A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Simple instructions for today

In today's first reading (Amos 5:14-15, 21-24):

Seek good
and not evil,
that you may live;

Then truly
will the LORD, the God of hosts,
be with you as you claim!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me - a sinner.

They didn't all look Middle Eastern

Some looked just like everyone else: in fact, they were native born citizens!

But they had converted to THAT religion and were setting themselves apart from the mainstream of society.

All of them - converted natives and strange-looking immigrants - became the subject of rumors, ridicule, and investigations.

Then, a horrific criminal act laid waste to the center of the great city, killing many.

The focus quickly fell upon these converted natives and strange-looking immigrants.

They and their leaders were rounded up.

Many were tortured and many were killed.

These first Christian martyrs of the Church of Rome remained true to their faith, rejoicing to share in the salvific sufferings of Christ, and helped stoke the fires of a spiritual awakening that would flourish when the empire that had sought to crush them was itself dust.

Today the Church celebrates the memory of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome.

(adapted from an earlier post)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The grace of final perseverance

For this we must pray.

For this - also by God’s grace – we must strive.

For this, in today's second reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18), Saint Paul gives thanks.

I 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.

For this we must pray.

For this – by God’s grace – we must strive.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me – a sinner.

The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

The ancient Latin phrase resonates in magnificence, with a feeling of awe and power like the majestic columns of a mighty cathedral: Sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum - the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

Their origins were humble and they were slaughtered by the ruling regime almost as an afterthought, their deaths scarcely noted by the chroniclers of the day, but their work, their words, their blood, and their lives -- by the power of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shining through them -- became the foundation of Christendom itself. Now the city that had crushed them is dominated by their monuments.

O Roma felix! Duorum Principum es consecrata sanguine!

God would raise up other great saints, and He continues to do so, but even the greatest but stand on the shoulders of these giants. There would have been no Gregory the Great or John Paul the second without Peter the Rock. There would have been no Thomas Aquinas without Saul of Tarsus.

They were human beings like us and not without flaws, but none could be mightier. They held nothing back: once they were sent forth, they laid everything on the line for Christ, every day of their lives – all their hearts, all their strength, all their talents, their freedom, and even their life's blood – everything went for Christ. They were exalted, yes, but only because they served humbly, lovingly, and forcefully.

If we’re looking for role models in our lives as we seek to make a difference in this world, we could not do better that the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, whose memory is celebrated on this day.

(from an earlier post)

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Freedom is – in itself – a wonderful thing.

God, in His wisdom and omnipotence, gave us freedom – created beings of flesh and blood that we are.

God gives us freedom directed toward true goodness and open to eternity.

The world lies about freedom: offering things that look, feel, and sound good but that are really traps that drag us down to death and decay.

And so Saint Paul tells us in today’s Epistle (Galatians 5:1, 13-18):

Do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.

May we not fall prey to the lies and temptations of this world, but rather may we walk through this world in true freedom and true love in the name and the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me – a sinner.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Acclaim, O tongue, the mystery
Of the glorious Body
And of the precious Blood
That, in ransom for the world,
The fruit of a generous womb,
The King of nations, shed.

To us given, for us born
From a Virgin pure,
And, brought into the world
To spread the seed of the Word,
He ended His stay
In a wondrous way.

On the night of the Last Supper,
Reclining with his brothers,
Observing the Law fully,
The food prescribed by Law,
This food to the Twelve
He gave with His own hands.

The Word Made Flesh made true bread
Become flesh at His word,
Made wine the Blood of Christ.
And if our senses fail
To strengthen a sincere heart
Faith alone will suffice.

So great a sacrament, therefore,
Let us venerate on our knees
And the old ritual
To the new Rite yield.
May faith supply
What our senses lack.

To the Father and to the Begotten
Praise and jubilation,
Salvation, honor and power
And blessing be;
And to the One who proceeds from Both
Equally be praise.

Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium,
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus,
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte coenae
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus

Verbum caro panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit;
Fit sanguis Christi merum.
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo sacramentum
Venereumur cernui.
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui.
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio.
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.


S. Thomas Aquinas

(adapted from a post on Toward Contemplation)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Response to the world

Catholicism and Christianity are not popular with many in the media and many “opinion makers” in the world today.

The world often does not seem to like faithful Christians who are forthright about their faith and who live it fully within in the Church and beyond it.

In the face of all this, the message to us in today’s first reading (2 Timothy 4:1-8) is simple:


I charge you
in the presence of God
and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:

proclaim the word;

be persistent
whether it is convenient or inconvenient;

through all patience and teaching.

For the time will come
when people will not tolerate sound doctrine
but, following their own desires
and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers
and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.

But you,
be self-possessed
in all circumstances;

put up with hardship;

perform the work of an evangelist;

fulfill your ministry.

The mighty oak and the god of thunder

The great tree was sacred to Thor and the people regarded it with awe and great reverence.

Then it was chopped down.

The man responsible was a Bishop: personally sent by the Pope to bring the German people to Christ.

He used the wood to build a chapel, where a cathedral now stands.

Boniface worked tirelessly, preaching the Gospel and organizing the Church.

Then, while administering Confirmation in what is now Holland, Boniface was murdered by pagans 1255 years ago on this very day.

(from an earlier post)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Born in the West Bank town of Nablus...

He went to a number of different schools, but remained dissatisfied.

Then one day he found himself walking on the beach and talking with an old man who spoke about God, about prophets, and about the Holy Spirit.

The young man came to accept Christ and to be baptized. He subsequently used his wide-ranging education to defend Christianity forcefully against a skeptical and decadent world, becoming one of the most widely read Christian writers of the century.

His reputation would catch up with him, however. He was arrested, tortured, and executed in Rome around the year 165.

Justin, one of Christianity's first and greatest apologists, would thus become known as Saint Justin Martyr. His memory is celebrated on this day.

(from an earlier post)

What shall we pray for this month?

Pope Benedict's generral prayer request for June focuses on Foreign Debt Relief.

"That international efforts to help poorer nations bring prompt, concrete results to relieve the crushing burden of foreign debt."

His mission intention is for the Church in Areas of Violence.

"That local Church communities serving areas torn by violence may be supported through the love and help offered by Catholics around the world."