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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Michaelmas, 2016


Today is Michaelmas, the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels.

Saint Michael, perhaps the greatest of the Archangels, is the protector of the Church.

Michaelmas was a quarterly rent day in England and Ireland. It is the start of the university term at both Oxford and Cambridge. Presents and feasts featuring geese were very much the custom at this time of year.
Check here and here for Michaelmas customs.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude.
Amen.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the
Wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him,
We humbly pray.
And do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the Divine Power,
Thrust into Hell
Satan and all the other evil spirits
Which prowl about the world,
Seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

St. Michael protecting a newly deceased soul from the clutches of demons lurking by the deathbed.

Saint Michael also has another important duty. He is the principal usher of newly deceased souls to heaven. Medieval Books of Hours, as part of the Office of the Dead, often included a deathbed scene, where the soul of the just-departed leaves the body, and St. Michael has to fight off various demons who try to snatch the soul and carry it off to Hell. St. Michael is, therefore, one of the saints whose intercession is customarily invoked for a happy death, along with Our Blessed Lady, St. Joseph, and St. Peter.

And of course, St. Michael is believed to be the one who will measure the worthiness of souls at the Last Judgment, as seen in this detail from Memling's Last Judgment triptych.

Here is a site with prayers to Saint Michael, including the variations of the basic prayer above.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Saint Wenceslaus, Duke & Martyr



Saint Wenceslaus, please pray for us!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Saints Cosmas & Damien, Martyrs

Today is the feast of twin brothers, both physicians, who treated the poor without charging a fee. They were martyred for the Faith around 287 AD.

Saints Cosmas and Damien, please pray for us!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday In the Michaelmas Embertide

Last Ember Day until late Advent and the run-up to Christmas!

Our Blessed Lady Of Walsingham




















Actually, the Universal Church embraces many dates in the Ordo that are dual feasts of Blessed Lady. The feast of Our Lady of Walsingham is particular to England. Walsingham was the primary Marian Shrine in England prior to the protestant rebellion. It is a Catholic shrine still, but jointly controlled with the Church of England, and the faintest shadow of what it once was. Once England was so faithful as to be considered "Our Blessed Lady's Dowry." Not only did the protestants wreck the place, they actively tried to exterminate Our Blessed Lady's most ardent clients there. And the name of Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster and primary persecutor of the Church, was named Francis Walsingham.

In the wracks of Walsingam
Whom should I chuse
But the Queene of Walsingam
To be guide to my muse?

Then, thou Prince of Walsingam
Graunt me to frame
Bitter plaintes to rewe thy wronge
Bitter wo for thy name.

Bitter was it, oh to see
The sely sheepe
Murdered by the raveninge wolves
While the sheepharde did sleep.

Bitter was it, oh, to viewe
The sacred vyne
Whiles the gardiners plaied all close
Rooted up by the swine.

Such were the worth of Walsingam
While she did stand
Such are the wrackes as now do shewe
Of that (so) holy lande.

Levell, levell with the ground
The Towres doe lye
Which with their golden, glit-t'ring tops
Pearsed oute to the skye.

Where weare gates noe gates are nowe,
The waies unknowen,
Where the presse of freares did passe
While her fame far was blowen.

Oules do scrike where the sweetest himnes
Lately wear songe,
Toades and serpents hold their dennes
Where the palmers did throng.

Weep, weep O Walsingam,
Whose dayes are nightes,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deedes to dispites.

Sinne is where our Ladye sate,
Heaven turned is to helle;
Sathan sitte where our Lord did swaye,
Walsingam, oh, farewell!

From Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars


Our Blessed Lady Of Ransom



This feast was instituted because of Our blessed Lady's private revelations that led to the founding of the Mercedarians, an order devoted to the ransom of Christians held captive by Moslems.

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Mother's Eighteenth Anniversary

Eighteen years ago today, my mother died of pneumonia after a hernia operation, at the age of 75. She had been suffering from dementia for some years prior to that. My father had died at the age of 69, about 7 years prior to her death.

As with all who have lost loved ones, the way the news came remains a vivid memory. I walked into my office early, as I always did, put on a pot of coffee, and then checked voice mail. A call from the hospital to call them. At 6:30 am. Never good news when the hospital calls at 6:30.

O God, Who hast commanded us to honor our father and mother, look in the tenderness of Thy mercy upon the souls of George, my father, and Kathryn, my mother, and forgive them their sins, and grant unto me the joy of seeing them again in the glorious light of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

V. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
R. And may perpetual light shine upon her.
V. May she rest in peace.
R. Amen.

An Irish boy was leaving,
leaving his own native home,
Crossing the broad Atlantic,
once more he wished to roam;
And as he was leaving his mother,
while standing on the quay,
She threw her arms around his neck
and these were the words she said:

A mother's love's a blessing,
no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood,
though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother
'til she's buried beneath the clay.

And as the years go onward,
I'll settle down in life,
I'll find a nice young colleen,
and make her my sweet wife;
And as the kids grow older
and climb around my knee,
I'll teach them the very same lesson that
my mother once taught to me.

A mother's love's a blessing,
no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living,
you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood,
though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother
'til she's buried beneath the clay.


Saint Padre Pio Of Pietrelcina, Confessor

Because Saint Padre Pio was canonized after 1962, his feast does not appear in the 1962 Ordo. But he is one of my very favorite saints, one who I thank and beg help from everyday. I have read much about him, and every Holy Week use his meditations on the Agony In the Garden for my own devotions.

Here is his Prayer After Communion, which is part of my daily prayer routine:

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have Thee present so that I do not forget Thee. Thou know how easily I abandon Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Thy strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my life, and without Thee, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for Thou art my light, and without Thee, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Thy will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I may hear Thy voice and follow Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love Thee very much, and always be in Thy company.
Stay with me, Lord, if Thou wishest me to be faithful to Thee.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I wish it to be a place of consolation for Thee, a nest of Love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes: death, judgement, eternity approach. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not fall by the wayside and for that, I need Thee.
It is getting late and death approaches. I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need Thee, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me today, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need Thee.
Let me recognize Thee as Thy disciples did in the breaking of bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to Thee, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but, the gift of Thy Presence, oh yes, I ask this of Thee!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is Thee alone I look for. Thy Love, Thy Grace, Thy Will, Thy Heart, Thy Spirit, because I love Thee and ask no other reward but to love Thee more and more.
With a firm love, I will love Thee with all my heart while on earth and continue to love Thee, perfectly, during all eternity.
Amen.


Saint Pio, please pray for us.







Friday In the Michaelmas Embertide

Embertide resumes after the usual Thursday hiatus. Prayer, fasting, abstinence, almsgiving are the order of the day, more so than an ordinary Friday. Remember, it's Ember!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not An Ember Day

Thursdays never are.

Saint Thomas Of Villanova, Bishop & Confessor

The Catholic Encyclopedia on this great confessor. Saint Thomas Of Villanova, please pray for us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday In the Michaelmas Embertide

Today is a day of fervent prayer, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving as the Church marks the seasonal shift from Summer to Autumn, and prepares for the Feast of Michaelmas. Remember, it's Ember!

Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist


This is what The Golden Legend has to say about St. Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle.

The Calling of Saint Matthew, by Caravaggio c. 1600.

Saint Matthew, Apostle, Evangelist, and Martyr, please pray for us!

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