Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
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.
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.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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)
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)
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
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...
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.
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
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...
Friday, December 7, 2007
"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
Participants are to post 8 random facts or habits about themselves on their blog. Have fun!
"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.
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.
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+
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 !
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
"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
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
"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)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
"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
Thursday, November 15, 2007
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, 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...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
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+
|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
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.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
"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!
"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
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."