Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pentecost - a Glorious Mystery


 Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.

"Michael Dubruiel"

Here's an excerpt:

The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].

As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Pentecost Vigil

   The Mass Readings for the Pentecost Vigil: 

On the last and greatest day of the feast,
Jesus stood up and exclaimed,
“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.
As Scripture says:
    Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.”

He said this in reference to the Spirit
that those who came to believe in him were to receive.
There was, of course, no Spirit yet,
because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Books by Michael Dubruiel:

Michael Dubruiel

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Eucharistic Pilgrimage Begins May 17

  Today is the first day of the national Eucharistic Pilgrimage:

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is a truly unique initiative. This is something NEW—a beautiful fusion of the journey TO Jesus and the journey WITH Jesus. What’s more, it is an adventure that all Catholics can do together, either by interior disposition or physical accompaniment.

This is the birth of something remarkable. Join us as we accompany Jesus in the Eucharist from the north, south, east, and west edges of our country, stopping at many holy sites and churches along the way. Together we will journey with Christ on his way to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress, where he comes to encounter his people anew.

A good resource for deepening one's appreciation of the Eucharist would be The How-To Book of the Mass by Michael Dubruiel:

"eucharistic pilgrimage"

Maybe you are a recent convert, or perhaps you've attended Mass your whole life, but there are still things that puzzle you, like: when you should genuflect and when you should bow; what the different books used at Mass are and what they contain; the meaning of words like "Amen," "Alleluia," or "Hosanna"; what to do during the sign of peace.

You aren't alone.

The How-to Book of the Mass not only provides the who, what, where, when, and why of the most time-honored traditions of the Catholic Church, but also the how. All in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand format.

In this complete guide to the celebration of the Eucharist you get:

  • Step-by-step guidelines to walk you through the Mass
  • Biblical background of the prayers of the Mass
  • Insights from the Tradition and teaching of the Church
  • Practical aid to overcoming distractions
  • Concrete ways to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ at every Mass
  • A handy study guide for individual or group use

    Includes 2011 Roman Missal Translation changes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Pentecost Novena - Part 3

   Now is the time to pray to Pentecost Novena. What is a novena? Why should we pray it?

Here's an explanation from The Church's Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel  (part 2)

3. Praying a novena teaches us the benefit of praying with others to God. While the Second Vatican Council sought to renew a sense of the communal nature of prayer, some of the more zealous sought to achieve this by erasing one aspect of Catholicism where the sense of communal prayer was already a lived reality: the involvement of the Church Victorious — the saints. 

Recently while I was visiting an Eastern Orthodox Church, the beauty and the symbolism of the iconostasis struck me. An iconostasis is a wall of icons (consisting of painted images of God, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints) that separates the sanctuary from the nave of the church. In Orthodox churches the walls are covered with icons as a testament that when we on earth gather in prayer, we do not pray alone, but are joined by all of those who have gone before us and are now in heaven. The next day, while I was at Mass in an inner-city church in Detroit, Michigan, I was struck by the statues of the saints (which, in the post-Vatican II Church, are a rarity) and how much they resembled the iconostasis of the Orthodox Church, except ours were three-dimensional. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Pentecost Novena - Part 2

   Now is the time to pray to Pentecost Novena. What is a novena? Why should we pray it?

Here's an explanation from The Church's Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel  (part 2)

"michael Dubruiel"

2. Praying a novena reinforces a sense that God is our Father and that God loves us. Well-meaning people have done a very good job of spreading a false gospel that good Christians shouldn't ask God for anything, that we shouldn't be seeking favors from the Father. This is sad and clearly not in keeping with the teaching of the Gospel, where Jesus asks, "What do you want me to do for you?" (Mk. 10:51).

 In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits instructed his retreatants to begin every period of prayer by imploring God for a particular grace that they wished to receive as a result of the prayer. At the very end of his Exercises, Ignatius then instructs them to make what he calls a "Contemplation to Attain Divine Love."

This reflection is made by contemplating how lovers enjoy giving gifts to their beloved and how, if God loves us, certainly he must also give us gifts. Retreatants consider what gifts God has given to them, personally, in their lifetime. Just as making a retreat can bring us to this appreciation of God's love, so praying intently for nine days can deepen our consciousness of, and trust in, God's care. 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Mary and the Muslims - Fatima


From the National Rosary Crusade, written many years ago by the Servant of God Bishop Fulton Sheen:


The Qu'ran, which is the Bible for the Muslims, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Qu'ran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Qu'ran places the history of Mary's family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Qu'ran's description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Qu'ran: "O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me."

When Mary is born, the mother says: And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord, against Satan!"

The Qu'ran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Muslim tradition knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered:

Do you not know that God, when he created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by his power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say, 'So be it, and it was done.'

The Qu'ran was also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: "Oh, Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth." In the nineteenth chapter of the Qu'ran there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Qu'ran, in the fourth book, attributed the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

Mary, then, is for the Muslims the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all women in Paradise, after Mary." In a variation of the text, Fatima is made to say, "I surpass all the women, except Mary."

This brings us to our second point: namely, why the Blessed Mother, in the 20th century, should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as "Our Lady of Fatima." Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the blessed Virgin chose to be known as "Our Lady of Fatima" as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Muslims occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Muslim chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Muslims left, but even embraced the faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where our lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.

The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Muslims is the enthusiastic reception which the Muslims in Africa, India, and elsewhere gave to the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Muslims attended the church services in honor of our Lady, they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique, the Muslims who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

Pentecost Novena - 1

  Now is the time to pray to Pentecost Novena. What is a novena? Why should we pray it?

Here's an explanation from The Church's Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel

A novena is a challenging form of prayer. Whereas the recitation of the prayer or a set of prayers may be easy, doing it for nine consecutive days is not. Our lives are crowded and it is often easy to let the prayer pass. I like to think of the practice of praying a novena as setting the ground-work for a life of prayer. Consider the possible benefits of praying a novena besides the actual requests that one mentions in them. 

1. Praying a novena can help you develop the habit of praying daily. Our lives are filled with ritual from the time we get up in the morning: the route we take to work and home again, how we spend our evenings, and the usual time we go to bed. Day in and out the pat-tern is repeated. Is prayer a part of that daily rou-tine? Praying a novena for nine consecutive days can set a pattern of prayer in our lives that can create a daily habit of prayer.