Prayer

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Scapulaire_carmeliteThe Carmelite "Brown" Scapular was shown by the Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, an early superior of the Carmelites during a time when their Order was under persecution, as an assurance of Mary's intercession especially at the hour of their deaths. The small, portable scapular of today derives from the work garment of the Carmelites. Keeping this in mind, the wearing of the brown scapular reminds us our responsibility to work for the Kingdom and of Mary's loving intercession for the disciples of her Son.

 

 

Daytime and night time scapulars from the late 1800's worn by the Carmelites.


Friday The Thirteenth

Most of us cope with little superstitions without too much of an impact on our daily lives. Saying "God bless you," after a sneeze is even attributed to a superstition regarding the devil.

Sometimes superstitions and arbitrary actions can become compulsory for the individual and begin to hem their lives in with restrictive rituals they must perform or avoid. Their daily rituals become far more oppressive than crossing fingers or throwing salt over their shoulder. Let us pray that those who are held prisoner to these compulsive rituals are loosed from their bonds by God's grace and the compassionate, knowledgeable care of others.

Too often even our religious faith can become more about following rules or avoiding sin than cultivating a relationship with a God who loves us. Let us ask to experience God's love more fully especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

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The Rule of St. Benedict

Benedict

Think for a moment about the genius of a rule written over one thousand years ago, which still has relevance for a community of persons to live in harmony for their whole lives. It's often summarized in a short phrase, "ora et labora," i.e. pray and work, but that doesn't quite do it justice. It's not as if you go off to work everyday, come home and then pray. No, the prayer and the work are one. Both are done for God.


Faith A Two Way Relationship With God

Flood
Workers Prepare to Rescue Trapped Thai Soccer Team

Faith is a two way street

       A relationship between two persons.

       Divine faith is a relationship

       Between us and Jesus.

It’s unlikely that anyone hard of face

       And obstinate of heart

       Will have faith with you.

 

The first reading says it: they'll have a frozen look, no matter what you say;

They'll exhibit a stubbornness of heart that remembers every slight.

When we tell our spouse, our friend

       Our son or daughter

"I have faith in you" – then we work toward

       Real trust, real love.

 

Jesus offered himself in faith

And was rejected by those who

Watched him grow up.

They prejudged him;

Their minds were made up;

Their conclusions already drawn.

He was the carpenter’s son

Nothing else, surely nothing greater.

Their faces were frozen

And their hearts hardened.

 

It can be the same way with us:

I’ve prayed before, I’ve asked for this 1.000 times

I know what the church will say

 

That freezes us into an old way of being

And eliminates the possibility of

A living faith strengthening

Our relationship with Jesus.

Faith is offered to us

To grow, to change,

To cooperate with God’s grace.

 

I think of the Thai soccer team

Trapped deep in the cave.

Their hopes were rewarded

When help arrived.

Now they need faith in God,

In their own ability,

In the skill and care of the divers

And in prophet-like courage

To save themselves and the others.

They need to learn how to dive,

To overcome their fears

And do it quickly and well.

 

One headline read: Fear and courage are both contagious.

Your own courage helps someone else.

And they need to cooperate

With the grace they have been given

To be rescued.

 

So do we.

 


July 4th 2018

July
Let us give thanks and pray.

Today is a day to give thanks

       To those who have served and sacrificed

       To preserve our God given liberties

       To thank those who have handed on

       Their faith and their civic virtues

       To we their children

       And to pray that our nation always

       Walks with our God

       That God give us strength and courage

       To do so

       And to guide us on the way of mutual respect

       And peace.


Discuss and Debate, Don't Demonize

Demonize

A New Kind of Bigotry


Over the short history of our nation, we have struggled with bigotry of various kinds and generally have forged agreement that bigotry has no place in a democratic country. Not only does it marginalize certain groups, often denying them their fundamental God-given rights but tears at the fabric of our common good.
The consensus that irrational hatred for certain groups is odious seems to be dissolving over the last decade or more. Now it seems acceptable for certain groups to demonize even those who have different opinions than their own. Rational discourse is gone. Civic protections become unraveled by press or mob outcry. Employers cave into pressure from the loudest special interest group who protest the employability of persons holding certain opinions. We don’t discuss, we litigate.
As we reflect on the history of our nation this weekend, perhaps we can nourish the hope for rational civic discourse and debate to return to the public square. If we can’t even talk with our fellow citizens and elected representatives, how can we hope to hold our own in the world.
The spirit of hope and healing which Jesus brings in today’s gospels and the reminder that we are all made in the image of likeness of a loving God from Wisdom can focus our prayer for national unity around respect for persons, not only of different races or lifestyles, but also Americans who in good conscience hold different opinions from our own.


The Northern Kingdom Of Israel Falls

CaptivityIn this morning's first reading we learn of the fall and captivity of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians. Though they are part of the chosen people, they ignored repeated warnings from prophets to reform their lives and worship only the God of the Israelites. They were carried off into captivity and never received permission to return to the homeland. They have become the "lost tribes of Israel."

Sobering warning for us we celebrate Religious Liberty week in the United States, that our responsibility is not to pray that God helps and protects our right to religious liberty, but that we walk in the Way of the Lord. If we find ourselves lost, who has wandered, God or us?

 

 


The King's Good Servant, But God's First

ThomasMoreThis famous portrait of Thomas by Hans Holbein the Younger shows More's resolute determination and the symbols of his office conferred by King Henry VIII.

Today's celebration begins a week of prayer for religious liberty in the diocese of the United States. We don't need reminders anymore how necessary this is, since with every passing year the atmosphere in the public square and in the media becomes more inimical to Christianity.

Join us after morning mass for a moment of reflection and prayer to continue the blessings of religious liberty in this country and strengthen our resolve to witness to our faith when necessary.

 


Stir Into Flame The Gift of God

FireToday's first reading from 2 Timothy reminds us to stir the flame of faith we have in our hearts into action. Our faith can become quiet, almost dormant if we let it, like a cozy fire of dying embers. To keep the flame alive, it needs to be stirred and stoked.

Daily acts of charity, prayer and  frequent reception of the sacraments all can stir the faith in our hearts from low to high.


A Puff of Smoke?

Puffy


Today's reading from James isn't the kind of address you would give at a typical graduation or ordination. Congratulations on all your plans...but you are a puff of smoke! And your plans? Who knows?

People may take too much offense to listen to James' follow-up: Make you plans in and for the Lord and then they will prosper.

 

 


Nine Days for Life Prayers Conclude Tomorrow

Usccb-9-days-round-logo-org-crcleOur Novena for Life, "Nine Days for Life," concludes with prayer after tomorrow morning's 9 AM mass. Praying each intention aloud and quietly reading the reflection gave us much to think about and an appreciation of the breadth of the Church's teachings on the dignity of human life without veering too far from the traditional groupings of concerns under this category of Church teachings.

 

 


The Conversion of St. Paul

If we ever think we can't change, we have the example of St. Paul to consider. His hatred for Christ and his followers changed to ardent love and apostolic zeal.

Is there someone we dislike, do we feel stuck in a rut of habit, routine or thinking? Can our love for Christ burn with more ardor, as the prayers from the Mass for the Conversion of St. Paul implore?

There is hope. There is Christ.

StPaulMosaic of the Conversion of Paul in Westminister Cathedral


Nine Days for Life

This morning we began praying the Novena for Life after morning mass. Please join us or participate online by clicking the link below to reach the website of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) for the materials.

This year, for the first time ever, our president will address marchers at the March for Life in Washington, DC via satellite hookup from the Oval Office. There are still seats on the bus Holy Cross has chartered for the day trip tomorrow (Friday). Call our office to reserve and pay for your seat now.

Joining together to pray for the protection of human life at all its stages is a crucial contemporary mission. 

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Nine Days for Life


Nocturnal Adoration, Wednesdays 11 PM to Midnight Beginning February 7th

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Beginning Wednesday, February 7th we will resume the nocturnal adoration from 11 PM to midnight at Holy Cross Church. During Advent we always had a few faithful adorers; hopefully the word will spread and more will find the quiet time with the Lord after the day has ended fruitful. We’ll see how the reception of this interesting devotion goes and continue it for the immediate future. If more than several individuals volunteer to pray, we might take the next steps toward establishing a Nocturnal Adoration Society with its accompanying privileges and indulgences with Bishop O’Connell’s permission.


The Stone Churches of Cappadocia

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Rockchurch
Rockchurch
Rockchurch
Rockchurch

The landscape surrounding the stone churches of Cappadocia seems like from another world. Today we celebrate the feast day of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen. For centuries, monks and nuns inhabited dwellings in the desert hewn from the volcanic stone. Surely such starkly beautiful and simple images of the desert dwellings formed the spirituality of the Eastern Fathers of the Church.


Thanksgiving Prayer With Holy Cross School Children

Thanksgiving

 

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Today Holy Cross School children in the lower grades gave thanks to God for their many blessings. Each of our 3rd grade students had drawn and colored a picture of something they were thankful for and they presented their artwork on a PowerPoint as we prayed for their intention. We prayed The Lord's Prayer and sent everyone on their way reminded to give thanks to God and to someone special in their lives.