The Lorica of St. Patrick: "Faeth Fiada"

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“Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14).”

As this Holy Feast Day of Saint Patrick occurs during the Liturgical Season of Lent- a time set aside for robust prayer- it is fitting to post the beloved and powerful Lorica, or St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer. The original text of this prayer dates to the 5th century and is attributed to St. Patrick. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. in supplication for Divine protection before his successful conversion of the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity.

Throughout Sacred Scripture the image of the breastplate of armor is used to not only to convey the might and power of God, but also to call to men to emulate that same righteous strength within their humanity by wrapping themselves in the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. The Lorica of St. Patrick magnificently inter-weaves both the praise of the Divine might and a human supplication for the requisite strength to replicate it in battle.

The inspiration for the Breastplate of St. Patrick can thus be found in Sacred Scripture:

In Isaiah 59:17, the Omnipotence of God is depicted: “He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle.”

Again in Wisdom (5: 17-19) we read: “The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armor, and will arm all creation to repel his enemies; he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet; he will take holiness as an invincible shield.”

Likewise, man is exhorted to “Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness,” in Ephesians 6: 14. Again in Thessalonians (5: 8), we are called to clothe ourselves in the Theological Virtues, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation, “ that we might belong to Christ.

My favorite version of this prayer was penned by Cecil Francis Alexander in the year 1889 at the request of H.H. Dickenson, the Dean of the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle. This current version has been set to music and is cherished by the faithful of many Christian denominations. May the beautiful words of this prayer touch your heart as deeply as they do mine, when I pray this each and every day.

Lorica of St. Patrick: Faeth Fiada

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
*

I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Blessed St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours,

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A.

St. Joseph Foster-Father of Jesus, Pray for Us!

St. Joseph, Foster-father of Jesus, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

St. Joseph, Foster-father of Jesus, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

The month of March has traditionally been reserved in honor of St. Joseph, the righteous and virtuous spouse of the Sinless, Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Joseph, the Just Man, is the Patron of the Universal Church. God Himself entrusted the protection of The Christ-Child and His Beloved Mother – the Most Holy Theotokos – to St. Joseph. He cared for their bodily and spiritual welfare. St. Joseph protected them from every peril– including the slaughter of the innocents as well as the dangers which lurked on the flight into Egypt, the spiritual dangers of exile in a pagan land, and the subsequent return of the Holy Family to Nazareth. It was Joseph, who with Mary, searched for the adolescent Jesus, finding Him after three days teaching the elders in the Temple of Jerusalem. Likewise, it was Joseph whose gentle and fatherly care allowed the Christ-Child to grow in “Wisdom and age and favor before God and man (Luke 3:52).”

St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite Mystic and Doctor of the Church, frequently directed her sisters to “go to St. Joseph.” In her autobiography, St. Teresa declared:

“I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to him and render him particular services who did not notably advance in virtue, for he gives very real help to souls who commend themselves to him. For some years now, I think, I have made some request of him every year on his festival and I have always had it granted. If my petition is in any way ill directed, he directs it aright for my greater good.”

St. Joseph’s intercession is powerful. Not only is St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church, but he is also the patron of fathers, carpenters, woodworkers, cabinet makers, laborers, bakers, confectioners, and pastry-makers. As a father and laborer, St. Joseph’s intercession is often sought by those fathers who are unemployed or under employed. Sacred Tradition also holds that Joseph was blessed to die with Jesus and Mary at his side, and as such is invoked as the patron of a happy death.

St. Joseph, Patron of a Holy Death, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

St. Joseph, Patron of a Holy Death, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

No less than ten countries have officially named St. Joseph as their patron, including: Austria, Belgium, Bohemia, Canada, China, Croatia, Korea, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam. Likewise, St. Joseph is proclaimed as patron of hundreds of cities and towns, and innumerable hospitals, schools, churches, convents, monasteries and oratories are dedicated to his protection and thus bear his holy name.

The Just Man Shall Blossom Like a Lily © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA photo

The Just Man Shall Blossom Like a Lily © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA photo

Among Catholic devotions, the novena is a powerful method of prayer. The following Thirty-Day Novena is very old, and may be initiated at any time. However, as we begin this month dedicated to the honor of St. Joseph, perhaps it is a fitting time to devote ourselves to seek the intercession of this powerful Saint.

Thirty Day St. Joseph Novena

Ever blessed and glorious Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! You are the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To you, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection.

Listen, then, I beg you, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favors I ask.

I ask it by the infinite mercy of the Eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow.

I ask it by the weariness and suffering you endured when you found no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the Holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, you had to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world’s Redeemer in a cave.

I ask it by the infinite mercy of the Eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow.

I ask it by that painful torture you felt at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His Holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us.

I ask it through your sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to you that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan you had to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey.

I ask it by all your care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during your second journey, when you were ordered to return to your own country. I ask it by your peaceful life in Nazareth where you did meet with so many joys and sorrows.

I ask it by your great distress when the adorable Child was lost to you and His Mother for three days. I ask it by your joy at finding Him in the Temple, and by the comfort you found at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus. I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to you.

I ask it by the perfect love and conformity you showed in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary. I ask it by the joy which filled your soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led you into it with special honors.

I ask it through Mary’s glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness you have with her in the presence of God.

O good father! I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask.
(make your request)

Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Amen.

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus, Holy Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, powerful intercessor and patron, Please Pray for us!

In Christ,

M.A. JMJ

Wednesdays Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph: Solemnity & Inauguration of Pope Francis

The Just Man Shall Blossom Like a Lily © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA photo

The Just Man Shall Blossom Like a Lily © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA photo

The just man shall blossom like the lily (Divine Office, Feast of St. Joseph).

Heaven and earth united in heartfelt joy yesterday, as the Solemnity of St. Joseph was celebrated as never before. On this solemn feast day, set aside to reverence the merits of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis was inaugurated as the 266th man chosen to fill the sandals of St. Peter, and Shepherd the Holy Catholic Church.

The Solemnity of St. Joseph has always been among my favorite feast days. I love St. Joseph, and especially since the death of my own father, have felt deep closeness to this formidable saint. I recognize his presence in my life, and the lives of my family, and feel a deep sense of gratitude for the gifts God bestows upon us, through his powerful intercession. As a family with deep ties to Carmelite Spirituality, St. Joseph is a revered patron. Several years ago, one of my sons specifically chose to make his First Holy Communion on the Feast of St. Joseph at Holy Hill Basilica, as a reflection of his devotion to this powerful saint. Celebration of St. Joseph’s feast is also therefore a celebration of that important anniversary in our family history. Thus, here in the middle of winter, and the long penitential weeks of Lent we revel in the joy of this great solemnity. St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite Holy Mother, directed that St. Joseph’s Feast be celebrated with the “highest Solemnity” in all of her monasteries, so great was her personal devotion to this beloved intercessor.

Our Prayers as Incense Rise © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA Photo

Our Prayers as Incense Rise © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA Photo

Who are we to argue with the Holy Mother? As this special feast was accentuated by the inauguration of our new Papa, Pope Francis, yesterday we celebrated in grand fashion. The older kids, three Labrador Retrievers and I camped on the family room floor in front of the T.V. to watch the Inauguration Mass; it began at 3 a.m. our time. Outside, the wind howled and the thermometer read a balmy 11 degrees Fahrenheit (with wind chill we were definitely subzero). Our dogs eagerly shared their floor space with the kids and I as we huddled around the television to witness history and to pray for our new supreme pontiff. The Holy Mass was beautiful! We were particularly moved by the scene of our Holy Father praying outside of the tomb of St. Peter, and the long procession of cardinals prior to Mass – an unbroken succession stretching from the tomb of he who had been told by Our Lord: “You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it! (Matthew 16:18)”- through Pope Francis and extending toward the horizon of the future.

Carmelite Community Singing "Salve Regina" at the Basilca of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA photo

Carmelite Community Singing “Salve Regina” at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA photo

Later, we headed to Holy Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill to celebrate with the Carmelite Community. Our prayers rose with incense in the sanctuary at Holy Hill, just as the prayers of 1,000,000 Catholics rose in St. Peter’s square as Pope Francis celebrate Mass there. Truly from sunrise to sunset a perfect offering is made around the world, and Heaven and Earth united in glory, praise and thanksgiving to the one True, Triune God. The mystery of salvation is unfathomable and wondrous to contemplate!

After Holy Mass we headed home and celebrated with a few little treats throughout the day, as we embarked upon our daily tasks – homeschool, chores, and prayer. At meals we chatted eagerly about our new Pope – enumerating his virtues: humility, wisdom, simplicity, poverty of spirit, compassion, zeal. . . . The children and I have been impressed by the manner in which Pope Francis conveys the relevance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The EWTN footage of the Holy Father winding through St. Peters Square yet stopping to greet a disabled gentleman and kiss babies moved us all as profoundly beautiful and relevant. Like St. Joseph, Pope Francis possesses the unique ability to demonstrate the Gospel through actions even in moments of verbal silence. As our family discussed our aspirations for Pope Francis and shared hopes for the renewal of our Church, it became evident that among the Christian community there is a hunger for the authentic Gospel, and even in his first few days as pontiff this Holy Father is truly feeding and leading his sheep as commanded by Christ.

Habemus Papam!

Habemus Papam!

For a taste of the spiritual direction that Pope Francis has already offered his flock, I invite you to read the full text of yesterday’s inaugural homily: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TxSJa5tpCmE/UUiX0aZByRI/AAAAAAAAPLo/ouDCTY_j1l8/s1600/pf1in3.jpg (provided through Whispers in Loggia) and the full text of his Lenten message as Cardinal Bergoglio http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XBNBP3VukYE/UUmB35e6ZXI/AAAAAAAAPME/6HL5faPfS-8/s1600/f1sbi.jpg .

All Creation Gives You Glory, O Lord of Hosts © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

All Creation Gives You Glory, O Lord of Hosts © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Yes, just as St. Teresa of Avila specified, our Feast of St. Joseph was commemorated with the “highest Solemnity”: we witnessed the Inauguration of the Holy Father, assisted at Holy Mass, attended to our daily duties, and celebrated with sweet treats on a cold, blustery March 19th. As twilight turned to night, a herd of nine deer munched seed from the bird feeders on our back porch, we gazed through the window at their serenity as we enjoyed a slice of blackberry cheesecake and chocolate éclairs in honor of the sweetness of the feast day. A single flame glowed in the St. Joseph candle on the kitchen table, as together in gratitude and supplication we prayed:

Celebrating the Sweet Joys of St. Joseph © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA Photo

Celebrating the Sweet Joys of St. Joseph © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013 EA Photo

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Please, St. Joseph, do assist me with your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, all possible spiritual blessings. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and the child Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls – Pray for me.

May the Holy Heart of St. Joseph be a source of blessing and inspiration for each of you and your loved ones. Happy Feast Day!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. JMJ

Wednesdays: Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph: Week 1: “Go To Joseph!”

To Jesus, Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

To Jesus, Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

Over a decade ago Fr. Redemptus Short, O.C.D., (a dear Carmelite friend and confessor) offered this sage counsel: “consecrate yourself and your family each and every day to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph.” Fr. Redemptus explained that St. Joseph’s Holy Heart is an abundant source of grace – though unfortunately one which is often over-looked – and he gently urged me to frequently enlist the powerful intercession of this beloved saint.

Fr. Redemptus Short, O.C.D., a wise and saintly Carmleite

Fr. Redemptus Short, O.C.D., my wise and saintly Carmelite friend, © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Whenever Fr. Redemptus spoke, I listened. He was always right. From that day forward I added the consecration to St. Joseph’s Holy Heart (in addition to the consecration to Jesus Sacred and Merciful Heart, and Mary’s Immaculate Heart) to my prayers at rising and retiring, and our family prayers at each meal. It didn’t take much convincing; for I have always had a deep devotion to St. Joseph. Who wouldn’t?

St. Joseph- The Strong, Silent, Righteous, Chaste, Protector of the Holy Family and the Universal Church © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

St. Joseph The Strong, Silent, Righteous, Chaste, Protector of the Holy Family and the Universal Church © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

I’ve always seen St. Joseph as the strong, silent, righteous, chaste, protector of the Holy Family, and of the Universal Church. Scripture and tradition portray St. Joseph as the Just Man, full of compassion toward Mary, and unwilling to expose her to the penalty of the law (Matthew 1:19). He is seen as a practical man, a laborer who provides for his family by the sweat of his brow. Yet St. Joseph also possesses the heart of a philosopher and a theologian: he is willing to reflect on his dreams and act upon them in accordance with God’s plan for not only himself, but also for those whom he has been given the responsibility to protect (Matthew 1: 20-24, Matthew 2:13-14). St. Joseph is thorough and decisive: he immediately acts upon the command to flee with the Christ-Child and His Mother that is given in a dream by the Angel of the Lord (Matthew 2:13-14). Yes, St. Joseph is a wise and intrepid protector, but the quintessential virtue of his character is the depth of his love, a love contained within his Holy Heart.

St. Joseph’s profound capacity for authentic love is evident throughout each of the scriptural passages where he is mentioned. In the few short lines of Matthew 2:18-20, we can sense his agony as St. Joseph grapples with a decision to divorce his betrothed unobtrusively, rather than expose her publicly to the capital penalty of the law. He is a just and righteous man, whose human heart must have ached with a sense of betrayal upon discovering Mary’s untimely pregnancy. Yet, scripture offers no hint of a desire for revenge, nor sense of rage. Rather, we see that out of love, St. Joseph is willing to act in a way that will preserve his righteousness, while preventing Mary from being stoned to death for this out of wed-lock birth.

The Quintessential Virtue of St. Joesph's Character is His Holy Capacity for Love © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

The Quintessential Virtue of St. Joseph’s Character is His Holy Capacity for Love © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

Each time the Angel of the Lord speaks to St. Joseph, his reaction is swift and decisive. He does exactly what the angel commands – immediate obedience. Again, Joseph demonstrates a great capacity for love – he loves God, and is willing to put aside his own human goals, plans, desires, dreams and hopes, and in their stead to embrace the will of God. He accepts Mary’s baby as His own, and loves Him with the deepest love a human father can offer. The physical danger of fleeing Herod’s soldiers, the voluntary exile to Egypt, the daily chores and labor requisite to feed and shelter his family were all embraced within a spirit of holy love.

As Joseph absorbs the predictions of Simeon for both Jesus and Mary, his mind must have been flooded with questions. Scripture tells us: “The Child’s parents were amazed at what was said about Him (Luke 2:33).” Yet, Joseph rests neither in awe nor trepidation. Rather, he chooses to trust God, and thus embarks upon the task of raising the Christ-Child, Who in turn “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him (Luke 2:40).” St. Joseph’s strength and protection, rooted in love, were essential components of the family structure within which God had elected to raise His Divine Son, Jesus.

I can only imagine the depth of anxiety Joseph and Mary experienced searching for the young missing Jesus after the Passover celebration (Luke 2: 41-52). Every parent’s worst nightmare is a missing child. It was pure love that propelled Joseph and Mary to search rigorously for three days – days replete with grief, frustration and exhaustion. The explanation: “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house (Luke 2:49)?” must have seemed incomprehensible at the moment. Yet, because of love, the Holy Family was able to move beyond the exasperation of an agonizing search, and return to Nazareth to live in peace.

St. Joseph, Patron of a Holy Death, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

St. Joseph, Patron of a Holy Death, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

It is precisely because of St. Joseph’s capacity for unconditional love that God the Heavenly Father chose him to head the Holy Family. God the Father willed that St. Joseph be placed in authority over His Divine Son. He willed that St. Joseph would teach the Christ-child – in both word and example – what it meant to be a human man.

God the Father instilled an abundant capacity for love in the Holy Heart of St. Joseph. Through his intercession, we too may receive a plenitude of grace – both temporal and supernatural.

St. Teresa of Avila possessed an abiding devotion to St. Joseph, and instructed those in her care to “Go to St. Joseph” with their necessities.

St. Teresa of Avila, The Holy Mother © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

St. Teresa of Avila, The Holy Mother © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

In Chapter 6 of her Autobiography, St. Teresa states:

“I took for my advocate and lord the glorious Saint Joseph and commended myself earnestly to him; and I found that this my father and lord delivered me both from this trouble and also from other and greater troubles concerning my honor and the loss of my soul, and that he gave me greater blessings than I could ask of him. I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which He has freed me, both in body and in soul. To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succor us in some of our necessities but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succors us in them all and that the Lord wishes to teach us that as He was Himself subject to him on earth (for, being His guardian and being called His father, he could command Him) just so in Heaven He still does all that he asks. This has also been the experience of other persons whom I have advised to commend themselves to him; and even to-day there are many who have great devotion to him through having newly experienced this truth.”

St. Joseph is a powerful protector, patron and intercessor. As such, I am initiating a new series on this blog: “Wednesdays: Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph.” This series will be an attempt to combine prayer, theology, philosophy, reflection, photography, and art to render glory and honor to God, by focusing on the merits of the Holy Heart of St. Joseph.

May St. Joseph carry you and yours in his Holy Heart with the tenderness with which he carried the Christ-Child in his capable arms.

May St. Joseph Carry You and Yours in His Holy Heart as He Carried the Christ-Child in His Capable Arms © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

May St. Joseph Carry You and Yours in His Holy Heart as He Carried the Christ-Child in His Capable Arms © SalveMaterDei.com 2013

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. JMJ

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Please Pray for Us! (Novena)

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

“In order that Love may be fully satisfied it must needs

stoop to very nothingness and transform that nothingness into fire (Story of a Soul, Chapter XI).”

St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, remains one of the most beloved of all the saints. In 1888, this young sister entered the Carmelite Cloister (with the special permission of the Holy Father himself) at the tender age of 15; she died a mere 9 years later. Therese longed to be a missionary, an apostle, and a prophet,- to travel to each of the continents spreading the Gospel of Christ, yet her plans were not God’s plans. She would indeed travel to the five continents, and spread the love of Christ, but it would be after her death, in the hearts of those who sought Christ through her “Little Way.” I was present in October of 1999 when her relics arrived at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill, as they continued in pilgrimage around the world. Hundreds of thousands of faithful were introduced to her unique path to sanctity during this world-wide tour, and the shower of grace continues.

Young Therese petitioning the Pope Leo XIII for entrance to Carmel at the age of 15. This beautiful stained glass window is one of a series on the life of the saint that will soon grace the St. Therese Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

As her life in the Carmel of Lisieux unfolded, St. Therese soon realized that her ultimate vocation was a call to love within the heart of the Church. In her short time in Carmel, she perfected her “Little Way,”- a path of love which leads right to the Door of Heaven. St. Therese found that offering her weakness and littleness to God was as mighty and heroic as magnificent deeds beyond her call.

In Chapter 4 of her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, St. Therese states:

“Jesus made me understand that the true, the only glory is that which will last forever; that to attain it we need not perform wonderful deeds, but rather those hidden from the eyes of others and self, so that the ‘left hand knoweth not what the right hand doth (Matthew 6:3).’”

St. Therese states, “I am a very little soul who can offer only very little things to the Good God. . . (The Story of a Soul, Ch. X).” The Little Flower realized that mighty heroic deeds as a missionary were not what had been planned for her from all eternity. No, her daily sacrifice of the mundane, her authentic humility, and unwavering love brought the Little Flower into full communion with her beloved spouse. “Love alone have I ever given to the good God, and with love He will repay me (Story of a Soul,Chapter XIII).”

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Stained Glass Window from the Chapel in the Carmelite Monastery in Denmark, WI. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Therese discovered the intense mystery of Love in the simplicity of daily duty. As St. Therese made an “Act of Oblation to Merciful Love,” she completely abandoned herself to the merciful love of Christ. She lived, suffered, and died, united to her beloved spouse. She became little so that the Almighty might reveal His glory through her humility.

Pope Pius X called St. Therese: “the greatest saint of modern times.” In 1927, Pope Pius XI named St. Therese the patroness of the missions, and in 1944 Pope Pius XII placed her beside her beloved St. Joan of Arc, in naming her co-patroness of France. On October 19, 1997, Blessed Pope John Paul the Great declared St. Therese to be one of the thirty-four doctors of the Universal Church, in his Apostolic Letter Divini Amoris Scientia(The Science of Divine Love).

Among her ardent admirers have included such souls as: Pope John Paul I (Cardinal Albino Luciano), Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Guiseppe Moscati, and St. Maximillian Kolbe. This remarkable young woman, and her “Little Way” have greatly influenced a myriad of souls. As St. Therese predicted, a shower of roses, a plentitude of grace, is often granted to those who earnestly seek her intercession with the God whom she loved and served so well while on Earth.

St. Therese statue at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

In preparation for her Feast Day, celebrated on October 1, please consider joining me in the following novena, which begins today:

Eternal Father, I thank you for the graces you have bestowed upon St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. I offer you the Precious Blood of Jesus in gratitude for the beauty of her soul. Thank you for preserving her baptismal innocence and instilling in her a burning love for You. Thank You for calling St. Therese to the sweet sacrificial life of Carmel. Thank You for giving her the grace to live as a beloved and faithful spouse of Christ, and a spiritual mother to many souls.

Please fill my heart with the grace of a humble child-like love, so that like the Little Flower, I may live in Your friendship and enjoy the gift of everlasting bliss in Your Heavenly presence. Please grant me the spiritual and temporal graces that I need to live in imitation of this saint whom I so deeply admire, especially the grace which I request in this novena, if it be for the good of my soul and in accord with Your Divine Will (mention your request here). I place my petition in the hands of the Little Flower, and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin. Amen. (One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be).

May St. Therese of Lisieux, intercede for us and send a shower of roses upon all those who invoke her intercession.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. JMJ

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Please Pray for Us!

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is rapidly approaching. This feast commemorates the vision granted by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock on the evening of July 15, 1251. St. Simon Stock was the Prior General of the Carmelite Order at Ayelsford in Kent, England. On that momentous night, Our Lady visited St. Simon in a vision, and promised: “This shall be to thee and all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.”Our Lady then gave St. Simon the long brown scapular that is the garment of their order. Carmelites have worn it and graciously shared it ever since. As a result of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s gift and the diligent work of the Carmelites, miracles and grace abound.

This fruitful practice is highly regarded by a myriad of saints. For example, the magnificent Jesuit preacher, Saint Claude de la Colombiere, once claimed that the premiere devotion to Our Lady was that of the Brown Scapular. He insisted: “No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular.” Pope John Paul the Great is also among the numerous saints who found grace in reverencing the Brown Scapular and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Thus, of all the avenues through which we venerate the Blessed Virgin, it is justifiable that my favorite is the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Over the years I have sought our Lady’s aide perpetually. I call upon her maternal blessing for everything from daily mundane concerns to matters of life and death urgency. Each and every time I invoke our dear Blessed Mother, I am assured of her intercession. I truly feel her maternal blessing upon me and mine, as I grow in confidence and grace.

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel has never failed me- whether my necessity is trivial or substantial, I always receive the comfort of a response to my petition. It is not always the answer I seek, but without fail it unmistakably bears hallmark of her intercession. Even when my petition is answered in a manner that differs from my aspired end, there is a sense of peace that accompanies its resolution.

 

 

Currently, I am requesting her intervention in a confidential and substantial matter. I am confident that the very same “Our Lady of Mount Camel” who heard the prayers of St. Therese, St. Teresa of Avila, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Alphonse Ligouri, Saint Claude de la Colombiere, Blessed Pope John Paul the Great and countless other saints and holy pilgrims on earth, will present my poor petition before the Throne of Her Divine Son, Jesus. With certainty, I know that Our Lady of Mount Carmel will embrace my petition and yours, and through her maternal aide, God’s Holy Will shall be accomplished in time and eternity for each of us. Assured of the Blessed Virgin’s compassionate, maternal intercession, I know that Our Lady of Mount Carmel will secure for each of us the graces of which we each stand in the most need, and thus obtain the best possible response to the hopes we cherish in our hearts.

Please consider joining me in praying together this powerful novena throughout these nine days in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I assure you that I shall pray for your intentions as well as mine during these significant days in preparation of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

First Day
O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!
(pause and mention petitions)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

 

 

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

A Double Portion of His Spirit

Carmelite Coat of Arms © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. EA photographer

Sitting in my back yard, watching the sun dip below the swaying trees I feel the magnitude of God’s embrace. It has been a beautiful Summer day. As is our habit, we assisted at morning Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill. This marvelous Shrine, entrusted to the Discalced Carmelites was a fitting place for today’s Mass. Today’s First Reading (2 Kings 2:1, 6-14.) is one of my favorites, and it deals with the glorious departure of the spiritual Father of the Carmelites: the prophet Elijah.

Elijah is about to be taken up into heaven in a whirlwind and Elisha is grieving at the thought of losing his friend and mentor. Elijah the holy prophet whose miraculous works include: defending the one true God against the idol worshipers of Baal, saving the widow of Zarephath and her son from certain death, confronting King Ahab over the murderous theft of the vineyard of Naboth, let alone calling down fire from heaven and raising the dead. Elijah is a pure instrument of God; his love is so deep that his unity with God allows miraculous events to unfold- even in ordinary times and places.

As Elisha and Elijah walk on toward the Jordan, a group of about 50 guild prophets trail behind to watch. As they are crossing the Jordon River to which God had been directing Elijah:

“Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water, which divided and both crossed over on dry ground. As they crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha answered, ‘May I receive a double portion of your spirit?’ ‘You have asked something that is not easy,’ Elijah replied, ‘Still, if you see me taken up from you your wish will be granted; otherwise not (2 Kings 2: 8-10) .’”

They crossed over on dry ground. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. KJ photographer

I can only imagine Elisha’s grief and trepidation as they walked along. Elisha loved God, and knew well how perfectly Elijah conformed himself to God’s grace. He had witnessed firsthand God’s mighty works through this holy prophet. As they miraculously crossed the Jordon on dry land, Elisha had to have known that the most profound moment of his life was about to occur. He realized that as Elijah’s earthly journey was about to end, that a transformation in his own role as prophet and servant was about to occur.

It is thus that he asked Elijah for a “double portion of his spirit.” This was not a self-serving, prideful request to be greater than the master. No, on the contrary, Elisha revered Elijah as a spiritual father, and was requesting the grace to carry on as his heir. In keeping with the inheritance rubrics of the period, Elisha is merely asking to be recognized as the legitimate heir of Elijah. In those days it was the custom that the eldest son, the legal heir, be given a “double portion” of the father’s inheritance. Thus, if a patriarch were to leave behind 3 sons, his estate would be divided into quarters, with the eldest son receiving two portions, and the other sons each receiving one. Here, the estate that Elisha seeks is not a treasury of gold, but rather of grace.

Elijah makes it clear that this is a profound request. Yet, while they are conversing,

© SalveMaterDei.com, 2012. KJ photographer

“a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. When Elisha saw what happened, he cried out, ‘My father, my father! Israel’s chariots and drivers!’ But when he could no longer see him, Elisha gripped his own garment and tore it in two (2 Kings 2: 11-12).”

Like his garment, his heart must have been equally rent, yet with the grace from the Spirit of God, he was able to accept his role as heir and move on. He picked up Elijah’s mantle that had fallen from him, and walked back to the banks of the Jordon.

“Wielding the mantle that had fallen from Elijah, Elisha struck the water in his turn and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” Then Elisha struck the water; it divided and he crossed over (2 Kings 2:14).”

How often we find ourselves in the place of Elisha? God asks us to let go of what is dear, and trust that His grace will be sufficient. He calls us to journey with Him, and to accept the roles He envisions for us, His servants. It is then, that like Elisha, we must seek and call on Him by name, requesting a “double portion” of His Spirit. St. Therese of Lisieux wrote that she asked God for a “double portion” of the spirit of all the saints in heaven, so that she might have the grace to do His will. With the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, we too can have the grace to live as heirs of the Kingdom of God. At times, it is difficult to move past the human emotions that mark the passage of time, yet it is only in so doing that we can become the heirs to the grace and legacy that He has chosen for each of us from the dawn of eternity.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Jesus, I Trust In You!

Jesus, I Trust in You! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 E.A. photographer

“My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, especially for poor sinners. . . .It is for them that the blood and water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. I dwell in the tabernacle as the King of Mercy (1216, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul,

Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

We are nearing the culmination of this Octave of Easter Week: the Feast of Divine Mercy. It has been as glorious week, with each day celebrated as a mini-Easter. We have prepared with both the Novena of Mercy Chaplets, and the special novena dictated by Our Lord Himself to St. Maria Faustina in preparation for this incredible feast.

Today marks the last day of the Novena of Chaplets. This novena is prayed on ordinary Rosary Beads. Complete instructions regarding the Novena of Chaplets can be found on the Divine Mercy website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php

Today we also complete the final day of the Divine Mercy Novena dictated by Jesus to St. Maria Faustina. For each of the past eight days, Our Lord requested that Sr. Faustina pray for a given group of souls, immersing them in the unfathomable mercy of Christ and then pleading for them before the throne of the Heavenly Father. On this the ninth day of the novena, Our Lord appealed to Sr. Faustina as follows:

Divine Mercy Image

“Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them the last hope of Salvation is to run to My Mercy (1216, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul,

Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

For the complete text of the ninth day of the novena, please visit the Divine Mercy Website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/ninthday.php.

Jesus describes souls such as these in several places in the Diary. At times they are also compared to ice and corpses. Our Lord mentions that the indifferences of these souls offends Him greatly, especially when they are chosen souls. Regarding these souls He states:

All the Graces I Pour on Them Flow Off. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

“. . . . Souls without love and without devotion, souls full of self-love and egoism, souls full of pride and arrogance, souls full of deceit and hypocrisy, lukewarm souls who have just enough warmth to keep themselves alive. My Heart cannot bear this. All the graces I pour on them flow off them as off the face of a rock. I cannot stand them because they are neither good nor bad….. (1702, p. 602 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Yikes, those words sting! When I look deep within my own soul, I see those moments of arrogance, and hypocrisy, and I shudder to think that Our Lord might be speaking of me! I don’t want to be lukewarm! I certainly do not want to be the cause of Our Lord’s loathing.

Our Lord speaks of these souls on another occasion:

I Would Lavish Great Graces Uopn Them. . . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 E.A. Photographer

“If souls would put themselves completely in My care, I Myself would undertake the task of sanctifying them, and I would lavish even greater graces upon them. There are souls who thwart My efforts, but I have not given up on them; as often as they turn to Me, I hurry to their aid, shielding them with My mercy and giving them first place in My compassionate Heart of Mercy (1682p. 595 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Our Lord’s love and mercy are immeasurable! He desires to save us, and offers each of us the opportunity to accept the gift of His mercy. This great feast was instituted as not only a celebration of God’s Divine Mercy, but also a vehicle to obtain it.

Jesus was very specific regarding the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy, speaking about it through 14 entries in St. Faustina’s diary. He stipulated that it was to be liturgically celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, and that it include the solemn blessing of a Divine Mercy image bearing the words “Jesus, I trust in You!” (For more information on the Divine Mercy Image and Mercy Sunday, visit the Marians of the Immaculate Conception website at: http://thedivinemercy.org/mercysunday/dms.php.)

Our Lord stated:

Divine Mercy Image, Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 E.A. Photographer

“I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it (341 p. 153 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).

Jesus promised St. Faustina:

“I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy (1109 p. 412 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

This promise is extraordinary! Blessed Pope John Paul the Great officially instituted Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000, and reiterated the importance of this feast in His homily a year later.

As Our Lord designated the 3 O’clock hour as the Hour of Mercy stating:

“At three O’clock , implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter fully into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the souls that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (1320 p. 474 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On Mercy Sunday special Masses will be celebrated around the world to commemorate this solemn feast. Our Lord especially requested that priests preach on the subject of the immense Mercy of Jesus the Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.

To celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy we need to:

Our Lives Too Must Reflect the Image of Christ's Divine Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

A) Sincerely repent of our sins.

(B) Offer our complete Trust to Jesus.

(C) Sacramentally Confess our sins and be Absolved – (within 8 days prior or after).

(D) Receive Holy Communion.

(E) Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

(F) Venerate (show a gesture of respect) to the Image of the Divine Mercy Jesus.

(G) Be Merciful! Extend Our Lord’s mercy to others by being merciful.

This great feast is an extraordinary celebration of the love and mercy of Christ. Unimaginable graces are poured out upon the whole world through it. Rejoice! Celebrate!

He Is Risen!

He is Truly Risen Indeed!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

Secretary of Mercy

St. Maria Faustina grew up on a farm. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 E.A. Photo

Our Lord chose to reveal the depths of His Mercy to a young, uneducated Polish nun named Sr. Faustina Kowalska in the 1930’s. From her childhood, Helena Kowalska was a well-balanced, obedient, and pious young lady. She was the third child in a family of ten – a child accustomed the both the arduous labor and poverty of farm life. Helena was only able to attend formal schooling for three winters, as her help was needed on the family farm. From the age of fourteen she worked as a domestic servant, caring for the children of wealthier families in the nearby cities of Aleksandrow and Lodz.

From the tender age of 7, Our Lord had given Helena the grace to understand she was called to religious life. Since Helena’s family rejected her desire to become a nun, she attempted to stifle the call, willingly accepted her position as a domestic servant, and developed friendships among her peers. One day during a dance Helena attended with her sister, Our Lord revealed himself to Helena in a vision. He was suffering in agony, and cried out to Helena saying: “How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting me off (9, p. 7– Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987)?”

St. Maria Faustina, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

With her entrance into the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, on August 1, 1925, Helena Kowalska became Sr. Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament. As soon as the veil was put on Sr. Faustina’s head, Our Lord immediately enlightened her soul regarding what she would have to suffer. Sr. Maria Faustina remained a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy until her death – a mere 13 years later – at the age of 33, on October 5, 1938.

Throughout those next 13 years, Our Lord shaped and modeled St. Faustina’s soul to closely resemble His own. He stated: “Your life is to be modeled on Mine, from the crib to My death on the cross (438, p. 193 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

This simple, pious sister, who was the gardener, cook and porter for the community, was also Our Lord’s chosen Apostle and Secretary of Mercy. Though possessing no more than three winters of formal education, St. Faustina would pen a 600+ page diary containing some of the most profound insights regarding Our Lord’s Divine Mercy ever written.

One of the scholars who would later study and champion St. Faustina’s work, was a Polish kinsman, a certain Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. In 1981, Pope John Paul II published an encyclical, Dives MisericordiaRich in Mercy, in which the Holy Father drew from the theme of Divine Mercy present in St. Faustina’s Diary- Divine Mercy in My Soul. On April 18, 1993, Pope John Paul II Beatified Sr. Faustina; and seven years later, on Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina as the first saint of that Jubilee year.

St. Faustina’s entire mission was to convey to the world the unfathomable Mercy of Christ. Over the years, Our Lord revealed much to her.

My Mercy is Greater than the Sins of the World. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 E.A. Photo

On one occasion He stated: “My mercy is greater than your sins and the sins of the whole world. . . . I never reject a contrite heart (1485, p. 524 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

On another: “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet (699, p. 286 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Likewise He stated: “My mercy is greater than your sins, and those of the whole world (1485, p. 438 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Blessed Are The Merciful, for Mercy Shall Be Theirs. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Our Lord made it clear that mercy was His gift to an aching humanity, but that this gift must recognized, accepted, and acted upon. We must return mercy for the mercy that has been granted to us. Jesus states: “If a soul does not exercise mercy in some way it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment (1317, p. 473 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).

Our Savior cautions: “My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (1588, p. 564 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

Jesus also warns: “He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice (1146, p. 420 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

As we prepare to celebrate the great Feast of Divine Mercy, initiated by Our Lord, and instituted by Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, let us continue with the eighth day of the Novena of Chaplets. For complete instructions please visit the Divine Mercy website run by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php.

Today we also continue with the eighth day of the preparatory novena dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina. Each day He instructed Sr. Faustina to bring a certain group of souls into the abyss of His mercy by means of prayer, and likewise to intercede for them before the throne of God the Father.

On the eighth day of the novena, Jesus requested of St. Faustina:

May His Mercy Endure Forever! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 KJ Photographer

“Today bring Me souls who are in the prison of Purgatory and immerse them into the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice (1226, p. 441 – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Congregation of Marians, 1987).”

For the complete text of the eighth day of the novena, please visit the Divine Mercy Website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/eighthday.php.

One of the greatest ways we can share the Mercy of Christ with others is to pray for them. Thus, praying for the souls in Purgatory is a worthy act of mercy. Together with St. Maria Faustina let us immerse the suffering souls in the abyss of God’s mercy, and beg Our Heavenly Father to look upon then in no other way, but through the wounds of Jesus.

May the Risen Christ bless you and yours abundantly,

Praise the Lord for He is Risen!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!

Ad Jesum per Mariam

M.A. J.M.J.

The Just Man Shall Blossom Forever Like the Lily. . . .

St. Joseph, Please Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Happy Feast of St. Joseph! This is one of my favorite feasts. Our beloved Carmelite Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, directed that St. Joseph’s Feast be celebrated with utmost joy of the highest of solemnities. Who am I to argue with the Holy Mother? How awesome of Our Good Lord to offer His foster father’s feast as an oasis in our penitential sojourn through the desert of Lent.

Little is known about the chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin. No direct quotes from Sacred Scripture can be attributed to St. Joseph. He did not make lofty speeches, nor was he a celebrated theologian. Instead, St. Joseph worked hard, sacrificed much, dreamed dreams, and loved deeply. Thus, he is the Patron of the Universal Catholic Church,

Protect them O, Lord! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Today is my little Joseph’s feast. It also happens to be the anniversary of his First Holy Communion. One of my favorite Joseph stories took place when he was the tender age of six. It was the feast of the Holy Family, and we were kneeling in prayer during those precious moments of sacred silence prior to the celebration of Holy Mass. My little Joseph nudged me, and with all earnestness whispered, “Mom, why did God make St. Joseph with cinnamon?” Quizzically, I looked down at his solemn little face, and said, “Sweetie, God most certainly did not make St. Joseph with cinnamon.” To which my indignant little man replied, “I did NOT ask why God made St. Joseph with cinnamon, I asked why God made St. Joseph with Sin – in – him; you know Mom, because He made the Blessed Virgin without Sin-in- Her.” WOW! God is amazing! How magnificent of Him to place such questions with the hearts of mere children. Like St. Joseph, my little Joseph was responding to the love of God with a grace that could have only come from above.

Why is it that so many of us mothers name our sons after St. Joseph? Surely we seek his unparalleled protection for our cherished progeny. Cognizant that God Himself chose St. Joseph to safeguard His Divine Son and the Blessed Virgin, we reason that St. Joseph will likewise shelter our sons from harm.

However, our decision to choose St. Joseph as a patron does not end with our confidence in his powerful protection. Rather, we choose him in part because we hope our sons will emulate his example. We see St. Joseph as the strong, silent man, who would willingly sacrifice his well-earned reputation, to do the right thing. We admire St. Joseph the Worker, and pray our sons will likewise be industrious in the service of the Lord. We stand in awe of St. Joseph’s ability to act on his dreams, and respond to the slightest whisper of God’s Holy Will. We recognize that God Himself trusted St. Joseph to guard the purity of the Blessed Virgin, and pray the Lord will also give our sons the grace to not only remain chaste, but also to guard the purity of those entrusted to them. We see in St. Joseph the model father, who derives his authority from God the Father, and exercises it with gentleness and humility, and can ask no greater gift for our young men as well. In St. Joseph we appreciate a life of service and uncompromised love, and desire that our sons too may be willing to sacrifice all for the Love of God.

Window from Maternity of the Blessed Virgin, Richfield © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

On this Feast of St. Joseph, honor him by telling a Joseph in your life how much he resembles his Holy Patron, and pray to St. Joseph for his intercession for the blessing this special man needs to live in the Grace of God. Join me in praying this nearly 2,000 year old prayer to the beloved foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great,

so strong, so prompt before the throne of God,

I place in you all my interests and desires.

Please, St. Joseph, do assist me with your powerful intercession,

And obtain for me from your Divine Son all possible spiritual blessings.

So that having engaged here below your heavenly power,

I may offer thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers.

St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you,

and the Child Jesus asleep in your arms.

Press Him in my name.

Kiss his fine head for me,

and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, I place my petitions in thy tender care.

I consecrate myself and my family to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph. St. Joseph, please pray for us! Happy Feast Day!

Blessings,

Ad Jesus per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.