Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Special Novena for the Sheen Cause


Dear Friends of Sheen,

Yesterday, as is my custom, I offered Mass in the Convent of the Peoria Cathedral. You and your intentions were remembered by the sisters and me. 

In today’s Gospel, our Saviour reminds us that there are some things that can only be accomplished with greater prayer.  I am regularly reminded that the Cause for the Canonization of our beloved Archbishop Sheen is essentially a SPIRITUALLY work. I am asking today for your special prayers for the Cause.

I invite you to join with me and the Friends of Venerable Sheen around the world in a novena for a special intention starting Wednesday February 26 and culminating on March 6.  There are no special Novena prayers other than the Prayer for Canonization.  Also can you please remember the special intention for the Cause in your Rosaries, Holy Hours and Masses.

Besides our unity in prayer for the Cause, this can also be a great personal novena to begin Lent.  May our spiritual efforts for the Cause of a Saint help to make each of us saints too!

United in prayer and commending each of you to the Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue, I am,

Msgr. Stanley Deptula

Executive Director

Link to our prayer for Canonization in various languages: Prayer for Canonization

Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day

“In all the heartbreaking dramas of the world, a woman is summoned to have her heart pierced mystically, as a man’s heart is riven with steel.  A Jacqueline leaning over a John is a compassionate beating of a heart in rhythm with a Mary leaning over a crucified Jesus.  Grant the infinite distance between a God-man dying for the sins of the world and a man dying because of a man’s inhumanity to man; grant that unbridgeable span between voluntarily laying down one’s life and having it violently taken away – the latter still derives its value from the former, as the coin from the die.

I was in Rome in the first shattering shock of the death of President Kennedy.  The suddenness of his death came like and earthquake;  it affected so many and in such magnitude that one could not find a heart to console – others, too, were inconsolable.  In lesser bereavements, there are those who are not involved, but then there were no others to wipe away tears, for they too were mourners. 

Nothing is as democratic as death, for all of a sudden, there is no distinction between Jew or Greek, male or female, socialist or totalitarian, Republican or Democrat.  All suddenly realize the wickedness of the world in which we live.  Not until we see what is done to the humanity-loving do we grasp the frenzied hate which will not be stilled by the tears of a little John or the whimpering sadness of a Caroline.    

It takes a sacrificial death to break down the walls of division.  When some men refuse to acknowledge others as their equals under God, words will not unite them.  It takes blood.  It took a Lincoln’s blood to unite a nation; it has taken a Kennedy’s blood to prepare for the equality of men in the same nation.  This is the mystery of his death – the price men destined for greatness have to pay to prove that love is stronger than hate.

Above all our national figures, these two Presidents of Sorrow stand forever near the Man of Sorrows saying: ‘I will stand here at Thy side; despise my nation not.’ 

Perhaps we never thought of it before, but underneath our grief was the surprising truth that we measure the enormity of a crime by the nobility of the victim.  The same act committed against a fellow citizen would have been murder too, but it would have convulsed us more if the mayor of a city were killed in identical circumstances; and still more if it had been the governor of a state.  The top of the tottering pyramid of grief is reached when the president of a nation is assassinated.   

The impact, the scandal, and the paralysis mount with the eminence of the one slain.  Thus, suddenly, without our ever having suspected that we knew any theology, we affirmed in grief that principle that ‘Sin is always measured by the one sinned against.’  I will not carry it any further than to say: Suppose that Perfect Innocence and Truth and Love become a victim to evil and mediocrity, and was put to death by us?  Would not our grief be almost too deep for tears?

We have walked with pleasure for many a mile and we have smiled and smiled, and learned nothing.  But what a vista of the mystery which lies in the heart of the world’s redemption was unveiled when we, as a people, walked with sorrow!  People become more united in sorrow than in pleasure.  Across the nation, citizens were enjoying theaters, sports, parties, cocktails, and a thousand and one pursuits of eros in which the ego satisfies itself under the guise of a love of another.  Then all these disparate and separate enjoyments, like scattered drops of mercury, suddenly came together in one center – the broken heart of America.  There were no longer political parties, business competitors, grasping fingers – there was beating only one heart.

It is well to be proud of our country, but if the memory of a death means anything, we will no longer boast as if the peacock were our national symbol, saying: ‘I am an American,’ but, in the full consciousness that our symbol is an eagle mounting ever upwards, we will say: ‘May I be worthy to be an American.’” 

-          Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (The Power of Love)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Presentation

“Every child is an arrow shot out of the bow of its mother, but its target is God.  Children have come through mothers, but they do not belong to them.  Mary acknowledges this claim of divinity on her Child by presenting Him back again to God, as she offers the temple of His Body in the temple made by hands. 
                Mary here anticipated the joy of every mother who brings her child to the baptismal font, where God may claim His own.  But in the case of Mary the Child was claimed for sacrifice, as the aged Simeon said that He was a sign to be contradicted, and the cross is the contradiction.
                Mary was even told that a sword her own soul would pierce.  That would happen when her Son on the cross would have His heart pierced with a lance.  Through His Body and her soul would go that one stroke of the sword.  She was the only mother who ever brought a life into the world to die. 
                It is not so much our presents that God wants from us, as it is our presence, as we offer our life to Him.”  Archbishop Fulton Sheen (The Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary)