Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Order of Malta in Lourdes, France –a pilgrimage with the sick

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The 55th International Pilgrimage of the Order of Malta Lourdes, France has finished. It is reported that 6,500 people from 35 different countries –members of the Order of Malta, volunteers and pilgrims– went to take care of 1,300 who live with illness as part of their daily life. The American Association has participated in the Annual Order of Malta Pilgrimage to Lourdes since 1986.

The official title of the Order of Malta is The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta – founded in Jerusalem on 15 February 1113 with a bulla from Pope Paschal II – is a sovereign subject of international law and a lay religious order of the Catholic Church. Matthew Festing is the 79th leader of the Order. The Order maintains bilateral diplomatic relations with more than 100 States, 18 official representations and permanent observer status at the United Nations, the European Union and numerous international organizations. 

The Order of Malta is active in 120 countries, with 12 Grand Priories and Sub-Priories and 47 national Associations, as well as numerous hospitals, medical centers, day-care centers, first-aid corps and specialist foundations. The American Association is headquartered in New York City, and founded in 1927.

I have great affection for the Order of Malta, their history and the work they do for the faith and the sick. Each year people seek divine help through a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes to pray, to go into the healing baths and to enjoy the friendship of others living with illness. The witness of these people, the healthy and the ill, is a tremendous boost to my own struggles in life. Friends of mine in the Order give good example of what it means to live the Beatitudes and the Works of Mercy, spiritual and corporal.

The American Association of the Order of Malta, like their counterparts in other parts of the world, take time for their own conversion, learning the Catholic faith, helping the ill, bringing Holy Communion to the hospitals, prison ministry, working their parishes, and healthcare work in other countries like Haiti.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Blessed Gerard Tongue, pray for us.

Making a home with God

‘My Father and I will come to him’ – that is to say, to the holy of heart – says the Son of God, ‘and we will make our home with him.’ It seems to me that when the psalmist said to God: ‘You make your dwelling in the holy place, you who are Israel’s praise’, he had no other heaven in mind than the hearts of the saints. The Apostle Paul expresses it quite clearly: ‘Christ lives in our hearts through faith’, he tells us. Surely it is no wonder that the Lord Jesus gladly makes his home in such a heaven because, unlike the other heavens, he did not bring it into existence by a mere word of command. He descended into the arena to win it; he laid down his life to redeem it. And so after the battle was won he solemnly declared: ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I have chosen to dwell.’ Blessed indeed is the soul to whom the Lord says: ‘Come, my chosen one, I will set up my throne in you.’

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Without perseverance no one can please God, St Catherine of Siena taught

Who we read impacts the way we live. Catherine of Siena, whom the Catholic Church honors today, has much to say to the modern person. In one of her letters we read the following, which ought to bolster our approach in our daily work.

To Sano Di Maco and All Her Other Sons in Siena: In the Name of Jesus Christ crucified and of sweet Mary:

Dearest sons in Christ sweet Jesus: I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to you in His precious Blood: with desire to see you strong and persevering till the end of your life. For I consider that without perseverance no one can please God, or receive the crown of reward. He who perseveres is always strong, and fortitude makes him persevere.

Pray like a child

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“Pray simply like a child, and God will hear your prayer”

the Elder Siluan

Moving to God…

The experience of compunction is basically an experience of spiritual awakening. It provides the motivation for conversion to God, with the necessary rejection of sin and of whatever is less than the Creator.

The alternation of different experiences of compunction purifies the heart’s self-centeredness and gradually configures it to the image and likeness of Christ the Lord. They can be easily interpreted as manifestations of the “good zeal” of Christ the Bridegroom.

He corrects and encourages us by means of his Word, which we confront in lectio divina. His Word acts like a mirror of what the person is and what he or she can become through divine grace. Christ, the Spouse of every Christian, is purifying those he loves so as to prepare them for deep fellowship with him in a single spirit.

The Sun at Midnight
Dom Bernardo Olivera, OCSO

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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