Recently in Devotions Category

This prayer appeared in the 1887 Raccolta; the prayer was approved with an indulgence in 1818.

  1. My God, my sovereign good, would that I had always loved thee!
  2. My God, I abhor the time when I loved thee not!
  3. How could I live so long without thy holy love?
  4. And thou, my God, how could'st thou suffer me so long?
  5. My God, I give thee thanks for thy great patience.
  6. But now I will always love thee.
  7. I had sooner die than love thee not.
  8. Take from me my life, my God, if I am not to love thee.
  9. This grace I beg of thee, my God, ever to love thee.
  10. With thy holy love I shall be blessed.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

  1. My God, fain would I see thee loved by all.
  2. Happy me, could I but shed my blood that all might love thee.
  3. Truly blind is he who loves thee not.
  4. My God, give me thy holy light.
  5. There is no woe but not to love thee, sovereign good.
  6. My God, let me never be one of those wretched blind ones who love thee not.
  7. My God, be thou my joy, my good, my all.
  8. Fain would I be wholly thine forever.
  9. Who shall ever separate me from thy holy love?
  10. Come, all ye creatures, to love my God.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

  1. My God, I desire to have a thousand hearts to love thee.
  2. Would that I had the hearts of all men to love thee!
  3. Glad might I be that there were more worlds, that all might love thee.
  4. Blessed would he be who could love thee with all the hearts of all possible creatures.
  5. To be so loved, my God, is thy just meed.
  6. Too poor a heart have I, too cold, to love thee.
  7. O ye cold hearts of men! why love ye not your sovereign good?
  8. O the deplorable blindness of worldlings, who know not the true love!
  9. Thrice blest, ye heavenly host, who know and love your God!
  10. O blessed necessity of loving God!

Glory be to the Father, etc.

  1. My God, when shall I burn with love for thee?
  2. O how happy and dear a lot shall this be for me!
  3. Not knowing how to love thee myself, I rejoice, at least, that there are so many others who love thee with their whole heart.
  4. I rejoice, in particular, that thou art loved by all the angels and saints in heaven.
  5. I unite my poor heart with all their hearts.
  6. Especially do I desire to love thee with that love with which the saints who were most enamored of thee loved thee.
  7. Wherefore I intend to love thee with the love of S. Mary Magdalen, of S. Catherine, and of S. Teresa.
  8. With the love of S. Augustine, S. Dominic, S. Francis Xavier, S. Philip Neri, and S. Louis Gonzaga.
  9. With the very love with which thy holy apostles loved thee, especially S. Peter, S. Paul, and the beloved disciple.
  10. With the same love with which the great patriarch, S. Joseph, loved thee.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

  1. Fain would I love thee, besides, with a love like unto that of Mary most holy, while here on earth.
  2. Fain would I love thee with a love like unto that with which she loved thee, when she conceived in her virgin womb thy divine Son, when she brought him forth, when she suckled him, and when she saw him die.
  3. I would also love thee with the love with which she loves thee, and will always love thee in heaven.
  4. But not even this love is enough to love thee with, O God of infinite goodness!
  5. Wherefore, I would love thee as thy Son, the divine Word made man, did love thee.
  6. As he loved thee when he was born.
  7. As he loved thee when he died upon the cross.
  8. As he loved thee ever in those sacred tabernacles where he lies hid.
  9. And with that very love with which he loves thee, and will love thee ever, in heaven, for all eternity.
  10. Lastly, I would love thee with that love with which thou lovest thyself; but since that is impossible, grant me, O my God! through thy tender pity, that I may love thee as much as I know how, as much as I ought, and as much as I can love thee, and it is pleasing to thee. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

Let us pray.

O God, who hast prepared all good things for them that love thee! pour into our hearts such a desire of thy love, that we, loving thee in all and above all, may attain thy heavenly promises, which exceed all that we can desire.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Ed Peters has put together another response to the Legionaries of Christ / Regnum Christi (LC/RC) crisis, which is well worth reading. You can check it out here. Since I'm likely to be asked for a response, here's a line-by-line:

I think that Fr. Alvaro Corcuera's apparent claim that he knows nothing about Maciel's behavior, except that Maciel sired a daughter, is utterly unbelievable. I have nothing else to say about this kind of stone-walling. I will simply re-endorse Dr. Germain Grisez's and Mr. George Weigel's proposals for direct intervention by the Holy See.

Out of Christian charity I will assume Fr. Alvaro is telling the truth. The Holy See should intervene anyway. Directly.

The situation is so muddled that I cannot see how the LC/RC can fix it without outside help and expertise. Of course I'm just one canonist out of thousands in the Church. But given how the LC/RC have maintained Fr. Maciel's innocence for years, the severity of the allegations against him - both proven and unproven, and other structural problems within the movement, how the initial response has been bungled, it will be difficult for the LC/RC to regain the trust of orthodox Catholics without assurances that Rome has performed a thorough housecleaning of the movement.

Apologists for the LC/RC are already stating that Fr. Alvaro and the LC/RC are following Rome's instructions. And Rome has stated it has no immediate plans to step in, but would do so if requested by the Legion. So it might be best is the Legion simply go through the official step of asking Rome to step in directly.

Moving on Peters's rebuttal of the "reform-from-within" assertion and the "carry-on-the-charism" assertion:

Assertion 1. Because the Legion and Regnum Christi have within their ranks many obviously good and faithful Catholics, they should be allowed to try a reform from within. Response: the presence of good and faithful Catholics within an organization, particularly when the organization (in terms of Church history, if nothing else) is so young, says almost nothing about whether the organization itself is sound and/or salvageable.

Here is where I think Peters needs to make a distinction. Those making the "reform from within" suggestion (like myself) are not a unified camp. Some maintain the LC/RC should be permitted to reform from within, without any direct outside intervention. Very unlikely to work, as proven by the fact Fr. Maciel got away with his misdeeds for so long. And even if it were possible, there's still the problem of restoring the RC/LC's credibility.

Like Peters, I believe the LC/RC's current structure is deeply flawed, and have for some time, according to criteria developed with Fr. Frank Morrisey - one of the Church's foremost canonical experts on religious law and structures of institutes of consecrated life - and cult expert Michael Langone. You can read a summary of the criteria here. (Please note: I am not claiming that all of these criteria apply to the LC/RC, but those that do need to be rooted out if the LC/RC is to reform.)

Having said that, given that the majority of LC/RC members are orthodox Catholics faithful to Rome, I believe a "reform from within" is possible if the Holy See intervenes directly and appoints someone credible from outside the LC/RC to do a thorough investigation of LC/RC practices, and oversee their reform. It needs to be someone known for prayer and orthodoxy, experienced in religious life, and highly respected within the Church. For example, Cardinal Francis George from Chicago or Archbishop Seán O'Malley from Boston. Of course this assumes LC/RC members cooperate - not only in letter, but in spirit - with the reform.

Such a reform must begin with a sincere apology to Fr. Maciel's victims, followed by restitution. Also, no more excuses suggesting Fr. Maciel's innocence, or trying to dampen the severity of his sins. Of course the structural weaknesses that allowed Fr. Maciel to get away with his double-life for so long must also be fixed. Good faith only gets one so far. Peters identifies the question many canonists are asking, namely whether there are structural problems to the Legion, expressing them as only he can, when he states in response to the second assertion:

There is, I think, at least as much reason to wonder whether Maciel set up an institute in order to assure himself of ample access to sexual targets and unaccountable funds, or whether he suffered from some warped psycho-emotional condition that enabled him to compartmentalize pious devotional practices and sexual predation for decades on end...

Here is where I take a somewhat harder line than Peters. I don't wonder. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fr. Maciel set up the LC/RC to, as I put it in the following interview, acquire, maintain and protect his access to victims.

I won't comment on funds, except to say well-placed sources within and outside the LC/RC told me that Fr. Maciel was frequently given thousands of dollars in cash without any questions being asked. I haven't looked into the issue deeply enough to give it much thought; it's entirely possible the financial irregularities came after, as a by-product of the sexual irregularities. Of course, none of the above excludes the possibility Fr. Maciel also had a serious psychological condition.

But I've skipped ahead a bit. Here's how Peters begins his response to the second assertion:

Assertion 2. Maciel's canonical crime spree was a grave personal failing, but it does not negate the L/RC 'charism', and they should be allowed to continue their work. Response: This argument misses the key question, namely, whether in fact Maciel ever bequeathed an authentic charism to the L/RC...

This, then, is what separates our positions at the moment. If one believes the LC/RC lack a true charism, then Peters is right in suggesting Rome may have to shut down the movement completely and reconstitute it. (Without a true charism, there is nothing to reform.)

On the other hand, if one believes the LC/RC possess a true charism from Christ, but that it has become seriously clouded by Fr. Maciel's sexual vice, then it may still be possible to rescue the charism. Of course it will still require delicate surgery on Rome's part. It's possible the movement is so far gone that the necessary reform is no longer possible. The LC/RC will have to show they are capable of true reform.

Peters then says (skipping over the part I had quoted earlier, out-of-sequence):

I do not know whether the L/RC can (following a complete leadership replacement!) reform itself from within, although I am almost certain that they cannot;

A complete leadership change may be the only thing that can save the LC/RC at this point. Certainly this is how I feel, humanly speaking, although the Holy Spirit could intervene in a way that canonists haven't imagined. But, assuming most of the current leadership was honestly in dark about Fr. Maciel's double-life, this speaks to a weakness in LC/RC formation that so many clergy suspected so little for so long. This is not to say they were bad people or terrible priests - only that they appear to lack a certain skill-set needed to exercise prudent governance over a large religious institute.

This is not uncommon among young institutes of consecrated life where one is dealing with leadership known for its holiness (let alone living a double-life). I've experienced this at least twice in my career as a canon lawyer. A young institute and its young superior come up with some grandiose ideas, or overlook the obvious. An older priest, with several years of priestly experience before joining the institute, jumps in points out what's being overlooked, or otherwise brings some common sense to the discussion. Older priests can help guide a young superior of a young institute through sensitive pastoral issues, temper and focus the zeal of younger newly-ordained priests, and put bishops as ease knowing there is someone with experience keeping an eye on the new institute.

The problem with the current LC/RC superiors is that none of them kept an eye on Fr. Maciel. This is not surprising. Abusers cannot bear close scrutiny, which would threaten their access to victims. Fr. Maciel reportedly handpicked his superiors. Not surprisingly, he often named young priests who lacked practical pastoral experience. Which is why most Catholics would feel more confident about a reform of the LC/RC if Rome stepped in directly.

and I do not know whether Maciel developed an authentic charism for clerical, religious, and lay life, but I have serious doubts that he did.

And now the question of charism. The reason orthodox Catholics have struggled so deeply with the crisis, in fact the reason there are such strong feelings of anger and betrayal, is that the LC/RC's good works have been visible to us for so long. But looking back in retrospect, so too have the institutional signs of Fr. Maciel's double-life. How does one reconcile such a stark contrast?

Normally, an institute's charism is tied to its founder and its good works. However, the two don't match in this case. Some argue that the LC/RC's founding charism was fraudulent from the start. Others argue that God used Fr. Maciel as His imperfect human instrument. In reflecting upon this dilemma, attempting to reconcile these questions in my own mind, I stumbled across the biography of Saint Rafael Guízar Valencia.

Saint Rafael was Fr. Maciel's uncle and the bishop who oversaw most of Fr. Maciel's seminary formation prior to dismissing his nephew from the seminary. Saint Rafael exemplified many of the Christian virtues LC/RC attempt to emulate as members of their movement. In fact, his life story reads like a blueprint for the LC/RC's good works, and LC/RC members in past have recognized his influence in the founding of their movement.

Perhaps - and this is highly speculative on my part - Saint Rafael is the true spiritual founder of the LC/RC movement, and the instrument used by God to transmit its charism. It's something for LC/RC members to pray about.

At the lighting of the lamps

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Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Mount Saint Macrina Retreat Center, Uniontown, PA:

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Sunset

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Chapel at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Summit, NJ, 4:45 pm

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Holy Saturday

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O Lord and God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, grant spiritual and physical light to our minds and hearts that had been blinded with worldly errors; enlighten us as You enlightened the holy Marys and the holy women who came to your tomb with spices, so they could sprinkle your holy body, the source of life. Fill our hearts with your joy; fill our souls with your tranquillity, with your peace, with the happiness that comes from You. Since you have raised us up and delivered us from the stain of our sins and the darkness of our transgressions, make us worthy in your loving kindness to kindle our lamps with today's light, the symbol of your radiant and glorious resurrection.

--from the Byzantine liturgy for Holy Saturday

Prayers to the Sacred Heart (6)

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(The reception of doctrine)

Good Master

On our shoulders, place your yoke, for this yoke is sweet. All irradiated with your goodness, may your doctrine penetrate deeply into us.

Make us carry your burden, for this burden is light. May your commandments, far from encumbering us, enter into our life in the way of your gentle goodwill.

Make us fulfill your law, for this law frees us and lifts us up. May we never complain of being chained by your word or your will, for you have never wanted chains but those of love!

Make us take up your cross, for this cross has less weight when it is carried by your own shoulders and embraced by your generosity.

Engrave in us your ideal, whatever it may cost us, for in your heart every fatigue is changed into rest and every pain becomes beatitude.

--Jean Galot, S.J.

Rent-a-Pilgrim

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Would you like to make a pilgrimage to Fatima on foot? If you're not able for some reason, a man in Portugal is willing to make the journey on your behalf.

For 2,500 euros ($3,169), Pilgrim Gil will make the journey in your place -- and send you a certificate stamped along the way to prove he walked your every step.
Carlos Gil, 42, who owns a small computer company, took up this medieval practice four years ago when he suddenly "felt an urge to walk to Fatima" and said charging each client was simply a way to keep doing what he loves.
"I make the trip to Fatima once or twice a year because it elevates my spirit," said Gil. "Sometimes the trip is so intense that I forget I'm doing it to fulfill my client's promises."
Like a true pilgrim, Gil begins his seven-day journey to Fatima on foot from his home in Cascais, a small town on the outskirts of Lisbon, about 160 kilometers from the shrine. It takes him another six days to walk back.

I know, it sounds almost like simony, and it probably trips all the alarms for an Evangelical: not only is it devotion to our Lady, not only is this a medieval devotional practice, but this amounts to vicarious devotional practice: giving someone else a stipend while he does the devotional practice for you! I mean! If it's not the full Tetzel, it's close, eh?

But somehow I like the idea: according to Gil, he's not making a profit off the pilgrimages, just covering his expenses and making up for the time away from his business.

Here comes Lent!

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Happy Mardi Gras, and a blessed Ash Wednesday to all. (Well, at least for the Latin Church!) Enjoy your last treats of whatever food you're giving up, and....

OK, folks: pick your penances!

Prayers to the Sacred Heart (5)

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Take me, O Heart of Christ!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, in all that I am,
take me in all that I have and that I do,
in all that I think and all that I love!

Take me in my spirit, that it may cling to Thee;
take me in my willing, that it will but Thee;
take the depth of my heart, that it love only Thee!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, in my secret desires
so that you be my dream and only goal,
my one affection and my complete happiness!

Take me for the work of Thy great mission,
for a complete gift toward my neighbor's salvation,
and for every sacrifice in service of your people!

Take me, O Heart of Christ, without limits, without end;
take even what I've failed to offer Thee;
and never give back to me what you have taken in hand!

Take for eternity all that is in me,
that one day I may, O Heart, possess Thee,
in the embrace of Heaven take Thee and keep Thee!
--by Jean Galot, S.J.

The first one is a "now but not yet" gift: the Pope's first encyclical is said to bear Thursday's date, and I only wish Deus Caritas Est were ready to release. According to CNS, we'll have to wait until January for it.

But also on Thursday Pope Benedict (gotta love him!) is granting the faithful a special one-time-bonus plenary indulgence, if we join him in honoring our Lady on her Solemnity. Of course, for those of us in the States, where it's a holy day of obligation, it'll be easy to fulfill that by our attendance at Mass.

On this Solemnity, when the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI will be paying a public tribute of praise to the Immaculate Virgin, he deeply desires that the heart of the whole Church be united with him so that all the faithful, gathered in the name of our common Mother, may be further strengthened in the Faith, bound with greater devotion to Christ, and love their brothers and sisters with more fervent charity: as the Second Vatican Council taught with great wisdom, this results in works of mercy for the indigent, the observance of justice, and the defence and search for peace.

Therefore, the Holy Father, who has very much at heart that the love and trust of the faithful towards the Virgin Mother of God be increased and that their lives, with the help and example of her holiness, be faithfully conformed to the wise teachings of the Second Vatican Council, in hierarchical communion with himself and with his Bishops, has benevolently granted the gift of the Plenary Indulgence.

On the upcoming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the faithful may obtain this Indulgence on the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), in a spirit that is completely detached from affection for any sin, if they participate in a sacred rite in its honour or at least offer an open witness of Marian devotion before an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, displayed for public veneration, adding the recitation of the Our Father and the Creed and exclamatory invocations to Mary Immaculate, such as "You are All Fair, Mary, and in you there is no stain of original sin!", or "O Queen, conceived without original sin, pray for us!".

Here's the declaration.

Happy All Souls' Day!

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Don't forget to pray for the souls of the dead today. Here's a refresher on the doctrine of purgatory from Catholic Answers.

Far from being a medieval invention, praying for the dead was a Jewish practice that pre-dated Christ by at least a couple of centuries. The early Christian Fathers believed in purgatory, though they did not treat it in the detailed, systematic way that the medieval theologians did. C.S. Lewis believed in purgatory -- "The Screwtape Letters" contains a reference to it in the final chapter.

Prayers to the Sacred Heart (4)

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Lord whose heart is full of love

Since you given yourself over to us entirely, by a love without limits, we want to consecrate ourselves to you, to open ourselves and give ourselves, without any reserve, to your heart.

We desire this consecration as an irrevocable act by which you may totally take possession of us, for everything your love demands.

We want to belong to you through the depth of our being, to offer you our thoughts, our desires, our actions, so that you may render them perfectly conformed to the thoughts, the desires, the decisions of your heart.

We want to abandon to you our past, our present, and our future, so that everything in us become your property, and that our life, at every instant, be placed under the influence of your love.

By ourselves, we would not have the strength to make our consecration total and definitive; we await from your heart that it take us in our depths, and guard us forever in its fidelity.

May this consecration, made real by you, fill us with the limitless generosity of your love!
--by Jean Galot, SJ

A case of alleged supernatural messages in Amsterdam in the 1950s reportedly had our Lady presenting herself to the faithful under the title of "the Lady of all Nations" and asking the Pope to make a declaration of dogma about her as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. These titles are already well established in Catholic thought, and have an interesting application to the role of the Church as a means of grace and salvation, but with so many cases of false mysticism about, one has to be careful about signing on to some particular movement's proposals for the Church.

This May, the CDF (the Vatican's doctrinal office) has given a warning about one aspect of that "Lady of All Nations" devotion: a prayer associated with the messages, and found on Catholic sites such as EWTN's, raises the CDF's caution and is not to be used.

Abp. Angelo Amato, SDB, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote on May 20:

With regard to the devotion known as 'Lady of All Nations' and the Marian apparitions experienced by the late visionary Ida Peerdeman, I wish to advise Your Excellency that although the said apparitions have received approval from His Excellency the Most Rev. Joseph Maria Punt, Bishop of Haarlem (Holland), in his Communications of 31 May 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has expressed concern regarding one particular aspect of that devotion whereby official prayers invoke the Blessed Virgin as Lady of All Nations 'who was once Mary'.....[The CDF] does not permit any Catholic community of Christ's Faithful to pray to the Mother of God under the title of 'Lady of All Nations' with the added expression 'who was once Mary'.

(Thanks to Mark Waterinckx for the tip.)

Onward Mary's Soldiers

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[I have received a lot of feedback from Canadian readers over a couple of my recent Wanderer columns, including requests to make them available on-line. Enjoy!]

Of Canons & Culture
Onward Mary’s Soldiers

Pete Vere

I decided to break from writing about Canadian politics in this month’s column. After all, there is only so much I can write about the ongoing homosexual persecution of Christianity in my country. In a nutshell, the situation is worse than it was last month. Certain friends of the fairer gender tell me that reflecting upon Canada’s moral decline is the closest thing I as a male conservative will experience to the pains of childbirth.

Yet all analogies break down at a certain point, and this comes after a long and arduous labour. There is simply no joy to Canada’s birth as a homosexual nation. Rather than welcome new life into loving families, the culture of death advances its agenda of abortion, homosexuality, pornography and other vile perversions. (Oops...committing this last sentence to paper is technically a felony in Canada.) Our clergy will likely find themselves jailed within the next two to three years for teaching the catechism. As my friend Raymond likes to say, “It’s payback for contraception and the Winnipeg Statement; the chickens are coming home to roost.” At the same time, because of contraception, our young people are not.

Not too long ago, I found myself down in Alabama with Dr. Charles Rice. As the discussion turned to Canada’s culture war, Dr. Rice offered the following insight: “You cannot win the political war until you win the culture war.” This got me thinking about one of Dom Gerard Calvet’s challenges in Tomorrow Christendom.

“Jesus has his disciples,” the abbot writes, “and Satan, his agents. The empire of darkness recruits its workers, and puts to use gigantic technical means. And what about us, Lord? Shouldn’t we do everything in our power to place at Your service all the resources available to us on this poor earth that You visited?”

These resources, of course, begin with prayer. The more I ponder the words of Dr. Rice and Dom Gerard, the more my hand finds its way to my pocket. This is where I keep my rosary. It is very special to me as it was a gift from my buddy Greg Willits who knotted it from blue twine. Greg is the founder of RosaryArmy.com – a Catholic apostolate that teaches people how to knot rosaries.

As Greg shared with me in a recent discussion, “All of us who founded RosaryArmy.com are practising Catholics. We all try our best to remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Holy Father, and the Magisterium. We also welcome Christians of other denominations to learn about the power of the Rosary and it's core essence as a meditation on the life of Jesus Christ.”

The members of RosaryArmy.com knot and give away over a thousand rosaries each month. They use a nylon twine that is strong, flexible, and water-proof. It is a perfect fit with my Northern Ontario lifestyle. My rosary must fit in my pocket, tough the rugged Canadian wilderness and the cold Canadian winter, and survive the curiosity of young children. Greg’s rosaries meet all of these conditions. I also find them more aesthetically pleasing – to both the eye and the touch – than rosaries strung together from plastic beads. Not that there is anything wrong with plastic rosaries.

I asked Greg why the RosaryArmy.com knots and distributes their twine rosaries for free when the same rosary often retails for ten-to-fifteen bucks. “Our goal is to get people to pray the Rosary,” Greg replied. “Plastic bead Rosaries are easy to find and are frequently given away in parishes, but there's something unique about a knotted Rosary that draws people to it and makes people want to pray it. To us, that makes giving them away even more important. If the price of a nice Rosary is keeping you from praying it, then we want to remove that obstacle by giving you a nice rosary.”

Receiving a twine rosary is nice, but making them is much more fun. Hundreds of Catholics have downloaded instructions for knotting twine rosaries from RosaryArmy.com’s website. The instructions are free and easy to follow. They make a wonderful project for homeschoolers, Catholic youth groups, and the parish rosary society. You can even order a DVD in which Greg shows you how to knot each decade of the rosary.

No special twine is needed; you can simply purchase from most craft stores. A ten dollar spool yields an average of twenty-five rosaries. Given the state of North American culture, this is not a bad investment. For only through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of All Virtue, can we undue the damage wrought by sexual vice.

For more information on Rosary Army, please visit RosaryArmy.com

From the diary of St. Faustina

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O day of eternity, O day so long desired,
With thirst and longing, my eyes search you out.
Soon love will tear the veil asunder,
And you will be my salvation.

O day most beautiful, moment incomprehensible,
When for the first time I shall see my God,
The Bridegroom of my soul and Lord of lords,
And fear will not restrain my soul.

O day most solemn, O day of brightness,
When the soul will know God in His omnipotence
And drown totally in His love,
Knowing the miseries of exile are o'er.

O happy day, O blessed day,
When my heart will burn for You with fire eternal,
For even now I feel Your presence, though through the veil,
Through life and death, O Jesus, You are my rapture and delight.

O day, of which I dreamed through all my life,
Waiting long for You, O God,
For it is You alone whom I desire,
You are the one and only of my heart; all else is naught.

O day of delight, day of eternal bliss
God of great majesty, my beloved Spouse
You know that nothing will satisfy a virgin heart,
On Your tender Heart I rest my brow.

Discovery

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petersham2a.jpgI came back this afternoon from a 24-hour retreat at the Maronite Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Petersham, MA. Eric Ewanco and I were there to attend the Holy Thursday and Good Friday services.

While there, I started translating a little prayer booklet by Fr. Jean Galot into English; it's dedicated to the Sacred Heart, and here's one of the prayers.

Lord Jesus, God of love incarnate

Since you have come into this world to reveal to us the love divine, help us to discover in the gospel this love which inspired all your actions.

Make us understand the deep significance of your words and your gestures, the intimate sentiments of affection that make you appear as the Good Teacher and the Good Shepherd.

Introduce us into the mystery of your heart, in this hidden sanctuary of your soul that forms an unceasing furnace of love.

When we shall have grasped, going through the gospel stories, this inexhaustible love that surfaces and manifests itself in your way of acting, teach us to find this same love in all our existence, since you continue to give yourself over to us by your presence and your blessings.

Under the light of the Holy Spirit, might we be able to believe more firmly in this love, which explains everything in your life and in ours, to attach ourselves more completely to your heart, and to entrust to it all our being!
--Jean Galot, S.J.

The monks' new chapel is almost complete, and they've begun to use it. The colors are a little off in the photo I took; the wood of the walls, columns, and ceiling is lighter, but not really much different from the color of the wooden pews and choir stalls.

Get your indulgences here!

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On Christmas Day, Cardinal Stafford announced the Holy Father's grant of indulgences in connection with the Year of the Eucharist:

1. A Plenary Indulgence is granted to each and every member of the faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayers for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions, in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin), every time they take part, taking care to do so with pious attention, in a sacred liturgy or pious practice in honour of the Most Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed or preserved in the tabernacle.

2. A Plenary Indulgence is also granted to the clergy, members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and to the other faithful bound by law to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as those who are accustomed to praying the Divine Office for pure devotion, every time, at the end of the day, when they recite Vespers and Compline before the Lord present in the tabernacle, either in community or privately.

More information is available in the decree.

The Latin version looks a little sloppy on the Vatican website. Are venerazioni, exspositum and Tabernacolo proper Latin? And is "sacred liturgy" a proper translation of sacrae functioni? Where is Reginald Foster? What have they done with him?

1. Omnibus et singulis christifidelibus Plenaria Indulgentia conceditur, suetis sub condicionibus (nempe sacramentalis Confessionis, eucharisticae Communionis et Orationis ad mentem Summi Pontificis, animo quidem omnino elongato ab affectu erga quodcumque peccatum), si cui sacrae functioni vel pio exercitio in honorem SS.mi Sacramenti, sive sollemniter expositi sive in Tabernaculo adservati peractis, attente ac religiose interfuerint.

2. Clericis insuper, sodalibus Institutorum Vitae consecratae et Societatum Vitae apostolicae, aliisque christifidelibus qui lege ad Liturgiae Horarum recitationem adstringuntur, vel qui sola devotione Divinum Officium recitare solent, Indulgentia Plenaria conceditur sub enuntiatis condicionibus quotiescumque, declinante die, sive in communi sive privatim, Vesperas et Completorium ante SS.mum Sacramentum venerazioni fidelium exspositum aut in Tabernacolo adservatum, pie persolverint.

"You are born on this night, our divine Redeemer, and, in our journey along the paths of time, you become for us the food of eternal life," the Pope said.

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The earth is glad, O Lord, and leaps with joy, for that the Word made flesh dwells in the womb of the holy Virgin. At His coming the whole earth is ransomed from captivity, after having been kept, by Adam's sin, in a dark prison. Now let the sea be moved, and all things that are therein; let the mountains leap with joy, and all the trees of the forest; because God, having become man, has deigned to come through the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, from heaven into this world. By this His coming, therefore, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that thou loose the weakness of our flesh from the bonds of sin, and come in Thy overflowing mercy, to the assistance of this Thy family here present before Thee.

From the Mozarabic Missal quoted by Michael Davies in an article "Et Incarnatus Est"

Queen of All Saints

Steve sent me this photo he took of the statue of Mary outside the Queen of All Saints chapel at Mary Immaculate Center in Northampton, PA. As he wrote in the comments a few days ago, he is on the Spirituality Year Program offered by St. Charles Seminary. He wrote that he'd sent this photo to RC hoping he would put it up before Dec. 8 but apparently RC doesn't love Mary as he ought! Tsk, tsk, RC !

Anyhow, Steve said he took the photo in the late afternoon when the sun was shining through a grate in the entrance of Mary Immaculate Center. The grate has the "M" associated with the Miraculous Medal devotion, a crown, and a fleur-de-lis in it. In this photo you can clearly see the shadow fo the fleur-de-lis and the M.

Steve also says pray for all seminarians, especially those most in need of God's mercy. I don't know what he meant by that but I am passing it along. It sounds like he's been reading about the visions of Hell from the children at Fatima - scary! So pray for seminarians, especially those most in need of God's mercy!

Origins
The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first mentioned by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. After showing the three children a vision of hell she said, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace... I shall come to ask for... the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays..."

Eight years later, on December 10, 1925, Mary and the Child Jesus appeared to Lucia, the sole surviving Fatima visionary, at a convent in Pontevedra, Spain. Our Lady rested her hand on Lucia's shoulder, revealing a heart encircled by thorns.

The Child Jesus said: "Have compassion on the heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation..."

Conditions
Our Lady spoke next, saying: "Look, my daughter, at my heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."

Why Five Saturdays?
Christians have always honored the Blessed Virgin on Saturday because of her constant faith in Jesus on that first Holy Saturday before the Resurrection.

Five first Saturdays of reparation were requested to atone for the five ways in which people offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1. Attacks upon Mary's Immaculate Conception
2. Attacks against her Perpetual Virginity
3. Attacks upon her Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all mankind
4. For those who try to publicly implant in children's hearts indifference, comtempt and even hatred of this Immaculate Mother
5. For those who insult her directly in her sacred images.

Link via Drudge early this morning.

I doubt Rep. Waxman gives a rip about biased history textbooks or disputed facts in the curriculum of other subjects. The abstinence-only program is being criticised because it is abstinence-only which is so..... 1950? Puritanitical? Dark Ages?

I think the "scared straight" approach with respect to extramarital sex is acceptable. But hey, that's just me.

Thank you, Holy Souls

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In case anyone else wants to arrange Masses for the faithful departed, in gratitude for their intercession, I recommend contacting the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. They help the Pope support mission priests in many countries.

A thought for bedtime

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Tuesday is All Souls' Day, so it's a time to remember how fond we are of the faithful departed; let's pray that they may swiftly enter into the joy and glory of Heaven.

Let's ask them also for their prayers for our fellow countrymen as they go into the voting booth. May wisdom from God move the hearts of all people to support what is truly good and just.

This prayer is making the rounds on the net, I thought to post it here for our readers.

O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, at this most critical time, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. Most Holy Mother, we beg you to reclaim this land for the glory of your Son. Overwhelmed with the burden of the sins of our nation, we cry to you from the depths of our hearts and seek refuge in your motherly protection. Look down with mercy upon us and touch the hearts of our people. Open our minds to the great worth of human life and to the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Free us from the falsehoods that lead to the evil of abortion and threaten the sanctity of family life. Grant our country the wisdom to proclaim that Gods law is the foundation on which this nation was founded, and that He alone is the True Source of our cherished rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. O Merciful Mother, give us the courage to reject the culture of death and the strength to build a new Culture of Life.

Trusting in your most powerful intercession, we pray

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother. To thee we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.

Jesu, spes poenitentibus
Quam pius te petentibus
Quam bonus te quaerentibus
O quid invenientibus?

Jesus, hope of the penitent
How kind you are to those who ask
How good you are to those who seek
What must You be to those who find?

Beautiful! And An apt quote also for the memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

Im reading a book by Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B. called Christ the Ideal of the Priest. Marmion had a number of great books published by B. Herder Book Co. but they have been out of print for years. A publisher should pick them up again. From what Ive read so far all his works appear to be treasures.

I find I am greatly helped in the recitation of the divine Office by the thought that I am really an ambassador sent by the Church many times each day to bear a message to the throne of the Most High. This message must be presented in the terms and according to the ceremonial prescribed by the Church.

The same applies to Mass, of course. Someone please tell the libs!

Discussing Marian devotion with a convert of his time, Newman wrote,

"to my feelings nothing is more delightful than the contemplation of the Mysteries of the Incarnation, under the invocation, so to call it, of her whowas the human instrument of it-so that she who ministered to the Gracious Dispention itself, should minister also to our adoring thought of it."

So true! And this is the answer to those ninnies who say you shouldn't pray the rosary during Eucharistic Adoration.

"I ever possess, and take with me everywhere, the God of my heart and the Heart of my God."

The Sainted Antipope - Fr. Jim Tucker @ Dappled Things

As we recall the example of Saint Clare, let us pray for the the Poor Clares at the Monastery of Mary, Mother of the Church, in Alexandria, Virginia. You know they are praying for all of us!

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"All that we do without offering it to God is wasted."

This is a holy card from St. John Baptiste Vianney Parish in Gladwyne, PA. They commissioned an artist to do this visage of the saint to commemorate their 75th anniversary under his patronage. The work is wonderful but this scan is a little strange looking because the card is laminated. It's shame I can't post a larger photo of it.

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If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love. . . . The Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus."

St. Jean Vianney, the Cur of Ars

Catechism of the Catholic Church #1589

Father Tucker of Dappled Things links to a post by an Orthodox blogger on the role of the Queen Mother of ancient Israel. Scott Hahn writes of this in his book Hail, Holy Queen. From the blog "St. Stephen's Musings." linked above:

There is an Aramaic word, "Gebirah", which means "Queen Mother". The Gebirah was an official position, one with which everyone (Jesus and His disciples included) was entirely familiar. Her role was as an advocate of the people. Anyone who had a petition or sought an audience with the King did so through her.
St. Louis de Montfort's way of Total Consecration follows in this tradition. You can follow the schedule for prepation online via the preceding link. It contains all the prayers and meditations required for the 33 day preparation for Total Consecration. If you start August 6, your consecration day will be September 8, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This hymn is the translation of the hymn of Lauds, office of St. Rita, approved by Decree of S.C.R. Nov. 24, 1900. St. Rita is the Patron Saint of the Impossible.

I'm posting various prayers today for the edification of our readers. In the interest of space and general readability of the blog, I'll post most of the prayers as extended entries so you will have to follow the link below to view them.

This one, which St. Patrick had etched on his armor, is usually abridged to include only the second to last stanza.

I have prayer cards with the entire prayer. Email me if you are interested in acquiring one.

mount_carmel.jpg
O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!

John was hoping today was Our Lady of Mount Carvel. Alas, is it not.

Cookie Puss!

"I will go up to the foot of the Cross; I will press my arms tightly around the cold body, the corpse of Christ, with the fire of my love.....I will unail it, with my reparation and mortifications....I will wrap it in the new winding-sheet of my clean life, and I will bury it in the clean rock of my breast, where no one can tear it away from me, and there, Lord, take your rest! Were the whole world to abandon you...serviam! I will serve you Lord."
-St. Jose Maria Escriva

Ora pro nobis!

Help! Urgent Prayer Request!

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Hi folks, I have an urgent prayer request. There's been a rather frightening twist in my moving plans back to Canada. Barring Divine intervention, I'm likely gonna find myself stuck in no-man's land between the US and the Canadian border. It concerns importing my car, as I attempt to negotiate between US customs, Canada customs, my insurance company and possibly a second one, and the bank that holds the lien on my car. Please keep this in prayer, as it needs to be resolved before the day is over.

A devotional two-fer this weekend, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart yesterday and Immaculate Heart of Mary today. I have a beautiful visage of the Sacred Heart that belonged to Grandma Ravilla that I will attempt to post here later today. It's one of a kind and I've often thought of having it reproduced. I am in awe that the Church was born from the very Heart of Christ, cruely pierced by human sin though boundness in merciful love for each one of us.

From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power.
Amen. - - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

From The Holy Father:

Mary was at the foot of the Cross, co-participant of the Passion of the Son. She offers her Mother's heart as refuge to those who seek forgiveness, hope, and peace, as we were reminded in the feast of the Immaculate Heart. Mary has cleansed us in the blood of the crucified Son. To her, we entrust the blood of the victims of violence, so that it will be rescued with that blood that Jesus poured out for the salvation of the world.

Upcoming eucharistic congresses!

Novena to the Divine Mercy

Saturday: "Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."

The folks organizing to build an "Arch of Triumph" Marian shrine in Buffalo even have a song about it now! I still like the idea of supersizing it, but if it comes off in just the regular version (below), it may actually be an interesting place to visit.

I worry a little when I hear talk about our Lady's coming "triumph", because a bunch of very kooky phony mystics in the '80s and '90s made it their theme. If we'd all sign on to the latest apparitionist's messages, it seemed, Our Lady's Triumph (gotta use that capital T) would be ever closer, and surely it was coming next year. All we needed was one more apparition movie with Martin Sheen.

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him - He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . . "I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead."

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.

eyck_annunciation.jpgAnd in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Luke 1:26-30

The Annunciation is one of my favorite feast days, and it's very popular with the Johnson kids, too. This is the day when God's promise of salvation has begun to be fulfilled. Let us praise the Holy Virgin by whom that salvation comes.

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Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 3-12-604)


(His current feast is 9-3, to commemorate his ascendance to the papacy. Today is his dies natalis, though, and celebrating twice per year isn't too much, is it?)

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz


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