Saturday, October 23, 2010

Well Deserved Chastisement

All should read this and shiver -

"Now I beg those who read this book not to be disheartened by these misfortunes, but to consider that these chastisements were meant not for the ruin but for the correction of our nation. It is, in fact, a sign of great kindness to punish sinners promptly instead of letting them go for long. Thus, in dealing with other nations, the Lord patiently waits until they reach the full measure of their sins before he punishes them; but with us he has decided to deal differently, in order that he may not have to punish us more severely later, when our sins have reached their fullness. He never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with misfortunes, he does not abandon his own people." ~2 Maccabees 6:12-16

Holy Card

Image of a French Holy card published by R. Pannier, Paris, in the late 19th century
They don't make them like this anymore. This is an old, 1800's holy card that I ran across when searching for an image for my previous post on a prayer for the dying - putting into google "holy card dying" This is a poignant meditation on death. This is a topic close to me at present as I spent the better part of the last day assisting at the bedside of a dying family member. Below is the interpretation of the words on the card from French.
“Eternity. You, mortal, who has an immortal soul, study, meditate, ponder over this great word: ETERNITY.” Frame: “Do the good while there is time. Ponder over Death to live well and to die well. Think about death, give up sin, stay out of the world, give yourself up to God. Death is certain, only its hour is uncertain.” Inside the frame: “Prepare for a good death through a good life, for time is short. Today is my turn, tomorrow yours. I have been, you shall be what I am. Pray for the souls in Purgatory. They expect your prayers and the relief of their plight. Make a choice. Eternal Heaven. Eternal Hell.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prayer for the Dying

Jesus and Mary at the deathbed of St. Joseph

O merciful Jesus, lover of souls, we beseech you by the agony of your most Sacred Heart and by the sorrows of your Immaculate Mother, to wash clean in your blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their final agony, but especially those on their way to eternal damnation and who are to die this day. Heart of Jesus, who suffered death’s agony, have mercy on these poor souls. Amen.

(Prayer for Mercy for the Dying from the booklet, Devotion to the Divine Mercy)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Distraction at Mass a bad thing?

I have a great deal of longing for piety, reverence, sacredness and solemnity at Mass. My family and I are blessed to be members of a very good parish actually. Positives: We have order priests, many (not all) altar servers wear cassocks, our priests wear cassocks, 1880's style church architecture, rather minimal wreckovation, orthodox homilies, pipe organ, fairly solid catachetics...well not too bad right?

Negatives: Odd mixture of sappy 70's music, a virtual ARMY of extraordinary ministers, no altar rail, altar girls wearing flip get the picture.

The point of this post is not to complain but to rather share with you how I've learned to cope with this. Oh, about 3 years ago or so I went through a terrible, close to one year temptation to flee the Church. If there had been an SSPX chapel in my town, I don't think I could have resisted going there. Anyway - I would at times be in such spiritual pain at mass I would try to let my soul flee the church while "I" stayed put in the pew to make my Sunday obligation. This was a terrible affliction. Currently my soul has calmed down and this is why...

I went to confession about my "distraction" and was directed to close my eyes when this temptation (to flee Mass) came upon me and pray to Jesus and His mother for help and join my suffering with thiers.
So I began as directed and after months and months of struggle I can now sit rather peacefully through anything. Through God's grace I have been gifted with some help in this regard. The ONLY time I open my eyes once the Liturgy of the Eucharist starts is when I go to Communion until we stand for the prayers of the faithful. I never look upon the hand raising at the Our Father, I look not upon the scantily clad making the mad dash for the altar. Even with the use of the rather horrible Mass of Creation my soul follows the liturgy while my eyes cannot see the horrors before me.

I let my soul explore the depths of the beauty of our Catholic religion as it were. At the Agnus Dei I imagine a multitude of saints surrounding Jesus the Lamb at Knock and all the angelic choirs sing to Him. I can barely hear the organ, or the people around me. During the Eucharistic prayer I imagine being instead in a medieval Cathedral with St. Charles Borromeo saying mass ad orientam with great sanctity. At other times I kneel at the feet of a holy priest in a Nazi gulag saying a secret, private Mass. Going on...the Sanctus can be the Seraphim bowing low to the Throne singing out "Sanctus, Sanctus!" or St. Thomas More singing as he walked to the block, or St. Joan of Arc singing her love of God from the get the picture. The great amen could be the moment that Maria Goretti chose to give her life rather than into her attackers impure desires, staring up at the tip of the knife "Amen"

My soul can soar the heights while my body stays still and quiet in the pew. In a word I try to join my soul with the Church Triumphant because it is only there that my thirst for beauty and solemnity will be satified. Only Heaven shall not disappoint. Sometimes my soul is so immersed in my contemplation that I have a hard time not crying or letting it show.

The Lord had pity on me and has granted me this great consolation and has saved me from further discouragement. I wanted to share this with you so you may try this to see if it is helpful for your soul as well.

May Mary's prayers go with you always. Amen+