Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Joseph the Worker

     This special feast on the first day of May honors the working man, who, like St. Joseph, earns his heavenly reward by honest labor.  Pope Pius XII instituted this feast in 1955 and proposed St. Joseph as the model laborer.
     We, too, can "inject" spiritual motivation into our ordinary daily labor by doing it for the love of God.

A Man Called Joseph

     Joseph linked his life to Mary's because of a high providential design and in answer to the angel's invitation.  He was the true spouse and guardian of the Virgin.  He was her bread-winner and helpmate in sorrows and joys.  He was her humble and trustworthy servant, her faithful imitator and her support in the events and happenings of the infancy and boyhood of Jesus.  Joseph's devotion to Mary is greater than that of all the saints, just as now in heaven he shares more than all others in her glory and her power, and just as the veneration he receives with Mary and after her is higher than that given any other saint.  In the spirit of St. Joseph's veneration for Mary, know her, imitate her, love her, and pray to her.
     And as St. Joseph, let us be hard workers!  We resemble God more when we work, when we use our intelligence to learn, when we use our health to work and get things done, when we give the required effort to prayer.

What Strikes Me Most Today

In St. Joseph, I really do have a good model for when I feel stressed with my life.  St. Joseph was a husband and a father; he had to work hard to make a living for his family.  He had even more stress than I do - especially with the king wanting to kill his infant son.  His wife wasn't just holy or saintly, she was the Queen of All Saints and the Mother of God!  And St. Joseph was personally responsible for being an earthly father to the Son of God, while God the Father was watching over his shoulder all the time!  But he did it all perfectly, just as God wanted.  He lived his vocation by living the life God meant for him to live.  That is my hope and prayer - that I am living the life God wants me to be leading.

What strikes you most today?  
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The above picture is of the incorrupt body of Pope St. Pius V which rests in the Blessed Sacrament chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Pius V
Pope

     St. Pius V was born Michael Ghisleri of a poor family in North Italy in 1504.  He became a Dominican friar at an early age.  As Pope in the years immediately following the Council of Trent, Pius V followed the directives called for and set down liturgical and catechetical norms which guided the Church until the Second Vatican Council nearly 400 years later.  Through his zeal and ardent prayers he obtained the victory at the Battle of Lepanto, thereby saving Christendom from the Turks.  He died during the sixth year of his Pontificate, in 1572.
     Let us accustom ourselves to remembering often that those who do the most for God are they who truly depend on Him to accomplish things!

The Church, Bearer of Christ

     At the Last Supper Jesus, the Divine Master, said:  "I am the way, the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6).  That is:  "I am the Way which you should follow; the Truth which you should believe; the Life which you have to hope for."  Jesus Christ accomplishes this work for every single man, through the Church.  The Church preaches the same truth, guides the people of God with a gentle hand, communicates grace and sanctifies souls through the sacraments.  Thus, we can live in Jesus Christ on earth, and we shall live eternally happy in heaven.  There is no salvation outside Jesus Christ and His Church.

What Strikes Me Most Today

The incorruptible Saints have always fascinated me.  I actually did not know Pope St. Pius V's body was incorruptible until I read up on him.  Reading about his life, he was born to a poor Italian family, and fought to defend the Church.  I always assume God must be particularly happy with those saints whose body are incorrupt this long after death.  Now I have to add visiting his tomb to the list of all the places I would like to see if and when I ever make it to Rome!

What strikes you most today?  
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Catherine of Siena
Virgin and Martyr

The twenty-third child of good Christian parents, Catherine received the habit of the Third Order of St. Dominic at the age of eighteen. She is best known for her work to bring the Papacy back from Avignon to Rome in 1377. With prayer and penance this simple woman plumbed the depths of mystical spirituality and dictated profound spiritual writings. Catherine died in 1380 and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970.
Let us "tune in" to the voice of God in us and ask Him to let us think, speak, and act as He would!
From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus
Abandonment to God
The Lord said to St. Catherine of Siena: "three things are required for perfection:
  1. You should detach, remove, and separate your will from every carnal and earthly love and affection so that in this life, you do not love anything temporal, momentary, transitory except for me and only for me and love yourself for me, love your neighbour for me. Divine Love cannot at all tolerate any other affection, any other earthly love.
  2. You direct all your affections, thoughts, and works only to my honour and glory, to praise and glorify me... and especially see to it that not only you, but all the others with you do the same.
  3. You try, strive, and make efforts to reach such a disposition of spirit that you become one with me, that your will be so like mine that you not only don't desire anything evil, but also the good that I don't want. You will abandon yourself to me because I love you more than you love yourself."

What Strikes Me Most Today

23rd child??? and her parents aren't canonized???

Also, in #2 above, the words not only you are italicized in Blessed Alberione's book, I didn't do that. But it does tell me that not only are we to try to lead the best life we can, we should be helping others do the same. I stress this to all the holy people I know in my life --- you need to be working a little harder to pull me up to the level you're at!

P.S. We're lucky St. Catherine's parents didn't decide to stop at only 22 children!

What strikes you most today?

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Peter Chanel
Priest and Martyr
The islands of the Pacific, called Oceania, are honored by their first martyr, Peter Chanel. Born in France in 1803, he was a diocesan priest and seminary rector before joining the newly formed missionary order, the Society of Mary. Father Chanel's field of apostolate became Oceania. Obstacles shackled his pioneer labors from the biginning: deep-rooted pagan thinking and customs as well as opposition from other Christian sects. But he never turned back! He never gave up! Father Peter Chanel was martyred in 1841.
Am I willing to "martyr" my free-thinking ideas, my own choices, when they do not agree with the teachings of Jesus explained by His Church?
What Strikes Me Most Today
I think the above question is very important - I'm just going to contemplate that question for me, invite you to do the same, and leave it at that for today.
What strikes you most today?
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jean François Millet (1814-1875):

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

     The prayer of simplicity, Bossuet says, is a simple gaze, a glance, or a loving attention to the Lord or to some thing regarding the Lord, any of his perfections, for example.
     In the life of St. John Vianney we read:  in his early years as a parish priest at Ars, while he was in the church, he used to see almost daily a peasant who, keeping his tools near the church, would enter and sit on the last pew and spend a long time before the Blessed Sacrament.  He used to keep his eyes fixed always on the tabernacle, without ever moving his lips.  One day John Vianney asked him:  "What are you doing?  What do you tell the Lord?"  "I don't say anything, I just look at him and he looks at me, I know I love him and I know he loves me and I am happy to be with him.  Then I go home peacefully."

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, 
by Blessed James Alberione
The Leaven of Human Society

     It seems to me that in the thought, life, and aspirations of humanity there has always been a sense of Christianity, a Christianity that often bears different names.  The Gospel is in the world like a leaven which a woman buries in a mass of flour until all of it will be leavened.  Insensibly, either for good or for ill, humanity accepts or endures the Gospel of Jesus Christ; even when man fights against it, he works for it.  It is something like this:  when the enemies of Christ put Him to death, the prophecies were accomplished, mankind was redeemed; the glorified Savior began to draw all men to Himself.  Unity will mature in Christ.

What Strikes Me Most Today

Blessed Alberione's writing about prayer of simplicity reminded me of the painting above - I admit I didn't remember the artist, but I googled until I found it for you.  We know many canonized saints, but I can't begin to imagine how many humble, holy people have lived on this earth, and do now, whose name and story we'll never know, but whom God looks at the way He looked at the peasant in John Vianney's parish.

What strikes you most today?  
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
Climb higher; Be not afraid!


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

     All the baptized have the call to a higher level of prayer, and this is a universal call, normal for all:  to arrive at infused contemplation because it is only and always the development of the initial grace.
     This primarily depends on the grace of God.  It also depends on the dispositions on account of which God can infuse this grace, give us even greater spirit of prayer, desire to accomplish things always in a better way, to fulfill one's duties.
     Don't think of only small things, but aim at holiness, aim at imitating Jesus, aim at imitating Mary.  As the saints say:  aim at the sublime and big graces.
     Don't be satisfied with small things.
     At times some persons take some small steps and stop.  But if we have a higher horizon before us, then one breathes better spiritually, really one breathes better.

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

     Anybody who wants to reach paradise must share in the fruits of the Redemption, in the fruits of the cross.  Jesus says:  "I am the Good Shepherd and I give my life for my sheep."  This is charity.  How much love did Jesus have for us?  The Gospel says:  "Having loved those who were his own in the world, he loved then to the end."  The final sign of His love is that which impelled Him to die for us on the cross, and to leave Himself as food for our souls.
     We had a Jewish Pasch; we have a Christian Pasch; we shall have an eternal Pasch when we will be called to eternity.  To get ready for this, lit us live our mystical Easter, and we do it by stepping from a good life to a better and a holy life.

What Strikes Me Most Today

Blessed Alberione often speaks in "threes," so even though today's readings sound like a tall order for how to live our lives, I thought I would look for 3 things I could do:
  1. aiming high is always good - I can work on that.  I just have to be prepared for the imperfect person I know I am, and not be discouraged at times when I fail.
  2. contemplate eternity more often - thinking about eternity has to be important since it does last for eternity
  3. take full advantage of Jesus in the Eucharist - He left Himself as food for our souls.
Jesus makes all the above possible for us.  I could do none of this on my own.

What strikes you most today?
Click on "COMMENTS" below to let us know.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus
Every revealed truth is to be believed

     St. Mark, also called John Mark, cousin of Barnabas, was baptized by St. Peter who loved him as a son.  
     After being with St. Paul for some time, Mark accompanied St. Peter as a faithful disciple.  St. Jerome says, "Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter, while in Rome was prayed over by the brethren, wrote a short gospel narrating what he had heard from Peter.  Peter examined this gospel, approved it, and gave it to the Church so that it could be read."
     St. Mark founded the Church at Alexandria in Egypt where he died.  His body was brought to Venice.
     The purpose of St. Mark's gospel is to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God" (Mk 1:1).
     The divinity of Jesus is a fundamental truth of Christianity.  If Jesus Christ is God, all his teachings are truth to be believed.  All his examples show the perfect way to act and live; each of his institutions, like the primacy of Peter, the Church, the Sacraments are to be accepted with veneration and with the certainty of salvation.


From Saint and Thought For Every Day, 
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Mark
Evangelist

     St. Mark is one of the four Evangelists.  It is said that he was the youth who left the sheet, in which he was wrapped, in the hands of the soldiers and fled naked, the night that Jesus was captured.  He was one of the seventy-two disciples and became St. Peter's beloved disciple.  He was sent by Peter to Alexandria in Egypt, where he was martyred after having governed the Church of Egypt for many years.
     Let us resolve to always be on the side of Christ, no matter the cost.

The Gospel of Mark

     The purpose of St. Mark's Gospel is to prove that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  The divinity of Jesus Christ is the fundamental truth of Christianity.  If Jesus Christ is God, every one of His teachings is a truth we must believe; every one of His examples illustrates a perfect way of working and living; every institution of His, such as the primacy of Peter, the Church, and the sacraments, should be accepted with veneration and regarded as a guarantee of eternal salvation.
     When I read the Gospel of St. Mark I will stir up my faith in Jesus Christ, the God-Man.  I will make acts of adoration in recognition of His omnipotence which nothing can resist.  I will especially pay homage to the dominion of Jesus Christ over evil spirits and over death.  I will ask Him to move the minds of all men by His grace, so that all may adore Him and follow Him as devoted sons and disciples.

What Strikes Me Most Today

Actually, Blessed Alberione already said what strikes him most in the last paragraph above, so I think I  won't try to add anything to it.

What strikes you most today?  
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Priest and Martyr

     St. Fidelis was born in Sigmaringen, Germany, in 1578.  He was at first a magistrate, but then his love for the poor led him to become a priest.  He entered the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor a year after his ordination.  He was sent as a missionary to evangelize the people and was assassinated by an unruly group of  "Church haters" while preaching a sermon in 1622.
     Let us never be afraid to do "too much" for the Lord Jesus and His Church.

A Prayer for Our Resurrection

     In the first glorious mystery we ask God for the grace of a real resurrection.  We are like those people who have come safely through dangerous seas and reached the shore.  We have come through a sea of sorrows because we have been considering the agony of our Savior, His death, and the swords which pierced the heart of His Blessed Mother.  These sorrows have passed and, in His mercy, the heavenly Father has made a new day, the day of glorification.  "This is the day which the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it."  This is the day we prostrate ourselves at the feet of Jesus and say to Him:  "Lord, you have the words of eternal life."

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

     "Meditation is the application of our thinking mind to a supernatural truth in order to have an evermore profound conviction, and as a result, to love it and practice it with the help of grace."
     It is discursive reasoning to arrive at a profound persuasion, and thus to experience it and love it.  It is tiring work, and it requires effort; the lazy do not meditate, even if they may have some good thoughts.
     The main purpose of meditation is to strengthen the mind:
     1.)  With profound and lasting convictions which are firm and objective.  Only with such convictions can one resist the contrary external influences such as the spirit of the world, the flesh and Satan.
     2.)  And together with prayer one will obtain the necessary interior strength to practice virtues, carry out one's duties, and journey to holiness.

What Strikes Me Most Today

"Meditation is tiring work, and it requires effort; the lazy do not meditate, even if they have some good thoughts."  I really have to get used to the idea that meditation is just as important, if not more important, than reading and actively studying.  I am used to learning from books, from movies, from TV and the internet.  I hate to admit it, but if I am meditating even before the Blessed Sacrament at Eucharistic Adoration, it isn't long before I start feeling anxious like I should be reading something, saying the Rosary, or DOING something.  Maybe because my mind wanders so much, and I'm just not good at REALLY meditating.  I try to focus on one thing, and my mind goes to my wife, children, friends, relatives, people I work with, patients, where I have to be at what time tomorrow and who has to be driven to practices and games and who has been fighting with whom, and have I even made my mortgage payment and paid utilities and tuition bills, and I wonder if it really is hurting my car that I've gone so long without changing the oil, and I wonder if my two oldest are maintaining the car they share - I really should check it out, but I don't want them to think I don't trust them since they say it's all fine --- sorry, I started doing it again!  
     I think the world today is a tough place to meditate.  We don't have much quiet; we are always doing something.  Maybe doing more meditating is the thing I need to be spending more time doing - that's the only way I'll ever get better at it.  I'll try, since Blessed Alberione makes it clear that this is the best way to be able to handle "contrary external influences such as the spirit of the world, the flesh and Satan" and "the strength to practice virtues."   God knows that's exactly what I need!

What strikes you most today?  
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. George
Martyr

     The life of this armed defender of the Faith is wrapped in obscurity.  He was venerated as early as the fourth century in Palestine as a soldier who preferred the army of Christ to the emperor's army.  Devotion to St. George spread throughout the Near East and then to Europe.  England chose him for her patron.
     Rejoice as St. George did to suffer something for the salvation of the world.

Daily Easters

     At this time of the year the Gospels always lead us to think of the resurrection of Christ and also of our own.  God invites us to consider what will happen in the future:  our resurrection, paradise!  Every day is Easter!

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

The beauty of short prayers

     Ejaculations are a good means for perseverance in prayer:
     They area a means of habitual recourse to prayer,
     Through them we receive timely help,
     Through them, moment by moment, we build a bridge between our weakness and the all-powerfulness of divine mercy
     And through them the all-powerful mercy is transfused into our weakness.

What Strikes Me Most Today

I like the power and beauty of short prayers.  I am trying to get in the habit of making the sign of the cross and saying a few short prayers - really short - when I first wake up.  What I've been saying lately is:

     I love you God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
     Bless all members of the Pauline Family and everyone who will come in contact with them today
     I thank my Guardian Angel and ask him to guide and protect me, and I say 7 Glory Be's for my Guardian Angel (I picked that one up from Mother Angelica - she mentioned it on TV)
     I offer my day to Jesus the Divine Master, Way, Truth, and Life 
     I ask St. Paul  to pray for me
     I ask for the motherly protection and guidance of Mary, Queen of Apostles

When I list it, it looks like a lot, but it really doesn't take long.  I am starting to get into the habit of doing it.  I like it because it gives me a few minutes before I have to get out of bed, and I really do think some all-powerful mercy is getting transfused into my weakness.  I hope this is one of those practices I'll actually stick with - it's not too hard, even for me!

What strikes you most today?  
Click on "COMMENTS" below to share any short prayers you may practice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Archbishop Robert Carlson
Welcome to St. Louis!

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus
The heavens proclaim the glory of God

     "The heavens proclaim the glory of God" (Ps 18:2).  God is immense; the whole of creation cannot contain Him.  
     What an immense temple!
     It happens on a serene summer evening in May when contemplating a starry sky we experience certain sentiments and in the cool of the evening when the singing of the birds and the fragrance of flowers reach us, we too say:  "O Lord, our God, how great is your name over all the earth"  (Ps 8:2).
     We experience sentiments of faith when we contemplate the hugeness of the mountains and the vastness of the seas.  When we watch a good painting, an artistic performance, a panorama that attracts us and if we from all these raise our thoughts and hearts to our God, lo, we begin to practice our religion.
     You are all-powerful, everything is yours, the heaven and the earth, everything is yours, and we are all yours, made by your hands.
     Adore the heavenly Father, the Beginning of everything.

What Strikes Me Most Today

I love today's writing by Blessed Alberione;  there is so much beauty there for us to see and appreciate, all gifts from God.  I especially love the part that when we enjoy and appreciate these things and raise our thoughts and hearts to God, we begin to practice our religion.
St. Louis has much to appreciate and thank God for - our new Archbishop Robert Carlson! Let us all pray for him as he begins his new role as Shepherd of the Archdiocese of St. Louis!  God bless you, and welcome to St. Louis!

What strikes you most today?  
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Anselm
Bishop and Doctor

     St. Anselm was born in Piedmont, north Italy, of noble parents.  He became a Benedictine monk, Abbot, and then Archbishop of Canterbury.  He was banished from England by the king because he resisted the latter's desire to usurp the rights of the Church.  Anselm went to Rome where he was welcomed by Pope Urban II.  He assisted the Pope in combating the problems of the times.  He was recalled to Canterbury, where he died in 1109.
     As St. Anselm, let us be willing to profess and proclaim our faith even when among people who would profane it.

What Strikes Me Most Today

St. Anselm - This year marks the 900th anniversary of his death.  He was born in Piedmont, north Italy, the same general area as Blessed Alberione.  In our world it is often difficult to publicly discuss our faith.  Many people worry about offending those of other faiths or making others "uncomfortable."  St. Anselm is a great example of someone standing up for the faith at a time when he was opposing the King of England and risking his life.  But here we are 900 years later still talking about his saintly example.  
So for me, it's not likely I'll be opposing any kings in the near future.  But for a practical application of today's writing for my own life, I would like to try to at least not hide my faith.  For example, when out at a restaurant with my family, we should try to make the sign of the cross and pray before we eat; and when I'm saying my Rosary while walking next time, I'm not going to hide my Rosary in my pocket.  I would love to see people making the sign of the cross, praying, and saying the Rosary in their daily life - more examples of things I shouldn't be saving only for when I'm in church!  
     I know these aren't the St. Anselm level actions, but I'm still taking baby steps, and mainly trying to make them in the right direction.

What strikes you most today?  
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,

Compiled by J. Maurus

Perseverance in Prayer

There are three conditions for prayer: humility, faith, and perseverance. However, there is really only one condition: perseverance. The other two are are its expressions: perseverance coupled with faith and humility.

The one who prays even imperfectly will be saved, provided the prayer is made in the name of Jesus. The one who prays daily will get the grace to pray well. One who prays testifies to the need for God and the confidence that the prayer will be heard. As long as we persevere with holy tenacity in our request, we show our faith, hope, and charity. And even before we get up from our prayer, we will ahve received the blessing of God.

In other words, it is necessary that in our everyday life there should be always prayer for all. Just as we need food and air, daily and always.
What Strikes Me Most Today
OK, this time I did make up the picture to go with perseverance --> I built the little steps, then hunted until I found a good snail, big enough to crawl up it, then waited until it was halfway up and snapped the picture. It kept wanting to turn and go back down; it took hours and hours to get him to go up the stairs. I hope it demonstrates perseverence to you since it took up my entire weekend to get this shot!
The practical point I got from today's writing is just to pray every day. Whether I pray a memorized prayer or just say anything to God, I need to pray in some manner every day. If I do that, hopefully I will become a better pray-er in the future. Blessed Alberione makes it very clear that perseverance is the key, even for those like me who pray imperfectly.
What strikes you most today?
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
The Deep Meaning of Easter: the Human Person Integrated into Christ
Man is one, but he has different faculties: mind, heart, will. When he is grafted onto the divine, this must elevate his mind, his heart, and his will to produce new fruits, according to the type of integration and the new man that he is. Thus, Christ the Truth works on the mind and gives it faith; Christ the Way works on the will which becomes conformed to the will of God; Christ the Life works on the heart, producing a supernatural life. And if this transformation or integration is fully accepted by the Christian concerned, he will be able to say: "Chirst lives in me." This is the great teaching of St. Paul.
What Strikes Me Most Today
I am very excited about today's writing! Sr. Carmen Christi had previously shared some of Blessed Alberione's thoughts about what he wrote for today, and it all fit together really well for me. I hope I can do it justice.
Follow the threes to get to the grafted trees.
Start with the Holy Trinity - one God in Three Persons.
Then move to Jesus Master, one of the Three Persons of the Trinity, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life! But these three aspects are important not in a remote place to aspire to and admire, they are Jesus Christ to whom we want to graft ourselves, namely our will, our mind, and our heart. Each of the three facets of Jesus fits with each of the three facets of who we are, so we can mingle, combine, and grow in Christ.
Jesus Way --> our will, conforming to the will of God
Jesus Truth --> our mind, giving it faith
Jesus Life --> our heart, producing a supernatural life
So with Jesus as the sturdy trunk of Everlasting Life, we graft our will, our mind, and our heart to His Way, Truth, and Life, and what do we have: a new creation for eternity which is "no longer I, but Christ living in me."
These are my understandings of Blessed Alberione's teachings - I certainly cannot take credit for any of it. My addition was finding an awesome graphic to show three healthy limbs being grafted onto a sturdy, healthy tree. (Just so you know, I did not actually graft these limbs just for this picture, I was just lucky enough to find this perfect picture to illustrate Blessed Alberione's teaching today)!
What strikes you most today?
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
Restorer of All Men's Components
As mediator and restorer, Christ redeemed man and restored supernatural life, which is constituted by faith, justice, and love. Thus He repairs intellectual, moral, and sentimental life, which are only one life. He defines Himself Truth, Way and Life. Christ gives the divine life, rejoining man to the Blessed Trinity - to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - giving man truth, justice, and grace. This is the work of Jesus: to redeem man from error, from vice, from idolatry.
What Strikes Me Most Today
It's the last line, that the work of Jesus is to redeem man from error, from vice, from idolatry. Well thank God, because I need all three! My biggest mistake is thinking I can hide my sinfulness from God. He sees all, He knows all - I know that, but somehow I still think that by ignoring my sinful nature and actions, God just won't pay attention to them. Maybe He's not looking or busy with something else when I'm at Dressel's Pub drinking more than I probably should and repeating negative stories I had heard about other people (all purely hypothetical example, I would never be doing any of that!) Since my Dad died, I often wonder if he can see what I'm doing at various times (hoping everyone in Heaven is busy with others when I am not at my best, but not taking their eyes off me when I'm at Eucharistic Adoration or... when... or the times... wow, the good examples are harder to think of than the bad!) But the point of all this is the last line again - the work of Jesus is to redeem me from error, from vice, and from idolatry. So I need to quit trying to pretend I don't need those things. Jesus already knows I do; my dad might even know I do. But I first have to be honest with myself and Jesus before He can do anything - because of the free will He gave us, we have to ask for His help. I'll start with, "My name is Jeff, and I'm a sinner. Jesus, please redeem me from my error, my vice, and my idolatry. Amen."
What strikes you most today?
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
From Eucharistic Communion to Transformation in Christ
It is in Holy Communion that our natural life is replaced by the divine life of Jesus Christ. Grafted onto Jesus, we will produce supernatural fruits. We affirm our desire to speak and think like Jesus, to live Jesus, to die with Jesus and to have no other ideals except to be a living image of Jesus Christ. "It is not I that live, it is Christ who lives in me." If this happens, Mass will leave a deep impression on us.
Communion is the consummation of the sacrifice. It is the transformation of man, the moment when our personality is entirely dominated by the Person of Jesus Christ. "It is no longer I that live, it is Christ living in me."
What Strikes Me Most Today
Blessed Alberione is a lot like St. Paul - both had a lot to say, and we're fortunate that they both wrote a lot of it down for us to have. Both had so much to say that neither repeats themselves often. So I think Blessed Alberione is really wanting to stress his St. Paul quote above by stating it twice. It is a hallmark of Pauline Spirituality - that I understood. What was more of a revelation to me is Blessed Alberione's point of how Eucharistic this quote is, and therefore, it stresses the strong Eucharistic nature of Pauline Spirituality. It all makes sense -we want to be living images of Jesus. We want Jesus to live in us, and when is Jesus more alive in us than in the Eucharist.
The practical application of this for my life is also spelled out by Blessed Alberione --> he is telling me to pay more attention to what is happening at Mass. This weekend after Mass I am going to make a conscious effort to stop and meditate after Communion about the reality of the living Christ within me - the awesomeness of that reality - rather than immediately preparing to leave and think about people I do or don't want to talk to after Mass, where I parked and what I'm going to eat. Then, hopefully, the Mass will leave an even deeper impression on me and I'll give Jesus more of a chance to live in me. Like Blessed Alberione says in today's title, "From Eucharistic Communion to Transformation in Christ." It sounded daunting when I first read it, but my baby step this week is to make that conscious effort after Mass this weekend, and see what God can do with that little effort.

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus
Piety useful for everything

     Piety is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It generates in the soul a filial affection towards God and a tender devotion to the divine Persons and toward things spiritual, and it enables us to fulfill with dedication our religious duties.
     A person who wants to enjoy some happiness here on earth cannot find a better exercise than piety.  St. Paul exhorts:  "Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future" (1 Tim 4:8).
     Peace of mind, happiness of a good conscience, the fortune of experiencing love of and fellowship with God, the satisfaction of progressing in holiness, divine blessings on our work, undertakings, studies, apostolate, the conviction that God the Father, Jesus Christ, Mary most holy, St. Paul are with us, the security of heaven... are all fruits of piety.

What Strikes Me Most Today

Archbishop Timothy Dolan is now Archbishop of New York.  He comes to New York from Milwaukee, but he is originally a St. Louisan.  What a blessing he is for New York and the Church in general!  I had the pleasure of sitting and talking with Archbishop Dolan when the Daughters of St. Paul in St. Louis honored him as their St. Paul Man of the Year.  Like the Daughters of St. Paul, he is most often seen smiling, laughing, and joking.  As Blessed Alberione says above, "A person who wants to enjoy some happiness here on earth cannot find a better exercise than piety."  Archbishop Dolan obviously knows that already.

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,


Compiled by J. Maurus


Take hold of good things liberally



God not only created us but also destined us to a supernatural end. With God's grace, and the use of all our energies, it is easy to achieve.


Hence the sayings, "Work as if everything depends on you, hope and pray as if all depends on God." "God who created you without you, will not save you without you." "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' without the help of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).


How can we cooperate? Three rules:


1.) Avoid the things we find are obstacles.


2.) Make use of amoral things as long as they are helpful.


3.) Make use of the good things as much as we can.



What Strikes Me Most Today



OK, did anybody else read #2 above more than once. When I first read it I guess I was thinking amoral was "without morals" or "immoral." That would make life easier, but I'm pretty sure that's not Blessed Alberione's advice. I think he's telling us that some things in life are intrinsically neither moral nor immoral. I tried to think of an example in my life, and travelling came to mind; I love to travel. (The picture above is me riding a motorcycle around Key West; Cuba is directly behind me!)
Now travelling seems like it is not intrinsically moral or immoral, so I guess that would make it "amoral." If travelling makes us appreciate God and His created world more, it is helpful. If travelling is used as a means to separate ourselves from God, it is not helpful. Trying to think of an example, I thought of a married man with a gambling problem flying to Vegas to gamble his children's college fund and have an affair --> this would NOT be helpful.
On the other hand, maybe I still don't fully grasp what Blessed Alberione was trying to say. I did have trouble with this one.
If you have other ideas about what he meant, or a better example, PLEASE, for all our sakes, click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
The Perennial Fruit of the Passion
Mass is the crucified Jesus made present on our altars. It is Calvary in church. What happened at Jerusalem is renewed through the hands of the priest, to effect the application of the fruits of the passion. The Lord made His Sacrifice, but He did not want to make it time-bound. He desired that it should be continued for the salvation of men. In fact, the Mass has the same Victim, the same principal Offerer and the same fruits as the cross: "The memory of His passion is recalled."
The passion is not far away in time: it is in our churches; you have it with you. The crucified One was not at Jerusalem only. He is still everywhere, living and true. Accustom yourselves to the thought that the passion is very near you in space and time, near you in the real Presence, in Communion and in the Sacrifice.
What Strikes Me Most Today
Since we just recounted the Passion on Good Friday, it is helpful for me to remember that Mass in Calvary in church. Christ wanted His Sacrifice to go on and on for our salvation. I tend to compartmentalize things too much --- I need to think about the Passion more often than just the Friday before Easter.
The Eucharist is a great gift bringing Christ to us in space and time - What an awesome God!
What strikes you most today?
Click on "COMMENTS" below to let us know.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, 
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Martin I
Pope and Martyr

     Pope St. Martin I suffered greatly at the hands of a powerful group who propagated the heresy that Christ had no human will.  Frustrated in their plans to murder the Holy Father, they had him dragged to prison and then exiled, where he died in the year 656.  Because of the tremendous sufferings he bore for the love of Christ, Pope St. Martin is considered a martyr.
     Let us ask ourselves:  how do I react when the inevitable sufferings of everyday living come my way?

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus
Jesus Christ desired to redeem everything in His person

     Jesus Christ desired to redeem everything, including the body, in and through His person.
     So he assumed a body and a soul.  He took the physical body of a baby, a child, a man, and of a victim.
     He was like us in everything save sin.  Like us he had his senses, the natural needs, blood, heart, and the emotions.
     Contemplate Him as a baby in the crib, a worker at Nazareth, worn out in the apostolate, pierced by crowning with thorns, fallen under the cross, on His way to Calvary, given gall and vinegar to drink, nailed to the cross and hanging there for three hours, breathing with bowed head, His side pierced by a lance, His body prepared with anointing for burial and resting three days in the tomb.
     "For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors.  It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold.  It was a costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw" (1 Peter 1:18-19).

What Strikes Me Most Today

I am very impressed by the second to last sentence above, starting with, "Contemplate Him...". where Blessed Alberione summarizes the entire Gospel in one sentence --- impressive!  I also found it interesting that the second writing is about how Christ was like us in all things but sin, which would include having a human will.  The heresy that God did not have a human will was the main reason Pope St. Martin I suffered and died (in defense of Christ, who is Way, Truth, and Life).  I did a little homework and that particular heresy is called  Monothelism.   Pope St. Martin I died feeling deserted and alone, and his cause of death was starvation.  He is also listed as the last martyred Pope.  
     So in response to the first readings question, "How do I react when the inevitable sufferings of everyday living come my way," the next time I feel sorry for myself for missing lunch because of a busy day at work, I'll think of Pope St. Martin I dying alone from starvation to stand up for the truth of a Catholic doctrine, and the Church's right and responsibility to proclaim these Christian doctrines.

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

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009

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

Good wishes for a joyous and blessed Easter!
A ray of light for every person.
A ray of light that disperses darkness.
A ray of light that emanates from the Tabernacle.
"I am the light of the world," says Jesus.
"You shall be the light of the world," adds Jesus.
"Let your light shine," exhorts Jesus.
"The light of God is in truth, goodness and grace," says St. Paul.
"He was the light; light that is life," says St. John.

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

Jesus has risen gloriously from the tomb.  This is the greatest miracle:  Jesus had died on the cross and had been buried for three days.  Soldiers were guarding the tomb.  Jesus came forth glorious and triumphant.  He manifested Himself about ten times to the disciples, to the women, several times to the apostles, and once to five hundred people.  This is the great miracle:  a dead man who raised Himself up as He had foretold.  This miracle shows the truth of what Jesus preached, disposed and established.  Let us live of faith.  Many things are not understood, but they must be believed, as for example, the mystery of the most holy Trinity.  Faith is the foundation of the whole Christian life.  At the end of time we will all resurrect:  "I believe in the resurrection of the dead."

What Strikes Me Most Today

I love how Blessed Alberione sums up the reality of why we should believe in the resurrection.  After reading his summary, I can't help but have faith that Christ indeed rose from the dead, and now I have the possibility of eternity in Heaven thanks to His sacrifice.

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

Friday, April 10, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, 
by Blessed James Alberione
St. Stanislaus
Bishop and Martyr

St. Stanislaus was born in Poland of noble parents.  Following God's call, he became a priest and then Bishop of Cracow in 1072.  Because Stanislaus reproached King Boleslaw for his dissolute life, the king had him assassinated while he was saying mass.
     Let us never hesitate to do our duty for the love of God.

Atoning for Sins

For which sins should we atone especially?  For those caused by the media:  bad press, bad films, and bad radio and TV programs....  If a person would reason things out, he or she would never sin.  Every time we sin we are acting foolishly, and we are not using our reason well.  Moreover, in that moment, we also show our lack of faith.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,
Compiled by J. Maurus
Priesthood and the Eucharist

     On Holy Thursday, only one Holy Mass was celebrated in each church.  In this mass the Church celebrated the institution of the Eucharist and the Catholic priesthood.
     A priest first of all is for the Eucharist.  The Mass is the fulfillment of the command of Jesus:  "Do this in memory of me" (Lk 22:19).
     While human beings were plotting his death, their Saviour was planning the way to perpetuate his presence among them.
     A fine way to respond to Jesus' love is to accept his invitation:  "Take and eat, this is my body" (Mt 26:26).
     We do well to celebrate the paschal Mystery on these days.  Receive Holy Communion frequently and fervently.  It gives much glory to God and honour to Jesus.  It brings us peace.

What Strikes Me Most Today

I was surprised when I read for which sins we should atone especially.  Sins caused by the media are so frequent these days we are not as shocked as we would have been years ago by explicit scenes in movies and magazines in checkout stands (the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated comes to mind).  I need to be better about custody of my own eyes, and even more I need to be aware of what my children are exposed to and educating them on sins caused by all the forms of media (especially the internet) so accessible to children and adults these days.

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Service

From Saint and Thought For Every Day, 
by Blessed James Alberione
The Redeeming Body of Christ

Make your whole body holy!  We can hope to receive from Jesus the grace to be interiorly and exteriorly holy, holy in body.  And this we hope through the sufferings of His passion, particularly through the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and through His labor and pain in carrying the cross.  If ever there were an innocent body, it was the body of Jesus.

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, 
Compiled by J. Maurus
"Behold I come, O God, to do your will."

     The Incarnate Word saw all the sorrowful events and the cross, which were in store for Him.  He saw and accepted them:  "Behold I come, O God, to do your will" (Heb 8:9).
     All through His life and not just at Gethsemane, Jesus said, "Not my will, but yours be done" (Lk 22:42).
     Jesus pulled up Peter who wanted to protect Him with a sword saying, "Shall I not drink the cup the Father gave me?" (Jn 18:11).
     Rather, Jesus earnestly desired to prove his love for his Father and for human beings:  "I have a baptism to receive and how distressed I am until it is over!" (Lk 12:50).

What Strikes Me Most Today

Blessed Alberione makes a point over and over about our body being holy, not just our soul.  At Good Friday Service I am going to try to concentrate on the physical abuse of Christ's holy and innocent body, which He endured for me.  I have to admit I often slide right from giving up sweets to celebrating Easter - really meditating on what happened to Christ on Good Friday can be uncomfortable - but I would like to end this Lent by trying to do just that.  Just as I appreciate candy all the more on Easter after 40 days of not eating any, perhaps I will better appreciate the Salvation Jesus won for me if I really concentrate on what He went through on Good Friday;  I'm going to try this year.

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




"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!