Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace and Creation III: Our Lady of the Precious Blood and St. Franz Jagerstatter and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Today begins the Third of our Nine Novenas for Justice, Peace, & Creation, and this one is dedicated to Our Lady of the Precious Blood and St. Franz Jagerstatter and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. It runs from July 8 to July 16, 2020.

I will not post this every day as the prayers and intentions are the same for each day. I’ll just leave it here for nine days; if I need to blog in the interim, I will just blog a reminder afterwards. For the background, please read this post (especially if you need to learn about who Bob Waldrop, the creator of this Novena, was, and why I am introducing it to you.) Or go here: A Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, & Creation.

Don’t worry if you jump in at some point later in the 81 days. To paraphrase Bob “just pick up whenever you happen to join in.”

AFTER THIS SENTENCE, THE WRITING IS ALL THAT OF BOB WALDROP, not me, Paulcoholic.

To: Our Lady of the Precious Blood and St. Franz Jagerstatter and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

“Getting Started:

Begin each novena prayer with a time of quiet prayer. You may find it helpful to pray some repetitions of the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner), a decade of the Rosary, the Chaplet of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, or a time of spiritual reading or lectio divina that will prepare your mind and your heart for the prayer to come. This could be a time for a daily examen, where you consider your actions of the day and how they relate to God’s call in your life.”

General Intention: The reconciliation of persons and peoples.

Third Work of Justice and Peace: Make injustice visible — witness, remember, teach, proclaim, tell. Light candles, do not curse the darkness. 

Act of Caring for Creation: Fast & Abstinence. Refrain from eating meat or fish one day each week. If you are able, fast that day, eating only one full meal. Donate the money saved as a fast offering to a charity working for food security.

God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me. + Let us pray together in peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations, and solidarity among all peoples.  Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl  about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by  injustice and violence.

Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy: Flow upon us! Precious Blood, most pure Offering: Procure for us every grace! Precious Blood, Hope and Refuge of sinners: Atone for us! Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us! Precious Blood, Font of Peace: Reconcile enemies and end all wars.

Remember, O most gracious Lady of the Precious Blood, that never was it known that any of your children, redeemed by the Blood of your Son, sought your intercession and was left unaided. Trusting in the power of the Precious Blood, O Handmaid of the Redeemer, I come before you my Queen and my Mother, and in the bitterness of my sorrow, I place myself at your feet. O Mother of Jesus Crucified, unite my prayers with yours, obtain for me the merciful bounty of the Divine Blood. As I kneel beneath the Cross, O Mother of sorrows, hear and answer me. Amen

St. Franz Jagerstatter, in a time of great injustice and violence, you bore heroic witness to peace, beauty, and holiness. Your devotion to truth shows us the way to reconciliation. Your example of fortitude brings us courage. Your life of beauty in the face of appalling evil fills us with hope. May your heart of love inspire us so that we will witness, remember, teach, and proclaim the Gospel of life and love for all peoples, everywhere, and not count the cost. In Jesus holy name, Amen.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, child of Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Mary mother of our Lord, you who were taken to crucifixion by the Nazis, help us, in our own time, and in the ways and opportunities that come our way, to witness and work for justice, peace, and the care of Creation. Help us to always stand firm against every form of racism and persecution. Teach us to understand, and seek forgiveness for, our own complicity in the sins of racism and persecution. Enlighten our minds that we will see clearly the wrongs and evidences of racism in our societies. Help us to speak with clarity, justice, and truth of beauty, wisdom, peace, and racial harmony, denouncing all injustices and social evils in the name of Christ. These prayers we ask, remembering all who have been murdered, lynched, gassed, and tortured to death,  Amen.

Prayer to St. John Chrysostom on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops:

Most Glorious and Venerable St. John Chrysostom,
Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon
has illumined the universe.
It shows to the world the treasures of poverty;             
it reveals to us the heights of humility.
Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom,
intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls!

Pray for the bishops of the United States of America,
who do not teach or practice the Catholic faith in its fullness,
that God will deliver them to orthodoxy,
and reform their ways of living,
so that as exemplars of orthopraxis, they will protect all life,
from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.

Teach them true solidarity with the poor, so that they
understand the consequences of their moral abandonment
of entire nations of human beings to a collective fate of cruelty and violence
because they were in the way of the American Empire and
its gluttonous lust for oil, supremacy, and blood.

As you refused to obey the aristocratic commands of your era,
help our bishops turn away from the political demands
that cause them to preach a false gospel of moral relativism regarding war and peace.

Having received divine grace from heaven,
with your mouth you teach all people to worship the Triune God.
Instruct our bishops with the wisdom of the Gospel,
so that they repent of their material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war, and call all people, in authentic word and deed, to live in solidarity, peace, and justice.

All-blest and venerable St. John Chrysostom,
we praise you, for you are our teacher, revealing things divine!
Pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God, Who by the preaching and teaching of Saint John Chrysostom
has given us an example of fortitude in the face of persecution and political corruption, grant that we who reverence his life and ministry may also imitate
his example of fidelity to wisdom, truth, justice, and beauty,
through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Our Father . . . Hail Mary…. Glory be. . .

Thoughts for the journey. His lifeless body was taken from the Cross and laid in her blessed arms. How the tears must have flowed as she cradled Him in her arms, He who once had been a little baby, bouncing on her lap, a young man who followed in Joseph’s footsteps as a carpenter and who taught in the Temple confounding the wise, a fearless prophet who healed and taught and brought hope.

How His life must have passed before her eyes, as her tears mingled with His most precious Blood. “A sword shall also pierce your heart.”  At the first Eucharist, she received the Cup from His hands — did she understand even then what was to come? “She kept all these things  and pondered them in her heart.” What did she tell the servants at the wedding at Cana? “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.”

“For in Christ all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him. (Colossians 1:19-20).

“And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the  ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

How great is the need for reconciliation in this world! But reconciliation is NOT an oppressor who says — “I’m sorry” — but then goes and continues a lifestyle of oppression, with eyes closed to the consequences of his or her lifestyle of injustice.

Reconciliation is not the denial of injustice, it is the correction of the objective disorders that cause the harm. The call to reconciliation is not the Voice of the Oppressor saying “Cooperate with our violence against you.” No, it is the witness of the Precious Blood of Christ that reconciliation is orthopraxis — it is right action rooted in our interior personal relationship with Christ, a relationship that changes everything and makes the miracle of reconciliation possible. It is always a life faith that bears fruit, for we know that faith without works is dead.

When Christ is not the center of our lives, when our actions do not flow from our personal interior and devotional relationship with Jesus, reconciliation among peoples is not a comfortable process; it is typically easier to just blame the victims. Many close their eyes to structures of injustice and exploitation and greed, processes that make people poor and keep them “in their place.” The poor become a fearful Alien, the Other, to be mastered, confined,  counted, regulated, and exploited for the good of the ruling political and economic elites.

Our Lady of the Precious Blood without fear and full of love stands against all oppression and injustice, she comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comforted and calls us to the same journey. She directs us to her son and says, “Do whatever he tells you to do.

St. Franz Jagerstatter

St. Franz Jagerstatter was an Austrian farmer who was murdered by the Nazis during World War II because of his refusal to bear arms and serve in the German military. They chopped his head off with a guillotine!  His example of fortitude in the face of the most appalling evil is a reminder that reconciliation begins with truth — and grows from a personal commitment to live the Gospel , even at great personal risk that in turn derives from our personal relationship with Jesus.  Can anyone doubt that Franz Jagerstatter was in love with Jesus? From what other source could a young man stand against everyone — including his bishop — who told him to “just go along and do what the Nazis say.”

His example is of great importance in our day, as the United States wages unjust wars and our government demands support for its crusades of death and slaughter.

Meanwhile, our own Catholic bishops do not defend the right to life of all people in the face of the State’s demand for war but hide behind ecclesiastical rhetoric and preach a false gospel of moral relativism regarding the unjust wars of the United States.

In the face of so much blood and death, we must remember the victims of imperial tyranny. Because we live in Christ we can live in true solidarity with them and dedicate our works of life as reparations for our nation’s unjust wars and its many other sins against life.

Our prayer is that through the reconciliation of the Blood of Christ, all people will learn to be one in solidarity with each other, so that all persons and peoples acknowledge the human personhood and dignity of each other, and live together in peace upon the earth. And as the song says, let this begin with me. Our praxis is a prayer, and this is the prayer that is most pleasing to God.

How is my life — how is your life —  open to the reality that Christ is alive and he loves each and every one of us?  Jesus gave his life to save us and our societies from sin and oppression. He was with the Franz Jagerstatter at the moment the guillotine sliced through his neck. He comforted him in life and in death and Christ is as real to us as he was to Franz. Jesus lives today and is at our side every moment of every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free us.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, of our journeys of justice and peace. How does your relationship with Christ impact your life? What is the orthopraxis that you live that reflects Christ in you?

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Edith Stein was a German Jewish philosopher. Surprised by joy, after reading the works of Teresa of Avila, she was called by Christ into relationship with Him, and became a Discaled Carmelite nun taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  She made notable contributions to what has become known as the personalist school of philosophy, which was later influential in the writings and theology of Saint Pope John Paul II.  As early as 1933, she was speaking out against Nazis, and wrote Pope Pius XI asking him to publicly denounce the Nazi regime. Her letter may have been influential in his decision to eventually write the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Sorrow) condemning Nazism and anti-semitism.  For her safety, her religious superiors transferred her to a convent in the Netherlands. After the German invasion, the Dutch bishops had a public statement read in all the Catholic churches condemning racism. in response, the Nazis rounded all the Jewish Catholic converts and sent them to concentration camps. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was sent to Auschwitz, where she died in a gas chamber on or about August 9, 1942, about a week after her arrest. She refused an opportunity to escape, insisting on her right to share in the sufferings of her people.

Act of Caring for Creation:  Fast & Abstinence! Refrain from eating meat or fish one day a week. If you are able, fast on that day, eating only one full meal. Give the money you save to a charity that works in food security.

We live in an ocean of plenty while the poor of this world go without. The least we can do is to feel the pangs of hunger and deny ourselves the full bounty that is available to us, not as a matter of ecclesiastical mandate as in days of yore, but as an act of love we take less so that others may have more.

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!!)