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Start the Day Off Right

We are Christians, yes? Yet we are human and we can often think, say or do things that, when we examine our conscience at the end of the day we may ask ourselves, “Why did I do/say/think that? I’m sorry Lord.” And that is good.

Just as necessary as ending our day resolving to do what is right, we must also resolve to start the day off right. Today’s short reading from Morning Prayer gives good insight for our daily living (Tobit 4:15a. 16a. 18a. 19):

Do to no one what you yourself dislike. Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. seek counsel from every wise man. At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans.

Try reading this passage every morning before leaving home to begin your day. Be aware of how God will open your eyes to see the needs around you. And, when the day comes to a close, use the same passage for your examine of conscience at the end of the day.

Let us thank the Lord now, for he will make us new creations, according to his heart.

Have a blessed day!

pietà

Trusting God in Suffering

It seems that of late the Lord has sent a lot more prayer requests my way for people suffering from serious illnesses and disease, particularly of advanced stages of cancer and lymphoma. I hold them in a particular place in my heart and in my daily prayer; perhaps because I have lost three loved ones to cancer. Perhaps because I also know the power of prayer in having members of my family who are cancer survivors. No matter what the illness, it places the family in the crucible of anguish and uncertainty; wanting to trust in God and hope in him, and at the same time, the waiting gives time for our fears and worries creep up to haunt our faith.

In these very moments where faith is attacked by the violent churning of doubt and questioning, our best defense is the simple utterance (perhaps it takes every drop of energy we have):

“Jesus, I trust in You!”

One of my go-to scripture passages when the siege of or worry waits outside my door:

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests by made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

That one’s a bit long for me to remember verbatim, but I have memorized this shorter one from the Prophet Isaiah 26:3:

“You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind rests on You, because he trusts in You.”

HEALING THE MAN BORN BLINDThe word of God in the Bible never promises that the faithful will not experience hardship and suffering. We can just open to the Book of Job and find the contrary to be true. Job in his faithfulness was allowed by God to be tested and tormented by Satan. In order to understand our own sufferings we need to ask why this was so. Jesus himself gives us the answer in this Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of John 9:1-41, a narrative of Jesus healing a man blind from birth:

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.

It is only natural when one is has no choice but to deal with an infirmity to ask, “why me?” In itself, this is not a bad question, but it needs to be placed in a broader context, that of an invitation by God to be part of the revelation of His divine glory, so that the works of God might e made visible through him. This requires an attitude of abandonment to God; a reaffirmation that he truly knows every hair on our head, and our every ache and pain we feel.

There is no guarantee in our abandonment that God will heal us the way we wish, but his invitation is a great opportunity to do a couple of things:

  • A purification of our own fidelity. Affliction is a great lens for knowing how to prioritize our lives. It helps us to see where we need to heal broken relationships and where we need to spend our time and energy.
  • Our attitude in our affliction can be very inspiring for others. Look to the saints and see how they dealt with their affliction. They used it to glorify God, sing his praises, and point others to the hope of eternal salvation.

One example is the life of Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, a vibrant teen fully living out her Catholic faith, was struck with an aggressive form of cancer. When diagnosed at the age of 17 with osteosarcoma, she spent hours in silence, only to emerge from her ‘garden of Gethsemane’ saying, “If you want it, Jesus,  so do I.” She lived the remainder of her short life as a sign of God’s love with radiant joy.

Her words, in a way, reflect the words of Job when he was stripped of everything he had:

Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshipped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all of this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. – Job 1:20-21

This prayer of Blessed Miguel Pro could be made our own, or at least inspire us in our own encounters with suffering:

Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish … I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith … Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life. Amen.

Related:

Sunday reflection: John 9:1-41, by Ed Morrissey, reflects how affliction can be a blessing.

 

Salvifici Doloris, by Blessed John Paul II

 

belen-adoracion

What Gift to Bring to the King of Kings

belen-adoracion

It’s Epiphany, and we retell the story of three wise men who travelled quite a distance looking for the King of Kings. In Matthew’s Gospel we read:

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:9-12).

The gifts they brought were extraordinary and very expensive. As one of my followers on Twitter pointed out, the gifts were a bit … eccentric:

The uniqueness of their gifts elevated the understanding that this child laying in the lowest of places, was much more than he appeared to be. Would such extraordinary presents be given to just any baby? Even a royal one? The gifts reveal that Jesus was more than he seemed, but they also tell of his guests. These were men of status, well esteemed and wealthy. It is also apparent they studied Hebrew texts, and knew the prophecies of Isaiah. Two of them got their gift ideas from Isaiah 60:6:

“All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.”

And what about us? What gift do we bring to the new born King? Another tradition in our convents is to receive a piece of paper with one of the three gifts written on it. We then make it part of our year to offer that gift to Christ, with corresponding virtue and fruit of the spirit. For instance:

GOLD: I offer the Lord Jesus the Gold (Prestige) of my life, in Charity and with Kindness.

FRANKINCENSE:  I offer the Lord Jesus the Frankincense (Sweetness) of my life, in Faith and with a Spirit of Prayer.

MYRRH: I offer the Lord Jesus the Myrrh (Sacrifice) of my life, in Hope and with Joy.

Let us pray, that we may be like the Wise Men, and seek out Jesus in this new year, and like them, bring the best of ourselves in homage to the New Born King. Blessed Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord!

May the splendor of your majesty, O Lord, we pray, shed its light upon our hearts, that we may pass through the shadows of this world and reach the brightness of our eternal home. 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 of the Mass for the Epiphany of the Lord)

Communion of Saints, John Nava, 2002 O5H0166

A New Year – A Saint Companion 2014

As we approach another new year, people naturally start looking at what they can do to better themselves. Here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions people have planned for this year:

resolutions10. More Family Time
9.  Fall in Love
8.  Help Others
7.  Quit Smoking
6.  Learn Something Exciting
5.  Stay Fit and Healthy
4.  Enjoy Life to the Fullest
3.  Spend Less, Save More
2.  Get Organized
1.  Lose Weight

(Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology)

Some of these are usual suspects in annual resolutions. But I thought number 6 was pretty neat – Learn Something Exciting. And I think I am going to adopt that one for myself! 

But I also wanted to share with you and annual tradition in our Canossian communities that might fit as a Category 6, Category 4 and Category 8 events for you:  

Make this year a great one by journeying with a Saint!

It’s a great opportunity to be inspired by someone who found the sweet spot between living life and growing toward holiness at the same time. You always have that saint accompanying you in your prayer and daily routine. The Church has so many examples to choose from … the question is, then, how do we pick one?

1.  A spiritual director told me once, “We don’t choose Saints; they choose us.” If this is the case, we should begin praying, asking our unknown saint to reveal him/herself to us.

2.  Keep your eyes and ears open. Saints can adopt us throughout the year (this past year I received St. Francis of Assisi on New Years, and St Raphael the Archangel during my annual retreat. Saint Padre Pio kept interrupting my life off and on throughout the year as well). Maybe the holy card you were given was put in your path because that saint wants to help you. Or that book you received on a particular saint ended up in  your hands because that saint wants to accompany you. Or maybe a particular quotation or passage from a saint kept turning up in your email or reading. Maybe you came across a saint you didn’t know well, and found yourself captivated by a particular virtue. These are all good reasons that maybe your patron saint is right under your nose, just waiting for you to welcome him/her into your life in 2014.

What? No saint has shown up? Then think about a vice or bad habit you have that you want to overcome. Look up a Saint that struggled with that particular vice, or is known to be effective in helping in that area:

Explosive temper? Saint Louis de Montfort.
Addiction? Saint Maximillian Kolbe (because he was injected with a drug that ended his life)
Suffer Anxiety and/or Mental Issues?  St Dymphna
Cussing/Swearing?  Saint Bernadine of Siena (he abhorred bad language)
Loneliness? Saint Rita of Cascia
Troubled Teenager?  Saint Dominic Savio
Alcoholism?  Venerable Matt Talbot
Work with Youth?  Venerable Fernanda Riva

And these are just a few.

Still stumped for a Saint?  You can use Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint Generator that will randomly assign you a saint. It’s also a fun way to get to know some new Saints.

If you are looking for a more personalized saint-search, check out Marianne’s “I Want to Be a Saint Too 2014” Blog

3. Next, make a prayer card (or buy one) of your particular Saint, or print out a prayer from the internet. Put it in your prayerbook or Bible, somewhere you will see it everyday.

Find a book on your Saint, and read it. Get to know the Saint as an intimate friend. His or her life might have the key to unlock your troubles and set you free.

4. Leave a message in the comments below letting us know what Saint chose you. It might not make sense at first, but you will find through the year, if you ‘hang out’ with your Saint, you will find graces unfold!

In our Canossian family many of our communities continue the tradition of being given a patron saint. On New Year’s Day, we will each draw by lot our Patron Saint for 2014. I’ve written about this practice before, and we have had some awesome saints!

I can’t wait to find out which saint chooses me this year. What about you? Who chose you?

RELATED POSTS:

Elizabeth Scalia:  “O My 3 Patron Saints, Teach Me What You Know!”

What Saints did the Canossian Sisters receive?

What kind of Resolutions do Saints Make?

And here is another way to get a Saint, Micah Murphy’s Draw a Saint!

life

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Celebrate the Craziness of Life

Today we recount the story of Herod, a man who had no problem with killing others because he perceived them a threat to his throne. He put to death his own children for this reason, and we hear today from the Gospel of Luke he ordered the death of a whole town’s population of boys under the age of two:

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.  (Matthew 2:13-18)

Yes, there was much lamenting that night in Bethlehem. The loss of the life of an innocent child is a heartbreak to the parents. Yet, as a society, are we failing to protect them? Particularly those in the womb? We allow a mother to end the life of her own child on demand, and the number of children who are no more is approaching 57 million in the United States since 1973; and 40 million in the world this year alone.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Innocents who lost their lives at the whim of one man who saw a threat to his reign in the fulfillment of foretold prophecy of the Messiah (Jesus Christ). In a way, we are still killing the innocent because they are a perceived threat to our freedom; seen as a burden; we feel we are not prepared to nurture them; … the list goes on.

So, what are we to do? Let us begin by praying for the end of abortion, and if you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #PraytoEndAbortion. Let us remind each other that life is to be celebrated in its very messiness; and that in doing so, we will find joy.

Here is a great video that shows the pretty real messiness of being young parents, and what it means to embrace the craziness new life can bring. Enjoy.

May the Holy Innocents assist us to bring about an end to abortion, and embrace a culture of life. Amen.

We Cannot Look the Other Way

“We cannot look the other way,” Pope Francis said in a video message supporting One Human Family, Food for All, a global campaign led by Caritas Internationalis:

We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion – one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone.” – Pope Francis

We are challenged today to take part in a ‘wave of prayer’ to end the scandal of hunger in our modern world. What can we do?

  • Tweet the Video with the hashtag #Food4All;
  • Be aware of your own food choices, and before throwing food away, consider that the poor do not have even the bare necessities;
  • Take a few moments today at noon to pray, and ask the Lord what you can do to help this global problem at the local level;
  • Make a donation to Catholic Charities (Caritas).

Prayer for today:

O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth and be nourished with its bounty.

You sent us your Son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us your Law of Love. Through His death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family.

HAITIANS PREPARE FISH TO BE SOLD ON STREET

Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food – even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more.

We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope, to share food with all members in this global family.

Through your wisdom, inspire leaders of government and of business, as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just, and charitable solutions to end hunger by assuring that all people enjoy the right to food.

Thus we pray, O God, that when we present ourselves for Divine Judgment, we can proclaim ourselves as “One Human Family” with “Food for All”.

AMEN

A Request for Prayer

Every six years, the Canossian Sisters convoke a “General Chapter”, a formal body comprised of our Sisters from all around the world. The Sisters nominated, will meet this coming spring in Rome. Prior to that, each of our 19 provinces is conducting their own Chapters through which they feed issues for discernment into the preparation for the General Chapter. The Sisters of the North American province of Cristo Rey will be meeting from November 11-19, during which we will review our journey and plot the course for the next six years. We will also elect from among us a Chapter Sister who will represent the Province in Rome at the General Chapter in the spring.

All is done with the words of our Mother Foundress Saint Magdalene of Canossa in mind: “see to it that the spirit of the Institute is handed down in all its entirety and perfection to those who come into it after you.”

It is a time of intense prayer and discernment. Will you join us?

Icone St JosephI invite you to join us in prayer as we continue our preparation, using this beautiful prayer to Saint Joseph:

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. Amen

O Saint Joseph, hear my prayers and obtain my petitions. O Saint Joseph, pray for me.

[I ask for the success of the Provincial Chapter of the Canossian Sisters of North America (November 11-19, 2013), may the Sisters be open to the Holy Spirit and have courage to speak the truth, for the good of the whole Institute and for the poor they serve.]

Saint Joseph, Pray for us!

Saint Magdalene of Canossa, Pray for us!

Saint Josephine Bakhita, our Universal Sister, Pray for us!

Venerable Fernanda Riva, Pray for us!

Saint Francis of Assisi, Pray for us!

Saint Cajetan, Pray for us!

 

Related Posts:

All the Saints Pray for Us

Patron Saints

Seven Sundays Remembering St Joseph

Pope Angelus

Pray & Fast for Peace

On Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged all of us to deepen our prayer for peace, both for Syria and for the world:

There are several ways by which to be in union with the Holy Father this Saturday:

1.  Go to Mass. It is the First Saturday as well, so you are more likely to find a Church that will celebrate Mass Saturday morning.

2.  Pray with the Holy Father via livestream, Saturday, 1PM ET

3.  Pray the Rosary together as a family.

4.  Offer your day for Pope Francis intentions.

5.  Invite others to pray too. The Pope has reached out to to “…every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe…” so to unite all under the banner of peace.

If you are willing, please share this post with others, that more may join us in this world day of fasting and prayer for what is needed in our world: Peace.

God bless you!

Pope Francis’ Angelus address in full:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Hello!

Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).

All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

QueenofPeaceTo this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

 

jesus-mary-and-martha

Preoccupation and Trust

jesus-mary-and-martha“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.”

– Luke 10:11

It wasn’t that Martha wasn’t doing good things, only she let those things preoccupy her and get her off-balance. Martha needed to learn to love Jesus with a proper measure of serving him, and to stop her busy-ness and sit down and just listen to him. This is an important lesson for all of us. How many of us can attest to being so caught up with what is coming, and what we need to do that we put off those things that really matter to us: our family, our community, quality time with friends … quality time with the Lord in prayer. Everything must be in right measure.

Dearest Lord Jesus, let me not think about the tomorrow that will never come, nor for the yesterday that will never return. May you always be before me, behind me, above me, below me, encompassing me at every moment, that I may walk always closer toward you, with Mary, Your mother and mine, to be my one companion.
 
Trust. Trust. Trust. 
Gods Mercy

Fear Not…Divine Mercy is Here

I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy. 
(Diary # 299)
 
“Tell the whole world of My great Mercy; that whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.+Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My Mercy. +Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness.Even the devils glorify My Justice but do not believe in My Goodness.My Heart rejoices in this title of Mercy.” 
(Diary # 300)
 
Gods Mercy
 

It’s the 3 o’clock hour the day before Divine Mercy Sunday, and I was just informed of yet another young person who chose to take his own life. I offer this post for him and his family, and for all those who have walked this path and found no way to endure the heavy cross.

I offer this post too for all those who battle on with thoughts of taking their own life. I pray for you daily, and ask my readers to pray for you too. The message of Jesus’ Divine Mercy is for you. Blessed John Paul II made a point of telling us, “Do not be afraid!…Fear not!” Often, depression is a fearful thing, and anyone ever been caught in an undertow might have a sense that, depression can leave one feeling there is no escape. What seems like the way to the surface and to relief, leaves one still struggling to find it. As overwhelming as it may seem, the wave will pass. Wait. Pray. Talk to someone until it does.

I’ll say it again. It is a cross. Jesus endured six hours on the Cross. In moments, we too must stay close to Him in his suffering, until the light of Easter and Resurrection come. It. Will. Come.

The following song is one of my favorite #RoadRosary songs, that I often turn to when I travel alone. During its soothing melody, I pour out my prayers for those who request intercession. Today, it is for all those heavily burdened. Let us give our burdens to Jesus.

Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday everyone!

Related Posts:

Never Despair in God’s Mercy

Thomas L. McDonald at God and the Machine wrote, “There are some taking to social networks to say Matthew Warren’s final act dooms him to Hell. I prefer the question of Hans Urs von Balthasar: Dare we hope that Hell is empty? Dare we hope that all are saved? Yes. We dare. We’re Christians…in which we recognize the pure power of God’s infinite mercy. We trust the soul of a troubled young man to a merciful God..”

Tu Es Petrus

TuEsPetrus2“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.”

These words from Matthew 16:18 are inscribed on the inside of the cupola of Saint Peters, directly over the high altar. Which, in turn, is directly over the tomb of Saint Peter’s remains below.

These are also the words the choir will sing as Pope Francis processes before the tomb of Saint Peter for a moment of prayer before receiving the signs of his Petrine Office, the Pallium and the Fisherman’s Ring.

Before the signs of office are bestowed, there is a prayerful dialogue, sung in Latin by the choir:

Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!
Christ Conquers! Christ Reigns! Christ Commands!

These words are intertwined with a litany, calling on the Saints of Heaven to help the new Pontiff:

For Francis Supreme Pontiff, who gathereth into one all peoples through doctrine, in charity: let there be grace for the Shepherd and obedience for the flock.

Saviour of the world, come to his aid.

Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew… the list goes on through all the Apostles.

For Francis, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, who today begins his ministry: grant strength, the understanding of the Holy Spirit and sollicitude towards the Universal Church.

Saint Linus, come to their aid.

Saint Cletus, Saint Clement I, Saint Sixtus I … The list goes on through the early Popes, up to Saint Pius X (1903-1914).

There is also a prayer for those who govern and all citizens united in prayer:

To our governors and all our fellow citizens praying with us: be true peace in their hearts, and fulfillment of their vows.

Help of Christians, come to their aid.

Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Stephen, Saint Ignatius of Antioch … the list goes on naming the great Saints throughout the ages.

You can download the Prayer Booklet (In PDF) and follow along during the Mass. You can watch live, and in video playback at the Vatican Player.Take these prayers to heart, and pray for our Pope daily. The prayers are listed here, because they are beautiful and with the hope you will take a moment and consider them.
 

At the Reception of the Pallium:

O God, who do not disappoint those who call upon you with upright and devout hearts, hear the fervent prayer of your Church and pour forth your blessing upon your servant Francis, our Pope, to whom, through our humble service, you have granted primacy in the apostolic office. May he be strengthened by the gift of your Holy Spirit and worthily exercise his high ministry in accordance with the eminent charism he has received. Through Christ our Lord. 

At the Reception of the Fisherman’s Ring:

PetrusMost Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilee, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle Paul has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.

And may almighty God, by his grace, watch over him in his ministry as the Successor of the Apostle Peter and Pastor of the Universal Church.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Dad

Remembering Dad

Today marks the one year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. I cannot think of a better way to remember him than to recall his love for family and the outdoors, in pictures.

Below the slideshow, is the reflection I gave last year for the Rosary we prayed for the repose of his soul.

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First Mystery: The Annunciation (Luke 1:28-35)

As we meditate on Mary’s reception of the Angel’s word, we are reminded too, of Dad’s willingness to welcome strangers. It was often said, he treated strangers as friends. It was his own way of welcoming Christ.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Second Mystery: Jesus is Baptized in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17)

The Sacred Scriptures tell us He was like us in all things but sin. Yet he let himself be baptized, to share in our humanity, our need for external signs of God’s grace.  dad shared in the baptism of Christ; in his humanity and in his weaknesses, he did the best he could. He knew the grace of being forgiven, and by not holding a grudge he shared the grace as he forgave others.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Third Mystery: Mary Visits her Cousin Elizabeth (Luke 2:39-45)

What a blessed visit between Mary and her older cousin Elizabeth! This mystery reminds us too of how Dad enjoyed meeting other people, most of the time with a smile. That even when he wasn’t feeling well, he still greeted others with enthusiasm and usual cheerfulness.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Fourth Mystery: Jesus Rose from the Dead  (John 16:20-23)

Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his death. He did not deny their need to grieve. BUT, he pointed beyond this death to his resurrection. Dad too was a firm believer in the resurrection.  He knew his life didn’t end here. And, with Jesus, he reminds us, “… your grief will turn to joy…I will see you again.”

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Fifth Mystery: Jesus Institutes the Holy Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

In the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gave himself to us as a lasting memorial of His passion and death. Dad, before he became ill, daily nourished his soul at the table of the Word of God and the Eucharist. I remember coming with him to Mass and, I noticed he prayed as he approached Jesus at communion time, he would simply say, “Jesus, have mercy on me.”

He had come to believe in God’s mercy, and sought it out often in his earthly life.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Dad, I love you. I miss you. And I look forward to the day when we will embrace again.

Holy Father Francis’ First Words to Us

Standing on the Loggia of Blessings, looking out at the massive crowd in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis speaks his first words to the people of Rome and to the world (text below):

Brothers and sisters good evening.

You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome. Thank you.

First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him.

Our Father…

Hail Mary…

Glory to the Father…

And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]

[Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon… We will see one another soon.

Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.

Good night and sleep well!

(via Vatican Radio)

Habemus Papam!

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!

3-13-13-Pope-Francis_full_380With the whole world, I offer the Lord praise and thanksgiving for the gift of  our new Roman Pontiff, to guide us through the rough seas of our times.

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