Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Books by Fr. Benedict Groeschel


The genesis of this book was inspired by a set of talks that Father Benedict J. Groeschel C.F.R., gave several years ago in the Diocese of Manchester, NH. At the time while researching material for a project I was working on I came across an advertisement for the talks and found both the title and topic striking. The topic seemed to fit Father Benedict's lifetime of working among the poor and raising money to help their plight. I approached him, shortly after listening to the tapes and asked him to consider doing a book version. He liked the idea but was reluctant to pursue the project alone due to the shortage of time available to work on it.

"Michael Dubruiel"

Unwilling to let go of the project, I approached another friend of the poor, Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Charleston. I knew that Bishop Baker's priestly ministry had been devoted to finding Christ in the poor and with a wealth of experience he had in this area that if I could join his thoughts with Fr. Groeschel' s we would have a book that would be of great benefit to the rest of us. After approaching Bishop Baker with my request he agreed and then Father Benedict agreed to collaborate on this book.


While the Bishop and Father Benedict were working on the written text of the book I came across a stunning work of iconography one day while visiting an Eastern Catholic church. On the back wall of the church was an icon of the Last Judgment taken from Matthew 25. I found that the great iconographer Mila Mina had written the icon. I immediately contacted Mila and asked if the icon might be used as an illustration for this book, her response was "anything to make the Gospel known!" Thanks to Mila and her son Father John Mina for allowing Joyce Duriga and David Renz to photograph the icon at Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, Clairton, PA.

Fr. Groeschel has written the introductory text that begins each section as well as the final "What Should I Do?" at the end of the book, and Bishop Baker has written the individual meditations and prayers contained in each of the six sections.


While this book was being written, Father Benedict was involved in a horrific accident that nearly took his life. At the time of the accident the text he was working on was in his suitcase. He had just finished the introduction to "When I was a stranger..." as you read over the text for that section you might sense that he was having a premonition of what was about to happen in his life-where he would soon be in an emergency room under the care of doctors, nurses and as well as his family and religious community.


You will find that this book provides you with keys to finding Our Lord in the poor, and to overcoming the fears and obstacles (represented by the seven deadly sins in each section) that prevent you from responding to His call.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ash Wednesday is March 6

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6/

All about The Power of the Cross (available for free download) and the Way of the Cross (available as an app as well as in paper copies).

Both by Michael Dubruiel. 



Monday, January 21, 2019

Martin Luther King, Jr.

From 2004 by Michael Dubruiel

This past summer on our way to Florida, Amy and I stopped at the gravesite of Martin Luther King Jr. I had been there before, a number of times. Though it is close to downtown, there is a quiet that persist--obviously this was not the case the other day when President Bush was there--but the times I've been there, although a crowd is present, most are quiet, reflecting.



What are they reflecting on?



Non-violence, peaceful protest, offer no resistence--the teachings of Christ! For what made Dr. King's message different and in the end successful was the apparent failure of it. Like the master he preached--his tomb stands like a cross planted squarely in the middle of the south. The relecting pool surrounding it reflects the faces of humanity who walk around it.



It was Christian faith, radical belief in the message of Jesus that led the civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and sadly that very faith has been forgotten by many who wish to follow in his footprints. But who can blame them when they see the tomb of Dr. King, they see the price of the taking up one's cross and following the master.



We also visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church nearby. I had never been inside the church before--since it was undergoing renovations. Amy and I were both shocked at how small it was--having seen in on television countless times, it seemed large. But alas it wasn't..."if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to that mountain."



There will be many talks given today, that will laud Dr. King and his contribution to our society. There will be many proclamations about the progress we have made and some lamentation about how much further we have to go. But the saddest indictment will not be that we have not moved far enough in recognizing all people as our brothers and sisters--but rather that most of us have forgotten the one Father that we share that makes us all brothers and sisters!



At the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN where Dr. King was shot there is a historical marker with a quote from Genesis..."here comes that dreamer, let us put an end to him and then see what becomes of his dream." Of course the dreamer spoken of in Genesis is Joseph and his dream was given to him by God and nothing men could do could destroy or keep that dream from coming to fruition. Ultimately God always wins...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Fulton Sheen Meditation by Michael Dubruiel

From Praying in the Presence of the Lord with Fulton Sheen by Michael Dubruiel

Bishop Sheen’s “Now-moment” corresponds to the thinking of the great spiritual writer Jean Pierre de Caussade. In Abandonment to Divine Providence, Fr. Caussade gives the reader a sure way of knowing the will of God at any moment—by simply confronting the present moment with all its reality. It seems simple, but if we reflect for a second most of us will find that we spend most of our lives avoiding the present moment.
A few years ago an English translation of the Father Caussade’s work appeared in the United States changing the original title to read “The Sacrament of the Present Moment.” This captures the essence of Father Caussade’s work and Bishop Sheen’s meditation that in the present time we are presented with an opportunity that is truly unique. Each moment is sacramental.
Most of us are capable of presenting ourselves with some amount of reflection as we celebrate the sacraments. If we celebrated the sacrament of Baptism as an adult certainly we came expecting to be changed by God. Each time we enter a confessional surely we have examined our conscience beforehand and are penitent expecting to be forgiven by God. Undoubtedly every time we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist we expect to encounter God. But what about the other moments of our lives?
As we awake in the morning, is our first thought of God? As we greet our brothers and sisters throughout the day do we expect that God might be present? Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to encounter God who is always present.
Spend some time reflecting on the following:
1. Go over the events of the present day and ask yourself where God might have been in each of them. Is there a consistent pattern to your day?
2. Reflect on the life of your favorite saint, and meditate on how he or she dealt with the people they met in their daily journeys. How could you imitate this saint? What enabled the saint to act in the way he or she did toward others?
3. Imagine as you leave from this time of prayer that God wishes to continue to be present to you as you go forth. How will you react to his presence in others?
PrayerLord, help me to search for you in the garden of life in the same way that St. Mary Magdalene did when she found your tomb empty. May my search be rewarded as hers was by knowledge of your abiding presence. Amen.
"michael dubruiel" "fulton sheen"

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Catholic Mass Prayers

Eucharist means..."thanksgiving"

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 


Excerpt



T H A N K G O D A H E A D        O F T I M E
There is an American friar whose cause for sainthood is currently before Rome. His name is Father Solanus Casey; he was a Capuchin Friar who ministered in Detroit, New York, and Huntington, Indiana. He died over forty years ago. I often walk the grounds of the former friary where he served in Huntington and think about his ministry. Born of Irish immigrants, he was sent to German seminaries where the priests taught him in German how to speak Latin. He didn’t fare too well — who would?
Eventually he was ordained but not allowed to preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. In a time when there was more of a caste system in religious life he was given a “brothers’ job” as porter. People sought him out near and far.They found great wisdom in his words, and great miracles of healing were recorded after his prayer and touch. Many were converted.
In many ways, it would seem that he would have had much to be bitter about. He was obviously one of the most gifted friars in the community, but he was treated as one who had little to offer.

Yet he was not bitter, and his advice to people who requested prayer and healing is interesting. He told them to “thank God ahead of time”— as an act of faith.He often also had them enroll in a Mass association as a way of giving thanks to God.
This is a beautiful message for us: to thank God in all things, to be thankful for everything that life brings to us even if to all appearances it doesn’t seem there is anything to be thankful for, and to thank God ahead of time,trusting that in God’s time good will come from it all.
The Eucharist is all about “giving thanks,” and how much you and I can do so at any given moment is dependent upon how deeply we are adoring and worshiping God.Offering God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving will help us to get the most from the Eucharist.

Friday, January 18, 2019

What is the Catholic Mass?

Eucharist means..."thanksgiving"

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 


Excerpt

Living in thanksgiving literally means always having gratitude on your lips.
The late great Orthodox liturgist Alexander Schmemann felt that the meaning of “thanksgiving”— the literal translation of the Greek word Eucharist — had been lost on modern people. We tend to limit giving thanks to only those things that we receive that we perceive as good.Yet Schmemann argues that for the early church “giving thanks” was something the Christian did because the Kingdom of God had been restored in Jesus Christ.
Our very inclusion in Christ is reason enough to give thanks; the fact that God has spoken to us in the Word is another reason to give thanks; the fact that Christ has saved us and shares his Body and Blood with us is another reason to give thanks; and the fact that Christ has given us a mission is yet another reason to give him thanks! In fact,you will recognize that at the point in the celebration of the Eucharist that each of these things is mentioned, we express our thanks, either as a congregation, when we say, “Thanks be to God,” or through the presider, when he says to God, “We give you thanks.”
Because of what Christ has done for us we now have a vantage point in life that those who do not know Christ do not have.The liturgy is a mystery of light, and we are on the mountaintop of the Transfiguration and know that Jesus rises from the dead — that he is victorious over our enemies. Therefore, as St. Paul tells the Thessalonians, we can “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Learn about the Catholic Mass

Eucharist means..."thanksgiving"

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 


Excerpt

From a positive standpoint, then, what can we do to adore God in the Eucharist?
First we must foster a sense of reverence for God.The actions in the Mass of kneeling, bowing, and beating our breasts all have meaning. They cause us to consciously call to mind that God is present and to focus all of our attention on what God wants of us at the present moment.
Second, we need to worship the Eucharist outside of Mass in order to foster a deeper communion with our Eucharistic Lord when we receive his awesome gift at Mass. When we actively worship Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we grow in awareness of what it means to receive him at Communion. Pope John Paul II has written about this as a necessary elementwhen preaching about the Eucharist to young people, he begins by telling them to “Be amazed,” paraphrasing the Holy Father’s injunction.
Coming aside to reverence Christ in the Eucharist, realizing that he is before us, has the same power to change us as he did to those who came into his earthly presence.
LIVING THE E UCHARIST
Try to find time to make a visit to a chapel or church to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Give Christ whatever time you have, whether a little or a lot. Make acts of worship in his presence.
Consciously call to mind God’s presence throughout the day, no matter where you are.

Third,we need to understand what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls “the implications of faith in one God.” It means:
    “Living in thanksgiving” (CCC 224).
    “Trusting God in every circumstance” (CCC 227).