I’ve been praying the Rosary using the Five Special Intentions given by Pope St. John Paul II, for use with the Divine Mercy chaplet, for several months. Those intentions are aimed at ending abortion and the whole culture of death. I began adding them to the Rosary threads on Twitter back when the pro-abortion crowd ramped up their demonic efforts to ram barbaric legislation through in a push that has been more aggressive than any we’ve ever seen in this country. (Links at the end of this post.)Continue reading
I wonder when I’ll get used to having anything delivered on Sunday. This time it was a used book: Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina, by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. (Links at the end of this post.) The back cover reads that “the Virgin Mary is a spiritual mother of St. Faustina and us” and that the book is an “in-depth study of the very special relationship between the Virgin Mary and St. Faustina.”
“Before Holy Communion I saw the Blessed Mother inconceivably beautiful. Smiling at me She said to me: ‘My daughter, at God’s command I am to be in a special and exclusive way your Mother; but I desire that you, too, in a special way, be My child” (Diary, 1414).Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, quoted on the back cover of Purest of All Lilies.
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world.
Miss Lucy Dawg and I are about to sit down to lunch and we wanted to take a moment to say, Happy and Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday, y’all! God bless you, each and every one. I’ll be here on site working on the Rosary Project later on. Need to do a couple of things around the house, then pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet, which I’ll be adding to the site soon in a new Devotions section. Stay tuned.
May His peace be always with you and yours.
Divine Mercy Sunday is the octave of Easter. This year it will be on April 28. The novena began on Good Friday—but I didn’t. If you’re like me, continually running from one crisis to another, and you forgot to begin the novena when you were supposed to, be of good cheer! There’s hope! Dr. Robert Stackpole offers this suggestion to those of us who miss a day of this or any other novena.
“My advice to those who miss a day of a novena is simply to make a special act of adoration of the infinitely generous, merciful, and compassionate God before continuing with the next day of your Novena (for example, you can use the Prayer for Divine Mercy from St. Faustina’s Diary entry 1570; “O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness…” — a wonderful prayer of hope and trust). On the one hand, such a prayer, said with a sincere heart, more than makes up for any negligence involved – if any was involved at all — in the missed novena day. On the other hand, if the novena day was missed through human weakness (tiredness, forgetfulness) or extenuating circumstances, then this prayer extols the compassionate generosity of our Savior, who keeps His promises to us anyway!”Quoted from: Dr. Robert Stackpole, ‘What If I Miss a Day of the Novena?‘
Learn more about the Divine Mercy at the links below.
Get a copy of the book, Divine Mercy In My Soul, by Saint Faustina. Kindle. Paperback: mass market size, larger paperback. Leather cover. (Affiliate links: the seller may pay me a small commission for the sale.)
(A post for the Year of Faith.) There are only five precepts of the Church and every Catholic should know them. Let’s take a look at them as found in the Catechism, second edition, Part 3, Section 1, Chapter 3, Article 3, starting with paragraph 2042, without the commentary, just the precepts. And notice that the subtitle of Article 3 is: The Church, Mother and Teacher. The Church is your Mother. She has something to say to you. Listen up!
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
- You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
There. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Only five precepts and they’re brief, too. Blessedly. (Heh. A little Church humor. Very little. Ahem.)
Now why do you suppose the Church wants you to attend Mass on Sundays or to confess and receive the Eucharist at least once a year? Because, like any good mother, she just wants you to drop in once in a while so she can see your face before she forgets what you look like? Well, maybe. But mostly to keep you spiritually alive! Read these words in paragraph 2041 right before the list of precepts.
“The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor…”
You see, to keep alive spiritually you must attend Mass every Sunday, confess and receive the Eucharist at least once a year. (Notice that you can attend Mass without receiving. This is important. If you’re not in a state of grace, you should not even think about presenting yourself for Communion. But you still must attend Mass!) You must also observe the days of fasting and abstaining, and help provide for the needs of the Church. This is the bare minimum for your interior, spiritual self to stay alive. If you are not meeting this bare minimum in your life, you may be in danger of dying spiritually. And if all you do is the bare minimum, then you’ll be barely alive spiritually, too.
When someone says, “Oh, I’m not religious at all but I’m very spiritual,” I have to say, “Oh, really?” Because I know that person is probably not spiritual at all. Most of the people who say things like that to me only concern themselves with things of the world and the body and the body’s appetites. They don’t go to church, don’t see why they should; don’t mortify their appetites, again, they don’t see why they should; they don’t practice self-control; they don’t confess their sins and they don’t receive the Eucharist. And, of course, they don’t give anything to their church because they don’t even have a church. Because…they’re “spiritual, not religious!”
Oy ve! Tell me how they can be spiritual! What do they even mean when they say it? Do they mean they believe in spirits? What kind of spirits? Spirits of good or spirits of evil? Do they mean that they practice spiritualism? Play with Ouija boards? (And why does that word end in an “a” instead of an “i” or an “ie” or “ee” or something? I never hear anyone pronounce it “Wee-ja”, it’s always “Wee-jee” board.)
Oh, they’re very spiritual. So spiritual that they will go to almost any lengths to avoid suffering. Mortification? Why, they’re mortified at the thought of it! And not in a good way!
Christ said that He is the Vine and we are the branches. If we cut ourselves off from the Vine, we will shrivel and dry up. If we cut ourselves off from the Eucharist, we have no life in us. If we turn away from the ordinary means of grace in the sacraments, how do we expect to receive grace? If we don’t mortify our appetites, how do we expect to preserve or increase in grace? If we don’t confess our sins after sinning, how do we expect to get back into a state of grace so we can continue to grow and have a real and not imaginary spiritual life?
And that, I think, is all too often the problem: People imagine that they are spiritual and that they have a spiritual life when they don’t know the first thing about spirituality at all.
So stop imagining that you’re a very spiritual person and go to confession and get into a state of grace and get to Mass and and control your appetites and stay in the Vine and really be spiritual! Because your Momma says so. Momma Church, that is!
The full text of paragraphs on the precepts can be found online, paragraphs 2041 – 2043.
Vine passage from Gospel of John 15:5:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
I don't know about you, but I try to be a good Christian, a devout Catholic. I try to practice my faith, to do what I am supposed to do, to love my Lord and my fellow man. I try. Well… Okay, sometimes I try. And sometimes I don't try at all. I just act like I don't even know anything about Christianity and I charge ahead like a water buffalo–wait, do water buffalo charge? Oh, you know what I mean. Don't act like you don't. You go to confession and Mass (if you're a Catholic, and if you're not, then you pray or give testimony and go to your community's worship service or whatever your community calls it or does) and you resolve to do better, to remember yourself and your commitment to the Lord, to change, to allow Him to change you, to rely less on your stubborn self and more on Him. And yet you do the same thing, time after time, the same thing you did last time and the time before that, and the same thing you have been confessing since you went to your first confession, no matter how many years ago that was. And you're still doing the same thing! Oh, maybe you catch yourself now and then, but for the most part you are still losing your temper the way you always have and about the same things and at the same people.
ARGH! What's a (supposed) disciple to do?!
Well, I'll tell you what this wannabe disciple is going to do. The same thing I have been doing. The same thing I will keep doing and having to do. I will pick myself up off the floor again and go to confession and go to adoration and tell the Lord that I am sorry and ask Him to forgive me and ask Him to help me. Again. And, yes, I have already asked Him that, I know I don't have to wait until I go to confession and I don't wait until I go to confession to talk to the Lord. We talk a lot. Well, mostly I talk and He tries to get a word in edgewise and sometimes I shut up and let Him. Sometimes He tells me the most beautiful things. And sometimes I even hear what He says. Yep, sometimes I actually listen.
All of which leads to the heart of my post: the Year of Faith which our Holy Father announced a while back and which began on October 11 2012. Pope Benedict has asked all the faithful to study anew the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, so that we may deepen our knowledge of our faith and of our Church and of our Lord. So that we may deepen our love for Him Who is Love. And how else can our love for God grow if our knowledge of Him does not also grow? And how can our knowledge of Him grow if we do not make an effort to know the Truth He has revealed to us? And how can we know the Truth He has revealed to us if we do not trouble ourselves to listen to His voice in the teachings and liturgy of the Church He Himself gave us?
We are all of us embarking on a journey, setting out into the deep. The Lord will guide us on our way, the Lord Himself Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the only Truth that is worth knowing. May the Lord richly bless you and yours during this Year of Faith and may His peace be upon you forever and ever. Amen.
AND it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And going into one of the ships that was Simon's, he desired him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting he taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him. — Luke 5:1-11, Douay-Rheims translation.
Learn more: Read more about the Year of Faith at the official website or at the USCCB or at EWTN and many other places too numerous to list. Read Porta Fidei (the Door of Faith) or the transcript of the Homily at the Opening Mass of the Year of Faith, both by Pope Benedict. Other resources include a Catholic Bible study guide by Fr. Mitch Pacwa (Kindle version or paperback) and daily brief readings in the Catechism delivered to your email inbox and also available online. This is truly a wonderful resource and I have enjoyed my mornings with the Catechism very much since this program began on Oct 11. We're not far along yet and you have plenty of time to join in. Please do! You can join in the discussion on the site and learn a lot that way and share what you know, too. You can also find the entire set of sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council online at EWTN.
I spent all morning trying to decide whether to make the trip up to Hanceville for Divine Mercy Sunday Devotions and Mass at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, or stay closer to home and save on gasoline (and energy!). I’m officially glad I spent the time and fuel to go up there. That is one beautiful place–its 13th century architecture alone would make it worth the trip. If it weren’t for the incense which plays havoc with my lungs, I would want to attend Mass there more often. I wonder if they use the incense at the Daily Mass? Maybe just at Benediction? I’ll have to find out.
Tonight I’m only posting a couple of photos from the trip; will post more when I get them edited. The sky was overcast while I was taking these and the only half-decent light lasted a very short while, so I have to edit each one to make it somewhat presentable. And I’m still not happy with the way these look. This all takes more time than I wish it did, but then patience is a virtue. Or so I’ve heard…