Disclaimer

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


Sunday, July 31, 2011

A great article about Sacred Relics...

I found the interesting article below on the internet about a ministry conducted by a priest named, Fr. Carlos Martins.  Fr. Martins is from Texas and he promotes devotion to the Saints and their Holy Relics through a ministry called, 'Treasures of the Church'.  In the article he and others speak about God's healing power worked through the intercession of Holy Relics, and other positive fruits that have resulted through the work of Fr. Martins' ministry.  It's a wonderful confirmation of the validity of the Church's devotion to the Saints and their hallowed remains.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pilgrim Statue & Holy Relic Visitation, 7/13/2011: Cobb-Adams Residence



This evening, I, along with the Holy Relic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was invited to participate in a monthly prayer meeting and a dinner at the home of a fellow Kailua parishioner.  In addition to bringing the clothing relic of Our Lady, I also brought along my smaller Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue. 

The lady of the house - Monica Cobb-Adams - is a highly devout woman who I had originally met at one of my speaking presentations at St. Anthony Church, and we have since become friends.  As one can see from the above photo, she also has a wonderful collection of religious statuary in her home, which included a 3-foot-tall statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a very impressive 5-foot-tall statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

What was wonderful to experience in this home, was the close-knit bond that exists within this Catholic family.  Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and children - all from the same family - came together, generously, with friends, to pray and fellowship in the Lord.  I was deeply touched by their faith and the spiritual presence of the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother while we prayed the rosary.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony's Church, 7/2/2011


  
My large Rosa Mystica statue and the Blessed Mother's sacred relics make their monthly
visit to St. Anthony of Padua Church (Kailua) for the First Saturday Rosary

Today, the first Saturday of July, also happened to be the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary... so it was especially appropriate that we honored the Blessed Mother with a 'bouquet' of spiritual roses, via our monthly parish rosary. A small group of parishioners participated in this month's Rosary Prayer, which we offered up for various prayer intentions that included increased vocations in our Diocese, and greater devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

  
St. Anthony Parishioners praying the rosary on Our Lady's Feast Day... one of the women thoughtfully gifted the Blessed Virgin with a small bouquet of fragrant pikake flowers

I'd also like to send out a special, heartfelt 'MAHALO' to a young friend of mine named, 'Jessie'...  she's been regularly participating in the First Saturday Rosary since it began in Octobor 2010, but she'll be relocating with her family to the US mainland in a few days. Her bright smile and youthful enthusiasm for the rosary was refreshing and always a joy to see. I wish Jessie and her family the Lord's blessings and Our Lady's protection in all their future endeavors - Jessie and her mother will be missed.

  
My friend, Jessie, holding a small Guadalupe statue that I gave her as a farewell gift...
in return, she surprised me with a gift of her own - a picture of Mary that she drew

For our Kailua neighbors out there (or anyone else who's interested)... the next First Saturday Rosary will be on 8/6/2011 at 4:30pm. The regularly scheduled Vigil Mass will follow at 5:00pm in the main church.  We'd love to have you join us!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Today, July 1st, is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Most of us who grew up Catholic are familiar with this devotion and with its accompanying image of the Lord with his exposed heart, encircled by thorns and sending forth flames. As a child, I often saw these images in churches and in the homes of my relatives, but I must confess that I never truly appreciated them until I got older and educated myself about the history of the Sacred Heart devotion. It was only then that I began to understand the rich symbolism depicted in these familiar images, which give us visual references of God’s immense love for us, as represented by the image of a heart wounded by sin and indifference, but on fire with love.

The History
So what is the 'Sacred Heart' of Jesus? Well… the heart, undoubtedly, is the universal symbol of LOVE; it’s been that way for ages. Theologically, the Bible abounds with scriptural references about the immeasurable love of God for all humanity… but there are no solid references specifically pointing out the image of the wounded heart of Christ as a symbolic representation of Divine Love. It wasn’t until 1637 that this connection was firmly established after the Lord made a powerful revelation of it to a humble French nun named, Margaret Mary Alacoque, now a Canonized Saint in the Church.

St. Margaret Mary will forever be immortalized as the great Apostle of the Sacred Heart for having been the favored recipient of these revelations. As a member of the Visitation Order in Paray-le-Monial, France, we know from existing reports that the Lord appeared to her in a series of visions beginning on December 27, 1673, by which he successively revealed the sublime devotion to his heart of flesh, and his desire to have it honored as a visual reminder of his immense love for all mankind.

 
The Message
On June 16, 1675, St. Margaret Mary reported seeing Christ with his heart resplendent with fire, standing in glory upon the altar of the chapel; the message Jesus spoke to her on that day became the foundation of the Sacred Heart devotion that we now treasure today:

"Behold, this heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this sacrament of love. And what is most painful to me is that they are hearts consecrated to me… It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament be appropriated to a special feast, to honor my heart by communicating on that day, and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that my heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered."

Of her experiences with Jesus, St. Margaret Mary wrote:

"And he [Christ] showed me that it was his great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made him form the design of manifesting his heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification, and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render him and procure him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which his heart is the source."

With the encouragement and support of the monastery's confessor - St. Claude de la Colombiere - St. Margaret Mary was able to fulfill her mission from the Lord in establishing devotion to the Sacred Heart. It was first started within the Visitation monastery of Paray-le-Monial, among the nuns, then slowly spread outside its walls and throughout the entire Church.  The devotion finally gained official approbation by Papal Decree in 1856.
 
   
 A close likeness of St. Margaret Mary, a window in the Honolulu Cathedral depicting the Sacred Heart apparition, & a relic of St. Margaret Mary in my personal custody
 
The 12 Promises
During the course of his visits to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus reportedly made the following promises in favor of those who practice the devotion to his Divine Heart and promote its cause:

1.   I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2.   I will give peace in their families.
3.   I will console them in all their troubles.
4.   I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
5.   I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
6.   Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7.   Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8.   Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
9.   I will bless those places wherein the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
10.  I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11.  Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
12.  In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is now deeply rooted in traditional Catholic culture… and through the fire of love that radiates from this Divine Heart, many Saints have been inspired to continue the spiritual mission begun by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Among the long list of holy persons who were devoted to the Sacred Heart, we have St. Annibale di Francia, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, St. Gaetano Errico, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Giulia Salzano, St. John Eudes, St. Madeleine-Sophie Barat, Bl. Maria Droste Zu Vischering, Bl. Marie Deluil-Martiny, St. Teresa Margaret Redi, and St. Padre Pio, just to name a few… and as the inexhaustible love of God continues to flow from the Sacred Heart, we should rejoice in the knowledge that many more Saints will arise in the future to bless our Catholic Faith.
 
"Jesus has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
pierced by our sins and for our salvation, is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol
of that love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father
and all human beings without exception."
 
~ Words of Pope Pius XII
 

Saint of the Month: July, 2011


St. Teresa of the Andes
Lily of the Andes - Feast: July 13th

This young South American Saint was born on July 13th, 1900, as Juana Fernandez Solar (a.k.a. 'Juanita') in Santiago, Chile. Her family was both affluent and influential and they filled her childhood years with the obligatory social grooming expected of her social status, including leisure activities such as horseback riding and music lessons. Those who knew her recounted that Juanita was a very pretty girl with a personality that was vivacious and carefree; she laughed readily and her peers truly enjoyed her company. Despite the fact that she appeared to be headed in a worldy direction, deep within her soul the seeds of Faith planted by her pious mother slowly began to take root and grow.

Unknown to her family and friends, Juanita was actually a budding mystic who, as early as 11-years-old, was experiencing 'locutions' (inner mystical communication) with both the Blessed Virgin and her Divine Son. In her naivety, she thought these intimate conversations with Heaven were normal for all people so she never paid any significance to them, or considered herself special in any way. When Our Lady spoke to her, she encouraged Juanita to always be faithful and good... and when she later confided with her spiritual director about her experiences, Juanita simply said of the Lord, "He told me things that would happen, and they did happen"; these mystical communications apparently continued until shortly before she died.

Setting aside the remarkable aspects of her spiritual life, Juanita was a fairly normal teenager. Her spiritual diary and written correspondences are filled with accounts of her aspirations, her doubts, her heroic efforts to practice piety, as well as her childhood crushes on certain boys whom she knew. She even considered marriage at one point, but her attraction to religious life combined with the influence of St. Therese (the Little Flower) eventually solidified her decision to enter the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Los Andes, Chile. So in 1919, at age 19, Juanita became a novice there and was given the name of 'Sr. Teresa of Jesus'.

In Carmel, nothing external set Sr. Teresa apart from her companions although she was noted for her deep affection for the Holy Virgin who she strove to immitate in faith and virtue. The love she had for Christ also grew like a consuming flame within her... and with the permission of her superiors and spiritual director, she was inspired to make a private offering of herself as a victim-soul for priests and sinners. She had an inner conviction that her offering was accepted by the Lord... and that her death was near. The young nun soon contracted typhus and quickly fell into a desperate state. Sr. Teresa’s superiors, aware of her terminal condition, allowed her to make her final vows from her deathbed before she died on April 12, 1920.

  
Pilgrims praying at the tomb of St. Teresa, enshrined within
her Sanctuary in Los Andes, Chile

It wasn’t long after her passing that a spontaneous devotion arose around the memory of Sr. Teresa of Jesus. Rather than falling into obscurity, the message of her life attracted many devotees to the Carmel of Los Andes. Her holy life and miracles were carefully investigated by the Church before her Canonization was realized on March 21, 1993. St. Teresa of the Andes has the distinct honor of being the first Chilean to ever be proclaimed a Saint by the Catholic Church.

Reflection:
"God is thirsting for the love of his creatures. The same God is our beggar. Let us give ourselves to him."  ~ Words of St. Teresa of the Andes

Short Prayer:
Dear Lord, inspire us to love you in the manner that you deserve and desire from us.  Amen.