Knowing Christ & His Message through Scripture, the Catechism, & the Catholic Church

Guardian Angel, pure & bright – guide me, both day & night…

The Holy Guardian Angels

Jesus says, See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always gaze on the face of my Father in heaven. Thus even little children have guardian angels, and these angels remain in the presence of God even as they fulfil their mission on earth.

One of the benefits of this feast is that it reminds us that God cares for us each, individually.

We all know this in theory, but it is easy – in times of depression or temptation – to convince ourselves that we are too small to matter, for good or ill. Let us use this feast to remind ourselves that each of us has an angel of our very own looking after us; and also to pray to God for our own Guardian Angel. What a bore and a burden to them some of us are. May we one day be a cause of rejoicing for them also.* Feast Day: October 2.

Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ’Get up!’ he said ’Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. Acts 12:7


Do you daily ask your Guardian Angel for help; for guidance; for protection?

He has commanded his angels to keep you in all your ways; they shall bear you upon their hands lest you strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91



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Lord, help me to embrace my calling…

From the Autobiography of St. Therese:  … “I turned to the epistles of St Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the 12th and 13th chapters of the 1st epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand…When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting…Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love!”

Have you found your calling? If you turn to St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, & read Chapters 12 &13, do you know what God is calling you to do/ to be?

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Do it anyway…


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We all have those moments in our lives as Christians when we have gone out of our way for another: we hired them when no one else would; we gave them a second chance when we didn’t need to; we gave them of our time, our money, even our trust… & then we turn around and find out they have done something to us that feels like a betrayal – they spoke an untruth; they left us when we needed them; they were unkind & self -centered in return… and then we begin to doubt.  Is the life of a Christian worth it?  If it is, isn’t there somewhere in the Bible that says, “an eye for an eye?”  We would be justified in retaliating, wouldn’t we?

NO, we are not.  As Christians, we are called to act differently.  St Paul reminds us: Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. Romans 8:35,37

It’s not always easy being a Christian, but it is worth it.  Why? Because it is what God – our Loving Father – calls us to do.  He calls us to be who we were created to be – His children – the world will try to get you to abandon your call.  But keep on fighting the good fight, & be who God created you to be.  Do it anyway!

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In the presence of the angels, come, let us adore the Lord.

Click on image for a video meditation.

Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (…) Michael was the leader of the army of God during the uprising of Lucifer. He is known as the Defender. Raphael travelled with Tobit and protected him. He is known as the Healer. Gabriel informed Mary that she would bear the Savior. He is known as the Messenger of God. Feast Day: Sept. 29


A sermon of Pope St Gregory the Great

The word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature …You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.

Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.

Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.

As you pause today to praise God with His angels, do not be afraid to examine your life & call on God’s messengers for assistance.

Is the devil attacking you – tempting you – call on St. Michael the Archangel.  St. Michael, the Archangel, defend me in this battle within my soul…

Is there some area of your life that is in need of healing?Do not be afraid to call upon St. Raphael to assist you.  Dear St. Raphael, bring healing to my soul, to my mind, to my worn out spirit…

Is there something that you are discerning? A decision to be made; guidance you are in need of? Image result for st gabriel the archangel Do not be afraid to call on St. Gabriel.  St. Gabriel, bring to me a clear understanding of God’s will for me… help me to see where God’s Spirit is leading me…

Lord God of hosts,   in your all-wise plan you assign to angels and to men  the services they have to render you.  Grant that the angels, who adore you in heaven,  may protect us here on earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,  one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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What is my attitude?

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Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: … But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Mk 10:28-31

Prayerfully read the above Scripture passage – what is it saying to you? What is it saying about your attitude in following Jesus? Are you following Jesus? Is it making you joyful, or does it fill your spirit with a sense of entitlement? a spirit of agitation and annoyance with others?

If in the midst of our committment to Jesus – if there is not deep, interior joy – then Image result for pope francis - joysomething is not right in our relationship with Christ. Ask Jesus to show you any areas that might need attention/conversion/repentenance… What is it that might be keeping you from experiencing a true, joy-filled life in Christ?

Dear Jesus, we want to follow You with our whole heart, soul, & mind. As Christians, we should be the most joy-filled people. Help us to focus daily on Your great love for us. May we in turn be a mirror to others – reflecting that love & joy & peace to them. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.Image result for mother teresa quotes on joy


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The Papal Visit to the U.S. continues…

“Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.”

- Pope Francis, address to U.S. Congress



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Pope Francis in the US…

Pope Francis holds up a jersey and notes that were presented to him during a March 2015 visit to a parish outside Rome. CNS Photo/Paul HaringPope Francis greets a disabled woman overcome with emotion during a March 2015 general audience. CNS Photo/Paul HaringPope Francis embraces a teen during his January 2015 visit to the Philippines. CNS Photo/Paul Haring

10 Ways to Participate in Pope Francis’s US Visit

  1. Take part in a “Virtual Pilgrimage” with these prayers as the Holy Father makes his way to more than a dozen different locations in Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.
  2. Learn more about the places Pope Francis will visit by following his journey on this interactive map.
  3. Become “Pope Francis literate” by reading his two encyclical letters: Lumen Fidei. . . and Laudato Si. . .
  4. Stay up-to-date and read insightful commentary by connecting with the only news source founded and supported by the US Bishops, Catholic News Service. See the latest in the CNS feed below.
  5. Have a Papal Visit Watch Party!  All events will be live streamed in English with audio commentary here.  Select events will also be available for video on demand here.Papal Visit 2015 Logo USA Montage
  6. Take your faith and the latest papal visit news with you on the go by downloading the Catholic Church app for IOS at the iTunes store . . .
    or for Android devices on Google Play. . .
  7. Respond to Pope Francis’s call to enounter by reaching out to those in need, supporting parish or community charitable efforts, acting to promote life, human dignity, families and religious freedom, and by caring for creation. Find ideas here.
  8. Invite a non-Catholic or non-practicing Catholic friend to Mass next weekend so they can experience the joy of the Gospel!
  9. Engage in social media: use our hash tags #PopeinUS and #PapaEnUSA.  Don’t forget to use some Pope emojis!
  10. Support the many people working to make Pope Francis’ historic US visit a success by praying for them to the Blessed Virgin under her title Mary, Undoer of Knots. . . (a favorite of Pope Francis). Include in your intentions: Vatican staff, The US Secret Service, the US Bishops, their staff and volunteers, the World Meeting of Families committee and volunteers, and the three host archdioceses and host cities.
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Staying fit…


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“It is not particularly difficult to find thousands who will spend two or three hours a day in exercising, but if you ask them to bend their knees to God in five minutes of prayer they protest that it is too long.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

8 Ways To Stay Spiritually Fit: (adapted from Circles of Faith Blog)

1.Spend daily time getting to know Jesus through the Teachings of the Church (Catechisms, Writings of the Saints, Church Documents (visit or Do a 15-minute devotional such as One Bread, One Body, journal your thoughts after reading a bible passage, or get involved in a Bible study that has homework.

2.Memorize scripture. As you read the words over and over, you will start to remember them. They’ll sink into your heart, building confidence and trust that God is on your side.

3.Pray regularly. This is simply talking to God.  Take time to tell Him what you’re thinking and feeling. Develop this habit and you won’t feel alone.

4.Attend church consistently. Hearing the Word of God taught regularly teaches us things we may not learn on our own.

5.Be a reader. Whether it is a blog, book, or magazine, reading about what others have been through and learned encourages us in our own experience. It also gives us enlarges our perspective. Image result for spiritually fit

6.Listen to music. Worship music lifts our spirits, dispels discouragement, and shifts our focus off ourselves onto the One who truly deserves our attention.

7.Surround yourself with others like you. It is important to have friends to encourage you along the way and hold you accountable to in your spiritual “training.”  Develop them in person or online.

8. Use your Smart Phone “Intelligently” to stay fit!   There are a multitude of apps (Catholic & Christian) to help. Click on the link for just a few:

A little bit everyday goes a long way in cultivating a relationship with our Creator, & making your Faith & your relationship with God a strong and healthy part of your everyday life.

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Pope Francis’ Visit to the US – September 22-27, 2015

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Tuesday—September 22nd – Washington, DC

◾4:00 p.m. Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews

Wednesday—September 23rd – Washington, DC

◾9:15 a.m. Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House

◾11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral

◾4:15 p.m. Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Thursday—September 24th – Washington, DC & New York City

◾9:20 a.m. Address to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress

◾11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington

◾4:00 p.m. Depart from Joint Base Andrews

◾5:00 p.m. Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport

◾6:45 p.m. Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Friday—September 25th – New York City

◾8:30 a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly

◾11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center

◾4:00 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem

◾6:00 p.m. Mass at Madison Square Garden

Saturday—September 26th – New York City & Philadelphia

◾8:40 a.m. Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport

◾9:30 a.m. Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia

◾10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia

◾4:45 p.m. Visit to Independence Mall

◾7:30 p.m. Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 Sunday—September 27th – Philadelphia

◾9:15 a.m. Meeting with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

◾11:00 a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility

◾4:00 p.m. Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway

◾7:00 p.m. Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation

◾8:00 p.m. Departure for Rome

Catechetical Resources for Pope Francis’ 2015 Apostolic Journey to the U.S.A.

Let us celebrate the birth of Mary; Let us ask her to pray for us…

Let us proclaim the greatness of our Saviour who chose to be born of the Virgin Mary. Confident that he
will hear us, we ask:

Lord, may your mother pray for us.

Sun of justice, you showed your day was dawning in the immaculate Virgin Mary;
help us to walk in the daylight of your presence.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Eternal Word, in the living flesh of Mary you found a dwelling place on earth;
remain with us for ever in hearts free from sin.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Christ, our Saviour, you willed that your mother should be there when you died;
through her intercession may we rejoice to share your suffering.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Loving Saviour, while hanging on the cross, you gave your mother Mary to be the mother of John;
let us be known as her children by our way of living.
Lord, may your mother pray for us.
Lord God,
the day of our salvation dawned when the Blessed Virgin gave birth to your Son.
As we celebrate her own nativity,
grant us your grace and your peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2012