Tag Archives: Jesus

3:10 to Yuma – 3:00 to Divine Mercy

Cover of "3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Editio...
Cover of 3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Edition)

Okay, the title of the post may not completely make sense but whatever – it’s my blog and I like it.

Anyway, I just finished watching the remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and found it phenomenal and spiritually rich. At the moment I cannot recall the ratings for the film upon its release but because it is a Western and I am partial to that genre.

There is so much to the Western. For me the American cowboy is for the US what the knight is for the UK. And with that idealization comes much in the way of what makes those stories and characters great and timeless – that is chivalry and self-sacrifice. 3:10 was certainly no different in my eyes.

With Crowe as the antagonist Ben Wade, we find an extremely charismatic villain whose love of creating art betrays his reputation like an atoll betrays the expanse of the open ocean. On the flip side, Bale’s protagonist Dan Evans, is one whose own dignity is seemingly borders on stubborn pride as he remains set on seeing out his choices to the end despite what appeared to me as doubt in said choices and even himself.

However, as the film crescendos towards the final scene there are breaks of what I would call examples of God’s Divine Mercy and the alleviation of Evans’ internal sufferings which stem from internal doubt. The doubt and possibly guilt that many a good father carries with them when they feel that they cannot and have not provided for their families. Add that to an injury gained on the battle field but not by the “courageous” fight against the enemy but from a fellow soldier via what we now call “friendly fire.” How many veterans return home from the front with an injury and barely a prospect to support themselves or their families?

The first of these glimpse of Mercy begins with the fact that Even decides to make a seemingly foolish decision to risk his life and that of his family to bring in Wade for $200 – just enough to skin by. This exhibits a man who is not greedy but desperate, involving himself where he has no obligation.

Despite this Evans survives where other die and his life is spared by the murderous outlaw Wade on more than one occasion – again, displaying the fact that Wade certainly has a moral compass – a conscience though malformed and crooked. Together both good and bad (not so bad) begin to see and understand each other in a way that, as evidenced in the scene at the train station, one could speculate that the two may have been friends were their paths slightly different. On the one hand Wade begins to respect Evans as a man of integrity and honor as the father proves that he did not ultimately choose to escort Wade to the train as a payout but rather as a way to show his oldest son that his father is a man integrity and of self-sacrifice. Wade now understands why he would turn down the $1000 he offered Evans while getting Mr. Butterfield, the railroad man, to promise that very amount simply because he “was the only to take Wade to the train when others wouldn’t.”

On top of that, the entire exchange concerning payoffs took place rain came down upon the drought-ridden town of Brisby, which eliminated, in the eyes of Wade, the monetary purpose for Evans choice. To me it seemed that the rain washed away the weight of doubt off the back of Evans and reinforced what faith he had in God. And no knowing that the his family was more than taken cared of – he was free to make good on his word for the simple reason that it was his word and that he was doing what he could to obtain justice for many who fell at the barrel of Wades revolver. A revolver that interestingly enough, played what was perhaps the most important part of the ending scene — giving us a glimpses of how Christ crucified joined with the selfless act of Evans brought hope and a shimmer of redemption to a violent villain.

Of course a film made today must show that the bad guy remains bad (thus Wade calls on his trusty steed) but I could certainly see that the director intended the Crucifix on the handle of Wade’s gun to be the equating factor for Wade “somewhat” redeeming himself. And through those last moments the audience knew that Evans would not have made the journey without the aid of Wade. It almost reminded me of Simon of Cyrene  helping Jesus with His cross. The man wanted nothing to do with it but seeing that this was not only his redemption but the redemption of the entire human race – how could he not have joined willingly after a little prodding initially?

I know much of what I say can be considered a stretch but for me I see examples of God’s Mercy and Love in our dramatic tales in print and on stage and screen. It is written in our hearts.


Beggars All: Ex Opere Operato baptismal regeneration is not Biblical!


I was looking over some blog post suggestions from Zemanta and came across the blog post linked below. This is a highly anti-Catholic blog and what they certainly got right is the unity of the authors in their anti-Catholicism. This type of unity against the Church is one, that for me, is a simple affirmation of her divine origin and the fact that she is the One True Church. Reminds me of 1 John 2:19:

They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us; but that they may be manifest, that they are not all of us.

Anyway, here are a couple of paragraphs that I wanted to focus on and offer my opinion on – inline of course:

So, we are unified in the gospel and in Christ against the errors of the Roman Catholic Church [How do they know they are correct since their theology extends back just a few hundred years at most and much of what they profess is heresy that was already addressed years ago by the Church? But they are united – though not in Christ but against Him and His Holy Church (1 Tim 3:15).], and specifically here, ex opere operato and baptismal regeneration. Infant baptism is a secondary issue over which we can disagree about, and Evangelical Protestant churches are free to practice and teach their convictions about it and defend it biblically, but maintain gospel unity [This is contradictory in nature as the Sacrament of Baptism, its regenerative nature and its requirement for entrance into heaven is central to the Gospel – but yet the Evangelical ecclesiastical communities can continue to disagree. Well as long as they agree to attack the Church.] and fellowship in conferences and networks such at “together for the gospel” and “the gospel coalition”, but RC baptismal regeneration is a doctrine and practice that divides us and that doctrine is a heresy and contrary to justification by faith alone in the Scriptures. [If baptism does nothing then why does St. Paul equate it circumcision (Col 2:11-12) or our own co-burial with Christ (Rom 6:3-7) and St. Peter give us the very clear statement, “baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21)? Then there is the last statement about justification by faith alone. Well St. James tells us with one of the most clear versus in Sacred Scripture that we are “justified by works AND NOT BY FAITH ALONE” (James 2:24). Insert a head scratch here.]

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the work of the priest [Actually what the Church teaches is that any person can baptize another so long as they use the proper form – Trinitarian formula – and matter – water – and have the proper intent. A valid baptism can even be performed by an atheist! This is because it is God  who does the washing by pouring out His grace into our hearts – our souls – cleansing us.] – performing the ceremony of baptism on the recipient (infants mostly, and adult converts who have never been baptized in the name of the Trinity, etc.) actually causes the person to be born again and confers grace on that person. They teach that the water of baptism literally washes their souls [This part is correct as we see in Jesus’ own words to Nicodemus (John 3:5). Now the next statement about the priests and use of Latin is wrong. the priest happens to be the normal means by which this is done because they share in the Divine priesthood of Christ and thus act in persona Christi so he wold be the most obvious , primary choice. The use of Latin – sounds nice but not required. I was baptized in Spanish and I have seen baptisms performed in English. Doesn’t matter in this case so long as the Holy Trinity is the formula.], when performed by the RC priest, when he says the words in Latin, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit“. The Latin phrase, “ex opere operato” means “from the work, it works”, which is to say that the action and duty and performance of the ceremony actually does something [Again, the Church does not teach tat the ceremony does something – it is the form and matter that Jesus revealed to us that confers this grace upon  us Not by some magic spell but by the Grace of God who engages our physical and spiritual components directly as the water one the outside gives us a physical representation of what is going on on the inside.And this is done by God.]  to the recipient.

via Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: Ex Opere Operato baptismal regeneration is not Biblical!


The target of anti-Catholic bigotry


English: Baptism of Christ
English: Baptism of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, for the first time in my life, I really felt the heartache resulting from bigotry cause by irrational hatred based clearly on ignorance. What the hell is he talking about you ask?

Well, I was told – and made clear – by a close family member that they “completely and totally renounce anything Catholic.” And this even when they cannot defend their acceptance and adherence to sometimes heretical doctrines of men such as “Baptism is you getting wet and not required,” “Jesus is in my heart but especially not in the Sacrament of the Alter,” “Mary was just a vessel and not blessed” and so on.

You see, each of the items in the list and more are all refuted in the Bible, the sole rule of authority for most Protestants despite the Bible itself stating otherwise, and moreover are inventions of men trying to justify their own abandonment of the Church which through the Holy Spirit, as promised by Christ, is infallible and led to all truth. In this conversation truth was relative yet “my truth” held no value.

This pointed denial of the Church who gave this person the doctrines of Salvation by Grace, the Most Holy Trinity and even the Canon of Scripture, we shocking in their own professed willingness to take that position to hell if that is where it led. (Of course they were referring to the “hell” of the Catholic Church, which is apparently somehow different from their “hell.”)

Anyway, I just felt like a little rant before bed on this matter because I cannot recall ever feeling such hatred wrapped in a sweet presentation.


The Opening Credits Sum Up the 2011 Film Adaptation of The Rite – “Suggested by Matt Baglio”

The Rite (2011 Film) Theatrical Poster
The Rite (2011 Film) Theatrical Poster via Wikipeda

In 2010 journalist Matt Baglio brought to the consciousness of modern American Catholics and secular persons the true story of Father Gary Thomas: the making of an exorcist. The sober and unapologetic chronicling quickly grabbed the attention of the masses spawning a second edition and now a major motion picture complete with all the fixings, trappings and Hollywood movie-making that makes honest works into mere sugar-coated happy endings void of life but full of the promise of money for exploitation. These are the basic sentiments for this film.

The opening credits perhaps spoke the most truth when the attribution to Matt Baglio’s book, The Rite, appeared on the screen reading, “suggested by the book…” This “suggestion” already clued me in. There was going to be more liberty taken with the screen rights of this film than I have seen before with concern for a film adaptation of true life events.

That said, I cannot completely knock the film as Anthony Hopkins turned in a great performance as Father Lucas as did the remainder of the cast. Furthermore, it would seem that the director was sincere enough in his approach to show some details that others may overlook, such as the robes of Father Xavier, a Dominican. But the story still felt pressured for Hollywood showmanship rather than the truth of Rite.

These disappointments came primarily in two flavors:

  1. Changing all but the essence of the related primary characters of the book: Father Gary Thomas, Matt Baglio and Father Carmine in addition to altering the nature of their relationships.
  2. Although the film’s protagonist elects to follow his vocation to the priesthood after having “found and accepted” the grace of faith via the disturbing events of the film’s climax, it does not excuse the fact that the director choose ignore major facts concerning the priestly vocation. For example, Father Gary Thomas was already a priest when he began his specialized training to become an exorcist. Next, the director chooses color completely outside the lines for the benefit of the narrative, completely destroying what made the book a stirring work, that is the acknowledgement that the Church and the priests therein are fully and completely representatives of Jesus Christ – the latter sharing in the High Priesthood of Our Blessed Lord. An untrained seminarian would have no place in the events depicted either on film and especially in the book. Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the soul of Michael would be no different than any lay person and thus would be an ineffective witness at commanding any demon to do anything in the name of Christ. (The Church has always taught that by virtue of the baptism into the Body of Christ, the laity has the ability and efficacious power of prayer when it comes to minor deliverance but never when there is explicit demonic activity especially that of possession.)

The lapse in acknowledge the necessity and authority of the priesthood is one that ruined the experience of the film for me as it did not reproduce the impact that the book did. Again, that does not take away from the fact that this is one of the few instances where the Church, the priesthood and even the interpretation of the unseen world were represented with some care.

In this vein I would like to address a couple of issues that were alluded to in the trailers and ominous poster featuring Anthony Hopkins and state outright that The Rite is not a scary at all. No this does not mean that you can watch the film with the entire film (the subject matter is not for the faint of heart) but that there is no sense of fright like that of The Exorcist or other films that dig into the mind to evoke the real sense of fear. What is done properly here reminds of the another, more “realistic” film on the topic of possession and exorcism, that of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, also based on real events.

Like Rose, The Rite, is successful setting the ambiance of danger, dread and despair. The cinematography, sound and editing come together effectively to produce that sense of foreboding necessary to engage the viewer and bring them into the journey. Once more, loose depiction of the priesthood and Michael’s struggle does a disservice – how much so depends on the level of knowledge of the viewer. There are also great “BAM!” moments in the film; (You know, the ones where you are watching the movie and there is an air of silence and then all of a sudden BAM! something jumps out at you.) enough that if I were to have taken my mother to see this in the theaters she would have screamed enough for all watching with us. (I love you mom!)

So to recap:

  • The movie by itself is okay.
  • It is a very liberal adaptation of the book.
  • It plays fast and loose with the vocation of the priesthood and the necessity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders to truly combat the Enemy in such intimate confrontation.
  • Finally, rent it first and come back here to buy it, especially of you like Anthony Hopkins!
You can purchase this DVD here.

I wrote this review of The Rite ( 2011 ) for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

St. Maria Goretti (painting 1929)

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

— Prayer to St. Maria Goretti

Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Gn 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a

When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them. When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt. In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world.

The sons of Israel were among those who came to procure rations.

It was Joseph, as governor of the country, who dispensed the rations to all the people. When Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground, he recognized them as soon as he saw them. But Joseph concealed his own identity from them and spoke sternly to them.

With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days.

On the third day Joseph said to his brothers:

“Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man. If you have been honest, only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison, while the rest of you may go and take home provisions for your starving families. But you must come back to me with your youngest brother. Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.”

To this they agreed. To one another, however, they said:

“Alas, we are being punished because of our brother. We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us, yet we paid no heed; that is why this anguish has now come upon us.”

Reuben broke in, “Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy? But you would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.” The brothers did not know, of course, that Joseph understood what they said, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. But turning away from them, he wept.

Responsorial Psalm33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Gospel Reading: Mt 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:

First, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

About St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti was born of a poor family in Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature and often at prayer. In 1902 she was stabbed to death, preferring to die rather than be raped. (Office of Readings)

“It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger (actually Alessandro Serenelli who lived with his father in the same house as the Goretti’s.) burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.

“The life of this simple girl—I shall concern myself only with highlights—we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished.

“From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.

“Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow steady martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon and laid waste by violent forces.

“So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven.”

Excerpted from a homily at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti by Pope Pius XII

Patron: Against impoverishment; against poverty; children; children of Mary; girls; loss of parents; martyrs; rape victims; young people in general.

Things to Do:

  • Please visit this site for a more detailed account of St. Maria Goretti’s life and Alessandro Serenelli’s conversion.
  • This saint’s feast day is a wonderful launching point to teach our children about purity, chastity and modesty. Sex education should be taught by the parents with a Catholic approach. Young girls can use St. Maria as a model.
  • A highly recommended book is St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All Red by Rev. Godfrey Poage. Young teens to adult will enjoy this account of her life.

via Catholic Culture

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Prayer to Mary, Mother of Women Hurt by Abortion

La vierge aux raisins
Image via Wikipedia

Mary of Bethlehem and Nazareth,
  wife of Joseph,
Virgin mother of the Son of God made man,
  woman of sorrows, model of Faith,
You are our mother,
  living now in the joy of God’s presence.
You watch over each one of us
  with gentleness, compassion and tenderness.

We entrust all women hurt by abortion, and their
aborted children, to your motherly care.
May your unfailing love console our sisters,
  reassure them of their dignity, and be for them a
  source of healing, peace and joy. May they find
  comfort knowing their children are in your arms.

Protect and bless the work
  of women hurt by abortion.
Let it bring love and healing
  to your wounded daughters, and understanding
  to those who would help them.
May its members work with courage, dedication and
  perseverance to protect all women from the horror
  of aborting their children.

And may we all be united again with you in the
  presence of your Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.


©1992 Human Life International

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Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

“I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment”

— Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

Some Background On Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God’s love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.

The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.

via Catholic Culture | Litugical Year

Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Dt 7:6-11

Moses said to the people:

“You are a people sacred to the LORD, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the LORD loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, then, that the LORD, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant down to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, but who repays with destruction a person who hates him; he does not dally with such a one, but makes them personally pay for it. You shall therefore carefully observe the commandments, the statutes and the decrees that I enjoin on you today.”

Responsorial Psalm103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10

R. (cf. 17) The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits.

R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.

R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

R. The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Second Reading: 1 Jn 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.

Gospel Reading: Mt 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Close to the Heart of the Son is the Heart of the Mother 

The Church, in this month of June, giving us the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, wishes us to understand the consequential devotion to Our Lady traditionally lived in the Marian month par excellence: the month of May. The Heart of Jesus is the See and Throne of Divine Mercy, revealed to the world in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI speaking of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus two years ago said: “In biblical language, ‘heart’ indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practising devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).

The call which comes from this important feast day is first of all a call to Eucharistic adoration, because in the Sacred Host the Lord Jesus is truly present and He offers each of us His Heart, His Merciful Love. To spend time in the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord, to adore Him, is the best expression of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which, as we know, spread all over the world thanks to Jesus’ revelations to Saint Margherita M. Alacoque in the 17th century: “Behold the Heart which so loved mankind!”

As a prolongation and accomplishment of this message, the Lord appeared to another Sister in the 20th century revealing the abyss of His unfathomable mercy; she was Saint Faustina Kowalska who wrote in her Diary, now world famous, these words of Jesus: “I have opened my Heart as a living source of Mercy, from it all souls draw life, all approach with deep confidence this sea of Mercy. Sinners will obtain justification and the just will be strengthened in goodness. I will fill the souls of those who put their trust in My Mercy with My divine peace at the hour of their death. My daughter, continue to spread devotion to My Mercy, in doing so you will refresh My Heart which burns with the fire of compassion for sinners. Tell my priests that hardened sinners will be softened by their words if they speak of my boundless Mercy and of the compassion which My Heart feels for them. I will give priests who proclaim and exalt My Mercy wondrous power, unction to their words and I will move all the hearts to which they speak” (Book 5, 21 January 1938).

The deepest longing of Christ’s Heart is that we discover how much he loves us, the extent of his tender love for creatures who, cooled by their selfishness, look only inwards at themselves, as if they were afraid to let themselves be loved unconditionally by their Creator, who asks nothing and gives all!

How society, culture, economy, politics today need this Heart! It is really true, the more man distances himself from God-Love the more he becomes ‘heartless’, agitated about a thousand things because he has mislaid the principal one: to let oneself be loved by Christ and to respond to this Love with our love.

Many times during history the Supreme Pontiffs have reminded humanity that without the Lord Jesus life has no real meaning, man gropes in the dark to find himself! The Servant of God John Paul II introduced the Church into the Third Millennium with a mandate to become “Apostles of Divine Mercy.” The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI picked up where his Predecessor left off and never tires to remind us of the necessity to rediscover the merciful Heart, this infinite Love of God, who reveals Himself in our lives if we open to Him. “Open, open wide the doors to Christ” the voice of the Holy Spirit continues to say. By means of Eucharistic adoration we are “opened” from within by His invisible working in us. The Most Holy Eucharist, celebrated and adored, as the Church teaches us, is the greatest and most effective treasure of our salvation, an infinite treasure which must be safeguarded with profound respect and deepest devotion.

Close to the Heart of the Son is the Heart of the Mother whom the Church celebrates the day after the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let it again be the Holy Father who illuminates us with regard to this mystery: “The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without a doubt the Heart of Mary, his Immaculate Mother, and for this very reason the liturgy holds them up together for our veneration. Responding to the Virgin’s invitation at Fatima, let us entrust the whole world to her Immaculate Heart, which we contemplated yesterday in a special way, so that it may experience the merciful love of God and know true peace” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).

— Rev. Luciano Alimandi, Agenzia Fides 13/6/2007

Things to Do:

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The Credo: Profession of the Christian Faith

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.


The Apostles Creed

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the
power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.

On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge
the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.


The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
Maker of all that is, seen and unseen. 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made. 

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried. 

On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. 

He has spoken through the Prophets. 

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. 

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the  of the world to come.


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Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Mass during the Day

Icon of Saints Peter and Paul“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Saint Peter on the Person on Christ, Matthew 16:16

Saints Peter and Paul are the founders of the Diocese of Rome. One was the Prince of the Apostles and the first Bishop of Rome, known as the office of the Papcy today, and the other was the majority author of the New Testament books and something of a travelling evangelical priest/bishop.

Catholic Culture wrote this short tidbit about these two great saints (more after the readings of course):

Veneration of the two great Apostles, Peter and Paul, has its roots in the very foundations of the Church. They are the solid rock on which the Church is built. They are at the origin of her faith and will forever remain her protectors and her guides. To them Rome owes her true greatness, for it was under God’s providential guidance that they were led to make the capital of the Empire, sanctified by their martyrdom, the center of the Christian world whence should radiate the preaching of the Gospel.

St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St. Peter’s. St. Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Down the centuries Christian people in their thousands have gone on pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles. In the second and third centuries the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Sts. Peter and Paul.

A plenary indulgence may be gained today by anyone who makes devout use of a religious article blessed by a bishop and who also recites any approved profession of faith (e.g. the Apostles Creed), as long as the usual conditions are satisfied.

Catholic Culture prepared this special section during the Year of St. Paul.

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year

Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Acts 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also. –It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–  He had him taken into custody and put in prison under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. He intended to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial Psalm34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Second Reading: 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Reading: Mt 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply:

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

St. Peter

Peter’s original name was Simon. Christ Himself gave him the name Cephas or Peter when they first met and later confirmed it. This name change was meant to show both Peter’s rank as leader of the apostles and the outstanding trait of his character — Peter (in Hebrew Kephas) the Rock. Peter was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Like his younger brother Andrew, he was a fisherman and dwelt at Capernaum. Peter’s house often became the scene of miracles, since the Master would stay there whenever He was teaching in that locality. Together with his brothers John and Andrew, Peter belonged to the first of Jesus’ disciples (John 1:40-50).

After the miraculous draught of fish on the Sea of Galilee, Peter received his definitive call and left wife, family, and occupation to take his place as leader of the Twelve. Thereafter we find him continually at Jesus’ side, whether it be as spokesman of the apostolic college (John 6:68; Matt. 16:16), or as one specially favored (e.g., at the restoration to life of Jairus’ daughter, at the transfiguration, during the agony in the garden). His sanguine temperament often led him into hasty, unpremeditated words and actions; his denial of Jesus during the passion was a salutary lesson. It accentuated a weakness in his character and made him humble.

After the ascension, Peter always took the leading role, exercising the office of chief shepherd that Christ had entrusted to him. He delivered the first sermon on Pentecost and received the first Gentiles into the Church (Cornelius; Acts 10:1). Paul went to Jerusalem “to see Peter.” After his miraculous deliverance from prison (Easter, 42 A.D.), Peter “went to a different place,” most probably to Rome. Details now become scanty; we hear of his presence at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1), and of his journey to Antioch (Gal. 2:11).

It is certain that Peter labored in Rome as an apostle, that he was the city’s first bishop, and that he died there as a martyr, bound to a cross (67 A.D.). According to tradition he also was the first bishop of Antioch. He is the author of two letters, the first Christian encyclicals. His burial place is Christendom’s most famous shrine, an edifice around whose dome are inscribed the words: Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against frenzy; bakers; bridge builders; butchers; clock makers; cobblers; Exeter College Oxford; feet problems; fever; fishermen; harvesters; locksmiths; longevity; masons; net makers; papacy; Popes; ship builders; shipwrights; shoemakers; stone masons; Universal Church; watch makers; Poznan, Poland; Rome; Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Marquette, Michigan; Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Symbols: Two keys saltire; pastoral staff and two large keys; inverted cross; inverted cross and two keys saltire; crowing cock; fish; two swords; patriarchal cross and two keys saltire; two keys and a scroll; sword.
Often portrayed as: Bald man, often with a fringe of hair on the sides and a tuft on top; book; keys; man crucified head downwards; man holding a key or keys; man robed as a pope and bearing keys and a double-barred cross.

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year

St. Paul

Paul, known as Saul (his Roman name) before his conversion, was born at Tarsus in the Roman province of Silicia about two or three years after the advent of the Redeemer. He was the son of Jewish parents who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, was reared according to the strict religious-nationalistic party of the Pharisees, and enjoyed the high distinction of Roman citizenship.

As a youth he went to Jerusalem to become immersed in the Law and had as a teacher the celebrated Gamaliel. He acquired skill as a tent-maker, a work he continued even as an apostle. At the time of Jesus’ ministry he no longer was at Jerusalem; neither did he see the Lord during His earthly-life. Upon returning to the Holy City, Paul discovered a flourishing Christian community and at once became its bitter opponent. When Stephen impugned Law and temple, Paul was one of the first at his stoning; thereafter his fiery personality would lead the persecution. Breathing threats of slaughter against the disciples of Jesus, he was hurrying to Damascus when the grace of God effected his conversion (about the year 34 A.D.; see January 25, Conversion of St. Paul).

After receiving baptism and making some initial attempts at preaching, Paul withdrew into the Arabian desert (c. 34-37 A.D.), where he prepared himself for his future mission. During this retreat he was favored with special revelations, Christ appearing to him personally. Upon his return to Damascus he began to preach but was forced to leave when the Jews sought to kill him. Then he went to Jerusalem “to see Peter.” Barnabas introduced him to the Christian community, but the hatred of the Jews again obliged him to take secret flight. The following years (38-42 A.D.) he spent at Tarsus until Barnabas brought him to the newly founded Christian community at Antioch, where both worked a year for the cause of Christ; in the year 44 he made another journey to Jerusalem with the money collected for that famine stricken community.

The first major missionary journey (45-48) began upon his return as he and Barnabas brought the Gospel to Cyprus and Asia Minor (Acts 13-14). The Council of Jerusalem occasioned Paul’s reappearance in Jerusalem (50). Spurred on by the decisions of the Council, he began the second missionary journey (51-53), traveling through Asia Minor and then crossing over to Europe and founding churches at Philippi, Thessalonia (his favorite), Berea, Athens, Corinth. He remained almost two years at Corinth, establishing a very flourishing and important community. In 54 he returned to Jerusalem for the fourth time.

Paul’s third missionary journey (54-58) took him to Ephesus, where he labored three years with good success; after visiting his European communities, he returned to Jerusalem for a fifth time (Pentecost, 58). There he was seized by the Jews and accused of condemning the Law. After being held as a prisoner for two years at Caesarea, he appealed to Caesar and was sent by sea to Rome (60 A.D.). Shipwrecked and delayed on the island of Malta, he arrived at Rome in the spring of 61 and passed the next two years in easy confinement before being released. The last years of the saint’s life were devoted to missionary excursions, probably including Spain, and to revisiting his first foundations. In 66 he returned to Rome, was taken prisoner, and beheaded a year later. His fourteen letters are a precious legacy; they afford a deep insight into a great soul.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against snakes; authors; Cursillo movement; evangelists; hailstorms; hospital public relations; journalists; lay people; missionary bishops; musicians; poisonous snakes; public relations personnel; public relations work; publishers; reporters; rope braiders; rope makers; saddlemakers; saddlers; snake bites; tent makers; writers; Malta; Rome; Poznan, Poland; newspaper editorial staff, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Covington, Kentucky; Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Symbols: Book and sword, three fountains; two swords; scourge; serpent and a fire; armour of God; twelve scrolls with names of his Epistles; Phoenix; palm tree; shield of faith; sword; book.
Often portrayed as: Thin-faced elderly man with a high forehead, receding hairline and long pointed beard; man holding a sword and a book; man with 3 springs of water nearby;

Things to Do:

  • From the Directory on Popular Piety, this feast is important because “it is always useful to teach the faithful to realize the importance and significance of the feasts of those Saints who have had a particular mission in the history of Salvation, or a singular relationship with Christ such as St. John the Baptist (24 June), St. Joseph (19 March), Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June), the Apostles and Evangelists, St. Mary Magdalen (22 July), St. Martha (29 July) and St. Stephen (26 December).”
  • The Directory on Popular Piety also explains the devotion of the Christian Pilgrimage. During the Middle Ages in particular, “pilgrims came to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul (ad Limina Apostolorum), the catacombs and basilicas, in recognition of the service rendered to the universal Church by the successor of Peter.”
  • Besides the recipes in our database, Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf has seven recipes alone for the feast of St. Peter. This is a wonderful book, beautifully illustrated with art of the saints and the actual dishes. This would be a great addition to your liturgical year library.
  • Learn more about St. Paul, read Paul of Tarsus

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year

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