Category: Novena Prayers

Ten Ways We Can Grow in Love with the Eucharist

Ten Ways We Can Grow in Love with the Eucharist

At the Last Supper, surrounded by His Apostles, Jesus gave to the world the most sublime gift of His Real Presence by instituting the Sacrament of the Eucharist – His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Jesus took bread and pronounced the words: “Take and eat, this is my Body”; then He took a cup of wine and said: “Take and drink, this is my Blood. Do this in memory of me.” With these words Jesus instituted the greatest of all of the Sacraments, the Sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist.

Our eternal salvation depends on our reception of the most Holy Eucharist. In the sixth Chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus preaches one of His most sublime discourses that we call the “Bread of Life Discourse.” In this discourse Jesus states many times that our salvation depends on our eating His Body and drinking His Blood. The fact that Jesus repeated this message time and time again accentuates the indispensable character of our reception of Him so that we will be saved for all eternity.

Indeed, the greatest action that we can carry out on earth is to receive Jesus into our hearts, minds, and souls in Holy Communion. Even the angels, including the highest choir of angels, cannot receive Jesus into themselves in Holy Communion, but we can. For this reason, the angels experience a holy envy towards us!
Therefore, the essential thrust of this article will be how we can enhance our faith, love and devotion to Jesus who is truly present in the Eucharist, in Holy Communion, in every Mass that is celebrated throughout the world until the end of time.

1. Appreciation

How painful it is when a man or woman takes their spouse for granted? There is no longer love and appreciation for the one who should be loved most in the world. Indeed, this could be the start of a desire to actually separate: when one does not feel loved or appreciated.

Likewise, it is all too common to simply take Jesus for granted and fail to appreciate who He is, what He has done for us and where He is to be found. This nonchalant, flippant, “take for granted” type of attitude pierces the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the very core and center of His loving Heart. Let us never fail to appreciate this most sublime gift of Jesus in Mass and Holy Communion. Receive every Holy Communion as if it were your first, your last and your only Holy Communion!

2. Visit Him Often

One characteristic of true friendship is a desire to visit each other on a frequent basis. Frequent visits and friendly conversations can truly foster a deeper friendship. Likewise, when passing by a church, we should stop, enter, and greet the Lord. We should tell Him that we love Him and sincerely desire to grow in our love for Him.

A short poem can be inspirational: “Whenever I see a Church I stop to make a visit, so when I die the Lord won’t say: Who is it?” When we die and go before the Lord, He will say: “My friend who came to visit me so often, welcome to your eternal home in heaven. You have been my dear friend on earth and now you will be my eternal friend in heaven.”

3. Spiritual Communion

Get into the habit of making frequent Spiritual Communions. This can be done at any time, without expenditure of much time and in an easy manner. Simply tell the Lord that you believe in Him and love Him and that you want Him to come and visit your home, your soul; that you want him as your best friend and Lord. He will come and fill you with peace and joy. Saint Alphonsus Liguori strongly recommended this practice.

4. Read about the Mass and the Eucharist

Spiritual reading can prove to be an invaluable tool for growing in our faith, and especially in our love for Jesus present in the most Holy Eucharist. An ecclesial document that indeed is a masterpiece was written by Pope Benedict XVI with the title The Sacrament of Love. Even though it is deep in theological content, this document is a spiritual masterpiece and can truly serve as a guide and stimulus to help you to participate more fully, actively and consciously in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive Holy Communion with a better disposition.

5. Daily Mass

Aim at attending daily Mass, if this is within your possibilities. As stated earlier, the greatest action that we can do in our lives is to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. When Our Lord gave us the prayer Our Father, He told us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” The most obvious interpretation is physical bread. However, shrouded within these words is the spiritual interpretation—“Give us this day our daily bread” meaning Jesus, the Bread of life in Holy Mass and Holy Communion. Form the habit of daily Holy Mass and Holy Communion and you will never regret it!

6. Confession and Holy Communion

Saint Ignatius of Loyola points out that by making a general confession of the sins of one’s whole life, one of the most positive fruits of this confession is making better Communions afterward. It stands to reason: the more pure the soul, the more the Lord of all purity desires to enter into that soul.

If you like, try this analogy: clean a dirty window with Windex and then the sunlight can pass through and illuminate the room all the more fully. In Holy Communion we receive Jesus, the Light of the world, who is able to radiate more fully His presence in the soul that has been purified by sacramental confession, washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

7. Mass Intentions

In Parish Masses, normally the priest-officiator has an intention that someone has requested weeks or months before the actual celebration of the Mass. This specific intention of the Mass, however, does not exclude us from offering our own personal and private intentions. In fact, the more we offer intentions for ourselves, for others and for the whole world, the more pleased Jesus is and the more powerful will be the effects of our Holy Communions. Indeed you can offer as many intentions as your heart desires and the Heart of Jesus will rejoice all the more.

8. Active Participation

In many cases people come physically to Holy Mass but they are mentally, emotionally and spiritually absent from the Mass. In other words, their minds are in another world—thinking about events, people, past hurts, or even something as mundane as what food they are going to eat at lunchtime. Sacramental theology teaches unequivocally that the better the disposition, the preparation, and participation in the Sacraments, the more abundant will be the flow of graces. Arrive early! Ask for the help of your Guardian angel. Pray when you should; sing at the right time; listen attentively to the Word of God and the priest who represents Jesus, and you will truly grow in holiness of life.

9. Ask Mary for Her Immaculate Heart

Another very important spiritual aid is to ask for the presence of Mary in your daily walk towards heaven. However, most especially we should ask Mary to give us her Immaculate Heart to receive Jesus with great faith, devotion and love every time we receive Holy Communion.

Saint Pope John Paul II made this beautiful parallel: the “Yes” of Mary to the Archangel Gabriel resulted in Mary receiving Jesus into her mind, body, heart and soul; our “Amen” when we receive Holy Communion results in our receiving Jesus into the very depths of our heart, mind and soul. Our “Amen” is our “Yes” to Jesus! So let us ask Mary to lend us her Immaculate Heart so as to make ever more fervent Holy Communions; our sanctification and salvation depends on how well we receive Jesus, the Bread of life and the Son of Mary.

10. Thanksgiving

How very important it is that we cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Meister Eckhart once stated: “If the only prayer we ever prayed were that of thanksgiving, then that would be enough.” May we never be lacking or remiss in thanking God for all that He has given to us. In fact, all that we have is a gift from God with one exception: the sins that we have freely chosen to commit.

After Mass spend some time in thanking Jesus for coming to visit the humble abode of your heart. You might even take advantage of an acronym that summarizes the four basic ends or purposes of Holy Mass: A.C.T.S.

  • A—stands for adoration.  Adore and praise the Lord whom you have as the Sweet Guest of your soul.
  • C—stands for contrition.  Tell the Lord that you are sorry for your sins, those of your family and the sins of the whole world.
  • T—stands for thanksgiving. Abound in thanksgiving, but especially for the great gift of the Eucharist. Actually the word “Eucharist” means Thanksgiving. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, eternal is His mercy.”
  • S—stands for Supplication. This simply means we ask the Lord for what we truly need. Saint Augustine comments: “We are all beggars before God.” We are all dependent on and in desperate need of God’s help at all times and in all places.

If these ten practices are carried out, or at least some of them, then your love for Jesus in the Eucharist as the Bread of Life will definitely grow and you will be on the Highway to salvation. May these words of Jesus fill you with consolation: “I am the Bread of life. Whoever eats my Body and drinks my Blood will have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Saint of the Day for Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Saint of the Day for Thursday, August 15th, 2019

St. Alipius

Image of St. Alipius

Facts

Feastday: August 15
Death: 430
Bishop and companion of St. Augustine. He was born in Tagaste, North Africa, and was raised as a friend of St. Augustine. He went to Rome to study law and became a magistrate there. When Augustine arrived in Rome, Alipius resigned his post and accompanied him to Milan.

There he was baptized with Augustine in 387 or 394 by St. Ambrose. The two were ordained in Hippo, North Africa, and Alipius became the

bishop of Tagaste, serving in that capacity for thirty years. Alipius’ name was placed in the Roman Martyrology by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584. The evidence of Alipius’ sanctity was clearly stated by Augustine’s account of his life.

St. Neopolus

Facts

Feastday: August 15

Egyptian martyr, also called Napoleon. He was seized during the persecutions under Emperor Diocletian and was brutally tortured in Alexandria. Neopolus died from his injuries.

St. Arduinus

Facts

Feastday: August 15
Death: 1009

Confessor and priest of Rimini, Italy. Arduinus was a hermit in the region until he entered the monastery of San Gudenzio, where he died.

More Saints of the Day

  • St. Alipius
  • St. AltfridSt. ArduinusBl. Claudio GranzottoSt. LimbaniaSt. NeopolusSt. Tarsicius



    What Is The Difference Between Priests And Brothers

    What Is The Difference Between Priests And Brothers

    Whether or not if an Augustinian is a priest or a lay brother, all share the same black habit once they profess their first vows

    Whether or not if an Augustinian is a priest or a lay brother, all share the same black habit once they profess their first vows

    Saint Augustine founded some monasteries of men who were not ordained to sacred orders and other monasteries whose members were mostly clerics. Then, in the thirteenth century Augustinians were generally not ordained priests. This was the case with four of the great mendicant orders of the Church: Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Carmelites. However, as generally occurred among these mendicants, very soon many of the brothers of our Order accepted the Church’s call to priestly ordination so they could hear confessions and celebrate Mass in the course of their very active ministry in the developing towns of that era.

    The title given to our Order by Pope Innocent IV in 1244 was “Hermit Brothers of Tuscany of the Order of Saint Augustine.” In 1968, the title of the male portion of the Order was changed to “Order of Brothers of Saint Augustine” and shortened for common use to “Order of Saint Augustine.” All male members of the Order are essentially “brothers” in religious life. We are all equal in status as Augustinian vowed religious men.

    However, faithful to our tradition dating back to Saint Augustine, and faithful to our tradition dating back to the 13th century, many Augustinian brothers still accept the call and appointment of the Church to priesthood. So, in any given Province of the Order today one finds a mixed of ordained (clerical) and non-ordained (lay) Augustinians. Commonly, the ordained men are called “fathers” and the non-ordained “brothers.”

    There are several hundred Augustinians in the United States and Canada. The majority of them are priests. The brothers live in community with the priests as equals in Augustinian life. They work in the apostolates of the Province alongside the priests. Some brothers are licensed teachers and administrators in our high schools. Others have worked as hospital chaplains or have served in our parishes as youth ministers, business managers, nurses, etc.

    Even though one of these friars is called to ordained ministry and the other to lay religious life, both are seen here solemnly professing their perpetual vows together in the Augustinian Order

    Brother or Priest: How Does One Decide?

    Some time ago, a university professor asked one of the Augustinians, “Why does one decide to be a brother and not a priest?”

    The friar started a long explanation by beginning, “Well you see, basically a man enters religious life responding to a call from the Lord. Some feel strongly that the Lord is calling them to Augustinian vowed religious life, but not [necessarily] to priesthood.”

    The friar took another breath and started to continue when the professor interrupted him and stated, “You don’t have to say any more. I understand very clearly. It’s all a matter of God calling each one of us individually according to His desire for each of us.” That professor was right on the mark!

    For Augustinians, our religious life is the primary focus. The work we do as religious is a secondary dimension to our vocation. Some men are called to be Augustinian teachers, or high school administrators, or nurses, or hospital chaplains, or parish business managers–but as brothers, not as priests. Others are called to be Augustinian priest teachers, or priest chaplains, or pastors of parishes, etc. God calls, and we listen, pray, discern, accept counsel, talk long about it–and finally come to a conclusion about what the Lord wants of us.

    So there we are–Augustinians all. But the Lord has called some of us to ordained ministry [clerical] and others He has called to non-ordained [lay] ministry. In everyday usage, some of us are priests and some of us are brothers.

    Someone may then ask how the formation program differs if one is preparing to be a priest or a brother. The answer to that question is that, although in the past there were marked differences, these days the religious formation program is essentially the same for Augustinian priests and brothers since priests and brothers are both Augustinian vowed religious. The academic education will vary when specific training for doing priestly things will be provided for priest candidates while brother candidates will focus on the specific training required for their intended ministry. In practical terms, pre-novitiate formation (including postulancy), novitiate formation, and basic theological education are identical for both types of candidates. Ordinarily, all professed Augustinians–clerical (ordained) and non-clerical (lay) are expected to acquire a four-year college degree.

    So what do you think?

    Are you, or someone you know, considering a religious vocation? Have you ever considered how that religious vocation might be somewhat different from ordained ministry? Or are you called to ordained ministry but not necessarily life in a religious order? Let us know in the comments



    *The Reality of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory*

    *The Reality of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory*

    (Sunday 11th August, 2019. Read Wisdom 18:6-9, Psalm 33, Hebrews 11:1-2.8-19 & Luke 12:32-48)

    _“Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail where no thief approaches and no moth destroys” *(Luke 12:33).*_

    Last Sunday, Jesus refused to intervene in a property dispute of a man who had interrupted Him while He was teaching. Jesus tells us that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. It is vanity (mere breath) if we dedicate our whole lives only to the pursuit of earthly riches if we fail to be rich towards God. The rich man whose land yielded much is called a fool because, in his plan to enjoy his riches, he failed to consider the hungry, the sick, the homeless and the poor.

    Today’s Gospel passage picks up right here. Having quieted the young man who was only thinking of how to get his share of property, Jesus went on to teach us in concrete terms of the reality of heaven, hell and purgatory as well as what we must do or avoid to make heaven.

    *Lesson One: It is Only those Things you Give Away that Belong to You.*

    To the young man who had come to Jesus seeking for the secret to eternal life, Jesus responded: “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22). Today, Jesus is repeating Himself: *“Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with … a treasure in the heavens”* (Luke 12:33). Kindness rendered to others selflessly is your ticket to the eternal bliss of heaven.

    On the last day, Jesus says, the “King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:34-36).

    When last did you give a serious thought about heaven? Now, when last did you think about your account balance? When last did you think of buying a car, getting a parcel of land or going to purchase more goods for your business? Jesus was not lying at all when he said: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” St. Basil and St. Ambrose would say, if you are looking for a bank (a safe place or a barn) to store your riches, then consider the bellies of the poor, the houses of the orphans and widows, check under the bridge where the homeless stay, look out for those risking their lives to hawk pure water, sweets or biscuits on our busy streets. Dear friends, it is what you give out, (the help you render to others) that speaks on your behalf when you die. These are your true treasures because they can never be stolen or taken away from you.

    *Lesson Two: Heaven is the Reward of Righteousness.*

    Jesus says to us today: “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to return from the marriage feast.” What does this mean? By asking us to gird our loins, Jesus is saying: “zip up.” Flee from immorality, flee from indecent dressing, do not let down your moral guard, do not allow the devil entrance into your mind through unholy pictures, videos, books, conversations and the like. Girding your loins means placing a filter to what you consume through your phone, the internet and the media.

    According to St. Gregory Nazianzen “we gird our loins when by continence we control the lusts of the flesh. For the lust of men is in their loins … But because it is a small thing not to do evil, unless also men strive to labour in good works, it is added, ‘and your lamps burning in your hands; for we hold burning lamps in our hands, when by good works we show forth bright examples to our neighbours.” That is to say, it is not enough that we avoid lust and sins of the flesh, by adding that our lamps must be kept burning, Jesus is teaching us that we must also, carry out good works (show good example to those living in darkness).

    For St. Gregory of Nyssa, “for the sake then of keeping watch, our Lord advised above that our loins should be girded, and our lamps burning, for light when placed before the eyes drives away sleep. The loins also when tied with a girdle, make the body incapable of sleep. For he who is girt about with chastity, and illuminated by a pure conscience, continues wakeful.” Heaven is for those who are pure in heart, who never relax into sin, persons who place the light of God’s word before their eyes daily.

    When Peter asked if this parable is meant for everyone, Jesus added another quality of those who would go to heaven. “Who then is the faithful and wise steward whom the master has set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? As the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is expected. That is to say, if God blesses you, it is so that you would be a blessing to others. Your gifts in life are not meant only for you. On the other hand, the priest is like a steward put in charge of God’s household to feed the people. “Peter, do you love me? … Feed my Lambs”(Cf. John 21:15-17).

    *Lesson Three: Different Types of Punishment Indicates the reality of Purgatory.*

    In today’s first reading, the book of Wisdom clearly spelt out the reality of heaven and hell when it says: “The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies were expected by thy people. For by the same means by which thou didst punish our enemies thou didst call us to thyself and glorify us” (Wisdom 18:7-8). While the blessed are glorified, the wicked are punished. This is exactly what Jesus teaches us in our Gospel passage. The good and faithful servants are called blessed while those who failed to live up to their master’s expectations are punished. Nevertheless, as Jesus notes, there would be different types of punishment.

    a. For him who goes about beating the menservants and the maidservants as well as eating and drinking and getting drunk, Jesus says the master of the house will punish him and put him with the unfaithful. Here Jesus shows us that there is such a place reserved for the unfaithful.

    b. For the servant who knew his master’s will but did not make ready or act according to his will, he shall receive a severe beating. Note that unlike the first, this particular servant is not transferred to the place of the unfaithful.

    c. Jesus then mentions another servant who did not know his master’s will and yet in his ignorance did what deserved a beating. Such servant according to Jesus would be given only a light beating and still unlike the first, this servant does not go to the place of the unfaithful.

    *If we are to understand hell as the place of the unfaithful, it simply follows that there is actually a place other than heaven and hell where souls go to receive either severe or light beating. This place is what the church calls purgatory*. As the Catechism puts it: *“Purgatory is the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.”* (CCC 1030-1031) This purification is done so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

    *Lesson Four: Faith Makes Everything Come Together.*

    Our second reading today may be considered as a hymn of the praises of faith. Behind the great achievements of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob was a strong and determined faith; a firm assurance within them of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, without faith, it would be impossible for us to please God as his children. It is true that none of us living has been to heaven to know how the place is, but just like Abraham who did not hesitate to move even when he did not know exactly where God was calling him to, we are called to follow God’s instructions by faith.

    Too often we think of faith only in terms of what we stand to receive from God. We are very quick to recite passages such as Mark 11:24 which says: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” What we do not often realize is that faith also applies to the everyday choices that we make. Every sin we commit is a statement of what we actually believe. Abraham did not disobey when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac because even though he loved Isaac, he believed God was capable of providing more sons for him.

    The question we must ask ourselves today is: ‘What do my actions say about my faith?’

    Let us pray: Almighty ever living God, bring to perfection in our hearts the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters and we may merit to enter heaven which is the inheritance which you have promised, Amen.

    *Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. Bible Study: Wisdom 18:6-9, Psalm 33, Hebrews 11:1-2.8-19 & Luke 12:32-48).*