Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Intercession, Again

Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua:
Good Saint Anthony, in God's providence you have secured for His people many marvelous favors. You have been especially celebrated, good Saint Anthony, for your goodness to the poor and the hungry, for finding employment for those seeking it, for your special care of those who travel, and for keeping safe from harm all who must be away from home. You are widely known also, good Saint Anthony, for securing peace in the family, for your delicate mercy in finding lost things, for safe delivery of messages, and for your concern for women in childbirth. In honoring you, Saint Anthony, for the many graces our Lord grants through your favor, we trustfully and confidently ask your aid in our present need. Pray for us, good Saint Anthony, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

May it be a source of joy, O God, to your Church that we honor the memory of your Confessor and Doctor, Saint Anthony. May his spiritual help always make us strong, and by his assistance may we enjoy an eternal reward. This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
(This post will remain at the top until further notice.)

Sunday, May 01, 2022

May 2022 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

 Here is the intention for this month when prayer the Morning Offering:

For faith-filled young people. We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service.

A reflection for this intention is found here.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The "Other" Prayer

As mentioned in a previous post, the Regina Coeli now takes the place of the Angelus when the church bells peel morning, noon, and night during the Easter Season. This is a wonderful reminder of our salvation during the next 50 days.

++++++++++

V. Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus.  Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es:
præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ.  Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
++++++++++

V.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice. Alleluia.
R. For He Whom thou was made worthy to bear. Alleluia.

V. Has risen as He said. Alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God. Alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
R. For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray: O God, Who through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, hast vouchsafed to make glad the world, grant us we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may attain unto the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

**********

Originally posted 4/16/2006.
Re-posted 4/4/2010.
Re-posted 4/8/2012.
Re-posted 3/31/2013.
Re-posted 4/20/2014.
Re-posted 4/5/2015.
Re-posted 3/27/2016.
Re-posted 4/16/2017.
Re-posted 4/1/2018.
Re-posted 4/21/2019.
Re-posted 4/12/2020.
Re-posted 4/4/2021.

Easter Sequence


The Resurrection of Christ, by Peter Paul Rubens

Victimae Paschali laudes immolent Christiani.
Agnus redemit oves: Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, Quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
Angelicos testees, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere: Tu nobis, victor Rex miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

++++++++++

Christians, to the Paschal victim offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, hath sinners to his Father reconciled.
Death with life contended: combat strangely ended!
Life's own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign.
Tell us, Mary: say what thou didst see upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose; I saw Christ's glory as He rose!
The angels there attesting; shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen: He goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know.
Victorious King, Thy mercy show!
Amen. Alleluia.

++++++++++

He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

Happy Easter, Everybody!

**********

Originally posted Easter Sunday 2006.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2007.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2008.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2009.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2011.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2012.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2013.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2014.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2015.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2016.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2017.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2018.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2019.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2020.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2021.

Some messages never change.

2022 Easter Card


May our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bring you joy and peace. May His Resurrection bestow upon you blessing upon blessing. May the Lamb of God, slain for our salvation, abide with you forever.

Happy Easter, Everybody!

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Candlelight Becomes Us

Candles.

What a fascinating invention.

The National Candle Association provides a brief history lesson about how they came to be and evolved.

The final line is a great summation:
Today, candles serve to symbolize a celebration, ignite romance, soothe the senses, honor a ceremony, and accent home decors — casting a warm and lovely glow for all to enjoy.
Let's focus on two phrases--symbolize a celebration and honor a ceremony, especially in context with our liturgical and religious expressions.

Beginning with the Sacrament of Baptism in its formal rite, we hear these words:  "Receive the light of Christ." Then our baptismal candle is presented to our parents and godparent with these words:
Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This
child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of
the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord
comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.
A pious custom is then to relight that candle on the anniversary of one's baptism.

(Speaking of candles lit at sacraments, is the Unity Candle still a thing at weddings?)

No mention of ceremonial candles would be complete without the Advent wreath. The three purple/violet and one rose tapers, one for each week of Advent, symbolizing the roughly 4,000 years the world waited for it Savior, is not only a worthy reminder of our preparation for Christmas, but also a welcome relief from the gathering darkness of winter. And let's not forget that Christmas trees were also illuminated with candles before electric lighting existed.

Why, there is even a Mass whose focus is briefly on candles. The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2 was commonly known as "Candlemas" because of the blessing of candles which preceded the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Marking the end of the Christmas season for those who follow the calendar related to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, it is still about the Light of the World being revealed to the world. Ask Simeon and Anna.

Let's not forget the times we do see candles in the pews being held aloft by the congregation. It is part of the procession of the Mass of the Nativity of the Lord--During the Night (as well as during the post-Communion reflection of that same Mass, accompanied by the singing of "Silent Night".) They are also part of the procession at the Feast of the Presentation. I have also seen them used during various points of a Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

But, in a sense, the source and summit of all this ritual use of candles is the opening of the Easter Vigil. The lighting and blessing of the fire, the preparation of the new Pascal Candle and its lighting, its procession, the distributing of its flame--all to remind us the Light of the World, while it seemed to be quenched, is still burning.

The earth is glad, "ablaze with the light of her eternal King". This is Jesus Christ, hidden in the pillar of fire which "led our forebears, Israel's children" and "banished the darkness of sin", now seen in the soft, flickering glow emanating from "the work of bees and of your servants' hands". His sacrifice on Good Friday finds its fulfillment on Easter Sunday, on which tonight is just but a prelude.

And yet this candle is not only seen during Easter. It also brackets our earthly life. It is from the Pascal Candle your baptismal candle was lit. It also awaits you at the Mass of Christian Burial. It is a reminder we are His and He is ours.

May the final lines of the Exsultet remind us of how precious our redemption and salvation is:
Therefore, O Lord, we pray you that this candle, hallowed to the honor of your name, may persevere undimmed, to overcome the darkness of this night....May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star:  the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who...has shed is peaceful light on humanity....
"This is the night of which it is written:  The night shall be as bright as day." (Cf. Psalm 139:12).

Both the Latin and English texts of one of the Church's most glorious hymns are provided for your meditation.

Seven Last Words: Waiting And Trusting


Crucified Christ with Saint John the Evangelist, the Virgin, and Saints Dominic and Jerome
by Fra Angelico

This concludes a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

++++++++++

"Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46, cf. Psalm 31:6)
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus realized that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had loved his own in this world, and would show his love for them to the end.

John 13:1
His final acts. One last attempt to reveal Himself to the world (again, a fragment of a Psalm which would be familiar to all, another one which portrayed His Passion). And then, He dies.

"What wondrous love is this, O my soul?" A love which takes a soul a lifetime to understand, much less appreciate, much less articulate, much less emulate. A love eternal.

And now comes the ultimate act of trust. In His humanity, He can no longer do anymore. In a sense, He has become a child again--placed in His Mother's arms, wrapped in cloth, laid to rest in a place not His own. He has now placed His trust in the Father, a trust that the plan of salvation would come to fruition.

His work on earth is done. His job--to re-create the world--is completed. The six days from Palm Sunday to Good Friday are over. "Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken." (Genesis 2:2)

And so He rests.

And so we wait.

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/15/2006 as "Seven Last Words: Trusting".
Re-posted 4/7/2007 as "Seven Last Words: Waiting."
Re-posted 3/22/2008.
Re-posted 4/11/2009.
Re-posted 4/3/2010.
Re-posted 4/23/2011.
Re-posted 4/7/2012.
Re-posted 3/30/2013.
Re-posted 4/19/2014.
Re-posted 4/4/2015.
Re-posted 3/26/2016.
Re-posted 4/15/2017.
Re-posted 3/31/2018.
Re-posted 4/20/2019.
Re-posted 4/11/2020.
Re-posted 4/3/2021.

While We Wait

The following is from the Office of Readings of the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours. It is a ancient homily preserved in this liturgy for this day. Its tone reflects the mood of the day and the anticipation of what is to come

++++++++++

The Lord's Descent Into The Underworld

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
  
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
  
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
  
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
  
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
  
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

++++++++++

Fedora doff to the Catholic Company, an on-line Catholic book and gift shop with headquarters in Charlotte, NC. They provide a daily newsletter with meditations, the daily readings for the Mass, a saint of the day, and links to the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours. This post's inspiration comes from today's e-mail.

**********

Originally published 4/20/2019.
Re-posted 4/11/2020.
Re-posted 4/3/2021.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Seven Last Words: Completion


Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn 

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

++++++++++

"It is consummated." (John 19:30)

Many of you have or will hear and/or read these or similar words today.

His Hour has finally come. With the coming of the darkness, it seems as if the first day of creation was being undone. Is not, in fact, what has been really happening since His entry into Jerusalem six days ago? Genesis, redux. All of creation is being re-newed. Made new again.

But not by destroying it, as Satan tried to do to Him. Redeeming it with His death. Reconciling it with the Trinitarian Life. Gathering it as He did His Cross. Healing it with the stripes of the scourging. Washing it clean with the blood and water which will soon flow from His side. Offering it all back to the Father.

This new work of creation is done. God has said again, with His Word, it is very good. Jesus has done all He could. Like the groom and bride, Heaven and earth are once again united in a new and everlasting covenant.

No Greater Love.

"It is consummated."

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/14/2006.
Re-posted 4/6/2007.
Re-posted 3/21/2008.
Re-posted 4/10/2009.
Re-posted 4/2/2010.
Re-posted 4/22/2011.
Re-posted 4/6/2012.
Re-posted 3/29/2013.
Re-posted 4/18/2014.
Re-posted 4/3/2015.
Re-posted 3/25/2016.
Re-posted 4/14/2017.
Re-posted 3/30/2018.
Re-posted 4/19/2019.
Re-posted 4/10/2020.
Re-posted 4/2/2021.

This Merciful Novena, Again

As I have mentioned from time to time, today marks the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena.

This post details some of the particulars of this devotion.

Its bare bone version is part of my prayer routine, for if there is anyone who has experience more than his fare share of God's mercy, it would be me. (And for that I am grateful.)

With each recitation, may we all come closer to abandoning ourselves to Him.

"Jesus, I trust in You."

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The True Narrow Way

It is a well-worn and familiar path we travel these next three days.

From the Upper Room to the Mount of Olives to Annas's house to the Praetorium to Herod's residence back to the Praetorium to Calvary to Joseph of Arimathea's tomb.

Is it too familiar, however?

The Church's annual retreat is over. Lent is a time to shake us from our lethargy. It is supposed to be spiritual preparation for Catholicism's High Holy Days--the Sacred Triduum, where we commemorate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all that entails and His instituting the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Holy Orders, and Penance.

Are we indifferent to receiving these gifts? Especially our salvation? Remember, lukewarmness is not a desirable trait.

Of all the times the liturgy draws us into the Trinitarian Life, the rites and rituals we celebrate from now until Sunday have the most significance. This is the source and summit of our "source and summit". This is when it all begins in earnest.

Are you earnest?

Do partake in as many as you are able.

"Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand; ponder nothing earthly-minded...."




Seven Last Words: Wanting


Cristo Crucificado by Zurbaran

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

++++++++++

"I thirst." (John 19:28)

Was this an echo of another conversation Jesus had earlier in the Gospel of St. John, when He asks the Samaritan woman to give Him water from Jacob's well? No one overheard that exchange; remember, the disciples were returning as she was leaving. But, this short statement hearkens back to that incident.

The entire story (John 4:4-42) has hints of the Passion. Jesus and the Samaritan woman met at about noon, the same time when Jesus was fixed to the Cross. While she wondered if He was greater than Jacob, recall the crowd who wondered if He was greater than Elijah. He was still hoping people would recognize Him, just as He began to reveal Himself to her (John 4:10). Her coming to believe echoed the words of the Centurion. But the greatest clue was in His words to her as she spoke of where true worship of God would take place, seemingly as a foreshadowing of what was to come (John 4:19-24).

Jesus has had nothing to drink since the Last Supper. His scourging drained much blood. His carrying the Cross sapped what little strength He was conserving. He had to be severely dehydrated. Yes, He thirsted.

But not for water. I have read somewhere His thirst upon the Cross is for the salvation of all. But, is it also possible that His human nature was thirsting to see the living God?
O God, you are my God whom I seek; for your my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

Psalm 63:2
Jesus, in His life and in His death, has an unquenchable desire to draw all to Him. Soon, it would be sated.

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/13/2006.
Re-posted 4/5/2007.
Re-posted 3/20/2008.
Re-posted 4/9/2009.
Re-posted 4/1/2010.
Re-posted 4/21/2011.
Re-posted 4/5/2012.
Re-posted 3/28/2013.
Re-posted 4/17/2014.
Re-posted 4/2/2015.
Re-posted 3/24/2016.
Re-posed 4/13/2017.
Re-posted 3/29/2018.
Re-posted 4/18/2019.
Re-posted 4/9/2020.
Re-posted 4/1/2021.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Seven Last Words: Gifts Of Others



Crucified Christ, by Francisco Goya

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.


++++++++++

"Woman, behold thy son. . . .Behold thy mother." (John 19:26-27)

Although other accounts of the Passion mention other people near the Cross, it was the Blessed Virgin Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved who had the courage to draw as close as possible in His agony. A love greater than their fear, they stood in the place of Adam and Eve, in a sense. In proxy of all humanity.

Jesus, in His humanity, would have never remembered the words of Simeon. Jesus, in His divinity, would have known them intensely. I don't think it is possible to determine who's heart was more broken at this moment; between the Son and the Mother, they both had to be aching infinitely.

Yet, in this moment of incredible anguish, love still abounds.

Jesus gave His Mother His adopted "children", those who worship in Spirit and Truth, those who Love as He demonstrated time after time, those who observe the Great Commandments, those who He has saved.

Jesus gave St. John, as the representative of His Church at this moment, the greatest example of what holiness is, the sign of what His grace can do in us, the model of what saying "yes" to Him means, the true meaning of what humanity is.

No small gifts.

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/11/2006.
Re-posted 4/3/2007.
Re-posted 3/18/2008.
Re-posted 4/7/2009.
Re-posted 3/30/2010.
Re-posted 4/19/2011.
Re-posted 4/3/2012.
Re-posted 3/26/2013.
Re-posted 4/15/2014.
Re-posted 3/31/2015.
Re-posted 3/22/2016.
Re-posted 4/11/2017.
Re-posted 3/27/2018.
Re-posted 4/16/2019.
Re-posted 4/7/2020.
Re-posted 3/31/2021.

Seven Last Words: Utter Abandonement


Christ Crucified by Velazquez

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

++++++++++

"Eli, Eli, lema sabacthani?" ("My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?") (Matthew 27:46b; cf. Psalm 22:2)

When the crowd heard this from Jesus, they responded by saying He was invoking Elijah. They must have forgotten Him saying there was Someone greater than Elijah amongst them. They also must have forgotten this was the opening line of a Psalm surely heard at times in their synagogues.

While all words in the Bible lead to the Word, some more than others point directly to Him. Psalm 22 is a case in point. Still a Teacher, still calling out to Israel to see Him as He truly is--their redeemer, Jesus leaves no stone unturned as His humanity begins to drain away. Indeed, as He said earlier in His ministry, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.

Yet, how eerily these words echo in Heaven as well as on earth. A member of the Trinity, a union of Perfect Love, wondering out loud if He is no longer part of Them. Has God rejected Himself? The Begotten Son, forgotten? The Beloved, unloved? We can't fathom it.

Such is the Paschal Mystery. We can find the paradoxes. There are times when we seek answers to those contradictory questions. But, as Fr. John Powell, SJ, wrote in several of his books, we need to seek not peace of mind, but rather peace of heart. "Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Perhaps, Jesus thought of another passage to help His align His will to the Father's in this time of seemingly utter abandonment. It is a quote to quiet our souls and asks us to trust in the One Who is worthy of that trust. Maybe, just maybe, it helped Him in this moment.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/12/2006.
Re-posted 4/5/2007.
Re-posted 3/19/2008.
Re-posted 4/8/2009.
Re-posted 3/31/2010.
Re-posted 4/20/2011.
Re-posted 4/4/2012.
Re-posted 3/27/2013.
Re-posted 4/16/2014.
Re-posted 4/1/2015.
Re-posted 3/23/2016.
Re-posted 4/12/2017.
Re-posted 3/28/2018.
Re-posted 4/17/2019.
Re-posted 4/8/2020.
Re-posted 3/30/2021.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Seven Last Words: The Promise

Crucifixion by Matthias Gruenewald

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

++++++++++

"Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)

From the website Catholic Community Forum:
One of the thieves crucified with Jesus, the other being traditionally known as Gestas; Dismas is the one who rebuked the other, and asked for Christ's blessing.

An old legend from an Arabic infancy gospel says that when the Holy Family were running to Egypt, they were set upon by a band of thieves including Dismas and Gestas. One of the highwaymen realized there was something different, something special about them, and ordered his fellow bandits to leave them alone; this thief was Dismas.
While St. Joseph taught Him the skills of carpentry, Jesus was actually a farmer. Recall the Parable of the Seeds, the need for harvesters, the call to die to self in order to be fruitful. While He was very familiar with wood (first the Manger and now the Cross), He came to reap and gather the most precious crop of all--souls.

Seeds of grace are what He planted. Some sprouted quickly (St. Paul). Some needed nurturing (the Samaritan woman at the well). Some matured with the help of others (St. Augustine, thanks to St. Monica). Some died on the vine (Judas). Now, one which had laid dormant for some 30 years blossoms.

The Church teaches it is never too late to repent. Salvation is close at hand when sincerely sought.

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/10/2006.
Re-posted 4/2/2007.
Re-posted 3/17/2008.
Re-posted 4/6/2009.
Re-posted 3/29/2010.
Re-posted 4/18/2011.
Re-posted 4/2/2012.
Re-posted 3/25/2013.
Re-posted 4/14/2014.
Re-posted 3/30/2015.
Re-posted 3/21/2016.
Re-posted 4/10/2017.
Re-posted 3/26/2018.
Re-posted 4/15/2019.
Re-posted 4/6/2020.
Re-posted 3/29/2021.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Seven Last Words: Lacking Knowing


Kreuzigung by Bernardo Daddi

This begins a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

++++++++++

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

One has to wonder how many times this thought crossed the mind of Jesus during His ministry before He uttered it at His crucifixion. Certainly not when people converted upon encountering Him, whether by His words or deeds. Certainly not when people asked Him in faith for something. And certainly not when He showed forgiveness through His words and deeds.

Yet, one will find example after example of those who "know not what they do." The Scribes and Pharasees debating Him. The rich young man walking away from His invitation. James and John asking for their seats. The crowds shouting their "Hosanna". Peter--well, pick an incident.

Judas Iscariot. Caiaphas. Herod. Pontius Pilate.

We, when we sin.

Yes, there are degrees of culpability. But, because of Original Sin, there is damage done to our wills and intellects. And it is that damage that does not allow us to truly realize in the very core of our being what our sinfulness does to us. It is in that sense we "know not what we do." It is the war within us mentioned by St. Paul.

Yet, is that not what metanoia is all about? Is that not why we, "with the help of Thy Grace," seek to uproot in our souls that which separates us from God? Is that not why we examine our consciences and seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to continue to strengthen what has been weakened?

It is the level of sanctity asked of us ("Be therefore perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect."). It is the level of sanctity achieved by the saints. It is a level of sanctity we can have. The Son has asked the Father with the Spirit that this may be. It continues its fruition when we seek it.

"Father, forgive them."

++++++++++

Originally posted 4/9/2006.
Re-posted 4/1/2007.
Re-posted 3/16/2008.
Re-posted 4/5/2009.
Re-posted 3/28/2010.
Re-posted 4/17/2011.
Re-posted 4/1/2012.
Re-posted 3/24/2013
Re-posted 4/13/2014.
Re-posted 3/29/2015.
Re-posted 3/20/2016.
Re-posted 4/9/2017.
Re-posted 3/25/2018.
Re-posted 4/14/2019.
Re-posted 4/5/2020.
Re-posted 3/28/2021.

All These "Words" Once More

It begins again.

We remember once more the Passion and Death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We have traveled with Him to Jerusalem to celebrate the most important Passover since the Exodus from Egypt. The Upper Room as well as the Cross had been readied for Him. Yet His followers are not prepared for what is to come, despite His admonitions. (Which begs the question for us as Lent has concluded--"Are we?")

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion is but a synopsis of what will happen this week. It is the most psychologically jarring liturgy we pray. If one is not aware of the change of tone and timbre as the Liturgy of the Word begins, going from joining in the procession and raising our palm leaves as well as our "Hosannas" to joining in the condemnation and raising our voices to "Crucify Him", your soul may be more lukewarm than what you think.

Again we keep this somber remembrance. Again I present to you during Holy Week my meditations on the "Seven Last Words", the finals sentences Jesus spoke in His three hours hanging on the Cross. Again, while they may not be the most elegant or eloquent of thoughts, I hope they may be a point of departure for you to find those who go into more depth on this topic.

Come back later in the day.

Pause to consider what Christ has spoken to all of us.

Then be like Mary, His Mother.

Friday, April 01, 2022

April 2022 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

 Here is the intention for this month when prayer the Morning Offering:

For health care workers. We pray for health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries; may they be adequately supported by governments and local communities.

A reflection for this intention is found here.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

St. Patrick's Breastplate


From New Advent, the following is a literal translation from the old Irish text.

++++++++++

I bind to myself today:
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today:
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today:
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today:
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today:
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues:
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today:
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today:
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
++++++++++

Originally posted 3/17/2006.
Re-posted 3/17/2009.
Re-posted 3/17/2010.
Re-posted 3/17/2011.
Re-posted 3/17/2012.
Re-posted 3/17/2013.
Re-posted 3/17/2014.
Re-posted 3/17/2015.
Re-posted 3/17/2016.
Re-posted 3/17/2017.
Re-posted 3/17/2018.
Re-posted 3/17/2019.
Re-posted 3/17/2020.
Re-posted 3/17/2021.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

In Memory Of...

Helen Marie (Sheely) Rolling
Born: March 1, 1939
Died: March 8, 2020
Requiescat In Pace.

**********

Originally posted 3/8/2021.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Lenten Prayer

Oh, Lord, and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk; but give, rather, the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servants. Yea, Oh Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother. For Holy art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.
St. Ephraim

**********

Originally posted 3/1/2006.

On The Way To Easter



Easter Sunday this year is April 17.

Which means Lent is upon us today.

Once again, the Church provides us with a time specifically for repentance and spiritual renewal. It symbolically begins with the imposition of ashes upon our foreheads and the admonition of "Repent, and believe in the Gospel" or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return". It concretely begins with the observance of the fasting and abstinence laws during these next forty days. It spiritually begins with focused acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

I have mentioned before I agree with those pundits who say we have lost a sense of sin both collectively and individually. Just remember one the Gospel readings you may hear during this time hints at that blindness. Whether we want to admit it or not, we can always do more to respond to the universal call to holiness. The Augustinian warning about our salvation comes into sharper focus now.

Take heed of the First Reading at Mass today:  Joel 2:12-18. (If you were unable to assist at Mass today, pick up your Bible and meditate upon it.) Honestly ask yourself if you are the Pharisee or the Tax Collector (cf. Luke 18:9-14). Examine your conscience. While we all fall short of the glory of God, the first step is to humbly admit that and strive for a sincere Act of Contrition.

We are striving to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is.

We are given another opportunity to commit more to that ideal.

We are now on the way to Jerusalem with Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

March 2022 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when prayer the Morning Offering:

For a Christian response to bioethical challenges. We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action.

A reflection for this intention is found here.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

February 2022 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when prayer the Morning Offering:

For religious sisters and consecrated women. We pray for religious sisters and consecrated women; thanking them for their mission and their courage; may they continue to find new responses to the challenges of our times.

A reflection for this intention is found here.  

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Marching--Onward To Victory?

What a difference a year makes.

Last year was the 48th. edition of the National March for Life. Held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a stark change of attitude overshadowing it. The incoming party, in charge of the federal government with the barest of  "majority status", started to impose its will. Lead by the newly inaugurated President, it began to dismantle all the gains the pro-life movement accumulated in the past four years.

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing." (Or do they?)

Deep down, I wonder if the leaders of the pro-life movement and, perhaps, those grassroots supporters  thought the battle would now become a siege. All the work since the infamous Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing abortion throughout the entire pregnancy, was seeming being swept away. The promise made of enshrining this permanently into law was more real than ever.

The strife is o'er; the battle, done?

Not so fast. Those grassroots were very hardy. Pro-life laws enacted at the state level, while always part of the arsenal, were now becoming more front and center of this conflict. Intentionally or not, one of these pieces of legislation was going to become the legal counter-strike required, as the two rulings left it vulnerable to such an attack.

And, then, it happened.

The first significant salvo since the 1993 challenge of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey was fired. The Supreme Court announced and then accepted oral arguments regarding the lawsuit Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The question the Court will decide is the constitutionality of pre-viability prohibitions, a decision expected in late June.

Many people on both sides of the issue are anticipating a ruling favoring the pro-life movement. While this may not overturn Roe or Doe, it will do some damage. Which is why you are seeing state laws enacted which, depending on which side you champion, are anticipating a return of the question to the state level.

So, it ain't over. In fact, it just may be getting started. Which leads me to a parallel event. (Admittedly, this will be a stretch; but I still like the analogy.) The country has been embroiled in a cultural civil war since the 1960, much like it was embroiled in a cultural (as well as physical) one nearly 160 years ago. And where was one of the turning points? A battle in Mississippi.

Looks like there might be early fireworks this Independence Day.

And then, after that, the real work begins.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Every Knee Should Bend

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
Phil. 2:6-11
In my 2016 Christmas Eve Reflection, using this passage as a focal point for a phrase, I had wondered if people have forgotten that Jesus is God. With at least 70% of the faithful not believing in the Real Presence (depending on the poll you have seen), it is no wonder why one may see such casual, if not irreverent behavior, during Communion. Many people, using lex orandi, lex credendi as a starting point, question the posture of standing and receiving the Sacred Host on the hand versus kneeling and receiving on the tongue, saying this contributes to the lack of reverence.

I made mention I genuflect as I pass by the Tabernacle outside of Mass, praying the "Jesus Prayer" as I pause there. I also bow my head at the mention of the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and during the recitation of the Gloria Patri, as is/was customary. I do that to remind me of the very thing I decry, to give witness to the fact that He is here among us.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. You may not see it on your calendar, as it was seemingly removed and then restored. In keeping with a positive take on the 2nd. Commandment, there are two prayers you can use to honor "the name which is above every name."

++++++++++

The first is one of the six officially approved litanies of the Church. The Litany of the Holy Name invokes titles associated with Jesus. A partial indulgence is gained for its recitation.

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Holy Spirit,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Holy Trinity, one God,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, Son of the living God,
R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, [etc.]
Jesus, brightness of eternal light.
Jesus, King of glory.
Jesus, sun of justice.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus, most amiable.
Jesus, most admirable.
Jesus, the mighty God.
Jesus, Father of the world to come.
Jesus, angel of great counsel.
Jesus, most powerful.
Jesus, most patient.
Jesus, most obedient.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Jesus, lover of chastity.
Jesus, lover of us.
Jesus, God of peace.
Jesus, author of life.
Jesus, example of virtues.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls.
Jesus, our God.
Jesus, our refuge.
Jesus, father of the poor.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful.
Jesus, good Shepherd.
Jesus, true light.
Jesus, eternal wisdom.
Jesus, infinite goodness.
Jesus, our way and our life.
Jesus, joy of Angels.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles.
Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs.
Jesus, light of Confessors.
Jesus, purity of Virgins.
Jesus, crown of Saints.

V. Be merciful, R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Be merciful, R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. From all evil, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Your wrath, [etc.]
From the snares of the devil.
From the spirit of fornication.
From everlasting death.
From the neglect of Your inspirations.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation.
By Your Nativity.
By Your Infancy.
By Your most divine Life.
By Your labors.
By Your agony and passion.
By Your cross and dereliction.
By Your sufferings.
By Your death and burial.
By Your Resurrection.
By Your Ascension.
By Your institution of the most Holy Eucharist.
By Your joys.
By Your glory.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Jesus.
V. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you." Grant, we beg of You, to us who ask it, the gift of Your most divine love, that we may ever love You with our whole heart, in word and deed, and never cease praising You.

Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love.
R. Amen.

++++++++++ 

The other is a very familiar prayer at the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Divine Praises are recited as the Sacred Host is being returned to the tabernacle. It can also be used to make reparations for blasphemy and profane language.

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the Name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.

++++++++++

Perhaps one or both of these can be your New Year's resolution in terms of the spiritual life.

**********

Originally posted 1/3/2017.
Re-posted 1/3/2018.
Re-posted 1/3/2019.
Re-posted 1/3/2020.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

January 2022 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when prayer the Morning Offering:

For true human fraternity. We pray for all those suffering from religious discrimination and persecution; may their own rights and dignity be recognized, which originate from being brothers and sisters in the human family.

A reflection for this intention is found here. 

Hail, Theotokis!


Fish Eaters presents the Akathis Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

**********

Originally posted 1/1/2011.
Re-posted 1/1/2014.
Re-posted 1/1/2015.
Re-posted 1/1/2016.
Re-posted 1/1/2017.
Re-posted 1/1/2018.
Re-posted 1/1/2019.
Re-posted 1/1/2020.
Re-posted 1/1/2021.

Another New Year's Indulgence

For those of you who were unable to gain the indulgence from singing "Te Deum" last night, fear not.

You have another opportunity today.

Singing the hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus", as it does on Pentecost Sunday, also carries with it a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

You will find the words and a familiar translation here.

**********

Originally posted 1/1/2016.
Re-posted 1/1/2017.
Re-posted 1/1/2018.
Re-posted 1/1/2019.
Re-posted 1/1/2020.
Re-posted 1/1/2021.

Perpetual Resolution


********** 

Originally posted 1/1/2007.
Re-posted 1/1/2013.
Re-posted 1/1/2014.
Re-posted 1/1/2015.
Re-posted 1/1/2016.
Re-posted 1/1/2017.
Re-posted 1/1/2018.
Re-posted 1/1/2019.
Re-posted 1/1/2020.
Re-posted 1/1/2021