Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Daily Reflection by Michael Dubruiel (3)

   

The Cross of Christ Transforms. . . Our Lives 





 Lukewarm Faith

I visited the ruins of Laodicea in 1979 while I was serving in Turkey as a member of the United States Army. Of all the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, the ruins of this city were the most desolate. It was destroyed late in the fifth century AD by a terrible earthquake. My memory is of a wide-open field, with an amphitheater and some graves nearby. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus warns the apathetic Church of Laodicea: “I know your works: . . . because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:15–19).

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, perhaps the greatest American Catholic preacher of the last century, used to say that these words were addressed especially to those of us who live in the northern hemisphere. When I look at the cross of Christ, I realize he’s right: The cross speaks of radical commitment; mine is only lukewarm by comparison.  I often harbor thoughts about grasping at things of the world that might offer some guarantee against whatever impending doom lies in the future.





The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Daily Reflection by Michael Dubruiel (2)

   

The Cross of Christ Transforms. . . Our Lives 






 Whom Do I Trust? 

The bishop who was responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine said, “Faith means battles. If there are no contests, it is because there are none who desire to contend.” What Ambrose meant is that if we find our faith relatively easy, we should look again to see how much faith we really have. St. Peter Chrysologus said, “If you want to party with the Devil, you can’t celebrate with Christ.” In other words, you and I have to choose. Jesus told his disciples, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30).

Stories of warrior saints abound. St. Padre Pio wrestled with the devil throughout the night. Similar tales are told of St. John Vianney. St. Francis and St. Benedict are both said to have waged great battles with the flesh. Whether the enemy was physical or spiritual, these holy men and women continued to fight—not by their own resources, but by acknowledging, like Paul, that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Not one  person who trusts in Jesus, says St. Paul, “will be put to shame”; what the Lord promises, he delivers.




The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.



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Monday, May 23, 2022

Daily Reflection by Michael Dubruiel (1)

   

The Cross of Christ Transforms. . . Our Lives 




The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” ROMANS 10:11–13

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. LUKE 11:21–22


Popular folklore holds that when the stock market crashed in 1929, many investors jumped out of windows to their deaths. The reality is that, of the few who did take their lives, most chose various other means. Yet the symbolic nature of those few “jumper” suicides was enough to leave a lasting impression upon a generation of people who saw that putting one’s trust in money is a dead-end street. The same can be said about those who put their trust in pleasure, whether that pleasure is derived from drugs or the abuse of sexuality. Deaths from overdoses and sexually transmitted diseases capture the popular imagination because they resonate with something deep in the human psyche: Although we are tempted  to think that more money or pleasure can save us, deep down we know that placing one’s trust in them leads to death. Jesus compares this struggle to a battle. Our line of defense may be strong enough to repel some enemies, but they cannot protect us from the strongest opponent—death. Only Jesus promises immortality; only Jesus can deliver it. The false gods Bacchus, Venus, and Mammon may whisper empty promises into our ears, but they can never deliver.





The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.


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Sunday, May 22, 2022

St. Rita of Cascia - May 22

 

 

From The Church's Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel:


Rita Lotti was born near Cascia in Italy in the fourteenth century, the only child of her parents, Antonio and Amata. Her parents were official peacemakers in a turbulent environment of feuding families.
At an early age Rita felt called to religious life; however, her parents arranged for her to be married to Paolo Mancini. Rita accepted this as God’s will for her, and the newlyweds were soon blessed with two sons.
One day while on his way home, Paolo was killed. Rita’s grief was compounded with the fear that her two sons would seek to avenge their father’s death, as was the custom of the time. She began praying and fasting that God would not allow this to happen. Both sons soon fell ill and died, which Rita saw as an answer to her prayers.
Now alone in the world, Rita sought to enter religious life, feeling that God had cleared the path for her to fulfill the vocation that she had felt was hers from childhood. Yet she found that the convent she so desired to enter was reluctant to accept her due to fears that the political rivals that had killed her husband would bring violence on them.
She finally brought peace between the rivals and was able to enter the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene of the Augustinian Nuns. In religious life, Rita was noted for her holiness. She spent her days not only in prayer and contemplation but also in service to the sick and the poor.
One day while kneeling in prayer and contemplating the passion of Jesus, she received the wound of one thorn from the crown of thorns that she bore until her death some fifteen years later.
Devotion to St. Rita was almost nonexistent for five hundred years, but with her canonization in 1900, all of that has changed. She is truly a saint for every state in life, having spent her life as a married woman, a mother, a widow, and a religious.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Fulton Sheen Prayer Book

  


Several years ago, Michael Dubruiel edited a prayer book centered on Fulton Sheen's writings.  It is out of print, but there are a few used copies available at reasonable prices here:

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From an Amazon review:

We are fortunate to have a Chapel of Perpetual Adoration in a nearby town (Shinnston, WV) and I was looking for something to read during my weekly hour visit. I ordered the book because I had always heard about Bishop Sheen but had never read any of his works. He was from the `before my time' era. Would it apply to my life? Well, so far I've only read the first 3 chapters, and WOW it hits me right where I am in my prayer journey. Our God is so remarkable, transcending time and space to meet me through the pages of this book. If you are looking for something to bring you to the Lord, this book is it. It has just the right amount of information to spend an hour in quiet prayer time (maybe less). Each chapter has part of one of Bishop Sheen's sermons (or excerpt from a book) and a reflection and then some thought provoking questions. This is one book I am keeping!!