Choosing a Bible

--

Saint Isidore said, “Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. If a man wants to always be in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.” And Saint Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Have you ever wondered how God talks to us? He does this in a couple of ways, the first of which is prayer. If we also listen when we pray, we can hear Him in our hearts. He also speaks to us when we read Sacred Scripture. If we are going through a rough time in our life or need words of encouragement, it’s in those times we need God the most and reading Sacred Scripture will definitely help. The Sacred Scriptures are also a great way to help us change those areas in our lives that need changing, if we are willing. So where do we begin? How do I find a Bible that’s right for me?

First, a little background on the Bible. The Catholic Bible consists of two parts, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The Old Testament deals with events that happened prior to the birth of Jesus and the New Testament deals with events after the birth of Jesus. Now in the Old Testament we have the historical books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel 1 and 2, Kings 1 and 2, Chronicles 1 and 2, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, and Maccabees 1 and 

2. The doctrinal books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, and Wisdom. And the prophetical books: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonas, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The New Testament consists of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The historical book, Acts. And the doctrinal books or epistles: Romans, Corinthians 1 and 2, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians 1 and 2, Timothy 1 and 2, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James 1 and 2, Peter 1 and 2, John 1, 2, 3 and Jude. Revelation is a prophetical book. The above-mentioned books are included in all Catholic Bibles.

The languages in which the books of the Bible were originally written are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Hebrew comes from Noah’s sons and is the language spoken by those living in Canaan. Aramaic was spoken in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, and Syria. Aramaic was also the language Jesus spoke. Hebrew was gradually replaced by Aramaic. The Greek language of the Bible is not the same as what is taught in schools, but a Greek dialect. After Alexander the Great, it spread all over the civilized world. Nearly all books in the Old Testament were written in Hebrew including some portions of Daniel, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Esther, all of Tobit, Judith, and the Gospel of Saint Matthew. The Book of Wisdom, Maccabees 2, and all the New Testament – with the exception of Matthew – were written in Greek. This is a little (and I mean a little) background on the Bible. You should research and read as much as possible on the history of the Bible. It’s important to understand where the Bible comes from, its translations, and its characteristics in order to gain an in-depth look at the books of both the Old and New Testaments. This background will help you once you begin reading the Bible.

So, where do I go from here? There are so many versions, which one should I choose? How do I know which one is right for me? There are several really good versions and some I wouldn’t spend money on. You must decide for yourself by doing some research on the Bibles you feel drawn to.

Here are a few things I hope will be helpful in choosing the Bible that is right for you.

  • Choose a Catholic Bible. The Protestant Bible does not include all the books a Catholic Bible does and those books are important. The Catholic Church made the decision hundreds of years ago to include all these books found for a reason.
  • Choose your translation. Once you have found a complete Catholic Bible with all the books from the Old and New Testaments, you can then think about the style of translation you would like. There are two types of translation styles: formal equivalent and dynamic equivalent. Formal equivalent is more of a word-for-word type of Bible. These kinds of Bibles read as close as possible to the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek). This translation is extremely accurate, but can be more difficult to read. A dynamic translation gives the reader an overall meaning of the original, but is easier to read. A couple of Bibles use a combination of the two types. This is called optimal equivalence.
  • Look for extras. There are also Bibles that have notes, maps, timelines, and dictionaries to help the reader. I like maps that show a region as it was and how it is now, they are most helpful. I also favor notes and annotations which help the reader understand some of the language used, particularly when reading a formal version.


The following is a partial list of Bibles approved by the Catholic Church for consideration:

  • New American Bible: Revised Edition (NABRE): Published in 2011 – Optimal Equivalence, controversial Book of Psalms in this version.
  • Ignatius Study Bible (ICSB): Published in 2006 – Formal Equivalence, easy to read and has lots of notes but only includes the New Testament.
  • Good News Bible: Catholic Version (GNB): Published in 1992 – Dynamic Equivalence, easy to understand but poetry is lost in favor of clarity.
  • Revised Standard Version: Catholic Version (RSV-CE): Published in 1966 – Formal Equivalence, considered the first ecumenical Bible.
  • New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE): Published in 1989 – Formal Equivalence, a revised version of the RSV-CE.
  • Jerusalem Bible (JB): Published in 1966 – Dynamic Equivalence, this is a more thought-for-thought than a word-for-word translation.
  • New Jerusalem Bible (NJB): Published in 1990 – Dynamic Equivalence, most widely used Bible outside of the US, uses inclusive language, avoiding a preference for the masculine.
  • Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB): Published in 1582 – Formal Equivalence, upholds Catholic Tradition and is the best Bible in my opinion.

There is one more thing you should look at when choosing a Bible: “Books of the Sacred Scriptures cannot be published unless the Apostolic See or the Conference of Bishops has approved them,” Code of Canon Law 825§1. To be considered a Catholic Bible, there must be two things: the nihil obstat, which is Latin for “nothing hinders” or “nothing stands in the way”. This is the Church telling us that a book contains nothing damaging to the faith or morals. The second thing is the , meaning “to imprint” or “to impress”. This tells us that the Church has given approval or license to publish. When choosing any book about the faith to read, I always look for one or both and that way I know for certain there are no moral or doctrinal objections from the Catholic Church.

Remember, no matter which Bible you choose, it will not help you if it sits on the shelf. It is meant to be read. Reading fifteen minutes per day is a good start. Find some quiet space where you can be alone and ask the Holy Ghost to be with you as you read. Once you are finished with reading, meditate on what you have read. Stay quiet and open your heart and mind to the words. God will speak to your heart. If there is something you do not understand – well that is why we have priests. A priest can help you interpret Holy Scripture. The Holy Bible will help us get to know God, learn to love God, and because of that love, serve God.

If you are looking to deepen your faith, strengthen your relationship with God, and increase your love for the Almighty, the Bible is a great place to start.

Regarding St. Joseph

--

By: Crystal Peccia


The Italian Family! The classic symbol of the Italian culture and one of the many things that makes Italians unique. We all know how important it is in anything to have a strong foundation. Whether you are building a house or baking a cake, a good solid foundation is crucial. Society is no different! The family is that foundation, that structure that really makes it all work. It’s no wonder God made sure Jesus had a family while He was here on earth. God, knowing all things, provided that stability and foundation for Jesus. Not only did He pick out a beautiful, pious person for Jesus’ mother, but He hand picked His father as well. So, let’s talk about Joseph.


There is not a whole lot about Joseph in the Bible, but we can gain some insight into his life through what is available in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible tells us that Joseph was born circa 100 B.C. and died in Israel circa 1 A.D. and that Joseph descended from royalty. We can read about the genealogy of Saint Joseph in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-28, where we can follow his lineage all the way back to King David. We know 
Joseph was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55) – a working man. He didn’t have a ton of money (Luke 2:24) because when he brought Jesus to the temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified, he offered a sacrifice of two turtle doves allowed for those who could not afford a lamb. We also know from Scripture (Matthew 1: 1-25) that he was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, rather than expose her (which would have likely gotten her stoned to death), he decided to send her away quietly so as not to shame her. Of course, we know that he was visited by the angel Gabriel who gave him the whole story and directed him not to worry about taking Mary as his wife. We also can glean from Holy Scripture that Joseph loved Jesus. His concern for His safety is evident in Matthew 2: 13-23 when he took Mary and Jesus to Egypt to protect Jesus’ life. He stayed there without question until God told him it was safe to return. And there was the time Jesus was in the Temple (Luke 2:48) and Joseph and Mary searched frantically for Him for three days. Lastly, Joseph treated Jesus as his own son because we read in Luke 4:22 that the people of Nazareth said of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” Tradition says that Joseph most likely died before Jesus began His ministry and that both Jesus and Mary were with him when he died. How comforting it must have been for Joseph to have the two people he loved the most in the world – one the mother of God and his beloved wife, the other God himself and his Son – by his side during that time.


When I think about Saint Joseph, I imagine an incredibly quiet, strong man who would do anything for his family. It must have been stressful being the foster father of Jesus though. I imagine he thought things like, “What if Jesus gets hurt on my watch?” Or, “What if I let God the Father down in taking care of Jesus and Mary?” “How do I ensure their safety?” Oh, the thoughts that must have gone through his mind! And then I start thinking about my own family. When meditating on Holy Scripture or reading about a saint, I think about who is most like the person I’m reading about in my own family. Saint Joseph reminds me of my maternal grandfather. He was an amazing person. He was a quiet man who took great care of his family (including a sick wife), fought for his country, and was generous to a fault. He also prayed often, especially in his exceptionally large vegetable garden and as he would pull weeds, daily I might add, he prayed many Hail Mary’s. He did what he had to do without complaint. I never spoke to my grandfather about this, but often wondered if he tried to imitate Saint Joseph in his own life because it sure seemed that way to me.


Italy holds Father’s Day on the Feast of Saint Joseph, 
March 19th. That’s a great day to celebrate Father’s Day! Much better, I think, than in June. And what better way to honor the foster father of our Lord than with a celebration of fatherhood and by participating in a feast. There are celebrations honoring Saint Joseph called Saint Joseph’s Table. Saint Joseph’s Table originated in Sicily and things like fava beans, breadcrumbs (symbolizing sawdust, because Joseph was a carpenter), and a ton of delicious Italian foods are present with all proceeds collected going directly to the poor.


Saint Joseph deserves to be honored because not only did he watch over the Son of man, but he also watches over His Church. Yes, Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the Universal Church proclaimed in 1870 by Blessed Pope Pius IX. Pope Leo the XIII in
Quamquam Pluries (1889) wrote, “Joseph was the guardian, the administrator and legitimate and natural defender of the divine household of which he was the head. It was thus natural and very worthy of Saint Joseph that, as he supported in another era all the needs of the Family of Nazareth which he wrapped in his holy protection, he now covers with his heavenly patronage and defends the Church of Jesus Christ.” Perhaps that is why, given all that is going on in our world and the Church today, Pope Francis has proclaimed this the year of Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph, being powerful and a defender of the family, is just what we need today. He should be one we all look to as an advocate and protector, especially those of us who are fathers. He should be the one that men in particular look to for guidance in how to be men and how to be a father. There is no one better suited for that than Saint Joseph. Any way you look at it, Saint Joseph was an amazing person, a terrific husband, a wonderful father, and someone all men should aspire to be. During March (the month of Saint Joseph) and this year of Saint Joseph, let us pray to him and ask him to protect the Church and our families. Pray to him for our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, and nephews.


I found this beautiful prayer in one of my prayer books and wanted to share it with you. It’s one that can be said before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. It’s an old prayer that helps us to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus worthily. I like the old prayers because they make me think about myself and what I’m doing in my life. They also remind me of the life that is to come and help me to remember that I must strive always for that life with God. Happy Feast of Saint Joseph and may he bless us all.


PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH
Happy and blessed art thou, O Joseph to whom it was given not only to see and to hear that God Whom many kings desired to see and saw not, to hear, and heard not; but also to bear Him in thine arms, to embrace Him, to clothe Him, and to guard and defend Him.

V. Pray for us, O blessed Joseph.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


LET US PRAY
O God, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, that as blessed Joseph was found worthy to handle with his hands, and bear within his arms, Thine only-begotten Son, born of the Virgin Mary, so may we be fit, by cleanness of heart and innocence of works, worthily to receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son, now in this present, and deserve to attain an everlasting reward in the world to come. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

What Are Ember Days?

--

By: Crystal Peccia


One of the perks of living in Colorado, is the changing of the seasons. There is nothing better than watching the seasons change and all that comes with it. During the winter season, the beauty of freshly fallen snow and the quiet, peaceful feeling makes for quite the scene. We move into spring from there and one of the things first noticed are the little flowers popping up everywhere. The snow gives way to new life. The subtle hues of the colors of the rainbow are everywhere, the warm air excites the mind, and we look forward to summer. Summer brings warm days and many outdoor activities. Gardens are in full bloom with comfortable evenings spent sitting on a front porch or lying in the cool grass daydreaming. Summer gives way to autumn, my personal favorite. The cool crisp days, a bountiful harvest, and the coming holidays spent with family and friends – there’s nothing better. The Church too thought of all this and gave us what are called “Ember Days.”


You may have noticed this on the 2021 OLMC calendars and thought, “What exactly are Ember Days?” Well, Ember Days are additional opportunities for sacrifice and spiritual growth throughout the year. They occur four times a year, one for each season. Ember Days are kept on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They occur after Ash Wednesday (February 24th, 26th, and 27th), after Pentecost (May 26th, 28th, and 29th, after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 15th, 17th, and 18th), and after the Feast of St. Lucy (December 15th, 17th, and 18th this year). The term “Ember Days” comes from the Latin “Quatuor Tempora,” meaning four times. Ember Days are an ancient practice instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings received and to ask for additional blessings in the seasons to come. They are also intended to thank God for the gifts of nature and to teach us to use those gifts in moderation.


As my grandmother always said, “Everything in moderation.” They also remind us to help those in need. Ember Days originated from at least the fifth century and the modern format was arranged by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085). The ordination of priests was also held on Saturdays during Ember weeks; however, that is not the case since the Second Vatican Council. The Church also instituted these days to sanctify the four seasons of the year. So, we should thank God during these days for the beauty of the seasons and remember all our Lord does and has done for us. Every moment of our day should be for the glory of God. Our thoughts, as often as we can throughout the day, should be on God and the beauty around us given by God our Father. Given all God does for us, what then can we do for Him? We can fast, pray, and be thankful. Ember days provide opportunities for this and are a great way to do that during the year.


Why Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays? These are particular days of devotion in the early Church. Wednesday recalls the our Lord’s betrayal by Judas. Friday is in memory of His Passion and Saturday is a continuation of Friday. These are days of penance and fasting. How we fast during Lent applies to the Ember Days as well.


So, why do we fast anyway? Well, we do that in expiation of our sins. Despite all that we see and hear now – that is, “do what makes you feel good” – Christ’s teachings are clear. When the Pharisees complained that the Apostles were not fasting, Jesus said they were not because He was with them, but that they would fast once He was gone (Matthew 2: 18). Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Let us exhibit ourselves as servants of God, in patience, in fastings” (2 Corinthians 6: 4). In other words, I indulged my senses at the expense of God’s law; I will therefore now mortify them at the expense of my own comfort. Ember Days allow us the opportunity to show God how much we love Him. God has not changed; however, the world has. We should not change with the world, but stay close to God.


Since Vatican II, Ember Days, along with other devotions, are not officially observed; however they are still encouraged by the Church. There is absolutely no reason not to observe Ember Days because any assistance we can get that will bring us closer to God should be pursued. God does not abandon us so we MUST not abandon Him. Lent began on Ash Wednesday and what a great time to ask God to be with us and to forgive what we have done to offend Him. We can show our love for God and our sadness over hurting Him by participating in the Ember Days. Below are some prayers that can be said. The spring Ember Days are coming up this week, on February 24th, 26th, and 27th. These are days of fasting and abstinence, allowing one full meal, with meat at the principal meal only, except on Fridays where complete abstinence is required.


Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He has done for you.
V. Lord, You have been our refuge.
R. From generation to generation.

LET US PRAY
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that as year by year we devoutly keep these holy observances, we may be pleasing to You both in body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


IN HONOR OF CHRIST’S BETRAYAL AND PASSION
O God, Who for the world’s redemption was pleased to be born, circumcised, rejected by the Jews, betrayed by the kiss of the traitor Judas, bound with chains, led like an innocent lamb to sacrifice, and shamefully presented before Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod, accused by false witnesses, beaten with whips, buffeted, insulted, spat upon, crowned with thorns, smitten with a reed, blindfolded, stripped of Your garments, fastened with nails to the cross, and lifted up on high, reputed among thieves, made to drink gall and vinegar, and wounded by a lance; oh, by these most sacred sufferings, which, unworthy as I am, I thus commemorate, and by Your holy cross and death, deliver me, Lord, from the pains of hell, and deign to lead me where You did lead the penitent thief, who was crucified by Your side. Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be x5 (Indulgence of 3 years)

Christmas Novena

--

A novena is nine days of prayer in preparation for a particular feast, or to obtain a special favor.  We are currently in Advent, which itself is a season of waiting and preparation.  Many Catholics pray the Christmas novena (below) to prepare themselves for the coming of the Savior. This particular novena is the earliest ecclesiastical novena of which the Church has record. It commemorates the nine months during which Christ was carried in His mother’s womb.


Christmas Novena (Dec. 16-24)

December 16

O Shepherd that rulest Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, come to guide and comfort us. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 17

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 18

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 19

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 20

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 21

O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 22

O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof!  O Cornerstone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 23

O Emmanuel, our King and our Lawgiver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

December 24

O Thou that sittest upon the cherubim, God of hosts, come, show Thy face, and we shall be saved.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

--

There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.” – Revelation 21:27

This and many other Scripture passages indicate the existence of purgatory.  When one dies, they can go to one of three places: Heaven, purgatory, or hell.  One who dies in a perfect state of grace with no stain of sin goes to Heaven.  One who dies in a state of mortal sin is condemned to hell by his own choice.  One who is free from mortal sin, but in a state of venial sin, goes to purgatory.  Purgatory is where souls go to be cleansed before they enter Heaven.  These holy souls comprise the Church Suffering and rely on our prayers to see them through to Heaven.  Since we have no way of knowing who is in Heaven (beyond those the Church has beatified or canonized), we must assume that everyone is in purgatory.  Therefore, it is extremely important that we frequently pray for the dead, not just on All Souls Day.


Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory (Oct. 24 – Nov. 1)

(via Sensus Fidelium)  

October 24

Jesus my Savior, I have so often deserved to be cast into Hell; how great would be my suffering if I were now cast away and obliged to think that I myself had caused my damnation. I thank Thee for the patience with which Thou hast endured me. My God, I love Thee above all things and I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee because Thou art infinite goodness. I will rather die than offend Thee again. Grant me the grace of perseverance. Have pity on me and at the same time on those blessed souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

 

 

 

October 25

Woe to me, unhappy being, so many years have I already spent on earth and have earned naught but hell! I give Thee thanks, O Lord, for granting me time even now to atone for my sins. My good God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. Send me Thy assistance, that I may apply the time yet remaining to me for Thy love and service; have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

October 26

My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I love Thee above all things, and repent with my whole heart of my offenses against Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. And thou, Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

October 27

My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended Thee. I promise to die rather than ever offend Thee more. Give me holy perseverance; have pity on me, and have pity on those holy souls that burn in the cleansing fire and love Thee with all their hearts. O Mary, Mother of God, assist them by thy powerful prayers.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

October 28

Woe to me, unhappy being, if Thou, O Lord, hadst cast me into hell; for from that dungeon of eternal pain there is no deliverance. I love Thee above all things, O infinite God and I am sincerely sorry for having offended Thee again. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

October 29

My Divine Redeemer, Thou didst die for me on the Cross, and hast so often united Thyself with me in Holy Communion, and I have repaid Thee only with ingratitude. Now, however, I love Thee above all things, O supreme God; and I am more grieved at my offences against Thee than at any other evil. I will rather die than offend Thee again. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

October 30

God, Father of Mercy, satisfy this, their ardent desire! Send them Thy holy Angel to announce to them that Thou, their Father, are now reconciled with them through the suffering and death of Jesus, and that the moment of their deliverance has arrived.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

October 31

Oh my God! I also am one of these ungrateful beings, having received so much grace, and yet despised Thy love and deserved to be cast by Thee into hell. But Thy infinite goodness has spared me until now. Therefore, I now love Thee above all things, and I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I will rather die than ever offend Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. Mary, Mother of God, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

November 1

My God! How was it possible that I, for so many years, have borne tranquilly the separation from Thee and Thy holy grace! O infinite Goodness, how long-suffering hast Thou shown Thyself to me! Henceforth, I shall love Thee above all things. I am deeply sorry for having offended Thee; I promise rather to die than to again offend Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance, and do not permit that I should ever again fall into sin. Have compassion on the holy souls in Purgatory. I pray Thee, moderate their sufferings; shorten the time of their misery; call them soon unto Thee in heaven, that they may behold Thee face to face, and forever love Thee. Mary, Mother of Mercy, come to their aid with thy powerful intercession, and pray for us also who are still in danger of eternal damnation.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Prayer to Our Suffering Savior (below)

 

Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

St. Alphonsus Liguori

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them.

℟. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

(Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here)

Blessed Souls, I have prayed for thee; I entreat thee, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen.

 

Litany for the Faithful Departed

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.

God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.

Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on the souls of the faithful departed.

[Repeat pray for the souls of the faithful departed after each invocation]

Holy Mary, pray for the souls of the faithful departed.

Holy Mother of God,

Holy Virgin of virgins,

St. Michael,

All ye angels and archangels,

All ye orders of blessed spirits,

St. John the Baptist,

St. Joseph,

All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,

St. Peter,

St. Paul,

St. John,

All ye holy apostles and evangelists,

St. Stephen,

St. Lawrence,

All ye holy martyrs,

St. Gregory,

St. Ambrose,

St. Augustine,

St. Jerome,

All ye holy bishops and confessors,

All ye holy doctors,

All ye holy priests and levites,

All ye holy monks and hermits,

St. Mary Magdalen,

St. Catherine,

St. Barbara,

All ye holy virgins and widows,

All ye saints of God,

Be merciful, Spare them, o Lord.

Be merciful, Graciously hear us, o Lord.

[Repeat o Lord deliver them after each invocation]

From all evil, o Lord, deliver them.

From Thy wrath,

From the rigor of Thy justice,

From the power of the devil,

From the gnawing worm of conscience,

From long-enduring sorrow,

From eternal flames,

From intolerable cold,

From horrible darkness,

From dreadful weeping and wailing,

Through Thine admirable conception,

Through Thy holy Nativity,

Through Thy most sweet name,

Through Thy baptism and holy fasting,

Through Thy most profound humiliation,

Through Thy prompt obedience,

Through Thine infinite love,

Through Thy sorrow and anguish,

Through Thy bloody sweat,

Through Thy bonds,

Through Thy scourging,

Through Thy crowning with thorns,

Through Thy carrying of the cross,

Through Thy most cruel death,

Through Thy five most holy wounds,

Through Thy most bitter cross and passion,

Through Thy holy Resurrection,

Through Thine admirable Ascension,

Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete,

In the day of judgment,

[Repeat we beseech Thee, hear us after each invocation]

We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us.

Thou Who forgavest Magdalen and didst hearken to the prayer of the thief,

Thou Who savest freely Thine elect,

Thou Who hast the keys of death and hell,

That Thou wouldst be pleased to deliver the souls of our parents, relations, friends, and benefactors, from the pains of Purgatory,

That Thou wouldst be pleased to have mercy on those of whom no especial remembrance is made on earth,

That Thou wouldst be pleased to fulfill all their desires,

That Thou wouldst be pleased to receive them into the company of the blessed,

King of awful Majesty,

Son of God,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Grant unto them rest.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Grant unto them rest.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Grant unto them rest everlasting.

Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.

Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

From the gate of hell, Deliver their souls, o Lord.

O Lord, hear my prayer, And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins; that, by pious supplication, they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Grant this, o God, Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

O eternal God, Who besides the general precept of charity, hast commanded a particular respect to parents, kindred, and benefactors; grant, we beseech Thee, that, as they were the instruments by which Thy Providence bestowed on us our birth, education, and innumerable other blessings, so our prayers may be the means to obtain for them a speedy release from their excessive sufferings, and free admittance to Thine infinite joys. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Eternal rest give them, o Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

Novena to St. Michael

--

September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  However, in the 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite – it is the feast of St. Michael.

St. Michael, whose name means, “who is like unto God,” led the heavenly armies against Satan and the fallen angels, casting them out of Heaven forever.  He is both the prince of angels and our defense against the devil.  As such, we should call upon him whenever we are attacked by the evil one through temptation or spiritual hardship.

 

Novena to St. Michael (Sept. 20 – 28)

(via Sensus Fidelium)

Prayer (to be said each day)


Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His Catholic people, I turn to thee with confidence and seek thy powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who hast made thee so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer.

Thou knowest the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate thy loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and thy great love for God and men. And since thou art God’s messenger for the care of His people, I entrust to thee this special request:

(Mention your intentions here)

Saint Michael, since thou art, by the will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in thy prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God’s holy will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through thy powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death and reach Heaven where we may praise and love God with thee forever. Amen.


September 29

Feast of St. Michael

CHAPLET OF ST. MICHAEL

The Chaplet of St. Michael (or Rosary of the Angels) was given to a Portuguese Carmelite nun, Antónia d’Astónaco, in the 18th century.  St. Michael appeared to her in a vision and asked that she honor him with nine salutations for the nine Choirs of Angels.  Scripture reveals the nine Choirs of Angels to be: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels and Angels (Isa. 6: 2; Gen. 3: 24; Col. 1: 16; Eph. 1: 21; Rom. 8: 38).  He promised that whoever practiced this devotion would have, when approaching Holy Communion, an escort of nine angels from the nine Choirs.  He also promised that he and the holy angels would assist those who recited the chaplet during their life.

In 1851, Pope St. Pius IX approved and indulgenced the Chaplet of St. Michael.  The indulgences are:

  1. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines every time the Chaplet is said.
  2. An indulgence of 100 days daily to any one who carries this Chaplet about him, or kisses the medal with the representation of the holy angels appended to the said Chaplet.
  3. A plenary indulgence once a month to every one who says daily this Chaplet, on any one day when, after Confession and Communion, he shall pray for the exaltation of our holy Mother the Church and the safety of the Sovereign Pontiff.
  4. A plenary indulgence, with the conditions above named, on:
     – The Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael, May 18
     –  The Dedication of St. Michael, September 29
     –  St. Gabriel the Archangel, March 18
     –  St. Raphael the Archangel, October 24
     – Holy Angel Guardians, October 2

The chaplet consists of nine Our Fathers followed by three Hail Marys.  These groups comprise the nine salutations for the nine Choirs of Angels.  A prayer is said before each salutation and four Our Fathers are said at the end.  It is recommended to kneel (if one is able) in front of a representation of St. Michael while praying this devotion.

V: O God, come to my assistance 
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be…

FIRST SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim, may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen. 

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

SECOND SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim, may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

THIRD SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones, may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

FOURTH SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations, may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

FIFTH SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues, may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

SIXTH SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers, may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

SEVENTH SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities, may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

EIGHTH SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels, may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

NINTH SALUTATION

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels, may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. 
Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary x3

In honor of St. Michael: Our Father …
In honor of St. Gabriel: Our Father …
In honor of St. Raphael: Our Father …
In honor of our Guardian Angel: Our Father …

ANTIPHON

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue, deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by thy gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ,
R. That we may be made worthy of His promises.

PRAYER

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Thy Church, make us worthy, we ask Thee, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Thy Presence. This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

[Repeat pray for us after each invocation]
Holy Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us
St. Michael, the Archangel,
Most glorious attendant of the Triune Divinity,
Standing at the right of the altar of Incense,
Ambassador of Paradise,
Glorious Prince of the Heavenly armies,
Leader of the Angelic hosts,
The standard-bearer of God’s armies,
Defender of Divine glory,
First defender of the Kingship of Christ,
Strength of God,
Invincible Prince and warrior,
Angel of Peace,
Guide of Christ,
Guardian of the Catholic Faith,
Champion of God’s people,
Guardian Angel of the Eucharist,
Defender of the Church,
Protector of the Sovereign Pontiff,
Angel of Catholic action,
Powerful intercessor of Christians,
Bravest defender of those who hope in God,
Guardian of our souls and bodies,
Healer of the sick,
Help of those in their agony,
Consoler of the Souls in Purgatory,
God’s messenger for the souls of the just,
Terror of the evil spirits,
Victorious in the battle against evil,
Guardian and Patron of the universal Church,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, 
defend us in battle. 
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, 
and do thou, 
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, 
by the power of God, 
thrust into hell Satan, 
and all the evil spirits, 
who prowl about the world 
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows

--

September 6 – 14
(via Sensus Fidelium)

September 6

Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

Preparatory Prayer (to be said each day)

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

From the dolorous way of Our Lord’s passion Holy Church selected fourteen incidents to place before us for consideration, which are called the Stations of the Cross. In the same manner the pious devotion of the faithful selected seven events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and gives itself to their religious contemplation. They are: (1) Simeon’s prophecy in the Temple; (2) the flight into Egypt with the divine Child; (3) the loss of the divine Child at Jerusalem; (4) Mary’s meeting with her Son bearing the cross; (5) Mary beneath the cross; (6) Mary receives the body of her Son from the cross; (7) the placing of Jesus’ body in the tomb.

Practice

“Forget not the sorrows of thy mother.” (Ecclus. vii. 29) According to this exhortation of Holy Scripture it is our duty to remember and meditate often on the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We ought never to forget that our sins were the cause of the sufferings and death of Jesus, and therefore also of the sorrows of Mary.

Holy Church celebrates two feasts in honor of the sorrows of Mary; she approved of the Rosary and of many other devotions in honor of the Seven Dolors, and enriched them with numerous indulgences. Let us practice these devotions to enkindle in our hearts a true and ardent love for our sorrowful Mother.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we can not obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 7

First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

Forty days after the birth of our divine Savior, Mary His Mother fulfilled the law of Moses by offering Him to His divine Father in the Temple. “And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was in Him. And he received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he also took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: Now dost Thou dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples. A light to the revelation of the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel. And His father and mother were wondering at these things which were spoken concerning Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His Mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.” (Luke ii. 25-35)

Practice

Mary was familiar with the predictions of the prophets and knew that ignominy, sorrow, and suffering would be her divine Son’s portion throughout His earthly career. But to have this secret of her anxious soul thus publicly and solemnly declared by Simeon, was a sharp thrust of that seven-edged sword which was to pierce her loving heart. In spirit she viewed that boundless, surging sea of trials, pain, and death on which her Son was to be tossed about, and was willing to be engulfed in its bitter waters. Her affliction would have scarcely been greater had the death sentence of her divine Son been pronounced then and there and put into execution. What a sorrow, what an affliction, what a trial for such a tender Mother! Well might she exclaim with the Royal Prophet: “My life is wasted with grief, and my years in sighs.” (Ps. xxx. 11) Let us often contemplate this sorrow, and excite our hearts to a tender compassion with the Mother of Sorrows.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 8

Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

For the second time the sword of sorrow pierced Mary’s heart when she was commanded to fly into Egypt with her divine Child. Without manifesting undue perplexity or discontent, she hastily gathered a few necessaries for the journey, while St. Joseph saddled the beast of burden. Then taking the infant Jesus into her arms and pressing Him to her throbbing heart, the holy pilgrims set forth into the cold, starry night, away to a foreign land, through the trackless desert, and into a heathen country. Arrived in Egypt, the experience of Bethlehem was renewed; no one gave them shelter.

Practice

During this second great sorrow, what was Mary’s behavior? She was content to fulfill the will of God; she did not ask for reasons, or complain of the fatigues of the journey, but preserved her peace of heart amid all the trials of this severe probation. She is poor, but her poverty does not render her unhappy or querulous. If God sends us trials, we ought not murmur or complain. Following the example of Mary, let us bear them submissively. If we suffer patiently with Mary on earth, we shall enjoy eternal bliss with her in heaven.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 9

Third Sorrow: Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

Who can describe Mary’s sorrow when, returning from Jerusalem, she missed her divine Son? With St. Joseph she retraced her steps in anxious search of Him whom her soul loved. She went to all her relatives and acquaintances in Jerusalem, but heard no tidings of her lost Child. She passed three long days of anxiety in her search, and this constitutes her third sorrow. Of it, Origen writes: “On account of the ineffable love of Mary for her divine Son, she suffered more by His loss than the martyrs suffered amid the most cruel tortures.”

Practice

In meditating on this sorrow of Mary, we ought to remember how indifferent so many Christians are after having lost God by sin. They feel no compunction, no sorrow at having offended Him, and yet they can weep at the loss of a trifle; they shed copious tears when their will is crossed, or when they receive a deserved reprimand; but for the loss of their God they have not a tear. They have lost Him, perhaps years ago, and never make the least effort to find Him. Pray to the sorrowful Mother that she preserve you from such a deplorable fate!

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 10

Fourth Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus on His Way to Calvary

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

The time was at hand when mankind’s redemption was to be accomplished. Already the divine Victim of our sins is bearing the instrument of our salvation. Torn by the cruel scourging, crowned with thorns, and covered with blood He proceeds on His way to Calvary, and in this pitiful condition meets His blessed Mother. What a spectacle, what a sight for a Mother such as Mary! Anxious to look upon her, and with one fond glance to thank her for her heroic, unselfish love, He made an effort to change His bowed position beneath the cross, feebly raised His head, and directed toward her one loving glance of ineffable anguish, mingled with grateful recognition and humble resignation. Then the sad procession moves on, Mary following her divine Son on His way to death.

Practice

We, By our sins, placed into the hands of the Jews and executioners the weapons by which Jesus suffered, and thus we thrust the sword of sorrow into Mary’s heart. We repeat this, in a certain sense, as often as we commit a grievous sin, because we thereby number ourselves among those whom the Apostle describes as “crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making Him a mockery.” (Heb. vi. 6) Cardinal Hugo writes: “Sinners crucify, as far as is in them, Christ our Lord, because they repeat the cause of His crucifixion.” Doing this, we thrust anew the sword of sorrow into Mary’s heart. Let this consideration fill us with hatred for and fear of sin.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 11

Fifth Sorrow: Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

At the crucifixion of Jesus the soul of Mary was plunged into a sea of sorrow when she stood three hours under the cross. Writhing in excruciating pain, the Son of God hung upon the tree of disgrace and infamy, yet Mary continued to stand at its foot, tearful, grieving, yet persevering, filled with anguish because she could do nothing to help Him. Another great sorrow befell the heart of Mary when she slowly withdrew her tearful gaze from the face of Jesus, and cast her weeping eyes upon the cold and indifferent world that lay in darkness around and about Calvary. And yet, “When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother, Woman, behold Thy son. After that He saith to the disciple, Behold thy Mother.” (John xix. 26, 27)

Practice

These words, “Behold thy son, behold thy Mother,” contain and express the mystery of unbounded love, which Jesus has for all mankind, but more especially for the Church, which is appointed and authorized to lead men to salvation. O blessed, O happy bequest! It was not enough for the love of Jesus to have restored heaven to us by His atoning death; He wished also to give us His dearest Mother. And she has always shown herself as such. To each of us individually she was and is a kind and loving Mother. Give thanks to her, bless and praise her for having adopted you as her child, and strive to become worthy of so great a privilege.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 12

Sixth Sorrow: The Body of Jesus Being Taken from the Cross

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

Who can describe the sorrow and anguish of Mary’s heart when the body of Jesus was taken from the cross, when her tearful eyes fell upon His disfigured features! The pure and holy and beauteous form of her Son was a mass of clotted blood and unsightly wounds; and yet, disfigured as it was, there shone in His countenance a clear, calm expression of divine majesty. Now Mary views the wounds of that sacred body; she looks at the gap made in His side by the cruel spear, and can almost see the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all bruised and broken for love of man. Before her vision passes in detail His life and her own. Memory presents to her mind every day and hour of their quiet, happy life at Nazareth. Is it to be wondered, then, that at this bitter moment her sorrow was so great that, as St. Anselm observes, she should have died had she not been sustained by a miracle of divine omnipotence?

Practice

Ought not the contemplation of the sorrows of our blessed Mother confirm us in patience, in resignation to the will of God in our trials and sufferings? If the Son of God said of Himself: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?” (Luke xxiv. 26); if the most pure and holy Mother of God, despite her great prerogatives and merits, had to suffer a sorrow so ineffable, do not murmur if the word of Christ is addressed also to you: “And he that taketh not up his cross and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me.” (Matt. x. 38)

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 13

Seventh Sorrow: The Burial of Jesus

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

The sacrifice for the redemption of the world was accomplished. “And Joseph, taking the body, wrapt it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way.” (Matt. xxvii. 59) Mary also took part in the burial of her beloved Son, though the evangelists do not mention her name amongst those who were present on that mournful occasion. Never, most assuredly, was human soul visited by such woe and desolation, as that which overwhelmed hers as she cast a last glance on the precious remains of her dead Son.

Practice

Let us learn of the sorrowful Mother at the tomb of her divine Son submission to God’s holy will in all things, but especially when He takes from us one of our dear ones. Again, the contemplation of the sufferings of Mary should fortify us in patience, whenever God is pleased to visit us with a light and small cross of affliction, or even with a sorrow that causes our heart to bleed. It should inspire us with a filial confidence in Mary, who thus suffered for us and gave her divine Son for our salvation. We can and ought to prove our love for her, not by sentimental feelings of affection, but by a sincere hatred of sin and great fervor in the service of her divine Son.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 14

Reasons Why Mary Had to Suffer

Preparatory Prayer 

Bid me bear, O Mother blessed,
On my heart the wounds impressed
Suffered by the Crucified!

Meditation

The reasons why God permitted Mary to suffer so much may be briefly stated as follows: He did so from His love for Mary and from His love for us. He did so from His love for Mary, because by suffering she merited greater glory in heaven. As Mother of the Crucified she persevered beneath the cross, and now she thrones in heaven as the glorious Mother of the risen Redeemer. Because she shared in His suffering, she now shares His glory. Again, God permitted Mary to suffer because He loved us. If she had not experienced such bitter sorrow, we would not have recourse to her, for whosoever has not suffered himself can not have sympathy with the sufferings of others. Mary knows the pangs of sorrow by experience, and therefore knows also how to console and help us.

Practice

Because she herself drained the most bitter cup of sorrow, Mary is always willing to help those who invoke her aid. But above all she is inclined to help repentant sinners, because she knows how great the price of their redemption was, paid by the blood of her divine Son. She is able to help us, because, after God, she is most powerful; she is most willing to help us, because she loves us, whom God so has loved “as to give His only-begotten Son.” (John iii. 16) Let us, therefore, have recourse to her in all our needs, and we shall experience the power of her help in life and death.

Prayer of the Church

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, may intercede for us before the throne of Thy mercy, now and at the hour of our death, through whose most holy soul, in the hour of Thine own passion, the sword of sorrow passed. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Servite Rosary

Learn how to pray here

Ejaculation

Mother of Sorrows, queen of martyrs, pray for us!

Let us pray.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s spouse; that what of ourselves we cannot obtain may be given us through his intercession. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.


September 15

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Litany of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows

Lord, have mercy on us, (Christ, have mercy on us.)
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us, (Christ, graciously hear us.)

God the Father of Heaven, (have mercy on us.)
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, (have mercy on us.)
God the Holy Ghost, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Trinity, One God, (have mercy on us.)

Holy Mary, (* pray for us)
Holy Mother of God, (*)
Holy Virgin of virgins, (*)
Mother crucified, (*)
Sorrowful Mother, (*)
Tearful Mother, (*)
Afflicted Mother, (*)
Forsaken Mother, (*)
Desolate Mother, (*)
Mother bereft of thy Child, (*)
Mother transfixed with the sword, (*)
Mother overwhelmed with grief, (*)
Mother filled with anguish, (*)
Mother crucified in heart, (*)
Mother most sad, (*)
Fountain of tears, (*)
Vial of suffering, (*)
Mirror of patience, (*)
Rock of constancy, (*)
Anchor of confidence, (*)
Refuge of the forsaken, (*)
Shield of the oppressed, (*)
Subduer of the unbelieving, (*)
Comfort of the afflicted, (*)
Medicine of the sick, (*)
Strength of the weak, (*)
Harbour of the wretched, (*)
Calmer of the tempests, (*)
Resource of mourners, (*)
Terror of the treacherous, (*)
Treasure of the faithful, (*)
Eye of the Prophets, (*)
Staff of Apostles, (*)
Crown of Martyrs, (*)
Light of Confessors, (*)
Pearl of Virgins, (*)
Consolation of Widows, (*)
Joy of all Saints, (*)

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Jesus!)
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us, O Jesus!)
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us, O Jesus!)

Look down upon us, deliver us, and save us from all trouble, in the power of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Imprint, O Lady! Thy wounds upon my heart, that I may read therein sorrow and love – sorrow to endure every sorrow for Thee; love to despise every love for Thine. Amen.

How to Pray the Servite Rosary

--

The Servite Rosary owes its origin to the Servite Order founded by the Seven Holy Founders in 1233. From the beginning, they dedicated their lives to Our Lady of Sorrows.

The Servite Rosary is comprised of 7 decades in memory of Mary’s 7 sorrows. It is customary to begin with an Act of Contrition, to call to mind the role our sins had in Mary’s sufferings. At the beginning of each group, the sorrow is announced, followed by an Our Father and seven Hail Marys. At the end of the rosary, we say 3 Hail Marys in honor of Our Lady’s tears.

 

St. Bridget of Sweden received visions wherein the Blessed Mother gave 7 promises to those who meditate on her seven sorrows:

  • “I will grant peace to their families.”
  • “They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries.”
  • “I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work.”
  • “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the 
  • sanctification of their souls.”
  • “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
  • “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death– they will see the face of their mother.”
  • “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors
     will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

 

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins, and detest them above things, because they deserve Thy dreadful punishments, because they have crucified my loving Savior Jesus Christ, and most of all because they offend Thine infinite goodness; and I firmly resolve, by the help of Thy grace, never to offend Thee again, and carefully to avoid the occasions of sin. Amen.

V: Incline, unto my aid, O God.
R: O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory Be…Alleluia

For the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

Our Father, Hail Mary x7

Verse: Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Savior bore.

 

Ending Prayers

Hail, Holy Queen

Three Hail Marys in Honor of Mary’s Tears:

O Mother of Sorrows, by the tears thou shed, grant that I may weep for my sins: Hail Mary…

O Mother of Sorrows, by the tears thou shed, soften the hardened hearts of sinners: Hail Mary…

O Mother of Sorrows, by the tears thou shed, allow me to make reparation for my sins: Hail Mary…

Our Lady of the Rosary

--

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary.  If you’re wondering why, it’s important to note that Catholics celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th.  We’ll discuss why we celebrate this feast on this day, but first, it’s important to understand what the rosary is.

 

A HISTORY OF THE ROSARY

While many credit St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, with the invention of the rosary, there are earlier variations of the prayer.  In early Christian tradition, monks would pray the Our Father 150 times using a string of beads.  The laity adopted and adapted this practice, usually saying 50 Our Fathers instead 150.

The Hail Mary prayer, which was constructed over the course of a thousand years, is the rosary’s main prayer.  In the late 6th century, Pope St. Gregory the Great asked the people to pray an earlier version of the Hail Mary on the 4th Sunday of Advent.  The laity applied the same form of repetition to this prayer as they did to the Our Father.  When the final version of the Hail Mary was approved at the Council of Trent in 1568, this form was used in the rosary.

During his time in France, St. Dominic encountered the Albigensians – a group of people who rejected the Incarnation and the sacraments.  He received a vision from the Blessed Mother, asking that the rosary be said to combat the heresy.  Thus, St. Dominic preached the use of the rosary we know today.  Because of his devotion, this form is often referred to as the “Dominican rosary.”

In 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal.  In one of the apparitions, she introduced the Fatima Prayer and asked that it be added to the end of each decade. 

The rosary has been referred to as a powerful weapon against the devil, one of the most cherished Catholic prayers, and the prayer of the saints.  It is a prayer that inspires us physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Physically, because we focus our hands and voices on the prayers.  Mentally, because we meditate on the mysteries of Christ and the truths revealed by Him.  Spiritually, because we grow in holiness when we say the rosary piously.  

 

BATTLE OF LEPANTO

The 16th century was a difficult time for the Catholic Church.  The religious upheaval promulgated by the Protestant Reformation weakened the Church significantly.  The Ottoman Empire, which was the seat of Islamic power, saw the perfect opportunity to conquer the Mediterranean.  Perhaps the only person concerned about this threat was Pope St. Pius V.  He assembled a fleet of Christian territories including Spain, the Papal States, and Venice.  Together, they were known as The Holy League, commanded by Juan D’Austria, one of Spain’s best military minds.  After the Ottomans laid siege to Cyprus, a Venetian territory, The Holy League decided to strike.  Outnumbered, but not outgunned, the Catholic armada met the Turks in battle on the morning of October 7th.  Both sides suffered heavy losses, but The Holy League emerged victorious.  The turning point of the battle occurred when 12,000 Christian slaves, who had been forced to row the Turks’ ships, revolted against their captors.  The Turks suffered a great defeat and though the Ottoman Empire survived beyond the Battle of Lepanto, it marked a huge victory for the Christian resistance to Muslim conquest.

 

OUR LADY OF VICTORY

They say wars are not won on the battlefield.  This could not be more true for the Battle of Lepanto.  After assembling The Holy League, Pope St. Pius V ordered Rome’s churches to be opened day and night for prayer.  He petitioned the faithful to pray the rosary and ask for the Blessed Mother’s intercession.  When word of victory reached the pope, he credited it to the Blessed Mother and declared October 7th the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.  The name was later changed to Our Lady of the Rosary. 

Some refer to the Battle of Lepanto as the Day Our Lady Saved Christendom.  Indeed, it is because of the rosary that she interceded.  Pope Pius IX said, “Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.”

 

HOW TO CELEBRATE THE MONTH OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Now is the perfect time to commit to saying the rosary daily.  Here are some other ideas:

  1. Make rosaries with your children and have them blessed.
  2. Invite a Pilgrim Virgin statue into your home.  For more information on this, please call the Parish Office.
  3. Attend Mass on October 7th, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and on October 13th, the day of Mary’s final visit to Fatima.
  4. Share this devotion with others!

Divine Mercy: Understanding God’s Message

--

Ciao. My name is Crystal and I am the Religious Education Director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Denver. I want to share with you something that is very near and dear to my heart: Divine Mercy.

I had never heard of Divine Mercy until a few years ago when my mother-in-law was visiting from Italy. She gave me a pamphlet about Saint Maria Faustina and her visions of hell. This pamphlet was in Italian so I had to ask my husband to translate it for me. As he was reading, I was mesmerized and set out to learn more about this nun and her writings. I didn’t know where to begin and, as often times happens to me, God showed me the way. About the same time, a couple of books had been donated to the Religious Education program and, among those donated books, was a copy of Saint Faustina’s Diary. I took the diary home and began to read. I could not put it down. I read it from cover to cover and bought my own copy and just about everything else I could get my hands on about Saint Faustina and Divine Mercy. As you can imagine, I have quite a collection. In the pages of that diary, I found the limitless love and mercy God has for each of us, especially those most unworthy of His mercy. Now, I already know God is merciful and that His love is limitless. After all, His only Son died on the cross for all of us, but there is something about the words Jesus instructed Saint Faustina to write that is awe-inspiring. I fell in love with Divine Mercy.

 

A Brief History

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska was born in Poland in August 1905 to a poor family. She had only a third grade education when she became a nun. Mother Superior of the convent where she lived said, “She [Saint Faustina] was no one special with no discernible qualities.” In fact, the other nuns living with her often ridiculed her and labeled her as lazy. No one knew that Jesus had chosen Saint Faustina to be His secretary and that He would appear to her and instruct her to keep a diary that would bring His Divine Mercy to a very troubled world. Saint Faustina recorded her mission in that diary, wrote down all of our Lord’s wishes, and described the encounters between her soul and Him. Consumed by tuberculosis and innumerable sufferings, which she offered for poor sinners, Saint Faustina died in Cracow at the age of 33 on October 5, 1938.

Even before her death, devotion to Divine Mercy began to spread and became a refuge for those caught up in World War II. In 1941, a priest brought Divine Mercy to the United States; but, as was foretold in Saint Faustina’s diary in 1959, the Church banned devotion to Divine Mercy. Twenty years later however, the ban was lifted thanks in large part to the Archbishop of Cracow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who later became Saint Pope John Paul II, also known as the Divine Mercy Pope. Saint Pope John Paul II would canonize Saint Faustina on April 30, 2000. That day just happened to be the second Sunday of Easter. He announced that the second Sunday of Easter would be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the universal church. Divine Mercy is now celebrated on the Sunday after Easter as our Lord requested.

Receiving Graces

I believe that our Lord, in His great mercy, is giving us yet another opportunity to reconcile with Him. Divine Mercy Sunday is that opportunity. Jesus promises that those of us who participate on that day will receive great graces and forgiveness of sins. To prepare ourselves for Divine Mercy we must do the following:

  1. Repent for all our sins and make a good Confession before that Sunday. Review your sins and express true sorrow for those sins, hatred of those sins, and a firm resolution not to sin again. A great way to accomplish this is to review the Ten Commandments. Remember, actual sin is the sin we ourselves commit. There are two kinds of actual sin, venial and mortal. Venial sins are those sins that we sometimes commit without thought. An example would be a white lie. A mortal sin is very serious and should be confessed immediately. A mortal sin involves the knowledge that one is about to commit a serious sin, one has sufficient understanding of what is about to happen, and one has the freedom of will and acts of one’s own accord. Next, we go into the confessional or face-to-face with a priest and confess those sins we have committed. Another thing to remember is that Jesus is present during Confession. Once sins have been confessed and an act of contrition is made, the priest will grant absolution (forgiveness) and give penance. Penance is an act which we do after leaving the confessional to show God we are truly sorry for our sins and that we will make every effort not to sin again.
     
  2. Receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday. This must be a worthy Communion, meaning a good Confession has taken place prior to receiving Jesus. It is also accompanied by complete trust in Divine Mercy.
     
  3. Venerate the image of the Divine Mercy. Our Lord appeared to Saint Faustina in a vision clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment near His heart, from which two large rays came forth, one red and the other white. Our Lord said to Faustina, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see here with the signature: Jesus, I trust in you. I promise the soul that will venerate this image will not perish” (Diary 47, 48). Saint Faustina then asked what the two rays meant. Jesus replied, “The white beam represents the water that cleanses and purifies the soul, the red, the blood that gives new life to souls” (Diary 299).  To venerate simply means to perform some act or make some gesture of deep religious respect toward the object because of the person it represents – in this case, our most merciful Savior.
     
  4. Be merciful to others through actions, words, and prayers. Our Lord’s promise to us on the feast of Divine Mercy is that He will grant complete forgiveness of sin and punishment. His exact words are, “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary 699).

 

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Jesus also requested that we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which can be prayed on regular rosary beads. This is a powerful chaplet! Saint Faustina once had a vision of an angel sent by God to punish a certain city. She began to pray for mercy, but her prayers were powerless. Suddenly, she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus’ grace within her. At the same time, she found herself pleading with God for mercy with words she heard internally: “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” (Diary 474-476). As she continued to pray this prayer, the angel became powerless and could not carry out the deserved punishment. In fact, Jesus asks us to pray this chaplet and meditate on His passion at 3:00pm each day. Jesus said, “This is the hour of great mercy, in this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request on Me in virtue of My Passion” (Diary 1320).

 

 

Conclusion

All that is required of us to obtain God’s great mercy is to want it, to ask for it, and above all, to trust in His Divine Mercy. Jesus waits for us! We should not ever be afraid to approach Jesus and ask for His mercy. No matter what we’ve done, He is willing to forgive us if only we ask for it with a pure heart. Many parishes are celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday with the recitation of the Chaplet, Mass, and Confession. Here at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we will sing the Chaplet at 6:30am on Sunday April 28th followed by our 7:00am Mass. It is my hope that all will take advantage of God’s love and mercy by attending a celebration. I ask God to bless you and keep you always in His constant care and protection. Thank you.

– Crystal Peccia, DRE