Veterans/Remembrance Day and Martinmas

It is apropos that the feast for one of the Patron Saints for Soldiers falls on 11 November, better know to those as Remembrance Day or as Veterans Day. That saint is Martin of Tours who was a Roman soldier who as the famed story goes cut his cloak in two and gave it to a beggar in the middle of winter, here the story diverges as in one account Martin had a dream that night of Jesus wearing the half cloak and another has the cloak being miraculously restored. After he was a solider Martin became a monk and eventually became the Bishop of Tours. The feast of St. Martin is bigger in Europe than in America. This is also the day that at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of the year 1918, an armistice was signed which ended the “war to end all wars.” (WWI).  Let us all keep in our mind this week all those who served and all those that have fallen.

We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

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Gloriosae Dominae and Bis Saeculari

“The Golden Bull” Gloriosae Dominae is an Apostolic Letter from Pope Benedict XIV way back in 1748. In Gloriosae Dominae, Benedict called Mary the Queen of Heaven and Earth and says that the sovereign King has in some way communicated to her his ruling power. It also honors the Sodality of Our Lady, this is like a confraternity sort of. the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary was formed in 1563 for school boys by a Jesuit at the Roman College. According to a Jesuit historian the young men from the college agreed to daily mass, weekly confession, monthly Communion, as well as to a half-hour of meditation each day and to some other pious exercises. They would also “serve the poor” and their patron was Mary. Later on Pope Sixtus V allowed non students to join in as well. Simply put it was a Marian society. Gloriosae Dominae is called the Golden Bull since Benedict used gold instead of the normal lead to seal the document in honor of Mary.

Bis Saeculari is an Apostolic Constitution from Pope Pius XII was issued for the 200th anniversary of “The Golden Bull” from Pope Benedict XIV. This was later quoted by Pius XII in Ad Caeli Reginam, which we will get to later. In Bis Saeculari, Pius praises the work of the Sodality and says that by propagating, spreading and defending Catholic doctrine they must be considered among the most powerful spiritual force in the world. Pius also calls for a revival of Marian congregations especially in the post war years. Many saints have been members of Marian congregations and we should follow their examples.

This is a nice way to end this Month of Mary

Pope in Fatima

This past Friday and Saturday, Pope Francis made a quick trip over to Portugal and canonize two of the three shepherds (Jacinta and Francisco Marto), Rocco Palmo over at Whispers in the Loggia has a great recap of all that happened. It began simply enough with Pope Francis bringing a Golden Rose  and bestowing it to our lady, it is Fatima’s third rose. The main event was Saturday the one hundredth with the Canonization mass. This bishop dressed in white delivered a message which had double meaning in the United States this weekend of “honoring your mother” since Mary is Mother to us all. The Homily at the Canonization I think gave the greatest reason why we should honor Mary.  Pope Francis echoes Mary’s message from 100 years ago and added to it a bit “Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures.  Such a life – frequently proposed and imposed – risks leading to hell.” Sure Russia and the World have been Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary several times but perhaps we need to do something about it rather than just says that it’s been consecrated. We need to pull out those Rosaries and get to praying.

Good Friday

Doctor of the Church Gregory of Narek has a wonderful prayer reflection on Good Friday.

Prayer 77
Speaking with God from the Depths of the HeartA
Since today is a blessed day,
when morning came twice dividing day into
equal parts,
when the passing creatures of the earth
were transformed into a different and heavenly immutable beings,
when the high were laid low and the
humble raised up,
making this the most awesome day of Lent, Holy Friday,
when it is fitting for me to write
this prayer voicing joy mixed with terror, therefore
I think it appropriate to speak now of
the suffering you endured for me, God of all.

B
You stood, with my nature, before a tribunal of
your creatures, and did not speak, giver of speech.
You did not utter a word, creator of tongues.
You did not release your voice, shaker of the world.
You did not make a sound, trumpet of majesty.
You did not answer back with accounts of
your good deeds.
You did not silence them with their wrongs.
You did not deliver your betrayer to death.
You did not struggle when bound.
You did not squirm when whipped.
You did not fight back when spat upon.
You did not resist when beaten.
You did not take affront when mocked.
You did not frown when ridiculed.

They stripped you of your cloak, as from a weakling,
and dressed you like a condemned prisoner.
If my Lord had not been forced twice to drink vinegar and gall, he would not have been able to cleanse me of the accumulated bile of our forefathers.
He tasted heartbreak and did not waver.
They dragged him violently and brought him
back disrespectfully.
They condemned him, humiliated him by flogging
before a motley crowd.
They knelt before him in ridicule
and put a crown of disdain upon his head.

C
They gave you no rest, Life-giver,
even forcing you to bear the instrument of your death.
You accepted with forbearance.
You received it with sweetness.
You bore it with patience.
You submitted to the wooden cross of grief,
like one condemned.
Like a lily of the field, you shouldered the
weapon of life,
so that your throne in my body might be protected
against the terrors of the night
turning the last judgment into a joyful banquet.
They led him out like a sacrificial lamb.
They hung him like Isaac’s ram whose horns were caught in the thicket.
They spread him on the table of the cross like a sacrifice.
They nailed him like a common criminal.

They persecuted you, like an outlaw, treating
you in your serenity, like a bandit,
you in your majesty, like a miserable wretch,
you who are adored by cherubim,
like a despised man,
you who are the definition of life, like one
deserving of a slaughter,
you, the author of the Gospels, like one
who blasphemed the Law,
you, the Lord and the fulfillment of the prophets,
like one who cut the Scriptures,
you, the radiance of glory and the image of
the mystery of the Father, beyond mortal
understanding, as if you are the adversary
of the will of him who bore you,
you who are blessed, like someone banished,
you who came to release the bonds of the Law,
like a heretic,
you, the consuming fire, like a
condemned prisoner,
you who inspire awe in heaven and earth,
like one deserving punishment,
you, covered in unapproachable light, like
some earthly quarry

D
O, sweet Lord,
forbearing doer of good, merciful and compassionate,
Lord of all, who for the sake of infirm and unruly
servants like me submitted to everything willingly
according to your plan
together with your perfectly human body,
submitted even to the sleepy tomb of the sepulchre,
who lack nothing of divine perfection, being identical with
God who is beyond human understanding,
yet bore human indignity with patience beyond words,
you rose with your body, alive and of your own power,
In exalted light, with undiminished humanity
and flawless divinity.
You are blessed for your glory
praised for your compassion,
and always exalted for your mercy,
forever and ever.
Amen.

Children of Fatima

I am sure you’ve all heard that this year in the one hundredth year since Our Lady appeared to the three children in Fatima. Later on this year on the thirteenth of May through October we will focus on what all happened at Fatima and talk about the secrets of Fatima as well. In what seen like the least kept secret it has been confirmed by the Vatican that Jacinta and Francisco Marto will be canonized during the Papal visit to Fatima in May. It also seems likely to think that Sister Lucia will be beatified sometime this year, since she is also connected with Fatima. Lucia’s cousins, Jacinta and Francisco will become two of the youngest saints who are not martyrs as they died at nine and ten.

Saint Joseph’s Day

This is the Italian equivalent of St. Patrick’s Day traditionally on March 19th. Traditionally you wear red and set up a St. Joseph altar. This is about all I know about the feast since Patrick gets the lions share of the press around this time of year. However Joseph is someone that we all tend to forget about, he isn’t in the Bible much and we hardly talk about him at all. Much of the focus goes to Jesus and Mary, so let us all remember Saint Joseph today. There are a bunch of prayers to St. Joseph, and nothing really has stuck like St. Patrick’s Breastplate. The first one is prayed as a novena to St. Joseph:

Oh, Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.

Oh, Saint Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.

Saint Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. (Mention your intention) Amen.

This other one was given to us by Pope Leo XIII as a prayer to add to the end of the Rosary especially during the month of October.

To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our tribulation,
and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you
to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
and through the paternal love
with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance
which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father, ward off from us
every contagion of error and corrupting influence;
O our most mighty protector, be kind to us
and from heaven assist us in our struggle
with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God’s Holy Church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity;
shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,
so that, supported by your example and your aid,
we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness,
and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.

Amen.

Saint Patrick’s Day

This is a reminder to wear some green today as St. Patrick’s is that one day of the year where everyone celebrates their own Irishness. Some do this by drinking copious amounts of green beer, eating corned beef and cabbage or simply by wearing the green. How ever you want to celebrate the life of a Saint. Patrick according to legends taught the trinity using a shamrock, driving the snake from Ireland, and his walking stick grew into a tree. The Breastplate of St. Patrick is a prayer that is associated with him.  This is the shorter modern version of the prayer that can fit on a prayer card

I arise today through
God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to see before me,
God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to secure me –
against snares of devils,
against temptations and vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me
ill, afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd…
Christ, be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit,
Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Valentine’s Day

On this day I want to do something that my high school Principal did every year on Valentine’s Day and that was to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day and told us all that he loved us. So here it goes I love you. Sure, it’s a bit corny but for all those who aren’t in relationships on this day it sort of is just a regular day. Perhaps you’ll get some candy or a card, my sister has been know to send Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day cards, but it isn’t that different than yesterday or tomorrow. Yes it is a holiday that celebrates love and that’s what the world needs now more than ever. If you have some time and want a laugh watch the Teen Girl Squad’s Valentime’s Special because “Valentimes is serious times”, or if you want something longer I’m sure there is some romantic movie or perhaps a musical on television/streaming that is bound to entertain and remind you about love.

Mother Teresa’s Novena (Memorare)

On this the first Feast Day of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, it seems like a good idea to share something that I found out during the build up to her canonization. That is that Mother Teresa has here own Novena, it has various names Flying Novena/Quick Novena/Express Novena but it is a rather simple novena to pray. It is simply the Memorare recited nine or ten time in a row, Mother Teresa added the tenth one in Thanksgiving.

The Memorare
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your clemency hear and answer me. Amen.”

The Memorare was Mother Teresa’s favorite prayer and by praying nine in a row many great things an be accomplished. Mother Teresa said the sisters use the Novena from the simplest things such as getting out of traffic when they are stuck in it, to both serious life and death things. It is a simple novena and I hope that if you have time to remember to take some time and pray a novena for whatever. Sure it’s not a Rosary prayer

Lesser known…

First off this week we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on the 25th. It’s one of those UN Days but this seems like a great one as violence against women is a major problem for the whole world. UN Women has a serious problem that we can change and make the world a better place for all women as the Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says “if we all work together: governments, civil society organizations, the UN system, businesses, schools, and individuals mobilizing through new solidarity movements, we will eventually achieve a more equal world—a Planet 50-50—where women and girls can and will live free from violence”. I don’t think it helps very much with the abundance of pornography available on the internet and even regular films in general where women are made objects rather then individuals.

This week we also have the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  We also remember Catherine Labouré, DC (2 May 1806 – 31 December 1876) who relayed the message of Mary to create the Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal is a medal of the Immaculate Conception and some Catholic believe that wearing it can bring special graces upon the individual. It began in 1830, on the eve of the feast of St. Vincent, Catherine rose after hearing the voice of a child calling, she went to the chapel, where Mary told her, “God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world.” Months passed and in November Mary appeared to Catherine and showed herself in an oval frame, which would go on to become what the Miraculous Medal looks like, Mary standing upon a globe, and from her hands shone rays of light over the globe. While Catherine watched it rotated and she saw the back as well with the Marian Cross and images of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Jesus. Mary told Catherine to take these images to her father confessor, telling him that they should be put on medallions, and saying “All who wear them will receive great graces.” Catherine Labouré is an incorrupt Saint, that means that you can go see her body and it hasn’t exhibited any decay since Catherine’s death. If you have a Miraculous Medal wear it if you want