Her Name is music to the ear, sweet sounding, soothing
I recently read a story about an eleven year old girl who didn't believe in God and had parents were atheists. She heard a young girl pray the Hail Mary and pondered the prayer. She remembered the first half of the prayer and said it every night. Two years later her family when to France on a family trip. They decided to visit the Pyrenees and came upon the Grotto of Lourdes and watched a procession of bishops and priests and lay people. When the thirteen year old girl asked the parents what they were doing the parents explained to her that the people were just pretending and then they began to mock them. But then a remarkable moment happened! The teenage girl heard them praying the Hail Mary! And the grace of God flooded her soul and changed her heart! Consolation and love filled her soul and she was converted. Today she is a Carmelite Nun and ever grateful for that grace-filled encounter. Praise the Lord!
By Sr. Faustina Olson
Praising Jesus, through the Immaculate!
Psalm 23 is such a comforting Psalm; it is usually read at a Funeral Mass to console the bereaved. Yet, it can also be called a Sacramental Psalm because it points to SIX of the Sacraments. How so ??
The Lord is my Shepherd” - He is the Eternal High Priest. “He leads me beside still waters” - The waters of Baptism - becoming a child of God, the soul is stilled as it rests in its Father's embrace.
“He restoreth my soul” - The soul is reconciled to God and at peace through Confession. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness” - the grace of Confession leads to a repented life.
“Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death... thy rod and thy staff comfort me” - The Shadow of Death brings fear, but The Viaticum, i.e. Sacrament of the Sick, brings strength and comfort to the dying.
“Thou preparest a table before me" - the Fathers of the church taught that this Table points to the Banquet of the Bread of Life - the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul of Jerusalem says of this line: “But when You came, O Lord, You prepared a table before me, which is none other than the sacramental and spiritual table which God has prepared for us.”
“Thou anointest my head with oil” – denotes the oil used in the Sacraments of Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick and Anointing of the hands at the Ordination of the Priesthood. The oil is mentioned in Ps. 133, “Precious is the oil upon the head, running down… upon the beard of Aaron”. This profuse anointing of Aaron is found in Ex 30:23. God told Moses to make a holy oil with specific directions and elements. He was ordered to make a bounteous supply and pour it upon the Tabernacle, the sacred vessels, upon Aaron and his sons who were designated as priests. This oil was to be holy unto all generations. No one else was allowed to be anointed by it. It was such a holy oil that God forbade the duplication of the ingredients – else whey would die. The oil was NOT to be poured on anyone else – so sacred was this oil! This bounteous oil was generously poured upon Aaron’s beard – like the “Dew of Hermon”. The dews of Hermon resembled showers of rain and would be very heavy and refreshing. The oil of Aaron prefigured the grace and unity descending and flowing from the head of the Church, (the pope) to the other priests and to all the faithful.
“My Cup runneth over” - Eusebius of Caesarea says, “In these lines the Word clearly designates the sacramental unction (chrism) and the holy sacrifice of Christ’s table”. St. Cyprian of Carthage teaches: “The Holy Spirit expresses in the Psalms the same figure of the Eucharist when the Lord’s chalice is mentioned; ‘Thy cup which inebriates me, how excellent it is!’ But the inebriation which the Lord’s chalice gives is not similar to that of profane wine. It intoxicates in such a way that it does not make one lose his reason; it leads souls to spiritual wisdom...” And in Acts 2:13-17: “Others mocking said, these men are full of new wine. But Peter...said unto them...these are not drunken, as ye suppose...but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: and it shall come to pass in the last day, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! All of these Sacraments help us on our pilgrimage to heaven.
TRUTH DOES NOT REMAIN SILENT:
JESUS DID NOT REMAIN SILENT - HE DID NOT WITHHOLD THE TRUTH
Even though Jesus would be killed for speaking the Truth during his mock trial, He, the Light of the world, does not leave his enemy, nor all people of all ages to come, in darkness nor in confusion --- and He speaks:
“Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." - Mk. 14:62
The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said."
When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?"
Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
And then Pilate questioned Him:
Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus ...
Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. - John. 18:19-37
These are the children of one of our 4 schools at Ijebu Igbo (Nigeria). The House of Charity houses about 60 boys in efforts to give these very poor children a better education. The Franciscans of the Immaculate are asking for HELP!
The Franciscans of the Immaculate have a new effort in helping the poor in Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon. They have been active in digging wells for drinking water - the children especially delight in the wells when they are newly spurting forth water - they splash and play as they marvel at the new wonder! The Friars need all kinds of help in expanding the Charity School and in other needs: livestock for food for the House of Charity, cleaning supplies, dried foods, sports equipment, school furniture and supplies, Church equipment for the Shrine in Benin and other chapels they attend to, tents and chairs to house pilgrims, computer equipment for their media apostolate, 4x4 vehicles. They are looking to send a shipping container with necessary items purchased here in America - the items here are more suitable and/or higher quality. They are accepting donations: to donate on line: marymediatrix.com/africanmission or to pay by check pay to: Our Lady's Chapel and in the Memo line “African Mission" and mail to: Fr. Maximilian Warnisher, FI, 600 Pleasant St., New Bedford, MA 02740. May Our Lady shower all who read this with special graces and blessings, and draw you close to Her Divine Son!
What is the Scapular?
The Scapular is a small replica of the religious habit consisting of two pieces of wool connected by ribbons and worn under one's clothes so that one piece hangs in front and the other in back. The Scapular is actually a miniature form of a monk's habit. Along with the Rosary and the Miraculous Medal, the Scapular is one of the chief Marian sacramentals. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart, to remit venial sin.
What is its origin?
In 1251 Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock. As the Holy Virgin handed St. Simon the brown woolen Scapular She spoke these words: “This shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who perpetually wear it.
Why wear the Scapular?
Our Lady Herself said, “Take this Scapular.” Wearing the Scapular indicates that we place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. The first Scapular one wears must be blessed and imposed by a Priest using the formula contained in the Roman ritual for reception into the Confraternity of the Scapular. The priest says: “Receive this blessed habit; praying the most holy Virgin, that by Her merits thou mayest wear it without stain; and that She may guard thee from all evil and bring thee to life everlasting.” R. Amen. After receiving the initial Scapular, subsequent Scapulars need not be blessed as the blessing and imposition are attached to the wearer for life.
The Sabbatine Privilege
The Scapular offers the Sabbatine Privilege which consists essentially in the early liberation from Purgatory through the special intercession of Mary, which She graciously exercises in favor of Her devoted servants on the day consecrated to Her, Saturday.
There are three conditions for the gaining of the Sabbatine Privilege. They are:
(1) One must wear the scapular.
(2) One must observe chastity according to one’s state in life.
(3) Recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (The Rosary or some other pious work can be substituted for the Office of Our Lady. The faculty to sanction this change was granted to ALL CONFESSORS by Pope Leo XIII in the Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences in June of 1901).
Pope St. John Paul II on the Scapular:
On March 27, 2001, Pope St. John Paul II wrote in a letter to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the brown scapular: “I, too, have carried the Carmel scapular over my heart for a long time!”
He also wrote: “The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives. The Scapular is essentially a “habit". Those who receive it are associated more or less closely with the Order of Carmel and dedicate themselves to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church."
. . .
“Two truths are evoked by the sign of the Scapular: on the one hand, the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life's journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory; on the other, the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a "habit", that is, a permanent orientation of one's own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In this way the Scapular becomes a sign of the "covenant" and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful: indeed, it concretely translates the gift of his Mother, which Jesus gave on the Cross to John and, through him, to all of us, and the entrustment of the beloved Apostle and of us to her, who became our spiritual Mother."
Pledge to the Cross
I pledge allegiance to the Cross of Christ, and to the faith for which it stands, one Church - Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, with grace and salvation for all.
Today, a priest who was raised in California, recited this pledge of allegiance to us and told us that the various parochial schools he attended all recited not only the pledge to the flag of U.S.A. but ALSO this Pledge to the Cross. Edified by this verse, I think that perhaps we should teach this to all our CCD students (and all our Catholic children!) We should have this dedication to the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ foremost in our minds, from morning to night - this is who we are! May the world be able to know that we are Christians by our love for Jesus Crucified and by our love for each other. May Jesus Christ, Crucified on the Cross, be praised now and forever!
OUR LADY OF MONTE BERICO
By Sr. Faustina Olson
The Shrine of the Madonna of Mount Berico, Vicenza Italy, is one of the most renowned pilgrimage sites of Marian devotion in Europe, greeting millions of visitors each year. The Shrine is an oasis of peace and tranquility with breathtaking views of greenery, mountains and waterways. Since 1428, the Madonna has lovingly stood on top of the hill offering solace to sojourners who are seeking her comfort.
Vicenza, named for the victory in 157 B.C. when the Romans drove out the Celtic tribes from the area, is situated in northeast Italy at the base of the Vicentine Alps, between Milan to the west and Venice to the east. The rich soil and abundant pastures make ideal conditions for the numerous horses, cattle and sheep that populate the land. To the west, Vicenza is not far from Padua (famous for St. Anthony of Padua) and was once under its governance for protection purposes. Vicenza is also blessed to possess a relic of the Holy Thorn, a gift from King Louis IX of France in 1261 to the bishop of Vicenza, the Blessed Bartolomeo da Breganze. It is located in the splendid Dominican church of Santa Corona built in the 1261 to honor the Holy Thorn. To the north are the Swiss Alps, bordering Switzerland and Austria, displaying some of the most resplendent views on earth. There are thriving forests with valuable lumber and abundant chestnut trees, whose fruit is known as the “flour of the poor”, and many farms to sell the chestnuts to augment their income.
We have new outside stairs - Deo Gratias! We were getting really worried about the old ones, but the Knights of Columbus came to our rescue! Thank you Knights!!!
New Stairs - New Paint! All for the Immaculate! This reminds us of the dream Brother Leo had. He was a Franciscan friar, who died in 1270, and was perhaps the favorite disciple of St. Francis:
ONCE, in a dream, Friar Leo beheld a vision of the making ready of the Divine judgment. He beheld the Angels making music with trumpets and various instruments, and calling together a marvelous great crowd in a meadow. And on one side of the meadow was set a ladder all rosy red, which reached from earth even unto heaven, and on the other side of the meadow was set another ladder all white, which descended from heaven to earth. On the top of the red ladder, Christ appeared as Lord offended and exceeding wrath. And St. Francis was nigh unto Christ but a few steps lower down; and he came farther down the ladder, and with a loud voice and great fervor called and said: “Come ye, my friars, come confidently, fear not, come, draw nigh unto the Lord, for He calleth you”. At the voice of St. Francis and at his bidding, the friars went and climbed up the red ladder with great confidence. And, when they were all thereon, some fell off the third step, and some off the fourth step, others off the fifth and the sixth; and at the last all fell, so that there remained not one upon the ladder. And so great ruin of his friars, St. Francis, as a pitiful father, was moved to compassion, and besought the Judge for his sons, that He would receive them to His mercy. And Christ showed His wounds all bloody, and said unto St. Francis: “This have thy friars done unto Me”.
And St. Francis delayed not, but, even as he interceded, came down certain steps, and cried unto the friars that were fallen from the red ladder and said: “Come ye, rise up, my sons and friars, be of good courage and despair not, but run to the white ladder and climb up it, for by it ye shall be received into the Kingdom of Heaven; run, friars, through paternal admonishment, to the white ladder”. And on the top of the ladder appeared the glorious Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, all pitiful and kind, and welcomed those friars; and without any difficulty they entered into the eternal kingdom. To the praise of Christ. Amen.
Getting the peg dolls all painted in shining array for the little children by opening day - They are all dressed up and ready to march!
Enjoying the summer fun time of preparing for the Good Shepherd Atrium for the upcoming year. The materials list requires three-dimensional figures for some of the Bible Stories and, needing to fulfill the requirements, we painted new "people" for the Infancy Narratives and the Paschal Mysteries. Before we began the adventure, the task seemed impossible for those of us who lacked any artistic ability, but our heavenly helpers came to our aid! Since the ATRIUM is the child's SACRED PLACE, it must be set up properly so that it can foster a religious experience and help the child to grow in love with the Good Shepherd. The little children are so eager to learn about Jesus and everything pertaining to God. They are like the thirsty soil drinking in the sprinkling rain, producing thriving, little seedlings joyfully praising God.
But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. - Mt 19:14
MISSION EVENT IN AUGUST TO BENEFIT MISSIONS IN NIGERIA, ARGENTINA AND THE PHILIPPINES -
BLESSED SACRAMENT FESTIVAL, NEW BEDFORD, MA
5 Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers, especially for strangers; 6 they have testified to your love before the church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.* 7 For they have set out for the sake of the Name* and are accepting nothing from the pagans. 8 Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth. - 3 John 1:5-8
Our mission events bring abundant graces! There are many challenges, joys, struggles and lots of gratitude. Our small efforts in raising funds for the needy missions by selling our handmade religious articles bring so many benefits: the opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, to hear the miraculous stories of how God has helped people in their lives, to pray with and for those who are sorrowing, to teach the rosary and other prayers, to lift up the downtrodden and bring joy to their hearts AND to help the missions. We can attest that Our Most wonderful and powerful God is active and still working miracles in His children's lives because we hear the stories and we rejoice that He allows us to learn of them. And we witness that Our Lady is also a mother to her children and actively drawing them to Her Most Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Our Lady surrounds us with Her Mantle: We pray to Her before our events so that She will be with us and help us whenever we need it. She is our Mother and always at our side. All praise to the Blessed Trinity - and Blessed is Holy Mary!
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