Daily Archives: July 18, 2010

Novena to St. Anna, Day 3

Glorious Saint Anne, I desire to honor you with a special devotion. I choose you, after the Blessed Virgin, as my spiritual mother and protectress. To you I entrust my soul and my body, all my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of my family.

To you I consecrate my mind, that in all things it may be enlightened by faith; my heart, that you may keep it pure and fill it with love for Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and yourself; my will, that like yours, it may always be one with the Will of God.

Good Saint Anne, filled with love for those who invoke you and with compassion for those who suffer, I confidently place before you my earnest petition: . . . .

I beg you to recommend my petition to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, that both Mary and you may present it to Jesus. Through your earnest prayers, may my request be granted. But, if what I ask for should not be according to the Will of God, obtain for me that which will be for the greater benefit of my soul. By the power and the grace with which God has blessed you, extend to me your helping hand.

But most of all, merciful Saint Anne, I beg you to help me to master my evil inclinations and temptations, and to avoid all occasions of sin. Obtain for me the grace of never offending God, of fulfilling faithfully all the duties of my state of life, adn of practicing all those virtues that are needful for my salvatoin.

Like you, may I belong to God in life and in death through perfect love. And, after having loved and honored you on earth as a truly devoted child, may I, through your prayers, have the privilege of loving and honoring you in heaven with the Angels and Saints throughout eternity.

Good Saint Anne, mother of her who is our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray to her for me and obtain my request.

Memorare to Saint Anne

Remember, good Saint Anne, whosename means grace and mercy, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I come before you, sinful and sorrowful. Holy mother of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and loving grandmother of the Savior, do not reject my appeal but hear me and answer my prayer. Amen.

Prayer to Sts. Joachim and Ann

Great and glorious patriarch, Saint Joachim, and good Saint Anne, what joy is mine when I consider that you were chosen among all God’s holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy. By this singular privilege, you have become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us.

With great confidence I have recourse to your mighty protection, and I commend to you all my needs, both spiritual adn temporal, and those of my family. Especially do I entrust to your keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from your intercession: . . . .

And since you were a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace to pray earnestly, and never to set my heart on the passing goods of this life. Give me a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me also a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy Church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her, in order that I may live and die in faith and hope and perfect charity. Let me ever invoke the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and may I thus be saved.

Litany in honor of St. Anne
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Saint Anne, pray for us.
Offspring of the royal race of David, pray for us.
Daughter of the Patriarchs, pray for us.
Faithful spouse of Saint Joachim, pray for us.
Mother of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, pray for us.
Gentle mother of the Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
Grandmother of Our Savior, pray for us.
Beloved of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us.
Instrument of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.
Richly endowed with God’s grace, pray for us.
Example of piety and patience in suffering, pray for us.
Mirror of obedience, pray for us.
Ideal of pure womanhood, pray for us.
Protectress of virgins, pray for us.
Model of Christian mothers, pray for us.
Protectress of the married, pray for us.
Guardian of children, pray for us.
Support of Christian family life, pray for us.
Help of the Church, pray for us.
Mother of mercy, pray for us.
Mother of confidence, pray for us.
Friend of the poor, pray for us.
Example of widows, pray for us.
Health of the sick, pray for us.
Cure of those who suffer from disease, pray for us.
Mother of the infirm, pray for us.
Light of the blind, pray for us.
Speech of the mute, pray for us.
Hearing of the deaf, pray for us.
Consolation of the afflicted, pray for us.
Comforter of the oppressed, pray for us.
Joy of the Angels and Saints, pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Harbor of salvation, pray for us.
Patroness of a happy death, pray for us.
Help of all who have recourse to you, pray for us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us, O Lord

Pray for us, good Saint Anne,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray. Almighty and eternal God, You were pleased to choose Saint Anne to be the mother of the Mother of Your loving Son. Grant, we pray, that we who confidently honor her may through her prayers attain to everlasting life. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

“You think it’s hot here???”

My mom’s favorite homily ever was given by a priest years ago on a hot summer day, with no air conditioning.

The priest just snapped, “You think it’s hot here?”

Well, I bring this up because I’m Facebook friends with a good number of priests and religious. Several of my FB nun friends are Paulists (makes sense), and one of them is named Sr. Helena Burns. While discussing online documents with her (she is a theology of the body expert, and linked this article by Pope Benedict XVI), I noted that Sr. Helena Burns has a blog with a fantastic play on her name:

Hell Burns.

Where do they get “Rugged American Individualism” out of this?

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:44-47)

So, tell me, where does “rugged individualism” come in here? Where does capitalism come in here? Where does “avoid sounding at all Communist” come in here?

“The One thing Necessary”

Today’s Gospel is one that always “gets me” in terms of its interpretation. Let’s start with two major Catholic translations used by Catholics.

The New American Bible version of Luke 10:38-42:

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Now the Douay-Rheims version:

Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’s feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Now, the problem with this passage is that preachers and commentators usually emphasize “Mary has chosen the better part.” The popular way to begin this homily is with the story of the Benedictine monk who objects to the order’s motto “ore et labore” and thinks prayer is more important, and his abbot takes him out on a boat and shows him that you can’t row with only one oar.

However, the usual meaning that both vita activa and vita contempliva are important doesn’t quite fit with the fact that Jesus says “only one thing is necessary,” and, of course, it kind of puts down those of us who aren’t too capable of the activa side of things.

It’s also interesting that, as our pastor pointed out in his homily, the passage comes shortly after the story of the Good Samaritan.

So what is Jesus actually saying? Is the passage a message that work and prayer are equally important, or that prayer is more important, or that work is unimportant?

Well, like most things, we need to look at it in its context *FIRST*. We have to look at the face value of the passage *FIRST*.

The Church helps us with this in the “new” cycle of readings by giving us the story of Abraham and the Three Guests as the Old Testament reading this week (whether the three guests are 3 prophets, or 3 angels, or the Persons of the Trinity, or God and two angels is up for debate).

Hospitality. It’s one of the basic virtues of *ALL* cultures except our own. It’s definitely not a virtue according to American Rugged Individualism, although it is used to be more common even among Americans.

When Mary went on a mission trip to Haiti in college, she told one child that she liked his t-shirt. He said, “Oh, you can have it, if you want it!” He was offended when she declined, and she was shocked at this kid who would give away what was probably his only shirt. I read a story once in a magazine about some college students on a mission trip to the Gullah community on an island off the coast of South Carolina, who were treated to an absolute feast by the people they came to serve and were reluctant to take their food by partaking of it–which of course offended the people who were hosting them.

Even in more traditional European cultures, hospitality is far more important than it is among Americans, or among the English. And then it’s much more important among almost every *other* culture from native America to Africa to the Middle East to Southern Asia to the Far East.

When we read the Bible, we often read it without realizing that what a big deal hospitality was.

Anyway, let’s look again at Mary and Martha. Both passages above tell us that Martha was busy “serving,” but not all translations, including all versions of the New American Bible, have it read that way. Since the Vatican rejected the inclusive language of the NAB’s 1986 “revised New Testament,” a re-revised NAB NT was approved by the Vatican in 2000 for use at Mass. So the lectionary in your parish may have one of *THREE* different New Testaments all calling themselves “NAB,” and what you read may be different, as well. What’s on the NAB website is the 1986 text.

I have the original 1970 version of the NAB in my Daughters of St. Paul Vatican II Sunday Missal (1974), has the words phrased slightly differently:
“Martha, who was busy with all the details of hospitality.”

I think the reading in the 2000 Gospels is the same rendering. That is quite a different thing from “Martha was busy serving.”

Now, we can use this Gospel to talk about other issues like vita activa versus vita contempliva, but we must first realize it’s specifically about the demands of hospitality. There is a kind of “hospitality” that makes the guest feel very uncomfortable: unwelcome, even, or like the hostess is “put out” by the guest’s presence.

*THAT* is what Martha is doing wrong. It’s not that she’s serving dinner. It’s that she’s obsessing about making sure she follows every little rule of hospitality. Today, we’d call it etiquette. Is the table set just right? Are the baseboards sparking clean? Is every detail perfect?

The point of hospitality is to be welcoming, and what makes a guest feel more welcome? Buzzing around like a bee, doing stuff? Nagging everyone else for not joining in? Or sitting down and enjoying the guest’s company?

While I’m at it, I found some links to different reflections on this week’s Gospel. All of these use the translation that I quoted just above:

“Ore et Labore”

“Animus and Anima.”


Carmelites: from helmets to hermits

In a recent discussion on Facebook, as I often do, I was “taking the pacifist side” since my interlocutors were “rah, rah go military” types (of course, in the company of real pacifists–whom I try to avoid as much as possible–I take the “rah, rah go military” side)–since, in either case, I am pro-Just War Doctrine, and interpreting the criteria for Just War *fairly* strictly (other than the exception, obviously used in the Crusades, that liberating someone else from oppression can be a “defensive” war). Problem, of course, is that my middle-of-the road position on war turned more to the anti-side when the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan crushed my naivete.

Anyway, one of my interlocutors actually claimed that, since I’m an OCDS, I should support the military! WHAT? How does being a Carmelite mean that I should be pro-military??

Of course, this person was acting on the assumption that the OCD/OCDS is a more “conservative” order–generally speaking, yes, though that’s not an absolute principle. And it also depends upon your definition of “conservative.” It gets to the whole issue of who, exactly, is a “Republican in Name Only”, since the two campus that can be best summed up in current terms as “Bush supporters” and “Paul supporters”–generally referred to as neoconservatives and paleoconservatives, respectfully–keep insisting that each other are not the “true conservatives.” To paleocons (like me), neocons are just liberals in Republican clothing. One of the reasons Reagan–the guy who legalized abortion in California before _Roe v. Wade_–was able to switch parties is that the Republicanism of Reagan wasn’t much different than the liberalism of JFK or even Woodrow Wilson. To neocons, paleocons are, alternatively, out-of-touch reactionaries who are trying to “conserve” a set of principles that are dead and buried, or else secret liberals (since neocons have been taught that anyone who opposes America’s unquestioned right to invade any other country it pleases is actually a liberal). That same person can accuse the same person of being *both* an out of touch reactionary *and* a secret liberal–in the same conversation–amuses me greatly.

As Pat Buchanan has pointed out, the rhetoric of George W. Bush about about “spreading democracy around the world” is the same rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy–yet try saying that to your average Dittohead. You’ll get a spew of ad hominems against those three “Communists” and no real critique of how Bush’s idea of democracy-by-invasion–is different from or better than theirs. Oh, wait, those guys really weren’t talking about democracy-by-invasion, for the most part; they were at least talking about trying to teach other cultures to follow our example! Bush was talking about a series of military invasions aimed at overthrowing “hostile” regimes.

Anyway, this all gets me back to why, as a Carmelite, it was presumed I should be pro-war. First, as I’ve been getting at, being conservative does not necessarily mean being pro-war. Prior to the 1960s, the conservatives *were* the anti-war people, supporting a maintenance of the traditional Monroe Doctrine and George Washington’s warnings of “foreign entanglements.” You know, “America First” and all that. (Somehow, to liberals, “America First” isolationism is taken as equivalent to Nazi nationalist expansionism).

More importantly, though, it struck me to night, telling the kids the history of the Order as we celebrate two major Carmelite feasts this weekend (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on Friday and Martyrs of Compiegne on Saturday), it struck me that the “original” Carmelites were ex-soldiers.

Yes, the most original “Carmelites” were the school (or guild) of prophets who followed Elisha. Yes, there is a tradition that Mt. Carmel remained a base for Israelite “prophets” and mystics for centuries in honor of Elijah and Elisha, and that St. John the Baptist was a member of that school, which is why the Gospel says John came “in the spirit of Elijah.” When St. Elijah (Elias to you traditionalists) was taken up in the chariot of fire, Elisha (Eliseus to you traditionalists) prayed that God would send him a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. So his school of prophets followed Elisha in the spirit of Elijah. Thus it is taken that John the Baptist was of that school.

During the Crusades, the Europeans found that there were already hermits living on Mt. Carmel, where they had a shrine to Our Lady (tradition claims it was the first church built in honor of Mary, after her assumption, yet there are several churches in Turkey and the Holy Land that make that claim).

Key point: the men who became the Carmelites as we know them were Crusaders who put down their swords and became hermits.

Kind of interesting, given the presumption that, as a Carmelite, I should be pro-war.