Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Psalm 18 (19) The Glory of God

The skies tell the story of the glory of God,
  the firmament proclaims the work of his hands;
day pours out the news to day,
  night passes to night the knowledge.
  

Not a speech, not a word,
  not a voice goes unheard.
Their sound is spread throughout the earth,
  their message to all the corners of the world.
 
 
At the ends of the earth he has set up
  a dwelling place for the sun.
Like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
  it rejoices like an athlete at the race to be run.
It appears at the edge of the sky,
  runs its course to the sky’s furthest edge.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
 
 
 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
 
 

Friday, July 17, 2015

St. Joseph's Abbey Stained Glass Window

 
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
God favored me, His lowly servant,
and from this day
all generations will call me
blessed.
 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"My Ideas About Nuns Were So Wrong." by Danielle Medearis - from The Litttle Sisters of the Poor Blog


Here is a wonderful witness to the Little Sisters of the Poor, written by Danielle Medearis.

**** I pulled the article out of the:

LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR BLOG

I’m not sure exactly where the vague preconceived image of religious life I possessed before coming to work as an intern this summer at the Jeanne Jugan Residence (Bronx, NY) originated, but after a month here, the one thing I’m positive of is it was quite wrong. Perhaps from a combination of old movies, Sister Act, and the Sound of Music, my idea of a nun before traveling to the Bronx to work with the Little Sisters of the Poor was a woman with a solemn face, grave eyes, constantly carrying around a ruler and reminding others not to sing in the abbey.

This idea was quite wrong.

From the moment the Little Sisters picked me up, discussing traffic problems in New York accents and shaking their heads at the construction they had had to get through on the Whitestone Bridge, I understood that I really had no idea what the true nature of religious life was like. My summer here with the Sisters has taught me it is one of profound joy. Rather than a life of restriction and sacrifice of freedom, the Sisters here live as freely as anyone I’ve ever met. They possess true freedom, which is the ability to not simply do what you want, but to be able to do what you ought.

To me they seem to have this radiating joy, which touches everyone around them and gives them, too, a taste of this freedom par excellence. People become better around the Sisters — happier, kinder, and more prone to charity. It’s like you can see God’s love flowing out of them into the lives of those they come in contact with, and from there you just watch as that Love transforms. I had the privilege of going to the Hunt’s Point produce market with the sisters this past week, and it was lovely observing the faces of the men who gave freely and regularly to the Sisters when they approached, and equally lovely to see the Sisters speak to the men with such affection and personal attention. Some men asked for prayers, some joked that they hoped this extra box of food would help propel them to heaven, and some welcomed the Sisters with a laugh saying, “Look it’s my best customers!” (The Sisters, as part of the order, beg for food for their residents, so all of the men whom they did business with were providing the food for free). The sisters may not have given anything of monetary value to these men, but it would be a completely untrue statement to say they did not receive anything from the Little Sisters, because the Love of God was flowing through them at every stop; you could tell immediately when it reached the men, because their faces just lit up.

For some reason I had it in my head that the sisters would not laugh much, and be quite serious most of the time, but instead they laugh at everything, and are constantly joking around and kidding with one another. Sharing meals with them has become a weekly highlight for me, because they remind me so much of my family at home during dinner, discussing the day and telling jokes, recalling past funny stories. Strange and simple as it is, what struck me strongly during my first few days with the sisters was how, well, normal they were. They did regular people things like play card games and drink coffee and eat chocolate cake, and they didn’t seem like they were deprived of any happiness; quite the opposite, the sisters have happiness in everything.

I think that’s again part of the freer, not less free, discovery I made.

Being around so many living conduits of God’s love and compassion, it’s no surprise that I’ve enjoyed my time here thus far at Jeanne Jugan Residence. Each day brings new opportunities to practice this art of letting God shines through in every action you do, in having joy in every small task you undertake (and I undertake many, many small tasks). And due to the fact that I find most of my days are devoted to the task of finding more ways to put joy and love into them, I think it’s no surprise that I am happily looking forward to the rest of my time here.

*** As you may be aware, the Little Sisters of the Poor are under attack by our own government, who wishes them to deny their faith. This attack is on all Christians - and all good fair minded citizens of these United States.  Let us pray for these beautiful sisters, these holy instruments of God.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, The Lily of the Mohawks

Only known portrait from life of Catherine Tekakwitha,
circa 1690, by Father Chauchetière
 
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Roman Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk virgin and laywoman. Born in Auriesville (now part of New York), she suffered from smallpox as a young child, which scarred her face and greatly weakened her eyes. She converted to Roman Catholicism at age nineteen and was renamed Kateri. She settled for the remaining years of her life at the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal in New France, now Canada.

Tekakwitha took a devout vow of perpetual virginity. She was baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Upon her death at the age of 24, minutes after her death, witnesses say her scars vanished and she appeared radiant and beautiful. Known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and the first to be canonized.

Lord God, You called the virgin Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, to shine among the American Indian people as an example of innocence of life. Through her intercession, may all peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation, having been gathered into Your Church, proclaim your greatness in one song of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli's Letter On the Recent Supreme Court Decision

Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli
Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey
 
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

The recent Supreme Court decision “Obergefell et al. v Hodges” has now redefined the legal definition of marriage in our country.

Responding to the cultural trends of the last sixty years, the judges have made a decision that will affect not only those individuals who decide to enter same-sex unions, but every citizen and institution within the nation.

This decision rejects the understanding of marriage that has been held across the millennia by people of every race and religion. The consequences of this decision will have long-range effects in politics, economics, education, and, in no small way, religious freedom. The adverse consequences of this decision will become more and more evident in the days and months ahead in terms of our Catholic schools, universities, hospitals, charitable institutions and churches.

As your bishop, I take serious my responsibility to safeguard and pass on to you the teaching of Jesus that has been handed down to us by the apostles in the deposit of faith. Therefore, I ask you to always keep in mind, as faithful Catholics, the following truths of faith.

First, as believers, we abstain from judging the consciences of those who choose to live in lifestyles contrary to the teaching of Jesus. Only God sees the heart and judges rightly each human person. As a consequence, we speak charitably and compassionately of all people, even those who disagree with us on fundamental truths of the natural law.

Second, precisely because we are people of reason and faith, we hold that there is objective truth about the human person and the world. Objective truth is founded on God’s design for creation and independent of the political and cultural trends of any age.

Third, without a doubt, the objective truth about family, as intended by God, is a most fundamental, objective truth for the good of all society. From the very first pages of Genesis, we learn that God created us in his own image and likeness, male and female, he created us. (cf. Gn 1:27). In the beauty of God’s creative design, marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman. As Pope Francis has said, “the removal of difference, in fact, creates a problem, not a solution.”

Courts and constitutions may change the legal definition of marriage. But, they cannot alter God’s loving plan inscribed within the natural law.

As Catholics, therefore, we are committed to the teaching of Sacred Scripture faithfully handed down to us by the Church that marriage is, by God’s design, a union between a man and a woman, open to life, in a lifelong commitment of fidelity and mutual love. That is God’s gift of marriage that we cherish and seek to protect.

Fourth, the laws of a nation are good or bad only insofar as they are in accord with God’s plan for his creation. Human laws are fallible and change. In 1857, the Supreme Court of this nation upheld slavery. Clearly, a bad decision condoning an evil. Because a court tells us something is good does not make it good. We, as believers, are ultimately responsible to a higher authority.

While accompanying, with patience and love, others, even members of our own families, who do not accept the Church’s teaching on marriage, as believers, we cannot cease to support and promote God’s sacred plan for marriage. Please keep in mind that, by our own fidelity to what is good in God’s eyes and by the witness of our lives, we are of invaluable benefit for all of society.

In the days ahead as we face many challenges to our faith and, perhaps, even persecution, I pray that “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rm 15: 13).

Invoking God’s blessing on each of you and your families, I remain,

 Sincerely yours in Christ,
 
Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L., D.D.
Bishop of Paterson
 
 
* This letter is out of the DIOCESE OF PATERSON website. Well worth the read !
 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Catholics Must Maintain Witness to the Truth of Marriage


Out of EWTN

Catholics are called to witness to the truth of marriage despite the Supreme Court of the United States recognizing a legal right to same-sex marriage, the nation's bishops said on Friday.

“Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S bishops conference, in a June 26 statement for the conference.

“Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman,” Archbishop Kurtz added. “As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.”

In a 5-4 decision on Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that under the Fourteenth Amendment, states must grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.


The Fourteenth Amendment protects the rights of all citizens to “life, liberty, or property” under due process, and guarantees them “equal protection of the laws” in the states. In this case, the court ruled that state laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman deprived same-sex couples of their right to legally marry.

The ruling overturned a November decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld traditional marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Same-sex marriage is now legal in all fifty states.

Although the Court recognizes a legal right to same-sex marriage, Catholics must teach and bear witness to true marriage, the bishops insisted.

“The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female,” Archbishop Kurtz reflected.

“Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.”

Despite the ruling, Catholics should continue to preach the truth about the nature of marriage with “faith, hope, and love” for all persons, and asked “all people of good will” to join Catholics in supporting this proclamation and respecting Catholics’ “freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth”



 


“It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this [same-sex marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.  -  St. John Paul II