Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eternal Proof

"I love you," He said.

"Prove it!" we sneered.

And He did.

O Jesus, Heart of my heart,
the wound in your side,
forever throbbing
and without a cure,
inflicted by my shallow,
 doubting mind,
is eternal proof of your love.

How regretful am I
to have required this sign.
Deepen my trust, I pray.
Never let me question You again.

For Your open side reveals
 Your Love
which is stronger
than death
and You are with me,
loving me,
even now,
even now.

For more contributions on the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the First Friday link-up at O Most Sacred Heart blog, visit here.  This month's theme is:   "The Love of the Sacred Heart is stronger than death."  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Chotki

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’"  ~Luke 18:13

my chotki, a treasured and much used gift from a dear friend
My friend, Christi Jentz, who writes a beautiful blog, Lumen Christi, shares the background of the chotki as she learned from our mutual friend, Mary Anne Urlakis, here in this post.  The chotki, a traditional prayer rope in the Orthodox tradition upon which one prays the "Jesus Prayer," is a favored prayer form of Pope Francis.  Fr. Robert Barron teaches that when praying the Jesus Prayer, one should breath in, as in taking in the Holy Spirit, while praying, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God," and then exhale, as though releasing our sins, while praying, "have mercy on me, a sinner."  When you are through, you may use the tassel to dry your tears. Such prayerful meditation, while counting the knots of the chotki, is sure to bring peace to the soul.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kneeling Pilgrimage

Old St. Mary Church-photo credit:  panoramio
I'm fascinated by stories of pilgrims who visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, and, for various reasons, such as a greater sacrifice or in atonement for their sins, perhaps, walk to the Shrine on their knees, often while praying the rosary.  Even though many wear knee pads for this kneeling pilgrimage, the pain must still be quite difficult to endure.  Although I like the idea of such a drastic form of prayer, I'm not sure that I could muster up the resolve to make a pilgrimage of that nature.  But now, I've found my own little form of making a kneeling pilgrimage which is not too difficult too endure, and which brings immediate rewards of satisfaction, and hopefully, many spiritual rewards as well.

As I help to clean Old St. Mary Parish each week, one of the tasks I have taken on is polishing the name plates at the end of each pew.  Back in the 1980's, when the church was renovated, memorial donations were made, and to honor those people on whose behalf donations were made, brass name plates were made and attached to both sides of the pews in church.  Over time, the name plates become tarnished and the names are hard to read.  So, I get down on my knees, and walk from pew to pew with a bottle of brass polish and an old rag, to bring those brass plates back to the gleam and shine they once knew when they were first installed.

photo credit:  panoramio

My pilgrimage is hardly difficult as I kneel on soft carpeting, inside a warm and beautiful church, beneath the soft glow of the antique lights, always under the watchful and loving eyes of Jesus in the tabernacle.  As I make my way down the aisle, I offer a prayer for each of those parishioners who who have gone before me and who are forever memorialized in brass, as well as for their families.  It's both a prayer of gratitude for their example of faith, and of petition of trust for the needs of their soul.  I can't help but reflect deeply upon the fact that the very walls of the church are soaked with so many whispered prayers offered throughout the long history of the church until they are drenched with faith, hope and love.  It is an honor to make that walk of faith upon my knees, in prayer for so many holy people whose perseverance built the very church that I have come to love, and to join my own prayers to those that have gone before me.

photo credit:  panoramio

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Very Special Consecration

On Sunday, October 13th, when Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome, Roses for Our Lady in Milwaukee, joined the Pope in spirit with our own consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during our holy hour for vocations with Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, with nearly 100 Roses for Our Lady members and friends in attendance.

Fr. Jim shared the story of when Pope John Paul II had been shot by a would-be assassin on May 13th, 1981, the 64th anniversary of the original visions of Our Lady of Fatima by Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in 1917.  Regarding the fact that his life was spared, Pope John Paul II proclaimed that "one hand held the gun and another guided the bullet."  The hand that guided the bullet was that of the Blessed Mother whose intercession kept the bullet from fatally wounding the pope.  Later, the bullet that shot Pope John Paul II was inserted into the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  It was a perfect fit, as if the crown, made in 1946, was created to hold the bullet shot in 1981!

Following the picture of the crown below, are the pictures from the holy hour with Fr. Jim in Christ King Chapel at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.  All of the holy hour photos are courtesy of Mary Anne Urlakis. Below the pictures, you will find the consecration prayer of Pope Pius XII that we prayed at the holy hour, and then the prayer that Pope Francis prayed at the Vatican.

Crown of Our Lady of Fatima (source)

A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.


~Venerable Pope Pius XII

Consecration Prayer of Pope Francis
Holy Mary Virgin of Fatima,
with renewed gratitude for your maternal presence
we join our voice to that of all the generations
who call you blessed.
We celebrate in you the works of God,
who never tires of looking down with mercy
upon humanity, afflicted with the wound of sin,
to heal it and save it.
Accept with the benevolence of a Mother
the act of consecration that we perform today with confidence,
before this image of you that is so dear to us.
We are certain that each of us is precious in your eyes
and that nothing of all that lives in our hearts is unknown to you.
We let ourselves be touched by your most sweet regard
and we welcome the consoling caress of your smile.
Hold our life in your arms:
bless and strengthen every desire for good;
revive and nourish faith;
sustain and enlighten hope;
awaken and animate charity;
guide all of us along the path of holiness.
Teach us your own preferential love
for the little and the poor,
for the excluded and the suffering,
for sinners and the downhearted:
bring everyone under your protection
and entrust everyone to your beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
~source:  Zenit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Glory to God for All Things

"I kiss the soil as if I placed a kiss on the hands of a mother, for the homeland is our earthly mother."  
~Pope John Paul II

"Nature, therefore, becomes a gospel that speaks to us of God."  ~Pope John Paul II

O Lord, how lovely it is to be Thy guest. Breeze full of scents; mountains reaching to the skies; waters like boundless mirrors, reflecting the sun's golden rays and the scudding clouds. All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing the depth of tenderness. Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of Thy love. Blessed art thou, mother earth, in thy fleeting loveliness, which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last for ever, in the land where, amid beauty that grows not old, the cry rings out: Alleluia!

Thou hast brought me into life as into an enchanted paradise. We have seen the sky like a chalice of deepest blue, where in the azure heights the birds are singing. We have listened to the soothing murmur of the forest and the melodious music of the streams. We have tasted fruit of fine flavour and the sweet-scented honey. We can live very well on Thine earth. It is a pleasure to be Thy guest.

Glory to Thee for the Feast Day of life
Glory to Thee for the perfume of lilies and roses
Glory to Thee for each different taste of berry and fruit
Glory to Thee for the sparkling silver of early morning dew
Glory to Thee for the joy of dawn's awakening
Glory to Thee for the new life each day brings
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Mary?

Mary, Queen of Hearts and St. Louis de Montfort
There are times, more frequent than I care to admit, when my faith waivers, when I feel stuck in my spiritual growth, when I'm tempted to give up, to just quit everything and cry out "What's the use?" And then God leads me to someone whose words and example offer me inspiration and allow me to carry on with the work that He has called me to in His service.   Fr. Matthew Widder, pastor of St. Clement and Holy Name Parishes in Sheboygan, Wisconsin,  recently led the 60th Marian Day of Consecration at Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Milwaukee, home of the Mary, Queen of Hearts Shrine.  Each year, Mary Ann Ristow, whose mother raised the funds for the shrine in the 1940's in gratitude for prayers answered through a novena to Mary, Queen of Hearts, hosts this inspirational day, and I am so grateful to have been blessed to attend this annual event for the fifth time.  Perhaps, like me,  you are also in need of a spiritual boost.  If so, my notes on Fr. Matthew's talk are below.  Read on and be inspired by the example of the Blessed Mother to persevere in whatever it is that God wills for your life.

Fr. Matthew Widder (image from Heart of the Nation television Mass)

"Why Mary?" by Fr. Matthew Widder

A mother is someone who pushes us, nags us, and loves us unconditionally.  Whenever I meet with a mother or a grandmother, she doesn't like to talk about herself, instead, she spends her time telling me about her children and her grandchildren.  They are all that matter to her.  So it is with the Blessed Mother.  She wants to share Jesus with us, to talk about Him, to help us to know Him.  In all she does, she leads us to Jesus.

St. Joseph accepted Mary into his home upon the word of an angel in his dream, and we, too, should not be afraid to accept Mary into our homes.   Just as most earthly mothers have a decorative flair and know how to make a home attractive, Mary does the same thing with our prayers.  When we pray with Mary, she places our prayers on a golden platter and adds her heavenly fragrance to them before presenting them to Jesus.  With Mary in our home, everything we do becomes more beautiful.

It's frustrating to be locked out of our homes or cars.  During my teen years there was a time when I arrived home late from a night out with my friends and found the door locked.  I had to ring the bell and knock on the door until my mom let me in.  We need our Mother Mary to unlock the door for us.  She is on the inside with God and when we pray with her she unlocks the door to God's grace and allows us to enter.
Mary, Untier of Knots

Mary is always humble, and she teaches us to be humble.  During the Visitation, Mary pointed to God's greatness with her Magnificat.  She didn't point to herself.  Pope Francis likes the image of "Mary, Untier of Knots."  Her obedience and humility untie the knots of our sins.  She keeps nothing for herself but lets our prayers pass through her to God.

This was God's last plan to redeem us:  Mary obediently accepting God's will.  Mary is "full of grace."  Grace is the perfect presence of God, the absence of sin.  What the devil lost by his pride, Mary redeemed by humbly accepting God's will.  The most beautiful creature in the entire world is the creation of a saint.  Mary is that beautiful creature leading us to paradise.

Be open to the surprises of God.  Pope Francis often tells us that the spiritual life is full of surprises.  But we don't like surprises.  We like things to be planned out.  But God surprises us.  The scriptures are full of sudden detours.  I think of the saying that there are two seasons in Wisconsin-winter and road construction.   Everytime I see that my normal route is closed due to construction, I don't want to believe the "road closed" sign the first time I see it and I'll try to somehow get around it.  But it doesn't work and I have to retrace my steps.  We do this in the spiritual life as well, we try to do things our own way, the same way we've always done it, not being open to change.  But Mary was always open to the surprises of God.  She was open to God's detour.  We need to accept the detours in our lives, because where there is a detour, so there is Jesus.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
 Mary teaches us about outreach to others with her trip to the hill country to visit Elizabeth.   My favorite image of Mary, the one I chose for my ordination, is the image of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.  Mary is holding Jesus out to us and she is looking out.  We all like to hold a baby close and to not let go, unless they're crying.  Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is holding Jesus out and asking, "Will you accept my Son?"  It's symbolic of the New Evangelization.  Don't keep Jesus to yourself, pass Him on.  Don't be content to keep your Marian devotion to yourself.  We need to share what Mary has done for us, we have to pass on our devotion, to be on the lookout for the poor and those in need.  Accept Mary as the Queen of your heart, spread your love for her and give testimony.

How do we live out that devotion?  We obey Mary's words to the waiters at Cana, we "do whatever He tells you."  St. Louis de Montfort teaches a radical devotion to Mary, he tells us to be a "slave" of Mary.  He contrasts the word "slave" with the word "servant."  A servant has time off, but for a slave there is no getting away, there is always work to be done.  We are challenged to give our lives to Mary with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  Give Mary everything-our works, sacrifice, prayers, penance-entrust them to our Lady because she knows best how to use our prayers.  Allow Mary to open the door from within and trust that she will make the best use of our graces and good acts.

The best way to honor Mary is through the rosary.  Pope Francis tells us not to pray like a parrot, speaking words without understanding their meaning.  Sometimes when we pray the rosary, the words click by and we're not really praying them with meaning.  I once heard someone pray the rosary in ten minutes.  We need to slow down our prayers.  I heard a speaker on relevant radio say that as we pray the rosary we should treat the name "Jesus" as a speed bump.  Say His name with reverence and meaning.  Another way to pray the rosary is to bring the name of the mystery into each Hail Mary we are praying following the name of Jesus.  For example:  "Jesus in the Annunciation" or "Jesus in the Resurrection" or "Jesus, in the Agony in the Garden" or "Jesus at the Baptism."  When we pray the rosary, we should picture Mary taking us by the hand and leading us into the crescendo of the Glory Be at the end of each mystery.

How do we pray at Mass?  Give Mary our Holy Communion.  When we receive the Eucharist, introduce Mary to her Son.  Say to Mary, "Behold your son."  Our souls are a home for Christ.  When we visit someone in their homes, we encounter them in a sacred way.  We see how they live, and learn things about them that we didn't know.  Before we receive Communion we pray, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."  During Communion we are inviting Jesus with Mary into our home so that He may really know us.

God knew that we would need a helper in the spiritual life and so He gave us a beautiful gift in our Blessed Mother Mary.  Mary leads us to Jesus, she teaches us humility and obedience.  She shows us how to be open to God's surprises and to pass grace on to others.  Our prayer is to make Mary the Queen of our Hearts.  Give your heart to Marian devotion.  Speak about your devotion to others.  Don't be afraid to tell the story of your devotion to Mary, to give witness to the blessing of Mary in your life.

Efficacious Prayer  to Mary, Queen of our Hearts
O Mary, Queen of All Hearts,
Advocate of the most hopeless cases;
Mother most pure, most compassionate;
Mother of Divine Love,
full of divine light,
we confide to your care the favors which we ask of you today.

Consider our misery, our tears,
our interior trials and sufferings!
We know that you can help us 
through the merits of your Divine Son, Jesus.
We promise, if our prayers are heard,
to spread your glory, 
by making you known under the title of 
Mary, Queen of the Universe.

Grant, we beseech you,
hear our prayers,
for every day you give us so many proofs of your love
and your power of intercession to heal both body and soul.

We hope against all hope:
Ask Jesus to cure us, pardon us,
and grant us final perseverance.

O Mary, Queen of all Hearts, help us,
we have confidence in you. (3 times)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

St. Margaret Mary

It's the feast of one of my favorite saints today so I'm celebrating with a picture and a poem that I love....

St. Margaret Mary

There were so many thorns
about his brow, 
so many red lips 
to prove the reality 
of His love, 
so little fertility 
in the soil of
His creature's affections,
so much of winter everywhere:
need we be surprised that
when the Gardener
found a rose
fragrant with remembrance
He should lift it
to His Heart?

~Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, sP 
Paths from Bethlehem

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Write My Life, Lord

“I say to myself, and I say to you: do we let God write our lives? Or do we want to do the writing ourselves?” ~Pope Francis

"Fools that we are!  We admire and bless this Divine action in the writings relating its history, and when it is ready to continue this writing on our hearts, we keep moving the paper and prevent it writing by our curiosity, to see what it is doing in and around us.  Pardon, Divine Love, these defects; I can see them all in myself, for I am not yet able to understand how to let You act...I have not, as yet, by abandonment, received even the bare outlines of your pencil."  ~Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

...or in the case of Jesus, hang on a cross and bleed.
Photo and quote  H/T Nancy Shuman.

Pope Francis gets to me.  I can't get through reading a single one of his homilies without the realization that I've got a lot of improving to do in my life, especially when it comes to the poor.  Over and over again he reminds us that the poor are the most important, that we need to give our all for them, that we must simplify our lives, in solidarity with, and to benefit, them.  It is no easy task.  In his recent homily on the Gospel account of the Good Samaritan, he reminds us that "part of listening to the Lord comes with helping the needy."  I'm certain that I often fail to be a good listener.  I recently experienced a week of great discomfort because God put situations into my path for which I did not adequately give my all.  I was the Levite and the priest hurrying on my way, too "put upon" to recognize the distressed face of Christ in my life.

I often spend time alone in church after the daily 7 AM Mass, praying before the tabernacle.  Many days I am the only one in church.  Recently, a homeless man came and sat in the pew in front of me, turned to me, and asked if he could tell me about his problems.  I listened as Terry told me about his brother who recently died and his lack of funds to attend the funeral out of town.  He complained about his divorce, his HIV positive status and his loneliness.  Alcohol fumes emitted from his mouth with each word he spoke.  He told me that he was so consumed with anger that he wasn't sure how much longer he could control his behavior. With those words, I became very uncomfortable, but despite that, when the maintenance man entered the church from the sacristy and stopped to stare at Terry and I, I waved to him to let him know that everything was fine.  Then I reached in my purse, gave Terry ten dollars, promised him my prayers, and walked away from him to light a candle.  When I got up to leave church, Terry was gone.  I left Church that day, feeling, not a satisfaction that I had found Jesus within Terry and responded out of love, but a disgust with myself for feeling uncomfortable and giving him money as a way to rid myself of his company.  Thinking back upon the situation, I wished that after listening to Terry's concerns, that I would have shared my concerns with him as well, as I would have with any other friend who takes the time to confide in me, that we would have had a real conversation.  There, despite the presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, I didn't give to Terry from my heart full of love, but, rather, from my mind full of fear.

Later, during that same week, my family and I spent a morning working at our parish food pantry.  I volunteered to work at the registration table.  A handsome young man came to sign up and when I asked him how he had heard about the food pantry he told me that God had told him to come.  I asked for his identification and he said that he had been in jail and the police took his ID card and never gave it back to him.  Then he started crying, with tears streaming down his face.  I reached out and held his hand, offering words of reassurance.  Suddenly, his crying turned to laughter; loud, boisterous laughter, that drew the attention of others in the crowded church hall.  I withdrew my hand and finished the paperwork.  As he worked his way through the food line, he continued to laugh, as well as dance and sing at the top of his lungs.  I recognized that this man was struggling with mental illness.  The compassion that I had felt while he was crying, turned to repulsion with myself because I didn't do more for him.  I wondered, what if that were my son, suffering so publicly, would I just turn away and ignore it, hoping that someone else would address it?  What would it have cost me to walk with that young man as he made his food choices, and to help him to carry his groceries home?  Could I have offered to assist him with obtaining another form of identification?  Shouldn't I have followed up with him in a week's time to see how he was getting along?  But instead, I turned to the next client and left this young man, this man that God had brought into my presence, to face his problems on his own.

And so, with a sorrowful heart filled with regret, and at the same time, a hopeful heart filled with promise, I pray:

Write my life, Lord.  Help me to hold still while your pen works out my story, so that I may accept all that you intend for me.  Don't allow me to squirm away from Your plans.  Spill Your ink upon my soul, and when you are through, open the book of my life to others so that they will read the words of Your will faithfully followed in every situation.  Amen.

"The Holy Spirit continues to carry on the work of the Savior.  While helping the Church to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He writes His own gospel in the hearts of the just.  All their actions, every moment of their lives, are the Gospel of the Holy Spirit.  The souls of the saints are the paper, the sufferings and actions the ink.  The Holy Spirit, with the pen of His power, writes a living Gospel, but a Gospel that cannot be read until it has left the press of this life, and has been published on the day of eternity.  Oh!  Great history!  Grand book written by the Holy Spirit in this present time!  It is still in the press.  There is never a day when the type is not arranged, when the ink is not applied, or the pages are not printed.  We are still in the dark night of faith.  The paper is blacker than the ink, and there is great confusion in the type.  It is written in characters of another world and there is no understanding it except in heaven."  ~Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

3 Reasons I Love Catholicism Vol. 7

"The Lord tells us: ‘The first task in life is this: prayer.’ But not the prayer of words, like a parrot; but the prayer of the heart: gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord.” ~Pope Francis

The heart of any religion is prayer, isn't it?  Our personal relationship with God, our love for Him, our desire to draw near and be held close by Him is what keeps us returning to church again and again and gives us the courage to live our faith in our daily lives regardless of the circumstances within which we find ourselves.  So for this edition of 3 Reasons I Love Catholicism, a monthly link-up hosted by Micaela at California to Korea, I am sharing my three favorite forms of private prayer.

1.  Lectio Divina:  Here's a prayer form with staying power, meaning when I pray lectio divina, I can feel the effects of the prayer throughout the remainder of the day, long after my quiet time of prayer is over.  I was first introduced to lectio divina, or divine reading,  by a spiritual director seven years ago, and not a day has gone by since then that I have not put it into use in one way or another.  Lectio Divina consists of four elements:  Lectio (reading), Meditatio (meditation), Oratio (prayer), and Contemplatio (contemplation).  When reading a scripture passage (I usually choose the Mass readings of the day), I try to find one particular sentence that speaks to my heart and use that for my prayer.  In my experience of slowly reading a passage of scripture, meditating upon its meaning, praying with it-asking God to allow His words to enter into my heart and change me, and then resting in His love, I have found a source of peace that I can turn to again and again when the upheavals of daily living threaten to break my spirit.  Spending significant time with scripture brings important and uplifting passages easily to mind in times of need and I am thereby comforted.  Some of my favorite scriptural passages that I find myself praying with over and over again after having used them in Lectio Divina are:

"Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord.  Though your sins be as scarlet, they will become white as snow.  Though crimson red, they will be like wool." ~Isaiah 1:18

"Look to Him that you may be radiant and your faces will not blush with shame."  ~Psalm 34:5

and of course...

"I say to myself, I will not mention His name, I will speak in His name no longer.  But then, it becomes like a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones, I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it."  ~Jeremiah 20:7-10

2.  The Rosary:  I grew up with the rosary.  Every night at 6:15, a local radio station would air the  rosary and my family would join in.  If my brothers and sisters and I were outside playing, my mom would simply call out "It's 6:15!" and we all knew that meant come to the kitchen and get on your knees for prayer.  Today, the rosary remains a valued part of my prayer life.  My sisters and I get together once each month to pray the rosary together, and I enjoy a daily walk on my lunch break to pray the rosary and reflect upon the stories of scripture that are contained within the mysteries of the rosary.  Each night when I go to bed, I take a rosary with me, clinging to the beads and knowing that the Blessed Mother is holding onto me just as tightly as I hold onto her rosary.

I love this quote about the rosary from Pope John Paul I, who only reigned for 33 days in 1978:

"To be, for a half hour at least, before God as I am in reality, with all my misery and with the best of myself; to let rise to the surface from the depths of my being the child I once was, who wants to laugh, to chatter, to love the Lord and who sometimes feels the need to cry so that he may be shown mercy, helps me to pray. The rosary, a simple and easy prayer, helps me to be a child and I am not ashamed at all."

Not in the habit of praying the rosary and want more information on how to do it?  Here's a nice instructional:  How to Pray the Rosary by Syte Reitz 

3.  The Liturgy of the Hours:   Are you comforted to know that right now, somewhere in the world, someone is praying this ancient prayer of the Church?  The Liturgy of the Hours or The Divine Office sanctifies the day.  The clergy and religious are required to pray The Divine Office, but anyone can join in and pray without ceasing using this rich form of prayer.  The Liturgy of the Hours consists of Lauds (Morning Prayer), Terce (Mid-morning Prayer), Sext (Midday Prayer), None (Afternoon Prayer), Vespers (Evening Prayer), and Compline (Night Prayer.)

For myself, I am only in the habit of praying Lauds each morning, but the thought of people praying for the entire Church at regular intervals throughout the day brings me comfort and peace.  Someone is always reaching out to God on behalf of all of humanity and we are blessed.

There is a easy to use online resource for the Liturgy of the Hours.   If you are interested in joining your prayers to the voices of many others in the church, visit Universalis here.

"Lord, open our lips, and we shall praise your name."  ~from Liturgy of the Hours

Visit Micaela for more reasons to love Catholicism.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Inseparable Hearts

My friend, George Zagel, paints "pinstripe" on bottles,
 and he surprised me with the gift of this Immaculate Heart of Mary bottle
I like this effect with the rays of sunlight shining around it.
It makes me think of the rays of His love surrounding her heart.

Exchange of Hearts by Christi Jentz, Lumen Christi Art, details here.  A must read!

Inseparable Hearts

It was her "yes" that allowed
His tender heart
to grow within her
bearing the marks of her love-
the gift of a mother to her child.

While presenting 
her Son to the Lord
the old man eerily pointed toward
her bosom and spoke the words
that would forever haunt her thoughts-

"a sword shall pierce your very heart."

Her Immaculate Heart 
beat within His Sacred Heart
always, always.
They were inseparable.

And that day, that dark, black day
she stood there, 
stood with her grief, her sorrow, her pain
and helplessly watched as His Heart broke
from so much love freely given,
her own heart breaking, too.

When His Heart beat no more,
the sword came, and pierced it through,
with the blood and water of our salvation
spilling upon the ground.

She, too, felt the stabbing wound,
and once again she heard those eerie words
echoing within her soul-

"a sword shall pierce your very heart"

Her Immaculate Heart
beat within His Sacred Heart
always, always.
They were inseparable.

Today begins the Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in anticipation of Pope Francis' Consecration of the World to Her Immaculate Heart on Sunday, October 13th.  You can have the novena prayers emailed to you by visiting Pray More Novenas blog and signing up.  The novena prayer includes the following Act of Consecration by Pope Pius XII which very fittingly unites the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Act of Consecration by Pope Pius XII

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.


This post is part of a First Friday link-up at O Most Sacred Heart blog.  
Visit here for more posts on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and feel free to add your own.

If you are in the Milwaukee area, join Roses for Our Lady at our monthly holy hour for vocations on Sunday, October 13th at 2 PM at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.  Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, will join us and will lead us in a Consecration to Jesus through Mary in union with Pope Francis as he consecrates the world to her Immaculate Heart.