Sustain us O Lord!

A blessed Lent to all!  May the good God aid you in every way as you take up battle against spiritual evil.

I wish to take this holy time to make known something I feel deep in my heart – everything to JESUS, through Mary, with Peter!

This is a refrain, an invocation, that was given by St. Josemaria Escriva.  It is one I have always used but since I have come to Rome I have understood it better than ever.  These are hard times in the life of the Church.  Many waves crash against the barque of Peter and the Faith wains in many parts of the world.  When we hear the words of Jesus from the Gospel, “But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find Faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) it is easy to tempted to dark thoughts and worries as trends hostile to the Faith spring up every where.

Of course, we are filled ever with hope, always with the joy of the Gospel that “fills the hearts of all those who encounter Jesus.”  (Evangelii Gaudium 1)

How did the world come to encounter Jesus?  Through Mary.  Not because of Mary – it was because God so love the world.  The Blessed Trinity is the reason, the cause and the end of all of this joy.  But the Blessed Trinity came to us through Mary.  When the world saw the face of Jesus Christ it saw the Face of God.

Lo sguardo pasquale Kopie

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  He was seen with eyes and touched with hands and heard with ears and so forth.  Thus does He leave the Sacraments and thus did He leave His image.  He also left her image.


St. Josemaria has another saying, “Love for our Mother will be the breath that kindles into a living flame the embers of virtue hidden in the ashes of your indifference.”  (The Way 492)

The image of Jesus at Manopello is a miracle.  The image of the Virgin Mary at Monte Mario is not.  Jesus is God.  Mary is not.  But Jesus and Mary are inseparably linked – His humanity comes from her humanity.  Her desire is His desire, “Do whatever He tells you.”  Devotion to her will lead you only to love Him more and more and more.

The image of our Lady, which I have posted above, is the mother of all icons, of all images of Mary throughout history (except Guadalupe, which I will write about another time.)  This image was lost to the world for many years.  And that was ok – the world didn’t need it in order to live and love Faith.

In these days the image, through amazing workings of Providence, is known again.  As Pope Benedict XVI went to see the Face of Jesus at Manopello, he also went to see the face of Mary on Monte Mario (to Jesus, though Mary, with Peter.)  I have no doubt that these images will be at the center of the New Evangelization.  To contemplate them is to contemplate the divine – Jesus is Divine and Mary does nothing but point to the Divine.

Today I was able to live the unity of Jesus and Mary in a particular way.

Elevation of the Chalice

I celebrated the Mass of Ash Wednesday at the altar of the chapel in the Most of the Holy Rosary, which houses the icon L’Advvocata of Mary.  To raise the Sacred Host and Chalice is the greatest of act of glory that can be given to God.

Before L'Advocata 3

To look into the eyes of the Virgin Mary does nothing but nourish and magnify that glory in one’s heart.  Look at her and she will have you look at Him.  Do you have trouble with your resolutions?  She will help.  Is the fire of your faith cold, she will breathe on it – wherever she is the HOLY SPIRIT is right there too (Annunciation & Pentecost anyone?)!

Before L'Advocata 2

I am going to work to make these images (Jesus’ image at Manopello and Mary’s on Monte Mario) better known and better love because God used them once in history to renew Faith on the earth and He is going to do it again!

ALL FOR JESUS, ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE!  All through Mary – look to her and soon you will be looking with her and glorifying God with all you have and are.

A blessed Lent to all.

I will be back in Madison in one week – a sad but joyful reality – I kindly ask for your prayers for safe travel and resolution to my health situation.

Sometimes its hard to know what the right thing to do is.

Apologies for not having posted in a while.  I have been terribly ill of late.  Have no worries, all is looking up but the past two weeks have taken a lot out of me.

Now, to the brief point.

Ever had a hard time know what the right choice is?  You know, sometimes there is a decision to make and its not certain what direction you should take or where you should go.  I have had that short of moment recently and wanted to share some little spiritual advice.

Point 1 – the Moral Choice.

  • The first thing is to look at the two (or multiple) choices and first ask, ‘Is this morally right or morally wrong.’
  • This is generally the easiest step and if you are confused, ask an expert.
  • If the answer to a point is, ‘no, this is not morally justifiable.’  Then don’t do it.
  • If the answer is, ‘yes, this is morally justifiable.’  Then you can do it

Point 2 – Can I do it?

  • This is an important question.  Can I do one thing or another – do I have the practical, intellectual, physical, psychological, economical, capacity to do this thing.
  • While this question is fairly easy, it requires courage and honesty.  Do not kid yourself with this question.
  • Be courageous = have a broad avenue for saying ‘yes.’  Challenge yourself, push yourself – verso l’alto!  (to quote Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati.)
  • Be honest = sometimes we have already found our limit and know that, at this time, I just cannot achieve what is asked in this instance.

Point 3 – What do I want to do?

  • This is something that many well-meaning Christians miss.  They assume that what they want can’t possible be what God wants.  Since when?
  • You have a particular genius – a personality, skills, talents, hopes, dreams – a way of looking at creation that is singular to you.
  • True, you are not the only person in the world – that’s why this is not the first point – but God’s Will intersects with your life.
  • Be not afraid – you matter, you count, you are important.  “Follow after me and I will make you fishers of men.”  There is a choice here.  One can follow or not, one can walk or not but the individual must choose.

Point 4 –

Lo sguardo pasquale Kopie

  • Look at our Lord, ask Him what to do right to His Face.
  • After point 3, pray.
  • Have you ever had a conversation with someone?  Have you ever put forward and idea?  I mean a good idea, one you have thought about, have researched and pondered.  When you explain it to a person, face to face, you can tell what they think even before they speak.
  • This is true of our Lord.  His Face, incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ, can be see and descried, it can be sought after and found.
  • Pray.

In case you are wondering the best place to see the face of Jesus, well there are many, but here’s number one:


The Holy Eucharist y’all.

Genius advice?  Probably not.  But even her in holy Rome it’s the way to go.

Love you all and ask for your prayers.

Rome Experience – Day III

Sweet Sacrament, Thee we adore, o let us love You more and more!

What a day in Christian Rome.

We woke up, prayed, ate breakfast and walked down to St. Peter’s for Mass. Every Sunday there is a celebration of Mass at the Altar of the Chair. The Mass is entirely sung, celebrated in Latin with an excellent choir. The old monsignor was all fired up at the homily, “the faith, the true faith will lead you to heaven, the faith, the true faith will bring peace to the world, the faith, the true faith, shared with your friends and families and you will walk into the glory of God.”

There are few other things like an organ fugue as you process out of the the basilica to infuse the spirit with the shades of glory to go and live for God and in service to the world.

Walking out of the basilica was a bit on the nuts as some tens of thousands were packed into the square for the Angelus and talk by the Pope. How beautiful it was to see so many in the Piazza San Pietro. True, many there to see a celebrity, but that celebrity also preaches Christian truth.

Lunch was pleasant, with a short time of rest afterwards. At 4:00 I trekked off with some of the seminarians to San Andrea della Valle, the church dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle about 15 minutes from the Vatican. It is the second largest dome in Rome and a beautiful church. The Pope was having Adoration from 5 – 6 pm and asked all the parishes of the world to do the same. Since I didn’t think entry into St. Peter’s would be possible without a ticket I thought the church dedicated to Peter’s brother would be a nice choice, what do you think.


So, a lovely Holy Hour was had. Our group certainly made the Adoro Te Devote a bit more vigorous and the pastor was very good to us. During the Holy Hour I was very moved while reading a letter from a Spiritual Directee of mine – thanks to all those who are so good to me.

After the Benediction we walked back to CIAM. The Chiesa Nuova was right on the way and visiting the tomb of St. Philip Neri is always a good idea. When we entered, a surprise!

Adoration was still going on, in fact we walked in just at the start of Vespers. True, we could not visit St. Philip Neri but to see the Lord’s clergy and many young faithful and to hear the singing of the psalms is a greater treat!

How I love Christian Rome! True, my heart aches for all the people I love and miss back home, but I do love this city and the spiritual joys it has to offer. Here there were no popes, no cardinals, no bishops, no rows of nuns in habits nor the ecclesiastically famous. But here was Jesus, His priests, His faithful, in a beautiful house dedicated to His Name, through the work and legacy of one of His saints. Such things are easily found in this great city and it has always filled my heart. I I do love the Pope and the cardinals and all the ecclesiastically famous, but I love the other as well. To breathe this air and see these colors is a leaven for the heart and mind and soul.

We had many important guests at dinner and so much fun. It was good to see Gabi Lopez and Joe Baker, two seminarians from Madison and great fun to have Fr. Jim Socias with us. After dinner a Skype chat with someone very dear to my heart and then to type.

I love you all like Jesus and miss all those back home – Jesus, ADORO TE DEVOTE.