Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 4, 2009

January 4, 2009
Memorial - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
From Saint and Thought for Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione
A daughter of the United States of America and native of New York City, Elizabeth Ann Seton, born in 1774, was an Episcopalian and a socialite. When her beloved husband, William Seton, died leaving his young wife with five small children, Elizabeth was drawn to Catholicism by the exemplary witness of an Italian Catholic family, the Filicchi's. Elizabeth's attraction to the Faith grew into a burning love especially for Christ in the Eucharist. She became a Catholic and in 1809 she started a religious community of teaching sisters, the firtst American Sisters of Charity, and initiated the Catholic school system. This dynamic woman died in 1821 and was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975.
Let us imitate St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's great love for the Holy Eucharist.
A Full Relationship with Christ
The great secret of the spiritual life is this: devotion to the Divine Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life. This is the source, the way and the crown of our life. This is the trunk and the root of our vitality. Devotion to the Divine Master means much, yet it is quite simple. It means worship, consecration and dedication to the Divine Master, Way, Truth and Life, together with the complete gift of our entire self: our physical, moral and intellectual energies and of our whole person from which these energies spring. It means taking all the Divine Master: His light, spirit, examples and grace. It implies living in Him, for Him, with Him and by Him. Let us take a look at our devotion to the Divine Master, and ask Him for the grace to understand it and to assent to it with all our strength.
From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus
The Prime Time of the Day
At dawn the serene sky promises a lovely day. So too within the intimacy of our heart let there be serenity at dawn. Let us receive from the Lord the day and the grace to fil it with merits. Every evening thus we shall send up merits. Many shopkeepers may not earn much during the day. But by doing well all that is to be done, you can at the close of each day store up in heaven all the merits of the day.
It must be said that not only the day should be used to gain merits for eternity, but also the nights. Just as we take meals to keep ourselves fit at the service of God, so too we have to sleep and take rest.
What is said about meals can be said about rest as well. It is meritorious to take food needed for life. And Jesus used to have his meals, rest and sleep.
Therefore not only should we think of offering to the Lord the merits gained during the day but offer him also our rest. Offer to the Lord, the full 24 hours, in short the days spent totally for him.
What Strikes Me Most
What strikes me most today is the prayer of Blessed James Alberione, "Let us imitate St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's great love for the Holy Eucharist." I can picture St. Elizabeth Ann, a young widow with five young children, finding peace and strength from the Blessed Sacrament. It gives me hope to think that the same source of light that so profoundly affected Blessed James Alberione and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is always waiting for us in the Tabernacle.
What Strikes You Most (Click on "Comments" to leave your own thoughts.)

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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!