Saturday, January 31, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Presentation of the Lord in the Temple

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione
Compiled by J. Maurus

     When Mary presented the Baby in the Temple, Simeon contemplated him, recognized him as Messiah and with immense gratitude exclaimed:  "Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace.  With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples."
     And speaking to Mary, he said:  "This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel, he will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts.  And sorrow like a sharp sword will break your own heart" (Lk 2:34-35).
     The prophetess Anna, pious and assiduous in the Temple, echoed Simeon:  she spoke of this Baby, "to all those who were expecting the redemption of Israel."
     Jesus came for the Redemption.  This means that all the prophecies regarding the passion, the agony, the betrayal, the scourging, the condemnation, the crucifixion, the painful death refer to this Child.
     And the mother would share his sufferings.  The measure of her sufferings was the measure of her love for her Son and God.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day
by Blessed James Alberione

Presentation of the Lord
     Mary, although not bound, presented her Son, Jesus, in the temple at Jerusalem and perfectly fulfilled the requirements of Mosaic law for purification.
     Let us imitate the obedience and humility of the Mother of God.

Encounter with Christ
     Live in expectancy.  Await the coming of Jesus so that He may enrich us!  We are like Simeon who implored the Lord unceasingly to come.  When Mary and Joseph reached the temple one morning, carrying the Child Jesus, the saintly old man recognized in them, through interior inspiration, the parents of the Redeemer.  They were simply dressed, and they had come like all the others to make their purification offering.  Taking the Child from their arms, Simeon raised Him to heaven, and he said the "Nunc dimittis...."  "Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace...!"  Simeon shows us the way of preparing for the coming of the Messiah.  He lived a God-fearing life, certain that before his death he would see the salvation of Israel.  Jesus will come and the priest, elevating the Host, will say:  "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the  world,"  And we, raising our eyes to gaze on Him whom we have expected, will respond:  "This is the awaited One, the Lord, the rich One, the Master, the Light!"  Let us keep ourselves in these dispositions of suppliant expectancy.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the term "suppliant expectancy."  The American Heritage Dictionary defines suppliant as "asking humbly and earnestly; beseeching."  I always looked at the role of Simeon as being one to point out to us that Jesus is the awaited Messiah.  I like the thought of Simeon being a model for us of "suppliant expectancy."  Simeon had faith that God would keep His word and not call Simeon from this life until he saw the Messiah himself, yet he still prayed humbly and earnestly for this day to arrive.  We know Jesus is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, and we will see Him face to face when He returns in Glory or at our Judgment.  With this knowledge, I like the idea of imitating Simeon and keeping ourselves in these "dispositions of suppliant expectancy," a new phrase and a new way of thinking about Simeon!

What strikes you most today?  Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Photograph from 1921.
Blessed Giacomo (James) Alberione is seated, 3rd from left.
Blessed Timoteo (Timothy) Giaccardo is seated, 4th from left.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione

Looking for Men

I am looking for men; that is, persons who are sincere and desirous of knowing the truth, disposed to say it always and everywhere, whether or not there will be any advantage, self-interest, satisfaction or favorable judgment.... The deceitful in business, the hypocritical, the unfaithful to their pledged word, the two-faced and liars are not men in the true sense of the word.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus

Grow

"Jesus grew both in body and wisdom" (Lk 2:52). The child grew in age, in physical strength, in wisdom and in grace.
You see, we have to grow always, which means to always tend to perfection.
In age: years pass, and they pass for everyone. However, along with the passing of years there has to be a growth also in heavenly wisdom, always better known, appreciated and lived.
And in grace: the virtues of Jesus became more and more evident. Jesus was God and as God could not grow in wisdom, but was manifesting ever better his wisdom. And then in Jesus, there was also knowledge, an experiential knowledge. Let us learn from the Divine Master the knowledge he wishes to communicate to us. Know him always better.
Let us learn from the Divine Master how to direct our heart, how to love the Lord and others.
Let us imitate the virtues of the Divine Master: docility, industry, charity, patience, all the virtues he practiced.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the photograph today. Having St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione and Blessed Timothy Giaccardo in the same picture is awesome! I have been looking for an excuse to use this picture, and I thought the first paragraph fit perfectly with the Society of St. Paul and the entire Pauline Family!

What strikes you most today?
Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. John Bosco 
Memorial
Priest

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione

St. John Bosco was born in Piedmont of North Italy in 1815. From early childhood he had a great influence on children. After his ordination, he established himself in Turin where, with the help of his mother, the beloved Mama Marguerite, he founded the Congregation of the Salesian Fathers. Later he also founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians. He is known as one of the greatest educators of youth.
Don Bosco greatly recommended three things: frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion; devotion to the Blessed Mother; defense of and homage to the Supreme Pontiff. Let us, too, follow his teachings.

Work as the Saints Worked

All the saints are workers. In proportion to their life span, how much they have labored and what a variety of work! St. Thomas, St. Francis of Assis, St. Bernard, St. Francis de Sales, St. Joseph Cottolengo, St. John Bosco, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, St. John Baptist de la Salle, St. John of the Cross, St. Albert the Great, St. Camillus de Lellis, St. John Mary Vianney, St. Dominic, St. Alphonsus Liguori, etc. All of them! They gave pre-eminence to interior life from which springs forth a wonderful and fruitful external humanitarian activity arousing the admiration of everyone.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, 
Compiled by J. Maurus

Christ is full openness to joy

Devotion to the divine Master is not limited to some prayers: it should lead us to learn something everyday. For all our life and till the end of our life we can learn something; in doing things, to be always better mannered; in dealing with others, to write with grace. The proud pretend to know weverything. Look at St. Thomas Aquinas instead. Till the end he used to consult many persons.
Learn always more and then we shall truly be devotees of the divine Master, and we shall find more joy in life, and we shall discover always more possibilities to expand the truth of our apostoalte and our ministry.
Learn the due importance of reading the Gospel and the Bible in general. Learn all that is taught in them.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the line, "Look at St. Thomas Aquinas instead. Till the end he used to consult many persons." Since praying the Giaccardo Podcast Novena to St. Thomas Aquinas. I am learning more about him. I was happy to see him mentioned again today. I like to hang around smart, faith-filled people (that's why I try to hang around the Daughters of St. Paul and similar people - hoping some of their intelligence and holiness might rub off on me!), so I was extremely happy to see someone like St. Thomas Aquinas did the same, always wanting to consult with and associate with others.

What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below so we can all consult with and associate with one another, like St. Thomas Aquinas did!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

St. Martina Refuses to Adore the Idols
by 17th Century artist Pietro da Cortona

Friday, January 30, 2009
Feast of St. Martina
Virgin and Martyr

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione

Christian Fortitude

Fortitude is the moral and supernatural virtue which makes the soul generous and intrepid in working for heaven in spite of difficulties, fear and even death itself.  The brave heart knows how to take on work and bear its burden.  On the path of virtue and of the duty of one's state in life, there are obstacles, temptations and fears.  We must courageously face them.  Fortitude helps us resolve our problems without the slightest fear to work with the necessary effort, to persevere right to the end.  The person who wants to do so becomes a saint.  But only the one who really wants to!

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus

Christ perfects the human person

     Jesus Christ is the divine and the unique Master:  Firstly, because he is the truth itself, the essential and eternal truth; he is the Word that the Father generated in eternity.  Secondly, he is the way and life.  In Christ the human person has the greatest and supernatural development.
     The Christian life is destined to the vision of God in heaven:  in the vision of love and joy.  Faith obtains the vision; believe to see.  "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
     The nobility of the human person comes from his intelligence by which he is the image and likeness of God.  Man gives his greatest homage to God by subduing his mind and using it wisely to know him and the things at the service of the Lord.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the line, "faith obtains the vision; believe to see."  I have never heard it put that way before, but that is my goal:  to see the Beatific Vision.  Blessed Alberione just has that gift for speaking spiritual truths in a way that I need to hear them!  Blessed James Alberione, pray for us!

What strikes you most today?  
Click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

From Creation to the Creator
  God is the creator of heaven and earth and of all they contain.  He, the best of fathers, has       prepared for his children a very glorious dwelling place.  
     And God saw all that he had made; and they were very good.
     Then, he created man and gave him the earth for three purposes:
  1. to study the great works of his hand and through them to come to know their Author, to praise and serve him.
  2. to cultivate the earth and from it, utilizing its laws and energies and through labour, to derive what is needed for the earthly life.
  3. to complete honourably his pilgrimage, making right use of the present goods to arrive at the final destination, heaven.
From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

For a Bright Future

     There are human reasons as well as supernatural motives for confidence.  One's past, even the saddest, can become an element of construction for a bright future.  An example of this would be "the art of deriving good even from one's faults."  "All cooperates for good, and good can even be drawn from sin."

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is Michelangelo's painting of the "Creation of Adam."  I have no art background at all, but what strikes me most about the painting is the closeness of the finger of God to the finger of Adam - God created us to be close to Him; He wants us with Him always.  When we sin and move farther from God, we are the ones choosing to move away from Him.  When we get closer to God, we are where God wants us to be.  This image alone can be a reminder to me of another good reason to avoid sin.

What strikes you most today?  Please click on "COMMENTS" below (whether you have a more sophisticated art background or not!) to share your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione


St. Thomas Aquinas

Priest and Doctor
St. Thomas was the son of a noble family of Aquino. He was entrusted to the care of the Benedictine Monks of Monte Cassino at the age of five. When still a youth, he entered the order of St. Dominic despite tremendous opposition from his family. His intelligence, humility and purity earned for him the title of "Angelic Doctor." St. Thomas readily admitted that he acquired most of his wisdom at the foot of the crucifix.
Let us also go the the crucifix and there learn how to live according to God's holy Will.

Seeking God

Do you not feel envious of St. Thomas who knew so much about God and wrote such wonderfully clear things about Him? And do you not feel envious of the scientists who know so much about nature, physics, and astronomy - scientists who were overwhelmed with wonder as they contemplated the beauties of nature? Well, even if you possess the knowledge of the greatest men, all the knowledge of history, of natural things, of juridical matters, of sociology, of philosophy... as much knowledge as you could possibly imagine or want... the knowledge of God is infinitely greater than knowing all this, because all this is a small thing in the hands of God. And so, what must it be like to know the Author of everything, God Himself, and in Him the knowledge of all creation? He Himself is Truth: "God the Lord of science." And you, lovers of study and knowledge, "seek the kingdom of God and His justice;" you will see God, and all human knowledge will be added to you.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

The life of the Master is our security

Master, your life shows me the way. Your doctrine confirms and lights up my steps. Your grace sustains me and supports my journey to heaven.

You are the perfect Master. You give us the example, teach and comfort the disciples to follow you.

Your life is precept; my unique, true and infallible security. Everything from the manger, from Nazareth, from Calvary is a tracing of the divine way: way of love for the Father, of infinite purity, love for souls, love of sacrifices.

Make me know it, and let me always place my step on the footprints of your poverty, chastity and obedience: all other ways save yours are broad.

Jesus, I ignore and detest every way that is not indicated by you. What you want I want too: replace my will with yours.

Substitute my heart with yours: my love for God, for fellow human beings and for me with your love.

Exchange my life for your divine life.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is St. Thomas stating that most of his wisdom was gained at the foot of the crucifix. This is the man who wrote the Summa Theologica! When I work on advancing my spiritual life, I have to admit I first turn to a book. I want to read and study. Today's writings are a good reminder that sometimes I need to just kneel or sit and meditate or contemplate. Even when I am at Eucharistic Adoration, I often feel compelled to read. I do need to read more, but I have to remind myself I often just need to be present to the Lord. If He has something to tell me, I hope I don't miss His message because I'm distracted by a good book! I do need to work on a better balance between my prayer life and spiritual studies.

Also, if you're following the Giaccardo Podcast Novenas, I thought it would be appropriate to start a novena to St. Thomas Aquinas today.

What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009




From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione


St. Angela Merici
Virgin

St. Angela, foundress of the Ursuline Order and a great educator, was born in northern Italy. She and her religious community made heroic efforts on behalf of true Christian education. She died in 1540 and was canonized in 1807.
Let us live a holy life in order to die in the holy love of God.

Concentrating One's Energies

Whatever is not a help toward our goal is useless. A thousand streamlets which flow away in differen directions are good for nothing, while one hundred gathered in large pipes for an electric power station provide energy and power for light and heat. In the same way, one of average intelligence who concentrates his energies on the duty to be done will produce much more than another who scatters his thoughts, time and energy on too many things. It takes the same time to do things well as to do them badly.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

The Marvels of Creation

It is imperative, beautiful and necessary to know the marvelous deeds of creation; to learn how to use them as intended by God during our earthly pilgrimage towards our highest destiny: heaven.
The creation makes us know the Creator, it serves our needs and awaiths a renewal: "All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his sons. For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the gorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth" (Rom 8:19-22).

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is Blessed James Alberione discussing electric power stations, and his comment that it takes the same time to do things well as to do them badly. The first comment is a reminder of how contemporary Blessed James is, having been born in the 20th century. His analogy hits home for me - I know I've tried to accomplish several tasks at once, but I always do better to focus my energies and try to do one thing well. I find it much easier to relate to people who have lived within the last hundred years, especially when their wisdom is like that of Blessed James and Mother Thecla, just as true as the Church Fathers.

What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

Sts. Timothy and Titus
Bishops

     St. Timothy was born at Lystra (Asia Minor) of a pagan father and a Jewish mother.  When St. Paul went to preach the Gospel in the city of Lystra, Timothy was converted by him.  Paul chose the virtuous youth as companion in his travels and later consecrated him Bishop of Ephesus.  Because of his opposition to certain idolatrous ceremonies, St. Timothy was beaten and stoned to death in the year 97.
     With St. Timothy, let us confess the divinity of Jesus Christ.
     
     St. Titus was also a disciple and companion of Paul.  The great Apostle consecrated Titus Bishop of Crete.  The zealous Bishop of Crete died at the age of 94.
     Let us ask St. Titus to obtain for us the grace of living justly and prayerfully.

The Authority of the Apostles

     Apostles are "messengers," they are "sent."  Jesus Christ was the Apostle of the Father.  He said:  "As the Father has sent me, so I also send you."  And so the apostles are the legates, the ambassadors who speak in the name of Christ, and must be listened to as Christ would be:  "He who hears you, hears me.  He who receives him whom I have sent, receives me."

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

God Governs All

     When we exclude the doctrine of divine Providence, life loses all meaning and becomes a blind race at the mercy of physical forces and human malice.  On the contrary, when faith in Providence is alive, history receives a definite, superior and profound meaning:  it is God who directs and guides everything, and not just a mechanical successive crisscrossing of individual interests and passions.
     Please teach history well:  in the light of reason and faith.
     Faith in Providence enables us to discover God who cares for things great and small:  atoms and the hair on our heads, the lilies of the field and development of the physical, intellectual and moral world;  from creation to consummation, life is cheered up by a light that proceeds from eternity, universal judgment, and from the certainty of an eternal justice.

What Strikes Me Most Today is the last paragraph above, when Blessed James talks about discovering God, the development of the physical, intellectual and moral world, and especially the line, "from creation to consummation, life is cheered up by a light that proceeds from eternity."  These are some of the lessons in Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.  Obviously this space is too small to discuss any significant aspect of this vital subject, but I can recommend what I have found to be the best source for Theology of the Body:  it is a website by Sr. Anne Flanagan, FSP.  Click on this link to learn more from Sr. Anne.  You will find outstanding information there, very well presented, and even learn about other resources such as having the awesome Sr. Anne come speak in your area on Theology of the Body or other topics!

What strikes you most today?  Please click on "COMMENTS" below to add your thoughts.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle

     This is the only conversion celebrated in the liturgical year as it is the model for every conversion.  It is unique for the miraculous way it happened even in its external aspects.  For every conversion is a miracle of interior grace.
     The mind of St. Paul was converted:  a complete change of ideas.  We too must change our ideas.  It is necessary that we embrace the Gospel maxims.
     For cultivating and stirring up the new flame that had penetrated his heart St. Paul retired to the desert for three years.  We must convert our heart.  Put right our affections.
     Our heart must love Jesus, and the most holy Virgin.  We should become pious, humble and courageous.
     The will of St. Paul was also converted.  What should I do, Lord? (Acts 22:10).  One surrenders totally to the will of God.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

Conversion of St. Paul
Apostle

     The feast of the Conversion of St. Paul was introduced in the Church in the tenth century.  The story of the great Apostle's conversion is related in the first reading of today's Mass.
     Let us thank God for Paul, called a "vessel of election" and let us imitate him by promptly cooperating with all of God's graces.

The Grace of Conversion

     St. Paul gives us the example of a true conversion.  He is the patron of those who show good will, especially of those who earnestly strive to change from a life of indifference to a life of fervor.  He blesses every resolution towards a better life.  St. Paul's conversion was a miraculous one!  Jesus himself intervened in it and spoke words full of mystery.  In that mysterious light which enveloped St. Paul, he temporarily lost the sight of his eyes but gained the light of faith.
     In the second place, the conversion of St. Paul was exemplary.  True and lasting conversion involves a change of mind, will and heart.  To be converted, one needs light; there must be a profound self-examination and the formation of correct ideas and deep convictions.  In the third place, the conversion of St. Paul was for the good of the Church and of the people.

What Strikes Me Most Today

OK, not surprisingly, this is one of my favorites!  I do have a special attachment to the Conversion of St. Paul.  What struck me most in Blessed James Alberione's writings above was the phrase, "put right our affections."  The later phrase that we should become "pious, humble and courageous" sounds great, and we should definitely strive for that, but I especially like the practical advice of "put right our affections."  God must come first.  Anything else that I become too attached to that detracts from God I must put right, and make sure God is first.  St. Paul did just that after his conversion; all was for the Lord.  May we imitate St. Paul today and always.  Amen.

What strikes you most on this feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  I hope you'll click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal


From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione


St. Francis de Sales
Bishop and Doctor

St. Francis was born of noble and pious parents in France in 1566. He gave up a career in order to become a priest. Sent to preach to the Calvinists of Chablais, it is said that he converted some sixty-two thousand. Together with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded the Order of the Visitation. He died on December 28, 1622.

Two outstanding virtues of St. Francis were: meekness and humility of heart. Let us imitate him in his virtues.

Humility in Prayer.

What is especially missing is a ready recourse to prayer. The personal initiative to pray shows our interior humility; it shows that we feel the need of God, of advice and of inspiration; that we feel the need of the mercy of God for our sins, that we want God to keep His hand on our head because we could fall into any danger.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, compiled by J. Maurus

In Search of Self

St. Francis de Sales wrote, "If you want to know the state of a soul, we must analyze its passions one by one. Like the player of a lute sounding all the chords, trying to harmonize those which are not, tightening one and loosening another, thus if after sounding the chords of hatred, love, desire, fear, hope, sadness and joy of the soul, we find that these passions are not in harmony with the motif we want to play the glory of God - we can make them harmonize through the grace of God and with the help of our spiritual director.

What is important is that the chords of our heart must be in harmony with the music we want to play, that is the hymn: glory to God and peace to humanity.    

The examen has this essential purpose of showing whether the chords play well this music.The chords of my heart are my internal dispositions. We must therefore test them to know what sound they produce... Let us launch on self-discovery.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the line, "that we feel the need of the mercy of God for our sins, that we want God to keep His hand on our head because we could fall into any danger." I sometimes feel that the times I most need to pray are the times I least feel like praying. But often at those times that I don't feel like praying, I am still aware of my need for God's mercy, often even more so. I hope that remembering this will help me to develop a more ready recourse to prayer.

What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below to leave your thoughts.




Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009


From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

Growth in Trust
The Lord acts towards us as a mother to her child. She nourishes her child according to his age. While small, she deals with him as a baby; later, she treats him as a child, a growing boy, a young man, until finally a mature adult. The mother does not make for her baby a coat as large as his father's. Everything is in due proportion. God is a father and a mother. He gives us His graces gradually. If we continue to pray, He will give us the grace to do tomorrow what we are not able to do today. Let us continue to pray and to stir up our will.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

History is the teacher of life

Don't be discouraged, cultivate always a healthy optimism. History is the teacher of life and our past experiences teach us many lessons. If we have lost one battle, we still have time, till we are alive, to win another one.
All things work together for good, when one has goodwill. Yet our failures serve to make us humble and make us pray to do better.
The most terrible temptation is despair, but the more common one is discouragement.
Faith is the first virtue and the second is hope. Let us honour God and render him homage by professing often our faith in his goodness.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is a little different. I found the picture for today's blog on the website of the Catholic Institute of the Holy Family, at http://www.vocations-holyfamily.com/
Another branch of the Pauline family founded by Blessed James Alberione, it is the first Vatican approved institute for married, widowed, and engaged couples. If you might be interested in The Holy Family Institute, I recommend visiting their site. If you're not interested, I recommend visiting their site anyway for the beautiful religious art and music. All I can say is these Paulines are ONE BIG AWESOME FAMILY!


What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

St. Vincent
Deacon and Martyr

The deacon, Vincent, was martyred during the bloody persecution of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian (300-305). Deacon Vincent was martyred with his bishop, Valerio, in Saragossa, Spain.
Let us ponder the courage of the Church's countless martyrs and ask ourselves: have I even a "bit" of that courage of which martyrs are made?

Being childlike

There are people whom one hardly sees or hears, whose presence is scarcely noticeable, but the lord looks on them with complacency. They are heard by God and God does great things for them. They are the little ones who follow the little way. The reality will be seen later at the judgment of God. The little ones are great in the kingdom of God, but even here on earth He has for them those divine pleasures and that tenderness which Jesus had for the children.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

Jesus Christ, the Lord of history

The history of nations is at the service of the greatest event in history: the incarnation by means of which God came to take to himself all creation, make himself their Leader and to introduce "on the great day" to his kingdom an immense crowd of the faithful singing hosanna to the Divine King.
Youngster, in the general synthesis of history and by the light of the Gospel, and the study of philosophy, lift up your head: in the course of thousands of years, the fullness of time has been prepared. Jesus Christ is the greatest man in the history of mankind, rather he is the God of history. He now completes what he began in the Holy Spirit. History, like our life, leads to eternity.
Eastern and Greek history, Roman history, medieval and modern history, general and universal history are all an immense work of the Father who created and governs, of the Son who enlightens and saves, of the Holy Spirit who vivifies and sanctifies.
May Jesus Master be always your light in your study of the world and its peoples. To study history is to confess: "To the immortal and invisible King of the universe be honour and glory."

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is Blessed James Alberione's question whether we have even a bit of that courage the martyrs demonstrated. I would like to think I would defend my faith to the death. However, I've never been in that situation. The worst I can experience is someone disagreeing or not liking what I say, but I certainly don't feel a real threat of death. In many countries today, missionaries do risk their lives every day to proclaim the Gospel. God bless them and God give me that type of courage to NEVER turn away from Christ!

What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below to leave your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009




From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

St. Agnes
Virgin and Martyr

This noble Roman girl suffered martyrdom as a young teenager rather than betray her Faith and chastity. Thus a weak girl confounded the powerful of the world. She was condemned to be burned, but "in the midst of the fire she was not burnt." Finally she was beheaded. Agnes is forever remembered in the First Eucharistic Prayer.

Let us ask St. Agnes to obtain for us the grace always to be ready to go forth to meet Christ our Lord.

Difficulties

Living together requires that we "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Thus, one will control envy, the exaggeration of others' defects, resentful grudges and evil interpretations, as well as the continual remembrance, bringing up and publicizing of others' mistakes. Jesus came neither to quench a smoking wick, nor to break a bruised reed!

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

Sanctification is Christification

The process of sanctification is a process of Christification: "Till Christ is formed in you" (Gal 4:19).

Therefore, we shall be saints not in the measure we live the life of Jesus Christ, rather in the measure Jesus lives in us. A Christian is an alter Christus; and this is what St. Paul says of himself: "I live, not I but Christ lives in me."

This happens in us gradually until "the mature age of Jesus Chirst," just like a child graduatiolly grows into an adult person.

Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life: in the spiritual endeavour there is this commitment:
  1. To imitate the holiness of Jesus Christ who taught us the way with his examples and teaching: Be perfect.
  2. In the spirit of faith according to Jesus Christ the truth: think according to the Gospel, the New Testament and the Church that transmits it to us.
  3. In the grace which is the participation in the life of Jesus Christ, in the sacraments and in all the means of grace.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the idea of Christification - that we are not just called to imitate Christ, but for Christ to be formed in us and live in us. I have to be honest that this idea scares me somewhat, as I feel completely unworthy for Christ to live in me. So I really like Blessed James Alberione's words that this occurs gradually in us, and he gives us the formula for developing this through Jesus Way, Truth, and Life.

What strikes you most today? Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.



Monday, January 19, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

St. Fabian and St. Sebastian


From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

St. Fabian
Pope and Martyr

Pope St. Fabian was Vicar of Christ during the reign of Decian. He was martyred in the year 250.

St. Sebastian
Martyr

St. Sebastian was an officer in the army of Emperor Diocletian. When the emperor learned that Sebastian was a Christian, he condemned him to death. Sebastian was pierced with arrows, but he survived to reproach the emperor for his evil ways. Sebastian was then flogged to death.
Let us ask these two saints to obtain for us the virtue of fortitude.

We Need Patience

Moved by zeal, Saul, a convert of three days, wanted to begin preaching. But he was a failure! Saul made the same mistake that many young people make whan they still lack sufficient preparation and experience. Enlightened and full of fervor, young people think that in order to be praised by all... and followed by the whole world, it is sufficient to open their mouths, to disapprove all those who have preceded them and to introduce a novelty. They trust in their own way of thinking, in their beautiful projects, in the approval of some.
Rather, it is necessary to pray, to seek advice, to wait for the moment of God, to work in obedience. God has to plow the field first; then the seed will be sown and will grow. Only thus, and only in the place where God calls us, shall we reap merits for ourselves, perhaps even a hundredfold. Saul understood the lesson; he withdrew and went into Arabia , where he stayed a few years in order to transform himself completely and become that true Christian on whom God was to build the priesthood and the most wonderful apostolate.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

May the Lord reign over all our being

Shall we make Jesus the Master of our total being? But:
  • Where pride reigns, there is no place for the humility of Jesus;
  • Where greed and attachments to worldly things reign, there is no place for the poverty of Jesus;
  • Where envy reigns, there is no place for the charity of Jesus;
  • Where anger reigns, there is no place for the meekness of Jesus;
  • Where lust reigns, there is no place for the virginity of Jesus;
  • Where gluttony reigns, there is no place for the mortification of Jesus;
  • Where laziness reigns, there is no place for Jesus' fervent love for the Father and for others.


    What Strikes Me Most Today

    What strikes me most today is the line "But he was a failure!"  St. Paul?  I think of him as a tough persecutor of Christians or an outstanding apostle and evangelist, but never as a failure.  Maybe that's why I like him so much.  He's human.  He failed.  I'm just happy he didn't give up when he failed at his first attempt at evangelization - imagine where the Church would be without him!  St. Paul --> Pray for us, especially in the times we fail!

    What strikes you most today?  Please click on "COMMENTS" below and leave your thoughts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rembrandt's St. Paul in Prison

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

The Master wants the whole of a person

     Jesus wants to live in us!  Our being, so to say, has to disappear; that is, our thoughts have to disappear so that his thoughts may become ours.
     Jesus should live in our mind.  Our desires and feelings have to disappear because Jesus wants to replace them with his and implant his heart in us.  Our entire will has to disappear, all our evil tendencies, all our actions that are too human, because Jesus wants to put his will in us.
     In these three things consists the true love of God.  It is an illusion to think that only few sentiments of the heart will do.  Everything is needed:
  • The mind of Jesus Christ
  • the will of Jesus Christ.
From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

A Worm

     The spirit of criticism is similar to the work of a woodworm which crawls slowly and secretly but inevitably reaches the very heart of the tree and may eventually destroy it.  Where this worm crawls everything will be spoiled:  Oh, if at least somebody could realize this!  Generally those who criticize have more defects and become ineffective in their work.  St. Paul appropriately teaches us:  "A little leaven ferments the whole mass" (Gal. 5:9) and "He who disturbs you will bear the penalty, whoever that may be" (Gal. 5:10).  And he concludes:  "Would that those who are unsettling you would mutilate themselves!" (Gal 5:12).

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is when Blessed James Alberione writes, "Oh, if at least somebody could realize this!"  (The "Oh" and the "!" are his, I didn't add them).  When I saw this, I thought I better read this several times, and I'm glad I did.  I think that many times when we speak negatively about others, whether we are the ones speaking or the ones listening, it is an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves.  We feel that we are not as bad as the person we are talking about.  Next time I find myself in a conversation critical of others, I'll try to remind myself to stop the conversation - not only is that acting in charity, it's a lot better than mutilating myself or committing a sin that could jeopardize my relationship with others and with God!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

Jesus has given us life

     Jesus has given us life.  He is our Shepherd, our eternal Shepherd:  He is our life.
     Behold how he loves!  "He loved me and gave his life for me"(Gal 2:20).
     Meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.  Meditate especially on those passages which reveal better the heart of the Good Shepherd.  Meditate on the life of Jesus and then copy it in your life.
     Make it, however, the heart especially of the Mass.  In the Mass, the Shepherd gives his life because the Mass is the renovation of the sacrifice on the cross;  it is there that he reveals his love for us.  "The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them" (Jn 15:13), and no one can love us more than Jesus has loved us who offered his life for us.  No one has loved us so much, and no one will ever love us so much.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

The Tongue

     Serene happiness is a great help to the spirit and to health.  The gift of the tongue as the organ of speech should make us continually grateful to God.  One's tongue can be used for both good and evil by:  preachers, teachers who speak, exhort and instruct tirelessly;  complainers, chatterers, sowers of dissension, who never correct themselves.  "The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom and his tongue utters what is right.  The law of his God is in his heart."  God will reward according to deeds, not according to words.

What Strikes Me Most Today

I really thought I was going to write about the Good Shepherd today - I love that image of Jesus.  However, reading over today's messages from Blessed James Alberione, I found the line that strikes me most is the simple statement, "he is our life."  And he is our life because he chose to make it so.  He didn't have to create us.  He is Way and Truth and Life all by himself, so he certainly didn't need us.  But from his infinite love, he did create us.  And after the Fall, he certainly didn't have to redeem us, but he did.  And today, in our day to day life, he gives us the Holy Spirit and the Church and the Sacraments to guide us and sustain us on our life journey.  In every aspect, he is our life.  Thank God!

What strikes you most today?  Please click on "COMMENTS" below to add your thoughts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

St. Anthony
Abbot

     At the age of eighteen Anthony left his possessions and property behind and went into the desert of Egypt to find God.  His holiness attracted many others who wanted to become perfect.  St. Anthony instituted monastic life in common.  He aided the Christians against the Arians and defended the dogma of the divinity of Christ.  He lived for over a century and died in 356 A.D.
     Let us try to live a more perfect life and win souls for Christ.

Prudence

     Prudence will guide a person in being silent and in speaking:  one should neither be too silent nor too talkative.  The prudent and wise person willingly listens to others' ideas, easily asks for counsel and learns from those who do well.  It is always necessary to keep the secrets of one's own office and the confidences which one receives.  Never reveal, nor even speak of, others' defects or mistakes.  Scripture insists:  "Think before you speak."  Avoid annoying others and causing them to waste time.  One's manner, behavior and conversation must always be moderate.  One should know how to spend his time well and control himself during conversation.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione
Compiled by J. Maurus

Jesus, the apostle of the Father

     Jesus is the wisdom of the Father, the author of creation and of every knowledge, the giver of our intelligence, the apostle of the Father.  The Divine Master has taught us what we have in the catechism, in our theological books, and what the Church teaches. 
     It is all a stream of divine truths starting from the first chapter of the Bible till the incarnation erupts on humanity; then it gets enlarged and deepens in Jesus Christ;  "In the past, God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son" (Heb 1:1-2).
     Therefore through the Church which is the custodian, interpreter and teacher, the truths taught by Jesus Christ are proposed to be believed.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is thinking about the contemplative life.  As I learn more about the Pauline family, today's writings from Blessed James Alberione remind me of Servant of God, Mother Mary Scholastica Rivata (who just died in 1987), the first Pious Disciple of the Divine Master.  This order aims "to imitate, re-present and live today in the Church the examples of the Divine Master, especially His contemplative mystery, his prayer and praise to the Father in the name of humanity... in particular by an intensely lived-out EUCHARISTIC life, and... apostolic services."  To learn more about this branch of the Pauline family, I set up a link you can reach by clicking on the picture of Servant of God Mother Mary Scholastica Rivata on the right. 

What strikes you most today?  
Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009
















From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus

Jesus: A Total Master



Jesus Master is the mediator between heaven and earth.

Jesus is Master in his private life.

Jesus is Master in his public life.

Jesus is Master in his suffering life.

Jesus is Master in his glorious life.

Jesus is Master in his Eucharistic life.

Jesus Master and the beatitudes.

Jesus Master and the love of God.

Jesus Master and the will of the Father. "Not as I will but as you will" (Mt 26:39).

Jesus Master, meek and humble of heart.

Jesus is Master by nature, mission, and revelation he made.

Jesus is the total Master who sets example before teaching, who communicates grace both to believe and to practice.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,

by Blessed James Alberione

Respect

In questions that are freely discussed, one has to grant to others the same liberty he desires for himself, never treating them with disdain. Thus, all will become calm.

The examination of one's character in his relations with his neighbor has great importance. A good character that adapts to other characters is a powerful means for doing good; a bad character is one of the greatest obstacles to doing good.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the phrase "Jesus Master and the beatitudes." Jesus teaches the eternal truths of how we should live our lives. But only after he lives the example that he teaches. What a powerful lesson when the teacher truly lives his sermon, then tells us exactly what we need to hear. I love the Sermon on the Mount, that's why I chose this picture for today's blog. I'd love to hear which of the "Jesus Master" lines above strikes you most. Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share yours.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
 Compiled by J. Maurus

Jesus the Redeemer

     Jesus Christ with his redeeming work reopened for us heaven, meriting for us eternal life.
     The redemption, besides meriting us grace lost by Adam, has renewed us, bringing us benefits that transcend the gifts God had given to Adam.
     The whole work of redemption through the doctrine of Jesus and the gift of faith saved humanity from innumerable errors which after the Fall kept on multiplying.
     Jesus redeemed us from sin, calling us with his example, with his teaching on holiness; saved us from many superstitions and sacrilegious forms of worship, substituting them with the means of grace and with supernatural life which in a particular way are the Mass and the Sacraments.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

Uprightness

     The upright person respects everybody:  superiors, equals, inferiors.  To each one he gives what is due:  esteem, respect and mutual help.  He is able to live in society and behaves with dignity when he is alone.  He loves order in his work, in his timetable, in his relations with others, in objects, books, furniture, etc.  He knows himself:  his intelligence, his health, his physical strength, his social condition; he is neither proud nor depressed.  He does not deceive himself with false optimism, nor with false pessimism; he is balanced; he avoids danger.  Nor is he the type of person who always hesitates in making decisions.  Wisdom advises:  the best friends, the best books and audiovisuals, the best teachers, the best places according to the possibilities.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the fact that our redemption through Christ brings us "benefits that transcend the gifts God had given to Adam."  I remember being a child and blaming Adam for original sin.  But I wonder what the world would be like if the Fall had never occurred.  I don't know that I would ever have been born, for one thing.  But I think I'll come back often to meditate on that idea that through Christ's redeeming work we receive gifts far better than what Adam received before the Fall.  Another reason to be thankful to God!

What strikes you most today?  
Please click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus

The Master is the 
Way to Perfection



Mary Magdalene at the Feet of Jesus, Lebanese Watercolor


     The great need of a person is to make a gift of one's total self to the Lord.  Without realizing, we keep too many things for ourselves.
     We make loud declarations of love.  But when self-love rears its head, one realizes clearly that God is not yet the absolute Master of our hearts.
     Even on a good day we do many things for ourselves rather than for Jesus Christ.
     The fact that the actions we perform are good may give us the illusion; but there is a big gap between performing good deeds and performing meritorious acts; often self-will, some secret ambitions, our selfish motives, etc., poison the holy things we do.
     Only that which is done for the Lord will be rewarded by the Lord.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day
by Blessed James Alberione

Confidence in God

     Have confidence in God.  God is with us to show us His ways, to communicate His graces to us, to assure us of the divine reward.  Difficulties and trials are wisely and lovingly permitted by God so that we might become holier.  Onward!  Let us make a little progress every day.  During life some are overcome, but there are also the fervent, those who hope in God, the victors.  And may God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit make us such.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the line, "Onward!  Let us make a little progress every day."  There are times when I realize how far I am from where God would like me to be.  It can be overwhelming to see how far I have to go, even finding myself at times tempted to give up because I have so far to go.  On the other hand, I can focus on not going backwards in my spiritual life (minimize my backsliding) and not just standing still;  I'll try to make a little progress every day.

What Strikes You Most Today?  
Please click on "Comments" below to share your thoughts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione

St. Hilary
Bishop and Doctor

     A native of Poitiers, St. Hilary was chosen Bishop in 353.  Filled with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, he fought with his pen and his eloquence against the Arian heresy.  Because he was one of the most intrepid defenders of the dogma of the divinity of Christ, the Church has awarded him the title of Doctor.  Bishop Hilary was persecuted by his enemies and was exiled by order of Emperor Constantius.  He died in 367.
     Let us ask St. Hilary to intercede for us and obtain for us the grace always to be firm believers and defenders of the divinity of Christ.

Dialogue

     In our dialogues we should not aim for the satisfaction of our pride and the triumph of our own ideas, but for the truth.  It is rare that the opinions of those who contradict us do not contain at least some aspects of truth which had previously escaped us.  To listen with attention and impartiality to their reasons and to acknowledge what is right in their comments is always the best means of drawing near the truth and observing the laws of humility and charity.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione
Compiled by J. Maurus

To be at the school of Jesus

     Peace within a person and among peoples will be realized in the measure in which humanity enters the school of Jesus Master, the way, the truth and the life.
     The Divine Master opened the school in a manger at Bethlehem, he continued it at Nazareth, in his public life, in his life of suffering as well as in his life of joy; and he continues it from the Tabernacle.
     The same school is perpetuated visibly in the Church, which is the teacher of faith, morality and prayer.  The one who follows her faithfully will certainly find the way of peace and eternal happiness.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is in the "Dialogue" section above, the entire paragraph.  I know when I talk less and listen more is when I actually learn.  When I stop listening, I stop learning.  When we evangelize, we have to remember we want to win souls, not arguments.  What we all seek is the truth, and as Blessed James Alberione reminds us, the truth is Jesus (he is also the way and the life).  That is why dialogue is so important, so please click on "Comments" below to join in the discussion and help us lead one another to the school of Jesus Master, the way, the truth and the  life.

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Pauline Prayer Book for our Haitian Brothers and Sisters

Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid
"Fear not, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Atone for sin."

Daughters of St. Paul

Daughters of St. Paul
Evangelizing the World!

New faith and family friendly video sharing

New faith and family friendly video sharing
Great Pauline Video Sharing Site

Why?

Why a blog? Why St. Paul? Why do I think I have any business doing this?
We are all on a spiritual journey. We all want that journey to lead us to heaven, to eternity with God. For this journey, we need one another.
The journey so far has led me to read and learn about so many forms of authentic Catholic spirituality - Ignatian, Benedictine, Carmelite, Dominican, Franciscan, etc. My biggest problem was that I came to love each one tremendously. I began reading more and more, spending more and more time at the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore on Watson Road here in St. Louis. Who would have thought my greatest conversion story would take place in a bookstore? Mine was not quite as sudden or dramatic as St. Paul on the road to Damascus, but getting to know the Daughters of St. Paul affected me no less significantly.
The sisters are Eucharistic by nature. The first time I entered the chapel in their bookstore, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and one of the sisters was on her knees, gazing at Christ, with an indescribably beautiful smile on her face. I had a glimpse of heaven. I knelt at one of the other kneelers and noticed on the wall behind the monstrance the words: "Fear not, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Atone for sin." I had that brief moment of absolute certainty that I was on the right path.
Over the last several years I have worked my way through as many books, CD's, DVD's and conversations with the Daughters of St. Paul that time has allowed. Time is at such a premium for all of us. Years ago we were told that with advances in technology we would have much more free time on our hands. We all know this has not been the case. Our lives are busier and more hectic than ever. Even if we are unable to find time to read good books, see enlightening movies or attend lectures and discussions, maybe we could all spend a little time on the internet supporting one another on our faith journeys. Many of you know more about many aspects of Catholic spirituality than I do.
Pope John Paul the Great called us all to a New Evangelization, to share the Gospel with the world. I am hoping we can all be St. Paul in this blog space by sharing Christ with one another and with others. St. Paul travelled to many foreign and often hostile regions to evangelize the world; we are fortunate to be able to use the internet to reach even farther and more quickly.
The idea of using today's means of social communication to spread the Gospel was given to Blessed James Alberione on the night between the centuries (December 31, 1900 - January 1, 1901). He was a 16 year-old seminary student adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament when a special light came to him from the Host. Following this, Blessed James Alberione became the founder of the Society of St. Paul priests, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Sisters of the Queen of Apostles, and numerous institutes that are also part of the Pauline family.
So what is Pauline spirituality? In my experience, Pauline spirituality encompasses all the teachings of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and love of all the other spiritualities and Saints of the Church. It is the members of the Pauline family who are the happiest people I know! It is loving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with all our hearts and souls, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and St. Paul.
So why St. Paul? I can relate to St. Paul. We first meet him in the New Testament as a sinner. He has a thorn in his side that God decides is best not to take away. I sometimes wish I knew what that thorn was, but it's probably better I don't know. I like to pretend it is one of my many weaknesses or faults. If St. Paul could go from persecuting Christ and His Church to becoming the person responsible for spreading the Gospel and establishing the Church in foreign lands, the least I can do is start a blog. I have been especially inspired by my two favorite bloggers, Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, and a Pauline Cooperator named Rae Stabosz. I believe Sr. Margaret and Rae are doing just what St. Paul and Blessed James Alberione would be doing with the internet.
In future blogs (which will be shorter than this first post!), I would like to share writings of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione, and many others. I look forward to others sharing writings from other Catholic spiritualities and writers. An especially Pauline way of sharing is to point out to one another what aspects particularly speak to each of us.
Another Pauline trait is to pray for one another. My prayer is that we support one another on our path to holiness. Our goal is to glorify God in all that we do - so let's do it!