The Bittersweet of a Vocation

Last night, fellow blogger Punk to Monk tweeted the following message to me:

Message via Homboy McCoy

His blog post (no longer available since he “unplugged” to follow his dream!) relays the good news that he has been accepted to begin his postulancy – the beginning of formal instruction towards vows – in August. Apparently, the good news turned bittersweet when his family had a date in front of them. As if to say, “Wow, he’s really going to do this!” Which, of course, brings to the forefront the first of many ‘letting go’s’ in the life of a religious.

I recommend reading the post which tells the straight-forward truth that one’s religious vocation is also part of the family’s vocation. There is a need, on the part of the family, to ‘get used to the idea’, which later they will find it to be a blessing for the whole family. Such is the reality of God’s providential love… which is so very wonderful to see unfold when one gives himself to follow God through an act of self-giving.

For those who are thinking of taking the plunge into religious life (and if you haven’t considered it, let me invite you to at least pray about it), here are some helpful scripture passages:

Purpose of Call
Exodus 3:14; Judges 6:12-23; Psalms 20-38; Luke. 1:13-17;
1 Peter 2:9

Seeking God
Hosea 6:1-3; Psalms 27 (26); 24:3-6; 105:1-4; 42:2-5,12; 84:2-4; Isaiah 55:6-13

To Individuals
Gen. 12; Ex. 3; 19: 3ff; 24:16; 1 Sam. 3; 2 Sam.7; Isaiah 6:13;
3 Ruth; Jeremiah 1:4-10;
Matt. 4:18-22; Matt 28:16-20, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:1-26;
John 1:35-51; Acts 9, 1 Peter 2:9-17

Psalms 25(24); Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:3-14;
1 Corinthians 2:7-12; 1 Peter 1:1-10

Communication of the Spirit
1 Sam. 10:6; 16:13; Isaiah 2:2; 42:1; John 15:16, 26; 20:22; 14:16; Mark. 3:13

Given Freely
Jeremiah l:4ff; Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians15:9-10; Galatians 1:15

Demands Faith and Obedience
Genesis 12; Matthew 4:18-22; 16:24-26; 8:18-22

Creates Newness in Person Called
Genesis 17:4-8; Luke 1:13, 31-32, 59-63; John 1:42

God’s Divine Providence
Exodus 19:3; Judges 6:13-14; Ezekiel 3:7-9; Jeremiah 1:7-9;
Matt. 10:1-8; Mark 3:15; Luke 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:4-6; 4:7; Ephesians 4:11

Communal Aspect
Rom. 9:7; 1 Corinthians 12:lff; Colossians. 3:15; Ephesians 4:1-12
Rewards: Matt. 19:27-29; John. 15:15; 2 Cor. 2:15-17

Prayer for Perseverance
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Is. 41:8-16; 42:5-9; 43:8-12; Matt. 28:16-20; Luke. 9:2; 10:1-9; 24:46-48;
Acts 1:8; 10:42; 5:20, 42; 6:6; 13:2; 7:1, 52-53; 8:12; 4:3;18:10; 2 Cor. 2:14-16; 1:18-19

Isaiah 42:1-8; 49:1-7; 50:4-10; 52:13-53

Proverbs 22:1-2, 16, 22-23; Psalms 73 (72); 40:5; 18; 107; 72; Isaiah 66:1-2; 11:1-5; 61:1-4; Matt. 5:1-12; 6:19-34; 8:10-20; 11:2-6; 19:16-22;
Lk. 1:46-55; 4:18-21; 6:20-26; 12:13-21; 14:12-14; 16:1-13,19-31; 20:45-21:4;
Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35:1 Cor. 7:29-31; 2 Cor. 6:2-10; 8:1-15; James 2:1-9

Wisdom 3:16-28; 4:1-2; Matt. 19:12; 5:38; 1 Cor. 7:1, 7-8, 32-35, 36-40; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7; 1 Timothy 4:10-12

Deut. 4:32-40; 6:4-6, 13-19; Is. 29:13-24; 53; Ps. 50 (49);
Matt. 7:21-27;
John 6:35-40; 14:21-24; 8:38-42; Acts 4:19; 5:27-32;
Eph. 6:1-10; Philippians 2:5-11;
Romans 16:25-27; 13:1-7; 1Peter 1:1-2; 2:13-19


Be assured, Homeboy McCoy, and all others discerning religious life, you are truly held in my prayers.

God bless!

NOTE: About Homeboy McCoy, he is no longer available on the net, having unplugged his digital life to follow Christ as a postulant. Please keep praying for him. :)

Related Posts:
That “V” Word – Vocation

From Punk to Monk

Look into Your Heart

A Moment in Crisis

A Moment of Praise

During our busy day, we need moments to come before the Lord and offer Him a moment of praise. Maybe we have a burden we are carrying and want to have Him lift it. Maybe we feel we have no strength left to go on. Maybe we’re worried about a loved one who is struggling with disease or finances…these are signs we need to take a moment and turn to God, and pour out our heart (of praise, of worry, of weakness, whatever is going on in our lives today). Let us turn over to the Lord what is going on in our hearts:

Here I am
Once again
I pour out my heart
For I know that you hear
Every cry
You are listening
No matter what state
My heart is in

You are faithful to answer
With words that are true
And a hope that is real
As I feel your touch
You bring a freedom
To all that’s within
In the safety of this place
I’m longing to

Pour out my heart
To say that I love You
Pour out my heart
To say that I need You
Pour out my heart
To say that i’m thankful
Pour out my heart
To say that You’re wonderful


From Psalm 31:

In you, Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice deliver me; incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me. You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Advent – A Call to Wait

Here’s a brief ‘retreat’ for you (thanks to Ruth – from the Pulpit of her Life) to remind us all to slow down a little bit in our anticipation of the Christ-Child. These four precious weeks before Christmas – Advent – is a time to step back and prepare our hearts to receive the Christ-Child. Are we ready to receive Him?

What if you were waiting for something that would change your life? How would you get ready for it? How are you getting ready now?

Let us pray:

God of power and mercy, open our hearts to wait.

Remove the things that hinder us from listening in the silence.

Help us to slow down, to ponder your deep unending love,

expressed through the incarnation of your Son,

the Word made Flesh.

Help us to be careful of the traps of this season of joy,

the things that distract us,

the things that keep our hearts from pondering Your love.

Open our hearts anew to recognize the ways

our relationship with You has changed our life forever.

Come Lord Jesus! Come!

A Prayer for All that is Good

Let us recall to mind all the graces we have received from the Lord…the healing of a sick child…a friend you’ve been praying for has come to know the Lord…a burden has been lifted from the heart…you were able to make ends meet this month…a high-risk surgery went well…making it through a really tough day…

So many things to be thankful for, and sometimes words don’t come to mind, but we can sing or say a sing an Alleluia in praise to the Lord for all that is Good in the world:

Un soldado a casa hoy regreso
Y un niño enfermo se curo
Y hoy no hay trabajo en el bosque de la lluvia
A soldier returning home today
And a sick child was cured
And today no one is working in the rain forest
Un desamparado se salvo
Por causa de una buena acción
Y hoy nadie lo repudia, hallelujah 

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

A homeless man was saved
Because of a good deed
And today no one rejects him, hallelujah 

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah,hallelujah

Un ateo que consiguió creer
Y un hambriento hoy tiene de comer
Y hoy donaron a una iglesia una fortuna
An atheist who came  to believe
And a hungry man has something to eat
And today someone donated a fortune to a church
Que la guerra pronto se acabara
Que en el mundo al fin reinara la paz
Que no habrá miseria alguna, hallelujah
That the war was soon ended
That at the end of the world peace will reign
There will no longer be any misery, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah 

Por que la norma sea el amor
Y no gobierne la corrupción
Sino lo bueno y lo mejor del alma pura

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah 

Because the norm will be love
And they won’t govern with corruption
But with what is good and the best of a pure soul

Porque dios nos proteja de un mal final
Porque un día podamos escarmentar
Con que acaben con tanta furia, hallelujah
Because God protects us from an evil end
so that one day we may take heed
of what may happen with much fury, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life with fear. Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise, God to whom you belong will in his love enable you to profit by them. He has guided you thus far in life. Do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all trials. Whenever you cannot stand, He will carry you lovingly in his arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Eternal Father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day of your life. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace then, and put aside all useless thoughts, all vain dreads and all anxious imaginations.

Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

Advent Vigil – for all Nascent Human Life – Update

Pope Benedict will hold a prayer vigil for unborn babies on Nov. 27, the evening before the First Sunday of Advent, at St. Peter’s Basilica in conjunction with Vespers for the Start of Advent and he is requesting that parishes, religious communities, associations and movements the world over host vigils in communion with him.

The Pope said:

“The season of preparation for Christmas is an appropriate time for invoking divine protection over every human being called into existence and for thanking God for the gift of life we received from our parents,”

This Vigil for Nascent Human Life, which has pro-life leaders rejoicing, will be held after Vespers for the Start of Advent. EWTN will televise both celebrations beginning at 11 a.m. ET, Sat., Nov. 27.

The Pope said he will pray for the unborn and their parents, for an end to abortion and research that destroys embryos, for recognition of the dignity of every human life, for the overturning of laws that permit the destruction of innocent lives, and for the healing of those who have acted against innocent human life.

He asks that all diocesan bishops (and their equivalent) preside over similar celebrations involving Catholics in every state of life around the world. (Read in full at EWTN)

Advent begins this Saturday night…candles in churches and homes will be lit…and prayers will be prayed. But this Advent will be different in its introductory tone in many Churches around the world who have pledged to pray in union with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for “All Nascent Human Life”. The Pope has made an unprecedented request to all Bishops around the world to reserve first vespers on November 27th for the specific intention of all life on the verge of coming into existence. The Unborn.

The timing for these prayers for children not-yet born, sets the tone for our anticipation of the Christ-child anew. It is also a reminder to us that our Lord, too, began His earthly life in a precarious state of complete dependence upon a woman for all nourishment while being carried for nine months in Mary’s womb. Advent turns our gaze to the anticipation of His coming, and preparation of the great feast of Christmas, and yet, it is the anticipation with the Christ child for the birth of every child.

Are we ready to welcome him? Let us prepare our hearts for the Lord, in our prayers for every child in waiting to be born.

__What Others are Saying __

Prayer materials have been developed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Pontifical Council for the Family, and are available on the USCCB Pro-Life site.

You may also feel a desire to write a note of support of this project to the Pope at the Yes! for Benedict website.

Thanksgiving with the Holy Father By Mary McClusky

Life News: Pope’s Vigil for Nascent Human Life “Could not be more Important

National Catholic Register

Catholic News Agency: Spanish Bishops Encourage Participation

Zenit: Holy Father Urges Participation in Pro-Life Vigil

Fr. Z explains the word nascent very well.

Lisa Graas: Pope Benedict to Celebrate “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life”


Prayer of Pope John Paul II

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,

Mother of the living,

to you do we entrust the cause of life

Look down, O Mother,

upon the vast numbers

of babies not allowed to be born,

of the poor whose lives are made difficult,

of men and women

who are victims of brutal violence,

of the elderly and the sick killed

by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son

may proclaim the Gospel of life

with honesty and love

to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace

to accept that Gospel

as a gift ever new,

the joy of celebrating it with gratitude

throughout their lives

and the courage to bear witness to it

resolutely, in order to build,

together with all people of good will,

the civilization of truth and love,

to the praise and glory of God,

the Creator and lover of life.

– Evangelium Vitae, 105

Tears before God

“My friends scorn me as my eyes pour forth tears before God.” Job 16:20

Such are the words of the suffering soul – the one who has run out of words to describe his pain.  All that is left are tears and sobs of grief that reached the ears of a cloistered Sister:

“I was praying in the chapel when it began: the sobs of someone in need, suffering and clinging to God. They pierce my heart and I know they pierce God’s heart.”

You will want to read the rest of the piece from the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters.

The book of Job narrates the struggles of a man, Job, who had experienced losing everything, even his health. His friends turned on him and cursed him, and endured their tempting him to turn from God. All that Job had left was to wait for the Lord in his tears.

What is our response when we encounter someone going through a tough time? How do we accompany him? The story by the Sisters above goes on to speak of the compassion that one learns through their own suffering. It is true, when we have experienced certain hurts, we tend to be more gentle with others going through similar circumstances. May the Lord help us to enlarge our hearts, too, to find compassion when one we meet is downtrodden.

___Prayer for the Virtue of Compassion___

Compassionate and merciful Jesus,

My heart longs for Your perfection.

Not only do You share in my sufferings,

You have voluntarily accepted them.

Your proficiency at perceiving my soul,

is compared to reading large fonts in a book:

Nothing is hidden from Your panorama!

Your merciful nature knows my intentions.

Considering my continuous weaknesses,

You are dedicated to the cause of my salvation.

Jesus, You are most kind and forgiving:

You are the proven Lord of compassion!



Worship of Christ Crucified

Something to think about: “Jesus Crucified was stripped of everything on the Cross except His love.”

These words by Saint Magdalene of Canossa were the inspiration for this video, which invites us to take a moment to offer praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, who “reconciled to himself all things…making peace through His blood, shed on the Cross.” (Colossians 1:2):

A Prayer to Jesus Crucified
Look down upon me, O good and sweetest Jesus,
while before your face I humbly kneel.
Most fervently I pray and beg you,
to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments
of faith, hope and charity,
true sorrow for my sins,
and a firm purpose of amendment.
With deep affection and sorrow
I contmplate your five wounds.
I have before my eyes, O good Jesus,
what David the prophet spoke of you,
as though you were saying it yourself:
They have pierced my hands and feet,
they have numbered all my bones (Psalm 21:17).

40 Days for Life – Hope

Since September 22, people have been praying and fasting to bring about the end of the culture of death in our country and the world as part of the annual campaign 40 Days for Life. There have been times that our prayer has seemed to be in vain, but not today. Prayer is powerful, and is always secretly working even when we feel nothing is going right.

From today’s Post by Shawn Carney, Campaign Director for 40 Days for Life:

A 40 Days for Life coordinator received a call from a woman who was in tears. She is pregnant with her sixth child and her husband had been laid off from work.  They’re struggling financially, trying to care for their five children in a two-bedroom apartment. “She felt like her only option was to have an abortion,” said Wynette in Sacramento, “but her husband lovingly
encouraged her to call the number he found on our 40 Days for Life flier, which had been given to him at church the previous Sunday. He did not want his wife to abort their child.” This woman immediately connected with the 40 Days for Life volunteer — who also has five children … and her husband also hasn’t been able to find work lately. “This turned a challenge into a mutual blessing,” Wynette said.
“The woman, who was strongly considering abortion, changed her mind and has chosen life, while also gaining a new friend in the 40 Days for Life volunteer … all the result of volunteers simply distributing 40 Days for Life fliers at local churches!”
To see photos of the 40 Days for Life vigil in Sacramento, please check out the: 40 Days Blog
The key to changing our culture from one of death to one of life is PRAYER. Please join us in these last days of the campaign.
God bless!

Why the Rosary?

People who meet me notice that I always have a rosary hanging from the belt of my habit. It’s a convenient place, easily accessible while waiting at the check-out line at the grocery store. I pray for the exasperated parents tired of chasing their four-year old daughter around the store (Lord, give them patience – Ave Maria). My right hand slips down and takes one of the wooden beads between its fingers, caressing the wood, and it raises my mind back to the Lord. To Jesus, through Mary. Today, the Church honors Mary under the title, Our Lady of the Rosary. This memorial invites us to meditate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of Mary who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God.

One of my favorite scripture passages gives us insight as to Mary’s role in our life of prayer. In the Gospel of John, chapter 2, Mary intercedes to Jesus on behalf of the newlyweds of Cana, and it is through her intercession His first recorded miracle in John takes place. It is Jesus who miraculously turns water into wine, but at whose request? Yes, Jesus is our Savior and Authority, but He honors Mary by listening to her intercession for us still. When Christians pray to Mary, it is a way of honoring her as Mother of God, and in doing so, she directs us always to her Son. This is evident at the wedding feast of Cana – she intercedes to Jesus, and He acts according to her wishes in abundance. And what does she say to the servants? Mary tells them, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) This is the relationship Christians have with Mary. Jesus is the Son of God, come into the world through a woman – Mary – who, intercedes to Jesus on behalf of our daily, human needs. When we are called to serve the Lord, it is Mary who is pointing us always – ALWAYS – to her Son, our Lord. I ask you, why wouldn’t we wish to honor the Mother of God?

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,

now and at the hour of your death. Amen

Pray for us O Holy Mother of God,

that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!

40 Days for Life – Update

UPDATE: From Life NewsDay 15 – 138 known lives saved from abortion.

The national 40 Days for Life campaign continues producing live-saving dividends for the hundreds of cities where local pro-life people are praying and helping women outside abortion centers find alternatives. Organizers say that they can confirm 138 babies have been spared from abortion so far.
“Thus far during this current 40 Days for Life campaign, we have reports of 138 lives that have been saved from abortion — that we know of,” organizer Shawn Carney said in an email to and participants.

Carney goes on to give examples of how lives saved were contributed to the prayers of the 40 Days to Life prayer volunteers. This campaign continues through the end of October. A lot more prayers are needed. Read on to see how you can help. God bless!


Having been out of the States for nearly nine years, I was pleasantly surprised to find this growing movement of prayer for the unborn.

The website announces the next wave of the prayer campaign, 40 Days for Life starts September 22 in 238 locations”.

So, I googled ’40 days’ and my county and found a local website for the national campaign, with local campaign activities, including the prayer schedule where participants sign up for hours of prayer before abortion clinics. The mission of the 40 Days for Life project is listed on the website:

The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion in America.

To accomplish this aim, the project emphasizes three points:

  • Prayer and fasting
  • Constant vigil
  • Community outreach

During the 40 days, each participating location will have peaceful prayer vigils outside an assigned abortion clinic and/or Planned Parenthood. These days are also accompanied with fasting for the end of abortion, and reaching out to educate the facts of abortion. After registering with my local site, I promptly received the following email:

Thanks for signing up to receive prayer requests, breaking news, and updates about 40 Days for Life.

By participating in this history-making effort, you have a unique opportunity to make a lifesaving impact across America.

The internationally coordinated 40 Days for Life is happening from September 22 – October 31.

Watch your e-mail inbox over the coming days, and
please pray for God’s will to be done throughout
America as a result of this effort.

Here are some great resources to learn more:

1.) Visit the national 40 Days for Life web site:

2.) Read endorsements from prominent national leaders:

3.) Read some of the 40 Days for Life news coverage:

4.) Watch the award-winning documentary about 40 Days for Life that aired on EWTN’s global television network:

5.) Read some of the exciting 40 Days for Life updates:

We can’t wait to see what God has in store this fall!

In Christ,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

I ask all that care for life to participate in this project. And if you don’t have a 40 Days project near you, make a point to adopt a project and accompany their efforts in prayer and fasting. Together, may our voices and our actions intercede for the women who find themselves considering abortion; may God grant them courage to bring the child in their womb to life.

God bless!

Novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

I was introduced to an image of Mary today that I found very endearing:

And a simple prayer:

Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, what ineffable power thy Divine Son hath given thee over His Own adorable Heart. Full of trust in thy merits, we come before thee and beg thy protection. O heavenly Treasurer of the Heart of Jesus, that Heart which is the inexhaustible source of all graces, which thou mayest open to us at thy good pleasure, in order that from it may flow forth upon mankind the riches of love and mercy, light and salvation, that are contained therein; grant unto us, we beseech thee, the favors which we seek . . . We can never, never be refused by thee, and since though art our Mother, O our Lady of the Sacred Heart, graciously hear our prayers and grant our request. Amen.

And a Novena Prayer for private devotion (for the 31 August – 8 September):


Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,

the great things the Lord has done for you.

He chose you for His Mother

He wanted you close to His cross

He gives you a share in His Glory

He listens to your prayer.

Offer Him our prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

Present our petition to Him.

(Share your petitions silently with Our Lady)

Let us live like you in the love of  your Son so that His Kingdom may come.

Lead all people to the source of  living water that flows from His

Heart, spreading over the world hope and salvation, justice and peace.

See our trust in you; answer our prayer.

Show yourself always our Mother.



O Sacred Heart of Jesus, show me the course I should take.

So many choices lie before me; things I’d like to do and ways I’d like to go.

Give me the courage to follow my dreams, and the wisdom to be realistic.

I look to you to guide my searching.

Enrich me with the gift of discernment so that I can always see

the right direction in which I should go.

Give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course.

Bless and make me holy in your sight.

May the richness of your glory abound in me.

May you fill me with the word of truth,

inform me with the good news of the gospel,

and enrich me with your love.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,

make my way safe  and sure as I place my trust in you.


La Madonna Nera

In honor of Our Lady of Czestochova – the Black Madonna, her feast day is celebrated today:

In Italy, she is referred to with reverence as La Madonna Nera (the Black Madonna), and there is a song that has been floating around in my head all day. I’ve embedded it below for your listening pleasure.


Feast Day: August 26I’ve translated the words of the song:


There is a land most silent

where everyone wants to return to,

to a land and a sweet face

upon which lies two signs of violence;

an intense gaze full of compassion

that asks you to entrust

your life and your world into her hands.


Madonna, Black Madonna, how sweet it is to be your child!

Oh, let it be, Black Madonna, that I may live close to you!

She is calm and reassuring, she frees you from evil because she always has a great heart for each of her children.

She enlightens your journey if you offer a bit of love, if every day you would speak this way of her. (Madonna…)


This world falling into darkness, what could it offer to all people? Only the face of a Mother could give a peace that is real.

We are seeking in your gaze to find that smile of the Lord that awakens a bit of good deep in the heart. (Madonna…)


With our world – as the song says – falling into darkness, what can it offer to us? Yet, God gave us His mother at the foot of the cross (John 19:27) in the words, “Ecce Mater Tua”. That is, “Here is your Mother”. We have recourse to her with our worries and concerns for our family and our world, and being the mother of the Lord, she certainly shares our concerns with her Son, interceding to Jesus on our behalf.
Mary, Madonna of Czestochova, Pray for us.