Monday, January 30, 2006

Lent is Soon Approaching

I didn't realize it but now that I've had time to read Pope Benedict's encyclical several times and in preparation for a talk I'm giving soon I've discovered that my The Power of the Cross covers many of the same themes as the Pope's encyclical. Go to Google's books search and do a search of "God is Love"...

The book is set up to be used as a daily Lenten meditation book beginning with Ash Wednesday and taking you to the Triduum on Holy Saturday.



Young French Nun Healed of Parkinson's Disease

After praying for the intercession of Pope John Paul shortly after his death last April...

From Reuters:

The Vatican may have found the "miracle" they need to put the late Pope John Paul one step closer to sainthood -- the medically inexplicable healing of a French nun with the same Parkinson's disease that afflicted him.

Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Catholic Church official in charge of promoting the cause to declare the late Pope a saint of the Church, told Reuters on Monday that an investigation into the healing had cleared an initial probe by doctors.

Oder said the "relatively young" nun, whom he said he could not identify for now, was inexplicably cured of Parkinson's after praying to John Paul after his death last April 2.

The Wedding of Jesus

Subject of my talk tomorrow night in Columbus (don't worry folks nothing heretical--in fact I will quote from the Pope's latest encyclical and will show the stupidity of those theologians who say "it doesn't matter if Jesus were married to Mary Magdalene--since they of all people should know what I'm going to speak about and who Jesus intended spouse is!).

At 7:00 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc in Powell, Ohio (just a bit north of Columbus near Worthington). Amy will also speak on the DaVinci Code.

We both will speak for Catholic Schools week earlier in the day. I will speak about Catholic Publishing for youth in a talk "Do you want to be like Reggie or Pat?"

Thanks to Dave Hartline for arranging both talks, visit his great web site The Catholic Report.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Evangelical Counsels Witness God's Love


From Pope Benedict's Angelus message today at AsiaNews.it:

Persons consecrated in poverty, chastity and obedience 'are eloquent signs in the world ' of God's merciful love, celebrated in the encyclical 'Deus caritas est.' Recalling the recently released document, Benedict XVI reaffirmed at today's Angelus 'the primacy of charity in the life of Christians and in the Church', and saints as 'privileged witnesses' who 'have made of their existence, in thousands of different tonalities, a hymn to God-Love.' The Pope cited the past week's saints from the liturgical calendar (Paul, Timothy, Titus, Angela Merici, Thomas Aquinas) and the saints mentioned in his Encyclical, who are 'known mainly for their charity': John of God, Camillo de Lellis, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Giuseppe Cottolengo, Luigi Orione, Teresa of Calcutta. In referring to them, all consecrated persons, the Pope reaffirmed 'the importance of consecrated life as an expression and school of charity' and the 'imitation of Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience....entirely geared to the attainment of perfect charity.' To indicate to the entire Church the importance of the state of the evangelical counsels, Benedict XVI will preside Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica on February 2, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and World Day for Consecrated Life."


You may recall that last year when the dove was released on the same day that it flew back in toward Pope John Paul II causing him to be very animated.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Deus Caritas Est...

What may be lost on many about this encyclical is the depth that it goes to undermining a variety of positions that have blossomed in the years following the Second Vatican Council...this document is a corrective vision of what it means to say "God love you" and how you and I are to share that love with one another.

Besides the not so subbtle references to libeation theology are the more gentle prodding of those who think they can live a life of devotion without charity or those who think in the name of the church they can carry out charity in a purely humanitarian way.

There is also a steering of the barque of Peter back to the center, reminding all in the Church that the we are Christian because of the love that God has for us and the mission of the Church is to reveal that love to the world.

What does it mean concretely...pray like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta...respond like Teresa of Calcutta to Jesus in your midst--in need. Devotion and charity are connected on the cross as Jesus entrusts Himself to the Father while giving himself completely for our redemption.

Cardinal George Hospitalized

Remember him in your prayers.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Cardinal Francis George was hospitalized for tests Thursday after suffering from bouts of dizziness, officials said.

George, 69, spiritual leader for Chicago's 2.4 million Roman Catholics, was in fair condition at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood on Thursday evening.

Bishop Gumbleton's Resignation Accepted

In the Detroit Free Press and open letter from the bishop to his parishioners:


Open letter from Detroit Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hans Kung Praises, Criticizes Encyclical

I post this because I had read in several places that Hans Kung had praised the document without reservations and some "conservatives" were posting comments implying that the pope's orthodoxy was in question. However some news agencies as well as the commentors were not dealing with the whole truth...

From 'God is love' theme of pope's first encyclical - baltimoresun.com:

"Appreciation was not universal. The Catholic theologian Hans Kung, one of Pope Benedict's strongest critics, praised the encyclical's 'solid theological substance on the subjects of eros and agape, love and charity and not drawing false contradictions between them.'

But he told the Agence France-Presse news service that the pope had failed to mention the charity the church should show toward loving couples who use contraception, those who divorce and remarry, and Protestant and Anglican clerics."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pope Benedict's First Encyclical

From Encyclical Letter "Deus Caritas Est":

By contemplating the pierced side of Christ (cf. 19:37), we can understand the starting-point of this Encyclical Letter: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). It is there that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that our definition of love must begin. In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reflections on Gethsemani by Michael Dubruiel


One time in the late 80's I was traveling with another friend of mine, Brian, on our way to Chicago. The first night we stopped at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA about twenty miles east of Atlanta.

Fr. Francis (originally a monk at Gethsemani and one of the founding monks of Holy Spirit, then in his 80's) met us at the Guest House door, "Will you stay?"

Anyone who has read Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain knows this is what you expect to hear when you arrive at a Trappist monastery. There is a double meaning to the question..."Will you stay?" and join our community, "Will you stay?" in the guest house and finally since in the Rule of St. Benedict the stranger is to be welcomed as Christ...Will you stay? Lord as in "Stay with us Lord for the day is far spent."

We answered "yes" as in yes we'll stay in the guest house tonight, which we did and attended prayers and Mass--then left the next morning on our way to Gethsemani. We arrived in Gethsemani that afternoon (about seven hours later). No one greeted us or asked us if we would stay. There were a few other pilgrims wandering around but no monks visible. We were settled in the chapel for Vespers when the first monks began to emerge from the cloister and enter into the chapel. Brian leaned over to me and whispered, "Its the same guys."

Well not exactly. Driving toward Birmingham and away from Gethsemani I thought of my friend Peter who has been a big fan of the Trappists from way back. I knew that he had thought about entering the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit at one timea and still made visits there frequently--I also knew that he had visited Gethsemani several times. His experience and mine of both monasteries knew that one welcomed strangers and the other saw them as an intrusion and to be fair because of Thomas Merton Gethsemani got a glut of strangers.

When I first stayed at Gethsemani the beds were very Trappist--really nothing more than a pallet with a two inch mattress on it. Years laters a beautiful, state of the art guest house was built that was more along the lines of mid range hotel. Now the Welcome Center--the times they are a changing.

I called Pete to share my views about the Welcome Center and I share them here because for the most part they were inaccurate as my return trip proved but they say a lot about how our minds process religious experiences. I told Pete:

"The first thing you notice when you walk in through the cloister wall and into the building is a coffin...it is open but empty. In some ways it is symbolic of immediately reminding you of your final end and asking you the question what am I here for? Several monks were available to answer the question."

"Over the PA system there was an incessant crackling of flames--they made me think of the flames of Hell (another of the Last Things), when in fact a peak into the room to the left of the entrance showed that it was the Easter Fire being prepared and the flames providing the fire to illuminate the Easter Candle--symbolic of the light of Christ illuminating the darkness. The video featured the changing seasons...the crackling flames were replaced with crackling dead leaves falling from the trees surrounding the monastery, the barren trees introduced the funeral of a monk with living monks keeping vigil reading the psalms all night before the burial of their brother."

I told Pete that all of this left me with the impression that the Welcome Center was designed as a sort of funeral parlor and that unconsciously the monks were providing the guest with a modern morality play that the visitor was the staring player. Walking out of the Welcome Center I made my way toward the Chapel for Vespers--passing by another gate where the words "God Alone" were engraved. Long time readers of this blog will remember that this gate once graced the right hand column of this blog...the Gospel in two words, a reminder that after death all that matters will be God Alone...a reminder that in this life ultimately what matters is God Alone.

Then the Chapel and monks bending in unison at the waist singing "Praise to the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit both now and forever, until the end of the ages." punctuating the Psalms of praise and thanksgiving.

Death, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven all in a few minutes of each other. "Will you stay?"

No, not here anyway.

(Later my return to Getsemani later in the week and a more accurate description of the Welcome Center).

The How to Book of the Rosary

This is what I'm currently working on in terms of new projects. If you have any great "rosary" stories from the saints, or tidbits please do comment as I would like to make sure that the finished book includes all the great trivia as well as solid facts about praying the rosary.

The last chapter of the book will be "How to hold the rosary in your coffin" in case anyone is dying to know what the contents of the book are.

Monday, January 23, 2006

English Language Reports on Vatican Copyright Inaccurate?

From Catholic World News:

Some English-language reports on the dispute in Italy have suggested-- inaccurately-- that the Vatican would forbid quotations from the encyclical, or charge fees to journals that reproduced passages from the work.

Vatican officials explain that their goal is not to limit access to the Pope's words, but to prevent "premature" publication of leaked documents, and to guard against exploitation of the Pope's name.

The dispute with La Stampa began when Libreria Editrice Vaticana sent a bill of 15,000 euros (about $18,400) to the publishers of a book entitled The Dictionary of Pope Ratzinger, which was advertised as coming from "the pen or the voice of Joseph Ratzinger." The journalist who compiled that book wrote the first article in La Stampa criticizing the Vatican policy.

A DAY OF PENANCE...

I didn't know that today was so marked until I read about it in the Missalette this morning.

From Corpus Christi Parish:

FOR VIOLATIONS TO THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON COMMITTED THROUGH ACTS OF ABORTION AND A DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE FULL RESTORATION OF THE LEGAL GUARANTEE OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Holy Father's Talk to Seminarians

The Holy Father:

The Holy Father then highlighted how this requires, "together with human maturity and close adherence to revealed truth, which the Magisterium of the Church faithfully reflects, a serious commitment to personal sanctity and the exercise of virtue, especially humility and charity. It is also necessary to nurture communion with the various elements of the People of God, so that everyone may have a growing awareness of belonging to the one Body of Christ."

"That all this may happen, I invite you to keep your gaze fixed on Christ. ... The more you remain in communion with Him, the more able you will be faithfully to follow His footsteps so that, 'love which binds every thing together in perfect harmony,' brings your love for the Lord to maturity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Encyclical Will Combine JPII Text with Benedict

Interesting that even in this first Encyclical are the works of both the new Pope and the previous one:

From Times Online:

Vatican sources said that tensions had been exacerbated because the Pope had written the first part of the encyclical in German during his summer break and the second part was an adaptation of a document left behind in Polish by the late John Paul II. It had been passed to Vatican specialists for further revision but remained unfinished at the time of John Paul’s death ten months ago. The two parts had had to be “harmonised”.

The Pope, responding to growing speculation about the delay, told pilgrims at his weekly audience yesterday that the release of the text, originally planned for early December, had been delayed until next Wednesday.

1/19 (911 Backwards) Bin Laden Releases Tape

He attacked on 911, now offers a truce on 119, but still warns of attacks?

From BREITBART.COM - Bin Laden Warns of Attacks, Offers Truce:

"The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. But the operations are happening in Baghdad and you will see them here at home the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission," he said.


Also mentions "truce" but unclear what that means given the context.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Meanwhile at the Work Camp



Two Christmas gifts pictured here...the matching Old Navy pajamas from their aunt and uncle, the beautiful garden a gift from their grandfather. Then there is the two of them both gifts from God himself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

God Alone--A Gethsemani Experience

I've been making visits to the Trappists in Kentucky since 1980 and have witnessed a lot of changes, not the least was the renovation that took the old gatehouse with its Latin message of "Peace to all who enter here" and in the new version, more of a gate than gatehouse replaced it with the simple message "God Alone" at a time where outwardly "peace" seemed more the issue, what with them hosting the Dali Lama and others.

The most recent visit, God centered as always, (isn't it strange how some places strip away everything and force you to look at what it is you worship in life?)was also a surprise. There is a new welcome center--with several monks in attendance--one hearing confessions in front of an Abbey casket that you can buy for your own burial, another running the system that shows a video, professionally done starting with the crackling fire of the Easter vigil but making one think of the fires of Hell and how the MAN-Jesus Christ was snatched from the fire to become FIRE and to inflame the world with love.

I given my nature was avoiding both of these spectacles and tarrying in the bookstore --vainly looking to see if they carried my books (they did not, nor my wife's)and making a few purchases. Placing these in my car, I rushed back in to view the video which now was not running. I went over and tried to turn it on with little luck and then noticed one of the monks rushing toward me, motioning wildly (no doubt a holdover from the old days when they rarely spoke)-I assured him that I knew they closed in fifteen minutes and I'd only watch it for ten giving them plenty of time to close shop. He motioned for the other monk who came in to turn on the system.

I now recognized this monk. I knew him in a different time, when we were fellow students. Later he would be ordained a priest and would be mentioned to me by my mother for the fine job he had done in helping her cousin Barbara deal with the untimely death of her child. Was I imagining that this was him?

"What is your name father?" I asked.

He responded with his monastic first name.

"What is your last name?"

He hesitated, almost as if to say why do you want to know but then because he's a monk and not "in the world", he told me. It was him.

"I'm Mike Dubruiel."

"Michael, I thought that was your voice--I didn't recognize you."

"Its the fat," I confessed.

While the crackling fire began to burn on the screen--we quickly in ten minutes related all that had happened in the twenty years since we had last seen each other. Then he shut the video off and said "Its time for prayer" (actually it was thirty minutes before prayer started)and he was gone.

Walking toward the chapel after visiting Merton's grave I noticed the the inscription that I so love on the walls of this enclosure "God Alone"...it is where we are heading--how we get there is also ultimately His design.

Note: I have never been to the monastery during the Christmas season before, it was interesting to see how Trappist decorate the barren chapel--it looked nice in an Amish kind of way.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

No Wonder Why John Paul Traveled So Much

From CNS STORY: No place like home: Papal apartment gets extreme makeover:

The renovation, the workman related, was long overdue. The architects said they were surprised at the poor state of the apartment.

For one thing, the electrical system was not up to code. Some rooms still used old 125-volt electrical outlets, which were phased out years ago in Italy in favor of 220 volts. The water pipes were encrusted with rust and lime, and the heating system was approximate at best.

Above the false ceiling, workers discovered big drums placed strategically to catch the leaks from the roof; some were nearly full of water.

The makeover included renovation of the medical studio, which is said to include emergency surgery and dentistry equipment. The papal bedroom, situated at the corner of the building, was completely redone, and most of the rooms were freshly wallpapered.

The new kitchen was reportedly outfitted by a German company, with state-of-the-art ovens, ranges and other appliances.

Those who frequented the papal apartment under Pope John Paul II have no doubt that the place needed an overhaul. Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi, a friend of the late pope, once said he was astonished at the gloominess of the place, with its outmoded furnishings and lack of lighting.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cleveland Bishop Requests Retirement

He is 73 years old.

From AP Wire 01/05/2006 Cleveland bishop contacts Vatican about retirement:

The city's Roman Catholic bishop, who will celebrate 25 years in that post on Friday, has asked the Vatican to consider appointing his replacement.

Bishop Anthony Pilla declined to reveal the reasons for his retirement request, saying a letter he had written to the Vatican was private.

The date of his retirement is at the discretion of the Vatican, said Pilla, who is awaiting a response from Pope Benedict XVI and his staff

Monday, January 02, 2006

The "Seventh Trumpet" Mass

From Diocese of Manchester ~ Office of Vocations ~ Live in Black and White:

The Seventh Trumpet Mass is an additional way you can actively and powerfully promote and encourage priestly vocations. Msgr. Anthony Frontiero and Fr. Jason Jalbert from the Office of Vocations are excited to offer you this initiative which will draw together Catholic men, women, and children from all parts of New Hampshire to pray for vocations to the priesthood. Just imagine the blessings that will come from 1,000 people worshipping and praying to the Lord for an increase in priestly vocations! All we are asking is that for one Sunday a month 1,000 Heralds commit to the Seventh Trumpet Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester which will be followed by one half hour of silent Adoration. This monthly program will begin on Epiphany Sunday, January 8 , 2006, at 3pm and will end at 4:30pm. We are confident that the Seventh Trumpet Mass and the prayers of each individual Herald will as St Paul says, “accomplish far more than we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.” Amen.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

#1 on the Amazon Top 100 Catholic Bestsellers

Happy New Year to me...

From Amazon's Top 100 Catholic Bestseller's List on January 1, 2006!

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The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You
by Michael Dubruiel
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Pope Calls for Peace

From Pope calls for defeat of terrorism, calls on U.N. - Europe - MSNBC.com:

“Terrorism, nihilism and fanatical fundamentalism -- faced with these threats, it becomes more than necessary to work together for peace,” the Pope said.

“There is the need for a leap of courage and faith in God and mankind to choose the path to peace.”

Happy and Blessed New Year!