St. Anthony of Padua – June 13

Today is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua (America’s most popular saint by a recent poll). From the Office of Readings a quote from a sermon of St. Anthony’s:

The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. Gregory says: “A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches”. It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.

-Michael Dubruiel

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73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God 3a

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Here is a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.

This is part one of step 3

The Third Step of the 73 by Michael Dubruiel

3. Then, not to kill…

I still remember vividly an incident that happened when I was a child and my family was on vacation in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. On a particular day we had just arrived at the summit of the mountain where the “Old Man of the Mountains,” a natural rock formation is located (it is on the New Hampshire quarter). We were sitting on some rocks and nearby was a long haired bearded guy—a hippie.

There were plenty of hippies in New England in the 1960’s, so there was nothing novel about that, but the action of this one was very memorable. He kept brushing away flies that were surrounding him. The more they continued to land on him, the more he would gently urge them to find another place to alight. His gentle tone and the words he spoke to the pests made it clear that he did not want to harm them.

My mother bent down to say that she had figured out that he felt that it was wrong to kill even a fly. Later I would read about people of various Eastern religions that shared this belief, “that all life was sacred,” which of course is what we believe too–but we usually make endless distinctions.

St. Benedict’s counsel is simple. He does not elaborate about who or what we are not to kill. He keeps it simple and allows us the simple injunction to simple “not kill.”

How to draw closer to God – Part 2c

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Here is the second  posting of a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.

2c. Love one’s neighbor as one’s self (cf Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27).

I remember a man who had undergone a conversion experience telling me in front of his family that he had never been that bad of a guy even before his conversion.

His daughters disagreed, as they in unison cried out, “yes your were dad, you were horrible!”

He then went on to explain how before his conversion he had “acted” in a way that he thought he had to, to be accepted; since his conversion he was truly himself.

I can think of no finer testimony of what life immersed in God’s love is like. We no longer “act” but we are who we are. It’s as simple as that.

Loving others can be difficult but doing so teaches us a lot about ourselves and who we truly worship as God.

How to draw closer to God – Part 2b

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Here is the second  posting of a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.

2b. Love one’s neighbor as one’s self (cf Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27).

What of the most despicable people on the earth, how can we love them? What about those who ________ and __________(fill in the blanks with your favorite unforgivable sins)?

The answer is simple, we love them in the same way as we would if they were are own child.

I remember when the serial murderer Theodore Bundy was being executed in the State of Florida that his mother was interviewed. She was asked the question, “Do you still love your son?”

She answered, “Yes, I don’t like what he has done, but I still love him.”

I think it is easy to understand why she would. No matter what anyone of us do in our lifetime there is a part of us that is deeply lovable. No matter how hateful we are or what terrible things we do for whatever God known reason, there is a part of us that God has created and that is good, call it the “true self.”

The true self might be likened to that part of us that is the plan of God for each of us. It is that true self that we love in our neighbors and ourselves, because it is most truly who we are.

How to draw closer to God – Part 2a

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Here is the second  posting of a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.

2a. Love one’s neighbor as one’s self (cf Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27).

It is ironic but the way we treat our neighbor in many ways reveals what we think about ourselves. Whenever I run into a parent berating the child I always find myself equally feeling as sorry for the parent as the child. Negative views of oneself often lead to a negative view of others. This maxim follows the first that we love God above all things. It is from that maxim that a true sense of ourselves flows.

If I believe that God has a mission for me, then it is only a short distance of thought to believe that he has a mission for everyone else on the planet.

Daily we encounter opportunities to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The other day a woman carrying a bag of groceries bumped into me rushing to her car. She apologized and I immediately had the uncharitable thought of what in the hell is your hurry? But then I started to list the reasons for why she might have been in a hurry in my mind. Perhaps she was late for an important appointment or there was someone in dire need of something that she had just purchased at the store. In other words I strove to think of why I might be in a hurry and to afford her the same privilege.

Love our neighbor as ourselves ultimately means wishing them success. Success in their mission in life means success for us all. In the same way that loving God is foundational to the Spiritual life, so too is the love of neighbor. They all are pieces that fit into the same puzzle.

What of the most despicable people on the earth, how can we love them? What about those who ________ and __________(fill in the blanks with your favorite unforgivable sins)?

The answer is simple, we love them in the same way as we would if they were are own child.

I remember when the serial murderer Theodore Bundy was being executed in the State of Florida that his mother was interviewed. She was asked the question, “Do you still love your son?”

She answered, “Yes, I don’t like what he has done, but I still love him.”

I think it is easy to understand why she would. No matter what anyone of us do in our lifetime there is a part of us that is deeply lovable. No matter how hateful we are or what terrible things we do for whatever God known reason, there is a part of us that God has created and that is good, call it the “true self.”

The true self might be likened to that part of us that is the plan of God for each of us. It is that true self that we love in our neighbors and ourselves, because it is most truly who we are.

I remember a man who had undergone a conversion experience telling me in front of his family that he had never been that bad of a guy even before his conversion.

His daughters disagreed, as they in unison cried out, “yes your were dad, you were horrible!”

He then went on to explain how before his conversion he had “acted” in a way that he thought he had to, to be accepted; since his conversion he was truly himself.

I can think of no finer testimony of what life immersed in God’s love is like. We no longer “act” but we are who we are. It’s as simple as that.

Loving others can be difficult but doing so teaches us a lot about ourselves and who we truly worship as God.

How to be close to God – Part 1A

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 Here is the first posting of a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.

This is part two of step one:

(1) In the first place to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole strength…

…..

The attitude we have toward God is all-important if we are to love God with our whole being. We must believe that God loves us first and want what is best for us. It is hard to do anything but love God with our whole being if we believe that God loves us. In an older translation of the New American Bible the words of Jesus are applicable here, “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.” The words of the supplicant must be our words also, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief.”

It may seem obvious that the first step that anyone would make toward perfect communion with God is to place God at the very center, but how many times we look everywhere else for the way? If we wish to have communion with God we must enter into God’s presence and offer our entire being to God.

Most of us have given the allegiance of part of our being to God but not the whole. I can say that intellectually I have always believed in God and placed my soul in varying degrees to the love of God, but my heart well that is another story. There have been countless times that what my heart has desired has been anything but God. I have thought that this or that would make me truly happy and I have gone down many paths ignoring God in the process.

If I believe that God has created me and knows me best and what is in my ultimate interest, I will seek God above all things.

I still remember the first time I encountered the simple engraving over the entrance of the Monastery of Our Lady of Gethsemane in Kentucky. I stood there for some time looking at the simple words etched in stone that seemed bigger than life, “GOD ALONE.” There was something shocking about the simplicity of the statement, but at the same time a truth that touched me deeply.

In the end when our life is failing nothing else will matter. If we can acknowledge that at this point why not see the wisdom of putting God first in everything today? The message of Benedict’s first step is to put God first in all things and to do so lovingly.

Feast of Corpus Christi Michael Dubruiel

 Eucharist means…”thanksgiving”


Michael Dubruiel 
wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

Michael Dubruiel
How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:
  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond” Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.
Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

Do Miracles Happen Today?

 There are those who believe that we live in an age when miracles

have ceased, but I know better. Miracles abound—we just
don’t always recognize them. Those cured of physical blindness
perceive the world to be made of light; the same is true of those
cured of spiritual blindness. What seemed dark and hopeless
suddenly becomes a path to glory. The psalmist reflects this spiritual
vision when he prays in perhaps the best-known psalm,
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil; for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4).
Today there are eye surgeries that allow people to see clearly
without corrective lenses. We need the “surgery of the cross” to
restore our vision, allowing us to see the world as God sees it. The
person filled with the Light perceives light, even in apparent
total darkness. As we read in the Gospel of Matthew: “The eye
is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body
will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body
will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how
great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22–23).
Lord Jesus, touch our eyes that we might see!

How to Go to Confession by Michael Dubruiel

For a brief, pointed and helpful guide,

This pocket guide is meant to serve as an aid to such a varied group as those who: Confess regularly
Are becoming Catholic
Are making their First Confession
Have been away from this sacrament for some time
Are waiting for a sign that God can forgive whatever horrible sin has been committed
You will find:
 Answers to basic questions about Confession
Helps to preparing to make a good Confession by examining your conscience and praying before you celebrate the sacrament
A walk through the sacrament
How to use the experience of the Apostle Peter as a model for your own ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ.

Michael Dubruiel

You can listen to an interview program with Michael Dubruiel about his book, The Power of the Cross. The interview is with Kris McGregor of KVSS radio. This is the third episode.

Michael Dubruiel
Episode 3 – The Cross of Christ unites… – Michael Dubruiel discusses:
Day 8 – The Temporal and Eternal
Day 9 – Those Divided by Sin
Day 10 – In Humility
Day 11 – In Sin
Day 12 – Those Who Suffer For Justice
Day 13 – Us in the Work We Have to Do
Day 14 – God’s Mercy and Love

Novena to the Sacred Heart

 

The Novena to the Sacred Heart continues
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his Apostles to stay where they were and to “wait for the gift” that the Father had promised: the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles did as the Lord commanded them. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14). Nine days passed; then, they received the gift of the Holy spirit, as had been promised. May we stay together with the church, awaiting in faith with Our Blessed Mother, as we trust entirely in God, who loves us more than we can ever know. 

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June: Month of the Sacred Heart

 

The promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary:
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.
-Michael Dubruiel

May 31- Feast of the Visitation

 May is Mary’s month, a month we pay special attention to the rosary. The Visitation is on of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Check out this small hardbound book by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn,  Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.

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The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.


Sunday, May 30: Most Holy Trinity

 Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Today’s first reading from the Catholic Mass, from the Book of Exodus.

Early in the morning Moses went up Mount Sinai
as the LORD had commanded him,
taking along the two stone tablets.
Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there
and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
“The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord,
do come along in our company.
This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins,
and receive us as your own.

Spiritual Reflection by Michael Dubruiel, part 2

  By Michael Dubruiel, 2007

She raises her “works” issue with Jesus against the contemplative (listening to what Jesus is saying) Mary and she is essentially rebuked for it–with no apologies. So what are we to take from this?

That when it comes right down to it there is only one thing necessary. We clutter our lives with all kinds of activities that we think our necessary, but in fact as Jesus points out to Martha there is only one think necessary–to listen to God. Now What do you think Martha did when she heard this? Better, what do you do when you hear it?

Evidently when most of us hear it, we think it unjust and immediately go into defending Martha rather than imitating Mary and listening to Jesus–the “one thing necessary.” In other words we reject the good news–the invitation to the kingdom and go back to our own little kingdoms where we rule and will our own lives. But such a rejection does not lead to eternal life.

It is ironic that this message of “listening to Jesus” above everything else is so soundly rejected in modern preaching. If I were to presume to guess what Martha’s reaction to Jesus’ word was–I would presume that she sat down and imitated Mary at that moment, because she knew the Lord loved her and if he was telling her this was what was really necessary, then she had better pay attention.

Hopefully that is what you and I will do also

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