Good Friday Meditation: A prayer before the Crucifix, by St Francis de Sales

Good Friday Meditation: A prayer before the Crucifix, by St Francis de Sales

A while back I came across this stunning prayer by St Francis de Sales. It’s a prayer about one’s death, and the grace to die a holy death that leads to union with Christ. It is a perfect prayer,  I thought, for our own meditation before the Cross of Christ on Good Friday.

“O Jesus, agonizing on the Cross, be my model at the hour of death. Although You are the Creator and Restorer of life, You willed to undergo death and accepted it willingly in order to expiate my sins. Death had no claim on You; You are the fountain of life and immortality, in whom and by whom all creatures have life; yet You willed to subject Yourself to death in order to resemble me and to sanctify my death.

“O death, who will henceforth fear you, since the Author of life bears you in His bosom, and without doubt, everything in Him is life-giving. I embrace you, I clasp you in my divine Savior’s heart; there, like a chick under the wing of the mother hen, I shall peacefully await your coming, secure in the knowledge that my most merciful Jesus will sweeten your bitterness and defend me against your rigors.

“O Jesus, from this moment I wish to employ all my powers in accepting all the circumstances and pains of my death; from this moment I desire to accept death in the place, hour, and manner in which it may please You to send it. I know very well that I must suffer and be ground by the teeth of tribulations, sorrows, privations, desolations, and sufferings in order to become bread worthy to serve at Your celestial banquet, O Christ, on the day of the general resurrection. I well know that if the grain of wheat does not fall into the ground and die, it brings forth no fruit; therefore, with all my heart, I accept the annihilation of death in order to become a new man, no longer mortal and corruptible, but immortal and glorious.” (St. Francis de Sales).

This quote is from Divine Intimacy by Fr Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdelen, OCD.

Note: I did try to find this quote within the writings of St Francis de Sales but I could not come up with its original source. I’d be obliged that if you know where the original text is from that you let me know in the comments box or send me an email.

 

St Joseph, pray for us… a few links of interest

St Joseph, pray for us… a few links of interest

In the course of that pilgrimage of faith which was his life, Joseph, like Mary, remained faithful to God’s call until the end. While Mary’s life was the bringing to fullness of that fiat first spoken at the Annunciation, at the moment of Joseph’s own “annunciation” he said nothing; instead he simply “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24). And this first “doing” became the beginning of “Joseph’s way.” The Gospels do not record any word ever spoken by Joseph along that way. But the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence, for thanks to that silence we can understand the truth of the Gospel’s judgment that he was “a just man” (Mt 1:19).

One must come to understand this truth, for it contains one of the most important testimonies concerning man and his vocation. Through many generations the Church has read this testimony with ever greater attention and with deeper understanding, drawing, as it were, “what is new and what is old” (Mt 13:52) from the storehouse of the noble figure of Joseph.

Redemptoris Custos (“Guardian of the Redeemer”) by Bl. John Paul II.

Joseph’s Way – my reflections on St Joseph from 2011 at Patheos.

Salute to a Silent Saint – from the Marians at the Shrine of Divine Mercy

AW 160: In this Among Women podcast from the archives, I describe the obedience and faith of Joseph as it impacts the  marriage of Joseph and Mary, drawing on the writings Blessed John Paul II in Redemptoris Custos, above.

Prayers to St Joseph - from St Joseph’s Shrine in Lowell, MA – one of my favorite places to hang out and pray. A nice little pilgrimage if you are ever in the area.

Finally, a video tour of St Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.

I’m cooking up something for St Patty’s Day at The Practicing Catholic today

I’m cooking up something for St Patty’s Day at The Practicing Catholic today

soupandstoriesToday I’m sharing a little recipe for St Patrick Cheddar Soup, along with some of my musings about the my favorite prayer of St Patrick, at The Practicing Catholic blog. It’s Soup and Stories: a clever idea that combines favorite soup recipes with the penitential season of Lent. Here’s a taste…

I was born in New York to a mother of Irish descent. I arrived just a few days shy of Saint Patrick’s Day. Thus I am named both for himself and my Godmother.

Some of young Patty’s fondest Catholic memories are childhood visits to the towering Cathedral of St Patrick on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. It always left a powerful impression on me, when compared to our rather plain suburban church.

St Patrick’s Day was also parade day – so it was pretty cool to be named for a saint that was recognized both by the church and the culture at large.

So why not a soup to celebrate the day?

When I had a family of my own, I was happy to have this soup to vary our menu and to call attention to my patron sake, and to tell his story. Since March 17th usually falls within the Lenten season, I found this to be a tasty soup that was somewhat penitential, since it was meatless, yet very nourishing.

Read the whole thing. I hope you’ll join me as well as all the others who are souping’ it up for Lent! Thanks to Lisa and Joel Schmidt for the invitation to participate!

Embracing Lent… links to read, stuff to do, prayers to pray…  and podcasts!

Embracing Lent… links to read, stuff to do, prayers to pray… and podcasts!

This year I was feeling a bit overwhelmed facing down the Lenten season. It felt like one more thing on my to-do list. But after praying about that I realized that some of the difficult things in the family (lots of illness and joblessness for many loved ones), and in the world (you name it, just watch the news channels and you will have an instant call to prayer), and elsewhere (lots of deadlines and pending work) were weighing heavy.

Lent was not coming to weigh me down — it was coming to lighten my load through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. So all the more reason to GO BIG.  Make a splash by calling on ALL the GRACES.

So I went to confession this past weekend. I made a fasting plan. I made a schedule. I’m engaging Lent, embracing it. And it requires some disengagement from other distractions that I’ve been having.

In the end, it’s not about how I feel, its about how I respond. If I do the right things I’m called to, my heart will follow.

OK Jesus – here we go!

Let us pray for one another, shall we?  

I’ve compiled good stuff that might help inspire you along the way.

:::

PRAY:

Go to Mass, or if that’s not possible, watch it daily on Catholic TV, or read the bible readings or hear reflections.

Learn how to pray the Rosary.

Learn how to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Join an online retreat with Authors Vinita Hampton Wright and Kerry Weber

If you live in the Archdiocese of Boston, there’s confession everywhere… many places around the country are doing the same.

TheLightIsOnForYou.org Advent from Archdiocese of Boston on Vimeo.

READ and USE these Resources:

Get a printable Lenten calendar from the USCCB, with great suggestions for living every day.

Why Do Catholics Practice Fasting and Abstinence? by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

5 Reasons to Love Fasting by Matthew Warner (I love #4!)

Fasting suggestions from Life Teen

Read the Daily Meditations of Pope Francis

Get daily Lenten reflections from the late great Fr Henri Nouwen in your email.

Watch The Power and Purpose of Confession, a video with Johnnette Benkovic and Fr Mitch Pacwa. (an oldie from 2008)

Catholic Vote has 40 Things You Should Give Up for Lent

40 Ways to Give during Lent, from the gals at Sound Mind and Spirit blog

Simcha Fisher recommends quality spiritual reading at her Register blog.

Find great soups and inspiration for Lent from The Practicing Catholic’s series “Soup and Stories.

100 Things to Do for Lent by Meg Hunter-Kilmer

The award for the most-comprehensive-Lenten-Mega-Post goes to Aggie Catholics for the most resources in one place - you’ll find something there that you like, for sure!

The Social Media Scene:

If you are not fasting from social media, make your social media count!

Be a grateful tweeter, or tithe on your social media!

Check out these Lenten apps recommended by the iPadre - Fr Jay Finelli. Don’t forget the CRS Rice Bowl App!

Follow Pope Francis on Twitter. Oh, and there’s this:

 

Finally, some Podcasts:

Of course, there’s Among Women… 

AW 175: The newest episode is “An Appointment with God”. This features a chat with Allison Gingras about her story of growing in relationship with Christ. It also profiles Mary Clopas, friend of Jesus and Mary, and mother to James the apostle, bishop, and writer of an Epistle. 

From the archives: AW 126: Special Editon for Lent — AW listeners share their favorite Lenten practices

Word on Fire Podcasts: Don’t miss a single Sunday sermon from Fr Robert Barron, or check out his lenten reflections.

iPadre Podcast: Fr Jay Finelli has been podcasting for years!

 

About the Photo above– that’s a photo I took at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. Take a virtual tour. 

A Blessing for the New Year

A Blessing for the New Year

May God, the source and origin of all blessing, 
grant you grace,
pour out his blessing in abundance,
and keep you safe from harm throughout the year.  Amen.

May he give you integrity of faith,
endurance in hope,
and perseverance in charity
with holy patience to the end.  Amen.

May he order you days and your deeds in his peace,
grant your prayers in this and in every place,
and lead you happily to eternal life.  Amen.

And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever.  Amen. 

-Roman Missal, Solemn Blessings, “The Beginning of the Year”-

As the Christmas season continues and the new calendar year opens, I was particularly struck by the solemn blessing that our priest prayed over us at today’s Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

A White Christmas in New England…

A White Christmas in New England…

Snowfall came last week...

Snowfall came last week…

 

IMG_2086

St Francis

 

IMG_2085

“Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!”

 

IMG_2064

Merry Christmas, from our home to yours!

 

Taking a little blogging break! See you in the New Year!

St Peter Canisius… a great Jesuit & Doctor of the Church… gave us the first Catechism in print!

St Peter Canisius… a great Jesuit & Doctor of the Church… gave us the first Catechism in print!

Saint_Petrus_Canisius

Peter Canisius
Public Domain art

Today is the feast of St Peter Canisius, a Jesuit, who was a writer/publisher and catechist of the highest order. I like him because he was the first to ever publish a catechism — and there were like 200 editions of it in his lifetime and it was translated into 12 languages! Peter was one of those big time Counter Reformation saints, addressing the Council of Trent, and a zealous educator. You got the goods when you were catechised by Peter. He is also credited with opening 18 colleges and seminaries.  You can find many short biographies of his life online, but I like this one. 

I also want to heartily recommend that you read the commentary on the 12 features of Peter’s spiritual life and work habits from the late great Fr Hardon. It will be 10 minutes or so well spent!

A few gems that you’ll find… (bold emphasis is mine.)

 

 …if there is one aspect of sanctity that Peter Canisius teaches us, it is in God’s name, use your will power.

 

…to convert people from error to the truth, it is not enough to preach to them, you must first practice charity towards them. In other words, you will win over those who have been mislead by error only if you practice charity. Charity first and then, proclaim the truth.

 

 …he had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. … Peter Canisius, though he had a first class mind, realized that you approach the Son of God with your heart and giving Him even your mind.

He had… a great devotion to Our Lady or of his recitation of the Rosary – made sure that her feast days were solemnly observed. Some of his prayers to Our Lady have remained over the centuries. In other words, a devotee of Our Lady talks to her. You claim that somebody is your friend and you practically never talk to the person, the friendship is, needless to say, suspect. Peter talked with Mary.

 

There is such a thing as being methodical in the spiritual life; there is such a thing as working hard in the spiritual life; there is such a thing as not looking for consolation in the spiritual life; there is such a thing as doing one’s duty….  Get up a certain time; there is a certain amount of work during the day; going to bed and getting up; doing your work, going to bed; getting up year after year. And no complaints…

 

Prudence, Peter Canisius would define, is the practice of charity in winning souls from sin back to God. It’s the kind of prudence we don’t hear much about these days.

Now go on and read the rest… we need this kind of encouragement!