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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me!
Within Your wounds, hide me.
Separated from You,
Let me never be.
From the evil one, protect me.
At the hour of my death, call me.
Close to You, bid me.
That with Your saints I may be
Praising You for ever and ever.

Amen.

Divina_Misericordia_(Eugeniusz_Kazimirowski,_1934)– The Anima Christi Prayer

Acknowledgement

  1. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8921429

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Emanuel_African_Methodist_Episcopal_(AME)_ChurchIn the wake of the terrible tragedy that occurred recently at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, Bishop Robert Guglielmone is inviting people to pray a Novena (nine-day prayer) for the victims and their families.

Here is a suggested prayer for anyone interested in participating (say it once a day over the next nine days):

Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by
recent tragedies. We remember those who have lost
their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the
families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them
consolation and comfort. Surround them with our
prayers for strength. Bless those who have survived and
heal their memories of trauma and devastation. May
they have the courage to face the days ahead. Help us
to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, and
in comfort to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts
focused on the needs of all the community. We ask this
in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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Image from Wikipedia — full citation:

“Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church” by Cal Sr from Newport, NC, US – Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emanuel_African_Methodist_Episcopal_(AME)_Church.jpg#/media/File:Emanuel_African_Methodist_Episcopal_(AME)_Church.jpg

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Rosary NovenaIt’s not my custom to post on Sundays, but I wanted to share with any interested parties this nine-day Novena that began on Thursday and extends through Friday (I know, I’m a little late in sharing…my bad).

The faithful are invited, each day, to do the following for peace in the U.S. (or in whatever country they live) and around the world — and please bear in mind that all three can be done simultaneously (i.e., #’s 1 and 3 can be incorporated into #2):

  1. Pray at least 5 decades of the Rosary
  2. Spend at least one hour with Jesus in the Blesséd Sacrament (and if you can’t get to an open church, you can make a spiritual pilgrimage to the nearest Tabernacle at home or wherever)
  3. Pray the following prayer:

Queen of the Rosary, Sweet Virgin of Fatima, who hast deigned to appear in the land of Portugal and hast brought peace, both interior and exterior, to that once so troubled country, we beg of thee to watch over our dear homeland and to assure its moral and spiritual revival.

Bring peace to all nations of the world, so that all, and our nation in particular, may be happy to call thee their Queen and the Queen of Peace.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for our country.  Our lady of Fatima, obtain for all humanity a durable peace.

Image courtesy of Matt Swaim, who got it from one “Mother Seraphina”

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St. Teresa of Avila“Peter Paul Rubens 138” by Peter Paul Rubens – [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_138.jpg#/media/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_138.jpg

Let nothing disturb you.

Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

The Bookmark of St. Teresa of Avila

Image and text from Wikipedia

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A brief and thoughtful video on a great — and much misunderstood — spiritual writer of the twentieth-century.

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Well, okay, it was 1990…close, though.

Granted, the video is a bit out there — but the music and lyrics are, in this blogger’s humble opinion, powerful and moving.

This is 80s British electronic band Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence,” and what we see in it is, I think, an expression of humanity’s universal longing for God.  I am especially struck by these lyrics:

Words are very unnecessary,
They can only do harm.

This reminded me of many of the great mystics of the Catholic spiritual tradition (St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, among others) who have spoken of advanced stages of prayer in which the soul is absorbed in the contemplation of God…an experience that is beyond both words and comprehension.  I was also reminded of the fact that throughout the prayer journey, one seeks to cultivate interior silence so as to be present to God, and to better hear His voice.

Whether they know it or not, this kind of intimacy with God is what all people seek deep in their hearts.

But I’ll get off my “soap box” now.  Enjoy the vid. 🙂

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Sunset_2007-1

So I spent the weekend at a Trappist monastery a couple of weeks ago.  People have asked me how it went, and I think I’ve given in each case as good an answer as I could in the context of ordinary conversation.

The trouble is that it is difficult to describe the experience in terms of the usual categories — like nice, peaceful, insightful, etc.  If you want to really know how it went, I’ll have to go a little bit deeper.

Let me start by noting the challenge of it.  Yes, it was very nice to get away to a quiet place located in the midst of many, many acres of pure nature, away from the busyness of society, surrounded my an atmosphere of holy silence.  But I was determined to use this time not merely for relaxation, but for trying to get to better know God and His will for my life.

My approach entailed resisting the temptation to do anything I would normally do (yes, even quieter activities) during my spare time and, instead, giving myself over to prayerful silence.  So, how did I feel by the end of this adventure?

In a word, sad…very, very sad.

This is not to say I was depressed.  It was more like the sadness of the first week of school, or at a new job, or in a new house or community, or of any removal from the familiar to the unfamiliar: Part of you yearns to go back, but you know you can’t.  Even if you do go back, it won’t be the same.

Of course, this analogy is a broad one.  For me, this sadness came in the form of an acute awareness of not being ready for the life of heaven, and yet also that this world can offer no lasting happiness…that all the various forms of happiness in this passing world that, consciously or unconsciously, I thought I could count on (even as a devout Catholic), are in the last analysis truly illusory — not least of all because of their impermanence.

This is something I knew beforehand.  I’ve long had an intellectual understanding of it, and I have even “felt” it at times (though this did not necessarily incur sadness, but merely entailed an attempt to keep the right priorities in mind).

But…well, I think you know what I’m talking about.  It’s like the realization that we are all going to die at some point.  We know it intellectually, but there are those few times when it really hits us.

At such times, the deeper truth I am dealing with peeps through a little bit, like sunlight through a shuttered window.  But for the most part we, as a race, remain unaware of or inattentive to it.

I also became more acutely aware of the sadness of sin, without which none of humanity would ever have fallen prey to the sad situation alluded to above.  Any encounter with the Divine Physician must produce this awareness.  Yes, a physician heals; but he also diagnoses.  And he is not liked as much for the latter as for the former.

What was the “diagnosis,” precisely?  To put it crudely, I grew in my awareness that I have an itch too deep to scratch.  We all do.  All of our troubles — personal and collective — have their roots in this.

Original SinThe Catholic tradition wisely speaks of this in terms of Original Sin, which is devastating and universal.  True, the Sacrament of Baptism frees us from Original Sin; but it does not leave us unaffected by it.  Even the baptized have to struggle with the inclination toward sin, as well as with the various physical and psychological troubles that beset humanity and have their roots in our fallen nature.  Hence, the wound of original sin is not “un-felt.”

Here is something else I became conscious of: This wound is universal, but it is a wound that is in each case one’s own.  My woundedness is just that — my woundedness, and no one else’s.  No one can share my unique woundedness any more than anyone else’s birth can become my birth, or death become my death.

And so I came back to my home and my routine life, though not exactly to the same I had left behind (a bit like Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings,” for whom the Shire was not the same nor the wound he incurred fully healed).  I have to admit, this sense has worn off more than a little since I’ve gotten back into my prior routine.  So if I don’t seem any “different,” and if it seems like I have not exactly followed the piece of advice with which I end this post perfectly, it is my own fault, and the fault of my human weakness.  But the retreat has left an impression on me, and I feel that I have even more of an impetus than before to try and stay focused on what ultimately matters.

I will keep trying.  With God’s grace, I will succeed.

Lest you think I’m trying to depress you, I want to end with a couple notes of hope.  Not false or wishful hope, but the real, solid, and incomprehensible yet sure hope that God gives to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is true that we are not meant for this world (that is, not insofar as our ultimate destiny is concerned).  Our consolation and joy lie beyond.  But our loving Lord, the Good Shepherd who will readily leave the 99 behind to find the one lost sheep, the One who bleeds and weeps with us, prepares for us a joy and a bliss that we cannot possibly comprehend.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

Finally, as clichéd as this might sound, let us care for one another.  Let’s not allow the little annoyances and offenses of others to trouble us.  If only we knew how deeply wounded each and every person we meet is, we would not be so tempted to think ill of our fellow human beings.  And what is more, if we understand what is ultimately at stake for us, what do these annoyances and offenses really matter?

Thank you for reading, and sorry if this was a bit long.  May God reward you for your patience.

Image from Wikipedia

 

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