Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mystical Poems of Divine Love

     We enjoyed reading these mystical poems of Divine Love written by Saint John of the Cross. This Saint suffered poverty, ignominy, rejection and incarceration, all for his love of Jesus. He allowed any love of the mundane within his soul to die. He endured  the resultant prolonged sensation of isolation and spiritual darkness. 
     Rejecting the world's comforts, he valiantly trusted in the eternal beauty of God's love. An affordable version of this bilingual edition can be purchased here, @ 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Advent is Coming!

     Catholic observation of Advent will soon assist us in our aspirations to share in the holiness and love of Jesus and Mary. The contemplative melodies of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate capture the heart and mind, helping us to focus on the immense significance of our Savior's miraculous incarnation. 
     Unforgettable and serene, the selections on this recording help elevate the heart mind and soul encouraging prayer and thanksgiving. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Love and Trust

  I love the story of Tobias, his wife, son and in laws and their trusting relationship with the archangel Rafael. They remain faithful to God throughout several frightening, life threatening events. They risk their lives to obey God. How beautiful is the example of the father as spiritual leader of his family, instructing his child in both word and example. How powerful is this father's example of courage as he performs acts of mercy. The family remains united in faith, not swayed by blindness or death. They obediently trust in the angel sent to them by God. They accept His will, even when there is every mortal probability of sorrow. They pray faithfully, hearts filled with loving thanksgiving, even though they have not yet experienced a favorable outcome. Finally, they rejoice in God's mercy upon them.
      As Catholics, we are greatly blessed by the Deuterocanonical accounts of courage, obedience and faith. The prayers of these trusting followers of God merit recitation in our own lives. We may benefit from these writings in a viety of translations of the Bible. It is a privilege to share these accounts with persons of every faith.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

too late?

     Unresolved intra~familial conflicts loom over us continually lacerating our hearts. As rusted hinges upon an old fence, years of silently recoiling from "kin" freezes the likelihood of loving reunions.
     The mangled roots of these ruinous seeds deceive us into believing that it is too late to repair affections so long ago ruptured. The result is endless repetition of the same spiritual and interpersonal calamities throughout a lifetime and from generation to generation.
Nothing is impossible for God! (see Luke 1:37)
     Healing Your Family Tree by Father John H. Hampsch challeges the reader to take steps, requiring heroic virtue.  The easy to read question answer format, provides ample instruction and examples of spiritual means of healing sorrows of every magnitude. Exercises in multi~generational and ancestral forgiveness demonstrate that it is never too late for successful personal and intra~familial healing. 
     Take note of the the illustration and description of the tree on the front cover. Don't be afraid to delve into the healing possibilities found within these pages! You can purchase Healing Your Family Tree @ catholic

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Heliotropium Part 5 of 5

     What should I do when faced with trouble? Shouldn't I go about solving all of my problems on my own? Why should I trust in God's Will? 
     Book 5 of Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine emphasises the holy sacrifice of trustfully weathering hardship for the love of Christ.
     Loss of health, finances and loved ones, does not equal hopelessness. Mentally replaying the details of problems nourishes anxiety and despair. Forcing solutions according stubborn human schemes leads to an inescapable circular trap. It is like getting lost in a forest and finding oneself in the same place over and over again, like the Hebrews 40 year journey in the desert! Conversely, armed with holy trust in God and a small army of God's design Gideon's Battle was miraculously won.
     Everything that God allows in life is an integral aspect of our spiritual battle. Each cross we carry has the power to draw us more deeply into to the Heart of God. Each suffering God allows directs the footsteps of our souls toward Heaven. Spiritual arrogance measures human plans against the will of our Perfect God. Preferring the errant human will over that of our Omnipotent Creator yields eternal separation from God. Lovingly accepting both the triumphant and the tragic from God expedites our freedom to choose Him above all. Adam was given a perfect life in Eden and disobeyed God. Job responded to loss, illness and rejection with a deeper love for God. 
      The examples of holy men and women of God teach us perseverance in trusting God. No matter how long it took, their undying spirit of praise and grateful adoration helped them to conform their human will to His. They understood that to rely upon on the human will would eventually obliterate all communion with Our Heavenly Father's incomparable love.
     As we gaze without deviation upon the the holy face of Jesus we understand where our trust belongs.
Oh most Glorious and Beautiful Heliotropium! 
The Blessed Sacrament of Jesus
     Contemplating Jesus' submission to God's Will strengthens our desire to trust and obey. His love freely flows into our hearts. Among the rewards of this trust, especially in the midst of sorrow, are hope, compassion and inner tranquility. Patient attendance to prayer and contemplation, longing for God, frequent adoration and reception of the Blessed Sacrament, encouragement, assurance and unconditional forgiveness, flourish within the house of the soul obedient to the will of God. Hearts and souls that adore Jesus instead of focusing upon the self and earthly desires, reflect God's magnificent love to others. God is glorified rather than the self. Imagine a sunflower that only faced itself. It could never grow to be so radiantly lovely. After all, its beauty is a singular reflection of the beauty of God's love.
     Steadfastly embracing the glorious love of Jesus and Mary, our dear friend humbly outshines all darkness, as he patiently faces mounting uncertainty. He incessantly proclaims his trust in Our Heavenly Father's Will. Holding on to the unconditional and eternal love of Jesus has refined our friend's vision of God's will and strengthened his reliance upon Him. In our friend's life, the face of tragedy is sublimely out shined by the Face of Jesus. Inspired by our friend's humble conformity to God's Will, our family's union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also fortified. 
    From the fifth part of this five part masterpiece, I have learned that absolute trust in God's Holy and Perfect Will is the remedy for the anxiety that comes with this spiritual battle we know as adversity. How beneficial it is to praise and glorify God throughout ALL that He sends us: health/sickness, love/heartache, wealth/poverty, esteem/rejection. I have learned that the most beneficial task that lies before me is to respond to trouble with faithful, reverent worship of God through Mass, Communion, Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer.  
     May my unceasing prayer be "Thank you Jesus. Thy will be done."
This wonderful book, can be purchased at TAN Books.

Previous Post: Heliotropium Part 4 of 5

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Heliotropium Part 4 of 5

     When will my prayers be answered ? Why does God delay in revealing His Will for me? How should I respond to the Divinely ordained outcome of the events in my life, even if they cause me loss and disappointment?
   Book 4 of Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine emphasizes the contrast between the person who strives to please God by surrender to His Divine Will and the person who craves the satisfaction of their own will. The true test of our desire and love for Him comes when God says "NO!" Fighting against His Will results in temptations such as: anger at God, despair, self pity, negligence of prayer and contemplation, rejection of God, and abandonment of the Blessed Sacrament. Within the house of such a soul blossoms resentment, cynicism, anxiety and doubt.
     The heart set upon the satisfaction of the self will develops a blind amnesia with regards to the irreversible consequence of habitually rejecting God's will. The choice to fulfill the self will instead of accepting that of The Father leads to bitterness, vengeance, loss of faith and finally, ultimate separation from God's love, the eternal perdition of hell. Conversely, suffering endured in this life, so often experienced by holy obedience to His commands, leads souls to blissful, eternal union with the Almighty. The glorious rejoicing praise offered to God by His holy suffering saints reminds us that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 9:10) 
     During it's glorious blossoming, the face of the sunflower is visited by many bees which use the pollen to produce sweet honey. Is this reminiscent of our great zeal when first we commit to surrender to the will of God? As the sunflowers develops, it reaches the point at which the weight of the seeds causes it to face downwards. It is at this point that the seeds are most ready for harvesting, to be stored for replanting for next year, or consumed. Birds, squirrels and other animals feast on or store (to prevent starvation during the long, cold winter months) the delicious protein rich miraculous food from God. Each seed planted is transformed by God into yet another beautiful seed laden sunflower. One sunflower alone can generate a host of golden beauty in subsequent years. Cannot our acceptance of each loss be a seed planted which, over the course of our lives, radiates glorious praise of our Eternal Father?
     In the midst of helping our dear friend, our family was presented with a frightening test of faith. I found myself drawing upon what I have learned from my friend as he patiently and hopefully awaits the conclusion of his ordeal. He continues to exhibit nothing less than true contentment and submission to the Will of God. Moreover, his concern for our family's welfare superseded his preoccupation for his own. An act of self sacrifice on his part spared a loved one from harm, though it brought misfortune upon himself. He never ceases to amaze us in his rejoicing at the positive outcomes in the lives of those around him. We are daily humbled by his patient, unwavering trust in the miraculous intervention and powerful intercession of Jesus and Mary.
     From the fourth part of this five part masterpiece, I have learned the necessity of longstanding patience, with a heart overflowing with praise and adoration, while enduring suffering and loss. May my unceasing prayer be "Thank you Jesus. Thy will be done."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Heliotropium Part 3 of 5

     When looking back and looking ahead, do I daily capture the beauty of each event in life within my heart as a mental photograph which will become the mural painted upon my heart by God? Why do I gravitate towards the tendency to resist God's will as if I know better than He? How could I be so arrogant, so egotistical? How could I ever believe that striving for my will instead of God's would make me happy?
   Book 3 of Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine emphasizes obedience to God in all things and complete submission to His Will. The result of union of our will with that of God is true happiness, referred to in this book as "Heaven out of Heaven".
     While helping our friend through grief, sorrow and uncertainty, it is we who have been most spiritually enriched. We are daily amazed as he peacefully faces the unknown with a humble, unwavering surrender to God's Will. His patient and kind words testify to a heart filled with gratitude for the mercy and intercession of Jesus and Mary. Like Saint Paul, my friend daily experiences Divine contentment amid earthly misfortune.
     Looking back on events that preceded the present, I am in awe at the seeds of God's design planted within seemingly unrelated events. He is the Supreme architect of all life. Seeking and accepting His Holy and Perfect Will in all of life's twists and turns lead to the greatest happiness. For this reason the Holy Martyrs, rejecting earthly comforts and self adulation, greatly rejoiced in their sufferings for the glory of God.
     From the third part of this five part masterpiece, I have learned that our greatest happiness in life can only come from pleasing God. I have learned how immensely pleased Our Lord is by our total obedience, which far surpasses any humanly schemed offering. When I ask God, what He wants of me, I know without a doubt that He most desires obedient conformity of my will to His. May my unceasing prayer be "Thank you Jesus. Thy will be done." 
     This wonderful book, can be purchased at TAN Books.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Heliotropium Part 2 of 5

      What if I don't get "what I want?"  What if God's will differs from my desires?  How can I be truly content under these conditions? How can I recognize and follow God's will?
     Book 2 of Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine helps us to daily recognize and desire God's  will. It stresses the importance of asking His will before impulsively embarking upon any task.
     As each day of assisting our friend passes, we experience ups and downs, waiting and rushing, good news and bad news, assurance and doubt. Our only tranquility comes from surrendering our efforts to the will of the Father. Reverent, contemplative daily recitation of the most Holy Rosary graces us with the beautiful example of Our Holy Savior and His Sweet Mother's complete surrender to the Divine Will generously flowing from our Almighty Father's heart. We are daily reminded that moment to moment acceptance brings about more peace than the futile struggle to enforce our desired outcome. Not knowing when or how things will turn out, we are mystically strengthened in our capacity to face the unknown. We are repeatedly surprised by the joy that comes from voluntarily embracing God's will, especially since the ultimate conclusion of each turn of events remains beyond our control. Releasing our tight controlling grip allows us to endure, with compassionate empathy, the singular aspects of our friend's sorrows instead of interfering with God's holy and infallible design. Relinquishing the impulse to battle against God's plan, we are trustingly participating in His marvelous, loving design for all involved.
     Openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit has sweetened our tears and filled us with hope. We are becoming free to bask in the warm light of the Divine Mercy of Jesus. The the nagging cacophonous lament, "Why?" loses its relevance as it is sublimely transformed into the euphonious hymn "Yes!"
     From the second part of this five part masterpiece, I have learned to attend to well-defined indicators that our will is conformed to the will of God and why He is closest to us at times of sorrow. An invaluable spiritual exercise, that I pray would honor and glorify Our Blessed Lord, is to endure adversity in prayerful, grateful silence. May my unceasing prayer be "Thank you Jesus. Thy will be done." 
     This wonderful book, can be purchased at TAN Books.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Heliotropium Part 1 of 5

     Heliotropium is the Latin name for Sunflower. "Helio" is the Greek word for sun. "Tropos" is the Greek word for turn. From morning until evening, the sunflower follows the path of the sun in the sky, as if reaching up to Heaven in unceasing prayer. Written by a German Jesuit Priest, Jeremias Drexelias, the classic book, Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine, was first published in 1627. It is divided into five "Books", the first of which I will review in this post.
      The primary motive of this work is to help the faithful Catholic Christian to live according to the truth that ALL events, good and bad, come from from God. Contrary to contemporary belief, the will of God is manifested in tragedy as well as joy. Insisting that God's will is represented only in good prevents us from recognizing His will. It is human nature to obscure our perception of God's will within the shadow of our own desires.It is to our eternal detriment to prevent ourselves from recognizing and obeying His will. Everything He allows is designed to draw us closer in love with Him. It is our nature to desire only pleasant events in our lives. An apt comparison, presented in this work, would be to eat only desserts. This would make us ill. Additionally, how could we love God of our own free will if He enticed us with pleasantries? Would that be true love? If this were so, our love would be dependent upon getting what we want. If we love him at times of loss and distress, that is truly a free will choice of love. Consider the sublime examples of Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, John of the Cross, Josefina Bakita, Miguel Pro and many other holy men and women of God, whose love for Our Lord flourished amid hardship and sorrow. 
     During one extraordinarily rushed morning, I happened upon Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine at a thrift store. As I purchased the book, I was unaware that a life changing tragedy was befalling a dear loved one. Later that day, when I learned of our friend's misfortune I was baffled. Heartbroken and shocked, I wondered what I could do to help. I then realized that the answer to my question, "How can I help?" had been placed directly into my hands by God earlier that day. It was as if God said to me, "Here are my specific instructions for you. Follow them!"
    When we visited our friend he told us that he was at peace. He said that although he was saddened by his circumstances, he was content because he was conformed to the will of God. There was no anger or anxiety in his countenance. He looked a little tired. He told us that he had spent much time in intense prayer. He expressed total confidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I had to fight the urge to demand from the Almighty my desired resolution to this conundrum. At each point in the daily process of assisting my friend, there have been numerous signal graces, glorious miracles and undeniable evidence of the love and mercy of Jesus. There is still a long, complicated road ahead. Discouragement and sadness are the evil one's most potent weapons.  Nonetheless, prayer and fasting have been even more powerful in overcoming the attendant spiritual battles.
     From the first part of this five part masterpiece, I have learned of a spiritual exercise, that I pray, would honor and glorify Our Blessed Lord. During Mass, at the moment of the Consecration of the Host I must ask God, "What will you have me do?". I must shun the impulse to beg God to grant me my human and feeble remedy for life's troubles. May my unceasing prayer be "Thank you Jesus. Thy will be done."
     This wonderful book, can be purchased at TAN Books.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Amore Infinito

     I enjoy listening to uplifting, peaceful music while working, gardening, cooking, walking, reading. Beautiful music sparks a dimension of color and flavor within even the most ordinary task.
     Amore Infinito, songs inspired by the poetry of Saint John Paul the Great and sublimely interpreted by the rich intonations of Placido Domingo, is nothing less than a musical feast gracefully illuminating the ears, mind heart and soul. Placido Domingo's personal experience of profound inspiration by our dear Saint John Paul II's poetry is clearly expressed through this melodic offering. This wonderful CD can be purchased at

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Padre Pio and Vocations

     Carlon Careli's movie, "Padre Pio Miracle Man", is an unforgettable artistic presentation of a life of holiness, humility and unwavering devotion to Jesus and Mary. The tapestry of this great saint's life was intricately and colorfully woven, contrasting divine mysticism and complex familial relationships. He lived out his desire to model his interpersonal interactions after the mercy of Jesus, even if it brought severe opposition from his enemies.
     He realized his religious vocation early in life.  With great humility he alleviated the suffering of many with miraculous gifts of healing and bore the stigmata of Jesus. Padre Pio drew the attention of numerous souls longing to repair broken relationships with Christ. He bravely confronted hypocrisy and sinfulness with ruthless candor. He endured calumniation without any desire for retaliation. He responded to ridicule and scepticism with unconditional forgiveness. He embraced holy poverty and physical hardship. He was obedient to authority, even when it caused him pain and inconvenience. He valiantly suffered physical infirmity and recurrent demonic attacks. Finally, Padre Pio abandoned the adulation of worldwide followers in favor of submission to the directives of Holy Mother Church.

     There are many opportunities to obey Jesus' call to vocations: the priesthood, religious vocations (sisters, brothers), lay associates, service as a deacon, marriage, parenthood, widowhood, consecrated single life and a multitude of diocesan and parish ministries. Discernment is a spiritually challenging and rewarding experience, requiring simultaneous alertness to the will of God and resistance to the deceptions of the evil one. Many are the overlooked or misunderstood vocations-lay and religious. We must never underestimate the spiritual merit of our God given vocation, regardless of our state in life. Padre Pio was a humble saint who recognized the importance of the holy acts of even "the least"  of Our Lord's children. This movie is a powerful encouragement to all who face obstacles and disillusionment in their vocation journey with Jesus.  Carlon Careli's film, "Padre Pio Miracle Man" can be purchased at Ignatius Press.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hymn Filled Dialogue

   Unencumbered by a wordy prologue, the reader is instantly drawn into the holy thoughts and courageous acts of Saint Francis. Felix Timmerman's classic novel, The Perfect Joy of Saint Francis, vividly depicts Saint Francis' living hymn filled dialogue with Our Blessed Lord. Like an antiphon, Saint Francis' mystical response to the complex events of his historic time were composed by his relationship with Jesus. Enjoy this inspiring portrayal of a great saint which may be purchased @ Ignatius Press.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

So Much to Learn

     Jesus promised that He would be with us always. He gives Himself to us in the Most Holy Sacrament. We are strengthened by the joyous gift of drawing ever closer to Him throughout our lives. There is so much to learn about the Blessed Sacrament. 
     In Mr. Vinny Flynn's book, The Seven Secrets of the Eucharist, there are so many beautiful treasures that have been forgotten or underappreciated over the years. Inspiration to return to a more Jesus centered life abounds. Understanding this fundamental keystone of our Catholic Faith is of incalculable value. There is so much hope found within the Seven Secrets of the Eucharist! This spiritually uplifting and enlightening work can be purchased in book or CD form @ the Divine Mercy Gift Shop.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Good Father Gus

The Beatitudes bear the Heavenly reflection 
of God's unconditional Love.
     Ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Rome in the year 1886, Venerable Augustus Tolton overcame the stigma of being an ex slave. Facing multiple obstacles with true patience and charity, "Good Father Gus" perservered, following God's will with a heart filled with Christ's love. He joyfully shared hope with the faithful whom Our Lord placed under his care. His story is one of heroic virtue fueled by deep love for Jesus. Father Tolton responded to cruelty and persecution  with unconditional love. Listen to the inspiring story of his life as presented on the CD From Slave to Priest @ Lighthouse Catholic Media. Learn more about the cause for his sainthood here @ The Cause for Canonization of Father Augustus Tolton.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kindness, Patience

Compiled by the late Father F.X. Lasance,  
Kindness and Patience are filled 
with healing wisdom. 
These timeless and invaluable 
can be purchased @ Fraternity Publications.