Monday, January 30, 2017

Daily Meditation

The first step to ridding ourselves of disordered attachments
is to realize what those attachments might be. Whenever we have
a tendency to rationalize that something is “holy,” “untouchable,”
or “indispensable”—it is a pretty good indication that a disordered
attachment is at the root. Only God is our holy and
untouchable source of life. Giving anything else such a high priority
is perpetuating a lie.
"michael dubruiel"

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Gospel - the Beatitudes


(33) To bear persecution for justice sake (cf Mt 5:10).



St. Benedict references one of the Beatitudes for this counsel, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 5:10). If we are just and right in what people choose to persecute us for, then we should bear it patiently.



Many people suffer persecution for doing what is right and unfortunately often at the hands of religious people. Our Lord told his disciples that, "indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God," (John 16:2). One have only to open the papers and to read of crimes against human beings committed by people of every religious belief out of conviction that they are doing the will of God.



Jesus promised his followers, " Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you," (John 15:20). Therefore, again in imitation of Our Lord we should bear persecution when we are not at fault with patience.



One of the greatest examples of this patient endurance of persecution in our own day is the nonviolent civil rights movement of the late 1950's and 1960's. There are memorials and historical markers where horrible persecutions took place in various cities through the south. The test of time has proved the righteousness of the cause, but those who stood up suffered horribly at the time. They took their example from the Scriptures.



In more recent times those who have bravely protested nonviolently in front of abortion clinics, silently praying the rosary, are great examples of the just who are persecuted for righteousness sake!





We should do the same. When we stand up for what is right and just we should not expect accolades; in fact we should be weary of the applause. What is right is seldom popular; people seem to slip into a collective hypnosis from time to time that blinds them from recognizing the truth. But God is the truth and living a lie can only distance us from Him.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Thomas Aquinas - January 28

From 2003: 

Aquinas Thought of Everything


Below is a quote from Summa Contra Gentiles. I've been familar with the notion that St. Thomas said we'd all be 33 in Heaven regardless of when we died (before or after that age), but no one every seemed to know where he'd said it. Well here it is, along with an interesting discussion on the other qualities of the glorified body:


From Jacques Maritain Center: GC 4.88:


"STILL we must not suppose, what some have thought, that female sex has no place in the bodies of the risen Saints. For since resurrection means the reparation of the defects of nature, nothing of what makes for the perfection of nature will be withdrawn from the bodies of the risen. Now among other organs that belong to the integrity of the human body are those which minister to generation as well in male as in female. These organs therefore will rise again in both. Nor is this conclusion impaired by the fact that there will be no longer any use of these organs (Chap. LXXXIII). If that were any ground for their absence from the risen body, all the organs bearing on digestion and nutrition should be absent, for there will not be any use for them either: thus great part of the organs proper to man would be wanting in the risen body. We conclude that all such organs will be there, even organs of which the function has ceased: these will not be there without a purpose, since they will serve to make up the restored integrity of the natural body.*


Neither is the weakness of the female sex inconsistent with the perfection of the resurrection. Such weakness is no departure from nature, but is intended by nature.* This natural differentiation will argue the thoroughgoing perfection of nature, and commend the divine wisdom that arranges creation in diversity of ranks and orders. Nor is there anything to the contrary in the expression of the Apostle: Till we all meet and attain to the unity of faith and recognition of the Son of God, even to a perfect man, to the measure of the full stature of Christ (Eph. iv, 13). This does not mean that in that meeting in which the risen shall go forth to meet Christ in the air* every one shall be of the male sex, but it indicates the perfection and strength of the Church, for the whole Church shalt be like a perfect, full-grown man, going out to meet Christ.*


Again, all must rise at the age of Christ,* which is the age of perfect manhood, for the sake of the perfection of nature, which is at its best in this age above others.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Repent or Perish Luke 13:3

The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

In the garden of Gethsemane, Our Lord experiences the weight of humanity's temptations and sins, yet in His agony He prays that God's will be done. Ask Our Lady to help you to pray this decade to experience the sorrow of the suffering Jesus and to "watch" with Him in His agony.

--from Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and & Mysteries by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn.

Repent or Perish Luke 13:3
What does it mean to "watch"--why was that the injunction of Jesus to His disciples? Were they to "watch" Him in prayer? Or was He defining what prayer really is--watching?
Think of someone that you have known who you would consider a great pray-er. How do you remember them praying? Did they stare at something unseen as though they saw? Or were their eyes closed as though they saw something within?
The image used by Jesus of unbelief most frequently is blindness, "they have eyes but they do not see." Peter walked on water, until he took his eyes off of Jesus and noticed the storm.
St. Paul tells us to "pray always"--and many wonder how is this possible? "Watch."
Either you see or you do not.
The original sin involved the eyes of Eve taking her sight off of all she and Adam had in Paradise, all they had to be thankful to God for and focusing on the fruit of the forbidden tree. At the prompting of the serpent, "the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes" and she and Adam fell.
If we see the wisdom of this story as the fundamental "agony" that we are all engaged in during our lives we will "see" that the key to repentance is to "give thanks" to God in all circumstances and to "watch" lest we fall.
We are either looking for the coming of the Lord in our daily lives or looking for signs of his absence. Jesus prophesied as much to His disciples:
"But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of the servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating." Luke 12:45-47.
Is not every scandal among the followers of Christ an example of the above? Reform will come when we once again arouse from our sleep and watch with Him in the Garden of agony and temptation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

About the Catholic Mass

From 2006:

From the New Testament texts... Galatians 6:18 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen" and 2 Timothy 4:22 "The Lord be with your spirit."


Fr. Joseph Jungman S. J. had two footnotes about the origin of this, one in which he called the phrase a Semitism that simply meant "and also with you" (which obviously is what the original ICEL translators focused on to arrive at the translation that we have been using over these past years). Yet another footnote alludes to the fact that this reply in the usage of the Church's liturgy was given only to a priest or bishop and that the implication was that the greeting was to the Holy Spirit that the ordained minister had received upon their ordination. St. John Chrysostom mentioned this in a homily and an early Council of the Church reinforced its meaning.

What saying "And With Your Spirit" can teach us...

The Liturgy is the work of the Holy Spirit, not the individual presider. In fact there is no "individuals" in the liturgy save the Body of Christ. Our response acknowledges the one Holy Spirit poured upon the presider and reminds us that the work we witness in this Eucharist is the Opus Dei...the work of God.

Michael Dubruiel

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Francis de Sales

Today is the feast of St. Francis de Sales the Patron Saint of Writers



To read more about him, check out the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Francis de Sales



There are two elements in the spiritual life: first, a struggle against our lower nature; secondly, union of our wills with God, in other words, penance and love. St. Francis de Sales looks chiefly to love. Not that he neglects penance, which is absolutely necessary, but he wishes it to be practised from a motive of love. He requires mortification of the senses, but he relies first on mortification of the mind, the will, and the heart. This interior mortification he requires to be unceasing and always accompanied by love. The end to be realized is a life of loving, simple, generous, and constant fidelity to the will of God, which is nothing else than our present duty. The model proposed is Christ, whom we must ever keep before our eyes. "You will study His countenance, and perform your actions as He did" (Introd., 2nd part, ch. i). The practical means of arriving at this perfection are: remembrance of the presence of God, filial prayer, a right intention in all our actions, and frequent recourse to God by pious and confiding ejaculations and interior aspirations.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Martha and Mary

From 2004

. In the gospel, Martha complains to Jesus that Mary basically is doing nothing and leaving all the work to her--something evidently we all feel is our lot in the world (although I've known a ton of "Mary's", I've never heard of anyone who actually relates to her in this gospel passage). Which is why, I predict that you heard preached, something that is nowhere to be found in the gospel you heard--a defense of Martha.

Now what makes the Good News (the meaning of the word "gospel"), good news is that it is the message from the king (as Pope Benedict so eloquently brings out in his Jesus of Nazareth), yet when we hear the good news, I find that we almost always want to explain it away, rather than deal with the message being proclaimed. Martha is one of the best examples of this in the Gospels.

She raises her "works" issue with Jesus against the contemplative (listening to what Jesus is saying) Mary and she is essentially rebuked for it--with no apologies. So what are we to take from this?

That when it comes right down to it there is only one thing necessary. We clutter our lives with all kinds of activities that we think our necessary, but in fact as Jesus points out to Martha there is only one think necessary--to listen to God. Now What do you think Martha did when she heard this? Better, what do you do when you hear it?

Evidently when most of us hear it, we think it unjust and immediately go into defending Martha rather than imitating Mary and listening to Jesus--the "one thing necessary." In other words we reject the good news--the invitation to the kingdom and go back to our own little kingdoms where we rule and will our own lives. But such a rejection does not lead to eternal life.

It is ironic that this message of "listening to Jesus" above everything else is so soundly rejected in modern preaching. If I were to presume to guess what Martha's reaction to Jesus' word was--I would presume that she sat down and imitated Mary at that moment, because she knew the Lord loved her and if he was telling her this was what was really necessary, then she had better pay attention.

Hopefully that is what you and I will do also.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Divine Mercy

From 2002

When Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina in Poland at the beginning of the last century,in the 1930's, hardly anyone went to communion. People did not believe, really believe that God loved them. Now at the beginning of the next century a lot of people go to communion on any given Sunday, but I sense that people still do not believe that God really loves them--now they receive Him more out of convention than conviction.



There are some (mostly priests) who have a problem with the Pope naming today the Feast of Mercy. Our pastor, in his homily which featured Tibetian Monks as the real preachers of compassion, said that he felt the Divine Mercy novena interferred with the Easter Triduum (how that is the case I have no idea--could praying the stations of the cross, another devotion, ruin Good Friday?). I have heard others say that it brings back magical notions of easy grace.



Fr. George Kosicki, who has written widely about this devotion, told me that the associations of Mercy with the Octave of Easter can be traced back to St. Augustine, so that should satisfy the liturgical purists to some degree.



But the issue may be why has this devotion become so popular? Here is my simple answer. Even though we hear it time and time again--that God loves us, we have a very hard time believing it. We keep put conditions upon his love. God would love me if I (fill in the blank) or God will love me when I (fill in the blank), etc. Paul tells us that "while we were sinners God loved us." That pretty much goes against everything that most of us believe.



So here at the beginning of the new century we have this feast which is like a clanging cymbal. Hey guys, in case you made it through all of Lent and Holy Week and you still don't get it--I love you!



Remember the story of Hosea. Hosea is told by God to marry a prostitute, she is an apt symbol for Israel, God tells Hosea. I might add she is an apt symbol for our level of faithfulness. Hosea does as God asks and after awhile his prostitute wife goes back into business. God tells Hosea to take her back (perhaps some of us can still feel the horror of what God was asking Hosea to do). God's love is like that. There is nothing you or I will ever be able to do to earn it, anymore than a child needs to earn his parent's love--it just is.



On this Feast of Divine Mercy, open your heart to that Love that God has for you. Let it flood your being, let it change your life!



Every second of the day is an opportunity to receive God's love. Every moment is a choice. When we allow God to love us, we want to pray, we want to learn more about God, and we want others to experience the peace and joy that we feel.



Too often all of this gets muddled by pharisees who are afriad that something is not being done in the correct way, or violating some liturgical principle (it is interesting how the very same pharisees have trouble genuflecting to the Eucharistic Presence of Our Lord at the consecration--not that I'm watching {Lord fill me with your love so I won't notice!}).



Here is the Divine Mercy message in a nutshell from the Marian Helpers Site:



A -- Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.



B -- Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.



C -- Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.




That is it, ASK, BE, and TRUST.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meditation with Fulton Sheen

From Praying in the Presence of the Lord with Fulton Sheen

Bishop Sheen’s “Now-moment” corresponds to the thinking of the great spiritual writer Jean Pierre de Caussade. In Abandonment to Divine Providence, Fr. Caussade gives the reader a sure way of knowing the will of God at any moment—by simply confronting the present moment with all its reality. It seems simple, but if we reflect for a second most of us will find that we spend most of our lives avoiding the present moment.
A few years ago an English translation of the Father Caussade’s work appeared in the United States changing the original title to read “The Sacrament of the Present Moment.” This captures the essence of Father Caussade’s work and Bishop Sheen’s meditation that in the present time we are presented with an opportunity that is truly unique. Each moment is sacramental.
Most of us are capable of presenting ourselves with some amount of reflection as we celebrate the sacraments. If we celebrated the sacrament of Baptism as an adult certainly we came expecting to be changed by God. Each time we enter a confessional surely we have examined our conscience beforehand and are penitent expecting to be forgiven by God. Undoubtedly every time we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist we expect to encounter God. But what about the other moments of our lives?
As we awake in the morning, is our first thought of God? As we greet our brothers and sisters throughout the day do we expect that God might be present? Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to encounter God who is always present.
Spend some time reflecting on the following:
1. Go over the events of the present day and ask yourself where God might have been in each of them. Is there a consistent pattern to your day?
2. Reflect on the life of your favorite saint, and meditate on how he or she dealt with the people they met in their daily journeys. How could you imitate this saint? What enabled the saint to act in the way he or she did toward others?
3. Imagine as you leave from this time of prayer that God wishes to continue to be present to you as you go forth. How will you react to his presence in others?
PrayerLord, help me to search for you in the garden of life in the same way that St. Mary Magdalene did when she found your tomb empty. May my search be rewarded as hers was by knowledge of your abiding presence. Amen.
"michael dubruiel" "fulton sheen"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Religious Meditation

From 2004

Taming the Wild



Solanus had also been cultivating a patch of wild strawberries which he told the friars he was "taming."

Father Solanus: The Story of Solnus Casey O.F.M. Cap. p.174




I had been making my lunch time pilgrimage for several months when I read a chapter from Cathy Odell's book on Solanus' time in Huntington. I had literally walked the fields and woods throughout but had never come across any wild strawberries. They must have perished when some of the land was plowed, I figured.


It was a beautiful sunlit day, not a cloud in the sky and very low humidity. I started out walking the perimeter of the property, as was my usual route, and began to pray the rosary. Normally this meant finishing the joyful mysteries by the time I reached the far forest where an Eagle Scout had cleared a trail through the woods. There I would begin the sorrowful mysteries reaching the Capuchin graveyard about the time I reached the third sorrowful mystery (the Crowing with Thorns) where I would prostrate in the direction of the simple wooden cross at the head of the graveyard and pray the prayer of St. Francis, "We adore thee O Christ and we praise Thee because by thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world." Then I would pray the third sorrowful mystery on my knees for the Friars and others buried there, at the same time asking for their intercession for my many needs.


Then I would retrace my steps backward in a slightly different path along the woods rather than through them. At about the same spot where I had discovered an apple tree left over from the orchard that Solanus had blessed, I looked down and spotted something red blooming. At first I thought they were small red flowers that had some how resisted the mowing the lawn had received recently. But on closer inspection I found wild strawberries almost ready to be harvested.


I thought of the irony of my discovery on the very day that I had first read about Solanus' "taming" of wild strawberries, then I thought of the whole aspect of "taming" the wild.


Looking over the property of what had once been a flourishing center of Catholic spirituality, I could not help but be struck by the apparent failure. What had been tamed here and once again become wild.


It struck me as an apt symbol for the state of Catholicism in the United States at the beginning of the Twenty-first century. The in-roads that the Church had made in converting and bringing Catholic Christianity to this country seemed to have reverted back to its wild state. Those who call themselves Catholic pick and choose what they believe and how they practice their faith. In many ways they mirror the environment they live in with very little to distinguish them from their non-Catholic neighbors.


Of course it also struck me that I suffered from this as much as anyone.


Picking up the wild strawberry, I saw how immature it was. No doubt Solanus' taming of the "wild" strawberries had resulted in them growing into substantial fruit that was enjoyed by the Huntington Capuchins. Now without that taming, the wild strawberry had once again returned to a small pitiful caricature of what it might have been.


Sadly this is what we also have become. Our influence in our culture is weak and we risk giving scandal to those who look to us as representatives of all that is Catholic. We are "wild" Cathlolics, in great need of being tamed by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Pray the Rosary

Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.

"Michael Dubruiel"


The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr.

From 2004

This past summer on our way to Florida, Amy and I stopped at the gravesite of Martin Luther King Jr. I had been there before, a number of times. Though it is close to downtown, there is a quiet that persist--obviously this was not the case the other day when President Bush was there--but the times I've been there, although a crowd is present, most are quiet, reflecting.



What are they reflecting on?



Non-violence, peaceful protest, offer no resistence--the teachings of Christ! For what made Dr. King's message different and in the end successful was the apparent failure of it. Like the master he preached--his tomb stands like a cross planted squarely in the middle of the south. The relecting pool surrounding it reflects the faces of humanity who walk around it.



It was Christian faith, radical belief in the message of Jesus that led the civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and sadly that very faith has been forgotten by many who wish to follow in his footprints. But who can blame them when they see the tomb of Dr. King, they see the price of the taking up one's cross and following the master.



We also visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church nearby. I had never been inside the church before--since it was undergoing renovations. Amy and I were both shocked at how small it was--having seen in on television countless times, it seemed large. But alas it wasn't..."if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to that mountain."



There will be many talks given today, that will laud Dr. King and his contribution to our society. There will be many proclamations about the progress we have made and some lamentation about how much further we have to go. But the saddest indictment will not be that we have not moved far enough in recognizing all people as our brothers and sisters--but rather that most of us have forgotten the one Father that we share that makes us all brothers and sisters!



At the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN where Dr. King was shot there is a historical marker with a quote from Genesis..."here comes that dreamer, let us put an end to him and then see what becomes of his dream." Of course the dreamer spoken of in Genesis is Joseph and his dream was given to him by God and nothing men could do could destroy or keep that dream from coming to fruition. Ultimately God always wins...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Free Catholic Book

When we look back over our lives, we often find that every
event is intricately interwoven with another, and then another,
with bright spots of serendipity when we “just happened” to be
in the right spot at the right time at key moments. This realization
will deepen the mystery that is life; regardless how long or
short our life, our mission and purpose is God’s. If he seems slow
to respond, look to the cross of Christ, which illumines even the
lag time between the promise and the fulfillment.


"michael dubruiel"

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ

From 2008, on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ



I thought it did a great job in portraying the cultic action of the Jewish priesthood offering the "lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". God is the supreme actor in the Passion as Jesus reminds Pilate, and I did hear what Jesus says to Pilate (that is from the Scripture) in a way that I never heard before..."what do we do with the power that God has given us?"



I've heard a ton of talk about the movie since I've seen it. Rabbi Marc Gelman liked it and thought it resurrected a "real" portrayal of the roots of Christianity in a day when religion is often portrayed in a cartoonish way.



Other rabbi's have condemned it, one saying that all the Jews had "bad teeth." Since everyone in the movie was either a Jew or Roman and Jesus had great teeth, I'm not sure what movie he saw.



But perhaps that is the point about a movie like this, we see what we want to...we go to it looking for confirmation of our preheld views.



Some things that I liked in particular were:



Seeing the Passion from the view of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

Seeing the Eucharist from the view of John...

The interspersing of scenes that in someway made the gave additional interpretation to the events that were taking place.

Overall the movie serves as an excellent meditation on Christ's passion and it's lack of focus on the resurection (only hinted at) gives the viewer a way to apply the passion of Christ to their daily life.



Things that I think were weak:

The opening Garden scene I thought was poorly done. The focus was on the devil (another weakness...), the apostles after being told to stay awake--literally wake up and do watch Jesus (they don't in Scripture--rather they go back to sleep), and Jesus is never sent an angel to strengthen him. I know that some aspects of Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision has supplied this scene, but even her vision is more intersting as the devil displays before Christ all the misinterpretations of his message and the futility of his suffering on the mass of the future humanity--this could have placed the whole passion in context).

I thought there could have been more focus on the cultic action of the Temple and tied that in with Jesus' passion and the hostility of the Jewish priests.

I would have like to have seen the "darkness" that overtakes the whole land to be more eerie than just an impending thunderstorm.



But overall, here is a Passion of Christ that portrays Christ as a man not a wimp, as someone entering a battle and fighting it courageously until it is finished.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ash Wednesday is March 1

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1.

All about The Power of the Cross (available for free download) and the Way of the Cross (available as an app as well as in paper copies).



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Catholic of the Year 2016- Bishop Robert Baker


Bishop Robert Baker was named a 2016 "Catholic of the Year" by Our Sunday Visitor. 


The genesis of this book was inspired by a set of talks that Father Benedict J. Groeschel C.F.R., gave several years ago in the Diocese of Manchester, NH. At the time while researching material for a project I was working on I came across an advertisement for the talks and found both the title and topic striking. The topic seemed to fit Father Benedict's lifetime of working among the poor and raising money to help their plight. I approached him, shortly after listening to the tapes and asked him to consider doing a book version. He liked the idea but was reluctant to pursue the project alone due to the shortage of time available to work on it.

"Michael Dubruiel"

Unwilling to let go of the project, I approached another friend of the poor, Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Charleston. I knew that Bishop Baker's priestly ministry had been devoted to finding Christ in the poor and with a wealth of experience he had in this area that if I could join his thoughts with Fr. Groeschel' s we would have a book that would be of great benefit to the rest of us. After approaching Bishop Baker with my request he agreed and then Father Benedict agreed to collaborate on this book.


While the Bishop and Father Benedict were working on the written text of the book I came across a stunning work of iconography one day while visiting an Eastern Catholic church. On the back wall of the church was an icon of the Last Judgment taken from Matthew 25. I found that the great iconographer Mila Mina had written the icon. I immediately contacted Mila and asked if the icon might be used as an illustration for this book, her response was "anything to make the Gospel known!" Thanks to Mila and her son Father John Mina for allowing Joyce Duriga and David Renz to photograph the icon at Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, Clairton, PA.

Fr. Groeschel has written the introductory text that begins each section as well as the final "What Should I Do?" at the end of the book, and Bishop Baker has written the individual meditations and prayers contained in each of the six sections.


While this book was being written, Father Benedict was involved in a horrific accident that nearly took his life. At the time of the accident the text he was working on was in his suitcase. He had just finished the introduction to "When I was a stranger..." as you read over the text for that section you might sense that he was having a premonition of what was about to happen in his life-where he would soon be in an emergency room under the care of doctors, nurses and as well as his family and religious community.


You will find that this book provides you with keys to finding Our Lord in the poor, and to overcoming the fears and obstacles (represented by the seven deadly sins in each section) that prevent you from responding to His call.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How to Pray a Novena




When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his Apostles to stay where they were and to "wait for the gift" that the Father had promised: the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles did as the Lord commanded them. "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers" (Acts 1:14). Nine days passed; then, they received the gift of the Holy spirit, as had been promised. May we stay together with the church, awaiting in faith with Our Blessed Mother, as we trust entirely in God, who loves us more than we can ever know. 

"michael Dubruiel"

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RCIA Resource on the Mass

The How to Book of the Mass  by Michael Dubruiel would be a great gift for an RCIA candidate or catechumen.




The How-To Book of the Mass is the only book that not only provides the who, what, where, when, and why of themost time-honored tradition of the Catholic Church but also the how.
In this complete guide you get:
  • step-by-step guidelines to walk you through the Mass
  • the Biblical roots of the various parts of the Mass and the very prayers themselves
  • helpful hints and insights from the Tradition of the Church
  • aids in overcoming distractions at Mass
  • ways to make every Mass a way to grow in your relationship with Jesus
If you want to learn what the Mass means to a truly Catholic life—and share this practice with others—you can’t be without The How-To Book of the Mass. Discover how to:
  • Bless yourself
  • Make the Sign of the Cross
  • Genuflect
  • Pray before Mass
  • Join in Singing the Opening Hymn
  • Be penitential
  • Listen to the Scriptures
  • Hear a Great Homily Everytime
  • Intercede for others
  • Be a Good Steward
  • Give Thanks to God
  • Give the Sign of Peace
  • Receive the Eucharist
  • Receive a Blessing
  • Evangelize Others
  • Get something Out of Every Mass You Attend
"Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table 'he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them."1347, Catechism of the Catholic Church

Find more about The How to Book of the Mass here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Epiphany of the Lord

The Epiphany of the Lord

People experience darkness in a lot of ways. Some are depressed. Others experience it in ignorance.
Darkness and the experience of being blind are two ways that the scriptures often portray the condition of humans without some outside help. Many of us are aware that something isn't quite right with ourselves. We are not the person that we feel we could or should be. We don't know how to act in our own best interest or the for the good of others. We often are at the mercy of those who try to manipulate our indecisiveness and lack of vision.
To this Isaiah the prophet says, "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance". God has sent light that shines in the darkness, John tells us in his gospel--will we accept that light?

The magi traveled afar to experience it. How far are we willing to travel to experience what countless saints have experienced for the last two thousand years? How willing are we to surrender to the light? It is our choice, we can be like Herod who was threatened by the light that his true worth would be seen in its light or we can be like the magi who recognized the ultimate worth of such light shining in the darkness and brought what they had to offer in exchange for a treasure that the earth can only give in the person of the God made man.



Michael Dubruiel

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 4 - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious

They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher),"where are you staying?" Those who experienced Jesus all seem to have sensed in His presence that He had something to teach them. It is the same with us, there is a wisdom that we lack and when we come to worship Our Lord we should come with the expectation that we will learn a new way to think and a new way to live.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, a convert to Catholicism founded what eventually became the system of Catholic schools in the United States. It is not coincidental that those who follow Christ often embrace the profession of teaching. Teaching is one way that the followers of Christ imitate Him but the teaching of a follower of Christ is always centered on God and therein lies the difference.

Knowledge without God often makes no sense because it is experienced out of the context of the whole. A visit to Emmitsburgh where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton taught, one can visit the first school that she started there. What makes that school different from others is the presence of a chapel. Perhaps the problem with education today is that God is often absent from the lesson plans.


More from Michael Dubruiel:


Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

"michael Dubruiel"


How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:
  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond" Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.


Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Free Catholic Book by Michael Dubruiel

“Hosanna!” the people cried as Jesus entered the city. This is
one of the few words in Scripture that is not translated into English
(like Alleluia; Amen; and talitha, koum). How does
“Hosanna” translate into English? In most English translations
of Psalm 118:25, this word is translated “Save us!” It seems that
it may have been this psalm that the people of Jerusalem were
proclaiming as Jesus entered the city: “Save us, we beseech thee,
O LORD! O LORD, we beseech thee, give us success! Blessed be
he who enters in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the
house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the
altar!” (Psalm 118:25–27). They were crying out to be saved by
God and his Christ.

Ironically, a few days later they cried out, “Crucify him,”
bringing about that very act of salvation. At times we lose sight
of how this mirrors the actions of their ancestors, the patriarchs
of the original twelve tribes, who sold one of their brothers into
slavery—and God used that act of treachery for his own end.
Thus at the end of Genesis we hear Joseph proclaim, “As for you,
you meant evil against me; but God meant if for good, to bring
it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are
today”(Genesis 50:20).

"michael dubruiel"