Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pope John Paul's favorite hymn, "Pescador de Hombres"

Seldom do I hear this hymn, whether in English or Spanish (and now Polish) without tears. I first heard it in a memorial Mass for the Colombian plane crash victims of 1995, but it's more than that; the intimacy of the Lord's call to us to leave our boats and come follow Him touches me deeply. Every time. Now that I know that it was Pope John Paul's favorite hymn, I love it even more.
Spanish Lyrics
1. Tú has venido a la orilla,
no has buscado ni a sabios ni a ricos;
tan sólo quieres que yo te siga.
Señor, me has mirado a los ojos,
sonriendo has dicho mi nombre,
en la arena he dejado mi barca,
junto a ti buscaré otro mar.

2. Tú sabes bien lo que tengo;
en mi barca no hay oro ni espadas,
Tan sólo redes y mi trabajo.

3. Tú necesitas mis manos,
mi cansancio que a otros descanse,
Amor que quiera seguir amando.

4. Tú, pescador de otros lagos,
ansia eterna de almas que esperan,
amigo bueno, que así me llamas.
Lord, You Have Come1. Lord, you have come to the seashore,
neither searching for the rich nor the wise,
desiring only that I should follow.
O, Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name;
all I longed for I have found by the water,
at your side, I will seek other shores.

2. Lord, see my goods, my possessions;
in my boat you find no power, no wealth.
Will you accept, then, my nets and labor?
3. Lord, take my hands and direct them.
Help me spend myself in seeking the lost,
returning love for the love you gave me.
4. Lord, as I drift on the waters,
be the resting place of my restless heart,
my life's companion, my friend and refuge.

Spanish text: Cesáreo Gabaráin. English text: OCP. Text and music © 1979, 1987, Cesáreo Gabaráin. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.

December 19, 2012 update,

Isabelle and Ward O'Conner from Quebec, Canada have just sent me a lovely recording of this hymn with lyrics dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, entitled,“Hymne à Notre-Dame de Guadalupe” .
 Its lovely and they promised English and Spanish versions.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A New Low

In a nation where you have to kill over two dozen people to reach the top of the mass murder list, the Newtown massacre stands out, not for the sheer number mowed down in cold blood, but for their ages. They were mostly innocent children, at the dawn of the age of reason. They never met their killer, never harmed anyone in their brief lives, these lovely little children never gave anything but sheer joy to their families who are in agony at their senseless killing.

This is a new low.

As a nation we are horrified at the grotesque image we see in this new mirror which the shooter has held up to our culture. He acted out of free will, and has faced God for his particular judgement. We do not need to condemn him, we need to ask ourselves how our culture gave rise to such a monster. One hundred years ago, there were all sorts of murderers, but none like this. People killed for money, lust, anger, power but such carnage for sheer hatred or a sick sense of pleasure at the suffering of innocents was unknown. The culture of death created Adam Lanza and we have to face up to the terrifying fact that no law we pass will prevent this tragedy from reoccurring. We can ban assault rifles, step up waiting periods and background checks, attempt to reach the mentally ill with treatment (it is estimated that 30% are not in treatment) and keep guns from them. These are all laudable goals, but they are not enough. They are merely attempting to reign in the evil which we have allowed to emerge from our callous indifference to the slaughter of 1,500 innocents which has bloodied our hands for the past 40 years. Blessed John Paul II in his 1995 Encyclical “The Gospel of Life”saw this phenomenon,
Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.

The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life. 
We are morally blind because we are spiritually dead. It is caused by our inattention to the things of God in our frantic pursuit of things of this world.
It’s a week away from the birth of Our Lord and Savior, and millions of Americans are frantically busy. Busy buying gifts, and preparing for the commercial side of Christmas. How many of us are preparing to receive Jesus into their hearts this Christmas? How many of us were reading the Scriptures, going to Mass and adoration, performing acts of charity, fasting and going to confession to prepare our hearts for His coming? Far too few. So many of us barely even make time for church at Christmastime, we are too busy partying. We have forgotten who we are; “By living "as if God did not exist", man not only loses sight of the mystery of God, but also of the mystery of the world and the mystery of his own being.”Gospel of Life

It is a blessing which flows from the tragedy that St Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown is overflowing. That on Friday morning church bells around Connecticut will ring 26 times in Connecticut in memory of those precious lives lost to our society. We will pray for the lost, but how soon will we return to our ordinary lives where we have no time for God?My parish was overflowing after 9/11 too, but the crowds soon dissipated as we forgot the terror. We don’t approach Our Lord out of love but out of fear. He loves us enough to accept us no matter what our motivation, but we don’t allow Him to get close to us, we are afraid of being changed. Changed into people whose lives are transformed by Him.

This Christmas, before you forget about this terrible tragedy, ask Our Lord what He would have you do to be an agent of change. Permit Him to transform you by the amazing grace of the sacraments into the Mother Teresa of your town. Stay in touch with Him through prayer, give Him your free time, your time, talent and treasure. Forget your hobbies, put aside your addiction to material things which can’t make you happy, and remember this adage;

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past
only what’s done for God will last.

The only tragedy in life is to fail to become a saint. God has permitted us to be born at this time for a reason. We must seek that reason, embrace our calling to profoundly change the culture of death. Or the painful lessons of Newtown will fade away and an opportunity to take back this culture from the hands of the enemy will be lost as will the souls of millions who are blinded by the culture of death. Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I retweeted the Holy Father on 12-12-12

In those simply worded but profound tweets, I hear his voice, calm but loving, passionate about the conversion of souls yet sensitive to their free will. I am looking forward to checking up on @Pontifex every day. I read a book of daily meditations from the Holy Father, but to hear him 'live' is really thrilling.

It gave me a profound sense of participating in a global conversation in the universal Church, and even though many of the tweets seem hateful, I responded to two of them as evangelistic opportunities, and found two of the negative tweeters more open to truth that they seemed.

Here's one:

Nici Lindsay ‏@nicilind
I was blessed by the last Pope in 88. We chanted ''anti-women, anti-gay, fascist Pope go away.'' And he blessed us. Bless him. #pontifex
Leticia Velasquez ‏@CauseofourJoy
 That's what Catholics do, pray for those who hate us.#pontifex

Nici Lindsay ‏@nicilind I thought it very generous.

Leticia Velasquez ‏@CauseofourJoy You are right, he had nothing but love in his heart for you, I am sure of it. I saw JPII twice in NYC, he radiated love for me.

Here's another;

Angry Man ‏@EeroMartinez
The Pope has a twitter account? But I rather hear it from his boss, @TheTweetOfGod #pontifex #HeilGermanPope
Leticia Velasquez ‏@CauseofourJoyYou can hear from Christ, but you have to sit before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Confession would help too.

Angry Man‏@EeroMartinez
Does god pick only the people he chooses to love? Can I have a GOD that will love me for what I am? with no conditions?
 Leticia Velasquez ‏@CauseofourJoy
 OF COURSE God loves you as you are. He sent his only Son to die on the cross for you. You must accept his love to know peace.

So, if you are inclined, use the opportunity to evangelize the Holy Father's hecklers. They are crying out for God but their mouths are so distorted by sin their cries sound discordant and bitter. But they are children crying for their Papa nevertheless, and we should help him respond in charity and truth.

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