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Sanctification in Daily Work
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Our Divine Mercy Celebration

Yesterday at the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in Pensacola, FL we held a ceremony that consisted of Exposition/Adoration, confession, a meditation, both recited and sung chaplets and Benediction. We had four priests available for confession throughout the time and it seemed like we had a lot of people attending.

This was a city wide celebration for all who wanted to, to attend. After confession Cindy and I just spent some quiet time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar.

I was told by one of the priests that we can always use the word mercy in place of love because they have such a close meaning. It made for a nice meditation about how God’s love is so great and how infinite His mercy is.

So, peace be to you during this Easter season.

Happy Gators Say Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone. It’s a great day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

This year the Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament is happening at the same time. Hopefully my Gators will win but even if they don’t it’s still a lot of fun to support them.

It’s also fun to support the Catholic Gators Alumni Association. Our mission is:

To become partners with the Catholic Student Center in forming Catholic leaders who live their faith fully and invite others into a closer relationship with Christ.

The Association is affiliated with St. Augustine church in Gainesville, FL, part of the Diocese of St. Augustine. I found this video on the parish website showing the Bishop Felipe J. Estévez making his first visit to the church. We’re hoping to be there ourselves this year to root on our Gators.

He Has Truly Risen

Happy Easter. Our Lord is risen and we have so much to be thankful for today. One of the first things I think of on Easter is what a priest said on a retreat I attended years ago, that Easter and the risen Lord is the greatest event in the history of the world. Nothing can compare to it. Think about it and you’ll understand why.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, delivered his urbi et orbi in Rome yesterday. You can find the full text here. However, here are a couple of excerpts.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world!

“Surrexit Christus, spes mea” – “Christ, my hope, has risen” (Easter Sequence).

May the jubilant voice of the Church reach all of you with the words which the ancient hymn puts on the lips of Mary Magdalene, the first to encounter the risen Jesus on Easter morning. She ran to the other disciples and breathlessly announced: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18). We too, who have journeyed through the desert of Lent and the sorrowful days of the Passion, today raise the cry of victory: “He has risen! He has truly risen!”

Pope Benedict also had a message for those in strife torn countries like Syria.

May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights. Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community. May the many refugees from that country who are in need of humanitarian assistance find the acceptance and solidarity capable of relieving their dreadful sufferings. May the paschal victory encourage the Iraqi people to spare no effort in pursuing the path of stability and development. In the Holy Land, may Israelis and Palestinians courageously take up anew the peace process.

We can only hope and pray that peace comes to that region as well as others in Africa and even right here in the United States where we’re seeing a real persecution of the Christian faith.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to you.

I know this isn’t an Easter Mass photo but I thought I’d share it with you anyway. This is from Holy Thursday Mass at our Cathedral with Bishop Gaydos doing the washing of the feet. I’ll be attending Mass there later this morning with the family.

The priest who is Master of Cermonies attending him is Fr. Ben Nwosu. Fr. Ben will be visiting our home later this week for supper. I look forward to getting to know him better.

Happy Easter

Images like this one are too often the main focus of people today when it comes to Easter. Coloring Easter eggs and eating chocolate bunnies are nice ways to celebrate but they sure aren’t all we should contemplate today.

On one of my annual retreats which seem to often happen during Lent the priest called Easter “the greatest event to ever happen in the world.” Jesus rising from the dead. I’ve never forgotten that.

We see lots of media outlets come up with their lists of the top events of the year, decade or century. However, nothing can compare to what happened on this day so long ago. Nothing ever will. It’s impossible.

So today, when we enjoy our candy and big meals (those who can) let’s also take time to meditate on what God has done for us. He sent His Son as our savior to redeem us from our sins since we can’t do it by ourselves. Of course we often think we can control our lives and destiny but that’s just human arrogance. We should try to live our lives as Jesus taught us and look to His mercy when we fall down or stray from the path to holiness. That’s the gift He offered and we can choose to accept.

I don’t know about you but I look forward to the time I can join Him in Heaven and I pray every day that I will be able to. I can’t imagine anything that could ever happen in the world that could top what Jesus did for us on this day since it allows us to accomplish this goal.

Rejoice in the Risen Lord!

Happy Easter! May you all encounter our living and true God and experience His infinite mercy and love.

He is Risen
image: “He is Risen” by Greg Olsen

The Resurrection = Event of Love

Pope BenedictZenit has the Vatican’s translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s message for Easter (h/t Pope Benedict XVI Blog):

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum. Alleluia! I have risen, I am still with you. Alleluia! Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus, crucified and risen, repeats this joyful proclamation to us today: the Easter proclamation. Let us welcome it with deep wonder and gratitude!

Read More

Also, along with the Knights of Columbus website that dad linked to yesterday, be sure to check out Benedict in America, a blog with information about our Holy Father’s visit next month.

Happy Anniversary, Jen!

Catholic blogger Jen at Et Tu? came into the Church at the 2007 Easter Vigil. She has a wonderful one year anniversary reflection centered on the Eucharist:

When I received my first Communion at Easter Vigil last year I had come to accept that the teaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is true. Or, perhaps more accurately, I was willing to accept on faith that it was not false. I was undoubtedly being led to the Catholic Church, and found its defense of this teaching to be solid and compelling, so I trusted that it was true in some mysterious way, even though I didn’t really get it. That was the best I could do, and I never expected to understand it any more than that. Even as the months have rolled by, after receiving Communion week after week, I still don’t know how it works. I don’t even have a visceral reaction when I first see the consecrated host held above the altar, and don’t think I ever felt the Holy Spirit hit me like a ton of bricks the moment the consecrated host was placed on my tongue. And yet, despite the lack of immediate emotions, despite the fact that I can’t tell you exactly how it all works…I believe now with all my heart that it is true. I know that I eat the flesh and drink the blood of God at the Mass, and that it is the source of my strength. Read more.

Jen has been a real gift to me. Her blog reminds me of this quote from St. Josemaria:

Conversion is a matter of a moment. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime. (The Way 285)

Conversion is nothing without the work of sanctification – a life spent in cooperation with God’s graces, confident in His mercy and divine providence. Jen lets us all in on her own personal journey along the path to holiness, including sharing her spiritual struggles that anyone striving to live out holiness in their daily lives can relate to.

Happy anniversary Jen, and welcome home to all of you who have come into the Church this Easter season!

Venerating The Cross

Veneration of the CrossThe second part of the Easter Triduum consists of the Veneration of the Cross. My camera phone didn’t take a very good picture of this at the service we attended at St. Andrews in Holts Summit, MO last night.

I think Chelsea has written a good post on the Cross, something that so many in our society won’t even take the time to think about. We have a lot of crosses and don’t usually see them as ways to grow closer to Christ. I know I have this problem.

Venerating the Cross helped me to consider how upset I get at all the little things that go wrong instead of thanking God for the opportunity to shoulder my little tiny part.

Here it is Holy Saturday, a day that can best be described as a day of waiting with expectation. At least that’s how I’ve always felt. It’s a day for rest and contemplation, for an especially good examination of our conscience.