Thursday, May 21, 2015

Living with the Holy Spirit

When I first discovered the Irish Jesuits' on-line daily prayer space, Sacred Space, they provided an awareness prayer. The prayer asked God to make me more atune to what he, the Lord, was doing around me. It asked that I be more aware of his presence in those with whom I live. Our daily sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit. As we pray the Novena of Pentecost, asking the Holy Spirit to come to us in an abundance of graces, we can ask for the seven gifts of the Spirit and the 12 fruits of the Spirit. One of the fruits of the Spirit is true peace.
I think of the Saints whose memory is honored today: St. Christopher Magallenes and more than 20 other Mexican priests and lay people, including Jose Rios, a 14 year old. All of the Mexican Saints honored today died as martyrs at the hands of an anti-Christian, anti-Catholic government. Besides their courage in the face of torture and execution, these martyrs had a certain peace. It is the peace we wish to each other when we turn and greet our fellow worshippers at the Sign of Peace during Mass. During that bloody era in Mexican history (1920's and 30's), Archbishop Luis Martinez of Mexico City guided his flock with a steady hand. He lived in intimacy with the Holy Spirit. If certain violent events or horrendous natural disasters are shown to us through the media, we can still keep our peace. Martinez wrote: "The first path to peace is faith. In fact, if we lived by faith, we would live in peace." Martinez wrote a classic book called "The Sanctifier" which has been printed many times, and remains a best-seller. In the handy sized book "Secrets of the Spirit" Sister Germana Santos, the editor, gleaned gems about peace and many other virtues written by Archbishop Martinez. I recommend both of his books which are from Pauline Books & Media, .

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Original Novena

When Jesus ascended into heaven he promised to send his Advocate. He told the dismayed disciples: "...John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." He also said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:4,8) While they waited for the arrival of the Advocate and the power he would bring, the Apostles and disciples gathered in the Upper Room for prayer. The Acts of the Apostles tells us, "All these (Apostles and disciples) were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus...". After the nine days, a "Novena," of prayer from seemingly orphaned or abandoned friends of Jesus, the promise Jesus gave was fulfilled: "And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit...". We know how with a new vigor, love and courage the Apostles and disciples immerged from the Upper Room to start the fire of evangelization which still burns today.
In the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults the Glossary (page 521) states: Novena: Nine days of prayer, usually invoking the intercession of the Virgin Mary or a saint. The novena traces its development to the scriptural nine days of prayer by Mary, the Apostles, and disciples asking for the gift of the Holy Spirit after the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.
Until Pentecost Sunday, this coming Sunday, we are praying to the Holy Spirit that we and all the members of the Church, especially Pope Francis and all the other bishops who are successors of the Apostles will be filled with the gifts of the Spirit. There are seven main gifts of the Holy Spirit that we are asking for: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fear of the Lord, counsel, piety (devotion to prayer), and fortitude, courage. Join us as we invoke Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, that we too may be filled with the Holy Spirit and become true apostles today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More Mary in Our Life

Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is alive and active. As Jesus made it clear that those who have gone before us are still alive in eternity, so Mary lives today. In our Pauline communities we honor Mary as "Queen of Apostles." The pictures or statutes depict Mary holding the little boy Jesus out, extending her arms so we can reach out to him. An apostle's mission is the same as Mary's: to give Jesus to the world. When I first visited a Daughters of St. Paul convent, I was attracted by the statue of Mary as Queen of Apostles. The Sister who explained why Mary is holding Jesus out to us rather than hugging him tight emphasized "That's what an apostle does...give Jesus." What we write, film, broadcast and speak about are to be channels where people can find out about Jesus, Mary's Son, and Son of God. St. Peter Julian Eymard was ready to give up his dream to become a priest when he found out that a letter supposed to be a recommendation for his entrance to a seminary was, instead, a vote against him. In the city where he was to present himself to the seminary authorities for admission he found a church where he resorted to prayer. He laid his problems at the feet of Our Lady, asking her to help him in his hopeless looking situation. As he came out of the church, he met Bishop de Mezenod, founder of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate. "How are you doing?" the cordial Bishop asked. Bishop de Mezenod remembered Peter Julian from his days as a young teenager whose poor ill forced Eymard to leave the Oblate seminary. The young man poured out his heart and his good intentions to the Bishop. "Don't you worry about anything," the Bishop reassured him. "I'll take care of this for you." Mary had intervened once again in the life of Eymard. Have you turned to Mary in a time of difficulty? I am moved when I see film clips or photos of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, especially women rosaries in hand , praying for Mary's intercession. Both my grandmother and my mother prayed the rosary very often. I can still see their large blue crystal beads glinting in the sunlight. Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, had a mother who took her little son to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Flowers in Northern Italy. There she dedicated the boy with very fragile health to the protection of Our Lady. Alberione confided that he never did anything, written or verbal, that was not preceeded with rosaries or at least Hail Mary's. Sister Marianne Lorraine Truve' put together a lovely book called "Mary Help in Hard Times." You can find that at\It's been 100 years since Father Alberione started the Daughters of St. Paul. Here's a link to an on-line magazine about us. God bless you! 100 Years of Hope: Stories Celebrating the Centenary of the Daughters of St. Paul

Friday, May 08, 2015

Month of Mary Mother of Mercy

May in Boston is one of the most beautiful month of the year. Almost overnight trees that were gray and barren sport lovely new leaves in all shades of green. Tulips, daffodils and Tulip Trees are blooming. I think I can finally clean my boots and box them away until winter comes again. After one of the longest, snowiest winters on record it is so refreshing to look out the window and seen green, yellow and all sorts of colors.
After our Mass on Sunday we will have a May crowning, when the statue of Mary in our chapel will be browned with flowers. Jesus chose Mary as his way to approach us. We are following the Master's example when we turn to her to get closer to Jesus. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene in a garden at the Resurrection. It seems to me that God has an eclectic, wide-ranging taste in color every Springtime.
During this month many of us resolve to pray the rosary at least once a day to ask Mary's intercession for us. The founder of our order, Blessed James Alberione never made an address, or gave a talk without first turning to Mary's rosary. The one time I met with him he signed a little holy card with the advice: "Many and good rosaries." When we pray the Salve Regina or Hail, Holy Queen, the first sentence calls to her as "Mother of Mercy." She mothered the Son of God, Jesus, who is Lord and Divine Mercy itself. At the wedding feast of Cana we see Mary telling her Son the newly weds were in trouble: "They have no wine." Jesus tried to put her off by saying, "What concern is that to you and to me?" To our ears his response sounds like a put down. That did not bother the Blessed Mother. She knew her Son's heart. He could not say "no" to his mom, nor could he let a newly wed couple's happiness be diminished by embarrassment. Jesus answered his mother with his actions. He called the waiters and Mary advised them, "Do whatever he tells you." We know the result of that advice. Huge jars of water were turned into wine, and the feast went on without a hitch. This is all reported in the second Chapter of the Gospel of John. If you ever feel that you have spiritually "run out of wine;" or, you feel short on love or tenderness toward your friends and family, turn to Mary. Ask her to tell Jesus how you need help. You need a transformation, a sort of transfusion of the good wine of God's grace flowing through your actions, instead of the murky waters of a half-hearted attempt at holiness. Just "do whatever he, Jesus, tells you."
If you want help praying the rosary or staying focused on your rosary meditations, Pope Francis can help you. check out the little book, "Praying the Rosary with Pope Francis" from Pauline Books and Media. Another way to meditate the rosary is to pray a Scriptural Rosary. Sister Marianne Lorraine Trouve' a Daughter of St. Paul prepared a lovely book with a Scripture thought for each Hail Mary of the rosary. Both of these books are inexpensive and can be obtained from Pauline Books and Media on-line or at a Pauline Books and Media Center. Ask at your local Catholic book store. If they do not stock these titles, tell them to call us at 1-800-876-4463.