Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows – September 15

Although the entire month of September is dedicated to the Sorrowful Heart of Our Blessed Mother, on the 15th we observed the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On this day we contemplate the seven swords that pierced the Heart of Our Blessed Mother and caused Her a great deal of suffering and agonizing pain. It is a pious practice for us to contemplate these seven sorrowful swords and unite ourselves with Our Dear Blessed Mother in Her suffering.

The Seven Sorrows, or Seven Swords that pierced the Heart of Our Lady are:

1. The prophecy of Simeon: “You yourself shall be pierced with a sword – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.” (Luke 2:35).
2. The flight into Egypt; “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt.” (Mt 2:13).
3. Losing of the Child Jesus “You see that your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow.” (Luke 2:48).
4. Meeting Jesus as He carries His Cross on His way to Calvary.
5. Standing at the foot of the Cross as Jesus is Crucified “Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother.” (John 19:25).
6. Jesus being taken from the Cross.
7. Jesus is laid in the tomb.

We can unite ourselves to Our Blessed Mother with our prayers, our penances, and our sufferings. Our Blessed Mother also wishes for us to spend time consoling the Heart of Her Son, by spending time with Him in Eucharistic Adoration. This adoration not only unites us with Our Blessed Mother, but unites us with Her Son who is so often forgotten and abandoned in the Tabernacle. As faithful Catholics, we must remember that anything we do for Our Lady, we do for Her Son. She takes nothing for Herself. Everything is given to Jesus. The surest way for any of us to grow closer to Jesus is to grow closer to His Mother. And today the Church gives us an opportunity to do both.

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The Beach at Dawn…

The waves rush

one way and then the other…

Both pulling and pushing me

I sink my toes into the sand

Trying not to tumble

In the violent force of the ocean’s angry embrace.

It is like a jealous lover

who smothers you with both affections and insults.

Stripping Everything away.

The waves

The water cleanses me.

The good, as well as the bad, are gone.

The beautiful and the ugly…

all of it washed away….

carried out to sea and scattered in the breeze

what is left has fallen

on the sand like broken bits of shell and glass…

those pieces of me remain.

fragments of my heart

that once beat and stirred

and dared to dream

of Thee…

my hands, now bent and broken

are clean….there is no stain of sin.

There, in the ocean’s embrace nothing remains.

There is no outward sign

of who I once was,

or who I used to be.


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Brokenness of Heart

and so begins this season of Lent.

Just a few short hours ago, I was making promises of spring, with dreams of renewal and growth.

And today, my heart is like an empty swing, being moved by an unseen breeze…

no matter how hard I try to settle and still it, it is always just a bit out of reach, sending ripples of pain

through my hollowed chest. i have promised my heart to You, Oh Lord… i have promised it to You,

in all its brokenness.. in all its unworth. And though Your embrace is stored safely in my memory and i

have retained my confidence in Your unfailing love…. this season of smudges and ashes causes my mind

to doubt… It is a seperating away from my earthly attachments… and whether they be they good or bad….

it still hurts…

This shattering of self brings me falling to me knees. My eyes are filled with the bitterness of tears, and

i beg You Lord, as this season of Lent unfolds before me, to allow this misery to not be a product of my

own self love, but rather the result of an honest attempt of emptying my heart so that at the end of these

forty days, it will truly be that I have the Heart of Christ.

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February 2nd- Feast of the Presentation of Jesus- Feast of Candlemas

My Reflections...: Reflection for Sunday February 2, Feast ...
Presentation of the Child Jesus- Feast of Candlemas

Gospel

Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
–and you yourself a sword will pierce–
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

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January 27th -Feast of Saint Angela Merici

            “You will accomplish more by kind words and a courteous manner than by anger or sharp rebuke, which should never be used except in necessity.”

 

St Angela Merici | St Angelas Castle Hill

 

Do not lose courage if you feel yourselves incapable of knowing and doing all that such a special charge demands. Have confidence and strong faith that God will assist you in everything.”

Prayer to Saint Angela Merici

O God, who through Blessed Angela didst cause a new company of holy virgins to grow up within Thy Church, grant us through her intercession to lead angelic lives, so that, renouncing all earthly joys, we may deserve to enjoy those that are eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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St. Joseph Vaz- Apostle of Ceylon- Jan. 16

Saint of the Day: Saint Joseph Vaz - Thursday, January 16

Saint Joseph Vaz was born into a Christian family and was able to attend primary and secondary school, going on to the University to finish his studies. He was a very brillant man and had a gift for preaching and learning several different languages. 

As a priest, his heart belonged to Our Lady, and he devoted himself entirely to Her service. In 1677, he consecrated himself as a “slave of Mary,” sealing the consecration with a document now referred to as his “Letter of Enslavement.”

He was a very compassionate man and was concerned about the condition of Catholics living in Ceylon, who were being persecuted by the Dutch, and had been without a priest for 50 years. Altough he sought permission he was asked to go to the mission in Kanara. There he preached, celebrated Mass and heard confessions. Not only did he carry out his daily duties, he also visited the sick, and was able to ransom Christian slaves as well, often dressing as a beggar to travel around. 

Becoming quite ill with dysentry, he was able to recover and began once again on his mission, by secretely reaching out to Catholics and hiding from the Dutch. He ministered to the Catholics under the cover of night and with the help of his flock, was able to keep one step ahead of the authorities. He was a couragous priest who continued his misionary work and upon hearing of another  large village of Catholics who were without the Sacraments or a priest, he headed that way. But instead of being able to work freely he was captured and imprisioned. While in prison he learned the local language and under the somewhat lax guards, he was able to administer to the other prisoners. Slowly, but with continued effort he was able to convert many more of the people. And due to miracles that occurred, he was released and able to continue his missionary works.

He died of natural causes 1711, in Sri Lanka. There were so many mourners at his funeral, his body had to be exposed for three days to accomadate the crowds. He is buried in the central providence of Sri Lanka, known as Kandy.

When one looks at the life of this hard working priest, who overcame so many obstacles and was able to convert many pagans to Christianity, it is without a doubt due to the fact that he loved the Blessed Mother and consecrated himself as a “slave of Mary,” sealing it with the document known as his “ Letter of Enslavement.” As you read his words, dear reader, ask yourself, can you consider yourself a ‘slave of Mary’? God bless.

Let it be known to all who see this “Letter of Bondage”, angles, human beings, and all creatures, that I Fr. Joseph Vaz, sell and offer myself as a perpetual slave of the Virgin Mother of God. This I do through a free, spontaneous and perfect act of devotion which in law is known as an irrevocable act among the living. I give myself and all that I possess so that She, as my true Mistress and Mother, may dispose of me and my possessions as She wills. And because I consider myself unworthy of such an honour, I beseech my Guardian Angel and the glorious patriarch St. Joseph, the most blessed Spouse of the Sovereign Lady and the Saint whose name I bear, as well as all the citizens of heaven that they may obtain from Her this favour to be included among the number of Her slaves. I confirm this and seal it with my name. I would have liked to sign it with my heart’s blood. Written in the Church of Sancoale, at the foot of the altar of the same Virgin Mary Mother of God, Our Lady of Health, on this day the 5th of August, the Feast of Our Lady of Snows, in the year 1677.”

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Praying the Angelus Everyday

I was just looking over some catholic sites on social media and stumbled across a site called

Renewing The Real Presence. On their site, they had an article about the Angelus, a very short bit of info, and then the prayer. Please read it and prayerfully consider adding it to your daily prayer routine. We are still at the beginning of the year, and it is the perfect time to implement these changes to your prayer life that you have been wanting to do for some time. God bless.

The Angelus brings an indulgence of 10 years for each recitation, and a plenary indulgence once a month for those who say it three times every day. It may be said standing or kneeling. The whole Angelus, as commonly printed, has to be recited. Those who do not know the prayers by heart, or who are unable to read them, may say five Hail Marys in their place. – Arthur Tonne, Talks On The Sacramentals, Didde Printing Co., (1950), Nihil Obstat, Imprimi Potest

THE ANGELUS

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,

R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, etc…

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

R. Be it done unto me according to Your Word. Hail Mary, etc…

V. And the Word was made flesh,

R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc…

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord, Thy Grace into our hearts; that we to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Latin

V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae.

R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto. Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

V. Ecce ancilla Domini,

R. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Ave Maria. . .

V. Et Verbum caro factum est,

R. Et habitavit in nobis. Ave Maria. . .

V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix,

R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.Oremus. Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

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First Friday of 2022

On this 1st Friday of the new year, we have, in a sense, an oppurtunity to become like modern day magi, by seeking out and visiting our local parish to adore and pay homage to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Whereas some Churches have put away the creche and the Baby Jesus until next year, the actual Body of Christ waits for us under the guise of bread, in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

As this New Year awaits us, the Lord awaits us as well. What better way to begin the year than by consoling the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus which is so wounded by the sins and ingratitude of men. Men who are thankless for all that the Lord has done for them. In Psalm 68 : 21 Jesus laments that His friends have foresaken Him, by not even staying one hour to comfort Him. On this first Friday of the year, let us commit ourselves to honoring the Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist.

I have copied a prayer of Reparation to the Blessed Sacrament to be said in front of the Holy Eucharist. Copy it and say it next time you are in front of the Lord. And as we think of resolutions for this new year, let us commit ourselves to dedicating at least one hour to honor the Lord in adoration for the repreation for the sins of all.  My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee. Amen. God bless you, my friends.

O sweetest Jesus, whose overflowing charity towards men is most ungratefully repaid by such great forgetfulness, neglect and contempt, see, prostrated before Your altars, we strive by special honor to make amends for the wicked coldness of men and the contempt with which Your most loving Heart is everywhere treated.

At the same time, mindful of the fact that we too have sometimes not been free from unworthiness, and moved therefore with most vehement sorrow, in the first place we implore Your mercy on us, being prepared by voluntary expiation to make amends for the sins we have ourselves committed, and also for the sins of those who wander far from the way of salvation, whether because, being obstinate in their unbelief, they refuse to follow You as their shepherd and leader, or because, spurning the promises of their Baptism, they have cast off the most sweet yoke of Your law.

We now endeavor to expiate all these lamentable crimes together, and it is also our purpose to make amends for each one of them severally: for the want of modesty in life and dress, for impurities, for so many snares set for the minds of the innocent, for the violation of feast days, for the horrid blasphemies against You and Your saints, for the insults offered to Your Vicar and to the priestly order, for the neglect of the Sacrament of Divine love or its profanation by horrible sacrileges, and lastly for the public sins of nations which resist the rights and the teaching authority of the Church which You have instituted.

Would that we could wash away these crimes with our own blood! And now, to make amends for the outrage offered to the Divine honor, we offer to You the same satisfaction which You once offered to Your Father on the Cross and which You continually renew on our altars, we offer this conjoined with the expiations of the Virgin Mother and of all the Saints, and of all pious Christians, promising from our heart that so far as in us lies, with the help of Your grace, we will make amends for our own past sins, and for the sins of others, and for the neglect of Your boundless love, by firm faith, by a pure way of life, and by a perfect observance of the Gospel law, especially that of charity; we will also strive with all our strength to prevent injuries being offered to You, and gather as many as we can to become Your followers.

Receive, we beseech You, O most benign Jesus, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Reparatress, the voluntary homage of this expiation, and grant, by that great gift of final perseverance, to keep us most faithful until death in our duty and in Your service, so that at length we may all come to that fatherland, where You with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns God for ever and ever.

Amen.

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An Epiphany of Sorts

On this twelfth day of Christmas while we celebrate the Epiphany of Christ, God in His goodness has given me a private epiphany of sorts so that one day this miserable soul of mine may overcome itself in order that, with God’s help, I may be free from all that binds my soul preventing it from truly becoming who the Good Lord has intended for me to be.

These past couple of days have really been an eye opener. A stomach wrenching, kind of eye opening. It has become painfully aware to me that I suffer, dare I even speak this aloud, from the sin of pride. The horrible truth is that I hadn’t given it much thought these past couple of months, because honestly, I just don’t feel like a prideful person. I definetely don’t go around self promoting or going on and on about myself… I don’t consider myself a bragger… And because I regularly attend Holy Mass, I thought I was safe … immune in a way, to this awful vise.

I mean, heck, I can get myself ready to leave the house in under twenty minutes….that’s a quick shower a smudge of makeup and bam! Out the door. No primping for hours in front of the mirror …no, nothing like that. But like I said these past couple of days, God has really humbled me. Painfully humbled me. The kind of humbling that causes one’s insides to want to flee, after the realization that i … my body… are just pounds of rotting flesh. It is the kind of pain that engulfs one’s entire sense of self and worth…. or more precisely our worthlessness. It is a self centered pain that stems from this disordered entanglement with pride. It is when your entire being knows… deep down, that you are just a sorry bit of mush, faking it through the days. Constantly putting on airs, and using all the gifts that God has freely given you to promote yourself. In reality, when truth be told, i am really nothing… we are all nothing, without Him

All that we have comes from God. Whether it may come to us through the tender love of Our Blessed Mother, or directly from the Lord, everything we have… except for sin, everything comes from God. Talk about a punch in the gut. It is a painful realization that even after all of this time, pride has such a control over who I am. In a world where I don’t belong…a world that is not my home, I have come to concern myself in such great measures of what I appear to be. Even if I dress in such a way as not to attract attention…I still desire attention. I don’t want to be forgotten, but I should not care. God has not forgotten me. He has clearly shown me many times that I am His child, and that He loves me very much. Even when I don’t deserve to be loved. This is a truth that I know in my heart, so why I do bother with what others think? Now please don’t get me wrong, we need to always behave in charity with everyone, we need our actions to be rooted in kindness, not just for the sake of being thought of as being kind… we need to be kind because of God…. So that we may unite ourselves to Him and His Holy Heart. Not to please ourselves. And definetely not so that others will have pleasing thoughts of us. Does this make sense?

As I look towards this new year stretched out before me, with whatever the Lord has planned, I need to refocus on my true intentions, i need to work on overcoming this sin of pride. I am not sure of a game plan as of yet, but this much I know for certain, this is something I won’t be able to do on my own… Firstly, I am going to throw myself at Our Dear Lord’s feet and beg Him to have mercy on my sinful arrogance. I am going to plead, ( as i have done so often before) with the Blessed Mother to turn Her sweet gaze upon me and help me get through this horrible mess. This realization is very painful, and if I am not careful….if I fail to throw myself prostrate before the Lord, I am afraid it could fracture my soul….it is a very devious vice, this pride… far more damaging to our peace than we realize.

In Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord asks those with Him to learn from Him….I think He is also teaching us. …“for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt 11:29). He is setting as example of how we are to be, how we are to live. In the letter of St. James we read,“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). With all of this in mind, let us look to the Litany of Humility for help. Below is the litany composed by Rafael Vardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930), the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X, that begins with us asking that God fill our hearts and souls with genuine humility, which is afterall, the essential virtue for holiness.

Remember, we mustn’t faint under this burdensome task or lose hope. We mustn’t lose sight that it was God Who created us from out of nothing, and we must remember that this lesson on pride comes from Him as well… He is Our Loving Father guiding us towards spiritual growth … He will not abandon us now. So with confidence in His unfailing love, let us begin this year under His care. Let us run to Our Dear Mother and ask Her to cover us with Grace so that we may be able to come through this, on the path of holiness that leads us closer not only to Her Immaculate Heart but ultimately to the Sacred Heart of the Lord in heaven. Stay courageous my friends, the year has but just begun! Viva Cristo Rey!

*When the Litany of Humility is prayed in a private setting by two or more people, the lines given in italics below are the responses to a leader.

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,

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January 6th- Feast of the Epiphany

 

January 5th 2020 - Feast of the Epiphany - St. Clare Parish

“O God, Who by the guidance of a star didst this day reveal Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be so led as to behold with our eyes the beauty of Thy majesty. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.”

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