Lord has inspired them to continue to practice the ancient faith in the midst of what is a steadily deteriorating situation for them in this land they have called home for centuries.
Our Lady of Salvation Church is no stranger to violence. Churches have been bombed before in Iraq, including Our Lady of Salvation. The Christian faithful have had to contend with an increasingly hostile culture. However, never before have they experienced the horror of what happened this past Sunday when terrorists invaded a Church as the Holy Mass was set to begin, killed the priest and held the worshippers hostage for four hours. It ended with at least 52 dead, others injured, and our brothers and sisters in Iraq devastated.  Story continues at link below.