Archive for May, 2017

How Firm A Foundation

*

How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!
What more can he say than to you he has said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In ev’ry condition, in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea —
The Lord, the Almighty, your strength e’er shall be.

Fear not, I am with you. Oh, be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call you to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow,
For I will be with you your troubles to bless
And sanctify to you your deepest distress.

Throughout all their lifetime my people shall prove
My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love,
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still on my shoulders be borne.

*

Save

Advertisements

#ShortNews: Turn to Our Lady, Help of Christians

At the conclusion of his May 24 general audience, Pope Francis recalled the traditional observance of the day as the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians.

“The memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, whom we remember today, makes us aware of the greatness of the gift of protection of the Mother of the Son of God for each one of us,” the Pope told Polish pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. “I entrust our lives to her. In doubt, we often invoke her protection.”

Later, he said in Italian:

I address a special greeting to the young, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the memory of Mary Help of Christians. Dear young people, learn to love in the way of the Mother of Jesus; dear people who are sick, in suffering ask for the heavenly intercession of the Holy Virgin with the prayer of the Rosary, and you, dear newlyweds, like Our Lady, always know how to listen to God’s will for your family.

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2017/05/24/170524c.html

#ShortNews: Be open to dialogue, Pontiff asks Chinese Catholics

Amid negotiations between the Holy See and China’s Communist government over the appointment of bishops, Pope Francis has asked the nation’s Catholics to remain “open to encounter and dialogue.”

On May 24, which Pope Benedict declared a day of prayer for China’s Catholics, “we will all be united spiritually to the Catholic faithful of China, on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, venerated at the Sheshan Shrine at Shanghai,” Pope Francis said to the faithful following his May 21 Regina Coeli address.

“To Chinese Catholics I say: let us raise our gaze to Mary Our Mother, so that she may help us to discern the will of God regarding the concrete path of the Church in China and support us in accepting her plan of love with generosity,” the Pope continued, adding:

Mary encourages us to offer our personal contribution towards communion among believers and for the harmony of the society as a whole. Let us not forget to bear witness to faith with prayer and with love, always remaining open to encounter and dialogue.

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2017/05/21/170521a.html

#ShortNews: Reflects on ‘Mary Magdalene, apostle of hope’

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to Christian hope, Pope Francis spoke on May 17 about St. Mary Magdalene “as an apostle of the hope brought by the Gospel.”

“Saint John tells us on Easter morning Mary had gone to the tomb of Jesus; she saw that it was empty, and returned to tell this news to Peter and the other disciples,” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Returning to the tomb, yet still not understanding what had happened, Mary encounters the Risen Lord, but does not recognize him until he calls her by name.”

“This first appearance of Jesus after rising from the dead is thus something intensely personal,” he continued. “We know that just as he did with Mary Magdalene, so too Jesus calls each of us by name and fills us with joy at his presence.”

The Pope added:

Our encounter with him brings freedom and opens up new vistas of life; it transforms our world and brings undying hope. The risen Lord tells Mary not to cling to him, but to go and tell the good news of his resurrection to the others.

Mary Magdalene thus becomes the apostle of Christian hope. By her prayers, may we encounter anew the risen Lord, who calls us by name, turns our sorrow into joy, and sends us forth to proclaim by our lives that he is truly risen.

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2017/05/17/0336/00751.html

You Will Be Presented with Lessons

You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “life.” Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

Why are you here? What is your purpose? Humans have sought to discover the meaning of life for a very long time. What we and our ancestors have overlooked, however, in the course of this endless search, is that there is no one answer. The meaning of life is different for every individual.

Each person has his or her own purpose and distinct path, unique and separate from anyone else’s. As you travel your life path, you will be presented with numerous lessons that you will need to learn in order to fulfill that purpose. The lessons you are presented with are specific to you; learning these lessons is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life.

Once you have learned the basic lessons taught to you by your own body, you are ready for a more advanced teacher: the universe. You will be presented with lessons in every circumstance that surfaces in your life. When you experience pain, you learn a lesson. When you feel joy, you learn a different lesson. For every action or event, there is an accompanying lesson that must be learned.

As you travel through your lifetime, you may encounter challenging lessons that others don’t have to face, while others spend years struggling with challenges that you don’t need to deal with. You may never know why you are blessed with a wonderful marriage, while your friends suffer through bitter arguments and painful divorces, just as you cannot be sure why you struggle financially while your peers enjoy abundance. The only thing you can count on for certain is that you will be presented with all the lessons that you specifically need to learn; whether you choose to learn them or not is entirely up to you.

The challenge of Rule Two, therefore, is to align yourself with your own unique path by learning your individual lessons. This is one of the most difficult challenges you will face in your lifetime, as sometimes your path will lead you into a life that is radically different from others. Don’t compare your path to those around you and focus on the disparity between their lessons and yours. You need to remember that you will only be faced with lessons that you are capable of learning and are specific to your own growth.

If you are able to rise to this challenge, you can unravel the mystery of your purpose and actually live it. You cease being a victim of fate or circumstance and become empowered—life no longer just “happens to you.” When you are working toward fulfilling your true purpose, you discover astonishing gifts within yourself that you may have never known you have. This process may not be easy, but the rewards are well worth the struggle.

by Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

from If Life Is a Game…These Are the Rules

 

Saints Francisco and Jacinto Marto

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion. The following day, Francisco died of influenza in his family home, on April 14, 1919. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952, while his sister was moved from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile.

Jacinta developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be fully anesthetized, only local, and later suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On 19 February, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and administer Extreme Unction because she was going to die “the next night”. He told her that her condition was not that serious and that he would return the next day. The next day Jacinta was dead; she had died, as she had often said she would, alone.

In 1920, shortly before her death at age nine, Jacinta Marto reportedly discussed the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary with a then 12-year-old Lúcia Santos and said:

When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God entrusted it to her.

Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world, and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000, and canonized May 13, 2017. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.

*

“I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart.”

“I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart.” ~ Alan Redpath