Meditations on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

glorious.jpg

On Good Friday, we completed the meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries.  Now that it is Eastertide, we will begin the Glorious Mysteries.  As I previously said, these meditations were originally published two years ago and are undergoing some editing during this re-publication.  I completed the Sorrowful and the first two Glorious Mysteries and then the project fell by the wayside.  During Eastertide (which traditionally ends the Saturday after Pentecost), I will be re-publishing these.  After this, I will be writing the remaining meditations from scratch, which will take some time.  Even though these are short pieces, I will be doing a painstaking study of Scripture, prayer and deep thought, not to mention a very meticulous writing process.  I cannot feel rushed in this process, so they will be posted as God wills that I finish them.  It is also my hope that this will eventually become a book.  I thank you in advance for your patience.....

The Resurrection of Our Lord

To reiterate the words of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, "Never think about death without thinking about the Resurrection."  The Passion has ended.  "It is finished."  Faith, Hope and Charity have prevailed.  The Three Theological Virtues were displayed by Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Faith when He said, "Thy will be done."  Hope in looking to the Kingdom of Heaven, the completion of His mission.  And Charity for the Father in desiring to accomplish His will, and consequently for us.  Now He enters into His Glory, the true and final End.  If this is what its all about, what does that say about life?  What does the Resurrection of Christ, Our Lord, demand of us?

If Christ is important, we are important.  After all, He only came here for us, for the Redemption of our poor souls.  People reject Him because they do not want to be important.  They love sin so much, they would rather think themselves not much more than the animals, with no eternal destiny.  In meaning, there must be restraint.  Therein lies the Cross, but also the Resurrection.  The alternative is a life of mediocrity or worse.  There is less feeling, less responsibility.....less joy.  We reap what we sow.  If meaninglessness is what we want, that is exactly what we will get.  The tragedy is that if we ever wake up from this dream of vagueness and delusion, we will find a precious crystal has been broken.  But this does not have to be the end of the story.  We can still write a different ending.  Through repentance we enter into Our Lord's Resurrection and Glory.  He walks before us always.  Where He goes, we are meant to follow.  We cannot fail.  We have all the assistance of Heaven at our disposal.  The same God Who catapulted the universe into existence can do no less than give us everything we ask for.

Christ calls us to a Heavenly Resurrection, but also an earthly one.  This transformation is not merely the cessation of sin, but reaching our full potential as members of the Body of Christ, one with Him in thought, word and deed.  We are powerful and power can be frightening.  Fulfilling the saintly vocation for which we were created has consequences.  Our Lord's greatest power was executed on the Cross as He stretched out His arms in yielding.  In that moment of weakness, the axis of the universe shifts and the tables are turned.  A world appears that we could not see before...."and the darkness could not comprehend it."  The caterpillar becomes the butterfly.

Being resurrected with Christ is a process of becoming.  The Father has written this message for us in all of nature, the butterfly being one of the most beautiful examples.  The snake sheds its old skin, the fragile sprout becomes a great tree, bearing fruit....the oyster patiently builds its pearl.  No matter how long it takes, no matter how many setbacks occur, no matter how hopeless it seems....if we cling to the Three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity....we will see our Resurrection.  O Jesus, Whose Resurrected, Glorified Body walked upon this very earth, bring me back from my own countless deaths, that I may follow Thee to our Eternal Home.  Amen. 

 

Image courtesy http://ajpm.weebly.com/glorious-mysteries.html

I Met Buzz Aldrin! Really!

ME WITH BUZZ IN THE BACKGROUND.  PLEASE EXCUSE THE WILD-EYED LOOK ON MY FACE.  I HAD JUST BEEN THROUGH A BIT OF A PANIC (READ THE STORY!)......

ME WITH BUZZ IN THE BACKGROUND.  PLEASE EXCUSE THE WILD-EYED LOOK ON MY FACE.  I HAD JUST BEEN THROUGH A BIT OF A PANIC (READ THE STORY!)......

The Apollo 11 Mission landed on the Moon on my 2nd birthday, July 20th 1969.  I was told the story countless times of how my family were all huddled around the TV watching this historic event on my birthday.  Because of this, I always felt some connection to the Moon Landing.  My mother bought some memorabilia for me at the time and many years later I bought myself an original newspaper with the story on the cover-I found it on a NYC street and paid something like 20 bucks for it (its somewhere in my basement now....or maybe my attic).  In recent years, I became a skeptic about the whole thing.  I watched some YouTube videos and....well, that never ends well, does it?  I've reconsidered and now I'm becoming a believer again.

There is a unique, large bookstore in Huntington, Long Island called "Book Revue."  They frequently host famous people for book signings.  I'm always on the lookout for interesting people.  When I saw Buzz Aldrin was going to be there, I knew I had to go.  I thought, "How often do you get to meet someone who...might have....walked on the Moon?  And anyway, it happened on my birthday-I have to go!"  I also thought maybe I could "read" him and get some sense of what the truth might have been.  I imagine, if you've lived a lie your whole life, it would wear on you and somehow it would show.  I also imagine, if you really did something that extraordinary, that would show too.  You couldn't be normal after walking on the Moon, could you?  It is difficult to even comprehend.   I actually can't imagine anything more terrifying (talk about a panic attack...."I'm....like.....ON THE MOON.....AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!).  I don't think there is any way to understand it without experiencing it.  Once you do something like that (I mean once you walk on the Moon!), life must become very lonely and your sense of comradery with those who were with you, must be intense.  Buzz Aldrin's dedication in his new book, No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man who Walked on the Moon, reads:

"I dedicate this book to the dreamers, the out-of-the-box thinkers and seat-of-the-pants innovators....But I dedicate this especially to my dear friends and Apollo 11 crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins.  [Armstrong died in 2012, but Aldrin seems to still think of him in the present tense.  BTW, this quote sounds a lot like the Steve Jobs quote on our Home page.]"

Since planning to meet Buzz, I've learned a lot more about him and about the Apollo 11 Mission.  One amazing thing I learned is that he received the Presbyterian form of "Communion" while on the Moon.  He also once punched a guy for harassing him about the Moon Landing being a "hoax"...the guy was asking for it (there are numerous videos of this available on the web).  Aldrin is greatly accomplished and has lived a very full life-and continues to at the age of 86! 

So...on to the bookstore....there was a great turnout for Buzz-I would say at least 500 people of all ages.  Buzz was quickly signing each book while the store staff was taking candid photos with people's phones.  It was an assembly-line operation with little opportunity to connect.  As I stood on line, there was a heartfelt sense of community and friendly conversation going on around me.  The man in front of me remembered, like so many others, watching the Moon Landing on TV as a child.  As we drew close to Buzz, things suddenly became rushed and slightly confusing as the staff scrambled to get everyone into place and take the pictures.  There were several things I wanted to say to him, but when push came to shove, I blurted out, "The Moon Landing was on my 2nd birthday but I don't remember it!"  He smiled and said, "That's okay!"  And in one brief moment, I looked into a pair of eyes which once beheld the "magnificent desolation" of the lunar surface and....Mother Earth...."four times the size of a full moon....a brilliant jewel in the black velvet sky. [Aldrin's words.]"  What I felt was warmth, humanity and genuineness.  They gave me back my phone and I was bustled down the stairs, passed a guard. 

In my headiness, I looked at my phone, pressed a button and saw the words, "PICTURE ERASED."  "What?  No.  What?  No.  This isn't happening....a once-in-a-lifetime thing!  I couldn't be THAT stupid, could I?  Yes, I could.  NOOOOOOOOOO!  What now???"  If you know me at all, you know I am extremely stubborn when I want to be.  I went up to the guard and explained my situation.  "No!  Can't go back!"  Went up to the guard at the other end of the stairs.  "No!"  I tucked my dejected tail between my legs and figured the only thing to do was to break my strict diet and get a horrible treat at the cafe.  I said to the cashier, "A chocolate croissant," and like a jilted lover at a bar I broke down...."You won't believe what I just did."  He said, "Just stay till the end...you'll get another picture!"  "REALLY?"  For a moment I was elated, until I decided I didn't trust him.  I thought...."What if I buy another book?"  As you can see above, it all worked out!  I do have to thank the manager of Book Revue for her kindness.  And the chocolate croissant was amazing.

This was an altogether worth-it experience.  Worth the unseasonably frigid weather, the crowds, the expense of 2 books, a little panic....for a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Buzz is constantly traveling the world doing signings, speeches and all kinds of things (you can check out his itinerary on his website-link above), but who knows when he'll be in New York again?  Who knows when he'll finally say, "I've done enough."  Knowing him, probably never.  I feel privileged to have met and spoken to the second person to walk on the Moon, one of a few select humans from all history to be granted a most extraordinary experience....an experience which ultimately gives glory to the One Who made it all! 

Stay tuned for my follow-up post on Aldrin's "Communion" on the Moon-an incredible little-known story which I am currently researching-I will post when my research is done.

Divine Mercy at My Church....

I would like to share my experience yesterday celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday at my church in Suffolk County, Long Island.  We had a bi-lingual (English/Spanish) celebration of the Mass with the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Exposition.  The whole celebration took 3 1/2 hours.  The turnout was great-a full church, about 90% Latino of all ages.  A bishop presided.  It was one of the most moving spiritual experiences of my life. 

As we sung the Divine Mercy Chaplet-half in English, half in Spanish-I began to feel a great unity.....first, with the wonderful devout Latino people present and gradually, I became aware of the entire world on this day raising a unified chorus to the Father...."For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!"  I thought of the recent terror attacks and murders, some specifically against Christians.  I thought of September 11th.  I thought of the abortion holocaust.  All the immorality.  The whole ailing world raising this prayer to God together on one day.  I felt Saint Faustina's presence with us-what an extraordinary accomplishment to secure this great and most necessary feast for the world.

During Exposition, many people crowded around the altar and knelt.  I decided to join them.  The whole church was praying with all their hearts, some shouting out, "Jesus, I trust in You!  Jesus, I love You!"  It reminded me of great paintings of the saints in Heaven, like the one above.  I felt as if I were standing with all of them at the end of time, as Saint John describes:

"After this I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands:  And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb."  Apocalypse 7:9

Suddenly a young women who was kneeling in front me fainted.  I have heard of such things, but have never actually seen it before.  I know this is a point of controversy....I have no specific opinion because I do not know enough about these things-I do have a certain reserve in these matters, as most traditional-minded Catholics do.  But I don't wish to get into any of that right now.  I will say, her face, as she lay unconscious, looked utterly peaceful-it even seemed she had a slight smile.  No one was concerned about her, except me (probably because they were familiar with this sort of thing).  I went up to her, stroked her forehead and prayed for her.  After a few minutes, she awoke, seemed dazed but peaceful, and carried on.

I thank the Most Holy Trinity for these blessings yesterday and also, I thank Saint Faustina for giving us the message of Our Lord's great mercy.  It just goes to show you how important each and every life is.  How important it is that we do the work God has uniquely given each one of us.  Whether we reach a few, or millions....it matters.  That is why we must always strive to be the best we can be...spiritually, mentally and physically...because someone....somewhere....is counting on us.

 

Image courtesy http://mute-the-silence.blogspot.com/2013/11/all-saints-day-in-greece-and-more.html

Divine Mercy Sunday

Many blessings on this Divine Mercy Sunday!  Saint Faustina, pray for us!

As I noted previously, we will begin meditations on the Glorious Mysteries during this Season of Eastertide.  This past week has been very busy, but I will post "The Resurrection" during the coming week.  Please come back!

 

Image courtesy http://stviator.azurewebsites.net/?s=%3Fpage+id%3D1829&search_404=1

April: Month of the Holy Eucharist!

Traditionally, as of Easter Sunday, we are in "Eastertide," "Easter Time," or "Paschal Time."  This extends to the Saturday after Pentecost.  In the New, "Easter Time" begins Easter Sunday and ends on Pentecost.  We continue to contemplate the Mystery of the Redemption.

April is dedicated to the Holy Eucharist (see prayer on Home page).  It is a great time, as the earth comes back to life, to celebrate the Bread of Life.  There are innumerable ways to do this-your imagination is the only limit!  More frequent reception of Holy Communion, Eucharistic prayers and devotions, spiritual reading, a Eucharistic emphasis in catechesis, exercises in reparation to the Real Presence, etc.  Here are some notable feasts of this month (preppers take note that Saint Catherine of Siena in invoked for fire protection!):

4/1-Easter Friday, Solemnity-no penance

4/3-Divine Mercy Sunday/Quasimodo Sunday

4/4-The Annunciation (moved from 3/25 this year)

4/5-Saint Vincent Ferrer, Angel of the Apocalypse

4/10-Saint Ezechiel, Old Testament Patriarch

4/16-Saint Bernadette, Seer of Lourdes

4/25-Saint Mark, Evangelist/The Greater Litanies

4/26-Our Lady of Good Counsel

4/28-Saint Louis de Montfort, Founder Sisters of Divine Wisdom & Missionaries of the Company of Mary

4/29-Saint Catherine of Siena, Patroness of Italy and Fire Protection (New)

4/30-Saint Catherine of Siena (Trad)

 

 

 

Easter Sunday....

The Solemnity of Solemnities

The Resurrection of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ

O God, Who on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son, hast conquered death and thrown open to us the gate of Everlasting Life, give effect by Thine aid to our desires, which Thou dost anticipate and inspire.  Amen.

Eastertide has begun!  This coming week, we will begin meditations on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  Wishing you and your families a very Happy Easter and Easter Week!  CFM

 

Image courtesy http://www.dici.org/en/multimedia/video/the-resurrection/

The Sorrowful Mysteries....In Closing

THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES:  A THESIS

Holy Church, through Saint Dominic, has handed the Rosary down to us as a spiritual aid.  The Sorrowful Mysteries take us through the Story of Our Lord's Passion and Death.  It is difficult to contemplate these things, but as Father Benedict Groeschel once said in a Good Friday sermon, "Never think about death without thinking about the Resurrection."  The whole purpose of the Rosary meditations which accompany each set of ten "Hail Marys," is to help us toward our own Resurrection.

Stepping away and looking at the Sorrowful Mysteries as a whole, a picture begins to emerge.  It is the picture of each human being walking along his own life's path to his final destination.  The Agony in the Garden represents the MIND.  The Scourging at the Pillar, the FLESH.  The Crowning with Thorns, the IDENTITY, or the soul.  These three components comprise God's greatest creation, the one made in His own image and likeness, the Human Being. The Carrying of the Cross is the life JOURNEY....and the Crucifixion is the END.  Within the Passion of Our Lord lies an imprint of every human life for which He goes to His death.

The Sorrowful Mysteries tell the triumphant Story of the Messiah's Love for humanity and the Father's willingness to give His Only Son for our Redemption.  It is a Story which brings tears to our eyes for this great Love which it gives testimony to.  In return, we are called not merely to a humanist virtue, but to the heroism of Sainthood and Life Everlasting.

Good Friday: The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery....

The Crucifixion of Our Lord

The Carrying of the Cross was a journey-the Crucifixion at Golgotha, its destination.   In fact, the Crucifixion was the destination of Christ's entire life on earth.  From His very Incarnation, this was the plan.  We may have difficulty understanding why it had to be this way, but we must believe, since His way is always perfect, it was the perfect way.  Looking at the Crucifixion forces us all to ask:  "What is my own destination and how is each day I live bringing me closer to it?"

Our Lord ascended to Heaven so that we could follow Him there-this is the end for which we were created.  Jesus said of His Apostles, "They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world."  We must be in the world, not of the world.  Set a course to Heaven and do not deviate from it.  The only thing that can derail us is sin, a word our "enlightened" times has forgotten.

What was the meaning of Christ's cruel impalement to the Cross?  It shows us we must let go of all the things we wish to possess which are unhealthy to our souls, which turn us away from our path to Heaven.  Our Blessed Lord could not possibly have been more helpless upon the Holy Cross.  He could not move and could hardly speak.  He arms were outstretched to all the universe, imploring us to come to Him and yet unable to grasp at anything.  We too, must open our hands when we are tempted to reach for, and take hold of sin.  We must take Christ's example of yielding.  In all things, He walks before us.  From the Cross, Jesus shows us the very key to the Kingdom of Heaven.

But how are we to resist temptation?  The sacraments of the Church Christ founded are the tools which have been given to us.  He said, "I will not leave you orphans."  The same body which was crucified, comes to us in Holy Communion-to help us stretch out our arms and let go.  This Body could not give us life until it tasted death.  We cannot receive that life until we taste the death of our sins.  The more our own will shrinks, the more beautiful we become.  The greater He becomes within us, the greater we become.

Our Lord never left His course toward the Holy Cross.  We must never leave our course toward the Kingdom of Heaven.  It will twist and turn and there will be traps to ensnare us.  But if we continue to flee to the Holy Cross and the Victim upon it-we will one day hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."  Dear Jesus, whose death on the Cross has won my Redemption, show me in my moments of temptation, Thy holy arms unable to embrace and Thy sacred hands unable to grasp.  Amen.

 

Feast of Saint Isidore the Farmer

                  SAINT ISIDORE, PRAY FOR US!

                  SAINT ISIDORE, PRAY FOR US!

This is Saint Isidore's lesser feast-his main feast is May 15th, the date he died in 1130.  I love the icon above-its looks like he is holding a spherical terrarium.  If you zoom in, you can see an angel operating a plow.  This is due to the story that his guardian angel sometimes did his work for him, when he was busy in spiritual matters.  He is also known as Saint Isidore, the Laborer (not to be confused with Saint Isidore of Seville, a bishop who lived 500 years earlier).  He lived his life just outside Madrid, working in the fields for a wealthy landowner.  His wife is Saint Maria de la Cabeza, whose feast is September 9th.  They were devoutly religious and ministered to the poor.  For more info:

catholicculture.org

angelsandsaintsandus.blogspot.com

Nomen Christi Apostolate is dedicated to preparedness and sustainability.....growing our own food is the most basic way to be prepared and self-sufficient.  Sustainability involves creating resilient systems of food production which respect God's great earth.  We hope to move the Church closer to these ideals in the coming years.  If you are like-minded and wish to join us, please contact us at:  director@nomenchristi.org .  We take Saint Isidore's and Saint Maria's example in wishing to help the poor as well, with our work.  Saint Isidore and Saint Maria, watch over us!

O God, Who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, and Who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, revealed Thyself the Husbandman of our souls, deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, so that, working the soil in the sweat of our brow, we may enjoy eternal happiness in Heaven, through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Image courtesy https://www.pinterest.com/pin/91972017363075141/

Feast of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church

From The New Marian Missal:

"To be convinced how much the intercession of Saint Joseph prevails with Jesus Christ, we have only to consider these words of the Evangelist:  'And He was subject to them'....This humble obedience of Jesus teaches us that the dignity of Joseph is above that of all the other Saints, except that of the Queen of Saints."

Excerpts from the traditional Mass:

"The just shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus:  planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God."

"We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother:  so that what we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given to us through his intercession."

"Lord, Thou has prevented him with blessings of sweetness:  Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.  He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever."

"The Lord loved him, and adorned him; He clothed him with a robe of glory.  Alleluia.  The just shall spring as the lily; and shall flourish for ever before the Lord.  Alleluia."

"We render unto Thee, O Lord, the bounden duty of our service, humbly entreating Thee to preserve Thine own gifts within us by the prayers of blessed Joseph, Spouse of the Mother of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, on whose holy festival we offer up to Thee this sacrifice of praise."

"It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God:  and that we should magnify with due praises, bless and proclaim Thee on the Feast of blessed Joseph; who, being a just man, was given by Thee as a Spouse to the Virgin Mother of God, and, as a faithful and prudent servant was set over Thy Family, that, with fatherly care, he might guard Thine only-begotten Son, conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe.  The heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it.  Together with them we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say with lowly praise...."

"Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.  Pleni sunt Coeli et terra gloria tua.  Hosanna in excelsis.  Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.  Hosanna in excelsis!"

 

Image courtesy http://communio.stblogs.org/index.php/tag/st-joseph/