Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Second Sunday of Lent, 1 March 2015

The Second Sunday of Lent
1 March 2015
“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well
pleased; hear him.” Mt. 17:5
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 17:1-9), we are given
a glimpse of the great glory of God in heaven.
While His stunned apostles, Peter, James and John
look on, the transfigured Jesus speaks of His
coming passion with the Prophet Elias, and with
Moses, the Father of the Law. It is truly a
revelation beyond our earthly comprehension: a
penetrating (or “rare”) vision of eternity. Jesus
reveals the glory of His Divinity as St. John told us
in the beginning of his gospel: “And we saw his
glory—glory as of the only begotten of the
Father—full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1:14. In
today’s Epistle (I Thess: 4:1-7) St. Paul tells the
Thessalonians that they must continue in a life of
holiness: “For this is the will of God, your
sanctification.” I Thess. 4:3 Only those who do
God’s will and are holy will enjoy the glory of God
in heaven. The message of the Transfiguration is
that there will be no glory unless we suffer with
Christ who died on Mt. Calvary.
“For God has not called you to
uncleanness, but unto holiness.” I Thess. 4:7
In addressing the Thessalonians, St. Paul is
aware that they have only been converted for one
year, therefore he reminds them not to revert back
to their pagan practices of uncleanness; “For this is
the will of God, your sanctification that you
abstain from immorality; not in the passion of lust
like the Gentiles who do not know God...” I Thess.
4:3 & 5. Only the clean of heart will see God in His
glory as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see
God.” Mt. 5:8
Christ destroys death
Jesus has conquered death by His cross and
resurrection. St. Luke alone tells us that Jesus is
talking to Moses and Elias about His “death, which
was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.” Lk. 9:31.
St. Peter does not seem to understand the need for
Jesus to suffer and die, and he wants to build three
tents there to prolong the glory of the moment: “It
is good for us to be here.” Mt. 17:4 Peter’s wish,
of course, is not possible because Jesus has come to
suffer and die for our sins. He is doing the Father’s
will, and this is why the Father is well-pleased with
Him: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am wellpleased;
hear him.” Mt. 17:5 . In this scene, we
have a theophany, a revelation of God as the
Blessed Trinity: the Son is transfigured in glory,
the Father speaks, and the Holy Spirit overshadows
them in a cloud (like He overshadowed the Ark of
the Covenant in the Old Testament). What greater
confirmation could the apostles have of Jesus’
mission? Pope St. Leo the Great comments on
Jesus’ divinity overshadowing Elias and Moses:
“He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy
(Elias) through His presence, and makes the
obedience to the Commandments (Moses)
possible through grace.” Pope St. Leo also tells us
that Jesus reveals Himself to the Apostles to remove
from them the scandal of the cross which He had
revealed to them several days previously when He
told them that He would suffer and die and rise
from the dead: “…the primary purpose of this
transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the
cross from the hearts of Christ’s disciples; the
greatness of His glory was revealed to them to
prevent their faith from being shaken by the
self-abasement of the suffering He was
voluntarily to undergo.” By showing the apostles
His transfigured Body, Jesus would sustain them
for His future suffering and death.
The Glory of Jesus’ Human Nature
Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical
Life, Vol. 5 comments on the dramatic action of the
Transfiguration on Mt. Thabor: “He (Jesus)
therefore leaves the rest of the disciples in the
plain near Nazareth, and goes in company with
the three privileged ones towards a high hill
called Thabor.... No sooner has He reached the
summit of the mountain, than the three apostles
observe a sudden change come over Him; His
Face shines as the sun, and His humble garments
become white as snow. They observe two
venerable men approach and speak with Him
upon what He is about to suffer in Jerusalem.
One is Moses, the lawgiver; the other is Elias, the
prophet, who was taken up from the earth on a
fiery chariot without having passed through the
gates of death. These two great representatives
of the Jewish religion, the Law and the Prophets,
humbly adore Jesus of Nazareth. The three
apostles are not only dazzled by the brightness
which comes from their divine Master; but they
are filled with such a rapture of delight, that
they cannot bear the thought of leaving the
place. Peter proposes to remain there forever
and build three tabernacles, for Jesus, Moses
and Elias. And while they are admiring the
glorious sight, and gazing on the beauty of their
Jesus’ human Nature, a bright cloud
overshadows them, and a voice is heard speaking
to them: it is the voice of the eternal Father,
proclaiming the Divinity of Jesus, and saying:
‘This is My beloved Son!’
“This transfiguration of the Son of Man,
this manifestation of His glory, lasted but a few
moments: His mission was not on Thabor; it was
humiliation and suffering in Jerusalem.”
Gueranger, p. 187-9
Suffer for Christ
Like Jesus, we also have to carry our cross
in this life. Rather than remain joyful and glorious
on Mt. Thabor as the three apostles had desired, we
have to suffer with Jesus on Mt. Calvary. St. Paul
tells of Jesus’ great joy in carrying His cross:
“…Jesus, who for joy set before him, endured a
cross, despising shame.” Heb. 12:2 For Jesus, the
cross is not shameful or scandalous. It is His glory
for He obeys His Father and shows His great love
for us. He could have redeemed us with a prayer, a
sigh, a tear, a word…, but He preferred to suffer an
ignominious death on the cross: “Greater love than
this no one has, that one lay down his life for his
friends.” Jn. 15:13 This is why St. Teresa loved
the picture of the suffering and thorned-crown
Christ. This is why she said, “Lord, let me suffer
or die.” St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi said, “Lord,
don’t let me die, but suffer!” St. John of the
Cross wanted the favour of suffering and being
despised for Christ: “I wish to suffer and be
despised for you!” Cardinal Mercier, in the early
part of the 20th century, refused a needle to ease his
pain: “No, I will never allow this, because our
Lord did not have that when He was in His
agonizing pain.” This is the language of the saints.
Hope for heaven
St. Bede, the great English monk, in
commenting on this passage of the Gospel tells us
that Our Lord “in a loving concession allowed
Peter, James and John to enjoy for a very short
time the contemplation of the happiness that
lasts forever, so as to enable them to bear
adversity with greater fortitude.” Commentary
on St. Mark, 8:30; Mk 1,3) St. John Chrysostom
tells us that we, in time of temptation and difficulty,
should think of our heavenly glory: “(There), all is
repose, joy and delight; all serenity and calm, all
peace, splendour and light. It is not a light such
as we enjoy now, and which, compared to that is
no more than a lamp placed beside the sun…For
there, there is no night, or twilight, heat or cold,
or any change in one’s being, but a state such as
can be understood only by those who are worthy
to possess it. There, there is no old age, or
sickness, or anything allied to corruption,
because it is the place and the home of immortal
glory.
And above all this the everlasting
presence and possession of Christ, of the
angels…everyone perpetually of like mind,
without any fear of Satan or the snares of the
devil or the threats of hell or death.” (Epistle to
Theodore, 11)
“…regaining lost joy...”
If we want to regain some of the lost joy that
we should have in this world when we think of our
heavenly home then we need to make a good
confession of ours sins. Pope John Paul in his
Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliation and
Penance, (2 December, 1984, 31, III) tells us that
every contrite confession is “a drawing near to the
holiness of God, a rediscovery of one’s true
identity, which has been upset and disturbed by
sin, a liberation in the very depths of one’s self
and thus a regaining of lost joy, the joy of being
saved, which the majority of people in our time
are no longer capable of experiencing.”
“Could you not, then, watch one hour with
Me?” Mt. 26:40
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how very
special the Holy Eucharist is: “O precious
wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and
contains all sweetness......No other sacrament has
greater healing power; through it, sins are
purged away, virtues are increased and the soul
is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual
gift.” “Could you not, then, watch one hour
with Me?” Mt. 26:40
Why the Rosary is so important!
“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucia
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every
day be led astray. This is a statement that I
would gladly sign with my blood.”
Saint Louis de Montfort
“You shall obtain all you ask of me by the
recitation of the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche
“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will
conquer the world.” Pope Blessed Pius IX
“If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will
be a most probable sign of your eternal
salvation.” Blessed Alan de la Roche
“The greatest method of praying is to pray the
Rosary.” Saint Francis de Sales
“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives
Jesus and Mary more glory and is more
meritorious than any other prayer.”
Saint Louis de Montfort
“If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do
assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your
sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of
glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).” Saint Louis de Montfort

Friday, February 20, 2015

The First Sunday of Lent; 22 February 2015

“Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” II Cor. 6:2

Today, the Church gives us the penitential season of Lent in order to prepare us for the glorious resurrection at Easter. In today’s Epistle (II Cor. 6:1-10) St. Paul reminds us of the spiritual warfare that we all face in working out our salvation. “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” Likewise the Gospel (Mt. 4:1-11), teaches us in the three temptations of Jesus to arm ourselves with the grace of God’s Word in order to conquer Satan who is always trying to tempt us to do evil and serve his kingdom. In The Liturgical Year Vol. 5 by Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., we are given the traditional teaching of the Church on how these temptations relate to Lent and the spiritual life.

The Spiritual Battle against the Devil
Dom Gueranger dismisses those commentators of his day (19th Century) and, even more so, in our day that St. Paul is not to be taken literally because he was writing only for the early days of the Church when the Christians were continually facing death. This false interpretation “is full of that discretion which meets with the applause of our cowardice, and it easily persuades us to be at rest, just as though we had no dangers to fear, and no battle to fight; whereas, we have both: for there is the devil, the world, flesh and blood. ....That such a misfortune may not befall us, the Church cries out to us, in the words of St. Paul: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!’” II Cor. 6:2 (p. 131) We have the example of St. Paul who tells us of all the sufferings and the indifference and hatred of some of the Corinthians to his apostolic work: “We give no offense to anyone, that our ministry may not be blamed...in much patience; in tribulations, in hardships, in distress; ...in honour and dishonour, in evil report and good report...as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet enriching many, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” II Cor. 6: 3-10 Only by overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil will we attain eternal life.

“The World, the Flesh and the Devil”
In his commentary on today’s gospel, Dom Gueranger tells how we need to overcome our enemies: “We have three enemies to fight against; our soul has three dangers; for, as the beloved disciple says, all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life (cf. Jn. 2:16). By the concupiscence of the flesh is meant the love of sensual things, which covets whatever is agreeable to the flesh, and, when not curbed, draws the soul into unlawful pleasures. Concupiscence of the eyes expresses the love of the goods of this world, such as riches, and possessions; these dazzle the eye, and then seduce the heart. Pride of life is that confidence in ourselves, which leads us to be vain and presumptuous, and makes us forget that all we have, our life and every good gift, we have from God.
“Every one of our sins comes from one of these three sources; every one of the temptations aims at making us accept the concupiscence of the flesh, or the concupiscence of the eyes (the world), or the pride of life (the devil). Our Saviour, then who would be our model in all things, deigned to subject Himself to these three temptations.” Gueranger, p. 125

The Three Temptations of Satan
Dom Gueranger shows us how the three temptations of Jesus by Satan correspond to “the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life (cf. Jn. 2:16) p. 125: First of all Satan tempts Him in what regards the flesh: he suggests to him to satisfy the cravings of hunger, by working a miracle, and changing the stones into bread. If Jesus consents, and shows an eagerness in giving this indulgence to His body, the tempter will conclude that He is but a frail mortal, subject to concupiscence like other men. When he tempts us, who have inherited evil concupiscence from Adam, his suggestions go further than this: he endeavours to defile the soul by the body. But the sovereign holiness of the Incarnate Word could never permit Satan to use upon Him the power which he has received of tempting man in his outward senses. The lesson, therefore, which the Son of God here gives us, is one of temperance: but we know that, for us, temperance is the mother of purity, and that intemperance excites our senses to rebel.
“The second temptation is to pride: ‘Cast thyself down; the angels shall bear thee up in their hands.’ Ps. 90:11 The enemy is anxious to see if the favours of heaven have produced in Jesus’ soul that haughtiness, that ungrateful self-confidence, which makes the creature arrogate God’s gifts to itself, and forget its benefactor. Here, also, he is foiled; our Redeemer’s humility confounds the pride of the rebel angel.
“He then makes a last effort: he hopes to gain over by ambition Him who has given such proofs of temperance and humility. He shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and says to Him: ‘All these will I give thee, if falling down, Thou wilt adore me.’ Mt. 4:9 Jesus rejects the wretched offer, and drives from Him the seducer, the prince of this world (cf. Jn. 14:30); hereby teaching us that we must despise the riches of this world, as often as keeping or getting them is to be on the condition of our violating the law of God and paying homage to Satan.” Gueranger, p. 125-6

Overcome Satan with the Word of God
“But let us observe how it is that our divine Model, our Redeemer, overcomes the tempter. Does he hearken to His words? Does He allow the temptation time, and give it strength by delay? We did so, when were tempted; and we fell. But our Lord immediately meets each temptation with the shield of God’s word. He says: ‘It is written: Not on bread alone doth man live.’ Deut. 8:3 ‘It is written: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ Deut. 6:16 ‘It is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve.’ Deut. 6:13. This then, must be our practice for the time to come. Eve brought perdition on herself and on the whole human race because she listened to the serpent. He that dallies with temptation is sure to fall.” Gueranger, p. 126-7

Holy Season of Lent
Dom Gueranger again reminds us how the Church prepares us for the glory of Easter Sunday if we are faithful to the example of Jesus Christ: “We are now in the season (Lent) of extraordinary grace; our hearts are on the watch, dangerous occasions are removed, everything that savours of worldliness is laid aside; our souls, purified by prayer, fasting, and alms deeds, are to rise with Christ, to a new life; but, shall we persevere? All depends upon how we behave under temptation. Here, at the very opening of Lent, the Church gives us this passage of the holy Gospel, that we may have not only precept but example. If we be attentive and faithful, the lesson she gives us will produce its fruit; and when we come to the Easter Solemnity, we shall have those sure pledges of perseverance: vigilance, self-diffidence, prayer, and the never-failing help of divine grace.” Gueranger, p. 126 Let us do all that we can during this holy penitential season of Lent. Jesus told us that “...unless you repent, you will all perish in the same manner.” Lk. 13:3 Let us deny ourselves in all things as the Angel told the three little children at Fatima: “Make everything a sacrifice!” In this time of great evil in the world Our Lady at Fatima asked us to “Pray the rosary,” and “Pray and sacrifice for many souls go to Hell because no one prays and sacrifices for them.” Let us do all that we can this Lent to save our own soul and the souls of our families, our friends and the world.

St. Maximilian Kolbe on Our Lady

"By a special divine grace only Mary, the Mother of God, from the first moment of Her existence, avoided original sin and for this reason became the worthy Mother of the Man-God, who is unlimited purity and infinite sanctity." (SK #1203)

"Whoever does not want to have Mary Immaculate for Mother will neither have Christ the Lord for brother, God the Father will not send him the Son, the Son will not descend in his soul, the Holy Spirit will not form by His graces the mystical body according to the pattern of Christ, because all of this takes place in Mary Immaculate, full of grace, and only in Her." (SK #1295)

"I adore you, O our Heavenly Father, because you placed in the most pure womb of Mary your only begotten Son. I adore you, O Son of God, because you condescended to enter Her womb and you became truly, really, Her Son. I adore you, o Holy Spirit, because you deigned to form in Her immaculate womb the body of the Son of God. I adore you, O Most Holy Trinity, o one God in the Holy Trinity, for having ennobled the Immaculate in such a divine way." (SK #1305)

"Who are you, o Lady? Who are you, o Immaculate?...You are not just a creature, you are not just an adoptive daughter, but you are the Mother of God and not just an adoptive mother, but the true Mother of God." (SK #1305)

"For all eternity, O Immaculate, God will call you 'My Mother'…He who established the fourth commandment will honour you for all eternity, always…Who are you, o Divine Lady? He Himself, God Incarnate, loved to call Himself, 'the Son of Man'. But men did not understand Him. And today as well, how few are those souls who understand Him, and still how imperfectly they understand Him." (SK #1305)


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Quinquagesima Sunday 15 February 2015

Quinquagesima Sunday
15 February 2015

“And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.” I Cor. 13: 3

In this last Sunday before the holy season of Lent, the Church gives us scriptural readings that are most appropriate for this penitential season. In the Epistle (I Cor. 13:1-13), St. Paul tells us of the importance of charity in the spiritual life: “And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.” I Cor. 13:3 Without charity, we are nothing, even if we could perform miracles, prophesy, and have faith to move mountains. In the Gospel (Lk. 18:31-43), Jesus, who is charity itself (cf. I Jn. 4:16) cures the blind man who, according Pope St. Gregory the Great, represents the human race: “The man born blind of whom the Gospel tells is surely the human race. Ever since man has been turned out of Paradise in the person of our first father, he has not known the light of heaven, and therefore has suffered through being plunged into the darkness of condemnation.” Jesus speaks to the Apostles about His impending passion and death on the cross to prepare them for the ultimate proof of His love for the human race. This is why He is headed for Jerusalem: “Behold, we are going to Jerusalem, and all things that have been written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished...and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and on the third day he will rise again.” Lk. 18:33 With charity and the cross, we see the two great teachings of the spiritual life, not only for Lent but also for the whole of the liturgical year. Sadly, many are blind to the importance of charity and the cross. This is why the miracle Jesus works on the blind man (whose name is Bartimeus in St. Mark’s Gospel) is most significant; he is blind but so also are the Apostles who do not understand that Jesus must suffer to enter into His glory. The blind man has faith in Jesus and is cured. The Apostles will only see the truth of the cross after the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The people of Corinth are also “blind” and this is why St. Paul has to tell them how important charity is in comparison to the charismatic gifts of tongues, prophesy, knowledge and even faith. If we are going to enter into the truth of charity and the cross, we too need a miracle of grace that only Jesus can give us. Charity and the cross go together and cannot be separated; without charity, the cross is purposeless and the cross without charity “profits nothing.” I Cor. 13:3

Without Charity, the Cross is nothing

Dom Prosper Gueranger in his classic work, The Liturgical Year Vol. 4 comments on today’s epistle: “How appropriate for this Sunday is the magnificent eulogy of charity, here given by our apostle! This virtue, which comprises the love both of God and of our neighbour, is the light of our souls. Without charity we are in darkness, and all our works are profitless. The very power of working miracles cannot give hope of salvation, unless he who does them has charity. Unless we are in charity, the most heroic acts of other virtues are but one snare more for our souls. Let us beseech our Lord to give us this light. But let us not forget that, however richly He may bless us with it here below, the fullness of its brightness is reserved for when we are in heaven; and that the sunniest day we can have in this world, is but darkness when compared with the splendour of our eternal charity. Faith will then give place, for we shall be face to face with all truth; hope will have no object, for we shall possess all good; charity alone will continue, and, for this reason, is greater than faith and hope, which must needs accompany her in this present life. This being the glorious destiny reserved for man when redeemed and enlightened by Jesus, is it to be wondered at that we should leave all things, in order to follow such a Master? What should surprise us, and what proves how degraded is our nature by sin is to see Christians, who have been baptized in this faith and this hope, and have received the first-fruits of this love, indulging, during these days, in every sort of worldliness, which is only the more dangerous because it is fashionable. ...If there be charity within our souls, it will make us feel these offences that are committed against our God, and inspire us to pray to Him to have mercy on these poor blind sinners, for they are our brethren.” Gueranger, p. 188-9

Blindness of the Body and the Soul

Today’s Gospel sets before us additional examples of two types of blindness: the most apparent is that of the blind man at Jericho; the second blindness is that of the Apostles who cannot understand what Jesus is saying about His coming passion and death. In the passage for today’s gospel in St. Matthew (and also in St. Mark), the mother of two of the Apostles, James and John, wants her sons to “sit one at thy right hand and one at thy left hand, in thy kingdom.” Mt. 20:21. Ironically, this is right after Jesus spoke of His coming passion. The blind man is cured, but the Apostles will not be cured of their blind ambition until the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when they will realize that Jesus had to suffer death and rise again in order to redeem mankind. The Apostles were blinded by their hopes that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom in which they would be leaders of the people. The blind man recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Lk. 18:38. Even when he is told to be quiet, he cried out all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Lk. 18:39 Jesus recognizes His faith and asks him what he wishes. The blind man said, “’Lord, that I may see.’ And Jesus said, to him, ‘Receive thy sight, thy faith has saved thee.’” Lk. 18: 41-42.

“Lord, that I may see.” Lk. 18:41

The lesson for today’s gospel is that we all need to cry out with the blind man, “Lord, that I may see.” Lk. 18:41. He was physically blind, but he could see spiritually that Jesus could cure him. The Corinthians in today’s Epistle are blinded by their charismatic gifts and fail to see the need to practice charity. The Apostles are blinded by ambition and fail to see the need of the cross. Only with charity, does the suffering of the cross take on its fullest meaning: “...and if I give my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.” I Cor. 13:3. St. Augustine remarked: “It is not the martyrdom that makes the martyr, but the motive for it. A fanatic can give his life for a cause which is not right or just.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 686)

What is Charity?

St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that charity is the most important virtue for the Christian. It is better than all the charismatic gifts: “And I point out to you a yet more excellent way, If I should speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have charity, I have become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And If I know prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith to remove mountains, yet do not have charity, I am nothing...” I Cor. 13:1-2. Charity encompasses all the virtues: “Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Cor. 13:4-7 There is nothing greater in this world than charity, and there is no explanation of charity better nor more lyrical than St. Paul’s: “Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy ...”


Ash Wednesday, 18 February 2015

“Remember, man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.” (cf. Gen. 3:19)

Blessed Ashes will be distributed at the 7:30 A.M Mass and at the 6:00 P.M. Mass. In the evening, after the distribution of Ashes, confession will be available. Let us make this Lent a season of penance and prayer for our world. Our Lady said at Fatima that “whole nations could be annihilated.” This is certainly possible in these times when nation threatens nation. Let us meditate on these words from II Chronicles 7:14: “...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn away from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14



St. Maximilian Kolbe on Confession
How to Achieve Heaven Even Here on Earth.

“In any case, those who on this earth have had a chance to taste in advance a little bit of heaven can get some idea of what it will be like. Now everyone can have this experience. All he needs to do is to go to confession with sincerity, diligence, a deep sorrow for his sins and a firm resolve to amend his life. He will suddenly feel a peace and happiness compared with which all the fleeting, unworthy pleasures of this world are really an odious torment. Let everyone seek to come and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with proper preparation. Let him never permit his soul to remain in sin, but let him purify it immediately. Let him do his duty manfully. Let him address humble and frequent prayers to God’s throne, especially through the hand of the Immaculate Virgin. Let him welcome his brethren with a charitable heart, bearing for God’s sake the sufferings and difficulties of life. Let him do good to all, even his enemies, solely for the love of God and not in order to be praised or even thanked by men. Then he will come to understand what it means to have a foretaste of paradise; and perhaps more than once he will find peace and joy even in poverty, suffering, disgrace and illness.”

“…regaining lost joy ...”

Pope John Paul in his Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliation and Penance, 2 December, 1984, 31, III tells us that every contrite Confession is, “a drawing near to the holiness of God, a rediscovery of one’s true identity, which has been upset and disturbed by sin, a liberation in the very depths of one’s self and thus a regaining of lost joy, the joy of being saved, which the majority of people in our time are no longer capable of experiencing.”

Sexagesima Sunday 8th February 2015

Sexagesima Sunday
8 February 2015

“To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”Lk. 8:10

As we learned last week, in these three Sundays before Lent, the texts of the Liturgy help us recognize ourselves as weak sinners who need to repent in preparation for the Lenten and Paschal mysteries. With this in mind, we can understand the explanation Jesus gave to the Apostles about why He spoke in parables. It is not to confuse people, but to make them search more into their own hearts in order to understand what Jesus teaches in His parables. Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 4, (Septuagesima), comments on today’s liturgy: “The Church offers to our consideration, during this week of Sexagesima, the history of Noah and the deluge... This awful chastisement of the human race by the deluge was a fresh consequence of sin. This time, however, there was found just one man; and it was through him and his family that the world was restored. Having once more mercifully renewed His covenant with His creatures, God allows the earth to be repeopled, and makes the three sons of Noah become the fathers of the three great families of the human race....This is the mystery of the Divine Office during the week of Sexagesima. The mystery expressed in today’s Mass is full of greater importance. The earth is deluged by sin and heresy. But the word of God, the seed of life, is ever producing a new generation: a race of men, who like Noah, fear God. It is the word of God that produces those happy children, of whom the beloved disciple speaks, saying: ‘They are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ Jn. 1:13 ...What we have to do, during these days of Septuagesima, is to escape from the deluge of worldliness, and take shelter in the Ark of salvation; we have to become that good soil, which yields a hundredfold from the heavenly seed. Let us flee from the wrath to come, lest we perish with the enemies of God: let us hunger after the word of God, which converteth and giveth life to souls” (cf. Ps. 18). Gueranger, p. 148-150. We can see how many fail to produce fruit from the word of God in today’s Gospel (Luke 8:4-15) where Jesus tells the people the Parable of the Sower where three out of the four types of souls do not bear fruit. The fourth type of soil is the good ground which will yield fruit “a hundredfold.” St. Paul in today’s Epistle (II Cor. 11: 19-33; 12:1-9) shows how he has yielded much fruit in all the sufferings he underwent for the gospel.

St. Paul, a true Apostle
Nowhere in all of the epistles of St. Paul do we find so many examples of what this loyal Apostle had to endure to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Paul is not boasting, but he wants to show his followers what he has suffered for them and the gospel. He first reminds them “For you gladly put up with fools, because you are wise yourselves! For you suffer it if a man enslaves you, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man is arrogant, if a man slaps your face!” I Cor. 11: 19-20. These “pseudo- apostles,” and “ministers of Satan” (II Cor. 11:13-5)--- “those brethren from Jerusalem ... had come to Corinth boasting of their pure-blooded Judaism and casting suspicions on St. Paul’s Apostolic Mission. It is only the need of his Corinthian flock that drives the Apostle to that boasting of his origin and his work—which in other circumstances he would have despised, and even now in his heart regards as foolish. ” Msgr. Patrick Boylan, “The Sunday Epistle and Gospels,” p. 135. “Are they ministers of Christ? I—to speak as a fool—am more: many labours, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death. From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one. Thrice I was scourged, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and day I was adrift on the sea, in journeyings often, in perils from floods, in perils from robbers, in perils from my own nation....” II Cor. 12:23-26 St Paul recounted the litany of his sufferings to prove how much he was a true apostle and thus refute his adversaries. No one can read the summary of his sufferings without being impressed by the many trials he endured for preaching the gospel. Later, he mentions that the Lord sent him “a thorn in the flesh, messenger from Satan, to buffet me.” ( II Cor. 12:7) lest he puffed up with pride. Like a true Apostle, he will suffer it for the Lord: “Gladly therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me.” II Cor. 12: 9 St. Paul’s life yielded fruit not just a hundredfold but a thousandfold and more than a thousandfold.

Souls without fruit
In today’s parable of “The Sower,” we see that those who do not bear fruit are represented by three of the four types of ground in which the seed is sown. The seed is good, but the fruit it bears is dependent on the place where it is sown. Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy tells us the meaning of soil: “The hard ground: souls that are frivolous, dissipated, open to all distractions, rumors, and curiosity; admitting all kinds of creatures and earthly affections. The word of God hardly reaches their heart when the enemy (the devil), having free access, carries it off, thus preventing it from taking root. The stony ground: superficial souls with only a shallow layer of good earth, which will be rapidly blown away, along with the good seed, by the winds of passion. These souls easily grow enthusiastic, but do not persevere and ‘in time of temptation fall away.’ (Lk. 8:13) They are unstable, because they have not the courage to embrace renunciation and to make the sacrifices which are necessary if one wishes to remain faithful to the word of God and to put it into practice in all circumstances. Their fervor is a straw fire which dies down and goes out in the face of the slightest difficulty. The ground covered with thorns: souls that are preoccupied with worldly things, pleasures, material interests and affairs. The seed takes root, but the thorns soon choke it by depriving it of air and light. Excessive solicitude for temporal things eventually stifles the rights of the spirit.” Fr. Gabriel, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 249

“And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold.” Lk. 8:8
“Lastly, the good ground is compared by Jesus to those who, ‘with a right and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bear fruit in patience.’ Lk. 8:15 The good and upright heart is the one which always gives first place to God, which seeks before everything else the kingdom of God and His justice. The seed of the divine word will bear abundant fruit in proportion to the good dispositions it finds in us: recollection, a serious and profound interior life, detachment, sincere seeing for the things of God above and beyond all earthly things, and finally perseverance without which the word of God cannot bear its fruit in us.” Divine Intimacy, p. 249 Those “with a right and good heart” (Lk. 8:15) will yield fruit a hundredfold as God’s grace is always fruitful: “And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold.” Lk. 8: 8. All we have to do is to look at the lives of the saints, like St. Paul in today’s II Epistle to the Corinthians, and we can see God’s grace bear fruit even beyond a hundredfold to a thousandfold and even more.

Who are saved?
If we apply the message of today’s Gospel to our world, we might not see a pretty picture. Things have not changed with human nature. Jesus knew what kind of men his listeners were. So too today! The vast majority of souls are those who are represented by the seed on the wayside path, the rocky ground, and thorny bushes. They are not interested in God’s word. If they do have some interest, the cares of the world and pleasures of riches distract them. In his treatise, “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved,” St. Leonard of Port Maurice*** quotes St. Augustine: “The ark (Noah’s Ark) was the figure of the Church. And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark.” p. 5 Were it not for the grace of God which comes to us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and through the hands of our Immaculate Mother, there would be little hope for all of humanity. This is why Our Lady at Fatima in 1917 asked us to pray and sacrifice because she said that “many souls go to hell because no one prays and sacrifices for them.” This is why Our Lady begged us to pray the Rosary. Let us pray the Holy Rosary in the family and make sacrifices, and then many souls, especially in our families, will be saved and go to heaven.
*** This treatise of St. Leonard’s is in our repository. Or contact lanhernefriars@talktalk.net

“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40
St. Ambrose tells us how Jesus is the leaven to change the whole world. We have Jesus as true leaven and the Bread of Life in the Blessed Sacrament. We need to go to Jesus in the Sacred Host and ask Him to take over your life. “Therefore, if the Lord is wheat (as He Himself says in John 12:24), the Lord is the leaven, too, since leaven is usually made only of wheaten flour. Therefore, the Lord is rightly compared to leaven for when He was in the form of man, made small by humility and despised for His weakness, He contained within Himself such power of wisdom that the world itself could scarcely contain His doctrine. When He began to diffuse Himself throughout the world by virtue of His divinity, He immediately drew the entire human race into His substance by His power so that He might place the yoke of His Holy Spirit upon all of them, that is, make all Christians to be what Christ is....so Christ (like leaven) is broken up and dissolved by His various sufferings, and His moisture, that is, His precious blood, was poured out for our salvation, that it might by mingling itself with the whole human race, consolidate that race, which lay scattered abroad.” St. Ambrose in Cornelius A Lapide, Commentary on John’s Gospel, p. 29-30


The First Friday, 6 February 2015

Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”.





Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix

(MIM) 7 February 2015

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute)
It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima. Pope John Paul II: On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla: “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima.




The First Saturday:
7 February 2015
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!
























Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Septuagesima Sunday 1st February 2015

Septuagesima Sunday
1 February 2015


“But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing about, and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here all the day idle?’” Mt. 20:6

This Sunday begins the period in the Church’s liturgy in which there is the transition time between the joys of Christmas and Epiphany and the rigours of Lent. Pope St. Gregory the Great established these Sundays before Easter: Septuagesima (70 days), Sexagesima (60 days) and Quinquagesima (50 days) in order to prepare the faithful, both in body and spirit, for the Lenten period of penance. “The Church through the appropriate liturgical texts, tries to make the Christian realize the misery of their state as sinners and their own weakness, in order to prepare them for the need of penance and unite them to the one sacrifice of Christ, which is commemorated in the Lenten cycle.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 586-7) The period of Septuagesima has been compared to the seventy years of Babylonian captivity where the Jews wept for their sins and longed to return to Jerusalem. So, too, the Church calls us to weep for our sins and long for the joys of the resurrection and of heaven. We see how this is true in today’s Epistle (I Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5) where St. Paul reminds the Corinthians to deprive themselves like good athletes in order to prepare for the struggle for the crown of eternal salvation: “...but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps after preaching to others I myself should be rejected.” I Cor. 9:27 In the Gospel (Mt. 20:1-16) parable of “The Labourers in the Vineyard,” Jesus shows us how important it is to labour in His vineyard, that is, the temporal world, for the reward of the kingdom of heaven. All are invited to work in the vineyard: “Why do you stand here all the day idle?” Mt. 20:6 All are invited to work for their eternal salvation, and no one should be idle and careless in doing the things which will bring this great reward.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race, all indeed run, but one receives the prize? So run to obtain it.” I Cor. 9 24
St. Paul uses the analogy of the runner to show how one must train vigorously to win the prize of a heavenly crown. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Christian runs a spiritual race that demands great effort: “Even in the spiritual race, one only receives the prize—he who perseveres to the end. Run, then, for victory; (this) indicates first the effort, then the purpose, lastly the prize.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 588) Like all good athletes, St. Paul demands that the faithful who are aiming at the goal of eternal life should do penance and chastise their bodies lest they lose the eternal crown: “...but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps after preaching to others I myself should be rejected.” I Cor. 9:27 St. Paul reminds his followers that it is not enough to belong to the chosen race. He reminds them that the Jews were brought out of Egypt and received great graces from God, but some sinned and died in the desert: “Yet with most of them God was not well-pleased, for ‘they were laid low in the desert.’” I Cor. 10:5 The lesson from St. Paul is self-evident: “The Christian is an athlete; and it is not enough for him to cry Lord, Lord, from the gallery. He must be in the arena fight for his life!” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 489)

“Even so the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few are chosen.” Mt. 20:16
These mysterious words of Our Lord become clear when one considers the spiritual meaning of this parable in its allegorical sense. The vineyard is our life in the world where we must strive for the reward of our labours: instead of a denarius for our day’s work, we will gain eternal life. Quoting St. Gregory the Great and St. Augustine, Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 4 says that the various hours of the day represent the stages of life: “It signifies the calling given by God to each of us individually, pressing us to labour, during this life, for the kingdom prepared for us. The morning is our childhood. The third hour, according to the division used by the ancients in counting their day at sunrise; it is our youth. The sixth hour, by which name they called our midday, is manhood. The eleventh hour, which immediately preceded sunset, is old age. The Master of the house calls His labourers at all these various hours.” Gueranger, p. 126 All those called must go at the time when they are summoned as they are not certain that they will be called later. The same happens to us in life: no one is certain that he will live to old age. We need to accept the call to live our faith when we are called. We also need to accept the wage which we are promised. Interestingly, the denarius is a coin comprising ten other coins; so the good Christian must keep the Ten Commandments if he hopes to save his life. Jesus calls all to the kingdom of heaven, but not everyone accepts the invitation. Some who thought that they were special because they came first, may be last; and those who were called last, may be first in the kingdom of heaven.

“Have I not a right to do what I choose? Or art thou envious because I am generous?” Mt. 20:15
When the first labourers came for their wages, they reasoned that they should have a higher wage since they had worked all day. In reality, they were envious of the good fortune of those who worked only part of the day. It seems to be another example of the typical reaction of the Pharisees at Jesus’ generosity to sinners and other non-Jews. Fr. Boylan in “The Sunday Epistles and Gospels,” explains it thus: “The Pharisees were like the early hired workers; they had professed to walk in the ways of the Lord, and for their ‘works of the Law’, they thought themselves fully entitled to demand payment, as wages earned, from God. Against all this outlook the parable is a protest. The Kingdom of Heaven has been offered to all—but in the goodness and mercy of God, and not as a wage definitely earned by work done. Those who might have expected to enter it first of all are likely to be the last to do so, and those whom the Pharisees despised—the ‘people of the land’ and sinners—are among the first to enter the Kingdom.” p. 131 The Pharisees are the people to whom Jesus often refers in the scriptures who want special favours for being His followers yet they lack His spirit: “’We ate and drank in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets.’ And he shall say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity.” Lk. 13: 26-7 Let us be thankful for having been called to be a follower of Christ, and let us wish that all our fellow men would also accept Jesus’ call even if it is at “the eleventh hour”.

The Capital Sin of Envy
Envy implies sorrow at the happiness and prosperity of our neighbour. For which reason the envious man is never without sadness or trouble. Are his neighbour’s fields green and fertile? Is his house a happy one? Is he not lacking interior and spiritual happiness? All these signs of prosperity increase the illness and disturb the mind of the envious man. St. Basil tells of the evil effects of envy: “The envious man is hurt by the good fortune of a friend; the joy of his brothers causes him pain; he cannot look with favour on the riches of another and considers the prosperity of his neighbour as a misfortune for himself. If he wished to tell the truth, he would be forced to confess this; but since he does not wish to make it manifest, he keeps this hatred in his heart, where it gnaws away at his entrails.” St. Basil, “Homily 11 on Envy”

What are the Capital Sins? There are seven capital sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.

Which are the six sins against the Holy Ghost?
1.Presumption, 2. Despair, 3. Resisting the known truth, 4. Envy of another’s spiritual good, 5. Obstinacy in sin, 6. Final impenitence (From The Penny Catechism

St. Maximilian Kolbe on Our Lady

"Let us entrust to the Immaculate our entire being, all the faculties of our soul, that is to say, our intellect, our memory and our will, all the faculties of our body, that is, all of our senses and each one individually, our strength, our health or our infirmity; let us entrust to Her our entire life and all of its events whether they be pleasing, displeasing or indifferent. Let us entrust to Her our death, in whatever moment, place or way it may happen. And lastly, let us entrust to Her all of our eternity." (SK #1331)

"All graces come to souls from the hands of the Mediatrix of all graces and there is not one instant in which new graces are not flowing into each soul: graces to enlighten the intellect, to fortify the will, to spur us on to do good; ordinary and extraordinary graces, graces directly regarding temporal life and the sanctification of the soul." (SK #1313)

The First Friday, 6 February 2015

Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”.





Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix

(MIM) 7 February 2015

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute)
It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima. Pope John Paul II: On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla: “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima.




The First Saturday:
7 February2014
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!











Saturday, January 24, 2015

Third Sunday after Epiphany 25 January 2015

Third  Sunday after Epiphany
25 January   2015


“Be of one mind towards one another.”
Rom. 12:16
   
Today’s readings show the radical difference between the gospel message of Jesus and the way in which the world lives.   Jesus taught all his followers the need for a life of charity and the practice of virtue.  In today’s Gospel (Mt. 8:1-13), we see how Jesus Himself exemplifies His great love for men by His compassion for the leper and the centurion’s servant when He cured them of their sickness.  Likewise, in today’s Epistle to the Romans (12:16-21), St. Paul emphasizes the need for charity, especially towards our enemies. This was unheard of in the ancient world, and it is still not practiced in the world today: “Be of one mind towards one another.” Rom. 12:16  We also see in today’s readings, how much Jesus was pleased with the faith and humility of the both the leper and the centurion who believed that Jesus could aid them in their request.  For us, these readings are important teachings because they remind us of the need for charity toward one another and faith in Jesus who alone can help us.


“Vengeance is mine...” Deut. 32:35


In the Epistle to the Romans today, St. Paul reminds his followers of Jesus’ lesson on the need to practice charity even to one’s enemies.  Jesus had said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you...”  Mt. 5:44.  St. Paul tells the Romans this same message:  “To no man render evil for evil, but provide good things....Do not avenge yourselves, but give place to the wrath, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.’” Rom. 12:17-9  This was a far cry from the ancient traditions which said that one could return what was given to you--- “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...” Lev. 24:19.  St. Paul is reminding his followers that Christians who believe in Jesus Christ must love their enemies and take no revenge on anyone who opposes them.  Revenge is not for man to take!  This is God’s domain as He alone knows who is evil and who is good, and He will ask all His creatures to render an account of their works.  If men do not repent of their evil, they will have to endure the severe justice of God.  This can be seen in what Jesus said would happen to anyone who causes one of His little ones to sin; Jesus said, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it were better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Mt. 18:6  While God is all merciful, He is also all just, and those who offend Him and do evil to their fellow man will endure a most severe judgment.  This is why Jesus asks us to pray for those who persecute us as they will have to endure the justice of God for their deeds. If we could see how the justice of God  shall punish those who do evil (to us), then we would fervently pray for them. Jesus also warns us not to despise (hurt) them:  Mt. 18:6   “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father in heaven.”  Mt. 18:6  What are we doing to our little  ones and those innocents in the world; we are murdering our babies with abortion, we are denying  life for other brothers and sisters to our children  with contraception, we are corrupting  the morals of our  youth  with false teachings and sex education, and we are denying our children the faith in a good Catholic family by not marrying and practicing the faith.  The list could go on and on!  Has there ever been such a sinful generation as ours is today?  How severe will be the vengeance of God on the Day of Judgment towards our generation for the scandal that we have caused  “the little ones.”


Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Rom. 12:21


St. Paul takes the essential gospel teaching of charity which Jesus had taught to its desired end of loving even our enemies: “If thy enemy is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head.”  Rom 12:20   These “coals of fire” are what St. Augustine explains as “the violence of charity: Evil must be answered and conquered by good.  By gentleness Christians must disarm anger, and by charity they must break down hatred. Against the violence of charity,” says St. Augustine, ”the world is powerless.”  (Msgr. Patrick Boylan, The Sunday Epistles and Gospels,” p. 75.)  These are the “coals of fire” which one’s enemy will not be able to overcome.  Fight hatred with charity.  It is the same lesson that Jesus taught when He said, “But I say to you not to resist the evildoer; on the contrary, if someone strikes thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also...”  Mt. 5: 39   Only those filled with the Spirit of Jesus can understand such divine wisdom.


Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Mt. 8:2
   
    The leper in today’s gospel has the Spirit of Jesus because he firmly believes that Jesus can cure him of his leprosy.  His faith and confidence in Jesus are rewarded:  “And stretching forth his hand Jesus touched him, saying, ‘I will; be thou made clean.’” Mt. 8:3 We can certainly admire the leper who has trust in the goodness of Jesus by coming to Him even though he knows that, as a leper, all are advised to shun him as unclean.  He goes to Jesus with great hope and confidence that He can make him clean if Jesus wills it.  His trust in Jesus’ goodness is rewarded instantly!


“Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” Mt. 8: 8
Like the leper, the centurion also has great faith in Jesus.  He also has great charity:  he is not asking for help for himself but for his servant who is dying:  “Lord, my servant is lying sick in the house, paralyzed, and is grievously afflicted.” Mt. 8:6    The centurion, even though he is a pagan,  is also aware Jesus should not enter his house.  He  knows that Jesus, who is a  prophet having great power with God, does not need to come all the way to his house and can cure him from where He is:  “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.” Mt. 8: 8   Jesus is amazed at the centurion’s faith and says:  “Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel. And a I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be put forth into the darkness outside; there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.”   Mt. 8:10-11. By contrast, the faith of the children of Abraham, who should know better, is so weak that they will not feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven....”  Mt. 8:11


“Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.”   Mt. 8:13



Although Jesus says these words to the centurion, they also apply to the leper.  Here we see how important it is to have faith in Jesus.  Ironically, in today’s gospel the two men who have faith in Jesus are despised in the Jewish society, a leper and a pagan Roman soldier. There is a most important lesson for all of us who have been called to follow Christ.  We need to practice the same faith in God and charity to all or else, like the Jews, we will be excluded from the kingdom and be in the darkness outside “weeping and gnashing our teeth.” Mt. 8:11


The First Friday, 6 February 2015


Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the  devotion to the “Nine  First Fridays” of the Month.   The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary:  "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."  There is no better way of  honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on  the “Nine First Fridays.”.






Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix


(MIM) 7 February 2015


    On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
 This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)
It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima.  






The First Saturday:  
7 February2014
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!  






Second Sunday after Epiphany 18th January 2015

Second Sunday After Epiphany
18 January   2015
“But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Jn. 2:9


    Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol 3, tells us of the mystery of today’s feast: “The third Mystery of the Epiphany shows us the completion of the merciful designs of God upon the world, at the same time that it manifests to us for the third time (the first time to the Shepherds and Magi at the stable and the second time to Jewish people at the Baptism of  St. John the Baptist), the glory of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The star  has led the soul to faith, the sanctified Waters of the Jordan have conferred purity upon her; the Marriage-Feast unites her to her God. We have been considering, during  this Octave, the Bridegroom revealing himself to the Spouse; we have heard him calling her to come to him from the heights of Libanus; and now, after having enlightened and purified her, he invites her to the heavenly feast, where she is to receive the Wine of his divine love.


The New Wine of Charity
    “A Feast is prepared (cf. Jn. 2): it is a Marriage-Feast; and the Mother of Jesus is present at it, for it is just that, having co-operated in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, she should take part in all that her Son does, and in all the favours he bestows on his elect.  But, in the midst of the feast, the Wine fails. Wine is the symbol of Charity  or Love, and Charity had failed on the earth; for the Gentiles had never tasted its sweetness; and as to the Synagogue, what had it produced but wild grapes (cf. Is. 5:2).  The True Vine is our Jesus and he calls himself  by that name (Jn. 15:1).   He alone could give that Wine which gladdeneth the heart of man (cf. Ps. 53:15). He alone could give us that Chalice which inebriated (cf. Ps. 22:5), and of which the Royal Psalmist prophesied.


“Do whatsoever he shall say to you.”  Jn. 2:5
“Mary said to Jesus: They have no Wine.  It is the office of the Mother of God to tell him of the wants of men, for she is also their Mother.  But Jesus answers her in words which are apparently harsh: Woman! What is it to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.’ The meaning of these words is, that, in this great Mystery, he was about to act, not as the Son of Mary, but as  the Son of God. Later on, the hour will come when, dying upon the Cross, he will do a work, in the presence of his Mother, and he will do it as Man, that, according to that human nature which he has received from her.  Mary at once understands the words of her Son, and she says to the waiters of the Feast, what she is now ever saying to her children: ‘Do whatsoever he shall say to you.’


The New Wine of Christ
“Now, there were six large waterpots of stone there, and they were empty. The world was then in its Sixth Age, as St. Augustine and other Holy Doctors tell  us. During these six ages, the earth had been awaiting its Saviour, who was to instruct and redeem it.  Jesus commands these waterpots to be filled with water; and yet water does not suit the Feast of the Spouse.  The figures and the prophecies of the ancient world were this water, and until the opening of the Seventh Age, when Christ, who is the Vine, was to be given to the world, no man had contracted an alliance with the Divine Word.
“But, when the Emmanuel came, he had but to say, Now draw out, and the waterspots were seen to be filled with the wine of the New covenant, the Wine which had been kept to the end.  When he assumed our human nature—a nature weak  and unstable as water—he effected a change in it; he raised it up even to himself, by making us partakers of the divine nature (cf. 2 Pet. 1:4); he gave us the power to love him, to be united to him, to form that one Body of which he is the Head, that Church of which he is the Spouse  and which he loved from all eternity, and with such tender love, that he came down from heaven to celebrate his nuptials with her.


Jesus Manifests His Glory as God
“St. Matthew, the Evangelist of the Humanity of our Lord, has received from the Holy Ghost the commission to announce to us the Mystery of Faith by the star; St. Luke the Evangelist of Jesus’ Priesthood, has been selected by the same Holy Spirit, to instruct us in the mystery of the Baptism in the Jordan; but the Mystery of the Marriage-Feast was to be revealed to us by the Evangelist John, the Beloved Disciple.  He suggests to the Church the object of this third Mystery, by this expression, ‘This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and he MANIFESTED his glory.’ Jn. 2:11   At Bethlehem, the God of the Magi expressed the Divinity of the Babe; at the Jordan, the descent of the Holy Ghost and the voice of the Eternal Father proclaimed  Jesus (known to the people as  a carpenter of  Nazareth) to be the Son of God; at Cana, it is Jesus himself that acts, and he acts as God, for, says St. Augustine, he who changed the water into wine in the waterpots could be no other than the same who, every year, works the same miracle in the vine.  Hence it was that, from that day, as St. John tells us, ‘his disciples believed in him’ (cf. Jn. 2:), and the Apostolic College began to be formed.” Gueranger, p. 241-3


The “good wine” of  Christ and His Bride, the Church
The Lord delights in performing this miracle.  God has saved the good wine” for last:  “But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Jn. 2:9  The new wine of Jesus is charity. St. Paul  illustrates  how the superabundant aid of the Spirit  in the New Testament is revealed in  charismatic gifts and the practice of fraternal charity.   The new wine represents the blessing of the Church on Holy Matrimony.  The love  that husband and wife have for each other is similar to the love that Christ has for His Church: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, cleansing her in the bath of water (Baptism) by means of the word; in order that he might present to himself the Church in all her glory, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-7   St. Paul also  speaks of this love which we need to have for one another in today’s Epistle to the Romans (12: 6-16):     “Let love be without pretense. Hate what is evil, hold to what is good. Love one another with fraternal charity, anticipating one another with honour. Be patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer, Share the needs of the saints, practising hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be of one mind toward one another….”  Rom 12: 9-16


Divine Charity, Our Espousal with Christ
    Dom Gueranger comments on the spiritual meaning of today’s Gospel (Jn. 2: 1-11) of Jesus’ miracle of changing water into wine: “Thus divine Charity, which dwells in the Sacrament of Love (Holy Eucharist), is communicated to us; and that we might not be unworthy of the espousals with himself, to which he called us, he raises us up even to himself. Let us therefore, prepare our souls for this wonderful union, and, according to the advice of the Apostle, let us labour to present them to our Jesus with such purity as to resemble  that chaste Virgin, who was presented  to the spotless Lamb (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2 and Eph. 5: 27). Gueranger, p. 247. Jesus not only manifests Himself with the miracle of changing water into wine at Cana, but He shows how we are called to be His spouse in the Heavenly  Marriage Feast.


The First Saturday of the Month
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!  Just think that when you are  about to die that the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there with you to help you get to heaven!   “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen”   How many times have you said these words in your lifetime?


How to attend Holy Mass


“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar.  If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.  You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”
His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X