St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Letter of Spiritual Counsel, St. John of the Cross

Jesus be in your soul, my daughter in Christ.
In reading your letter I felt sorry for you in your affliction, and I grieve over it because of the harm it can do to your spirit and even your health. But you ought to know that I don't think you should be as afflicted as you are. For I do not see in Our Father any kind of dissatisfaction with you or even any recollection of such a thing. And even if he may have had some, now with your repentance it would be lessened. I will take care to speak well of the matter. Do not be troubled or pay any attention to this, for you have no reason to. I certainly believe it is a temptation the devil brings to your mind so that what should be employed in God is taken up with this.

Be courageous, my daughter, and give yourself greatly to prayer, forgetting this thing and that, for after all we have no other good or security or comfort than this, for after having left all for God, it is right that we not long for support or comfort in anything but him, and it is still a great mercy....."

Fray John of the Cross

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Opus Sanctorum Angelorum: Work of the Holy Angels

"From the very beginning our Lord exhorted His disciples to pray the Father to send laborers into the harvest (Mt 9:39). St. Paul, in turn, implored the prayers of the faithful for himself (cf. 1 Thess 5:25; Rom 15:30, etc.), mindful surely that even as a priest, he carried the treasure of divine grace in a vessel of clay (cf. 2 Cor 4:7).

Current scandals in the priesthood recall to our minds that prayers for priests are urgently needed. To this we may also add a spirit of sacrifice and reparation. "Lord," we may be inclined to ask, "did you not sow good seeds in your field? How then does it have weed?" (Mt 13:27). In good part, the bad seed that the enemy has sown is a spirit of worldliness, pleasure and comfort that led to a break down in sexual morals to the break down of the family which, in turn, went to seed in still greater sexual perversity and spiritual blindness. A band aid will not remedy the situation; what is needed is a deep and genuine conversion of hearts by the people of God, beginning, hopefully, with the priests. To this end we wish to implore the merciful Father for the sake of His Son." (click this LINK for more; excerpt from the Work of the Holy Angels "Spiritual Adoption Program.")

What a great website and apostolate this article comes from:
Opus Sanctorum Angelorum.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Saint John's Eve

The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptizer (24 June), aka St. John's Day, is one of the quarter days, four Catholic holidays at the beginning of each season of the year, which were communally celebrated during the Age of Faith. The other quarter days are Christmas, Lady Day (Annunciation) and Michaelmas (Sept 29).

The Forerunner of the Messiah is a very important saint; Eastern Christians consider him the greatest saint after the Holy Mother of God (though Western Christians tend to give that distinction to St. Joseph). Our Lord once said of His cousin: "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Mt. 11:11).

St. John himself humbly understood that his role was to prepare the way for Christ, and then to step aside. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). How fitting it is that his feast should fall during the time when the days begin to slowly decrease, after the summer solstice. (follow this LINK to more)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fray John of the Cross

Author, Dom Hubert van Zeller in Holiness for Housewives, suggests all the Carmelite mystics for spiritual reading.* (I might add: for the women, mothers, housewives he his writing to; he also has a more specific list of books). Recently, I began to read a wonderful collection of Saint John of the Cross. This particular book can be found at the Institute of Carmelite Studies. Titled: The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D., revised edition (1991). Includes general and biblical index.

One of the sections I seem most intrigued with is Fray John's spiritual counsel letters. How it seems he is speaking to me in this day and age. Certainly timeless wisdom; what a grace of spiritual direction God abundantly blessed him with. I had to chuckle in telling the priest whom I seek counsel with on occasion, why doesn't he address me in his letters like Saint John did his directees?.....they generally began something like: "Jesus be in your soul my daughter in Christ (or sister in Christ)...." What's with the Dear Denise? :)

One special maxim that seems to occur frequently in Fray John's letters is that of God ordaining all....God allows what is happening, because he ordains it to be with eternal happiness in mind; the salvation of our souls, heaven as the goal.

I'll try to post an example of one of these spiritual counsel letters another time.

God bless you!

Monday, June 19, 2006

"If love is patient and kind,' how can the person who is fainthearted in the troubles that befall him and who consequently deals wickedly with those who offend him, cutting himself away from love for them, help but fall away from the purpose of divine Providence?

Be on guard lest the vice that separates you from your brother be not found in your brother but in you; and hasten to be reconciled to him, lest you fall away from the commandment of love.

What separates you from the love of friends is this: envying or being envied, hurting or being hurt, insulting or being insulted, and suspicious thoughts. May you never have done or experienced any of these things by which you might be separated from your friend's love.

A temptation came upon you from your brother, and the hurt led you to hate. Do not be overcome with hate but overcome hate with love. You will prevail in this way; pray for him sincerely to God, accept his apology, or else come up with an apology for him yourself, think of yourself as the cause of the temptation, and be patient until the cloud has passed by."

Age-old words of wisdom from Saint Maximus the Confessor (+662) that still apply today. Being a person who is currently not being given the opportunity to reconcile a situation these words penetrate deeply. "...come up with an apology for him yourself....", an interesting spiritual thought;..."and be patient until the cloud has passed by." Yes, patience.

Recently I was reading from the Simple Abundance Daybook of Comfort and Joy; while it seems new-agey in some parts (those familiar with it know what I mean), it does contain much good to ponder and nourish oneself with not necessary from a spiritual point of view, but certainly it can be spiritualized from a Christian view. I came across the day of October 18, titled: A Lesson from Loss. So very powerful. You know, the truth is, life is too short to hold grudges, write people off and not make as many attempts as possible to work it out and redeem, redeem, redeem the day, the relationships, the very environment and quality of what each day of our lives presents to us. Sometimes, mundane, sometimes, disappointing, sometimes a surprise. As Christians isn't that the bring the Christian dimension and dynamic to ordinary life? The gospel message and values. Live them out?

Is there someone you could make life more pleasant for? Someone who is waiting to hear from you, whom you could uplift by a simple call or note? It could be that simple; while other situations may prove to be more complex, let's think about how we can simplify even the most sticky and challenging, with love, a forgiving heart and a chance to begin again anew. Isn't that what Our Lord has done for us?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Holy Eucharist

THE HOLY EUCHARIST is the true body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine for the nourishment of our souls.

When do we receive the Holy Eucharist as a nourishment for our souls?
At holy communion, when we actually partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Communion means "union with". We also speak of receiving the Holy Eucharist, the Lord's supper, and the heavenly banquet.

When and where is communion given?
For those who are well communion is given in the church either during Mass after the priest has received, or it may be given when no Mass is being celebrated. Those who are sick can receive in their homes at any time.

How is communion administered in church?
The server or acolyte repeats the Confiteor, or general confession of sin.
Turning to the people, the priest. recites two prayers imploring the remission of sin.

He exposes the consecrated Host with the words: "Behold the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world." He then repeats three times: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; say but the word and my soul shall be healed."
He places the consecrated Host upon the tongue of the communicant, saying: "May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve thy soul unto life everlasting. Amen."
Returning to the altar, the priest recites the communion prayer of the Church, and then gives the benediction.
When the attendant recites the Confiteor, he does so in the name of those who are about to receive. The following are the prayers of supplication at the end of the Confiteor:
"May the Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and lead you unto life everlasting. Amen."

"May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, absolution, and full remission of all your sins. Amen."

How is holy communion given to the sick?
A bell is first rung, then the Sacred Host is borne in procession to the house of the sick person, placed upon a table prepared for it, a prayer is said, and the place and those present are sprinkled with holy water. The priest then gives communion the same as in the church, except wheu the sick person receives it as viaticum; at such times the priest presents the cousecrated Host, saying: "Brother (or, sister), receive as a holy viaticum the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ; may it protect thee from the evil spirit, and lead thee to eternal life. Amen."

When the communion is not given as viaticum, the priest repeats the same formula as is used in the church. The table on which the consecrated Host is placed must be covered with a clean white cloth, a cross, two lighted wax candles, and a vessel with holy water must also be provided. In this country the Blessed Sacrament is, of necessity, carried privately, with all out-door ceremonies omitted.
Why is the holy communion sometimes called Viaticum?

Because it is given to the sick person as food and sustenance for the last dangerous road to eternity.
For what other purpose besides being given in communion is the Holy Eucharist kept in the tabernacle?

In order that on appointed days and particular occasions it may be exposed to the devotion of the faithful, and bestow blessings upon them. At least six lighted candles must be used at the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. For this ceremony the ciborium may be used; or when it is desired to give it more solemnity, an elegant receptacle called the monstrance, in which the consecrated Host may be seen. Benediction is given both with the ciborium and monstrance; when the latter is used it is called solemn benediction.

Why does the Church give this benediction of the Blessed Sacrament?
Because in the Blessed Sacrament Jesus Christ is actually present and still blesses His followers, as when on earth He blessed the people and His disciples.
How is the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament given?
A hymn in honor of the Blessed Sacrament is sung, aud the priest makes the sign of the cross over the people with the sacred Host, because every blessing comes from Christ's death upon the cross.

During the Benediction proper, as a mark of reverence the priest covers his shoulders and hauds with a white silken cloth called the veil. During the exposition and benediction incense is offered up to the Blessed Sacrament as a sign of adoration.

Why do we have processions of the Blessed Sacrament?
That we may in a solemn manner present our adoration to the Saviour in the sacred Host, and openly profess our belief in His real presence.

On Corpus Christi we have the most solemn and imposing ceremonial for the exposition, benediction, and procession of the Blessed Sacrament.

What is the meaning of the perpetual light that is kept burning before the altar on which the Blessed Sacrament is placed?
The perpetual light which must be kept burning continuously signifies:
The continued presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
The reverence and worship which are constautly due to Him.
That Jesus Christ is the light of the world.

Goffine's Devout Instructions

Friday, June 16, 2006

"In trying to get some insight into his own personality, a man may use still another method. Lord Macaulay somewhere remarks that an author ought to strike out, in his manuscript, every sentence which pleases him particularly because, says he -- and Macaulay knew something of writing and style -- this sentence is sure to be bad. This advice may be applied also to the study of one's personality. It is quite useful to analyze such actions we feel particularly proud of; maybe this gratification of our pride and our vanity is not the effect just of the beauty or goodness of our action; it may result as well from this action giving satisfaction to some of the more undesirable qualities of our self."

Taken from: Self Improvement, by Rudolf Allers, M.D. Ph.D. Roman Catholic Books

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

We are PEANUTS fans in this house. This book is one of Michael's birthday gifts. He loves to read the "old" Peanuts cartoon strips and this is an exceptional book that includes original cartoons by Charles Schulz, memorabilia such as the first Charlie Brown toys that appeared on the market; Schulz's artwork-sketches and a photobiography of his life. There are several PEANUTS comic strip books available. We started by taking them out of our local library, discovering which ones were best for keeping :) Well, many of them qualified and this one's a definite keeper! Titled: PEANUTS, The Art of Charles M. Schulz, ISBN# 0375714634

P.S. This is the softcover edition (the one we have). We were able to just walk into our Border's Books and buy it off the shelf. The hardcover edition has a different cover (and a little higher price).

Happy Birthday to our Michael Joseph who turns 7 today!

"God loves you very much." Daniel 9:23

Monday, June 12, 2006

My husband enjoys THIS ROCK magazine and recently brought to my attention this very insightful article:

Why Doesn't the Pope Do Something about "Bad" Bishops?
By Fr. Robert Johansen

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friendship, The Test of Time

Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal:
"We Christians should give our friends understanding, attention, encouragement, consolation, optimism and joy, along with many acts of service."

"Friendship has to be protected and defended against the forgetfulness which comes with the passage of time."

"Christians should be men and women with a great capacity for friendship, because close contact with Jesus Christ prepares us to put aside our egoism, our excessive preoccupation with personal problems. We can thus be open to all those who meet us along the way, even though they be of different ages, interests, cultures or positions. Real friendship is not born of a mere occasional meeting, or simply from mutual need of assistance. Not even camaraderie, a shared task or the same roof will necessarily lead to friendship. Two people who cross paths every day on the same escalator or the same bus, or in the same office are not thought to be friends. Neither is mutual sympathy, in itself, a proof of genuine friendship.

According to St. Thomas, not all love equals friendship, but only that love which involves benevolence. This is the attitude where we care for someone in such a way that we want that person's good. There is a greater possibility of friendship when there is a great reason to share the good which one possesses. True friends are those who have something to give and, at the same time, have sufficient humility to receive. This behaviour is proper to virtuous men. When vice is shared it does not produce friendship, but complicity, which is not the same thing. Evil can never be legitimized by a fake friendship. Sin never joins people together in friendship of love. (italics, J. Abad, Faithfulness, Madrid 1987)

Jesus enjoyed speaking with everyone who came to see him, and with those he met along the road. He took advantage of those moments to enter into souls, to raise up hearts to a higher plane. If the person concerned was well disposed, Jesus would give him or her the grace to be converted and make a commitment to his service. He also wants to speak with us in the time of prayer. For this to happen we have to be willing to talk and be open to real friendship. He himself has changed us from being servants to being friends, as he clearly stated: "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14). He has given us a model which we should imitate. As a result, we have to give our willingness as a friend, telling him what we have in our soul and paying close attention to what He carries in his heart. Once we open up our soul, He will reveal his own. The Lord declared: "I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:14). The true friend hides nothing from his friend. He reveals all of his spirit, just as Jesus poured into the hearts of the Apostles the mysteries of the Father." [St. Ambrose, About the work of ministers, 3, 135]

We Christians should give our friends understanding, attention, encouragement, consolation, optimism and joy, along with many acts of service. But, above all, we should give them the greatest good we have, which is Christ himself, the "Best Friend" of all. True friendship leads to apostolate, we share the wonderful goods of the faith.

Friendship has to be protected and defended against the forgetfulness which comes with the passage of time. It also has to be safeguarded from envy, which is usually what is the most corruptive force."[St. Basil, homily on envy]

Fr. Francis continues:
"Friends are expected to be loyal, to be faithful in difficulties, to overcome the test of time and contradictions, to come to the defense of one another in the hour of need. As St. Ambrose counsels, Be steadfast in friendship, because there is nothing so precious in human relations. It is a great consolation in this life to have a friend to whom we can open our heart. It helps a lot to have a friend to share our joys and sorrows, and to sustain us in hard times." [St. Ambrose, About the work of ministers, 3, 134]

We should strive to be friends with our Guardian Angels. We all need a lot of company from Heaven and company on earth. Have great devotion to the Holy Angels! Friendship is a very human thing, but it is also very much a thing of God; just as our life is both human and divine. Our Guardian Angel will not be put off by our moods and defects. He knows our weaknesses, and in spite of them he loves us very much. (italics: St. J. Escriva, Friends of God, 315)

Over and above all friendships we must work to strengthen our bonds with that great friend, who will never fail you. (J Escriva) In Him we will truly learn how to be friends of our friends. We will be open to every sincere friendship, knowing that this is the natural road for Christ, our Friend, to enter souls."

"A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter - he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence." [Sir. 6 14-17]

Let us pause this very moment and say a special prayer for the friends Our Lord has blessed us with, and that we in turn will be good friends to them and our greatest friend of all.

Excerpts used: passages attributed to Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal (In Conversation with God, various selections), unless otherwise indicated within the text.

"True friendship also means making a heartfelt effort to understand the convictions of our friends, even though we may never come to share them or accept them". ~Saint Josemaría Escrivá~

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oops corrected

Okay, Flat Stanley and Nate the Great have been taken off of "time-out" and are restored at the June 3rd post. Their mischief has ended :)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Saint Boniface, memorial

"In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life's different stresses. Our duty is not to abandons ship but to keep her on her course.

Let us stand fast in what is right, and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God's strengthening aid and say to him: "O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations."

Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful, and he tells us: "My yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, "let us die for the holy laws of our fathers," so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them."

from a letter by Saint Boniface

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Flat Stanley & Nate the Great

I am so excited that our six year old son, Michael, is reading so well and enjoying it. This last Christmas he received a gift boxed set of Flat Stanley books. We found this particular set through Scholastic. He's enjoyed them very much. There are several Flat Stanley stories in the series. Flat Stanley, Flat Again!, Stanley in Space, Stanley's Christmas Adventure; keep in mind Stanley isn't always flat...the title of the book will clue you in on whether it's a flat adventure, or a regular Stanley adventure. So our son tells me. :)

Next, he's enjoying reading one book a day of the Nate the Great series. Nate is a boy detective, who loves pancakes. Our oldest son also read his way happily through this series at a very young reading age; again, there are numerous books in this series as well, beginning with the original: Nate the Great; then to name a few, Nate the Great and the Missing Key, Nate the Great and the Stolen Base, Nate the Great and the Boring Beach Bag.......

Congratulations Michael on your great reading adventures!