Praying for our Church

NOTE: Originally posted in slighly different form in my “other” blog, In Exile, I think it would be of interest to Sober Catholic readers:

It is safe to say is that the Church needs prayers. It always does in every century of Her existence for 21 centuries now. But nowadays people are thinking and talking in apocalyptic tones, even myself with some recent posts here about 2017 and its “interestingness;” (see also Nineveh90. Divisions seem to getting more strident and people are forgetting charity.

The purpose of this blog is, as you now know, how the Catholic Church in her sacraments and prayer life can be of use to people in their addiction struggles. Therefore, we should always prayer for Her.

I found a prayer card tucked into a prayer book and figured it would be online somewhere. It is a “Litany for the Church.” A friend of mine told me its original intent was for the restoration of the Latin Mass. Well, that worked out so it is effective! Here it is:

LITANY FOR THE CHURCH
IN OUR TIME

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, Divine Founder of the Church, hear us.

Christ, Who didst warn of false prophets,
graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the World,
have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Ghost,
have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us.

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church,
pray for us.

St. Michael, Defender in Battle,
pray for us.

St. Peter, the Rock upon which Christ built His Church,
pray for us.

St. Paul, Protector of the Faithful Remnant,
pray for us.

St. Francis of Assisi, Re-builder of the Church,
pray for us.

St. Anthony, Hammer of Heretics,
pray for us.

St. Pius V,
Restorer of the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy,
pray for us.

St. Pius X, Foe of Modernism,
pray for us.

All ye Holy Angels and Archangels,
pray that we may resist the snares of the Devil.

St. Catherine of Siena,
pray that Christ’s Vicar
may oppose the spirit of the world.

St. John Fisher,
pray that bishops may have
the courage to combat heresy and irreverence.

St, Francis Xavier,
pray that zeal for souls
may be re-enkindled in the clergy.

St. Charles Borromeo,
pray that seminaries
may be protected from false teachings.

St. Vincent de Paul,
pray that seminarians may return
to a life of prayer and meditation.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus,
pray that religious may rediscover
their vocation of love and sacrifice.

St. Thomas More,
pray that the laity
may not succumb to the Great Apostasy.

St. Francis de Sales,
pray that the Catholic press
may again become a vehicle of Truth.

St. John Bosco,
pray that our children may be protected
from immoral and heretical instruction.

St. Pascal,
pray that profound reverence
for the Most Blessed Sacrament may be restored.

St. Dominic,
pray that we may ever treasure the Holy Rosary.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray.

Jesus, our God,
in these dark hours when Thy Mystical Body
is undergoing its own Crucifixion,
and when it would almost seem to be abandoned
by God the Father,
have mercy, we beg of Thee,
on Thy suffering Church.
Send down upon us the Divine Consoler,
to enlighten our minds and strengthen our wills.

Thou, O Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity,
Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived,
have promised to be with Thy Church
until the end of time.
Give us a mighty Faith
that we may not falter;
help us to do Thy Holy Will always,
especially during these hours
of grief and uncertainty.
May Thy Most Sacred Heart
and the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart
of Thy Holy Mother be our sure refuge
in time and in eternity.

Amen.

I found it here: Catholic Doors

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Spiritual prepping for Fatima and 2017 UPDATED (AGAIN!)

NOTE: Post updated AGAIN with a corrected link and additional items.

Calling Catholic men (and ladies, too!)

Fr. Richard Heilman of the Roman Catholic Man site has a challenge for you!

Quote: “Inspired by the excellent program, “Exodus 90,” and all of the research that reveals it takes 90 days to replace bad habits (even addictions) with good habits, I am calling upon all of us to enter into a 90 day period of humility and transformation I call “Nineveh 90,” leading up to the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 2017.

Nineveh 90 is all about freedom. The goal is to achieve the freedom necessary to fully engage the love of God and the love of neighbor. Nineveh 90 is based on a challenging 90-day period of purification, a dying to self, which is supported by fellow soldiers in Christ for greater interior freedom and, eventually, a more purified and selfless love.”

Found here: Nineveh90 and the 100th Anniversary of Fatima

UPDATE: The plan now has its own site, see Nineveh90

The challenge begins February 13, 2017. I am considering doing this, with some personal modifications. I already do a number of the things listed. I may not bother with Items 9 and 10 (33 Days prep for Consecration and the actual Consecration) as I’ve already done that with my wife in 2008; also, I’m a member of the Militia of the Immaculata of St. Maximilian Kolbe, through which I consecrated myself to Mary on 7 Oct 2002. As an MI I renew my consecration daily, so I think that’s covered. I can perhaps substitute something else, such as studying St. Max’s writings and MI literature or Fatima books (both of which I have oodles of). I probably won’t do Item 5 (joining the Angelic Warfare Confraternity) as I may not be able to fulfill some of the requirements (logistics).

The basis for this lies in Fr. Heilman’s first paragraph: “We have now entered the 100th year since Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal. The anniversary is May 13, 2017. Many people are wondering if God may do (or allow) something soon to “shake us up” (I wrote about it HERE – this is the most “shared” article I have ever written).”

Please read the article linked to with the word “HERE” in the previous paragraph. That explains more about the basis for this challenge and the need to become “Spiritual Preppers” soon. I’ve also hinted at year’s end that 2017 might be “interesting.” The roots of Western Civilization are becoming poisoned, the branches are cracking and things might becoming rougher for Christians, especially Catholics. This “Nineveh90” just might assist with your prepping…

Speaking of “prepping,” there’s this: PREPARING FOR NINEVEH 90.

Additional note, Fr. Heilman named St. Maximilian Kolbe as the patron saint of the Nineveh90! See: ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE – PATRON OF LAST DAYS BEFORE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF FATIMA

There are additional posts at both the Nineveh90 and Roman Catholic Man sites
on the effort. Read them! Keep informed!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Sober Catholic’s TENTH Bloggaversary!

It was ten years ago today that I published my first post on Sober Catholic, “Hi, I’m Paul, and I’m and Alcoholic!”

Nothing much else to say except I never really thought I’d still be doing this. My hopes and dreams regarding this were to hopefully reach out to those who were searching for some online alcoholism recovery work with a Catholic touch. Perhaps they were en route to leaving the Faith and were grasping for anything that might interest them in staying. Or maybe they left for any on a host of reasons, but read in Twelve Step literature advice about exploring the religion of their youth. Perhaps a community of “sober Catholics” or some such name might grow up around it. That hasn’t really happened, but that failure hasn’t convinced me to stop blogging here.

Ten years. Nearly 100 posts a year (which seems like a lot.)

I have no plans to stop: I’ll continue this until the Lord convinces me it’s time to logoff for good.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Three Hail Marys (UPDATED)

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar.

The dogma of her divine motherhood was proclaimed at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. That she is the “Mother of God” may seem obvious as she gave birth to Jesus, Who is God, and therefore making her His Mother; and so we get, “Mother of God.” However, as we humans tend to complicate things in strange ways a Council was called to define her in this manner, as it also settled numerous raging controversies and heresies concerning the nature of Jesus. I won’t go into them here as it’s beyond the scope of this blog to wade into such matters.

What does this have to do with Sober Catholic? Easy! Mary is also our Mother, as we are God’s adopted sons and daughters through Jesus, that makes Mary our Mom, too!

Unlike our Earthly mothers (biological or adoptive), Mary is perfect in her maternal attitude towards us. She loves us in spite of ourselves. While obviously not condoning our sinning, she accepts our attempts to rise up again after our falls and offers us her hand to help us up. That is, if we seek her assistance. And this we can do in the following manner:

There is an ancient pious practice in the Church of saying three Hail Marys every morning and evening to preserve us from mortal sin. We have to faithfully cooperate with the graces God gives us to make this work; you cannot indulge in this practice and then go off and commit sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. A firm purpose of amendment and a willingness to detach from sin helps.

Popularly known as “Heaven Opened by the Practice of the Three Hail Marys,” you can find complete information here: Three Hail Marys

In short, you say three Hail Marys every morning and evening followed by a prayer that she preserve you this day (or night) from mortal sin. The three Hail Marys are in honor of her privileges of being the Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son and Spouse of God the Holy Spirit. The instructions in the link in the previous paragraph indicates an Act of Consecration need be said also (it’s on the site linked to); I have other literature not requiring that daily. It’s up to you. It might be nice to say the Act the first day and then perhaps renew it periodically (Saturdays are good as they’re dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.) And some don’t mention the Act.

Try the practice of praying the Three Hail Marys morning and night!

EDIT: Here’s another link to do this (and it ties in nicely with Fatima): America Needs Fatima ‘Three Hail Marys Pledge’

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

year end

2016 is about to end. It’s easy to insult this past year, given the violence and chaos seemingly gripping the planet by the throat. I won’t even mention the presidential campaign in the USA. However, the bulk of the year was the Jubilee Year of Mercy, of which I took advantage of and am different as a result. Mainly from increased devotion to a few saints which has wrought a transformation within me, and greater appreciation of Divine Mercy and Providence.

2017 arrives in just a few hours. I feel it will offer “Something Interesting” but will refrain from explaining. 😉 It will be an important year in a number of ways, namely the 100th Anniversaries of the Marian Apparitions at Fatima and the founding of the Militia of the Immaculata by St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe. I will be blogging on both in 2017.

Next week, on January 5th, is the 10th Anniversary of this blog.

Happy New Year!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

got email?

I had received an email notification earlier today about someone requesting membership in the old Matt Talbot Way of Sobriety Yahoo email Group. Unfortunately, that Group is largely defunct as there’s been no activity for a few years.

This brought to mind an idea I had about starting an informal email list. Nothing like a Yahoo or Google email Group, just a bunch of us sober (or aspiring to be sober) Catholics who will email each other when we need to in order to keep in touch, offer support, report on “where we’re at” and pray for one another.

It will be just this: If you’ve emailed me recently (like within the past year or so) or I otherwise know you from way back, you might be getting an email from me regarding this idea. This initial email will be a blind copy “bcc:” to everyone to preserve anonymity and inquire about interest; after that, the emails will be the standard “To:” any interested. Those who take part will then be introduced to each other through the subsequent emails. The extent to which you’d like to share personal info is up to you. It might be advisable to not use an email address that contains your real name.

It isn’t complicated; after receiving the bcc’s email, let me know if you’re interested. After that you’d just use the email option “reply to all” (or however your email program or app has it) and participate. Or just read everyone’s emails if you’re not that talkative. Remember to add all recipients to your Address Book or “approved recipients” or whatever it says so someone’s email won’t end up in a spam folder.

It is a cozy, very anonymous way for each of us to offer mutual support and fellowship.

To that end, I think I’ll go through my email accounts that readers use to write to me and look up people.

If you who are reading this might be interested, look up my email address in the “About Me” page and let me know!

Another option is to revive the Talbot Yahoo email Group. I’m not sure I want to do that as people might not feel it’s anonymous enough.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Future of the Four Last Things Blog

I have spent much of this past month discerning the future of “The Four Last Things Blog.” Originally it was to be an auxiliary to Sober Catholic but focusing on the specific subjects of Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell (the four “last things” we are all going to face one day), rather than general recovery topics from a Catholic perspective. Purgatory, too. Although that isn’t a “Last Thing” as it precedes Heaven. This was because these subjects are rarely covered in Twelve Step meetings. However, despite the good intentions, I haven’t really done much. I never intended to blog extensively at “The Four Last Things” anyway, but I had hoped to delve somewhat more into the various topics, even wandering off into metaphysical speculations and other randomness, as well as any possible grief recovery blogging. There are just over 150 posts which averages to nearly 18 a year. A lot are repetitious ones from prior years on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, cemetery visits and devotions and the like. But, “I never intended to blog extensively anyway” when combined with a slacker-blogger attitude has resulted in the blog being essentially undeveloped.

More activity has been found on the blog’s social media Pages on Facebook and Google+. I might keep those. That’s part of the discernment. I could just as easily post Four Last Thing’s material to “Sober Catholic’s” social Pages in the future, I just don’t know. It might be better to just consolidate. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a way to export content from a Facebook or Google+ Page and import that content into another one. There are points to continuing the Pages or deleting them (or consolidating them into “Sober Catholic’s” if that’s possible.)

So, given that the stated purpose of the blog was to bring a focus onto the Four Last Things as they are mostly ignored in the real life rooms and online universe of addiction recovery, and as its publishing has fallen way short of that desired goal, I think that the most reasonable solution is to combine “The Four Last Things Blog” into this one. Relevant posts can be published here, and in case I feel a need to blog on matters such as death, dying and the afterlife but without the recovery aspect, those posts can go on “Paul Sofranko’s Blog.” At any rate, “Four Last Things” type posts will be far more visible than they are now, continuing to exist in the post-shutdown afterlife 😉

So, the possible plan for shutting it down will be to export the blog’s file, then import that file here. This file includes all posts, comments, categories, tags and media. I have to manually transfer blogrolls and sidebar widgets; one of the latter, the “Find a Grave” widget, will go to “Paul Sofranko’s Blog.”

But for now I’ll just post this here for now and think about it. One historical sidenote: way back before I self-hosted my blogs they were on Google’s Blogspot servers; I decided once to delete “the Four Last Things,” then changed my mind and resurrected it. So, there’s been some doubt all along as to whether this is a worthy standalone effort. However, it has been in continuous existence since 2010.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Happy New Year!

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year. Just like that secular New year when everyone makes resolutions or otherwise sees it as a time to “turn over a new leaf” or “start over,” we can also use the new Church year to start anew.

Become a better Catholic! Take advantage of the Sacraments! Go to Daily Mass (if you can), start going to Confession more often (like maybe once a month! Or more!) Know of Eucharistic Adoration at a parish somewhere near you? Then go and have a Holy Hour! Read the Cathechism of the Catholic Church and grow in your knowledge of the Faith! Read your Catholic Bible! According to St. Jerome, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!”

There’s LOTS of things that you can do to grow spiritually! Tough times are possibly ahead for Catholics – deepening your knowledge of the Faith and strengthening your relationship with the Lord are ways to deal with whatever is coming down the road…

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Claiming God’s Mercy

The Year of Mercy ended last Sunday with Pope Francis’ closing of the Holy Doors in Rome. (Obviously, this post is late. 😉 ) However, mercy is not limited to a single “year.” God’s Mercy is available to everyone who desires it and is easily found in the “tribunal of mercy,” also known as the Sacrament of Penance (or “Confession” or “Reconciliation.”)

Advent begins today. Embracing the Sacrament of Penance by going to Confession during the season of Advent is an excellent way to prepare for the coming of the Lord. For that is what Advent is about, preparation for the arrival of Jesus’ first coming and if you have been praying the Divine Office these past few weeks in November, you are aware that the Church hasn’t waited for Advent; many of the readings in the Church’s “official prayer book” have been referring to the Lord’s Second Coming as well. It is not enough that we need to commemorate His first arrival in a stable in Bethlehem, we have to also be made aware that there is a promise of a Second Coming. The Church in Her infinite wisdom and love is shepherding us along the path towards the narrow gate that Jesus spoke of.

Matthew 7: 13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leads to perdition, and many there are who enter through it. How narrow is the gate, and how straight is the way, which leads to life, and few there are who find it!

Source: Matthew – Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible

Why? Because His Second Coming won’t be like the first; He will come as a Just Judge, bringing to completion human history. We will be judged according to our faith and deeds and especially how merciful we ourselves have been to others.

To pass through that narrow gate, we need to repent and claim the Mercy of God.

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ appeared in mystical visions to the young Polish nun Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska back in the 1930’s. I’ve blogged about the “Divine Mercy” devotions before SEE Divine Mercy Post Archive. In her Diary in which she described the visions, she records several statements made by Him on Mercy. Read a few of them and be inspired to seek a priest and have your sacramental confession heard (the numbers refer to paragraphs in her Diary):

723: The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. My mercy is confirmed in every work of My hands. He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of My footstool.

687: (Concerning the Chaplet of Divine Mercy) Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy.

1567: Make known to souls the great mercy that I have for them and to exhort them to trust in the bottomless depths of My mercy.

So, think about “where you’re at” in your recovery and also in your relationship with the Lord. Avail yourself of His Mercy. Many parishes have special days and times set aside for Penance in addition to the regularly scheduled times. If you haven’t been to Confession in many years, perhaps call the priest to make an appointment. He can possibly suggest a good examination of concience to help you get started, or just while you’re there guide you along the way.

How to pray The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

How to get the Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul: the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Links updated

I went through every link in the sidebar to test which ones are current and deleted those that are offline or otherwise “gone.” I also added several new ones recently discovered. Enjoy! This was long overdue. If you know of any other resources that are suitable for adding, please email me.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"