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The season of Lent calls us to personal transformation—and sometimes transformation hurts!

C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, uses a surprising analogy when speaking of transformation:

IMAGINE YOURSELFas a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building up a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.

During the season of Lent we are supposed to long for transformation!   We know that change is often painful…yet we know it is for our own good.  During these days let us aim to accept the changes and the challenges asked of us…with a joyful heart and a willing spirit!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

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In the Gospel of Matthew 19:26 we read that “with God all things are possible”.  This reminder is especially meaningful this month as we celebrate the feast of Apostles Simon and Jude (October 28).  Many Catholics have a strong devotion to St. Jude, often called the saint of the impossible.  St. Jude intercedes for us to God in our many needs…because his faith, like ours, trusts that God can do what we cannot do!  Scripture reminds us also that if our faith is the size of a mustard seed (the smallest of all seeds!) we can move mountains….I like to think of the “we” as God and I, working together in a “faith-filled” relationship. Having faith in one another is also important.  We need to believe in the people we meet each day, the people with whom we share our lives. A story is told of a ten-year-old boy who was working in a factory in Naples before present laws on child labor were put in place.  His mother was convinced he had a good singing voice, and by working in the factory he could earn enough to pay for music lessons.  His first music teacher, however, told him he did not have what it takes and that it would be a waste of money to pursue the idea.  His mother, a peasant woman, was not so easily discouraged. She encouraged her son, told him she believed in him and sacrificed to save money for his music lessons.  Her efforts bore fruit, and her son, Enrico Caruso, became one of the world’s greatest tenors.  Miracles happen for those who show God that they are serious about what they seek.  This week, believe in a miracle, trust in our good God, pray seriously for what some might think is so impossible…and then keep trusting!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paull Grech SND

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October is a month filled with Church celebrations—and this week is especially meaningful:

On Monday, October 1, we celebrated the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower and on Tuesday, we remembered our Guardian Angels.  So this week, we ask St. Therese to teach us her “little way”—a way of doing everything with love for Jesus.  We ask our Guardian Angels to protect us and to guard our children in all that they do. On Wednesday, we called to mind the great St. Francis of Assisi, whose love for God’s creation and his prayer for peace have impacted us in so many ways. We pray with St. Francis, asking God to make us instruments of His peace and to guide us in taking care of his creation. On Sunday, October 7, we celebrate the feast of Mary as Queen of the Rosary and ask Mary especially to intercede for all those in the military. With Mary, our Mother, we walk with Jesus through the mysteries of His life, death, and resurrection whenever we pray the rosary.  These prayerful reminders of each of these holy people support us in our daily lives as we ask their intercession for all of our needs and the needs of our world.

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Tomorrow, Wednesday June 16th, is the last of our Upper Room series with Sr. Kathleen Burns SND at St. Cornelius Church in Long Beach. This last class is on the Beatitudes and it’s going to be a good one (well, they’ve all been good IMHO), so if you can make it, please join us!

St. Cornelius Catholic Church / Large Hall

5500 Wardlow Ave. Long Beach, CA 90808

7:30 pm

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Theology on Tap (TOT) for Young Adults 18-39: Sister Kathleen and Sister Val are promoting and participating in TOT this summer at St. Cornelius in Long Beach and Dominic Savio in Bellflower.  TOT is a great young adult speaker series.  Sr. Kathleen will be the guest speaker for the opening series on July 3rd.  Please share this information at your parishes and with young adults you are in contact with.  To access the various TOT offerings available for young adults this summer to go the following website: http://www.archdiocese.la/mya

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The Immaculate Conception of Mary

“O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.”

During the second week of Advent in most years we celebrate a very significant feast of Our Lady on December 8th— her Immaculate Conception. Perhaps it would be best to begin with the text of the declaration of this dogma promulgated on December 8, 1854 in Ineffabilis Deus:

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

We who live in the 21st century need to be reminded that as inheritors of original sin we have an intercessor with God who was preserved from this alienation from God. It is up to American Catholics to cherish and to pass on to succeeding generations of Catholics our rich heritage of devotion to Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. She will continue to assist us since she is indeed the Mother of the Church and of all of us if we only turn to her with confidence and love.

Reflection:

Does my devotion to Mary continue to grow and do I determine to imitate her holy life through humility, simplicity and trust in our loving God?

Do I pray to Mary, as patroness of the United States, for our country and its needs?

Prayer:

Most holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our President and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the innocence of our children. Grant the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners—on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give ourselves to you. Protect us from every harm. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God.  Amen.

–Sr. Mary Antonine Manning

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