Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 5, 2009

St. John Neumann - Bishop
From Saint and Thought for Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione
Born in Bohemia in 1811, John Neumann became a Redemptorist priest and labored with his customary humility and goodness in the "mission land" of the United States. Father Neumann was chosen to be Bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. A great worker, Bishop Neumann would not let himself be overcome by anti-Catholic bigotry. Until his death in 1860, he proclaimed the message of Christian love.
Let us be willing to "reach out" to others and offer our friendship in the real spirit of Christian love.
Preparation for the Epiphany: Knowing How To Acknowledge Christ
A star calls the Gentiles from the Orient. Not all respond, but the chosen ones do. Among the followers of Jesus Christ are men of the most noble character, of high ideals, of great intelligence - men who live reality. They have known that they come from God and must return to Him. They have understood that life has a meaning: to acknowledge God, to acknowledge Jesus Christ and in Him become children and heirs of God, co-heirs with Jesus Chirest Himself, like many sons sharing their Father's inheritance. Other men make no move - and this shows the marked difference between "knowing" and "acknowledging." "To know" Jesus Christ means to study Him, and to "acknowledge" Him means to believe. What an abyss stretches between "knowledge" and "faith."
From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus
Know Jesus Even Better
As way, truth and life, Jesus is the unique Master, as the Gospel says (Mt 23:10).
Unique Master, because He teaches us with His sublime doctrine.
Unique Master, because He precedes us with His example.
Unique Master, because He gives us grace, both to believe the doctrine and to act, to follow and imitate Him.
There cannot be another Master who gives and confers grace, that is, the supernatural life. Besides, there is no other Master who gives a doctrine which is his own.
Jesus is truth itself and so when He gives truth He gives something of His own self. His example is so perfect and holy, who can add to it? Even the holiest masters can never give more perfect examples; they can give good examples, but never as perfect as given by Jesus Christ.
We have the duty to know Jesus evermore perfectly, in order to love Him evermore perfectly, always better, to serve Him always more perfectly, that is to imitate Him more perfectly.
What Strikes Me Most
What strikes me most today is the anti-Catholic bigotry that St. John Neumann had to endure here in the United States not that long ago. I am fortunate to live in a society with freedom of religion. Many places on earth still have anti-Catholic and anti-Christian sentiments, though. We should especially pray for Christians who are persecuted and missionaries in lands hostile to Christianity.
What strikes you most? (Click on "Comments" to leave your thoughts).

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"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 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!