Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Odor of Sanctity

This post was circuitously inspired by "That Smell," an article in Dominicana.  Br. Paul Clark, op, the author, asks what holiness smells like.  He goes on to describe how the sense of smells many times will trigger memories, set the scene, make us drool.  It's a viable sense to reckon with.

I immediately thought of Anne Marie Schmidt.  She has the "odor of sanctity."  I know you're asking, "What?"  She carries around the smell of roses.  It emanates off of her.  She is not aware of it.  Her husband can't smell it, but everyone else can.

Some years ago, I was blessed by going to one of her retreats.  She is an elderly lady who lived through a concentration camp.  Her experiences are filled with God's mercy and providence.  Again I was blessed, with a session of spiritual direction with her.  What does holiness smell like?  Holiness, to me, smells like Anne Marie Schmidt.   I don't remember what she said; I do remember how she made me feel.  I felt God holding me in His hands. I felt all anxiety melt away.  All I felt was love.  May God bless Anne Marie Schmidt.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Museum Surprise

Massachusetts Archives Museum was our day trip, today.  Hubby is hooked on genealogy.  I appreciated the history of the place.  But as I was walking around the genealogy section I was surprised by seeing a friend's picture.  Shocked!

There on a column was a picture of the Jepsens.  Don Jepsen died a few years back, but Jane is still around.  They used to come to my prayer group.  They were very vibrant members.  I remember them showing me this family picture and saying, "Look what you two started."

I said a prayer for Don and I think I'll telephone Jane.  (I can take a hint.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Time Not Wasted


I noticed today when traffic was stopped, due to an accident, that I wasn't exasperated.  My reaction was "Good.  Now I can finish praying my rosary."

I guess I pray all day.  I talk to God like He was with me.  Well, He is.  Always.

What would I do if I weren't a prayerful person?  Drumming my fingers on the steering wheel?  Trying to find a good radio station?  Calling friends on my cell phone?

I welcome all the inconvenient stops.  "Good.  I can pray."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stargate

Image from Wiki Commons

This afternoon while waiting for my "cloistered brothers" to come, I looked across the yard and saw this huge circular structure.  I asked what it was and was told that it once was a huge gong.  But the middle gong part broke, never to be from again.  That left this huge circular frame that I was looking at.

I learned that it was called Stargate.  My "cloistered brothers" tried it.  It didn't work.

*Stargate was a science fiction series where a person could be transported to another place.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sometimes When You Lose, You Win



Artist -- MEK
My friend, Donna and I saw an advertisement about a cribbage night at a nearby church, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.  Donna and I have been learning to play.  The ad had a category for "recreational players", so we signed up.

It was a very small group. And Donna and I were the only recreational players.  So we played with each other.  She won once and I won once and we started a third game to break the tie but we got involved in a long conversation with someone and when we got back to the game we couldn't remember whose turn it was and we didn't care.  (You can tell we're not serious players.)  So we quit.

The people were so friendly.  It was not a cutthroat atmosphere.  I knew three people from town or church.  I made friends with two others.  Everyone else was nice, too.

And!  I won free ice cream and a gift certificate. Donna won some flowers and free ice cream.  They actually had more prizes than people, so everyone got something.  Everyone was a winner.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Walk for Hunger

Women prisons walking in Cadillac prison
France 1864 (ca)

Can you Help?
On Sunday, May 3, the men at Norfolk State Prison will join in Boston’s annual WALK FOR HUNGER by walking up to 20 miles within the prison confines (that means walking over 140 times the inside perimeter of "the Yard"). This is the 26th year that the men at MCI Norfolk will participate in this worthwhile event. Besides helping those who suffer from hunger, it gives the men an opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate than themselves.

Because it is difficult for the men to find sponsors, we are reaching out to the outside community for support. All sponsor donations will be sent to PROJECT BREAD in Boston to help feed those who are hungry and suffer from malnutrition.

If you are willing to sponsor the men for this year’s WALK FOR HUNGER at Norfolk State prison, please make your checks payable to:

PROJECT BREAD
Send to: Bethany House Ministries
1049 Main Street
Millis, MA. 02054

Once Bethany House receives all the donations, they will send them directly to Project Bread. If you could forward this email to your friends and communities my brother and I would be grateful.
We know that there are those who read this post and are unable to sponsor with a donation to Project Bread. However we ask you to please pray for our walkers at Norfolk State Prison and for all those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition throughout the world.

For more information you can go to Bethany House Ministries at http://www.bethanyhouseministry.com or call 508-376-9923.
Resiliency is more than bouncing back. It is growing through life. The men in Norfolk Prison whom John reaches are growing through and reaching out. I hope you will understand my request.

A Star for Mrs. Blake

A Star for Mrs. Blake is a novel by April Smith.  It's an historical novel about a subject I never heard of and an era of which I know little--after World War I.  The subject is Gold Star Mothers and their journey to France.

Five mothers are invited by the US government to go visit their sons' graves in France.  Well, a lot more than five ladies go, but the novel is the story of these particular mothers.  As a mother, at times the plot is heart wrenching.  As a woman, I found the story heart wrenching.  As a human being, I found the novel heart wrenching.  I loved it.

Two women come from New England, which were the most familiar characters to me.  The others were from New York.  Added to the stories of the mothers, were the stories of Lily and Thomas who were their "guides."  Lily was a nurse, and Tom was career army.  Eventually, all the characters will become enmeshed in tragedy--from the past and the present.  I won't spoil the plot, for you, sorry.

The story that I found the most interesting was Lily.  She became the scapegoat for a tragedy.  The bad guy was General Perkins.  I think this story interested me the most because I used to work for the government.  The mentality of the general was all so reminiscent!  When something went wrong, the first question was not "How do we fix this," but rather, "Who did this?"  Somebody has to take the blame and more often than not, it wasn't fair.  Lily, who was wrongly accused, was the one who took the bullet, so to speak.  Poor Lily, simpatico!

I loved the book.  It  kept me up way beyond my bedtime, for a few nights.  I learned history; I was entertained; and I fell in love with Girf.  Griffin Reed was a character I didn't tell you about.  That's because he's mine and I'm not sharing him.

Did I tell you I enjoyed the book?



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Human Nature


Email and phone conversations have taken up an inordinate amount of my time, lately.  They're from two organizations, of which I am president.  The point of these conversations is to change my mind.  I listen politely, as I like to think is my nature, and end up saying that we'll discuss it further at the next meeting.

What goes?  Why does this happen?  We discussed it and voted at the previous meeting.

I think the opponents of the decision get together and contact others and decide to approach me to reopen the discussion.

What I don't understand is why don't they object at the meeting before we voted.  I've come to the conclusion that decisions take two meetings.  The first meeting is to approach the subject and talk about it.  Then dismiss people with think about and we'll vote next meeting.

I'm thinking of taking a person to person vote to write down "yay" or "nay".  So when they call, I'll point out that they voted for it, or the majority voted for it.

I don't care because as the leader of the group, I mean to serve the group.  Whatever they want, I'll implement.  But make up your mind, already!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pestering God




I asked God if I could exaggerate,
and He said, “Depends.”
I asked God if it were okay to be fat,
and He asked, “What’s fat?”
I asked God if I could write about
people with small minds and big mouths.
He said, “My Beloved,”
He calls me that, sometimes.
“Be careful you don’t hurt anybody.”
“Thanks God,” I said.
And is it even okay if I write poetry
that has impossible imagery,
difficult diction, and is mostly
meaningless?”

“My Love,” God said.
He’s really crazy about me, you see.
“What I’m telling you is,
Yes, Yes, Yes…but with love.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Do You Want?


"What do you want me to do for you?"  Jesus asks Bartimeus.  And Bartimeus answers, "That I may see."  Jesus grants Bartimeus request.  Not only does Bartimeus see with eyes but also with his heart because he goes on to follow Jesus.  (Mark 10: 46-52)

This same question is asked of Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas had written about the Eucharist and was pondering if he had done it justice.  In prayer, AQ put the book down in front of the crucifix.  He heard “Thou hast written well of me, what recompense dost thou desire?”
Thomas humbly answered, “None other than Thyself, O Lord.”  

I think Thomas Aquinas' answer is the best answer.  I'll have to remember it if and when God asks me what I want.

Nothing but You, My Love.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Cross and the Lotus


Two recent converts to Catholicism were in my RCIA class.  They come from a Buddhist tradition.  I've found being an RCIA teacher, that Buddhists make excellent Catholics.  They have been a great help to me.  They also told me some stories from Buddhism that resonate with Christian stories.  They even tell me that legend has it that Jesus traveled East and met with the Buddha.

Well, what was Jesus doing between the ages of 12 and 30?  Nice legend.

My friend, Mary, who is from Kerala, India, speaks of other Christian faiths in India.  Her husband is a Syriac Christian who trace their history back to Jesus' followers and once called themselves Nasranis.  Think Nasranis = Nazarenes = followers of the Nazarene, Jesus.

Mary is quite comfortable talkings about Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Protestants.  She looks at their similarities.  In fact, she has a symbol of the cross blooming out of a lotus blossom.  The lotus is a symbol of Buddhist enlightenment.  And see what's blooming out of the lotus.

This symbol if found not only in India, but along the coast of China.  The two faith traditions must have been accepted and collaborated.  Aren't Buddhists and Christians interested in intellectual curiosity and spiritual advancement?  Ecumenical good will?  Alleviating suffering?  Atoning for sin?  Meditation?  Sacrifice?  Love?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Drained



You know what?  Maybe people are just tired.  They want to take the easy way out.  So they want to be left alone.

I'm talking religion.  That means evangelizing.  I also mean educating, proselytizing, and just plain chatting.  Some people don't even want to think.

Leave them alone.  Let them wallow in their self absorption.

I guess you can tell that I'm tired of their refusal to look deeper.  Is it laziness?  Sigh...I guess the Holy Spirit will have to take over, I quit.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ordination of Salvatore Mellone

Zenit this morning has a story about Salvatore Mellone.  He is a terminally ill seminarian.  Before he dies, he was ordained and gave his first blessing to Pope Francis.

Father Mellone's story reminded me of my post from May 21, 2011.  It is unusual for a seminarian to be ordained on his death bed.  But not only did this happen for Father Mellone, it also occurred with Bl. Hyacinth Marie Cormier, O.P.  The miraculous thing is, Hyacinth, (who received that name because his health was as delicate as a hyacinth) recovered.  Not only did he recover, he  went on to become the Master General of the Order of Preachers.

May Father Salvatore Mellone recover as did Bl. Hyacinth, for this I pray.

Friday, April 17, 2015

God's Power Made Perfect in Weakness


The story of Bill Atkinson is very inspiring.  I did a double take at first because the words quadriplegic priest leaped out at me.  I didn't know this was possible.  A priest needs to be able to elevate the Eucharist and a quadriplegic wouldn't be able to do this.  This story explains how it happens.
      Bill wanted to be a priest.  He chose to belong to a community, rather than become a diocesan priest.  In my opinion this was divine intervention because I think living in a community would be more inclined to help their confrere than the lonely diocesan cleric.  Bill chose the Augustinians.
      During Bill's first year in the seminary, he had a toboggan accident that left him a quadriplegic.  The Augustinians thought that Bill could still be a priest.  They worked with him, including asking the pope for permission to continue his studies.  Cardinal Krol, with permission from Pope Paul VI, ordained him.  Father Bill consecrated with the help of a deacon.
       Father Bill lead an active life and was a model for everyone he encountered.  He died in 2006. I was thinking he'd be a good intercessor for all who felt handicapped, who needed encouragement to persevere, who craves hope.  Father Bill Atkinson is the one to call upon.


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/matthew-archbold/the-amazing-and-inspiring-story-of-the-quadriplegic-priest#ixzz3XcK3wCYu

Thursday, April 16, 2015

We Stunk Up the Place


The women's club went bowling tonight.  As usual, I did fantastic--at first.  I've done that all my life.  I just do well in the beginning and then from then on, it's all downhill.  We played two games and I scored 77 in the first game.  The second game I scored 44.  See what I mean?

Besides, I broke a fingernail.   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

And I Realized This was the Wrong Place



"One large cheese pizza."

"Ten minutes."


Sticking in the snow, a flag waved "Open."
The man behind the counter said "Hello."



"I called ten minutes ago for a cheese pizza?"
He smiled and said, "fifteen minutes."



Mmm...I thought; on the phone he said ten.
I sat down and watched the news on their TV.


He turned the oven on and walked in back,
soon he came back with a white bumpy circle

and opened the oven door and gave the doughy
circle a shove that sent it well inside the heat.

The news was the same old and I was bored.
I picked up a menu and stared at he cover...


My eyes grew wide reading the name
on the front;



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Knights of Malta


Last night I ran into a Knight of Malta.  He explained that the Knights of Malta originated during the crusades as an organization dedicated to help Christians.  They founded a hospital to provide care for the sick and poor Christians on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  But when more and more pilgrims were killed and harrassed on their journey, they felt they had to protect them.  They then became a military order.

Their patron is St. John the Baptist and their patroness is the Blessed Virgin Mary with the name "Our Lady of Mount Philermos."  Their symbol is a Maltese cross.

Nowadays, they are known primarily as the group that take the sick to Lourdes.  And they do it for free, too!

BTW, pray for Craig, a Knight of Malta, he has been diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils.  May Craig, who himself shows compassion to the sick, feel the love and comfort of Our Lord, and a healing if it be His Will.  Mary, Our Lady of Mount Philermos, and St. John the Baptist, interede for Craig in this hour of his need.  Amen.
     






Monday, April 13, 2015

Rejection = Opportunity


My niece is applying to college.  Of course, she's been rejected here and there.  And it hurts.  We all know that.  You can't be human and not get hurt at some time.

It didn't help to tell her to look at the rejection letter as an opportunity to narrow down her prospects--"Good, now I can focus on other schools."  No more than telling yourself when you're fired, "Good, I hated that job anyway."

It still hurts.

But it is an opportunity.  It's an experience that you need to feel.  You need to feel rejected to learn how to handle it.  You will live through this.  The sun still shines.

Kick the dust off your sandals and move on.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Good is Not Equal to Evil

CRAZY! Crazy Weekend.  Since my nephew's accident, life has been discombobulated.  There is no
end to the paperwork.  Police report, insurance reports, rental car report, and the hassle of telephoning the proper people, have used up all our family time.  The accident spoiled our fun time.

But wait a minute!  We're Christians and if that means anything, it means life makes sense.  Let's ponder the accident.  After all, we know that joy and suffering are related.  What is God's plan?

No one was seriously hurt.  Everyone is alive.  That's the best result.  We have a renewed appreciation for our lives.  As a family we bonded in trouble, which would have been completely different if we were bonded only in fun.  We figured and worked out difficult situations like how to get a rental car delivered when they weren't open, or there weren't any companies in the area.  We made do or we did without.  We felt a sense of accomplishment.  We learned that five big people can fit in a two door coup--albeit squashed.  We learned to laugh at the predicament.

Best of all, we learned that good trumps evil.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

An Accident


Wait till I tell you what happened!  Disaster, that's what.  My nephew and his family were on their way to visit me and a few blocks from my house, they were hit by another car.  He was crossing the intersection and WHAM!

Here is a picture of the car.  Remarkably, he was the only one hurt.  He never saw the car coming.  All he saw was the car coming into his car.  The air bag on the side protected them.  Most of the damage, as you can see, happened to the back.  My niece was there.  Her glasses went flying off and a pierced earing popped out of her ear.  That's it.


My nephew couldn't move.  He thought he was paralyzed.  His side hurt and he worried that he broke a rib or ribs and punctured his spleen.  Help came immediately.  He was lifted out of his vehicle and placed on a back board and brace and taken by ambulance to the hospital.

He's back with me now, and everyone is fine.  Thanks be to God.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy: Flow upon us!

Precious Blood, most pure Offering: Procure for us every Grace!

Precious Blood, Hope and Refuge of sinners: Atone for us!

Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us!  Amen.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We are Still Kingdom People


This morning's reading from Peter 3: 1-17 was confirmation for yesterday's post on turning the other cheek, blessing people instead, acting like Christ.

In summary, then, all of you should be like-minded, sympathetic, loving toward one another, kindly disposed, and humble.  Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult.  Return a blessing instead.  This you have been called to do, that you may receive a blessing as your inheritance.
...You must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and follow after it, because the Lord has eyes for the just and ears for their cry; but against evildoers the Lord sets his face...If it should be God's will that you suffer, it is better to do so for good deeds than for evil ones.

What does all this mean to you?  To me, it means "suck it up."  Be strong in being the better person.  Don't act like a child--tit for tat.  Offer the hurt up to God like Jesus did on the cross.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We are Kingdom People

Drawing by MEK
My Lay Dominican Chapter is inside a men's prison.  Tonight was our study group.  We were discussing Matt. 5:39.  This is the turn the other cheek teaching.

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Personally, I was a little worried how the discussion would turn out; the make-up of the group being a bunch of alpha males.  And in their environment!  I thought they would think this teaching a sign of weakness.

They looked at this scripture verse as the ideal for Christians.  But they acknowledged that the worldly view was the exact opposite.

Some remembered stories about Martin Luther King's non violent protests.  The prevalent opinion was that one really had to be morally strong to keep Jesus' teaching in our secular world.  It is easier in a group, like the marchers with Martin Luther King.  But very, very hard when you're standing alone.

We have to follow Jesus' example.  We are kingdom subjects.  We have to live our identity.  Actually, we have to treat others the way God treats us.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Prayer Style

I was reading how Al Kresta prays.  He's the honcho of Ave Maria Radio.  I liked best how he didn't fret over not having a set schedule of devotional prayers.  His life makes a set schedule impossible.  I thing most of us can relate.

He is responding to a series, "How I Pray" on the blog Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2015/03/how-i-pray-al-kresta/

He does what he can, when he can.  I'll add that I think his perseverence is the best prayer.  He called it his prayer style.  You have to find your prayer style.  What others do probably won't fit no more than Saul's armor fit David.

My prayer style is a constant attempt to live and pray as a Lay Dominican.  I pray the Liturgy of the Hours and Rosary.  I do Lectio Divina and the Rosary.  I also am supposed to go to Daily Mass.  Conversely, when I worked, I did.  But now that I'm retired, I usually don't.  I feel guilty about it.  You see, when I worked I went to daily Mass before work--always.  However, now that I'm retired, I don't wake up early enough to go to Mass.  I would, definitely, if I could find a local noon Mass.  But I do try.

I also pray novenas, now and then, depending on circumstances.  All day, I pray the Jesus prayer.  I turn the common ejaculation, O My God, into a prayer, which is an easy thing to do since the ejaculation either calls for a prayer of praise or of despair.

Well!  I'm surprised my style is so devotional.  I didn't think that was me.  I was wrong.  I guess I'm pious and devotional and that's my style.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

He Is Risen.


He is truly risen.  Happy Easter!  Today make your consecration.  Before or after Mass today, place yourself in front of the tabernacle and pray this consecration.

My Jesus, I love You with my whole heart.  I soemnly consecrate myself to You through Your Mother, Mary.  I surrender my entire life--everything to You, as my God and King.  Since Your Mother is so dear to You, I also offer her the highest veneration I can.  I ask her to intercede with You when I am unable.  May she bring me close to You.  May she guide me as she guided You.
I ask this of You My Lord and My God, according to Your Will.  Amen.

Don't think that because you have made this consecration, you will become a saint.  You have planted a seed.  You need to grow.  Please make use of the externals--read about Mary, pray through Mary, use prayer ejaculations, use holy water to bless yourself, wear the brown scapular, bless yourself going by a Catholic Church to recognize Jesus in the tabernacle, pray for your deceased loved ones, pray for all the dead as you pass a cemetery, go to frequent confession, wear the Miraculous Medal, wear a crucifix or cross, pray the Rosary, have pictures and statues of Mary and Jesus in your home.  Don't be ashamed to show your devotion and piety.  Think of Jesus' suffering naked on the cross.  How can you not devote yourself to Jesus for the rest of your life?  Mary will help you get to Jesus.  She will bring you to her Son.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day Forty Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century / A Lenten Journey

                                                                    Day Forty of Lent


Holy Saturday

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:

Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."

Holy Saturday

First Meditation

Meditate upon this photo.

Second Meditation

Read and meditate upon this ancient homily:

Something strange is happening--there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps 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.  God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
    He has gone to search for our first parent, 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 the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve.  The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory.  At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: "My Lord be with you all."  Christ answered him: "And with your spirit."  He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: "Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."
     I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.  Out of love foryou and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, al who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.  I order you, O sleeper, to awake.  I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell.  Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.  Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.  Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
    For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth.  For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead.  For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden and I was crucified in a garden.
    See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you.  See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image.  On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.  See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
    I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your sid.  My side has healed the pain in yours.  My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell.  The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
     Rise, let us leve this place.  The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.  I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven.  I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you.  I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God.  The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager.  The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the tresure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Third Meditation

Pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary.  (See Holy Thursday, Thirty-Eight Day of Lent.)

Now end the day with the prayer, " Where Mary is, there is her Son.  I love You, Jesus. Amen"


End your day with an examination of conscience--even in bed.
What good did I do today?
Where did I fail?
How can I do better?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day Thirty-Nine Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century/A Lenten Journey

Good Friday

Drawing by MEK

                                                                     Day Thirty-Nine


Friday of Holy Week of Lent

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:

Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."

Good Friday

Day of Fasting

First Meditation

Hopefully you have made arrangements to take today off, or at least the hours from noon to three.  If you have, spend some time in church.  If not pray and specifically pray for these intentions:

For our sake our Redeemer suffered death and was buried, and rose again.  With heartfelt love let us adore Him and pray:     Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ our teacher, for our sake you were obedient even to  accepting death,
--teach us to obey the Father's will in all things.
Christ our life, by your death on the cross you destroyed the power of evil and death,
--may we die with you, to rise with you in glory.
Christ our King, you became an outcast among us, a worm and no man,
--teach us the humility by which you saved the world.
Christ our salvation, you gave yourself up to death out of love for us,
--help us to show your love to one another.
Christ our Savior, on the cross you embraced all time with your outstretched arms,
--unite God's scattere children in your kingdom of salvation.

Second Meditation

It was about nine in the morning when they nailed Jesus to the cross.  From noon until three o'clock there was darkness over the whole world.  At three o'clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice; my God, my God, why have You forsaken me.

Third Meditation

You are going to sleep without a pillow, tonight.  Think about why.

Now end the day with the prayer, " Where Mary is, there is her Son.  I love You, Jesus. Amen"


End your day with an examination of conscience--even in bed.
What good did I do today?
Where did I fail?
How can I do better?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day Thirty-Eight Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century / a Lenten Journey

Day Thirty-Eight Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century/A Lenten Journey     


                                                                     Day Thirty-Eight


Holy Thursday

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:

Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."

First Meditation
and
Second Meditation
and
Third Meditation

Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary

(1)  Apostle's Creed, (2) Our Father, (3) three Hail Mary's and a (4) Glory be...
The Agony in the Garden(Intention: For the ability to do God's Will and to accept the cross)
(5) [ Recite 1 Our Father - 10 Hail Marys - 1 Glory be to the Father ]

My Jesus, You told Your Apostles many times that You looked forward to the final hour of Redemption, and yet as you foresaw the sufferings to come you shuddered with fear and anguish of soul.

You asked the Father to let this chalice pass and you received a refusal. My future looms before me at times, dear Jesus, and I tremble with fear and trepidation. I have implored the Father many times to grant me a favor or release me from a cross and His answer has often been "No."

Why should I question His Wisdom in my regard when He refused His Own Son because the good of mankind was at stake? Help me to do the Father's Will with Your generosity and to accept a negative reply with Your love.

It is the mental anguish and uncertainty that tears my soul apart and I often question His love for me.

Your example of resignation, acceptance and love makes me realize that the Father has my life in His hands and nothing happens to me that is not for my good.

Give me the confidence to ask for what I think I need, the humility to wait for His Will, and the faith to accept a refusal. Let my suffering be Redemptive, let my will be one with God's and my life a sacrifice of love.

Second Sorrowful Mystery: 
The Scourging at the Pillar(Intention: To overcome the weaknesses that strip us of grace and lead us to unfaithfulness)
[ Recite 1 Our Father - 10 Hail Marys - 1 Glory be to the Father ]

The pain of this suffering often escapes me, dear Jesus, I forget that this incident was not only painful but humiliating. Each stroke of the whip made you wince with pain and the gaze of the onlookers made You feel like "a worm and no man."

Were You thinking of us today as we travel the road of immorality, dope, alcohol and unfaithfulness? Did Your divine eyes see the immodesty, perversion, and fornication through the centuries?

Did the thought of how easily men strip themselves of grace for gross pleasure give You the courage to receive one more blow of the lash, one more wound and one more sneer?

Did the the tears of unrequited love stream down Your cheeks as You saw so many laughingly going to perdition?

Surely, my Jesus, this scourging made reparation for more than the sins of the flesh. Were the welts that began to bleed suffered for
those who tear off the garments of love and clothe themselves in the rags of dissension and disobedience?

Was not one lash marked, "Rudeness" and another "Hate"? And when the scourging finally ended, did Your eyes see some Blood trickling
down and stepped upon as if in derision?

We are sorry, dear Jesus. Cover us all with this Precious Blood and heal our many wounds. Let modesty and purity be our goal and harmony our motto.

Third Sorrowful Mystery: 
The Crowning with Thorns(Intention: To overcome pride, worry and resentments, and for an increase in faith)
[ Recite 1 Our Father - 10 Hail Marys - 1 Glory be to the Father ]

My Jesus, I often think my portion of the cross is more than I can bear. It seems to me that I am the recipient of superfluous suffering. My thoughts are empty of reasoning and my heart is cold. If I remembered that You were crowned with thorns after You were scourged, I would be silent in the Presence of Divine Wisdom.

My pride, stubbornness and lack of faith tagged each thorn as it pierced Your Sacred Head. My desire for the glory of this world to the exclusion of spiritual realities tightened the branches around Your Head.

My lack of confidence in Your Mercy and the lukewarmness of my love braided this instrument of torture into a wreath of unspeakable pain.

Were the tiny thorns that pricked Your Head the worries I permit to choke Your Word from my mind? Were the resentments I cherish in my
memory the reed that struck Your Head? And when the spittle randown Your Face, did my arrogance make You cry?

Oh, Jesus, let me never forget Your love for me and the reparation You offered the Father for my sake. Let my soul magnify the Lord by humility of heart, purity of mind, and a gentle spirit.

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: 
The Carrying of the Cross(Intention: To obtain courage in sickness and sorrow)
[ Recite 1 Our Father - 10 Hail Marys - 1 Glory be to the Father ]

You loved me enough, dear Jesus, to take upon Your bleeding shoulders the wood of Your Cross. My love for You is wanting for I find physical pain difficult to bear, sorrow oppressive and tragedies cruel.

You have asked that I take whatever the Father permits in my life and follow in Your footsteps, and yet I often think the Cross was meant only for You and not for me.

I thought Redemption meant freedom from pain, but I know now, as I see this heavy beam on Your back, that Your Redeeming Cross gave value to my pain. Your footsteps in the coarse ground cushioned the path for my feet. Your Cross cut a ridge in the earth for my cross to rest in.Your Presence cleared the air of hopelessness and showed me the way. Your acceptance took away the curse and bestowed a blessing.

Help me, my Jesus, to carry my cross with joy, ever keeping my eyes on the Father's Will. Grant that I may not waste time deciding which cross comes from You and which comes from my neighbor. Let me accept all from You, realizing that some crosses correct me, some release me, some prevent me from a life of sin, others are redemptive, and still others lead to repentance.

May our cross be one cross, dear Jesus, that together we may glorify the Father and save souls.

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: 
The Crucifixion(Intention: To forgive and love unselfishly)
[ Recite 1 Our Father - 10 Hail Marys - 1 Glory be to the Father ]

You gave Your life for me when I was a sinner. You loved me, dear Jesus, before I saw the light of day or felt the gentle breeze upon my cheek.

You have suffered and died for me, hounded and pursued me, inspired and drawn me. Your love is totally unselfish, and though I rejoice that I am the recipient of such love, I cannot love unselfishly in return.

You forgave Your enemies and looked away as Your friends deserted You. Is it not strange, dear Jesus, that I still find forgiveness hard and mercy impossible? What is lacking in my life that makes forgiving my neighbor difficult? Is the fact that I cannot forgive myself a factor in my lack of mercy towards others?

Help me, Jesus, to see Your loving gaze as it looked up to the Father with abandonment, at the thief with mercy, and at Your Mother with love.

Grant that I may forgive my enemies and abandon myself to the Father's Will. Let me commend my life and my eternity to His care. Let zeal for the salvation of souls make my soul thirst for sacrifice and let the thought of paradise enlighten my path.

Give me the grace to persevere to the end, and when the journey is over and I have fought the good fight, let the Angels sing the last verse of my earthly song: "It is finished."

Pray Hail Holy Queen.


Now end the day with the prayer, " Where Mary is, there is her Son.  I love You, Jesus. Amen"


End your day with an examination of conscience--even in bed.
What good did I do today?
Where did I fail?
How can I do better?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day Thirty-Seven Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century / A Lenten Journey

Day Thirty-Seven Consecration to Mary for the 21st Century/A Lenten Journey     


                                                                     Day Thirty-Seven


Wednesday of Holy Week of Lent

Prayers for this week, Days 35-40 in Lent:

Begin each day with "Mother Mary pray with us to your loving Son, that God's Will on earth be done."

First Meditation

Look at this picture.  What do you think is going on here?  Meditate upon what you imagine.

Second Meditation

This picture was painted by a Dominican Friar in 1450; he is known as Fra Angelico. Fra is colloquial for friar and since he painted like an angel, he was called Fra Angelico. The painting itself is called the Mocking of Christ. Jesus is seated on a raised dais and red box, meant to mock a king's throne.  Green curtains usually meant the figure was in glory and used as a backdrop in this painting highlights Christ as the central figure.  Jesus is blindfolded as he was when taunted by the high priest, but we viewers can see that Jesus' eyes are closed in humiliation.  Jesus holds a reed instead of a scepter, and a stone in place of an orb.  Disembodied hands slap Him and a scorner spits in His Holy Face.  But take heart.  Jesus' white robe and the cross of the
Resurrection in His halo promise us that He will triumph no matter how abased He may seem at this moment.
     But there is more to the painting.  Just as you are gazing upon the picture, so are Mary, His Mother, and Saint Dominic.  Mary can't bear to look.  She is suffering also.  St. Dominic, who of course, wasn't physically present when Jesus suffered, can only read, study, and meditate, like us.  St. Dominic, however, founds an Order of Prechers, who go out into the world, and bring the story of Jesus--the good News.  Remember that Fra Angelico is one of Saint Dominic's sons and is preaching through his art.
     The beauty of the scene lies in Jesus.  All around Jesus are images abstracted in their disembodiment.  Fra Angelico makes your eyes travel through a curve of space to return to the middle--Jesus.  Is this not what you see?  Is this not how you contemplate -- finally settling down to the center--Jesus?

Third Meditation

Meditate upon how fast the world turns.  Sunday, Jesus was greeted with a parade of honor.  Friday the people will be shouting, "Crucify Him!"  How quickly can circumstances change -- not only material wealth can be lost, but so can reputations, loves, lives, all are fleeting.  Pray asking Mary that no matter what becomes of you that she keep you close to Jesus, for that's all that matters.  Everything can be taken away from you, but not your faith.

Now end the day with the prayer, " Where Mary is, there is her Son.  I love You, Jesus. Amen"


End your day with an examination of conscience--even in bed.
What good did I do today?
Where did I fail?
How can I do better?