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St. Maria Goretti, Pray For Us!

Her story marks heroic virtue in great suffering and adversity. As an 11 year old, she practiced heroic love and forgiveness when forgiving her neighbor and attacker. Please, join me and thousands of others in praying the St. Maria Goretti Novena starting TOMORROW, Tuesday June 27th!

St. Maria Goretti, the Little Saint of Great Mercy and the patroness of purity, the patron saint of the youth, teenage girls, rape victims, and forgiveness.

St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-st-maria-goretti/

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Enthronement

Sacred-Heart-of-JesusMy family and I went through the process of the Sacred Heart Enthronement and formal Consecration back in the 1990’s when I was a little kid growing up in the Midwest. I remember, at the time, the consecration process was a bit arduous for our family. For nine months we attended First Friday Mass at 6 am before school (which is a hardship for kids and caretakers of kids with chronic health conditions), received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and completed specific prayers.

It took two attempts to successfully complete the consecration to the Sacred Heart. At the end of the nine months, we prepared the house for the Sacred Heart Enthronement. Our parish priest came over to the house and presided over the Enthronement ritual. We set up an altar in our formal living room honoring the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Afterwards, we celebrated with a meal.

At the time, I knew the Consecration and Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was profound and important. I knew certain graces and promises were associated with those that venerated the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Not until adolescence and adulthood did the impact of the Consecration and Enthronement hit home.

Promise 3. “I will comfort them in all their afflictions.”

Promise 4. “I will be their secure refuge during life and, above all, in death.”

Promise 12. “I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.”

My family and I brush with mortality on a somewhat regular basis due to life circumstances and health complexities. In these moments, all of us had an opportunity to receive either the Sacrament of the Sick or Last Rights/Viaticum depending on the gravity. All of us experienced profound peace and calm during those potential last moments of our earthly existence. Furthermore, in two different states and regions of the country, we received services in challenging and life threatening situations at  . . . SACRED HEART HOSPITAL or SACRED HEART MEDICAL CENTER (not exactly subtle.) I understand not all health care will be through facilities named after His Most Sacred Heart, but the truth of His promises remains certain.

To this day, the image of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus remains prominent in my parent’s home and will someday hang in my own home. The promises and graces of the Sacred Heart are profound and true. The mystery is real, but the grace is real too. To learn more about the Enthronement, please, read below.


In 1907, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary was inspired to establish the enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to win homes and the world for Christ. Pope St. Pius X himself commissioned the enthronement, saying: “To save the family is to save society. The work you are undertaking is a work of social salvation.

For more: SSCC.org and SacredHeartApostolate.com.

Enthronement Steps

The enthronement is not complicated, but requires some reverential preparation, with its three principal parts: study, prayer and practical arrangements.
• Contact the National Enthronement Center and the Sacred Heart Apostolate for materials such as the enthronement ceremonial booklet in different languages, enthronement kit, enthronement certificates, images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and books on the devotion. EWTN.com also has a host of devotional resources (see page B2).
• Pray and meditate on the suggested prayers, especially the three decades of the Rosary for the three-day preparation. There is a week’s preparation as well.
• Obtain an image of the Sacred Heart, whether a painting, print, statue or icon.
• Prepare the throne by choosing a central, prominent place in your home, with accompanying sacramentals, such as a Bible, rosary, flowers, candles, photos of family members who are present and absent and prayer intentions.
• Have a priest, deacon or the father/head of the household conduct the enthronement. Invite family, friends and neighbors to attend.
• Then celebrate the King coming into your home.
— Joseph Pronechen

Sacred Heart Enthronement Prayer

Father: Almighty and Eternal Father: We, the (fill in name) family (then each member of the family says his/her first name, beginning with the father), consecrate ourselves and our home to the Sacred Heart of your only begotten Son, who loves us with a tender and everlasting love.
May we return this love as he comes into the midst of our family, to live and share our lives in a special way from this day on.
We accept you, divine Heart of Jesus, as a living member of this family. Stay with us Lord. Sanctify our joys, and comfort us in all our sorrows. May your Holy Spirit inspire each of us so that we may continually be aware of your special presence among us, especially in one another.
Help us, through this consecration, to have a deep and loving respect for one another, so that we may daily live this consecration in our family life. Let our love go beyond our home into this world, so that we may do our part to win other families to your Sacred Heart, thus helping to form a real community among the families of this parish and of the whole world.
All: Sacred Heart of Jesus, we love you. Sacred Heart of Jesus, thy Kingdom come! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. Glory to the Sacred Heart of Jesus forever and ever! Amen.
— SacredHeartDevotion.com

12 Promises of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary for Souls Devoted to His Sacred Heart

1. “I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.”
2. “I will establish peace in their homes.”
3. “I will comfort them in all their afflictions.”
4. “I will be their secure refuge during life and, above all, in death.”
5. “I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.”
6. “Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.”
7. “Tepid souls shall grow fervent.”
8. “Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.”
9. “I will bless every place where a picture of my Heart shall be set up and honored.”
10. “I will give to priests the gifts of touching the most hardened hearts.”
11. “Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be effaced.”
12. “I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.” — EWTN.com


Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to thee and to do all for thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease thee.
I take thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God thy Father, and screen me from his anger, which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in thee, O Heart of love, I hope all from thine infinite goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist thee.
Imprint thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget thee or be separated from thee.
I beseech thee, through thine infinite goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon thy Heart; for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of thy devoted servants.
Amen.
— EWTN.com

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred-Heart-of-JesusThis weekend marks the Feast of Corpus Christ followed by the Feast Sacred Heart of Jesus. Many of us grew up with images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary hanging in churches, schools, homes, etc. Many ethnic groups still devoutly practice this devotion. What is the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion? Why is this devotion important?

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion

From 1673-1675, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque at her Visitation convent in Paray-le-Monial, France. Christ’s heart (his flesh) represents and recalls His immense human and divine love for us. Jesus communicated prayers and guidelines for the devotion and requested reparation for sins. For example, many Catholics witness a larger congregation at First Friday Mass or Eucharistic Adoration on First Friday. The First Friday devotion of Mass, Communion, and Adoration was requested by Our Lord in honor of His Most Sacred Heart.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi 1675 Jesus told St. Margaret Mary: “Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume itself, to prove to them its love. And in return I receive from the greater part of men nothing but ingratitude, by the contempt, irreverence, sacrileges and coldness with which they treat me in this sacrament of love.”

Jesus shared the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the remedy. In the mid-1600s, the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion joined the continuing legacy of God’s love and mercy. Christ provided another devotion, another opportunity for an outpouring of His divine love and mercy. The Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion asks us to slow down and ponder the fathomless and bottomless depths of Christ’s love for us.

Picture a human heart, which Jesus Christ shared in common with every human being past, present, and future. This beating organ provides life to our bodies as the Sacred Heart of Jesus provides life to our souls.

In 1899, Pope Leo XIII dedicated the world to the Sacred Heart. On September 15, 1985. Many images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus appear alongside the Immaculate Heart of Mary image. St. John Paul II coined the term “The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.”

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my Trust in You!


Morning Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Oh my, Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day. For all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart. In union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. In reparation for my sins, for the intention of all my family, friends and relatives, and in particular for the intention of the Holy Father. Amen.

-Laudate App


Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to thee and to do all for thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease thee.
I take thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God thy Father, and screen me from his anger, which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in thee, O Heart of love, I hope all from thine infinite goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist thee.
Imprint thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget thee or be separated from thee.
I beseech thee, through thine infinite goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon thy Heart; for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of thy devoted servants.
Amen.
– EWTN.com

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena!

sacred heart- c&cPlease, join me and thousands of others in praying the Sacred Heart Of Jesus Novena. The novena begins TOMORROW -Wednesday June 14th!

A favorite daily devotion of St. Padre Pio, the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was started and made popular by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. She was inspired by visions of Jesus to spread this devotion.

Similar to many Catholics, my family and I have a special devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents a powerful and unique devotion that many ethnic Catholics in the past and present have embraced.

Please, join us in prayer!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us. Amen.

Find the Original Here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus/#ixzz4jxEITz8G

 

Pentecost/Holy Spirit Novena

holy-spirit-novena

Please, Join Me and thousands of people in praying the Pentecost/ Holy Spirit Novena starting TODAY, Friday May 25th.

To celebrate Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church, we are going to pray the Holy Spirit Novena! It is a powerful and moving novena that is meant to help us open ourselves up to the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Even though we pray this novena as a preparation for the feast of Pentecost, you can also pray a novena to the Holy Spirit any time that you want.

So, let us pray with great confidence and trust in our God who is all Good and Loving.

Don’t forget to sign up for email prayer reminders!

Click here to sign up now!

Here are the novena prayers for the Novena to the Holy Spirit that we will be praying together for Pentecost!

Find the Original Here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy-spirit/#ixzz47nWYWxzo

When You’re Tired of Fighting . . .

snowflakes
Photo Credit: Isaiah Eyre Photography

“. . . Chained by your control. There is freedom in surrender. Lay it down, and let it go.” This is a poignant line in Casting Crown’s song “Be Held.” A song with a message that came into my life two years ago.

A recent conversation with one of my best friends prompted this post. Both she and I are facing potentially radical life changes or challenges. The common thread was the idea of being held. Both she and I have been instructed by priests to be held and stop grasping at and controlling life. My priest, a Jesuit on a retreat during the sacrament of confession, further warned me of the dangers of this illusion of control. Sure we make free will choices about what we think, say, or do, but the real ticket items of life are out of our control.

You can be the healthiest and most active person but still experience a health crisis. You can be the most competent driver and still end up in a car accident. You can pray and do all the right things at the right time and still have a crisis of faith. Praying that perfect novena might not get you the spouse you want or deserve in a timely fashion. Grace downpours upon us, but grace doesn’t equal control. Only God has authentic control, I.e.., He is the alpha and omega. Moreover, God isn’t about control. God is about a divine, merciful, and loving plan for us and our world working with our free will choices.

My Jesuit retreat master warned me of the dangers of control. He explained I was chained by could haves, should haves, and would haves. I was playing God. Not only were my two hands chained behind my back, my freedom was becoming more limited and constricted. I was chained by my control, and in the process I had lost an innate and inalienable aspect of my humanity- freedom.

His solution: BE HELD. For any reader who may be scoffing, “dude, that is easy,” either you have achieved a level of sanctity many of us are working on or this concept really hasn’t sunk in or been practiced. Allowing Christ to hold you in complete and utter abandonment like an infant in a parent’s arms is no small feat especially as a modern adult. To back away and tell God, “I can’t handle it. You handle it.” Or “I rely more on you than myself or anyone or anything else.”

Be Held . . . A lifetime of practicing this reality awaits. I look to my neice and nephews as examples running into my arms with arms stretched wide, face joyful, and eyes scrunched closed. Once in my arms, the dead of weigh of their love and trust almost cripple me. I hope and pray that one day I will approach Jesus in this manner.

Too Mas

# St Francis #lightFr. Robert Spitzer wrote a book entitled “The Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life.” Contained within the chapter exploring prayer, my former university president suggests certain forms of spontaneous prayer. Every moment of every day is an opportunity for prayer. Particular prayers that ring true recently include “Help me, God!” Or “help!” Or “you take care of it!” God understands and hears our pleas. Intent is more eloquent than words.

Sometimes life feels heavy, very heavy. (Que me humming Heavy.) Sometimes there is no answer but Trust in God. Sometimes there aren’t feelings of consolation. Sometimes life just stinks. Life can feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually draining. Life can feel like all is too much.

In these moments, like today or the past couple of months, my only advice to myself and others is be honest with God about how you feel and where you’re at. He already knows, but I’m sure He appreciates the honesty. A priest friend posed the question recently of choosing between confessing the sin of anger or another emotion towards God or the sin of being dishonest about how we felt. Oh snap. God deserves respect and Holy fear, but God also deserves honesty and love.

When you feel burdened and crumbling under the weight of life’s challenges, God wants to know how you really feel. And he wants to extend a loving,  reassuring hand to support and guide you or I. When you can’t handle life anymore, God can.

Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen.

Classy Elegance: A Dying Art Form?

cinderella

Over the weekend, my niece and I enjoyed a special lady’s outing. We attended the Roger and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella. Originally created for television, the 1957 production starred the legendary actress and singer Julie Andrews. Not until the second or third song did I connect the dots about why the music and lyrics were so familiar. 20+ years ago in the upper Midwest as a wee child, my mother and I watched the 1965 film version. My one encounter from decades ago triggered a flood memories. Though I never “identified” with Cinderella nor obsessed over the Cinderella legacy, the musical blew me away.

My niece and I watched wide-eyed at the whimsical, sophisticated, intricate, and elegant stage production. The costume changes, set changes, stage lighting, plot, dancing, music, humor, and lyrics filled the performing arts center like a dream- a very surreal and elegant dream. From London to Broadway to Vancouver, I’ve enjoyed musicals and stage productions. As much as I enjoy the colorful and catchy sounds and sights of Hairspray, Cinderella evoked a seemingly long-lost or dying art form- classy and elegant.

I’m sure the musical has been modified for a more modern audience. Overall, the intonation of the singing evoked a pure and classy quality that I hadn’t heard in years. Though catchy and interesting, feelings of softness, elegance, and innocence were conjured. The closest image I could conjure was Julie Andrews in the Sounds of Music or Mary Poppins (which at the time, I forgot Julie Andrews ever played Cinderella.) The voice had a level of sophistication and demure beauty instead of the in your face power that Wicked or Frozen did not.

In our modern era of constant noise and media, less and less I witness art-forms, though talented, that evoke pure class and elegance. Classiness and elegance have become almost taboo and antiquated. I’ve even heard people mock classiness, culture, and elegance. Now, to be fair, I now live in a region that doesn’t have a strong sense of culture, but as the locals begrudgingly admit, “I was raised in culture.”

Here are some questions people not long ago could answer and people today may have to pause before answering at all: What is the difference between waltz and a Viennese waltz? Do you know the difference between a formal or casual dinner place setting? Do you know the difference between cocktail attire, semi-formal, and formal attire? What is business casual versus business professional? What is romance? What is a date versus dating? What is courting? What is good posture versus bad posture? What is chivalry? What is a gentleman? What is a lady? What is the difference between damask, taffeta, and silk? What is modesty? What is the difference between class and classiness? What are manners? What are kind words versus mean words? What is a cuss word? What is disrespectful language? How do you talk to a man? How do you address a woman? Do we call our relatives by their respective title followed by their name (i.e., Aunt Hannah,)? Is Sunday the Lord’s Day or a day of family? What is the difference between dinner and supper? Etc. Etc. Etc.

I rarely quote seculars on my blog (disclaimer: not advocating for all aspects of their lifestyle nor life choices), but here are some thoughts to ponder:

Simplicity is ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel

Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside. -Coco Chanel

The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. – Albert Einstein 

Elegance is the only beauty that never fades. – Audrey Hepburn

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.– Audrey Hepburn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catholic Romance Stories . . . Christmas

Our First Christmas Gift Exchange:

christmas-mother-teresa-of-calcuttaTwas the Night of New Years and all through the house three creatures were stirring including the cat. The tree gleamed bright and cast whimsical colors and shapes on the walls and the windows. With my family snug in their beds an earshot away, only he and I remained in the soft Christmas tree glow while the cat never ceased staring in her watchful vigilance. All prepared and excited my festive wrapped gift lay upon the coffee table alone. No gift joined it’s side. I stared in astonishment and wonder. My mind buzzed and blew with more thoughts than Christmas ornaments. With each moment my brow furrowed and lines etched my face like stringed lights on the tree or lines on a stocking. My thoughts mirrored twinkling light colors all fuzzy and bright. Still no gift appeared and my heart lept in fright. Despite being seated by my side, I strained as his words floated in and out one-side. I heard. I processed. But it all seemed too bizarre. The words seemed too light and the meaning too dense like snow in a blizzard one moment fluffy and the next moment sleet. Bracing for a gift packed like a wet snowball, I quietly closed my eyes. The Christmas light glow matched my thoughts. Breathless I awaited.rings

Some rustle and bustle. A pause. A disclaimer. My breathe became frosty and slow. As I opened both palms to receive the gift, my brain turned to meringue while my hands trembled like tinsel. The cat kept her perpetual gaze while I stood frozen awaiting. A coolness brushed my palm and settled for landing. Daring to open my eyes, I peeped down. My thoughts exploded into fireworks while my vision turned into sparkling cider. Little bubbles floated up and up and up. Everything suddenly stopped. All fireworks and cider bubbles screeched to a halt. Numbness settled in and the void of pure silence settled. He waited for a response. A noise. A sign. A reaction. Anything.

A warm glow washed over me like candlelight Christmas Mass. The lights refocused as I peered below and sighed.

A ring box peered upwards while my gaze focused ever more sharply as the ivory coating glinted in the low light. Opening the box, my muscles eased. A warm, serene calmness flushed over me replacing the frigid tinged of panic.

To be continued . . .