Stay humble and persevere

These words from Sirach 2:3a,4-6a motivate me and re-direct my thoughts (from myself to others) when I am finding things difficult:

Cling to Him, do not leave Him,
[…]
Accept whatever happens to you;
in periods of humiliation be patient.
For in fire gold is tested,
and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust in God, and he will help you…

This prayer helps me to grow in humility.

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Oratio from lectio divina of Gospel for 14thSunOrdT-A

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is from Matthew 11:25-30:

Here is the fruit of my lectio/meditatio/contemplatio on this portion of Sacred Scripture:

Jesus, my heart swells with joy – and is greatly encouraged – to hear you publicly, exuberantly thanking our Father.  When I hear you proclaim our Father as “Lord of heaven and earth,” it greatly confirms my faith in Your divinity, for the Son of the “Lord” is Himself surely divine.  I am delighted to see that You were consoled in heart and mind that the will of the Father allowed only those of true grace-inspired littleness to perceive the sublime mystery of Your identity as Son and Your perfect communion with the Father.  Our Father wants to be known and loved, so He sent His perfect image, a perfect representation of Himself.  Help me, Jesus, to shed my pride and arrogance, that my heart may increase in simplicity, and my trust in You may never wane.

Jesus, the yoke of Your teaching and the way of life to which you call me is made so much lighter when I imitate Your meekness and humility.  Enable me to use the strength You have given me in a discerning, controlled manner, following Your example.  May I always be aware of my absolute dependence upon You, especially upon Your mercy.  I will indeed come to You frequently, Jesus, in the sacraments, in Your written word, in prayer, that Your yoke of discipleship may surely be lightened, joy-filled and attractive to others.

Oratio from lectio divina of Gospel for 13thSunOrdT-A

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is from Matthew 10:37-42.

Here is the fruit of my lectio/meditatio/contemplatio on this portion of Sacred Scripture:

Holy God, I praise You for Your supreme majesty.  You are deserving of all my love, my first love, my greatest love.  Aware of Your sovereignty and Your constant love for me, I desire to bestow my most intense self-giving love upon You above all – with all my heart, soul, strength and mind.

Jesus, I yearn to be a true, faithful disciple of Yours.  Your demands are severe, but my reward will be unending glory beholding Your Face.  Please fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit to enable me to seek and embrace the Father’s will each day.  Knowing You are always at my side, give me the grace to persevere through any humiliation, pain or suffering that might accompany it, that my life might indeed be conformed to Yours, following where You have already gone.  With Your grace, sustain my efforts to shed my selfishness and disordered passions.  Enable me to eagerly surrender all aspects of my life for your sake that I may attain the eternal glory of Your resurrection.

Thank You for granting me Your authority to engage in the mission to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven.  May the Holy Spirit open the hearts of those with whom I share the Father’s plan, that it may be a blessing for them.  May I hospitably and joyfully welcome into my heart and home those disciples on mission for You who are sacrificing their time and using their gifts to share Your words and Your healing love with me.  Remind me, Jesus, that when I encounter them I also encounter You.

Prayers for a novena to Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto (feast is February 20th)

francisco-and-jacinta

Litany of Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.  Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Bd Francisco, you loved seeing Our Blessed Mother, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, you found it beautiful seeing Our Lord in the light emanating from Our Blessed Mother, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, promised by Our Blessed Mother that you would go to heaven after praying many rosaries, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, you were motivated to console Jesus and make him happy, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, you preferred to pray behind the altar at the foot of the tabernacle so as to be hidden and close to Jesus, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, you received your ‘official’ First Holy Communion on your deathbed, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, on your deathbed, you asked pardon of your family for all your faults, pray for us.
Bd Francisco, you died from influenza, pray for us.

Bd Jacinta, you were a child who enjoyed dancing and singing, pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, you were often moved to tears when pondering the Passion of Jesus, pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, you were filled with horror at the vision of Hell, pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, your heart burned with love for the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, you were motivated to profound acts of prayer, sacrifice, penance and mortification to prevent souls from going to Hell, pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, you were told by Our Blessed Mother that “war is a punishment for sin,” pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, you prayed much for the Holy Father, pray for us.
Bd Jacinta, your face remains incorrupt to this day as a sign of your sanctity, pray for us.

Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, children of a simple, country family, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, raised in the Catholic faith by your parents, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, to whom the Angel of Peace appeared three times in 1916, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you learned profound reverence in prayer from the Angel, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you often prayed the special prayers of pardon taught to you by the Angel, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you first learned from the Angel to make sacrifices in reparation for sinners, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you received the Precious Blood of Jesus from a chalice held by the Angel, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, to whom Our Blessed Mother appeared six times in 1917, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you were supported by your parents, who believed from the beginning that Our Blessed Mother had truly appeared to you, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you developed a great desire to console Jesus and Mary, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you agreed to pray the Rosary daily at Our Blessed Mother’s request, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you became eager to suffer and make sacrifices in reparation for the sins of others, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, taught by Our Blessed Mother to have an offering prayer accompany your sacrifices, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, confident in the promise of Our Blessed Mother that the grace of God would be your comfort in times of suffering, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you were shown a vision of Hell and its sufferings by Our Blessed Mother, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, so moved by the vision of Hell that no mortification or penance seemed too great to help save sinners, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you were kidnapped, imprisoned for three days, and threatened with death by the Freemason Administrator, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, imprisoned among a group of thieves, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, you offered your imprisonment and interrogation in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, your humble example caused your fellow prisoners to join you in praying the Rosary in jail, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, told by Our Blessed Mother that “God is pleased with your sacrifices,” pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, to whom Jesus and St Joseph also appeared during the October apparition, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, promised by Our Blessed Mother that she would escort each of you to heaven after your death, pray for us.
Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, messengers to the world of the need for devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Let us pray:

God of merciful love, you desire that all men strive for holiness, live in peace and join you in eternal Trinitarian communion.  You graced your servants, Bd Francisco and Bd Jacinta, with hearts willing to respond heroically to the challenging requests made of them by the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit, and through their intercession, may we be courageous in employing the weapons of prayerful sacrifice, ongoing conversion, reparational intercession, and penitential mortification, fulfilling our role in the battle which will bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Queen and Mother.  We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

You might want to pray each of the following prayers three times, as the children were taught to do by the Angel of Peace in 1916:

Pardon Prayer

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you!  I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.

The Angel’s Prayer

O most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

Consider offering a sacrifice of some sort each day in their honor, accompanied by this prayer which was taught to them by Our Blessed Mother during the July apparition:

Sacrifice Prayer

O Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.

If you have time for additional reflection, you may want to read St John Paul II’s homily at their beatification Mass.

Novena to Bd Charles de Foucauld

( feast celebrated on December 1st )

bd-charles-de-foucauld

Quotes of Bd Charles de Foucauld for our 9-day novena:

1 — RESEMBLE JESUS

As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.

Let us go back to the Gospel; if we do not live the Gospel, Jesus does not live in us.

I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”

We do good, not according to the measure of what we say or do, but according to the measure of what we are… according to the measure in which Jesus lives in us.

To resemble Jesus even more…

2 — DECREASE

To give up everything in spirit, to be detached in heart from everything, to be poor in spirit, void of all attachment, is absolutely essential to be a disciple of Jesus.

Our annihilation is the most powerful way that we have to unite with Jesus and to do good for the souls.

When the grain of corn falls to the earth and it doesn’t die, it stays alone, but when it dies it bears a lot of fruit; I haven’t died, I am alone…  Pray for my conversion so that I can die and bear fruit.

The more we empty ourselves, the more God fills us with His grace… gives Himself fully to us

3 — MISSION

In order to save us God came to us and involved Himself with us in the most familiar and close contact. For the salvation of souls, He is still coming to us, involving Himself with us, living with us in closest contact, each day and each hour in the Holy Eucharist. Thus we ought to work for the salvation of souls, go out to meet them, involve ourselves with them, live with them in familiar and close contact.

I teach you first of all that one can do good to men, much good, infinite good, divine good, without words, without sermons, without noise, in silence and by giving good example… What example?  That of piety, of our duties towards God lovingly accomplished, of kindness to all men, of tenderness for those around us…

To love, what is it? ….It is to desire passionately ….. the welfare of the beloved.

4 — METHOD

Work for the sanctification of the world… without words, in silence… carry along the Gospel not by preaching it by word of mouth but preaching it by example, not by announcing but by living it.

People at a distance from Jesus, should, without books or words, come to know the Gospel by observing my life. Seeing me, they should see what Jesus is.

We must neither act without praying nor pray without acting when we have the means of acting.

5 — EUCHARIST

How this infinite grace of the Holy Eucharist should make us love a God so good, a God so near to us. How the Holy Eucharist should make us tender, kind, for all.

Gazing on Jesus in love is the only thing that is necessary and that He loves best…. if we only understood what happiness there….to be at His feet and look at Him.

Faith… would wish to spend its whole life motionless at the foot of the tabernacle.

6 — THE DESERT

One has to pass through the desert and sojourn there to receive the grace of God; it is there that one empties oneself, that one drives away from oneself all that is not God and that one completely empties the little house of our soul, to leave space for God alone… It is a time of grace, a period through which every soul must necessarily pass that wishes to bear fruit… Intimate life with God, a turning of the soul to God, in faith, hope and charity…. One can only give what one has and it is in solitude, in this life, alone with God alone… that God gives himself completely to the one who gives himself completely to Him. Do not fear that you are neglecting your duties towards creatures; on the contrary, it’s the only means you have of serving them effectively.

The desert is only a very short passage, a time of purification and test, abounding in grace… where one receives the law of God… God is always there with us… there God speaks to us and always gives us guidance.

7 — FRIENDSHIP

To make myself everything to all: laugh with those who laugh, weep with those who weep, to bring them all to Jesus.

To place myself at the disposition of all, to draw them all to Jesus.

I am not here to convert the Tuaregs but to try and understand them.

8 — BROTHERHOOD

We are all sons of the Most High! All of us … the poorest, the most repugnant, a new-born child, a decrepit old man, the least intelligent human being….. an idiot, madman, a sinner… the one who is most repugnant physically and morally, is a child of God.

We are all sons of the Most High! How we ought to esteem every human being, How we ought to love every human being! He is a child of God…. Let us love this man as God loves him every moment of his life.. Let us esteem, let us love every man from the bottom of our heart, because of God, our common Father.

Let us not worry about those who want for nothing, those who people think of, let us worry and be concerned of those who lack everything, those nobody thinks of. Let us be the friends of those who have no friends.

To be the friend of everyone, good and bad, to be the universal brother.

9 — TRUST IN GOD

I try to do the will of Jesus from day to day and am in great interior peace.

My God, you will not leave us in darkness when we have need of light… You will watch over us and lead us by the hand, without our being aware of it and when our souls need light, you will always give it.

God guides the one who has confidence in Him. God leads us along such unexpected paths! Only let us be faithful and let ourselves be carried along with great love.

It is through reason and the Gospel, with enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, that God lights the way for us.

Think that you are going to die a martyr, stripped of everything, stretched out on the ground, naked, hardly recognizable, covered with blood and wounds, violently and painfully killed…and wish it to be today…Think of this death often, prepare yourself for it and judge things at their true value.

Litany of Bd Charles de Foucauld

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.  Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Bd Charles de Foucauld, Orphaned at the age of six, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Raised by your grandfather, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Seeker of God after having lost faith, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Lover of poverty and self-giving, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, True brother to all who drew close to you, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Friend of the furthest removed and the most abandoned, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Neighbor to the Tuaregs in the Sahara, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Priest of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Missionary hermit, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Adorer of Jesus in solitude, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Pursuer of deep intimacy with Jesus, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Shouting the Gospel with your life, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Opponent of slavery, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Warrior against injustice, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Humble and totally dependent on the Lord, pray for us.
Bd Charles de Foucauld, Desiring only the will of the Father, pray for us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Let us pray:

Lord and Father of all, you yearn for us to desire intensely a deep, personal communion with You.  Bd Charles de Foucauld lived simplicity and poverty in order to help him seek this communion, while striving to reflect Your self-giving love to all whom he encountered.  Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit, and through the intercession of Bd Charles, may we see the Face of Christ in all we meet, and reflect to them your power, love, mercy and tenderness.  We ask You this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen

Prayer of Abandonment  (composed by Bd Charles)

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

The Blood of the Cross

Crucifix in chapel Mt Saviour

crucifix-in-crypt

These are photos of a Crucifix which resides atop an altar in the Chapel Crypt at Mount Saviour Monastery near Elmira, New York.  Whenever I visit Mount Saviour, I spend time in prayer before this Crucifix.  After gazing at it for a while, ‘Sometimes it causes me to tremble…tremble…tremble.’  I am reminded that my sins were present to Jesus as he hung dying upon the Cross.  In that way, I was there when they crucified my Lord.  For me, the gushing of His Precious Blood reminds me of His ocean of mercy.  Think of this Crucifix if you’ll be praying the Way of the Cross on this first Friday in Lent.  I find these Way of the Cross prayers very challenging, and enjoy meditating on them.

Litany of (just a few) Beheaded Saints

Saint John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus,
beheaded out of jealousy,
Pray for us 

Saint Paul, solider for Christ and Apostle to the Gentiles,
beheaded in Rome by a sword,
Pray for us 

Saint Justin Martyr, defender of the faith,
beheaded for confessing Jesus as our Savior,
Pray for us

Saint Januarius, Bishop and martyr,
beheaded with your companions,
Pray for us 

St. Euphemia,
beheaded after the lions refused to consume your body,
Pray for us 

St. Blaise, gentle bishop,
tortured and beheaded for proclaiming Christ,
Pray for us 

Saint Agnes, you preserved your virginity,
and gained a martyr’s crown by beheading,
Pray for us 

Saint Philomena, beheaded under Diocletian,
Pray for us

Saint Crispina, beheaded after having your head shaved
and being exposed to public mockery,
Pray for us

Saint Columba, beheaded by the Moors,
Pray for us 

Saint Dymphna, beheaded by your own father,
Pray for us 

Saints Maurice and the Theban Legion,
soldiers beheaded for obedience to God,
Pray for us 

Saints Felix, Regula and Exuperantius,
you miraculously carried your heads
after you were beheaded,
Pray for us 

Saint Denis, First Bishop of Paris,
beheaded at the mount of martyrs,
Pray for us 

Saint Gerebernus,
Irish priest-friend and baptizer of Saint Dymphna,
Pray for us

St. Barbara, virgin and convert,
beheaded by the hands of your father, Dioscorus,
Pray for us 

Saint Daniel,
friar beheaded in North Africa for preaching against Islam,
Pray for us

Saint Edmund the Martyr,
beheaded after your body was filled with arrows,
Pray for us

Saint John Fisher, beheaded by the apostate Henry VIII,
Pray for us 

Saint Thomas More, beheaded for your faithfulness to Christ and His Church,
Pray for us 

Blessed James Denshi, beheaded in Japan at Nagasaki,
Pray for us 

Saint Denis Ssebuggwawo, young martyr,
beheaded in Uganda for catechizing youth,
Pray for us

Let us pray:

V.  All saints in heaven who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus Christ our Savior
R.  Pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.