Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman was a great Catholic priest in England, and a prolific author and preacher.  He composed many Prayers over his lifetime, and I would like to share this one with you.  At times, all of us yearn to know if we are following God's Plan for us in our daily lives.  This Prayer helps guide and reassure us:

God has created me to do Him some definite service.

He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.

I have my mission.

I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught.

I shall do good; I shall do His work.

I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place.

While not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. 

If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him.

In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him.

If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.

He does nothing in vain.  He knows what He is about.

He may take away my friends.  He may throw me among strangers.

He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me.

Still, He knows what He is about.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


In a most embarrassing move, the House of Representatives left Washington yesterday for yet another long vacation and recess--leaving any type of immigration reform legislation on their desks.

The U.S. Senate had passed a comprehensive immigration reform package back on June 27, 2013--some six months ago.  The U.S. Bishops' Conference had supported that reform legislation which had broad bi-partisan support on a 68 to 32 vote.

The Bill was sent to the House where it has languished amidst a myriad of claims and counter-claims about its content, need, and application.  Speaker John Boehner would not allow the Senate Bill to be brought up for a vote in the House where many thought it would actually pass.

In the meantime, we continue to leave some 11 million unauthorized residents stuck in the shadows of our society.  They live their daily lives surrounded by fear, threats, loss of dignity and respect, and often exploited.  This lack of Congressional action to fix our badly outdated immigration laws is a modern day scandal, and surely one of the greatest social and moral evils present in our country.

What will happen when Congress reconvenes after the holidays?  Will there be any chances for action on the Senate Bill?  Will House members be able to break through the anti-immigrant rhetoric and take the bold steps needed to pass this legislation?

What is amazing is how far out of step the House is with the overall American public on the issue of immigration reform.  All recent polls show strong public support for our immigrant brothers and sisters.  One recent poll showed these results:

57% replied that immigrants should stay, and apply for citizenship;
11% replied that they should remain, but not be allowed to apply for citizenship;
26 % replied that immigrants should be required to leave;
5% were unsure.

That means that 68% of Americans believe the unauthorized immigrants in our midst should be allowed to remain the country.

There is a terrific website which tracks all polls across the country on immigration issues, and I strongly recommend it:   http://www.pollingreport.com/immigration.htm

We don't give up even in the midst of the House intransigence.  We increase our prayers for these brothers and sisters in need of our help; we continue to convince family members and friends about the positive value of our immigrants; and we send emails/letters to our House members urging action on immigration reform.

With the mid-term elections in early November 2014 on the horizon, we must not allow political brinkmanship to further torpedo needed comprehensive immigration reform.

St. Toribio Romo, intercede for our immigrant brothers and sisters!!


Thursday, December 5, 2013


St. Catherine of Siena was a renowned Dominican who lived in the northern Italian city of Siena.  She was a fearless papal counselor, and eventually a stigmatist.  She died in 1380, and was declared a Doctor of the Church because of her keen intellect.

This piece appeared today in Magnificat [1] and I found it to have great insights when any of us finds our self in the midst of adversity.  I pray that you will find it useful on your own spiritual journey:

Virtue is proved in difficulty just as gold is proved in fire.  For if in difficulties we were to give no genuine proof of patience but try to avoid the difficulty...this would be a clear sign that we were not serving our Creator, that we were not letting ourselves be governed by him in accepting humbly and with love whatever our Lord gives us. 

It would not give evidence of faith that we are loved by our Lord.  For if we truly believed this, we could never find a stumbling block in anything.  We would value and reverence the hand that offers the bitterness of adversity as much as the hand that offers prosperity and consolation, because we would see that everything is done out of love.

The very fact of our not seeing this would demonstrate that we had become servants of our selfish sensuality and spiritual self-will, and that we had made these our Lord and were therefore letting ourselves be governed by them.

Since this servitude to the world and to our spiritually selfish will is deadly, we must flee from it.  It gets in the way of perfection, keeps us from being free servants of God.  It makes us want to serve God in our own way rather than God's--which is not right and makes our service mercenary.  So much evil comes of this!

I tell you, then, we must follow this way and teaching that he has given us.  God wants to do everything by using intermediaries.  We see clearly that we were not created by ourselves but that God himself made his charity an intermediary.  By means of his pure love he created us in his image and likeness so that we might share in and enjoy the eternal sight of him.  

But we lost this through the selfish love and sin of our first father.  So to give us back what we had lost, God gave us his Son as intermediary, and this mediator took on the blows [in our place]--since the war [between us and God] had been so great that there was no other way this peace could have been made.

Why?  Because the infinite God had  been offended, and finite humankind who had sinned could never, by any suffering they might have borne, have made satisfaction to the dear infinite God.

So the blazing depth of God's charity found a way to make this peace.

May we all find this a wonderful meditation and reflection throughout our Advent and Christmas season!

[1]  Magnificat is a monthly small booklet which offers various Catholic prayers, the Mass formularies for each day of the month, and many other spiritual insights for all of us.  Their website:  www.magnificat.com