St. Andrew Christmas Novena begins November 30th

The St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena begins November 30th. It is piously believed that if you say this prayer fifteen times a day from November 30th (The Feast Day of St. Andrew, the Apostle) until December 24th, you will obtain what you prayed for. I think that the usual conditions apply: that it be in accordance with God’s will, that it not be detrimental to your salvation, and if it requires some effort on your part, that you do that (i.e. job hunting, finding a spouse, etc.) It is believed to have originated in Ireland in the late 19th Century.

You might think that fifteen times a day is difficult. I break it up: fives times with my Morning Prayers, five times with my Evening Prayers, and perhaps five times during the 3 PM Hour of Mercy or at bedtime. 

Here it is:

St. Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

[Pray this prayer 15 times daily from November 30-December 24 for your special intention]

I just remembered that I blogged about it last year.

 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Immaculate Conception Novena begins today

Today begins the Immaculate Conception Novena (November 29 through December 7th. It’s all right if you get this too late and begin it on November 30th, it’ll end on December 8th, the actual Feast Day.)

The Church teaches that the Blessed Virgin Mary was exempt from Original Sin by virtue of the anticipated merits of the death and resurrection of her Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is entirely fitting with the prerogatives of God the Father, for Whom all things are possible. And it is perfectly in keeping with what Scripture says regarding the Fall of Adam and Eve and the subsequent tainting of our human nature with Original Sin. Everyone is born with Original Sin which is cleansed from us by Baptism, and all those who are not baptized are essentially subject to the Devil’s rule. If Mary was subject to Satan from contracting Original Sin, then so would Jesus when He was conceived. This is untenable and thus Mary was preserved from that Sin. Given that Jesus only had genetic material from Mary, this gets around the obvious counterpoint that well, why wasn’t just Jesus preserved? That is possible, but only if He had also received genetic material from Joseph, as well. But Joseph was not His biological father. The Holy Spirit ‘fathered’ Jesus. How could the Holy Spirit espouse Himself to a person enslaved by Original Sin? That is as untenable as the idea of Jesus being under Satan’s rule! Therefore, unless Jesus was the biological son of both Joseph and Mary, His Mother had to be preserved from Original Sin. To think otherwise is blasphemy and anathema! 

An additional point is also made that wouldn’t God, Who knew from all Eternity His plan of Salvation, and decided that His Son would be born of a woman rather than Incarnate as a mighty king and lord fully grown, wouldn’t He have taken great pains to decide upon the formation of she who would bear His Son? If YOU had the opportunity to design your own mother, wouldn’t YOU insist that she the among the most beautiful, intelligent, and talented of all? One of the Ten Commandments holds that we should “Honor our Father and Mother,” well, wouldn’t God also follow that? Even one was to declare that He is not subject to His own Commandments and laws, why wouldn’t He follow that one at least, to provide an example?

EWTN has a nice Novena. You can find it here: EWTN Immaculate Conception Novena.

As sober Catholics, we should have a particular devotion to Our Immaculate Mother. What better person to unite our prayers and suffering to than a wholly pure and stainless one? Especially considering the depth of our own sins? Our loving Mother care for us and like any good Mama, dusts us off, washes us clean with her prayers and intercessions and present us to her Son. 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

A Vision of the Judgment Seat of God

In her diary, ‘Divine Mercy in my Soul,” St. Maria Faustina Kowalska writes of when she was given the gift of appearing before the judgement seat of God:

36 Once I was summoned to the judgment [seat] of God. I stood alone before the Lord. Jesus
appeared such as we know Him during His Passion. After a moment, His wounds
disappeared except for five, those in His hands, His feet and His side. Suddenly I saw the
complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to
God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for.
What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God! Jesus asked
me, Who are you? I answered, “I am Your servant, Lord.” You are guilty of one day of
fire in purgatory.
I wanted to throw myself immediately into the flames of
purgatory, but Jesus stopped me and said, Which do you prefer, suffer now for one
day in purgatory or for a short while on earth?
I replied, “Jesus, I want to suffer in
purgatory, and I want to suffer also the greatest pains on earth, even if it were until the end
of the world.” Jesus said, One [of the two] is enough; you will go back to earth, and
there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish My will and My
desires, and a faithful servant of Mine will help you to do this. Now, rest your head
on My bosom, on My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these
sufferings, because you will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else.
Know that you will have much, much to suffer, but don’t let this frighten you; I am
with you.

What a gift! To be given this opportunity before one dies to see yourself as God see you. Fully transparent, everything exposed in the light of God’s Justice. An opportunity to see ALL of your sins, flaws, faults, and “character defects,” and still have the time to do something about them.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

The Coming of the Lord

The season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. Although the obvious point of the season is the Nativity of Jesus, the Mass readings in the weeks leading up to Advent and then in Advent itself serve to remind us that there is not one, but two comings of Jesus Christ, Our Savior.

The First was when He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Second will be His Coming at the the end of time, the end of the Ages.

Advent is a time of Preparation. Just as the Lord God prepared the way of His only begotten Son by the Announcement to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, and later His arrival on the public scene by the preaching of John the Baptist, so to do we Catholic Christians announce the presence of the Lord to the World today.

Christmas is about His first Coming. His Birth and later Death as told in Scripture indicates that there will be a Second Coming. His first was that of an innocent babe destined to be judged and executed years later. His Second will be as glorious as the first was humble, and He will be the judge.

Jesus is coming. Are we prepared to meet Him? Are we ready for His Second Coming of Judgment, will He find Faith in our lives and hearts? For a more immediate basis are we even prepared to meet Him in the Blessed Sacrament when we go to Mass? We are not supposed to receive Him in the Eucharist if we knowingly have a mortal sin on our soul, or even a serious attachment to sin (we need to effectively amending our lives).

We all have “clean up our sides of the street”, to sweep up the messes of our past and recover a future and live as best we can in following His will.

Prepare for the Coming of Our Lord. Make room for Him in your heart, mind and soul.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

St. Faustina’s Vision of Purgatory Part 2

In Paragraph 21 of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s diary: “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Saint writes of when she was visited by a suffering soul :

21 …My superiors [probably Mother Leonard and Mother
Jane] sent me to the novitiate in Cracow. An inconceivable joy reigned in my soul. When
we arrived at the novitiate, Sister [Henry] was dying. A few days later she came to me
[in spirit, after her death] and bid me to go to the Mother Directress of Novices [Sister
Margaret] and tell her to ask her confessor, Father Rospond, to offer one Mass for
her and three ejaculatory prayers. At first I agreed, but the next day I decided I would not
go to Mother Directress, because I was not sure whether this had happened in a dream or in
reality. And so I did not go.

The following night the same thing was repeated more clearly; I had no more doubt. Still,
in the morning I decided not to tell the Directress about it unless I saw her [Sister Henry]
during the day. At once I ran into her in the corridor. She reproached me for not having
gone immediately, and a great uneasiness filled my soul. So I went immediately to Mother
Directress and told her everything that had happened to me. Mother responded that she
would take care of the matter. At once peace reigned in my soul, and on the third day this
sister came to me and said, “May God repay you.”

This serves as a useful reminder to always pray for the faithful departed, regardless of your thoughts as to the reasons. Never “rationalize” away a reason to pray. Yes, they might be in Heaven already, or the inspiration may be a strange thought. Prays for the dead are always a great act of charity.

For more information on St. Faustina, click here:

The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Walk onwards home

This morning’s Office of Readings for Saturday, 34th Week on Ordinary Time has a sermon by Saint Augustine which I take the following excerpt: “Let us sing Alleluia to God, who is good and frees us from evil”: “O! what a happy alleluia there, how carefree, how safe from all opposition, where nobody will be an enemy, where no-one will ever cease to be a friend! God’s praises sung there, sung here – here, by the anxious; there, by the carefree – here, by those who will die; there, by those who will live for ever – here, in hope; there, in reality – here, on our journey; there, in our homeland.

So now, my brethren, let us sing, not to delight our leisure, but to ease our toil. In the way that travellers are in the habit of singing, sing, but keep on walking. What does it mean, ‘keep on walking’? Go onward always – but go onward in goodness, for there are, according to the Apostle, some people who go ever onward from bad to worse. If you are going onward, you are walking; but always go onward in goodness, onward in the right faith, onward in good habits and behaviour. Sing, and walk onwards. “

(Via Universalis.)

The first few paragraphs deal with the toil of living on Earth and the necessity of tolerating the fears and anxieties that fill our lives. We cannot avoid them, in fact we pray daily the “Our Father” to help us cope with them. But St. Augustine exhorts us to put up with this life, for there is a better one to come. And then came the section I excerpted above.

Lovely words which should give us the strength and fortitude needed to keep us going, to keep us on the right path, so that eventually we will arrive home, the place where there is no sorrow or suffering, where we are never parted from our loved ones.

Think about that. This desire for Heaven is an excellent manner to rid ourselves of our tendency to sin. While we still will sin, we at least will have a better purpose of amending our lives to increase its holiness. The desire for Heaven can cause us to be detached from this Earth and its “pleasures.” The delayed gratification and satisfaction of Heaven may cause us to not seek the immediate gratification of our sinful (and addictive) actions.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are very slowly being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

St. Faustina’s Vision of Purgatory Part 1

In Paragraph 20 of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s diary: “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Saint writes of a vision of Purgatory that the Lord permitted her to see:

20…I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I
was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They
were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The
flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave
me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me
in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the
souls in Purgatory. The souls call her “The Star of the Sea.” She brings them refreshment. I
wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We
went out of that prison of suffering.[I heard and interior voice] which said, My mercy does
not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with
the suffering souls.

A “longing for God” was their greatest torment. They know Him, as they had already perceived Him when they endured their own individual Particular Judgment. And they can, according to some Catholic concepts of Purgatory, see a glimpse of Him off in their future. However, they are separated from Him by their sins, and the pain of that torments them. They long for Him, they desire Him, but cannot as yet be united to Him in the beautiful vision of Heaven. The pain burns.

Eventually the pain burns the stain of their sins away from their soul, and their longing for God purges them from any remaining attachment to their Earthly desires.

They will eventually be Home.

For more information on St. Faustina, click here:

The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Shutting out the fear of Death

An excerpt from “The treatise of St Cyprian on mortality, ‘Let us shut out the fear of death and meditate upon immortality'” contained in the Office of Readings for Friday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time: has encouraging words for those who long for Heaven: “We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there the exultant assembly of prophets, there the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There in triumph are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord’s command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure. My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.”

(Via Universalis.)

These are excellent words to meditate upon, for we should not have a fear of death. After all, it is just a passage through which we leave our Earthly exile and go home.

If desire for God and holiness can be turned into a prayer, then we can make one out of some of St. Cyprian’s words:

Oh, Heavenly Father, we beseech You with the groanings of our heart the longing we have for our true home with You. May Christ our Mediator see our resolve to finish the journey and “increase our faith.”(Luke 17:5) so that we may enter into your eternal Kingdom and see You and all the Saints in Heaven, together with our loved ones who have gone before us.

We ask you this in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Bringing to Light all Things Hidden

In the Office of Readings for Tuesday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time we read an excerpt from “A treatise of St Augustine on St John’s gospel – You will come to the spring and see light itself”: “When, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ comes and, as the apostle Paul says, brings to light things hidden in darkness and makes plain the secrets of the heart, so that everyone may receive his commendation from God, then lamps will no longer be needed. When that day is at hand, the prophet will not be read to us, the book of the Apostle will not be opened, we shall not require the testimony of John, we shall have no need of the Gospel itself. Therefore all Scriptures will be taken away from us, those Scriptures which in the night of this world burned like lamps so that we might not remain in darkness. When all these things are removed as no longer necessary for our illumination, and when the men of God by whom they were ministered to us shall themselves together with us behold the true and dear light without such aids, what shall we see? With what shall our minds be nourished? What will give joy to our gaze? Where will that gladness come from, which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, which has not even been conceived by the heart of man? What shall we see? I implore you to love with me and, by believing, to run with me; let us long for our heavenly country, let us sigh for our heavenly home, let us truly feel that here we are strangers.”

(Via Universalis.)

We realize that once we arrive at our true home, Heaven, we will no longer have any need for aids to know God and any for intermediary means to discern His will. We will be with Him, in our true selves (minus our human frailties and flaws, for nothing imperfect can enter into Heaven) and see Him as He is. The One who is “I Am Who Am” will be present in us and around us.

Take heart from the exhortation near the end of the passage, about how we should yearn for our heavenly home and how we are strangers here on Earth.

In this time just before Advent, we prepare for Christ’s Coming. We should also prepare for our homeward journey. Being in one-on-one intimacy with the Lord of All Creation should be incentive enough to do whatever it takes to get there.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are very slowly being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.

Litany for a Good Death

There is a prayer that you should add to your inventory of prayers, especially during November. This one is courtesy of Joseph Karl Publishing’s Blog and is entitled Litany For A Good Death.

Litany For A Good Death

O Lord Jesus, God of goodness and Father of mercies,
I draw nigh to Thee with a contrite and humble heart;
to Thee I recommend the last hour of my life,
and that judgment which awaits me afterwards,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my feet, benumbed with death,
shall admonish me that my course in this life is drawing to an end,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my hands, cold and trembling,
shall no longer be able to clasp the Crucifix,
and shall let it fall against my will on my bed of suffering,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my eyes, dim with trouble at the approach of death,
shall fix themselves on Thee, my last and only support,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my lips, cold and trembling,
shall pronounce for the last time Thy adorable Name,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my face, pale and livid,
shall inspire the beholders with pity and dismay;
when my hair, bathed in the sweat of death,
and stiffening on my head,
shall forebode my approaching end,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my ears, soon to be for ever shut to the discourse of men,
shall be open to the irrevocable decree which is to fix my doom for all eternity,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my imagination, agitated by dreadful specters,
shall be sunk in an abyss of anguish; when my soul,
affrighted with the sight of my iniquities and the terrors of Thy judgment,
shall have to fight against the Angel of darkness,
who will endeavor to conceal from my eyes Thy mercies,
and to plunge me into despair,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my poor heart, oppressed with suffering
and exhausted by its continual struggles with the enemies of its salvation,
shall feel the pangs of death,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When the last tear, the forerunner of my dissolution,
shall drop from my eyes, receive it as a sacrifice of expiation for my sins;
grant that I may expire the victim of penance;
and then in that dreadful moment,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my friends and relations, encircling my bed,
shall be moved with compassion for me,
and invoke Thy clemency in my behalf,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When I shall have lost the use of my senses;
when the world shall have vanished from my sight;
when my agonizing soul shall feel the sorrows of death,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my soul, trembling on my lips,
shall bid adieu to the world, and leave my body lifeless, pale and cold,
receive this separation as a homage in that last moment of my mortal life,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When at length my soul, admitted to Thy presence,
shall first behold the splendor of Thy Majesty,
reject it not, but receive me into Thy bosom,
where I may for ever sing Thy praises,

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

Let us Pray.

O God, Who hast doomed all men to die,
but hast concealed from all the hour of their death,
grant that I may pass my days in the practice of holiness and justice,
and that I may be made worthy to quit this world,
in the embrace of Thy love.
Through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)

Go outside to get outside! Sometimes I hang out with this permaculture community.