NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church and our Holy Father. This "little work" is purely a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Saturday, December 3, 2016

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 12/3/2016

The line to our parish's confessional was exceptionally long again this First Saturday. So long, in fact, a few people left when they realized how long the wait would be. Normally, confessions are heard at St. Anthony of Padua Church between 4:00 and 4:30pm every Saturday... but from what I saw today, the confessions lasted until 5:00pm, just when our Rosary Prayer was wrapping up.  Awesome.

Not sure if the influx in penitents was due to the Advent Season, but I'd also like to think the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully in Kailua and converting more hearts for Jesus.  And speaking of spiritual conversion, the Blessed I featured this month at the rosary meeting was a great example of a lost soul who was converted by the patient love of God and found the fulfillment he was longing for - Bl. Charles de Foucauld (a.k.a. "Little Bro. Charles of Jesus" - you can read about him here).

Bl. Charles of Jesus
But besides highlighting Bl. Charles' conversion experience to our prayer participants, I more so wanted to emphasize what he did with himself after he finally returned to the Lord's embrace - he committed himself to serving others in a loving and charitable manner that would inspire others to want to know Christ, too.  This Blessed never preached a word to the people he ministered to, but rather, his actions did all the preaching for him.  This was the beautiful lesson that I was led by the Holy Spirit to pass on; a reminder for each of us that our faith needs to keep progressing after our initial conversion, not just remain at a dead standstill; that all of us are capable of becoming a "Brother or Sister so-and-so of Jesus" within our homes; our neighborhoods; the world.  If Bl. Charles - a former playboy - could do it, it means we can too.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be prayed next month on January 7th, 2017, beginning at 4:25pm. As always, the door to the Day Chapel (and the confessional) will be open to all who are interested in participating. Until then, a Merry Blessed Christmas to all... and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Saint of the Month - December, 2016: Blessed Charles de Foucald

Blessed Charles de Foucauld
A Universal Brother ~ Memorial: December 1st

Looking at photographs of this holy man, I can sense the immense depth of his faith just by looking at his eyes.  Photos of several other modern Saints and Blesseds have that same "look" in their eyes, too.  It's like they know something... or more like they found something - something so awesome and valuable that it made them completely happy and contented.  Faith tells us what that "something" is - it's God... and Bl. Charles de Foucauld was full of God.

Born on September 15, 1858, in Strasbourg, France.  Sadly, at the tender age of 6, he was orphaned along with his sister and both children were sent to live with their grandparents who were well-to-do. Soon after moving in with them the grandmother died of a heart attack, leaving the grandfather to raise the children alone.  Perhaps due to the trauma of the tragedies he endured from an early age, Charles lost his faith at age 15 and professed agnosticism.

After his schooling was completed Charles joined the French army during which his grandfather passed away, leaving him with a large inheritance.  The carefree soldier was sent to Algeria, in northern Africa, where he reportedly spent his inheritance living a hedonistic lifestyle; enjoying fine food and drink, and the company of several mistresses, which lead to his discharge from the military.  Charles then took to exploring neighboring Morocco in the early 1880s before returning to France. 

Influenced by the deep faith of Jews and Muslims he encountered in his travels, Charles began to question his own agnostic views and the careless manner in which he lived.  Through the counsel and prayers of a devout female cousin and a priest close to his family, he eventually regained his belief in God and was reconciled with the Catholic Church in 1886.  Charles' conversion was so profound he wrote of the experience in the following manner: "The moment I realized that God existed, I knew I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone." He spent the rest of his years making good on those words.

Charles, the young soldier
First off, Charles joined the Trappists in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to the congregation's foundation in Syria.  In 1897, he left the monastery and ended up in Jerusalem where he worked as a handyman and sacristan for a Poor Clare convent.  The Mother Superior there, sensing something special in Charles, advised him to become a priest so he traveled to Rome to enter seminary.  He was ordained in 1901 at the age of 43.

After his ordination, Charles returned to Algeria to pursue a life of austerity in the arid deserts and with high hopes of founding a new religious congregation.  However, his ideas and strict ascetic manner of living failed to attract followers so the would-be hermit, instead, focused on practicing a radical form of charity and love for neighbor.  He settled in Tamanrasset among the Tuareg people, a fierce but poor tribe of nomadic Muslims, who were at first wary of him.  Charles once wrote: 

  "Let us concern ourselves with those who lack everything... those to whom no one gives a thought.  Let us be the friends of those who have no friends, their brother.  The love of God, the love of men, that is my whole life, that will be my whole life, I hope."

Bro. Charles' austere hermitage 
Brother Charles of Jesus, as he came to be known, so impressed the Tuaregs with his evident goodness and sincerity, that he lived among them in harmony and mutual respect.  He made no effort to preach and covert his Muslim brethren, but rather he preferred to simply "shout the Gospel with his life" and live as a "universal brother" to all.  Of course, he also did a lot of praying, which he offered before the Blessed Sacrament - our Eucharistic Lord - that he was permitted to conserve in his primitive hermitage. He ministered and served his adopted people in this manner for the next 15 years, until his untimely death. 

  "Sacred Heart of Jesus, thank you for this, the first tabernacle in the lands of the Tuareg!  May it be the first of many, and proclaim salvation to many souls!  Radiate out from this tabernacle on all those round about, people who surround you yet do not know you." ~ Words of Bro. Charles of Jesus

In 1916, anti-French sentiments erupted in Algeria in the wake of World War I.  On the evening of December 1st of that year, Bro. Charles' hermitage was raided by marauders from a neighboring tribe who intended to take him as a hostage for ransom.  According to a witness to the event, the frail priest was dragged from his cell and physically assaulted, but in the face of the violence directed at him, he remained at peace.  His attackers also attempted to force him to betray Christ but he calmly refused.  Finally, when Bro. Charles shouted a warning of the looming danger to approaching passerbys, he was shot dead by his panicked guard; a mere boy with a gun.  Thus, the final action performed by the holy hermit was a heroic deed motivated by charity.  He was only 58.

Little Brother Charles of Jesus, a man who radiated
love for God and love for neighbor.

Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Bro. Charles of Jesus a Blessed Martyr on November, 13, 2005. As further confirmation of the fruitfulness of his sanctity, this humble brother who failed in his effort to found a congregation in his lifetime, has been recognized as the posthumous founder of at least 5 modern congregations that were inspired into being by his faith-example and writings.  As Jesus once said: "By their fruits we will know them."

Prayer of Abandonment
(composed by Bl. Charles de Foucauld)

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord. 
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Monthly Messages from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje: November 2016

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us...

Our Lady's Monthly Message to the World on November 25th:
   "Dear children! Also today, I am calling you to return to prayer. In this time of grace, God has permitted me to lead you towards holiness and a simple life - that in little things you discover God the Creator; that you fall in love with Him; and that your life be a thanksgiving to the Most High for everything He is giving you. Little children, in love, may your life be a gift for others and God will bless you; but you, witness without interest - out of love for God.  I am with you and intercede before my Son for all of you.  Thank you for having responded to my call."

Our Lady's Special Message to Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on November 2nd:
   "Dear children, to come to you and to make myself known to you is a great joy for my motherly heart. It is a gift from my Son for you and for others who are coming. As a mother I am calling you: love my Son above everything. In order to love Him with all your heart, you need to come to know Him. You will come to know Him through prayer. Pray with the heart and with your feelings. To pray means to think of His love and sacrifice. To pray means to love, to give, to suffer and to offer. I am calling you, my children, to be apostles of prayer and love. My children, it is a time of vigilance. In this vigil I am calling you to prayer, love and trust. As my Son will be looking in your hearts, my motherly heart desires for Him to see unconditional trust and love in them. The united love of my apostles will live, will conquer and will expose evil. My children, I was a chalice of the God-man; I was God’s instrument. That is why I am calling you, my apostles, to be a chalice of the true and pure love of my Son. I am calling you to be an instrument through which all those who have not come to know the love of God—who have never loved—may comprehend, accept and be saved.  Thank you, my children."