Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Monday, February 14, 2011

Prayer for the beatification of a venerable

I found this prayer for the beatification of Ven. Cesare Guasti, who was a scholar, husband, and father.

O loving God, You made your servant, Ven. Cesare Guasti a shining model for those who want to show their love for You by using the fullness of the talents with which You have blessed them. Through his touching devotion to Your Son and His Blessed Mother, You led him onto the path of the generous soul, from which he never strayed. You even helped him embrace the cross laid on his shoulders when his wife died, leaving him with four children to care for by himself. You enabled him to say in this time of broken dreams and broken hearts, "I relish the Cross, because if we carry it by force, the credit goes away. Therefore, take care to be happy, even beneath the Cross." Help us to follow his example, to model our lives after his for love of Your Son and in reparation for our sins. And through the intercession of Ven. Cesare, may we obtain the grace we so ardently seek. [Name petition here.] Of course, come what may, help us to embrace Your holy and lovable will. Let us always trust in Your wisdom, providence, and guidance so that we, like Ven Cesare, may become ever more perfect through You in holiness. Amen.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We always have a choice

In certain circles these days, it is popular to say you can't help your feelings. Feelings are neutral, we're told, and thus not sinful. To an extent that's true. Something upsetting happens, and it provokes anger in us. We see something we can't have but which we dearly want, and we feel jealousy. Men see a gorgeous woman who appears to be the ideal of beauty, and they might feel some tinge of arousal.

But we can help what goes beyond that initial impulse. And that seems to be what Our Lord is talking about in today's Gospel (Matt 5:17-34). Though it seems patently clear someone we know or know of is a patented idiot, we can't call him such. Even if our habit is to fly off the handle (something to which I've certainly been prone more than my fair share), we can work to gradually take control our anger and emotions. Otherwise, Jesus says, we're guilty of murder. Even if we are jealous of someone's possession or quality, we can keep that from rising to the level of envy (i.e., not only being jealous but actively setting out to destroy that possession or quality because "If I can't have it, neither will you."). That gorgeous woman, well, men will be attracted to her. But that means we simply notice ever so briefly and move on. We don't allow that thought to metastitize by fantasizing about her in a lustful way, for as Jesus makes clear, lusting after someone in our hearts is adultery and thus a violation of the Sixth Commandment.

We have a choice. And as we see in the First Reading, Sirach 15:5-10 and Psalm 119, God's commandments are set before us. We have the ability to choose between good and evil, life and death, the blessing or the curse. God will take care of us if we choose, good, life, and blessing, even if doing so will cost us greatly. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but we are truly wise, as Paul notes in the Second Reading, 1 Corinthians 2, if we choose to do the good not out of mere fear -- say, of hell -- but for love of God. Sirach tells us God knows all and sees all, and that He does not give us license to sin, and we cannot deceive Him as to our actions. But if we persevere in choosing good, life, and blessing, "eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has planned for those who love Him."

Before you are set the good and evil, life and death, the blessing and the curse. The choice is yours. We are not merely a bundle of feelings that can't be helped. We are not lifelong prisoners to our passions or habits. We can choose what we do with those feelings. Choose life that you may live.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

National Catholic Bible Conference coming up!

This is exciting, so make your plans: The 2011 National Catholic Bible Conference, "The Great Conversation: Encountering God's Word," has been scheduled. It will take place the weekend of July 22-23, 2011, at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell, GA.

Click here for more information.

Also, a Catholic priest and a Catholic gentleman who runs an important apostolate, both from Pakistan, want to attend. If you know anyone who can sponsor them, please let me know. This would be a great, corporal work of mercy. These men are poor and living in a country where the per capita income is just north of $1,000. Roundtrip airfare from Lahore, the closest airport to them, is $1,520, so you can see the difficulty. Please pray about helping, and if you can, please do so. Many thanks in Christ.

What do you think?

Bl. Jan Wojiech Balicki believed that war is a punishment for the sins of men, especially for the sins against the sanctity of marriage. And Bl. Bárbara Maix said, "Let us show by our example what we teach!" For us the married, what connections do you see between these two thoughts? What practical actions flow from these two thoughts?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Possibly the biggest review of the book yet

Forgive my pride and lack of humility, but this is pretty big. It's one of the most widely read Catholic newspapers in America and possibly the world.

Eddie O’Neill recommends 39 New Saints You Should Know by Brian O’Neel.
BY Eddie O'Neill

39 NEW SAINTS YOU SHOULD KNOW by Brian O’Neel Servant Books, 2010 156 pages, $13.99 To order: (800) 488-0488 [OR CALL YOUR LOCAL CATHOLIC BOOKSTORE!]

The virtuous life can still be found. Just take a look at the biographies Brian O’Neel presents in 39 New Saints You Should Know.

These stories “show that sanctity is the only thing worth having, the only thing that gives life any real meaning,” O’Neel writes. “They also show that sainthood is for everyone and not just the boring pursuit of a halo and a harp to strum on in the clouds of eternity.” The author presents the lives of both heroes and heroines of our Catholic faith. Included in this list are well-known faithful figures such as St. Pio of Pietrelcina or Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. He also treats the reader to some lesser known inspiring men and women.

One of those is the self-sacrificing life of Blessed Anna Schaeffer. Growing up in Bavaria, Schaeffer’s dream was to be a missionary. However, as God would have it, she would serve God and the Church from her bed for close to 25 years. Just before her 19th birthday, while working as a housekeeper, she noticed that the stovepipe over the laundry boiler had become detached from the wall. In trying to fix it, Anna slipped into a vat of boiling lye, scalding both of her legs. At first, she was understandably angry at God, as it became clear that she would spend the rest of her life bedridden. However, due to the persistence of her parish priest who brought her Communion nearly every day, she slowly began to realize that by uniting her suffering with that of Christ on the cross, she could help save souls. She would go on to spend her days writing letters, offering words of comfort and focusing on prayer for the conversion of sinners before dying at 43. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999.

Each of O’Neel’s chapters is concise and well written. He ends each story with a prayer that encapsulates the charism or spirituality of the person.

The book highlights saintly virtue from all walks of life. In short, there is someone here for everyone. Need help with a difficult student or a slow learner? Turn to Blessed Marie-Joseph Cassant who, despite the naysayers, persevered in his studies and was ordained a priest in 1902.

Or perhaps you have a wayward family member who is caught up in the occult or the New Age movement or simply weak in his Catholic commitment. Blessed Bartolo Longo is the one for you. As a college student, Longo frequented fortune tellers and soothsayers with friends, which eventually led him to be ordained a satanic priest. But he became depressed, haggard and “to some, his eyes looked like black coals,” O’Neel writes. Longo sought help from a good friend, who eventually led him to a priest. The priest served as a spiritual director for the young man, who returned to the Church with a series of confessions and went on to dedicate himself to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

This book could easily serve as a daily source of inspirational reading. It is too bad that the book’s moving tales end at Chapter 39. However, that could be the call for each of us to become Chapter 40.

O’Neel sums it up best, as he writes, “My hope is that you will come to know and emulate these older brothers and sisters in Christ, gaining them as your heroes, and more importantly helping you to know Christ and desire a deep and intimate relationship with him.”

Eddie O’Neill writes from Green Bay, Wisconsin.