Friday, March 29, 2013

The Crucifixion

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” (Jn 19:26) 3:34)

Then Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (Lk 23:46)

You commended Your spirit to the Father and died on the cross after You had taken the cup given to You by the Father, because You were ready to accept it.

My Jesus, thank You for having done all this for us. Do teach us to love and to forgive. Strengthen all those who, for the lack of their own love, cannot forgive and destroy each other in hatred. Help us all to accept the Father’s will as You did, because it is the only way to salvation. We pray to You also for the dying; give them strength to commend their spirit to the Father in peace. Take them into Your peace, O Lord Jesus. 1

“Dear children! Today, in a special way, I invite you to take the cross in the hands and to meditate on the wounds of Jesus. Ask of Jesus to heal your wounds, which you, dear children, during your life sustained because of your sins or the sins of your parents. Only in this way, dear children, you will understand that the world is in need of healing of faith in God the Creator. By Jesus' passion and death on the cross, you will understand that only through prayer you, too, can become true apostles of faith; when, in simplicity and prayer, you live faith which is a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call. ” BVM Monthly Message, March 25, 1997

1Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M., Pray With the Heart

The Carrying of the Cross

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery

"And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself …" (Luke 9:23)

This post was shared by my mother
a true woman of virtue.

Oh Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God,I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bear Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen 1

1 Thomas D. Beven , Bishop of Springfield

We all carry many crosses. When I was five years old my father died. He was only thirty three years old. It was during World War II and my mother remarried. He was a Marine who had fought bravely in five major battles. The war had left him wounded inside and he was never able to talk about it.

When my mother was dating him he was nice to my brothers and I, but when they got married things changed. Where our home had been a home full of music and joy, it was now dark and lonely place.

My one brother David could not cope with this and at the age of eleven years started running away. He was deeply gifted. He could play almost any instrument and had a lovely voice. To support himself he started playing at bars at an early age. He also started drinking and this became his way of life. He joined the service for about three years and married, had two girls, got a mental discharge from the service and started running again.

He ended up in later years as a sick alcoholic living in a rented room with no friends. He was always telling me he would like to join the Catholic Church but I was afraid with his drinking, to bring a priest by.

Late one night my husband and I got a call from the hospital that my brother had had a massive heart attack and was in a coma and had only hours to live. We prayed for him and were led to bring holy water with us. When we got to the hospital and entered his room he was still in a coma, but we prayed for him and baptized him. He died two hours later.

He had left me a note in his possessions that he wanted to be buried at National Cemetery in Riverside and to read the Prodigal Son at his service. There were only four of us who went to his burial. When we arrived we where met by at least twelve fully uniformed military men. They led us like in a parade to his grave sight. They then proceeded to have a twenty one gun salute, folding of the flag and a full service. When they left I read the Prodigal Son in full tears of joy as I know my brother had carried his cross in his own way and Our Loving Father had showed His merciful love and taken him home.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Crown of Thorns

The Third Sorrowful Mystery

So Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him and said, "It is as you say."
Luke 23:3

"And the soldiers led him away into the court of the palace, and they called together the whole band: And they clothe him with purple, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon him."

Mark 16:16,17

She was very guarded with her emotions when I met her at the clinic. If I had to guess her age, I would say she was either eighteen or nineteen years old. She had just broken up with her boyfriend of three months and she had been exceptionally nauseous for a while.
  She had come for a pregnancy test, and while we waited for the nurse to come in, we began to talk.
Being a pro-life clinic, we talked to her about her options for parenting and adoption, but it was easy to see her mind was closed to this. As the client advocate I was working with spoke to her further, I began to pray, begging our Blessed Mother to intercede on this baby’s behalf. Surprisingly, I began to tell her about a crisis pregnancy that I had had when I was only 16, a story I have told few people. I told her that even though it was a very difficult time for me at the beginning; it turned out to be such a wonderful blessing because that beautiful son of mine is now a father of two himself, and they are all joys of my heart. I also told her about my son in law, a big loveable guy, who had recently joined our family. He had been adopted and now, not only did my daughter get to experience the joy and love that his life offers, but my entire family and I get to share the joy of his life too!
The staff nurse came in and greeted the young woman warmly, and she began to talk to her about her pregnancy, her family, and her thoughts on keeping her baby. After the young girl’s responses, the nurse answered all her questions in detail. Things did not look promising; but, she did agree to an ultra sound.

As she reclined on the table, the nurse began the procedure. The image on the screen was very clear and the precious little heart was beating away. The nurse asked her if she would like to take a look and with wide eyed curiosity she said, “Yes". As she looked at her child’s image on the screen she smiled and when she left, she took the picture with her, along with some prenatal vitamins.
A few weeks passed and one afternoon while on my volunteer shift, the staff nurse asked me to give her a follow-up call, just to see how this young girl was doing. My anxiety level must have shot up 150%. I was scared to call, I don’t think I wanted to hear the worst.
But when I called her cell and she answered, I told her who I was and why I had called, her voice sounded happy and joyous. She said she had been thinking about us all and was planning on coming in to see us.

The opportunity never gave way for us to meet again, though she was always in my prayers. My prayer for her was for courage.

My Jesus, they crowned You with the crown of thorns after the scourging. They wrapped You in a scarlet military cloak and made a fool of You-those who were near You. For, Your friends were far away!

When hatred starts forging evil plans, then it is not likely to stop. It was not enough for them to have scourged You so murderously and now they go on mocking You and crowning You with the crown of thorns. But this time, to hatred and evil were surprised before You. You remained calm in all Your suffering. They saw in Your behavior that You understood even those who treated You like that. And even more: that You loved them and that You did not condemn them. But their wickedness had no limits. That is what happens when evil has affected a man or woman, a family, a community. Then it never stops destroying. Jesus, look upon all the offended and the humiliated, the scorned and the rejected. Redeem them with Your crown of thorns and under the grindstone of torturers and oppressors. Cleanse their heart of every hatred. Do not let them plan revenge and return evil with evil. Jesus, in Your name, let forgiveness spread. 1

1 Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M, Pray With the Heart

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Scourging at The Pillar

The Second Sorrowful Mystery.

Posted by dad.

They bound you to a post in Pilate's court and scrounged you mercilessly. Following each strike, wounds remained. Your blood flowed; you were loosing your strength and were in pain. You offered all this for us in order to free us from evil and sin.

How does one identify with this kind of suffering? Even if you tried you would come up miserly short. When I was asked to reflect on this decade of the rosary I found myself despairing because it brought to mind the greatest sorrow in my own life, the loss of my 3 year old son who was struck down by a station wagon in front of our home. The driver came around the corner of our street with a load of 2x4’s hanging out his rear window. My son and a young neighborhood boy were out front at the time. The neighbor boy took my son by the hand to take him across the street to play. The driver was watching the shifting lumber that was not tied down in his car and he did not see the boys crossing the street. At that instant our lives were forever dramatically changed. I could not forget or forgive that person.

For years I wished that moment would be taken away; my anger grew and this affected the rest of my family. The only thing that kept me going was to know my son was in a better place with his heavenly Father and that some day I would be with him in heaven.

Christ is always close to the broken hearted and in his infinite mercy he sent my father his own mother, Mary. Mary, who stood under the cross of her own Son with a heart full of anguish, who's faith was great even in her suffering, held dad close to here maternal heart and embraced his sorrow so that his heart would not grow cold.

Thank you Lord for giving us your son Jesus so that we may all be united together in

Lord, I offer my prayers for those who, in their hearts, carry the wounds they receive in their lives. Jesus, break those wounds that may cause them to fall into new evils, scourging themselves and others. Jesus, break the chains of evil and sin so that your peace, love and forgiveness may come to dwell in every heart. I offer my prayers to you for parents who have scourged their children with drunken behavior, faithlessness, drugs, gambling, fights and divorces. Please free families from these evils. Grant that all of their wounds be healed so that we may experience peace, joy and both spiritual and physical health. Amen. 1

1 Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Agony in The Garden

The Agony in the Garden left panel from the Altarpiece of St. Zeno of Verona 1456
They went to a place called Gethsemane…And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. (Mk 14:32, 33)

Posted by my dad; a man that walks with God.

My daughter has asked me to share my thoughts with you during this time of lent on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. I chose to share “The Agony in the Garden.”

I have been struggling with cancer for many years now. And the story I want to share with you began about six years ago after I had my third major operation for colon cancer.

These operations were taking place as frequently as every six months even though I had undergone an incredibly painful chemotherapy treatment following my first surgery.

It was after the third surgery, with my family gathered by my side to hear the news, that my doctors told me that they wanted to attack the cancer more aggressively by surgically implanting a stint inside of me so that I could take larger doses of chemo on a daily basis. I told the doctors that I did not want to subject myself to anymore of this torturous treatment and that my wife and I had purchased tickets to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. We were scheduled to leave in six months and we were going with a Carmelite order of priests. My oncologist informed me that I would be dead in six months if I did not submit to the treatment. I asked how much time I would have if I submitted to the treatments; he said I could probably add up to two years.

Six months later I found myself in the Garden of Gethsemane, possibly under the same olive trees that our Lord Jesus Christ knelt to ask his father to take this cup from him. We know that this was the cup of forgiveness of  our sins and most importantly our salvation. Yet we know he said “Not my will be done but yours be done”.

As I knelt under these olive trees, I asked our Lord to take this cup (cancer) from me and if not, then please accept my pain and suffering in atonement for my sins and the suffering of others that may be so afflicted.

Some of these olive trees have lived well over 2000 years; and as I looked over the Valley of Kidron I could see the walls of Jerusalem where Jesus traveled to his agonizing torture and death on the cross for you and me.

Six years later I am here to thank God for this miraculous healing and to thank my fellow pilgrims, my family and friends that prayed for me constantly and the priest that gave me the Holy Sacrament of Healing of the Sick; I will feel forever indebted.

I pray to You to look upon all those who are seeking the Father's will now, for the sake of Your bitter agony. Help also those who have learnt the Father's will, but are too weak to accept it. May all the agony be redeemed through a renewed acceptance of the Father's will.1

Dear children! In this time of grace I call you to take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands and to meditate on his passion and death. May your suffering be united in his suffering and love will win, because he who is love gave himself out of love to save each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje Message. March 25, 2013

Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M  Pray with the Heart

It has been 3 years since my dad posted this, though his health has taken a turn for the worst, his faith in God shines through. He spends most days upstairs in the comfort of his bedroom and he prays for us and he prays for you too!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Lady's Medjugorje to Marija of March 25, 2012

Dear children! In this time of grace I call you to take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands and to meditate on his passion and death. May your suffering be united in his suffering and love will win, because he who is love gave himself out of love to save each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje Message. March 25, 2013

In 1933, God gave Sister Faustina a striking vision of His Mercy,
Sister tells us:

"I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it.
Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross
and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to
look through Our Lord's wounds and I understood that God blessed
the earth for the sake of Jesus."

Of another vision on Sept. 13, 1935, she writes:
"I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike
the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words
which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the
Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just

The following day an inner voice taught her to say this prayer on
ordinary rosary beads:

"First say one 'Our Father', 'Hail Mary', and 'I believe'. Then on
the large beads say the following words:

'Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement
for our sins and those of the whole world.'

On the smaller beads you are to say the following words:
'For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the
whole world.'

In conclusion you are to say these words three times:
'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us
and on the whole world'.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Francis’ Inaugural Homily

The Vatican Information Service has released the full text of the homily delivered this morning by Pope Francis as he began his pontificate as the 266th successor of St. Peter.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.
In the Gospel we heard that ‘Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife’ (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission that God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the ‘custos’, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: ‘Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model’ (Redemptoris Custos, 1).
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly, and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by humans, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the heart of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The vocation of being a ‘protector’, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!
Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and our hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are ‘Herods’ who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.
Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany our world’s journey! But to be ‘protectors’, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy, and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up or tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!
Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness; it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!
Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete, and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgement on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with lov e are able to protect!
In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, ‘hoping against hope, believed’ (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God that has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock that is God.
To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!
I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Reflections of Your Love

 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.”  But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”  A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.”  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”  And he went out and wept bitterly. Lk 22: 56-62
If I were to gaze into the mirror of my soul,

What reflection would I see?

Would I see the smiling eyes of love gazing back at me?

Would I see a heart that radiates a burning love so true?

Would I see a hand of mercy outstretched to hold onto?

 O Lord, like Peter, I weep bitterly for the times I have denied you and denied to share your love with others. I ask you to purify my soul, that it may be a reflection of Your love. And, for all the many blessings you have bestowed upon me and my family, I give you thanks

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Servant of the People

Scott Hahn shared this photo on his Facebook page this morning, along with a blog post of , then, Cardinal Bergolio at AdMajorem Dei Gloriam

On Holy Thursday (2001) Cardinal Bergoglio washed and kissed the feet of 12 AIDS patients ("with humility, respect, and great love") at the chapel (Our Lady of Lujan) of a drug rehab center in Buenos Aires. His message was clear, that "thos...e who traffic in human misery, along with those who aid and abet them, will be condemned," which (as his fellow-Jesuit, Fr Garcia, comments): "seems to imply His Excellency has a rather sober view of Hell, always good to know." 

God bless Pope Francis!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Return To Me

You called me by name, but I would not listen.

You sent me aide in times of distress, yet I turned my head.

You stretched out your arms before me and I would not embrace you;

Hardness of heart I offered instead.

When did this happen, this emptiness within me;

How have I grown to be so cold?

Through all this you still stand before me,

Compassionately reaching for my hand to hold.

 “Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and your life will become a simple walk towards God. Thank you for having responded to my call.”  Our Lady of Medjugorje, Monthly Message to Marija, Feb. 25, 2015

Even now says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.

Merciful Father, have mercy on me. In your compassion, help me return to you with all my heart, for your love has no bounds.