Monday, May 31, 2010
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
"And Mary rose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house
of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe
leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost; and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, 'Blessed
art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should
come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.'"
Luke 1:39-45 KJV
On this Memorial Day take time to thank God for those who have served our country and for those who
have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Pray also for the oil disaster and all the victims of floods, tornadoes, earthquakes
and other disasters. Pray to stop abortion.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Periwinkle (Vinca rosea) Virgin Flower
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Most Holy Trinity Sunday
"Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall
be!" Today we celebrate the Holy Trinity. Although the word "trinity" is not used in the Bible,
there are references throughout the scriptures to this Holy Mystery. Infact in today's gospel John 16:12-15 Jesus speaks
of the Father, Himself, and the coming of the Spirit who "reveals the truth about God, He will lead you into all the
truth." John 16:13 GNT We do not need to understand this mystery. All we need to know is that God the Father
created all things and sent His Son for our salvation and the Spirit to lead us in the truth. St. Patrick supposedly
used the three leaves of the shamrock to teach how three are really part of one. Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit!
Please remember to pray for a viable solution to the oil spill, to pray to end abortion
and to pray for all those affected by disasters of all kinds.
Today's Mary Garden Flowers: Shamrock (see above),
Pansy (Viola tricolor) Trinity Flower, and Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea gen.) Trinitaria
Friday, May 28, 2010
Memorial Day Weekend
This weekend promises to be beautiful and bright with a chance of rain on Monday. Why not visit the Shrine this weekend?
As you walk out to the statue by the fifteen decade Rosary consider offering up prayers for all those soldiers past and present
who have worked and are working to keep our country free, including those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. As you
walk under the bright blue sky, thank God for the freedom to worship as you please and for those who have made that possible.
Remember also those "soldiers of the Cross", the martyrs who have died and are dying for their faith in Christ. Religious
persecution is real. May God bless you and keep you safe this weekend.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Chrysanthemum:
All Saints' Flower
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, St. Philip Neri
Living in the 1500's Philip Neri knew the importance of humility and a sense of humor. At a time of turmoil and stress
on worldly things, this cheerful saint followed God's guidance in a life of service. "Cheerfulness strengthens
the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits."
That is sound advise for today. He understood the importance of being joyful in your faith. "A joyful heart
is more easily made perfect than a downcast one." And he knew the importance of taking one thing at a time
and not borrowing trouble. "Let me get through today and I shall not fear tomorrow." He was not concerned
with how he appeared to the world and knew the important thing was how one appeared to God. He had an interesting life
and a unique sense of prescriptions for keeping people humble - including himself. Look him up - the saint with a sense
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Cosmos (Cosmos sp.) St. Michael's flower
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Feast of St. Bede the Venerable
St. Bede was born around 673 in the northeast of what is now England. Relatives sent him to a Benedictine monastery
at around age seven so that he could get an education. He studied diligently and enthusiastically. His genius
combined with best education available at the time produced the ultimate scholar. He became a deacon at age 19 and was
ordained at age 30. He composed the first known Western sermons on St. Mary. He wrote prodigiously and his work
"The Ecclesiastical History of England" earned him the title of Father of English History. In all he wrote
45 books including 30 Bible commentaries. He labored bringing simplified versions of the works of Sts. Jerome, Ambrose,
Augustine and Gregory to the English people. Although his presence was requested by nobles, kings and even the Pope,
he preferred to stay at the monastery teaching, writing and giving glory to God. He was given the title Venerable in
reference to the holiness of his life. He is supposed to have died in 735 after praying his favorite prayer, "Glory
be to the Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be."
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus) Our Lady's Flower
Sunday, May 23, 2010
"When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise
from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it fill the whole house where they were sitting. Then they
saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy
Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak." Acts 2:1-4 GNT
Spirit, fill our hearts, enkindle in us the power of your love!
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Peony (Paeonia officinalis)
Please continue to pray to end abortion and to pray for all victims of disasters and persecution.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
St. Rita of Cascia
Born in Italy in 1381 Rita Lotti was the only child of older parents. Although Rita wanted to enter a nunnery, her parents
arranged a marriage for her at a young age to Paolo Mancini to ensure that there would be someone to care for her. Rita
obediently went about becoming a dutiful wife but unfortunately her husband was known for his temper. The had two sons
who followed more in the way of their father. Although Rita was able to get Paolo to convert, he had made so many enemies
that he was killed shortly after his conversion and apology to Rita. Their sons wanted to avenge their father's death
and Rita pleaded with them against this to no avail. She prayed for God's intervention. Both sons contracted fevers
died within a year, but had time to repent while ill. When Rita tried again to enter the convent she was turned away,
possibly because one of the nuns was a relative of Paolo's murderer and they did not want any disruption or violence at the
convent. Rita, because of her loving and forgiving nature was able to make peace between the two families and was then
accepted into the Augustinian order where she spent almost forty years with a ministry of support and consolation to
others. St. Rita died May 22, 1457. She is known as the Patron Saint of lost causes, sickness, wounds, marital
problems, abuse and mothers.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Red Rose: Mary's Sorrow and the Blood of Christ.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thought for the day
The next time you find yourself with hands clenched in anger, anxiety, frustration or despair, open your hands, raise them
up, and offer your problems to God. He is always there...in front of you to lead, beside you to guide, and behind you
to catch and lift you up.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Baby's Breath (Gypsophila panicul.) Lady's Veil
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
A Mouth Prayer
There is a sign at work which reads, "Lord, Put your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth."
How true that is! How many of us have foot-in-mouth disease, saying things that we shouldn't. Why is it so tempting
to pass on stories about others and point out the shortcomings of others? Why is it so easy to use a poor choice of
words when frustrated? And yet from our mouths can come blessings, reassurance, compliments and kind words. What
a paradox! James addresses that well in the third chapter of his Epistle. "So it is with the tongue; small
as it is, it can boast about great things....We humans are able to tame and have tamed all other creatures - wild animals
and birds, reptiles and fish. But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue.... We use it to give thanks to
our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. Words of thanksgiving and
cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen!" James 3: 5,7-8a, 9-10 GNT
Maybe our prayer should be, "Lord, put both your hands over my mouth so that only goodness and mercy comes forth."
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) Blessed by Mary, Mary's Little Cross
continue to pray to end abortion. Thank you.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Feast of Pope John, martyr
The problems of mixing politics and church! John I, born in Tuscany, was elected Pope in 523 after just one week of
consideration. At the time Theodoric the Great (or the Goth) was ruler of Italy and was an Arian. (If you remember
Arians do not believe in the divinity of Christ). Emperor Justin of Constantinople had just issued an edict condemning
Arians in the Eastern church. Theodoric threatened to wage war against the Byzantine Emperor Justin and the Eastern
church but instead decided to send a delegation to Constantinople to negotiate and try to reverse the edict; and he chose
Pope John I to lead the delegation of bishops and senators. Note the difficult position this was for the Pope who viewed
Arianism as heresy. The Pope was well received by Emperor Justin and Justin, while not agreeing to withdraw the
edict, did mitigate his treatment of Arians. Pope John I was instrumental in healing the schism between the Eastern
and Western Churches. This convinced Theodoric that John and Justin were plotting against him, and upon the Pope's
return he was imprisoned, poorly treated and died shortly thereafter on May 18, 526. In chosing how to proceed one must
always pursue that which glorifies God rather than man. John the First was placed in a difficult position and no one
knows exactly what he said, but rest assured this representative of Christ on earth did not deny the divinity of Christ!
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) Christ's-Cross Flower
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Seventh Sunday of Easter, Ascension observed
While the traditional day for the Feast of Ascension was Thursday, the fortieth day after Easter, it is observed today so
that it can be celebrated by all. This day is so important. In John 14 Jesus spoke these comforting words
to prepare the disciples for His coming death, "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?"
John 14:1-2 RSV. Again preparing the disciples in John16:7b Christ stated, "...It is to your advantage that I go
away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."
In Luke 24:24-26 RSV Christ explains and gives the great commission "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer
and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all
nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father
upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high." "So then the Lord
Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God." Mark 16:19
RSV Be sure to check out Acts 1:9-12 and Luke 24:50-51 for the other accounts of the Ascension. He did not leave
us comfortless! Stay tuned for next Sunday's account of the Pentecost! (read ahead in the book of Acts!)
mentioned Thursday in Mary Garden's the Lilac was known as the Ascension flower. If you don't have room for a full sized
lilac ,since they grow quite tall and spread out, try one of the miniature varieties. They only get 36" by 36"
and still have the same great flowers and same great scent!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Feast Day of St. Isidore the farmer
Today's saint was not martyred. He did not write great philosophical works, build cathedrals, or do mission work.
He was a simple poor farmer who, from the time he was big enough to use a hoe, worked for a wealthy landowner John de Vergas
from Madrid. Isidore married and had one son who died as a child, but Isidore and his wife Marie de la Cabeza (who also
was cannonized) remained faithful to the Lord. Isidore attended Mass every day which often made him late for work, but
his work was always done and his fields always plowed, some say with the help of divine intervention. He was kind and
generous to his fellow man and animals alike. He truly lived our Lord's admonition. "(S)eek ye first the kingdom
of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:33KJV He died in 1130
A.D. He was declared a saint in 1622 along with Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avilla, and Philip Neri.
These five are known in Spain as "the five saints." Not bad company for a simple farmer. It is what
God sees in your heart that really counts.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Canna (Canna generalis) Rosary Beads
Friday, May 14, 2010
Feast of Matthias, Apostle
Jesus chose the original twelve Apostles. However with the suicide of Judas another apostle needed to be chosen to fill
out the Twelve. As there were twelve tribes of Israel there needed to be twelve Apostles. After Jesus' Ascension
the apostles went back to Jerusalem and there was a meeting of about 120 believers, guided by Peter, to chose a replacement.
Peter said, "So then, someone must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He must be one of
the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus traveled about with us, beginning from the time John
preached his message of baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven." Acts 1: 21-22 GNT. Two
men were proposed: Joseph also called Barsabbas and Justus and Matthias. The group then prayed that the Lord would
show them who to choose. They drew lots and Matthias was added to the Apostles. You can read this account in Acts
1 : 12-26 You never know when the lot is going to fall to you to do the work of the Lord.
Today's Mary Garden
Flower: Gladiolus (Gladiolus sp.) Twelve Apostles, Ladder to Heaven
Continue to pray for those affected by recent
disasters. It takes time to heal, to grieve, to rebuild and there can be much discouragement on the way.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Traditional Ascension of our Lord
Traditionally the Feast of Ascension is 40 days after Easter on a Thursday marking the forty days Jesus appeared after
His Resurrection; however we now celebrate Ascension on the following Sunday to ensure that more people observe this
important Feast Day. There are several places in Scripture where this event is foretold and three places where it is
described. In the Acts of the Apostles a risen Jesus was talking to the remaining eleven disciples on the Mount of Olives
near Bethany and said, "...But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses
in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." And when He had said this, as they were
looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He
went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Acts
The other two accounts are in Mark 16: 14-19 and Luke 24 50-1. He ascends but promises not to leave us
comfortless. Wait until you see what is coming on Pentecost! Continue to praise God and to pray for those affected
by the severe weather.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Lilac (Syinga vulgaris) Ascension Flower (what else?)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Feast of Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs, Pancras, Martyr
There is some controvery as to exactly when these three lived and died but it was sometime in the 1st three centuries of Christianity.
As is often the case in those who lived so long ago who were not major figures, there are different versions, however it is
known that Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers (some say of the Praetorian Guard or emperor's bodyguards) who were baptized
supposedly by St. Peter himself. Upon accepting Christ they resigned their posts, were exiled and killed. Pancras
or Pancratius was a pagan boy from Syria or Phrygia who came to Rome and was converted to Christianity. During the persecution
of Emperor Diocletian in 304 (some sources name a date in the late 200's) he was beheaded for his beliefs and refusal to sacrifice
to pagan gods at the age of 14. The Church of St. Pancratius was built over his grave around 500 A.D. and remains
to this day. A basilica built over the grave sites of Nereus and Achilleus in the latter part of the fourth century
is currently in ruins. These three lived by faith and died by faith. They have been honored May 12th since the
4th century. To learn of more persons who lived by faith, read Hebrews chapter 11 - a sort of Biblical Hall of Fame.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Fuchsia (Fuchsia speciosa) Christ's Blood Drops or Our Lady's Eardrops.
pray for all those affected by the recent severe weather - tornados, storms, floods. And continue to pray for those
affected by the catastrophic events this year has seen including oil rig explosion, mine disasters here and abroad. earthquakes,
mudslides, volcanoes, etc., etc. etc..
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday - Feast of St. Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka'i
Born Joseph de Veuster in Belgium in 1840, he joined the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1860 and took the
name Damien. He then went to the Hawaiian Islands in March of 1864 and was ordained a priest in Honolulu.
He showed great zeal and helped build many chapels. On the island of Moloka'i, the government had set up a leper colony.
Although the board of health supplied the lepers with food and clothing there were no doctors, nurses or people to help care
for them; the lepers cared for each other. Fr. Damien requested to serve as a priest to the lepers and on May 10, 1873
with the sanction of the bishop, Fr. Damien arrived on Moloka'i to spend the rest of his life serving as resident priest
to the 600 lepers. There he saw not only to their spiritual needs, but also helped change dressings, built cottages,
made coffins and helped to bury the dead. In 1885 he noticed that he too had symptoms of the disease yet continued to
minister to his flock until he was unable. By that time others had come to the leper colony to help. Fr.
Damien died April 15, 1889 and is known as the Apostle to the Lepers.
Today's Mary Garden Flower: Begonia
(Begonia fuchsioides) Heart of Jesus and (Begonia fuch. rosea) Heart of Mary
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Sixth Sunday of Easter - Happy Mother's Day!
Mother's Day falls in Mary's month - May. And we wish a sincere blessing upon all mother's, step-mothers, foster mothers,
grandmothers, great grandmothers, great-great grandmothers (if there are any out there) and godmothers. The words of
today's Gospel contain a wonderful promise and blessing. The promise is in John 14:23 KJV "... If a man
love me, he will keep my words; and My Father and I will will love him, and we will come unto him, and make Our abode
with him. And in verse 27 we read the blessing, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not
as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John
14: 27 KJV. Try reading all of John 14. It contains the famous, "In My Father's house are many
mansions..." But don't stop there! The entire book of John, like all the Gospels, contains many wonderful
promises, descriptions and accounts of the glories of Christ and you can also read about how the disciples had doubts
and troubles understanding - just like you and me.
Remember to continue to pray to stop abortions.
Friday, May 7, 2010
It's a great life!
"It's a great life... if you don't weaken" That was one of my dad's favorite sayings and it has taken me
years to grasp its meaning. If you don't weaken... If you don't let your faith be shaken... If you continue to focus
on Jesus. If you continue to hope in the Lord. That's a tall order. When we keep focused on the Lord, keeping
our eyes on Jesus, we can walk as God would have us walk. God's desire for us is that we have life and have it abundantly.
But we tend to get in the way of that when we rely on our ourselves, focus on self-reproach or on pride, when we think we
are in control, when we don't rely on God. There are all sorts of temptations to doubt but God has called us to believe
and because He has called us, He will lend support to us. If you feel as though you can't pray, that is when
you need to. If you feel as though you don't want to read the Bible, that is when you need to. If you feel as
though you can't go to Mass, that is when you need to. You are being tempted to weaken, come to God for strength, for
peace, for hope. Pray along with the father in Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" NKJ
Mary Garden Flower: Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) Mary's Love of God (Geman legend says they bloomed at Christ's
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Be not afraid...
With all that is happening in the world, with flooding, earthquakes, mudslides, mine and oil well disasters and all the rest
it can be easy to be shaken. Why do these things happen? Where is God? The answer to the last question is
easy - He is with you. Read the words of God to Joshua.
"I will always be with you; I will never abandon you....Remember
that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God,
am with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:5b, 9 GNT Stay close to the Lord, dear friend, for He is always close
to you. Be not afraid.
Prayers are needed for the people of Tennesee and all those affected by recent flooding,
for those affected by the oil rig explosion and the spill. Pray for the land and all creatures that live in the path
of the oil spill. Please keep praying for those affected by earthquakes - it will be months if not years for their recovery.
Continue to pray to stop abortion. But most important, remember to praise our God for He will never forsake us!
Mary Garden Flower: Castialian roses (Rosa damascena) The rose that St. Juan Diego found after the vision of Our Lady
of Guadalupe. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Feast of St. Philip and St. James
Today is the Feast Day of two of the inner circle of the Twelve Apostles. This particular James is James the Lesser
son of Alphaeus not to be confused with James the Greater (another Apostle) son of Zebedee and brother of John . Philip
was from Bethsaida. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be called and chosen by Jesus? To have walked
with Him and heard Him preach? These two ordinary men, along with the other Apostles, were called to be extrordinary.
They were pillars of the early Christian Church. When God calls us, how do we respond? Do we hasten to do His
bidding? Are we willing to risk our comfortable life to follow and believe no matter where it will take us? If
you read in the Gospels about the Apostles while they were with Christ you can see that they were very human, had doubts,
and did not always understand the Master. That means we too have a chance for Jesus calls each one of us to believe
and be extrordinary.
Todays Mary Garden Flower: Gladiolus (Gladiolus sp.) Twelve Apostles, Ladder to Heaven
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Fifth Sunday of Easter
A portion of today's Gospel reads, "And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved
you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are My disciples."
John 13: 34-5 (GNT) That gives us a lot to think about. How much does Jesus love us? There is no limit to
His love. He showed love to those considered unlovable at the time: people considered uclean, lepers, prostitutes,
tax collectors, Samaritans. In spite of being rejected and despised, He loved people then and loves us now.
He underwent torture and crucifixion for us. God is love. Further explanation of this is given in 1st John 4:7-11
"Dear friends, let us love one another because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. And God showed His love for us by sending His only Son into
the world, so that we might have life through Him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but
that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends, if this is how God loved
us, then we should love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us,
and His love is made perfect in us." (GNT) Want to hear more? Open your Bible. God loves you
Mary Garden Flower: English daisy (Bellis perennis) Mary-Love
Please pray for all victims of natural disasters
such as tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, for victims of mining disasters, and the oil disaster. Pray we may all love one
another. Please continue to pray to stop abortion. Thank you
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Feast of St Joseph the Worker
On March 19th we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph Husband of Mary. In 1847 Pope Pius IX declared Joseph patron
of the universal church with a feast day and octave celebration being on the second Wednesday after Easter. In 1955
Pope Pius XII changed this to the feast of St Joseph the Worker to be celebrated on May 1 possibly in response to Communist
May Day worker celebrations. Whatever the reasons we know Joseph was a worker - a carpenter ( the translation of the
Greek is artisan, generally held to be one working with wood). Jesus was referred to as the "son of a carpenter".
Joseph was compassionate as evidenced by his wanting to divorce Mary quietly so that she would not come under public scrutiny
and possible harm due to her pregnancy. He was obedient to God, immediately following whatever instruction God gave
him. He made sure Jesus was presented in the temple and Mary went for purification after birth. He left all behind
and fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to protect his foster son and upon their return settled in an obscure location to keep
them safe. He took his family to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover on a regular basis and searched anxiously for Jesus
when he was missing at age 12. He was with our Lord to nuture and protect him during His early life. That is why
Pius XII stated, "... if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, 'Go to Joseph'" Today's Mary
Garden Flower: Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) St. Joseph's Flower