Friday, December 26, 2014

A Call to Christmas Conversion

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!
Merry Christmas! We are now in the Holy Octave of Christmas, and have begun to celebrate the arrival of our new-born King.  Amidst this special time of celebration, we continue to abound in opportunities to examine our hearts and seek ever greater renewal to allow Christ's Kingship to reign within. Just a few short days ago, Pope Francis addressed the Curia concerning 15 spiritual ailments that can stifle the Holy Spirit and spiritual growth. He pointed out that many of these interior illnesses and dispositions lead to greater sins of pride, laxity, and lukewarm behaviors and ideas. Among them, he listed excessive activity, gossip, dour personalities, defiance of authority, vanity, and spiritual schizophrenia, to name a few. You can read more about them here: ​​
I was thinking about two Christmas movie classics that encapsulate the Christmas spirit or lack thereof and can be used as a measuring stick for my own interior dispositions and external actions towards others. Those two movies are A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life.
In the classic Charles Dickens tale,
A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge personifies what we do not want to become as Christmas pilgrims on our journey. Scrooge is mean-spirited, miserly, and cares nothing about his family, his employees, or those in need. He only cares about money and ensuring that his worldly possessions and concerns are taken care of at the expense of everyone else. His relationships are lost, and his sense of wonder and joy snuffed out by his pre-occupation with self and earthly concerns that are passing. And instead of sharing the blessings and gifts that he has with others, he hoards them and lords them over others. It is a sad state of affairs as he revisits Christmas Past, and sees the warmth that he enjoyed with family, friends, and a special woman that he loved, and how he lost it due to his narcissistic behavior and lack of care and concern for others. 

He then witnesses Christmas Present and how these same people are lamenting his absence and how he used to be a part of their celebration but has isolated himself to such an extreme that no one cares to be around him. Finally, Christmas Future is revealed and he sees that as his life fades he is increasingly alone and then faces death where his isolation and darkness become a foreshadowing of afterlife in hell.  All has passed and he is left with nothing. Only darkness surrounds him as He has removed God's love and the
love of others from his life.  

It has him shaking in his boots and an 'aha' moment, an epiphany occurs as he realizes the errors of his ways and seeks to remedy them.  He comes to understand in his heart that all things are passing but love for God and one another, and that when one shares of their gifts and bounties one receives back a hundred-fold.

In contrast, A Wonderful Life focuses on the life of George Bailey who is depicted as an affable, caring, and self-sacrificing individual from a very young age. As a boy, he is given the opportunity to save his brother's life when the ice breaks while sledding, and as a result loses his hearing in one ear. He intervenes when the pharmacist is grieving over losing his only son at war, and mistakenly gives a patient the wrong medicine that would potentially kill her; and instead of going off to college and traveling the world as he has always dreamed of, he stays in the small town of Bedford Falls after the death of his father, to honor his legacy and help his community to grow and have opportunities to own their own homes and build better lives.  

Again and again, George puts others ahead of himself.  At  a pivotal crisis, when their funds are accidentally misplaced by Uncle Billy, it appears to him that all of his sacrifice has been for naught.  He prays to God for help on Christmas Eve, but continues to despair and drink, believing that he is worth more dead than alive, and intending on committing suicide. He laments that it would have been better if he had never been born. His Guardian Angel Clarence saves his life, and takes him on a journey as to what life would have been like for his family and the entire community of Bedford Falls if he had never been born. During this transport in time, George sees that his life has deeply touched the lives of many others, saved many lives, and influenced his entire small community of Bedford Falls. He comes to realize that regardless of what happens with the outcome of the missing money, he has lived a wonderful life and has much to live for and look forward to.

In the touching conclusion, we see all the people of the town come to his family's home and contribute the missing funds in order that his bank does not have to declare bankruptcy and George doesn't have to face prison time. We see that his generosity and self sacrifice all these years has come back full circle and those around him love and respect him, and will do anything to help him. It truly is a moving film of how we want to live our lives as Christians and act in selfless love for others. 

These two movies can be used for a Christmas examination of conscience. Five points really stand out for me:
1. Do we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the interior promptings of our Guardian Angels or do we have closed hearts and hearing? Are we open to what God is telling us through other people, the voice of conscience, or do we ignore them? Do we foster listening to God and to others who want to help us through silence and time for prayer, or do we ignore, reject, or run from these voices that seek to help and protect us?

2. Are we affable and approachable or are we joyless and cantankerous like Scrooge? Do others dread seeing us or spending time with us because of our self-centeredness and negativity, or do we spread joy, laughter, and the love of friendship and concern wherever we go?

3. Are we self-sacrificing and seek to serve others, or are we miserly and selfish? Do we always think of the other as Jesus asked of us, or do we place primacy on our own plans to the point of self-adulation and worship?

4. Do we seek ways to serve the poor, the infirm and those more unfortunate than ourselves, or do we ignore, or even worse, despise the cries of the poor as Scrooge did before his conversion? In a related way, are we aware of the despair that some feel during the Christmas season due to loss, family division, severe disappointment or other forms of mental distress and illness? Do we seek to bring comfort to those who mourn, and touch the lives of those who contemplate suicide? Do we pray for the least of our brothers and sisters whether they are in spiritual, mental or spiritual poverty? See this examination of conscience for further guidance on fulfilling the Beatitudes in life: See

 5. Are we able to change plans quickly and in peace in order to do what God requires of us in the present moment, as George Bailey did time and again, or de we cling to our agendas and plans to the point of ignoring or rejecting the Divine Will and the needs of others? Do we trust that God is always with us and that His plans are always best for us in a childlike spirit, or do we doubt the love of God, only trust in our own plans, and refuse to surrender to His loving providence?

These are points that we can ponder during this Christmas Octave and as we approach the New Year and the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. It is a time of great joy as well as a time to seek to grow and empty ourselves, as Our Lord did when, "He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, and being born in the likeness of men." [Ph 2:7] Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our Lady of Expectation - Our Lady of O

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Dear Ones-
Christmas is now just one week away! Where has the time gone? Hopefully, amidst the many temporal activities and concerns of the season, we have been able to set aside some time for quiet reflection and consideration of what remains most important during this season- the birth of Christ who 'emptied himself taking the form of a slave' in order to redeem us.

As we continue our Advent journey forward, I thought this article written by a professor on this Feast Day of Our Lady of Expectation would be appropriate to meditate on as we draw close to that Star of Wonder, and await the revelation of Our Lord in the flesh...manifested in our hearts.

Here it is as published at  by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. 

Expectation of Our Lady - December 18

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

December 18 begins the last week of Advent, which the Church calls the Week of Expectation. We are only one week away from the Birth of Our Lord, and the Church imagines the jubilation and hope of Our Lady in expectation of her parturition: she was waiting to admire the Blessed Face of the Son she was generating in her womb.

Our Lady Expectation - Sabara, Brazil

Our Lady of the Expectation, in Sabará, Brazil
Our Lady had begged God to hasten the coming of the Messiah, God heard her omnipotent prayer, and the Incarnation in fact was anticipated. She was invited to be the Mother of the Word. She accepted, and conceived the Incarnate Word in her womb. In this last week of her gestation, she is waiting with expectation to see the Face of her Son so that she might have a more profound knowledge of His soul and His full personality.

She also awaits the salvation of the world that approaches. She sees the hour coming when the glory of God will cease to be offended by the legacy of original sin. The Devil’s reign that dominated for more than 4,000 years is drawing to its end. She senses that the Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ is near. Only one week is lacking for the birth of the Word that marks the beginning of the end of the reign of the Devil. It was definitely destroyed when Our Lord was immolated on the Cross and the Redemption was consummated.

These considerations filled the heart of Our Lady with hope. That is why during this period of waiting she is called Our Lady of the Expectation, Our Lady of the Hope or Our Lady of the O!, since on each of the seven days before Christmas there is an antiphon in the liturgy that the Church attributes to her. All of these antiphons begin with the exclamation – O! – and continue with adapted words of the Old Testament that refer to the birth of Our Lord and His Redemption.

These antiphons, called the "Greater Antiphons" or the "O Antiphons," are the following:

Antiphon 1: O Wisdom! Thou came forth from the mouth of the Most High and, reaching from beginning to end, Thou ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

Antiphon 2: O Adonai, Ruler of the House of Israel! Thou appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him Thy law. Come to redeem us with the strength of Thy arm.

Antiphon 3: O Root of Jesse! Thou stand as a sign for all peoples; before Thee kings shall keep silence and to Thee all nations shall have recourse. Come, save us, and do not delay.

Antiphon 4: O Key of David, Scepter of the House of Israel! Thou doth open and no man closes; Thou doth close and no man opens. Come, and deliver from the chains of prison those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Antiphon 5: O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice! Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Antiphon 6: O King of the Gentile, the Awaited One of all! Thou are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save man whom Thou fashioned out of clay.

Antiphon 7: O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Hope and Salvation of the nations! Come and save us, O Lord our God.

The O Antiphons suggest to us some thoughts.

When the encyclical Divini Redemptoris of Pius XI against Communism was published in 1937, the Pontiff noted in it that the world was in such a bad state that it was in danger of falling to a state lower than it was before the Redemption. And indeed, we can say that it fell. From 1937 to this date, the catastrophe has happened. The many evils described by Pius XI have only increased since his time. The world redeemed by Jesus Christ is now at a lower state than before His coming.

Deluge by Thomas Cole

A dawn after the Deluge by Thomas Cole
In this situation we long for a restoration so radical that is similar to a redemption. We hope for a renewal of the fruits of Redemption applied to the needs of our times. We have need of the punishment of those who despise Our Lord and have infiltrated into the deepest recesses of His Church. If they could, they would destroy her. We also call for those who can convert to be regenerated and reconciled with Our Lord. We need the Reign of Mary to be implanted.

So, for us, in the days that precede Christmas, these antiphons should express an appeal and a plea to the Infant Jesus to hasten a stronger and more triumphant and invincible action to re-implant His Kingdom on earth - with Mary, in Mary and through Mary.

We should ask Our Lady to obtain this from her Son. We also should ask her to increase our hope that this will happen. In this way, we will pass this week in expectation of these graces as Our Lady was waiting for the graces of Our Lord’s coming before the feast of Christmas.

Tradition in Action

j000 SD Dr. Plinio.gif - 9040 Bytes

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Saint of the Day features highlights from the lives of saints based on comments made by the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Following the example of St. John Bosco who used to make similar talks for the boys of his College, each evening it was Prof. Plinio’s custom to make a short commentary on the lives of the next day’s saint in a meeting for youth in order to encourage them in the practice of virtue and love for the Catholic Church. TIA thought that its readers could profit from these valuable commentaries.

The texts of both the biographical data and the comments come from personal notes taken by Atila S. Guimarães from 1964 to 1995. Given the fact that the source is a personal notebook, it is possible that at times the biographic notes transcribed here will not rigorously follow the original text read by Prof. Plinio. The commentaries have also been adapted and translated for TIA’s site. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spiritual Journey to Bethlehem

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

This Advent seems different to me after having visited the Holy Land this summer. As I contemplate the many rich scenes of Our Lord's Birth, I find myself transported back to the very place where He was born and remember our Saturday visit to Manger Square where we saw the Church & Grotto of the Nativity, the adjoining St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, the Milk Grotto, and Shepherd's Field where the Angel's Chapel marks the place where the angel announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds who were tending their flocks in silence. 

Gloria in Excelsis church, at Siyar al-Ghanim. Photograph: Alfred Driessen.

This journey in person was undeniably filled with many graces, but I am acutely aware that my heart continues to wander through the hills and high desert of Israel as I seek spiritual rebirth in my soul to experience Christ's full presence at the crib in Bethlehem in that cave. I am not sure that this profound metanoia will correspond with the arrival of Christmas day fully, as I am acutely aware of various prickly pears, rattlesnakes, and poison berries that abound in my own soul with a variety of temptations and sins rearing their ugly heads, along with a good dose of spiritual dehydration to boot. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not mentioning this to indulge my melancholy. In fact, I view it as a positive sign that the journey of purification within that is so very necessary as a Carmelite is seemingly well underway. 

It was a relief to find a poem by Jessica Powers about this very journey of the soul, which follows the path of darkness so eloquently expressed by our mystic and founding father St. John of the Cross.   Of this journey she states, 

This is a pure Gobi desert, you declare; I see, past sandstorms (of exaggeration)...Pure, desert, you complain, though now you walk who once had shuffled through the arid miles. Sighting a day of flight, I shelve my smiles and share your pilgrim talk.
All true ascesis as a desert lies: hot wind, hot sand, no water, and no way. The ego agonizes through each day, Freedom is when it dies. I coax you onward: soon, first breeze of bliss; soon, sun that scorches cooled to sun that warms. Your youth will dance when shady lanes lock arms with each green oasis. 

The good news is that just as the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph could not see what was ahead for them during their journey towards Bethlehem and were forced to trust in the Divine Providence of God, so must we trust Our Father who is with His children, and always makes a path and provides a means to shelter us beneath His wings. He allows the unexpected to surprise and delight us and it is always more perfect that we could ever have imagined it!  The story of Jesus' birth underscores this again and again, with a joyful surprise awaiting all. This completed journey and profound gift of new life as seen in the birth of Baby Jesus, our Savior, can be realized within our very souls on a micro-level if we allow for it.   If we let go, and walk through the Valley of Darkness towards that Grotto of Life Itself, we will be transformed and eventually spy the subtle glimmers of light from our Divine Star, our Divine Guide. 

In The Hidden Christ, Jessica Powers expresses this reality so beautifully as follows:

I sought His stable where He gave His goodness in the guise of bread.Emptiness came to me instead.
filled with my Father's words, I cried "Where have You hid Yourself?" and all The living answered to my call.
I found Him (and the world is wide) dear in His warm ubiquity.Where heart beat, there was Christ for me."
I went back to the Christmas cave, glad with the gain of everywhere. And lo! the blessed Child was there. He multiplied His good and fed in me the multitude.  

 May we continue the journey until it is complete. Amen. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Purity of Expectation & Hope

File:Madonna del Parto, Taddeo Gaddi, Chiesa di San Francesco di Paola (Firenze).JPG

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

As we continue our early steps towards the crib in Bethlehem this first week of Advent, we begin to meditate on a sense of expectation. We know what is to come some 3 weeks from now. We might have particular hopes and expectations associated with Christmas, whether they be spiritual or temporal. But we need to be mindful of our expectations which can turn into conditions and a form of perverted hope. In saying that, I am not suggesting that we should have no expectations in any given situation, but we must always monitor our motives. Are they pure? Are we seeking something else that is unspoken and not fair to others or not in keeping with God's plans? Do our expectations cause us to judge others harshly or do our expectations enable us to love more? Do they stifle the subtle movements of the Holy Spirit? These are pivotal questions in this season permeated by the purity of the Infant Jesus in the Immaculate Womb of Our Immaculate Mother who is the Immaculate Conception. This is the season of pure love, and any expectations we have must be rooted in this.

Our Lady is the one to show us the path of pure expectations, as she gave her assent to the Angel Gabriel, not entirely sure of what this plan of bearing the Christ Child would entail. . All she knew was the she identified herself as 'the handmaid of the Lord' and that she accepted that His plans be realized and fulfilled in her as His lowly servant. She did not know the how's or why's of his mysterious plan. She only knew that His loving Divine Providence is perfect and can be trusted. She further knew that she could remain in a trustful silence and had no need of proving her expectations, plans, reasons, etc. to others. She was content to be ensconced in the embrace of His Divine Will. Adrienne von Speyr writes in Handmaid of the Lord that,

 "In saying, 'Be it done to me', she gave her consent not only to the Child but to everything that the expectation will make out of her and everything that will happen after the birth of the Son. 'Be it done to me" means that she puts herself as woman at the disposal of the active, shaping Word of God in her. Thus she is brought to the contemplation of pregnancy and expectation after her personal action has spent itself in the assent - an assent which, again, had itself grown out as fruit from her continual contemplation..."  

"From the moment of her assent, the Mother awaits an already fulfilled promise. The fullness is already in her, the Word of God is growing in her, and her expectation now forms itself according to this growth and grows with it. It is no longer her own expectation which will be fulfilled; it becomes a function of the fulfillment. Through the fulfillment of the promise in her, her expectation comes about: the expectation of the already present Son within her, the mystery of Advent, which the Mother will, like everything else, make over to the Church as a permanent state. This expectation is primarily a spiritual and only secondarily a physical expectation...' [p. 68-69]
We see this purity of intention throughout the entirety of Our Lady's personal Advent during her 9 month pregnancy and beyond. St. Luke's Gospel recounts her going 'in haste' to visit her cousin Elizabeth who has also miraculously conceived a child, as she was thought the be barren and past child-bearing years. Mary seeks to serve her cousin, not to be served. As she approaches, Elizabeth's spirit is transfixed as both she and her son John recognize Mary as Theotokos with the Savior housed in her womb.  In response from the depths of Our Lady's  heart and soul she proclaims the words of the Magnificat. What beauty and unexpected sublimity in this colloquy of pure love and fulfilled expectation. 
My soul magnifies the Lord And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,and holy is His name;And His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.He has shown might with His arm,He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.He has put down the mighty from their thrones,and has exalted the lowly.He has filled the hungry with good things,and the rich He has sent away empty.He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
Our Lady's eyes were fixed solely on God, in doing His Will and serving others. By expecting that God's magnanimity would shine forth in all circumstances was she able to free herself from conditional hopes and expectations on others that lead to disappointment and disordered attachments to oneself and one's personal agenda. By remaining ever His handmaid and seeking to serve alongside her Son, she continues to show us how to anticipate the coming of Christ with no false pretense, ulterior motives, or conditional love. This is the purity of anticipation which Our Lord wishes to give us this season. Our Lady is ready to show us how, if we only ask in child-like purity of hope.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Interior Silence & Anticipation of Advent

Mary with Child - light

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Happy Advent season! We all know the million contradictions that exist in our age between the silence and sense of wonder and waiting that is necessary to prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ during these four short weeks of Advent, and our current culture. I'm not going to write about the how-to's of navigating this reality. We need to move beyond how difficult it is, and do what is necessary to make this pregnant space within our hearts, minds, and souls happen. In modern lingo, one could say, 'Just do it.' 

That means feeding ourselves with beauty and silence even if it we find ourselves with just a few minutes between activities and people that require our attention.  The 20th century poet, Jessica Powers, otherwise known as Carmelite Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit is an excellent way to begin. She wrote an entire series of Advent poems known as Journey to Bethlehem. She also wrote many other poems that speak of seeking the Kingdom of God within, and creating our own cave of Bethlehem where the Christ Child can lay his head. Perhaps we can carry these around with us or bring them to Adoration. They will feed and soothe our souls and remind us of higher realities. Her inspired and gold-tongued words will expand our hearts to seek and remember our First Love amidst the hustle-bustle of this new liturgical season- to capture the excitement of Christ in our hearts and keep Him nestled within as Our Lady did.

In Mary-Darkness
by Jessica Powers

I live my Advent in the womb of Mary
And on one night when a great star swings free
From its high mooring and walks down the sky
To be the dot above the Christus i,
I shall be born of her by blessed grace.
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place,
With hope’s expectance of nativity.
I knew for long she carried me and fed me,
Guarded and loved me, though I could not see,
But only now, with inward jubilee,
I come upon earth’s most amazing knowledge:
Someone is hidden in this dark with me.
 Source: “In Mary-Darkness” from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers,edited by Regina Siegfried, ASC, and Robert F. Morneau. Kansas City, MO:  Sheed & Ward, 1989.
Mosaic of the Journey to Bethlehem (1315-1320)  Church of the Holy Spirit, Chora, Turkey

Mosaic of the Journey to Bethlehem (1315-1320)Church of the Holy Spirit, Chora, Turkey

The Ledge of Light
by Jessica Powers

I have climbed up out of a narrow darkness
on to a ledge of light.
I am of God; I was not made for night.
Here there is room to lift my arms and sing.
Oh, God is vast! With Him all space can come
to hole or corner or cubiculum.
Though once I prayed, “O closed Hand holding me…”
I know Love, not a vise. I see aright,
set free in morning on this ledge of light.
Yet not all truth I see. Since I am not
yet one of God’s partakers,
I visualize Him now: a thousand acres.
God is a thousand acres to me now
of high sweet-smelling April and the flow
of windy light across a wide plateau.
Ah, but when love grows unitive I know
joy will upsoar, my heart sing, far more free,
having come home to God’s infinity.

Source: “The Ledge of Light” from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers,
edited by Regina Siegfried and Robert F. Morneau. Kansas City, MO: Sheed &
Ward, 1989.

There was nothing in the Virgin’s soul
that belonged to the Virgin–
no word, no thought, no image, no intent.
She was a pure, transparent pool reflecting
God, only God.
She held His burnished day; she held His night
of planet-glow or shade inscrutable.
God was her sky and she who mirrored Him
became His firmament.
When I so much as turn my thoughts toward her
my spirit is enisled in her repose.
And when I gaze into her selfless depths
an anguish in me grows
to hold such blueness and to hold such fire.
I pray to hollow out my earth and be
filled with these waters of transparency.
I think that one could die of this desire,
seeing oneself dry earth or stubborn sod.
Oh, to become a pure soul like the Virgin,
water that lost the semblances of water
and was a sky like God.
~Jessica Powers

Prayer: A Progression
by Jessica Powers

You came by night, harsh with the need of grace,
into the dubious presence of your Maker.
You combed a small and pre-elected acre
 for some bright word of Him, or any trace.
Past the great judgment growths of thistle and thorn
and past the thicket of self you bore your yearning
till lo, you saw a pure white blossom burning
in glimmer, then, light, then unimpeded more!
Now the flower God-is-love gives ceaseless glow;
now all your thoughts feast on its mystery,
but when love mounts through knowledge and goes free,
then will the sated thinker arise and go
 and brave the deserts of the soul to give
the flower he found to the contemplative.
Source: “Prayer: A Progression” from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, edited by Regina Siegfried, ASC, and Robert F. Morneau. Kansas City, MO


Thursday, November 27, 2014

The First Thanksgiving - the Eucharist

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Today is a day when we set aside time for family and friends and give thanks for the bounty and blessings bestowed upon this country and within our own lives. As Catholics, it is a day when our hearts can swell with joy for the gifts of Our Lord that we have received, and continue to partake in each and every time we receive Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist, which itself means 'thanksgiving'. 

Indeed, it can be argued that the Last Supper was the first formal Thanksgiving in which Christ Jesus offered the perfect thanks to His Heavenly Father and ours, 

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke itand gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.24 “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” [Mark 14:22-26]
Today is the day when Our Lord Jesus wishes to establish His Kingdom within our hearts and souls, through the graces He imparts to us by His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, as found in the thanksgiving meal par excellence, the Eucharistic Feast. So today as we enjoy the delicious food and company of loved ones or even experience some disappointment or strain in the company and meal we share with others today, let us remember first and foremost that our hearts are to be cells of perpetual praise and thanksgiving, and our Eucharistic King makes this all possible. With him, we can "Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his Name is exalted. [Is 12:4] 

May a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving permeate our minds, souls, hearts, and words at each and every moment as we celebrate this and every day as a supreme gift given to us by God through the strength bestowed on us in and through the Holy Eucharist. Amen

Altar Prepared for the Feast of Corpus Christi detail from an Antiphonary one of the six “Lodi Choir Books” 580x388 The central role of the Eucharist in the Middle Ages is explored in exhibition at the Morgan

Altar Prepared for the Feast of Corpus Christi, detail from an Antiphonary (one of the six “Lodi Choir Books”), in Latin, Italy, Milan, ca. 1470–95. Commissioned for Lodi Cathedral by Bishop Carlo Pallavicino and illuminated by Francesco Bettini and others. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; MS M.682, fol. 19v. Purchased, before 1921. Photography: Graham S. Haber.

"It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight.  You must open a little, or rather raise on high your corolla so that the Bread of Angels may come as divine dew to strengthen you, and to give you all that is wanting to you."
- St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church