Category Archives: Devotions

Published on John’s Facebook page on October 6, 2018

Went to Confession today. Didn’t want to be a “10 minute Confession,” so I prayed a long time about it–including my post about the Saints last night–and I talked about my existential doubt/Dark Night, my doubt of the Church, and rash actions committed because I was really angry at God and didn’t realize it. Father said to pray the Glorious mysteries and focus on the third. Didn’t even say that Penance till later this evening, but when I came out of Confession, I sat down, rejoined the people saying the Sorrowful Mysteries in church, and felt a deep sense of God’s Presence to a level I haven’t felt in a long time, and didn’t think I’d ever feel again now that I ‘m in the last stages of the Dark Night. I felt so overwhelmed by JOY, by LOVE, by PEACE, that I practically felt like a Charismatic. I thought of Joy Davidman Lewis’s famous description of her conversion:
“All my defenses—the walls of arrogance and cocksureness and self-love behind which I hid from God—went down momentarily. And God came in.”

selective focus photo of brown and silver rosary

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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How Considering Sedevacantism led me back to the Novus Ordo

I have recently “come out of the closet,” so to speak, that after 5 years of wavering I cannot accept the notion that Jorge Bergoglio is or ever has been the Vicar of Christ.
So that leaves the question: “What now?”
Many people have attempted to provide “plans” or “predictions” for worldly processes of “purifying” the Catholic Church–but that is only going to happen with direct, obvious intervention by God, whether it’s in the form of the actual Second Coming or the time period variously called the “new Pentecost,” the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart,” “Eucharistic Reign of Christ,” etc.
As I have also been very open about sharing, I’ve been deeply shaken to my core not just by recent news headlines, which really aren’t that surprising to me except the depth to which we have been lied to by the hierarchy, but by personal events.  I was diagnosed with epilepsy, and since that diagnosis have read some very convincing arguments that most of the Bible and most of the apparitions and miracles that have given me confidence in Christ may have just been epileptic seizures.
And they make a good case. And every “But what about–” I think about comes from the Church, which has been lying to us  about all sorts of basic things.
So, trying to get my mind around all this stuff, I was reading a sedevacantist page last night, and much like C. S. Lewis applied the arguments atheists made against Christianity and applied them to atheism, I took home a few key points:
On the one hand, much of what sedevacantists see as heresy in the Vatican II era is really based on their own Jansenism and/or the Tridentine and Vatican I rejection of all but a few specific theological traditions and emphasis on Papal supremacy.
In spite of their own arguments for Jansenism, the sedes seem to hold that if they are wrong about the Papacy being vacant or the Mass being invalid, we’re saved by faith, so doing what they think is faithful to the True Church, even if they’re wrong, is better in their view than attending the Novus Ordo.  They do not seem to give the same benefit of the doubt to those who go to the so-called “Vatican II sect” in good conscience.
Then there was this point, which basically seems to be what sedes do to begin with:

Do not spend too much time trying to figure things out — it can lead to pride, vain curiosity, dangerous ideas, and a misplaced reliance on self rather than on God. In general, we are well-advised to seek after virtue rather than knowledge. Certainly we may suppose that living a holy prayerful life and seeking to be pleasing to God, cannot but hasten the day of Restoration.

So, if I should be relying totally on God, then shouldn’t I just do the basics in the most practical way possible?

Wake up!

From Evening Prayer, Friday Week 3:

2b Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,*3for you know that the testing* of your faith produces perseverance.4And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.5But if any of you lacks wisdom,* he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.c6But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.d7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,8since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2-8)

On May 25, the feast of St. Mary Magdalene De Pazzi, OCD, and the feast of the great and “venerable” Englishman St. Bede, Ireland, which St. Patrick prophesied would one day lose the faith but regain it to spread around the world, officially severed itself not just from Catholicism but from basic decency and Natural Law by sentencing millions of children to death by abortion.

About 20 years ago, I had a dream that the Chastisements would begin if Ireland legalized abortion. Prepare your hearts. Repent. Go to Confession. Get baptized if you aren’t. Fast. Pray. Stop blaspheming. Love God with all your hearts, minds and souls. Arm your family with faith, service and sacramentals. This is war. And we’re all soldiers asleep at our posts. Our Lord warns us that when we have done our duties, we should say “I am an unprofitable servant for I have only done my duty.” “You’ve done your duty; nothing more,” said Valjean to Javert.

St. John Bosco had a dream where St. Dominic Savio showed him all the souls he might have helped to bring to Heaven but even his efforts and faith were not strong enough.  One of the saints said that the thing Heaven and Hell have in common is that everyone says “I don’t deserve to be here.”

I for one know I could and should do much more for God.

I spent years reading books on apparitions.  I’ve always been conflicted on the “Three Days of Darkness,” yet it seems to match up not just with the prophecies of so many saints and approved visionaries but of many secular and Protestant ideas (the “zombie apocalypse,” for example).

Any Cradle Catholic who’s paid attention to their grandparents or “pious old Church ladies” has at least heard of it.  The prophecy is that, in a time such as ours, when the world and the Church herself fall into sin and rebellion and division, God will reveal Himself through various signs and plagues like those of Egypt, and one of the first will be three days of complete darkness (volcano? EMP?) when no lights will work except for the light of blessed beeswax candles.  One candle will last the three days and light a home, but it will only burn in the homes of those who are in a presumptive state of grace.  It will be the inverse of the “Rapture” as understood by Protestants: those who are in sin will be confronted by their sin and by demons and die.  Reanimated corpses will torment the godly in their homes, so doors and windows should be locked and covered, and protected with sacramentals.  Though it’s always struck me as a bit superstitious, too many signs are being fulfilled to not at least be prepared in spirit and in sacramentals:
https://www.cukierski.net/collections/spiritual-goods-collection

Vegetables and Grace

intro_cream_of_crop

Grace is received according to the mode of the receiver.

So are vegetables.

Some people naturally love vegetables. Most people don’t.

Most people love a few particular vegetables. For me, my favorites are broccoli and spinach, which I’d eat an entire package of on my own if I could but I take Coumadin so I’m only allowed to eat small amounts of them. Ironically, a few months ago I ate a whole bag of broccoli by myself and sent myself to the ER with a clot.

If we don’t have any desire to eat vegetables, we need to have our desires adjusted before we can eat them.

If we grow up eating vegetables, it is easier to love them as an adult. Often, if we grow up eating both, or having our vegetables coated in twinkies, as someone recently suggested, then we are really being taught that vegetables are not desirable.

If we have a desire to eat vegetables but a greater desire to eat junk food, we might eat *some* vegetables but not all the vegetables that are being served to us because we spoiled our dinner by filling up on junk food.

If we fill up completely on junk food, we have no room for vegetables.

So it is with grace.

Our Father in Heaven is offering us a smorgasbord of spiritual vegetables. Our Lady of Victory told St. Catherine Laboure that the precious stones falling from her hands on the Miraculous Medal–the stones which Mel Gibson symbolically has her casting to the earth in The Passion of the Christ, are the graces that go to waste because people aren’t willing to receive them.

Original sin and concupiscence are such that most of us are disinclined to accept His Grace.

Some people are born more naturally receptive to grace.

Some people are born with an inclination to particular graces from God, rather than having a well-balanced spiritual diet, gorge themselves on one kind of grace to the detriment of their overall spiritual life (such as a preference for Scripture or a particular devotion, a scrupulous devotion to COnfession, fasting excessively, doing charitable works without prayer, etc.).

Some people are raised in holy homes and taught to shun the world.

Some people are raised by holy parents who try to teach them the right way, but the enemy sows his seeds of spiritual junk food anyway, and the parents themselves don’t realize the subtle ways they’re teaching that God is second in their lives or that faith is not desirable in itself.

Most people don’t even try to accept God’s grace, and if they try, they get their souls so full of sin that they can’t, and they need to get that out of their systems, one way or the other, before they can take in the graces God is trying to offer them.

“Three Felonies a Day,” Clintons and Irish Travelers

In 2009, an attorney named Harvey Silverglate published a book called Three Felonies a Day that became a kind of a meme or urban legend, that seems sensationalist but is really based on simple facts.  He used to have a website that summarizes his book, but I can’t find it.  First, most federal law does not include the condition of “criminal intent.
The FBI recently said that Hillary Clinton should *not* be prosecuted for “gross negligence” in exposing classified information because she didn’t know any better, yet a Naval servicement is charged with a felony for taking six photos of the inside of a submarine (and potentially going to jail when crewmembers of the same ship did the same and received internal disciplinary actions).

Second, federal law is so pervasive.  One of Silverglate’s examples is the “Honest Services” clause of the mail-and-wire fraud statute, which is so vaguely worded that anyone who calls in sick to go shopping or see a show is guilty of a felony.  Speaking of which, technically using an alias online is wire fraud.
Ever download or record something copyrighted without paying?  Pass off someone else’s work as your own?  How many times does the average person break copyright law?
What about EPA regulations?
Almost anyone involved in education has done something that violates FERPA.  Almost anyone involved in healthcare has violated HIPAA or ACA.
Then there are the stories Silverglate tells us people wandering onto federal property, not realizing it, since there’s so much of it, and being charged with traspassing or theft.

Personally, I think Silverglate’s *three* felonies a day is optimistic.

Another issue Silverglate doesn’t touch on, at least in that context, is the “witch hunt” scenario.  The New England “witch” scare that led to the Salem Trials started with a book by one of the Mathers about “witchcraft” (Catholicism) among Irish and Caribbean slaves.  Now, some “witches” were selling what we’d now call recreational drugs like marijuana and “magic mushrooms.”  Sometimes, they or other witches were the forerunners of Planned Parenthood (the only convicted witch in Virginia history was convicted of selling abortifacients and contraceptives, and pardoned centuries after her execution by Tim Kaine).  Some were practicing voodoo and other pagan religions, but whatever their reasons for being accused, those who were “guity” admitted it, and took deals by “naming names.”  The women they named were mostly innocent, but since they *were* innocent and knew nothing of “witchcraft,” they were prosecuted.

The same happens today with many federal cases, particularly the “War on Drugs”: a criminal keeps his family in the dark about his activities.  When he and his wife or roommate or whomever are arrested, he takes the deal and names his wife or roommate or whomever as knowing about it.  The innocent and ignorant person goes to jail.

And because these laws are so vaguely worded, and so expansive, anyone can be prosecuted for any reason if the government wants to.  Joe Schmoe gets fired or sent to jail for checking his work email at home, but Hillary Clinton is running for president?

Meanwhile, there’s a local story about the indictment of 20 “Irish Travelers” on 45 fraud charges.  I had first heard of Irish Travelers through their popular culture representation, and, being inclined to support an underdog, have had a hard time discerning whether the allegations are accurate.  If you’ve ever heard of “red Irish” versus “black Irish” (a rivalry once depicted on 30 Rock between fictional Jack Donaghy and non fictional Conan O’Brien), or “lact curtain Irish” or “Shanty Irish,” that’s the Travelers.  Whether they’re related to “real gypsies” is disputed.

As disdained as the Irish are in general, the Travelers in Ireland are disdained by the other Irish, as well.  Around here, I find that when non-Catholics hear I’m Catholic, they think I’m a Traveler.  When other Catholics around the state hear I’m from North Augusta, they think “Traveler.”  Ironically, Travelers drive much nicer vehicles than we do, generally dress and style their hair “expensively” (even if the follow out-of-date fashions).

On All Saints’ Day about 5 years ago, we had to drive upstate overnight because my wife had an event there for work, and one of our kids had a medical appointment.  When we went to get dinner after arriving in Greenville, we realized we’d left our only card at the McDonald’s we stopped at for lunch.  We called to cancel it, but it was too late to go to the bank in person for a withdrawl.  Finding myself, in the middle of a real life occurrence of a cliche scam, I took the kids to Mass then asked for help.  The parish business manager was the usher, and he got the pastor, who gave us the $60 I requested.  That covered a hotel room (how many parents have saved on hotel rooms by undercounting their kids?) and some vending machine food.  In the morning, I *did* go to the bank and get the cash, then came back to the church to give back the $60.

The business manager said, “Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity. Keep the money and do something special for your kids.”  He mentioned the Irish Travelers in North Augusta (I guess he thought we were Travelers), and recommended their church as a beautiful place to visit, as it had rescued the stained glass windows from an old church in Philadelphia.

It took us a while to actually visit, because we were worried about their reputation for being clandestine, reclusive, etc.  While they have a reputation for wearing fancy clothes and hairdos, and the women *do* have 60s and 80s style hair, for daily Mass and devotional services, at least, they dress pretty much like my wife and I do (hence the common impression of people, especially when I’m wearing the jacket they gave me–more on that later).  They usually wear religious t-shirts or hoodies.

Their liturgical music is Haugen-Haas, and the most orthodox publications in their vestibule are the diocesan newspaper and Catholic Worker. Otherwise, it’s the “Fishwrap,” US Catholic or Commonweal–I forget which.

OTOH Their parish has Adoration, various Novenas, Rosaries, Legion of Mary and a few other groups.  They have an outdoor shrine to the Infant of Prague.

We don’t know if the first daily Mass we went to there was something special, or they just always have a meal, but contrary to reputation, they invited us to join them after Mass for a very nice little buffet in the vestibule.  The “lace curtain” part of their reputation is of course a penchant for enjoying fancy food, fancy houses and fancy cars that makes this Carmelite rather uncomfortable.

We went that once for daily Mass in the evening.  Then in the Lent before my surgery, we went for daily Mass and Stations on Friday.  That was when I noticed the women wearing the religious hoodies and asked about them.  They offered to give me one next week, for free.  We asked for mutual prayers.  We came almost every Friday that Lent for Stations, and after a few weeks, they gave me a very nice St. Michael hoodie that I still have but sometimes feel embarrased to wear.  Once, last winter, we passed a group of men at Wal-Mart who saw my hoodie and said, “He’s not one of us.  Wonder where he got that?”

We’ve been once or twice since for Mass, and I went to Adoration a few months ago.

Seeing all the women praying in church, with their 60s style hair, with very few men there, made me feel  like I was in a mafia movie: the women in church, praying for the men who were out commiting crimes for a living (if reputation was deserved, and the truth is probably somewhere in between.

What I don’t understand, though, is how the fraud the Irish Travelers commit to get their fancy belongings is any different than the fraud committed by Hillary Clinton or anyone else who’s rich.  It’s not envy to point out that it’s extremely difficult to become extremely wealthy without commiting some sort of crime or sin.

Most of the articles focus on misrepresenting income to get Food Stamps and Medicaid, and I see comments online from African Americans–a community also stigmatized as being full of criminals and committing the same kinds of crimes–rejoicing.  It is horrible how we, as liberals put it, “Other” everyone.  It’s always “those people,” and the accusations against “those people” usually apply to “us,” so long as we’re the “good guys.”  Every villain is the hero of his own story, after all.

We hear about the Travelers getting paid to do work at people’s houses, doing a bad job, and then leaving.  I’ve experienced a lot of workers like that over the years, from licensed repairment to MDs.  If a doctor charges me $500 to tell me I’m being a hypochondriac and doesn’t even run a test, I still have to pay him, then he goes and uses my money to make the payment on his BMW.  If an Irish traveler charges me $500 to paint my house, does a cheap job that washes off in the next rainfall, and disappears, I’m out $500 that he uses to make a payment on his BMW.

I’ve read articles about previous raids and investigations that turned up nothing but some unaccounted for cash.  That actually sounded suspicious to me, like they *were* hiding something, but still, it strikes me as a witch hunt.  And as Hillary Clinton races to the White House on the backs of deleted emails, compromised National Security, dead ambassadors, dead friends, dead witnesses, dead lawyers, dead soldiers and dead babies, it seems hypocritical now for the government to prosecute anyone for any reason.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Evening Prayer II

If you are a brother or sister in Carmel, or a member of a parish or town named for Our Lady under this title, happy Solemnity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel! If you are not, happy optional memorial! (A little humor)

You can find the Carmelite “Propers” (the parts of the Liturgy of the Hours specific to different feasts; as opposed to the Ordinary and the Commons) at this site http://carmelcanada.org/liturgy/office.pdf.
If you can find a way to access the site, please make a donation to them for their service. It is a tragic injustice that the liturgy, which is supposed to be the common prayer of the Church, is copyrighted. I understand in one sense why, but I wanted to provide a convenient blend of the texts, since, though praying online is helpful, flipping between screens or apps can be distracting and cause things to refresh.
So I’ve provided links to different sites, and reflections on each passage to fall under “fair use,” while providing a guide to deeper prayer. Again, please donate to the people who provide these great services for free.

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

[Hymn]

Flos Carmeli, vitis florigera,
Splendor cæli, virgo puerpera, singularis.
Mater mitis sed viri nescia
Carmelitis esto propitia, stella maris.
Radix Iesse germinans flosculum
Hic adesse me tibi servulum patiaris.
Inter spinas quæ crescis lilium
Serva puras mentes fragilium tutelaris.
Armatura fortis pugnantium
Furunt bella tende præsidium scapularis.
Per incerta prudens consilium
Per adversa iuge solatium largiaris.
Mater dulcis Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam reple lætitia qua bearis.
Paradisi clavis et ianua,
Fac nos duci quo, Mater, gloria coronaris.

Ant. 1 I am the Handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you have said.”
Psalm 122I rejoiced when I heard them say: “Let us go to God’s house.” And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city strongly compact. It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord. For Israel’s law it is, there to praise the Lord’s name. There were set the thrones of judgment of the house of David. For the peace of Jerusalem pray: “Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!” For love of my brethren and friends I say: “Peace upon you!” For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: — as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. – See more at: http://divineoffice.org/xmas-0101-ep2/#sthash.vQumIqyC.dpuf

How does this speak to us as Brothers (and Sisters) of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?

Ant. 2Mary heard the word of God and kept it; she pondered it in her heart.
Psalm 127
If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil. In vain is your earlier rising, your going later to rest, you who toil for the bread you eat, when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber. Truly sons are a gift from the Lord, a blessing, the fruit of the womb. Indeed the sons of youth are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. O the happiness of the man who has filled his quiver with these arrows! He will have no cause for shame when he disputes with his foes in the gateways. Glory…
See also http://www.athanasius.com/psalms/psalms5.html

this is one of my favorite Psalms. It speaks particularly to the vocation of the secular, but also to the spiritual fatherhood and motherhood of the Friars and Nuns. The first historical Carmelites were former soldiers who laid down their physical arms for spiritual warfare. The Scapular is both our shield and our token from Our Lady.

Ant. 3The Apostles were constantly at prayer together, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Canticle – See Revelation 19:1-7
Alleluia.
Salvation, glory, and power to our God:
(Alleluia.)
his judgments are honest and true.
Alleluia (alleluia).

Alleluia.
Sing praise to our God, all you his servants,
(Alleluia.)
all who worship him reverently, great and small.
Alleluia (alleluia).

Alleluia.
The Lord our all-powerful God is King;
(Alleluia.)
Let us rejoice, sing praise, and give him glory.
Alleluia (alleluia).

Alleluia.
The wedding feast of the Lamb has begun,
(Alleluia.)
and his bride is prepared to welcome him.
Alleluia (alleluia). Glory…

See also http://www.liturgies.net/Liturgies/Catholic/loh/mary/eveningprayerii.htm
How are we preparing ourselves to welcome our spiritual Bridegroom?

A Reading from the Letter to the Galations (4:4-6)

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5
to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. 6 As proof that you are children,* God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. See http://www.usccb.org/bible/galatians/4

To be brothers of Our Lord, we must humbly accept the mantle of obedience, as He did.

Responsory
I will cry out with joy to the Lord;
my soul will rejoice in my God.
–I will cry out with joy to the Lord;
my soul will rejoice in my God.
For he has clothed me with the garment of salvation and robed me in a mantle of justice.
–My soul will rejoice in my God.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
–I will cry out with joy to the Lord;
my soul will rejoice in my God.
“Receive, my beloved son, this habit of your Order. This shall be to you and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.”

Canticle of Mary
Ant. Today we received the Virgin Mary as our mother. Today, she has taken pity on us. Today, all Carmel rejoices in the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin, whose name we bear.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my Spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant. From this day forward, all generations will call me blessed, for the almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. He has mercy on those who fear Him in every generation. He has shown the strength of His Arm; He has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things; the rich He has sent away empty. He has come to the help of His servant, Israel. For He has remembers His promise of mercy, the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham, and his children, forever. Glory . . .

The privilege of the Scapular is neither a symbol nor a superstition, but to die clothed with the Scapular, the garment of work in a religious habit, is to die doing God’s work.

As we honor the holy Holy Mother of God, under whose name and patronage we live, let us pray with confidence to Christ our Lord and say:
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

You said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”;
–may we stand with Mary among the poor and humble of the Lord, so that you may be our only wealth.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

You said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”;
–in following the Immaculate Virgin may we come to live that purity of heart which makes us eager to see the Father’s Face.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

You said, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe”;
–with Mary at our side, may we never cease to trust in the love You have for us as we journey in this night of faith.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

You said, “You ought to pray always and never lose heart”;
–teach us to pray like Mary, treasuring Your Word in our hearts and proclaiming it in our lives.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

You said, “A new commandment I give you; love one another as I have loved you”;
–united in heart and mind, may we be ready to spend our lives for our brothers and sisters and share with Mary in Your work of redemption.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

Dying on the cross, You said to John, and through him to all disciples, “Behold your Mother”;
–may all those who trusted in Your everlasting mercy [especially ____] rejoice one day with you and Mary in our Father’s house.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.

Here list your own intentions.
Through the intercession of the Mother of Carmel, hear us, O Lord.
Our Father .. . .

Prayer
Lord God, You willed that the Order of Carmel should be named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Your Son. Through her prayers, as we honor her today, bring us to your holy Mountain, Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the malice and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into Hell Satan, and all the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Click here for my Litany to Carmelite Saints

I just don’t know what “I believe in” anymore

Growing up, it was tough enough keeping straight the Nicene Creed (1971 translation):

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
[bow during the next two lines:]
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

and Apostles Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell [or “the dead”];
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
{from there [thence?]} he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

Then I tried to learn the Nicene Creed in Latin:

Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipoténtem,
Factórem cæli et terræ,
Visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.
Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum,
Fílium Dei Unigénitum,
Et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero,
Génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri:
Per quem ómnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem
Descéndit de cælis.
Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto
Ex María Vírgine, et homo factus est.
Crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto;
Passus, et sepúltus est,
Et resurréxit tértia die, secúndum Scriptúras,
Et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad déxteram Patris.
Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória,
Iudicáre vivos et mórtuos,
Cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum et vivificántem:
Qui ex Patre Filióque procédit.
Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur:
Qui locútus est per prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confíteor unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum,
Et vitam ventúri sæculi. Amen.

I was still getting that memorized when the translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal (aka the “new” translation) came out:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 
Then, more recently, we’ve been periodically attending an Anglican Use Mass, which has this translation:

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
Genuflect
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man;
Stand
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried;
and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory,
to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life,
who proceedeth from the Father and the Son;
who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped
and glorified;
who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
 and the life of the world to come. Amen.

However, we’re now regularly attending the Melkite Divine Liturgy:

I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven
and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in
one Lord Jesus Christ, the OnlyVBegotten Son of God,
begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true
God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with
the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us
men and for our salvation, came down from Heaven, and
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and
became man. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
suffered, and was buried. He rose again on the third day in
accordance with the Scriptures, ascended into Heaven, and
is enthroned at the right hand of the Father. He will come
again with glory to judge the living and the dead and of
His Kingdom there shall be no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who
proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father
and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke
through the prophets. And in one, holy, catholic, and
apostolic Church. I profess one baptism for the remission
of sins. I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and
the life of the world to come. Amen.

Then, every now and then in personal devotion I pray the Creed of Paul VI or the Athanasian Creed.
But the moral of the story is that, while standardization of words (and language) is a strong symbol of the unity of the Faith and of the One Liturgy, it also helps sometimes to not take words for granted because we have them memorized.

Devotions to the Infant of Prague

Devotions to the Divine Infant Jesus

St. Wenceslas, pray for us

St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us

Infant

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, . . 

 

Perspective

When I was a teenager, I rejected youth group because there wasn’t anything particularly Catholic about it.  At the time, I knew nothing of The Reform of the Reform movement.  Though my temperament was generally traditional, I was more concerned with traditional theology and piety than liturgy.  Going to youth group functions, though, and encountering nothing particularly Catholic–just socializing and some smattering of New Age spirituality, I didn’t see the point.  And where my rejection was in favor of spirituality over socialization, I saw my peers rejecting the shallowness in favor of more appealing social activities elsewhere.  

Later, as I read articles from Crisis, Adoremus, etc., about Haugen-Haas liturgical songs, I took the position, expressed by some of the writers, that such music, when not heretical, can have a place in a parish hall,  one’s private music collection, or even in devotional exercises at church, but not in the Mass or the Office.  

For the past year, our eldest has been attending a middle school youth group with some of her homeschool/AHG friends.  On first Fridays, they have a holy hour.  They open with O Salutaris and close with Tantum Ergo and Benediction.  This makes it heads and tails above the “Holy Hour” we attended once in another city, where they used an illicit, politically correct “translation” of Vespers and sang Amazing Grace for Benediction.  

The priest who leads it is a very orthodox young priest from Poland.  He hears confessions.  They have music and Bible readings.  While they use contemporary music for the devotions, the actual liturgical parts are chanted.  A. goes to confession every time, and has read one of the Bible readings on at least one occasion, even though it’s not our parish.  

Given that the options for devotions during a public Exposition are fairly broad, and seeing the effect it’s had on A., I’d have to say that, beyond my initial discomfort, given my experiences, it’s minimally a “pick your battles” situation, but more like “way to go,” that they are getting it right.  

Ca. 1991-1997, I’d have been happy they were doing adoration at all.  Ca. 1997-2005, I’d have been angry.  Ca. 2005-2011, I’d have been disappointed and maybe mocked it but ultimately shrugged my shoulders (as I did with VBS).  Post-dissection, and definitely post-Dark Night, I’m far more accepting of things and trusting of the Holy Spirit.

On the Eighth Commandment

After “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain,” the Commandment that’s probably most often broken  is the eighth. As it happens, the two are often broken simultaneously, as Ephesians 4:29, which sometimes is translated as “unwholesome talk,” and others as “foul language,” attests. Either way, it finishes with the famous, “Say only the good things men need to hear, to build them up. . . .”
When we say things, are we loving our neighbor? Are we loving the person we’re speaking about or the person we’re speaking to by saying them?
As I mostly look out on the world these days and can barely even use my voice, I see the evils that people spread, perhaps unwittingly, with their words.  I regret the many, many times I have done the same. When I laid in the hospital, “Hallucinating” for three weeks that seemed like 3 years in 2013, the guilt I bore for my many unconfessed sins against the 8th Commandment was one of the things that bore down on my conscience. As experiential arguments for Purgatory go, even if I was sacramentally absolved, and that seems to depend upon which saint or mystic one quotes, I still needed to be purified of it.

We look at it in face value and say, “Well, I never testified against somebody in court, so that doesn’t apply to me.”   Yet, as the Catechism warns, we become guilty of it in several ways, beyond lying about someone else, in particular Detraction and Rash judgement. They both seem to come up all the time: with kids and family, with other adults, in parish life and city life, national politics, the hierarchy from the parish office to Rome. Our pastor has been talking a lot about it lately, and it strikes me how people will gossip about his homilies against gossip. I balk myself a bit, but this is definitely a case where it’s sometimes hard to hear hard truths. Like I say, the Rich Young Man’s sadness seems to me to indicate that he, unlike the many who left Jesus’ presence in anger, and the rest of us when we leave angry from hearing God’s message, was acknowledging that Jesus was right. When we condemn ourselves to Hell, we do so in defiant anger that we disagree with how God wants things to be.

“I’m just being honest,” we protest, like a child justifying saying something cruel to another child.  “I’m just telling the truth.”

No, there are times when it is not necessary to divulge a truth, or when it’s more appropriate to remain silent.  When Ahab killed the prophets of the Lord, and Elijah pronounced the drought, the Lord sent him into hiding for “some time” (1 Kings 17:3-7).  Our Lord Himself remained silent for most of the first 30 years of His life on earth.   We must pray for guidance on these matters.  St. John the Baptist was beheaded for denouncing Herod Antipas’s illicit marriage, but when St. Thomas More was executed for essentially the same reason, he had never openly denounced Henry VIII’s sin.  It has always been a constant temptation in public life, particularly in American culture.  We blame the digital media or electronic media in general, or even the printing press, but we can look through history and see examples of the same kinds of “mudslinging” and personal attacks in ancient Greece and Rome and other cultures.  

Rash judgement seems to “You did that *on purpose*!”  “You did that to be mean!”   I know I very often fall into it.  It takes a lot of prayer and grace to resist it.  How many lives have been shattered by rash judgement?  Nations?

Like St. Elijah in confronting Ahab and Jezebel, we must often be silent and patient, waiting on the Lord to tell us when or how to speak or act. If we feel the need to do so, we should follow St. Paul’s advice to speak in ways that build people up. St. John of the Cross says that the one who flees prayer flees everything good. I have often wondered how much better everyone’s lives would be if we all made prayer our default mode of conversation. The next time you’re tempted to gossip or complain, or you hear someone else doing it, why not ask them to join you in a Divine Mercy Chaplet or Rosary? Or the Office?

Pray for me that God will grant me the grace to do the same.

Pray for Peace and Reparation!

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.
O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Pray the Rosary for Peace! Please!

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The Miraculous Medal Challenge

I want to suggest a new social media “challenge” to pass along to your friends.  You may be familiar with the miraculous conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne, co-founder of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, who was challenged by an acquaintance to wear the Miraculous Medal and say the Memorare twice a day.  I have read several versions, but apparently, he was given the challenge on January 8, 1842, and experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin, and miraculous conversion, on January 20.
If you, gentle reader, are Catholic, get yourself a supply of inexpensive (even free) Miraculous Medals.  Get them blessed.  If you’re *not* Catholic, and are brave enough to try the challenge, get one.  Again, you can request one free from the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal.
Then just say this prayer twice a day:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.  Amen.

If, like Alphonse, you or the acquaintance you’re challenging are a skeptic, atheist, secularist, lapsed Catholic, etc., then you’re just wearing a harmless “charm” for a few weeks and taking about 60 seconds out of your day to recite some pretty worms.  It won’t do you any harm and may do some great good.

If you prefer something more Biblical, try reciting Luke 1:28 and 1:42. 🙂

Just give it a try.  Set aside all the arguments and ask Our Lady to help you know her Son better, in the morning and in the evening, all while wearing her medal.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Again Catholic readers, order some Memorare cards to pass out to your friends you “challenge.

Pass on this link to others.  Explain it in your own words. Just do it.  Imagine what we Catholics could accomplish with a little bit of faith and a little bit of courage to ask our friends to do this seemingly simple pair of activities.  It should come as naturally to us as recommending a book or a movie or a TV show, right?

Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass’d.

Oh, how sad and sore distress’d
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm’d in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Bruis’d, derided, curs’d, defil’d,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn’d for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon’d
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

The Fifteen Prayers of St. Bridget of Sweden

THE FIRST PRAYER

O Jesus Christ! Eternal Sweetness to those who love You, joy surpassing all joy and all desire, Salvation and Hope of all sinners, Who have proven that You have no greater desire than to be among us, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of us, recall all the sufferings You have endured from the instant of Your conception, and especially during Your Passion, as it was decreed and ordained from all eternity in the Divine plan.

Remember, O Lord, that, during the Last Supper with Your disciples, having washed their feet, You gave them Your Most Precious Body and Blood, and while, at the same time, You sweetly consoled them, You foretold to them Your coming Passion.

Remember the sadness and bitterness which You experienced in Your Soul as You bore witness saying: “My Soul is sorrowful even unto death.”

Remember all the fear, anguish and pain that You suffered in Your delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, You were betrayed by Judas, Your disciple, arrested by the people of a nation You had chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses, unjustly judged by three judges during the flower of Your youth and during the solemn Paschal season.

Remember that You were despoiled of Your garments and clothed in those of derision; that Your Face and Eyes were veiled, that You were buffeted, crowned with thorns, handed a reed, crushed with blows and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which You endured before Your Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE SECOND PRAYER

O Jesus! True liberty of angels, Paradise of delights, remember the horror and sadness which You endured when Your enemies, like furious lions, surrounded You, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of-cruelties, tormented You at will. In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beseech You, O my Saviour, to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Your protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE THIRD PRAYER

O Jesus! Creator of Heaven and earth, Whom nothing can encompass or limit, You enfold and hold all under Your Loving power. Remember the very bitter pain You suffered when Your enemies nailed Your Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and, not finding You in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they enlarged Your Wounds, and added pain to pain, and, with indescribable cruelty, stretched Your Body on the Cross, pulling You from all sides, thus dislocating Your Limbs. I beg of You, O Jesus, by the memory of this most Loving suffering of the Cross, to grant me the grace to fear You and to Love You. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE FOURTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Yours, remember the bruises which You suffered and the weakness of all Your Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Yours. From the crown of Your Head to the Soles of Your Feet there was not one spot on Your Body that was not in torment, and yet, forgetting all Your sufferings, You did not cease praying to Your Heavenly Father for Your enemies, saying: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Through this great Mercy, and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Your Most Bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE FIFTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Mirror of eternal splendor, remember the sadness which You experienced, when contemplating in the light of Your Divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Your Sacred Passion, You saw at the same time, the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins, and You complained bitterly of those hopeless lost and unfortunate sinners. Through this abyss of compassion and pity, and especially through the goodness which You displayed to the good thief when You said to him, “This day, you shall be with Me in Paradise,” I beg of You, O Sweet Jesus, that, at the hour of my death, You will show me mercy. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE SIXTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Beloved and most desirable King, remember the grief You suffered, when, naked and like a common criminal, You were fastened and raised on the Cross, when all Your relatives and friends abandoned You, except Your Beloved Mother, who remained close to You during Your agony and whom You entrusted to Your faithful disciple when You said to Mary: “Woman, behold your son!” and to St. John: “Son, behold your Mother!”
I beg of You, O my Saviour, by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Your holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my affliction and tribulations, both corporal and spiritual, and to assist me in all my trials, and especially at the hour of my death. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE SEVENTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Inexhaustible Fountain of compassion, Who, by a profound gesture of Love, said from the Cross: “I thirst!” suffering from the thirst for the salvation of the human race. I beg of You, O my Saviour, to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our acts; and to extinguish in us the concupiscence of the flesh and the ardor of worldly desires. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE EIGHTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Sweetness of hearts, delight of the spirit, by the bitterness of the vinegar and gall which You tasted on the Cross for Love of us, grant us the grace to receive worthily Your Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death, that they may serve as a remedy and consolation for our souls. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE NINTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Royal virtue, joy of the mind, recall the pain You endured when, plunged in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by Your own people, You cried out in a loud voice that You were abandoned by Your Father, saying: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
Through this anguish, I beg of You, O my Saviour, not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE TENTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Who are the beginning and end of all things, life and virtue, remember that for our sakes You were plunged in an abyss of suffering from the soles ofYour Feet to the crown of Your Head. In consideration of the enormity of Your Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Your Commandments, whose way is wide and easy for those who love You. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE ELEVENTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Deep abyss of mercy, I beg of You, in memory of Your Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Your Bones and to the depth of Your being, to draw me, a miserable sinner, overwhelmed by my offenses, away from sin and to hide me from Your Face justly irritated against me, hide me in Your wounds, until Your anger and just indignation shall have passed away. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE TWELFTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Mirror of Truth, symbol of unity, link of charity, remember the multitude of wounds with which You were afflicted from head to foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Your adorable Blood. O great and universal pain, which You suffered in Your virginal flesh for love of us! Sweetest Jesus! What is there that You could have done for us which You have not done! May the fruit of Your suffering be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Your Passion, and may Your love increase in my heart each day, until I see You in eternity: Who are the treasury of every real good and every joy, which I beg You to grant me, O Sweetest Jesus, in heaven. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE THIRTEENTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Strong Lion, Immortal and Invincible King, remember the pain which You endured when all Your strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted, You bowed Your Head, saying: “It is consummated!” Through this anguish and grief, I beg of You, Lord Jesus, to have mercy on me at the hour of my death when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE FOURTEENTH PRAYER

O Jesus! Only Son of the Father, Splendor and Figure of His Substance, remember the simple and humble recommendation You made of Your Soul to Your Eternal Father, saying: “Father, into Your Hands I commend My Spirit!” And with Your Body all torn, and Your Heart Broken, and the bowels of Your Mercy open to redeem us, You Expired. By this Precious Death, I beg of You, O King of Saints, comfort me and help me to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that, being dead to the world, I may live for You alone. I beg of You at the hour of my death to receive me, a pilgrim and an exile returning to You. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

THE FIFTEENTH PRAYER

O Jesus! True and fruitful Vine! Remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which You so generously shed from Your Sacred Body as juice from grapes in a wine press. From Your Side, pierced with a lance by a soldier, blood and water issued forth until there was not left in Your Body a single drop, and finally, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross, Your delicate Flesh was destroyed, the very Substance of Your Body withered, and the Marrow of Your Bones dried up.
Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Your Precious Blood, I beg of You, O Sweet Jesus, to receive my soul when I am in my death agony. Amen.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …

CLOSING PRAYER:

O Sweet Jesus! Pierce my heart so that my tears of penitence and love will be my bread day and night; may I be converted entirely to You, may my heart be Your perpetual habitation, may my conversation be pleasing to You, and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Your saints, praise You forever.

God Comes to Us in the Soft Voice: O Me Of Little Faith!

People like to say, “Jesus will understand.” They talk of their “nice guy,” thumbs of Jesus but then come readings like this week’s. The Apostles are cowering in a boat in a storm. They’re *fishermen* and they’re scared. They see Jesus and think He’s a ghost (when I was a kid, I assumed this was a post-resurrection story). Of all of these twelve chosen men, who have already come back from their first commission and worked miracles on the Lord’s behalf, one has the courage and love to jump out of the boat and run to Jesus. Then he wavers. And what does Our Lord say?
“Oh you of little faith!”
If *that* is “little faith,” imagine what we all should be capable of. If St. Dominic Savio told his former teacher, St. John Bosco, in a dream that he could have saved many more boys if he’d had more faith, what does that say of us?
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

When I had my aortic repair surgery in March 2013, I lost my left vocal cord. The laryngeal nerve was paralyzed: they don’t know whether it was cut or pinched off. After 3 months in the hospital and multiple follow-up surgeries, I had an injection to try and restore some of my speech. The injection was basically Botox, and the goal was to swell the left vocal cord so instead of being permanently open, it was permanently closed. That helped restore my ability to speak enough that I could make a phone call and carry on a conversation.

It was a temporary injection supposed to last a couple months at least but only lasted a little over a month. I didn’t like the side effects, and the surgeon told me the only option was likely to be “reenervation,” when they somehow do a nerve bypass. After doing some research, I decided I didn’t feel comfortable with that path and its risks. I also figured that if Julie Andrews doesn’t have enough money to get the right procedures to get her singing voice back, I might as well pray and wait for a miracle.

A few weeks ago, we were in Virginia visiting my wife’s family and met a couple Facebook friends in person. This one lady (keeping her anonymous so she doesn’t get bombarded) brought along a rosary from the Holy Land. She’s a traditionalist, so I was a bit more open to her claim than I might have been rom a charismatic. She said that the first time she prayed it, her dog was healed of pancreatic cancer. Another time, she touched a lady at church with it, accidentally, and the lady was cured of cancer.

“Do you mind if I touch your throat with it and pray?”

I was like, “Sure, why not?”

I was wavering between doubt and hope, skepticism and faith.

People describe a feeling of warmth with a healing. As I was arguing in my head about whether God would be willing to give me such a wondrous miracle, I felt that sensation, and a bit of a buzz.

I started talking: nowhere near my old voice, but as good as it ever got with the injection. I also felt better. There was a sense of relieved tension. When we got back to my in-laws’, I called my mom, and she understood me. While some family members have been able to understand if they tried really hard, my father in law has barely heard me on the phone. Our conversations the past year have amounted to:
“Hi, John, is Mary around?”
“No, but I . .. . ”
“Ok, I’ll call back later.”

The evening we were driving back to South Carolina, he called and asked how we were doing, whether we were home yet, etc. We actually had a conversation!

I called my sister and one of my brothers that weekend. I have managed to handle several phone calls in the subsequent weeks that my wife would have had to handle for me.

Plus, my energy levels have generally increased. I’m feeling much better, overall, than I have in years. Not quite a “call the Vatican” miracle, but definitely a “healing.”

So, that brings me back to these week’s readings. Hearing Jesus reprimand Peter for his doubt, I thought, “Is He reprimanding me for my doubt? Did He have more in store for me that I failed to accept out of fear?”

Then Father started his homily and addressed the first reading. “God comes to us in the soft whisper,” he said.

God has come to me in the soft whisper. It pains me (literally) to be unable to sing today. Our organist played the Holy Holy and Amen I grew up with. She played “All Creatures of Our God and King” for the recessional. I tried to sing. I managed a bit, but it was painful.

Might I be able to sing now if I’d had a bit more faith in that moment of healing? Or did God give me just what I needed, my daily bread, though He still wants me to learn from my “soft voice”?

Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!

Will the real Fatima.please stand up?

It dawned on that, everywhere I look, I see people who need Fatima’s message, yet even most who “promote” it get it wrong.
For many, Fatima is “about Vatican II,” when, if anything, Vatican II was about Fatima.
For many, it was and is about a magical formula for the “consecration of Russia” that will lead to the magical “conversion of Russia,” and in turn to an “era of Peace.” Those prophecies are open to interpretation until they can be seen through the lens of history. Sr. Lucia said St. John Paul fulfilled it. If he didn’t, it’s too late, anyway.
Russia’s errors have spread through the world: not just the Communism that is encroaching on the US thanks to so many money-hungry “Catholics” voting for Obama, but also abortion (the USSR was the first country to legalize it).
The reason we have not seen mass conversions and world peace is not because the Pope failed to say the right words at the right place and time with the right bishops. It’s because laity, priests and religious fail to answer Our Lady’s call to conversion of heart:
sacrifices (in the manner of the Little Way);
true contrition and monthly (at least) Confession;
Frequent, sincere and meditative praying of the Rosary;
Devotion to and respect for the holy Eucharist
Wearing the Scapular or Miraculous Medal.
How many people do these practices at all, much less with the depth and sincerity Our Lady called for.
Francisco didn’t see her the first few times. He was below the age of reason and yet she still said he was guilty of too many sins and needed to say many Rosaries to see her and to avoid Purgatory. Yet we presume we’ll all be instant Saints.
She showed them souls falling into Hell like snowflakes, yet we hold to a watered-down universalism.
She said souls go to Hell mostly for sins of the flesh, which are as disgusting to the Devil as they are to God, and that, “Fashions will be introduced that will offend my Son greatly.” Yet we fall right into the filth with the rest of the Culture of Death.

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Praying the Office Online

I’ve been praying the Office since 1997 or ’98. My aunt and uncle sent me a copy of _Christian Prayer_ for, I believe, my Confirmation. My wife also had a copy she’d received from an uncle. We bought the four volume set (at least two of one). The latter is tricky because despite my best efforts, I always seem to be unable to find the correct volume for the season. The one volume versions have both fallen apart from use.

One of the goals of Vatican II was to make the Liturgy of the Hours more accessible to laity, reducing its complexity, but many people are still intimidated by all the “ribbons,” keeping track of the Psalter, the Proper of Seasons, the Proper of Saints, and the various Commons, etc.

It was about 10 years ago that I started thinking how it should be relatively easy to create an interactive version of the Office using HTML, where one could click on a link, bringing up a frame with the appropriate materials, and providing choices for optional memorials, or memorials celebrated as personal Feasts, etc.

So, I created several HTML files in Word, and made it part of my daily prayer to type the relevant sections into the appropriate files.

Then I discovered that others were already deep into similar projects, and I saw little need to recreate their work, though some of the problems still remain, as I will discuss in reviewing and linking each site in this post.

The Liturgy of the Hours is one of the oldest prayer forms in the Church, and is used by Catholics, the various Orthodox churches and many “mainline” Protestant denominations. In Roman Catholic (as opposed to Byzantine/Orthodox) theology, the Liturgy of the Hours is “public prayer” or liturgy, an extension of the Mass. To pray the Office is to pray “with the Church,” so it’s important the words be as unified as possible. This is distinguished from “private devotion.” So, in a popular internecine debate among faithful Catholics, 1,000 people saying the Rosary are in “private prayer,” while one person praying the Office under certain circumstances is engaging in “public prayer.” Catholic clergy (bishops, priests, deacons), religious (nuns, monks, friars, sisters) and members of secular orders are under canonical obligation to say the Office but also have the grace of praying “publicly” even when we’re “alone,” because in sharing the common texts that others are praying around the world, we are joining with them spiritually. For laity who are not in Third Orders, it’s still a private devotion, unless they’re saying it in community with others. Thus, the “trick” with online adaptations is whether the translations are appropriate.

Even a few years ago, there were not as many options there are now.

One of the first sites providing a daily Breviary online was Universalis, which is based out of England and provides detailed information on the degree to which its texts are approved for various English-speaking countries. It has gotten much more elaborate, of course, since 2005, and it provides apps. For those under obligation, I just discovered that Universalis provides the official Latin translations, so if you’re extra-cautious about whether the translation is official, you can always just use Latin. 🙂

Perhaps the most popular and well-made, and the one I use most regularly, is DIvineOffice.org.
It has all its copyrights in order and uses the canonically approved texts for the US. It also has very well-made podcasts of a group of people praying the Office, with licensed hymns, and the participants (mostly volunteers who, IIRC, started the project as a way of teaching the Office to an RCIA class) alternate methods of communal praying: sometimes chanting the Psalms, sometimes repeating the antiphons, sometimes having one person read or sometimes alternating. You can read the text with no audio, listen to the audio, or read and listen. The audio usually takes about 20-25 minutes for morning prayer and 15-20 minutes for evening prayer, depending upon how much is chanted.

Before Divine Office, I used to use PrayStation Portable from Fr. Roderick Vonhogen’s SQPN. I used to also have it on an RSS feed here but found it was unreliable. Sometimes, it seems to update too quickly and you can’t find the actual links for the day. Other times, there was a delay in posting. I hope they’ve fixed those issues, but it’s been a while since I followed it. It’s just Fr. Roderick reading it, not a group of people, and much simpler, but he does include prayer requests that listeners send him as part of the General Intercessions.

Plenty of websites and apps offer the Traditional Breviary, and several sites offer the various offices of Eastern Churches.

The added challenge, which led to my most recent discovery of a treasure trove of sites, is praying “Optional Memorials,” days that are not on the “General Calendar” (such as the Discalced Carmelite Propers), days that are personal/community Feasts or Solemnities, etc.

CatholicCulture.org* has a cool Liturgical Calendar page with the Feast(s) or Saint(s) of the day on both the Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form Roman Calendars, Collects, devotional prayer suggestions and other activities. So, if I’m looking for a Collect that’s not in DivineOffice.org, I have been turning to CatholicCulture.

Still, if it’s a day where I want, say, the Common of Doctors or the Common of the Blessed Virgin, and DivineOffice just has the regular Four Week Psalter options, I often find myself searching the Internet, and recently those searches have proven more fruitful:

Liturgy Archive is exactly what I imagined 10 years ago. It is a basic HTML page with links to every option for the entire year: the liturgical seasons, and the collect for every saint on the general calendar. It also has the Commons. So now, when it’s a Carmelite day, I go there for the Commons. I don’t know what their arrangements are with the copyright-enforcing USCCB, but it’s all there for now. Its wider “Archive” has both internal and external links for a variety of liturgical prayers from a number of Christian traditions.

iBreviary is also very good. Indeed, when I heard people say “iBreviary,” I always thought they meant “Divine Office.org”. It is based out of Italy, and defaults to Italian but offers a variety of language options, including both Latin and the official (Grail Psalter) English translations. It is a relatively simple website but is oriented towards tablets.

eBreviary offers everything in PDF format but only offers certain parts for free on its website or App and otherwise requires a subscription because of the copyrights.

More and more, with all these apps available, priests, deacons and religious are finding their confreres praying along in chapel with their phones, tablets and eReaders.

Why are our “rosaries” so threatening?

By now, you may have seen this picture of my friend and former co-worker Michael Hichborn, praying at the Supreme Court while awaiting Monday’s ruling in _Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius_.

Girl holding sign saying It’s apparently made CNN, Time and various other mainstream media outlets.

The woman things she’s being ironic, but the real irony is how she’s demonstrating the absurdity of her position and the slogan.

1.  It makes no sense.  *Maybe* it makes sense in the context of contraception, but not abortion, as abortion has to do with the uterus, not the ovaries.  You would think people so concerned about “women’s health” would have the basic facts.

2.  As far as how the slogan is relevant, we have nothing against ovaries.  Indeed, we want ovaries to work properly, not be poisoned with chemical contraceptives.

3. Most importantly, and as I noted, what threat do “our rosaries” pose?  As this troubled young lady demonstrates, what threat is Michael Hichborn posing her saying his Rosary there in front of  SCOTUS?  He’s not a speaker.  He’s not holding a sign.  He’s just kneeling and praying.  For all she knows, he’s praying *for* her “side” (he isn’t , but she doesn’t know that).  Either way, how does prayer hurt anybody?
a.  If one accepts that prayer us ultimately, “Thy will be done,” and they believe they are in accordance with God’s will, shouldn’t they welcome it?
b.  If they believe that prayer is ultimately meaningless words to a non-existent deity, then shouldn’t they be happy that people are “wasting time” praying rather than, again, “actively” protesting?
or
c.  Do they really know what they’re doing is wrong and fear God so much that they don’t want to be reminded of it?  Do they truly believe prayer is efficacious and fear having to actually change in conformity with God’s grace?