Monthly Archives: May 2014

Jesus said Forgive Seventy times seven times

Not “block,” “malign,” “gossip about,” “blacklist,” etc., seventy times seven times. We’re all guilty of it. We don’t necessarily have to put up with abusive behavior:–some in that situation are called to be St. Rita; others St. Dymphna–but we are all called to forgive in our hearts (cf. “The Weight of Glory” and The Great Divorce).
Les Miserables illustrates two sure fire ways to earn Hell: the path of Thenardier and the path of Javert. I praise God that He has more and more saved me from my propensity for the latter.
As people are generally getting fed up with the bickering and in fighting among Catholics in social media, let me offer some suggestions that no one will follow:
A) Enough with guilt-by-association, whether it’s the Pope or the blogger next door,
B) Enough with “this person once said something I disagreed with, so I’ve blocked him.” (Abusive behavior being another matter).
C) Enough with arguing endlessly over abstractions. It’s interesting to a point but hardly evangelistic. How many people are we driving away?
D) Many people of good will, who acknowledge the truth of the Church, who are trying to be virtuous, leave or steer clear because they are scandalized by the people in the Church-you and me-who are unwelcoming, constantly bicker, and do not provide the kind of Christian community they want.
D) We don’t have to sit around and just share prayer requests or happy thoughts, but why not talk about practical ways to live out our faith in parish and public life?

Update: This is (not) BIG news, arguably the biggest news since there’s been “news”

And I’m relatively late to the game in the 24 hour news cycle: this afternoon, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Pope Francis have announced that, in 2025, for the 1700th anniversary, they are going to organize the Third Council of Nicea!!!

Update (bummer):
Fr. Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, said that yesterday’s announcement referred to a joint celebration of the anniversary, not a Council, but, “a lot could happen in 11 years.”

Two Things I know I need Most

If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that things work better with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
I am a sinner. My worst sins have been hypocrisy, pride, presumption and sacrilege, justifying and excusing my bad habits. I need Confession, even when I don’t “need” it. I need to confess every two weeks, preferably to the same priest, to avoid falling back into my bad habits. While I prefer to kneel and use the veil, for formality, my vocal cord paralysis has necessitated face-to-face. The knowledge that I am going to Confession, and that I am going to have to Confess it to the priest who’s followed my progress, helps me use that pride to my advantage, and I don’t sin as much. Not only do I feel better spiritually and psychologically, but my life works better.
The same goes for Adoration. In combination, weekly Adoration and biweekly Confession are crucial. I say yo my shame that I live in an area where multiple churches have weekly, daily or even perpetual Adoration, and I don’t avail myself of it. There are several reasons, mostly health related, but every day I think about figuring out how we can work it out.
Again, when I’ve been signed up for a Holy Hour and thus obligated, or else just made a point of going after work at night, things have gone a lot better for me and ny family. Add in daily Mass, and it’s amazing.

Why do I stop, then? Inevitably, the Devil attacks, first with the easily dismissed “scare tactics,” and eventually through personal attacks and phenomena that require moving.

Again, at our last move (which will hopefully be our last change of region), We chose an area with a lot of good parishes. We have, cumulatively and at various times, daily Mass, Confession, Adoration, Divine Mercy Chaplet, a Rosary, Confession, Morning Prayer, Vespers (both Roman and Byzantine), and public Novenas. What happened after we moved here? I didn’t get the job I moved for, and I suffered an aortic dissection. I write this in part not only to encourage you, gentle reader, to improve your life by Confession and Adoration, but also for the same reason I need Confession: to shame myself into better behavior.

Liberals say . . .

The Constitution means whatever they want except what it says.  Animals have rights, but people don’t. Babies aren’t babies unless you want them to be. Gender means whatever you want. Sex and marriage are about self-gratification and not procreation and child-bearing. Life is about pleasure and should be “terminated” if it isn’t pleasurable. Money can be created ex nihilo but the universe wasn’t. If you suggest it’s more important that kids learn in school about how their bodies actually work than about dinosaurs, evolution, and various forms of pleasure seeking, you’re “anti-science.” And they call us “wing-nuts”. . . .

“We deserve our punishment”

I know a lot of people  who suffer from chronic pain.  Most of my Marfan friends are non-Catholics, and I observe how very differently they approach the question.  Often, “Offer it up” has become such a cliche that it loses meaning.  Even Jesus cried out from the cross, and sometimes that’s what we have to do, but we must always remember to keep focused on the goal.  I constantly have to remind myself of these things:

1.  “Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, . . .”

2.  “We deserve our punishment, but this Man has done no wrong.”

3.  “In my own body, I fill up what is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ.”

4.  Mother Angelica once asked, “Why me, Lord?”  She got a response: “Why Me?”  She never asked again.

5.  A single mortal sin merits eternal suffering.  The worst we can bear here is nothing compared to that.  Imagine enduring *anything* forever.  My mom’s all-time favorite homily was, “You think it’s hot here?!”

C. S. Lewis once responded to someone who said, “It’s hot as Hell,” with “How would you know?”  When I was in CVICU last year, thinking I was dead and in Gell, everything seemed unendurable because ?I thought it was forever.  I was hot (high grade fever and screwed up post op metabolism).  I was thirsty (living off a feeding tube and npo).  I was in pain.  Most of all, I was *bored.*  I couldn’t move or speak.  I was strapped in a bed with tubes all over my body.

The only way to survive such a situation without despair is the Lord’s grace.  The Voice kept telling me to stop waive ring and make a choice.  It kept telling me it was over: I was in Hell or destined for it, that Jesus would never forgive me.  Yet, I thought of Faust, and I prayed, and I used the seemingly endless monotony to pray.  In particular, I thought about “70 times 7 times,” though I confused it as “70×70” and couldn’t remember if I was supposed to ask or grant it, so I kept naming people in my prayers and asking their forgiveness while offering mine.  I prayed the Pater repeatedly, the Publican’s Prayer and St Dismas’s prayer, over and over, 24/7, for at least 2 or 3 days.  My recovery began.

Arrow of SHIELD’s Interest: on Season Finales and Tone (Spoiler alert)

The few times I was able to teach freshman literature, I taught at schools which used the Goia and Kennedy text. One of my favorite lessons I came up with was about Gothic literature, comparing how Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Alice Walker and Flannery O’Connor used the same genre with a very different tone and effect. It was a great lesson in how subtle differences in the end of a short story can leave the reader with a different experience. One student asked, “Why do we read all these writers who committed suicide and stuff?” I said, “Beats me, but look at the ones who did, and compare to the ones who didn’t.”
Something similar could be said regarding the seasons, and season finales, of CBS’s Person of Interest, CW’s Arrow and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I have blogged before about how Arrow is my favorite current show and seems in many ways to draw from POI. Between the three of them this season, there are so many parallels in stories and characters I get confused sometimes.
POI:

  • Starts off with a rich guy who’s legally dead hiring a former special forces and CIA operative to help him track down people who are identified by a computer.
  • The rich guy seeks to atone for his sense of guilt over making the computer to begin with.
  • They gradually uncover a number of conspiracies.
  • They build up a team including a talented female hacker and talented female assassin.
  • The police look for a vigilante known as “the Man in the Suit.”
  • The police detective who started the series chasing after them eventually started helping them and started this season being demoted for it.   She eventually got promoted again just before being shot and killed.
  • Each episode features thematically parallel stories from the characters’ “past” that not only help to develop the characters but often relate to what’s going on in the “present.”
  • They have ties to a fictional government spy agency

Arrow:

  • Starts of with a rich guy who has returned after five years of being legally dead hiring a former special forces operative to help him track down people whose names are listed in a notebook given to him by his father.
  • The rich guy seeks to atone for his father’s mistake in getting involved in the conspiracy indicated by the names in the notebook.
  • They gradually uncover a number of conspiracies.
  • They build up a team that includes a talented female hacker and talented female assassin.
  • The police look for a vigilante known as the “Man in the Hood” and later “the Arrow.”
  • The police detective who started the series chasing after them eventually started helping them and started this season getting demoted for it.  He eventually got promoted back to detective just before being beaten nearly to death (cliffhanger).
  • Each episode features thematically parallel stories from the characters’ “past” that not only help to develop the characters but often relate to what’s going on in the “present.”
  • They have ties to a fictional spy agency.

Now we throw in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD:

A spy who has been presumed dead comes back to run a covert team that includes a special forces guy, a talented female hacker, and a  talented female assassin.  They work for a fictional spy agency.  They start off by doing weekly missions for their spy agency but quickly uncover a number of conspiracies (which turn out to be related).   Like Arrow, it’s based upon a comic book universe but started by focusing on more “human” stories, using lesser known characters.

All three shows ended their seasons this week with similar cliffhangers:
1) Various conspiracy threads were wrapped up.  In all three cases, we learned that many adversaries who were thought to be separate were, wittingly or unwittingly, working together.   POI and Arrow ended with the main rich guys losing their businesses and fortunes, and SHIELD ended the season with the title organization in shambles, so all three ended with their main characters losing their support networks and possibly being fugitives.  POI and SHIELD ended with evil organizations getting government contracts.  Arrow ended the season with the government spy agency (ARGUS, DC’s equivalent of SHIELD) being possibly either the new employers of the main team or possibly the main adversary of Season 3.

POI is produced by JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan (co-writer of the “Dark Knight” Trilogy with his brother Christopher) while SHIELD is produced by Joss Whedon.  Both Nolan and Whedon have obvious ties to Arrow‘s parent company Warner, and now Amy Acker has appeared as a regular on POI and a guest star on SHIELD.  In addition to being two of the most popular sci-fi TV and movie writer/producer/directors of the past 10-15 years, Whedon and Abrams are known for using the same actors in multiple projects and for using “Easter Eggs” in their various productions.

Interestingly, I’m not the only one who’s suggested that “the Machine” on POI, or its new competitor Samaritan, sounds a lot like “Skynet” from the “Terminator” franchise.  Summer Glau, who played a “Terminator” on Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles and has starred or guest-starred in a number of Joss Whedon’s shows (appearing with Amy Acker on both Angel and Dollhouse), has been on Arrow this season as Isabel Rochev, who may or may not have died in the season finale but was working with Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson, a character whose codename in the comics was “the Terminator” until a certain movie came out.  However, it’s apparently Whedon who’s slated to produce the next Terminator movie, not Abrams.

Given all the thematic and behind-the scenes connections, it’s no wonder I feel like they’re basically all the same shows!

Nevertheless, there’s something about Arrow that makes it seem like the better, all-around show, and, as I started this review, while the finales had many superficial scenarios, there were very subtle differences in tone that left me with very different feelings.  Each finale had a “cliffhanger” that would have worked as a series finale.  Each tried to be a “game changer,” essentially setting up, as described, a completely different situation for its main characters next fall.

It seems like every week this season, the reactions of fans online to POI have been very negative, though the ratings have stayed solid.  This week, I saw very few positive comments online.  POI ended with narration telling us that “the one thing left when Pandora’s box has been opened is hope,” but it sure didn’t feel that way: or maybe the hope is in the box?  I don’t know, but I felt rather crushed and depressed by the tone of the episode.  Nothing can be the same, and it’s definitely stepping more into “grounded science fiction” and  out of “potentially happening in the world we live in.”  It’s not really clear if they’ll possibly be able to defeat Decima and Samaritan, or even if they’ll try.

Arrow was somewhere in between.  Things were bad, but looking up.  To this viewer, at least, it didn’t seem as depressing as POI yet still not so much hopeful as challenging or exciting: Oliver and company have a new quest, to win back his company.  The episode actually ends “in the past,” explaining a hinted connection between Oliver and ARGUS director Amanda “the Wall” Waller.   There really doesn’t seem to be a clear enemy to defeat at this point, though the seeds of next season’s adversaries may already be planted (not sure if FOX’s upcoming Gotham will put an end to the potential for any future Bat-villains, but I am still hoping for an appearance by Ra’s Al-Ghul.

SHIELD had the most classic cliffhangers, with a clear sense of completion to this season’s stories combined with hints of mystery for next year.  Where, like the other shows, it ended its year with a new beginning for the characters (“The Beginning of the End”), and although it was the least likely of the three to be renewed, ratings-wise, it was very clear where the show will be going, and that the characters ended on a relative high note compared to the others.  As it happened, while it aired first (Tuesday at 8), I watched it last of the three, and the viewing order may have colored my reaction, but it seemed to set a more optimistic tone.

The other thing it got right, as a “comic book show,” was what gave “comic books” their name: particularly in conjunction with the very big name (both as a character and an actor) guest star in the finale (and that’s a spoiler I won’t spoil for those who haven’t seen it), there was a lot of actual humor in the episode.  As the arch-villain is raving, Special Guest Star says to agent Coulson: “You didn’t tell me he was this crazy?” “He’s kicked it up a notch.”

“Come with me, if you want to be not dead”: The Lego Movie

About a month before its DVD release, _The Lego Movie_ has finally shown up at the cheap theaters, and we saw it today as a family, my first movie-in-the-cinema since my surgeries and hospitalization last year. It was well worth it, and even better than I’d expected from the very good reviews I’ve seen. It’s a multi-layered allegory and parody. I’d have to watch it again to remember all the fantastic quotations.
There are Batman references from the Adam West series (Batman makes sound effect noises while throwing a batarang) to the 1989 “I’m Batman” to “He’s the hero you deserve,” paraphrased from _The Dark Knight_. There’s even a running joke about the poor reception of the _Green Lantern_ movie. While it superficially plays on the seemingly disparate and conflicting franchises to which Lego has licenses (the fact that there are both “Lego DC” and “Lego Marvel” blows my mind).
However, all the film rights to franchises depicted in _The Lego Movie_–DC being the most prominent–are or have been held by Warner at some point. While _Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles_ is currently owned by Nickelodeon, the first four movies were distributed by New Line and/or Warner (and IIRC, Michelangelo doesn’t get a speaking part). _Star Wars_, while usually associated with Fox and now owned by Disney, had some affiliation with Warner via the _Clone Wars_ series and the first _Lego Star Wars_ animated projects on Cartoon Network (and the brief cameo of _Star Wars_ characters doesn’t end well).
On the serious side, it starts with a dystopian world where mindless anonymous workers awaken in the morning, do exercises, read an instruction book on how to be happy, drink coffee, turn on their televisions, and hear messages from President Business, president of the world and the Octan Corporation, which is a trusted company because it “makes all the TV shows, music, history books and voting machines” (“Octan” is a fictional brand on Lego toys dating back to 1992, when it was first used for a gasoline station set). Everyone eats the same foods, listens to the same song (“Everything is Awesome”), watches the same sitcom (_Where are my pants?_, which has the same story and joke) every night, and drinks the same expensive coffee. It’s like a mixture of _Brave New World_, _1984_ and _Fahrenheit 451_–or maybe it’s really just the world we live in. So we have the basic “brainwashed minion breaks out of his dystopian reality to find a bigger world” trope, even to an ending twist that is more like Plato’s myth of the Cave or perhaps _The Matrix_ than the others. Yet, on the other hand, it plays on the dystopian cliches by having a message of the need for a balance between individuality and creativity on the one hand with teamwork and following the rules, on the other.
Meanwhile, the myth of the cave twist makes the story a story-within-a-story, a kind of masque, and parallels (much like the _Republic_) its social theme with a family theme.

Not only is it another great-for-all-ages film, I think it will stand up to more repeated viewings and in-depth analysis than many children’s films: it manages to be both funny and meaningful, and there were far too many jokes, themes and symbols to catch in one sitting.

Interesting quote from the _Compendium_

I was drafting a comment, and possibly a blog post, on the notion of “living wage” and while searching the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church for what it says about “wages,” I found the following:

The rights of persons with disabilities need to be promoted with effective and appropriate measures: “It would be radically unworthy of man, and a denial of our common humanity, to admit to the life of the community, and thus admit to work, only those who are fully functional. To do so would be to practise a serious form of discrimination, that of the strong and healthy against the weak and sick”[292]. Great attention must be paid not only to the physical and psychological work conditions, to a just wage, to the possibility of promotion and the elimination of obstacles, but also to the affective and sexual dimensions of persons with disabilities: “They too need to love and to be loved, they need tenderness, closeness and intimacy”[293], according to their capacities and with respect for the moral order, which is the same for the non-handicapped and the handicapped alike.

Gerard Manley Hopkins: May Magnificat

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature’s motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfed cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

Devotion to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus

I can say from experience that shoulder pain is just about as bad as it gets. Dissection is intense beyond imagining but shoulder pain is pretty close: and relentless. In the hospital, with residual anesthesia from multiple surgeries, Hydrocodone and a Lidocaine patch, it still hurt like crazy.
From http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2064868/posts:

Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet–I can count all my bones. (Ps 22:16-17)

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. ” (Isaiah 53:5)

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-28)

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The Sacred Wounds which Jesus received during His Passion are part of the price for our salvation: “By His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Catholics have always loved and venerated these wounds, which Jesus still bears in His Risen Body, as an eternal sign of His redeeming Love.

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Oh! Sacred Feet, all gashed and torn,
Bruised by the hammer’s cruel blows,
Bathed in the life-blood dripping down
From anguished Heart in bitter throes;
I press You to my lips in tears,
With contrite sorrow, fervent sigh.
Dear precious Wounds, God’s bleeding prayers,
Ah! plead for me when death draws nigh.

Oh, Mangled Hands, transfixed and wan,
in suppliance raised to Heaven above,
Pierced by the nails that torture wrung,
From breaking Heart of burning love;
I press You to my lips in tears,
With contrite sorrow, fervent sigh.
Dear precious Wounds, God’s bleeding prayers,
Ah! plead for me when death draws nigh.

Oh! Sacred Refuge, tender Side,
Rent by the lance with cruel thrust,
There, where His Heart is, let me hide,
There, where His love is, let me trust.
I press Thee to my lips in tears,
With contrite sorrow, fervent sigh.
Most Holy Wound, allay my fears,
Recieve my soul when death draws nigh.1

Devotion in Honor of the Five Holy Wounds

As I kneel before Thee on the Cross, most loving Savior of my soul, my conscience tells me it is I who have nailed Thee to that Cross with these hands of mine, as often as I have fallen into mortal sin, wearing Thee with my monstrous ingratitude.

My God, my chief and most perfect Good, worthy of all my love, seeing Thou hast ever loaded me with blessings, I cannot now undo my misdeeds, as I would most willingly, but I can and will loathe them, grieving greatly for having offended Thee Who art infinite Goodness. And now, kneeling at Thy feet, I will try at least to compassionate Thee, to give Thee thanks, to ask of Thee pardon and contrition. Wherefore, with heart and lips I say:

(To the Wound of the Left Foot)

Holy Wound of the Left Foot of my Jesus, I adore Thee! I compassionate Thee, O my Jesus, for that most bitter pain which Thou didst suffer. I thank Thee for the love whereby Thou was wearied in overtaking me on to way to ruin, and didst bleed amid the thorns and brambles of my sins. I offer to the Eternal Father the pain and love of Thy most Sacred Humanity, in atonement for my sins, all of which I detest with sincere and bitter contrition.

(To the Wound of the Right Foot)

Holy Wound of the Right Foot of my Jesus, I adore Thee! I compassionate Thee, O my Jesus, for that most bitter pain which Thou didst suffer. I thank Thee for the love which pierced Thee with such torture and shedding of blood in order to punish my wanderings and the guilty pleasures I have granted to my passions. I offer to the Eternal Father all the pain and love of Thy most Sacred Humanity, and I pray unto Him for grace to weep over my transgressions with burning tears, and to enable me to persevere in the good which I have begun, without ever swerving again from my obedience to the commandments of my God.

(To the Wound of the Left Hand)

Holy Wound of the Left Hand of my Jesus, I adore Thee! I compassionate Thee, O my Jesus, for that most bitter pain which Thou didst suffer. I thank Thee for having, in Thy love, spared me the scourges and eternal damnation which my sins have merited. I offer to the Eternal Father the pain and love of Thy most Sacred Humanity, and I pray Him to teach me how to turn to good account my span of life, and bring forth in it worthy fruits of penance, and so disarm the angry justice of my God.

(To the Wound of the Right Hand)

Holy Wound of the Right Hand of my Jesus, I adore Thee! I compassionate Thee, O my Jesus, for that most bitter pain which Thou didst suffer. I thank Thee for Thy graces lavished on me with such love, in spite of all my miserable obstinacy. I offer to the Eternal Father all the pain and love of Thy most Sacred Humanity, and I pray Him to change my heart and its affections, and make me do all my actions in accordance with the will of God.

(To the Wound in the Sacred Side)

Holy Wound in the Side of my Jesus, I adore Thee! I compassionate Thee, O my Jesus, for the cruel insult Thou didst suffer. I thank Thee, my Jesus, for the love which suffered Thy side and Heart to be pierced, that the last drops of Blood and water might issue forth, making my redemption to abound. I offer to the Eternal Father this outrage, and the love of Thy most Sacred Humanity, that my soul may enter once for all into that most loving Heart, eager and ready to receive the greatest sinners, and from it may never more depart. 2

+ + + + +

The following prayers in honor of the Holy Wounds of Jesus come from private revelations to various saints and mystics. They are not part of the infallible teachings of the Church (who is also the final judge of their validity). The promises attached to them must not be viewed in a superstitious manner: “If I just say this the right way I will surely get what I want!”. Rather, the promises reflect the generosity of God, and the prayers should inspire us to be more fervent in our love for the Holy Wounds of Christ, regardless of any possible rewards God might sovereignly choose to bestow on us.

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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that St. Bernard asked Our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering, and He answered: “I had on My Shoulder while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grevious Wound which was more painful than the others, and which is not recorded by men. Honor this Wound with thy devotion, and I will grant thee whatsoever thou does ask through its virtue and merit. And in regard to all those who shall venerate this wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins, and will no longer remember their mortal sins”

Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ:

Most loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross which so toreThy flesh and laid bareThy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give The thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.3

(Imprimatur: +Thomas D. Beven, Bishop of Springfield.)

Saints Gertrude the Great and Mechtilde

Jesus revealed to St. Gertrude that if any one of the following short prayers is repeated five times in honor of the Five Holy Wounds of the Lord, while spiritually kissing the Wounds devoutly and adding some prayers or good works, and offering them through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they will be as acceptable to God as the most arduous devotion:

Jesus, Savior of the World, have mercy on me. You to Whom nothing is impossible, bestow mercy to the wretched.

O Christ, Who by Your Cross, hast redeemed the world, hear us.

The Lord is my strength and my glory; He is my salvation.

Hail Jesus, my loving Spouse. I salute You in the ineffable joys of Your Divinity; I embrace You with the affection of all creatures, and I kiss the Sacred Wound of Your love.4

One day, before the Feast of the Ascension, St. Gertrude repeated the following salutation five thousand, four hundred and sixty-six times:

Glory be to Thee, sweetest, most gentle, most benign, sovereign, transcendent, effulgent, and ever-peaceful Trinity, for the roseate wounds of Jesus Christ, my only Love!

After completing these salutations, Our Lord Jesus appeared to her, more beautiful than the angels, bearing golden flowers on each Wound. With a serene countenance and tender charity, He said, “Behold in what glory I now appear to you. I will appear in the same form to you at the hour of your death, and will cover all the stains of your sins, and adorn you with a glory like that with which you have adorned My Wounds by your salutations. All of those also who salute my Wounds with the same devotion shall receive the like favor.”

You can say the above salutation 5466 times by praying in five times a day for three years. You may also add the following oblation which Jesus asked St. Mechtilde to pray after each division of five:

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, accept this prayer, with that surpassing love, with which Thou didst endure all the Wounds of Thy most Holy Body. Have mercy on me, and on all sinners, and on all the Faithful, living and departed. Grant them grace and mercy, remission of sins, and everlasting life. Amen.5

Sister Mary Martha Chambon

Mary Martha Chambon (1841-1907) was a lay Sister of the Monastery of the Visitation Order in Chambery, France. During her life, Jesus Himself is said to have revealed to her the following two invocations, giving her the double mission to adore and invoke the Sacred Wounds unceasingly and to revive this devotion in the hearts of creatures. She died in the odor of sanctity on 21 March 1907, and the cause for her beatification was introduced in 1937.

Eternal Father I offer Thee the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ to heal the wounds of our souls.

My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of Thy Sacred Wounds.

Here are some statements Jesus is said to have made to Sr. Mary Martha about this devotion:

“Come to My Wounds with hearts burning with love, and make the aspirations with great fervor that you may obtain the graces and favors you desire. Come to this wound in My Side; it is the Wound of Love from which issue flames of fire”

“You must pray that the knowledge of My Sacred Wounds may spread in the world”. (As He said these words, Sr. Mary Martha saw five luminous rays of glory issue from the Wounds of Christ, and envelop the globe.)

“My Holy Wounds sanctify souls and insure their spiritual advancement…Offer Me your actions united to My Sacred Wounds, and even the smallest will have an incomprehensible value”

Offer them often to Me for sinners because I thirst for souls. At each word of the invocation that you utter, I will let a drop of My Blood fall upon the soul of a sinner.”

“When you offer My Holy Wounds for sinners, you must not forget to do so for the souls in Purgatory, as there are but few who think of their relief. The Holy Wounds are the treasure of treasures for the souls in Purgatory.”6

(Nihil obstat: John A. Schulien, Censor Librorum; Milwaukee, WI, 2 May 1956. Imprimatur: +Albertus G. Meyer, Archbishop of Milwaukee, 1 May 1956.)

Chaplet of the Holy Wounds

To be said on the Crucifix and the first three beads of an ordinary Rosary:

O Jesus, Divine Redeemer, be merciful to us and to the whole world. Amen.

Strong God, holy God, immortal God, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

Grace and mercy, O my Jesus, during present dangers; cover us with Your Precious Blood. Amen.

Eternal Father, grant us mercy through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Your only Son; grant us mercy, we beseech You. Amen, Amen, Amen.

The following prayers, composed by Our Lord, are to be said using the Rosary beads.

On the large beads:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ. To heal the wounds of our souls.

On the small beads:

My Jesus, pardon and mercy, through the merits of Your Holy Wounds.

Promises of Our Lord for those who are Devoted to His Wounds

At each word that you pronounce of the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds, I allow a drop of My Blood to fall upon the soul of a sinner.
Each time that you offer to My Father the merits of My divine Wounds, you win an immense fortune.
Souls that will have contemplated and honored My crown of thorns on earth, will be My crown of glory in Heaven!
I will grant all that is asked of Me through the invocation of My Holy Wounds. You will obtain everything, because it is through the merit of My Blood, which is of infinite price. With My Wounds and My Divine Heart, everything can be obtained.
From My Wounds proceed fruits of sanctity. As gold purified in the crucible becomes more beautiful, so you must put your soul and those of your companions into My sacred Wounds; there they will become perfected as gold in the furnace. You can always purify yourself in My Wounds.
My Wounds will repair yours. My Wounds will cover all your faults. Those who honor them will have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. In meditation on them, you will always find a new love. My wounds will cover all your sins.
Plunge your actions into My Wounds and they will be of value. All your actions, even the least, soaked in My Blood, will acquire by this alone an infinite merit and will please My Heart.
In offering My Wounds for the conversion of sinners, even though the sinners are not converted, you will have the same merit before God as if they were.
When you have some trouble, something to suffer, quickly place it in My Wounds, and the pain will be alleviated.
This aspiration must often be repeated near the sick: “My Jesus, pardon and mercy through the merits of Your Holy Wounds!” This prayer will solace soul and body.
A sinner who will say the following prayer will obtain conversion: “Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ to heal those of our souls.”
There will be no death for the soul that expires in My Holy Wounds; they give true life.
This chaplet is a counterpoise to My justice; it restrains My vengeance.
Those who pray with humility and who meditate on My Passion, will one day participate in the glory of My divine Wounds.
The more you will have contemplated My painful Wounds on this earth, the higher will be your contemplation of them glorious in Heaven.
The soul who during life has honored the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ and has offered them to the Eternal Father for the Souls in Purgatory, will be accompanied at the moment of death by the Holy Virgin and the angels; and Our Lord on the Cross, all brillant in glory, will receive her and crown her.
The invocations of the Holy Wounds will obtain an incessant victory for the Church.7
(Nihil obstat: Rev. Terry Tekippe, Censor Librorum. Imprimatur: + Most Rev. Francis B. Shulte, Archbishop of New Orleans, 29 December 1989.)

Prayer to Obtain a Favor

O great Passion! O deep Wounds! O Blood shed in abundance! O meekness! O God of meekness, O cruel death, have mercy on me and grant my request if it be for my salvation.8

Sources:

1″Prayer to the Five Wounds,” The Little Treasury of Leaflets, vol.IV (Dublin: Gill, 1914) 893-894.

2From “Holy Hour of Reparation” booklet, pages 21-24. Copyright © 1945 Soul Assurance Plan(TM), Chicago, IL.

3Pieta Prayer Book, (Hickory Corners, MI: MLOR Corporation, 1995) 45-46. © MLOR Corporation 1995. (“Pictures or prayers may be reproduced for personal use, not for commercial purposes”)

4Joan Carrol Cruz, Prayers and Heavenly Promises: Compiled from Approved Sources, (Rockford IL:TAN Books, 1990) 49. Copyright © by Joan Carrol Cruz.

5The Precious Blood and Mother A Compilation of Prayers from Approved Sources by the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood, Edmonton, Canada. (Manchester, NH: Monastery of the Precious Blood) 107-108.

6″Invocations in honor of the Holy Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ”; tract by the Marist Missionary Sisters League of Prayer.

7Joan Carrol Cruz, Prayers and Heavenly Promises, opt. cit. 50-52.

8″Powerful Prayer to Obtain a Favor” tract, printed by Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Why believers make better doctors

In our pluralistic society, the notion of choosing a business or professional based upon faith is considered discriminatory. We hear a lot about businesses refusing to provide particular services based upon moral principles, but not about customers, unless it suits the Left’s agenda. “I will “I will gladly be your doctor but I will not prescribe contraceptives” becomes “He refused to give me health care!” On the other hand, a doctor pressuring a woman to *use* birth control is perfectly fine, and if she refuses to go to that doctor, she’s the one who’s considered extremist.

As I’ve written many times, and is one of the founding principles of this blog, it is very difficult to find doctors who support patients’ moral choices: not to profit from or participate in fetal tissue or embryonic stem cell research, not to use artificial birth control, etc. People who don’t include morality in their medical decisions–and those who do but take a very broad interpretation of “remote material cooperation”–seem to not understand why this is important to some of us patients. I’m sure many people would rightly object to eating at a restaurant with a sign saying “whites only.” They would understand why supporting a business owned by a KKK owner is objectionable. However, they don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to support a medical business that engages in practices we find morally repugnant: this is both because they think it’s wrong to *consider* those actions wrong and because they refuse to acknowledge that medicine is a “business.”

So that brings me to why, even if we’re not talking about moral issues, I find it’s important to generally choose, when possible, doctors who are people of faith. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re Catholics, or even Christians, but they have to believe in some sort of “higher power.” I believe it’s a saying, but I’ve often found that doctors who don’t believe in God think they are God.

If a doctor thinks that religion is stupid and irrational, what does he think about patients who are believers? If he doesn’t trust your discernment about spiritual and moral matters, will he trust your discernment about your own health and healthcare decisions?

If she doesn’t believe in God, when difficult moral issues do arise (e.g. end of life issues), will she be more willing to take the easy way out?

I’ve encountered many doctors over the years who have mocked me for praying, flat-out side, “There are no such things as miracles,” etc. A year after my 1996 aortic root replacement, some of the tissue around the stitches of my artificial valve started to leak. During my echo, the tech got really quiet. He got up and got the cardiologist, who redid the echo himself, very slowly. You know something was seriously wrong. He came in afterwards and gave us the report. He ordered me to bed rest for a year. A year later, they were worse. A year after that, I expected them to be even worse. This time, he came in with his jaw metaphorically on the floor, saying, “They healed!!” Ever since then, every doctor I’ve told that story to has had one of two reactions: 1. “Wow, a miracle!” or 2. “That doesn’t happen. He’s probably an idiot and misread the echoes.” Yeah, that’s why he did it personally, slowly, right away, to double-check the technician’s initial finding.

For a few years in Northern Virginia, I went to one of the highest-rated cardiologists in that region, and he said that prayer and “faith,” generically, is a huge part of his practice, that he finds patients who pray and meditate perform far better than those who don’t.