To My Nephew,

Happy Feast of Corpus Christi! Our entire family is overflowing with joy and gratitude with the grace and excitement of celebrating your First Holy Communion and Confirmation. This weekend that commemorates and celebrates the Most Holy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ begins your full journey within the sacramental life of the Catholic faith.

How do I explain the gift & truth of the Eucharist in our modern times marked by relativism and skepticism of the divine? How do I impress upon you that your First Holy Communion and each instance you receive the Eucharist you receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (God and Man who walked the earth 2,000+ years ago) under the appearances of bread and wine? How do I express the mystery of this sacrament and the consummate relationship we enter into with God through the gift of the Eucharist? Ultimately, as you age, despite all the modeling, explanations, witnesses, and prayers of your family and loved ones, you will make a personal choice as a child of God and your relationship with the Holy Trinity.

As you learned, and by the grace of God and the gift of faith may come to know in your heart, mind, body, and soul, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. The Eucharist & the Eucharistic relationship is why we are Catholic- why we live, breath, suffer, die, and rise in the newness of eternal life. May the Eucharist, like the Church, become the source and summit of your life. Whatever happens in your life, cling to the Eucharist. There you will find: beauty, peace, life, love, hope, passion, purpose, and truth. All things lacking in our distracted and relativistic society. People, whether they know it or not, search their whole life seeking what your just received within you- Jesus Christ.

Tragically, the world, society, peers, authority figures, relatives, or romantic interests will try to beat the truth out and distract you from the truth of childlike faith- the acceptance that this is Jesus Christ fully present within the Eucharist. Their arguments will be convincing, popular, rational, interesting, and less confrontational veiled under the threat of stigmatization, ostracizing, intolerance, rationalization, and relativism. You will learn in due course, there is an earthly price to be paid as a Christian, especially a Catholic Christian. But Be Not Afraid for Christ has already overcome the world!

As you mature and develop from a boy of God into a man of God, always remember you are a Child of God. The measure of authentic manhood and masculinity, like our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Joseph or St. Francis of Assisi your confirmation saint, is our love for God- beginning with the most tangible metaphysical intangible in our earthly lives the Eucharist. This lifelong love will permeate all other aspects of your life: how and why you make decisions, your pull towards virtue or vice, your peace or turmoil in times of uncertainty or fear, how you live out your earthly vocation, and the narrow road which leads to heaven and eternal life. Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.

Since I know you appreciate an epic saga, I will quote a Doctor of the Church who experienced his own epic life saga. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote, ” “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”

This weekend you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and may the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit be apart of your daily life, every moment from this day forward. Dominic, our family loves you dearly and that love will continue to grow and mature as we all mature and grow together in our wonderful earthly adventure of sainthood filled with moments of the agony and ecstasy. You are not alone in this journey. As you so eloquently explained, Christ is everywhere. He is also waiting for you in the tabernacle, monstrance, and paten. The Holy Spirit is your spiritual breath. And God the Father grants graces from above and eagerly awaits your homecoming. Our Lady will lead you closer to the Trinity as she herself entered into communion with the Holy Trinity. And all the angels and saints, including St. Francis of Assisi, will always be with you in this life & the next. As I will be, whether next to you or above.

With all my love and affection,

Aunt Hannah

A.M.D.G. JM+J

St. Patrick’s Breastplate: Virtue Armor

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Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

*text from ewtn.com

 

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 & 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

St. Joseph, Terror of Demons

Happy Feast Day of St. Joseph!

Tonight I discussed with a friend an unusual title of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary and Guardian of the Reedemer. St. Joseph, Terror of Demons! What an awesome and fierce title!

The little we do know of St. Joseph should still leave an awe inspiring impression. A man of immense humility and virtue, St. Joseph experienced the taint of original sin but chose a life of profound cooperation with grace and the divine will. He was like you and I not immaculate or divine. He desired good human things like marriage, children, and virtue. He longed to provide, lead, and protect his holy family. St. Joseph recieved the gift of not only a Holy Family but THE Holy Family.

This gift was not all rainbows and butterflies or skipping into the corner store with his kid bouncing on his shoulders. Instead, God asked Joseph to embrace a life of sacrifice and boldly go where no human man had gone before. St. Joseph married the Blessed Virgin Mary, remained married to Our Lady, claimed the Son of God Jesus as his son, and fled multiple times from corrupt powers seeking to harm or destroy his family. St. Joseph trusted God and the Holy Spirit’s guidance to move and shape the course of his life.

St. Joseph was one tough cookie . . . Cue the title “Terror of Demons.” He took on the powers that sought to destroy his family by turning to God, listening to the Holy Spirit, and acting with steadfast conviction. Even today, St. Joseph is a powerful intercessor who always guides us towards his wife, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his Foster son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Joseph,  Terror of Demons, pray for us.

Happy Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

 

Photo Credit: Direct From Lourdes, France
Photo Credit: Direct From Lourdes

Prayer – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Almighty and everlasting God,

You have taken up body and soul

into the heavenly glory the Immaculate Virgin Mary,

Mother of Your Son: Grant, we beseech You,

that, ever intent upon heavenly things,

we may be worthy to be partakers of her glory.

Through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

One God, forever and ever. Amen.

 

*Prayer From Direct From Lourdes