Novena to St. Anne, Mother of Mary & Grandmother of Jesus!

Please, join me and thousands of others in praying the novena to St. Anne. This novena begins July 17th and ends on July 26th, the feast day of St. Anne.

http://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-anne-novena

St. Anne is the patron saint of mothers, women in labor, and miners. Medieval tradition equated the offspring of St. Anne’s womb (Mary & Jesus) to precious metals of silver and gold. St. Anne’s womb was the mine that generated those treasures which is a rather beautiful and thought provoking image. With St. Joachim, St. Anne raised the Blessed Virgin Mary. Over the centuries, many women who prayed this novena in the hopes of meeting their future husband experienced answered prayers. With that in-mind, I’m including a special person in my intentions.

St. Anne, please, pray for good and godly spouses and marriages.

St Anne, pray for us!

St. Anne, pray for our spouses!

St. Anne, pray for our children!

Amen.

 

 

Catholic or Bust

“But Who Do you Say That I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Matthew 16:15-16.

Have you ever listened to conversion stories? Many Catholic converts tell passionate anecdotes about their spiritual journey to Catholicism. Conversion stories run the gambit. Many converts felt a tug or pull towards Catholicism throughout their lives. Many converts recall times of keen resistance to the faith or frustration with the pull towards the Faith of Our Fathers. After critically studying Catholicism from Scripture to Tradition to Magisterium, some converts note “aha!” moments or “Nooooo . . . Anything but. . . Fine!!” moments. Some fell into Catholicism like a delightful bubble bath or breathed a sigh of relief walking into the home they always sought. Some stumbled into Catholicism for less profound reasons but continue practicing anyways. Others suffered and survived persecution to became a member of the Church.

Catholicism for me was like breathing air both a subconscious and conscious act. Faith came easily to me as a child. Maintaining that childlike trust of faith not easy. As a child, the world was a spiritual place where you used all five senses to experience its beauty, mystery, and truth. Faith was my sixth sense. Catholicism is a fleshy, tactile, and sensual religion that matches how a child explores, experiences, and discovers the world. In many ways, elements of Catholic liturgy and ritual that give some the heebie jeebies reflect a childlike wonder and exploration of the spiritual realm. We use all five senses to seek, worship, experience, and connect with God and the divine.

Catholic means: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. You’re a part of something much greater than yourself as a Catholic yet an unique individual too. Every church housing a tabernacle or altar offering the Sacrifice of the Mass is a home regardless of the location, rite, or language. As a Catholic you’re more aware that you’re an intricate and important thread in a elaborate tapestry of all the faithful both living or dead whether in heaven or purgatory. We receive immense grace from the Sacramental life of the Church, the Communion of Saints, the Holy Trinity, and the intercession of Our Lady. And, yes, we can trace our founder to Jesus Christ and an apostolic succession based on scripture and guided by the Holy Spirit despite concupiscence and human involvement.

“Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” John 20:29.

But THE ULTIMATE REASON is the source and summit of the Catholic Faith: The Eucharist, i.e., the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The reason Catholic Christians are not and cannot be just another Christian denomination.

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Because of our bold claim as Catholics, our lives radically change or should radically change. If we are what we consume and if what we consume is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we become not only a part of the Body of Christ, but the Body of Christ. With that efficacious grace and transformation, we go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! Everything changes or should change: our thoughts, words, deeds, actions, relationships, priorities, hopes, dreams, goals and pursuits. The Faith changes how we: dress, educate, drive, work, socialize, worship, approach sexuality, manage life challenges, celebrate, mourn, suffer, suffer with, marry, procreate, raise children, etc. Etc.

The Eucharist isn’t a magic circle that absolves us from pain, suffering, and trials. Au Contraire! The world rejected Christ and still rejects Christ. As Christians, especially Catholic Christians, we understand our world, our fellow believers, our families, our peoples, our cultures, etc, will reject, ostracize and persecute even kill us too.

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.– Luke 12:51-53

“Thy word’s thy ship not thy home.”- St. Therese of Lisieux. St. John Paul said living the faith would be hard-  potentially a white or red martyrdom. But at the end of it all, when the world turns away, when your friends, family or loved ones turn away or turn you in, the grace and peace of truth carries one through. Even through the profound hurt and pain of rejection and persecution, salvific hope and trust remains- a divine purpose and plan.

It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.

-St. John Paul II. Vergata Prayer Vigil at World Youth Day 8/19/2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Irresponsibly Responsible Life

During Respect Life Month, hundreds of thousands of people young and old walked for respect for Life from conception to natural death. Saturday January 28, 2017 marked the 2nd Annual Walk for Life Northwest. Around a 1,000 people attended the rally and walk in Downtown Spokane WA one weekend after the March for Woman drew thousands. Sadly, the latter march denied Pro-Life woman a voice. The “Pro-Life” movement isn’t just a religious movement anymore. Research the Secularist for Life or other related organizations. Sadly, the Northwest along with the entire West Coast is a hotbed for pro-death culture.

At the Mass for Life held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, the pews filled while Bishop Daly led Mass for the respect of life from conception to natural death. By some movement of the Holy Spirit, I found myself reading the First Reading from the Book of Hebrews about the many generations that came from a man and woman deemed infertile (Abraham and Sarah.) Never having lectured at the Cathedral, I found myself reading in front of a full Church in my jeans and snow boots.

My father lightly cried in the pew while I read unbeknownst to me. What my friend the young priest who recommended me didn’t know when I was asked to proclaim the Word of God, my parents were chastised by doctors for my conception and life. My Dad cussed out a doctor in a Philadelphia hospital. Doctors and family members called my parents “irresponsible.”

The doctors worst fears came true. I was born with the same genetic kidney condition my eldest brother and I share. I have been a “burden” on the healthcare and insurance system. My brother and I both defied the odds. He and I are in our late twenties and mid thirties. We are among the first generation of children to survive our particular condition. We are a medical miracle. We are a medical phenomena. But moreover, we have touched the lives of our family and countless strangers and acquaintances. We work. Practice our faith. My eldest brother is married with three beautiful and healthy children. We support and give back to our community and the environment. We pay taxes and practice responsible citizenship. We provide a little extra illumination to the world.

Yes, those grouches deemed our existence a burden and irresponsible. I wonder if these people just had no imagination or just feared the unknown so much it paralyzed them and squashed their ability to dream.

My parents choose life. For that I’m forever grateful. My parents dared to step into the unknown and dream. They dared to be creative and roll with the many many punches. My parents sacrificed money, education, power, success, and prestige for our lives. They sacrificed daily. I don’t know what the future brings or what extraordinary medical interventions my brother and I may or may not need. For now, we are who we are. People. Living breathing created in the image and likeness of God persons.

But because of our irresponsibly responsible lives, other children sharing ours or a similar condition will have a fighting chance at a healthy and whole life. And a dream. Thank you Mom and Dad for choosing life!

The 54 Day Rosary Novena . . . Whew!

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Gonzaga University

54 Days Ago very well-intended and inspired, I began the 54 Day Rosary Novena. This particular rosary novena is known for being immensely powerful and grueling. I “knew” what I was getting myself into or not. I heard of this novena from my parents who prayed it once together during a desperate family situation 27 years ago when I was an infant.

The historical origins date back to 1884 Naples after an apparition of Our Lady of Pompeii to Commander Agrelli’s daughter Fortuna who suffered from untreatable, agonizing stomach ailments. She and her family commenced three rosary novenas. On March 3rd. 1884, Fortuna greeted Our Lady of Pompeii accompanied by St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Dominic with “Queen of the Holy Rosary.” Mary upon recognizing her title requested 3 more rosary novenas in Thanksgiving of a cure. Upon the 6th set of rosary novenas, Fortuna experienced her miraculous cure. Upon learning of this miracle, Pope Leo XIII urged Christians to pray the rosary fervently.

Considered “a laborious novena, but a novena of love,” this rosary Novena consists of praying the rosary with a specific introductory prayer, particular introduction to each mystery, closing to each mystery, a spiritual communion offered, and specific concluding prayers. The first 27 days (3 rosary novenas) are prayed in petition. The last 27 days (3 rosary novenas) are prayed in thanksgiving for the answering your prayer intention(s) whether or not it has been “answered.” Since the novena originated before the Luminous mysteries, traditionally only the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries are prayed.

My 54 Day experience ranged from great highs to impressive lows. Some days I felt immense consolation. Other days I experienced spiritual isolation. Part way through the first 27 days, I felt lost. After five days of 4 hours of sleep, I felt spiritually drained and attacked. I almost quit. I continued a few more days. When one of my intentions seemed to go up in flames, I almost quit. I continued a few more days. When I lost sleep again, I almost quit. One night when I was sleep deprived, I messed up the mysteries. In tears, I ranted to my mother. I felt like I failed. Again I resumed. Another night when I was even more sleep deprived, I fell asleep during the 1st Joyful mystery. This time I entrusted my human limitations to Mother Mary and continued to pray. By the final 2 weeks, I prayed, and I felt a sense of resolve and peace. Today I completed my imperfect yet sincere 54 Day Rosary Novena. *SIGH OF RELIEF*

Some people write that if you mess up the 54 Day Rosary Novena at any point, you must restart. Congratulations to all those who pray correctly all 54 Days. But God and Mother Mary understand intention. And effort. Um, perfection isn’t the point of pray. Love is. Purpose is. Intention is. Trust is. If that means 54 days of perfection or imperfection, God and Mary know. I learned much about myself, my faith, and my relationship with Mary and her Son. But, to be honest, I don’t see another 54 Day Rosary Novena on my horizon. But God is probably laughing. If I pray another novena like this, it’ll be for a very special, prayerful occasion.

 

Dear Future Husband,

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Photo Credit: Fight the New Drug (Instagram)

In our day and age, I know it isn’t a matter of whether or not you have been exposed to pornography, but a matter of what you did/do once you were. I ask you to be honest with me. I know. I learned the statistics, the appeal, the behavior, the prevalence, and I’m asking you to, please, choose me. To choose us. Appeal to my love for you by being honest and transparent.

Don’t think for a moment I won’t be super ticked-off, disappointed, or discouraged. Mostly, I will be scared. Maybe Betrayed. Definitely Hurt. Concerned for myself and potential children. I won’t excuse your behavior. Bad behavior is bad behavior. Porn isn’t just bad behavior. Porn lies. Kills Truth. Kills love. Porn distorts: Sex. Attraction. Beauty. Respect. Dignity. Worth. Value. Gratification. Discipline. Porn objectifies. Porn turns men into beasts. Porn ruins your soul, your relationship with God, your ability to master virtue, and your ability to become the husband/father God called you to be. Porn is ultimately selfish.

Choosing to view and act on pornography is like eating a delicious 3 layered cake that is enticing and pleasurable in view, taste, smell, texture, etc. But you are so blinded by the externals and yourself (maybe peer pressure to eat the cake,) you don’t realize you just ingested a 3 layer cake of heroin, meth, and cocaine or hell, selfishness, and anti-love. But, it’s too late, you need another fix. So you go back to the meth cake. You choose the meth cake over real love. It becomes a coping mechanism for disappointment, hurt, uncertainty, insecurity, fights, marital intimacy problems, etc. Pleasure and a quick fix outweighs struggling and striving for authentic faith, hope, and charity. I’m sorry and saddened if you bought into the lie of porn and chose the garbage when God wanted to give you heaven.

So what now. Guess what? You aren’t a slave to your lust, your past, your mistakes, your shame, your guilt, and your weaknesses. But you do need to change your heart which will change your body, mind, and soul. You ABSOLUTELY must change. There is no alternative. You need to become a true man: a lover of God and not yourself. Be disciplined in thought, word, and deed: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, intellectual, financial, etc. You need to learn that there is right and wrong. And others, including God, have authority to inform you and hold you accountable to what is right and wrong. That there is good and bad behavior.

In the meantime, cling to God’s mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. Learn to do good and sin no more purely out of love for God. Love God. Create a clean heart in me, O God. Heal and hope. Become a real man of God. Don’t be afraid to suffer. Choose love. Choose me. Choose us. And please, pray for me. Please, pray for us. You are in my prayers always.

With My Love Always,

Hannah

Wishing You A Merry Christmas!

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Photo Credit: Nativity Story (2006)
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”Matthew 1:23.
May the Incarnate Word dwell within and transform our hearts.

Please, join me for the Christmas Novena

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We are excited to announce that the next novena we will pray as a community is the Christmas Novena!

This novena is dedicated every year to praying for an end to abortion.

There is no better time than to reflect on the most vulnerable of this world than during Advent and Christmas when we prepare for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who comes to us as a small baby.

We will begin praying on Wednesday, December 16th.

You can ask your friends & family to sign up here:

http://www.praymorenovenas.com/christmas-novena/

We’re looking forward to praying with you and for you!

Day of Gratitude, Turkeys, & Electricity

Happy Thanksgiving to All that Follow & Support Chronically Catholic Blog! I wish you all a blessed and safe holiday filled with Christ’s love for you and your loved ones. May we all join in a prayer of Thanksgiving for the gift of life, love, freedom, faith, joy, and hope.

A recent, local natural disaster reminded me of the many people that struggle with daily living. Last week, my area experienced a devastating windstorm rendering 400,000 people without power. 80,000 people waited days upon days for their power to be restored. Crews brought in from Canada, Nevada, and California flooded my city removing downed power lines, trees, and repairing damage. People’s homes were crushed by trees, consumed by fire, and flooded by water damage. People died. Hundreds of people over a week later still don’t have electricity. Thousands just regained power in the last couple of days. Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

On the upside, neighbor helped neighbor. People opened their homes to friends, family, loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers and shared what little they had. Sometimes in the midst of challenges, we allow ourselves to be more human. And reach out to those less fortunate or struggling.

I decided to compile a list of “things,” “people,” and “concepts” that I am grateful for. This is certainly not a comprehensive list nor in perfect order of importance. Most days I petition God, plead with God, and even adore God, but I need to practice the habit of gratitude.

  1. Being Alive: Take a deep breath, in and out! What a miracle!
  2. For Incarnate Love: Refer to Theology of the Body for a deeper understanding. But the Incarnate Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us because God so loved the world. And we are called as man and woman to participate in the Blessed Trinity’s external exchange of love.
  3. For Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness: I am a sinner. God still calls me by name. “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” – Oscar Wilde
  4. Being a Woman: Enough Said (crown of creation- refer to Genesis)
  5. Being Catholic: Praise, be Jesus! Not because I have a superiority complex. Or that my Church is 2,000+ years old directly founded by Christ. But because I am PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL for being able to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist. I consume Christ and Christ consumes me. Amen.
  6. My Family: For all the challenges and triumphs. The joys and the sorrows. I love them, and they have my back.
  7.   For Medical Advances: For all the evils of modern medicine, there is even more good. My brother and I wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of months without modern medicine.
  8. For Friendship: Growing up I wasn’t sure if I would have deep relationships with my peers, let alone female peers. Now after years effort and trust, I experience authentic friendship with multiple ladies and guys.
  9. For my cat: Enough said.
  10. For chocolate, turkey, and pumpkin pie: Enough said.
  11. For dance, music, singing, rhythm, movement: My hips don’t lie. And even St. JP II said, “I have a sweet tooth for song and music. That is my Polish sin,” Uh oh, I’m Polish.
  12.  For snugly scarves, hot tea, and the first snow: Cue Christmas songs.
  13. For children: They remind us to laugh hard and often.
  14. For warm hugs: We were designed for appropriate physical touch. Touch that affirms our God-given dignity and respect.
  15. For (clean) water, electricity, power, heat,etc.: God didn’t say let there be a 200 amp system. But He did create us with the intellect to design, implement, and repair these modern comforts and conveniences.

– Hannah