Saturday, June 23, 2018

Photo: Window Planters

Spirituality: Fyodor Dostoevsky

A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying - lying to others and to yourself.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Photo: Gas Lamp

Spirituality: Flannery O'Connor

...the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it but if you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.

Spirituality: From a letter written in prison to his daughter, Margaret, by Saint Thomas More

With good hope I shall commit myself wholly to God

“Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God’s grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God. Either he shall keep the king in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this case as I shall not deserve, then his grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly. 

By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.

I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.

And if he permits me to play Saint Peter further and to fall to the ground and to swear and forswear, may God our Lord in his tender mercy keep me from this, and let me lose if it so happen, and never win thereby! Still, if this should happen, afterward I trust that in his goodness he will look on me with pity as he did upon Saint Peter, and make me stand up again and confess the truth of my conscience afresh and endure here the shame and harm of my own fault.

And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him. And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy. 

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Photo: Beacon Hill Brownstones

Prayer: Clement of Alexandria

Martyrdom means bearing witness to God. Every soul that seeks in pureness of heart to know God and obeys the commandments of God is a martyr, bearing witness by life or by words…. That is why, in the gospels, the Lord praises the people who have left house or family or lands for Jesus’ sake and for the gospel. The people are blessed because they too are going to meet martyrdom simply by living in a way that is different from the crowd, because they are following the rule of the gospel for love of the Lord.

Greeting Cards by Fr. John Predmore, S.J.

Blank Greeting cards for sale.
Small cards are $2.00 each
Ten small cards for $18.00
Large (5x7) cards are $3.00 each
Ten large cards for $25.00

1. Mountain Pontilism (small)

2. Orange Tulips

3. Purple Tulips

4. Gloucester Seacoast

5. Golden Bouquet

6. Red Mums

7. Motif #1 (future)

8. Paris in the Rain

9. The Olive Tree at Sunset in Galilee

10. Love Wins

11. Winter Cardinal

12. Purple Hydrangea

13. Gloucester Waves

14. Cape Cod Dunes

15 Spencer Monastery Grounds

16. Sparrow

17. Gloucester Wave Burst (small)

18. Three Boats in a Harbor (small)

19. Pumpkin and Flowers

20. Salmon Bouquet

21. Sunlight through Orange Maples

22. Maple Leaf on Ground

23. Virginia Creeper

24. Red Maple

25.  Gourds

26.  Christmas Bulb

26. Christmas Wreath

27. Christmas Tree

28. Madonna and Child

29. Skyburst and Tree

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 24, 2018
Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80

John the Baptist is one of our most revered prophets because of the humble way that he pointed us to Christ. He is a bridge between the Old and New Testaments – born of aged parents and revealed as a prophet in his mother’s womb. He is the one who showed up how to exit the stage gracefully so that Jesus of Nazareth could appear in the lead role. He did not seek attention but demanded that the bright light shine upon Jesus and his message. He knew that he was the supporting cast, the best man, and he was content to be the friend of the bridegroom. He was a prophet like none other.

For the most part, prophets are regarded as troublesome, noisy social activists who are self-righteous moralizers. Some have great passion; some speak loudly and provocatively; Some shine an uncomfortable light on our moral decisions and tell us what we should do instead of trying to understand our complex situations. We are used to prophets who demand our better behavior while they may not have their own house in order. Nobody likes that type of judgment. Not all prophets fit these stereotypes.

John gives us a model for being a prophetic voice that other people can hear. He taught us that there is a way out of human darkness and sadness by turning our lives over to the Lord. He did not call attention to our errors or limitations, but he asked us to discern where we needed personal reform. His cry was, “Repent. Turn away from sin and believe in the good news.” Holding onto this good news is all we have.

A prophet today calls us to examine our own way of making choices in light of the Gospel and our conscience. A prophet helps us to consider if we have enough data to make an informed decision and to keep our hearts and minds open to the possibility that we do not have all the answers and that our judgments may need to be pliable. A prophet helps us to be open for a metanoia, a change of heart, that helps us to see and love the world the way that Christ sees and loves the world.

How would the Baptist want us to approach the immigration debate that is at the forefront of the U.S. consciousness? Today’s Baptist is not going to lord it over us and tell us how to think. He is going to ask how we are informing our consciousness and examining the various viewpoints that are present in society. He is going to ask whether our need for order and stability is balanced with mercy and compassion, whether we are free from tribal politics, so we can look at the demands of our responsibility to one another, especially the most vulnerable in society, whether our information sources are exhaustive and accurate, and whether the names and descriptions used by newsmakers are the words we would use, such as illegals, aliens, criminals or refugee, asylum seekers, the poor and the oppressed. Today’s Baptist is going to ask, “What does your conscience say about this and how does it lead you to further action?” and “how does scripture and the philosophy of Jesus shape your response to human suffering?”

But I think he is going to ask us about two fundamental areas: (1.) Rather than making harsh judgments about situations in which we have little control, we can focus on the areas of my life where I have to ask for forgiveness and to make amendments. This shows our willingness to grow in the faith. (2.) I can bring it to prayer and I can ask the Lord for clarity, direction, and inspiration. I can ask him how he feels and find out what is in his heart. If I am to be a friend of Jesus, the friend of the bridegroom, a companion along the journey, then it is important for me to know what he values and how he feels. That is what friends do for one another. We find out what motivates one another.

Listen to John the Baptist as if he were here today. Let his way forward inspire you because it leads us to the heart of Christ. He wants you to reform the hardened parts of your life, so you can know his best friend even better than you do now. He will point the way forward, and your prophetic action will be the wonder of those around you.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (1 Kings 17) And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, "Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets," they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the LORD, their God.

Tuesday: (2 Kings 19) W "Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it. I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.'"

Wednesday: (2 Kings 22) The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned together before him. The king went up to the temple of the LORD with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: priests, prophets, and all the people, small and great. He had the entire contents of the book of the covenant that had been found in the temple of the LORD, read out to them. 

Thursday: (2 Kings 24) The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon all seven thousand men of the army, and a thousand craftsmen and smiths, all of them trained soldiers. In place of Jehoiachin, the king of Babylon appointed his uncle Mattaniah king, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Friday (Acts 12) 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.”

Saturday (Lamentations 2) On the ground in silence sit the old men of daughter Zion; They strew dust on their heads and gird themselves with sackcloth; The maidens of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground.


Monday: (Matthew 7) Jesus said: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

Tuesday: (Matthew 7) Jesus said: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.

Wednesday (Matthew 7) Jesus said: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them.

Thursday (Matthew 7) “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house, but it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.

Friday (Matthew 16) 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

Saturday (Matthew 8) Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him. When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.

Saints of the Week
June 24: Nativity of John the Baptist (first century) was celebrated on June 24th to remind us that he was six months older than Jesus, according to Luke. This day also serves to remind us that, as Christ is the light of the world, John must decrease just as the daylight diminishes. John’s birth is told by Luke. He was the son of the mature Elizabeth and the dumbstruck Zechariah. When John was named, Zechariah’s tongue was loosened and he sang the great Benedictus.

June 27: Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor (376-444), presided over the Council of Ephesus that fought Nestorian the heresy. Cyril claimed, contrary to Nestorius, that since the divine and human in Jesus were so closely united that it was appropriate to refer to Mary was the mother of God. Because he condemned Nestorius, the church went through a schism that lasted until Cyril's death. Cyril's power, wealth, and theological expertise influenced many as he defended the church against opposing philosophies.

June 28: Irenaeus, bishop and martyr (130-200) was sent to Lyons as a missionary to combat the persecution the church faced in Lyons. He was born in Asia Minor and became a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus asserted that the creation was not sinful by nature but merely distorted by sin. As God created us, God redeemed us. Therefore, our fallen nature can only be saved by Christ who took on our form in the Incarnation. Irenaeus refutation of heresies laid the foundations of Christian theology.

June 29: Peter and Paul, apostles (first century) are lumped together for a feast day because of their extreme importance to the early and contemporary church. Upon Peter's faith was the church built; Paul's efforts to bring Gentiles into the faith and to lay out a moral code was important for successive generations. It is right that they are joined together as their work is one, but with two prongs. For Jesuits, this is a day that Ignatius began to recover from his illness after the wounds he sustained at Pamplona. It marked a turning point in his recovery.

June 30: The First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (c. 64) were martyrs under Nero's persecution in 64. Nero reacted to the great fire in Rome by falsely accusing Christians of setting it. While no one believed Nero's assertions, Christians were humiliated and condemned to death in horrible ways. This day always follows the feast of the martyrs, Sts. Peter and Paul.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 24, 1537. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, and five of the companions were ordained priests in Venice, Italy.
·      Jun 25, 1782. The Jesuits in White Russia were permitted by the Empress Catherine to elect a General. They chose Fr. Czerniewicz. He took the title of Vicar General, with the powers of the General.
·      Jun 26, 1614. By a ruse of the Calvinists, the book, "Defensio Fidei" by Francis Suarez was condemned by the French Parliament. In addition, in England James I ordered the book to be publicly burned.
·      Jun 27, 1978. Bernard Lisson, a mechanic, and Gregor Richert, a parish priest, were shot to death at St Rupert's Mission, Sinoia, Zimbabwe.
·      Jun 28, 1591. Fr. Leonard Lessius's teaching on grace and predestination caused a great deal of excitement and agitation against the Society in Louvain and Douai. The Papal Nuncio and Pope Gregory XIV both declared that his teaching was perfectly orthodox.
·      Jun 29, 1880. In France the law of spoliation, which was passed at the end of March, came into effect and all the Jesuit Houses and Colleges were suppressed.
  • Jun 30, 1829. The opening of the Twenty-first General Congregation of the order, which elected Fr. John Roothan as General.