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Archive for April, 2012

The month of May is dedicated to Mary. Our devotion to her should consist in imitation of her life and virtues. For Carmelites, she is our teacher and model of the interior life, which is our apostolate. Not to discount or underestimate the exterior apostolate, the interior apostolate consists of prayer, love and sacrifice. The fruitfulness of all exterior activity rests on this interior apostolate.

According to Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D, Mary’s apostolate “was a quiet one, free from ostentation; it was accomplished in the most humble, hidden and silent way.” (Divine Intimacy #184)

Mary shared in the whole life of Jesus, her Son: the daily life of a family, performing household duties, living with difficulties, making sacrifices, enduring trying situations, even sharing in His Passion. In all these ways she shared in the redemptive work of Jesus. His work of redemption still continues, and, like Mary, we can share in that work.

During those times when we feel the pressure of the urgency of our works and become tempted to make these exterior activities the net worth of our apostolate, let’s turn to Mary who shows us how to love, pray and make hidden sacrifices – known only to God and are of infinite value – redemptive value.

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I have been using the Gospel readings for the day for my lectio divina. The readings of late have been from the Gospel of John chapter 6. The Bread of Life discourse has been a beautiful time of prayer for me.

I also came across a nice little book that I though I would share. It is called WRAP Yourself in Scripture. This little book, by Karen and Lawrence Dwyer,  is a guide for reading, praying and reflecting on Scripture with journaling. I do find that I like to write things down, so the journaling aspect was attractive for me.

The book follows the traditional steps of lectio divina with the added twist of journaling. The advantage to journaling is that you can go back and review what God had inspired and admire what He is doing in your life. The review also helps to impress His inspiration on your soul. I also have found that journaling can help keep me focused. Besides, I seem to need to have something to do with my hands.

The title “WRAP” is an acronym for ‘write’, ‘reflect’, ‘apply’, and ‘pray’. Easy to remember! The book can be found here or here and is reasonably priced.

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Fourteen days – two weeks and we know who is KING!

The following is taken from the United States Bishops website:

“We suggest that the fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, be dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

In addition to this summer’s observance, we also urge that the Solemnity of Christ the King—a feast born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty—be a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.

To all our fellow Catholics, we urge an intensification of your prayers and fasting for a new birth of freedom in our beloved country. We invite you to join us in an urgent prayer for religious liberty.”

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Read more from the US Bishops website here.

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Moments of Grace

~the toothless grin of a blonde-haired seven year old who loves his grandma

~the cat tickling my face with her whiskers in the middle of the night

~seeds sprouting

~listening to someone emotionally under duress

~the clear view of a half moon in the early morning sky

~green grass

~the virtue of hope as I cast my nets on the other side

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In his hidden life, Our Lord’s humility is evident by his poverty and obedience.He was submissive to the will of the Father and left his exalted position to become a little baby. His self-effacement remained during his entire life as a man. He lived in a poor estate,often the object of ingratitude and suffered uncomplainingly. As a child he submitted to his earthly parents and was obedient to them.

When he began his public life proclaiming by word and deed that he was the Son of God, he did so in a discreet, clear manner and spoke in a way to reach the minds of all people of good will. He was totally forgetful of himself, always thinking of others. He surrounded himself with ignorant and unrefined people. Because of this he was little esteemed. This fact is so counter to the actions of the proud. Jesus showed preference to those the world despises: the poor, the afflicted, little children, and those the world disowns. When he taught, he made sure his teaching was plain and simple. Therefore, he was in no way seeking the admiration of others.

Jesus did not engage in calculated acts of austerity. He simply ate what everyone else was eating, he attends a wedding, and was a frequent guest at banquets. He shunned popularity, often having to slip away to avoid the praise and exaltation of the crowds. This was most evident when the people wanted to make him king.

He was totally dependent on God the Father. He did nothing of himself, but only out of submissiveness to his Father. When he spoke it was only to give expression to some doctrine. He never sought his own glory but only that of his Father.

In his passion, he is a man of sorrow. Wearied and betrayed by his friends, he bears the outrages that are mounded upon him. Even though deserted by his friends, he still loves them. He suffers all sorts of insults and offenses and does so in silence. Verbally abused and defamed, he doesn’t justify himself. Even when treated like a fool, he utters not a word. Unjustly condemned, and still he says nothing. Those to whom he had done so much good choose a murder instead. He allows himself to be physically mistreated: whipped, crowned with thorns, mocked and crucified – all without complaint.

Sneered at and insulted by those who hated him, he prays for them and makes excuses for them before his Father. Abandoned by his followers, deprived of his dignity as a man, stripped of his reputation and honor, he surrenders to it all for love of sinful man.

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Beneath the apple tree:

there I took you for my own,

there I offered you my hand, 

and restored you, 

where your mother was corrupted.    

                                     

Beneath the apple tree ……

That is beneath the favor of the tree of the cross (referred to by the apple tree), where the Son of God redeemed human nature and consequently espoused it to himself, and then espoused each soul by giving it through the cross graces and pledges for this espousal. And thus he says:

there I took you for my own,

there I offered you my hand,

That is: There I offered you my kind regard and help by raising you from your low state to be my companion and spouse.

and restored you,

where your mother was corrupted.

For human nature, your mother, was corrupted in your first parents under the tree, and you too under the tree of the cross were restored. If your mother, therefore, brought you death under the tree, I brought you life under the tree of the cross. In such a way God manifests the decrees of his wisdom; he knows how to draw good from evil so wisely and beautifully, and to ordain to a greater good what was a cause of evil.

St. John of the Cross- The Spiritual Canticle, stanza 23

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