Holy Rosary

October is the Month of the Holy Rosary!

First of all, the major features of this month of October in the Roman Catholic Church are:  Dedication to the Holy Rosary given to St. Dominic, the celebration of the centennial of the final apparition at Fatima, the great Miracle of the Sun seen by thousands and a general focus on pro-life issues, the first Sunday of the month being dedicated to this cause....the annual "40 Days for Life," a Christian initiative, overlaps with the month of October-it began September 27th and extends till November 5th-this involves a three-point approach:  Prayer & Fasting,  Constant Vigil and Community Outreach.  Think about getting involved-these efforts have saved many lives!

We also have the trad feast of Christ the King, last Sunday of October and several Marian feasts, including Our Lady of the Rosary, corresponding to this month's theme.  We celebrate only one Doctor of the Church this month, St. Therese, probably (but I haven't researched this) the youngest of all the Doctors, only reaching the age of 24-what an accomplishment for such a young woman to attain a distinction reserved in all 2,000 years of Church history, for only 35 people!  We also honor several saints of the Gospel, companions of Christ, this month, along with one of the writers of the Gospel, Saint Luke.

So there are many things to think about in the coming weeks-if you can't do it all, pick one thing and devote yourself to it.  That is the beauty of being a Catholic-it is such a rich and varied tradition, there is something for everyone!  Here is sampling of this month's feasts:

10/1-St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, 1897/Respect Life Sunday

10/2-Holy Guardian Angels

10/3-St. Therese of Lisieux (trad)

10/4-St. Francis of Assisi, 1226

10/5-St. Faustina Kowalska, Seer of the Divine Mercy, 1938-pray the chaplet!

10/6-First Friday

10/7-First Saturday/Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary-what a day to celebrate the First Saturday devotion, in the month of the Holy Rosary and also the month of the final Fatima apparition-remember, this devotion was given to Sister Lucia!

10/8-Our Lady of Good Remedy

10/11-Divine Maternity of Our Lady

10/12-Our Lady of the Pillar

10/13-CENTENNIAL OF THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN AT FATIMA, PORTUGAL-the final Fatima apparition-Don't forget our Holy Hour right here on the blog!  What special gift would you like to give Our Lady on this joyful day?  My gift will be to spend the day at the World Apostolate of Fatima Blue Army Shrine in New Jersey-Mass will be said by Bishop Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, CT-he is the very first clergy member I met with in Brooklyn 4 years ago, to discuss Nomen Christi Apostolate and we had a great meeting!  Maybe I'll see you there?

10/16-St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Seer of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1690/St. Gerard Majella, 1755-patron of pregnant women

10/17-St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (trad)

10/18-St. Luke the Evangelist

10/21-St. Ursula & Companions, Martyrs, 4th Century-legend states she had up to 11,000 companions martyred with her, perhaps even more, but no one knows for sure what the actual number was

10/22-Pope St. John Paul II, 2005/St. Mary Salome, Mother of Saints James & John, Apostles

10/24-St. Raphael the Archangel-patron of travelers & the blind

10/28-Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles

10/29-Christ the King

10/31-All Hallow's Eve-pray for those who perform occult practices on this day in direct response to Holy Church's devotion to the saints in Heaven....and for reparation for these sins

Fatima Family Holy Hour for World Peace

                               image courtesy         http://www.our-lady.net/our-lady-of-fatima/

                             image courtesy

     http://www.our-lady.net/our-lady-of-fatima/

Nomen Christi Apostolate Presents

2nd Fatima Family Holy Hour for World Peace

Centennial of the Second Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

At Fatima, Portugal

June 13th, 1917 ~ June 13th, 2017

Thank you for joining our Fatima Family Holy Hour!  Please read the introduction on our Home Page.  If you are participating, please add your voice to our comments.  TO MAKE A COMMENT, CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THE POST & SCROLL DOWN.  Following is today's Holy Hour Format.  May God bless you and may Our Lady shower graces upon you on this glorious 100th Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions!

Printable Version of 2nd Holy Hour Format

Candle-Lighting for Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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O Jesus, we thank Thee for this beautiful 100th Anniversary of Our Lady's second appearance to the three holy children at Fatima, Portugal.  We thank Thee for our togetherness today all over the world in this joyful celebration.  We light this candle for the intention of reparation to Thy Mother's Immaculate Heart, which so grieves over the sins of the world at this present hour.  We especially wish to console her for the terrible injustice to unborn children, for she is Mother to all.  May these little lights of ours ascend to her Queenly throne in Heaven and show her that indeed, there is still love for her on earth.  Love for Thy Mother always directs us to Thee, O Jesus, our Savior, Whom she holds up to the world in her loving arms.  Forgive us our sins and let us enter into this Holy Hour in a spirit of contrition and spiritual communion with Thee.  We pray for peace in all the world and protection of all the innocent.  We offer as well, all the intentions of those participating.  Amen. 

Saint Joseph, Pray for Us!

Saint Anthony of Padua, Pray for Us!

Lucia, Jacinta & Francisco, Pray for Us!

All Ye Holy Angels & Saints, Rejoice!

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Hymn:  "Immaculate Mary"

(Brian Foley, Jeremiah Cummings)

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing
You reign now in Heaven with Jesus our King

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!  Ave, Ave, Maria!

In Heaven the blessed your glory proclaim
On earth we your children invoke your sweet name

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!  Ave, Ave, Maria!

We pray for the Church our true mother on earth
And bless Holy Mary, the land of our birth

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!  Ave, Ave, Maria!

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Fatima Reading & Prayer

The Second Apparition ~ June 13th, 1917

About fifty people arrived at the Cova da Iria on June 13th, as the three children assembled near the Holm oak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary as she spoke to Lucia: “I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”

Lucia asked Mary to take them to Heaven and was reassured in this way: “I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly, but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it. These souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by me to adorn His Throne.”  ...Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply and asked: “Am I to stay here alone?” Mary replied: “No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

One of the witnesses to this apparition, Maria Carreira, described how Lucia then cried out and pointed as Mary departed. She herself heard a noise like “a rocket a long way off,” and looked to see a small cloud a few inches over the tree, rise and move slowly towards the east until it disappeared. The crowd of pilgrims then returned to Fatima where they reported the amazing things they had seen, thus ensuring that there were between two and three thousand people present for the July apparition!

Text courtesy World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, slightly edited.

The apparitions of Our Lady to the children was not their first encounter with Heaven.  An angel appeared to them previously, three times, and gave them two prayers, as follows:

"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee!  I beg pardon of Thee for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee!"

"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly.  I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He is offended.  By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners."

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Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary

                                                   image courtesy http://www.standrewschurchsupply.com/

                                                 image courtesy http://www.standrewschurchsupply.com/

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Litany of Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for our dear country.
Our Lady of Fatima, sanctify our clergy.
Our Lady of Fatima, make our Catholics more fervent.
Our Lady of Fatima, guide and inspire those who govern us.
Our Lady of Fatima, cure the sick who confide in you.
Our Lady of Fatima, console the sorrowful who trust in you.
Our Lady of Fatima, help those who invoke your aid.
Our Lady of Fatima, deliver us from all dangers.
Our Lady of Fatima, help us to resist temptation.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for us all that we lovingly ask of you.
Our Lady of Fatima, help those who are dear to us.
Our Lady of Fatima, bring back to the right road our erring brothers.
Our Lady of Fatima, give us back our ancient fervor.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.
Our Lady of Fatima, bring all men to the feet of your Divine Child.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain peace for the world.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Let Us Pray:  O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession, all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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Nomen Christi Apostolate Prayer for World Peace

O Most Holy Trinity, look upon the work of Thy Hands with mercy and give us the peace we so desperately need.  Shower Thy graces upon us like the rain, like a great flood engulfing us and end these many sorrows.  Sorrow from disrespect for human life, terrorism, unrest, fear, disaster, impurity, blasphemy, occult activities, persecution of the holy, leading the innocent astray, drug addiction, people thinking they can re-order the perfect creation Thou hast made.  We live in unprecedented times, uncertain times.  Deliver us from all evil, visible and invisible and from all fear.  Help us to prepare for the days to come and to extricate ourselves from this inauthentic culture.  We pray for the triumphalism of Holy Mother Church and the salvation of all souls.  Give us peace in our hearts and courage to face the future and win our Heavenly reward.  Jesus Our Lord & Our Lady of Fatima, we love Thee!  Pray for us!  In the Holy Name of Christ, Nomen Christi.  Amen.

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Closing Hymn:  "Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above"

(Contractus Hermannus)

Hail, holy Queen enthroned above, O Maria.
Hail, Queen of mercy and of love, O Maria.
Triumph, all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us, ye Seraphim,
Heav'n and earth resound the hymn,
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina.

The cause of joy to all below, O Maria.
The spring through which all graces flow, O Maria.
Angels, all your praises bring,
Earth and heaven, with us sing,
All creation echoing,
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina.

O gentle, loving, holy one, O Maria.
The God of light became your Son, O Maria.
Triumph, all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us, ye Seraphim.
Heav'n and earth resound the hymn,
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina.

Thank you for joining us!  See you July 13th!

Month of the Holy Rosary: Do you have difficulty praying it?

October is the Month of the Most Holy Rosary.  If you have not been praying it, there are still 8 days left!  If you're having difficulty getting around to it, please read this post and see if any of this resonates with you.....

5 Reasons Why We Should Pray the Rosary

1) The Mother of God has Requested it-What better reason could there be?  Our Lady gave the Holy Rosary to Saint Dominic and has continued through history, to request that it be prayed.  At Fatima, she implored, "Pray the Rosary every day."  She has given 15 Promises to those who pray the Rosary.  The following 4 reasons come from her own list!

2)  Protection and Graces-The first Promise Our Lady gives is this:  "To all those who shall recite my Rosary devoutly, I promise my special protection and very great graces."

3)  Armor Against Hell-"The Rosary will be a very powerful armor against Hell.  It will destroy vice, deliver from sin and dispel heresy."

4)  Improves Earthly Life and Obtains Mercy-"The Rosary will make virtue and good works flourish and will obtain for souls the most abundant Divine Mercies.  It will substitute in hearts love of God for love of the world, and elevate them to desire heavenly and eternal good.  O that souls would sanctify themselves by this means!"

5)  Eternal Salvation-"Those who shall recite my Rosary piously, considering its Mysteries, will not be overwhelmed by misfortune nor die a bad death.  The sinner will be converted, the just will grow in grace and become worthy of eternal life."

5 Reasons Why We Don't & the Solutions

1)  Time-In this profoundly inauthentic life that we are living today, we are pulled in many directions and the spiritual life is not made a priority.  Our Lord said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Luke 12:31)  We must place the Kingdom of Heaven first, above all earthly concerns.  We all need to examine our lives and ask God how we can do things differently and re-structure our days.  Praying one of the Mysteries (5 decades) of the Rosary should only take about 15 minutes.  If we really do not have that much time, praying only one decade is an option.  It is understandable, some people (think of a mother with 8 children-or any children for that matter!) may be so busy that they cannot find the time and simply fall into bed at night, completely exhausted.  Chances are, if this is you, you are also pretty wound up mentally at this point!  Meditating on just one Mystery as you fall asleep will be a gift to Our Mother, which she will hold precious to her heart.  And it will probably help you fall asleep!

2)  Difficulty Establishing Habit-Even though the Rosary does not take much time, it may seem daunting before you have established the habit.  If this is the case, starting with only one decade will help break the ice.  Get used to praying one decade and then systematically add a decade until you are praying all 5 Mysteries!  Take a time of day when you have a relaxed space of time to pray...for some, this may be the morning (if you're an early bird!), for some, mid-day or evening.  Just stick with it and know that you've got Heaven on your side!

3)  Difficulty Praying Alone-Admittedly, praying the Rosary alone is an intensely internal experience.  Of course, you are never REALLY alone, for all of Heaven is at your side.  But for some, praying alone is difficult.  Many churches have groups which pray the Rosary after daily Mass.....or, pray it as a family.  Another option is to start your own Rosary group at your church or home.  You can be creative!  Rosary praying can be done with children, focused on a particular intention or combined with other activities, such as crafts, Scripture reading or learning religious songs.

4)  Lack of Comfortable Space-For some, the problem may be as simple as having no place to pray.  If you want to pray during your lunch hour at work, think about finding a quiet spot in another area of the building or perhaps outside.  Don't be embarrassed to be seen praying your Rosary!  You are giving a great witness to others and may even be instrumental in someone's conversion.  At home, there may be constant distractions around you.  Your bedroom may be no help if you are not comfortable sitting up in bed.  Every home should have a quiet place where prayer can take place.  You can devote a small room to this, your basement or part of a room.  It's a great place to display statues and other religious art and objects.  It should also be a comfortable place to be.  Soft chairs and soft light, maybe some floor pillows....an inviting, welcoming, peaceful space.  A place your family will want to be, where the spiritual life can be cultivated.  This prayer space will stand in direct contrast to all the electronics, bells, whistles and distractions, much of which is unholy, that this culture makes us think we need.

5)  Scrupulosity-The reason some of us don't pray the Holy Rosary more often, may be that we feel we don't pray it perfectly.  We expect so much of ourselves that we become discouraged and lose motivation.  The solution is to accept that no human being is perfect and that includes you.  We get distracted, our thoughts wander, we might be sleepy.  THAT'S OKAY!  Who's to say that these even are imperfections?  God uses our humanity to humble us, to break us, to refine us, to learn to trust HIM.  So if scrupulosity is your problem:  Get over yourself!  See "Difficulty Establishing Habit" above.  Starting small may help you to get started....and trust in God, not in yourself.

What a better place the world would be if from pole to pole the Holy Rosary resounded from every home to the Heavens!

Please note, I do allow all my posts to be shared via internet, email or printed, as long as this website is included.  Feel free to distribute this or any of my posts.  CM

Image courtesy http://blogs.nd.edu/oblation/2011/05/06/teaching-catholic-practice-praying-the-rosary-with-middle-school-students/

October: Month of the Holy Rosary & Respect Life Month

“Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways ~ women, gambling, and farming."

Saint Pope John XXIII, feast October 11th

I'm half Italian (in case you didn't already guess that from my name), so I can put up an Italian joke....and Pope John XXIII was Italian too, so I guess he knew what he was talking about!  FARMING!  Hysterical!  Though I have always thought of Italians as good farmers and gardeners.  Maybe I was wrong.  My father seemed okay at it.  He grew eggplants on our front lawn in Levittown, Long Island.  I feel pretty sure we were the only people on the block with eggplants on the lawn. 

October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary (see prayer on Home page) and dedicated as "Respect Life Month" by the USCCB-this year's theme is "Moved by Mercy," echoing the Holy Father's Jubilee Year of Mercy, which ends November 20th.  May we pray the rosary for the unborn and all threatened human life and participate this month in any pro-life activities that we can.

October also gives us an array of interesting feasts.  Some great and famous saints:  Saint Therese, Saint Francis, St. Faustina, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Margaret Mary....2 saints invoked for headaches, 2 invoked for demons, 2 female Doctors of the Church and 2 recent popes.  Also, Christ the King on the 30th!

So what can we do about the Rosary this month?  If you're already praying it every day, then....you....probably don't have to do anything.....okay, try to get someone else to pray it, how's that?  If you're not praying it every day, then why not heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima and begin doing so?  Here are some notable feasts of this month-remember these saints on their feastdays-read about them, pray to them, develop friendships with them.....

10/1-Saint Therese of Lisieux, Virgin, Religious, Doctor-patron of missions (new)

10/2-Holy Guardian Angels/Respect Life Sunday

10/3-Saint Therese of Lisieux (trad)

10/4-Saint Francis of Assisi, Founder of Franciscan Order, Stigmatist

10/5-Saint Faustina Kowalska, Virgin, Religious, seer of the Divine Mercy

10/6-Saint Bruno, Priest, Founder of Carthusian Order-patron of those possessed by demons

10/7-Our Lady of the Rosary

10/9-Saints Denis, Bishop, Rusticus & Eleutherius, Martyrs-Saint Denis invoked against demons and headaches

10/11-Divine Maternity of Our Lady/Saint Pope John XXIII, 20th Century Pope

10/15-Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila), Virgin, Religious, Doctor-invoked against headaches

10/16-Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin, Religious, Seer of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (new)

10/17-Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (trad)

10/18-Saint Luke, Evangelist, Martyr-patron of doctors, painters & sculptors

10/22-Saint Pope John Paul II, 20th Century Pope

10/24-Saint Raphael the Archangel-patron of happy meetings, travel, marriage, healing, the blind & youth

10/28-Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles, Martyrs (brothers)-Saint Jude patron of hopeless cases

10/30-Christ the King

10/31-All Hallows Eve

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

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.

 

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery....

The Carrying of the Cross

The unique aspect of the Carrying of the Cross, among the Sorrowful Mysteries, is the fact that it is a journey.  In western culture today, we seem always to be rushing from one destination to another.  The destination is important, but often we forget the importance of the journey itself.  So what do we learn on this Journey of Journeys, a microcosm of every human being’s life path, in addition to the grand historical path of all humanity, the Via Dolorosa?

Like any journey, this one involves a series of events.  Holy Scripture confirms for us that Christ carries His own Cross.  Tradition tells us He falls three times under its weight.  Scripture tells us He becomes so weak, Simon of Cyrene must take up the Cross.  Our Lord speaks to some sorrowful women and Saint Veronica wipes His Holy Face, a miraculous image resulting.  So here we have four basic events:  the Taking Up of the Cross, the Fallings, the Giving Up of the Cross and the Message.  All sealed with a miracle.

Tremendously weak after the brutal Scourging, Jesus takes the Cross upon His shoulders and begins to walk the Way of Sorrow.  The One who is sinless takes on the burden of all humanity's sins, soon to be expiated on this very Cross He carries, when He arrives at the destination.  This is an example of courage for us, when we feel terribly burdened by life's difficulties.  We know He walks before us always.  It is not so remarkable that He falls three times under this heavy piece of wood.  What is remarkable, is that He gets back up two times to continue carrying it.  But the third time, He is all out of strength.  The Almighty God makes Himself weak so that we can be strong.  Another example and profound encouragement for His children.  When we fall, when we break-whether through suffering or temptation, all is not lost.  There is always hope for those who trust in God.  He will give us the strength to go on.  And just as Simon was provided to take the Holy Cross from His hands, He too, will take our own crosses from us when the time comes.  We are asked only to trust.

When Our Lord addresses the "Daughters of Jerusalem" who are following Him on this Journey, He gives us a glimpse into His very mind as He carries the Cross.  He is thinking not of Himself on His final journey as He goes to His death.  He thinks only of us, only of humanity's final journey at the end of time.  "Weep not over Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say:  Blessed are the barren and the wombs that have not borne and the paps that have not given suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains:  Fall upon us, and to the hills:  Cover us."  This is a message to humanity-a warning, an End Times marker, reiterated by Saint John in Apocalypse.  Is it possible that He was describing our own times?

Every human life is similarly, a journey-some very short, some long, some privileged, some full of suffering.  But in the end, it all evens out-all is fair, all is just.  And upon each and every precious human life for which Christ suffered, lies the imprint of the Carrying of the Cross.  It is our joy, our hope, our consolation.  He did it all for us.  Good Jesus, give me strength when I begin to weary beneath my own crosses, that I may go on to reach that final destination, where Thou Art, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Glorious Kingdom of Heaven.  Amen.

2 More to Come....

It is a custom to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary each day of Lent.  Even better if you can pray them before the Most Blessed Sacrament or together as a family after dinner.  Wishing you continued Lenten blessings and we have 2 more meditations to come...one this Friday and the last on Good Friday.  After that, we will begin meditations on the Glorious Mysteries!

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelic Doctor, pray for us!  Saints Perpetua & Felicity, great martyrs of Holy Mother Church, pray for us!

Image courtesy http://beads-of-joy-blog.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-sorrowful-mysteries.html

The Third Sorrowful Mystery...

The Crowning with Thorns

The Crowning with Thorns upon Our Lord's sacred head, must be seen as part of a larger Mystery:  the Mockery of the Kingship of Our Lord.  It is one of a three-part costume the Roman soldiers dressed Him in:  the Crown, the Scepter and the Robe.  When we look at this piece of theater, the one Act upon the human stage which emanates like lightning, putting asunder all man’s theatrical fantasy.....what reveals itself to us?

The Romans performed this mockery in response to Christ’s alleged crime, “The King of the Jews.”  What motivated them to play out this obscene insult?  A fatal flaw, a deep chasm, a mortal wounding, took place in the Garden of Eden.  Our Lord's Passion is the culmination of this tragic event.  This mockery represents of every sinner’s response to God, the unwillingness to be subject to Him and give Him due respect as Creator.

One could not honestly look at Christ without seeing His innocence, especially a non-Jew, with no investment in the matter.  We know this was very clear to Pilate, which is why he “washed his hands” of it.  In order to punish so cruelly an innocent man, they had to disguise him-plunging themselves into the sin of committing the evil, whereas the Jews were guilty of ordering it.  It is common practice to dehumanize those you wish to kill.  Broken from the Scourging, blood streaming down His face from the sharp thorns of the Crown, dressed up and derided, they proceeded to carry out the death sentence.

Woven thorns, a reed, a red cloak....the makings of a King.  Why go through so much trouble?  Looking for branches of thorns and weaving them together?  Searching for a large reed and a red garment?  Why were all three components of the kingly garb so necessary?  Because they had to completely convince themselves and this can only be done by over-reaching.  We do the same with the unborn, with sexual immorality, with our quest to be Godlike in playing with every fundamental aspect of nature, whether it be biology, botany or physics.  Going beyond the pale makes it easier to commit the crime.

The Crown, the Scepter, the Robe:  three identifiers of a King.  Here we arrive at the crux of the Mockery, Our Blessed Lord’s Identity itself.  The words upon the Holy Cross were true:  “King of the Jews.”  And King of us all, only Son of the Father, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.  This is His Identity, Whom the world must deny to commit its countless evils.  But the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith will never deny Him, the King of Kings.  The gates of Hell will not prevail against her.

The world will try to tell us who we are, who it wants us to be.  Our own pride will delude us-we sew our own costumes, make our own crowns.  But it is only in confessing the Kingship of Our Lord and entering into the humility of His Crowning with Thorns, that we can ever know our own true identities....who we were created to be.  O my Jesus, Who asked of Thine Apostles, “Whom do you say that I am?,” I in turn ask this of Thee.  Amen.