Our Lady of Fatima – May 13

 Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, 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.


Easter Season Meditation

The secret to obedience is given to us in John’s Gospel, when

Jesus teaches that he is the vine and we are the branches. Our life
depends upon remaining part of him—which we do by being
obedient to his commands and partaking in his Body and Blood
offered in the Eucharist. John in his letter says that we can tell if
we are “abiding” in Christ by our actions: Are they Christ-like?
The power to be like Christ, of course, comes from dying to
ourselves and allowing Christ to live within us. This requires
more than simply listening to or parroting the words of Christ;
this requires a complete abandonment to him.
Every day the official prayer of the Church begins the same
way, by praying Psalm 95: “Come, let us worship the Lord,”
echoes the refrain, inviting us to see our Savior, our Creator, the
God to whom we belong. With the invitation comes a warning:
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
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Livestreamed Catholic Mass

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. 

Excerpt
H A N K O D H E A D        O F I M E
There is an American friar whose cause for sainthood is currently before Rome. His name is Father Solanus Casey; he was a Capuchin Friar who ministered in Detroit, New York, and Huntington, Indiana. He died over forty years ago. I often walk the grounds of the former friary where he served in Huntington and think about his ministry. Born of Irish immigrants, he was sent to German seminaries where the priests taught him in German how to speak Latin. He didn’t fare too well — who would?
Eventually he was ordained but not allowed to preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. In a time when there was more of a caste system in religious life he was given a “brothers’ job” as porter. People sought him out near and far.They found great wisdom in his words, and great miracles of healing were recorded after his prayer and touch. Many were converted.
In many ways, it would seem that he would have had much to be bitter about. He was obviously one of the most gifted friars in the community, but he was treated as one who had little to offer.
Yet he was not bitter, and his advice to people who requested prayer and healing is interesting. He told them to “thank God ahead of time”— as an act of faith.He often also had them enroll in a Mass association as a way of giving thanks to God.
This is a beautiful message for us: to thank God in all things, to be thankful for everything that life brings to us even if to all appearances it doesn’t seem there is anything to be thankful for, and to thank God ahead of time,trusting that in God’s time good will come from it all.
The Eucharist is all about “giving thanks,” and how much you and I can do so at any given moment is dependent upon how deeply we are adoring and worshiping God.Offering God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving will help us to get the most from the Eucharist.

Catholic Books

 

What will it take for us to trust in Jesus’ message? The cross of
Christ can fill people with dread. And yet, it is at the heart of the
good news that Jesus preached. It is diametrically opposed to the
way the fallen human race thinks; enamored with forbidden
fruit, from which it hopes to become “like God.” The world
shuns the tree that bears the only true Source of life and wisdom.

The Power of the Cross  by Michael Dubruiel

Michael dubruiel

Easter Sunday

  

Taking Up Our Cross. . . Be Not Afraid 


There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us. 1 JOHN 4:18–19 

There was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” MATTHEW 28:2–6 

“There are no accidents,” insisted Father Benedict Groeschel as he began to recover from the injuries he suffered in Florida. This strong statement of faith is similar to what Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26)

Not an accident. . . necessary!

Father Groeschel frequently quotes St. Augustine in this regard: “God does not cause evil, but that evil should not become the worst.” So, when a car struck him that January night, Father Benedict’s faith told him that there was a reason for this cross, a reason that ultimately God would reveal in time. This is the power of the cross for the follower of Christ: No matter what happens to us or can happen to us, we are not defeated.

Years ago I worked with someone who told me that her mother had labeled her and her brother as “accidents”—two unwanted, unpleasant surprises. Unwilling to think that a parent would say such a thing, I assumed my colleague’s recollection of her mother’s words was exaggerated. Some years later, I was introduced to her mother. In the course of conversation, the topic of abortion was raised. The woman pointed at her daughter and said, “If abortion had been legalized when I was young, I would never have had any children!” By that time she was an old woman; her daughter, who was divorced, lived with her and was a faithful companion. I pointed out that, had abortion been legalized, she would now be alone. “Wouldn’t that be great!” the mother replied. I left their home feeling very sad for both of them.

Without the gospel message, some people see only accidents in their lives—all of which have prevented them from reaching some dreamed of earthly paradise. They never seem to realize they cannot reach this paradise without help from above.

 Reactions 

Coming to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, the women discovered an angel there, the rock rolled away. It was a shocking and unexpected sight. The guards, who were there to make sure that the disciples did not steal the body of the Lord, were also witnesses to this. They were overcome with fear—to the point of being “like dead men.” One experience, two groups of people, two different reactions. One group looks at the empty tomb and rushes to tell what they have witnessed. The other group is paralyzed by the life event. This wasn’t just something that happened thousands of years ago; it happens every moment of every day. Those who see the cross as the end of their life, meet death there; those who believe and place their trust in God, find in the cross life and victory.

St. Peter Chrysologus (the “golden-worded”) was known for his clear and simple style of preaching. About the angel’s appearance at the tomb, he preached, “Pray that the angel would descend now and roll away all the hardness of our hearts and open up our closed senses and declare to our minds that Christ has risen, for just as the heart in which Christ lives and reigns is heaven, so also in the heart in which Christ remains dead and buried is a grave.” For those who do not believe, life unfolds as a series of accidents. When a follower of Christ sees his life in exactly the same way, Jesus calls that person foolish, slow to believe. Someone like that needs to redirect his attention to the cross.

Gifts 

The procession of the cross that begins and ends each celebration of the Eucharist should help us to redefine our lives whenever we witness it. As the Mass begins we join all of our crosses to the cross of Christ, asking the Lord to have mercy upon us for our inability to see. We listen to the Scriptures to once again learn about all the necessary events of our lives, proclaim the Church’s belief as our own, and give thanks to God as we offer the sacrifice that he has provided for us. We then receive the Living God before the cross leads us back into the world! Having received the life of Christ in us, we are better able to extend that love to others.

 I was reminded of this again a few years ago, when I met another family who also had an unplanned child. In the presence of the child they said what a gift they had been given—like nothing they could have ever dreamed of asking for, an incredible blessing. Their joy mirrored that of God the Father, who could not contain himself in heaven when his Son walked the earth. He opened up the heavens to exclaim, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). That same Son would experience horrible suffering at the hands of cruel men. Assured of the love of the Father, he knew that ultimately the Father would not let him down. When you and I are finally convinced in the same way that God loves us, we will welcome whatever comes our way in this life and see it with a vision that others will marvel at. On that day we will say, “Alleluia. Praised be God!”

The Power of the Cross  by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.
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How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 9

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

About Michael Dubruiel

From chapter 2 – Serve. Part 5

“DO YOU KNOW WHAT I HAVE DONE FOR YOU?”


When Jesus had finished washing the feet of his disciples, he rose and resumed his place at the table and asked them a simple question: “Do you know what I have done for you?”
There are several ways to take this question which Jesus posed to us, his followers; let me suggest two.

What Jesus Has Saved Us From

The first possible meaning relates to what Jesus has done for us by his sacrificial act on the cross:Do we know what Jesus has saved us from?

You may know enough to say,“Jesus has redeemed us from the bondage of original sin,” but unless you know what the lived consequences of this sin are, you cannot fully appreciate what Jesus has saved you from.The Catechism of the Catholic Church spells out the nature and effects of original sin in paragraphs 397–412. Here I briefly summarize this teaching and contrast it with how Jesus has reversed the “curse” of original sin.
First, in the sin:

• Man “let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and,abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command” (CCC 397).
— Jesus trusted in God completely, even to death on the Cross, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
• Man “preferred himself to God,” thereby turning his back on the Creator (CCC 398).
— Jesus, though he was the form of God, did not deem equality with God; rather, Jesus lowered himself, taking the role of a servant (see Philippians 2:6–7).
As a result of original sin:
• People are “afraid of the God of whom they have con-ceived a distorted image” (CCC 399).
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— At the Conception of Jesus, his Mother was told: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). — Jesus told his followers, “I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten by God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:5–7).
• The original “harmony in which they [Adam and Eve] found themselves … is now destroyed” (CCC 400). — Jesus set the example of reversing this disharmony, so that St. Paul would pray, “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).
• “The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered” (CCC 400).
— Jesus’s death and our incorporation into it at baptism restore the right order, as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:12–14).
• “The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination” (CCC 400).
— Jesus said, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4–6).
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— St. Paul instructed the followers of Christ that “the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4) and in an often misquoted passage he told the Christian husband to love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
• “Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man” (CCC 400).
— Jesus commanded nature and nature obeyed, both in healing the sick and calming the storm. He told his disciples, “In my name … they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17–18).
• “Death makes its entrance into human history” (CCC 400). — Jesus raised the dead and was raised from the dead, and promised eternal life to anyone who believed in him, proclaiming himself to be “the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:58).

Knowing what Jesus has done for us will give us a greater appreciation of the Bread of Life that we receive when we approach his altar at every Eucharistic celebration. It is literally a matter of our life or our death!
LIVING THE E UCHARIST
Is your Christian life dominated by the fallen worldview? Do you strive with the help of the Holy Spirit and the nourishment of the Eucharist to live the new life of the kingdom that Jesus offers?

The Epiphany of the Lord, Part 1

People experience darkness in a lot of ways. Some are depressed. Others experience it in ignorance.Darkness and the experience of being blind are two ways that the scriptures often portray the condition of humans without some outside help. Many of us are aware that something isn’t quite right with ourselves. We are not the person that we feel we could or should be. We don’t know how to act in our own best interest or the for the good of others. We often are at the mercy of those who try to manipulate our indecisiveness and lack of vision.To this Isaiah the prophet says, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance”. God has sent light that shines in the darkness, John tells us in his gospel–will we accept that light?

More from Michael Dubruiel

Michael Dubruiel

January 2 – Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

I’ve spent the past month reading a number of books on Orthodox Christianity. Most of the books have dealt with how it is lived today in the Mediteranean but a few have dealt with American examples. Most of the books have sang the glories of Orthodoxy, one written by a Catholic has looked at it in a more playful attitude. I mention this because today’s reading from John’s letter reminds me of an attitude that seems to be very “orthodox” especially of the Mediteranean variety. John says:”Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well”.
This might cause embarrassment if spoken in American circles. We might want to place all types of qualifiers or include a prayer to the four winds or add a feminine element to the passage. But if we really believe that Jesus is God come in the flesh, do we dare deny Him in front of men (and women)? Jesus had a stern warning about those who would deny Him. If we truly believe we won’t do that today.

More from Michael Dubruiel

Michael Dubruiel

Octave of Christmas Meditation

Octave of Christmas

Prayer and fasting are what Anna had been doing for years at the Temple. Now she is rewarded with a visitation of God made man who is at this moment an infant. But because of her life of prayer and fasting she is able to recognize the Christ.
It makes one wonder how often we ourselves have visitations that we miss because we are preoccupied with other things. We can change. Prayer can be done anytime at anyplace–by simply turning our hearts and mind toward God in all circumstances. Prayer necessarily requires fasting, forgoing much of what we think we need and turning instead to what we truly need—God

More from Michael Dubruiel

Here’s an excerpt:

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.

Also, check out this post from 2003, in which Michael Dubruiel narrates the events of one of his “rosary walks.”.

Christmas Eve Meditation

 O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.“Blessed is she who believed that the message made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Here is where most of us fall short. We really don’t believe, silently we distrust. In our actions we loudly show our unbelief.Elizabeth praises Mary for her trust.What do you and I really trust in?
Today ask the Blessed Virgin to give you a stronger faith, one that looks to God expectantly at every waking moment of your day and sleeps at night with the same assurance.
More from Michael Dubruiel:

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. 

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.

Friday Third Week of Advent

 O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: COME, and redeem us with outstretched arms.by Michael Dubruiel

The name of God was so sacred and reverred that it was only spoken by the High Priest and then only once a year. Whenever God was referred to in Scripture His name would not be written but rather “Adonai” the Hebrew word that we translate Lord, in Greek it would be “Kyrios”. In this reverential “O Antiphon” we have a plea for the Lord to come and save us, the mention of Moses who mediated the redemption of the Jewish tribes from slavery and in the midst of battle won the day as long as he could keep his arms outstretched points to the Lord who will come and redeem us with arms

Michael Dubruiel

outstretch from the battle that humanity faces both from evil and death.

Redemption, I wonder how much that enters our mind this final week before we celebrate Christmas? A year ago, shortly after Christmas thousands of people were swept to sea to their deaths by a tsunami. Later in the year thousands have died here in our own country from the effects of deadly hurricanes that struck along the Gulf coast. Not to mention the millions who will not celebrate Christmas this year, whose lives ended from any variety of causes including the unnatural one of sin that infects all of creation, that we call original sin.

The “one thing necessary”–that perfect gift–won’t be lying under the Christmas tree next Sunday. But the name of the day gives you a clue where you and I can find the Divine medicine offered in response to our prayer today–we will find Him with Mary His Mother and St. Joseph (who’s representations stand sentinel in many Catholic Churches on either side of the altar)at Christ’s Mass. Every day can be Christmas–
O Lord, Come!

Michael Dubruiel, 2005.

Tuesday Third Week of Advent

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.“Blessed is she who believed that the message made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Here is where most of us fall short. We really don’t believe, silently we distrust. In our actions we loudly show our unbelief.Elizabeth praises Mary for her trust.What do you and I really trust in?
Today ask the Blessed Virgin to give you a stronger faith, one that looks to God expectantly at every waking moment of your day and sleeps at night with the same assurance.
More from Michael Dubruiel:

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. 

Joseph 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.

Monday Third Week of Advent Reflection

Monday of the Third Week of Advent

In many ways Advent is a season of unanswered questions that we anticipate being answered someday. In today’s Gospel reading Jesus is asked by what authority he acts. He asks his questioners a question that they can’t answer and in the end refuses to answer their question.It is reminiscent of the God questioning Job.We all have questions about why evil exist, why God doesn’t intervene more and on and on the questions go. What do we do with the unanswered ones? 
Our Lord refused to answer those who questioned Him because they were trying to trap Him. Perhaps that is the intent of our questions too?

More from Michael Dubruiel:

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. 

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.

Joseph Dubruiel

“Que soy era Immaculada Conceptiou”

 Originally Published by Michael Dubruiel in 2008


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One hundred and fifty years ago, a young woman asked a lady who appeared to her, who the lady happened to be. She received the answer: ”Que soy era Immaculada Conceptiou,” spoken in the local dialect of the girl (neither French nor Spanish, but Provencales), that translates “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Yesterday I stood with hundreds of pilgrims at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Hanceville, under a beautiful replica of the grotto at Lourdes where Saint Bernadette first heard those words of Our Lady spoken to her, and where these words are engraved under the image of Our Lady at this newly dedicated Shrine.


There is something about these outdoor shrines that calls to mind a great reality, namely that when God wants to reach us, God sends His messengers, whether an angel or the Blessed Virgin Mary to wherever we are at the moment. We encounter God in Church, but we can encounter God outside of the Church as well—for “God is everywhere” as we all learned as youngsters from the Catechism. But there is more, and the shrine in Hanceville by imprinting the words “Que soy era Immaculada Conceptiou,” under the image of Our Lady in the Lourdes grotto, reminds us that when God has a message He wants delivered to us it is delivered in our own language.


Amidst the intermittent rain and sunshine, we pilgrims joined Bishop Robert Baker in prayer as he consecrated the altar at the Shrine. The many young people in attendance reminded me of the young St. Bernadette who was graced with the heavenly visitation of Our Lady. The many young religious present, even further brought home that point to me. The Liturgy of the Word called to mind the manifestation of God to Jacob, and the first instance of a shrine erected by Jacob to commemorated God’s visitation at that spot, the Gospel recalled the annunciation and Mary’s “how can this be?”


Indeed, how can this be? On this day, in forest,  on the banks of the Black Warrior River, I receive the Blessed Sacrament—the Lord Jesus Christ, at this newly dedicated shrine of Our Lady. God comes to us where we are at the present moment, God speaks to us in our language–no matter how simple we are, because God loves us.
I have been to the beautiful Lourdes grotto at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN many times. I believe it is the most beautiful spot on that lovely campus. There is a sense of quiet and prayer that pervades that spot, no matter what is going on a few feet away at the busy University. The heat of candles lit, warms you as you approach—making you mindful of the many prayers that have been left behind for God to answer.
Now, in rural Alabama that same sense of prayer and presence is here—where Our Lady points to her Son and tells us to “Do whatever he tells you.”
***********

October 22 – Pope John Paul II

You can get John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn here.  

In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial.

Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O’Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season.

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