Removing the Blindfold

October 15, 2010

I have to admit that I have a hard time believing in miracles.  It’s a strange thing because I believe in the miracles chronicled in the bible.  But I have a hard time believing the miracles that happen around me.  The gospel reading this Sunday really spoke to me.  Jesus healed 10 leapers, but only one came back to give thanks to God.  What happened to the other 9?  Did they believe in their miraculous healing?  Did they see what happened to them with their hearts?  Would I be the leaper who came back to thank and praise God, or would I be completely oblivious to what happened?  Or worse yet, would I be ungrateful for the miracle?

I am a product of today’s modern society.  As a society, we have made tremendous gains in technology, science and industry.  And as a result, we tend to be blinded by our own knowledge.  We are distracted by our own achievements.  In some cases, we have explained away God or the need for God.  The pride we gained through our accomplishments has made us blind to the spiritual forces around us.  We are quick to explain away those little miracles with science or chance.  We are reluctant to give God the credit.   Our society has become very secular.  And I am right in the middle of it.  How do I take off the blindfold?  How do I regain that innocent child-like faith that so easily recognizes influences of God in everything around her?  How do I live in the world but not be of the world?

I think the first step is to acknowledge that the blindfold exists.  You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  So, since I know the blindfold is there, I can seek to remove it.  But I find the process of removal is not easy.  I have been convicted lately by pride.  In fact, I would not be remiss to assume the majority of the threads that make up the fabric of my blindfold are strong and stubborn pride.  In my latest trip to the confessional where I once again poured out my sin of pride, Father gave me the Litany of Humility as my penance.    After praying this prayer, I realized that pride can disguise its self in many ways.  Not only are the desires of praise, extolment, and honor rooted in pride, but also are the fears of humiliation, ridicule, and suspicion.  If we could rid ourselves of pride, then we would not fear being wrong or being suspected or being forgotten.    We would not seek honor, praise or recognition.  Imagine how free we would be.  If I could remove the pride from my eyes, I wonder what miracles I would see? 

So how do I take off the pride?  How do I see with those child-like eyes again?  Jesus shows us what it is like to live without pride.  He never worked to gain anything for himself.  He never feared what people would think of Him.  He never sought the approval of anyone but His Father.  He sacrificed His perfect, pride-less lifeblood to gain our lives.  He laid all of Himself on the altar at Calvary in complete surrender to the will of the Father.  And in that surrender, God conquered hell for us.  He found a way to bring us home to His presence.  Jesus shows us the awesome beauty in surrender.

So, I think that the key to conquering pride is found in surrender. When we truly lay everything down on the altar and seek the Father’s will, we become free.  We don’t spend energy seeking glory, praise and approval.  We are not afraid of being wronged, despised or forgotten.  We put others before ourselves so that they may become holier- even more holy than you or I.  Isn’t that what Jesus asks us to be?  To be an arrow pointing to Him?  To be His mirror so that when we gaze at Him, others see His reflection in us?    St. Augustine says:

You who do not see God will, by loving your neighbor, make yourself worthy of seeing him. By loving your neighbor, you cleanse your eyes so you can see God.

When we completely surrender ourselves to Him at the foot of the cross, He reaches down and removes our blindfold.  He pays the price so that He can remove it and He frees us from ourselves- our pride.  But first, we must surrender-wholly and completely surrender.  And then He takes our surrendered beings molds us into the creatures we were meant to be; creatures who love Him and each other as He loves us.  And with that love, we see the world through His eyes.  We see Him along with His miracles in every person He places in our path.  And then we can’t help but to serve and love our neighbor because, in doing so, we serve and love Christ himself.

 I fear that this kind of surrender is going to take me a lifetime.  There are some days when I  surrender a little more of myself and the blindfold falls away for a moment.  And there are other days when I am clearly trying to navigate my own way through life completely blinded by the world.    When the blindfold falls away, I do see things differently.  The beauty of the world is so vivid.  The exhaustive love in my heart overflows into the deepest corners of my being so that I can’t help but share it with others.  I am easily overwhelmed by all the needs in the people around me.  And that leaves me happy to rejoice in my own suffering in order to provide some relief for theirs.  But when I am blinded, creation’s beauty isn’t as spectacular as the world’s distractions.  The instinct to succeed and win approval takes over.  The fears of ridicule and failure guide my thoughts and decisions. Suddenly, my neighbor’s problems are not nearly as big as my own.  And before I know it, I am surrounded by the cold grayness the world and my blindfold have to offer.

It is my prayer that the Lord will keep calling me to the foot of the cross.  That He will continue to bring me to my knees in surrender.  And with every piece of myself I place in His hands, He molds me into the person He created me to be.  I pray that one day my blindfold will fall off forever- that I will have surrendered everything to my Lord just as He surrendered everything to me.  How beautiful it will be to see the world be through His eyes.  How lovely it will be to see Him in everyone around me.  How privileged I will be to love and serve all the neighbors the Lord places in my path with a happy heart.  And then, how magnificent it will be to witness His miracles and then give Him all the praise, glory and honor forever and ever.

Litany of Humility

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Lori is a stay-at-home mom to her two boys and the children she loves on during the day at her home daycare.  She loving supports her Husband’s calling as a High School Band Director.  Originally from New Orleans, she was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and converted to the Catholic faith while in college.  When she has a rare free moment, she publishes her thoughts and musings at www.lorislifeandtimes.blogspot.com and is a columnist for catholicmom.com.

DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS

July 1, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2010 (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

MIRACLES

- Blessed Luigi Guanella, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and of the Institute of the Daughters of Our Lady of Providence (1842-1915).

- Venerable Servant of God Giustino Maria Russolillo, Italian priest, pastor of Pianura and founder of the Society for Divine Vocations (1891-1955).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Serafina of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (nee Clotilde Micheli), Italian foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Angels (1849-1911).

- Venerable Servant of God Alfonsa Clerici, Italian religious of Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Monza (1860-1930).

- Venerable Servant of God Cecilia Eusepi, Italian member of the Third Order of the Servants of Mary (1910-1928).

MARTYRDOM

- Servant of God Janos Scheffler, bishop of Satu Mare, Romania (1887-1952).

- Servants of God Jose Maria Ruiz Cano, Jesus Anibal Gomez Gomez, Tomas Cordero Cordero and thirteen companions of the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain in 1936.

- Servants of God Carmelo Maria Moyano Linares and nine companions of the Order of Carmelites, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain in 1936.

- Servants of God Johannes Prassek and two companions, diocesan priests killed in hatred of the faith at Hamburg, Germany on 10 November 1943.

- Servant of God Marguerite Rutan, professed sister of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, born in 1736 and killed at Dax, France on 9 April 1794.

HEROIC VIRTUES

- Servant of God Basilio Martinelli, Italian professed priest of the Congregation of the Schools of Charity (”Istituto Cavanis”) (1872-1962).

- Servant of God Maria Antonia of St. Joseph (nee Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa), Argentinean foundress of the “Beaterio” of Buenos Aires (1730-1799).

- Servant of God Maria (nee Casimira Kaupas), Lithuanian foundress of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Casimir (1880-1940).

- Servant of God Maria Luisa (nee Gertrude Prosperi), Italian abbess of the convent of the Order of St. Benedict of Trevi (1799-1847).

- Servant of God Maria Teresa (nee Maria Carmen Albarracin), Spanish professed religious of the Claretian Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate (1927-1946).

- Servant of God Maria Plautilla (nee Lucia Cavallo), Italian professed religious of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity (1913-1947).

Levitating Saints, Prophecies, and Other Miracles To Be Discussed on CatholicTV Talk Show

June 14, 2010

WATERTOWN, MA (MetroCatholic) - Levitating Saints, Prophecies, and Other Miracles To Be Discussed on CatholicTV Talk Show

On June 22nd, miracles related to the Catholic faith will be discussed on the live CatholicTV talk show “This is the Day”.

According to a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life , 79 percent of Americans believe in miracles.

According to Catholic author Elizabeth Ficocelli, “in all times and places [God] has exercised his power on earth in extraordinary ways: to teach, correct, warn, and inspire His people according to the needs of the age.” Elizabeth will be interviewed on This is the Day on June 22nd.

Elizabeth Ficocelli is the author of the book “Bleeding Hands, Weeping Stone” which examines miracles related to the Catholic faith. Some of these miracles include, communion hosts turning into real flesh, the miraculous appearances of images, miraculous wounds, and more. Learn more about Elizabeth’s work at the following website: http://www.elizabethficocelli.com  

This is the Day airs at 10:30AM ET at CatholicTV.com and on CatholicTV. The show is rebroadcast at 7:30PM.

A unique Catholic leadership program for high school students will also be discussed on This is the Day on June 22nd. The week-long program is called “Witness to Truth” and will take place from July 12-16th. The program is designed for young practicing Catholics who want to “grow in holiness and become saints”, according to Stephen Colella, Assistant Director of the Office of the New Evangelization (ONE) for the Archdiocese of Boston. To register or to learn about this great session and the other events of the ONE office visit http://www.oymboston.org  

Lylah Fitzgerald, a student who attended last year’s high school leadership program will discuss her experience on This is the Day. Stephen Colella will also join Lylah on the set of This is the Day.

Episodes of This is the Day are posted on the site’s archives starting the same night of the broadcast day. All videos at the website are viewable in full-screen. Paste this URL into your browser in order to access the “This is the Day” video archives. http://www.CatholicTV.com/shows/default.aspx?seriesID=72  

CatholicTV broadcasts across the US on Sky Angel channel 142, and selected cable outlets in New England and in Chattanooga (TN) where CatholicTV is available on FiTV channel 153. To find out where to watch CatholicTV visit: http://www.CatholicTV.com/schedule/where-to-watch.aspx  

CatholicTV is a nationally-broadcasted television network streaming a live feed 24 hours a day at CatholicTV.com. Heeding Pope Benedict XVI’s call to greater utilize the power of television and new media, the CatholicTV Network features its cable TV station, Catholic web site, mobile apps and widget. Celebrate Mass online; pray The Rosary; enjoy programs on prayer, the saints, the Scriptures and the Catholic Church on America’s Catholic Television Network.

“This is the Day” can also be seen on demand at www.CatholicTV.com or downloaded via iTunes.com.and SQPN.com The hosts, Director of CatholicTV, Father Robert Reed, and General Manager, Jay Fadden discuss various topics of the week and respond to viewer mail (you may email the show at [email protected] )

DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS

July 4, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 3 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

MIRACLES

- Blessed Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (nee Juana Josefa), Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus (1845-1912).

- Servant of God John Henry Newman, English cardinal and founder of the Oratories of St. Philip Neri in England (1801-1890).

- Servant of God Angelo Paoli (ne Francesco), Italian professed priest of the Order of Carmelites of the Strict Observance (1642-1720).

- Servant of God Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas (nee Soultaneh Maria), co- foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem (1843-1927).

MARTYRDOM

- Servant of God Jose Samso i Elias, Spanish diocesan priest, pastor and archpriest of Santa Maria de Mataro, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain (1887-1936).

- Servant of God Teofilo Fernandez de Legaria Goni (ne Beniamino) and four companions, professed priests of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (PICPUS), killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain in 1936.

- Servant of God Georg Hafner, German diocesan priest, killed in hatred of the faith in the concentration camp of Dachau, Germany (1900-1942).

- Servant of God Zoltan Ludovico Meszlenyi, Hungarian titular bishop of Sinope and auxiliary of Esztergom, killed in hatred of the faith at Kistarcsa, Hungary (1892-1951).

HEROIC VIRTUES

- Servant of God Engelmar Unzeitig (ne Uberto), German professed priest of the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill (1911-1945).

- Servant of God Anna Maria Janer Anglarill, Spanish foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgell (1800-1885).

- Servant of God Maria Serafina del Sacro Cuore di Gesu Micheli (ne Clotilde), Italian foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Angels (1849- 1911).

- Servant of God Teresa Manganiello, Italian laywoman of the Third Order of St. Francis (1849-1876).

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