Around The Corner

What a blast! I wanted to stay all night, but the kids were giving out just before 2 am, so I brought them home. My wife stayed all night for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t know how she did it.

When we walked into the church before the 8:30 Mass she was sitting right where we left her. Amazing. 😉

Listen to this awesome version of Winter Wonderland, and then enjoy the silence of the day.

An Awesome Experience

The dancers were great, the mariachis in tune, and who knew our priest could sing like that!?! I wonder if he’d get upset if I posted the video?

Getting ready now for the Mass. More tomorrow…

A Big Weekend Ahead

We spent the better part of our morning with others at our church preparing for the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Posting might be light this weekend as there is an all-night exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and I plan on staying as late as I can.

 

We had a great time working with Hispanic members of our parish, making sure everything was in place for all of the festivities. The smell of the roses in the sanctuary is awesome!

 

I’m looking forward to the folkloric dances and the serenading mariachis. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by and join in the celebration!

Setting Things Straight

I had an interesting time at the RCIA class tonight.

Without going into too much detail, someone said something that just didn’t make any sense.

I thought of speaking to our priest about it, but before I could give it much thought some interesting things transpired.

The person in question called to set things straight, in other words, to apologize for what they said.

I prayed for wisdom in dealing with the situation and today’s homily was all about wisdom and how society (and some people) try to twist our beliefs.

I know where I stand spiritually, so this won’t be too difficult. I’m sure the person thought I was going run straight to the priest, but that won’t be happening.

He already knows what’s going on, and I don’t have to say a word.

I know this doesn’t make sense, but I needed to type it out so I could reflect on it later. Maybe one day I will explain. Maybe not.

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From Pope Benedict XVI:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This year too we have arranged to meet here, in Piazza di Spagna, to pay homage to the Immaculate Virgin on the occasion of her solemn Feast. I address my cordial greeting to all of you who have come here in great numbers, as well as to those who are taking part via radio and television. We are gathered round this historic monument, which today is surrounded by a mass of flowers, a sign of the love and devotion of the Roman People for the Mother of Jesus. The most beautiful gift, the most pleasing to her and which we are offering to her, is our prayer, the prayers we carry in our hearts and entrust to her intercession. They are invocations of thanksgiving and petition: thanksgiving for the gift of faith and for all the good we receive from God; and petition for the various needs, for the family, for health and for work, for every difficulty that life makes us encounter.

But when we come here, especially on this occasion of 8 December, what we receive from Mary is far more important than what we offer her. In fact, she gives us a message destined for each one of us, for the City of Rome and for the whole world. I, who am the Bishop of this City, also come to listen, not only for myself, but for everyone. And what does Mary say? She speaks to us with the Word of God who was made flesh in her womb. Her “message” is nothing other than Jesus, the One who is the whole of her life. It is thanks to him and for him that she is Immaculate. And just as the Son of God became a man for our sake, so too she, the Mother, was preserved from sin for our sake, for everyone, in anticipation of God’s salvation for every human being.

Thus Mary tells us that we are all called to open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit in order, in our ultimate destiny, to attain an immaculate state, fully and definitively free from evil. She tells us this with her own holiness, with her gaze full of hope and compassion which evokes words such as these: “Do not fear, my child, God loves you; he loves you personally; he thought of you before you came into the world and called you into being to fill you with love and with life; and for this reason he came to meet you, he made himself like you, he became Jesus, God-man, like you in all things but without sin; he gave himself for your sake to the point of dying on the Cross, and thus he gave you a new life, free, holy and immaculate” (cf. Eph 1:3-5).

Mary gives us this message and, when I come here on this Feast, it impresses me because I feel it is addressed to the whole City, to all the men and women who live in Rome: even to those who do not think of it, who do not even remember that today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; to those who feel lonely and forsaken.

Mary’s gaze is God’s gaze upon each one of us. She looks at us with the Father’s love itself and blesses us. She acts as our “advocate” and we invoke her thus in the Salve, Regina: Advocata nostra. Even if everyone were to speak badly of us, she, the Mother, would speak well of us because her immaculate Heart is in tune with God’s mercy. So it is that she sees the City: not as an anonymous agglomeration but as a constellation in which God knows each one personally by name, one by one, and calls us to shine with his light. And those who in the world’s eyes are the first, to God are the lowliest; those who are little to God are great.

The Mother looks at us as God looked at her, a humble young girl of Nazareth, insignificant in the world’s eyes but chosen and precious to God. He recognizes in each one his or her likeness to his Son Jesus, even though we are so different! But who knows the power of divine Grace better than her? Who knows better than her that nothing is impossible for God who can even draw good from evil?

This, dear brothers and sisters, is the message we receive here, at the feet of Mary Immaculate.

It is a message of trust for every person of this City and of the whole world; a message of hope not made of words but of her history itself. She, a woman of our lineage, who gave birth to the Son of God and shared her whole life with him! And today she tells us: this is also your destiny, your own destiny and the destiny of all: to be holy like our Father, to be immaculate like our Brother Jesus Christ, to be loved children, all adopted in order to form a great family with no boundaries of colour or language, because God, Father of every human being, is one.

Thank you, O Mother Immaculate, for being with us always! May you never cease to watch over our City: comfort the sick, encourage the young and sustain families. Instill in them the strength to reject evil in all its forms and to choose good, even when it comes at a cost and entails going against the tide. Give us the joy to feel loved by God, blessed by him, predestined to be his children.

Immaculate Virgin, our sweetest Mother, pray for us!

Pearl Harbor: Sixty-Nine Years Ago

At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor In Hawaii.

Anxious to maintain their military and economic power in the region the Japanese planned to cripple the U.S. fleet which would then allow them to attack the Philippines and Indo-China without opposition and acquire the raw materials they needed to maintain their position.

Several ships were sunk or damaged, the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack.

The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress, which declared war against Japan, and the United States officially entered World War II. The Japanese had no idea they were awakening a sleeping giant. December 7th, 1941 truly was a date which would live in infamy.

James Bradley, whose father was one of those who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, has studied the war and the reason Japan attacked us in the first place.

In a secret presidential cable to Tokyo, in July 1905, Roosevelt approved the Japanese annexation of Korea and agreed to an “understanding or alliance” among Japan, the United States and Britain “as if the United States were under treaty obligations.” The “as if” was key: Congress was much less interested in North Asia than Roosevelt was, so he came to his agreement with Japan in secret, an unconstitutional act.

Bradley’s op-ed in the New York Times is an excellent read for anyone who wants to know the real reason that Japan decided to attack us the way they did.

Take a moment today to remember all of those who died on that December morning in 1941.

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