Never Forgotten by God

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)?’ 

This means of examine came to me today as I read the first reading from the Office of Readings, Isaiah 49:14-50:1. The reading begins:

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

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!

St Albertus Magnus, Ora Pro Nobis

St Albert, from Angelicum - Rome*

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

Repaying God’s Goodness

What magnificent works
the Lord has done!

How mighty in deeds is God,
who again and again
restores his beloved.

It is the Lord who provides,
quenches thirst,
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?”
Psalm 116:12

THANK HIM TODAY!

What are the things that you are thankful for?

In what ways has the Lord touched your heart?

Through the Eyes of God

 

Do you want God
to see the way you see
and do what you think
needs to be done?

or,

Will you allow yourself
to see reality
through the eyes of God?

 

 

 
Say to the LORD,
“My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:2

All Holy Men and Women of God, Pray for Us!

As All Saints Day comes to a close, I find myself reminiscing how beautiful of a feast it is, and my fond memories of walking through Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I wrote today on Google+:

“(All Saints Day) is the best day of the year to visit St. Peter’s, Rome. All altars are lit in honor of the Saints. Saints of God, pray 4 Us!”

(High Altar with Reliqueries of the Saints – All Saints 2010,
via http://orbiscatholicussecundus.blogspot.com)

My Canossian community has practiced this tradition for centuries, placing the Saints on the altar to commemorate their heroic lives on their special day:

From left to right:

– St Teresa of Avila, Pray for Us!

– St Stephen Protomartyr, Pray for Us!

– St Josephine Bakhita (Canossian Sister), Pray for Us!

– St Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pray for Us!

– The Holy wood of the Cross of Christ.

– Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Pray for Us!

– Saint Catherine Laboure, Pray for Us!

– St Magdalene of Canossa (Our Foundress), Pray for Us!

Prayer and the Priesthood – Updated

An update, with a video of a priest, Fr. Michael Rodriguez, defending the position of the Church on the definition of marriage at a city council meeting in El Paso, Texas:

h/t Father Z (follow the link for another video of the same priest celebrating Mass).

Let us continue to pray for our priests, that they may always remain close to the font of wisdom that comes from the Lord. And from this union with Him, they will be filled with holy courage to speak the truth with love so to strengthen the whole family of God.

If you so desire, a novena for priests.

Prayer is our only defense. Let us persevere in it.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, hear our prayers.

___

Today began as one of those days where I wanted to shout (actually, I did!) halleluiahs in answer to prayers for a priest. Today ended, tainting that joy with the announcement of John Corapi, that he would no longer be an active priest. But first the good news:

A friend and I have been praying for months for a particular priest, who, coming into a new parish found his orthodoxy was not well received. He is a young, yet experienced priest placed in a little parish in an obscure town that has not had a permanent priest in six years…we were praying in hope that he wouldn’t be another transient priest, but would have the strength to endure the poorly catechized parishioners, and stay for the long haul. Today was a defining moment for him.

Today, was the first time after months of structural repairs to the Church, it was re-opened for the celebration of the Mass. Parishioners came in, almost falling over themselves with the immediate realization that the Tabernacle was no longer on the side, but was front and center below the life-size Crucifix. He explained in his homily how in role of Pastor he must call his flock to the Shepherd by orienting them to Jesus Christ, both Jesus on the Cross, and Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist.  He pointed to the fact that he had uncluttered the sanctuary, leaving nothing but the essentials (Cross and Tabernacle), explaining how our lives are so cluttered, and how in all the clutter we have, we get disoriented from what is important. Pointing again to Jesus on the Cross and in the Tabernacle he said, “This is what is important. This is what we are here for.”

My heart carries praise to God for this sign — this wonderful sign — of the priesthood.

___

As night approached, and I was finishing some last communications, I saw the “announcement” from Father (now Mister) John Corapi, “I’m not going to be involved in ministry as a priest any longer…”

Many others are reporting on this, but in light of my experience earlier today, I ask that we all pray for him. Having heard his conversion story many years ago at our Parish mission, his announcement today sounded as a denouncement of that story. His conversion story was one filled with grace and gratitude…I can’t say the same with his latest. This incongruent message leads me to pray. Let us pray for John Corapi. Let us pray for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) to which he belongs. Let us pray for the Church leadership who are involved in the investigation. Let us pray for all who have benefited through the years from Corapi’s homilies and catechetical messages, that they will not be harmed or scandalized.

In the Gospel of  Luke, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan desired to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 23:31ff)

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, you have chosen your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim your word and to act in your name. For so great a gift to your Church, we give you praise and thanksgiving. We ask you to fill them with the fire of your love, that their ministry may reveal your presence in the Church.

Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that your power shine out throught their weakness.

In their afflictions let them never be crushed;
in their doubts never despair;
in temptation never be destroyed;
in persecution never abandoned.

Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of your dying and rising. In times of weakness send them your Spirit, and help them to praise your heavenly Father and pray for poor sinners. By the same Holy Spirit put your words on their lips and your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the brokenhearted. And may the gift of Mary your mother, to the disciple whom you loved, be your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed you in her human image, may form them in your divine image, by the power of your Spirit, to the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

___

UPDATE: What Priests are Saying:

Fr. Joseph Jenkins asks, Black Sheep Dog or Black Wolf?

 reflects On the Bigger Issue

Father Zuhlsdorf shares some observations about our times, and about Corapi’s mortal soul.

Other bloggers offering prayers:

Deacon Bill at Deacons Today: Dalmatics and Beyond encourages us to pray.

Gerard M. Nadal at Coming Home extends a message to Fr Corapi, and No Room for Black Sheepdogs.

Ancient Soul: Hold FATHER Corapi (once a priest ALWAYS a priest) in prayer.

Other Commentary:

ThePulp.it has a roundup of to-date commentary.

The Anchoress has a good list of other commentary, and updated.

Deacon Greg also has a list of blog comentary and updated.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS  is leaving room pondering, could it be a hoax, now that it’s not a hoax .

About Spiritual Motherhood

Simcha Fisher at National Catholic Register wrote a post exploring her own understanding of what spiritual motherhood is about:

“This notion (spiritual motherhood) gave me hives for many years, since I was already fully surrounded by my offspring before I started to feel really comfortable or confident in my role as mother. Maybe my problem was that I was expecting to feel motherly right away…once I started to feel it more for my own children, I took my responsibility toward the motherless people of the world much more seriously.”

She goes on to ask, “…if you, like me, had to learn to adapt to this role, what helped you get there? Do you still struggle? If you don’t have physical children, do you feel that you’re fulfilling this vocation?”

In reading Simcha’s post, I could relate with her on many points, even though I have never given birth to children of my own, I have had to grow into my own ‘motherhood’.

Ever since I was a small girl, I had an aversion to barbies and dolls, preferring to care for animals instead. Maybe it was because the dogs, cats, rats, rabbits and hamsters were really living, breathing things, rather than plastic and immobile objects. Yet, I also remember the first time I held a real baby, my little brother Michael. I was afraid I would drop him, and so instead of holding him with love, I held him in fear.  On the other hand, I had from a young age an affinity for Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I remember my first introduction to her when I was seven. I was sitting in my Nana’s playroom, and of all the toys she had in the closet for us, I would always go to some books in the corner of the room, a series of them had a section on countries and cultures. One day, the book I picked up was featuring India and the story of Mother Teresa. What struck me was, in fact, her caring for the broken human beings she encountered with great tenderness and compassion. The story made me ponder how was it that she could care so deeply about these whom she didn’t know. What was it that made her pick up that first dying man on the street? Was she afraid she would ‘drop him’? That he might die in her arms rather than get well?

Sr Lisa in Indonesia

My ‘awakening’ to my calling to be a mother to others first came the summer after my first vows, in 2002. I was helping with the summer program for Catholic youth in Vimercate, Italy. I was playing futbol (soccer) with the children, and managed to score a goal. The boys started cheering, “Madre, Madre, Madre!” I was looking around to see who they were talking about – who is this ‘Mother’ they were shouting for – sheepishly remembering that is the title the Italians use for religious women – Madre. Mother. It was a moment of reconciling for me, both my call as a celibate who, under a vow of chastity, chose to follow Christ in this way, offering my own motherhood to God and in doing so became a mother to God’s children, all humanity.  It is an overwhelming thought.

After ten years of professed life, I am still discovering what it means to love those who are not my own, and in the process understanding more deeply my own vocational call to religious consecrated life. As Simcha mentions in recalling her own experience, it was – and continues to be for me – a growing into motherhood. The key to its success is not our inbred feminine disposition for nurturing (although I imagine having it, makes the motherly role come more naturally), but more important is one’s steadfastness in their living out their vocation. This makes sense reading Simcha’s words, “I was already fully surrounded by my offspring before I started to feel really comfortable or confident in my role as mother.”  These words ring true in my own experience, the importance of living faithfully our calling goes way beyond one’s feelings: it is commitment.

This idea of commitment plays out so true, recalling my own childhood, being one of seven children. We were a handful for my mother, that much I remember, often teasing each other to tears.  I often wondered what superpowers my mother was endowed with by God, by the very fact she did not lose her sanity in the process of raising us. When she said her ‘yes’ in marrying my father, that yes meant accepting the fruit of their marriage – children. The late nights caring for us when we were sick; and later picking us up from detention after school. The sacrifices to the things she would have liked to have had so that her children would have opportunities. Now that I am grown, I often reflect on her motherhood as an example for my own. I am sure there were times she was fed up with us and our craziness and wanted to get away, yet she stayed the course, loving us even when we showed little or no signs of appreciation. This is the motherhood that I strive for.

Here are some ways I celebrate my spiritual motherhood.

On one hand, I think of the desert Fathers and the many who would come out to the desert to pray with them and find sound counsel. In this way, I see myself a spiritual mother when I take someone under my wing to help them in their spiritual journey, by sharing from my own experiences the workings of God. I also feel I am a mother in this sense as I carry in my heart all who ask for my prayers; my heart is burdened for their concerns, their sufferings, and my heart rejoices with them in their successes. This plays out big time in the classroom, teaching catechesis, working with youth; the need to be attentive to the heart of those in my care.

Sr Lisa in Tanzania

I am also a mother by my call to availability, to be willing to interrupt my day when I encounter someone in need. It happens from time to time that I am stopped along my way by others because of my habit – the exterior sign of my consecration – and asked to talk with them, or pray with them. These are pinnacle mother-moments. Where through being present to these strangers, I present them to the Heavenly Father, and Jesus, His Son. Some of these moments hold me in dread, not knowing how to respond, much how I felt when I was five years old, holding my little brother in my lap.  Thus, the Holy Spirit becomes my companion, that God’s word may reach the soul in front of me, that I might be given words to say to him. These encounters have strengthened my desire to take each person who I encounter and love them, realizing that their Heavenly Father would want it so.

God is Greater than it All: Help for Louis

This post is dedicated to one of the cutest kids I’ve never met but would like to – Louis.

Background Story

“Louis (French pronunciation: “loo-ee”) was born in 2006, and on the following day his little body was covered with purple and red blotches that covered his whole body except his belly.

The doctors were baffled and even took pictures to document this apparently very rare occurrence. The colors faded and he seemed fine, though they never fully discovered what caused it. His body did flare up in little hives pretty regularly, but he didn’t seem to mind. And except for a LOT of spitting up, seemed like a normal baby. After all, what baby doesn’t spit up? But it never stopped, even after he began eating solids. To make a long story short, after two years, several misdiagnoses, and many long nights, Louis was diagnosed with Mastocytosis, specifically Urticaria Pigmentosa, which is Mastocytosis in the skin and digestive track.

Mastocytosis is a group of rare disorders of both children and adults caused by the presence of too many mast cells (mastocytes) and CD34+ mast cell precursors in a person’s body which could be life threatening and for which there is no known cure.”

___

The above was the first entry into Louis’ CaringBridge page. He will turn five this year, and, if you have read his Mom’s journal over these years, you would realize, this little guy has gone through a whole lot.

In addition to the elimination of things from his diet in order to pinpoint things his digestive tract didn’t handle well;  the throwing up continues – although much reduced. The doctor visits, the probing, the just not feeling good. Also, because of the dietary tract issues, Louis is way behind in his growth for his age. He’s a real trooper. I have a huge amount of respect for any parent, like Theresa and her husband Peter, who have to deal day in and day out with long-term illness of a child. Much more, how frustrating it must be, when even those medically trained can’t quite be sure exactly what is wrong with your child.

What had inspired me to write a post about Louis came from the latest written by his mother, Theresa. I will let her tell her latest adventure as the Martin family tries to keep their lives as normal as possible:

A new HOPE

“We had a scare the other day.  We were enjoying the great weather when Louis screamed “OW!” and gripped his face.  I saw what looked like a wasp type thing fall to the ground.  With a sense of focused calm I whisked him inside only to see his cheek swelling and the redness and hives spreading like a spider web. Would I have to use the epi-pen?  Were we going to have to go to the ER?

I gave him a hefty dose of Benadryl and tried to put a cold compress on it, but Louis wouldn’t have it.  Again I felt lost, hopeless, helpless…there must be something that can be done, my poor darling – poor little Louis…

Thankfully, the Benadryl worked very well.  The swelling and hives went down.  He did have a vomiting spell that night, first time in over a week, but we believe it was from the flare-up from the sting.  Thank God that’s all it was.  Because you know that is the biggest fear with mastocytosis: that he will have an allergy to something and then it be exponentially worse because of the disease and he’d go into anaphylactic shock.  God is watching over him…

We are trying to pour our hearts more into God…or perhaps I should say allow Him to pour deeper into us.  I asked Pete to find an uplifting movie of a Saint to bring home from the office, and he found one about Blessed John Paul II.

Every time I saw him in person, I wept.  I don’t know why – I can’t explain it, but every time my eyes would well up.  There was something about that man that radiated God’s love.  The movie was done so well…his life is such an amazing witness…so many times during the film I cried too.

You know his main message: do not be afraid and open wide the doors to Christ; and every life is worthy of dignity, respect and love.  I suppose this is true no matter what evil we face; be it communism, genocide, pornography, discrimination, abortion, our personal sins, etc…or disease.  We cannot be afraid.  God is greater than it all.

In light of all these happenings, we are taking a bold stance.  We are going to pray to God to ask for Louis’ complete healing through Blessed John Paul II’s intercession and in hopes that JP II will be listed soon among His saints.  We invite you to petition our Lord for Louis’ healing as well.  Here is the prayer we will be saying daily.  We would love to have you join us.”

Prayer for the Canonization of Pope John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity,

we thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of Your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to Shine through him.

 Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy 
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with You.
Grant us, by his intercession, 
and according to Your will,
the graces we implore…

that Louis be completely restored to health!

hoping that he will soon be
numbered among Your Saints. Amen.

___

If you feel inclined, please join us in praying for healing for Louis through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II.

You can also leave some words of encouragement for Theresa and Peter in the comments, and these will be posted to their caring bridge page.

Another way you can help: Theresa’s brother-in-law, Paul Rose, will be running in the 2011 Chicago Marathon, with all pledges/donations going to help support on-going medical costs for Louis. You can sponsor Paul an amount per mile, or do a one-time donation. Just go to the Help Louis  website, click on ‘Donate to Help Louis’.

I have known Theresa and Peter for about nine years. We met as students at the Angelicum Pontifical University – Rome. They are really wonderful people, working hard to raise their four boys. As a community of faith, maybe together, with the help of the intercession of Blessed John Paul II, we may be able to help them do that, just a little better.

God bless you!

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.

Deus Providebit

There are times when bare necessities can be lacking. I know of some, who are living precariously day by day, making decisions between paying the gas bill so they can continue to have heat, or to put gasoline in their car. I know about these, because every now and then they reach out via internet for prayer.

It humbles me, knowing that I cannot help them financially, even though I would like to. My offering of prayers seem little, but I know that God does continue to provide for his children, as Jesus promises on the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:25-34):

“…do not worry about your life…Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? … Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”

___

Reliquaries of the True Cross (center), bone of St Magdalene of Canossa (left), and 1st Class relic of St Bakhita (right)

Below the relic of the True Cross in my prayer corner, there is a small piece of paper with a prayer written on it:

“Lord, I pray and humbly beg you,
in Your goodness please provide
for of all who are scraping by.
 
Give them the daily bread
they need for today.
Deus Providebit!”
 

Deus Providebit!

      God will provide!

A Season of Joy, A Season of Sorrow

In this season of Easter Joy, as we celebrate the victory over death through Jesus’ resurrection, I am writing this post in particular for many who are living this season of joy, caught in a personal season of sorrow because of the loss of a loved one. These losses vary, and for those left behind – even in faith in the resurrection – struggle with the sense of loss. Some are grieving for those whose lives were taken without warning due to natural disasters; others are grieving for a loved one who succumbed  to disease. For yet others, they are saying goodbye to their elderly family member whose time had come. And perhaps the most difficult, are those suffering from the loss of a child or a young person.

There is one family and their friends that are suffering tremendously over the death of a young man – their son and their friend. I have promised to keep them in my prayers. This post is directed to them in particular, just to copy down some prayers that I hope will help to console them.

May all of us pray in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are living a season of sorrow. And hopefully, through our prayers, may they be strengthened so to hope again.

Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted, Pray for us.

Jesus Help Me

Jesus, help me, your servant,
whom you redemed by your precious blood:

In every need let me come to you with humble trust, saying,
Jesus, help me.

In all my doubts, perplexities, and temptations,
Jesus, help me.

In hours of loneliness, weariness, and trial,
Jesus, help me.

In the failure of my plans and hopes,
Jesus, help me.

In disappointments, troubles, and sorrows,
Jesus, help me.

When I throw myself on your tender love as Father and Savior,
Jesus, help me.

When I feel impatient and my cross is heavy,
Jesus, help me.

When I am ill and my head and hands cannot do their work,
Jesus, help me.

Always, always, in joys or sorrows, in falls and shortcomings,
Jesus, help me.
___

A Prayer for Help

Have mercy, O Lord, on me in my futility.
Please grant me your wisdom
and fill me with your strength;
for I am a sinner,
weak in body,
wounded in spirit,
deficient in understanding.
Amen.

– Anonymous
___

Cast all Care on God Who Cares for You

Come, heavy souls, oppressed that are
with doubts, and fears, and carking care.
Lay all your burdens down, and see
Where’s One that carried once a tree
Upon his back, and, which is more,
A heavier weight, your sins, He bore.
Think then how easily He can
Your sorrows bear that’s God and Man;
Think too how willing He’s to take
Your care upon Him, Who for your sake
Sweat bloody drops, prayed, fasted, cried,
Was bound, scourged, mocked, and crucified,
He that so much for you did do,
Will do yet more, and care for you.

– Thomas Washbourne (1606-1687)
___

A Prayer in Special Time of Need

Mary, Loving Mother of Consolation, I turn to you now in this time of need. I come to you confused and fearful, anxious as a little child.

I know you really are my Mother. You see me with eyes filled with love and understanding. Touch me through your prayers and hold me in your love, that I might continue strong and unafraid in these days of difficulty and hurt.

Gentle Mother, I now confide to you my greatest need (pause and reflect). Please pray that the loving will of Our Father may always come first in my heart and in my mind.

Help me to reflect on the needs in your own life, Mary, the days when you, too, knew concern, fear, loneliness and grief. You always turned to Our Father and gave yourself to Him completely. You knew His love and showed us how to live in it.

When I remember the love of your Blessed Son for me, I am less afraid. When I think of you I can smile. Pray for me, Mary. Guide me always in your love, and lead me to your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted, Pray for us.
___

A Prayer for the Deceased

Mary, Mother of Consolation, be with me as I pray for the souls of those departed from this life. Please join your prayers with mine as I remember my dear departed (pause and reflect). In your wonderful love, please pray that they may behold Our Loving Father in heaven.

Most kind and gentle Mother, who knew the loss of your husband and only Son, help me to understand the passing of my loved ones as a new birth into a more complete life with Our Heavenly Father. Amen.

___

Feel free to add other prayers in the comments. Thank you for joining me in prayer. God bless!

Divine Mercy Novena – For Poor Souls – Day Nine

On Good Friday – we began the Divine Mercy Novena. I posted on Twitter that I would be praying the novena, with the intention for the souls of those who have taken their own lives through suicide. It is a devastating thing when a life is abruptly finished, and the pain of those left in its wake, unimaginable.

May the Lord in His compassion, comfort the families who are suffering from the loss a loved one due to suicide. May the Lord in His Mercy collect these souls to himself. Lord Hear Us.

Each day has a particular intention. Sister Faustina, in her diaries recounts what Jesus asked her to write, “On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”

Day Nine – Easter Saturday:

“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

(scroll below to see previous days)

If you wish, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, in song:

Using regular Rosary beads, on the Our Father Beads say:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).

Conclude with(three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

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What the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about Suicide

2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

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Day One – Good Friday:

“Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.

Day Two – Holy Saturday:

“Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end.  Amen.

Day Three – Easter Sunday:

“Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.”

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Day Four – Easter Monday:

“Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me, I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Day Five – Easter Tuesday:

“Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Day Six – Easter Wednesday:

“Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.”

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Day Seven – Easter Thursday:

“Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.” (Jesus)

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

Day Eight – Easter Friday:

“Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.”

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

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* Both the Novena Prayer and Mercy Chaplet  are found at EWTN website.

Day 5 – Novena for the benefit of Pope Benedict XVI

Day 5

Dear Lord, your servant Benedict has given his life for the Church and for You. Please protect his health as he grows older in his pontificate so that he can lead your us, your Church with vitality.

Prince of Peace, we come to you today to ask for your grace of peace for our Holy Father. There are many problems in the world and in the Church that he must address everyday. We beg you for peace in the world, peace in our hearts as we face the brokenness of a fallen world and peace for the Pope as he shepherds your Church.

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict XVI, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world.

[Insert your personal petitions for the Pope here]

Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.

May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.

May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father …
Hail Mary …
Glory Be …

Amen.

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For previous days prayers.

Shared from Pray More Novenas

The Annunciation Sung (Angelus)

What better way to reflect on the Solemnity of the Annunciation than to hear the words prayed by Christians three times a day (at first light; at noonday; and at dusk) in the Angelus Domini prayer:

In these simple words, the story of the Incarnation of our Savior are told:

The Annunciation: The Angel of the Lord declared (announced) unto Mary – And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:26,30)

Mary’s Response: I am the handmaid of the Lord – Do unto me according to Your Word. (Luke 1:38)

The Incarnation: And the Word was made Flesh – And dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

In this prayer, we are shown the pattern of the Christian life, and how we too bring Christ to bear when our Fiat is like that of Mary’s: ‘Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum – be done unto me according the Word of the Lord’.

Mary, Mother of Christ,
as we contemplate your ‘yes’ at the words of the Angel Gabriel,
we turn to the Lord Jesus,
asking through your intercession,
that we too may be
God-bearers of your Son
in our small daily ‘yes’
that His will be done in our lives.
May God in His infinite mercy
hear us, and answer us.

Amen.

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Related Posts:

The Annunciation and the First Tabernacle

Saint Joseph, the Silent Servant

On the feast of Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary, I went to the Parish of St Joseph’s, hoping to find a Mass, but all was quiet. There are no Masses usually on Saturday morning, but being the Church’s patron saint, I hoped. Instead, I decided to pray before the statue of St Joseph in the courtyard, meditating upon his role in the life of Jesus.

Praying the joyful mysteries of the Rosary, I marveled how, unlike Mary whose words resonate in the telling of the salvific story in the Gospels, a constant fiat to God’s will, Joseph’s voice is not heard. We hear, perhaps what he was thinking (‘Mary was found with child…(he) decided to divorce her quietly’), but never do we hear Him, but in silence obeys in his own service to God. Though his actions, he proves the mettle of his character. A faithful servant of the Most High.

My thoughts turn back to the silent servant of Saint Joseph, too, reading with sadness the allegations charged against Fr. John Corapi, S.O.L.T.. He posted a message, “A Call to Prayer” on his website:

On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women. There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that, but it seems, once again, that they now don’t have to deem the complaint to be credible or not, and it is being applied broadly to respond to all complaints. I have been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of this.

I’ll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty “just in case”, then through the process determining if he is innocent. The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers and civil and criminal attorneys have stated publicly that the procedure does grave damage to the accused from the outset, regardless of rhetoric denying this, and has little regard for any form of meaningful due process.

All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned.

There is a lot of speculation about Father Corapi’s case on the web, some coming to his defense, while others plant seeds of doubt of his innocence. And in this, I only look to Saint Joseph whose feast we celebrated as this story unfolded. Would he be sitting around speculating on this matter? How would this ‘righteous man’ respond to this sad news? His example in the Gospels, perhaps indicates, he probably would say very little, if anything, but at the same time, be a man of action, placing all in God’s capable hands. And perhaps, this is a message for us too.

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To understand the character of Saint Joseph, you may want to reflect upon the Seven Sundays Devotion to Saint Joseph, with each day’s consideration taken from Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “Redemptoris Custos” (Guardian of the Redeemer).

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Related Posts:

March 31 – An Update via National Catholic Register: What is known, and what isn’t.

An efficacious way we can help Fr. Corapi and other accused PriestsA Novena for Fr John Corapi via www.couragiouspriest.com

The Anchoress demonstrates the proper attitude we need to have right now.

Pat Archbold has a statement from Fr. Corapi’s superior, Rev. Gerald Sheehan.

Happy Catholic looks at it in the Lenten context

Fr. Dwight Longenecker reminds us to be wary of adulation of priests, and to not place them on pedestals.

What is known, and what isn’t.