“Mary, O Mary,” by Grace Marie

Happy Feast (at least it would be if today was not Sunday) of Saint Mary Magdalene!

via “Mary, O Mary,” by Grace Marie

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“Obedience and Patience”—by Cameron Daly

The following is taken from a class peer response I recently wrote for DTH 512: Spiritual Life in the Classics:

The topic of the importance of our submissiveness helps to hit home what St. Paul wrote in his Letter to the Romans concerning authority:

“Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves” (13:1-2, NABRE).

God is very serious about our obedience to proper authority. Examples of Our Lord’s perhaps surprising emphasis on obedience can be found in multiple visionaries who received private revelations:

“Our Lord gave them a directive, but then their superior forbade it. What did they do? They obeyed their human superior on earth. What did Our Lord then tell them? ‘You were right to obey my representative’” (Fr. Peter Joseph, “Apparitions True and False,” at catholicculture.org).

What does this show us? It shows us that, unless our proper authority is telling us to do something that’s wrong (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1903), we should be obedient to them, since they are our proper authority and authority itself has its source in God. This is further emphasized by something we read from St. John of the Cross this week—namely, that “[the religious] must realize that all who are in the convent are no more than workmen whom God has set there solely that they may fashion and polish him as regards mortification” (Counsels to a Religious for the Attainment of Perfection, 3, , q. in Hardon, S. J., The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom, Kindle). All other people, then (for those of us who are not in a convent), might be considered to have been placed in our lives by God to train us in patience and mortification. Living by this principle can help us to be more obedient to the less-enjoyable or even annoying authorities we find over us, in recognizing them as gifts from Our Father to help us improve ourselves by them.

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Christ as Our Brother—a quote from St. Francis of Assisi

Crucifix with Palm

“How holy and beloved, how pleasing and lowly, how peaceful, delightful, lovable and desirable above all things it is to have a Brother like this, who laid down his life for his sheep, and prayed to his Father for us, saying; Holy Father, in your name keep those whom you have given me. Father, all those whom you gave me in the world, were yours and you gave them to me. And the words you have given me, I have given to them. And they have received them and have known truly that I have come forth from you, and they have believed that you have sent me. I am praying for them, not for the world: Bless and sanctify them. And for them I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified in their unity, just as we are. And, Father, I wish that where I am, they also may be with me, that they may see my splendour in your kingdom”—St. Francis of Assisi, “Letter to All the Faithful” (q. in Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J., The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom).

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“What are You Entitled to?”—class discussion post by Cameron Daly

Week 1 Discussion prompt for DTH 512: Spiritual Life in the Classics:

Numerous passages in Sacred Scripture highlight the necessity of changing our sinful ways. Name one of those passages, not spoken about in the lecture this week. Next, comment upon the place of gratitude in the spiritual life, particularly as it concerns the readiness to change in that Scripture passage. How does gratitude enable one to grow in holiness? Give at least one concrete example.

My response:

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15, NABRE). These are the first words recorded to have been spoken by Christ in the Gospel According to Mark. In this account, then, the entire public ministry of Christ kicks off on the note that we should cast off our sins in light of God’s promises to man, amazingly generous promises that the Lord has made and kept.

For those who are not Adam and therefore are not responsible for the Fall of man, it is possible that one could feel that God is obligated to save him. He might feel entitled to God’s merciful plan of salvation. But in truth, man can blame only Adam’s sin, his own, and to some degree the sins of those around him, for his universally and particularly fallen condition.* God is in no way to blame, and is therefore cannot be held as obligated to step in and save man from himself. Thus, any feeling of entitlement concerning God’s rescuing us from our own follies should be banished and replaced with a profound—and much more realistic—gratitude.

We are completely dependent upon God for the beginning of our existence and the sustaining of our existence. Furthermore, over the course of our existence, we “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Thus, we clearly can claim no “right” whatsoever to God in any way. This further means that we do not have any “right” to anything good at all; for God is goodness itself/Himself, and therefore the goodness of any good thing—including that of the human person (see Gn 1:31)—has its source in God and only in God. Any goodness that one has, then, even the goodness of his very self, is truly a gift of God bestowed upon an unworthy recipient.** If we could live in recognition of this, our lives would be dramatically changed; for truly, we expect so much to the point of being annoyed when we don’t get what we want, yet have a “right” to so little, and should be immeasurably grateful for that which we have been given. (The preceding two paragraphs were inspired by the Week 1 definitions and lecture provided by Dr. Siegmund.)

*By which I mean man’s fallen nature as a whole and any particular ways in which a particular person has fallen. I mention the sins of others through the various scandals those sins can give.
**This isn’t to deny a person’s being able to work and earn money or food or something like that; but important to remember is that one’s ability to work, and whatever goods are earned, ultimately are sustained in existence by God, and therefore are still His gifts.

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Litany of Loreto

In honor of the month of May, the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pasted below* is a popular Litany to Our Lady, the “Litany of Loreto.” Please be sure to pray it, especially during the remainder of this month!

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. (repeat at end of each phrase.)
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of Heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of angels,
Queen of patriarchs,
Queen of prophets,
Queen of apostles,
Queen of martyrs,
Queen of confessors,
Queen of virgins,
Queen of all saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of peace.
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 holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray:
Grant, O Lord God, we beseech Thee, that we Thy servants may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and, through the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may be freed from present sorrow, and enjoy eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

*From http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/litany-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary.html

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I, Peter

Public Domain Pentecost

Jean II Restout – Pentecôte; courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

 

 

I, Peter

I, Peter, sat in stillness

In hushed silence profound.

Twas but nine days since last my Savior

Did tread this passing ground.

With me united beloved John,

Simon, courageous zealot

True Israel’s son Nathaniel,

And Matthias, newly chosen prelate.

As one together Matthew prayed

And Philip, Forerunner’s guest;

Son of Thunder, James the Greater

And Jude, withal named Thaddeus 

These joined James the Lesser

And Andrew, mine own brother;

Thomas, who in past had doubted

And Mary, Most Blessed Mother.

 My soul thrilled expectantly

My Savior’s words returned,

“From the Father’s heart I will send,

Love, long ages yearned.”

 A mighty wind swept o’er my heart,

A whisper, eternity filling.

Docile to His slightest touch,

My spirit bowed, humbly willing.

Light flowed before my eyes,

As if the wings of a dove.

Drawn from the earth was I consumed,

Lost – nay, found in Trinity’s Love.

 While still my soul in heaven soared

I beheld the Father’s Word,

Illumined by the Holy Spirit,

As yet before unheard.

 His breath mine own replaced,

His Word my willing lips cried,

His love alone my pounding heart took,

Baptized in fire, my old self died.

 To this earth once more I sank,

Yet, heaven remained within.

“Courage brothers!” I sprang erect,

“Come quickly, let us begin!”

 Dazzled eyes and pounding hearts,

Face and flame, the others’ shone.

Then knew I, Peter, Love’s own gift,

I did not reach alone.

 

-©Grace Marie Urlakis

 

 

 

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“Regina Coeli,” an Easter Season Midday Prayer

I recently shared the “Angelus” prayer, which is considered a midday prayer. In the Easter Season (from Easter Sunday through Pentecost), the Angelus is replaced by the Regina Coeli/Caeli, a beautiful prayer which I quote as follows from EWTN:

 

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. / For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as [H]e said, alleluia. / Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. / For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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