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The best gift EVER: The Immaculate Conception

Almighty God, Omnipotent and Infinitely Wise, had to choose his Mother. What would you have done, if you had had to choose yours? I think that you and I would have chosen the mother we have, filling her with all graces. That is what God did.
—St. Josemaria Escriva

Go find roses in the snow!

 St. Juan Diego, oremus!

O God, who by means of Saint Juan Diego showed
the love of the most holy Virgin Mary for your people,
grant, through his intercession,
that, by following the counsels our Mother gave at Guadalupe,
we may be ever constant in fulfilling your will.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

St. Augustine on Today's Gospel

Gospel for Wednesday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time

Imitating the Lord’s patience
Our Lord was an example of incomparable patience. He bore with a “devil” among his disciples even to his Passion (Jn 6,70). He said: “Let them grow together until the harvest lest you uproot the wheat when you pull out the weeds” (cf. Mt 13,29f.). As a symbol of the Church he preached that the net would bring back to shore, namely the end of the world, every kind of fish, both good and bad. And he made it known in various other ways, whether openly or in parables, that there would always be a mixture of good and bad. But nevertheless he stresses that we have to protect the Church’s discipline when he says: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother” (Mt 18,15)…  Yet today we see people who think of nothing but stern commandments, who order that troublemakers be reproved, « not giving what is holy to the do…

Thoughts from the Vine lunch

(1) There is no reason that Holiness cannot be the next worldwide revolution. St. Francis was one man whose holiness inspired a whole continent. What could God do with a small group of men and women today who wholeheartedly abandoned themselves to His will in a similar spirit?

(2) The only thing standing between myself and holiness is myself. But I can never overcome myself; after all, I know all my own moves ...Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? [Rom 7:15-24]

But what if the antagonist-self, faced not protagonist-self, but Christ? What if I crucified myself with Christ so that it was no longer I, but Christ in me? [Gal 2:19-20]

Surely He who has conquered and overcome the world [Jn 16:33] can conquer antagonist-me.

So, Foolish Self, pick up your cross and follow Him whose victory over sin has swallowed up death and gives the victory to us [1 Cor 15:54-57] victory over self, victory over the world, and whose reward is Holy Beatitude in heaven for eter…

Religious Reflections | The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire

The Pilgrim's Religious Reflections
CCC ¶ 1691 "Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God." [St. Leo the Great]
The quote from St. Leo that begins Part III of the Catechism: Life in Christcontains powerful language and inspiring phrases: "recognize your dignity" "share in God's own nature" "base condition" "rescued from the power of darkness" "the light of the Kingdom of God." This kind of language catches the mind and lifts it up when really listened to.

St. Ephrem, Oremus!

Oh my loved friends,
Ye children of the Church,
Offer up your praise
At the season of the dawn:
Every morning let us give thanks,
And bow down in adoration,
To the good Being who hath arranged in order,
All the starry lights on high.
– Saint Ephraem

Today is the feast day of Saint Ephrem, the Syrian, Deacon and Doctor of the Church. St. Ephrem had an amazing reverence for the Incarnation and Our Lady that infused everything he wrote particularly his hymns and poetry. These works were incredibly effective in fighting against heresies that attacked our Lord's Incarnation and the reverence due to Mary as their beauty and fidelity lifted the hearts of the people who sang them during the Mass. In fact, it is to St. Ephrem that we attribute the addition of hymns outside of the Psalms into the Mass.