Time well spent

Before returning to Texas from our trip up north, Steven and I spent the day with our very dear friends in Baldwin, Wisconsin and had an unforgettable time.

God, others, me

We first met Loren and Dotty at
St. Joseph’s in February.  They occupied the pew behind our usual spot, second row, center right, in perfect view of the ambo.

“Good morning!” I said quietly as I placed my tote on the seat before setting off to take photos of the altar before Mass.

The couple acknowledged me with a smile without missing a single syllable of their rosary prayers.

During the entrance hymn, I was immediately taken with the sound of Loren’s strong but gentle, melodic voice.  What a loving spirit!  I’d never heard a man sing so beautifully.  Then, during the sign of peace, he clasped my hand warmly, firmly.  A farmer?  A rancher?  Salt of the earth came to mind, and his wife was just as sweet.  Truly genuine folks unlike anyone I’d ever met.

Before concluding, Father Xaviour called Loren up to make a presentation.

Pinned with a smile on his face and a large, white button on his shirt, Loren introduced himself.  “I’m number three.  God is first.  Family and friends are second.  And I’m number three.”  Then he told us about his CD: an abridged version of Christ’s story sung in under eight minutes.  (Refer to SJC blog page, “Messages,” below.)

“I’ll be out in the lobby after Mass, if anyone’s interested.  I also have cards and buttons to give away.”

         

               

Lasting impression

As I took photos, I observed that Loren smilingly interacted with others as Dotty stood beside him patiently until the foyer emptied.  Of course, that meant that I could finally approach to talk a bit.

“If you’ve been to Port Aransas all these years, then why didn’t we meet before?” I asked somewhat rhetorically, somewhat surprised that I couldn’t remember them.

Loren explained that February of the previous year snow storms had been so severe that he’d chosen to remain home rather than leave his foreman alone to care for the herd.  Then he told us about the Silver Bison Ranch.

“If you’re ever in the area, just drop by.  We’d love to show you around the place!”

The following Sunday after Mass, we talked with Loren and Dotty again.  They were returning to Wisconsin the following day.

“They’re such lovely people.  Wouldn’t it be something if we could visit their ranch?” I asked Steven wishfully on our way home from church.  But what was the likelihood of that happening?

Opportunity knocking

Then Steven learned about an upcoming conference in Marinette, Wisconsin.

“How about visiting the Solanus Center in Detroit, the Dominican St. Jude Shrine in Chicago, and St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota?”

“Sure!”

“We’ll fly in and out of Minneapolis, so we’ll rent a car there.  Then we can stop in Baldwin on our way to Marinette.  Give Loren and Dotty a call to schedule a tour at the ranch and find out when the gift shop is open.”

Happy day

We arrived early enough Sunday afternoon that the Silver Bison Ranch gift shop was still open, but Loren and Dotty weren’t there.  That’s fine, I thought.  I hadn’t called ahead, so how could they have known we might drop by that day?

The manager was very friendly.  The more we talked, the more she insisted on calling Loren and Dotty for us.

               

       

Boy, oh, boy!  Were they ever surprised to hear that we’d arrived from Texas just a few hours before and had driven straight to the gift shop from the airport.

“The timing couldn’t be more perfect.  Today’s our fifty-ninth wedding anniversary,” Loren announced.

“That’s great!  Congratulations!”

“If we were home, we’d invite you over right now,” Loren said.  “But we’re playing bridge with our oldest and dearest friends in a town about thirty miles away.”

We didn’t want to intrude on their ice cream cake celebration, so Steven wished them a delightful time, adding that we might stop by on our way to the airport in ten days or so.

Surprise, surprise

The day was pretty out, so we enjoyed the scenery on our way to the AmericInn and then to the eatery recommended earlier.

        

This barn was built in 1890.  On July 28, 2009, we kicked the cows and the chickens out and opened The Orchard Restaurant (Sign on the wall, n. d.).

In the middle of dinner Steven’s cell phone rang.

“Loren and Dotty are home, and they want us to go by.”

We finished dinner and put off exploring the old silo until another day.  At that moment we were more interested in seeing Loren and Dotty again.

What a wonderful time we had touring the ranch and getting to know each other through shared devotions, swapped stories, and lively dominoes.

We also got an unexpected morsel: Loren and Dotty’s families knew Father Casey’s family in Oak Grove.  Wow!  Did that ever personalize our anticipated Solanus Casey Center experience in Detroit the following week.

       

       

Back to start

Although we’d talked with Loren and Dotty only two Sundays after Mass, they invited us into their home with open arms.  We had so much fun that we wanted to spend time with them again, so Steven called ahead from South Dakota before making our way back to Minneapolis via Baldwin.

“We’d like to treat y’all to dinner before we fly back to Texas,” but Loren wouldn’t hear of it.  Dotty would prepare a bison steak dinner and rhubarb pie for dessert.

Yum!  We could hardly wait.  “Just say what time, and we’ll be there,” Steven replied, agreeing to spend Wednesday together.

In ten days’ time so much had happened with them on the ranch and us on the road that we had lots to talk about.

Bison up close

Looking through the telescope set up near the big kitchen window, we spotted a couple of calves in the pasture behind the barn.  Seventy-five had been born since our first visit to the Silver Bison Ranch, a couple of them just that day.  So, motion sickness or not, I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity of a lifetime to take photos among the bison.

       

       

Still, the experience was both amazing and scary.  The cows were very protective, and a few young bulls tried to gore Loren’s old Ford pickup.  Every time bison neared the passenger window, my Chicken Little heart flew into my throat.  And the more I covered my eyes, the more Loren laughed.

Loren’s singing was a welcome distraction, though.  He has an absolutely gorgeous voice, but whomever wrote that “music has charms to soothe the savage [beast]” (Congreave, 1697) was clueless about bison.  They’re totally unfazed by anything and everything.

I, on the other hand, came pretty close to losing my lunch in the truck with all the circular, stop-and-go lurching.  What a relief to get back to the house to stand out in the cool, fresh air for a while.

Time well spent

Next, we drove to Hammond, a small community less than thirty minutes away where Dotty and Loren are parishioners at Immaculate Conception Church and Adoration is an afternoon devotion.

What a blessing to have spent a day in a world so far and so different from ours in Texas.  How special, too, that, when we next see each other in February, we’ll have such a lovely recollection of our time well spent that we’ll simply pick up where we left off.  Including dominoes.  Maybe even with Loren and Dotty’s longtime friend, Jerry.

           

       

               

       

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Prayers

Adoration…  I adore you, Jesus, true God and true man, here present in the holy Eucharist.  Humbly I kneel before you, united in spirit with all the faithful on earth and all the blessed in heaven.  In deepest gratitude for so great a blessing, I love you, my Jesus, with my whole heart, for you are all perfect and all worthy of love….  Amen.

I adore you, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  I adore you for all the works of your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord.  You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of you, incomprehensible Beauty.  And although you have hidden yourself and concealed your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches you and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration.

My Lord and Creator, your goodness encourages me to converse with you.  Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with you, O Lord, is the delight of my heart.  In you I find everything that my heart could desire.  Here, your light illumines my mind, enabling it to know you more and more deeply.  Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart.  Here my soul draws eternal life.  O my Lord and Creator, you alone, beyond all these gifts, give your own self to me and unite yourself intimately with your miserable creature.

O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see you loved and your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy.  O Christ, let me glorify your goodness and mercy to the last moment of my life, with every drop of my blood and every beat of my heart.  Would that I be transformed into a hymn of adoration of you.  When I find myself on my deathbed, may the last beat of my heart be a loving hymn glorifying your unfathomable mercy.  Amen.

Healing…  Mary Immaculate, you have given yourself to us as our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  You have asked us to pray with confidence, and we will receive great graces.  We know your compassion because you saw your Son suffer and die for us.  In your union with his suffering you became the mother of us all.  Mary, my mother, teach me to understand my suffering as you do and to endure it in union with the suffering of Jesus.  In your motherly love, calm my fears and increase my trust in God’s loving care.  According to God’s plan, obtain for me the healing I need.  Intercede with your Son that I may have the strength I need to work for God’s glory and the salvation of the world.  Amen.

ICWI5212-397Immaculate Heart of Mary…  Father, you prepared the heart of the Virgin Mary to be a fitting home for your Holy Spirit.  By her prayers may we become… worthy temples of your glory.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Memorare…  Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me.  Amen.

November 29, 2012

I emailed Loren and Dotty to let them know I’d finally blogged about our time together in Baldwin.

Subject: Hello from Texas…

Howdy, howdy, you lovebirds, you!

We’ve been thinking of y’all a whole lot, as in really, really often a whole lot.

We hope you’ve been well.  And you most likely have been chasing your shadow busy, busy, busy.

I finally finished the last post about our trip (Apr 22-May 3), and the most recent post has us remembering our fantabulous times with you two beautiful people.  (Click to view what I wrote.)

Steven’s been working on his ACTS retreat materials… just finished printing them out, in fact… in preparation for the team’s retreat this upcoming Saturday and the full Thursday-Sunday men’s retreat at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center in Corpus Christi.  The ACTS retreat will be through St. Paul the Apostle in Flour Bluff.  We were parishioners there for two-and-
a-half years before returning to St. Joseph’s here.  So you could say that your “I’m #3” philosophy has reached another parish.

Know that we love you and that we think of you daily.  God bless y’all mucho, mucho, mucho.

TX-sized bear hugsss…
Deli & Steve

St. Anthony Guide

November 30, 2012

Then Loren left a comment.

What a wonderful job you did, but I’m sure you overstated a few things, like my singing. Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope you know that we love you very much and think of you often.

I have some bad news to tell you.  Please pray for Dotty.  She has cancer of the pancreas and liver, and they don’t give her much hope.  We found out about it two months ago. She just wants to sleep most of the time and can’t eat much. That’s why you haven’t heard from me.

I’m sure we’re not going to make down there this year. Too bad because we were really looking forward to seeing you wonderful people again.  But God has his plan, and we have to accept it.

December 1, 2012

With a hopeful, prayerful heart I responded the following day.

Dear Loren, y’all are such an endearing duo!  Vertitable gems in God’s treasure box.  We do so regret that you’re going through this very difficult time.

Lord, look on Dotty with eyes of mercy.  May your healing hand rest on her.  May your lifegiving powers flow into every cell of her body and into the depths of her soul, cleansing, purifying, restoring her to wholeness and strength for service in your kingdom.  Amen.

Please know that you and Dotty are in our forever thoughts and prayers, especially now.

We love you both and are sending lots of hugs your way!

February 3, 2013

On our way to bed I suddenly wanted to read more about Immaculate Conception Church in Hammond, so I stopped by my thoughtful spot to begin an online search.

“Oh, my gosh!  How can this be?” I said loudly enough that Steven walked back to the office.

“What?  What?”

“Dotty’s obituary!  Oh, my gosh!  Something told me to come here to look for the church, and look what I found instead!  How can this be?  How can this be?”

I immediately began a long email to Loren as Steven typed a heartfelt message on the mortuary’s site and then emailed our parish priest with the news.

We were crushed!

??????????

O loving Father and Savior,
send your angels to carry the soul of your servant, Dotty, from this earth
to the heavenly place of eternal and everlasting life.  
Let family and friends who have passed before in faith
be reunited in joy with the departed. 
Forgive any wrongs that have been committed,
and
welcome this beloved spirit
into the warm embrace of your unending peace.

Dear God, we give thanks and praise for Dotty’s wonderful life!

Links of interest…  Adoration prayer…  Blessed Virgin Mary (novena)…  Blessed Sacrament prayers (card / chaplet / importance / litany)…  Come pray the rosary (virtual)…  Divine Mercy chaplet (YouTube)…  Finding comfort (booklets as pdf files)…  How to pray the rosary (ten tips)…  Immaculate Conception Parish (Hammond, WI /
(St. Mary’s)…  Mary: beloved of the Trinity / celebrating May / corner / devotion / gate of heaven / litany / meditations / mother (of the church) / page prayers (miracles – more – novena – queen of angels) / untier of knots  Mothers’ prayers…  Silver Bison Ranch…  Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: adoration (rosary/Divine Mercy chaplet) / e-book / hymns (YouTube)…  the Word among us…  Worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass

WP posts…   Angels keeping watch…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Christ’s sacred heart
…  Concrete abstraction…  Faces of Mary…  Growing pains…  Heart of hearts…  Heart’s desire…  Historic nuggets…  Living one’s gifts…  Lourdes novenas…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  My Franciscan Crown…  Noon visit…  Our Lady…  Lady of sorrows…  Our Lady’s church…  Powerful intercessor (St. Peregrine)…  Prayerful ways…  Repeated prayers…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula (St. Anthony)…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Felix…  St. Monica…  Sweet Jesus

God’s master plan

Steven and I traveled to Detroit to visit Father Casey’s tomb, but we had no idea what to expect, much less which entrance to take into the building that encompassed the city block across the street from the gated cemetery.

Joseph

Taking photos in the dimly lit St. Bonaventure Church, I happened to look up and there he was.  St. Joseph!  I’d been so distracted emotionally that I’d failed to notice him sooner.

What surprises do you have in store for us today? I wondered with shivery excitement.

I smiled at the growing number of Joseph-related memories past, present, and future, including our church in Port Aransas, the Capuchin Province managing the Solanus Casey Center and its intricately connected buildings, and the Indian school we’d be visiting two days later in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  I felt so blessed, so happy to sense St. Joseph so near.

Shortly after Steven returned, I left for confession.  And, as he waited for me, a cordial young man offered him a guided tour.

“When my wife finishes, we’ll look for you,” Steven said gratefully.  He was quite surprised that anyone would care to make visitors feel so welcome.

After a little while, I rejoined Steven.  Then, as he told me about the invitation to tour the center, the young man returned all on his own.

And, wouldn’t you know it?  His name was Joseph.

Timely gift

For two-and-a-half hours we relished every moment of our genuinely heartfelt, specially customized “pilgrimage” with Joseph Taylor, Capuchin aspirant.  We talked, laughed, and related to each other as friends sharing priceless stories.

I wanted to remember everything he told us because I wanted to write about our time at the Center.

“May I record your talk?”

Joseph laughed.  No one had asked him that before.

“Sure.”

So this is an excerpt from the edited version.

Three C’s

“Let’s go outside,” Joseph said as he led us through the glass door.

“Oh, my goodness.  It’s beautiful out here!” I gushed.

“This is where a tour usually starts,” Joseph continued.  “This is called the Creation Garden for a few reasons.  Before I explain, let me say that the Center itself focuses on three things: the Capuchins, which is the Order that Solanus Casey belonged to; Christ, of course, Jesus Christ; and Solanus Casey.  So you have three C’s.”

Canticle creations

“Here in the Creation Garden the idea is that St. Francis was totally different from a lot of priests.  He believed that you should love not only God with your whole heart, but also God’s creations.

“A lot of Franciscan monasteries have a place like this where you can blend in the Creation, God’s creation, with everything that you’re doing.  That’s the whole idea.

“St. Francis wrote The Canticle of the Sun.  As you can see, the little frame beside each sculpture displays part of the actual poem.  St. Francis mentions the sun, so we have a sundial.  He mentions the moon, so there are the four phases of the moon.  Brother Sun, Sister Moon.  He wrote about fire, so you have Brother Fire there and Brother Wind, the chimes.  Over here is Sister Mother Earth, and these are Sister Bodily Death and Sister Water.”

               

                

                 

“St. Francis wanted to show the various cultures that the Franciscans work with, so each was asked to contribute something different.  For instance, African-Americans from Nigeria designed the wind chimes.

“Now, this obelisk represents water and bears scriptures from the Koran.  When people visit the garden, they look at the sculpture and get a bit confused.

“‘This is a Catholic place.  What’s the Koran, and how does it fit in?’ they wonder.

“The idea is to show that Abraham is the father of the three different religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Similarly, water is a unifier that brings to mind the four rivers mentioned in the Old Testament.”

Then, the Lord God planted a garden in Eden….  A river rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches.  The name of the first is the Pishon; it is the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.  The name of the second river is the Gihon; it is the one that winds all through the land of Cush.  The name of the third river is the Tigris; it is the one that flows east of Asshur.  The fourth river is the Euphrates (Genesis 2:8, 10-11, 13-14).

St. Francis

“You probably know all this already about St. Francis, but I’m going to talk about it a little bit.  Is that okay?

“Oh, I would love to hear whatever you have to say, Joseph,” I replied.

“Okay, so here’s St. Francis, a poor rich kid.  He does pretty much what he wants to do.  As he gets older, his parents expect more from him.  One of the greatest expectations is for him to be a knight; so, when he comes of age, his parents insist that he join the crusades.  Again, he comes from this wealthy family; so, of course, a lot of what he has is better than what other soldiers have.

“The family has a big parade and a big party for Francis before he goes off to battle.  Only he doesn’t do well on the field.  Francis gets beaten up and becomes a prisoner of war.  His father hears about it and goes off to rescue his son.

“In order to get his son, he has to pay not only for his son’s release, but also for all the other prisoners.  He purchases the prisoners’ freedom.  Then he brings Francis back and leaves him on the outskirts of town.  The father wants Francis to build character, so he can return to war.

“This is the first time Francis has seen the dark side of the world, and he doesn’t like it.  He comes from a rich family, so he’s pretty much gotten everything he’s wanted.  Being a loving man, Francis doesn’t want to fight.  Instead, he wants to show the Muslims the true presence of Christ.

“Francis refuses to obey his father, so he’s disowned.  Francis moves out into the wilderness and starts a life of his own.”

Passages

“Of course, the story continues.  St. Francis and his band of brothers go in search of the Islamists to tell them about the true Christ.  When he reaches the leader of the sect, Francis says that war is not of Christ.

“‘We should be brothers and keep the peace.’

“The Islamists, in turn, tell Francis and his band of brothers, ‘Look, we were told to kill you.  That’s our job, to kill Christians.  We should kill you; but, since you so courageously sought us out to share your religious beliefs, we’ll give you safe passage in any Muslim country you choose to travel.’

“For this reason, Sister Water honors the Muslims.  In return for the privilege of passage, Francis honors Muslims with passages from the Koran on the sculpture in his Creation Garden.

“And, even today, Franciscan brothers travel within the various Muslim countries without difficulty.”

Examining the water sculpture, I wondered aloud, “Each one of the sides is different, right?  Or it continues?  Is it a sentence?”

“I’m not sure,” Joseph responded.

StF112312In 1219, as the Fifth Crusade was being fought, Francis crossed enemy lines to gain an audience with Malik al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt.  The two talked of war and peace and faith and when Francis returned home, he proposed that his Order of the Friars Minor live peaceably among the followers of Islam— a revolutionary call at a moment when Christendom pinned its hopes for converting Muslims on the battlefield (Moses, 2009).

“Sooo…  What got you interested in doing this?” I asked.

Joseph’s story

“For the most part, I don’t want to stray too far from here,” Joseph began.

“My mother was the first to become a Catholic in her family, and she took pretty much all her brothers and sisters to St. Rose when she was in her teens.  The church is a mile down the road.

“St. Rose was in the process of being closed; so Father Dave, a Capuchin priest, was asked to take over.  Then, when St. Rose closed, we followed Father Dave to his home parish at St. Charles, which had lots of Capuchins.

“As we got to know the Capuchins, we learned not only about St. Charles, but also about St. Bonaventure and a few other churches.  So that’s when the friendship started.”

Joseph then told us how he and his siblings had come to know Father Casey.

“My mom, who’s very, very big on saints, is a very spiritual person.  She first heard the story of Solanus Casey at a point when she couldn’t have kids.  She would come to Father Casey’s tomb, his casket, quite often; so that was part of it.  Then my father became ill after he retired from the police force.  He used a cane, so a few of his buddies would bring him to the healing services every Wednesday.  He would pray all the time.  After that, my sister, the girl over at the front desk, was asked to come work; so she applied for a job.  When she started working, that brought us, the younger crowd, to the Center more.  Then, as the Center became more popular and needed personnel to work weekends, I was asked to be a tour guide.”

“And you’ve been here doing this how long?”

“I’ve been here since January, but I’ve been coming to the Center since it opened in 2002.  This is the first time I’ve been totally active at the Center, though.  During the week, I teach math to seventh-graders in a predominantly Hispanic school; so I do this on weekends.”

“And your dad?  How is he doing?”

“He passed away in 2008.  He suffered from a number of illnesses.  He had high blood pressure and diabetes and eventually went blind.  It was sad because he’d been a cop for thirty-one years, and he had all these plans to take a cruise and do a lot of traveling; but his health immediately declined as soon as he retired.  A lot of his buddies, as soon as they retired, got very, very ill.  Quite a few passed away.

“My dad was very active here at the Solanus Casey Center.  Every Wednesday he would come to the healing services.  He’s in a video on Solanus Casey.  My mom would watch the video on EWTN, so we’d see our father on TV.”

“Oh, my goodness!” I enthused, totally caught up in the story.  “So he’s alive forever!

“The video is pretty awesome!” Joseph chuckled, reveling at the thought.

We stood there quietly beaming for a few moments until I remembered that Joseph hadn’t yet told us about the last sculpture.

“Oh, were you were going to explain one last thing?” I asked.

Life and death

“Yes.  This is Sister Bodily Death.” Joseph continued.  “St. Francis wrote about life; so a lot of people ask, ‘Where does death fit in?’

“Francis believed that through death you meet Christ.  That’s why he mentioned death last in his poem.  What’s unique is that this piece of burnt tree is from Iowa, not too far from where Solanus Casey and his family lived.  I believe it’s four-thousand years old, and this limestone is almost a million years old.  The wood’s kind of pointing toward the center, since that’s where the journey actually starts.  When I read about death in the poem, I couldn’t grasp it; but now I understand.”

“Wow!  See?  I didn’t know any of that!” I said to Joseph as we made our way back into the building.  “It means a lot to hear your stories.”

Hello, goodbye

As Joseph stepped behind the welcome desk, he introduced his beloved sister with pride.

Like her brother, Jessica was all smiles and just as sweet.  She was also glad, though in no hurry, to break for lunch as Joseph had anticipated.

“We’ll be back another time!” I chirped as we wistfully said our goodbyes.

“Just keep me in your prayers,” Joseph added, his Cheshire cat grin piquing our curiosity.

“Oh?  Something special coming up?” Steven teased.

“Yesterday morning I submitted my application to the Capuchins, so I’m hoping they’ll accept me.”

“Joseph, that’s great news!” I said excitedly.

“Of course, you’ll be accepted!” Steven asserted.

“We’ll definitely keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.  I’ll write when we get back to Texas.  Thanks so much for being here for us today!”

God’s master plan

Knowing that Steven and I were on an emotional roller coaster ride, God, in his infinite wisdom, surrounded us with wonderful people, including Wilson (in the striped sweater) and his Uncle Jeff whom we met in church, and gifted us with his goodness and mercy.

SCC42812-151a           

Through the expeditious intercessions of both Father Casey and St. Joseph, we were mentally refreshed and spiritually uplifted, too.  Yet, Joseph was the charm.

The stories of Father Casey, St. Francis, and Joseph’s family helped us look beyond ourselves to acknowledge God’s gifts, his amazing creations, and appreciate all we have together.

Our visit to Father Casey’s tomb that day was such an important chapter in our book of life that we give thanks and praise not only for God’s master plan for us, but also for Joseph’s acceptance into the Capuchin Order and the journey he’s just begun.

       

       

       

Canticle of the sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!  All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.  To you alone, Most High, do they belong.  No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord, Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him.  And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!  Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air and clouds and storms and all the weather through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful and humble and precious and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire through whom you brighten the night.  He is beautiful and cheerful and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you, through those who endure sickness and trial.  Happy those who endure in peace; for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death from whose embrace no living person can escape.  Woe to those who die in mortal sin!  Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.  The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord and give thanks and serve him with great humility.

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Contact information

Prayer leaflets are from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

December 18, 2012

Thank you, Jesus, for the witness of St. Joseph.  By your Spirit, make me as faithful and trusting as he was! (the Word among us, Advent 2012, p. 44).

January 2, 2014

As always, we’re delighted to no end anytime we hear about Joseph through Mary Comfort at the Solanus Casey Guild; his sister, Jessica; and/or from Joseph himself.  He and his family, along with the Capuchins and their associates at the Solanus Casey Center, are in our thoughts and prayers daily.  (Father Ugo Sartorio, OFM-Conv at
St. Anthony’s Basilica in Padua is praying for Joseph, too.)

We’re so very proud of Joseph that we get misty-eyed with every bit of news about him.  The photo on the left was received August 2, 2013; the one on the right, January 2, 2014.

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Merry Christmas.  I haven’t forgotten about you guys.  They keep us really busy here.  Thanks for your support.  Br. Joseph

P.S. Hey, Steve!!

Thank you for heeding the call of service, Brother Joseph!

January 19, 2014

Lord, show me where my obedience falls short of your plans for me.  Teach me to trust in you completely (the Word among us, January 2014, p. 40).

January 26, 2014

“Spiritual joy arises from purity of the heart and perseverance in prayer” (St. Francis of Assisi).

May 1, 2014

In response to Father Larry’s reflection today, Steven wrote the following:

Fr. Larry,

Deli and I were there at the Center April 9 and 10 for the Wednesday healing service and Thursday Day of Reflection.  As always, we were captured emotionally and spiritually by the serenity that abides in the Center.  We also met some of the most beautiful people there, including Sidney, a young man physically challenged by an auto accident when he was a baby, but whose outlook is positive and faith-based.  It was particularly nice to finally meet Mary Comfort in person— a perfect name for someone in her position, as I am sure you are aware.  She has always been so kind and helpful in providing Deli with relic badges for us to provide to others who need intercession and spiritual uplift.

Thank you for your description of the events in St. Peter’s Square last Saturday.  Your tale brought the event to life for me.  I had the opportunity to be present at a General Audience with John Paul II in 2001— I still have my invitation, now framed and hung in our home.  I wear a replica of the crucifix fixed atop his ferula (that I obtained at the Vatican), and it now reminds me that I have been privileged to hear a Saint speak.  Truly you are blessed to have shaken hands with His Holiness and conversed directly with him.

May God bless you and the staff at the Center; all of the Friars and Brothers; Capuchins throughout the world, both ordained and seminarian (especially Joseph Taylor); and the faithful who ask, seek, and knock.

Vivat Jesus!

Steve Lanoux
Solanus Casey Guild life member

May 24, 2014

This photo is from the letter received from Brother John Celichowski with the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.  (Brother Joseph is on the right.)

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May 29, 2014

Oh, my gosh!  Great news!!!

Father Larry’s reflection, “New Capuchin,” arrived this morning.

Fr. Larry gave classes recently to the 21 Capuchin Novices from the US at the Novitiate in California.  Among them is Br. Joseph Taylor who, for several months, worked as our weekend assistant at the Solanus Casey Center.  His sister Jessica is one of our receptionists. Brother Joseph will finish his Novitiate and make his first vows as a Capuchin in July.  Keep him and all the Novices in your prayers as well as praying for more Capuchin Vocations!

Joseph, we’re so over-the-moon happy for you and your family!

June 1, 2014

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.  Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.  Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.  Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt (St. Francis of Assisi).

October 4, 2014

Every day Jesus humbles himself just as he did when he came from his heavenly throne into the Virgin’s womb; every day he comes to us and lets us see him in abjection when he descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar (St. Francis of Assisi).

Let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind (St. Francis of Assisi).

May 8, 2015

“By the anxieties and worries of this life Satan tries to dull man’s heart and make a dwelling for himself there” (St. Francis of Assisi).

June 23, 2015

“All a person’s holiness, perfection, and profit lies in doing God’s will perfectly”
(St. Joseph Cafasso).

September 27, 2015

“A single act of resignation to the divine will in what it ordains contrary to our desires is of more value than a hundred thousand successes conformable to our will and taste” (St. Vincent de Paul).

March 8, 2016

“Have charity first towards our own souls, cleansing them by confession and penance; then charity towards our neighbors and our brethren, wishing them that which we desire ourselves” (St. John of God).

April 21, 2017

The [Franciscan] order was founded by a layman, Francis of Assisi, who was never ordained a priest.  The charism of the order was not tied to ordination, but to a life of following the Gospel in a radical way (Hermann Schaluck, OFM general minister, 1994; Friars of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, 2017: 1097, p. 3).

June 18, 2017

Most high, glorious God, enlighten the shadows of our hearts; and grant to us a right faith, a certain hope, and perfect charity so that we may accomplish your holy will.  As we walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, give us a spirit of poverty and humility so that we may be united with Jesus, your son, in joy and in peace (Stephen J. Binz in Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions).

July 13, 2017

That is very simply what a pilgrim does: walk.  And it is the way the pilgrim prays, with his or her feet.  And the feet walk through dark clouds to illumination to the light that is holy action.  Through dark, cloud-filled days to a hint of subtle lightening to the sun breaking through, the feet taking us where we least thought we’d go, where before we had thought darkness dwelt, and finding there instead, in bright sunlight, the broken, the poor, the marginal, those made ugly or disfigured by abuse and oppression and woundedness.  We are changed simply by walking, rain or shine, toward and back from whatever shrine we had thought contained our hope and longing.  We walk back toward what was there all along that we could not see (Murray Bodo in Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality).

Links of interest…  American Catholic: Honoring God’s creation…  Canticle of the Sun: about / prayer / video (YouTube)…  Capuchin Franciscans: blog / ministries / novices (men in formation / new) / website / weekly re:cap (Joseph: #927, 9.7.12)…  Celebrating 800 years in the Holy LandDivine Mercy & the grace of holiness…  Father Abraham: about / family / lyrics / music & craft / our father / song (YouTube; alternate)…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotional saintslight a candle / prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / saint & prayer of the month / who we are…  Franciscan idea of ministry that has much to say to deacons / saints calendar (more)…  Garden of Creation (videos)…  How I made friends with St. Joseph / the scallop shell became a symbol of pilgrimage…  Saint & the sultan: book / encounter of peace between Christians & Muslimsfifth crusade / forgotten incident / historical resource / reflection (blog) / what can be learned…  Simple holiness: A day in the life of a Capuchin Franciscan novice…  Solanus Casey Center: creation garden (YouTube) / guild / home / photo gallery / shrine / sister water / virtual tour…  St. Francis of Assisi: 10+ ideas for kids / about / & answering God’s call / creation & original innocence / ecology & animals / getting to know the real / national shrine / what we can learn / who was / without gloss…  St. Joseph: helps (blog) / in Franciscan theology…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  Holy relics…  Memory lane…  Mercy and justice…  Morning exchanges…  Promise of hope…  Quiet prayer time…  San Giuseppe…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Today’s Beatitudes

Mercy and justice

The Solanus Casey Center was so special that I wanted to capture as much as possible to keep me going until we return to Detroit.  We started at St. Bonaventure Church, walked through the arched doorway to Father Casey’s coffin, and thoroughly delighted in the spacious hallway that waited to be explored.

Our time at the Center was “a pilgrimage, not a tour” (Joseph Taylor); an exultant, transformational experience; a spiritual journey that continues even today.

               

       

           

       

       

Mercy and justice

“Each of the saints on the glass wall is an example of a life dedicated to these twin virtues:” mercy and justice (Solanus Casey Center, n. d.).  Shown below are Clare of Assisi, Katharine Drexel, Elizabeth of Hungary, Francis of Assisi, Joseph the Just, Martin de Porres, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, respectively.

               

               

               

Displayed on the wall opposite the saint etchings overlooking the tau garden are the Works of Mercy.

The seven corporal works of mercy relate to the material needs of others: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, and burying the dead.

The seven spiritual works of mercy relate to the spiritual needs of others: instructing the ignorant (about Christian practices), counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead.

               

               

               

               

               

Blessing for justice and peace from Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine (Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005)

May God bless you with discomfort… at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths , and superficial relationships.  May God bless you so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger… at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.  May God bless you so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears… to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.  May God bless you so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.  And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do but in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly speak out about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians, unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners, and senseless wars, genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember we are all called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

July 29, 2014

Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul.  Lord, you are good and forgiving, most merciful to all who call on you (Psalm 86:4-5).

August 16, 2014

“Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice'” (St. Stephen of Hungary).

September 16, 2014

Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity.  Let us, on both sides of death, always pray for one another.  Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love that, if one of us by the swiftness of divine condescension shall go, hence the first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord; and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy (St. Cyprian).

December 15, 2014

Think well.  Speak well.  Do well.  These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to heaven (St. Camillus de Lellis).

November 13, 2015

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves (1 Peter 2:15-16).

December 7, 2015

Mercy is a good thing, for it makes men perfect in that it imitates the perfect Father.  Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy (St. Ambrose).

January 12, 2016

The true efficacy of our works depends upon our interior life, and the true worth of a soul is the worth of its interior life; for a soul’s worth is in direct proportion to the intimacy and intensity of its relations with God.  The interior life is the chief, the most important, and the most efficacious element of the spiritual life.  It is the one thing necessary (Archbishop Luis M. Martinez in Worshipping a Hidden God).

February 8, 2016

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy.  It is wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace (Pope Francis).

April 26, 2016

“At that day of judgment we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done” (Thomas à Kempis).

May 9, 2016

“Be on such cordial terms with those under you that, when you are all together, it would be impossible to say which is the superior” (St. Vincent de Paul).

June 10, 2016

“The less we have here the more shall we enjoy in God’s kingdom, where the mansion of each is proportioned to the love with which he shall have imitated Jesus Christ”
(St. Teresa of Ávila).

September 7, 2016

God is truly humble.  He comes down and uses instruments as weak and imperfect as we are.  He deigns to work through us… to use you and me for his great work (St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta in The Love that Made Mother Teresa).

October 6, 2016

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” (Benjamin Franklin).

March 31, 2017

Most High, Glorious God, in our times of suffering, may we follow the example of Jesus; but may we also serve as a source of comfort and consolation to others in their suffering.  May we never let the fear of suffering stand in the way of our calling to love and work for justice.  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus).

June 3, 2017

Pray always, but not in order to convince the Lord by dint of words!  He knows our needs better than we do! Indeed persevering prayer is the expression of faith in a God who calls us to fight with him every day and at every moment in order to conquer evil with good (Pope Francis in Angelus, October 2013).

June 26, 2017

To love, we must be able to enact love, and we must be able to do it day in and day out in our work.  It is this love that will guide us away from the carelessness that leads us to the destruction of the world and our neighbors through our everyday, middle-class existence of buying plastics, fertilizing lawns, eating cheap food, and driving to soccer practices.

It is love that will ultimately move us toward being good and therefore doing good.  “In order to be good, you have to know how,” writes Wendell Berry, “and this knowing is vast, complex, humble and humbling; it is of the mind and of the hands, of neither alone.”  It is knowledge that requires a spirit and a body and so brings us necessarily to the question of livelihood (Ragan Sutterfield in Wendell Berry and the Given Life).

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Links of interest…  After 1967: Detroit Catholics worked to overcome sins of racism…  Beatitudes: Jesus Christ Savior / Matthew 5:1-12 / New Advent / Tripod / Wikipedia / YouTube…  Being merciful…  Call of service: A witness to idealism: book review / preview / servant leadership / spirituality & practice / summary…  Confirmation…  Corporal works of mercy: ideas for your summer bucket list & in the home…  Dorothy Day as seen by her granddaughter / biography / the model you want…  Fifth Beatitude: Mercy…  Focus (blog – pope alarm)…  Gifts & fruits of the Holy Spirit (Bible verses)…  Instrument of peace (song, YouTube)…  Irish priests’ statement calls for free, open discussion of church’s exclusion of women…  Let your works profess your faith…  Live out divine mercy…  Mercy: embraced / gardener’s reflectionjustice / mission / models: Dorothy Day & St. Francis…  Oasis of Mercy: Boston mall chapel relics…  Pope Francis: mercy & justice / “Padre Pio was a servant of mercy“…  Ransoming for Christ: The story of two daring religious orders…  Saintly former slave a model of mercy…  St. Bonaventure’s prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit…  Virtues…  Was Jesus a community organizer…  Why it matters that God is justice & mercy…  Works of Mercy: catechist’s journey / Catholic kids / confirmed in the Spirit / corporal & spiritualdaily Catholic / divine mercy / doing good / faithful scribbler / first papal message for creationfumbling toward grace / fish eaters / link to liturgy / living the liturgical yearLoyola Press / practicing the spiritual / Wikipedia

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  God’s master plan…  Memory lane…  Promise of hope…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Today’s Beatitudes

Today’s Beatitudes

Spending time at St. Bonaventure Church and Father Casey’s tomb was truly emotional for me.  I cried so much my eyes were squinty but I laughed and smiled a lot, too.

Then, for two and a half hours Joseph Taylor, our young, charismatic, self-appointed guide, treated Steven and me to an unforgettable “pilgrimage” that concluded with the historic yet familiar depictions of the modern-day Beatitudes at the Solanus Casey Center.

Ask, seek, knock.

For more than three years I’d envisioned myself at Father Casey’s tomb, so imagine the sensory overload once there!

Oh, my gosh!  How special to discover three very powerful words from one of my favorite Bible verses etched on the glass door leading to the Beatitudes!

Ask, and you will receive.  Seek, and you will find.  Knock, and it will be opened to you.  For the one who asks, receives.  The one who seeks, finds.  The one who knocks, enters.  If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks him! (Matthew 7:7-8, 11).

Memories

While resizing photos for this post yesterday, I searched for Beatitudes online and found references to Matthew, chapter five, not only as verses one through ten, but also as one through twelve.

Hmm.  I reached for my Bible to clear up the discrepancy.

Seeing the Beatitudes on the page, my mind went off on a tangent.  Father Pat gave each of us in his high school CCE class a copy of the New Testament, so we became quite familiar with the gospel readings.  But why did the title, the “Sermon on the Mount,” not ring a bell?

The ol’ pea brain suddenly exploded with a plethora of memories that included the women’s ACTS retreat, March 29 through April 1, 2012.

ACTS retreat

After I registered for the retreat, I pestered Steven off and on.  “Is confession required?  Why do I have to go to confession with someone I don’t know?”  I was seriously, rebelliously, thrown aback by the notion of having to confess to someone other than our parish priest.

Steven was so tired of my whining that he finally said, “Look, if you don’t want to do it, don’t.”  Of course, he also added, “Everyone else will do it, but you don’t have to.”

Hmm.  I could read between the lines, but fine.

The retreat was too noisy for me.  I wanted some quiet time alone to rest before our next group activity.  The ice-cold temperature in our dorm the night before had kept me from sleeping, but napping was out of the question.  I’d be wide awake again that night and even more mentally drained the next morning.

I’ll lie down and read the “Sermon on the Mount.” 

Two months prior Father Xaviour had summarized the passage in one of his homilies.  “For all the answers to all your questions just look to the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew, chapter five, especially if you want to make a good confession,” he’d told us.

I’d been clueless— a tabula rasa— on hearing the title, so I’d vowed to read and find out what I’d missed.

Opening my Bible to Matthew 5:1-12, I smiled.  There in all their glory were the Beatitudes, cherished nuggets, heralding chapters five, six, and seven, the familiar teachings of Jesus.

But the title…  How could my eyes have glossed over the title all these years?

The team leaders began rounding up the group.  Still immersed in my thoughts, I closed my Bible and walked to our meeting place.  I felt refreshed and energized… until the unexpected happened.

Oh, my gosh!  Confession time!  Why?  How do I get out of it? 

I was angry.  I was upset.  I didn’t know what to do.  Finally, I got up to look for one of the team leaders I knew.  Quietly, I spoke into her ear, “If I’d known I had to do this, I wouldn’t have come.”

“It’s okay.  You don’t have to do it.  Just go sit down.  It’s all right,” she reassured me.

It’s all right. 

The words registered as a text tail on an electronic marquee.

My friend’s soft voice was so soothing that, without giving confession a second thought, I walked over to sit beside the woman who was next in line.  I was cool, calm, and collected as I waited.  Then, when my turn came, I simply walked into the makeshift confessional.  I was so filled with gratitude that I didn’t even worry about what to say.

During our talk the SOLT priest and I had an amazing dialogue.  We even gifted each other with heartfelt epiphanies.

“Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!” I exclaimed afterwards.

As I exited the confessional I felt empowered.  Wholly exhilarated and light on my feet, I also had an open invitation to Our Lady of Corpus Christi for Mass and confession anytime at all.

Afterthoughts

For some time God had been whispering…  Ask.  Seek.  Knock.  Yet, my refusal to let go had kept me from opening the door.

Why I’d made a mountain out of a mole hill I have no idea, but God never gave up.  He used a familiar voice to whisper his message: It’s all right. 

Then, having been liberated from my misguided notions, I entered and received God’s healing grace.

One-two-three punch

Still, I have to wonder about God’s sense of humor in regard to his lovely favors.  Even when we internalize the message, God checks for understanding.  Through subtle hints or hard konks on the head he seems to say, “I still remember.  Do you?

Take yesterday, for instance.  We arrived a bit early for the All Saints vigil; so Steven and I sat with our dear friends, Carmen and Carlos.  We conversed as quietly as we could about Father Casey and the Solanus Center before Father Xaviour rang the bell for us to rise for the start of Mass.

Imagine my delight when Father’s gospel reading was the “Sermon on the Mount!”

I smiled for the remainder of Mass, then talked nonstop on our drive home about the timeliness of my blog post.

Today’s Beatitudes

To God everything’s a teachable moment, impeccably delicious, perfectly timed.  The Beatitudes are not only part of the “Sermon on the Mount,” but also a universal lesson and, certainly, a memorable anecdote in my book of life.

Moreover, the Beatitudes at the Solanus Casey Center are true-life depictions of eight extraordinary individuals celebrated for all time: Dorothy Day (Poor in spirit; 1897-1980); Jean Donovan (Mourn; 1953-1980); Takashi Nagai (Non-violent; 1908-1951); Clement Kern (Justice; 1907-1983); Teresa of Calcutta (Merciful; 1910-1997); Catherine de Hueck Doherty (Pure of heart; 1896-1985); Martin Luther King, Jr. (Peacemakers; 1929-1968); and Oscar Romero (Suffer persecution; 1917-1980), respectively.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12)

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.  He began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.  Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Steps to sainthood

“When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory,” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153).

               

               

October 10, 2013

Father, give me more of your spirit so that I will keep asking, seeking, and knocking for your kingdom.  As I do, give me a revelation of who Jesus is and how much he loves all of us (the Word among us, October 2013, p. 30).

March 30, 2014

“Don’t forget that the saint is not the person who never falls but, rather, the one who never fails to get up again, humbly and with a holy stubbornness” (St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer).

May 7, 2014

“You will become a saint by complying exactly with your daily duties” (St. Mary Joseph Rosello).

August 10, 2014

“It is indeed more through suffering and persecution than through eloquent preaching, that God wills to establish his kingdom in souls” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

November 15, 2014

“The greater and more persistent your confidence in God, the more abundantly you will receive all that you ask” (St. Albert the Great).

March 17, 2015

The saint does not view sacrifice as an executioner with a sword who will take away his life, but as a yoke that is sweet and a burden that is light.  The devout do not hate life because life hates them or because they have drunk of its dregs and found them bitter, but because they love God more; and, in loving God more, they dislike anything that would tear him away (Venerable Fulton J. Sheen).

March 25, 2015

Overmuch sorrow makes the door of the confessional heavy to open, for fear that a voice inside will be as hard and cold as the shrill modern sirens that led so many to physical and moral death.  But when the door is opened, there is “joy in the presence of the angels of God” (Fr. George W. Rutler, 2015).

March 27, 2015

All hope consists in confession.  In confession there is a chance for mercy.  Believe it firmly.  Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God.  Hope and have confidence in confession (St. Isidore of Seville).

Remember, every saint had a past and every sinner has a future” (Fr. Robert Barron).

May 4, 2015

Sin is a blazing fire.  The less fuel you give it, the faster it dies down; the more you feed it, the more it burns” (St. Mark the Ascetic).

May 5, 2015

Do you really want to be a saint?  Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

December 10, 2015

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less” (C. S. Lewis).

December 11, 2015

Whatever mission God gives us, no matter how common it may appear, carries within it our potential sainthood.  What God asks of us during our lifetime is the most appropriate and suitable means to our growth in holiness— whether our lives remain ordinary or take an extraordinary turn (Julie Onderko, Discover Your Next Mission From God).

January 14, 2016

You must be willing, for the love of God, to suffer all things, namely labors and sorrows, temptations and vexations, anxieties, necessities, sickness, injuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusion, correction, and contempt.  These things help to obtain virtue; these try a novice of Christ; these procure a heavenly crown (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ Challoner).

May 6, 2016

You don’t need to wallow in guilt.  Wallow in the mercy of God.  When you are guilty, say so to God through a confessor.  Acknowledge your problems and sins.  The moment you have stated them, God puts his hand over you and you are a newborn babe (St. John Marie Vianney).

July 13, 2016

“The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better” (Pope Francis).

August 9, 2016

Remember that, each time you pick yourself up after a fall, the feast of the prodigal son is renewed.  Your Father in heaven clothes you again in his most beautiful cloak, puts a ring on your finger, and tells you to dance with joy.  In a living faith you will not approach the confessional with dragging feet, but as if you were going to a feast (Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbée, I Believe in Love).

August 30, 2016

“In our joys, in our troubles, in the contempt that others show us, we must always say ‘thank you, my God’ or ‘glory to God’” (St. Jeanne Jugan).

March 1, 2017

Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you’ve gone to confession— God is waiting to meet you there.  Don’t settle for ashes alone when you can receive absolution and a fresh start! (St. Teresa of Calcutta in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

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Links of interest…  Beatitudes: according to MatthewBible / for kids / fostering love in the home / Jesus Christ Savior / man of the eight beatitudes (Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati) / New Advent / on film: love lifts us up / Tripod / way of life / Wikipedia / YouTube…  Call of service: A witness to idealism: book review / preview / servant leadership / spirituality & practice / summary…  Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph: ministries / weekly re:cap…  Catherine de Hueck Doherty: about (more) / book / foundress / poem / poustinia: desert (book) / servant of God (videos) / sobornost: unity (video) / spirituality…  Church of the Beatitudes (Josemaría Escrivá – Opus Dei)…  Clement Kern: Conscience of Detroit (more) / “labor priest” / papers (more – photo) / priest & pastor (more) / statue…  Confession: combating pride / easier than stepping on the scale / God’s healing mercy / light’s on for you / sacrament…  Dorothy Day: about / & Mother Teresa & the 5-finger gospel / saint for our time – like you & me / worker movement (model for the church)…  Franciscan saints calendar…  Jean Donovan: about (more) / life & example / martyrdom (more) / movie…  Learn to heal painful memories…  Martin Luther King, Jr: about / center / civil rights movement / life in photos / peace prize / quotes…  Oscar Romero: about / biography / last sermon (1980) / literature / martyr / peace hero (outspoken) / prayer / quote (homily) / saint effort “unblocked” (long tangled path) / seven sermons (Lent) / step along the way (prayer)…  Rosa Parks…  Sainthood: declaring someone a saint / ever wonder how a saint is made / odds on becoming a saintpatron saint list (more – more) / promoting / what is (more)  / who is a saint / why we love the saints / why miracles should remain a requirement for canonization…  Scripture speaks: Can we be perfect / Christ’s assurance…  Sermon on the Mount…  Solanus Casey Center: Beatitude people  (videos) / home / shrine / virtual tour…  St. Augustine’s commentary on the Sermon on the Mount…  St. Francis de Sales’ guide to reconciliation…  Takashi Nagai: about / all that remains (blog) / books / conversion & love / familylessons / Nagasaki: memorial museum / no more / song (book)…  Teresa of Calcutta: about (more) / biography (more) / center / peace prize / road to sainthood (more) / saint of light, saint of darkness…  Tips on how to confess well…  Vatican doctors approve the miracle to make Wojtyla a saint…  the Word among us…  Yelling in the confessional? Yes, that was me

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Holy relics…  Honoring Joselito (St. José Luis Sánchez del Río)…  Mercy and justice…  Quiet prayer time…  Si quaeris miracula…  Solano, Solanus, Solani (Venerable Father Casey)…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Then and now…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)

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