Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

1 Jn 2:12-17 Doing, Listening, and Understanding

Jn 2:12-17 Doing, Listening, and Understanding
By Benedict Augustine

“Do not love the world or the things of the world. 
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world. 
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. 
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.”

John’s writings, his gospel, letters, and revelation, make more sense spoken or sung than read to oneself. He writes in parallel syntax and often repeats certain expressions to give his writing the feeling of a spiral—which can sometimes make a reader dizzy. Like a song or speech, his message has a definite shape guiding the reader towards a certain conclusion, or in this case, around a central idea, seeing it in all dimensions. The point is that the audience will remember the contrasts John makes of light and dark, sin and salvation and sin, truth and falsehood, Heaven and the world. 

The one who only reads—that is, most modern Christians—this might find John’s writings, particularly his letters, rather repetitive and abstract. Instead of the spiral that changes ever so gradually, readers today prefer some concrete development that one can read over and imagine to reinforce an understanding of an argument. What does John mean by “truth,” or “the world,” or even “the Father”? How does one fill in these loaded words and ideas that stir the emotions but frustrate the mind? 

John answers this rather simply: Repent of your sins through a contrite confession, ask forgiveness, and avoid sin afterward. To illuminate the mind on matters of the spirit, one must cleanse his heart. For John and many of the early Christians, understanding comes through moral living and spiritual discipline. Whereas most Christians today, Catholics and Protestant alike, might recommend some books (starting with the Bible or Catechism) or talks by Christian speakers, Christians of the first few centuries after Christ’s birth lived in an oral/auditory world where memory would combine with habit and reflection to enable understanding. 

In other words, one had to continually ponder and live out the truth to even understand it. John, the other apostles (with the exception of Paul), and Jesus Himself, do not resort to ethics or theology to explain the Christian faith. They live their faith—and later die for it—and pray constantly, encouragingtheir listeners to do the same. There may be those who want an explanation of the mechanics or logic behind matters of faith and morals, and they may read St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Bonaventure for that. The writers of the New Testament do not condemn this group, but urge such inquirers to not stop at theories of truth but engage in experience of truth. Ultimately, this is the only way. 

Such experience does not mean that a true Christian must go and sin to know that it is bad. The darkness of sin is self-evident, and all human beings inherit this from their birth with original sin. People may deny the good in their lives, but only a delusional person would deny the bad, with the certainty of death looming before him and the certainty of temptation resting within. 

Nevertheless, it is never a waste of time to learn from the mistakes of others to better understand this reality. This particular section of John’s first epistle had a special significance for the great doctor of the Church, St. Augustine of Hippo. He knew firsthand how sin clouds judgment and actuallypatterns the first 9 books of his Confessions on John’s three sins: lust, vanity, and pretentiousness.  

Augustine’s moral decline in the first three decades of his life fit this description quite well. Blessed with a supreme intellect and a charming personality, he has an easy time satisfying his desires. In his late teens he has concubine for his lusts; soon afterward, he adopts a fashionable heresy that satisfies his ego; and later when he hits his stride in his career, he finds a prestigious position in Milan as a rhetorician and pretends that what he does (making phony speeches and teaching others to do the same) actually has meaning. 

The irony of the Confessions is that Augustine suffers the worst kind of depression at the apparent apex of life. He recounts how he even envies the beggar offering prayers for a few coins. Augustine’s charm and good looks leave him feeling cold and alone. His intelligence and great learning leaves him utterly mystified and somewhat delusional at times. His good fortune leaves him ashamed and jaded. 

Although he will later credit St. Ambrose’s sermons for helping him with his conversion, Augustinepraises his mother St. Monica even more. Dealing with Augustine’s pretention and vanity, Ambrose exposes the phoniness and stupidity of all the heresies while demonstrating the transcendent logic of Christianity. However, the problem of lust required the steadfast patience and constant prayers of his mother who comes to live with him. She convinces him to dismiss the concubine, seek a normal marriage, and become Christian. After so many relapses, which Monica no doubt made difficult and awkward, Augustine eventually feels the call to chastity at the same time that he hears the call to conversion.

Clarity comes to Augustine as soon as he steps out the darkness of the world, not just moral clarity but intellectual clarity. Soon after his conversion he goes on to combat the heresies, knowing their source of sin in intimate detail. He later writes important works of theology and philosophy, not least the Confessions but also The City of GodOn the Trinity, and On Christian Teaching, finally knowing their source of goodness in intimate detail. Thus, in St. Augustine’s life and works, John’s first letterinterestingly finds a comprehensive and thorough embodiment.

Therefore, all Christians should follow the words of the Jesus’ beloved disciple—follow them so that they may understand them. Like Augustine, they must have a listening heart so that they can finally have a listening mind.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lk 1:57-66 The Nativity of… John?

Lk 1:57-66 The Nativity of… John?
By Benedict Augustine

Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

Although it is popular among all kinds of Christians to encourage others to keep “Christ” in Christmas, Catholics should take the time to encourage the Mass in Christmas. Christmas day itself may center on Christ’s birth, the Incarnation of God Himself, but the story around Christmas day, presented in the readings of Advent and during the Christmas season centers everyone else. In truth, the story of Christmas is not really the story of Jesus, but primarily the story of His mother Mary, his foster father Joseph, his Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Zechariah, and even the distant Magi and King Herod. 

For this reason, Christmas is a particularly Catholic holiday because it prefigures the Church’s role in story of salvation. The event involves many actors who must cooperate with the God’s will. First and foremost, Mary consents to bear Christ and become a living tabernacle. In providing a dwelling place for the incarnate Lord, she thus symbolizes the Church who does the same. 

Mary also provides an example for all Catholic women. She embodies both the maternal vocation in raising Jesus as well as the religious vocation in maintaining her virginity. She does not compete with Joseph or her cousin Elizabeth, but accepts her role humbly and modestly. Her joy comefrom obedience, faithfulness, and gratitude. God likely picks her as Jesus’ mother because of this abundant joy that would later help her endure the suffering of her son’s Passion.  

Mary’s husband Joseph stands in for all Catholic men who must protect and support their wives as husbands, or protect and support the Church as priests. He leads quietly, workshard, and becomes a model of manhood for his son and the all other menHis example encapsulates all that is signified in the word “manly.”

Although playing a supporting to role, Mary’s cousinElizabeth also has a special symbolic relevance: she is the guide and friend of Mary, and by extension all women. Mary learns about motherhood from Elizabeth whom God has blessed with a pregnancy of her own. Because of her time helping Elizabeth, and her subsequent friendship, Mary, who is still young and inexperienced as she carries Jesus, can eventually undertake her new responsibilities as a mother. Additionally, as a good friend and mentor, Elizabeth defers to her cousin and builds up her confidence; she does not play games and complain about her own problems as an older mother. 

Like Joseph, Zechariah quietly supports his wife—though not by choice but because the angel strikes him mute. When the people ask him what he shall name the child, he defers to Elizabeth who herself defers to the angel to name her child John. Even less is known about Zechariah than Joseph, but one may assume he had an important part in John’s formation. Obviously, his work as a priest influenced John who would later preach to Christ’s first disciples

These two couples are the first saints in a line of holy men and women extending to today. Even though one couple, Mary and Joseph, receive most of the attention since they become the parents of the Messiah, no one should ignore the other couple who became parents to the greatest prophet. The nativity of the John does more than simply foreshadow Christ’s Nativity; in many ways, it allows Christ’s Nativity.  It provided that necessary support and context for Jesus to grow into a strong faithful man who could redeem humanity.

Luke’s Christmas narrative makes the important point that Christ was not born in vacuum. His later narrative of Acts makes a corresponding point that he was not worshipped in a vacuum either. He first had many saints to support Him, raise Him, and teach Him, all so that He could do the same for others afterward. 

Christ’s great moment would come later at Easter, where He really was in a kind of vacuum being abandoned by all as He suffered, died, and rose again more or less alone. However, Christmas is the Church’s great moment, when her saints would bring about and sustain God’s Son and be an example to all Catholic men and women forever after.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lk 7:18B-23 Words Conceal As Much As They Reveal

Lk 7:18B-23 Words Conceal As Much As They Reveal 
By Benedict Augustine

“’Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised, 
the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.’”

“Don’t tell me! Show me!” This is a line many teachers use often when explaining to students how to develop the points in their essays. To this, I often add, “Don’t use evidence only to prove your point, but also to illustrate it.” At the beginning of the year, all the students simply want to offer a series of bullet points—that is, if they have any points to make about a topic—and allow their reader to fill in the holes. They have to learn the hard way that if I am their reader, I will fill those holes in logic and explanation with angry comments written in red ink and top it off with a low score for the whole essay.

A similar problem that students have in writing involves their misuse of quoted textual evidence. They think that the quotes they cite require no additional explanation. Another remark I often have to make: “The quotes don’t explain themselves! You explain them! Why are they there? What are you telling me by using them?” Again, they think their reader will simply infer their analysis and explain the quote for them. As you can imagine, when I am the reader, I have to go to work with my red pen again.

People who don’t write regularly or work much with language might excuse this as so much stylistic twaddle from a boring pedantHowever, the idea behind illustrating a point and explaining one’s evidence goes far deeper than attending to mere linguistic formalities; these things form the basis of communication and, by extension, the basis of trust. 

If one doesn’t illustrate his point, he likely doesn’t know it. If he can’t explain the quote that he so wittily references as some kind of support, he is probably putting on airs. However, he can get away with this sloppy rhetoric because he knows people will fill in the blanks. He proposes something nice or pleasant, a better healthcare system or a cleaner world, and leaves the details on achieving such a thing to his hopeful audience who either blithely ignore the need for details, or make a much less popular argument for the tiny minority who bother to listen.

The supreme irony about language and rhetoric is that the less conscious we are about it, the more we foolishly believe and trust in it. Despite what people may believe about their common sense and need for evidencemost of them will still trust words over actions, words over people, and words over themselves. As cliché as it sounds, words can create reality if we’re not careful. For example, words can effectively turn a human being into a “clump of cells,” murder into “a woman’s right,” and psychological enslavement into “liberation.” 

Obviously, the political and social sphere teems with such double-talk and propaganda, but this alsohappens at work and even with the Church. I’ve seen people time and again use words create pure illusions that completely contradict reality. They talk themselves into thinking their plan worked, that people are happy, and that they have nothing to change about themselves. Clever Christians with a gift for words can turn “neglect” into “mercy,” “sacrilege” into “authentic worship,” and “piety” into “intolerance.” This way, people can avoid solving difficulties; they only have redefine it and stow it away into confused jumble that everyone will forget soon enough, including themselves. 

If I have learned anything teachinEnglish, I have learned what words can do and what they cannot do. Words can express reality, and even influence one’s perception of reality, but they cannot create or replace reality. Only one person’s word creates reality: that is God’s Word. Men can only repeat what God has already said in some way with His creation, or with His revelation. When they seek to create realities of their own out of the hot air of their breath and vocal cords, they can only perpetuate lies. With their lies, they produce heresies, dictatorships, and never ending train of suffering and death. 

It used to bother me that Jesus never wrote anything. When He tells John’s disciples what He does, I remember saying to myself, “Why doesn’t Hejust tell them He’s Jesus and be done with it? Why can’t He just write His story, eliminate any doubts about who He is, and spare us the hassle?”

But then I thought a little more about this idea. Would Jesus telling everyone, “I am God’s Son!” really prove anything? Would the Gospel of Jesus really remove doubts? If anything, Jesus having to rely on words, or on His own testimony seems suggests a lack of truth. Mohammed wrote the Koran and proclaimed himself a prophet. People believed him because he said so… and would kill or subjugate those who doubted him. 

And even if I believed Jesus, like other people who believe their gurus or their prophets, would I even know what I’m believing? Just like quotes require explanation, claims of divinity require the same. Concepts like “Son of God,” “Messiah,” “Christ,” or “Son of Man” all require a fair amount of context and a great mass of witnesses explaining what they all mean, hence we have the Bible.

Fortunately, Jesus gives us something to work with in His miracles, which act as words He performs rather than words He publishes. His miracles show Him to be the savior Isaiah speaks of in his prophecy (they prove the point).  More importantly, His miracles show what that means and what His followers should imitate (they illustrate the point).

Jesus trusts John’s disciples to understand all this, and He trusts us to do the same. Once we dispense with our words, and listen to His words, God’s Word, we will understand, and, finally, we can then respond in kind.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rev 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab Our Mother of Mercy

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
(Click Here for Readings)

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the
moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

In December 2015,  National Geographic Magazine published a fascinating
article titled How the Virgin Mary Became the World's Most Powerful Woman.
(Read full article here.)  The award-winning Catholic author Maureen Orth
discusses several examples of Mary's influence around the globe. 

The  image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast day we celebrate today, is
 one of the most popular Marian images in the world, highly cherished by the
 Mexican culture.  Millions of terminally and chronically ill people travel to the
cold waters of Lourdes, France for healing. Medjugorje, although still not
officially approved by the Vatican as an apparition, draws thousands of
pilgrims each year.  Clearly, Our Blessed Mother is a source of comfort for
devout Christians throughout the world.  Interesting how even our Muslim
brothers and sisters honor the Virgin.  It is said that Mary is mentioned more
times in the Koran than in the Bible! 

Undeniable, Mary plays an important role as intercessor.  Ever since 40 A.D.
Christians have reported apparitions of her; some appearances verified and
others questionable.  

Why is Mary so popular..and powerful?  What is it about her that inspires
songs, prayers, pilgrimages, processions, and even priceless works of art?
Author Maureen Orth offers the following insight:
As a universal symbol of maternal love, as well as of suffering and sacrifice,
Mary is often the touchstone of our longing for meaning, a more accessible
link to the supernatural than formal church teachings. Her mantle offers both
security and protection. Pope Francis, when once asked what Mary meant to
him, answered, “She is my mamá.”

Not only does the Blessed Virgin Mary provide security and protection but also
mercy.  In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we should turn to our  "Mama"  for
guidance.  How can we be more merciful toward our fellow brothers and
sisters in Christ?  What does the word "mercy" really mean to us? Where
have we failed in being merciful toward the weak, the poor, and the
marginalized?  Do we accept the Lord's mercy or deny it as something of no

Today's meditation artwork, a non-traditional rendition of Our Lady of
Guadalupe, colorfully illustrates the Blessed Virgin Mary in different roles.
 Red represents the Virgin's mighty protection against the snares of the devil.
 Green and yellow symbolize Mary's intercessory role between Christ and us.
 Even the purple and blue is seen as Mary's maternal vocation - providing the
love, care and mercy we desperately need in this challenging world.  Overall,
the kaleidoscope of colors show the importance of the Virgin Mary in our faith

Our Lord will never deny his Mother what she wants for her children just as he
will never deny us his infinite mercy.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for Us!

"Heavenly Father, in Our Lady of Guadalupe our eyes can behold your long-
awaiting promise of salvation; may our eyes behold him for ever when the
promises of Christ are filled "
 -Prayer from The Magnificat Advent Companion 2015 (pg .31)

This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please follow her blog:
 Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mt 11:28-30 Jesus’ Boring Childhood

Mt 11:28-30 Jesus’ Boring Childhood
By Benedict Augustine

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Many social critics will say that too many Americans are workaholics. Adult men and women take took few vacations, work too many hours, and fixate too much on income and too little on recreation. Thisobservation may apply to some people, but it would be more accurate to say that most Americans are addicted to busyness, more than actual work. They seek constant activity, both in work and in play, and seldom reflect upon anything lest they make themselves sad. They hate silence; they hate being alone; and they certainly hate being still.

Consider the story of Mary during her pregnancy with Jesus playing out today. More than likely, she would be working through most of the pregnancy and soon after the birth. Her cousin Elizabeth, also a working woman, may exchange some texts and picture with her as they both chronicle their thoughts and feelings of pregnancy through Facebook or some other social media. Mary would share parenting decorating tips that picked up on Pinterest with Joseph, and he would shrug and probably play fantasy football on his phone. 

Later after Jesus is born—which was a long noisy and very expensive affair at a luxurious hospital—God would command Joseph to take his family to Egypt to avoid Herod’s persecution. Again, Joseph would shrug and relay God to Mary since she makes the decisions for the family. He would return to watching Game of Thrones on his phone while Mary might try to confirm God’s advice by watching the news and looking up articles online—after exchanging pictures of her baby Jesus with Elizabeth’s baby John, of course

And then consider Jesus growing up, having an iPhone, having a personal computer, having his daily schedule regulated by daycares and schools. Would the school place Him in the GT class or would His math scores not be strong enough and unsuitable for STEM major down the road? 

While envisioning the Christmas story taking place today seems jarring, and even somewhat irreverent, this should bring pause to the Catholic hoping to recover the essence of the Advent season. The story of Jesus’ childhood utterly rejects today’s norms. It is quiet; it is lonely; and it is very slow. Perhaps it is for these reasons that gospel writers little to nothing about it, even St. Luke devoting only two chapters about it. Already by the third chapter, Jesus is thirty years old and finally decides to preach, but before then he lives in obscurity. 

What exactly did Jesus do in those first three decades? What was His home life? Considering the details of His parents, the modest mother who kept so many things in her heart and the silent strong father carrying on with his work, it doubtful that they were a gregarious or busy family. They likely shared many moments together without speaking, off on their own somewhere, and completely still. How else could they only think to look for Jesus after a whole day has passed? Jesus the youth probably walked off to pray, look at sunsets, or help his father do business all the time; He certainly seems to have this habit when travelling with His disciples. 

Most people today both crave and shudder at this daunting simplicity. They find themselves stressed by the frenzy of working, shopping, and entertaining themselves without pause; but they fear the oppressive boredom that might accompany a few hours alone with all the devices off. Consequently, they side with the former stressful state, feeling at least familiar with it. By the time their vacation is over, they may be exhausted and even a bit jaded, but at least they did not have suffer any awkward moments.

For those who are sick of this busy empty cycle, they can heed Jesus’ most comforting command: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.” These words make up the essence of Advent, of His Arrival. They dare the men and women addicted to being busy to shut off their distractions and place themselves in the serene abode of His childhood. Only then will Christians truly rest, in God and thus in truth, so that they may stop frittering away their time with empty talk, empty company, and empty movement and pursue something everlasting and fulfilling. 

Lk 1:26-38 Our Mother of the Living

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Holy Spirit comes upon... a beautiful, humble young woman named Mary.  She is schooled in the Law of Moses and understands her duties as a faithful Jew in a patriarchal society.  She embodies childlike innocence and spirit; yet, the time has come to take on adult responsibilities. She is betrothed to Joseph, a much older man with admirable carpenter skills.  He may be poor, but he is still a good, honorable man.

Mary cannot believe the news from the Angel Gabriel: She is with child!  It's not Joseph's baby but the Lord's.  What?! How can this be since she is still a virgin?  Why was she chosen as the mother of the Son of God?

Mary was part of the Divine Plan from inception.  The New Ark of the Covenant; the New Eve; the Holy Mother of God whose "Yes" began a destiny for all of humanity.  Not a revolution designed for idolatry, despair, and hate but an evolution based on faith, hope, and love.

Nothing is impossible...with Our Blessed Mother interceding and protecting us from harm.  Born without sin from the moment of her conception, Mary is the perfect example of maternal holiness. She nursed the child Jesus as an infant and experienced the "terrible 2's" like any other mother!  She  handled the rebellious Jesus when he ran away to the temple and witnessed her son's first miracle at a Cana wedding.  She mourned and wept when Jesus died nailed to the cross; a gut wrenching pain too terrible to describe.  Only a mother who has lost a child can understand.  Despite all of the joy, happiness, worry, and sadness Mary still persevered, strengthened by faith in the Lord.  Nothing seems impossible when we know Christ is with us, in us, and through us.

Mother of the Living... Adam and Eve disobeyed God when they ate forbidden fruit. As a result, evil entered the world.  Pain, sickness, famine, war, and death became commonplace. Comforting to know Mary's "yes" reversed the course of history.... 

Satan won't get his way with Our Blessed Mother in the way!  Evil won't succeed in the world with Jesus Christ, our saving Lord!

Mary, humble and pure, chose to give birth to the Son of God without expecting anything in return.  She trusted the Lord to take care of her.  She trusted in Joseph to love her.  Her ultimate "yes" brought about new meaning to the word living -   Living a full life fully obedient to God.  Taking the good with the bad, always striving for holiness.  

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us!

 "Sinless Virgin, let us follow joyfully in your footsteps; draw us after you in the fragrance of your holiness."  - Divine Office Morning Antiphon, Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mt 7:21, 24-27 Our Heavenly Inheritance

Memorial Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

 Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

My mother loves to decorate her apartment with unique items.  Everything from a large stone rosary in the living room to an authentic Mola in the dining room.  A small 1920's painting hangs in the bathroom and a voodoo Pillsbury Dough Boy in the kitchen.  My sister and I joke about who will inherit what. Maybe I will end up with the green Depression glasses, if my sister doesn't snatch them up first.  As my mom reminds us:  After I die, you can fight over my stuff!  

I prefer avoiding a family feud.  Instead, I rather cherish as many years with my mother as possible, appreciating her prized possessions together as mother and daughter. She has a great story behind each treasure.  Some her decorative objects originate from her travels to foreign countries.

I look forward to a heavenly inheritance more than a family inheritance.  All of the material possessions I collect in my life will not fit in a casket or an urn.  I cannot take a car, book collection, cell phone, or even my dog into the afterlife.  So, why worry about what I inherit in the future?  Why not just be happy with the present?

This brings about the ultimate question:  How can we inherit the Kingdom of God?  Well, we can follow the Ten Commandments, practice The Beatitudes, and spread the good news of Christ to others.  Love our enemies and follow the Golden Rule.  Practice humility and honesty.  Pray for others.  Relish in our faith and trust in God.  Does this sound easy?  Not at all. 

Our own pride, vanity and sensuality often confuses us.  Doing the right thing is boring.  Being nice to everyone doesnt insight a whole lot of drama!  What would happen if the first story on the evening news featured a person saving a life instead of murdering one?  People would stare at their television screens in shock.  Wow, a life actually saved!  Something positive happening in the world today!

Just think with our heavenly inheritance we will finally encounter peace.  No more bad news to keep us in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety.  No more worry about scraping enough money for food, clothing and shelter.  No more sickness, pain, and depression.  We will be stand next to Jesus, Our Blessed Mother, and the Saints in celebration.  We made it!  We are now in heaven for all of eternity!

Lord, Lord!  We love you and praise you.  Please forgive us of our sins and protect us from evil.  We want to join you in heaven someday.  Give us the guidance and strength to follow your Will, especially during times of pain and suffering.  In the Father's name, Amen.

"In thee, Oh Lord, I put my hope.  Let me never be confounded."  - Saint Francis Xavier