Wednesday, September 19, 2018

NEW SAINT FOR EUCHARISTIC ADORATION




While we are doing this Blog on Eucharistic Adoration, I found this
newly blessed who devoted her life to Christ crucified, helping many priests in their own vocation and encouraging devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist.

A personal encounter with MOTHER ALPHONSE MARIE EPPINGER inspired “conversions which were far more miraculous than the raising of the dead,” recounted her spiritual director, Father Jean-David Reichard. The nineteenth century French mystic and religious founder was beatified September 14 in her native Strasbourg after a miraculous physical healing through her intercession was confirmed.
Mother Alphonse Marie had “the gift of seeing people, what is in their souls,” wrote Abbe Glöckler, who knew Eppinger personally and later wrote her biography.
“She had a right word and advice for everyone. God gifted her with a good mind and right judgment. Many left her with the decision to change their lives and to walk the right path.”
Her special role was in the spiritual care of priests. She was able to “scrutinize human hearts” and “reveal things that were hidden,” using these spiritual gifts to advise the priests who would “visit her in abundant numbers” seeking counsel.
The eldest of eleven children, Elizabeth Eppinger, was born into a peasant family in 1814, in Niederbronn, France.
Her devotion to Christ crucified deepened through her experience of suffering through a serious illness with which she struggled intermittently throughout her life. It kept her bedridden for years at a time, prayerfully immersed in the mystery of the cross.

Her convent
It was during her illness that Mother Alphonse received her first vision of Christ and that her mystical gifts became well known.
At the request of her bishop, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Holy Saviour in 1848, taking the religious name Sister Alphonse Marie.
She asked her sisters to meditate daily on the passion of Christ, and she encouraged devotion to Eucharistic adoration. In addition to their devotions, the sisters also aided the sick during epidemics, including a cholera outbreak in 1854.

Mother Alphonse Marie died in 1867. In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for  Mother Alphonsus Marie’s beatification:
“Let us thank God for this courageous and wise woman who, in suffering, in silence, and in prayer, witnessed the love of God especially to those who were sick in body and in spirit.”

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A CALL TO BENEDICTINE WOMEN: ORA ET LABORA



On September 8, the Holy Father addressed Benedictine women gathered in Rome of an International meeting.  His words are something we as Benedictines strive to daily follow in our own lives. 




"For your theme, you have taken an exhortation from the fifty-third chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict: “All are to be welcomed as Christ”. This expression has given the Benedictine Order a remarkable vocation to hospitality, in obedience to those words of the Lord Jesus which are an integral part of his “rule of conduct” found in Saint Matthew’s Gospel: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”.  Today there are many people in the world who seek to reflect in their lives the tenderness, compassion, mercy and acceptance of Christ in their lives. 


To them you offer the precious gift of your witness, as you are instruments of God’s tenderness to those who are in need. Your welcoming of persons of different religious traditions helps to advance with spiritual anointing ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. For centuries, Benedictine houses have been known as places of welcome, prayer and generous hospitality. I hope that by reflecting on this theme and sharing your experiences, you may find new ways of furthering this essential work of evangelization in your various monasteries.


The motto Ora et Labora places prayer at the center of your lives. The daily celebration of Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours puts you at the heart of the Church’s life. Every day, your prayer enriches, in a manner of speaking, the “breathing” of the Church. It is a prayer of praise to express the voice of all humanity and all creation. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the countless and continued blessings of the Lord. It is a prayer of supplication for the sufferings and anxieties of the men and women of our time, especially the poor. It is a prayer of intercession for those who endure injustice, wars and violence, and see their dignity violated. You do not meet these people personally, but you are their sisters in the Faith and in the Body of Christ. The value of your prayer is incalculable, yet surely it is a most precious gift. God always hears the prayers of hearts that are humble and full of compassion.



I want to thank you for the special care you show towards the environment and for your efforts to protect the gifts of the earth, so that they can be shared by all. I know that the Benedictine nuns and sisters in the world are good administrators of God’s gifts. As women, you feel and appreciate especially the beauty and harmony of creation. Your monasteries are often found in places of great beauty where people go to pray, to find silence and to contemplate the marvels of creation. I encourage you to continue this style and service, so that God’s wonderful works can be admired and speak of him to many persons.


Your life in community bears witness to the importance of mutual love and respect. You come from different places and experiences, and each of you is different, and so the way you accept one another is the first sign you offer in a world that finds it hard to live out this value. We are all children of God and your prayer, your work, your hospitality, your generosity, all combine to reveal a communion in diversity that expresses God’s hope for our world: a unity made of peace, mutual welcome and fraternal love.



Dear Sisters, I accompany you with my prayers. You bring a precious gift to the life of the Church through your feminine witness of goodness, faith and generosity, imitating the Holy Mother of the Church, the Virgin Mary. You are icons of the Church and of our Blessed Mother: do not forget this. Icons. Who sees you, sees the Church as Mother and Mary as Mother of Christ. For this we praise the Lord and we thank you. I ask you please to pray for me and I cordially bless you and your communities, and all whom you serve in the name of Christ. "



Thursday, September 13, 2018

AN HOUR GIVEN

“The Eucharist is the first missionary act of the Church.  So if we want to be missionary towards a world in need of new saints and salvation, we have to be men and women of Eucharistic adoration… In adoration we receive the fire of love which enables us to share our conviction and have faith about the presence of God.” (Bishop Dominique Marie Jean Rey,  Bishop of Diocese of Frejus-Toulon France)





                                             

Many ask, how do I spend an hour in adoration?  Sitting still for so many in our modern age is not easy. We get lost in our cares and worries, and preoccupations of daily life.  Believe me the saints had the same problem.

In adoration we  sit at the feet of Jesus, to “chose the better portion”, and to listen to God’s words as He speaks to our heart.  Remember Christ is our Lord, our friend and he is not to be feared.  Speak to Him as if to someone you love, someone you want to know better.
Read the Scriptures. Pray them.   Pray the rosary, meditating on the mysteries of Christ and His Mother, and even if you pause for deep reflection, this prayer will have brought you closer to dialogue with Jesus.

Sometimes, time seems to stand still, a few minutes can seem eternal. 5 minutes of sitting with Jesus is a good goal. Slowly increase your time—you’ll be amazed at how God increases your capacity to be with Him!

Everything in our world seems to attract noise.  It’s so easy to go a whole day without silence. Which is why, when sitting in adoration, it can be difficult to focus. Being truly silent can seem uncomfortable and foreign to us. But that discomfort is  OK, good even. It can help us to wind down and eventually fill us with peace.  Allow yourself to sit in silence and to just be with Jesus. Just to sit in His presence is prayer!

In an apparition to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus spoke these beautiful words: “I have a burning thirst to be honored by men in the Blessed Sacrament.” Go to adoration, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Jesus desires to be with you, to have you gaze upon Him, as He so lovingly gazes upon you.



.The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (No. 282).


Sunday, September 9, 2018

THE HOUR OF POWER


When  Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois in 1919, he promised to make a Holy Hour each day before the Most Blessed Sacrament. In spite of  a very harried schedule, he remained faithful to his promise for the entire sixty years of his priesthood. 

Writing constantly, travelling the around world, speaking engagements,  radio program and TV programs, heading the Missionary office of the Catholic Church, converting huge numbers of souls personally and through letters, he never missed his hour with the Lord. He said the key to his apostolic success was union with Jesus, a deep and growing friendship with Jesus in his Daily Holy Hour , that he called “The Hour of Power”.


It was during his Holy Hour that he learned to listen to the voice of Our Lord and abandon himself to the love of His Heart.  He was a tireless promoter of the daily hour of Eucharistic adoration, particularly among priests. “I keep up the Holy Hour to grow more and more into His likeness... Looking at the Eucharistic Lord for an hour transforms the heart in a mysterious way as the face of Moses was transformed after his companionship with God on the mountain.”

“The Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. 'Could you not watch one hour with Me?' Not for an hour of activity did He plead, but for an hour of companionship.”

“The purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage deep personal encounter with Christ. The holy and glorious God is constantly inviting us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him and to ask such things as we need and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.”

In these seemingly dark days in our Church, we can take comfort that our Lord is always with us, having left us His Body and Blood, and we can follow the example of  Venerable Sheen by giving a bit more of ourselves in adoration of Him we call our God. And we pray he be an intercessor for all our American Bishops.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

RESTING IN CHRIST IN A TIME OF UNREST

Mystery of Faith- Simeon Solomon

Mark Kirby, OSB of Silverstream Priory (Meath, Ireland)  writes: The crisis that continues to shake the Church and to burden the hearts of priests with sorrow and uncertainty, requires a powerful spiritual antidote.

Our Lord is calling His priests to tarry in His presence. He invites them to abide in the radiance of His Eucharistic Face, close to His Heart. There they will recover the joy of their youth and the certainty of being loved by Christ with an everlasting love."

 While these words are directed towards priests they apply to all Catholics, religious and lay.  When Jesus gave us His Body He did not specify that it would only be for the clergy, but for all, and throughout our Church’s history, He has given comfort to the saints, with the mandatum to adore Him raking the graces we daily need to follow Him, in faith.

"The practice of adoration is not difficult. It is a gentle abiding in My presence, a resting in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face, a closeness to My Eucharistic Heart. Words, though sometimes helpful, are not necessary, nor are thoughts. What I seek from one who would adore Me in spirit and in truth is a heart aflame with love, a heart content to abide in My presence, silent and still, engaged only in the act of loving Me and of receiving My love. Though this is not difficult, it is, all the same, My own gift to the soul who asks for it. Ask, then, for the gift of adoration. (From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

TRANSFORMATION IN OUR CHURCH


With the greatest crises in our Church’s history in the USA (see below) , it is encouraging to know that there is a massive “clean-up” and things of the past will hopefully not be any longer tolerated.  As I have said in past Blogs I am encouraged by the depth of our new young priests.  Many seem to have found their vocation due to hours spent in Eucharistic adoration.  I would like to spent this month on some reflections of the importance of the Eucharist in our spiritual lives.



Recently Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb. issued a new pastoral letter in which reflects upon the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper and draws on the writings of Popes  (St.) John Paul II and Benedict XVI on the Eucharist.

“Eucharistic adoration offers a powerful chance to encounter Christ’s love in silence and humility, and that experience can transform our hearts, both individually and as a Church. Love is selfless sacrifice, and sacrifice is the language of love. Love is the gift of ourselves to our beloved. And Christ made a gift of himself – He gave us His body and blood – poured Himself out for our salvation, when He conquered death by dying and rising again.  Christ gave us his body and blood, as an act of love, so that we could know the love of God.”

“In the Eucharist, we are made sharers in Christ’s mission of love,” Bishop Conley continued. “In the Eucharist, we are called to make disciples of all nations, so that all people will know the freedom of life in the love of the Lord.”

This mission must be renewed daily through a deepening of love for God, and the Holy Eucharist is at the heart of this renewal, he said.  “The Eucharist is at the center of every good work that the Church undertakes.  In the gift of the Eucharist, Jesus has given Himself to us “so that as we follow him, we can be unified to his life, and he can be present, with us, at all times, until the end of the world.”

Bishop Conley praised Eucharistic adoration as “a particularly powerful encounter with the Lord.” The silence of adoration teaches true humility.

“As we kneel before our Creator-God, we are confronted with the power and the mystery of God’s love,. and it is from this silence and humility that we experience a deep communion and friendship with God.”

“Kneeling before Christ in the Eucharist, the hopeless find hope. The weak find strength. Captives find freedom. The afflicted find comfort. The mourning find consolation. The lonely find friendship. Sinners find mercy. Kneeling before Christ in the Eucharist, all of us find love. And love is what we are longing for,” he said. “Before Christ in Eucharist – love made visible – each one of us discovers that the enduring, satisfying, life-giving answer to the questions of our lives is Love: love poured out from Jesus, and love poured out from us into the world, as missionaries of Christ’s salvation.
Bishop Conley said he wrote the pastoral letter “because God has been impressing upon me lately how important our lives of prayer are, and especially prayer in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”
He said in a statement: “increasing our devotion to Eucharistic adoration could be transformative in our Church – there is just no telling how much God can do.”
Eucharistic devotion is especially important in a time when technology can distract, he said. “Sitting in silence with the Lord is refreshing, life-changing, and heart-changing.”
“The truth is that sitting in silence with the Lord is necessary for a fruitful Catholic life. I want all Catholics to know that we don’t need to be afraid to spend time in silence with Jesus – that He’s waiting to love us and transform our hearts and lives.”

(Hear Bishop Barron’s comments on the scandal in the USA.. Very clear and insightful.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncMEXr60AeI

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

NEW YORK BORN, ITALIAN SAINT

Newly named VENERABLE, TERESA FARDELLA de BLASI was  born in New York on 24 May 1867 of a noble family (the Counts and Marquis of Torrearsa) from Trapani (Sicily), Italy. In 1869 the family returned to Trapani. When Teresa was 11, her Irish mother died leaving her to be educated in a college directed by her aunt until the age of 16. 


Teresa had a great desire to consecrate her life to God, but her father had already decided on her marriage to Officer Raffaele De Blasi. Teresa accepted the will of her father, trusting in God. Her husband's work commitments brought Teresa from one city to another.  Despite this and never neglecting her family duties, she had a profound love for the Eucharist and love of the poor. 


In 1895, in one of the many transfers of her husband, she arrived in Mantua where she started with the simple "soup of the poor". Assisted by the then Bishop Giuseppe Sarto, (later St.Pope Pius X) , she founds the religious community of the" Poor Daughters of Mary Most Holy Crowned, Perpetual Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ". 

Although she  was  of a noble and wealthy family, she lived as  the poor,  trusting with particular devotion in the help of Divine Providence. The charitable projects she started, were supported by important spiritual fathers as well as by a deep friendship with Bl. Teresa Grillo Michel, also  a foundress. 

In the various stages of spouse, mother, foundress, widow, Teresa  shortly before dying, was able to realize her dream of becoming a nun, consecrating herself as a spouse of Christ. She died in Trapani on August 26, 1957. 


While she is considered an Italian saint, she was born in our own country, so we have a share in her life and holiness.