Wednesday, July 31, 2013

St. Ignatius Loyola


Founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat (near Barcelona). He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper’s hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned.

It was during this year of conversion that Ignatius began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises.

He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. He spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, his orthodoxy was questioned; Ignatius was twice jailed for brief periods.

In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier, December 2) vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general.

When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society.

Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.” In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Anniversary of Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine, Freedom, WI


Today I attended Mass at Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine in Freedom, WI. It is owned and taken care of by two of my grandparents friends, who also are my uncle's parents (so some of my cousins other grandparents). It was dedicated on July 29, 2009, under the title of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners, with an image of the Mother Thrice Admirable over the altar.


Many of the statues, as well as the altar, are donated. Last year a tabernacle was allowed inside the shrine to keep Our Lord ever present in this holy place. Improvements keep coming in, such as new stained glass windows, a cross on the exterior, and stations of the cross.


Address:

N4668 Olde Ireland Way
Freedom, Wisconsin 54130
920-788-4729

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sts. Anne & Joachim




Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition.

We get the oldest story from a document called the Gospel of James, though in no way should this document be trusted to be factual, historical, or the Word of God. The legend told in this document says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah -- Anne -- in 1 Kings).

For those who wonder what we can learn from people we know nothing about and how we can honor them, we must focus on why they are honored by the church. Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured Mary, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God's request with faith, "Let it be done to me as you will." It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified and still believe.

Such parents can be examples and models for all parents.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

St. James the Greater


Patron of Spain

For James there was no indication that this was the day that his life would change. The dawn for him was not the bright beginning of a new day, but the end of long fruitless night of fishing. As James sat mending his nets in the boat with his brother John and his father Zebedee, he must have watched in wonder as his partner Simon brought in nets loaded with fish he had caught at the command of Jesus. Was he shocked when he saw Simon and his brother Andrew walk away from this incredible catch at a word from this same Jesus?

As he watched Jesus walk toward him followed by Simon and Andrew, did he feel curiosity, fear, hope, envy? Jesus didn't pass him by but, stopping by their boat, called James and his brother John to do just what Simon and Andrew had done. Without argument or discussion, James and John left their boat and even their father behind, and followed Jesus.

The first thing James saw after he followed Jesus was his teaching with authority in the synagogue and the cure of Simon's mother-in-law.

We all know that Jesus was the focus of James' life from then on, but it is also evident that James held a special place in Jesus' life.

He was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve apostles, given the mission to proclaim the good news, and authority to heal and cast out demons. To be named one of the twelve James must have had faith and commitment.

But even among the apostles he held a special place. When Jesus raised Jairus' daughter when all thought her dead, he only allowed James, John, and Peter to come with him. Even more important when he went up to the mountain to pray, he wanted James, John, and Peter to go with him. And it was there on the mountain they were privileged to witness what no one else had seen -- Jesus transfigured in his glory, speaking to Moses and Elijah, as the voice of God spoke from a cloud.

And with Simon Peter, James and John were the only ones of the apostles that Jesus gave a special name: Sons of Thunder.

To be singled out in these ways, James must have been a close and respected friend of Jesus.

It's no wonder then that James, along with John, felt that he had the right to go to Jesus and ask him to give them whatever they asked. As a mark of his love, Jesus didn't rebuke them but asked them what they wanted. They showed their lack of understanding of his mission when the asked that he let one of them sit on his right and the other on his left when he came into his glory. He replied that they didn't know what they were asking. They didn't see the cross in his future, but an earthly throne. Could they drink of the cup he would drink of? They replied that they could. He assured them they would indeed drink of that cup.

(Matthew has their mother asking for this favor for her sons. Despite the bad reputation their mother got for this, it should be remembered that she too had followed Jesus in his travels, providing for him, and was one of the women who stayed with Jesus as he was crucified when the apostles, including her son James, had fled.)

The other apostles were furious at this request. But Jesus used this opportunity to teach all of them that in order to be great one must be a servant.

James and John did show further lack of understanding of their friend and Lord when he was turned away by Samaritans. They wanted to use their new found authority as apostles not to heal but to bring fire down on the town. (Perhaps Jesus gave them their Sons of Thunder nickname because of their passion, their own fire, or their temper.) Jesus did reprimand them for their unforgiving, vengeful view of their power.

But despite all these misunderstandings, it was still James, Peter, and John that Jesus chose to join him in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane for his final prayer before his arrest. It must have hurt Jesus that the three of them fell asleep on this agonizing evening.

James did drink of the cup Jesus drank of, all too shortly after the Resurrection. Acts 12:1 tells us that James was one of the first martyrs of the Church. King Herod Agrippa I killed him with a sword in an early persecution of the Church. There is a story that the man who arrested James became a convert after hearing James speak at his trial and was executed with him.

James is called James the Greater because another younger apostle was named James. He should not be accused with this James, or the James who is a relative of Jesus, or the James who was an elder of the Church in Jerusalem and heard Peter's defense of baptizing Gentiles. James, son of Thunder, was dead by then.

Legends have sprung up that James evangelized Spain before he died but these stories have no basis in historical fact.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill

Yesterday on our way back from Steubenville St. Louis, we stopped at Holy Hill in Hubertus, WI. It was fantastic, as I have never been there before.

Pictures:


Holy Hill



Interior





Choir Loft



Our Lady of Mount Carmel



St. John of the Cross



St. Teresa of Avila





Crutches left by the faithful



Shrine



Our Lady Help of Christians



Altar



Mourning and Weeping in this vale of tears!



Sacred Heart Altar



The Doors show the Annunciation



View from the front of the church



Therese Chapel



Immaculate Heart Altar



St. Anthony of Padua



Therese Altar



13th Station of the Cross grotto





12th Station of the Cross





Mother of Sorrows



Man of Sorrows







St. Therese of Lisieux



The Prophet Elijah




I plan on going back in fall...hopefully.


Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis


Our stop on Friday was to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in St. Louis, MO. My pictures do not even compare to the magnificent beauty of the Cathedral. Here is a link to the Cathedral Basilica's website.






(fuzzy) Interior




High Altar with baldachin and dome surrounded by the apostles



Main dome showing heavenly visions (our tour guide said a 14 story building can fit under this dome!)


Pentecost mosaic in the western transept



Back of the Cathedral Basilica with colorful rose window



Our Lady's Chapel



The Visitation Mosaic



Altar in Our Lady's chapel



Red rose window hidden behind the altar



St. Louis



Cathedral Organ







Bishop's "Cathedra"



Pulpit



Detail on the pulpit with the four evangelists



Exact copy of Michelangelo's Pieta, except in bronze



St. Vincent de Paul



Blessed Sacrament Chapel



Blessed Sacrament Altar


Laying on of hands mosaic



The Tabernacle, the place where the King of the Universe resides



Sanctuary Lamp





St. Anne



All Souls Chapel



Altar, with the burial spot of Cardinal Glennon.



St. Therese of Lisieux


All Saints Chapel



Narthex

More (and far better) pictures can be found here from the blog Rome of the West: