Sunday, February 27, 2011

Requiem æternam dona ei

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world in the name of God the almighty Father, who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon you, May you live in peace this day, may your home be with God in Zion, with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with Joseph and all the angels and saints.

May Angels lead you into paradise;
may the Martyrs receive you at your coming
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of Angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor,
may you have eternal rest.

May eternal light shine on your daughter Marilyn, O Lord, with all Your saints forever, for You are rich in mercy. Give her eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on her forever, for You are rich in mercy.



St. Augustine, pray for her as you prayed upon the loss of your mother, St. Monica

Saturday, February 26, 2011

St. Joseph, Pray for Those Who Walk in the Valley of Death

O St. Joseph, virgin father of Jesus and most pure spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for Marilyn and all who are sick to the same Jesus, the Son of God, that being defended by the power of His grace and striving dutifully in life, they may be crowned by Him at the hour of death.

St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, we place in thee all our interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist Marilyn by thy powerful intercession and obtain for her all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

O St. Joseph, let us never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. Let us fear not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in our name and kiss His fine head for us, and ask Him to return the kiss when we draw our dying breath.

St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for Marilyn and us.

O Blessed Joseph, you gave your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary. When the seal of death shall close her life, come with Jesus and Mary to aid Marilyn and all the faithful. Obtain for her and her family this solace for that hour - to die with their holy arms around her. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we commend her soul, living and dying, into your sacred arms. Amen.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Passion of a Loved One

Pray for my Aunt Marilyn, who now is suffering with Jesus on the Cross, and pray for her family, who stands at the foot of the Cross, with Mary, a sword piercing their hearts.

The Loss of a Loved One
originally posted November 3, 2009

In his ADW blog posting, "Good Grief," Msgr. Charles Pope writes about the feelings of grief associated with the death of someone we love. He writes:

Grief is one of the most painful and terrible emotions we can experience. It can crush us like a ton of bricks or loom over us like a dark cloud. Sometimes in sudden loss we just go numb only to discover that numbness is not a lack of feeling at all.

What Msgr. Pope describes is worse, far worse, than merely feeling bad. Make no mistake, the closest thing that there is to Hell on earth is the sudden loss of a loved one. To have someone near and dear to you suddenly ripped away from you, leaving nothing but a gaping wound and the emptiness of being all alone.

Of course, the fortunate person is the one who has faith and, consequently has hope, the confident assurance that the deceased loved one is not forever lost, but by the grace of Christ, lives in Him still. By the power of transcendent love, communion with such person is still possible even after "death." That understanding does provide some measure of comfort, even though on a more emotional level there is sadness from the person being sorely missed.

On the other hand, there are those who do not have such faith and, consequently, have no hope. For them, the deceased is gone, totally and forever. For them, all that is left is the abyss. And then there are those whose loved ones did not die, but merely rejected and abandoned them. While one is happy they are not dead, the loss of that love from a break-up is just as real; they may not be physically dead, but they are dead to the heart. In both of these cases, what we see is a glimpse of Hell.

The permanent loss of love, eternal abandonment, the resulting feeling of emptiness. All of these have the potential to lead to excruciating mental and emotional pain and angst, as well as spritual suffering. If we feel all of these things from the loss of a loved human person, imagine how much worse it would be if it were the heart-wrenching loss of love that results from separation from God? If you think that the anxiety you feel from the loss of a human loved one is unbearable, and you feel that your insides are all twisted up and feel like they are turning inside out, and you feel nothing but utter despair of the pain ever going away, all that is just a taste of what Hell is like, where we are eternally separated from He who is Love itself.

Whatever you do, don't let that happen. Grab onto God as if your life depended on it. Because it does.

Now, grabbing onto Him might necessarily mean clinging to Him while on the Cross, it might mean having to endure the Passion with Him, but it is by the Passion that suffering is destroyed. It is through the Cross that we reach the Resurrection.

Pain and suffering and hardship in this world cannot be avoided. You cannot run away from them. They will eventually catch up to you. Eventually they will ambush you. The only way you can overcome the ambush is by charging through it with Christ. The only way that pain and suffering and hardship are defeated are by embracing them with Christ, grabbing ahold of them and having them transformed by the power of the Cross. Only by grabbing them and transforming them are they defeated. Only by the transformative power of love on the Cross do they lose their sting and power to hurt.

So, grab onto the Lord as if your life and happiness and well-being depended on it. Because they do.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Pope Leo XIII - On Devotion to St. Joseph

St. Joseph. Very little is said about St. Joseph in the scriptures. But what is said speaks volumes. Indeed, some of it is beyond our full comprehension. For example, the mystery of the all-powerful Lord God, who reigns over the entire universe, placing Himself under the authority of man, of owing a duty of obedience to man.

Encyclical Quamquam Pluries
His Holiness Pope Leo XIII
August 15, 1889

. . . in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity.

And Joseph shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men. Hence it came about that the Word of God was humbly subject to Joseph, that He obeyed him, and that He rendered to him all those offices that children are bound to render to their parents . . .


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sophie Scholl: Die Letzten Tage

While we are on the subject of movies about political protest and the fundamental inalienable right of peoples to live in a free society, we might use this opportunity to plug a film Cinema Catechism will take up in June, Sophie Scholl: Die Letzten Tage (The Last Days).

Learn more here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Many Crimes of Cain

While people are rising up against oppressive government in the Middle East (and we hope and pray that it will lead to actual freedom, including religious freedom, in those countries and not greater oppression), stop by Cinema Catechism to learn about the Polish martyr priest, Blessed Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, who was murdered by the communist Polish secret police because of his support for the Solidarity freedom movement in the 1980s.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Beatification of Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul II

VATICAN CITY, 18 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today.
"The beatification of Servant of God Pope John Paul II will be a major ecclesial event divided into the following five stages:

"A preparatory vigil organised by the diocese of Rome will take place at the Circus Maximus on the evening of Saturday 30 April (preparation from 8.30 to 9 p.m., vigil from 9 to 10.30 p.m.), organised by the diocese of Rome which had the Venerable Servant of God as its bishop. The vigil will be led by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome, while the Holy Father Benedict XVI will be spiritually present through video linkup.

"The beatification ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday 1 May in St. Peter's Square, presided by the Holy Father. Participation in the event does not require a ticket, although access to the Square and surrounding areas will be regulated by the police.

"The veneration of the remains of the new blessed will be possible for all faithful, beginning immediately after the beatification ceremony on Sunday 1 May. The remains of the new blessed will remain exposed for veneration in front of the Altar of the Confession in the Vatican Basilica for as long as the faithful continue to arrive.

"A Mass of thanksgiving is scheduled to take place in St. Peter's Square at 10.30 a.m. on Monday 2 May, presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

"The interment of the remains of the new blessed in the Chapel of St. Sebastian in the Vatican Basilica will take place privately."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Feast Day of St. Valentine

St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr, c. A.D. 268-270

The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. Whoever he was, at least one Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. The church in which he is buried existed already in the fourth century and was the first sanctuary Roman pilgrims visited upon entering the Eternal City.

One text states that Valentine (or Valentinus) was a Roman priest who was martyred during the persecution of Claudius the Goth (Claudius II). In addition to his other edicts against helping Christians, Claudius had also issued a decree forbidding marriage. In order to increase troops for his army, he forbade young men to marry, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men.

Valentine, along with St. Marius, aided the martyrs and other Christians during this Claudian persecution. He defied the decree forbidding marriage and urged young lovers to come to him in secret so that he could join them in the sacrament of matrimony. Eventually he was discovered by the Emperor, who promptly had Valentine arrested and brought before him. Because he was so impressed with the young priest, Claudius attempted to convert him to Roman paganism rather than execute him immediately. However, Valentine held steadfast and in turn attempted to convert Claudius to Christianity, at which point the Emperor condemned him to death. Valentine was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.

While in prison, Valentine was tended by the jailer, Asterius, and his blind daughter. Asterius' daughter was very kind to Valentine and brought him food and messages. They developed a friendship and toward the end of his imprisonment Valentine was able to convert both father and daughter to Christianity. Legend has it that he also miraculously restored the sight of the jailer's daughter.

The night before his execution, the priest wrote a farewell message to the girl and signed it affectionately "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lives on even to today. He was executed on February 14th, around 268-70 in Rome. The Martyrology says, "At Rome, on the Flaminian Way, the heavenly birthday of the blessed martyr Valentine, a priest. After performing many miraculous cures and giving much wise counsel he was beaten and beheaded under Claudius Caesar."

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses. The valentine has become the universal symbol of friendship and affection shared each anniversary of the priest's execution -- St. Valentine's Day.