Saturday, September 03, 2022

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 33a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 33th step part 1:




(33) To bear persecution for justice sake (cf Mt 5:10).



St. Benedict references one of the Beatitudes for this counsel, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 5:10). If we are just and right in what people choose to persecute us for, then we should bear it patiently.



Many people suffer persecution for doing what is right and unfortunately often at the hands of religious people. Our Lord told his disciples that, "indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God," (John 16:2). One have only to open the papers and to read of crimes against human beings committed by people of every religious belief out of conviction that they are doing the will of God.



Jesus promised his followers, " Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you," (John 15:20). Therefore, again in imitation of Our Lord we should bear persecution when we are not at fault with patience.



One of the greatest examples of this patient endurance of persecution in our own day is the nonviolent civil rights movement of the late 1950's and 1960's. There are memorials and historical markers where horrible persecutions took place in various cities through the south. The test of time has proved the righteousness of the cause, but those who stood up suffered horribly at the time. They took their example from the Scriptures.


Michael Dubruiel

Friday, September 02, 2022

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 32b

 

 This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel./The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 32th step part 2:




(32) Not to curse them that curse us, but rather to bless them.






"Perhaps the LORD is telling him to curse me." An interesting thought, and again one that can only lead to a deeper relationship with God. To at least admit to seeing God's hand in all things.



Most of the curses that I receive are from those who don't like the way I drive (and they are usually right to offer a gesture of displeasure) or those who don't like what I write (again they are often right--things are seldom one way or another but grayer). May I bless them all.



A blessing is only possible when we see ourselves as blessed by God, then we share the abundance of what God has given us with those who wish us evil. We acknowledge God as the final judge and we are selves are not to quick to judge (as David wasn't in the above). Interestingly, when David is restored to the throne in Israel, Shimei (the cursing stone thrower) is brought before the king and does have his head lopped off.


Joseph Dubruiel

Thursday, September 01, 2022

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 32a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel./The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 32th step, part 1:




(32) Not to curse them that curse us, but rather to bless them.



There is an image that comes to mind when I read this counsel. It is the image of a bishop (no one in particular) walking up the aisle in procession at the beginning of Mass or at the conclusion of Mass, turning from side to side and blessing all those in attendance. What he is doing at that moment (no doubt every bishop has more than their share of people who are cursing them), is what we are all to do--at every moment of everyday.



I'm not real good at this, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, I'm more apt to criticize those who curse me, not bless them. So I certainly need God's help in this regard.



One might wonder what benefit blessing those who curse us could possibly have. Here is a hint from Scripture. In the Second Book of Samuel, when David had been overthrown by his son Absalom and is fleeing the city of Jerusalem, a man comes out and curses him. Shimei, throwing stones and "saying as he cursed: 'Away, away, you murderous and wicked man! (2 Sam. 16:7). In response to this outrage one of David's guards says to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop of his head," (2 Sam. 16:9)



David's response to this is interesting and not at all what one would expect (if you are an avid reader of the Old Testament that is). Here is David's response, "Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then dare to say 'Why are you doing this?' (2 Sam. 16:10). So they went on and Shimei "kept abreast of them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went," (2 Sam.16:13).

Michael Dubruiel

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes

 One of the accounts of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. 


When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.  
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me, ”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over—
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

This is a precursor of the Eucharist. Michael Dubruiel wrote a book called The How to Book of the Mass. 




Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Mike Dubruiel's Books

   From Michael Dubruiel, originally published in 2003. 

Michael Dubruiel



 .....



In the meantime, there are too many who remain silent to protect the clerical world which is crumbling before their eyes. They seek to protect their "place" like Caiphas wished to do when he said "it was better for one man to die than the entire nation perish." They have forgotten who God is and forgotten what the garment they wear signifies.

When the Pope makes a man a cardinal he clothes them in red, a sign of martyrdom. They are to witness the truth even to the point of shedding their blood for the truth. Unfortunately, sometime the red does not symbolize this willingness, in fact it becomes a sign of pride and vanity (the very antithesis of giving witness to Our Lord who was humility defined).

This reminds me of a recent song by Five for Fighting called "Superman (It's Not Easy)." Toward the end of the song there is the verse, "I’m only a man in a silly red sheet." Obviously, the line refers to Superman's cape, but it made me think of the Cardinal's who defy the truth and have turned the red cloth of martydom into a "silly red sheet."

Monday, August 29, 2022

Beheading of John the Baptist - August 29

  

From the Office of Readings:
"He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.
Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ's name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake. He tells us why it is Christ's gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us."
Homily of St. Bede
More about Michael Dubruiel

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Feast of St. Augustine August 28

   From The Confessions:

To Carthage I came, where there sang all around me in my ears a cauldron of unholy loves. I loved not yet, yet I loved to love, and out of a deep-seated want, I hated myself for wanting not. I sought what I might love, in love with loving, and safety I hated, and a way without snares. For within me was a famine of that inward food, Thyself, my God; yet, through that famine I was not hungered; but was without all longing for incorruptible sustenance, not because filled therewith, but the more empty, the more I loathed it. For this cause my soul was sickly and full of sores, it miserably cast itself forth, desiring to be scraped by the touch of objects of sense. Yet if these had not a soul, they would not be objects of love. To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved, I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with
the hell of lustfulness; and thus foul and unseemly, I would fain, through exceeding vanity, be fine and courtly. I fell headlong then into the love wherein I longed to be ensnared. My God, my Mercy, with how much gall didst Thou out of Thy great goodness besprinkle for
me that sweetness? For I was both beloved, and secretly arrived at the bond of enjoying; and was with joy fettered with sorrow-bringing bonds, that I might be scourged with the iron burning rods of jealousy, and suspicions, and fears, and angers, and quarrels.

About Michael Dubruiel 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

St. Monica's Tomb

   From Michael Dubruiel 2006



Next it was to the Church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami (St. Joseph the Carpenter), our Joseph's patron and site of the Mamertine Prison. Joseph was a little too interested in the prison and the sewer but we did manage to spend some time in prayer here.
From here we traveled across the street toward the twin churches that are near the Piazza del Popolo, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto.It was turning cooler by this time, so we took a taxi to Piazza Navona in hopes of seeing the inside of San Luigi dei Francesi "St. Louis of the French"...there was a porter at the door that was locked who informed us that it was closed on Thursdays (but open on Friday's...so we'll be back). We then went to the Church of Sant'Agostino, "St. Augustine", there was some restoration going on and St. Monica's tomb was blocked, but I noticed someone coming from there, so Michael (on my back) and I made our way to St.Monica's tomb to offer some prayers. Another spot of interest in this Church was the Caravaggio work "The Madonna Receiving Pilgrims" which Amy had told me before hand had been critized when it first appeared because the Virgin's feet were dirty, for the record I didn't think they did personally.
I found this church to be very peaceful, of course it was early evening and we hadn't been in our usual dose of Churches on this day, so this visit stood out a bit more in contrast to the afternoon of Roman ruins. It is amazing to think of the millions of lives that have been touched by Augustine's confessions and to be in the Church that contained his saintly mother's tomb gave some sense of being more connected.
Then emerging from the Church we set out on foot through the narrow streets that would take us back to St. Peter's in preparation for the evening gig that Amy had doing Theology on Tap in Rome. We found a vendor selling wool caps and bought one for Michael the baby (this day had been a typical Spring Roman day, warm one minute, very chilly the next), he happily wore his hat. We stopped in front of the statue of Saint Catherine where Katie posed next to her patron saint for a picture.And then just before we made our turn toward our apartment, Joseph posed for one of my favorite pictures of St. Peter's as the sun set painting a beautiful backdrop in the sky.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Michael Dubruiel

  From Michael Dubruiel, originally published in 2003. 

Michael Dubruiel



 .....



The second reading from the office today is from St. Cyprian to the people of Thibaris:

The blessed Apostle teaches us how to arm and prepare ourselves: "Put round you the belt of truth; put on the breastplate of righteousness; for shoes wear zeal for the Gospel of peace; take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the burning arrows of the evil one; take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God."

Let us take this armour and defend ourselves with these spiritual defences from heaven, so that when the evil day comes we may be able to resist the threats of the devil, and fight back against him.

Let us put on the breastplate of righteousness so that our breasts may be protected and kept safe from the arrows of the enemy. Let our feet be shod in the teaching of the Gospel, and armored so that when we begin to trample on the serpent and crush it, it will not be able to bite us or trip us up.

Let us with fortitude bear the shield of faith to protect us by extinguishing all the burning arrows that the enemy may launch against us.

Let us wear on our head the helmet of the spirit, to defend our ears against the proclamations of death, to defend our eyes against the sight of accursed idols, to defend our foreheads so that God’s sign may be kept intact, and to defend our mouths so that our tongues may proclaim victoriously the name of Christ their Lord.

And let us arm our right hand with the sword of the spirit so that it may courageously refuse the daily sacrifices, and, remembering the Eucharist, let the hand that took hold of the body of the Lord embrace the Lord himself, and so gain from the Lord the future prize of a heavenly crown.

Dear brethren, have all this firmly fixed in your hearts. If the day of persecution finds us thinking on these things and meditating upon them, the soldier of Christ, trained by Christ’s commands and instructions, will not tremble at the thought of battle, but will be ready to receive the crown of victory.


This second reading deals with how we should be clothed, with an armor of Faith. We should pray like we are alive be willing to stand for the truth. This is not a time to attack the messengers of truth like our faith depends upon it. It is not a time to remain silent if we have something to speak.

There are those who have called this a time of "purification" and so it is. Cyprian's letter to the Thibaritans was an encouragement to them to meet the "persecution" by giving witness (martyrdom). Those who have tales to tell should now telling them so that the purification of the church might be complete.

There are those whose garments are clean, and there are those who have the armor of their faith in tact. Hopefully they will emerge from the ruins left behind when this crisis is over and take their place as leaders of the Church. We can look forward to such a day; when again the true faith will be proclaimed, the forgiveness of sins will be preached, our hunger to receive the Lord in the Eucharist will be stirred and the TRUTH will set us free.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Michael Dubruiel's Books

  From Michael Dubruiel, originally published in 2003. 

Michael Dubruiel



 .....


Our faith is what really matters. Are we alive? Priests and bishops are not god. St. Thomas long ago argued that their moral life did not affect the power of God to work in spite of them. Even when we suffer at the hands of those who have evil intents, if we are alive in Christ we not fear that they have the power to destroy us. Remember Joseph's brothers who sold him into slavery…in the end Joseph was where God wanted him to be and the good work that he accomplished in Egypt was done in spite of the evil intent of his brothers.

The second part of the passage deals with garments. Since the second Vatican Council much has been made about the garments that priest and religious wear or choose not to wear. What interests here is how those garments are a sign that a person is in the Lord, and when bad things are done by those who wear the garments it is the name of the Lord that suffers. It is for this reason that those who find themselves incapable of speaking or living the truth that those garments proclaim should leave their ministry. They should exchange their soiled garments for penitential robes and retire to monasteries where they can pray for their own salvation that they may yet conquer, leaving the work of shepherding the flock to those who have "not soiled" their garments.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Michael Dubruiel's Books

  From Michael Dubruiel, originally published in 2003. 

Michael Dubruiel


 Today, both readings taken from the Church's Liturgy of the Hours for today's Office of Readings have selections that deal with clothing. First from the Book of Revelation:


“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ’The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “’I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

There are two aspects about this reading that I find striking; the first is that "you have the name of being alive, and you are dead", and the second, "Yet you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments."

What bothers me about the present crisis is something that I have already been through myself, a revelation of what the church is like from the inside. It has taken me years to recover from this and I fear that when others encounter the elements of the structures of the church that are corrupt they too will suffer a crisis of faith. So this reading seems very relevant to the present crisis. Here we find Our Lord addressing the Church and telling this particular church that they are a "fraud". They have the name of being alive (sharing in his resurrection) but they are dead, i.e. they do not act as though they believe in the resurrection for their actions bespeak more of an Epicurean philosophy of "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die."

There have always been elements within the church that are dead. Some of them have died the slow death by being caught up in their position of authority (forgetting that it is from the Lord), others caught up in the adulation of the moment and wishing to remain there forget that the Lord's Palm Sunday is only a stop on the journey to Calvary. Whatever the reasons, it is a fact that good people can lose sight of God and it is also a fact that bad people have often found refuge in the Church and benefited from the good will of believers. It is not for us to figure out who is the wheat or tares, which are the sheep and which the goats.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

RCIA Guide to the Mass

   





Michael Dubruiel


The How-To Book of the Mass by Michael Dubruiel  is the only book that not only provides the who, what, where, when, and why of themost time-honored tradition of the Catholic Church but also the how.
In this complete guide you get:
  • step-by-step guidelines to walk you through the Mass
  • the Biblical roots of the various parts of the Mass and the very prayers themselves
  • helpful hints and insights from the Tradition of the Church
  • aids in overcoming distractions at Mass
  • ways to make every Mass a way to grow in your relationship with Jesus
If you want to learn what the Mass means to a truly Catholic life—and share this practice with others—you can’t be without The How-To Book of the Mass. Discover how to:
  • Bless yourself
  • Make the Sign of the Cross
  • Genuflect
  • Pray before Mass
  • Join in Singing the Opening Hymn
  • Be penitential
  • Listen to the Scriptures
  • Hear a Great Homily Everytime
  • Intercede for others
  • Be a Good Steward
  • Give Thanks to God
  • Give the Sign of Peace
  • Receive the Eucharist
  • Receive a Blessing
  • Evangelize Others
  • Get something Out of Every Mass You Attend
"Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table 'he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them."1347, Catechism of the Catholic Church

Find more about The How to Book of the Mass here.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Queenship of Mary - August 22

  vvToday is another Marian feast - the Queenship of Mary.  It's also one of the mysteries of the Rosary, and so it's appropriate to talk about the Rosary as we contemplate the feast. Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

How to Pray a Novena

  



The Church's Most Powerful Novenas is a book of novenas connected with particular shrines.  Michael Dubruiel wrote in the introduction to this book he compiled:

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his Apostles to stay where they were and to "wait for the gift" that the Father had promised: the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles did as the Lord commanded them. "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers" (Acts 1:14). Nine days passed; then, they received the gift of the Holy spirit, as had been promised. May we stay together with the church, awaiting in faith with Our Blessed Mother, as we trust entirely in God, who loves us more than we can ever know. 

Dubruiel

Saturday, August 20, 2022

August 20 - St. Bernard

  Happy feast day to my son Joseph, as he would say Bee-nard


From Asia News Italy:

The effectiveness of St Bernard, said the pontiff, lay in his ability to “put forward truths of the faith in a manner so clear and incisive that it fascinated the listener and prompted the soul to meditation and prayer.” But this was the fruit of a personal experience of “divine charity, revealed fully in the crucified and risen Christ”. The pope continued: “The echo of a rich inner experience, that he managed to communicate to others with amazing persuasive ability, is found in each of his writings. For him, the greatest strength of spiritual life is love.”

Benedict XVI also recalled a text that the saint dedicated to Pope Eugene III, his pupil and spiritual son, the De Consideratione, based on the fundamental theme of “inner meditation”. “One must guard oneself, observed the saint, from the dangers of excessive activity, whatever the condition and office covered, because many occupations often lead to ‘hardness of heart’, ‘they are nothing other than suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence, dispersion of grace’ (II,3).” It is likely that Benedict XVI was making this emphasis with himself in mind, being so taken up by countless commitments of his work. He said: “This caution applies to all kinds of occupations, even those inherent to the government of the Church.” And he cited Bernard’s “provocative” words to Eugene III: “This is where your damned occupations can drag you, if you continue to lose yourself in them... leaving nothing of you to yourself.”

To reaffirm the primacy of prayer and contemplation, the pope suggested praying to St Bernard himself and to the Virgin Mary. “We entrust,” added Benedict XVI, “this desire to the intercession of Our Lady, who he loved from childhood with a tender and filial devotion to the extent of deserving the title of “Marian Doctor”. We invoke her so that she may obtain the gift of true and lasting peace for the whole world. St Bernard, in a celebrated discourse of his, compared Mary to a star that navigators gaze upon to avoid losing their way:

‘Wading through the events of this world, rather than walking on land, you have the impression of being tossed about among billows and storms; do not turn your eyes away from the splendour of this star if you do not want to be swallowed by the waves... Look at the star, invoke Mary… Following Her, you will not lose your way… If She protects you, you have no fear, if She guides you, you will not get tired and if She is propitious towards you, you will reach your goal’ (Hom. super Missus est, II, 17)”.


-Michael Dubruiel 

Friday, August 19, 2022

How to Pray at a Catholic Mass

  Eucharist means..."thanksgiving"


Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 


Excerpt:


1. Keep Your Focus on Jesus
Whenever you desire to “control” what happens in the Eucharist, or suffer because you sense someone else is hijacking the liturgy,
    Think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
    Think of Jesus telling his followers to take up their crossand follow him.
    Think of Jesus saying that he did not come to be servedbut to serve.
Keeping your focus on Christ will prevent the devil in his attempts to distract you from the purpose of the Eucharist.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 30b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 30th step, part 2:




(30) To do no injury, yea, even patiently to bear the injury done us.





Ultimately this counsel is about faith. The first part of it deals with our faith that God has created everyone on the face of the earth and they each have the image of God within them. To harm them is to harm God Himself.



The second part is faith in God's providence that whatever mortal princes can do to us--God ultimately will reign victoriously. Jesus told his disciples not to fear those who could harm our bodies, but rather to fear He who could throw us into Gehenna. By bearing injustices committed against us patiently we show our faith in God's power to overcome all evil.





The First part of the counsel also commands us to speak out and to stop the injury that may be suffered by someone else. If we are to bear wrongs done to us patiently, we are not to bear the wrongs done to others patiently--in such a case our lack of action would make us part of the problem.


Michael Dubruiel

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 30a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 30th step part 1:




(30) To do no injury, yea, even patiently to bear the injury done us.



Injury literally means "injustice." Giving that as a backdrop to this counsel, I think we see that it has a wider application than simply commanding us not to physically hurt someone. To do no 'injustice" and to even to bear the injustice done to us is nothing more than perfectly imitating Our Lord.



The Christian has the life of Christ within them by the grace of their baptism, but for many of us that life is dormant, asleep. We do not call on Christ at every moment of the day to aid us and to help us in our dealings with others and the way that we view our own treatment from the hands of others.



Like every counsel before it and to come--this one calls us to conversion. We are to treat everyone with the utmost respect, not injuring them physically or emotionally, nor showing treating them with any injustice. At the same time when someone treats us harshly, whether physically or emotionally, even unjustly--we are to "grin and bear it."


Michael Dubruiel

Monday, August 15, 2022

Feast of the Assumption - August 15

  The Feast of the Assumption is today, August 15.   The Assumption is, of course, one of the mysteries of the Rosary, and so it's appropriate to talk about the Rosary as we contemplate the feast. Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.