Friday, September 29, 2017

Who is like God?

It is the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. The name "Michael" means "Who is like God?" It is a name which contains in itself the simplicity of the angelic being, for in those words the ineffable supremacy of God is magnified. It is a name which signifies the dark night of the soul in its ascent to God, for as St. John of the Cross says: "All the beauty of creatures compared to the infinite beauty of God is the height of ugliness." (The Ascent of Mount Carmel) In the eternal question "Who is like God?" many truths can be boiled into one: there is no one like God; He is our end, He is our ultimate and only goal, there is nothing else worth striving for if it is outside of Himself. While in our human nature it is impossible to obtain anything resembling the unwavering angelic attention and single-mindedness, it is possible in Christ to strive to model the dedication of St. Michael to the cause of God.

The Archangel Gabriel said to the Prophet Daniel: "And, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."(Daniel 10:13) In the midst of the present battle, may St. Michael be our champion, our brother, our protector, not only of individual souls but of the whole Church, the people of God.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Our Lady of Ransom


This is a special feast for all who suffer any type of enslavement. The origins of the Feast can be found in the little known Mercedarian Order. This was founded in the early thirteenth century by St Peter Nolasco and St Raymond of Penafort (who can both be seen at Our Lady's feet in the picture above) to ransom Christian slaves taken by the Muslims during their frequent raids on Europe. The Order's original name was the 'Order of the Virgin Mary of Mercy of the Redemption of Captives of St Eulalia' (an early martyr venerated in Barcelona). Christian captives in Muslim lands were a huge problem up until the seventeenth century. Barbary pirates even troubled English waters - 466 English ships were taken between 1609 and 1616 and a thousand people were taken captive after a raid on the West Country in 1625. We ask Our Lady of Ransom to intercede for Christians who experience hardships in Muslim countries today. Mother of Mercy, pray for us!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Three Exorcism Prayers

From Aleteia:
Father Gabriele Amorth, former chief exorcist of Rome, recommends in his book An Exorcist Tells His Story several prayers to combat any form of evil that may be oppressing an individual. He notes, however, that while these prayers are powerful, they are always to be joined with the sacrament of Confession and the frequent reception of Holy Communion.nIt should also be stressed that the individual who prays these prayers should do so with humility, recognizing the fact that God is the one who expels evil from our midst. We do not have any power over Satan; only the Lord of Heaven and Earth possesses such authority. (Read more.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Novena to the Little Flower

It begins today. Here are some lovely recommended prayers:
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus,
Please pick a rose for me
From the heavenly gardens
And send it to me
As a message of love.
O little flower of Jesus,
Ask God today to grant the favors
I now place with confidence
In your hands.
(Mention your specific requests)
St. Therese, help me to always believe, As you did, In God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen


O Glorious St. Therese, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and inspire mankind, I implore your Miraculous Intercession. You are so powerful in obtaining every need of body and spirit from the Heart of God. Holy Mother Church proclaims you 'Prodigy of Miracles... the Greatest Saint of Modern Times.' Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good on earth...of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses. Little Flower, give me your childlike faith, to see the Face of God in the people and experiences of my life, and to love God with full confidence. St. Therese, my Carmelite Sister, I will fulfill your plea 'to be made known everywhere' and I will continue to lead others to Jesus through you. Amen

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Novena to St. Michael

Let us unite in praying together the Novena to St. Michael the Archangel:
Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of His people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).
Saint Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy will my petition will be granted.
Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever.
Amen.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our Lady of La Salette

Our Lady wept at La Salette on September 19, 1846. It was roughly two years before another wave of revolutions would sweep across Europe, breaking down the structures what was left of Christendom. Once again, France was the site chosen by heaven for messages of supreme importance for the world. Taking God's name in vain and violating the Lord's day were not regarded as small matters by the Mother of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin spoke to two peasant children in the Dauphiné province in terms that they could understand, as the following shows:
'If my people do not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son's arm. It is so heavy I can no longer restrain it. How long have I suffered for you! If my Son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. But you take no heed of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up to me what I have endured on your behalf. I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself, yet no one will give it to me. This is what causes the weight of my Son's arm to be so crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name. These are the two things which make my Son's arm so heavy.'
The Lady then went on to speak about the coming punishments for these sins of Sabbath breaking and blasphemy, including crop blights and famine, at one point switching from French, which the children did not understand perfectly, to the local patois. Then she spoke to Maximin alone, imparting a secret to him which Mélanie could not hear, before turning to her to give a secret that Maximin likewise could not hear. Presently she again spoke to both saying that if the people were to be converted then the fields would produce self-sown potatoes and the stones become wheat.
She then asked a significant question: 'Do you say your prayers well, my children?' They replied that they hardly prayed, and she told them they should say at least their morning and night prayers, before continuing: 'Only a few rather old women go to Mass in the summer. Everyone else works every Sunday all summer long. And in the winter, when they don't know what else to do, they go to Mass only to scoff at religion. During Lent, they go to the butcher shops like dogs.'
She then asked the children if they had ever seen spoiled wheat and when both replied that they had not, the Lady reminded Maximin that he had once seen it when on a visit to a nearby hamlet with his father; he then remembered that what she had said was true. Finally the Lady spoke to them in French: 'Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people,' before moving forward between them. She went on a few yards and then re-emphasized her message to them without turning around: 'Now, my children, be sure to make this known to all my people.'
Sources: Jaouen, A Grace called La Salette; Beevers, The Sun Her Mantle.
Here is a book about La Salette in which Louis XVII is mentioned since one of the pretenders approached Maximin, hoping for validation.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of Mercy

I ask whoever is able to join me in this novena to Our Lady of Mercy, also known as Our Lady of Ransom, for the women and girls who are enslaved by ISIS, and for all victims of human trafficking. The novena begins today and ends on September 23. September 24 is the feast of Our Lady of Ransom, a feast especially dedicated to the deliverance of the enslaved and unjustly imprisoned.
Blessed be Thou, O Mary, the honor and the joy of Thy people! On the day of Thy glorious Assumption, Thou didst take possession of Thy queenly dignity for our sake; and the annals of the human race are a record of Thy merciful interventions. The captives whose chains Thou hast broken, and whom Thou hast set free from the degrading yoke of the Saracens, may be reckoned in the millions. We are still rejoicing in the recollection of Thy dear Birthday; and Thy smile is sufficient to dry our tears and chase away the clouds of grief. And yet, what sorrows there are still upon the earth, where Thou Thyself didst drink such long draughts from the cup of suffering! Thou alone, O Mary, canst break the inextricable chains, in which the cunning prince of darkness entangles the dupes he has deceived by the high-sounding names of equality and liberty. Show thyself a Queen, by coming to the rescue. The whole earth, the entire human race, cries out to Thee, in the words of Mordochai: “Speak to the King for us, and deliver us from death!” (Esther 15: 3)
(State your request here)
Let us Pray. O God, Who through the most glorious Mother of Thy Son wast pleased to give new children to Thy Church for the deliverance of Christ's faithful from the power of the heathen, grant, we pray Thee, that we who affectionately honor her as the Foundress of so great a work, may, by her merits and intercession, be delivered from the slavery of sin and the eternal flames of Hell. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.
(Source)

Our Lady of Sorrows


"Holy Mother, pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour, crucified."
~ Stabat Mater

How well do the words of the Stabat Mater reflect the words of Simeon to Our Lady: "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce." (Luke 2:35) According to many saints, the Blessed Virgin suffered throughout her life, knowing that her Son was to undergo a cruel death. Her sufferings reached their climax at the foot of the Cross. As Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote: "O Queen of Virgins, you are also the Queen of Martyrs; but it was written within your heart that the sword transpierced you, for with you everything took place within your soul."

Few are called to physical martyrdom, but all Christians are called to compassionate the Saviour at the foot of the Cross. Like the heart of Mary, the heart of the Holy Mother St. Teresa was also mystically pierced. We can apply to her, in a much lesser degree, of course, the Responsory from the Vespers of Our Lady of Sorrows: "Happy is she who without dying has won the martyr's crown." (Roman Breviary)

(Art courtesy of Vultus Christi)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Holy Cross Day

Today we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. We are marked by the sign of the cross at our baptism. For the Christian, there is no escaping the cross. We elude one cross only to find another. And yet with God's help we can bear it with joy, for the cross is the ladder to paradise. If we have been given a few "light" crosses, than it is so that we have the strength to pray for those whose crosses are unbearable.

Here is the "Litany of the True Cross" (For Private Recitation Only).

Friday, September 8, 2017

Prayer Against Storms

Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. +
God became man, + and the Word was made flesh. +
Christ was born of a Virgin.+
Christ suffered.+
Christ was crucified.+
Christ died.+
Christ rose from the dead.+
Christ ascended into Heaven. +
Christ conquers. +
Christ reigns. +
Christ orders. +

May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning.+
Christ went through their midst in Peace, +
and the Word was made flesh. +
Christ is with us with Mary. +
Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the
Generation of Judah, the Root of David, has won. +

Holy God! + Holy Powerful God! + Holy Immortal God! +
Have mercy on us. Amen.

(*NOTE: + means to make the Sign of the Cross. Blessed candles and holy water are a good idea as well.)

(Source)

(Image)

Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows

My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray for all who suffer because of the ongoing natural disasters.
V. O God, hasten to my aid.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
1. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of thy tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the Gift of the holy Fear of God.
2. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of thy most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and thy sojourn there. Dear Mother, by thy heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the Gift of Piety.
3. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried thy troubled heart at the loss of thy dear Jesus in the Temple. Dear Mother, by thy heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the Gift of Knowledge.
4. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of thy heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the Gift of Fortitude.
5. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which thy generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony on the Cross. Dear Mother, by thy afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the Gift of Counsel.
6. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of thy compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was pierced by a lance before His Body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the Gift of Understanding.
7. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the Gift of Wisdom.
Let us pray.
Let intercession be made for us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, by the throne of Thy mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Thy bitter Passion, through Thee, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns world without end. Amen.

Nativity of Our Lady


"One is my love, my perfect one...she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her."
~Canticle of Canticles 6: 8
 The month of September, the month of Our Lady of Sorrows, brings us the sacred day when the daughter of St. Joachim and St. Anne, conceived "full of grace," was born into this earth of sin and sorrow. Her birth was the dawn of salvation for all humanity, longing for the coming of the Redeemer. Few persons were aware that in the Child Mary, free from all stain of original sin, God had begun His work of the new creation.
Truly a better paradise than the first is given us at this hour. Eden, fear no more that man will endeavor to enter thee; thy Cherubim may leave the gates and return to heaven. What are thy beautiful fruits to us, since we cannot touch them without dying? Death is now for those who will not eat of the fruit so soon to appear amid the flowers of the virgin earth to which our God has led us." (Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol XIV)
 The child whose birth we celebrate on the eighth of September would one day be crowned Queen of the Universe by the Most Blessed Trinity. The earthly life of our Queen was characterized by poverty, by manual labor, exile, suffering and humiliation. The greatest, most important woman who ever lived spent her days busy with the thousand mundane, dreary tasks of an ordinary housewife in a backwater town, member of a despised people, living in a conquered nation. Although she was of the Davidic line, her royal descent, and that of her spouse St. Joseph, was seemingly forgotten.

Nevertheless, by reason of her Immaculate Conception, in the least action of the Blessed Virgin Mary there was an unfathomable glory, a treasury of merit which all the collective merits of all the angels and saints could not begin to equal. How contrary to the ways of the world, that such sublimity was veiled from the eyes of men.

In the words of Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD:
Our Lady's origin is wrapped in silence, as was her whole life. Thus, her birth speaks to us of humility. The more we desire to grow in God's eyes, the more we should hide ourselves from the eyes of creatures. The more we wish to do great things for God, the more we should labor in silence and obscurity. (Divine Intimacy, 1964)
 "And the virgin's name was Mary." (Luke 1: 27) Let the holy name of Mary, along with that of her divine Son, be an antidote to the poison of vainglory, a light for the darkness of sin and the moral ambiguities which so obstruct the paths of those striving for Christian perfection. May the humility and littleness of the Child Mary be the mark of her children. "O Mary my Mother, teach me to live hidden with you in the shadow of God." (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's Divine Intimacy)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September Martyrs of the French Revolution


Let us not forget the September Martyrs, including the murder of Madame de Lamballe.
Now the gang fell upon the first priests they met and cut them down. Then they called out, “The Archbishop of Arles!” Archbishop John du Lau of Arles was praying in the chapel. When summoned, he came out and he said, “I am he whom you seek.” Thereupon, they cracked his skull, stabbed him and trampled him underfoot. Then the leader set up a “tribunal” before which the imprisoned were herded and ordered to take the oath. All refused; so, as they passed down the stairway, they were hacked to pieces by the murderers. The bishop of Beauvais had earlier been wounded in the leg. When summoned, he answered, “I do not refuse to die with the others, but I cannot walk. I beg you to have the kindness to carry me where you wish me to go.” For a moment, his courtesy silenced the assassins. But, when he, too, refused the oath, he was killed like the rest. (Read more.)

Friday, September 1, 2017

St. Theresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


One dawn at the Discalced Carmelite chapel in Florence, a lovely, fair-haired girl of seventeen, in white veil and bridal dress, walked slowly down the aisle, candle in her hand. Anna Maria Redi, the beloved eldest child of a noble Tuscan family, offered herself as spouse to the King of Heaven. In doing so, she exchanged wealth and comforts for poverty and humiliations. Joyfully, she gave up her silk dress for the rough brown habit of Our Lady, and undertook to serve Our Lady by adoring her Eucharistic Son.

Re-named "Theresa Margaret," she strove to console the Heart of Christ by performing many penances. One day at Vespers, the words Deus Caritas Est (God is love) sank deep into her soul. She realized that love (not hairshirts) was what counted most. "You know, my God," wrote St. Theresa Margaret, "that my one desire is to be a victim of your Sacred Heart, wholly consumed as a holocaust in the fire of your holy love...dispose of me according to your good pleasure...." she struggled to give up her own will, to be humble and obedient, even when it meant performing duties that were unpleasant, such as caring for a nun who had gone insane.

On March 7, 1770, at age 24, she died after 18 hours of agony due to a mysterious intestinal infection. The incorrupt body of St. Theresa Margaret lies in a glass coffin in the monastery chapel where she once entered as a bride.
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