Friday, February 23, 2007

Rosary of Sorrows II

The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows
(Also known as the Servite Rosary/Chaplet of Seven Sorrows/Dolors)

This pious practice is offered for your consideration for Lent. I encourage all to make this a devotion year round, if only to keep in mind and be sympathetic to your Mother's sorrows and tears which were shed for you.
The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows consists of seven groups of seven beads, with three additional beads and a medal of Our Lady of Sorrows. The seven groups of seven Hail Marys are recited in remembrance of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, namely:

1. The prophecy of Simeon.
2. The flight into Egypt.
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple.
4. Mary meets Jesus carrying His cross.
5. The Death of Jesus
6. Mary received the body of Jesus from the cross
7. The body of Jesus is placed in a tomb.

Three Hail Marys are added in remembrance of the tears Mary shed because of the suffering of her Divine Son. These are said to obtain true sorrow for our sins. Following is the concluding prayer.
V. Pray for us, O most sorrowful Virgin. R. The we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, we now implore, both for the present and for the hour of our death, the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose holy soul was pierced at the time of Thy passion by a sword of grief. Grant us this favor, O Savior of the world, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen+
(The rosary pictured above can be purchased for a mere $7.00 here. The above booklet is included.)

Rosary of Sorrows

Seven Sorrows of Our Lady
Prayerfully consider beginning a devotion to honor and appease the tears of our Lady by meditating on her seven sorrows. Simply recite one Hail Mary as you think/contemplate the seven sorrows that are particularly singled out by Holy Mother Church for our veneration.
1. The Prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. Jesus lost in the temple for three days
4. Meeting Jesus as He carries His cross
5. Death of Our Lord Jesus on the cross
6. Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in the arms of His Mother
7. The burial of Jesus
Another way to honor Mary's sorrows and appease her tears is to use the rosary of Our Lady of Tears to pray the chaplet of Mary's seven sorrows. Simply meditate on her sorrows, and pray on the beads as you would pray the rosary, i.e. Our Fathers followed by Hail Marys. If you wish, there are Our Lady's Sorrows rosaries (also called chaplets interchangably). These typically have black beads and medals in place of the Our Father beads depicting each sorrowful scene. More on this tomorrow.
Prayer ~ In Your Tears
In your tears, O grieving Mother, what a world of sorrow shimmers, while the rot of hate now simmers. As they vie with one another to add shame to the weight he bears. In your tears, O grieving Mother, echoes all the weight of sin, pain and anguish entered in. Since Eva listened to another, and the world grew rife with tares. In your tears, O grieving Mother, witness to a great God's gift, of how he chose to heal the rift, sacrificing for all others. Lamb of God, the cross now bears. In your tears, O grieving Mother I see the sorrow veil your face, as you penetrate that place, your greatest yes to give the Father. The pain of your son's death you bear. Let me grieve with you, my Mother, as you sit in sorrow deep. God pierce my heart that I might weep for the sins of self and brother, that lead you to such pain and care. Susan E. Stone

Thursday, February 22, 2007

God Bless Pope Benedict XVI

Lent is for Conversion NOT self-realization!
(Source: Catholic World News article)
Our Holy Father in his Ash Wednesday audience gives all the faithful wise direction:
"Speaking to about 10,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Holy Father broke from his series of talks on the apostolic Church to speak about the spiritual challenges of Lent, saying that the penitential season is an invitation for the faithful to experience...."
"...train ourselves more earnestly to seek God.” He insisted that the process of sacrifice and prayer should be seen as a process of conversion and a striving for union with God rather than an exercise in self-improvement.
“Self-realization is a contradiction,” the Pope said, “and it is too little for us. We have a higher destiny.” Pope Benedict called attention to his Lenten Message, which emphasize Christ’s love for mankind, culminating in his Sacrifice. “The Cross is the definitive revelation of love and divine mercy,” he said. “ To enter into this mystery of love there is no other way than that of losing ourselves, giving ourselves, the Way of the Cross."
Try as I might I cannot think of an office more burdensome than that of the Holy Pontiff. On the day of his election, he said to each of us "I entrust myself to your prayers." We must take this seriously - he needs are prayers very much for our Holy Father is the shepherd of the Church at a very difficult time. Not only does evil reign in so many areas of the world, so many of the faithful have become food for the mouths of wolves - but there is so much open dissent within the ranks of our Holy Religion. That along with the hyper-scrutiny placed upon his every word and action in a venemously Christian hating media. Each of us have a grave duty to pray for our Holy Father!
May the Lord bless and protect our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
May he be blessed upon the earth, may he not be turned over to his enemies.
God Bless our Holy Father's personal sanctity, may he be rich in holiness and a perfect example to all the faithful. May his ministry be pleasing to Your Holy Sight. Keep him safe so he may shepherd your church for many years to come.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Holy Water

The Power of Sacramentals

" It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins" (2 Mac 12:46)

Great video in YouTube on the power of holy water, go here to view it. (Tried to embed it, but couldn't get it to copy right!)

Sacramentals are those rites, actions, prayers and objects, instituted by the Church as a means to obtain for the faithful spiritual and temporal favours from God. The sacramentals benefit the faithful by obtaining actual grace, forgiveness of venial sin, remission of temporal punishment, health of body, material blessings, conversion of hearts, and protection from evil spirits.

These effects depend upon the mercy of God Who regards the prayers of the Church, and upon the dispositions of those who use the sacramentals. The chief sacramentals are the many blessings given by members of the clergy, exorcism, and the blessing and use of such objects of devotion as holy water, candles, medals, rosaries and incense.

Father Paul O'Sullivan in "How to Avoid Purgatory":
"Only in Purgatory can one understand ardently the poor souls longing for Holy Water. If we desire to make a host of intercessors for ourselves, let us try to realize now some of their yearnings, and never forget them at the Holy Water font."

When blessing yourself with holy water mentally offer this act for the benefit of the Holy Souls. Consider offering this for priests, especially those of your own parish, who have served the sacraments and said masses. In gratitude offer this act of blessing with holy water several times daily and have Masses offered up for the repose of their souls.

Bless your home, car, workplace, public places such as airplanes, ATM's, train stations,etc. Sprinkle a few drops of Holy Water and pray fervently:
“O God, in Your Mercy multiply these drops into as many drops of Holy Water as there are souls in Purgatory, and allow them not to fear the pains of Purgatory, as long as the moisture of Holy Water is present. Bring down blessings upon this {place, object, area, etc} and all who come into contact with it. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen+”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

At the Foot of the Cross

St. John with Mary at the Foot of the Cross
Think, if you will, for a moment on how St. John the Evangelist stood beside Mary, the Mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross. Our Sorrowful Mother, whose tears fell like rain as she witnessed the suffering of her Son, was granted the grace of John, who stood beside her during the Passion.
A favorite blogger of mine, also a singer and evangelist, Mark Mallett posts these thoughts today on the subject:

"During the years of Christ’s ministry, the Apostle John never imagined that he would one day stand beneath the Cross of Jesus. As it turns out, he was the only one of the Twelve who did. Why? Scripture notes that Jesus considered John the "beloved" disciple. And we see why at the Last Supper:

One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus. (John 13:23)
John had his ear to the Heart of Jesus. He heard Love whispering to him, a whisper which reached the depths of his soul in ways that He did not comprehend. It was this same apostle who later penned the words, "God is love."
John found strength to remain beneath the Cross while all the others fled, because he was prepared by the Heart of Jesus. For us Catholics, that is the Eucharist. But it is not just a matter of receiving the Eucharist on our tongues, but also in our hearts. For didn’t the betrayer of Christ also partake of the Last Supper?"
"John stood beneath the Cross with Mary. Perhaps it was seeing her strength, standing there alone, that drew him to her side. Indeed, Mary’s strength, her fortitude, her faithfulness, will always draw you to the feet of Jesus. And so brothers and sisters, take up the Rosary and pray; do not let go of our Mother’s hand. And with your whole heart receive her son, our Eucharistic savior. In this way, you will acquire the graces necessary to stand with Jesus in the days ahead…"
John was indeed a privileged soul. He is now in heaven beside his Mother once again, worshipping God without ceasing. He stood beside the cross when all the other disciples fled and as a reward recieved the Mother of God. Let us also stand beside this great saint and our Sorrowful Mother and recieve untold of graces that will allow us to know Him, love Him, serve Him and spend all eternity with Him in heaven.
Do Thou, of Thy goodness, O Lord, cast Thy bright beams of light upon Thy Church; that being illumined by the doctrine of Blessed John, Thine Apostle and Evangelist, she may obtain eternal gifts. Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us an increase of faith, hope and charity, and that we may be worthy to gain what Thou dost promise, make us love what Thou commandest. Through Christ , our Lord. Amen+ (Source: My Daily Prayer, Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1955)
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 Mary. Amen+

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blessed Candles

An Offering for the Dead
"And you shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may be set up to burn continually." (Exodus 27:20)

Candles have always played an important role in the church. Lit candles are part of the Mass, adoration, and may be utilized in processions, night prayers and other liturgies. In the early Church, candles were kept burning on the graves of martyrs as a sign of honor and remembrance.

In Medieval times it was in common practice to make offerings to maintain lamps that were kept burning on the graves year round in order to comfort the dearly departed. The lights signify the light of Christ - the Eternal Light - to whom all prayers are raised on behalf of the dead. These candles kept silent vigil and began to be called "vigil lights." The offering of a lighted candle for a particular soul, or for a catagory of souls is a worthy offering which will comfort the members of the Church Suffering.

Let’s not forget the poor souls in purgatory who have no one to pray for them. The thought that someone would have no one to pray for them is indeed a chilling thought, but one we must be aware of. Many relatives and friends too soon canonize thier loved ones and cease to pray for those who had died. We must realize the truth: Many people leave behind relatives and friends who neglect to pray for them, perhaps because they forget. Or perhaps because they are no longer believers themselves.

We should continue to truly love our dear dead. When we shall die, they shall remember us at death’s hour with the same love with which we commemorate them during our lives. Light a candle, it entails but a small offering and takes but a moment. Be generous!

"Though the deceased is buried in the earth, thou must not omit to burn oil and wax on his grave, for this is pleasing to God and merits great reward." ~St. Athanasius

St. Gertrude's Prayer for the Holy Souls
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home, and within my family. Amen. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus "

Monday, February 12, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 9

Q: How do I become a Saint?
A: Help others become Saints
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2)
As stated yesterday the "Heroic Act of Charity" is the offering of the satisfactory value (not the merits) of all of our works, prayers and sufferings and works for the entirety of our lives and of any offerings or spiritual benefits gained after death for the relief of the souls in Purgatory. We do this by first deciding to do so, and then praying (using our own words or the more formal prayer below) to offer these things to God through Mary's hands. Doing this is not a matter of taking a vow; it doesn't bind under pain of sin, and it is revokable (unless one vows never to revoke the Act). But it is a tremendous sacrifice, hence the name. It is truly heroic, a giving up of one's own earned relief from the temporal effects of sin -- even relief of the sufferings of Purgatory -- for the good of others. In addition to asking God to use their satisfactory works for the souls in Purgatory, those who make this Act also receive a plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions) for the souls in Purgatory each time they receive Communion, and each time they hear Mass for the sake of the departed. Words to a formal Act of Heroic Charity are as follows:
Heroic Act of Charity
O Holy and Adorable Trinity, desiring to aid in the relief and release of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, through my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cede and renounce, on behalf of these souls, all the satisfactory part of my works, and all the suffrages which may be given to me after my death. In their entirety, I offer them to Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, that she may use them, according to her good pleasure, for those souls of the faithful departed whom she desires to alleviate their suffering. O my God, deign to accept and bless my offering which I make to Thee through the most august Queen of Heaven and Earth. Amen+
The greatest advantage to making this act is the increase we will receive for our eternal glory. We will receive a greater degree of God for all eternity. In making this act we imitate God's own charity - he spent all, gave all for us. According to Susan Tassone..
"The heroic act is an exchange of glory for merit, of purgatory for heaven, of time for eternity, of pain for glory and for God. It is one of the greatest sacrifices we can make to God. We take upon ourselves to pay 'to the last penny' the whole of the debt that we now own, and may ever owe to God." (Thirty-Day Devotions for the Holy Souls, Our Sunday Visitor, 2004)
Not everyone is called perhaps to this, but pray about it at least. Copy the Heroic Act of Charity onto your computer, think on it, pray some more. Yes, you will be left indigent and without your "covering of satisfactory works" but since you are poor on account of your charity, Our Lord will be powerfully moved to cover you with His own. Be an imitator of Our Lord who emptied Himself for you. Empty yourself spiritually for others and be a receiver of His generous grace!
Graciously hear, O God, the fervent prayers we offer Thee for the suffering
and poor souls in purgatory who, not having satisfied Thy justice,
confide in Thine infinite mercy and our intercessions.
Extend unto them Thy consolations,
and redeem them, through Christ our Lord. Amen+
Our Father, Hail Mary...
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual
light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen+
Meditations of the End of Man
Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called. (I Tim 6:12)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 8

More On the "Heroic Act"
(Source: Catholic Encyclopedia)
"A decree of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences dated 18 December, 1885, and confirmed the following day by Leo XIII, says:
The Heroic Act of Charity in favour of the souls detained in purgatory consists in this, that a member of the Church militant, either using a set formula or simply by an act of his will, offers to God for the souls in purgatory all the satisfactory works which he will perform during his lifetime, and also all the suffrages which may accrue to him after his death. Many Christians devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, acting on the advice of the Theatine Regular Cleric Father Gaspar Olider, of blessed memory, make it a practice to deposit the said merits and suffrages as it were into the hands of the Blessed Virgin that she may distribute these favours to the souls in purgatory according to her own merciful pleasure."
The Heroic Act is usually considered a vow, but it differs in its nature because it can be revoked at any time. It is rather an offering made to God and to Mary. This point has been decided by the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences, 20 Feb., 1907, in answer to a question regarding the Heroic Vow:
"A special vow "never to revoke the Act" would probably be binding, because its subject matter is an act of the personal will of which man can freely dispose, whereas he has not the disposal of his satisfactory works in favour of the departed; that depends on God; for man it is only a matter of pious desire, and only in this sense a votum. It always remains doubtful to what extent God accepts the oblation, and it is certain that the holy souls altogether lack the power of accepting it. The practice of the Heroic Act is based on the communion of saints, in virtue of which the good deeds of one member of Christ's body benefit all other members. Its meritoriousness results from the more intense charity (love of God and His suffering friends) which inspires it, and on which the intrinsic perfection of all our good deeds depends. Its heroicity arises from the willingness it involves to take upon one's self the dreadful pains of purgatory for the love of one's neighbour, although there remains the reasonable hope that God in His goodness, and the sainted souls in their gratitude, will not allow the punishment to be exacted to the full." (Emphasis added)
Keep in mind, the taking of this vow entails our willingness endure a longer purgatory since we have given away all our satisfactory works. All that we have done in our lives that could be weighted against our debt of sins we would have volunatarily donated to other poor souls. So, in order to take the vow we must be willing to undergo a longer purgatory to pay our own debts. The trick here is this - will God indeed suffer us to suffer more due to charity? God will NOT be outdone in charity, "Charity doth cover a multitude of sins" (Tobit) if we have given everything to help others, we can have great trust that God will use our charity at our particular judgement to cover our sins, thus we may be blessed to actually have a shorter purgatory or in His generosity to avoid it altogether! Tomorrow I will post more thoughts on the Heroic Vow along with the formula prayer.
O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee by the precious blood shed by
Our Lord Jesus Christ on His most holy cross of sacrifice
to release many suffering souls from Purgatory.
Let Thine justice be appeased and accept my humble
prayer as payment of thier debts due to sin.
Have mercy my Lord and let them enter into Thy Glory.
Our Father, Hail Mary...
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
may eternal light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen+
Meditations on the End of Man
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Ps 128:2)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 7

Our Sacred Duty
(Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, subject Purgatory)

"It is the traditional faith of Catholics that the souls in purgatory are not separated from the Church, and that the love which is the bond of union between the Church's members should embrace those who have departed this life in God's grace. Hence, since our prayers and our sacrifices can help those who are still waiting in purgatory, the saints have not hesitated to warn us that we have a real duty toward those who are still in purgatorial expiation. Holy Church through the Congregation of Indulgences, 18 December 1885, has bestowed a special blessing on the so-called "heroic act" in virtue of which "a member of the Church militant offers to God for the souls in purgatory all the satisfactory works which he will perform during his lifetime, and also all the suffrages which may accrue to him after his death".

The practice of devotion to the dead is also consoling to humanity and eminently worthy of a religion which seconds all the purest feelings of the human heart. "Sweet", says Cardinal Wiseman, "is the consolation of the dying man, who, conscious of imperfection, believes that there are others to make intercession for him, when his own time for merit has expired; soothing to the afflicted survivors the thought that they possess powerful means of relieving their friend. In the first moments of grief, this sentiment will often overpower religious prejudice, cast down the unbeliever on his knees beside the remains of his friend and snatch from him an unconscious prayer for rest; it is an impulse of nature which for the moment, aided by the analogies of revealed truth, seizes at once upon this consoling belief. But it is only a flitting and melancholy light, while the Catholic feeling, cheering though with solemn dimness, resembles the unfailing lamp, which the piety of the ancients is said to have hung before the sepulchres of their dead."

Try as I might, I could not alter or improve on the above text. We are now informed that assisting the souls in purgatory is our duty, how can we best perform this duty? The above mentioned "Heroic Act" is considered the highest form of charity possible. Keep in mind, God will not be outdone in charity - you offer all for them, He will give back to you tenfold. Exchange your own acts of satisfaction for heaven itself! The next two days of this novena will focus on this Act of Charity, leading up to the formula prayer, or "act" itself on day 9.

O Lord God almighty, I beseech Thee, by the precious blood which gushed forth from the side of Thy divine Son Jesus, in the sight of, and to the extreme pain of His most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one amongst them all which was the most devout to her; that it may soon attain unto Thy glory, there to praise Thee in her, and her in Thee, world without end. Amen+

Our Father, Hail Mary...

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

Reflection on the End of Man
Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven! (Matthew 11:20)

Friday, February 9, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 6

Offering Sacrifices
"Offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (IPeter 2:5)
In order for any good work or sacrifice to be of any use for the poor souls in purgatory, they must be performed by one in a state of grace. When a soul is in mortal sin it cannot make satisfaction for itself nor for the poor souls. Prayer coming from a soul in grace is, according to St. Augustine "a key to heaven."

Gaining indulgences with the intention of aiding the souls in purgatory, either a specific soul or for any in general is a great act of charity and gains merit for the one earning the indulgence. I encourage you to purchase The Handbook of Indulgences, read it, use it daily, it is available
here. Apply your indulgences to your deceased family members, loved ones or such catagories as souls most abandoned, souls nearest or farthest from attaining Heaven, priests & religious.

We call the souls in purgatory "poor" because they suffer great poverty of spirit, paying the price they owe due to sin. They can do nothing for themselves, rather they passively submit to purification and suffer more than we can imagine. We call them "holy" because they are holy having died in a state of grace and they can sin no more. They are loved by God and He is very pleased when we help them with our prayers and sacrifices. Today, offer a small sacrifice on thier behalf - set aside part of a meal, drive in silence rather than amuse yourself with music, read holy books instead on watching TV, think of small offerings you can make and make of this a holy habit! The souls that benefit will repay you tenfold with thier prayers for you!

O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the precious blood which Thy divine son shed on this day upon the wood of the cross, especially from His most sacred hands and feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that soul for which I am most bound to pray; that no neglect of mine may hinder it from praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee forever. Amen+

Our Father, Hail Mary...

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

Reflections on the end of man
"The path of the just, as a shining light goeth forward and increaseth even unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 9:18)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Excellent Video Honoring Our Lady

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 5

The Power of the Mass
As St. Augustine stood beside his dying mother, St. Monica, she said to him "Bury my body wherever you please. Take no thought about that. Only one thing I beg of you. That at the Lord's altar, wherever you may be, remember me." St. Augustine does this, and goes one step further in his famous treastise Confession he asks the reader to also pray for his dear mother. And of course, Monica was herself raised to the altar and declared a member of heaven by Holy Mother Church.
If only we thought more of the value of the sacrifice of the Mass said for our dearly departed. The Mass is the most efficacious means to supply help and to pay the debts of the holy souls in purgatory. The Church has from the beginning remembered the dead in the Mass and has encouraged her members to offer prayers and sacrifices for them. Remember, the poor souls cannot pray for themselves, they ask us for our prayers. They cannot attend Mass, they ask us to receive the Blessed Sacrament for them. They cannot make the way of the cross, they beg us to walk and pray it for them. Gain merit for yourself, do a simple yet great act of charity and have masses said for the dead. Often our own parishes have few or no masses available to offer, I strongly encourage each of you to go here and have masses said by the Capuchins at the Seraphic Mass Association. You can have as many or as few as one Mass said and it is so easy to do!
O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee, by the precious body and blood of Thy divine Son Jesus,
which He gave with His own hands upon the eve of His passion to His beloved apostles to be their meat and drink, and which He left to His whole Church to be a perpetual sacrifice and a
life giving food of His own faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that one which was most devoted to this mystery of infinite love, that it may with the same Thy divine Son and with Thy Holy Spirit, ever praise Thee for Thy love therein in eternal glory. Amen+
Our Father, Hail Mary...
Eternal rest grant unto them, may perpetual light shine upon them,
may they rest in peace. Amen+
Reflection on the End of Man
What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world,
and suffer the loss of his soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
(Mark 7: 36)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 4

Triumph of the Elect
After this I saw before me a huge crowd which no one could count from every nation and race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne and the Lamb, dressed in long white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, "Salvation is from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb!" Then one of the elders asked me, "Who are these people all dressed in white? And where have they come from?" I said to him, "Sir, you should know better than I." He then told me "These are the ones who have survived the great period of trial; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
"It was this that brought them before God's throne: day and night they minister to Him in His temple; He who sits on the throne will give them shelter. Never again shall they know hunger or thirst, nor shall the sun or its heat beat down on them, for the Lamb on the throne will shepherd them" (Rev 7: 9-10; 13-17)
Our beloved dead may be already with the Lord. Some of them may still be undergoing a purification awaiting thier heavenly home. In either case, the fact that they have left this life is never reason enough to leave them out of our prayers. If they are indeed in Heaven, our Lord in His great generosity will apply them to another. No prayer is ever wasted.
O Lord God almighty, I pray Thee by the precious blood which Thy divine Son Jesus
shed in the streets of Jerusalem, when He carried the
cross on His sacred shoulders,
deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that soul
which is richest in merits before Thee, that so, in that throne of glory
which awaits it, it may magnify Thee and bless Thee forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary..
Eternal rest grant unto them, may eternal light shine upon them
may they rest in peace. Amen+
Reflection of the End of Man
In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shall never sin (Eccl 7:40)
Lord Jesus Christ, have compassion on Thy Church Suffering. Temper Thy justice with pity and open the gates of heaven for the souls in Purgatory, that they may praise and glorify Thee forever. Amen+

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 3

Ask for Our Mother's Help

Our own prayers are efficacious in helping pay the debts of the poor souls in Purgatory. We could however, make our prayers even more helpful by seeking the assistance of Our Blessed Mother. She takes our small insignificant prayers and enhances them, embossing them – taking our stones and turning them into priceless jewels, which her Son, Our Lord accepts from her holy hands with joy. It would be a pious and good thing to offer your veneration of Mary and the saints with the intention of aiding the Poor Souls. If you help them, be assured they will help you in all your needs with their prayers.

The Blessed Virgin Mary said to St. Bridget of Sweden: “I am the Mother of the souls in Purgatory, their torments are continually eased in some manner through my intercession. For it pleases the Lord to remit in this manner some punishments which are theirs due by justice.” (Source: Thirty-Day Devotions for the Holy Souls by Susan Tassone. Our Sunday Visitor Pub.)

Let us pray for our faithful departed:

O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee by the precious blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the holy souls in purgatory, and in particular that one amongst them all which would be the last to depart out of those pains, that it may not tarry so long a time before it come to praise Thee in Thy glory and bless Thee forever. Amen+

Our Father, Hail Mary

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

Reflection on the end of man: What things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. (Galatians 8)

Monday, February 5, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 2

Praying for the Dead
"We do not often enough remember our dead, our faithful departed."
~St. Francis de Sales
The month of November is the month set aside by the Catholic church for praying for the dead. This pious practice ought to be practiced year round by the faithful however and only particularly stressed during November. Praying for the dead is biblical and has been preached by all the great Church Fathers & Doctors. More on this daily during this Novena.
(Source: Manna of the Soul by Fr. F. X. Lasance. Published by Benzinger Bros, NY. 1917)
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee by the precious blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in Purgatory, and that soul especially amongst them all which is nearest to its entrace into Thy glory; that so it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary
Blessed Souls, you are suffering and asking suffrage from me; I am in great danger and need, and I await aid and protection from you.
So for these nine days I will offer all my prayers and
especially all my good works for you.
And you in turn remember my needs; deliver me from the
dangers I face, and in particular, obtain for me this grace
(here mention your request)
And let the first of you to enter heaven not cease to
plead for me before the divine mercy until
I, too, arrive there. May the Sacred Heart
bless this agreement.
~Bl. James Albergione

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls

Day One

Purgatory is a subject that cannot be avoided if we are serious about our Catholic faith. If we are serious about life after death, purgatory is an essential Magisterial teaching, in fact the Dogma of Purgatory entails a required belief for all Catholics. This Dogma causes us to confront the future that depends on our relationship with God at the moment of death. What becomes of those who die professing the Christian faith, but have not yet been fully transformed into His Image and Likeness? What becomes of those who die in His grace, thier sins forgiven but with debts due to those sins left unpaid?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, no. 1030) tells us authoritatively that such souls must "achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.", and "after death...undergo purification" Though the situation of the souls after death is already determined by God at the moment of death, we can yet assist them by offering prayers, good works, sufferings and sacrifices on thier behalf. It is not only a good thing to do, it is verily our duty to assist them. I offer this novena prayer for your use so that they may be aided.

Novena on Behalf of the Holy Souls of Purgatory
O Lord God almighty I pray Thee,
by the precious blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus
shed in the garden,
deliver the souls in Purgatory,
and especially that soul amongst them all
which is most destitute of spiritual aid;
and vouchsafe to bring it to Thy glory,
there to praise and bless Thee forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary
Psalm cxxix
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord
Lord hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive: to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities
Lord who shall stand it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of Thy law
I have waited for Thee O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch, even unto night
Let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him plentiful redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel, from all his inquities.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them
May they rest in peace.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Catholic Hiroshima

Catholic Hiroshima
I strongly recommend everyone to read this outstanding article from the archives of New Oxford Review, available here. It reveals with flawless logic the spiritual sickness so rampant in our Holy Catholic Church. We must pray, pray, pray without ceasing for our priests, bishops and our Holy Father.
May Mary's prayers go with you always!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget X

Burial of Jesus
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books available for purchase here.)
Consider now Our Sorrowful Mother's seventh sorrow, the burial of her Divine Son. The Blessed Virgin Mary, remember is fully human, she is without stain of sin, but human like you and I. Her lack of sin theologians state causes her grief to be more immense, not less.
We can fully relate to this sorrow - recall how people often are more torn and full of grief at the burial than during the funeral, of thier loved ones. The pain of loss seems to hit hardest at the moment of the final goodbye, as the widow, widower, children, etc., realise..."This is it, we will bury him now, he will be in the ground here and we will have to go. This is it."
I recall how at the burial of my grandfather, my grandmother by outward appearance was composed & coping well all during the wake and funeral. It wasn't until we were about to leave the graveside, after the priest had blessed the grave and said the prayers - she began to cry bitterly, and weeping she bent over her husband's casket, pressed her cheek to it and sobbed. That sorrowful time had come, so many years together and now, here at the cemetery - we part. I'm sure you have seen this, or experienced it yourself. Spend a moment and experience your Heavenly Mother's burial of her Son as she herself relates it to St. Bridget of Sweden. This revelation picks up just after the dead Jesus is laid in Mary's lap, she presses Him to her heart and washes His wounds with her own veil.
The Blessed Virgin Mary speaks: "...Mary Magdalen and the other holy women came, and many holy angels, like specks in the sunbeam, were present, paying reverence to thier Creator. What grief I then felt, no one can tell. For I was like a woman in childbirth, all of whose limbs after delivery are tremulous, who, though she can scarcely breathe for pain, yet rejoices inwardly as much as she can, because she knows that her child is born never to return to the misery from which he came. So, though I was incomparably sad for the death of my Son, yet as my Son was to die no more, but live forever, I rejoiced in soul, and so a certain gladness was mingled with my grief. I can truly say that when my Son was buried, there were in a manner two hearts in one tomb. Is it not said: "Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart"? So my thoughts and my heart were ever in the sepulcher of my Son."
Anyone who has buried a loved one can relate to this scene. If you have stood at the grave of a beloved one yet had faith and hope in thier salvation, perhaps you can also relate to Mary's "gladness mingled with grief". You are so very sad they are gone, yet you are glad they are without pain now, to die no more. Jesus and the Virgin Mary invite us all to join them at His burial scene. Come in spirit to the stone rolled in front of the tomb of Jesus, press your cheek to it and place your heart also beside your Lords'. Place there also all your cares and worries and ask Jesus for the gift of hope!
Prayer for a Recently Deceased Person
Absolve, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant N...,
from every bond of sin,that being raised in the glory of the resurrection,
he may be refreshed among the Saints and Elect.
Through Christ our Lord.