Monday, May 31, 2010

The Roses Are Coming

We continue to have unseasonably cool weather, storms and overcast skies, so spring hasn't put on much of a spectacle yet.  On the other hand, she hasn't exactly been idle, either.  The roses are starting to come up at the Rose Garden at Julia Davis Park.

 And I know these are weeds, but they are still beautiful in their way.

 And on the way back from Nyssa on Sunday, there was this explosion of yellow roses.
  Hopefully the sun comes out soon.  Until then, the yellow roses will have to fill in!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Season IS It?

This somewhat grainy photo demonstrates a weird yet typical Idaho phenomenon: the juxtaposition of winter and late spring.  The snow in the foothills behind the Statehouse fell on the night of May 22-23.

Must be global warming. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010


This is one of my favorite paintings of Pentecost.  Look at the guy in the fetal position at the bottom, with his hands folded over his head.  Notice the flame coming at him.  The Holy Spirit always gets His man, even though the man's afraid and hiding.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Ally for Victory: Maria Stops Abortion

I was praying at the weekly vigil outside the abortion clinic recently when a young women passing stopped and came up to me with her young daughter.

“I came here to have an abortion over three years ago” she told me.

“I noticed there were people praying outside the clinic. I could not go in. This is my daughter and thank God I did not have the abortion that day” she told me with a smile. 
Maria Stops Abortion is the blog of the Good Counsel Network, a pro-life organization dedicated to assisting women in crisis pregnancies.  Stop in and take a look at the work they're doing. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 1917: The Campaign Opens

May 13, 1917 dawned upon a world in turmoil.  The fratricidal slaughter that engulfed Europe had raged for nearly three years, and had now spread over the whole globe.  One month earlier, the United States stepped into the European fray with her declaration of war on Germany.  The social and political order of the Old World was being swept away.  Two months earlier, the Czar of Russia abdicated, as his country slid toward the abyss of communism.  Nor were the horrors of 1914-1918 the worst the world would ever see.  The veterans of the War to End All War would not reach middle age before the outbreak of another and even more terrible war.  On May 13, 1917, Pope Benedict XV consecrated as archbishop the man who would steer the Barque of Peter through the bloodiest period (to that point) in human history.  As this future supreme shepherd knelt before the Pope, three shepherd children in a small plot of pasture land near Aljustrel, Portugal fell to their knees before a luminous vision over a small holm oak.

In 1941, the oldest of these three children, Lucia dos Santos -- now a Dorothean sister -- wrote under obedience in her 4th Memoir:
High up on the slope in the Cova da Iria, I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco at building a little stone wall around a clump of furze.  Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning.

"We'd better go home," I said to my cousins, "that's lightning; we may have a thunderstorm."
"Yes, indeed!" they answered.

We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along toward the road.  We were more or less half-way down the slope, and almost level with a large holmoak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning.  We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holmoak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white.  She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.

We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition.  We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her.  Then Our Lady spoke to us:

"Do not be afraid.  I will do you no harm."

"Where are you from"

"I am from heaven."

"What do you want of me?"

"I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour.  Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want.  Afterwards, I will return here a seventh time."
The seventh time Our Lady came to the Cova da Iria was to give Lucia a private message in 1921, when she was was about to leave home to board at the Dorothean school in Vilar de Oporto.  Her bishop sent her there under an assumed name, among other reasons, to give her a chance at a normal life.  Lucia continues:
"Shall I go to heaven too?"

"Yes, you will."

"And Jacinta?"

"She will go also."

"And Francisco?"

"He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries." 

Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently.  They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.

"Is Maria das Neves in heaven?"

"Yes, she is."  (I think she was about 16 years old.)

"And Amelia?"
"She will be in purgatory until the end of the world."  (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age.)

If this young girl from rural Portugal, a place where the faith was still strong, had racked up enough offenses to merit purgatory until the end of time, what is to become of us in this time of weakened faith, with vastly greater opportunities for sinning and a culture that encourages us to yield to temptation rather than fight it?  

Lucia continues:
"Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?"

"Yes, we are willing."

"Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort."

As she pronounced these words, "the grace of God will be your comfort," Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors.  Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts:

"O most Holy Trinity, I adore You!  My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!"

After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again:

"Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war."

Then she began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until she disappeared in the immensity of space.  The light that surrounded her seemed to open up a path before her in the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw heaven opening.
Almost exactly ten years after this apparition, a boy was born to a policeman and his wife in Bavaria, where the future Pius XII -- consecrated archbishop on the very day the apparition took place -- had served as Papal Nuncio.  That boy was destined to become the fifth successor of the man who had once been the Pope's ambassador to the boy's place of birth, and to take the name of the Pope that had made the ambassador an archbishop; and to steer the Barque of Peter through seas no less turbulent and furious than those through which Benedict XV and Pius XII had to navigate.  

Now, on the 93rd anniversary of this first apparition, and the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the younger two shepherd children, he is at the place of the apparitions -- the third Pope to make such a pilgrimage -- where he has entrusted and consecrated all priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  

Pope Benedict's prayer before the statue of Mary in the Chapel of the Apparitions:

Holy Father:

Our Lady,
Mother of all men and women,
I come before you as a son
visiting his Mother,
and I do so in company
with a multitude of brothers and sisters.
As the Successor of Peter,
to whom was entrusted the mission
of presiding in the service
of charity in the Church of Christ
and of confirming all in faith and in hope,
I wish to present to your
Immaculate Heart
the joys and hopes
as well as the problems and sufferings
of each one of these sons and daughters of yours
who are gathered in the Cova di Iria
or who are praying with us from afar.

Mother most gentle,
you know each one by name,
you know each one’s face and personal history,
and you love them all
with maternal benevolence
that wells up from the very heart of Divine Love.
I entrust and consecrate them all to you,
Mary Most Holy,
Mother of God and our Mother.

Cantors and Assembly: We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 1)

Holy Father:
The Venerable Pope John Paul II,
who visited you three times here in Fatima
and thanked the "unseen hand"
that rescued him from death
in the assassination attempt on 13 May
in Saint Peter’s Square almost thirty years ago,
wanted to offer to the Shrine of Fatima
a bullet which gravely wounded him
and was placed in the crown of the Queen of Peace.
It is a profound consolation
to know that you are crowned
not only with the silver
and gold of our joys and hopes,
but also with the "bullet"
of our anxieties and sufferings.

I thank you, beloved Mother,
for the prayers and sacrifices
that the shepherd-children
of Fatima offered for the Pope,
led by the sentiments
that you inspired in them in the apparitions.
I also thank all those who,
every day,
pray for the Successor of Peter
and for his intentions,
that the Pope may be strong in faith,
bold in hope and zealous in love.

Cantors and Assembly: We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 2)

Holy Father:

Beloved Mother of us all,
here in your Shrine at Fatima I consign
the Golden Rose
that I have brought from Rome
as a homage of gratitude from the Pope
for the marvels that the Almighty
has worked through you
in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims
to this your maternal home.

I am sure that the shepherd-children of Fatima,
Blessed Francisco and Jacinta
and the Servant of God Lucia of Jesus,
are united with us at this hour of prayer and jubilation.

Cantors and Assembly: We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 5).   

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Support the Order of Preachers!

Fr. Phillip Neri Powell, O.P. of Domine, Da Mihi Hanc Aquam!, has a new prayer book out from Liguori Publications.  Click the pic for details.  

Fr. Powell promises the proceeds from the sale his book will not go to support his Nutella habit -- although they will go to support Dominican habits, and those that wear them. 

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Spring Fling

Who can come up with anything to post?  Not me.  That's why I'm going to put up pictures of Spring in action.  How Spring has busied herself in southern Idaho (even though we haven't had the greatest weather so far):
Wait till the roses start going to town.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May 1st: St. Joseph the Worker

Ven. Pius XII instituted the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker to Christianize labor.  It also serves as a counter to the communist May Day.   Pitted against St. Joseph, the Reds never had a chance.

Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker

We speak to you, O blessed Joseph, our protector on earth, as one who knows the value of work and the response of our calling. We address you through your holy spouse, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and knowing the fatherly affection with which you embraced Our Lord Jesus, ask that you may assist us in our needs, and strengthen us in our labors.

By our promise to do worthily our daily tasks, keep us from failure, from a greedy mind, and from a corrupt heart. Be our watchful guardian in our work, our defender and strength against injustice and errors. As we look to your example and seek your assistance, support us in our every effort, that we may come to everlasting rest with you in the blessedness of heaven. Amen.