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St Joseph the Worker

May 3rd, 2019

St Joseph the Worker

St Joseph the Worker - May 1st.
By Robert Ellsberg - Author of numerous books about the saints, and Editor of Orbis Books .
“In early centuries, veneration of St Joseph received little encouragement. Much later, in the sixteenth century, St Joseph, in a somewhat romanticized image of the Holy Family, began to figure more widely in popular preaching as the ideal ‘provider and protector.’ In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared him Patron of the Universal Church.
In 1955, however, Pope Pius XII assigned a new feast, May 1, dedicated to St Joseph the Worker. No doubt this was in some ways an effort to assert a Christian hold on a date celebrated by socialists throughout the world as International Worker’s Day. Through St Joseph - now remembered not just as the spouse of Mary and the surrogate father of Jesus, but as a carpenter - the Church found an emblem of Catholic social teaching on the dignity of work and the rights of working people.
Among those who had intuited this connection was Dorothy Day, cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement. Under the patronage of St Joseph, she chose May 1, 1933, to launch her newspaper at a Communist rally in New York city’s Union Square. She wrote: ‘For those who think that there is no hope for the future, no recognition of their plight - this little paper is addressed. It is printed to call their attention to the fact that the Catholic Church has a social program-
to let them know that there are men of God (and we’d add women today...)who are working not only for their spiritual but for their material welfare.’ “
From Give Us This Day ... May 1st.
St Joseph,
in the night
you teach a
hidden way of
retreat in silence,
or in obedience
to dreams.
But by day,
you lead us
in a prayer,
which is simply
to watch
Mother with
Child.
Amen
Fr Bill McNichols
May 1, 2019

Saint Gemma Galgani

May 3rd, 2019

Saint Gemma Galgani

Saint Gemma Galgani
by John D. Dadosky
From the book ”Image to Insight” UNM Press 2018
Gemma Galgani (1878–1903) was born on
March 12, 1878, in the village of Lucca in
Italy. She lost her beloved mother at the age of
seven. Gemma’s life is characterized by what in
Eastern Christianity is called a podvig—a soul that
suffers spiritually or carries a heavy burden, not for
needless martyrdom but for the sake of others.
She was a mystic who experienced supernatural
visions and physical infirmities. There were some
who persistently questioned the authenticity of
her experiences. At one point she nearly died as a
result of meningitis and was healed, she claimed,
as a result of her intercession to St. Gabriel Possenti
(1838–1862). The latter was a member of the
Passionist community, a community that became
very attractive to Gemma because she identified
with their charism, which focuses on the passion,
suffering, and death of Jesus Christ. She lived a
quiet life, but her interior life was quite active. A
pleasant, quiet, and beautiful young woman, she
refused marriage proposals because she insisted
that she was to be the spouse of Christ. She eventually
received the stigmata, or mystical wounds
of Christ. The wounds would appear on Thursday
evenings and would last for a couple days while she
underwent periods of ecstasy. Afterward she would
return to her normal life.
She died of tuberculosis on April 11, 1903,
during Holy Week. The priest attending her
deathbed reported that she died with a smile on
her face. She was canonized a saint in 1940. Her
feast day is April 11.
Gemma Galgani lived a relatively short life,
but as with many of the saints, her actual temporal
life was like a seed from which an intergenerational
significance sprang forth. The legacy
of these saints persists and accumulates over
generations, and people recognize many things
they can identify with in the saints. In Gemma’s
case her life was quite unique and was filled with
mystical experiences of the passion of Christ.20
There is a certain paradox in Gemma’s life:
while she longed to join the Passionist religious
order during her life, she was prevented from
doing so due to complex circumstances. When
St. Gabriel Possenti appeared to her during her
sickness, she claimed he told her that she was a
Passionist, indicating that it was not necessary for
her to officially join the order. Even though she
never formally became a Passionist in her life time,
today the order claims her as a saint. In this way,
Gemma stands for all of those who feel deeply that
they have vocations in the church but do not have
official or former avenues in order to express them.
Gemma’s vocation matches one of the key teachings
of Vatican II: true communion occurs primarily
according to internal and not external criteria.21
The inspiration for this image was a picture
of Our Lady holding her hands out in prayer at
Pentecost. This image enabled Bill to show the
wounds of the stigmata. The colors reflect the
season of Lent, and she wears the black of a Passionist
habit. Her heart is surrounded with the
crown of thorns, which reflects the spirituality of
the Passionists in their motto: “May the Passion
of Christ always be in our hearts.” It also reveals
the truth of such suffering—the expanding heart
of mercy and compassion.
Because of her experience of the spirituality
of the passion, she was important for Bill during
his work in the 1980s with people with AIDS. He
interceded to her on behalf of many of the victims
to whom he ministered.

Saint Gemma Galgani

May 3rd, 2019

Saint Gemma Galgani

Saint Gemma Galgani
by John D. Dadosky
From the book ”Image to Insight” UNM Press 2018
Gemma Galgani (1878–1903) was born on
March 12, 1878, in the village of Lucca in
Italy. She lost her beloved mother at the age of
seven. Gemma’s life is characterized by what in
Eastern Christianity is called a podvig—a soul that
suffers spiritually or carries a heavy burden, not for
needless martyrdom but for the sake of others.
She was a mystic who experienced supernatural
visions and physical infirmities. There were some
who persistently questioned the authenticity of
her experiences. At one point she nearly died as a
result of meningitis and was healed, she claimed,
as a result of her intercession to St. Gabriel Possenti
(1838–1862). The latter was a member of the
Passionist community, a community that became
very attractive to Gemma because she identified
with their charism, which focuses on the passion,
suffering, and death of Jesus Christ. She lived a
quiet life, but her interior life was quite active. A
pleasant, quiet, and beautiful young woman, she
refused marriage proposals because she insisted
that she was to be the spouse of Christ. She eventually
received the stigmata, or mystical wounds
of Christ. The wounds would appear on Thursday
evenings and would last for a couple days while she
underwent periods of ecstasy. Afterward she would
return to her normal life.
She died of tuberculosis on April 11, 1903,
during Holy Week. The priest attending her
deathbed reported that she died with a smile on
her face. She was canonized a saint in 1940. Her
feast day is April 11.
Gemma Galgani lived a relatively short life,
but as with many of the saints, her actual temporal
life was like a seed from which an intergenerational
significance sprang forth. The legacy
of these saints persists and accumulates over
generations, and people recognize many things
they can identify with in the saints. In Gemma’s
case her life was quite unique and was filled with
mystical experiences of the passion of Christ.20
There is a certain paradox in Gemma’s life:
while she longed to join the Passionist religious
order during her life, she was prevented from
doing so due to complex circumstances. When
St. Gabriel Possenti appeared to her during her
sickness, she claimed he told her that she was a
Passionist, indicating that it was not necessary for
her to officially join the order. Even though she
never formally became a Passionist in her life time,
today the order claims her as a saint. In this way,
Gemma stands for all of those who feel deeply that
they have vocations in the church but do not have
official or former avenues in order to express them.
Gemma’s vocation matches one of the key teachings
of Vatican II: true communion occurs primarily
according to internal and not external criteria.21
The inspiration for this image was a picture
of Our Lady holding her hands out in prayer at
Pentecost. This image enabled Bill to show the
wounds of the stigmata. The colors reflect the
season of Lent, and she wears the black of a Passionist
habit. Her heart is surrounded with the
crown of thorns, which reflects the spirituality of
the Passionists in their motto: “May the Passion
of Christ always be in our hearts.” It also reveals
the truth of such suffering—the expanding heart
of mercy and compassion.
Because of her experience of the spirituality
of the passion, she was important for Bill during
his work in the 1980s with people with AIDS. He
interceded to her on behalf of many of the victims
to whom he ministered.

Notre Dame

May 3rd, 2019

Notre Dame

The whole world grieves the tragic fires in Our Lady of Paris "Notre Dame of Paris". This is an illustration from The Cathedral Book, 1982, Paulist Press
The Memorare
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins my mother! To you I come; before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen

Passion Triptych

April 3rd, 2019

Passion Triptych

Something to think and pray about-From the Irish Jesuit website, Sacred Space
The Stations of the Cross is ultimately a journey of self-emptying. As we walk with Jesus toward Calvary, we see that he keeps leaving more and more of his old life behind. He lost most of his friends, his popularity, his clothes, his dignity, and his life. Yet all of this allowed Jesus, supported by beams of wood, to rely solely on God the Father.
Is this how Jesus wanted things to end? We can say that, because he was God, this is absolutely the way he wanted it. But if we’re being honest, then the best we can say is that we just don’t know. We have to remember that, at the start of the Stations, Jesus acts a lot like you and me. He prays to God to spare him from being put to the test. He doesn’t want to suffer. But he knows that his life is not about him. “Yet not my will,” Jesus says, “but your will, Father.”
We, too, leave things behind as we make our way along the path we’re given in this life. It’s been said that there will be a time when the world stops giving us things and starts taking them away. We know that as we get older we may leave behind loved ones, old friends, homes, jobs, our health, our hair, our enthusiasm, and our memories. Yet as in Jesus’ life, all these losses bring us closer not to self-reliance, as Henry David Thoreau might have it, but to God-reliance. The deeper awareness that comes from meditating on the Stations sets us free from having the world just the way we want it. Our expectations, or rather our attachments to our expectations, become barriers to joy.

—Excerpted from Station to Station

San Jose Sombra Del Padre

April 3rd, 2019

San Jose Sombra Del Padre

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Blessed William Hart 1558

April 3rd, 2019

Blessed William Hart 1558

Blessed William Hart 1558
15 March 1583
Diocesean Priest And Martyr
(On Asking Our Dear Brother In Heaven For A Commitment Not To Give Up And To Continue To Try And Live In God/Love)
“Everybody looks so ill at ease, so distrustful, so displeased, running down the table I see a borderline...”
Joni Mitchell, from the song, “Borderline” 1994
“As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God ?”
Psalm 42
“The joy of this life is nothing; the joy of the afterlife is everlasting.”
Blessed William Hart
William Hart was born in Wells, Somerset, he studied at Oxford, and there became a convert to Catholicism. He then studied for the priesthood at Douai, Reims, and Rome. After receiving Ordination in March 1581, he went back to England and ministered to Catholics in hiding, such as the family of St Margaret Clitherow, also to Catholic prisoners in York Prison. He was betrayed to English authorities by an apostate on Christmas Day, in 1582, at St Margaret’s estate. He was hanged, drawn and quartered, at York on March 15, 1583 and beatified by Pope Leo XIII In December 1886.
Taken from :
The Lives of the English Martyrs , volume 2, by Dom Bede Camm, OSB,
London, 1905.
(There are more “wonders” you can read about William on the Internet.)
I was supposed to be named William Henry after my grandfather, Billy and Uncle Bill.
My Mother Marjory Hart McNichols told me the story, that after I was born her Mother ,Mimi Hart (who died in 1950, a year after I was born)called Mom and asked her to name me William Hart instead. That name has affected me positively all my life in such wonderful and mysterious ways. In fact, it led to my deeply loving, supportive and lasting friendship with my cousin Kathi Hart. We used to write each other letters and on the envelope we’d put, “from a Hart-to a-Hart.” We also talked on the phone almost everyday from age 9 until 17. I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through grade school or high school without her tremendous God-given gift of humor making me laugh, (even at myself - up to this very day) and unconditional love.
I learned much later , that a hart was an old English term for a deer. And so the thirsting deer became a symbol of my soul, and our souls, longing continually for the touch of God. St.John of the Cross was also fond of the symbol of the thirsting deer. My friend Christopher Summa made a film about my icons in 2015-16 called “The Boy Who Found Gold” (based partly on the great Jungian writer, Robert A. Johnson’s ideas in his book “Inner Gold”) and Chris uses the symbol of the deer to tell his story of my soul’s “journey in art so far” - but I know that all our stories are very similar, in that we are all in love with the God, know it or not, who gives us life everyday. We can feel this presence inside of us and with age ...... this longing grows stronger and stronger.
I have always been attracted to the English Martyrs and one night, up in my house covered deep in snow, in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico in 2011, after I’d been given my first iPad by my friend Maya Sharp, I stumbled across the name of Blessed William Hart. I did drawings for his icon then, but could only get the chance to paint him after I moved to Albuquerque in 2013.
Dear Blessed William,
Give us some of your strength and faithfulness in following your vocation, as it was given to you; in the way you understood it and lived it with such youthful Wisdom.
Dear heavenly friend, help us wade through what we see as sometimes impossibly divisive and angry times. You know what it felt like to be on one side of a division so vitriolic and hateful, that it led to murders of Protestants and Catholics - all in the name of God.
Bring us out of this dangerous blindness by your loving heart. We don’t seek perfection, we can start anew each day - if that’s what it takes. But we do need the courage to find your way to keep an open and loving life inside of God in whom we live and move and have our very being. Maybe it’s a way in which we look at this life and all the turmoil, as fleeting and temporary, (“Dust in the Wind ...” as the song goes...) and yet we know how we try to continue to love each other lasts forever.
Amen, and “thank God (and you)ahead of time” as Blessed Solanus Casey used to say!
Fr Bill McNichols
March 2019

El Buen Pastor - Taos, New Mexico - The Good Shepherd

April 3rd, 2019

El Buen Pastor - Taos, New Mexico - The Good Shepherd


El Buen Pastor (Taos, New Mexico * The Good Shepherd)
...and some thoughts for the beginning of Lent .
The word Lent comes from the old English, “lencten,” which means”spring,”
*
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,
you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you...”
John 15
*
“...here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the
bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which
grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars
apart
I carry your heart(I carry it in my heart) “
e.e. cummings 1952
*
“I am the good shepherd ... then Jesus said to them again, truly, truly, I say unto to you, I am the door of the sheep...”
John 10
*
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if you hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me. “
Revelation 3
*
“...finding
God
in agony
first but then
In
stars by night.
he (St Ignatius) began his mornings with
‘What shall we do for God today ?’
Letting the Spirit
blow
through his soul
as
wind through a field of poppies...”
From the poem Inigo de Loyola in the poetry book
“In Embrace”
by Fr Jim Janda + 1936 - 2010
*
I simply suggest we can begin this year’s Lenten Season in the same way, as Jim Janda rememberers St Ignatius, with ...
What shall we do for God today?
Fr Bill McNichols
Ash Wednesday 2019

Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets

April 3rd, 2019

Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets

Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets + 9 February 1860
(Dedicated to all the brave firefighters who risk their lives daily for us)
Both Maria of Olonets (+1860) and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (+1824) died on February 9 and they share this feastday. It was difficult to pick one to show you now, because these women are especially powerful for us today. In some ways their lives , when you read them, are like the experience St Ignatius the Convalescent had reading the lives of the saints. At first they are bitter, but after reflection and prayer, they give you both life and strength. Catherine, who was bedridden, was given the Life of Christ (published today in 4 volumes) through visions as well as deeply moving information about many of the saints.
Writing these icons was a wonderful experience for me and one day I’ll write to you about Anne Catherine.
I chose Maria because three of her tiny hermitages were set afire or destroyed by fellow Christians . I thought of all the people who recently lost relatives and homes in the fires in California and elsewhere. Also the many winter fires caused by explosions from hurricanes and damaging heavy snows. I wanted to offer them a companion in their suffering, someone who truly understands horrendous loss and personal violation.
Here is a prayer I found online for the incredibly brave firefighters:
“Great God in Heaven, You alone know what today holds and I know that firefighters have a special calling to go into places that are often full of danger and there is always the
possibility for the unknown. Please help us all watch out for the safety of others in the performance of their duties in fighting fires and that I keep an eye out for others who may be placed in areas of danger. This calling God is from You and You alone and so help me to fulfill my duty and to do so in a way that brings honor and glory to You and Your Great Name and in the strong name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Amen”
Fr Bill McNichols February 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

April 3rd, 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany  Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

For the Feast of the Epiphany
Christ Emmanuel : Cordero de Dios
(After the Russian Master, Simon Fyodororvich Ushakov : 1626-1686)
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God...”
Mark 4:11
Transformation
I’ve taken long walks
craving one thing only:
lightening,
transformation,
you.
Adam Zagajewski
“O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes are open.
O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes can see...”
John Lennon
“The image of the master: one glimpse and we are in love “
Zen Poet Ikkyu 1394-1481
“God does not know how to be absent. That is to say, it would go against God’s nature to come and go. But we can be ignorant of this intimate presence and build a life-style that maintains this ignorance. St Augustine provides a hint as to why we experience as absent what is actually intimately present. As we have often heard this monk-bishop put it, ‘You are closer to me than I am to myself. ‘ God is too close to us for our eyes to notice. The problem is not that God is absent but that God is so intimately present...”
Martin Laird, OSA from the book
An Ocean of Light
“In you we live and move and have our being.
Everyday we experience the effects of your love...”
Sunday Preface #6

 

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