Friday, February 29, 2008

Prunana Vitae

Wolftracker over at Kansas City Catholic has put up a great post that I highly recommend to all - hint: it has a great ending!

"Prunus persica is the Latin name for the common peach. Let me tell you how I know.
On a sunny Saturday morning in April last year, as I was re-stringing a classical guitar at the breakfast table and my wife was at the kitchen sink, the telephone rang. My hands seeming more full than hers, my wife picked up the telephone. It was for me. To my surprise, a lawyer on the other end of the line informed me that a distant relation of mine had died and had left me a 160-acre peach orchard in her will. “Why me?” I asked, slightly stupefied. The lawyer replied, “Why not?”

Go here to read the rest - fascinating story!

At the Foot of the Cross of Christ

"Let us go to the foot of the Cross,
and there complain....if we have the
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
Another beautiful holy card from Micki. I cannot recommend her fine blog enough. Place yourself dear reader here in the young person's place when you pray to Jesus. See with the eyes of your soul how His love for you is expressed in His willingness to suffer and die for you. Your faith consists not in sweetness, fun and happiness but rather in a willingness to suffer with your Lord upon the Cross. Amen+


You Are 52% Cynical

Yes, you are cynical, but more than anything, you're a realist.

You see what's screwed up in the world, but you also take time to remember what's right.

Just wanted to post something on the lighter side today...trying to cheer myself up!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Praying with the Saints

(Saints by Fra Angelico)

One spiritual practice I've been using for some years now, I have found fruitful. I have more recently shared it with my family and we now put it into practice in our nightly rosary (no we don't pray the rosary every night, but more often than not) This is very simple and goes like this:

With each decade of the rosary/chaplet/etc. pronounce your intention and ask a saint or, in the case of my children MULTIPLE saints to implore the Lord before His throne for said intention. In practice it goes like this:

My husband leads the rosary, at the start of each decade he calls a child's name, the response goes like this: "The ah...the angel comes to Mary, uh, the Ammonciation...." , "You mean the Annunciation?", "Yeah...the we'll pray for grandma and grandpa for their health, for Charley (the dog) so he'll have a long life, and for our family and that I can get better grades. We'll pray with Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John... and let me see, St. Nicholas and St. Benedict too....Our Father..."

That would be our youngest, he's 11. Believe me, the teenagers are no different, just less enthusiastic. We talk about the certainty that with the name of each saint called on, they do indeed enter the room, kneel down with us before our home altar and pray with us, and for us.

In my own private prayer life it works a bit different. I have five primary patrons who I've "assigned" as it were to each decade of the rosary so I no longer call on them specifically but as I pray I imagine them right beside me, witnessing the mysteries with me. They of course are saints of God, much greater than me - I am no one. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly wretched I spiritually place my head in their hands, cower on the ground at their feet, or kiss their feet and beg like the most needy person alive for their help. I find they will often lead me in the meditation on the mysteries, walk with me from the scourging to the crowning of thorns, etc. This practice has richly deepened over the years to the point that I can no longer image prayer in any other manner. For instance, St. Charles Borromeo is my patron of the third decade. I am now accostomed to kneel beside him as our Lord is beaten by the soldiers and crowned with thorns. We praise His Holy Name as Jesus is spit upon, His beard plucked... sometimes at the end of this decade I imagine myself to kiss St. Charles' pectoral cross as he hands me off to St. Raphael for the carrying of the Cross. I ask my Angel Guardian to accompany me always as well.
This way, we are never, never alone in our prayers, but have a veritable arsenal at our disposal with which to beseech God for the graces needed. And God does surely know how badly I'm in need of His graces!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mother of the Stressed

Many in these days are under a great deal of stress. What is stress anyway? I think this to be multifaceted, a painful and difficult phenomenon that is common to most people on earth. We feel stress when duties drag us away from other more pleasurable things, when after a long day at work, you come home to a house full of work, children that need you, a spouse that needs you - aka more work.

We all must strive to remember that there are limits to what a person can do. There needs be a balance between work, play and prayer. But alas this balance is lost from so many lives mine included! Do you think the Blessed Virgin Mary felt stress? Pain, sorrow, joy...yes, but stress? Is stress from God? I've heard discouragement is not of God, but what of stress?

I tend to be a driven person. My husband is a very driven person. Our weekend "getaway" went like this: work until the last second possible, throw the bags packed in haste in the car, drive like mad to the airport, wait and wait in lines there....nap on the flight, scramble for transport to the hotel - check in, get to the room and what? Pull out the laptop and work. Get up around 5 am, work out like crazy people, inhale a bagel, grab a coffee to go and sit in a scientific lecture for the same for 5 days in a row, grab a late flight, get home late, try, try, try not to be irritable with the kids, get to bed late, get up early, go back to work and wonder, wonder, wonder why am I feeling overwhelmed??

Today I called in sick. I'm not any kind of physically sick, but I'm what you could call, "mentally beleagured" I asked my dear husband this morning "Why is it that so many women work full time, have homes, families and they handle it so much better than me?" (I only work a mere 20 hours a week btw) He chuckled and said "The majority of professionals take antidepressants" You know what? He's right....I don't take any medication and so from time to time I get "stressed out" trying to meet everybody's needs. Thankfully this tends to be short lived, but tough in the midst of it.

(sigh) Lord I pray not for a lesser burden in this life, but rather a stronger back with which to bear it. Help me to find balance so that I may love You, know You, serve my neighbor and You better. Amen+

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Suffering Mary

It is good to go the feet of your Mother and lay before her all your troubles, wants, needs, sufferings...surrender into her merciful hands all you have, all you are and she will care for you as she did her Son.


Don't forget in this Lenten season, as we try to "pay down" some of our debts due to sin - so also assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We are to offer alms, as we all know almsgiving "covereth a multitude of sins" Who is more poor than they? In praying, offering masses, doing the stations of the Cross for the members of the Church suffering - we in fact do all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy at once. We visit those in prison, give water and food to the thirsy and hungry, clothe the naked and so on...

The Thirteenth Station

Jesus, how brutally you were put to death. How gently did you descend from the cross. The suffering and pain are ended Lord, and you are laid upon the lap of your holy mother. How tenderly did she press you to her heart. She wiped away the dirt and blood with the affection that only a mother has.

Assist us to live this day as if it were the last. Help me become a more gentle and loving person, patterning myself to thine Immaculate Mother.

O Mary, Mother most sorrowful, the sword of grief pierced thy soul when thou didst see Jesus lying lifeless on thy bosom; obtain for me hatred of sin because sin slew thy Son and wounded thine own heart, and grace to live a Catholic life - may my soul be spared the fire. Mary most sorrowful, be my salvation!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Beautiful Holy Card

This one posted by Ken at Hallowed Ground. I love this image and the way Mary is depicted offering together with the priest the chalice of Christ's blood to the Father. I often picture in my mind Mary making this same offering at the foot of the Cross.

Back Home!

Hello all! We are back from the trip to Chicago. Thanks be to God we returned safe and sound without a single airline/airport issue or complication. My husband and I did indeed get to the Basilica once for Sunday mass. This is truly a beautiful place, but sadly the neighborhood surrounding it has become rather dilapidated. I took lots of pictures (above is not one of them) but have to find the time to upload them to my computer and if they turned out well will post them as soon as I have time.
The mass was simple and beautiful. What you can't see in the pictures I've posted are the many original paintings. There's a fabulous one of Pope Pius XII placing a crown on the Basilica and one of each of Mary's seven sorrows. I ran around furiously clicking my camera while our taxi waited outside. The Servite priest spoke with us afterwards and was very kind. He enrolled my husband in the Black Scapular and talked with us about the history of the Basilica. He asked me for the address of my blog and I hope, Father if you make it here you will leave me a comment!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Trip to Chicago

Posting has been sparse lately as I've been so busy with work, family and home projects! My husband and I will be leaving for Chicago tomorrow for 5 days of CME conferencing. We are planning to assist Mass at the above church, The Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica. I plan to take some pictures and will post them upon our return - that is if I can remember to charge the battery on my camera! My husband will also be enrolled in the Black scapular of Our Lady's Sorrows (I am already enrolled in this one).

I will remember each of you at the altar. May Mary's prayers go with you always. Amen+

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friar Servants of Mary, the Servite Order

The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order

Go here for the international website for the Servite Order. I am also adding this to my favorite website list on the right sidebar. I encourage each of you to learn more about this order and pray for them. Look into them if you are discerning a call to religious life. I cannot speak for their orthodoxy, nor if this order is thriving or diminishing as so many are today. I simply don't know enough to say. From this order comes the black scapular, which seems to be underemphasized perhaps.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Confraternity of Our Lady's Sorrows III & More info on the Black Scapular

Purpose of the Confraternity
"The purpose of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows is to foster devotion to the passion of Christ and the sorrows of Mary, Mother of the Lord. The seven sorrows of Mary are based on events in Mary's life as recorded in the gospels."
Photo (Servite Friars Logo)

"The Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows assists the faithful in their Christian life and commitment by helping them draw inspiration from Mary who had a share in Christ's redemptive passion and death through her own sorrows. The members of the Confraternity strive to develop the virtue of compassion so that they might be with their suffering brothers and sisters through prayer and words of mercy."
Who May Be Enrolled
Any baptized person of any age who promises to fulfill the obligations of the Confraternity may be enrolled.

What are the Obligations?
The members of the Confraternity commit themselves:
1. To wear the black scapular or medal of Our Lady as a sign of their commitment.
2. To pray 10 to 15 minutes each day for the intentions of the entire Servite Family (friars, nuns, sisters, member of the Secular Order and the Secular Institutes, and especially members of this Confraternity). The Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows is recommended, but other prayer forms may be substituted. For a just cause, this obligation may be reduced to seven Hail Mary's.
3. To pray each day at least on "Hail Mary," "Hail Holy Queen" and the "Prayer for the Church and the Servite Order."
4. If possible, to undertake works of mercy, especially toward those suffering in body or spirit.

What are the Benefits?
1. A share in the prayers and works of Servites throughout the world, and in the prayers and works of other members of this Confraternity.
2. An opportunity to deepen one's own spiritual life and devotion to Mary in her sorrows.
3. Enrollment in the Register of the Servite Confraternity.
4. A black scapular, membership diploma, and prayer card.
5. A copy of the Novena in Honor of Our Sorrowful Mother.
6. Regular mailing of available newletters and magazines of the Servite Order, such as the Newsletter of the Servite Secular Order, Servites Today and the Servite Missions Annual.

Application for Membership
To cover the cost of the scapular and Servite publications, we ask a sacrificial donation of $10.00. If this is not possible, your heart will determine what you can afford at this time. To remain an active member, your membership may be renewed each year for the same sacrificial donation.

To enroll your name, address and donation payable to Servite Friars. Mail to:

Servite Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows
3121 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60612.

You can also purchase the rosary (or chaplet) of the Sorrowful Mother/Servite Rosary for $6.00 for black, $8.00 for crystal.
(Source: Pamphlet entitled The Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows. Published by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. Chicago, IL)

As I stated in an earlier post, my husband and I sent off our application a few days ago. As you can see, with your enrollment you will receive a black scapular. You can also obtain them here from the Holy Face Association. I ordered 4 from them and received them recently. They are of "mid" quality I would say, definately better than typical free scapulars, but much lower quality then these - where I typically purchase scapulars. Rose Scapular unfortunately does not offer the black scapular apart from the five-fold scapular. Holy Face Association did however send some great information with the scapulars which will be the subject of the next few posts!