25 February 2012

You are the real princes.

25 FEBRUARY 2012. Today at midmorning prayer in celebration of the elevation of Archbishop Timothy Dolan to cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Dolan gave the faithful a look into his usual and signature Midwestern humility by honoring the faithful and the larger community in the Archdiocese of New York:
I say to you New Yorkers today: "You are the real princes." I come from a town of St. Louis that boasts: This Bud's for you. But I say this morning, New York, this hat's for you. New York: your light, your goodness, yes, your holiness is preeminent; and, I'm proud to call you, Your Eminence.
While not altogether within the geographic community of the Diocese of New York, all the country is proud to acclaim Cardinal Dolan, and Cardinal O'Brien, as lights of the faith.

Congratulations from AS. The prayers of we and all the faithful go with you in all that you do to be shepherds of the Church.

22 February 2012

We begin the Journey

22 FEBRUARY 2012. ASH WEDNESDAY. Today begins the solemn journey of Lent that is necessary to our celebration, 40 days hence, of the greatest gift given to humanity, the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ--Easter. This period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving brings us to focus on the depths of our own failings, so that we can better understand--truly appreciate in our limited human capacity--the depth of the Father's love for us, in the gift of his Son for our redemption. The joy of Easter, then, needs to be preceded by this season of solemn preparation and spiritual introspection. We cannot understand the radiance of the light, without focusing for a while on the depth of the darkness.

To one and all, I will pray for a fruitful and holy Lent.

14 February 2012

Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Please join the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation in their novena to consecrate the United States to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and, through prayer, fight the evil that the Obama administration is foisting upon the faithful.

     Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
     Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you.  Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America.  Grant us peace.  Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government.  Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity.  Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners – on all who are in need.
     Mary, Immaculate Virgin, our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give our country and ourselves to your sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.  O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesied by Simeon, save us from degeneration, disaster and war.  Protect us from all harm.  O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, you who bore the sufferings of your Son in the depths of your heart, be our advocate.  Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the will of your divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God.  Amen.

Imprimatur, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, 1959, for public consecration of the United States to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; renewed by U.S. Bishops, November 11, 2006.

07 February 2012

Anniversary of Deceased Parents

7 FEBRUARY 2012. Today the Order of Friars Preachers remembers deceased parents. The Dominican supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours provides this short introduction:
The Dominican family joins together to honor our deceased parents with the same affection we showed them in life, for in Christ they gave us birth and from the crib they showed us what it means to be followers of Christ.

Loving Father,
today we honor our deceased parents
and we ask you to give them
light, happiness and peace.
Strengthen our hope and faith
in our promised future with you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


ALTERNO: Email me the names of your deceased parents (acta.sanctorum.blog@gmail dot com); I will be collecting the names through the end of Thursday. On Friday I will remember each of your parents in praying the Office of the Dead.

IMAGE: From the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.
Pray that each of us will experience true sorrow for all the injustices that are done daily to the wondrous generosity of God's love. Pray too, that, that sorrow will not be useless emotion, but our cause for renewal and conversion of heart.

05 February 2012

The HHS Mandate: People of Faith be Damned

5 FEBRUARY 2012. Spurred by Archbishop Wenski's letter read at mass today, I looked back to reflect on whether the Obama administration has somehow changed course on social and moral issues, or whether the new HHS mandate, unconscionable and unconstitutional as it is, dangerously, is consistent with the long-developing approach to these issues from the Administration. A complete review of President Obama's Note Dame remarks can be found here.

Sadly, there is no change that is positive; if anything, the President's position has only gotten less respectful to people of faith. Consider these words from President Obama at Notre Dame.
In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. Stand as a lighthouse.

But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.
It appears that in implementing the new healthcare overhaaul legislation, HHS (certainly with the approval if not at the direction of the White House) has steered far clear from the Truth as being far to "parochial." Instead, the government would have us follow "universal principles"--we disagree, so everyone's views must be given equal weight, after all, there is no real truth--that give nothing to humanity, but license. License to do whatever--licentiousness. Licentiousness is acting with reckless disregard for good and evil: I want it, therefore I will do whatever I want. However, freedom--found in the free will given to us by the Creator--comes with the obligation to act with responsibility, indeed to act with justice. Justice can only be found in truth, which here has been ignored.

Besides the greatest injustice of U.S. government law and policy that maintains the legality of abortion and access to abortion as being within a concocted right to privacy, the Administration is now telling people of faith that their religious and moral beliefs do not count because they are opposed to the "universal principles" recognized by the White House. There is nothing that could hardly be more parochial, more disrespectful, more evil than this.

Any hope rooted in the President's words at Notre Dame "to continue the moral and spiritual debate" has been slammed by the closing door.

Please take note, Catholics that supported President Obama in the last election, that door has just been slammed on you as well.

The Archbishop Speaks: We cannot--we will not--comply with this unjust law.

5 FEBRUARY 2012. Today in all parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami, which includes all of the State of Florida, the following letter was read to the faithful from Archbishop Wenski, Archbishop of Miami and Apostolic Adminsitrator of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

The Archbishop's letter could not be more direct; the recent HHS mandate that would require Catholic institutions to provide employee health coverage that includes abortifacient, contraceptive, and sterlization coverage is unjust, unconstitutional, and untenable. Here are the words of Archbishop Wenski:
January 26, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith.  The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people—the Catholic population—and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception.  Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write.  And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.  And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).  The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.  People of faith cannot be made second class citizens.  We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.  Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights.  In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties.  I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same.  Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

And therefore, I would ask of you two things.  First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored.  Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible.  Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Thomas Wenski
Archbishop of Miami

02 February 2012

Present Yourselves to Christ, as He was Made Present in the Temple

2 FEBRUARY 2012. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the presentation of the Lord in the temple--remembering that point in the life of the infant Christ that He was brought to the temple according to the Law of Moses to complete Mary's ritual cleansing after childbirth. Upon seeing the Christ child, Simeon sang out his praise (Lk 2:29-32) which still echoes--ever relevant-- in the Church today.

Pray that we, like Simeon, will be as complete and full joy each time we see Christ, especially in the Eucharist--the gift of His very physical being for us.


O Christ, loving redeemer,
bring your grace to our aid and swell our heats with joy
at our every meeting with You, 
especially in Your physical presence, under the white veil,
in the Blessed Sacrament.
May I never take for granted, 
relying wholly upon the assistance of the Holy Spirit, 
Your coming among us, for our salvation, as one of us.
The creator, who for our sake,
lowered Himself to us, His creation.
In this feast of  Candlemas, You are presented to God and the community
as one among us, Israel.
Truly, as you lowered Yourself,
may we be raised, relying entirely on You and the love
and assistance of the Most Blessed Virgin,
to praise you and give ourselves entirely to You,
who by your sacrifice,
freely given,
make Your very Self, the most precious gift for us.