Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ski Vacation!


Ok, this is a picture of the resort we stayed at just before Christmas. All seven of us spent 3 nights, 4 days in this beautiful place called Maplelag in Northern Minnesota. I couldn't rave enough about the hot tub, sauna, the FOOD and the perfectly groomed ski trails. Oh, not the mention I was afraid my husband would move into the steam room "I'll never be the same!" If you're looking for a wonderful yet very affordable vacation - consider this place. You will NOT regret it. All the kids loved every minute and didn't want to leave. The rental equipment is very high quality, my feet didn't get the least bit cold or wet. You can ski right from your cabin door and no worries about the wind or cold as all the trails are surrounded by the trees. We ever got up early one morning and skiied in the dark - breathtaking!
I'm super busy at work, will try to post some "real" stuff soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Out of Town!


Yes...my entire family will be leaving tomorrow for a 5 day weekend of Nordic Skiing, as its known in Minnesota. That's Cross Country skiing for all you non-Scandinavian-descent-non-Minnesotans. We're heading to a quaint resort of cabins "Up North" (translation - Northern Minnesota :) where there's NO phone, NO TV/video games/computers etc. Just good old outdoor recreation in the woods, not only skiing, but snow shoeing, sledding, sauna and of course rolling in the snow in your bathing suit when you can't take the heat anymore!! We plan to play alot of cards and board games and hope to take at least one ski outing at night under the stars. Oh, one more benefit to this place is the meals are included and are served good ol smorgasbord style! And no, that's not a buffet - that's different! If you have a spare moment, please lift my family up to Mary's prayers for a safe trip!
May Mary's prayers go with you always! Amen+

The Very First Mass

"Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, MARY, HIS MOTHER" who by Her perfect assistance at HIS FIRST MASS on Calvary became our model...to whom we now offer the prayer that she may help us to stand more worthily by the "CROSS OF JESUS" Amen+

Friday, December 14, 2007

Black Scapular IV


General Information About Scapulars - Continued

The first thing to be done is find out if enrollment in a particular Confraternity is necessary before wearing one with the rightful expectation of spiritual benefit. This varies with the type of scapular, but most scapulars do not require any sort of enrollment that your parish priest can't perform. The scapular you purchase should come with the neccessary enrollment prayers. Scapulars can be purchased from Catholic Gift Shops, Catholic mail order catalogues, or the internet. Here's my favorite scapular maker. They're quite inexpensive, and you can also often find free ones from various places, or you could do a Google Search for "Free Scapulars." But remember, generally you get what you pay for. After you get your scapular, you must take it to a priest who will "invest" you by reciting the included prayers of investment. He will normally bless this first scapular but it is not neccessary to have subsequent scapulars blessed. Remember, different scapulars have different prayers for investment. The exception is the green scapular, which does not require investment at all, but simply needs to be blessed. The proper way to get rid of worn out scapulars -- or any sacramental -- is to either burn it or bury it.)

Scapulars (excepting those which are proper to the Third Orders) can also later be replaced by a religious medal called the "Scapular Medal", but if this is done, the new medal must be blessed. This medal must "show the image of Our Most Holy Redeemer, Jesus Christ, showing His Sacred Heart, and the obverse that of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary," according to a decree of Pope St. Pius X.

Black Scapular III


Image ~ Black scapular of the Passionist Order


Ok, this post is about scapulars and their associated devotion in general. I have been unable to find an image of a black scapular of Mary's seven sorrows, otherwise known as the Servite Black scapular.

A scapular is a Catholic sacramental normally composed of two small pieces of wool cloth connected by string that is worn over the neck, under the clothing, such that one piece of cloth hangs over the chest, and the second piece of cloth hangs over the back ~ thus the name scapular as they hang between the scapulars, or shoulder blades. They derive from the scapulars which make up part of monastics' religious habits -- that ankle-length (front and back), shoulder-wide, apron-like part of the habit that basically consists of a long rectangular piece of material with a hole for the head. Some have hoods and some tie under the arms. Monastic scapulars came, over time, to be called jugum Christi (the yoke of Christ), and receiving the scapular (becoming "invested") took on solemn meaning.

In addition to regular monastics of the First Order (i.e., friars) and Second Order (cloistered nuns), laity attached themselves to various religious orders, too, in what are called "Third Orders." Some lay members of Third orders -- "tertiaries" -- are "Third Order Religious" who live in a monastic community and generally take vows; most others are "Third Order Secular" who live in the world and generally make solemn promises. In the beginning, many of these lay people were invested with the full habit; later, they came to wear only the very small scapulars under their clothing. In addition to these Third Orders, Confraternities of lay-people (married or single -- just "regular Catholics") developed. These were invested with Scapulars of Religious Orders to which they were attached. For example the Brown scapular of the Carmelites, the Black scapular of the Servites, etc. It is these scapulars for lay people belonging to a Confraternity or a Third Order that one generally thinks of when one hears the word "scapular."
Some scapulars have privileges and indulgences attached to wearing them, but like any sacramental, scapulars are not magic; their efficacy depends on the proper intentions and faith of the wearer. Only by following through on the promises one makes when becoming invested can the benefits associated with them be had. They act as reminders, too, of these things they signify and of the Saints who are parts of the religious community in question. They are reminders to live in purity and holiness.

Friendly reminder, to reverently kiss one's scapular is an indulgenced act.

Black Scapular II

Image ~ Servite Habit Rosary
I am attempting to educate myself about the Servite order which was founded with a special devotion to Our Lady's Sorrows. It is my wish to share what information I find with you here and I'd appreciate any education you might share with me and the readers of this blog.

Here's a site with a nice synopsis of the order's charism and founding. In brief:

"The Order of Servites is the fifth mendicant order, the objects of which are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows."

{The founders} "While engaged in the exercises of the confraternity on the feast of the Assumption, 1233, the Blessed Virgin appeared to them, advised them to withdraw from the world and devote themselves entirely to eternal things. They obeyed, and established themselves close to the convent of the Friars Minor at La Camarzia, a suburb of Florence. Desiring stricter seclusion than that offered at La Camarzia, they withdrew to Monte Senario, eleven miles north of Florence. Here the Blessed Virgin again appeared to them, conferred on them a black habit, instructed them to follow the Rule of St. Augustine and to found the order of her servants (15 April, 1240). The brethren elected a superior, took the vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, and admitted associates."

"The canonized Servite saints are: St. Philip Benizi (feast 23 Aug.), St. Peregrine Latiosi (30 April), St. Juliana Falconieri (19 June), and the Seven Holy Founders (12 Feb.)."

"In the United States they are to be found in the dioceses of Sioux City and Belville. There is also a third order for seculars, as well as a confraternity of the Seven Dolours, branches of which may be erected in any church."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our Lady of Guadalupe


"Is it not I, your Mother who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, under my care?” ~Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Black Scapular

The above image is of the founders of the Servite Order. As they were praying in devotion to Mary's sorrows, she appeared to them and gave them the Black Scapular of her sorrows. Thus was the order founded in the year 1240.

I have at various times gone on a quest of sorts to find out more on a lesser known, yet still Church approved and valid sacramental known as the Black Scapular. This is what I've found:

Black Scapular Order of Friar Servants of Mary: (Servites)A.D. 1240
"The Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary," or "The Our Lady of Sorrows Scapular," has on its front a depiction of Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lady appeared to seven rich and prominent citizens of Florence who decided to give up their worldly possessions and follow Christ, promising to honor His Mother in her sorrows. Thus began the Servite Order. Mary gave them the Servite habit and said that "these garments shall be to you a perpetual memory of the sufferings of my heart." This is the more common Black Scapular.The General of the Servite Order may grant the faculty of investment with this scapular to other priests." (source)

~And...
The black scapular of the Seven Sorrows of Mary: "After Pope Alexander IV’s formal establishment of the Servite Order in 1255, lay men and women formed a confraternity in honor of the seven sorrows of Mary. As a sign of membership, they wore a black scapular, usually with an image of our Mother of Sorrows on the front." (source)

~And..
Black Scapular: "Origin:1233 appearance of Mary to the founders of the Servite Order Purpose: Invoke the protection of Mary, Mother of SorrowsPractices: Wear the scapular with special devotion to Mary's Seven SorrowsSource: The Black Scapular is not widely distributed/promoted separately, but is part of the Five-fold Scapular" (source)

I know its not much. I've attempted to contact the Servite order with no respose regarding this scapular, I'll post next on their third order Servite apostolate which I think is less than thriving. I pray for a renewal of such an apostolate and devotion to Mary's sorrows in general. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Meme! Ho Ho Ho!


Oh yes! Another meme! This one comes from me to you via Angela Messenger - so blame her! :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both, whichever is easier and/or cheaper.
2. Real tree or artificial? Up to me? - prelit fake. But alas... my small effort to submit to the will of my husband means a real messy, real tree!
3. When do you put up the tree? The weekend after Thanksgiving. The kids decorate it - words cannot express how much I despise putting the lights on the tree!
4. When do you take the tree down? Just after New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Love it but don't drink it much due to the extreme excess of calories contained therein! I could always be talked into a glass with rum though...
6. Favorite gift received as a child? New bike around age 10. It was one of those 70's nightmare bikes now, but the COOLEST back then. It was white with red and blue stripes and a long banana seat. I rode it around inside the house for days.
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes two actually, one on the altar of our prayer room and a larger one in the living room in front of the fireplace.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad, he doesn't need a thing and has every golf accessory on earth.
9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My high school boyfriend gave me this really ugly sweater which unraveled the first time I washed it. He admitted to me it was from K-Mart.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail - always of the Blessed Mother with family pictures inside.
11. Favorite Christmas Movie? Its a Wonderful Life - is there another?
12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Oh, around Halloween.
13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, many times. If I get something I don't need or like, I'll keep it in the package and give to someone else. Did the same with wedding gifts. Except for clothes, those I return.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Green bean casserole. Yes I know that's strange.
15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Multicolored and flashing enough to cause seizures.
16. Favorite Christmas song. Angels We Have Heard on High & The Wassail Song
17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, travel to husband's family in Montreal - alternating years. This year we are home.
18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer. Not even close.
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? No, we have a terrible time getting them to stay on a real tree. I find myself totally apathetic about tree toppers...
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas presents on EVE after supper, stocking "Santa" gifts on Christmas morning.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The burden of having to buy gifts for so many people. I find standing in line at the post office to mail presents a close second.

Tagging: YOU!

Great Article


Terry over at Abbey Roads 2 as always is hitting nails on the head in a recent post on the fear of the Lord.

"According to some notions developed from post-Vatican II theology, servile fear of God is often considered a negative, imperfect expression of devotion to be avoided. Yet servile fear is typically an initial, fundamental disposition in the spirituality of the pre-convert and newly converted soul. The fear of hell is not a bad thing, after all, it is one of the components normally expressed in a good act of contrition."


The entire post deserves a thorough read.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mass as a Sacrifice

(photo credit - Cathcon)

It behooves us all to think on all the things that happen at EVERY mass that we cannot see. Picture the sacrifice that our Lord makes for you. Picture the angels who gaze with amazement at every consecration. Think of the poor souls who cry out with joy as the drops of Christ's blood fall upon them from the altar of your church.

Our Lady of Hope - Part V



This comes from the official website for the Sactuary of Our Lady of Hope situated at the apparition site in Pontmain France. We ought to meditate and think on the meaning of Mary's appearance. She who is the Mother of Our Lord and Savior does not appear for just any reason. Whenever heaven sends her and she appears, there is significance for us all.

"The Virgin Mary did not speak at Pontmain. How should we interpret this apparition, the different expressions of the Virgin Mary and the message which unfurled at her feet ? Of course the revelations add nothing to the revelations of Christ, which are complete in themselves. They were not meant to teach us anything new, but rather to awaken our sleeping consciences.The Virgin Mary appeared at Pontmain to help us to understand Christ. Her message is centred on Christ. The first part of the message, “But pray my children” echoes Christ’s urgent exhortations to pray unceasingly, following the example of the Virgin Mary, of the centurion Corneille or the numerous blind or paralysed people we find in the Gospel. Jesus asks us to pray with insistence, faith and humility to fulfil God’s will and not our own.The next part of the message, “God will answer you very soon” is the continuation of this message. It reminds us that all prayers are sent to God, and God alone, who gives us everything. It also tells us that prayer is effective : Jesus repeated this message forcefully. The end of the message, “My son lets his heart be touched” is a reminder of Christ’s part in the divine plan. Mary shows Christ in all his humanity, by which “he should become in this way completely like his brothers” (Letter to the Hebrews 2, 17)."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

New Meme!


This one comes from Swiss Miss at St. Monica's Kneeler:

Participants are to post 8 random facts or habits about themselves on their blog. Have fun!
1. When I was a kid, I went to a Swedish language immersion camp and after three years there was fluent. Yes, I even knew all those odd Swedish folk dances and wore a folk costume. A nerdier activity could not be found.
2. Garnet is my favorite gem stone.
3. I sometimes wear my slippers in public (they sort-of look like shoes :)
4. I'm addicted to lip gloss, have been since 3rd grade, wear it all the time. This is one of those absolutely-must-haves-cannot-leave-home-without-it-or-I'm-miserables. I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night and put it on, of course its right on my nightstand.
5. I have two statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary in my office: Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Knock.
6. I LOVE the Minnesota State Fair. A trip there is not complete without looking at EVERYTHING in the 4H building, french fried green peppers and cheese on a stick.
7. My perfume is Coco Madmoiselle by Chanel.
8. When I was in high school, I protested what I thought was an unfair detention (still believe it was unfair) and I decided in principle to not comply. I never showed up for it despite the daily "yellow note" on my locker reminding me of said detention. I was ordered to go by the Principal, the school board (private school) AND the traitorous school counsel. Never went, told them all they'd have to expel me. I was sure I was done. This went on for MONTHS. I finished the school year, showed up for class the next fall and not a word was said. Isn't that strange??
Everyone interested in this meme is hereby tagged!

"What have you done?"

Cain & Abel by Titian (c 1570 - 1576)
(photo credit)

"The Lord’s question: "What have you done?", which Cain cannot escape, is addressed also to the people of today, to make them realize the extent and gravity of the attacks against life which continue to mark human history… Whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself." —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelim Vitae; n. 10

Consider this today's call to prayer of reparation.

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart/Actus reparationis
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject. Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law. We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holydays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine Love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded. Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou once made to Thy Eternal Father on the Cross and which Thou continuest to renew daily on our Altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee. O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit Thou livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Interesting Bible Study


Go here for a very interesting article about how the Prostestant bible proves the truths of Catholisicm. Let me know what you think! Found this via Catholic Mom in Sweden, Thanks Heather!

Pray for our Priests

(photo credit - Cathcon)

Let us never forget to pray for priests. They are in desparate need of our prayers in this time of spiritual warfare. The prince of this world is striking at the head in order to scatter the flock of Christ's church. Do not fall asleep in this regard as it is our solemn duty to support our parishes with money and our priests with prayers.

Most gracious Heavenly Father,
We thank you for our for our faithful priests and bishops, whose spiritual fatherhood and example of fidelity, self-sacrifice, and devotion is so vital to the faith of your people.
May our spiritual fathers be guided by the examples of Saints Peter and Paul, all the Apostles and their saintly successors. Give them valiant faith in the face of confusion and conflict, hope in time of trouble and sorrow, and steadfast love for you, for their families, and for all your people throughout the world. May the light of your Truth shine through their lives and their good works.
Assist all spiritual fathers, that through your Grace they may steadily grow in holiness and in knowledge and understanding of your Truth. May they generously impart this knowledge to those who rely on them.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen+

Our Lady of Hope - Part IV


The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope
Pontmain, France
This beautiful basilica is a lesser known (therefore not as busy) active pilgrimmage site for Catholic devotion. This is an official and accepted Marian apparition site with all the spiritual benefits as well as the indulgences that go with all pilgrimmages. For more information about a visit to honor Our Lady of Hope, go here.
The following is a copy of their schedule from the above official site for this Basilica:
WEEKDAY TIMETABLE:
07h30 Mass in the parish church
11h00 Mass for pilgrims, in the basilica in summer and the parish church in winter
11h45 Angelus / Prayer of intercession / Midday prayers
16h00 Holy Rosary, in the basilica in summer and the parish church in winter
16h30 Vespers, in the basilica in summer and the parish church in winter
17h00 Holy Hour, in the basilica in summer and the parish church in winter
Confessions and spiritual guidance from 10h15 to 11h00 and 15h00 to 17h00.
SUNDAY TIMETABLE:
09h00 Mass in the parish church
11h00 Mass for pilgrims, in the basilica
15h30 Holy Rosary, vespers and blessing of the Blessed Sacrament (or other celebrations according to the circumstances), in the basilica in summer and the parish church in winter
17h00 Mass, in the basilica in summer and the parish church in winter
Confessions and spiritual guidance from 9h30 to 11h00 and 15h00 to 17h00

We recommend following a prayer path, either individually or in a group. It will take the pilgrim from the parish church to the barn and then on to the basilica.Either visiting the Cross or following the Way of the Cross will lead to a spiritual change which opens us to the path of life : Christ is alive !
I would LOVE to hear from anyone who's been there or knows someone who's been there. Looks to be an excellent and active site and I pray I and my family can get there someday. Also, take a look at this page. Looks like several high quality religious sites to visit in the area making for a potentially rich pilgrimmage. Nearby is an apparition site for St Anne I've never heard of!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Our Lady of Hope - Part III



When the children first saw here she stood with her hands extended "like the miraculous medal." What impressed the children most was her delightful smile, which seemed to be directed at each one of them individually. As news of the strange doings spread quickly throughout the little village, the Curé, the Sisters, and all the inhabitants gathered on the spot. After they had recited the rosary at the pastor's direction, a large white banner slowly unfolded under the figure of the Lady and on it were written in letters of gold the words:

"But pray, my children. God will soon answer your prayer. My Son is willing to hear you."
The need for prayer was all around them and through the children's innocence to see Mary; the hopelessness gave way to prayer for hope. Hope that God would hear their prayers.

Then one of the Sisters led the group in the singing of the hymn, "Mother of Hope". Our Lady's reaction was immediate. Her smile broadened until the children cried out, "She is laughing!" and she raised her hands to beat time to the music. When the hymn ended, however, her expression became grave for the first time and in her hands there appeared a large crucifix. The cross itself was blood red, the corpus a darker shade. At the top was an extra crosspiece, of white, on which was printed in red letters the inscription, "Jesus Christ." During this part of the apparition, Our Lady's eyes sadly contemplated the cross, the symbol and the pledge of our salvation. With the singing of the hymn, "Ave Maris Stella," the cross disappeared, and Our Lady smiled again, though this time not without a touch of sadness. This tender expression remained on her face until, after the recitation of night prayers by the crowd, a white cloud veiled the Lady from view and the apparition was at an end. Before the news of the event at Pontmain had spread beyond the neighbourhood, Our Lady's promise came true. The very day after the apparition, the Prussians halted their advance and withdrew ten mils. Peace came to the devout clients of Mary in Western France.

The Bishop of Laval lost no time holding a thorough inquiry into the apparition. Careful questioning of the four children and many adult bystanders led him to pronounce that a true apparition of the Blessed Virgin had taken place at Pontmain and to authorize her "cultus" at the scene. Many years later Pope Pius XI, after an exhaustive examination of the evidence, confirmed the decisio0n of the Episcopal court and granted a Mass and Office proper to our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. The barn from which the children had first seen the strange vision in the sky was turned into a chapel and soon became a place of pilgrimage. After the death of the elderly pastor, Father Michael Guerin, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were placed in charge of the shrine. They erected the great basilica of Our Lady of Hope, which was consecrated in 1900.

During the trying days of German occupation in the last war, devotion to Our Lady of Hope received a new impetus. Since the end of the war, tens of thousands of pilgrims have journeyed to Pontmain to pay their thanks to the Mother of Hope or to seek her further intercession. The Oblate Fathers and Brothers introduced the devotion to America in 1952.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Our Lady of Hope - Part II



The Apparition at Pontmain

January 1871 was one of the darkest times in the history of France. The Empire had fallen before the advance of the Prussian armies, Paris was under siege, and the enemy forces were driving West. On January 17, the Prussian armies were at the outskirts of Laval. That afternoon the Bishop of Saint-Brieuc signed a solemn vow to Our Lady of Hope, which was read, in the cathedral at six o'clock. Mary chose this particular time to show, in a most extraordinary way, that the prayers of the French people would be answered.

It happened on January 17th, 1871. The German army neared the west of France. The mass of its deserters was endless. They would not heed the commands of their officers, and even though two were executed, it did not stop others from running away.

The snowy weather made for miserable discomfort. All day and night wagons passed through Laval from east to west. All bearing wounded whom needed care.

The countryside farmers feared the onslaught of needy and hid their possessions of money, food, wine and linens. Typhoid had broken out and Small pox threatened all. Everything seemed doomed.

Just days before, the Aurora Borealis produced fear and awe in many. Some reported the evening lights as tall masts of ships and others claimed them to look like the steeples of a great cathedral.

The worst fear came with an earthquake at about half past twelve the day of January 17th. No one saved hope for anything. Despondency surmounted unbeatable. Shouts of "No use in praying. God doesn't hear us!" prevailed from even the most optimistic

In a barn, a family of two young boys and their father crushed thorns to feed the horses. Eugene Barbedettes, twelve and his brother, Joseph, aged ten, were fascinated with the Northern lights and were anxious to see the show that night.

It was in a little village of Pontmain, near the northern end of the diocese of Laval, that the miraculous event occurred. From six to nine that evening the Blessed Virgin appeared continuously in the sky over one of the houses in the village.

The apparition was witnessed by four small children, Eugene and Joseph Barbadette, Francoise Richer, and Jeanne-Marie LeBosse. Joseph, who later became an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, described the Lady as about twenty years of age and very beautiful.

She was dressed in a star-studded robe of dark blue with slippers of the same colour. A black veil on which she wore a gold crown decorated with a red band covered her head. It was in a little village of Pontmain, near the northern end of the diocese of Laval, that the miraculous event occurred. From six to nine that evening the Blessed Virgin appeared continuously in the sky over one of the houses in the village.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls VIII


Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

"Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, Nicodemus also, who had at first come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. And Joseph rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment." (Mt 27:59; John 19:38-42; Lk 27:55-56)
Meditation
"My beloved Son, shall I see you no more? I look upon your sacred hands, pierced so mercilessly by nails. I remember holding them when you were a baby, how warm they were against my cold skin. I remember how you would reach for me when you were learning to walk. I remember how faulty they were when you were learning to drink from a cup. O, my Son, I remember how you held my face in my your holy hands as you comforted me at the death of Joseph. And now your hands are so cold. You have left with world and left me here. I wish to be with you and yet You will that I remain. Thy will be done. You are God, you are my only Son. You are my life and I give myself to you without reserve. With you here, in this cold tomb, I leave my heart. Farewell. Amen+"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Lady of Hope - Part I


BACKGROUND


In the tenth century, a wave of barbarism had spread across Europe after the break-up of the Empire of Charlemagne. Constant warfare menaced the life of the average Christian. Yet in the year 930, Confidence in Mary, Mother of God, triumphed over pessimism in a little town of Northern France. At Mezieres, the first known shrine was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope. The next two centuries saw numerous sanctuaries dedicated to Mary under the same or similar titles. In face, throughout the Middle Ages and even down to the 17th Century, the erection of new shrines to Our Lady of Hope proved the widespread popularity of this devotion. Devotion to Our Lady of Hope was gradually eclipsed by the newer and better publicized devotion of modern times.

The revival of devotion to Our Lady of Hope in modern times was due to the zeal of a young Breton priest, Paul-Marie Prud'homme, later Canon of the Cathedral of St. Brieuc. When a seven-year-old child, hopelessly ill of typhoid fever, was cured through her intercession, the young priest threw himself wholeheartedly into the Apostolate of Hope. That was in February 1848, and the revolution, which broke out later in the same month providentially, aided his cause. The chapel of Our Lady of Hope became the centre of a crusade of prayer for France.

New Patron for 2008


Thank you Angela Messenger for my new Patron Saint - St. Bridget of Sweden!


St. Bridget of Sweden ~ Ora Pro Nobis

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Excellent Blog Post


Go here for a must read my Uncle Di over at Off the Record, my favorite blog.

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls VII


Mary Recieves the Dead Body of Her Son

"In order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow." (John 19:31-34;38. Lamentations 1:12)
When I am imploring some grace from God, the place I go to be heard by Him is at the feet of Mary as she holds the body of her Son in her arms. Surely the merits the Mother of God received at this time in her life shines amongst the heavens as the sun. Compassionate your mother's sorrows, bring your sorrows and place them at her feet. Ask her to intercede on your behalf - ask her to cover your requests with the tears she shed as she held her Son. God cannot refuse this of her if your request is in accordance with His holy will. Amen+

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lord of Mercy


"If you are discouraged because of your sinfulness, do not depend on your virtue or the strength of your case before God. Rather, depend entirely upon His mercy, for no one is righteous. We are all sinners. But this is not a cause for discouragement, for Christ came for sinners!" Quote Mark Mallet, see full article here.


I have a fault of falling pray to this sort of discouragement on a regular basis. I do not trust enough in God's mercy, but rather place too much emphasis on my own, very small strength to resist temptation. Lord, have mercy on me. I place my trust in You and depend upon your grace and mercy for my own salvation and that of my family.


Mary, Mother of God, be my salvation!

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls VI


Piercing of the Side of Jesus
"But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water."
After witnessing the death of her Son, Mary now sees the soldiers approach to break the legs of those on the crosses to expedite their deaths. Imagine Mary seeing them come near, fearing more damage be done to His holy body, she along with the others present inform the soldier that Jesus is already dead. At this point to confirm this one plunges his lance deeply between the ribs of our Savior. At this point the blood and water of our redemption pour forth. Mary is sometimes depicted as not knowing of or anticipating this event. I'm often irritated by far too many who depict our Lady as being dull and unaware, some sort of unknowing victim of her circumstances. No, I believe firmly she was highly intelligent, very knowledgable and fully aware of her life and her role in salvation history. She knew who her Son was and why He was here. Despite this intense suffering, she willingly submitted to God's will, offering no reluctance whatsoever. This piercing of the heart of Jesus was perhaps His last "bodily" gift of sacrifice, that even after His soul has fled back to His Father, the very last He has is poured out for our behalf.




Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls V


Death of Jesus
"And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his Mother, and his Mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your Mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "E'lo-i, E'lo-i, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. (Mk 15:22; John 19:18; Mk 15:34; Lk 23:46)

For some reason, I find this sorrow of Mary to be one of the more difficult ones to meditate upon. Perhaps its because her sorrow at this time is incomprehensible, perhaps because I don't want to really face what it would be like to witness your own child murdered, or more likely, its that I have little faith. Whether praying the rosary's fifth sorrowful mystery, or Mary's sorrow at the death of Jesus - I often picture her before the cross, much like in the above painting. I imagine her offering her own pain together with her Son's to the Father for the redemption of the whole world. I see her stretch out her arms to Him who is her life as He suffers unbearably. Mostly I just throw myself at her feet in spirit and simply spend time there. It it well to simply be there when one cannot say or do anything. Love can be expressed quite well with only presence, no words, prayers or mystical contemplations are neccessary.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Father of Mercy


Go here for an excellent post by Wolftracker at Kansas City Catholic. Please join in praying for the souls of those involved.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
Let perpetual light shine upon them,
May they rest in peace. Amen+

Mass for the Holy Souls


Nabbed this great picture from Hallowed Ground. I invite you to closely examine this image. The mass is being said with great reverence and solemnity. The altar boys are kneeling in prayer, one is reading from a missal. All are totally unaware of the unseen souls being lifted up and delivered from Puratory. The painter lifts up the corner of the veil between the seen and the unseen works of the Mass. We would do well to be mindful the of miraculous events which are invisible to us. Have masses said for the dead, pray for them and remember them in your communion intentions.

New Header!


A special thanks for Vincenzo for creating for me a beautiful header image for Our Lady's Tears! This one is for you Vincenzo:
Sub Tuum
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen+

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Supreme Pontiff

(photo credit)


Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls IV


"So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross. And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!' For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). John 19:1, Luke 23:26-32.

I remember reading some of the writings of St. Thersa of Avila. Her spiritual director had suggested a certain spiritual practice that I've attempted to use and will illustrate here. I'm in no way stating I'm good at it mind you, but I do find this technique helpful in calming the mind which makes it easier to focus and concentrate on the topic of meditation, which is now Mary meeting her Son as He carries His cross. The idea is to focus on one thing, one image, letting go of the rest. Specifically, St. Teresa was given the idea of the hands of Jesus. She was instructed to approach Jesus through His humanity and to meditate upon His hands as he went through the various stages of His life.

We can use the same technique to focus and clear out the debris of our meditation on any topic. Think of Jesus' little baby hands, tucked in lovingly by His mother as she places Him in the manger. Imagine his 12 year hold hands as he talked with the scribes in the Temple, etc.

Now applied to this current meditation: See the hands of Jesus as they grasp His cross. His were strong, masculine hands, muscular from years of working with St. Joseph. Now see them swollen, covered with dried blood, perhaps even slipping from this heavy weight from time to time in this hard labor. His hands are not yet pierced, but carry on them the wounds of abuse. He most likely fell upon them along the road to Calvary. See them reach out to His mother as she stands by the roadside, quietly dying inside to see her Son this way. Did He have a moment to meet her outstretched hand? "Son, I would carry this cross for you if I could. You are not alone, I am with You..." Did He touch her face one last time? Oh, now they have not the strength to continue, blood loss, thirst and fatigue threaten this life and Simon must now take up the cross. See His holy hands now falling limp at His side, blood dripping from His fingertips as He walks like the lamb to its slaughter behind the cross they could not longer bear. "No, do not weep for Me, but weep for my mother, assist her in her sorrow for love of Me...for I love her more than myself." O look, we are almost there....they have the nails and the hammer ready!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ok, just one more!

video

Ok, forgive me, but just had to post one more. In this one you get a glimpse of me, another daughter and of course, a whole lot of the DAWG!

Stupid Dog Tricks

video

Ok, so this is a departure from my usual postings. One of my daughters made this video and it was so cute I had to post it. Making these movies is a favorite past time in our home, that and reading - since we don't have TV for anything but videos. Of course the favorite topic is THE DOG. He's a 7 year old mutt named Charley. He's the greatest and best behaved dog I've ever known. Enjoy...

On Detraction...



Go here for an excellent blog post from Diane at Te Deum Laudemus! Here's a small excerpt:


"{Father Benedict Groeschel} at the end of yesterday's Sunday Night Live, made an appeal to Catholic bloggers: Don't engage in detraction, and if you have, know that it is a mortal sin. As Father pointed out, even if something is true, it can be a mortal sin to pass it along. I must say that Father appeared disappointed, and was firm in his catechesis on detraction which is not well understood these days."

Definition of Detraction: Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them.

I would like to publicly apologize and officially repent of any and all sins of detraction and rash judgement I have ever engaged in. I'm not aware of any on this blog, but I may have entered into it to some degree in comboxes at other blogs. It behooves us all to understand more of the sins of detraction, rash judgement and calumny. Every one of us ought to examine our consciences thoroughly! Those of you who blog - remember others read every word you write! Be aware of the scandal, however slight you can cause by careless words! These sins are so very common in our age. They are serious sins and if we are aware of what we do, could be the cause of mortal sin. I commit to never commit this sin again, by the mercy and grace of God.
I confess to Almighty God, to my Lord and Saviour Jesus , to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to You, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and You, Father, to pray to the Lord Our God for me. May God have mercy on me, forgive me my sins, and lead me to eternal life. Amen+

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Written just hours prior to martyrdom...


Here is a translation of a letter from Bartolomé Blanco Márquez, written to his girlfriend from prison the day before he was executed during religious persecution in 1930s Spain. Márquez was beatified Oct. 28; the letter is published in the “Summarium Super Martyrio” of his beatification cause.

Bartolomé Blanco Márquez was born in Cordoba in 1914. He was arrested as a Catholic leader -- he was the secretary of Catholic Action and a delegate to the Catholic Syndicates -- on Aug. 18, 1936. He was executed on Oct. 2, 1936, at age 21, while he cried out, “Long live Christ the King!”

Provincial prison of Jaen,
Oct. 1, 1936
My dearest Maruja:

Your memory will remain with me to the grave and, as long as the slightest throb stirs my heart, it will beat for love of you. God has deemed fit to sublimate these worldly affections, ennobling them when we love each other in him. Though in my final days, God is my light and what I long for, this does not mean that the recollection of the one dearest to me will not accompany me until the hour of my death.

I am assisted by many priests who -- what a sweet comfort -- pour out the treasures of grace into my soul, strengthening it. I look death in the eye and, believe my words, it does not daunt me or make me afraid.

My sentence before the court of mankind will be my soundest defense before God's court; in their effort to revile me, they have ennobled me; in trying to sentence me, they have absolved me, and by attempting to lose me, they have saved me. Do you see what I mean? Why, of course! Because in killing me, they grant me true life and in condemning me for always upholding the highest ideals of religion, country and family, they swing open before me the doors of heaven.

My body will be buried in a grave in this cemetery of Jaen; while I am left with only a few hours before that definitive repose, allow me to ask but one thing of you: that in memory of the love we shared, which at this moment is enhanced, that you would take on as your primary objective the salvation of your soul. In that way, we will procure our reuniting in heaven for all eternity, where nothing will separate us.

Goodbye, until that moment, then, dearest Maruja! Do not forget that I am looking at you from heaven, and try to be a model Christian woman, since, in the end, worldly goods and delights are of no avail if we do not manage to save our souls.

My thoughts of gratitude to all your family and, for you, all my love, sublimated in the hours of death. Do not forget me, my Maruja, and let my memory always remind you there is a better life, and that attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration.

Be strong and make a new life; you are young and kind, and you will have God's help, which I will implore upon you from his kingdom. Goodbye, until eternity, then, when we shall continue to love each other for life everlasting.

[Translation by ZENIT]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Heaven

More Angels


St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle...
Don't forget to thank your Angel Guardian for not falling with them. Amen+

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls III



"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; When the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, They sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." He said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" Luke 2:41-50.


Anyone who is a parent can identify readily with Mary's suffering as she sought sorrowing her only child. Imagine also, St. Joseph, the head and protector of the holy family, his heart heavily laden with sorrow as he wondered why Jesus had left them. Have we done something wrong? Have we offended Jesus is some way? Why has He left us? Is it already His time? Joseph and Mary are exceedinly holy people, yet did they suffer such doubts?

When my youngest child was 4, I had all my children at the grocery store with me. My routine involved requiring the younger ones to have one hand on the cart at all times as we walked through the store. The little guy was fine, holding onto the cart and jabbering about something when I stepped only a few feet away to grab something out of the dairy section. I turned, came back to my cart and he was gone. His sisters were right there - "Where did your brother go?" They had no idea....

About 4 minutes later I found him at the opposite end of the store, looking lost and crying. He had panicked and ran. I'll never forget the thoughts that went through my mind as I searched for him. Did someone take him? Will they hurt him? Will I ever see him again? How could I have taken my eyes off him? How will I ever live without him?

Upon finding him, I remember kneeling down and wrapping my arms around him. I then grabbed his shoulders and through my tears and sobs saying "Never, never do this to me again! I thought I'd never see you again! Mommy was so worried about you!"

I am a sinner, a regular old person who feels alarm with a hardened heart that knows sin and concupiscence. Our Lady who never sinned, pure and immaculate, must have felt pain that was unimaginable to you or I. Let us go with her, compassionate her sorrows as she searches for her son. Amen+


Now THIS is a surprise!

Your Inner European is Russian!

Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

I don't normally do these blog thing things, but me an inner Russian?? I'm definately more of an inner French or Swede!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mary Crushing the Head of the Serpent

Mary crushing the serpent, Artist Unknown
To Jesus through Mary! Mary I consecrate the entire world to thine Immaculate Heart. Think often on my loved ones and on my poor soul. I entrust our salvation to thy prayers. Amen+

Pope Benedict XVI


Words cannot express how in love I am with the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Thank you God for blessing us poor, ungrateful creatures with such a wonder that is your Catholic Church. I solemnly profess to believe all of her teachings. I wish to live and die a Roman Catholic. Bless our Supreme Pontiff, our prelates and all priests and religious. Amen+

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls II

(photo credit)
The Flight Into Egypt
"When the Magi had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream He said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage. He sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under. But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel." Matthew 2:13-21.

When I think of this sorrow of Mary's I try to place myself into the scene. I imagine myself to be a small servant girl, employed by the Holy Family, the lowliest and least of all. Picture St. Joseph, head of the family, suddenly roused from sleep, moving quickly to wake his wife and bid her to gather their son. "We must flee now to save the Child!" Mary who is perfectly obedient, does not question her holy husband, but quickly does as he directs. No time to take much at all - no their lot is of pure trust in God's providence - surely He will provide for all our needs on such a perilous journey into the unknown. Shuffle along after this holy trio who grab what they can and rush out the door, into the darkness toward Egypt. Walk beside them in fear and trepidation for the life of this little innocent One. Feel the cold wind blow through your hair. Look up at the stars in the black sky. Feel the still warm sand on your feet....imagine the sorrow of leaving all you know, family, customs, language and faith for a place you've never been, fleeing for the life of a small baby, such a beautiful baby.

"Haste! Make haste, for the wolves are at the door!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Great Article



An excellent blog - Totus Pius, go here for a great post by our Supreme Pontiffs of happy memory regarding the BALANCE we must strive to have in our souls and our understanding of God between His LOVE and His JUSTICE. We ought not the focus on one to the exclusion of the other. Amen+

More Angels

Angel Guardian, thanks and praise and all glory be to God in the highest for His mercy and benevolence upon mankind and my poor soul! I think about you not, but rather stumble and fall through this miserable life. You think about me at all times, praying for me and assisting me...how little do I look to you for help! What a miserable, wretched, ungrateful soul am I? Look not upon my neglect, but upon my soul striving and longing for our God, for we do surely worship the same God. Pray dear angel, for the glorious day, the day you escort me to the feet of Jesus my savior! Amen+

Extremely Busy...


Posting has been very sparse and I apologize. My practice is getting busier and I thank God for that, but this leaves me less time to blog. My internet connection at home is also not working so my only access to the web is at work - where I'm busy!
So here's a beautiful image of an angel. I do not care for angel paintings/pictures depicting angels as women. Angels have no gender being pure spirits, but often when they do appear to us humans they appear in the form of men. This picture is unclear - rather could be male or female but more specifically genderless. Genderless is only good in an angel :)
I heard Mother Angelica on EWTN years ago talking about angels. One thing she said struck me deeply and I wonder at it regularly. She said that all the eons ago when God created the angels, specifically the guardian angels, He had the human in mind for that specific angel. He created them in little US in mind. Our angel then waiting patiently, witnessing God's creation, the progression of human times, waiting for the moment, that awesome moment when we were created. They love us, pray for us, and are with us constantly. We will not be parted from them until we either enter Heaven, or are condemned to hell. In purgatory they will assist us. What a consolation it must be to finally be able to look upon our angel!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The problem of truth and human fellowship - Great Article


Wresting with the Truth - Jacob Wrestling with the Angel
Gustav Doré1855 (160 Kb); Granger Collection, New York
(photo credit)

"The problem of truth and human fellowship is important for democratic societies; it seems to me to be particularly important for this country [United States], where men and women coming from a great diversity of national stocks and religious or philosophical creeds have to live together. If each one of them endeavored to impose his own convictions and the truth in which he believes on all his co-citizens, would not living together become impossible? That is obviously right. Well, it is easy, too easy, to go a step further, and to ask: if each one sticks to his own convictions, will not each one endeavor to impose his own convictions on all others? So that, as a result, living together will become impossible if any citizen whatever sticks to his own convictions and believes in a given truth? Thus it is not unusual to meet people who think that not to believe in any truth, or not to adhere firmly to any assertion as unshakeably true in itself, is a primary condition required of democratic citizens in order to be tolerant of one another. May I say that these people are in fact the most intolerant people, for if perchance they were to believe in something as unshakeably true, they would feel compelled, by the same stroke, to impose by force and coercion their own belief on their co-citizens..."

The entire article is an excellent read, available here. Enjoy!

Meditation for the Month of Holy Souls I


"When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. He took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples. And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:22-35.

It is a good and holy thing to meditate on God, His life, His family. I propose you join me in this meditation on the first sorrow of Mary. Regard the photo posted: notice the heads of Our Lady and St. Joseph, bowed in sorrow as they hear the words of the prophet Simeon tell them that their Son, the very Messiah - will be rejected by the people He had come to save. Think if you will what this must have been like. So full of joy, so very willing to do the will of God Mary and Joseph are! They have been obedient in carrying out the Mosiac law of presenting the first male child to God. What transports of joy they must have felt as they ascended the steps to give this Child to the Father! Here is the One we have waited for since the time of Abraham!

How much sadness must have enveloped their hearts to hear that this child, their beloved Son would indeed be rejected. Mary also learns her own very soul also shall be pierced. No, this will not be a life of earthly glory and comfort. Happiness is not promised them in this life - no, rather a sword. Being the saints they are, Mary and Joseph perfectly accept this as the will of God. We don't know to what degree they understood these things, but we can be assured they did not resist, but rather trusted, pondering these matters in their hearts. In this they provide an excellent example of how to accept adversity. God so loved His parents that He deemed to give them a large portion of His cross. Amen+

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, may eternal light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen+

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Week Off


Going out of town for a week. I'll be back a week from tomorrow. My plans for my return include meditations and images on Mary's sorrows in preparation for the Month for the Holy Souls in November. May God bless you and may Mary's prayers go with you always. Amen+

Sorrows of Mary


This is a beautiful Holy Card. Of course I can't read the words, but it appears to be an image of a deathly ill and perhaps dying young woman. She is being held up and supported by Our Lady who prays to the Eucharistic Lord, her Divine Son on behalf of the girl. Grace then extends at Our Lady's request to the dying girl. I posted this image as an illustration of the promises of devotion to Our Lady's Sorrows:
According to the visions of St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) our Blessed Mother promises to grant seven graces to those who honor her and draw near to her and her Son every day by meditating on her sorrows and entering into her grief.
1. "I will grant peace to their families."
2. "They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries."
3. "I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work."
4. "I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls."
5. "I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives."
6. "I will visibly help them at the moment of their death-- they will see the face of their mother."
7. "I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy."
In drawing out #6, everyone who carries in their soul a devotion to Mary's sorrows will without doubt receive this promise. Is there any better reason to compassionate Our Heavenly Mother's tears? You will be rewarded by her assistance in your own death ~ you WILL SEE HER FACE!

Medieval Art



Albrecht Dürer, "Apocalyptic Woman", from The Apocalypse, 1498.
Woodcut, Spencer Museum of Art

Heaven

"And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am." Genesis 22:11.
Here I am also Lord. Conform my heart, my soul, my mind unto Thine. Come and abide with me, the lowliest of all Thine servants. Have mercy upon my poor soul, O Lord. For Thou dost love the simple, the lowly, the least of all - for this I surely am. There is no good within me. Thy graces suffices Lord. For this only do I long; to know Thee, to love Thee, to serve Thee and Lord by Thine infinite mercy, to be with You for all eternity in Heaven. Amen+