Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

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Feast of the Holy Souls

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Today, on this day after the Feast of the Holy Saints, in which we celebrate the triumph of the Holy Saints, we are called to remember the Holy Souls … those souls who lived good lives. Those souls who loved the Lord, albeit with an imperfect love and are now suffering in the purifying fires of God’s justice. These are the souls of those who are destined to go to heaven, but are still in need of spiritual cleansing. They are in purgatory, the place where God’s love reaches them like fire… burning away their impurities… separating them from any stain of sin that might still be attached to their souls. As we pray, we need to remember that the souls in purgatory have already been redeemed by God and will one day, join Him in heaven, but first they must pass through purgatory as their final cleansing… their final purification before entering heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in 1031:  The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire.”

Everyone who dies in God’s good grace Must pass through the fires of purgatory… even the saints must at least pass through purgatory’s fiery bath. To think otherwise  would put us at risk of neglecting our Christian duty of praying for the dead. The Church in Her eternal wisdom, knows this and gives us this month of November to remember our dead with sacrifices  and offerings on their behalf. We need to realize that our loved ones need our prayers… Remember, we cannot just wish our loved ones into heaven… but we can offer them our prayers! Our loved ones need us to remember them!

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

As a members of the Holy Church here on earth, we are members of the Church Militant, and we are called to be active. We are called to remember the holy souls. As Christians, we are obligated, especially on this day, and all days of November, to pray for the release of our brothers and our sisters, to the eternal reward of heaven. The Holy Church teaches that our prayers can aid them in being released from the fires of purgatory. The Catechism goes on to state in 1032:

This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

“Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.”

If we attend mass or visit a cemetery on this day, we can gain a plenary indulgence which can be applied to a holy soul in purgatory, aiding them in their release. The plenary indulgence removes the temporal punishment for sin, freeing them from the bonds of purgatory.  As Christians we need to fulfill our obligations to the dead. Unfortunately, in our modern age, this practice has fallen by the wayside. Most people have been misguided into thinking that their loved ones have made it straight away to heaven.  Because of this, many who would have benefited  from our prayers and actions, are left instead, to suffer the fires of purgatory. Remember, if the Holy Mother Church has not publicly declared your loved one a Saint in the Holy Church… they need you to pray for them. It is that simple.

Just as we have to be careful about presuming our loved ones are already in heaven, we need to remember that our prayers can only be applied to those souls in purgatory… We can not pray a soul out of hell. That is why it is important that we actively work on their conversion while they are still alive…because once a person dies in a state of mortal sin they are removed from God’s good graces and no amount of prayer can save them from the eternal fires of hell. Then it is up to the Mercy of God. We can only help those who have died in God’s grace. But the Lord is wonderful and He allows that our prayers and our petitions can help remove any remaining venial sin attached to the soul, and any temporal punishments for the mortal sins that they had already confessed in life.

 

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During this month of November, do not let a day go by without offering your prayers and your sacrifices for the release of the holy souls from purgatory, because once a soul is released to heaven they will remember you and pray for your intentions. It has been said that the soul of a person that has been released from purgatory by our prayers, are some of the most grateful and will never forget you or your intentions until the end of time! Just thinking about that aspect should be enough to make us want to remember and pray for the holy souls in purgatory, not just today, but all year long.

 

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Praying to Calm the Storm – Hurricane Michael

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From the news reports… this one looks big… and from the satellite imagining, it looks to be devastating. Last year we were faced with Hurricane Irma, but this one seems to have a different look to it... we need to pray for all of those in the path… We need to pray for protection and for God’s mercy for those who are batting down the hatches and getting ready for it to come ashore… God bless.

PRAYER FOR PROTECTION FROM HURRICANES AND STORMS
God, our Father,
Eternal and Omnipotent,
Creator and Lord of the Universe,
you have set the earth on its foundation
and all elements of nature obey your command. You give food to all flesh,
cover the heavens with clouds,
and provide rain to the earth ─
We humbly beseech you
Lord, Most High,
to keep us safe from all dangers
and to calm all the storms of life that threaten us:
especially the attack of whirlwinds and tornadoes,
the calamity and destruction of hurricanes,
the din and damage of hail storms,
the striking of thunderbolts and lightning,
and the devastation of floods and tidal waves.

May we be secure in your loving protection,
seek your Will in all our experiences,
and serve you always with grateful hearts.
We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

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A Prayer for Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children.  The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea.  We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control.  The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster.  During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father.  Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time.  O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our Beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a storm-less eternity awaits us.  Amen.

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Feast of Our Lady of The Rosary – Respect Life Sunday

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Dear Blessed Mother, Protectress and Mother of all,
take into Your charge the unborn children of
the world. Place in the hearts of all mothers a special and unselfish love of their unborn children
and the realization that all life is God given.
Change the hearts of those in governments to see
that they must not condone the
slaughter of the unborn. Be our
advocate before the throne of
God, dear Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.

 

 

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Praying For Good and Holy Priests

Whether on a personal level, or just from hearing the reports on the evening news, we’ve all felt a bit of the turmoil that has been rocking the Church for the past several  months. The news has exposed to the world, that several of the Church’s cardinals and archbishops have been named or linked to many incidences of abuse and scandal, not necessarily as those who committed the actual crimes… but as those who aided in the cover-up of these crimes… which allowed the abuse to grow and continue…

Resembling cockroaches which have been revealed in the dark, they have been scurrying  for cover, throwing around distractions, trying to divert the attention away from their actions. Many of these men who should be acting more like the soldiers of Christ that they were ordained to be, have been reduced to crawling on their bellies with the devil, weighed down by all of  their lies and excuses.

Unable, or rather; unwilling to stand up for the Light of Truth, many have behaved as cowards, delving deeper into the darkness of sin. Many  have abandoned their role as shepherd.  And instead of standing in place of Jesus Christ, as beacons of God’s Truth… they became part of the world… allowing themselves to be swept in the currents of evil that move freely about the secular world, every moment of every day.

In their falling away from God’s call to holiness, these men sinned… grave sins, that ruin the souls of good men. And instead of   shepherding their sheep… protecting their flocks… they took those who were entrusted to them and drug them directly into the dens of wolves, which were salivating at the very thought of consuming their holy flesh, and offered them as sacrifice for the devil.  It is really quite disgusting and evil. Unfortunately this has been going on for many years, and from the pile up of accusations, it appears that it is far from being over. From the way that many of our bishops and archbishops are self consumed and arrogant in their behavior, I am afraid that it will take a thorough cleansing… an exorcism of sorts, before we are freed of the sin that has embedded itself within the prelates of the Holy Mother Church.

As has been prophisized by many… it appears that the smoke of satan has wound its way down the corridors of the Vatican and has infected the hearts… and infected the souls of God’s chosen men.

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We must always remember that God is good and He is merciful.  He will provide His Church with righteous men who will be strong and courageous in the face of such manipulation and sin. He will call to Him those who love their Mother. Both in the Blessed Virgin Mary… and in the Holy Mother Church. He will provide good and holy sons. Those same kind of men that shaped the silhouette of many of our saints. The kind of men who for no other reason than their love of God and all that is True and holy, stood in the face of their adversaries and chose the difficult path of holiness. The difficult path of sanctification.  The path that found them chained and tortured… or beaten to death… receiving their crown of martyrdom when they refused to corrupt the Truth with lies.

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There are saints among us now. They will be the ones who will lead us to the path of heaven. But it is the difficult path, wrought with the lies and manipulations of evil. Wrought with attacks from the devil at every turn. It is this same path that leads some of our present day priests to finding themselves in hiding, fearing for their lives… or even living out of the back of their car, sleeping as a homeless man instead of enjoying the proper residence that should be afforded to every diocesan priest in good standing. Their crime?  Going public and exposing some of the rot within the Holy Mother Church. We must understand that these priests are being attacked, not from outside enemies of the Church… No, these men, these ordained priests of God, are being attacked from within… it’s enough to send shivers down one’s spine…

Thankfully, God has not abandoned His Bride. He has not abandoned us, the lay faithful. He is still finding men and filling them…His MenHis soldiers, with the needed courage and zeal, to speak the Truth and to face the difficult charges that are being thrown at them when they choose to reveal the corruptness instead of continuing in the cover up. Regardless of what we think would have been better… whether we think it would have just been easier for them if they had just gone with the flow and kept their mouths shut…we must remember that God is still in control. And He is calling men… His sons to holiness. And that means, He is still calling them to Truth. We must remember that there are still many good and holy priests out there, ready to help us as we navigate our way through this mine field of abuse and scandal.

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As lay faithful we need to pray and offer what we can to help these men. It is going to be a hard battle… with so many attacks coming at them from the inside… We have got to gather our forces and join our prayers for their protection… for their courage… I heard someone say that it will take the lay members to fix this…that is true… in a way… But the real battle raging is one between the devil and Christ… Between the devil and Christ’s Church… and His good and holy priests who do not waiver from the Faith….those who do not turn away from the Truth. We must have courage and help them with this battle… by our prayers and by our willingness to sacrifice and our willingness to join our struggles with those of the Church… and give everything we have … everything we do, back to God through His Bride… Our Holy Mother Church and Her good and faithful priests.

I know there are many people out there stating that their faith is in God, not in the priests or the bishops. Heck, not even in the pope.  But we must remember that without the good and holy priests throughout the ages of time, there would be no Eucharist… and without the Eucharist, there would be no hope. For all the struggles of men, God has given us His Bride… His Church, and holy priests to carry out His mission in that Church, and for any  person to deny this, is to deny the very name of Jesus as God. For as HE said over and over to His disciples… ‘No one knows the Father except through Me’…

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And then He went and built The Church upon the Rock of Peter….His first priest… His first Pope… and He built His Church upon the foundation of a man… He then poured His breath and Life upon the earth through this Holy Institution… His Bride… The Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. If we go all the way back to the beginning, we find that those first twelve apostles…those that were ‘handpicked’ by Jesus Christ Himself, also betrayed Him. They were living in His midst…sharing meals with the Lord, and still the temptation of sin won over in some of their hearts. But we don’t discount the fact that Christ knew what He was doing when He chose them. We do not judge the other eleven over the sin of Judas, do we? No, we look at the others… and even though they had their struggles, they were able to fulfill their vocation… fulfill the mission that God lay before them.

Jesus warned them that Satan would enter the Church through the sins of man, but He also promised them… promised us... that the ‘gates of hell would not prevail against it.’ He  instituted the Holy Sacraments to aid us when we have fallen… these same sacraments are available for all Catholics who have sinned… The sacrament of penance can renew our souls. And like I mentioned before, the sacrament of the Eucharist can give our hearts Hope, restoring the peace that gets lost in chaos. As His disciples, we must trust that God’s power is still working through His Church. We must also remember that no sin is greater than His love, His mercy and His forgiveness. But we must repent. All of us. All of us must turn our hearts, our minds and our souls back to the Lord and His Truth.

In the midst of all the torment, in the midst of all the agony and ugliness of sin, let His Words give us the courage we need to hold fast to the teachings of the Lord and go forward… Trusting in God with more fervor than before.  It is not a time for mediocrity. It is a time for us to trust in the Lord and do the same.  As we go through our days, let us pray for our good and holy priests, and pray that God’s mercy may be upon us all.

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O Almighty and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Thy Christ, and for love of Him Who is the eternal High-priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop’s hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests; for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory.

But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed or helped me and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly (your priest’s name here). O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen. Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for us; obtain for us many and holy priests. Amen.

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St. Vincent de Paul – To Be Christ Like Begins With Charity

 

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Let us love God; but at the price of our hands and sweat of our face.” 

You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. And the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.- St. Vincent de Paul

Another Meditation on the Poor

Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: “He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.” We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause.

Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also loves those who love the poor. For when one person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to be understanding where they are concerned. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: “I have become all things to all men.” Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress.

It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.

~ from the writings of St. Vincent de Paul

 

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Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

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Prayer:  Do not forsake me, sweet Mother of Sorrows, because you are my spiritual Mother.  If I confide my salvation to your loving care and faithfully imitate your virtues, I know you will keep me in your Immaculate Heart both now and at the hour of my death.  Amen.

Mary… the Mother of God… the Mother of our Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… Her heart pierced with sorrow… her heart full of pain… For all of Her obedience…for all of her purity and humility… she was rewarded with the suffering of swords… Oh, what a gift to be given! Not just one, but seven swords to pierce her Immaculate Heart. A pain she’d carried with her throughout her life… a pain that was prophesied from the moment of Jesus’ birth... Today, with this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we celebrate the spiritual martyrdom of the Blessed Mother. As we contemplate her suffering, let us unite our sorrow with that of this Pure, Compassionate, Blessed Virgin… let us offer her our prayers of consolation for our sins…those sins which helped nail Christ to the Cross…

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Oh Thou Mother, font of love! Touch my spirit from above, make my heart with Thine accord, Make me feel as Thou hast felt; make my soul to glow and melt with the love of Christ the Lord.

And let us also remember that Mary was able to do all that God asked of her, not because She was the Mother of God… no, she was able to bear all things… all sufferings, because she lived her holiness. She clung to her Faith… living it…breathing it… every moment… everyday. She sought to unite herself so closely to the One Who created her, that she was able to view all the events... in all their dreadful agony, with the eyes of God. She did not put herself first… She thought only of God’s plan and His workings for man’s salvation. She gave God her yes… not just once... but with all of her life.

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On this feast of The Most Sorrowful Heart of Mary we are reminded of the tremendous evilness of sin and how damaging it is, not only to our souls, but to the very breath of Christ, which is the Church in the world today. Let us contemplate our acts of sinfulness with repentance… and be truly sorry for having offended God.  Finally, let us pray:  Most Sorrowful Heart of Mary, pray for us, that by uniting our sufferings to yours, and truly being sorry for our sins, that we made be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

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