Saturday, February 29, 2020

Repent or Perish

The First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of the Lord
Our Lord, though innocent, takes on our sins as He enters the water of Jordan and is baptized by John. His mission of our salvation is blessed by the Father's praise and the Spirit's descent. Ask Our Lady to help you pray this decade, pondering the light that comes from submission to the will of God.
--from Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and & Mysteries by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn.

Repent or Perish Luke 13:3
"I must decrease, He must increase" St. John the Baptist told his disciples after his encounter with Christ. Our submission to the will of God begins with our submission to Christ--our own dying with Him and rising anew in Him at our Baptism. But the act of submission needs to happen at every moment of the day. Every second brings with it a moment of prayer--will I submit to my will against His or will I bow down to His authority and choose Him. The world may cry out "I've got to be me," but the servant of God cries out "I've got to be His." St. Paul reiterates this when he declares, "I live, no not I, but Christ."
We fear this repentance. We secretly grieve that we won't be ourselves if we submit. Something within at a very early age urges us to resist (original sin) and it does not go away quietly. So many of us are slowly perishing, spending our demise judging others, living in darkness.
The biblical notion of this state of humanity is that of something that is lost. Will we continue to cling on to the lost being or will we allow ourselves to be found by Christ--at this moment and at every moment walking in His light and overcoming the darkness of the lost?


Michael Dubruiel

Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday Stations of the Cross



In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial.
Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O'Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season.
"michael Dubruiel"

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday in Rome

From a 2006 trip by Michael Dubruiel
I often blog what the Pope says at his General Audience on Wednesdays, but I will never do so without the sense of what it is like to actually be there. Thanks to several people we knew that to get a good seat at the General Audience we needed to be there as soon as they allowed people in, around 8:00 a.m.(two and half hours before the audience begins, although one of our contacts told us that Benedict had been beginning them about a half hour early). So we were there, dressed for warm weather, because it was rather warm at the time. We found the shortest line and waited about ten minutes until the mad rush began. The security was fairly lax at the entrance point that we were at, police with wands, but not really using them. So once through the entrance we ran (sort of the way people were running through the columns when Pope Benedict was about to be announced as the successor of St. Peter last year).
We were able to get to the fourth row right against the center rail, which turned out to be a pretty good spot. The two men sitting in front of me were from Brazil, I think the people behind us were from Ireland. There was a group from Steubenville near us, as well as the St. Thomas folk who were just behind us.
Then it turned cool, the sun disappeared and the clouds covered the sky. The temperature must have dropped ten or fifteen degrees. I think Joseph fell asleep, as well as the baby and for the most part we sat in silence with some outbursts of enthusiastic groups now and then.
Ten o'clock arrived and we were hopeful that the pope might come out early, but not today. Then at ten thirty there was a commotion and suddenly there he was, well looking exactly like the pope! You can see how dark the skies were and the pope had on his winter coat.Pope Benedict has shunned the glass case that John Paul used after he was shot in 1981, when I saw Pope John Paul in Miami he was behind the glass of the popemobile when he drove through the streets of Miami,but then I saw him up close at Mass the next day (a Mass that wasn't finished because of a thunderstorm). I remember being shocked at how old Cardinal Ratzinger was when he celebrated the funeral of Pope John Paul, and even how he seemed bent with age as he entered the conclave to elect the new pope--but how youthful he emerged from the conclave!
Organ music is played as a background which gave the feeling of either a carnival or funeral but didn't seem to strike the right chord for the ceremony.
Now right after the Pope passed us the baby's bottle somehow dropped onto the pavement and went rolling down the path the pope had just passed. A Swiss Guard finally picked it up after it had rolled for what seemed like an eternity, and looked at it suspiciously. He finally walked over and handed it to me.After making the circuit the Holy Father's pope mobile drives up the steps and then he gets out and goes to his chair...Then you hear something along the lines of: 
Cari Fratelli e Sorelle,
Inizia oggi, con la Liturgia del Mercoledì delle Ceneri, l'itinerario quaresimale di quaranta giorni che ci condurrà al Triduo pasquale, memoria della passione, morte e risurrezione del Signore, cuore del mistero della nostra salvezza. Questo è un tempo favorevole in cui la Chiesa invita i cristiani a prendere più viva consapevolezza dell'opera redentrice di Cristo e a vivere con più profondità il proprio Battesimo. In effetti, in questo periodo liturgico il Popolo di Dio fin dai primi tempi si nutre con abbondanza della Parola di Dio per rafforzarsi nella fede, ripercorrendo l'intera storia della creazione e della redenzione.
Which I now know means:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, with the Ash Wednesday Liturgy, the Lenten journey of 40 days begins that will lead us to the Easter Tridium, the memorial of the passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord, heart of the mystery of our salvation. It is a favourable time when the Church invites Christians to have a keener awareness of the redeeming work of Christ and to live their Baptism in greater depth.

The audience continues with the pope teaching a lesson in Italian. At the conclusion various Monsignors in different languages greet the pope in the name of the various language groups present. Some groups when they are announced sing, some just cheer. The pope acknowledges them with a wave, then responds with a summary of his teaching in that language. This pope like John Paul before him is fluent in a number of tongues and it is interesting to hear him speak English.
Finally the Pope gives his Apostolic blessing, blessing religious articles also.
Then he greets the Cardinals and bishops present. At this audience there was one cardinal (I believe it is Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez the very Cardinal who announced to the world last year Habemus Papam!) pictured here in the piazza afterwards. Then the sick and handicapped are brought in wheelchairs before him, pushed by nuns for the most part, and he gives each of them a blessing. I'm not sure what the history of this is or for how long this has been done, but I found it to be one of the most poignant moments of the audience. There was a long parade of these crucified memembers of the Body of Christ and they evoked from the Marian prayer "do you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, in this valley of tears." The wisdom of giving these souls the privileged position at the audience and the primacy of a personal meeting with the pope was incredibly Christian--a great witness. Would that all in attendance learn to see in those marginalized the truly important.
After this the pope walked over to the barrier to the left at which were standing a group of Moslems and he greeted them and spoke to them and then worked down the line. At the end of this line he mounted the popemobile and then passed along the barrier on the right and shook hands as he went along. Then the popemobile made its way down the steps toward me. (Click on any image for a full size shot)
Until finally, there he was right in front of me.
So I put the camera down for a second or two. Then after I gave him a wave, I picked it up again just in time because someone handed him a baby.
Then he was gone, as Joseph would say "back to the Pope cave (ala batcave)." The thousands that had gathered began to disperse. Amy had more Rome Reports video to shoot, so she went with the kids for the outside shots. I was to meet with Jeffrey Kirby to take a walk up to the North American College for a tour and lunch. While waiting, I spotted another group gathered for the pope's audience, a group of Eastern monks.
More about Michael Dubruiel 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ash Wednesday is February 26

An Excerpt from One of My Books:

(Michael Dubruiel)



This is an excerpt from one of my books, "Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen". This entry is from Part I under the heading "The Sanctification of the Present Moment." I quote this because I noticed somewhere online today the popularity of a spiritual guru who Oprah is promoting, Eckhart Tolle (I think it helps to have an estoteric name in the modern world) who's "Power of Now" is quite the rave. There is nothing new in what Tolle is promoting and any serious student of spirituality can find it in Catholicism. Fulton Sheen was preaching this years ago and as I point out in this entry from the book a very famous work of Christian Spirituality also does:



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?



Prayer

Lord, 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.



Sunday, February 23, 2020

How to "Offer it Up"

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






A  N O T E      O F A U T I O N

N ow, I want to be clear that what I am proposing in this book is not the “victim-ism” that was sometimes prevalent in the older spirituality of “offering it up.” In every situation we are free to choose how we will respond to an event: we can blame someone else for what is happening, or we can feel powerless and do 
nothing. It is my contention that neither of these responses is Christlike.The experience of “offering up” our lives to God needs to be a positive and co-redemptive act.Thankfully, with God’s help we are all capable of freely choosing to respond in this fashion.

Those who promoted the spirituality of “offering it up” in a previous age often quoted St.Paul’s words to the Colossians:“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24). In offering our sacrifice at the Eucharist, in the same way that we offer up any suffering we endure in life, we take whatever is negative and turn it into a positive, life-giving force both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. We make up for what is “lacking” for the sake of  “his body,”the Church — that is,ourselves in communion with all Christians with all of our imperfections and all of our failings. “The miracle of the church assembly lies in that it is not the ‘sum’ of the sinful and unworthy people who comprise it, but the body of Christ,” Father Alexander Schmemann remarked.This is the power of the cross of Jesus Christ,taking what appears to be weakness and allowing God to transform it into strength!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Daily Lent Devotional

The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.


"michael Dubruiel"



From the Introduction (part 4)

“What Do I Do Now?” 

Start reading this book. Each section is designed to be read and pondered on its own; read one of the entries each day, or take up  one section each week. There are parts of this book with which you may readily agree; other sections will probably anger you. Don’t worry about that; parts of this book elicit the same reaction in me. When faced with the cross, my inner demons rebel. Surrendering to the cross of Christ is the only way to rid oneself of whatever evil may be lurking in our lives. 

The way of the cross is the only sure way to joy and freedom. The world offers us happiness and rejects the cross, to be sure, but it is a happiness that is short lived. For those who embrace his cross, Jesus promises a joy that never ends. The evil one makes it hard for us to see the truth of Jesus’ claim at times. But those who seek the truth will experience—either first-hand or through living saints like Pearl—true reality: What the world promises is a lie. 

We are all headed to Cross City, whether we are following Christ or not. For those who follow Christ, Cross City is the gate to eternal life. For those who venture along that path without Christ, the cross brings only suffering and ultimately death. The crucified Christ is the Vine; we are called to be the branches. May his joy be in you, “that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).   More

For more about Michael Dubruiel.  

Friday, February 21, 2020

Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky


One time in the late 80's I was traveling with another friend of mine, Brian, on our way to Chicago. The first night we stopped at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA about twenty miles east of Atlanta.

Fr. Francis (originally a monk at Gethsemani and one of the founding monks of Holy Spirit, then in his 80's) met us at the Guest House door, "Will you stay?"

Anyone who has read Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain knows this is what you expect to hear when you arrive at a Trappist monastery. There is a double meaning to the question..."Will you stay?" and join our community, "Will you stay?" in the guest house and finally since in the Rule of St. Benedict the stranger is to be welcomed as Christ...Will you stay? Lord as in "Stay with us Lord for the day is far spent."

We answered "yes" as in yes we'll stay in the guest house tonight, which we did and attended prayers and Mass--then left the next morning on our way to Gethsemani. We arrived in Gethsemani that afternoon (about seven hours later). No one greeted us or asked us if we would stay. There were a few other pilgrims wandering around but no monks visible. We were settled in the chapel for Vespers when the first monks began to emerge from the cloister and enter into the chapel. Brian leaned over to me and whispered, "Its the same guys."

Well not exactly. Driving toward Birmingham and away from Gethsemani I thought of my friend Peter who has been a big fan of the Trappists from way back. I knew that he had thought about entering the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit at one timea and still made visits there frequently--I also knew that he had visited Gethsemani several times. His experience and mine of both monasteries knew that one welcomed strangers and the other saw them as an intrusion and to be fair because of Thomas Merton Gethsemani got a glut of strangers.

When I first stayed at Gethsemani the beds were very Trappist--really nothing more than a pallet with a two inch mattress on it. Years laters a beautiful, state of the art guest house was built that was more along the lines of mid range hotel. Now the Welcome Center--the times they are a changing.

I called Pete to share my views about the Welcome Center and I share them here because for the most part they were inaccurate as my return trip proved but they say a lot about how our minds process religious experiences. I told Pete:

"The first thing you notice when you walk in through the cloister wall and into the building is a coffin...it is open but empty. In some ways it is symbolic of immediately reminding you of your final end and asking you the question what am I here for? Several monks were available to answer the question."

"Over the PA system there was an incessant crackling of flames--they made me think of the flames of Hell (another of the Last Things), when in fact a peak into the room to the left of the entrance showed that it was the Easter Fire being prepared and the flames providing the fire to illuminate the Easter Candle--symbolic of the light of Christ illuminating the darkness. The video featured the changing seasons...the crackling flames were replaced with crackling dead leaves falling from the trees surrounding the monastery, the barren trees introduced the funeral of a monk with living monks keeping vigil reading the psalms all night before the burial of their brother."

I told Pete that all of this left me with the impression that the Welcome Center was designed as a sort of funeral parlor and that unconsciously the monks were providing the guest with a modern morality play that the visitor was the staring player. Walking out of the Welcome Center I made my way toward the Chapel for Vespers--passing by another gate where the words "God Alone" were engraved. Long time readers of this blog will remember that this gate once graced the right hand column of this blog...the Gospel in two words, a reminder that after death all that matters will be God Alone...a reminder that in this life ultimately what matters is God Alone.

Then the Chapel and monks bending in unison at the waist singing "Praise to the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit both now and forever, until the end of the ages." punctuating the Psalms of praise and thanksgiving.

Death, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven all in a few minutes of each other. "Will you stay?"

No, not here anyway.

(Later my return to Getsemani later in the week and a more accurate description of the Welcome Center).


-Michael Dubruiel

Thursday, February 20, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 28

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel









From Chapter 4 - Confess - Part 4


D M I T T I N G U R E E D
There is often talk about the way “modern” Catholics believe, picking and choosing what they believe and bypassing what they don’t. It has been termed cafeteria Catholicism — what it is in reality is intellectual sin. We accept Christ’s teaching only so far as it agrees with what we already think. When it challenges us, we ignore it.

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Jesus didn’t accept this from his disciples. When he announced the doctrine of the Eucharist in John 6 many disciples ceased to follow him because they found the teaching too difficult (see John 6:66, notice the numbers). Did Jesus yell out, “Oh, that’s okay — take what you like, ignore the rest”? No, instead he turned to those who had not left him and asked, “Do you want to leave me too?”
Our reluctance to accept the Lord’s teaching,“in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do,” may be our most persistent sin, one that we constantly need to confess openly, as we do at the beginning of every celebration of the Eucharist.

R E LWAY S I N N E R S

One of my favorite prayers is the Jesus Prayer.It is a simple prayer, taken from the Scriptures, one that can be prayed anywhere simply by repeating the words “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, the sinner,” over and over slowly. I often pray it throughout the day, whenever I find myself waiting: in the car at a traffic light, in an airport waiting for a flight, in an office waiting for an appointment or at church waiting for the Eucharist to begin.
As I pray this prayer I often imagine that I am one of the blind men spoken of in the gospel who cried out to Jesus as he was passing by.
The Jesus Prayer is essentially an Eastern Christian prayer. Eastern Christians do not have a problem with acknowledging that they are sinners, but I think that Western Christians do.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Lent Stations of the Cross

Lent begins on February 26. It's time to order parish and school resources.


In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial.

Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O'Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 27

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel








From Chapter 4 - Confess - Part 3

LE S S O N S LE A R N ED F RO M A H REE -Y E A R -O L D

When my son admits to disobeying either his mother or me his bottom lip will quiver and he can barely admit to his misdeed. Often as soon as the confession leaves his lips he is on the floor, weeping. It moves us to see how badly it hurts him to have dishonored us.
Isn’t this the same way we should feel when we who confess that we believe in God act as though we do not? It is all about love, and perhaps we do not experience the contrition of a threeyear-old because our love for God has grown cold.Could it be that because we have committed the same sins for so many years, we have come to define ourselves by them?

I ’ O T K AY

I once heard Franciscan Father Richard Rohr say that the pop psychology view of the human person is “I’m okay, you’re okay” but that the gospel message was “I’m not okay but that’s okay with God.” St. Paul said, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say that “it used to be that only Catholics believed in the Immaculate Conception; now everyone believes that he or she is immaculately conceived.” Dr.
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Karl Menninger penned a famous book with the title, Whatever Became of Sin?
The loss of the sense of personal sin greatly reduces our capacity to feel the necessity of being saved by Christ. We risk having to hit rock bottom before we realize how far we have fallen, if we do not regularly acknowledge our sinfulness and our need to be saved from ourselves.
H E FA L L E N O R L D
Previous generations of Christians had a deeper understanding of the fallen nature from which Christ came to save us. When I recently mentioned the fallen nature of humanity in the course of writing another book, the editor queried me as to whether what I was stating was even “Catholic,” so foreign has the notion become to the modern follower of Christ.
If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist, we have to understand what Jesus, the Bread of Life, came to save us from, and how he can save us from our sins.
ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH
If a precious garment is not put away into a box that is soiled, by what line of reasoning is the Eucharist of Christ received into a soul soiled with the stains of sin?
— S T. AUGUSTINE

Monday, February 17, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 26

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel








From Chapter 4 - Confess - Part 2

One area of spirituality that has been under attack for the past forty years is the “emphasis on sinfulness”that seems to have dominated the spirituality of all religions from the beginning of time. Those who have bought into this removal of sinfulness from their spirituality have found that after awhile God has very little to do with it.
Sin essentially is anything that breaks our relationship with God. Remove sin and you are essentially removing God from the picture — because you are admitting that it really doesn’t matter if you are offending God or not. It would be like being in a relationship with your spouse and refusing ever to admit any wrongdoing — one would expect such a relationship to be in grave trouble.
Admitting that we are not living up to our part of the relationship is a healthy part of the struggle to stay in continual communion with God. If we are doing it with “sighs and tears” it means that we are not just doing it out of habit but rather are emotionally feeling what we are saying. St. Ignatius of Loyola would have retreatants pray for the gift of tears when they meditated on their sinfulness, and this is a practice that should be restored.
I remember standing in a confessional line during a Marian pilgrimage that I made in the late 1980s and watching people emerge from the outside confessional stations (the priest sat in a chair, while the penitent knelt beside him, visible to all gathered there) wiping tears away. It was touching, because it gave me the sense that these people weren’t just listing off faults but experiencing a heartfelt conversion from a life without God to a life that

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the penitent truly wanted to live with the help of God.We should all pray for the gift of tears for our failings.
My great-grandfather would always be wiping tears away when he returned from receiving communion. I found this deeply significant as a child,and it is something I’ve never forgotten.Involving our emotions in our relationship with God is a great grace that we should strive to have in our relationship with him.
Real contrition for our sins involves a firm resolve to involve God in those parts of our lives where we have excluded him in the past. By being aware of God’s presence at all times we likely will amend our lives in the future.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 25

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel








From Chapter 4 - Confess - Part 1

If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
— ROMANS 1 0 : 9

One night when a group of believers had gathered to pray in a country where such a gathering was forbidden by law, a cry went out when two soldiers burst through the doors. They yelled out that they would give anyone in the room a chance to leave before arresting those who refused to do so.A few of the gathered immediately bolted out of the room.

As soon as they left,the soldiers closed the doors and said,“We are believers too, but we couldn’t trust those who were not ready to be arrested for their faith.”Putting down their guns,they joined the others in prayer.
When you and I hear the word confess we are apt to think of it in terms of our sins, but the word also means to acknowledge one’s belief.The two meanings, when it comes to Christianity,are very related. What we consider to be sinful has a lot to do with how much we really believe in God.
People throw their beliefs about God around quite freely these days,usually prefaced by “Oh,I don’t think God cares about that.”
Christians believe that Jesus has revealed God and what God is like to us. Jesus formed a group of disciples around him and told them that God’s spirit would stay with them until the end of time. This group was to hand down his teaching, baptize other followers, forgive sins, and teach all that Jesus, the Son of God, had commanded them to pass on. Peter had a special role in this group.
Jesus revealed the love of God to us by dying for us and leaving us a memorial of his death in the Eucharist.The word memorial had a special meaning for the Jewish people of Jesus’s time. It didn’t mean recalling the past, as it does for us today, but rather it meant making present a past event. Thus, when we come together at the Eucharist, we are present at Calvary and witness once again what God is like through Jesus.
People who die for any cause care a lot. Jesus has revealed to us that God cares a lot! God desires our salvation.
If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist, we need to confess: We must confess belief in God, as we do in the Creed, and confess that we are not always the greatest of followers of Jesus.

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 24

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 11


U R T H E R E L P S

1. Keep Your Focus on Jesus

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Our Lord rebuked the devil saying, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall  worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’”(Matthew 4:10).
When you are tempted to worship anything else, no matter how lofty it might seem, call to mind this incident from Our Lord’s life.

2. Learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary

When the Blessed Virgin Mary was called “Blessed among women” by her cousin Elisabeth she responded with “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:46–47). She pointed to God and worshiped only him.
Following Mary’s example, we should seek to “decrease” in order that God may “increase” as we adore him above all.

3. Foster an Attitude of Adoration

St. Paul told the Thessalonians to Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God
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in Christ Jesus for you”(1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).When we foster this attitude our hearts will be focused on adoring God at every moment of our lives.

4. Developing a Eucharistic Spirituality

A concrete way to prefer the love of Christ throughout the day when faced with countless other “loves” is to hear the words Jesus spoke to Peter addressed to yourself: “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15).

5. A Prayer for Today

Recite this prayer of St. Teresa of Ávila often:
Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains everything.
God alone is enough.

Friday, February 14, 2020

St. Valentine's Day

From the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA:
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.

Michael Dubruiel's Books 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 23

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel





From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 10

Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the
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earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”
— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2
There has been many a winter morning when I was scraping snow and ice from my car when the words of this prayer have come to my lips, often, I must confess, rather sarcastically.
Too often we forget that God has a plan that doesn’t quite match up to ours. If our plans and possessions dominate us, we can become very ungrateful in life and perhaps even feel cursed. Yet if we die to ourselves and adore God, giving thanks to God in all things, even when we are standing in the flames, or freezing in the ice and snow, we’ll find that God has a reason and purpose for everything. As St.Teresa of Ávila said,“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God’s.”
H A N K O D H E A D        O F I M E
There is an American friar whose cause for sainthood is currently before Rome. His name is Father Solanus Casey; he was a Capuchin Friar who ministered in Detroit, New York, and Huntington, Indiana. He died over forty years ago. I often walk the grounds of the former friary where he served in Huntington and think about his ministry. Born of Irish immigrants, he was sent to German seminaries where the priests taught him in German how to speak Latin. He didn’t fare too well — who would?
Eventually he was ordained but not allowed to preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. In a time when there was more of a caste system in religious life he was given a “brothers’ job” as porter. People sought him out near and far.They found great wisdom in his words, and great miracles of healing were recorded after his prayer and touch. Many were converted.
In many ways, it would seem that he would have had much to be bitter about. He was obviously one of the most gifted friars in the community, but he was treated as one who had little to offer.

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Yet he was not bitter, and his advice to people who requested prayer and healing is interesting. He told them to “thank God ahead of time”— as an act of faith.He often also had them enroll in a Mass association as a way of giving thanks to God.
This is a beautiful message for us: to thank God in all things, to be thankful for everything that life brings to us even if to all appearances it doesn’t seem there is anything to be thankful for, and to thank God ahead of time,trusting that in God’s time good will come from it all.
The Eucharist is all about “giving thanks,” and how much you and I can do so at any given moment is dependent upon how deeply we are adoring and worshiping God.Offering God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving will help us to get the most from the Eucharist.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 22

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 22


From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 9


R O B L E M S V E R S U S L E S S I N G S
A prayer that is recited by those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours on every major feast day of the Church is an example of the kind of thanksgiving that should be the prayer of all believers. It is called the Benedicite, after the many times that the word “Bless” is used in it. In this case “Bless” is another way of saying “give thanks and praise.” The setting is found in the book of Daniel,where three young men are placed in a fiery furnace,something I’m sure even the most faithful among us would be tempted
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to think of as a “big problem.” As they enter the fiery furnace to what would seem like a certain death,one of them,Azariah,prays:
Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of our fathers, and worthy of praise; and thy name is glorified for ever. For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true and thy ways right, and all thy judgments are truth.Thou hast executed true judgments in all that thou hast brought upon us and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of our fathers, for in truth and justice thou hast brought all this upon us because of our sins. For we have sinfully and lawlessly departed from thee, and have sinned in all things and have not obeyed thy commandments; we have not observed them or done them, as thou hast commanded us that it might go well with us.
— DANIEL 3 : 3 – 7
It is a prayer of thanksgiving, sounding very much like a Eucharistic Prayer that is prayed at the Mass we attend.Those trying to exterminate the three men, hearing the prayer, stoke up the flames, and the three pray a prayer that includes the following:
Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the
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earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”
— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 21

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel







From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 8


ADORING GOD WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
One of my favorite quotes is from the journals of Father Alexander Schmemann: “God, when creating the world, did not solve problems or pose them.He created what He could call ‘very good.’ God created the world, but the devil transformed the world and man and life into a ‘problem.’ ”10 If we want to adore God with praise and thanksgiving we are going to have to learn to stop seeing everything as a “problem” or “interruption” and begin to be open to seeing God’s goodness and interventions even in the most unlikely of places.
Many of the most horrific sins ever committed by human beings happen because people see problems where they should see blessings. If we do not adore God above all, we risk doing horrible things as we serve whatever else we have put in God’s place.
ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH
Human beings are created for the purpose of praising God.The Lord demands nothing else in the same manner that he requires praise and thanksgiving of us.For that reason he made rational beings and distinguished us from animals by our power of speech so that we might praise and glorify him continually.
— S T. J OHN HRYSOSTOM

Monday, February 10, 2020

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 20

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel






From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 7


E I N G O V E D  B Y E S U S

In Mark 10:21 in the account of the rich young man, Mark tells us that Jesus,“looking upon him loved him, and said to him,‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ ”
Notice that because Christ loves the rich young man,he points out what the young man lacks. It is out of love that Jesus tells him to get rid of all his possessions.
Christ’s love will reveal similar deficiencies in us. Our Lord looks upon us and recognizes what we really need. However, we often come to him with our own ideas about what we need. If we prefer our own ideas to the love of Christ, we too will join the rich young man who walks away sad, “for his possessions were many.” We may possess the world, but without Christ it is nothing!

O V I N G E S U S

In John 8:42, Jesus is engaged in a heated argument with those who oppose him. He says to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” We know, therefore, that Jesus is God, and we should prefer nothing to God and his love, which Jesus has revealed to us perfectly.
How do we know if we truly love Our Lord? He addresses this in John 14:23-24: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” We love Our Lord by doing what he commands us to do.