Friday, 9 May 2014

EUCHARIST -- Unless You Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood

From a sermon by Saint Gaudentius of Brescia, bishop
The inheritance of the new covenant

The heavenly sacrifice, instituted by Christ, is the most gracious legacy of his new covenant. On the night he was delivered up to be crucified he left us this gift as a pledge of his abiding presence.
This sacrifice is our sustenance on life’s journey; by it we are nourished and supported along the road of life until we depart from this world and make our way to the Lord. For this reason he addressed these words to us:
Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood,
you will not have life in you.

It was the Lord’s will that his gifts should remain with us, and that we who have been redeemed by his precious blood should constantly be sanctified according to the pattern of his own passion.
Christ's Sacrifice at Holy Mass
And so he commanded those faithful disciples of his whom he made the first priests of his Church to enact these mysteries of eternal life continuously. All priests throughout the churches of the world must celebrate these mysteries until Christ comes again from heaven. Therefore let us all, priests and people alike, be faithful to this everlasting memorial of our redemption.
Daily it is before our eyes as a representation of the passion of Christ. We hold it in our hands, we receive it in our mouths, and we accept it in our hearts.
It is appropriate that we should receive the body of Christ in the form of bread, because, as there are many grains of wheat in the flour from which bread is made by mixing it with water and baking it with fire, so also we know that many members make up the one body of Christ which is brought to maturity by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' Baptism
Christ was born of the Holy Spirit, and since it was fitting that he should fulfill all justice, he entered into the waters of baptism to sanctify them. When he left the Jordan he was filled with the Holy Spirit who had descended upon him in the form of a dove.
As the evangelist tells us: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan.
Similarly, the wine of Christ’s blood, drawn from the many grapes of the vineyard that he had planted, is extracted in the winepress of the cross. When men receive it with believing hearts, like capacious wineskins, it ferments within them by its own power.

And so, now that you have escaped from the power of Egypt and of Pharaoh, who is the devil, join with us, all of you, in receiving this sacrifice of the saving passover with the eagerness of dedicated hearts. Then in our inmost being we shall be wholly sanctified by the very Lord Jesus Christ whom we believe to be present in his sacraments, and whose boundless power abides for ever.

Is this God's Will or my own??

Do you find life pretty darn hard?  I do... things just seem some times to be hard to take...heartaches, challenges, disappointments, oppositions, sickness, betrayal... I wonder why is this happening to me?  

What's the point?  I've been struggling with this my whole life.  I know I'm to do God's Will..but it's like I have been trying---but stuff keeps happening to me... 

I didn't realize that the "stuff" 

I have constantly prayed -- help me Lord to do Your Will---but have fought against everything that does not go with what I think should happen...  Thinking that this can't be it...this can't be what God wants.. why would He want things to go this way?  Why???? 

I found this book that has answered some of my questions -- awakened spirit to see the deeper meanings of what I have gone through.... it's called Uniformity with God’s Will & the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori.  

Guess I am pretty dense...I have been fighting tooth and nail against what I now know to be His Will.  The Lord must shake His Head at me.   I guess I will never understand until I meet the Lord face to face...I must learn to accept everything with love and in peace that God knows what He is about.  I learn through all the difficulties of life...everything is laid out for me...I must accept it with the knowledge that God will use it for my perfection. 

It's hard to do...not having control..or wanting it (control).  I'm going to be struggling with this for the rest of my life here on earth.  Perfection is not going to be easy to obtain, but I am hoping the Lord will see the meager, imperfect efforts I am making to fulfill His Will in my life..,

I would like to recommend this book to you if you have been struggling as I have been.  It's called:


Uniformity with God’s Will
by St. Alphonsus Liguori 
Edited by Paul A. Boer, Sr. Veritatis Splendor Publications 2012
(Kindle edition is  90 cents on Amazon..or you can get the softcover for about $8.00)

Excerpts from the book...
St. AlphonsusLiguori

“When, therefore, something adverse happens to us, let us accept it from his hands, not only patiently, but even with gladness, as did the apostles “who went form the presence of the council rejoicing, that they were accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.”  

What greater consolation can come to a soul than to know that by patiently bearing some tribulation, it gives God the greatest pleasure in its power?  

Spiritual writers tells us that though the desire of certain souls to please God by their sufferings is acceptable to him, still more pleasing to him is the union of certain others with his will, so that their will is neither to rejoice not to suffer, but to hold themselves completely amenable to his will, and they desire only that his holy will be fulfilled.

If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will.  

 Reflect that all the sins 
of your past wicked life 
happened because you 
wandered from the path of God’s will.   

For the future, embrace Gods’ good pleasure and say to him in every happening:  “Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.”  
When anything disagreeable happens, remember it comes from God and say at once, “This comes from God” and be at peace: “I was dumb and opened not my mouth, because thou hast done it.”  Lord, since thous hast done this, I will be silent and accept it.   

Direct all your thoughts and prayers to this end, to beg God constantly in meditation, Communion, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament that he help you accomplish his holy will.

St. Teresa of Avila
Form the habit of offering yourself frequently to God by saying, 

“My God, behold me in thy presence; do with me and all that I have as thou pleasest.”  

This was the constant practice of St. Teresa.  At least fifty times a day she offered herself to God, placing herself at his entire disposition and good pleasure.  

How fortunate you, kind reader, if you too act thus! You will surely become a saint.  Your life will be calm and peaceful; your death will be happy.  At death all our hope of salvation will come from the testimony of our conscience as to whether  or not we are dying resigned to God’s will.  

If during life we have embraced everything 
as coming from God’s hands, 
and if at death we embrace death 
in fulfillment of God’s will, 
we shall certainly save our souls 
and die the death of saints.  

Let us then abandon everything to God’s good pleasure, because being infinitely wise, he knows what is best for us; and being all-good and all-loving – having given his life for us—he wills what is best for us.  

St. Basil the Great

Let us, as St. Basil counsels us,  
" secure in the conviction that beyond the possibility of a doubt, God works to effect our welfare, infinitely better than we could ever hope to accomplish or desire it ourselves.”

 "...In external matters.  In times of great heat, cold or rain; in times of famine, epidemics and similar occasions we should refrain from expressions like these:  "What unbearable cold!" "What a tragedy!" In these instances we should avoid expressions indicating opposition to God's Will.  We should want things to be just as they are, because it is God who thus disposes them...."

"Do thou build up or tear down, O Lord, 
as seems good in thy sight.  
I am content.  
I wish only what thou dost wish."



Let's see what St. Ignatius says to this...

Do not weary yourself planning
what you would do it you were well,
but be content to be sick
for as long as God wishes...
We ought to make use of the ordinary remedies in time of sickness--such is God's will; but if they are not effective, let us unite ourselves to God's will and this will be better for us than would be our restoration to health...
Certainly, it is more virtuous not to repine in times of painful illness, still and all, when our sufferings are excessive, it is not wrong to let our friends know what we are enduring, and also to ask God to free us from our sufferings....that the sufferings here referred to are actually excessive.  
It often happens that some, on the occasion of a slight illness, or even a slight indisposition, want the whole world to stand still and sympathize with them in their illnesses. 
But where it is a case of real suffering, we have the example of our Lord, who, at the approach of his bitter passion, made known his state of soul to his disciples, saying: "My soul is sorrowful even until death"  and besought his eternal Father to deliver him from it: "Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me." 


But our Lord likewise taught us what we should do when we have made such a petition, when he added:

"Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."

St. John of Avila, Doctor of the Church

"If you are seeking to carry out God's will,
what difference should it make to you 
whether you are sick or well?" 
St. John of Avila 


Excerpt from Uniformity with God's Will --

'Finally we should consider the events which are happening to us now and which will happen to us in the future, as coming from the hands of God.  Everything we do should be directed to this one end: to do the will of God and to do it solely for the reason that God wills it.  To walk more securely on this road we must depend on the guidance of our superiors in external matters, and on our directors in internal matters, to learn from them God’s will in our regard, have great faith in the words of our Lord:”He that heareth you, heareth me.” 
Above all, let us bend all our energies to serve God in the way he wishes.  This remark is made so that we may avoid the mistake of him who wastes his time in idle day-dreaming.  Such a  one says, “If I were to become a hermit, I would become a saint” or “If I were to enter a monastery, I would practice penance” or “If I were to go away from here, leaving friend and companions, I would devote long hours to prayer.”  If, If, If—all these ifs!  In the meantime such a  person goes from bad to worse.  These idle fancies are often temptations of the devil, because they are not in accord with God’s will.  Hence we should dismiss them summarily and rouse ourselves to serve God only in that way which he has marked out for us.  Doing his holy will, we shall certainly become holy in those surroundings he has placed us.

Let us will always and ever
only what God wills;
for so doing,
he will press us to his heart. 
To this end let us familiarize ourselves with certain texts of sacred scripture that invite us to unite ourselves constantly with the divine will: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?  Tell me, my God, what thou wilt have me do, that I will it also, with all my heart.  “I am thine, save thou me.”  I am no longer my own, I am thine, O Lord, do with me as thou wilt.

If some particularly crashing misfortune comes upon us, for example, the death of a relative, loss of goods, let us say: “Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.”  Yes, my God and my Father, so be it, for such is thy good pleasure.  Above all, let us cherish that prayer of our Lord, which he himself taught us:  "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

St. Catherine of Genoa
St. Catherine of Genoa
to make a notable pause at these words
whenever she said the Our Father,
praying that God’s holy will be fulfilled on earth
with the same perfection with which
the saints do in heaven. 
Let this be our practice also,
and we shall certainly become saints.

 Excerpts taken from the Conclusion of the book, Uniformity with God’s Will St. Alphonsus Liguori

Uniformity with God’s Will & the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori Edited by Paul A. Boer, Sr. Veritatis Splendor Publications 2012

Prayer Honoring Christ's Wound on His Shoulder

Christ's Shoulder Wound

St. Bernard of Clairaux
Centuries ago, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in ecstasy asked Jesus which was His greatest unrecorded suffering and the wound that inflicted the most pain on Him in Calvary and Jesus answered:
"I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound which was more painful than the others and which is not recorded by men. Honor this Wound with thy devotion and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit and in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no longer remember their mortal sins."
Anne Catherine Emmerich in the he Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ written from her visions said:
Anne Catherine Emmerich
"There was a frightful wound on the shoulder which had borne the weight of the Cross, and all the upper part of the body was covered with bruises and deeply marked with the blows of the scourges. "


Fr. Karol Wojtyla, the young
St. Pope John Paull II
And most recently we recount the meeting of two future Saints.
Padre Pio and Fr. Karol Wojtyla where the future St. John Paul II went to spend some time with the future St. Pio.
Fr. Karol Wojtyla asked from which of his stigmatic wounds did Padre Pio suffer the most. Padre Pio answered:

"It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated."
This is extremely significant, not only because it reveals that Padre Pio bore this wound, but because, as far as is known, the future pope is the only one to whom Padre Pio ever revealed existence of this secret wound.

So even though the Bible makes no mention of this wound, the Saints tell us that Jesus suffered from it immensely.

Read more:

Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus
O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy Flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other Wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.

Shroud of Turin -- New Evidence

3D image taken from the Shroud of Turin

Jesus Christ Crucified, Died and was Buried


As this is the 1st Week of Easter, my meditations on the Resurrection of Jesus lead me to look at The Shroud of Turin. With my Catholic upbringing and education as well as my faith, my heart knows that He is certainly RISEN.  I don't need proof that the shroud is authentic to keep my faith.  But what a great gift He has given in leaving this wonderful sign of His Glory!  
Computer 3D image from the Shroud of Turin

Many scientists have tried to debunk this miracle, but have not succeeded.  As science develops more and more in technology – the results are showing that IT IS Christ’s Shroud.

What is the Shroud of Turin?? 
Here is a definition from wikipedia

The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino) is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. 
Shroud of Turin showing wounds of Christ

There is no consensus yet on exactly how the image was created, and it is believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, despite radiocarbon dating placing its origins in the Medieval period. (they have found that the piece of cloth investigated with the Carbon dating was a weave NOT of the same cloth but added on during a restoration in Medieval times. 

The image is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color. The negative image was first observed in 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited in the Turin Cathedral. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy.

"Four university professors have published an article in “Injury” magazine revealing that the crucified man that was wrapped in the Turin Shroud suffered a dislocation of the humerus, the paralysis of one arm and a violent trauma to the neck and chest.
 Christ's shoulder wound
The person whose figure is imprinted on the Shroud is believed to have collapsed under the weight of the cross, or the “patibulum” as it is referred to in the study, the horizontal part of the cross. The Man of the Shroud the academics explain, fell “forwards” and suffered a “violent” knock” “while falling to the ground.” “Neck and shoulder muscle paralysis” were “caused by a heavy object hitting the back between the neck and shoulder and causing displacement of the head from the side opposite to the shoulder depression.
Simeon of Cyrean helps carry the Cross of Christ
At this point it would have been impossible for the cross bearer to go on holding it and this brings to mind the passage in the Gospel which describes how the soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to pick up Jesus’ cross. Not an act of compassion therefore, but of necessity. This explains why “the right shoulder is lower than the left by 10±5 degrees” and The right eye is retracted in the orbit” because of the paralysis of the entire arm, the academics say.
That the man on the Shroud is our Lord, I have little doubt. Science confirms what the saints already knew... "
Read the complete article:
Science, Saints and the Shroud of Turin.. Article on the National Catholic Register...
In March 2010, researchers unveiled a revolutionary radiocarbon dating method that could allow scientists to safely establish accurate ages for precious artifacts like the Shroud of Turin. Unlike traditional carbon dating, the new process does not require samples; instead, the entire object is exposed to an electrically charged gas that gently oxidizes its surface without causing damage. This means that, someday soon, the world may have a more precise estimate of the Shroud of Turin’s real age.
Jesus' face as recreated in 3D, scientifically from the Shroud of Turin
 (from the documentary "The Real Face of Jesus?" on The History Channel)

The face was painstakingly constructed by a team of graphic artists studying the Shroud of Turin, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus.