Friday, April 30, 2010

Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness

Below is the text of an inspiring homily given by Fr. Roger J. Landry, a Priest of St Anthony of Padua Parish in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

 

The text "Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness" is a bit long

but it is worth reading especially for Catholics who want to know

some answers...

______________________________

 

 
The headlines were captured recently by the news that perhaps up to
seventy priests in the Archdiocese of Boston have abused young people whom
they were consecrated to serve. Today, I'd like to tackle the issue
head-on. You have a right to it. We cannot pretend as if it didn't exist.
I'd like to discuss what our response should be as faithful Catholics to
this terrible scandal.


The headlines this past week did not focus on the Patriots' march to the
Super Bowl, or on who would QB, Drew or Tom, or even on the President's
state of the union address and his comment that there are many Al-Qaeda
operatives in the US like "ticking time-bombs." None of these was the top
story.


The headlines were captured by the very sad news that perhaps up to
seventy priests in the Archdiocese of Boston have abused young people whom
they were consecrated to serve. It's a huge scandal, one that many people
who have long disliked the Church because of one of her moral or doctrinal
teachings are using as an issue to attack the Church as a whole, trying to
imply that they were right all along.


Many people have come up to me to talk about it. Many others have wanted
to, but I think out of respect and of not wanting to bring up what they
thought might be bad news, have refrained, but it was obvious to me that
it was on their mind. And so, today, I'd like to tackle the issue head-on.
You have a right to it. We cannot pretend as if it didn't exist. And I'd
like to discuss what our response should be as faithful Catholics to this
terrible scandal.


The first thing we need to do is to understand it from the point of view
of our faith in the Lord. Before he chose his first disciples, Jesus went
up the mountain all night to pray. He had at the time many followers. He
talked to his Father in prayer about whom he would choose to be his twelve
apostles, the twelve he would himself form intimately, the twelve whom he
would send out to preach the Good News in His name. He gave them power to
cast out demons. He gave them power to cure the sick. They watched him
work countless miracles. They themselves in His name worked countless
others.


 Yet, despite all of that, one of them was a traitor. One, who had
followed the Lord, who had had his feet washed by the Lord, who had seen
him walk on water, raise people from the dead, and forgive sinners,
betrayed the Lord. The Gospel tells us that he allowed Satan to enter into
Him and then sold the Lord for 30 pieces of silver, handing him over by
faking a gesture of love. "Judas," Jesus said to him in the garden of
Gethsemane , "Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Jesus didn't
choose Judas to betray him. He chose him to be like all the others. But
Judas was always free, and he used his freedom to allow Satan to enter
into him, and by his betrayal, ended up getting Jesus crucified and
executed.


So right from the first twelve that Jesus himself chose, one was a
terrible traitor. SOMETIMES GOD'S CHOSEN ONES BETRAY HIM. That's a fact
that we have to confront. It's a fact that the early Church confronted. If
the scandal caused by Judas was all the members of the early Church
focused on, the Church would have been finished before it even started to
grow. Instead, the Church recognized that you don't judge something by
those who don't live it, but by those who do.


Instead of focusing on the one who betrayed, they focused on the other
eleven, on account of whose work, preaching, miracles, and love for
Christ, we are here today. It's on account of the other eleven - all of
whom except St. John was martyred for Christ and for the Gospel they were
willing to give their lives to proclaim to us - that we ever heard the
saving word of God, that we ever received the sacraments of eternal life.


We're confronted by the same reality today. We can focus on those who
betrayed the Lord, those who abused rather than loved those whom they were
called to serve, or we can focus, like the early Church did, on the
others, on those who have remained faithful, those priests who are still
offering their lives to serve Christ and to serve you out of love. The
media almost never focuses on the good "eleven," the ones whom Jesus has
chosen who remain faithful, who live lives of quiet holiness. But we, the
Church, must keep the terrible scandal that we've witnessed in its true
and full perspective.


Scandal is unfortunately nothing new for the Church. There have been many
times in the history of the Church when the Church was much worse off than
it is now. The history of the Church is like a cosine curve, with ups and
downs throughout the centuries. At each of the times when the Church hit
its low point, God raised up tremendous saints to bring the Church back to
its real mission. It's almost as if in those times of darkness, the Light
of Christ shone ever more brightly.
 I'd like to focus a little on a couple
of saints whom God raised up in these most difficult times, because their
wisdom can really guide us during this difficult time.


St. Francis de Sales was one saint God raised up after the Protestant
Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was not principally about
theology, about the faith - although theological differences came later -
but about morals. There was an Augustinian priest, Martin Luther, who went
down to Rome just after the papacy of the most notorious pope in history,
Pope Alexander VI.


This pope never taught anything against the faith - the Holy Spirit
prevented that - but he was simply a wicked man. He had nine children from
six different concubines. He put out contracts against those he considered
his enemies. Martin Luther visited Rome just after Alexander VI's papacy
and wondered how God could allow such a wicked man to be the visible head
of his Church. He went back to Germany and saw all types of moral
problems. Priests were living in open relationships with women. Some were
trying to profit from selling spiritual goods. There was a terrible
immorality among lay Catholics. He was scandalized, as anyone who loved
God might have been, by such rampant abuse. So he founded his own Church.


Eventually God raised up many saints to combat this wrong solution and to
bring people back to the Church Christ founded. St. Francis de Sales was
one of them.
 At the risk of his life, he went through parts of what is now
Switzerland , where the Calvinists were popular, preaching the Gospel with
truth and love. Oftentimes he was beaten up on his way and left for dead.
Once he was asked to address the situation of the scandal caused by so
many of his brother priests. What he said is as important for us today as
it was for his listeners then. He didn't pull any punches.



 He said, "Those who commit these types of scandals are guilty of the
spiritual equivalent of murder," destroying other people's faith in God by
their terrible example. But then he warned his listeners, "But I'm here
among you to prevent something far worse for you. While those who give
scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take
scandal - who allow scandals to destroy their faith - are guilty of
spiritual suicide.
" They're guilty, he said, of cutting off their life
with Christ, abandoning the source of life in the Sacraments, especially
the Eucharist.
 He went among the people in what is now Switzerland trying
to prevent their committing spiritual suicide on account of the scandals.
I'm here to preach the same thing to you.


What should our reaction be then? Another great saint who lived in a
tremendously difficult time can help us further. The great St. Francis of
Assisi lived in the 1200s, which was a time of terrible immorality in
central Italy
 . Priests were setting horrible example. Lay immorality was
even worse. St. Francis himself while a young man even gave some scandal
to others by his carefree ways. But eventually he was converted back to
the Lord, founded the Franciscans, helped God rebuild his Church and
became one of the great saints of all time.


 Once one of the brothers in the Order of Friars Minor asked him a
question.
 The brother was very sensitive to scandals. "Br. Francis," he
said, "What would you do if you knew that the priest celebrating Mass had
three concubines on the side?" Francis, without missing a beat, said
slowly, "When it came time for Holy Communion, I would go to receive the
Sacred Body of my Lord from the priest's anointed hands."



 What was Francis getting at? He was getting at a tremendous truth of the
faith and a tremendous gift of the Lord. No matter how sinful a priest is,
provided that he has the intention to do what the Church does - at Mass,
for example, to change bread and wine into Christ's body and blood, or in
confession, no matter how sinful he is personally, to forgive the
penitent's sins - Christ himself acts through that minister in the
sacraments.



Whether Pope John Paul II celebrates the Mass or whether a priest on
death row for a felony celebrates Mass, it is Christ who himself acts and
gives us His own body and blood. So what Francis was saying in response to
the question of his religious brother that he would receive the Sacred
Body of His Lord from the priest's anointed hands, is that he was not
going to let the wickedness or immorality of the priest lead him to commit
spiritual suicide. Christ can still work and does still work even through
the most sinful priest. And thank God!



If we were always dependent on the priest's personal holiness, we'd be in
trouble. Priests are chosen by God from among men, and they're tempted
just like any human being and fall through sin just like any human being
.
But God knew that from the beginning. Eleven of the first twelve apostles
scattered when Christ was arrested, but they came back; one of the twelve
sinned in betraying the Lord and sadly never came back. God has
essentially made the sacraments "priest-proof," in terms of their personal
holiness. No matter how holy they are, or how wicked, provided they have
the intention to do what the Church does, then Christ himself acts, just
as he acted through Judas when Judas expelled demons and cured the sick.



And so, again, I ask, "What should the response of the Church be to these
deeds?" There has been a lot of talk about that in the media. Does the
Church have to do a better job in making sure no one with any
predisposition toward pedophilia gets ordained? Absolutely. But that would
not be enough. Does the Church have to do a better job in handling cases
when they are reported? The Church has changed its way of handling these
cases, and today they're much better than they were in the 1980s, but they
can always be perfected. But even that is not enough. Do we have to do
more to support the victims of such abuse? Yes we do, both out of justice
and out of love! But not even that is adequate. Cardinal Law has gotten
most of the deans of the medical schools in Boston to work on establishing
a center for the prevention of child abuse, which is something that we
should all support. But not even that is a sufficient response.


 The only adequate response to this terrible scandal, the only fully
Catholic response to this scandal - as St. Francis of Assisi recognized in
the 1200s, as St. Francis de Sales recognized in the 1600s, and as
countless other saints have recognized in every century - is HOLINESS!
Every crisis that the Church faces, every crisis that the world faces, is
a crisis of saints. Holiness is crucial, because it is the real face of
the Church.



There are always people - a priest meets them regularly, you probably
know several of them - who use excuses for why they don't practice the
faith, why they slowly commit spiritual suicide. It can be because a nun
was mean to them when they were nine. Or because they don't understand the
teaching of the Church on a particular issue. There will doubtless be many
people these days - and you will probably meet them - who will say, "Why
should I practice the faith, why should I go to Church, since the Church
can't be true if God's so-called chosen ones can do the types of things
we've been reading about?" This scandal is a huge hanger on which some
will try to hang their justification for not practicing the faith. That's
why holiness is so important.



 They need to find in all of us a reason for faith, a reason for hope, a
reason for responding with love to the love of the Lord
. The beatitudes
which we have in today's Gospel are a recipe for holiness. We all need to
live them more. Do priests have to become holier? They sure do. Do
religious brothers and sisters have to become holier and give ever greater
witness of God and heaven? Absolutely. But all people in the Church do,
including lay people! We all have the vocation to be holy and this crisis
is a wake-up call.



It's a tough time to be a priest today. It's a tough time to be a
Catholic today. But it's also a great time to be a priest and a great time
to be a Catholic. Jesus says in the beatitudes we heard today, "Blessed
are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of
slander against you falsely because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your
reward in heaven is great."
 I've been experiencing that beatitude first
hand, as some priests I know have as well. Earlier this week, when I
finished up my exercise at a local gym, I was coming out of the locker
room dressed in my black clerical garb. A mother, upon seeing me,
immediately and hurriedly moved her children out of the way and shielded
them from me as I was passing. She looked at me as I passed and when I had
gone far enough along finally relaxed and let her children go - as if I
would have attacked her children in the middle of the afternoon at a
health club!


But while we all might have to suffer such insults and slander falsely on
account of Christ, we should indeed rejoice. It's a great time to be a
Christian, because this is a time in which God really needs us to show off
his true face. In bygone days in America , the Church was respected.
Priests were respected. The Church had a reputation for holiness and
goodness. It's not so any more.


 One of the greatest Catholic preachers in American history, Bishop Fulton
J. Sheen, used to say, that he preferred to live in times when the Church
has suffered rather than thrived, when the Church had to struggle, when
the Church had to go against the culture. It was a time for real men and
real women to stand up and be counted. "Even dead bodies can float
downstream," he used to say, pointing that many people can coast when the
Church is respected, "but it takes a real man, a real woman, to swim
against the current."



How true that is! It takes a real man and a real woman to stand up now
and swim against the current that is flowing against the Church. It takes
a real man and a real woman to recognize that when swimming against the
flood of criticism, you're safest when you stay attached to the Rock on
whom Christ built his Church. This is one of those times. It's a great
time to be a Christian.


Some people are predicting that the Church in this area is in for a rough
time, and maybe she is, but the Church will survive, because the Lord will
make sure it survives. One of the greatest comeback lines in history
happened just about 200 years ago. The French emperor Napoleon was
swallowing up countries in Europe with his armies bent on total world
domination. He then said to Cardinal Consalvi, "I will destroy your
Church." "Je detruirai votre eglise!" The Cardinal said, "No you won't."
Napoleon, all 5'2" of him said, "Je detruirai votre eglise!" The Cardinal
said with confidence, "No you won't. Not even we have succeeded in doing
that!"


If bad popes, immoral priests and thousands of sinners in the Church
haven't succeeded in doing so from the inside - he was saying implicitly
to the general - how do you think you're going to do it? The Cardinal was
pointing to a crucial truth. Christ will never allow his Church to fail.
He promised that the gates of hell wouldn't prevail against his Church,
that the barque of Peter, the Church sailing through time to its eternal
port in heaven, will never capsize, not because those in the boat won't do
everything sinfully possible to turn it over, but because Christ, who is
in the boat, will never allow it to happen. Christ is still in the boat
and he'll never leave it.



The magnitude of this scandal might be such that you may find it
difficult to trust priests in the same way you have in the past. That may
be so, and that might not be completely a bad thing. But never lose trust
in Him! It's His Church. Even if some of those he chose have betrayed him,
he will call others who will be faithful, who will serve you with the love
with which you deserve to be served, just like after Judas' death, the
eleven apostles convened and allowed the Lord to choose someone to take
Judas' place, and they chose the man who ended up becoming St. Matthias,
who proclaimed the Gospel faithfully until he was martyred for it.


This is a time in which all of us need to focus ever more on holiness.
We're called to be saints and how much our society here needs to see this
beautiful, radiant face of the Church. You're part of the solution, a
crucial part of the solution. And as you come forward today to receive
from this priest's anointed hands the sacred Body of your Lord, ask Him to
fill you with a real desire for sanctity, a real desire to show off His
true face.



One of the reasons why I'm here in front of you as a priest today is
because while I younger, I was underimpressed with some of the priests I
knew. I would watch them celebrate Mass and almost without any reverence
whatsoever drop the Body of the Lord onto the paten, as if they were
handling something with little value rather than the Creator and Savior of
all, rather than MY Creator and Savior. I remember saying to the Lord,
reiterating my desire to be a priest, "Lord, please let me become a
priest, so I can treat you like you deserve!" It gave me a great fire to
serve the Lord.


Maybe this scandal can allow you to do the same thing. This scandal can
be something that can lead you down to the path of spiritual suicide, or
it can be something that can inspire you to say, finally, "I want to
become a saint, so that I and the Church can give your name the glory it
deserves, so that others might find in you the love and the salvation that
I have found." Jesus is with us, as he promised, until the end of time.
He's still in the boat.


Just as out of Judas' betrayal, he achieved the greatest victory in world
history, our salvation through his passion, death and resurrection, so out
of this he may bring, and wants to bring, a new rebirth of holiness, a new
Acts of the Apostles for the 21st century, with each of us - and that
includes YOU - playing a starring role. Now's the time for real men and
women of the Church to stand up. Now's the time for saints. How do you
respond?






ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Fr. Roger J. Landry. "Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness."
Unpublished homily.


Reprinted with permission of Fr. Roger J. Landry.


THE AUTHOR


Father Roger J. Landry was ordained a Catholic priest of the Diocese of
Fall River, Massachusetts by Bishop Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. in 1999. After
receiving a biology degree from Harvard College , Fr. Landry studied for
the priesthood in Maryland , Toronto , and for several years in Rome .
After his priestly ordination, Father returned to Rome to complete
graduate work in Moral Theology and Bioethics at the John Paul II
Institute for Marriage and Family. Father Landry is parochial
administrator of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Bedford , MA , and
executive editor of The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of
Fall River. His homilies are posted each week at

 saintanthonynewbedford.com.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

FLL Radio Program 愛的恩泉電台節目(April 24)

 April 24, 2010 (Saturday)

  • Toronto 6 PM @ AM 1430
  • Vancouver 8 PM @ AM 1470

I am going to talk about the virtue of chastity.

For more information, please read my article for the Pax Sinica column on the BC Catholic newspaper (March 15, 2009).

You may contact me by email: fatheranthonyho@gmail.com

Please visit FLL website: http://fll.cc/

image

Today is the Feast of St. Fidelis (+1622), the first martyr of The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. After entering the Capuchin, he prayed for two things: not to commit a sngle mortal sin, and to die a martyr.

May he intercede for us in the work of evangelization.

Please click HERE to read about his life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

ABCs of Divine Mercy: C - Completely trust in Jesus 「第三部」——完全信賴耶穌

This article will be published on the April 26 issue of The BC Catholic newspaper.

April 25 was Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus is our merciful Saviour Who came to find the lost sheep. This week we are looking at the 'C' of Divine Mercy: completely trust in Jesus.

Jesus, I trust in You

The image of Divine Mercy is a reminder for us to put our trust in Jesus. St. Faustina saw the image on Feb. 22, 1931.

She wrote, "In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale."

Jesus asked the image to be painted with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You.

Jesus promised great blessings to those who honour the image. He said, "I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory."

In 1934 Jesus explained: "The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls."

Jesus taught St. Faustina a beautiful invocation: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You."

He said, "When you say this prayer with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion."

Vessel of grace

Trust is the “soul” of the Devotion to Divine Mercy. One day Our Lord taught St. Faustina the importance of trust. He said, "The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive."

Throughout the diary of St. Faustina there are numerous messages of Jesus encouraging sinners to trust in His mercy:

"The greatest sinners would achieve great sanctity if only they would trust in My mercy."

"The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy."

"He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are Mine."

"There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted it increases."

Faith in the sacraments

Through St. Faustina Jesus urges all of us to approach the sacraments of penance and Holy Eucharist with lively faith and trust.

Jesus complained to St. Faustina about the lack of faith among people. He said, "Know, My daughter, that when I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay any attention to Me; they leave Me to Myself and busy themselves with other things. Oh, how sad I am that souls do not recognize love! They treat Me as a dead object."

Regarding the sacrament of penance Jesus said, "Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flow down upon your soul and ennoble it.... Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great there is no limit to My generosity."

May we always offer prayers and approach the sacraments with great trust in the grace and mercy of Jesus.

 

上主日是「善牧主日」,耶穌是慈悲的救主,四出尋找亡羊。今週,我們談談有關神聖慈悲的「第三部——完全信賴耶穌」。

耶穌,我信賴祢

「神聖慈悲」畫像,提醒我們要信賴耶穌。該畫像原屬聖女傅天娜St. Faustina 在一九三一年二月二十二日的神視。她寫道:「黃昏,我在我的房間內,見到我主耶穌身穿雪白長袍,提起右手降福,左手輕觸心窩位置,而從該心窩位置,透出兩道強光,一紅色,一蒼白色。」耶穌囑咐聖女把這神視,以畫像描繪出來,然後套上「耶穌,我信賴祢」的短句。

耶穌許下,凡敬禮這畫像者,都會蒙受豐盈的祝福。祂說:「但凡敬禮這畫像的靈魂,必不喪亡。我更許下這靈魂必得勝他在世的仇敵,尤其在臨終時刻,必能制勝惡魔。我要親自保護這靈魂如我自己的光榮一樣。」耶穌更指導聖傅天娜一節美麗的短經:「啊! 從主耶穌聖心流出的血和水,祢為我們是慈悲的泉源,我們信賴祢。」耶穌又說:「當妳為罪人以悔改和信德之心誦唸此經,我要賞給這罪人悔改之恩。」

聖寵的器皿

一日,主耶穌向聖傅天娜特別強調「信賴」的重要。祂道:「只有一個途徑才能到達我慈悲的恩寵,那就是『信賴』...」在傅天娜修女的日記中,記載了耶穌多次提醒罪人要信賴祂的慈悲:「只要信賴我的慈悲,最大的罪人也能成大聖。」「越大罪的人就越有權得到我的慈悲。」「信賴我慈悲的靈魂,必不喪亡, 因他的一切事務都是我的。」「沒有任何不幸可超越我的慈悲,也沒有任何不幸可耗盡我的慈悲,因為慈悲越是施與,就越增長。」

對聖事的信賴

藉聖傅天娜,耶穌要我們,以無比的信德和信賴,領受修和聖事及聖體聖事。

耶穌對聖女說:「我的女兒,當妳來辦告解時,來到這慈悲的泉源時, 從我心中流出的血和水會傾流到妳的靈魂,使妳變得更尊貴...。此間,靈魂的不幸與天主的慈悲相遇。請告訴人靈: 靈魂只有藉「信賴」的器皿從這慈悲的泉源裡獲得恩寵。如果他們有强大的信賴,我的慷慨會是無限的!」

對於聖體聖事,耶穌向聖女埋怨道:「女兒,妳須知道,當我通過聖體聖事接觸人的靈魂時,我是準備賜予豐盈的聖寵;可惜,很多的靈魂根本把我置之不理,徒被俗事煩擾,他們視我的聖體如死物。他們的忘恩負義,傷透了我的心。」

我們要多祈禱,要以完全信賴耶穌的聖寵和慈悲的心,去辦修和聖事領受聖體。

Thursday, April 22, 2010

St. Andre Nguyen Kim Thong

Today, I am very grateful to receive the sacred relic (the beard) of a Vietnamese Martyr from a friend.

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St. Andrew Thong Kim Nguyenc. 1790-1855


In 1855 the Vietnamese emperor Tu Duc issued a further
decree against the Catholic faith, ordering that every western missionary must be beheaded and that “his disciples must be beheaded with their master.” Tu Duc also ordered all churches, chapels, and seminaries to be burned down. Andrew Thong Kim Nguyen, of Go Thi, Vietnam, was a Catholic village chief and catechist who strove to bring his immoral grandson to repentance by his admonitions. The obstinate young man retaliated by betraying his grandfather to the pagan authorities. Following his capture, Andrew was urged to win clemency by apostatizing, but he adamantly refused to deny his faith. In the end, the judges showed a measure of pity toward the aged defendant, choosing to exile him rather than sentencing him to death. Nonetheless, the journey into exile proved too much for Andrew’s frail constitution. Before reaching his destination, he died from dehydration and exhaustion.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ABCs of Divine Mercy: B - Be merciful. 「第二部」——實踐慈悲

This article was published at The BC Catholic newspaper (April 19 issue)

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Last week we reflected on the "A" of Divine Mercy: ask for mercy. This week we move on to reflect on the "B" of Divine Mercy: be merciful.

 

Ways of mercy

Jesus explicitly told St. Faustina to be merciful. He said, "My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere My mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me.

"You are to show mercy to your neighbours always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it. I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbour: the first, by deed; the second, by word; the third, by prayer.

"In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy."

In 1937 St. Faustina was assigned as porter of the religious house. There were some poor people who would come to the door more than once on the same day. The saint would treat them with great gentleness and respect. The poor people would open their hearts and speak freely of their troubles and needs. She observed that "sometimes more is given when giving nothing than when giving much in a rude manner."

St. Faustina was very charitable in listening and consoling others. Her heart was always open to the sufferings of others. Because of this, she was nicknamed "dump," for everyone could dump one's pain into her heart.\

 

Pray for others

One of the outstanding ways St. Faustina practised mercy towards others was by prayer. Our Lord told her, "Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least.

"Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moments depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners."

St. Faustina wrote, "We do not know the number of souls that is ours to save through our prayers and sacrifices; therefore, let us always pray for sinners."

Our Lord asked St. Faustina to pray for sinners at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. He said, "At 3 o'clock implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony.

"This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My passion."

 

Apostle of mercy

Blessed Michael Sopocko (1888-1975) was the spiritual director and confessor of St. Faustina. He was the main promoter of the saint's revelations.

Regarding Father Sopocko, Jesus said, "Through him it pleased Me to proclaim the worship of My mercy. And through this work of mercy more souls will come close to Me than otherwise would have, even if he had kept giving absolution day and night for the rest of his life, because by so doing he would have laboured only for as long as he lived; whereas, thanks to this work of mercy, he will be labouring till the end of the world."

Through the efforts of Father Sopocko, the Divine Mercy devotion was made known to many. In 1947 he founded the Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus according to the instructions given by Jesus to St. Faustina.

Its members proclaim the mercy of God to the world and obtain mercy for the world by prayer. Today the members continue to surrender themselves to God and perform works of mercy.

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上週我們談過神聖慈悲敬禮的「第一部——祈求慈悲」,今週,我們談談「第二部——實踐慈悲」。

 

如何實踐慈悲


耶穌清楚地向聖女瑪利亞.傅天娜St. Maria Faustina Kowalska說:「女兒,假如我要藉着妳讓世人尊崇我的慈悲,妳首先要是突顯信賴我的慈悲的第一個人。我要求妳,因愛我之故,在任何光景,妳都要對所有人、表達慈悲之心,絕對不能有半點退縮。我告訴妳三點實踐慈悲的方法:第一、以行動,第二、以言語,第三、以祈禱。這三點均能帶出我豐富的慈悲,亦印證了對我的愛,也等於光榮了、尊崇了我神聖慈悲的心。」

一九三七年,聖女被指派看守修院大門。有些貧苦的人混水摸魚,一日多次卻佯作首次到修院尋求施捨,聖女總是和顏悅色地對待他們,使他們後來亦樂意坦誠向她表達所需和困難。聖女觀察到:「有時候, 不能施予的人, 相比粗暴地多施予的人,所給予的付出其實是更多。」故此,她樂於開放心窩,滿有愛心地去安慰、去聆聽;因而得了「收集箱」的外號——專門收集別人的苦痛。

 

為別人祈禱


聖傅天娜修女經常為罪人祈求慈悲。主耶穌向她說:「要多為臨終的人祈禱,使他們信賴我的慈悲——因為信賴正是他們最需要的, 但也是他們最缺乏的。妳要知道,有一些靈魂在生命最後的未刻是要依靠妳的祈禱才能獲得永生的大恩。妳認識我慈悲的深淵,要從那裏為妳自己和罪人取得慈恩。」聖女自己寫道:「我們不知道我們的祈禱和犧牲能拯救多少靈魂,所以我們要不斷為罪人祈禱。」

耶穌要聖傅天娜每天下午三時為罪人祈禱;祂說:「在下午三時, 把你自己浸入我的苦難中, 尤其在我感到被捨棄的那一刻所受的憂苦中吧。這是對普世廣施慈悲的時刻。凡在下午三時,誰因我苦難的功勞向我祈求恩典, 我必不拒絕。」

 

神聖慈悲的使徒


真福彌額爾.蘇樸梏Bl. Michael Sopocko (1888-1975)神父是聖傅天娜的告解神師,他是主要推動聖女神視的人。耶穌向聖女談及蘇樸梏神父,說:「我喜歡藉着他來宣揚對我慈悲的敬禮。此慈悲工作將能幫助更多的靈魂來接近我, 甚致比較他日以繼夜地給人赦罪還要多。因為他只能在生時給人赦罪, 但藉此慈悲工作, 他將一直工作至世界窮盡。」

真福蘇樸梏神父的努力,使神聖慈悲敬禮得以廣傳。一九四七年,真福遵從聖傅天娜轉達耶穌的吩咐,創立了慈悲耶穌女修會Congregation of Sisters of Merciful Jesus,一方面專務為世界求取神聖慈悲而祈禱,另方面積極宣揚神聖慈悲並實踐神形哀矜,迄今不渝。

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Today (April 21) is the Feast of Conrad of Parzham (1894). Like St. Faustina, he worked as porter in his religious community. This position offered endless opportunities for the excercise of charity, patience, tact and apostolic zeal.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Saint Madeleine-Sophie Barat

Very glad to receive an antique relic today (dated 1926). St. Madeleine-Sophie was a strong leader. Her strength came from deep interior life and prayer.

Please read her biography HERE.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

FLL Radio Program 愛的恩泉電台節目(April 17)

April 17, 2010 (Saturday)

  • Toronto 6 PM @ AM 1430
  • Vancouver 8 PM @ AM 1470

I am going to talk about the problem of “lukewarmness”.

For more information, please read my article for the Pax Sinica column on the BC Catholic newspaper (March 8, 2009).

You may contact me by email: fatheranthonyho@gmail.com

Please visit FLL website: http://fll.cc/

Newly Baptized

It was a great joy for my to baptized an elderly Chinese lady today.

She also received the Sacrament of Confirmation and 1st Holy Communion.

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Million Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

Please sign the Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict XVI.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saint who worked @ the Roman Curia

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You can read about the life of  St. Joseph Mary Tomasi  HERE.

Just for Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday Holy Father

Prayer for the Pope (written by Leo XIII)

O Lord, we are the millions of believers, humbly kneeling at Thy feet and begging Thee to preserve, defend and save the Sovereign Pontiff for many years. He is the Father of the great fellowship of souls and our Father as well. On this day, as on every other day, he is praying for us also, and is offering unto Thee with holy fervor the sacred Victim of love and peace.

Wherefore, O Lord, turn Thyself toward us with eyes of pity; for we are now, as it were, forgetful of ourselves, and are praying above all for him. Do Thou unite our prayers with his and receive them into the bosom of Thine infinite mercy, as a sweet savor of active and fruitful charity, whereby the children are united in the Church to their Father. All that he asks of Thee this day, we too ask it of Thee in unison with him.

Whether he weeps or rejoices, whether he hopes or offers himself as a victim of charity for his people, we desire to be united with him; nay more, we desire that the cry of our hearts should be made one with his. Of Thy great mercy grant, O Lord, that not one of us may be far from his mind and his heart in the hour that he prays and offers unto Thee the Sacrifice of Thy blessed Son. At the moment when our venerable High Priest, holding in His hands the very Body of Jesus Christ, shall say to the people over the Chalice of benediction these words: "The peace of the Lord be with you always," grant, O Lord, that Thy sweet peace may come down upon our hearts and upon all the nations with new and manifest power. Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Old Reliquary

Today, I received a relic prepared in 1959. The reliquary has a handle for priest, the priest can hold the relic for people to kiss during veneration.

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Inside is the relic of Blessed Mary of Providence, who had great devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

This relic reminded me of Blessed Solanus Casey who promoted the Seraphic Mass Association (http://www.seraphicmass.org/). Now you can request Gregorian Masses (30 Masses for a deceased person) from them on-line (suggested offering $150 US):

http://www.seraphicmass.org/gregorian_masses_cart.asp?step=1

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The ABC of Divine Mercy - A: Ask for mercy 「第一部」——祈求慈悲

This article was published at the Pax Sinica column on The BC Catholic (April 12)

 

Last Sunday was Divine Mercy Sunday. Devotion to the Divine Mercy was proclaimed by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a Polish nun who received private revelations from Our Lord. These revelations were written down in the saint's personal diary.

They can be summed up with "ABC": A: ask for mercy; B: be merciful; and C: completely trust in Jesus. In these few weeks, we are going to explore each of these three elements.

 

A powerful prayer

On Sept. 14, 1935, the Lord Jesus taught St. Faustina a powerful prayer, the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Here are the instructions given by Our Lord: "First of all, you will say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I Believe in God. Then on the Our Father beads you will 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 Hail Mary beads you will say the following words: 'For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.' In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: 'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.'"

 

Hope for sinners

The chaplet is a source of hope for sinners. Jesus said, "Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy."

Our Lord told St. Faustina that He would grant great graces to souls who say the chaplet, and that it pleases Him to grant everything people ask of Him by saying the chaplet.

 

Comfort of the dying

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a wonderful prayer for the dying. Jesus promised that those who pray the chaplet would be embraced by His mercy at the hour of death.

God the Father once said to St. Faustina, "At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated, and unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy will be moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son."

Jesus Himself said, "When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Saviour."

St. Faustina experienced firsthand the power of the chaplet for the salvation of the dying. In the afternoon of Dec. 12, 1936, St. Faustina entered the ward of a dying person whose agony had begun at midnight. The saint heard a voice telling her to pray the chaplet. She prayed and the dying person suddenly opened her eyes and looked at the saint. Then she died with extraordinary peace.

A similar incident took place in the evening of March 22, 1937. A dying young man was in terrible agony. St. Faustina again heard a voice telling her to say the chaplet. Feeling the majesty and justice of God, the saint kept on begging for mercy for the young man.

She prayed God to grant him the grace of a happy death. Finally, his suffering ceased and he died peacefully. On some occasions the saint was able to see demons around the dying person, but while she prayed the chaplet the evil spirits fled and the dying died in the Lord with great trust and peace.

 

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上主日我們剛渡過了復活節第八天慶期,也就是眾所熟悉的「神聖慈悲主日」。神聖慈悲敬禮是由一位波蘭修女聖瑪利亞.傅天娜St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938),得到主耶穌私人啓示後,向世界公告。私人啓示的詳情,均記載在聖人的日記中。整體而言,有關啟示可分三個部份:一、祈求慈悲;二、憐憫;三、信賴耶穌。我們就按次序,分週探討這三部份。

 

神效的禱文

一九三五年的九月十四日,主耶穌親自教授聖傅天娜一端具神效的祈禱經文——慈悲串經;耶穌指導說:「首先,妳要誦唸【天主經】一次,【聖母經】」一次,【信經】一次,然後在妳唸珠的【天主經】位置唸『永生之父,我把祢至愛之子,我們的主耶穌基督的聖體聖血、靈魂及天主性奉獻給祢,以賠補我們及普世的罪過。』在唸珠的【聖母經】位置唸『因祂的至悲慘苦難,求祢垂憐我們及普世。』唸到唸珠的末段,妳以唸三次『至聖天主,至聖全能者,至聖長存者,求祢垂憐我們及普世。』作為結束。」

 

罪人的希望

慈悲串經是罪人的希望。耶穌說:「司鐸們要向罪人們推薦這首經文作為得救的最後希望。即使是最心硬的罪人,只要他願意唸這首經文,他仍會從我無限的慈悲中,領受聖寵。」吾主更對聖傅天娜說,祂會賜予唸慈悲串經的人很大的聖寵,也樂於滿全人們藉唸慈悲串經所作的祈求。

 

臨終者的安慰

慈悲串經是臨終者很管用的經文。耶穌承諾,用祂的聖寵,擁抱着唸慈悲串經的臨終的人。聖父向聖傅天娜啟示:「在生命未刻,我會維護那些誦唸這串經的人,一如維護我的光榮。若是別人為臨終者唸這串經,所得恩赦也是一樣。在床榻旁為臨終的人誦唸慈悲串經的,能平息天主的義怒,我深邃的慈悲會籠罩着垂死的人,我聖子的苦難,會觸動我慈愛的深處。」耶穌亦說:「當他們在垂危的人身旁唸慈悲串經,我就會以慈愛救主, 而不是以判官的身份,站在天父和垂危者靈魂之間。」

聖傅天娜曾經親身體驗慈悲串經救靈的效能。一九三六年十二月十二日的下午,聖女進入一個瀕臨死亡的人的病房,病者自午夜已經痛苦難耐,呻吟不已;傅天娜聽見一個聲音,敦促她為這個臨終的人唸慈悲串經;在她唸慈悲串經之時,病人突然張開眼睛望着聖人,頓時寧靜下來,最後安然溘逝。

類似的事情發生在一九三七年三月二十二日。一個年青人因將死而感到極度痛苦,聖傅天娜又聽到聲音要她唸慈悲串經;聖人深感天主的威嚴與公義,殷切地為那青年祈求天主大發慈悲,她祈求天主賞給他善終之恩;最後,年青人安靜下來,平安地死去。

聖人亦曾經目睹邪魔圍繞着的臨終人,在她唸慈悲串經時,群魔四散,病者都能在信賴天主的平安中去逝。

Monday, April 12, 2010

Inspiring Relics

Last Friday, I led a retreat & exposition of relics for the Confirmation students from Corpus Christi Parish

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On Saturday, I did another exposition at St. Patrick’s High School for adults who attended the Spring Institute of the Archdiocese. Here are some new relics I used for the exposition.

Spiritual Director of St. Faustina (Divine Mercy):

 

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Young  Mystics:

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Bone of Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering (the 2nd St. Margret Mary--- her private revelations prompted Pope Leo XIII to consecrate the whole human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus):

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Seven Spanish Martyrs (Bone & clothes wore by them when executed):

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Martyr from Thailand: 

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Bone relic of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, who was a lover of holy relics herself:

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Here are some beautiful quotations from Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich about holy relics:

“It was before her last confinement, and she had begged me for some kind of holy relic to support her, so I gave her this little bundle, which I saw shining and as though it had once been in contact with the Mother of God.” – Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich


“I did not then know its exact contents, I only saw that it shone, that it was a holy relic and had been in contact with the Mother of God.” – Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich


“They are shining: what treasures we possess, more valuable than a kingdom.” – Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

“Take care of that label! The relic shines; it is authentic!” – Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

Saturday, April 10, 2010

FLL Radio Program 愛的恩泉電台節目(April 10)

April 10, 2010 (Saturday)

  • Toronto 6 PM @ AM 1430
  • Vancouver 8 PM @ AM 1470

I am going to talk about the Communion part of the Mass. This is the last of the 4 talks on the Mass.

For more information, please read my article for the Pax Sinica column on the BC Catholic newspaper (March 1, 2009).

You may contact me by email: fatheranthonyho@gmail.com

Please visit FLL website: http://fll.cc/

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sacred Relics Received

I am very grateful to receive some sacred relics.

They came on time for the upcoming expositions this Friday & Saturday.

Chinese Martyrs:

Relic on the right: bone relic of St. Giovanni from Triora (was given to me yesterday)

Relic on the left: criminal gown worn by  St. John Gabriel Perboyre at his execution and burial (I received this one couple years ago)

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13 Spanish Martyrs:

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Spiritual Masters (left- St. St. Pio of Pietrelcina [Padre Pio] & right- St. Louis de Montfort):

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Child Martyr of Purity:

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Pro-Life Saint--- St. Gianna Molla (cloth relic inside the white paper):

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She gave birth to her last daughter on Holy Saturday, 1962. And last week, her husband, Pietro Molla died also on Holy Saturday. Today is the funeral of Pietro.

Please read the news article HERE

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Baptism

12:30 PM Baptism (a baby girl):

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1:30 PM Baptism (a baby boy):

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Baptism & Confirmation @ 3 PM Chinese Mass (8 adults and 4 children plus Confirmation of a baptized Catholic):

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