Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Our Lady of Good Counsel

See what Tradition In Action has to say about this feast of Our Blessed Lady.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Quiet Lately

I know I'm usually one of the most loquacious of bloggers, closing in on the 8,000th blog entry in almost 4 years here. And it must come as a shock that I have had little to say recently.

Well, to be honest, it doesn't seem that there is all that much going on. I think even the Holy Father is taking a well-deserved vacation after the exertions of Holy Week.

And I'm frying some other steaks. Don't you mean fish, Tom? You fry what you want, and I'll fry what I want, OK?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

An Incredible Confluence Of Feasts

Divine Mercy Sunday
As reflected in the banner illustration, today is Divine Mercy Sunday (Low Sunday). We owe this most beautiful feast to the revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska.

Through the blessed example of the priests of the Oblates of the Vigin Mary, who staff St. Francis Chapel at the Prudential Center Shopping Mall and St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine down the street, I have come to love the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and have made it a very frequent part of my private devotions. Since it takes only 5 minutes, and can be said without the Rosary beads, I often say it when I am waiting, say in a reception area or a line.

Read some excellent answers about the Divine Mercy devotion here.

Allow me to share with you Saint Faustina's oh so personal Communion Prayer, which can be used as a prayer before receiving or an adoration prayer, or as a spiritual communion:

I adore You, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I adore You for all the works of Your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord. You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about Your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of You, incomprehensible Beauty. And although You have hidden Yourself and concealed Your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration.

My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here You light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.

O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see You loved and Your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy. O Christ, let me glorify Your goodness and mercy to the last moment of my life, with every drop of my blood and every beat of my heart. Would that I be transformed into a hymn of adoration of You. When I find myself on my deathbed, may the last beat of my heart be a loving hymn glorifying Your unfathomable mercy.

I love how Saint Faustina talks about conversing with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Even when my mind is so closed that my conversation is just talking at Jesus, and not being patient enough to await a reply, I find the image very moving.

"My Lord and My God!"

The Octave of Easter, in both the 1962 and 1970 Missals, is the time for the Gospel reading of St. Thomas doubting and believing. St. Thomas is obviously one of my special patrons. I like to think that I would believe more than St. Thomas did, but that is silly. If I were in his shoes, I'd probably say the same thing.

It is a great practice to try to recognize our Lord at the Consecration at Mass. In the liturgical norms before Vatican II, Missals often indicated that the faithful were to make the short exclamatory prayer of St. Thomas at the Elevation of the Host: "My Lord and my God." While newer missals do not mention this, it was never abolished. It is very healthy for all Catholics, no matter which liturgy they attend, to remember to say to themselves, "My Lord and my God" to remind themselves of His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Somehow, in my teenage years, I fell into this practice without ever reading that it had been the norm, just because of my identification with St. Thomas. His feast day isn't until July (quite close to my birthday, now: it used to be in December) but I think of St. Thomas very much on this day.

Elevation at the church I heard Mass at today, Holy Trinity
St. George

Most of you know that "G. Thomas" stands for George Thomas. And if today, April 23rd were not a Sunday, it would be the Feast of St. George, Martyr. Saint George was a Roman soldier and Catholic, who became a victim of the persecution of Diocletian. He is the patron of, among other things, England and soldiers. And since I am not only named George, but for a very big part of my life played the role of a British soldier of the 18th century, this is a very special day for me.

Add to it the Gospel of Doubting Thomas, and it being Divine Mercy Sunday, and it is an incredibly powerful confluence of sacred events.

I am starting a special novena today for the special intention of a very dear friend. Please join your prayers to ours.

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