The Kerygma, as given to St. Catherine of Siena by the LORD

From the dialogue On Divine Providence by Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor

The eternal Father, indescribably kind and tender, turned his eye to this soul and spoke to her thus:

‘O dearest daughter, I have determined to show my mercy and loving kindness to the world, and I choose to provide for mankind all that is good. But man, ignorant, turns into a death-giving thing what I gave in order to give him life. Not only ignorant, but cruel: cruel to himself. But still I go on providing. For this reason I want you to know: whatever I give to man, I do it out of my great providence.

‘So it was that when, by my providence, I created man, I looked into myself and fell in love with the beauty of the creature I had made – for it had pleased me, in my providence, to create man in my own image and likeness.

‘Moreover, I gave man memory, to be able to remember the good things I had done for him and to be able to share in my own power, the power of the eternal Father.

‘Moreover, I gave man intellect, so that, seeing the wisdom of my Son, he could recognise and understand my own will; for I am the giver of all graces and I give them with a burning fatherly love.

‘Moreover, I gave man the desire to love, sharing in the tenderness of the Holy Spirit, so that he might love the things that his intellect had understood and seen.

‘But my kind providence did all this solely that man might be able to understand me and enjoy me, rejoicing in my vision for all eternity. And as I have told you elsewhere, the disobedience of your first parent Adam closed heaven to you – and from that disobedience came all evil through the whole world.

‘To relieve man of the death that his own disobedience had brought, I tenderly and providently gave you my only-begotten Son to heal you and bring satisfaction for your needs. I gave him the task of being supremely obedient, to free the human race of the poison that your first parent’s disobedience had spread throughout the world. Falling in love, as it were, with his task, and truly obedient, he hurried to a shameful death on the most holy Cross. By his most holy death he gave you life: not human life this time, but with the strength of his divinity.’

Novena to Blessed Solanus Casey-Day 4

Day 7 — Blessed Maria Teresa Kowalska, Capuchin Poor Clare martyred by Nazis in Polish (see comment) a concentration camp in German-occupied Poland, 1941: we are invited to open wide the doors of our hearts to welcome in and appreciate brothers/sisters of different races, religions, cultures.

“For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor 4:11).

“By death He conquered death, and to those in the tombs He granted life!”  This is the Paschal troparion sung on Easter morning in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church.  The compelling truth that Jesus has conquered death is the joy in the hearts of all Christians.  It is the one thing that always conquers the evil one — the Love that is willing to experience suffering, and even death, for the sake of another.

St. James the Greater was the brother of John the apostle and son of Zebedee.  He was the first apostle to be martyred in AD 44. He was buried in Jerusalem, but in the 9th Century his remains were brought to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  The Cathedral that holds his remains is the conclusion of the pilgrimage called The Way of St. James, or el Camino de Santiago.

We are the pilgrim Church that travels the path of everyday life and the joys and sorrows that come with it.  Most of us are not called to be martyrs in the way of the Apostles, but we embrace the crosses of daily sufferings, moment by moment, and offer them to Jesus.  Blessed Solanus wrote of five ways to do this everyday:

1. Detachment of oneself from earthly affections, Singleness of purpose.

2. Meditation on the passion of Jesus Christ.

3. Uniformity with the Divine Will.

4. Mental prayer – meditation and contemplation

5. Prayer – “Ask and it will be given to you.” (Mt 7:7)

Today let us pray for the grace of suffering well and embracing whatever trials we encounter on the way of life, thus sharing in the joy of Resurrection that Jesus offers us in every moment.

Prayer for the Canonization of Father Solanus Casey

O God, I adore You.  I give myself to You.

May I be the person You want me to be,

and may Your will be done in my life today.

I thank You for the gifts You gave Father Solanus.

If it is Your will, bless us with the Canonization of

Father Solanus so that others may imitate

and carry on his love for all the poor and suffering of our world.

As he joyfully accepted Your divine plans,

I ask You, according to Your will,

to hear my prayer for…(your intention)

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

“Blessed be God in all His designs.”

Thoughts on the Resurrection and Eternity. There is only one thing that matters.

This may be the last post I write.  I write this for my children, especially, but also for anyone else who might be seeking.  Since it is about the “One Thing” there may be nothing else worth writing!  In this time of uncertainty and fear, getting the “One Thing” right becomes even more important.

The guy to the right is Curly.  He is a character in the hilarious 1980’s movie, City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal as Mitch.  Here is how the “One Thing” dialogue goes (this is the last time I put those two words in quotes!):

Curly: None of you get it. Do you know what the secret of life is?

Mitch: No, what?

Curly: [holds up one finger] This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: That’s great, but, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what you gotta figure out.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, was the day that we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, which is a celebration of the destruction of sin and death. Right? Doesn’t that sound incredible?! Some people might say, “For Christians, of course.  For us it is a day to be with our family.” Some may have other reasons to celebrate: springtime, new life, hope.

They have not yet found the one thing, but they are getting closer.  Those who celebrate these things on Easter Sunday are seeking things on earth that reflect the One Thing, and that is very good.  But it is not enough.

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What is it within us that drives us to be with others, to seek the joy of unity with other human persons?  Why is social distancing so difficult? Could it be merely an instinct to be social, to mix with our kin and our friends and have fun? Is it just an instinct, like a dog’s desire for attention?

This instinct is indeed satisfied through our social interactions, yet it is much more than my sweet puppy’s desire for attention.  Humans desire more; we seek something beyond us that satisfies a longing that is deep within our hearts.  We think in terms of eternity, and ultimately the only thing that will satisfy us has to be eternal.

It doesn’t matter what religion you are, or whether you even consider yourself “religious.”  The truth is that we all follow something. We all strive for something beyond ourselves.

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The One Thing has been revealed to us.  The One, Eternal Word, has been spoken.  

“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

“Follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Our desire for communion that is within us can attach itself to only One Thing.  All truth, goodness, and beauty culminates in this One Thing, this One Word: Jesus.  Until we find Him we will always be seeking, always restless.

Think of the largest, tallest mountain.  We are all trying to climb it.  There are multiple paths to the pinnacle: around and around, zig-zag, straight up.  Along the way we find many signs that point us to the top.  There may even be signs that keep us where we are for a time. Throughout the journey we find refreshment and nourishment to get us there, if we look carefully.  We may fall and start again.  The important thing is to keep going, to keep climbing.

Yes, indeed, yesterday and today we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection is so important that Catholics celebrate it for 50 days.  Just to be clear, I use the term Catholics as a universal term.  This feast is celebrated pro multis, for all.  It is celebrated as such because it is, indeed, the One Thing!  It is Eternal Life in God, Who created us and loves us!

To be resurrected means to live eternally.  This is something that all humans understand and seek.  It is a constant, if you will, of the universe.  It is a universal law that humanity longs to live forever.  Eternity is at the essence of everything we strive for.  It is the pinnacle, the summit.

This pinnacle is a Person.  He has come down to be one of us in order to bring us back up with Him, in a union of Love with the Father, in the Holy Spirit.  The Resurrected King is Resurrecting me.  And you.

That is the One Thing.