Monday, September 21, 2015


One of the Beatitudes is: “Blessed are the pure of heart, they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8).  As challenging as it might seem, to be a true follower of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we must strive to understand these words of Our Lord and to put them into practice.

USE OF THE EYES: TO GLORIFY GOD!  We were created to know, love, and serve God in this life so as to be happy with Him forever in heaven. (Basic catechetical truth). Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his famous Principle and Foundation, expresses the concept with a slight variation:  “Man is created to praise God, reverence God, serve God and by means of this to save his soul.”  (Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius # 23)   We are called to glorify and praise God in all times, places and circumstances and that includes the proper use of our eyes. Indeed the eyes are the very mirror of the soul.

THE DYNAMIC.  What passes through our eyes, is embedded in the mind. From the mind these images descend to the feelings and the heart; then from the heart an action is carried out. Repeated actions form habits. A good habit is a virtue; a bad habit is a vice.  These habits eventually will chisel out and form a personality.  Ultimately, this will determine our eternal destiny—salvation or condemnation and for all eternity.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon true followers of Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world, the Way, the Truth, and the Life to strive with all our heart, relying on the grace of God to make proper use of our bodies, and especially that of our eyes.

This being the case how can we attain the level of a truly disciplined and proper use of the eyes that God has given to us, that Jesus challenges us with these words: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8). As soldiers of Christ the King and Mary the Queen, let us establish a solid foundation for our spiritual strategy!

1.    CONSTANT VIGILANCE.  Saint Peter warns us that the devil is constantly on the prowl, like a roaring lion, seeking who he can devour. We must resist him.(I Peter 5:8-9) Jesus warns us to stay awake and to pray because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.(Mt. 26:41) Pope Francis, a Jesuit priest, constantly reminds the world to watch over with vigilance their thoughts and their hearts. Remember: many of our thoughts, feelings and heart movements were formed by ideas that came into our mind through the window of our eyes!  Also remember the fall of the great King David started by his eyes and unguarded glance and ended in adultery and the murder of the innocent. ( II Samuel 11: The story of Bathsheba and her husband Uriah).  If the holy King David could slip and fall through the improper use of the eyes, how much more could we?

2.    MARIAN CONSECRATION.  One of the key devotions that is spreading throughout the country is that of going through a process of consecrating oneself and his/her whole being to Jesus through Mary. St. Louis de Montfort, St, Maximilian Kolbe, Fr. Michael Gaitley—are three program of consecrations to Jesus through Mary. By doing so the consecration implies starting off the day by consecration of one’s whole being to Jesus through Mary, starting with the consecration of one’s eyes to Jesus through Mary. May all that the eyes see that day be pleasing to Jesus and Mary.

3.    TWO-EDGED SWORD: USE IT PROPERLY.  We live in an electronic world with the constant bombardment of images. The list of the means by which these images bombard us are almost limitless: t.v., radio, movies, books and magazines, but especially the INTERNET… All of these means can be used properly so as to honor and glorify God. However, they can also easily be abused and as such for the detriment of our immortal soul. Therefore, a constant vigilance over the proper use—especially of the INTERNET—must be applied with respect to the topic of the custody of our eyes—the mirror of our immortal soul!

4.    NUMBER ONE ADDICTION: PORN!  If these means are abused very easily one can fall into the viewing of pornographic materials. Quite quickly a bad habit is formed leading to an addiction; then to a binding slavery. Studies have revealed that this powerful addiction to pornography can be even more difficult to break than drug addiction. For that reason some have even called it the “modern drug”. Better preventive medicine than curative medicine. However, if one has fallen into this poisonous moral swamp, he should never give into despair but trust in God and have immediate recourse to God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession. God is quick to forgive and slow to anger, as the Psalmist gently reminds us!

5.    LOOK TO THE LORD AND BE RADIANT WITH JOY.  One of the Psalms addresses the proper use of the eyes:  “Look to the Lord and be radiant with joy.”(Psalm 34:5)  There are various ways that we can focus our eyes on the Lord and consequently be filled with a radiating joy. Here are three concrete suggestions:

a)    BEAUTIFUL ARTISTIC IMAGES.  Jesus appeared to Saint Faustina last century and among many of His requests was that of having an image of Himself painted to be venerated in her convent and then eventually throughout the whole world. Consequently the image of Divine Mercy was painted and now it is venerated and honored throughout the whole world in sanctuaries, churches, parishes, convents, monasteries, and in “The domestic church”—the homes and families throughout the world. Therefore, with respect to the use of our eyes, to contemplate with great reverence, love, devotion, and confidence the beautiful image of Divine Mercy can help to purify our mind of past bad images and implant this most sublime image in our mind, memory, imagination and the depths of our heart and soul. JESUS I TRUST IN THEE!!!

b)    THE WORD OF GOD. Another most salutary means by which we can purify and elevate our eyes on high is to form the daily habit of reading, pondering, meditating on the Bible, the Word of God. Saint Luke states that Our Lady for her part pondered or meditated upon what had happened to her with respect to Jesus. May Our Lady encourage us to meditate the Word of God in our minds and hearts. To derive fruit from the meditation on the Bible, the Word of God, you can apply three simple steps: read prayerfully, think deeply and apply concretely the Word of God to your life!

c)     THE BLESSED SACRAMENT.  Finally, the treasure of the Catholic Church is the “Real Presence” of the Eucharistic Lord Jesus Saint Pope John Paul II calls the Tabernacle the living heart-beat of the Church! In the Tabernacle, better yet, in the monstrance, the Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in His Body, Blood Soul, and Divinity. Why not make it a habit to spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament on a daily basis and look into the very eyes of Jesus, the very Sacred Heart of Jesus. Maybe you could spend a few minutes? Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one of the greatest Bishops in the country, the first and most powerful radio-evangelist, insisted on spending an hour every day in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He called this his HOUR OF POWER. The great Bishop, at the end of his life, dedicated time and effort in preaching retreats to priests and Bishops. He stated to them point blank that he wanted them to end with one concrete proposal: to make the DAILY HOLY HOUR—in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This would transform their lives; this indeed would be their HOUR OF POWER!!!  By gazing at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, with our eyes, we are filled with purity, light, peace, inspirations, consolations, courage, and strength. And what chlorine is to a swimming pool, the Blessed Sacrament is to our eyes—it cleans, burns away and purifies the eyes of past filth! Why not try this:  “Look to the Lord and be radiant with joy.”

In conclusion, let us make a firm purpose today, right now, to give our whole beings to Jesus through Mary and start with giving them our eyes, the very mirror to our soul. Let us humbly beg Our Lady, who contemplated Jesus with her eyes, mind and heart constantly, for the grace to live out that most challenging Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” Indeed if we contemplate God’s beauty with our eyes in this life then we will contemplate His Face forever in heaven.

Monday, September 14, 2015



Sadness, depression, confusion, disorientation, darkness, anger and often bitterness, and often slavery—all of these words describe the soul living in the state of mortal sin. In fact Jesus says that sin is SLAVERY.(Jn. 8)

FILM: THE MISSION AND IMAGE OF SIN.  In the film The Mission, with the actor Robert Deniro, as penance for murdering his brother, the Jesuit priest gives him as penance to carry with him a cumbersome ball of his possessions.  Wherever this man who committed fratricide went, he had to drag with him on a rope this cumbersome baggage.  After having carried out this penance for days and climbing a mountain with it, rising and falling, the priest agrees that he has done sufficient penance. The priest draws close to the sinner and with a sharp knife cuts and severs the baggage and it cascades down all the way to the bottom of the mountain floor--- freedom!

This slice from the film The Mission displays in one graphic scene a powerful image of what sin is like in our lives, but also the powerful effects in the soul of the sinner who repents and turns back to God through a good sacramental confession.  One of the effects of sin is a binding slavery; it is also like carrying a heavy weight wherever we go.   The weight becomes heavier and heavier, almost to the point of being unsupportable. But then comes the transforming moment—a good sacramental Confession.  By making this well-prepared, honest and sincere confession the bonds are broken and split asunder and freedom is experienced—the freedom of the sons and daughters of God!

YEAR OF MERCY AND CONFESSION.   As we approach the commencement of the Year of Mercy, proclaimed by Pope Francis, which starts on Dec 8th the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and terminates the following year on the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Sacrament of Confession, Reconciliation, Penance, the Sacrament of God’s infinite mercy should be appreciated and received with a limitless trust in His mercy.

Saint Pope John Paul II, Saint Faustina Kowalska, as well as the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas unanimously agree that MERCY is the greatest attribute in the Heart of Jesus the Savior. Mercy is God’s infinite love forgiving the sinner.

There has been abundant catechism on how to prepare for Confession, booklets on the Ten Commandments as well as books written on the Sacrament of Confession.  However, possibly not enough has been said on the many wonderful effects that are produced in the person who makes a good confession. This short article will focus on ten wonderful and uplifting effects that are produced in the soul of the good penitent.

1.    HEALING.   The specific sacramental grace of the Sacrament of Confession is healing.  Jesus is the Divine Physician. Sin wounds the soul! What cancer, leprosy, and disease is to the body, sin is to the soul. Every time we make a good confession, Jesus the Divine Physician, with His gentle, tender and loving Hand touches our soul, pours out His Precious Blood and there is a healing.  During His Public Life Jesus healed the blind, deaf, mutes, paralytics, and even raised the dead.  Still now, through His Mystical Body the Church, Jesus continues to heal His sick members through the priests in the Confessional! It is true Jesus saves us and He heals us!!! Right now Jesus wants to heal your moral wounds.

2.    FREEDOM FROM SLAVERY.  As mentioned above in the scene from the movie The Mission, sin is interior slavery. Confession reverses the slavery and communicates true freedom—the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. To break the bonds of our past bad habits, our powerful addictions, our bad impulses and actions we need a powerful remedy. That remedy is direct contact with the Blood of Jesus, poured forth on Calvary that first Good Friday, but applied to every soul that makes a good confession. Instinctively we appall physical slavery and all that this entails. Should we not have an even greater abhorrence and repugnance for the interior slavery of sin and seek freedom as soon as possible?  Why not try confession?

3.    FROM CONFUSION TO PEACE.  Another negative effect of living in sin is a real lack of peace and living in a state of constant confusion.  Saint Augustine defines peace as “the tranquility of order.” Sin is total disorder (The tower of Babel within).  A good confession results in putting into practice the words of Saint Ignatius as one of the purposes of the Spiritual Exercises—“To order the disordered.”  Therefore if you really want to experience a deep peace in the depths of your soul, then why not try to make the best confession in your life? Your disorder will give way to order!

4.    FREEDOM FROM A CONSCIENCE FILLED WITH GUILT.  Living with guilt is truly hell one earth! Many can go crazy or be driven to suicide due to a guilty conscience. Lady Macbeth was seen constantly washing her hands. This was an unconscious desire to be freed from the guilt of bloodshed and murder. She could not live with a guilty conscience that turned out to be a moral executioner. For that reason Shakespeare truly asserted: “Conscience does make cowards of all of us.”  Could it be that many people have recourse to medicine, to taking pills to try to assuage and suppress the guilt that they are bearing in their consciences??? Why not try confession and experience the purity of an innocent conscience??? With respect to confession never forget: it is free of charge!!!  Also there are no negative side-effects that often come about by taking medicine.

5.    JOY: REJOICE IN THE LORD!  Saint Thomas Aquinas states that all people feel called to happiness or to experience joy.  If we look around us, at work, at school, on the road or freeway, we notice all too often a lusterless, bland, and sad environment. Why is this the case if all are called to live in joy? The reason is this: many are looking for joy in the wrong place. Still, many confuse pleasure with joy. Pleasure can be bought; joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Sin produces sadness in the soul. Only God can give us true joy. For this reason Saint Paul reminds us:  Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.”(Phil. 4:4) Our Lady in her powerful hymn of praise, the Magnificat, echoes the same sentiments: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Lk. 1:46)Catechists have told me over the years that when the child is waiting to make his first confession he/she is filled with fear and anxiety; then after confession, he/she leaves the confessional radiating joy. Do you want to experience constant joy? Why not make it a habit to go to confession frequently!

6.    THE PASCHAL MYSTERY: FROM DEATH TO LIFE.  If we have the misfortune of committing a mortal sin we lose the grace of God and His Friendship. However, we should never give in to despair—that is the worse of sins!  Like the Prodigal Son we should return to the Home of our loving Father and launch ourselves into His loving arms and He will forgive us. Saint Therese of Lisieux stated boldly that even if she committed all the sins in the world she would run and launch herself into the Father’s arms and trust! The Father’s arms are like an elevator to heaven!  The great Saint Augustine, who lived a sinful life into his early thirties, stated that a good confession is a Lazarus experience. If you remember (Saint John chapter 11) Lazarus died and Jesus raised him from the dead and summoned him from the tomb after he was buried for four long days.  By making a good confession we are summoned to leave the tomb of our sins and come back to the life of grace!

7.    CURATIVE AND PREVENTIVE MEDICINE.  Confession is like a medicine that heals the wounds of our soul (as mentioned in the first number). However, Confession can serve as a means to prevent future falls. I remember once that I was coming down with a cold, and then a friend suggested that I take a couple of tablets of Airborne, which I did take. What a blessing: the cold that was about to overtake me for probably ten days to two weeks was halted in its tracks! The same can be said of frequent confession. If we commit a mortal sin, then we should run to the confessional as soon as possible. Nonetheless, frequent confession even of venial sins can serve as a remedy to prevent us from falling into spiritual sickness that we call sin!  We all know from experience, better to prevent a fall and a break than to heal!

8.    CRUSH OUR PRIDE: ACT OF HUMILITY.  As a result of Original Sin we are all infected with the Capital Sin of pride and we often are motivated by pride and self-live. Making a good confession can help us to grow in that virtue that is essential for holiness and so pleasing to God: HUMILITY! In the Diary of Mercy Jesus revealed to Saint Faustina the three essential qualities of a good confession: transparency (total sincerity), humility, and then obedience to the Confessor who represents Christ. It is important that when we confess that we do not confess the sins of our husband, neighbor, or others, nor should we rationalize, justify or gloss over our sins. Rather, humility means we tell it exactly as it is. Remember the T.V. Program in the 60’s/70’s Dragnet, where Joe Friday says: “Just the facts mam, just the facts mam.”   This can be applied to a humble confession: “Just the sins mam (your sins), just the sins mam.” (your sins).

9.    GROWTH IN SELF-KNOWLEDGE.  Another huge blessing that flows from well-prepared and well-confessed confession is the increase in self-knowledge. The Greek philosopher Socrates stated: “The life that is not examined is not worth living.”  A noteworthy historian interjects: “He who does not know history is condemned to repeat the same errors.” Ignatian spirituality insists constantly on the importance of self-knowledge, knowing oneself, the movement of the spirits in one’s life. Saint Ignatius asserted that one should never leave off ever the daily examen prayer, which is directed at self-knowledge and the awareness of God’s constant presence in our lives. For that reason the desert Fathers had a short but extremely important axiom: KNOW-THYSELF!!! For that reason a person that examines his conscience well, confesses well, consults the priest-confessor sincerely will definitely grow in self-knowledge. By knowing oneself well—virtues as well as sins—he can avoid falling into many future sins and avoid future tragedies!

10. FERVENT AND EFFICACIOUS HOLY COMMUNIONS.  Another exceedingly important effect of a good confession is a more efficacious and fervent Holy Communion. These two Sacraments that we should receive frequently are intimately interconnected! A simple analogy could be useful! Try to imagine your front pane-glass window.  You have failed to clean it for more than a year. Consequently, the window has become smeared and sullied by smog, dirt, and simply the polluted environment. So the day has come that you have decided to do house-cleaning and on the list is to clean that front window. You go to the store and buy some Windex—a powerful and efficacious window spray! There you are spraying the window and then with a dry newspaper you rub and rub… What do you notice? The window is as clear as you can see and the sunlight is pouring through the window in its totality! Before the window was half opaque; now it is totally transparent and all of the light of the sun can penetrate and inundate the house!  The same can be said with our soul which is like a window pane. Sin sullies, besmirches and dirties the soul. With Confession, the dirty soul is cleansed with the Precious Blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. The soul becomes pure, clean and transparent. Then when the soul receives Jesus in Holy Communion, Jesus who is truly the Light of the world, like an atomic bomb explodes and radiates light. The true Light of His Presence inundates the whole room of the soul. For that reason Jesus said that He is the Light of the world; then He said:  “You are the light of the world.”  Then the end result of the frequent and worthy reception of these two sacraments is holiness. We are able to obey and to put into practice Jesus’ command: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.”(Mt 5:48)

CONCLUSION: Saint Pope John Paul II made this comment with respect to Our Lady and the Sacrament of Confession. He said that the Marian Sanctuaries—Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, etc.—are spiritual clinics.  In other words we go to Marian Sanctuaries to meet Jesus the Bread of Life in Mass and Holy Communion, but also we meet Jesus who is the healer of our heart, mind and soul. Let us turn to Our Lady whom we invoke as “Mother of Mercy” and “Health of the sick” to help us to live out to the max the year of mercy by having frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession, the true expression of the loving and merciful Heart of Jesus!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

St. Louis de Montfort

Every year on Sept 8th the Church celebrates with great joy the birthday of the Mother of Jesus, the Son of the living God Our Savior. If you count, it is exactly nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  It stands to reason!  Mary was conceived in the womb of St. Anne December 8th; therefore, nine months later we celebrate Our Lady’s birthday.

BIRTHDAYS.   In all times, places, and cultures birthdays are celebrations of immense joy—the day that due to God, the author of all life, brings a great gift, another human person into the human family.   The birthday of Mary has greater significance.  God chose Mary to be the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and our Mother in the order of grace.  Therefore, should  we not rejoice in Our Lady’s birthday and manifest this joy by generously giving Mary not only one gift, but five, or even more if you feel so inspired! Indeed in giving to Our Lady we will always receive much more in return. God cannot be outdone in generosity; the same can be said about our Lady. She looks kindly and lovingly with her maternal gaze and smile on those who love her!

1.    A CLEAN HEART.   The privilege of the Immaculate Conception calls to mind the sinless character of Our Lady.   She was conceived without Original Sin; she lived an impeccable existence and she desires that those who love her distance themselves from the poison of sin.  Why not make a good confession around the time of the Birthday of Mary. Offer the “Immaculate one” a pure and clean heart.  Saint Pope John Paul II observed that Marian Sanctuaries are spiritual clinics because they are havens or refuges where sinners can purify their souls of sins by making a good sacramental confession!  “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

2.    “Maria cogita, Maria invoca”!  One of the key elements of the charism and spirituality of Venerable Father Pio Bruno Lanteri, the Founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, is a tender and loving devotion to Our Lady.  The above Marian expression, in Latin, means simply this:  “To think about Mary and to invoke Mary.”  As a little child walking with his mother will think about his mother and call out to her, so should we God’s children and children of Mary think about her often and often have Our Lady’s name in our mind and on our lips and in our hearts!

3.    IMITATE MARY IN HER VIRTUES.  The great writer on Mary and author of True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, highlights the ten most important virtues that Mary practiced. Let us strive to practice all of these virtues. However of all of the virtues that Our Lady practiced the greatest of all of these virtues was that of CHARITY.  Another name for charity is supernatural love. There are two dimensions to true and authentic supernatural love: to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength; then to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our Lady is model of this double dimension of love.  Look up at the cross and you can contemplate graphically this double dimension of love.  The vertical bar symbolizes the love we should have for God which should always be first and foremost.  Then the horizontal bar, which extends outward in two directions, symbolizes that intense love that we should have for our neighbor.  The greatest love we can possibly have for our neighbor is the ardent prayer, desire, good will and effort for the eternal salvation of his immortal soul.  This Our Lady desired constantly and even now in heaven:  God’s glory and the salvation of immortal souls!

St. Alphonsus Liguori
4.    READ GOOD BOOKS ON OUR LADY.  There are many spiritual masterpieces written on Our Lady who Saint Louis de Montfort calls: “God’s masterpiece of creation”.  We would like to mention just one in this short essay: The Glories of Mary. Beyond the shadow of a doubt this Marian masterpiece, written by the great Marian Doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus Marie Liguori, will set your hearts on fire with love for Jesus and Mary His Mother.   This classic is a detailed explanation of the prayer Hail Holy Queen.  The saintly author takes hundreds of years of tradition as well as copious Biblical references to magnify the sublime person of Mary who indeed is the Queen of the angels, the Queen of the saints, the Queen of martyrs, the Queen of confessors, and the Queen of Virgins. St. Alphonsus also gives a short story after every explanation and then invites us to enter into prayer to honor Our Lady. It would be almost impossible for anybody to read prayerfully this spiritual gem and not have his heart ignited with love for Jesus and Mary. Try it!!!

Mary's slingshot-- the Holy Rosary!
5.    THE ROSARY: MARY’S SLINGHSHOT!!!  It would be far from complete if it were not strongly recommended to pray the prayer that Our Lady loves most—the most Holy Rosary! At Fatima Our Lady appeared six times to the little Shepherd children, Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia. In every one of the apparitions Our Lady insisted on the praying of the most holy Rosary. Saint Pope John Paul II in his writing on the Rosary,  The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary, also reiterated the primary importance in praying the Rosary and for two specific intentions: world peace and for the salvation of the family.   Times are tough. Families are in jeopardy. The world is in tension and possibly heading toward war.  David the Shepherd boy had to confront an overpowering warrior, huge, vicious, well-armed and with much experience—Goliath the Philistine!  David had nothing more than a small slingshot and a few small stones. For all intents and purposes David was a goner!  But not for God because nothing is impossible for God. With one aim and shot, the giant came crashing to the ground and David killed Goliath with his own sword!  As a birthday gift to Mary, why not decide right now to pray the prayer that she loves so much—the most Holy Rosary! This gift will fill Our Lady’s heart with joy and you will triumph over your enemies!  

Monday, August 31, 2015



The great mystical writer Meister Eckhart stated: “If the only prayer that we ever said were that of THANKSGIVING then it would be enough.”   Jesus was dismayed and saddened at the reaction of nine of the ten lepers who did not return to Him to render Him thanks for having cured them instantaneously of their terrible, ugly, and incurable disease—that of leprosy! (Lk.17:11-19)

Given that ingratitude is so prevalent in the modern society and so displeasing to God, “the giver or all good gifts”, we would like to offer a few encouraging notes on how we can enhance an “attitude of gratitude” in our lives.     Saint Ignatius of Loyola asserted:  “The essence of sin is that of ingratitude.”  William Shakespeare hit the mark commenting:  “More painful than a serpent’s tooth is that of an ungrateful child.”

We will focus on one gift from God to all of humanity. It is the greatest of all God’s gifts—Himself given under the appearances of bread and wine in the most Holy Eucharist.   Actually the word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.”  Let us pour out our humble and grateful hearts to the Lord of all good gifts especially for the Eucharist--- the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  This great Gift He gave to us the night before He died, at the Last Supper in the Upper Room surrounded by His first priests and Bishops—the Apostles!

1.    PRIESTHOOD.  Let us constantly give thanks to Jesus for prolonging His own priesthood in the ordained priests. Only they can confect and transform the bread and wine into His Body and Blood.   Thank God for the priests you know and pray for them, but also pray that God will send more priests to work for the salvation of souls.  “The Harvest is rich but the laborers are few.”

2.    HOLY MASS.  Praise and thank the Lord for the reality of daily Mass throughout the world.  As an ordained priest, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the very center, heart, core, essence of my being as priest but also as a Christian Catholic.  Those who do not have the habit of daily Mass might make this proposal to go to daily Mass, when it is possible according to your schedule.  If done, you will never regret it but be eternally grateful for the graces that will fill your mind, heart, and soul.

3.    TABERNACLE.  Thank God for the presence of the Tabernacle.  This is the little home, the castle, the abode of the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings. It is His little House.   Do not leave Him alone all day. Visit Jesus in His little Home.  The word “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread”. Make it a habit to visit Jesus in His little Home. Maybe this short poem can be of motivation that you visit Jesus in the Tabernacle and give Him thanks:  “Whenever I see a church I stop to make a visit so that when I die the lord will not say: Who is it!”

4.    MONSTRANCE. Even more clearly present is the Eucharistic Lord when he is exposed in the Eucharistic monstrance.   The word “Monstrance” with a Latin derivation actually means “Showing”. Jesus is being manifested, shown publically, so that we can come to adore Him and thank Him for all the many gifts that he has bestowed on us and will continual to pour into our lives!

5.    CONSECRATION.  Thank God especially in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the moment of consecration. That is the key moment when heaven comes down to earth. When the priest repeats the words that Jesus said at the Last Supper over the bread and wine: “Take and eat this is my Body; take and drink this is my Blood…” then you are witnessing the greatest miracle in the world: Jesus truly comes down from heaven to be with us.  Emmanuel—meaning God with us is truly with us again!  How thankful we should be for this gift of gifts!

6.    HOLY COMMUNION.  God’s goodness has no limits! The greatest gesture we can accomplish while living on earth is to receive Holy Communion into our hearts, into the depths of our souls.  A more deep, intimate, profound union cannot exist on the planet then the soul that receive Holy Communion worthily.  You soul becomes a living tabernacle, a living sanctuary.   “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.”

7.    MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST.   Furthermore be thankful that you are not alone, but in family. The Church is the family of God, the People of God, and also expressed as the Mystical Body of Christ.  Christ is the Head of the Body and all of us are His members. Rejoice and thank God that we have our brothers and sisters united in the Lord through the Eucharistic celebration and reception!

8.    EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS.  In imitation of Jesus and His friends the saints we should all have a special love and express a special care and tenderness towards the elderly, the sick, the suffering, the handicapped—these are the loved ones and favorites of the Lord. Let us thank God for the generous and selfless work of Eucharistic ministers who in charity visit homes, nursing homes, hospitals, extended care centers to bring the Eucharistic Lord to them to alleviate their pain and loneliness. Jesus reminds us: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me.”

9.    BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES AND ART WORK.  The great and saintly Cure of Ars, Saint John Vianney lived a life of extreme poverty and mortification. He has been chosen by the Popes as model as well as patron for parish priests. He ate very little, slept very little (and even that on the floor); he scourged himself to the shedding of blood and spent close to 15 hours daily in the confessional—in heat and cold—for more than thirty five years! However, he made trips and concerted efforts to adorn his church and embellish it in the most beautiful way imaginable. Why?  For the Lord He wanted to give the best! Let us thank the Lord for the beauty of Churches throughout the 2000 years of its history. Let us do all we can to help to magnify the beauty of our own churches. Remember that the Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s abides in our churches.

10.OUR LADY AND THE EUCHARIST. Let us render homage, praise and thanks to the Lord God for having chosen Our Lady to be the living tabernacle of Jesus within her womb during a course of nine months.  When Our Lady went in hurry to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country she was actually a living tabernacle, a Corpus Christi, a Eucharistic procession. It all started with Our Lady’s “yes” to God. Therefore, let us beg our Lady for an attitude of gratitude, especially for her Son Jesus present in the Church, present in the Tabernacle, present in the consecration, and especially present in our hearts after we have receive Holy Communion.  “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; eternal is His mercy.”


Monday, August 24, 2015

ZACCHAEUS…(Lk. 19:1-10)

The following is a schematic commentary, point by point on the wonderful conversion of Zacchaeus.  Read the Biblical passage and then use the commentary to help to fill in the gaps!

1.    Jerusalem. Jesus is heading towards Jerusalem where He will undergo His passion, suffering and death for our salvation. Principle and Foundation—know where we came from and where we are heading…

2.    JESUS- SAVIOR.  The primary purpose of the coming of Jesus was and is to save the world from sin and bring them to heaven.

3.    PUBLIC MINISTRY—Jesus carried out three basic activities: teaching/preaching, exorcisms, and miracles. Jesus preached whenever He could in all times and places where there was an occasion.

4.    OPEN HEARTS.  Jesus then as well as now is looking for open hearts. He stands at the door and knocks.


1.    JERICHO—A very rich city, one of the riches of Palestine for its Palm forests and fruit and exchange. For this reason the Romans/ Tax-collectors highly taxed those who entered and left Jericho.   Good Samaritan told in the context of Jericho.

2.    ZACH.  Had reached the top of his profession and according to some commentators was hated by many. Remember that St. Matthew was also a tax-collector.

3.    He was wealthy but he was not happy.  Truly money cannot buy us true happiness on earth.  His money could buy him pleasure and things but not true joy.  He as despised rejected, and hated by men, this brought him to seek for God.  Apparently he had heard of Jesus who had no prejudices. Jesus loved all especially sinners and tax-collectors; so Zach. Would try to meet Jesus. He had nothing to lose.

4.    DIFFICULTY IN SEEING JESUS FOR VARIOUS REASONS.  First of all, he was small of stature. Next he was despised by many.  If he got close to Jesus in the crowd then they would have taken the opportunity to pinch him, or nudge him, or elbow him, or kick him or knock him down—as a sign of revenge. In a word he would be bruised black and blue.

5.    CREATIVITY/INGENUITY.  He would climb a tree so that he could at least see what Jesus looked like. Imagine him shimmying up the tree, maybe slipping at first. Maybe he got a blister or two. Hanging from the limb might have been dangerous. Of course the people seeing him would make fun of him calling him crazy! He did not care. It was worth seeing Jesus!

6.    CONVERSION: CHANGE OF HEART BY HIS ACTIONS.  His failure was with money and taking advantage of people and most likely levying taxes that were too high, as was the custom of the Tax-collectors.  Look what he does and he confesses publically.  He would give half of his money to the poor! That is already extreme. But still more, if he defrauded anybody, he would repay four times as much.  This went way beyond the Levitical requirements!

7.    REPARATION.  A very important aspect of spirituality the call to repair or reparation. In justice when we do something wrong we should try to repair the damage. The following are examples:

a)    Confession—the priest gives us a penance. Often it is very small and maybe we should add to it.

b)    STEAL—you/ child should try to restore what was stolen. (Laura S. and the stolen cookie story)

c)      STORE—Give too much should return.

d)    Slander—Restore the person’s name you ruined.  Neri and chicken story. Unpluck the feathers and cast them to the wind and then gather them. Much easier to do then to restore the reputation destroyed!

e)    Husband hurt wife, should try to make up for it.

f)      Broken window by baseball, pay for the window before getting the ball back.

g)    Miss Mass on Sunday with family—go to a week-day Mass.

h)     Harsh word that hurts—try to repair by a kind word.

i)      BREAK IT—Buy a new one.

j)      Borrow book—restore it!


9.    VICTIM SOULS—those who willingly suffer for these reasons:  to console the wounded heart of Jesus—Fr. Mike Gaitley’s book, to repair for past sins, for the conversion of sinners. Examples: Padre Pio, Faustina, and the children of Fatima.

10. JESUS REJOICES!!! At the conversion of this sinner. He made an effort to see Jesus, climbed the tree and showed true signs of repentance by a desire to repair the damage.

11.HIS HOME.  Wanted to go to his home. Once again, Jesus wants to go to our home, our heart in Holy Communion!

12. COMMUNION OF REPARATION—one of the best ways to repair for sin is Mass and Holy Communion of Reparation.