Archive for the 'Liturgical Year' Category

Oh Priest, Who Are You?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

On this Holy Thursday when we thank God for the institution of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Orders, it is good to recall this meditation on the priesthood by St. Norbert:

norbertO Priest, who are you?

You are not yourself, because you are God.
You are not of yourself because you are the servant and minister of Christ.

You are not your own because you are the spouse of the Church.
You are not yourself because you are the mediator between God and man.

You are not from yourself because you are nothing.
What then are you? Nothing and everything.

O Priest!

Take care lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you:
‘He saved others, himself he cannot save!’

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Prayer of Entrustment to St. Joseph

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

st joseph

Prayer of Entrustment to St Joseph
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Dearest St. Joseph,

I consecrate myself to your service. I give myself to you, that you may always be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a great purity of heart, a fervent love of the interior life, and the spirit of prayer.

After your example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And you, blessed St. Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.

Amen.

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Love of Jesus Crucified

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

lamb bloodFr. John Hardon, SJ, says that the spirit of Lent is the spirit of Jesus Crucified. Therefore, whatever spiritual practices enable us to better understand Christ’s Passion and Death, and deepen our responsive love for His great love should be encouraged.

Father offers the following suggestions:

  1. Meditate on the Gospel Passion narratives
  2. Read Goodier’s Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Edward Leen’s Why the Cross?, Fulton Sheen’s Seven Words on the Cross
  3. Recite Soul of Christ Sanctify Me
  4. Make the daily Way of the Cross and encourage others to do the same
  5. Having a crucifix within sight as a reminder of the Passion
  6. Say a few times a day: “Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us”
  7. Occasionally recite the Litany of the Precious Blood
  8. Spend extra time before the Blessed Sacrament

O most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ,
Cleanse the sins of the world.

 

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How to Practice Penance and Reparation for Lent

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

fr hardonFr. John A. Hardon, SJ, suggests seven practices of penance and reparation for Lent. Penance, he says, is the repentance we must make to remove the guilt, or reinstate ourselves in God’s friendship. Reparation is the pain that we must endure to make up for the harm we brought about by our self-indulgence when we sinned.

I clearly remember Mother Angelica, PCPA, talking about this subject. Let’s say you broke your neighbor’s window with a baseball. You apologize sincerely (penitence) and the neighbor forgives you but the neighbor still has a broken window. You must repair (reparation) the damage by sacrificing hard-earned money or time to fix it.

Here are the 3 practices of penance:

Pray: more, more often, more attentively, more fervently, with others, try the rosary

Share: your time, knowledge, skill, money, Catholic faith

Forgive: by forgetting, ignoring, “forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us”

Here are the 4 practices of reparation:

Work: We do what we like, then what is useful, then what is necessary. Reverse the order!

Endure: accept, suffer without pitying, no bitterness

Deprive: a luxury, a delicacy, a comfort, a trinket, expiate self-indulgence

Sacrifice: do more, give up more, surrender more to show God we love Him

God in His mercy sends us the Cross in order to try our patience that we might save out souls and the souls of many others besides.Father Hardon

To read his entire meditation, visit the Real Presence Association website

 

 

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May All Who Seek Find Him

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

manger star

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 

- Matthew 2:9-12

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Christmas Greetings

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

christmas giorgione

“Christmas is the celebration of the presence of God who came among us to save us.The birth of Jesus is not a fairytale! It is the story of a real event, which occurred in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.

Faith allows us to recognise in the Child born to the Virgin Mary the true Son of God, made man for our love. In the face of the child Jesus we contemplate the face of God, who did not show Himself to us in strength, in power, but in the weakness and fragility of a newborn.

This is our God, who comes so close to us, as a child. This Child shows the trust and tenderness of the boundless love with which God surrounds each one of us. This is why we celebrate Christmas, reliving the same experience of the shepherds of Bethlehem.”

-Pope Francis, December 20, 2013

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Behold, I Bring You Tidings of Great Joy!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

angels xmas eve

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

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The Miraculous Medal is Miraculous!

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Grave of Alphonse

Grave of Alphonse

Today is the Feast of the Miraculous Medal and tomorrow we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Catherine Laboure who propagated the devotion. It testifies to the power of the Miraculous Medal that an “inanimate” object gets its own feast day!

One of the most famous converts due to Our Lady’s intercession via the Miraculous Medal is Alphonse Ratisbonne (1814-1884). While I was living in Jerusalem at Ecce Homo Convent (run by the Sisters of Sion) on a sabbatical from my computer job, I visited the Sisters of Sion’s convent in Ein Karim. While wandering through their incredible garden of Eden of fruits and foliage, I stumbled across Alponses’ grave in a remote corner of the garden. How did his remains get there? I was so driven to find out that I ended up writing a book called “A Spiritual Pilgrimage to France.”

Anyway, Alphonse, a Jewish non-believer, was dared by a friend while visiting Rome to wear a Miraculous Medal and to pray the Memorarae twice a day. He did so and while in the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte had a vision of the Blessed Mother and was instantly converted. His brother Theodore, a Catholic convert and priest, had the joy of announcing in the Basilica of Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris that his brother had become “a fully believing Catholic.” This is the same Church that filled St. Therese of Lisieux with delight as she made her journey to Rome before her entrance into Carmel. Sant’Andrea delle Fratte is also the Church where St. Maximilian Kolbe celebrated his first Mass, at the very altar where Alphonse experienced his vision. We at the IRL are privileged to be housed at Marytown, the National Shrine of St. Maximilian, a great proponent of the Miraculous Medal. Life is full of twists and turns and coincidences.

Ecce Homo Covent Chapel

Ecce Homo Covent Chapel

To wind things back up, Alphonse after his conversion became a Catholic priest and with his brother Theodore co-founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion and came to the Holy Land to bring the Good News to the Jewish people. He built Ecce Homo convent on the Via Dolorosa, run by the Sisters of Sion, which today is a pilgrim house and hosts a biblical studies program. I was there as a volunteer for three months, an experience I highly recommend.

Alphonse died in Ein Karim and was buried inside the walls of the Sisters of Sion’s convent. His room at Ecce Homo is left as it was when he was alive. Maybe if you ask the sisters, you can have a private viewing.

God bless all who wear the Miraculous Medal with faith. May the Blessed Mother be their protectress and intercessor for all their needs, all through their lives.

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Get Ready For Your Christmas Novena!

Monday, November 25th, 2013

st andrew November 30  is the Feast Day of St. Andrew the Apostle, younger brother of St. Peter and martyr of the Church. From the Gospels we know that Andrew was a follower of St. John the Baptist and it was he who led his brother Peter to Christ, telling him, “We have found the Messiah!”(John 1:41).

Tradition tells us that St. Andrew evangelized Turkey, the fringes of Russia, Malta, Cyrpus, Greece and other lands. He was crucified in Patras, Achaia (in Greece) on an x-shaped cross and bound not nailed to it so as to suffer more. His relics (including a finger, part of the skull and his cross) were returned to the Greek Orthodox Church in Patras by the Catholic Church in 1964 and 1980. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland.

saltire

The Saltire (the Scottish flag with the cross of St. Andrew)

Something new to me is that this is also the day to start the traditional novena prayer to St. Andrew, also known as the Christmas Anticipation Novena or the Christmas Novena. Unlike the typical 9-day novena, this one runs through Christmas Eve. I don’t know the origin of the prayer but it appears to be popular and powerful. The faithful are asked to recite it 15 times a day (all at once or throughout the day as you see fit!). It is a beautiful meditation focusing us on the real meaning of Christmas. Here it is:

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention your request), through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

For those of you who would like to say the prayer with some meditative pictures, check out this YouTube video. The Dominican Nuns in Summit, NJ, also have a little card that you can print out.

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Many Hearts Have Need of Prayer

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

In this beautiful prayer composed by St. Maximilian Kolbe, he meditates on the unknown prayers that have lifted the burdens of the bewildered, the hurt and the distressed. On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us give thanks for the cloistered and monastic religious for their selfless prayers.

One nun said to me, “It is rare that we hear how are prayers have borne fruit.” Perhaps this day, thank a religious for their prayers for you, for our priests, for those who have no one to pray for them.

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Clear Creek Abbey

Clear Creek Abbey

The day was long, 
The burden I had borne
Seemed heavier than I could longer bear
And then it lifted-but I did not know
Some one had knelt in prayer;
Had taken me to God that very hour,
And asked the easing of the load, and He,
In infinite compassion, had stooped down
And taken it from me.
We cannot tell how often as we pray
For some bewildered one, 
Hurt and distressed,
The answer comes, 
But many times those hearts 
Find sudden peace and rest.
Some one had prayed, and Faith, a reaching hand,
Took hold of God, and brought Him down that day!
So many, many hearts have need of prayer.
Oh, let us pray!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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