Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stood at the Loggia looking out over the very large crowd at Saint Peter’s and declared to the world, “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum! HABEMUS PAPAM!”
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Giorgium Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglium, Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum!
Thank you, Holy Father Francis for accepting this cross, for the love of God, and for the salvation of the whole world. May our dear Lord be your strength as you pick up the Cross and follow after Him, with Saint Peter to help you.
Let us pray:
O Lord, we are the millions of believers, humbly kneeling at Thy feet and begging Thee to preserve, defend and save the Sovereign Pontiff for many years. He is the Father of the great fellowship of souls and our Father as well. On this day, as on every other day, he is praying for us also, and is offering unto Thee with holy fervor the sacred Victim of love and peace.
Wherefore, O Lord, turn Thyself toward us with eyes of pity; for we are now, as it were, forgetful of ourselves, and are praying above all for him. Do Thou unite our prayers with his and receive them into the bosom of Thine infinite mercy, as a sweet savor of active and fruitful charity, whereby the children are united in the Church to their Father. All that he asks of Thee this day, we too ask it of Thee in unison with him.
Whether he weeps or rejoices, whether he hopes or offers himself as a victim of charity for his people, we desire to be united with him; nay more, we desire that the cry of our hearts should be made one with his. Of Thy great mercy grant, O Lord, that not one of us may befar from his mind and his heart in the hour that he prays and offers unto Thee the Sacrifice of Thy blessed Son. At the moment when our venerable High Priest, holding in His hands the very Body of Jesus Christ, shall say to the people over the Chalice of benediction yhese words: “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” grant, O Lord, that Thy sweet peace may come down upon our hearts and upon all the nations with new and manifest power. Amen.
- Pope Leo XIII
The Cardinals in Rome propose that today’s afternoon’s session be dedicated to prayer in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and they invite the whole Universal Church to join them – wherever we may be – at 5:00pm Rome Time.
The structure of the Cardinals’ prayer will include the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, Solemn Vespers and the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with a time of Adoration.
Vatican Radio will be video broadcasting live from Saint Peter’s.
EWTN will also be broadcasting live.
When? 5pm Rome Time | 11am EST | 8am PST
Many of us in the States will be working at that hour, but that doesn’t mean we cannot unite our efforts for the sake of the Cardinals’ intentions for the Universal Church.
What an opportunity to stand together and pray for the coming Conclave!
Commit to pray at that hour in some way. What way will you choose?
Today Pope Benedict XVI will vacate the Office of Peter at 8:00pm Rome Time, and the doors will be sealed.
It will be the last morning we will hear his name recited in the Eucharistic Prayer, and in the days to follow until a new Pope is elected, the phrase will be omitted.
It is a time for reflection of the gratitude for Benedict’s leadership of the Church, and for much prayer. What can we do to live this day in a spirit of prayer and gratitude?
You might want to follow the day live:
Pope Benedict’s Farewell to the Cardinals:
11:00am Rome / 2:00am Pacific
corrected: 3:00pm Rome / 6:00am Pacific
The Pope’s move to Castel Gandolfo: 5:00pm Rome / 8:00am Pacific
Update: Benedict XVI’s Pontificate Ends: on Radio Vaticana 7:45pm Rome / 11:45am Pacific
Attend Mass and pray for Pope Benedict.
You can join a worldwide Rosary at the hour of the Pope’s Benedict’s Pontificate ends, 8:00pm Rome / 11:00am.
If you are on Twitter, you can post a message of thanksgiving with the hashtag #ThanksPontifex.
Or, perhaps just reflect on these words from Pope Benedict’s sermon, Palm Sunday 2009:
“An upright life always involves sacrifice, renunciation. To hold out the promise of a life without this constant re-giving of self is to mislead. There is no such thing as a successful life without sacrifice.
If I cast a glance back over my whole life, I have to say that it was precisely the moments when I said yes to renunciation that were the great and important moments of my life.”
Or pray for him with this indulgenced prayer.
Papa Benedetto, Papa Ratzi, we are with you.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Robert Frost’s famous poem was instrumental in the shaping of my early adulthood. It seemed to me a mystical thing to stand at a crossroad and look down each fork as far as one could see, deciding which of the two to choose. This image is the one I looked to in carving out my own religious calling.
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
I could have chosen a great number of things, and as I whittled through my choices, I found a wanting to follow the Lord. The first steps down that path seemed well worn by the many who had gone before me. Yet it seemed more edgy and rough compared to the path of my friends; an uncertainty hung there that frightened me and yet compelled me to look at it more closely.
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back.
The evening I entered the Canossian Sisters, I recall how new everything seemed. A new page was indeed beginning as I learned how to live in a community of women of different cultures (my first community comprised of one Filipino, one Chinese, One Mexican-American, three Mexicans and myself of deep California-American roots). Just as Frost hints at the starting down that un-trodden path, my stepping the threshold of the Postulant house left me changed.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
There is one mistake I made in my own estimation of this first step. I thought the hardest part of my journey was the decision to enter. What I have learned – what should have been obvious – is the first turn off the beaten path was only the first of many choices; the journey only begins with that first step where the undergrowth is thickest.
God woos each of us, His beloved, slowly and gently pulling us by the hand at our own pace to wade ever deeper into His love. My journey to follow Christ more deeply into the abyss of His love has so far to go. Thankfully, God is patient to present the invitation to each of us to enter the Portal of His love in our life of prayer, Sacramental life, and community.
As we watch Pope Benedict in the final hours of his Pontificate, he is preparing for the plunge into God’s love. He has heard the Lord call Him even more into quiet, to become less so that God can be more; to a place where God can become everything. This is difficult for even religious to understand, and we must understand this from the perspective of our cloistered brothers and sisters who live their lives as a hidden sacrifice of praise to God and prayer for the world. Mother Maria Angelica explains:
“When he lives this monastic lifestyle, his prayers will reach those who maybe were unbelievers during his papacy,” said Mother Maria Angelica, of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria del Rosario. “I’m absolutely sure of this, of the value of his prayer and of his silence. And it will reach the whole world, even where it wasn’t previously able to reach. . . . [Even unbelievers] will feel the effects of [a cloistered person’s] prayer.”
It is a very generous act.
One where Pope Benedict’s impact on the world is just beginning.
And that will make all the difference.
Please read The Anchoress’ take on Pope Benedict’s call to that which is essential in the life of the Baptized.
But reality is different.
Silently, with no voice to speak for them, even at this time of confusion, the simple faithful carry on fulfilling the Church’s true mission: prayer, bearing daily life with patience, always listening to the word of God. But they do not fit into the picture that people want to see; and so, for the most part, they remain silent, although this Church is by no means invisible, though hidden deep beneath the powers of this world.
“Why I am Still in the Church”
an Essay published in the book, Two Say Why, 1971, pg. 68
Pope Benedict XVI (Ratzinger)
Amazing how these words, after more than forty years, speak to the state of the Church today. There are so many hidden faithful, carrying us on by their faithfulness to these three things:
Bearing daily life with patience;
always listening to the word of God.
The world today is not keen to admit that such people exist. Perhaps because if they paid attention, their consciences would be awakened just enough to recognize their own folly.
During this Lenten season, we are called back to the basics of the Christian Life, with these three acts of fidelity to guide us back to Christ. And who knows? Maybe we will bring back others to Christ as well.
United in Prayer!
and further them with your constant help,
that all we do may always begin from you,
and by you be brought to completion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
– Amen. Collect, Thursday after Ash Wednesday –
Miserere, by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), is a setting of Psalm 51: It is the best known of the seven Penitential Psalms; the others are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 102, 130, and 143. These prayers are essential to our prayer life, leading us to reflect on God’s mercy, and our need to turn back to Him and be welcomed like the Prodigal Child when he recognizes his need for His father.
Take a moment and reflect on the Miserere (Psalm 51):
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. *
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt *
and cleanse me from my sin.
My offenses truly I know them; *
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned; *
what is evil in your sight I have done.
That you may be justified when you give sentence *
and be without reproach when you judge.
O see, in guilt I was born, *
a sinner was I conceived.
Indeed you love truth in the heart; *
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean; *
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, *
that the bones you have crushed may revive.
From my sins turn away your face *
and blot out all my guilt.
A pure heart create for me, O God, *
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, *
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
Give me again the joy of your help; *
with a spirit of fervor sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways *
and sinners may return to you.
O rescue me, God, my helper, *
and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips *
and my mouth shall declare your praise.
For in sacrifice you take no delight, *
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. *
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.
In your goodness, show favor to Zion: *
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, *
holocausts offered on your altar.
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
(collect – Ash Wednesday)
Helpful Lenten posts:
Father Zuhlsdorf breaks down this powerful prayer/collect for us here.
Fasting and Abstinence – Some gentle reminders and scripture passages for the season.
Join the conversation – what is your Lenten practice?
Lent. It’s just around the corner, and now is the time to consider what you desire to get out of it…
Our Lay Canossians (tertiaries) have been talking at our February meetings about the upcoming weeks of Lent, and how they might make the best of this ‘Spiritual pilgrimage’ of the Church. The conversation started because one of them mentioned how meaningless it is to just ‘give up stuff’. So, we are taking another look at the Lenten experience, one that requires a deeper Christian maturity. Come, share your thoughts with us at our fledgling blog!
Update: There are some good ideas in the comments!
“The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture.”
- Bl. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1
“The bishops of the United States have designated today as a day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.”
In keeping with having today a Day of Prayer and Penance, what can we do?
- Go to Mass
- Peacefully praying outside of an abortion clinic
- Praying a rosary or chaplet for the unborn
- Praying for those who have been wounded by abortion
- Visiting and praying before the Blessed Sacrament
- Reading and reflecting on Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae in full
- Becoming involved with a pro-life group
- Write about, or share posts on the issues of life, and post it to your blog,
facebook and/or twitter
What are you doing today, to witness to the gift of life?
A religious once told me, “We only forget things that don’t matter much to us.” Her words come back to me readily as a point of examine of conscience when I forget something that I shouldn’t have. It begs the question, ‘do I really care about that (him, her, them)?’
Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
In this passage, Zion wages a complaint, that during their Babylonian exile, God has forgotten His covenant to them, leaving them in desolation as slaves in a foreign land.
God responds to the complaint with words full of consolation for us too; a reminder that we really do matter to God. We are important to Him, so much so, that he tells us through the prophet Isaiah, “I will never forget you.”
I’ve been asking people to join me in praying in these days as Christmas approaches, for those who are alone, and/or those suffering from depression. My prayer for them is that these words of Isaiah may speak to them and comfort them in their affliction. That, like Zion, pouring out her grief, those who find themselves suffering can take these words of God to heart.
“I will never forget you.”
A related verse for those moments in our lives when it seems to Lord is long delayed in His coming:
“Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14
Mary prays. Twitter friend, @Prayersheart graciously allowed me to post her watercolor on my blog. I found myself invited by the image to pray a decade of my Rosary with Mary, she who is crowned with twelve stars (Rev 12:1).
As we wait for the coming Messiah, let us stop and spend a moment with Mary in prayer. She who draws us to her Son, and leads us to contemplate the redemptive mysteries of salvation that were accomplished on the Cross.
Mater Salvatoris, ora pro nobis!
Saint Albert the Great is the patron of this blog for 2011, and, being his feast day deserves special mention. I’ve never known much of St Albert, but am a huge fan of one of his students, St Thomas Aquinas. Last January I decided to choose a saint for the year to be patron of this blog, and that choice came down to St Albert.
After reading some of his writings, I found a friend in him. The quote in the sidebar under his picture is close to my personal spirituality, and that of the Foundress of the Canossian Sisters, to which I belong. Saint Magdalene of Canossa would say, “Charity in humility; humility in Charity,” to describe how we – Daughters of Charity, Servants of the poor – are to conduct ourselves. Thus, we are called to imitate the ‘greatest Charity’ – that displayed on the Cross by Jesus. It is by this way of living charity, we are called to make “Jesus known and loved.”
Today, I leave you with another quote of Saint Albert the Great:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who seekest those who stray and receivest them when returning, make me approach to Thee through the frequent hearing of They Word, lest I sin against my neighbor by the blindness of human judgement, through the austerity of false justice, through comparing his inferior status, through too much trust in my merits or through ignorance of the Divine Judgement. Guide me to search diligently each corner of my conscience lest the flesh dominate the spirit.
Source of the Prayer
Here, St Albert gives us an excellent prayer to begin any examination of conscience, a most wonderful way to end each day. It is a fresh reminder that we must let our conscience speak to us, and call us back to truth, ‘lest the flesh dominate the spirit’.
Thank you, Saint Albert, for interceding for this blog, and for all who stumble upon it.
St Abertus Magnus, ora pro nobis. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. Amen.
Here’s a fine post on St Albert posted by Rachel Anne Thérèse. Enjoy!
For more on Saint Albert, at New Advent
* Photo by Lawrence OP
How mighty in deeds is God,
who again and again
restores his beloved.
It is the Lord who provides,
drives away hunger.
God fills the void
with Finest Wheat,
His very Son, Jesus.
How can one repay God
who demonstrates such Mercy?
“How can I repay the LORD for all the great good done for me?”
THANK HIM TODAY!
What are the things that you are thankful for?
In what ways has the Lord touched your heart?