May 6, 2016

Why Satan Hates the Ascension of Christ

Ascension, Copley, 1775

By Matthew Coffin

In a few days the Church will celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. It is a holy day of obligation. Forty days after his Resurrection, Christ ascended into heaven. His Ascension marked the end of his earthly ministry. Having conquered sin and death, Jesus ascended to receive the glory due him [Philippians 2:8-11], mediate on our behalf [Hebrews 9:24], send the Holy Spirit promised at the Last Supper [John 16:7], and prepare a place for us in eternity [John 14:2]. Immediately following the Ascension, an angel informs the disciples that Christ’s Second Coming will occur in the same way. According to the Catechism [668], "Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority." Our Lord’s Ascension bridges his Incarnation in humility with his coming again at the end of time as King and Supreme Judge of the universe.

Since his Ascension, Christ’s glorified body has sat at the right hand of the Father. The divinization of Christ in his incarnate body has profound implications for us. Jesus is the Exemplar, par excellence, of how we should live and what we ought to do. He also reveals our destiny, if we persevere in love.

Christ's bodily Ascension prefigures our own life in heaven not simply as disembodied souls, following death, but as the union of our glorified bodies with our souls at the Final Judgment. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross redeemed us. His Ascension assured the restoration of all creation to God’s design. St. John Paul II observes that our experience of heaven will far exceed the state of perfect bliss known by our first parents before Satan’s temptation.

Satan’s lie in the garden condemned humanity to lives of sin, drudgery and inexorable physical death. Prior to the Fall, the created world and everything in it functioned precisely as God intended. It was in short, Paradise.

We don't often think of it this way, but before the first sin, the entire world was a temple in which human beings worshiped the one true God. Man fully possessed original goodness and original justice. With Adam’s sin, the world at large stopped being a temple. It became necessary to build a temple where God could be worshiped. Moreover, man had to purify himself before entering this sacred space. Everything in the created world was profaned including human nature, our relationship to beauty, truth and goodness, our relationship with the natural world, our relationships with each other, and our relationship with God. Paradise was lost.

The Threefold Effect of Christ's Ascension
Christ was made man that we might be made God.
― St. Athanasius of Alexandria

Satan hates Christ’s Ascension because, by virtue of it: 1.) The effects of Satan’s lie are undone. 2.) In eternity, the one thing Satan seeks to hurt most, namely human beings, will be elevated to a dignity and intimacy with their Creator far greater than that experienced by Adam and Eve. 3.) Christ’s Ascension promises that the souls of the virtuous will be reunited with their glorified bodies.

In his Ascension, Jesus incarnate makes possible and prefigures our ultimate Summum bonum. Following the Last Judgment, the good will enjoy the Beatific Vision, see God face to face, and experience perfect happiness. Salvation history will cease, having achieved its ultimate purpose, love will triumph over evil, and darkness will be no more. Christ's Ascension sounds the death knell for sin, reminds Satan his days are numbered, and justifies our hearts’ deepest longings – giving our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings a divine purpose – so that we may love and serve God with infinite hope in this life until we live with Him forever in the next.

May 1, 2016

May 2: Memorial of St. Athanasius, Bishop & Doctor

St. Athanasius
Saint Athanasius was the "champion of orthodoxy," and a great defender of the early Church. He born in Alexandria in the year 297 c. AD. He studied under the tutelage of Orthodox Patriarch Alexander and St. Anthony of the desert. Ordained a deacon at age 22, Athanasius dedicated his life to opposing the teachings of Arias, a priest of the Alexandrian Church who denied Christ's divinity. As Bishop he endured, like St. Cyril of Jerusalem, his contemporary, many wrongs and sufferings for the sake of the faith at the hands of the Arians.

Athanasius took part in the Council of Nicea in 325 and actively promoted its teaching on Christ. It is probable that he helped composed the encyclical letter announcing the condemnation of Arius. Five months later, Patriarch Alexander died. Athanasius was named his successor and in 326, was unanimously elected Patriarch, all before the age of thirty. One of his first acts was to tour his immense diocese, which included a number of monastic settlements.

Athanasius was subjected to numerous persecutions for upholding the true teaching concerning the person of Christ and was sent into exile from his see five times. He died on May 2, 373 in Alexandria, after an episcopate spanning five decades. The Church venerates him as one of her great Doctors. [Video below.]

The Life of St. Athanasius

He did not die a martyr, but his life was martyrdom in the truest sense. Athanasius was the Church's greatest hero in the battle against Arianism (a heresy that denied Christ's divinity). Even as a young deacon at the Council of Nicea (325), he was recognized as "Arius' ablest enemy" and the foremost defender of the Church's faith. After the death of his bishop (328), "the entire Catholic congregation with one accord, as one soul and body, voiced the wish of the dying bishop Alexander that Athanasius should succeed him. Everyone esteemed him as a virtuous, holy man, an ascetic, a true bishop."

There followed fifty years of constant conflict. Under five emperors and by exile on five different occasions, he gave testimony to the truth of the Catholic position. His allegiance to the Church never wavered, his courage never weakened. As consolation in the face of horrendous calumnies and cruel persecution, Athanasius looked to the unwavering love of his Catholic people. Even time brought no mitigation in Arian hatred. For five years he hid in a deep, dry cistern to be safe from their raging wrath and their attempts to assassinate him. The place was known only to one trusted friend who secretly supplied necessary food.

That Athanasius enjoyed God's special protection should have been obvious to all. On one occasion when the emperor's assassins were pursuing him, Athanasius ordered the ship on which he was fleeing to double-back and sail upstream so that he might meet and by-pass his persecutors. Not recognizing the boat upon meeting in semi-darkness, they naively asked whether the ship carrying Athanasius was still far ahead. Calmly and truthfully Athanasius himself called back, "He is not far from here." So his persecutors kept sailing on in the same direction, allowing the saint to complete his escape.

Preserved by divine Providence through a lifetime of trial and danger, he finally died in his own quarters at Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Valens. Athanasius enriched Christian literature with many important works, some pointed toward piety and edification, others polemical and dogmatic in nature. He ruled the Church of Alexandria for forty-six years.

Adapted excerpt from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Symbols: open book; two columns; boat on the Nile; equilateral triangle; open book between two Greek Doric columns; archbishop's pallium; scroll with quotation from his writings.

Collect Prayer

Almighty ever-living God, who raised up the Bishop Saint Athanasius as an outstanding champion of your Son's divinity, mercifully grant, that, rejoicing in his teaching and his protection, we may never cease to grow in knowledge and love of you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

St. Athanasius' Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

It is becoming for you, O Mary, to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him who bestowed upon you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Come to our aid for the sake of the King, the Lord God and Master Who was born of you. For this reason you are called "full of grace."

Be mindful of us, most holy Virgin, and bestow on us gifts from the riches of your graces, O Virgin, full of grace. Amen.


Rare Footage of Pope St. Pius X's Incorrupt Body

St. John XXIII and (now) Cardinal Loris Capovilla with the
incorrupt body of St. Pius X.

In 1913, Pope Pius X suffered a heart attack from which he never fully recovered. On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, [August 15, 1914] he became ill for the final time. His condition was exacerbated by the outbreak of World War I. Following a second heart attack, he went to his eternal reward on August 20, 1914.

Pius X was buried in an unadorned tomb in the crypt beneath St. Peter's Basilica. Papal physicians customarily removed organs from the deceased pontiff's corpse as part of the embalming process. Pius X prohibited this practice in his burial, as have successive popes. Forty years after his death, Pius X's body was exhumed as part of the beatification process and found intact. Below is rare footage of St. Pius X's incorrupt body in which his face is adorned with a bronze mask. St. John XXIII is seen venerating his predecessor's earthly remains along with various princes of the Church among others.

Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter, May 1, 2016, Year C

The Last Supper

Fr. Charles Irvin
Senior Priest
Diocese of Lansing

(Click here for today’s readings)

God our Father has sent His Son to us not to condemn us but to show us that He loves us. He wants to save us, to save us by being joined into His Son and with His Son to return to Him, our Father in heaven. With that in mind, what is God telling us in His word for us today?

All of us have had to face moments of departure and loss. Was it when we were desperately in love and then the one we loved left us? Was it when we graduated from school and then suffered separation from our dear friends? Was it when a spouse or a child went off to war somewhere? Was it when we had to take a job in a city far away? For those leaving it is a wrenching experience. For those left behind it is equally wrenching, perhaps even more so. The moments and days approaching departure are filled with terrible anxiety. Our hearts are filled with fear and sorrow.

Such a time, experienced by Jesus’ closest friends, is presented to us in today’s gospel account. The scene is set during the Last Supper. Jesus’ words are a part of His last discourse, the thoughts and words He was sharing with them immediately before His passion and impending agony and death. The tragedy was just about to occur and He was giving them His last words of love.

What was going through Jesus’ mind? I imagine He was feeling much like a parent feels when his or her child or children will be left on their own. They will have to fend for themselves. They will have to find protection and security using whatever devices they had learned while they were at home. So, too, while they were with Him, Jesus had protected them. Who would protect them now? Who would guard them, care for them, and provide for them?

The Church gives us this setting as she prepares us for another departure, namely the Ascension of Jesus – His going back to His Father in heaven, the event we will remember in next weekend’s liturgies. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” He tells them. He promises them God’s presence will be given them in a new way. The Holy Spirit will be with them to comfort them, empower them, and inspire them. They will, however, have to see God and experience God in a new way, in a spiritual way, in an inner way. God’s presence will no longer be tangible and visible to them, immediately available to them as a close friend embodied in a human body. The Jesus they had known was about to become Someone new and different for them.

There is no experience in life that is more frightening, sadder and more tragic than the experience of not belonging to anyone. To not belong to anyone is a terrible and terrifying thing for any one of us. We are, after all, made to belong. We are made in the image and likeness of God, the God whose very nature is three Divine Persons totally belonging to each other. To not belong, therefore, strikes at the very ground of our existence… our very reason for being. To be left alone is a fearsome thing. It directly contradicts the way God made us to live.

We are, however, not left alone. God has not left us, nor will He ever leave us. We have His powerful, loving, caring and life-giving presence for us in His Holy Spirit, the One who dwells in His Church. Today’s first reading taken from the Book of Acts gives us a glimpse into where we will find God after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. We find God in belonging, belonging in His Mystical Body the Church.

The urge to belong, the drive for community, grounds all of creation. I say “grounds” because everything is built upon God. We, precisely as persons, mirror God’s very own existence, namely the being of God that is found in the total and infinite union of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are, divine revelation tells us, made in the image and likeness of God. We are created to live in God’s very own way of living. Our existence and our lives are made for living in community, in communion and love with others.

The Church exists for that purpose. The Church exists not only to bring us into union with God through, with and in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, but the Church likewise exists to bring us into communion with each other. Holy Communion not only unites us with the risen Christ, it also unites us with each other in Christ’s very own life, the life He gave to share with us, the life in which we are, in Christ, taken back to our Father in heaven.

The Book of Acts, from which today’s first reading was taken, is a book that’s all about that. It is in that communion, in that community or family of faith that we call the Church. It is in our Holy Communion that God comes to us in Christ and we return to the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in His risen Christ.

The very life of the Church as it is expressed in its actions. The RCIA program is all about community. The Church’s concern for family is all about that. Parish life is all about community. Catholic Charities is all about community. Catholic schools are all about community. The urge to belong, the drive for community, is deep within the very nature of the Church, the expression of the Mystical Body of the risen Christ.

The terrible thing about sin is that it isolates us. It tears apart the bonds of communion. It attacks belonging. It sets the individual self and the individual will over and against all others, including God. I cannot imagine a hell worse than having only my self to live with and love without anyone else to live for and to love. Hell, it seems to me, is to live forever in an infinite isolation, cut off from any sort of belonging. Sin is the diabolical opposite of living in communion with others and with God.

Perhaps this helps us realize why the main pastoral effort of the Church is that of forgiveness, to bring God’s healing and loving reconciliation and forgiveness to everyone, no matter how depraved, no matter how steeped in sin they may be. This, after all is said and done, was the chief ministry of Christ Jesus, the ministry of reconciliation. It was His first gift to us immediately after He rose from the dead.

His ascension into heaven must be seen in that light. In His resurrected and Spirit-filled humanity He has ascended into heaven in order that we, in Him, might return to our Father, the One who made us in the first place to belong to Him forever in love.

May you and I, all together, live in God’s love with each other. We do, after all, belong. That is why Jesus is here for you and for me in His Holy Communion.

April 30, 2016

Sunday Homilies | Note to Readers

St. Paul teaching in Berea

On Sundays when homilies by Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Fr. Charles Irvin are not available, I will feature homilies by Fr. Thomas Lane, S.S.L., S.T.D. Fr. Lane is Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s University. He previously ministered in Ireland.

My first priority is bring you the best in Catholic preaching from priests who offer faithful, thoughtful, informative instruction. I'm grateful to the aforementioned for their contributions.

For homilies and reflections by Fr. Butler visit his page.

For homilies, videos and related content by Fr. Irvin see his website.

For homilies, Bible study and more by Fr. Lane see his website.

In addition to these homilists, I would like to thank Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, Fr. Daren J. Zehnle, K.H.S., Fr. Michael Woolley and Fr. Michael Najim for letting me publish occasional articles of theirs.

Last but not least, I am grateful to you the readers of this blog for your visits and comments. Be assured of my prayers. Please pray for me!

In Christ,

Matthew Coffin

April 29, 2016

Will Pope Francis Regularize the SSPX?


Pope Francis may end the rift between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). An influential SSPX leader, Father Franz Schmidberger, has written a memo that recommends accepting any offer by the Pope that would grant "an appropriate ecclesial structure" to the Society. Hopes were high during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI for just such a rapprochement. The National Catholic Register reports:
Pope Francis may soon offer the Society of St. Pius X regular canonical status within the Church, without requiring the acceptance of certain texts of the Second Vatican Council with which they disagree.
It also appears the SSPX may itself be poised to take such a historic step, urging that "perhaps only Pope Francis is able to take this step, given his unpredictability and improvisation," according to an internal SSPX document that was leaked to the press in recent weeks.
This would be a tremendous development and a positive fruit of Francis' "big tent" view of the Church. Fr. Schmidberger's memo: "Considerations on the Church and the Position of the Society of St. Pius X in It," notes that while the Society desires to "return from its 'exile'", more discussions should be expected: "We will not be silent, moreover, we will point out the errors by name. Before and after our normalisation."

Vatican observers speculate that the normalisation of the SSPX would be accomplished by recognizing the group as a "personal prelature", as is the case with Opus Dei. One of the reasons the SSPX wants normalisation is the fact that it will need new bishops in the future and such consecrations would be licit. Saint Josaphat, martyr for Christian unity, pray that in this matter the Church may soon be one!

April 28, 2016

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for May 2016

Pope Francis' coat of arms Please remember the Holy Father Pope Francis' intentions in prayer through the month of May:

General Intention: Respect for Women

That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.

Evangelization: Holy Rosary

That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.

Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor

St. Catherine of Siena
April 29th is the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and Doctor of the Church. She was born Catherine Benincasa, on March 25, 1347, in Siena, Italy, during an outbreak of the plague. Her large family was poor. At age seven, Catherine began to be favored by God with mystical visions.

When Catherine was 21, she experience what she later referred to as a "mystical marriage to Christ." Among her many concerns was ministering to the poor and sick. Her activities attracted followers who assisted her. In her travels, she called for reform of the Church and for people to confess their sins and love God totally. She was instrumental in persuading the Avignon pope, Gregory XI, to return to Rome. Catherine established a monastery for women in 1377 outside of Siena. She composed over 400 letters, her Dialogue, which is her definitive literary work. God graced Catherine with the stigmata, which like her ring, was visible only to her.

Her efforts for peace and reform of the Church make Catherine a leading figure of the fourteenth century. She died in Rome on April 29, 1380. She was canonized on June 29, 1461 by Pope Pius II. On October 3, 1970, Pope Paul VI named Catherine a Doctor of the Church.

The Life of St. Catherine of Siena

Catherine, the youngest of twenty-five children, was born in Siena on March 25, 1347. During her youth she had to contend with great difficulties on the part of her parents. They were planning marriage for their favorite daughter; but Catherine, who at the age of seven had already taken a vow of virginity, refused. To break her resistance, her beautiful golden brown tresses were shorn to the very skin and she was forced to do the most menial tasks. Undone by her patience, mother and father finally relented and their child entered the Third Order of St. Dominic.

Unbelievable were her austerities, her miracles, her ecstasies. The reputation of her sanctity soon spread abroad; thousands came to see her, to be converted by her. The priests associated with her, having received extraordinary faculties of absolution, were unable to accommodate the crowds of penitents. She was a helper and a consoler in every need. As time went on, her influence reached out to secular and ecclesiastical matters. She made peace between worldly princes. The heads of Church and State bowed to her words. She weaned Italy away from an anti-pope, and made cardinals and princes promise allegiance to the rightful pontiff. She journeyed to Avignon and persuaded Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome. Even though she barely reached the age of thirty-three her accomplishments place her among the great women of the Middle Ages. The virgin Catherine was espoused to Christ by a precious nuptial ring which, although visible only to her, always remained on her finger.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against fire; bodily ills; Europe; fire prevention; firefighters; illness; Italy; miscarriages; nurses; nursing services; people ridiculed for their piety; sexual temptation; sick people; sickness; Siena, Italy; temptations.

Symbols: Cross; heart; lily; ring; stigmata.

Collect Prayer

O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord's Passion and her service or your Church, grant, through her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.

Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena

O Supreme and Ineffable God, I have sinned! Therefore, I am unworthy to pray to Thee. But Thou canst make me less unworthy. Punish my sins, O Lord, but turn not away from my misery. From Thee I have received a body which I offer to Thee. Behold my body and my blood! Strike, destroy, reduce my bones to dust, but grant me what I ask for the Sovereign Pontiff, the one Bridegroom of Thy Spouse. May he always know Thy will, may he love it and follow it, so that we may not perish. O my God, create a new heart in him! May he ever receive an increase of Thy grace; may he never tire of bearing the standard of Thy holy cross; and may he bestow the treasures of Thy mercy upon unbelievers as he bestows them upon us who enjoy the benefits of the passion and blood of Thy most beloved Son, the Lamb without a spot. O Lord, eternal God, have mercy on me for I have sinned. Amen. 


April 27, 2016

April 28th: Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, Priest, Confessor & Founder

St. Louis Mary de Montfort
Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was born January 31, 1673 in Montfort-sur-Meu, France. At 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket where he began his study of philosophy and theology. In 1693, thanks to a generous benefactor, Louis went to Paris to complete his priestly formation at the renowned Seminary of Saint-Sulpice. Upon arrival, he discovered his benefactor had not paid the tuition in full. As a result, Luis lodged in boarding houses, living among the poor, while attending lectures in theology at Sorbonne University. His seminary studies were interrupted by a two-year bout with illness, during which he nearly died. These experiences profoundly shaped Louis' spirituality and priesthood.

Luis was ordained a priest in 1700. He is one of the earliest writers in the field of Mariology. His works include, The Love of Eternal Wisdom, The Secret of the Rosary, The Secret of Mary, and True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Luis spread devotion to the rosary and held a deep reverence for the angelic helpers of human beings the angels. He was a missionary apostolic in France preaching and conducting parish missions especially in Brittany and the Vendee. He went on to found the Daughters of Wisdom and before his death established a society of priests, the Company of Mary, to continue his work. Luis died at St. Laurent-sur-Sevre April 28, 1716. He was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

The Life of St. Louis Mary de Montfort

Louis's life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the church. Totus tuus (completely yours) was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla chose it as his episcopal motto. Born in the Breton village of Montfort, close to Rennes (France), as an adult Louis identified himself by the place of his baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700.

Soon he began preaching parish missions throughout western France. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life.

Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion.

Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.

Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

For an excellent book on Montfort’s Marian spirituality see The Echo of God: A Commentary for Beginners on St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary, by Fr. Lance W. Harlow.

Consider making St. Louis de Montfort's 33 Day Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Resolve to say the rosary each day, if you do not already do so.

Collect Prayer

O God, who for the spreading of your Church crowned Saint Peter Chanel with martyrdom, grant that, in these days of paschal joy, we may so celebrate the mysteries of Christ's Death and Resurrection as to bear worthy witness to newness of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer of St. Louis Mary de Montfort

Our Father who art in heaven, you completely fill heaven and earth with the immensity of your being; you are present everywhere; you are in the saints by your glory, in the damned by your justice, in the good by your grace, even in sinners by your patience, tolerating them. Grant that we may always remember that we come from you and that we may live as your true children. Grant that we may set our true course according to your will and never swerve from you. Grant that we may use our every power, our hearts and souls and strength to tend toward you, and you alone. Amen.


Pope Benedict XVI on the Eucharist

Pope Benedict XVI
The following quotations from Pope Benedict XVI concern the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist:
Receiving the Eucharist means adoring Him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with Him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself.
*** 
In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration.
***
In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering
The first two statements are from Pope Benedict's address to priests in Poland, May 25, 2006, in which he quotes Sacramentum Caritatis. The last is from his meeting with members of the Roman clergy in March of the same year.

April 26, 2016

April 27: Feast of Our Lady of Montserrat, Patroness of Catalonia

Our Lady of Montserrat
The Benedictine Abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, on the mountain of Montserrat near Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain is home to the 12th century Romanesque statue of the Madonna and Child. It is one of the black Madonnas of Europe Centuries of candle smoke turned the statue’s visage black.

According to legend, the miraculous image was believed to have been carved in Jerusalem by Saint Luke during the early days of the church, and brought to Montserrat by Saint Peter in 50 AD. It was hidden from the Moors in a cave just down the mountain below the monastery. A more credible account indicates that the image was moved to Montserrat in 718, to avoid the danger posed by the invading Saracens. It is credited with numerous miracles granted to those who pray before it over the eight centuries of its existence. The Virgin of Montserrat was declared the Patron Saint of the Diocese of Catalonia by Pope Leo XIII in 1881.

Our Lady of Montserrat

The origin of the devotion to Our Lady at the shrine of Montserrat according to the earliest written records dates from 932, when the Count of Barcelona confirmed and renewed an endowment to the shrine made by his father in 888. This gift was again confirmed in 982 by Lothaire, King of France. Constant and unbroken tradition is that even previous to 888, an image of Our Lady was miraculously found among the rocks of Montserrat. Montserrat itself is a fantastic mountain group, four thousand feet high, about twenty miles from Barcelona. The name, Montserrat, of Latin origin, means saw-edged mountain. It is formed by huge boulders that raise their immense bulk perpendicularly to that four thousand foot summit. Outwardly, it resembles the seemingly inaccessible monasteries seen on high Mount Athos in Greece: "Montserrat is, and will forever be, a source of deep impressions caused by the singularity of the place. There, what is material becomes cyclopean, the mysterious is turned mystical and the picturesque is promoted to sublimity." There is a story that the mountain was once a huge boulder with a smooth surface. At the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus, however, when the sun darkened, the rock was shaken to its very foundations and when light returned, the mountain had a thousand peaks.

The legend relates that the figure of Our Lady came from Jerusalem to Barcelona, and was brought into the mountains to save it from the Saracens. It is true that the Montserrat statue has oriental features, but this could well be traced to the Byzantine sculptors who were constantly employed in the West. The legend goes on to say that in the eighth century shepherds one night saw strange lights on the mountain and heard Seraphic music.

Guided by the shepherds, the Bishop of Manresa found, in a cavern, a wooden figure of Our Lady and the Holy Child. He ordered that the statue be carried into the cathedral immediately. However, the procession with the statue never reached the cathedral because, after much marching, the small wooden figure became too heavy so that the Bishop decided to accept it as a sign and left it in a chapel of a nearby hermitage. The statue remained there until a church was built on the site of the present abbey on the top of the rocks near where the statue was discovered.

Since that incident, this statue is the most celebrated, the most important of Spain; it is thirty-eight inches in height, and is known as "La Morenata" — The Little Black Madonna. The wood is now black with age; one of its most striking features is the dignified expression of Our Lady. In her right hand, she holds a majestic orb.

Excerpted from Shrines to Our Lady, Zsolt Aradi


April 25, 2016

Satanist Behind ‘Black Mass’ Responds to Our Post

The head of the Satanic group seeking to conduct a "black mass" at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall this August has responded to our post discussing it. He contacted us to say the following:
We are Ahrimanists, and actually worship the original devil from Persia. Our federally recognized church is Hindu. Please take note as to what you are really dealing with. 
Original devil? There is only one devil. He is the father of lies and a cruel deceiver of men. When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we ask that God, "... lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The Catechism of the Catholic Church (§2851) states:
In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who 'throws himself across' God's plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ.
Remember: The devil is 'an active force, a living, spiritual being'. We must remain vigilant in hope for, "sin lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it." (Genesis 4:7)

In light of increasing demonic activity let us never forget God's words in Sacred Scripture. He tells us that:

When we see this…

Statue of demon idol

We should remember this…

 Satan tempting Christ in the wilderness
Christ triumphs over Satan. CCC §566

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

In English

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen. 

In Latin

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen.

April 24, 2016

Pope Saint Pius X on Sacred Music & the Liturgy

St. Pius X
Today Our attention is directed to one of the most common of them (abuses), one of the most difficult to eradicate, and the existence of which is sometimes to be deplored in places where everything else is deserving of the highest praise; the beauty and sumptuousness of the temple, the splendor and the accurate performance of the ceremonies, the attendance of the clergy, the gravity and piety of the officiating ministers. Such is the abuse affecting sacred chant and music.
— Pope St. Pius X
From Tra le sollecitudini, a motu proprio on sacred music and the liturgy issued November 22, 1903 by Pope Pius X.

April 25th: Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist and Scribe of Saint Peter

St. Mark
Saint Mark the Evangelist was the son of Mary whose house at Jerusalem was a meeting place for the first Christians. He was baptized and instructed by St. Peter and may have witnessed first hand certain events in the life of Christ. Mark accompanied St. Paul and St. Barnabas (Mark's cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Around the year 42 A.D., Mark came to Rome with Peter.

There, at the request of the faithful, he wrote his Gospel based on Peter's sermons and personal recollections. Mark's Gospel was written in Greek for Roman gentile converts to Christianity. It rarely quotes the Old Testament, and explains Jewish customs, rites and words. It excels in portraying the humanity of Christ and His dynamic ministry. St. Mark preached in Egypt, establishing the Church in Alexandria, and is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa. According to tradition, he was martyred in Alexandria after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead. His symbol is a winged lion.

The Life of St. Mark

John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was a Jew by birth. He was the son of that Mary who was proprietress of the Cenacle or "upper room" which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). He was still a youth at the time of the Savior's death. In his description of the young man who was present when Jesus was seized and who fled from the rabble leaving behind his "linen cloth," the second Evangelist might possibly have stamped the mark of his own identity.

During the years that followed, the rapidly maturing youth witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother's Upper Room and became acquainted with its traditions. This knowledge he put to excellent use when compiling his Gospel. Later, we find Mark acting as a companion to his cousin Barnabas and Saul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark was too immature for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perge in Pamphylia to return home.

As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin with him. Paul, however, objected. Thereupon the two cousins undertook a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark, and during the former's first Roman captivity (61-63), Mark rendered Paul valuable service (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24), and the Apostle learned to appreciate him. When in chains the second time Paul requested Mark's presence (2 Tim. 4:11).

An intimate friendship existed between Mark and Peter; he played the role of Peter's companion, disciple, and interpreter. According to the common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter's preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of the prince of the apostles. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with telling detail (e.g., the great day at Capharnaum, 1:14f)). Little is known of Mark's later life. It is certain that he died a martyr's death as bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St. Mark's Cathedral.

The Gospel of St. Mark, the shortest of the four, is, above all, a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and is addressed to Roman, or shall we say, to Western Christianity. Another high merit is its chronological presentation of the life of Christ. For we should be deeply interested in the historical sequence of the events in our blessed Savior's life.

Furthermore, Mark was a skilled painter of word pictures. With one stroke he frequently enhances a familiar scene, shedding upon it new light. His Gospel is the "Gospel of Peter," for he wrote it under the direction and with the aid of the prince of the apostles. "The Evangelist Mark is represented as a lion because he begins his Gospel in the wilderness, `The voice of one crying in the desert: Make ready the way of the Lord,' or because he presents the Lord as the unconquered King."

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Patron: Against impenitence; attorneys; barristers; captives; Egypt; glaziers; imprisoned people; insect bites; lions; notaries; prisoners; scrofulous diseases; stained glass workers; struma; Diocese of Venice, Florida; Venice, Italy.

Symbols: Winged lion; fig tree; pen; book and scroll; club; barren fig tree; scroll with words Pax Tibi; winged and nimbed lion; lion.

Collect Prayer

O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter, April 24, 2016, Year C

Jesus' farwell discourse

Fr. Charles Irvin
Senior Priest
Diocese of Lansing

(Click here for today’s readings)

There are times when we tell ourselves that nothing’s new, that human nature doesn’t change, and that history simply repeats itself. The Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes tells us:
What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. [Ecclesiastes 1:9]
Yet we also find ourselves seeking what is new. We greet each other with the question “What’s new?” We watch TV news, read newspapers, pay attention advertisements, and look for new models of things we already have. Advertisements are loaded with words telling us of new products, or “new and improved” products that we can’t live without. The world of computers is filled with new gadgets, new programs, new downloads, and so forth. We seem to be obsessed with what’s new.

Jesus used the word “new” many, many times in His discourses and teachings, all the time trying to get us to see the new creation, the new man, and the new covenant His Father is bringing about. The gospel account we just heard was the beginning of Jesus’ final discourse at the Last Supper, a discourse filled with promise, hope and a vision of the future. The second reading is taken from the Book of Revelation. It’s interesting to note that Mel Gibson, in his movie The Passion of the Christ, put the words “Behold, I make all things new” into the mouth of Christ as He suffered during His passion under the weight of His cross.

What is this new thing God invites us to see?

The glitz, glamour, and spectacles this world offers us hold our attention. Being thus captured we tend to sell ourselves short. It takes artists, poets, and great writers to give us deeper vision and enable us to see deeper things, as well as to see ourselves on a deeper level.

What we need to see now is that God is ushering in a new creation. He is sculpting us and fashioning us as His new sons and daughters. We need to stand back and look at the big picture. We need to see the way things were between God and us before Christ and the way things are now after Christ. Because of Christ Jesus we are in a new status in our relationship with God.

There is an icon that’s a favorite among Christians belonging to the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Byzantine Catholic Churches. It depicts Christ descending into the world of the dead and going all the way back to Adam and Eve to pull them out of their graves. The truth being presented to us is that God in Christ reaches all the way back to our human beginnings and allows all of those who have gone before to experience His risen Christ’s saving presence. The picture is profound – the message is beautiful. God in Christ presents Himself to everyone, even to those who died before Christ’s appearance to us on earth.

As for us… well, we need to see that we live in the time that is “already but not yet.” In His Anointed One, in His Christ, God has ushered in His kingdom here on earth. It is a kingdom that has been established and is now in the process of unfolding among us. Our status with God has been fundamentally and radically changed. Christ has given us His salvation. What we do with it remains to be seen. We live in God’s time, the time that is already but not yet. What is yet to be, and what can be for us individually, is revealed in the Book of Revelation… a book of hope, of promise, and of glory. Whether that hope, promise, and glory will be ours individually and personally depends upon our response to what God has done and is doing now for us.

The Sacrament of Baptism initiates us into that cosmic reality, as do the other Sacraments of Initiation, namely Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. As a matter of fact, all of the Seven Sacraments are but differing aspect of the One Sacrament, namely Christ among us.

I want to emphasize that I have been speaking of what God “is doing.” The phrase is in the present tense active. It is not in the past tense. We’re not talking just about what God “has done”. We’re talking about what God “is doing” and will “yet do”. The last discourse of Jesus during the Last Supper is likewise in that setting – He gives us words of hope, promise, and glory… realities that are present and at the same time realities that are, depending upon our responses, in our futures.

The former hopelessness of our condition, our state of alienation from God, has been eradicated by Christ. At a radically fundamental level Christ has saved us. But we must ever hold in our hearts and minds that He is yet saving us, depending upon how we respond to what He is offering.

All of this points to the essential spiritual condition into which we much place ourselves. We must develop “eyes to see and hears to hear.” We cannot be passive about that, thinking that God will give it all to us anyway, even if we don’t respond to Him. There’s nothing passive about being a follower of Christ. No! We must actively listen; we must actively respond; we must put into action in our daily lives the gifts that God has given us and is giving us in His Christ.

I was struck by the fact that Mel Gibson also put the words of the “One sitting on the throne” in heaven, the one known as “the Alpha and Omega”, the beginning and the end, into the mouth of Jesus as He suffering during His passion. What a tremendous insight it was for Mr. Gibson to do that. What artistry! I hope you noticed it too and were just as moved as I was by what was presented to us.

Life, however, is not a movie. We are considering here something that is spiritually and theologically at the profoundest levels of our self-understanding, in our understanding of our new status with God because of Christ. Truly, Christ has died for our sins. Truly He has justified us. Truly He is sanctifying us. Whether or not we will be ultimately saved and spend eternity in the New Jerusalem depends on us. God has done everything for us; He has given everything to us. The frightful question remains: “How will we respond?” Will we, with Peter, seek and accept the hope, the promise, and the glory that Jesus Christ offers us all? Or will we sink into this world’s despair? Do you think there’s nothing new in our world? Will we settle for only the glitz and glitter of this world, its thirty pieces of silver, and thereby sell our souls for nothing more?

The answer to these questions, along with our salvation, depends on us. God offers… we respond.

April 23, 2016

The Right to Religious Freedom: An Inspiring Video from the USCCB


H/T ChurchPOP  

The Little Sisters of the Poor face a dire threat to their religious freedom in the United States. Find out more about what the Catholic Church teaches on religious freedom, including the groundbreaking Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis Humanae) from the Second Vatican Council. Via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' YouTube channel.

From the USCCB'S Religious Liberty Page.
Religion [cannot] be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life. 
    — Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 183.

In insisting that our liberties as Americans be respected, Pope Benedict XVI said that this work belongs to "an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture." Therefore, catechesis on religious liberty is not the work of priests alone. If religious liberty is not properly understood, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that individuals make every day, both here at home and overseas.

April 22, 2016

April 23rd: Optional Memorial of Saint George & Saint Adalbert, Martyrs

St. George

Historians continue to debate the date of Saint George’s birth. He was born to Gerontios and Polychronia, a Roman officer and a Greek native of Lydda. Both parents were Christians from noble families. George served in the Emperor Diocletian's army. By his late 20's, he became a Tribunus and was an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia.

In 303 A.D., Diocletian, decreed that Christians would be arrested and that Roman soldiers should sacrifice to the Roman gods. George refused to abide by the order. In an effort to save George’s life, Diocletian attempted to convert him, offering him land, money and slaves in exchange for sacrificing to Rome’s pagan idols. George remained steadfast in his devotion to God, even under penalty of death.

On April 23, 303, George was decapitated before Nicomedia's outer wall. His body was sent to Lydda for burial where Christians venerated him as a martyr. St. George stands out among other saints and legends because he is known and revered by both Muslims and Christians. According to legend, St. George killed a dragon near the sea in Beirut, thus Saint George bay was named in his honor.
_____________________________

Saint Adalbert was ordained the Bishop of Prague in 983 A. D. During his episcopate he facilitated the evangelization of the Magyars. Having founded the monastery of Brevnov, he was forced into exile by the nobility of Prague. He tirelessly preached the Gospel in Poland, Hungary, Russia, and Prussia, where he was martyred at the age of 41.

In England this feast is a solemnity. When the celebration falls in the Easter Triduum, on a Sunday of Easter, or in the Easter Octave it is moved to the next available day — generally the Monday of the Second Week of Easter.

The Life of St. George 

St. George is venerated by the Eastern Church among her "great martyrs" and "standard-bearers." He belonged to the Roman army; he was arrested and, probably, beheaded under Diocletian, c. 304. He is the patron of England, since 800. St. George is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers."

Many legends are attached to Saint George. The most famous is the one in The Golden Legend. There was a dragon that lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Not even armies could defeat this creature, and he terrorized flocks and the people. St. George was passing through and upon hearing about a princess was about to be eaten, he went to battle against the serpent, and killed it with one blow with his lance. Then with his great preaching, George converted the people. He gave his reward to the poor, then left the area.

Patron: Aragon; agricultural workers; archers; armourers; Beirut; Lebanon; Boy Scouts; butchers; Canada; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Crusaders; England; equestrians; farmers; Ferrara Italy; field hands; field workers; Genoa, Italy; Georgia; Germany; Gozo; Greece; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; Istanbul; knights; lepers; leprosy; Lithuania; Malta; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; plague; Portugal; riders; saddle makers; saddlers; skin diseases; skin rashes; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights; Venice.

Symbols: Armor; buckler; dragon.

Collect Prayer

Extolling your might, O Lord, we humbly implore you, that, as Saint George imitated the Passion of the Lord, so he may lend us ready help in our weakness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer to St. George

St. George, heroic Catholic soldier and defender of your Faith, you dared to criticize a tyrannical Emperor and were subjected to horrible torture. You could have occupied a high military position but you preferred to die for your Lord. Obtain for us the great grace of heroic Christian courage that should mark soldiers of Christ. Amen.

St. Adalbert
The Life of St. Adalbert

St. Adalbert while still under thirty became bishop of Prague, but the pastoral and political difficulties were such that in 990 he withdrew in desperation to Rome. Pope John XV sent him back to his diocese, where he founded the great abbey of Brevnov; but again he met with opposition to his ministry from the nobility, and again he retired to Rome.

At length it became apparent that there was no hope of his working unmolested in Prague, and he was allowed to turn his attention to the heathen Prussians of Pomerania. But here he had no more success. He and his fellow missionaries nevertheless persevered in their mission, and were eventually murdered, perhaps near Konigsberg. Despite the disappointments of his career, St Adalbert of Prague seems to have had considerable influence. He was a friend of the Emperor Otto III, encouraged the evangelization of the Magyars, and inspired St Boniface of Querfurt; his cultus was widespread in central Europe. He in his turn was influenced by the ideals of the great monastery of Cluny.

Patron: Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Prussia.

Symbols: Holding a two-headed cross, two lances, and a club; holding a lance with a club at the lower end; pierced by three lances and beheaded.

Via Catholic Culture.org.

Collect Prayer

O God, who bestowed the crown of martyrdom on the Bishop Saint Adalbert, as he burned with zeal for souls, grant, we pray, by his prayers, that the obedience of the block may never fail the shepherds, nor the care of the shepherds be ever lacking to the flock. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Sources: Catholic Culture.org, Catholic.org and the Catholic Encyclopedia.


Something to Remember as Oklahoma Atheists Plan ‘Black Mass’

A Satanic group is set to verse a "black mass" at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall this August. In light of such ever increasing demonic activity let us never forget God's words found in Sacred Scripture. He tells us that:

In the face of this…

Statue of demon idol

We should remember this…

 Satan tempting Christ in the wilderness
Christ triumphs over Satan. CCC §566

Instances of demonic manifestation in society are now commonplace as more and more people do Satan's bidding. You may recall this from last summer:

Hundreds of people attended Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Detroit on Saturday to protest the debut of an 8 1/2-foot-tall bronze satanic goat statue which depicts the demon idol Baphomet.

According to the associated press, the group behind the display, Satanic Temple, installed the statue [pictured above] Saturday at a Detroit location known only to ticket holders. The unveiling was driven underground due to a large public backlash. Hundreds had lined up earlier to get the tickets as Christian protesters rallied nearby.

The initial plan for the statue was to publicly erect it next to a Ten Commandments monument located at the Oklahoma state capitol before Oklahoma’s Supreme Court banned religious displays on capitol grounds. (Oklahoma's governor challenged this ruling, allowing the Ten Commandments monument to remain for now.)

God is with Us Always

Militant atheists and secular humanist activists are continuing their assault on public expressions of Christian belief. Such attacks will only escalate in the years to come. Whatever evils befall us, God remains sovereign of the universe and Jesus is still it's King at whose name every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and those under the earth. Satan may have his day, but in the fullness of time, even Satan will prostrate himself in obedience to Christ. In the words of our Savior, "Do not be Afraid!"

St. Michael the Archangel

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

In English

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen. 

In Latin

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen.

Mary, Undoer of Knots Novena, Day 1

Mary, Undoer of Knots

We all have "knots" in our lives, difficult circumstances or seemingly insurmountable problems, and Mary can untie them.

The devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots has become more popular ever since Pope Francis encouraged the devotion in Argentina, and then spoke about it during his first year as pontiff.

The theology of the devotion actually goes back to the second century. Saint Irenaeus wrote that, "The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith."

Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin.

We will pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary will intercede for us all, to untie the knots of sin in our lives – so that we may be purified and ever closer to God.

This novena begins April 22nd.

Click for daily reminders to pray this novena sent to your inbox.

The Mary, Undoer of Knots Novena Daily Prayers

Day 1:

Dearest Holy Mother, Most Holy Mary, you undo the knots that suffocate your children. Extend your merciful hands to me. I entrust to You today this knot [mention your request here] and all the negative consequences that it provokes in my life.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exist in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exists in my life.  You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

[Mention your request here]

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope.
O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Amen.

Day 2:

Mary, Beloved Mother, channel of all grace, I return to You today my heart, recognizing that I am a sinner in need of your help. I entrust into Your hands this knot [mention your request here] which keeps me from reflecting the glory of God.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exist in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exists in my life.  You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

[Mention your request here]

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Amen.

Day 3:

Meditating Mother, Queen of heaven, in whose hands the treasures of the King are found, turn your merciful eyes upon me today. I entrust into your holy hands this knot in my life [mention your request here] and all the rancor and resentment it has caused in me.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exist in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exists in my life.  You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

[Mention your request here]

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Amen.

Day 4:

Dearest Holy Mother, you are generous with all who seek you, have mercy on me. I entrust into your hands this knot which robs the peace of my heart, paralyzes my soul and keeps me from going to my Lord and serving Him with my life.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exist in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exists in my life.  You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

[Mention your request here]

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Amen.

To pray this novena in full go to PrayMoreNovenas.com.

April 21, 2016

April’s Blog of Note: New Advent

New Advent

April’s Blog of Note, New Advent, is the preeminent clearing house of Catholic information on the web today. Founded in 1995, with 100,000 visitors daily, it is one of the oldest and largest Catholic websites online. The site features thought provoking original content that is faithful to the Magisterium and the teachings of Christ from the best Catholic writers. In addition to the theological commentary, apologetics, and scriptural exegesis on its home page, New Advent provides indispensable resources to help one study and understand the Catholic faith. These include an online, indexed, fully searchable version of the Catholic Encyclopedia, full text versions of papal encyclicals and other church documents, summaries of all 21 ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church, the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, English translations of works of the Church Fathers, a presentation in parallel columns of the entire Bible in the Greek Septuagint, the English Knox Bible, and the Latin Vulgate dozens of questions excerpted from Catholic Answers' This Rock magazine, a large directory of devout Catholic links and more.

In 1993, Kevin Knight, then a 26-year-old resident of Denver, Colorado, was inspired, during the visit of Pope John Paul II to that city for World Youth Day, to launch a project to publish the 1913 edition of the 1907–1912 Catholic Encyclopedia on the Internet. Knight founded the website New Advent to house the undertaking. Volunteers from the United States, Canada, France and Brazil helped in the transcription of the original material. The site went online in 1995 and transcription efforts finished in 1997. [From New Advent's Wikipedia page.]

In the world of Catholic websites, New Advent distinguishes itself in presenting Catholicism's rich intellectual heritage alongside faithful contemporary analysis. Visit New Advent for sound, orthodox information about the Catholic Church and make it a regular part of your internet itinerary.