A Question for Pastors

I have a serious question to ask to any priests who may happen to read this, but first, I’d like to begin with an example.
Arguably, the worst pope in history was Alexander VI, aka Rodrigo Borgia: we say “Borgia Popes” when there was really only one, but his reputation defined an era; his daughter(!) Lucretia is ranked in history and myth with the likes of Jezebel and Medea; his son(!) is believed to be the model for the behaviors Machiavelli describes in _The Prince_.
During an era when women were forbidden, both in canonical and civil law, from preaching, a woman who claimed to be a locutionary and prophetess was brought before the throne of Alexander VI on charges of witchcraft.  She began to recite and denounce the sins of Rodrigo Borgia.  The Pope, not known for any particular respect for human life, could have publically or privately ordered her tortured or killed in any way he wanted, but he acknowledge the truth of her words and ordered that she be released.
I have known few local pastors willing to demonstrate such humility when laity have even so much as questioned their decisions on morally neutral matters, much less challenged them for setting a bad example or being outright cruel.  13 years after the so-called “scandals,”  which were really for some reason a sudden media outburst about problems long known and rumored, have we learned nothing?
While the Church has addressed child sexual abuse nominally by targeting parents and making up draconian policies based more on legal, insurance and PR concerns than morality–which was the problem to begin with–and while some reports suggest the cases of sexual abuse have gone down, verbal and emotional abuse by pastors goes on unabated.
When a few lay organizations perhaps go overboard in their zeal for prophetic witness, they are dismissed as “causing division,” while the average Catholic who cares about the Church is still ignored or dismissed or even banned.
The Holy Father worries about pastors “obsessing” in homilies about a “few disjointed moral issues,” yet most of us have rarely, if ever, heard those moral issues addressed from the pulpit, except by priests who preach of “tolerance” and “more important issues,” and the ones who do preach about them tend to “disappear,” get  passed up for pastoral appointments, or suddenly adopt a softer tone.
You see, if a rich liberal Catholic writes an angry letter to the bishop, that letter gets heard, but if a traditionalist, whether rich or not (but usually we have less disposable income because we actually have kids) writes to the bishop, in that case the letter-writer gets ignored or worse.

Poll after poll shows that most Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Source and Summit of Our Faith, and it’s not preached about, even when we have the Bread of Life discourse every three years.  Poll after poll shows that only a small percentage, if only a fraction of a percent, of Catholics are using NFP.
We’re told, if we point to the lack of children in the pews as a cause for pastoral concern, that we’re “being judgemental” and that maybe all those people are suffering infertility.  If that’s the case, then priests should be preaching about adoption or about how the birth control hormones polluting our water supply are causing rising infertility rates.

Yet, when the saints, and the Popes (including Pope Francis) suggest avoiding preaching against sin, they usually do it with the alternative of preaching prayer.  St. Louis de Montfort and St. Teresa of Avila both call on priests to teach prayer and devotion to Our Lady, that sinners want to know how to repent, and God will open the truth to them in prayer.

We’re told about the Pope’s admonitions against using air conditioning, but not his admonitions against priests living in luxury and his calls for pastors to “smell like the sheep” and go out among the poor.

And the question that I always come back to is: Father(s), do you care more about saving souls or about saving money?

Do you care that the majority of your flock are likely to go to Hell?  Why don’t you warn them?   Do you understand that, when you don’t encourage families to be in the church, when you tear down playgrounds or forbid people from using them, you’re telling people “children aren’t welcome”?  Do you care about the souls of people you push away?  St. Alphonsus warns that pastors will be held accountable for every soul lost to Hell because of their sins of deed or omission.  Even St. John Bosco had a vision, late in life, where St. Dominic Savio admonished him for permitting too many boys to be lost to Hell because he lacked enough faith!

If you find yourself wishing that the most fervent of your followers would die off or get over the alleged “fad” of Tradition, think about it.
If you find yourself suggesting you’d leave the priesthood rather than following Pope Benedict’s call to offer the Extraordinary Form to any group who requests it, or St. John Paul’s call to say part of every Mass in Latin, think about it.
If you find yourself saying things like a hole in one is the greatest moment in your life, think about it.
If you’re more concerned about money issues than whether children or families with children feel welcome in your parish, think about it.
If you find yourself too proud to read something like this and take fraternal correction in humility the way even Rodrigo Borgia was able to do, think about it.

And when you’ve thought about it, I invite you to make or renew a total consecration to Our Lady.  Start today.  Even if it’s not 33 days from a Marian feast, there’s no time like the present.

A guide to St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration
A guide to St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Consecration
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Please, Father, whoever you are reading this, please act now.

The Key to a “Perfect Marriage”

Is not to think there is one.

Back in the late 90s, Mary Beth Bonacci wrote a column about how the purpose of dating is to break up.  So often, that seems to be the purpose not just of dating but of most “relationship” articles.  “How to tell if your [guy/girl] is [cheating/wrong for you/the right one,” “How to tell if your relationship is failing.”  “What do all successful marriages have in common?”

Bai MacFarlane once observed of her divorce that there’s a certain attitude of the “perfect Catholic marriage” that has grown out of the JP2/NFP/TOB movement that sets a certain standard, and people are often led to stress about trying to achieve that standard.

A few years ago, Matt Walsh wrote a piece called “My Marriage Wasn’t Meant to Be,” which he apparently recently revised for his new Blaze column in response to the Sparks divorce.  His point is that we have free will, and the notion of being “destined” to marry someone takes away from free will but also creates an ideal that is too easily lost to sentimentalism–or questioning whether “this is the right one.”  I’d argue that a Mystery is far more complicated than that, and he is quite literally touching on the basic question of free will versus predestination and God’s plans versus our own, but he makes a good point.

Closer to home, my wife, thinking about cases like the MacFarlanes, or Nicholas Sparks and his wife, or of how every celebrity couple who give an interview about their great marriage seem to divorce shortly thereafter, always says, “Don’t say we have a ‘happy marriage.’  Saying that is just inviting the Devil to tempt us.  There’s no such thing as a ‘happy marriage’ or a ‘perfect marriage.'”  It wasn’t until recently that I connected all those thoughts and realized that’s what she means.

Maggie Gallagher a few years ago wrote of attending a 50th anniversary party, where the husband was asked the secret to staying married 50 years, and he said, “Arrive for your wedding and then wait.”

That, really, sums it up.  There are plenty of good points available for guidance in discerning whether someone is the “right” person to marry, and there is plenty of good advice for trying to do better.  But there is a great danger in constantly thinking that a relationship must be “perfect,” that a person must be “perfect,” that if you’re *not* living up to the standard, that you should call it quits.

Nonetheless, however you get there, presuming proper formation and discernment, and no canonical impediments, whether you’re “best friends,” “soul mates,” or arranged, or whatever, after the vows are exchanged, the key to marriage is a) to remember that divorce is never an option; b) to always keep working at it; c) to remember that you’ve given yourselves to each other and be grateful for that gift.

And that’s really all there is to it.

To the Baptists who came to our yard sale this morning

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Dear missionaries of Lighthouse Baptist:

First, let me say, I commend your faith. I commend your courage and bravery in coming to strangers’ homes and trying to win them over to Jesus.
Further, compared to others like yourselves, I commend you for accepting that I am already a Christian. Too often, when I’ve been approached by evangelicals, if I say, “I’m already a Christian” or “I already have a church,” there is a certain kind of anger that bubbles up. A “transitional” deacon friend who was my Catholic hospital chaplain when I was in cardiac rehab 2 years ago described the same when he visited some non-Catholic patients on the floor.
I hope that, if I had my voice and had spoken the words, “I’m a Catholic,” you would have kept that smile and “we’re brothers in the Lord” attitude.

2 and a half years ago, before I lost my left vocal cord, I would have welcomed a conversation. Hopefully, it would have proceeded in mutually respectful dialogue.

However, I’d like to point out a few things:
1. Jumping in with “You have to believe in Jesus because there’s a judgment coming” isn’t the best way to approach people.
2. You handed me a pamphlet and said it had “All the verses you need to know.” I had intended to look at your pamphlet but misplaced it, so I dug around your website, and found a list. Assuming it’s the same list, I have a few questions, which I might have asked had the conversation proceeded in such manner.
a) If I had been a nonbeliever, why would I care what the Bible says at all?
b) As I am a believer, where in the Bible does the Bible speak of “verses”? Why must I only “need to know” a few out of context verses? Are you aware that “verse numbers” were added to the Bible by Medieval Catholic theologians to help make it easier to reference?
I know that ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). I know that St. Paul says, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thess 2:15), and that Peter says: “19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:19-20).
So how can it be “just me and Jesus,” when Jesus said, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” (Mark 14:24). Yes, He knew Me from before time, and yes, if I had been the only sinner ever, Christ would have still died for me, but He died for many, including me, not just me.
c) If all I have to is confess faith in Jesus, why bother coming to your church?
And what about where Jesus Himself says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

3. I would hope that, having shared your verses with me, you would be interested in hearing some of the verses upon which I base my life and faith. For example, one of my favorites is Gen 3:15, which is also on your list. I suppose then, that you honor the Woman (Jn 2:3) whom the beloved disciple must take as his mother? (Jn 19:26-27).

Another verse I find interesting is John 20:30-31:
“30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

Interesting that the Gospel which my evangelical brethren seem most ready to dismiss and most ready to downplay (other than John 1 and 3:16) is the one in which Jesus says the above words from the Cross to the author of the Gospel.

One of the things I have learned from having vocal cord paralysis is how painful it is to speak when you can’t breathe. I cannot breathe and speak at the same time. When I speak too long, it becomes deathly painful because I asphyxiate a bit. Every word I speak these days is deliberate. Someone being crucified asphyxiates. Jesus was asphyxiating on the Cross, and took the time to say, “Woman, behold your son,” and “Man, behold your mother,” and the disciple who calls himself the beloved, who tells us that his Gospel only includes Jesus’s most important sayings, tells us he took her into his home. In that context, was the Man who said, “Let the dead bury their dead,” and Who knew fully well His death was coming and could have done it before, *really* just tending to His mother’s temporal care, especially by putting her into the care of a non-related apostle when He had, as the Scriptures tell us, “brothers”?

Oh, speaking of “brothers,” Jesus and His followers spoke Aramaic. We know they were not multilingual since, on the day of Pentecost, the Apostles astonished everyone by suddenly being not just multilingual, but people of different languages were hearing their own tongues when the Apostles spoke.

So, while the Gospels were originally written in Greek, they were written by people whose native tongue was Aramaic, recounting stories they’d heard or witnessed that originally *happened* in Aramaic.

So in Aramaic, there is one word for “kinsmen” or “brethren.” When the Apostles wrote their accounts in “Greek,” they translated the Aramaic for “brethren” as the Greek for “brothers,” identifying James, Simon, Joseph, and as “Jesus’ brothers.” Note there are no “brothers” mentioned in the Finding in the Temple. Note that they never identify “James, Simon,” etc. as “Mary’s children.”  If James, Simon and Jude were Mary’s biological sons, why would Jesus have given her to John to take care of, especially when John’s own mother was standing by the Cross, as well? (John 20:20). Also note that Jews do not name babies after their fathers, but only after deceased family members: St. Joseph could not have had a son named “Joseph” and been the just law-abiding Jew that Scripture tells he was!

Surely, there must be something to the fact that the early Church decided that she whom Elizabeth identified as Mother of the LORD (Lk 1:43).

4. Another passage that struck me as conveniently out of context is your inclusion of Matthew 16:21-26, but not Matthew 16:13-20:

Matthew 16King James Version (KJV)

16 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

This is another case where knowing that Jesus spoke Aramaic is important. The Aramaic Cephas, “bedrock,” is gender neutral. Greek “Petra” for bedrock is feminine, so Matthew translated “Cephas” to “Petros,” masculine, the first ever occurrence of that name in Greek, and the first ever use of “Cephas” as a name in Hebrew. Elsewhere in Scripture, it is rendered “Cephas,” rather than Peter, though I’ve encountered people who insist that the Cephas St. Paul refers to is someone else.

Thus, Jesus, who promised to raise up descendents to Abraham from the stones told Simon that he was to be called stone and on this stone Jesus would build His Church.

21. Lastly, in John the Gospel which only told us the important stuff, Jesus gave us the “Bread of Life” discourse (John 6; whole chapter)

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

When the people take offense, Jesus “doubles down,” as they say. When the Apostles take offense, Jesus points to Judas as a “Devil.”

Then, in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11, St. Paul tells us the importance of the Eucharistic meal. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16). This is no mere community pot luck, he tells us, for we can eat at home (1 (Cor 11:22).

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Cor 11:23-29

5. One other passage I find that my evangelical brethren love to cite, which is on your website, is some variant of Romans 3 (23-25, in this case), to try to emphasize “sola fide,” yet I never hear anyone cite Romans 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law,” and Our Lord Himself says,
“17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18).

5. Thank you for taking the time to consider these passages as I have considered the passages you sent me, many times in fact, as I’ve made a point since I was a young boy of being familiar with the Scriptures. God bless you in your ministry. I pray you find the fullness of Christ’s truth.

I would like to reciprocate your invitation: come experience the Real Presence of Jesus. If you’re not ready for Mass yet, come visit one of our local churches during Adoration and just spend time in silent prayer. See what the Holy Spirit can do:

St. Mary Help of Christians, Aiken, SC

St. Gerard, Aiken

Our Lady of the Valley, Gloverville

Our Lady of Peace, North Augusta

St. Edward, Murphy Village

The Most Holy Trinity, Augusta, GA

St. Mary on the Hill, Augusta

St. Ignatios

Or else, enter your zip code into http://masstimes.org/

Where is the Immaculate Conception in the Bible?

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15, KJV)

Enmity:
“a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism.” (Dictionary.com)

If “Jesus answered them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,'” (John 8:45, KJV) and ” all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, KJV), how can a woman who sinned, before Christ, have been at enmity with the Devil, unless by a special grace from God?

Four Powerful Novenas

We must always avoid a superstitious or magical approach to prayer. We should not think of the words themselves as having power or giving us power over God. When a novena is identified as “never failing,” it requires openness to God’s resolving the problem His way. It is better to make one’s intention as general as possible than to ask God for a specific resolution. Nevertheless, these four novenas have been demonstrated to be efficacious, particularly because they focus on the Scriptural commands to pray and they have the aforementioned openness to God’s will. The Novena to the Holy Spirit is the prototype for all novenas: commemorating the Nine Days that Our Lady, the Eleven and some of the other disciples spent after the Ascension, waiting in the Upper Room for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, although we should not put too much import on the formulas or worrying about missing a day, etc., the point of a novena is to provide a small sign of dedication to God and concern for the cause at hand. In Liturgy, by using the same formulas around the world, we spiritually unite ourselves to others saying the same prayers. The same is true, in a lesser way, of private devotions like these. I share these prayers to help spread devotion to Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Jude.

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your divine will,
there is nothing in man,
nothing is harmless.

Wash that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
warm that which is chilled,
make right that which is wrong.

Give to your faithful,
who rely on you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Give reward to virtue,
give salvation at our passing on,
give eternal joy.
Amen. Alleluia.

Emergency Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague

O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.

[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
[List Requests]

O Jesus, Who said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

[List Requests]

Novena Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

O HOLY MARY, full of the presence of God, during your life you accepted with great humility the holy will of the Father, and the legacy of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and evil never dared to entangle you with its confusion.

Since then, you hast interceded for all our difficulties as you didst at the wedding feast of Cana. With all simplicity and with patience, you hast given us an example of how to untangle the knots in our complicated lives. By being our Mother forever, you arrange and make clear the path that unites us to Our Lord.

HOLY MARY, Mother of God and ours, with your maternal heart, please untie the knots that upset our lives. We ask you to receive into your hands our finances, careers and housing, and deliver us from the chains and confusion that restrain us.

O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, through your grace, your intercession, and by your example, deliver us from evil and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God, so that free of every confusion and error, we may find Him in all things, keep Him in our hearts, and serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.

O MARY, Undoer of Knots, pray for us who have recourse to you.

Amen.

Novena to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen
Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Blessed be Saint Jude in all the world and for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you 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 our death. Amen

Prayer to St. Jude

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude, true relative of Jesus and Mary, I salute you through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, through which I praise and thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon you.
St. Jude
Humbly prostrate before you, I implore you through the Heart to look down upon me with compassion. Despise not my poor prayer, let not my trust be confounded. To you God has granted the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases. Oh come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God. All my life I will be grateful to you, and will be your faithful client until I can Thank you in Heaven. Amen

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav’nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav’nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

Another approach to Rosary meditation, with Carmelite mysteries

Another approach to the Rosary I read about once and use often is to insert a petition or reflection into each Ave.  Sometimes, I keep count by varying the additions.
Pray with me.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Hoky Spirit,  Amen,

Our Father. . .

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in faith] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in hope] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in love] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be . . .

The First Joyful Mystery: the Annunciation

Our Father . . .

1 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

2 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

3 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

4 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

5 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

6 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

7 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

8 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

9 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

10 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [announced by Gabriel] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to grow in obedience] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be . . .

O My Jesus, . . .

Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation

Our Father, . . .

1 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

2 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

3 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

4 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

5 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

6 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

7 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

8 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

9 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

10 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [recognized by John in the womb] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to care for others] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be . . .

O My Jesus, . . .

Third Joyful Mystery: Birth of ?Jesus

Our Father, . . .

1 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

2 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

3 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

4 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

5 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

6 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

7 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

8 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

9 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

10 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [born in a stable.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to embrace poverty] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be . . .

O My Jesus, . . .

Fourth Joyful Mystery: Adoration of the Magi

1 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

2 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

3 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

4 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

5 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

6 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

7 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

8 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

9 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

10 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [adored by all nations.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to give Jesus our best] now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Glory be . , .

O My Jesus . . .

Fifth Joyful Mystery: Presentation in the Temple

Our Father, . . .

1 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

2 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

3 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

4 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

5 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

6 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

7 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

8 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

9 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

10 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [awaited by Simeon and Anna.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to wait for Him] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be . . . 

O, My Jesus, . . .

Sixth Joyful Mystery: the Finding in the Temple

Our Father, . . .

1 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

2 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

3 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

4 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

5 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

6 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

7 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

8 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

9 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

10 Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, [Who taught the Doctors at 12.] Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners [to find Him in His Father’s House] now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be . . .

O My Jesus, . . 

Why fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God.  Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all danger, O Glorious and Blesseed Virgin. 

In the Name of the Father, . . 

 

#NFPAwarenessWeek – Evangelizing By Testimony

Since Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae on July 25, 1968, the week containing July 25 is now considered #NFPWeek.
If someone is able-bodied, and effectively using NFP to space children, whether that means having 6 instead of 12 kids, or “stopping” at 2, or whatever, then I think it’s important to share stories.
If someone is struggling with NFP, pastors and other laity need to be aware of different methods to provide more effective help. It seems like proponents of almost every method say, “Ours is *the one*, and you don’t need to learn about the others,” but each method has advantages and disadvantages and are better suited to different couples and situations. For those who say, “Trust Providence,” I say that NFP *is* trusting Providence.
In our case, I think most people in our families assume we are experiencing secondary infertility. Just this evening, my wife was holding her brother’s new baby, and her sister said, “Next baby will be yours,” as if she’s presuming we’re “trying” but can’t. Yes, from time to time we pause to consider it, and, yes, we have had a few “close calls,” and if God blessed us with another baby, we’d figure it out, but as our close friends have put it, “If anybody has grave reasons, you two do.”
When we were first married, we used sympto-thermal method (CCLI), charting temperatures, getting up each morning to take temperatures, etc. Our first month of marriage, when “phase 2” rolled around, we were praying over whether to abstain.

We tried “Bible roulette,” prayed to the Holy Spirit and found a few passages about not worrying about what other people think, and that addressed a few of our other side issues. Then I looked up from the Bible and saw that my wife was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Consider the Lilies of the field. . . .”
The second month, on the first day of Phase 2, the Gospel was “Anyone who welcomes a child welcomes Me. . . . ”
So while we charted, our prayer led us to openness to a baby. One of our main concerns was my wife being the primary wage earner. We’d hoped I’d be done with my MA by the end of our first year of marriage and able to get a full time job. If that didn’t happen, we figured we should time a baby to be born in early summer, so after September, we began abstaining during Phase 2, until April when we figured we’d at least have Winter break, and in May, my wife woke me up one morning and said, “Good morning, Dad.”
I was never able to get full time work in spite of trying, so we made do withwe a lot of help for a couple years. Over Christmas 2002, when our eldest was 9 months old, the holiday got the better of us, and we got a bunch of signs from God, and we knew a baby had been conceived, and we would name that baby Lewis or Louise. It wasn’t the best timing but seemed to be God’s will. In March, we suffered a miscarriage.
As time went on, we learned how difficult it can be to use sympto-thermal method once you already have a baby, and if you’re using “ecological breastfeeding” as a form of child spacing. However, the charting we’d already done had given us a general sense of the “unofficial signs” of ovulation, such as ovulation pain. We moved from sympto-thermal to rhythm.
That June, we had a “method failure”–early ovulation, which nothing but abstaining from day 1 until 3 or 4 days after ovulation occurred could account for–but better timing in that by the time our second full-term baby was born, my wife’s short-term disability insurance’s maternity leave coverage would be in effect.
Lactational ammenorhea ended about 8 months of time after each birth. When that ended in October or November 2004, we started looking into Billings Ovulation Method, I misunderstood some signs, and by January 2005, we learned there was another baby on the way.
My own career had been on the upswing that year, and a week before our son was born, I started my first and only full time job. My wife was able to get a year of leave from her school district, and started tutoring online part time.
During that period of amenorrhea, we studied Billings Ovulation Model. We also tried practicing NFP more
“conservatively,” waiting from Day 1 till 3 days after we thought ovulation had occurred. That time, weren’t even sure when ovulation occurred, or how it was possible, but our youngest daughter was born in May 2007.
In the meantime, we had moved to SC, I had had a few health scares, and I began feeling a new kind of pain and pressure in my upper back. Over the next several months, I studied the various methods, indicators, and available devices in great detail. I found out that Marquette had developed a model using the ClearPlan Fertility Monitor, so we bought one of those. After a couple years, the device burnt out, and we started just using over the counter test strips because they’re cheaper, and we then knew how to read them. We found a website called myfertilitycharts.com, and we began using that to chart. Our youngest is now 8, during which time both of us have had health problems.
1) God sent us the method we needed it when we really needed it
2) If we had followed the more worldly advice of “waiting,” we might never have had kids at all (which we knew and was why we didn’t).