Sunday, October 31, 2010

True Love

Pope to Adolescents: Learn to Love Truly

Warns Against Egoism That Suffocates the Hear

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging young people to learn what it means to truly love,
explaining that the secret is to be a gift to others.The Pope stated this
Saturday in a question and answer session with representatives of Italian
Catholic Action. Some 50,000 children, 30,000 youth and 10,000 educators of
the organization were present in St. Peter's Square for the meeting with the

The youth, after the meeting with the Holy Father, participated in events throughout Rome focused
on the theme: "There Is More. We Become Great Together."

After a question from a young woman of Catholic Action, Benedict XVI
responded, "It is very important, I would say fundamental, to learn to love,
truly to love, to learn the art of real love!"

He continued: "In adolescence we stop before the mirror and we notice that
we are changing. But if you continue to look at yourself, you will never
grow up!

"You grow up when you do no longer let the mirror be the only truth about
you but when you let your friends tell you.

"You will grow up if you are able to make your life a gift to others, not to
seek yourselves, but to give yourselves to others: this is the school of
love." The Pope added, "This love, however, must bring you into that 'more' that
today shouts to everyone: 'There is more!'"

Pure air

He recalled, "I too, in my youth wanted something more than what the society
and the mentality of the time presented to me."

"I wanted to breathe pure air," the Pontiff said. "Above all I desired a
beautiful and good world, like our God, the Father of Jesus, wanted for

"And I understood more and more that the world becomes beautiful and good if
one knows this will of God and if the world corresponds to this will of
God," he added, "which is the true light, beauty, love that gives the world

"You cannot and must not adapt yourselves to a love reduced to a commodity
to be consumed without respect for oneself or for others, incapable of
chastity and purity," the Holy Father urged. "This is not freedom."

He noted that "much of the 'love' that is proposed by the media, on the
internet, is not love but egoism, closure, it gives you the illusion of a
moment, but it does not make you happy, it does not make you grow up, it
binds you like a chain that suffocates more beautiful thoughts and
sentiments, the true desires of the heart, that irrepressible power that is
love and that has its maximum expression in Jesus and strength and fire in
the Holy Spirit, who enflames your lives, your thoughts, your affections."

"Of course it demands sacrifice to live love in the true way -- without
renunciation one does not find this road -- but I am certain that you are
not afraid of the toil of a challenging and authentic love," Benedict XVI

He added, "It is the only kind that, in the final analysis, gives true joy!"

"There is a test," the Pope said, "that tells you whether your love is
growing in a healthy way: if you do not exclude others from your life, above
all your friends who are suffering and alone, people in difficulty, and if
you open your heart to the great friend Jesus."

Full text:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

All Saints Day Early

Fr. Dominic and all the kindergarten Saints
At the school mass today the kindergarten children all dressed up as Saints in honor of All Saints Day which is celebrated on November 1. The communion meditation song was the Litany of the Saints. As the children sang, my heart leaped with joy over all my "friends", the Saints, who I have gotten to know over the last several years. The Litany of Saints is sung at priestly ordinations when the priest elect lays prostrate before his bishop. I prayed to all the saints that one of my four sons some day would be a priest of Jesus Christ.

Litany at an ordination
For the Litany in Latin go to

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blessed Pope John XXIII

I recently "got acquainted" with Pope John XXIII through the book My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin. I marvelled at his life (1881-1963) and felt very connected to this holy pontiff. The thing that most impressed me about his story, is that he was very unlikely to have been elected Pope and then once elected, he did several very unexpected things.

Each part of his life prepared him for the next. It makes me think of something my mother always said "everything is a stepping stone" meaning each thing we do leads to the next and prepares us for the next.

He went to the seminary at age 12. This was a surprise because his family was very poor. He became a priest, taught at seminary, bishop, archbishop, Cardinal of Venice and then Vatican delegate to Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and France.

Once elected Pope he called for the history making Second Vatican Council. The council opened on Oct 11 and that is why we celebrate his feast day today and not on the actual date of his death. Pope John is often called "Good Pope John." He had a wondrful sense of humor. Throughout his life, he was always open to the will of God, even when unexpected. May we each be open to the Holy Spirit in our own lives!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our Lady of the Rosary

This entire month I have been called back again and again to pick up the rosary and pray it every day. I have been receiving so many emails, magazines and other messages on the importance of this rosary and ways to pray it more devoutly. I've even felt called to get up very early in the morning and pray the rosary daily while I walk.

The word's of the apostolic letter of our Holy Father Pope John Paul II have resonated in my soul. "The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort." (from  Rosarium Virginis Mariae.)

The Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese

The more often and devoutly I pray the rosary, the more I can see the work of God's hand in my life through joys and difficulties, just like Pope John Paul.  

Today we also honor Mary under the title of Our Lady of Victory. This title came about because of the Battle of Lepanto. In 1571 Europe and Christianity were threatened by a Turkish invasion. Pope Pius V realized the grave danger and called upon all to pray the rosary. The battle was won and the people were saved. This is such an important event in history as both Europe and Christianity were preserved. Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

St.Theodore Guerin

My grandparents in the 1960s.
As a child, my parents always told me with pride, that my paternal grandmother and great aunt both attended St. Mary of the Wood's College in St. Mary of the Woods, IN. It was quite unusual that these two young women, my grandmother, Virginia and her sister, Frances attended college in the 1930s. Unusual first of all because they were women, and secondly because it was during the depression.
Today we celebrate the foundress of that college and of other schools in Indiana, St. Theodore Guerin. Mother Guerin was born in France in 1798. She had a strong mind, but suffered from ill health for most of her life. She helped the sick and poor of France, left destitute from the French Revolution until 1840 when she was called to become a missionary to the United States.

Mother Theodore once told her sisters "Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters; be patient, be trustful."

I highly recommend a book about her by Mary K. Doyle titled The Eighth American Saint: The Story of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, Foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods, Indiana

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Guardian Angels

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Guardian angels. At mass this morning our pastor mentioned his childhood memories of this picture.

He made the comment that even as a child he wondered why these children were out by themselves crossing a rickety bridge with torrential water underneath. After we all laughed, I pondered how those children really are us. We are all trying to cross a rickety bridge here in this world and things look dark without the care, light and love of our guardian angels.

I don't remember often enough to ask my guardian angel to help me. They are there for us. Let us use honor this beautiful gift God has given us. Let us ask their intercession and trust in their help.

Say the guardian angel prayer each day:
"Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom God's love commits me here
Ever this day, be at my side
To light, to love, to rule, to guide. Amen"

Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Therese of Lisieux

"Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence not talents. He cherishes simplicity." --St. Therese

St. Therese of the Child Jesus is also known as "the little flower." Her spirituality is known as "the little way." She felt that we each need to do each daily tasks promptly and to our best, without worry, and be content to do the ordinary things with extraordinary love.

Her little way runs counter cultural with ours today. We are surrounded by famous people doing "big" things.

Today let us rest assured that the good Lord loves us just as we are. Let us resolve to simplify and bask in that love of His and be quick to share it with others.