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...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sede vacante

Saint Mary in Trastevere

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Basilica of Saint Balbina

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Basilica of Saint Clement

Today's Station Church.

The Basilica has a superb website: http://www.basilicasanclemente.com/.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"The Lord is calling me to 'climb the mountain'"

At his last Angelus, reflecting on today's Gospel account of the Transfiguration, Pope Benedict XVI said,

"The Lord is calling me to 'climb the mountain', to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength."

The Church of St. Mary in Domnica

Today's Station Church.

Striving to be faithful in an unfaithful world

"For many,
as I have often told you
and now tell you even in tears,
conduct themselves
as enemies of the cross of Christ.

"Their end is destruction.

"Their God is their stomach;
their glory is in their 'shame.'

"Their minds are occupied
with earthly things.

"But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it
we also await a savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ.

"He will change our lowly body
to conform with His glorified body
by the power that enables Him also
to bring all things into subjection
to Himself.

"Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown,
in this way stand firm in the Lord."

(from today's Epistle - Phillipians 3:17—4:1)

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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Basilica of Saint Peter

Today's Station Church.

(www.saintpetersbasilica.org is a wonderful site for fantastic pictures and an abundance of information about the Basilica. The Pontifical North American College also has posted online great pictures of a 2010 diaconate ordination at the Basilica's Altar of the Chair)

A living link

He was over eighty years old,
but he was still physically agile and mentally sharp.

What made him interesting, however,
was not so much how well he had aged,
but rather how much he had experienced
and how much good he had done for so long.

The young people could only marvel
as he spoke of things
that seemed to them ancient history
but that he himself had lived through.

He was a living link to the past:
a link that reached back even beyond his lifespan,
for when the old man was young,
he himself had learned much from the old men of that day,
especially one very special old man.

Thus when young people gathered
around the old man now in their midst,
he could tell them of things
that had happened more than a century before
and that he himself had heard
from that other very special old man:
someone who had actually been there,
someone who spoke of amazing events
with simple, wonderful words...

This is what we proclaim to you:
what was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have looked upon,
and our hands have touched

-- we speak of the word of life.

(1 John 1:1)
Saint Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna
and disciple of Saint John the Apostle,
was martyred for the faith
on this day in the year 155 at the age of 86.

(from an earlier post)

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Chair of Peter

The Altar of the Chair of Peter - St. Peter's Basilica

"Today we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of Peter. It is an ancient feast, dating back to the fourth century, which gives thanks to God for the mission entrusted to the Apostle Peter and to his successors.

"The first ‘seat’ of the Church was the Cenacle where, in all probability, there was a special place reserved for Simon Peter. From there the ‘seat’ of Peter moved to Antioch where he became its first Bishop, and from there, Providence led Peter to Rome where his service to the Gospel was crowned with martyrdom.

"In this way Rome came to be known as the ‘See’ of the successor of Peter and the ‘cathedra’ of its Bishop, as representing the mission entrusted to him by Christ to shepherd his entire flock. In celebrating the ‘Chair’ of Peter we thus recognize its spiritual significance: it is a special sign of the love of God - the good and eternal shepherd - who guides the whole Church along the way of salvation. In the words of Saint Jerome, 'I follow no leader save Christ so I consult the chair of Peter, for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built!'"

Pope Benedict XVI
from his General Audience - February 22, 2006

(from an earlier post)

The Church of the Twelve Apostles

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Church of St. Lawrence in Panisperna

Today's Station Church.

The unwanted baby was left to starve

The family was already large and poor. The last thing they needed was another mouth to feed, so after some arguments, the mother decided to let the baby starve.

Someone who worked with the family, however, saw what was happening and fed the newborn, pulling him back from the brink of death.

The family was then shamed into taking care of the infant (now named Peter) themselves. A few years later, both parents were dead and one of Peter’s elder brothers was forced to take responsibility for him. He abused him, malnourished him, and overworked him. Still, Peter grew to be a bright lad, with a devout spirit.

One of Peter’s other brothers, Damian, came to the boy’s rescue and put him through school. He succeeded brilliantly at academics and by the time he was 25 he was already a famous university professor.

But Peter felt the call of the monastic vocation and a few years later withdrew from the world.

Once again, Peter succeeded brilliantly, rising not only to run his own monastery but become an advocate of reform in monasticism and in the Church at large. So great was his reputation that he was forced to become a bishop and cardinal. He proved instrumental in helping resolve many crises in the church. He would later be called a Doctor of the Church.

St. Peter Damian (he had added his brother’s name) died on this very day in 1072.

(adapted from an earlier post)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Today's Station Church.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Church of Saint Anastasia

Today's Station Church.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Church of Saint Peter in Chains

Today's Station Church, where may be found relics of chains that once bound St. Peter...
...and where also may be found Michelangelo's statue of Moses.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We can get through this

This week, over four thousand people spent days trapped in a cruise ship reportedly flowing with excrement.

This week, over a billion Catholics -- and indeed the entire world -- was suddenly confronted with the historic uncertainty of a papal resignation.

Sometimes we live in days of peace and prosperity, sometimes we live in days of difficulty and uncertainty.

In today's readings, God speaks personally to each of us a clear and simple message:

We can get through this.

In the first reading (Dt 26:4-10), God has brought His people out of oppression and forty years of homelessness into a land "flowing with milk and honey."

In the second reading (Rom. 10:8-13), Saint Paul says "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

And in the Gospel (Lk 4:1-13), our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself endures 40 days without food and then terrible temptations.

In all of these places, God is saying:

We can get through this.

With God, He and you and I can get through anything.

As today's Psalm (91: 1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15) says:

Because he clings to me,
I will deliver him;
I will set him on high
because he acknowledges my name.

He shall call upon me,
and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and glorify him.

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

The Basilica of Saint John Lateran

Today's Station Church. Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome. Head and Mother of all Churches. Figured prominently in a dream by Innocent III shortly after he was first visited by Saint Francis of Assisi.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Church of Saint Augustine

Today's Station Church. Burial place of Saint Augustine's mother Saint Monica (above) and location of Caravaggio's Madonna di Loreto (below).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Basilica of Saints John and Paul

(Today's Station Church)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Choose well... and live

Today's readings lay a clear choice before us, beginning with Deuteronomy (30:15-20):

"Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.

"If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you

in the land you are entering to occupy.

"If, however,
you turn away your hearts
and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.

"I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.

"Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live,

by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.

For that will mean life for you..."

And the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke (9:22-25):

"If anyone wishes to come after Me,
he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily

and follow Me.

"For whoever wishes to save his life
will lose it,
but whoever loses his life
for My sake
will save it.

"What profit is there
for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"

(Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me - a sinner)

San Giorgio in Velabro

(Today's Station Church)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Station Churches

The people of the Diocese of Rome have a wonderful tradition known as the Station Churches, in which people gather at a different church in the diocese each day of Lent. Today, it is the Basilica of Santa Sabina.

It is where the Holy Father traditionally leads the celebration.
This year, however, Pope Benedict will be celebrating Ash Wednesday at St. Peter's Basilica, since this will be one of his last major liturgies before his resignation takes effect at the end of this month.

Ash Wednesday

Remember, man, that you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es,
et in pulverem reverteris.

(from an earlier post)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thank you, Holy Father

I join with millions and millions of people around the world who are saddened at Pope Benedict's resignation, but are tremendously grateful to God for the great gift of Pope Benedict's ministry to the Church and to the world.