7 Ash Wednesday Quotes by Pope Saint John Paul II

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day we enter the great penitential season of Lent, a season that draws our attention to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For many, this season is about “giving something up” (in today’s technological world that would be social media on our phones or limiting our phone time in general). However, you can give anything up or even take something on. Whatever your Lenten fast is this year, I encourage to do it, and to do it well with the help of God’s grace.

Fasting though is only one-third of the Lenten theme, we must also pray and give alms. Since prayer is our encounter with God, adding times to pray to our daily routine would be extremely beneficial to each and every one of us. A simple addition of prayer is signing up for Eucharistic Adoration in your parish or a nearby parish. Spending that extra hour in prayer each week will for sure increase your encounter with God. I really want to add more prayer time to my day, not just during these next 40 days, so that’s why I am working on adding the Liturgy of the Hours to my daily prayer routine.

For alms, if you have a favorite charity or don’t give to your parish, increasing your financial donations during the next 40 days will assist you in meeting the alms obligation during Lent. Since I am getting married in seven months, I am going to continue to clean out my closets and give away any clothes I don’t wear to shelters or St. Joseph the Worker, a local shelter here in the Phoenix area. Please don’t forget, there are many people less fortunate that need our assistance.

To help us prepare for this Ash Wednesday and Lent of this year, I now turn our attention to 7 Ash Wednesday Quotes from Pope Saint John Paul II. These quotes are come from his homilies and messages given to the Church and the world on the Ash Wednesday’s of his amazing Papacy –

1. “Today the Church lays great stress on this truth, confirmed by the history of every man. Remember that “to dust you shall return”. Remember that your life on earth has a limit!… Therefore the message of Ash Wednesday is expressed with the words of St. Paul: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:20-21). Collaborate with him!”

2. “Repent and believe in the Gospel”. This invitation, which we find at the beginning of Jesus’ preaching, introduces us into the Lenten season, a time to be dedicated in a special way to conversion and renewal, to prayer, to fasting and to works of charity. In recalling the experience of the chosen people, we too set out as it were to retrace the journey that Israel made across the desert to the Promised Land. We too will reach our goal; after these weeks of penance, we will experience the joy of Easter. Our eyes, purified by prayer and penance, will be able to behold with greater clarity the face of the living God, to whom man makes his own pilgrimage on the paths of earthly life.”

John Paul II placing ashes on the head of a Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos in 2004. 

3. “During Lent, we prepare to relive the Paschal Mystery, which sheds the light of hope upon the whole of our existence, even its most complex and painful aspects. Holy Week will again set before us this mystery of salvation in the evocative rites of the Easter Triduum. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us set out with trust on our Lenten journey, sustained by fervent prayer, penance and concern for those in need. In particular, may this Lent be a time of ever greater concern for the needs of children, in our own families and in society as a whole: for they are the future of humanity.”

4. “‘Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6: 4, 6, 18). Jesus’ words are addressed to each one of us at the beginning of our Lenten journey. We begin it with the imposition of ashes, an austere penitential gesture very dear to Christian tradition. It emphasizes the awareness of sinners as they stand before the majesty and holiness of God. At the same time, it demonstrates readiness to accept and to transform into concrete choices adherence to the Gospel.”

5. “The Church lives Christ’s redemptive sacrifice throughout the liturgical year. However, in the season of Lent we would like to immerse ourselves in it in a particularly intense way, as the Apostle urges us: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:2). In this important season, the treasures of Redemption, merited for us by Christ crucified and risen, are dispensed to us in a most particular way. Thus the Psalmist’s exclamation: “Create in me a clean heart … and put a new and right spirit within men becomes at the beginning of Lent a strong call to conversion.

6. “Why does the Church place ashes on our foreheads today? Why does she remind us of death? Death which is the effect of sin! Why?…To prepare us for Christ’s Passover. For the paschal mystery of the Redeemer of the world. Paschal mystery means what we profess in the Creed: “On the third day he rose again”!…Yes. Today we need to hear the “you are dust and to dust you will return” of Ash Wednesday, so that the definitive truth of the Gospel, the truth about the Resurrection, will unfold before us: believe in the Gospel.”

7. “By inviting us through the discipline of Lent to tread the paths of love and hope marked out by Christ, the Church makes us realize that the Christian life involves detachment from superfluous goods, and the acceptance of a poverty which sets us free, and enables us to discover God’s presence and to welcome our brothers and sisters with an ever more active solidarity and in an ever wider fellowship.”

So as we step into this Lenten season, I pray that each of us upholds our penances and sacrifices with a fervent desire to grow closer to Our Lord Jesus and his Catholic Church. Ask for the intercession of the Holy Mother of God to give you the strength to offer up the next 40 days to Our Lord. Pray with the Saints, many who knew the day-to-day meaning of penance and sacrifice.

If you are now avoiding certain social media sites this year, make sure you sign-up on my homepage to receive blog posts when I write them.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes: Prayers, Saints, Popes and Miracles

Yesterday, in the Latin lung of the Catholic Church, we celebrated the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and although this Sunday takes precedence over any particular feast or memorial, it is also the day in the liturgical calendar where we honor Our Lady of Lourdes.

Just like with Our Lady of Fatima, I know many Catholics that have a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother at this particular pilgrimage site. Over the past six years of writing on this blog, I have written on Our Lady of Lourdes a total of 7 times (including this one today).

Unfortunately, like many other Marian sites, except for Our Lady of Guadalupe, I have not personally been on pilgrimage, but many friends have been and often have brought me items back from these holy sites. One of my cherished items is a small glass container of holy water that was purchased at the Marian Pilgrimage Shrine of Lourdes in France. You can read about it below in the post titled, “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Since I have written many times in the past on Our Lady of Lourdes, for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I am going to list the posts I have written on this widely devoted Marian pilgrimage site and title for Mary. Between prayers, lives of the saints, Papal activities, and a host of miracles, Lourdes remains to be one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the Catholic Church, if not entire world. Yesterday, the 70th approved miracle was declared valid, although countless pilgrims have claimed miracles not officially reported or approved.

If you haven’t read these posts in the past or you are new to my website/blog, I hope you will read these posts to give yourself a better understanding of Our Lady of Lourdes and the importance this shrine plays in the Catholic Church today –

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes  

2. “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes  

4. Our Lady of Lourdes 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes by Pope St. John Paul II 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – Prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of Saint John Vianney

Saint John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests, notably known as the Curé of Ars, is a saint that I have drawn from many times in my writings. His simple yet profound sayings have impacted me in the course of my life, most especially the last twelve years or so. I was first introduced to him in 2006, then in 2009, I was reintroduced through a small booklet with many of his quotes contained in it. If you are unfamiliar with this great French saint, I would encourage you to read more about him. To read my other post about him and the Blessed Mother, read that one here.

St. John Vianney was asked once how long he loved Our Lady, his response, “I loved her almost before I could know her.” If I was a betting man, I imagine many of the saints would say the same exact thing about the Blessed Virgin Mary. So, for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, here is a Marian Prayer written by the Curé of Ars –

O most holy Virgin, Mary, who evermore stands before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to your most beloved Son; pray for in all my necessities; help me, protect me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith; favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the tempting enemy.

When I can no longer say: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands,” I ask you to say it to me; when I can longer hear human words of consolation, comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged, and if I have to atone for my sins in purgatory, pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed vision of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with you: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and you for all eternity. Amen. (Split into two paragraphs for easier reading).

 O, Most Blessed Virgin Mary…Pray for Us

Saint John Vianney…Pray for Us

More Sayings from the Great Master of Youth – Saint John Bosco

Four years ago, today, I wrote a short blog post about the Great Master of Youth – Saint John Bosco. Since that time, that article, which included 10 sayings from the Italian saint has garnered over 43,461 views [at time of publishing for this post]. It is one of the most popular posts I have written in the past six years. I am often humbled and shocked on the shear mass of individuals viewing this post about Don Bosco on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.

Since so many people liked that post over the years, here is another one focusing on More Sayings from the Great Master of Youth –

1. “I will take no unnecessary walks. I will make exactingly careful us of my time.

When the salvation of souls is at stake I will always be ready to act, to suffer, and to humble myself. May the charity and gentleness of St. Francis de Sales inform my every action.I will always be content with the food set before me unless it is really harmful to my health.

I will always add water to my wine and drink it only for reasons of health. Since work is powerful weapon against the enemies of my salvation I will take only five hours sleep a night. During the day, especially after dinner, I will take no rest, except in case of illness.

Every day I will devote some time to meditation and spiritual reading. During the day I will make a short visit, or at least a prayer, to the Blessed Sacrament. My preparation for Mass shall last at least a quarter of an hour and so shall my thanksgiving.

Outside the confessional and save in cases of strict necessity I will never stop to talk to women” [one large quote broken down into smaller paragraphs to read].

2. “I have promised God that until my last breath I shall have lived for my poor young people. I study for you, I work for you, I am also ready to give my life for you. Take note that whatever I am, I have been so entirely for you, day and night, morning and evening, at every moment.”

3. “In my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth; that it is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself and easier to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.”

4. “You should bear patiently the bad temper of other people, the slights, the rudeness that may be offered you.”

5. “Never read books you aren’t sure about…even supposing that these books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?”

6. “A saint was once asked, while playing happily with his companions, what he would do if an angel told him that in a quarter of an hour he would die and have to appear before the judgment seat of God. The saint promptly replied that he would continue playing because I am certain these games are pleasing to God.”

If you are not familiar with the life of Saint John Bosco, affectionately known to many as Don Bosco, I would encourage you to read the book, Saint John Bosco; A Friend of Youth by F. A. Forbes.

He had a great devotion, like many saints before and after him, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His particular devotion was to Our Lady, Help of Christians.

If you are in the field of education or a catechist at a parish and working with children from kindergarten to high school, I would encourage you to read, The Educational Philosophy of St. John Bosco. It was a book that completely revolutionized my approach when I was a high school theology teacher.

Saint John Bosco…Pray for Us

Sacred Art is flourishing and inspiring…now in the city of Phoenix, Arizona

On July 1, 2017, I wrote an article about sacred art on display in an Arizona Sonoran Desert city, titled, Sacred Art is inspiring and flourishing…in Scottsdale, Arizona. You will be happy to know that The Sacred Art Gallery continues to grow and attract more artists and visitors all the time. One of the gallery consultants, Grace Rivera, even shared with me two nights ago that my article on the gallery gave them a bump from views on their website to individuals walking in their front door.

On Wednesday night (same night we saw Grace), my fiancée and I were invited to an open house at the New Jerusalem Studios. We were excited to attend, most especially me, because I first remember when Ruth and Geoff Stricklin were searching for space where Ruth could create her own sacred art. Although I have seen her work at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center located on the campus of Arizona State University and at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, I was excited, as was my fiancée, to see where such beautiful art begins to take shape.

As you will see from the pictures that are interspersed through this post, the sacred art is large, meant to cover walls and ceilings – and is absolutely stunning! Like sacred music, sacred art has the tendency to raise our eyes, mind, and soul towards Heaven itself. These images that Ruth has created does that for me and I imagine anyone that comes into contact with them.

New Jerusalem Studios focuses on large liturgical art which is theological in nature. The studio not only can create the image itself, but has the knowledge and capability of designing the image before it is produced on the canvas. Along with the sacred art images, New Jerusalem can assist you in the creation of beautiful sacramental art, such as pews, flooring, sanctuary furniture, architectural pieces, and even lighting. A reasonable restoration can be created at an affordable cost.

Liturgical art created correctly, that is produced within the mind and heart of the Church, can change one’s life instantaneously. I remember walking through the Vatican Museum in 2000 – at times I couldn’t speak because of the sheer beauty that was before my young eyes. Even today as I write this post, it’s difficult to express on “paper” what I witnessed those many years ago in Rome.

The reason I bring this up is because for so long we have been held captive by modern art (as well as modern music) which lacks a true sense of beauty. In my opinion, modern art has no real form to it, it lacks distinctiveness and any real aesthetic appeal, and for the last 50 years or so, that’s how Catholic structures have been designed and built.

The good news is that a lot of this modern art is starting to cease within the Catholic Church. Churches are either being built or being redesigned again with a theological sense. I can’t tell you how many parishes that I have read about in recent years who are transforming their modern Catholic churches into works of beauty, and at the heart of these renovations is the sacred art that New Jerusalem Studios can design and produce.

I would encourage you to check out their website, browse around a bit, especially look at the projects page – you will be blown away to see what Ruth is creating in this quaint studio in Phoenix, Arizona.

To conclude, I leave you with the words of Pope St. John Paul. In his Letter to Artists, he quotes Fyodor Dostoevsky’s, The Idiot. Under the title heading, “The Saving Power of Beauty”, the Polish Pope says,

People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm [of wonder] if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us. Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that “beauty will save the world.”

10 Quotes from Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

Today in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we celebrate the feast of The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle. One of the most powerful miracles in the Early Church was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, while he was traveling to Damascus. This miracle displays for us how faith develops from grace and builds when someone freely cooperates with it. The doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ was given clarity and evidence when Our Lord says – “Saul, Saul, why do persecute me?

As we celebrate this important feast in the Catholic Church, here are 10 of my favorite quotes from St. Paul (alas – the Sacred Scriptures!) to the Gentiles. There are many lines that I could quote but here’s an idea for you – start reading the New Testament if you haven’t read it already. You will love reading about the very Early Church!

1. “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:9-13

2. “But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God” – Romans 15:14-17

3. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law—though not being myself under the law—that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law—not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ—that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

4. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

Conversion of Saint Paul – Caravaggio (1600)

5. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit[a] by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so many things in vain? – if it really is in vain.  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” – Galatians 3:1-5

6. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:21-33

7. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

8. “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:5-11

9. “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning[e] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit[f] and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15

10. “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,  and therefore I suffer as I do.” – 2 Timothy 1:8-11

Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles…Pray for Us

Translation used: Revised Standard Edition – Second Catholic Edition. Ignatius Press, 2006.

“Mondays with Mary” [on a Tuesday] – 10 Quotes about Marriage from Pope St. John Paul II

Since today in the old Latin Rite liturgical calendar, is the feast of the Espousal of The Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph (read my article from last year), I thought I would write “Mondays with Mary” on a Tuesday and provide you 10 quotes about Marriage from the great Polish 20th century Pope, St. John Paul II. Along with religious freedom and human dignity, the Holy Father wrote quite a bit on marital relations between a man and a woman, just as God intended it.

Today, I draw from three sources, but there are also other writings as well. Most notably is the principal work known as the Theology of the Body as well as the book he wrote before he was Pope, Love and Responsibility. If you have not read this book, I would encourage you to pick it up, however, it is rather philosophical and theological in nature. For another option, I would encourage you read – Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Dr. Edward Sri. It is based on Love and Responsibility, but a little easier to understand, especially if you have never formally studied theology. Although I have read both, I am going to read them again in the upcoming months as I prepare for my own nuptials to my fiancée.

The quotes from Pope St. John Paul II come from three particular sources – Letter to Families, which was promulgated in 1994 during the Year of the Family, Letter to Women, promulgated in 1995, and the Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, promulgated on August 15, 1989. I hope that you can reflect on these beautiful quotes and allow them to penetrate your own life as a married man or married woman –

1. “Since marriage is the highest degree of association and friendship involving by its very nature a communion of goods, it follows that God, by giving Joseph to the Virgin, did not give him to her only as a companion for life, a witness of her virginity and protector of her honor: he also gave Joseph to Mary in order that he might share, through the marriage pact, in her own sublime greatness.”

2. “In this great undertaking which is the renewal of all things in Christ, marriage-it too purified and renewed-becomes a new reality, a sacrament of the New Covenant. We see that at the beginning of the New Testament, as at the beginning of the Old, there is a married couple. But whereas Adam and Eve were the source of evil which was unleashed on the world, Joseph and Mary arc the summit from which holiness spreads all over the earth. The Savior began the work of salvation by this virginal and holy union, wherein is manifested his all-powerful will to purify and sanctify the family – that sanctuary of love and cradle of life.”

3. “The Book of Genesis helps us to see this truth when it states, in reference to the establishment of the family through marriage, that “a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). In the Gospel, Christ, disputing with the Pharisees, quotes these same words and then adds: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19:6). In this way, he reveals anew the binding content of a fact which exists “from the beginning” (Mt 19:8) and which always preserves this content. If the Master confirms it “now”, he does so in order to make clear and unmistakable to all, at the dawn of the New Covenant, the indissoluble character of marriage as the basis of the common good of the family.”

4. “When, in union with the Apostle, we bow our knees before the Father from whom all fatherhood and motherhood is named (cf. Eph3:14-15), we come to realize that parenthood is the event whereby the family, already constituted by the conjugal covenant of marriage, is brought about “in the full and specific sense”. Motherhood necessarily implies fatherhood, and in turn, fatherhood necessarily implies motherhood. This is the result of the duality bestowed by the Creator upon human beings ‘from the beginning’.” [This is something our modern culture is sorely lacking and needs to understand].

5. “As a rational and free being, man is called to transform the face of the earth. In this task, which is essentially that of culture, man and woman alike share equal responsibility from the start. In their fruitful relationship as husband and wife, in their common task of exercising dominion over the earth, woman and man are marked neither by a static and undifferentiated equality nor by an irreconcilable and inexorably conflictual difference.”

6. “Marriage, the Sacrament of Matrimony, is a covenant of persons in love. And love can be deepened and preserved only by Love, that Love which is “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).”

7. “In marriage man and woman are so firmly united as to become—to use the words of the Book of Genesis—”one flesh” (Gen 2:24). Male and female in their physical constitution, the two human subjects, even though physically different, share equally in the capacity to live “in truth and love”. This capacity, characteristic of the human being as a person, has at the same time both a spiritual and a bodily dimension. It is also through the body that man and woman are predisposed to form a “communion of persons” in marriage.”

Marriage of the Virgin – Raphael

8. “By its very nature the gift of the person must be lasting and irrevocable. The indissolubility of marriage flows in the first place from the very essence of that gift: the gift of one person to another person. This reciprocal giving of self reveals the spousal nature of love. In their marital consent the bride and groom call each other by name: “I… take you… as my wife (as my husband) and I promise to to be true to you… for all the days of my life”. A gift such as this involves an obligation much more serious and profound than anything which might be “purchased” in any way and at any price.”

9. “The Church professes that Marriage, as the Sacrament of the covenant between husband and wife, is a “great mystery”, because it expresses the spousal love of Christ for his Church. Saint Paul writes: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Eph 5:25-26).”

10. “In the Sermon on the Mount, recalling the sixth commandment, Christ proclaims: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:27-28)… Why does Christ speak out in so forceful and demanding a way in the Sermon on the Mount? The reason is quite clear: Christ wants to safeguard the holiness of marriage and of the family. He wants to defend the full truth about the human person and his dignity.”

As we remember this day…

Let us pray for the many holy and faithful Catholic marriages that are producing great fruit in the Church.

Let us pray for those who may be struggling in their marriages – may Our Lady and St. Joseph intercede on behalf of their trials.

Let us pray for those Catholics that are not married in the Church – those who are unaware that their marriages are not valid – pray that they, through the intercession of Our Lady and St. Joseph will come to be in full communion again and Convalidate their secular marriage.

Let us pray for those couples preparing to enter the Sacrament of Matrimony in the days and month ahead. Please pray for Megan and I as we do our preparations for Holy Matrimony.

O Mary, Perpetual Virgin…Pray for Us

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us