Saint of the Month: St. Medard

Saint Medard Patron Saint Against Bad Weather
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

I love sharing about lesser know Saints including my buddy, St, Medard, Bishop and patron saint of inclement weather and storms. This Saints has worked weather miracles on road-trips and other travel adventures which left my friend and loved ones scratching our heads in wonder.

B.  around 456 A.D.

D. 545 A.D

Feast Day: June 8th

Around 456 AD, St. Medard was born to a French nobleman named Nectardus and a Gallo- Roman woman Protagia in Salency, France. Protagia instilled in her son a deep compassion for the poor and suffering which at a young age Medard would offer his shoes, cloak, or other possessions to those he met along the way. Medard practiced fasting and penance such as with-staining from a meal or offering up his meal to others while looking after his father’s cattle.

St. Medard studied Scripture under the regional bishop’s tutelage. The bishop noticed his pupil displayed keen aptitude for learning, piety, prayer, obedience, and humility.  In 490 AD, St. Medard was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop of Vermand in 530 AD where he moved the episcopal see to Noyons due to the possibility of invasion by the Huns or Vandals. He also assumed the Tournai diocese after their Bishop, St. Eleutherius died.

At the age of 89 int eh year 454 AD, St. Medard died of an illness. The kingdom mourned his death. St. Medard’s Day is celebrated on his feast day June 8th. A Benedictine Abby stands above his grave.

This patronage of inclement weather and bad storms comes from a legend. When he was a child, an eagle hovered over him and protected him from the rainy deluge. The faithful have invoked his intercession for centuries in regards to a variety of natural calamities. Whether you need a little help with literal or figurative stormy weather in your life, ask for the intercession of St. Medard.

St. Medard, pray for us!

How To: Pray the Rosary

rosaryOctober is a Marian Month and the Month of the Rosary. I’m slowly reading and digesting Fr. Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary which I highly recommend as a historical and spiritual overview of the important and heavenly inspired devotion known the rosary. October is the Month of the Rosary. October 7th marks the celebration of the Marian Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The rosary is shrouded in mystery and misconceptions for many people in our modern era (and historically too!) This meditative devotion is pure love and truth of the Gospel and the Life of Christ through the loving arms, insightful eyes, childlike trust, and merciful compassion of Our Lady, the Mother of Our Lord.

The biblical basis for the “Hail Mary” stems from the Gospels- The Annunciation and Visitation. The building blocks of the rosary have existed for centuries beginning as a simple meditation that developed into the Marian Psalter and eventually the rosary as we know today.  This is a devotion that connects centuries of saints and sinners. Simple yet profound- a spiritual weapon for our times. Please, join me during the Month of October praying the Rosary as Chronically Catholic Blog’s Monthly Devotion.

“The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen

How To Pray the Rosary:

***There are a variety of approved variations of the Rosary that allow the faithful to meditate on the Life of Christ and Life of Mary in various manners. For example, there is the Carthusian Rosary, The Franciscan Crown Rosary, etc. I have chosen the most common version of the rosary to explain.***

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INTRODUCTORY PRAYERS:

  1. While holding the crucifix, make the Sign of the Cross & pray the Apostles’ Creed.
  2. On the first large bead, pray the Our Father (can be prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father.)
  3. On the subsequent three small beads, pray the Hail Mary (can be prayed for an increase in Faith, Hope, & Charity.)
  4. On the final bead, pray the Glory Be.
  5. [Some people pray the Fatima Prayer after the Glory Bead here.]

THE DECADES:

  1. Announce the 1st Mystery for the Corresponding Day [either Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, or Luminous.] [after announcing the mystery, you can add a reflection or biblical passage, intention, etc.]
  2. On the next large bead, pray the Our Father.
  3. On each small bead, pray the Hail Mary [there are 10 total per mystery.]
  4. In the space between the final Hail Mary and the Our Father bead, pray the Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer [a prayer Mary revealed to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.]
  5. Repeat steps 1-4, for the next four mysteries of the rosary [2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th mystery.]

CLOSING PRAYERS:

  1. After the final Glory Be, pray the Hail Holy Queen on the center section, medal, or bead that joins the 3 strands of the Rosary together. You can conclude with the Rosary Prayer.
  2. While holding the cross or crucifix, conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

OPTIONAL:

  1. There are variations to the ending of the rosary after the Hail Holy Queen is prayed, Many people conclude with the Rosary Prayer. Others pray other important devotional payers such as the Memorare or St. Michael the Archangel Prayer etc.
  2. As a Catholic, we are asked to pray for the Holy Father and his Intentions. There are special graces attributed too. My family concludes the Rosary with praying for the Holy Father and his intentions followed by the Our Father, Hail Mary, & Glory Be. This is a traditional approach to praying for the Holy Father and his intentions.
  3. You can also conclude the rosary with intercessions. For example: Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us. Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us. Holy Family, pray for us. etc.
  4. I do recommend starting [or ending if you forget] specific intentions that you offer your rosary up for [and you should pray for yourself too!]

THE PRAYERS OF THE ROSARY:

Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. * I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. * Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses; as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. * Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, * as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and, after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us O holy mother of God, * that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Rosary Prayer

Let us pray. * O God, whose only-begotten Son by his life, death and Resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY:
Joyful Mysteries (prayed on Mondays and Saturdays):
  • 1st Decade: The Annunciation
  • 2nd Decade: The Visitation
  • 3rd Decade: The Birth of Jesus
  • 4th Decade: The Presentation
  • 5th Decade: The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Luminous Mysteries (prayed on Thursdays):
  • 1st Decade: The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
  • 2nd Decade: The Wedding Feast at Cana
  • 3rd Decade: The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
  • 4th Decade: The Transfiguration of Jesus
  • 5th Decade: The Institution of the Eucharist
Sorrowful Mysteries (prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays):
  • 1st Decade: The Agony in the Garden
  • 2nd Decade: The Scourging at the Pillar
  • 3rd Decade: The Crowning with Thorns
  • 4th Decade: The Carrying of the Cross
  • 5th Decade: The Crucifixion
Glorious Mysteries (prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays):
  • 1st Decade: The Resurrection
  • 2nd Decade: The Ascension
  • 3rd Decade: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  • 4th Decade: The Assumption
  • 5th Decade: The Crowning of Mary Queen of Heaven

 

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

For more information, please, check out Dynamic Catholic.

 

Monthly NFP Update: Lessons in Drug Reactions

PSALM 73 (1)

August- a month of opposites. The Creighton Method and Naprotechnology treatment requires a huge helping of patience and humility with a hefty sprinkling of courage and trust. In these moments of increased suffering and confusion, my relationship with God shifts into a more pristine focus- better aligned and less muddled by my pride and control.

For a moment, I thought my body and reproductive track considered cooperating. Somewhere between the travel adventures and joyous occasions my body found enough time and energy to protest my Napro treatment for PMDD. About 6 months ago my PMS diagnosis was revised to a PMDD diagnosis. For those who may not be familiar with PMDD or Post-Dysphoric Menstrual Disorder in the most simplistic definition PMDD is a more severe and volatile version of PMS. After I passed with flying colors the screening for PMDD, my local napro doctor prescribed a medication which used in minute dosages can help your body reset the bio-chemical endocrine processes surrounding the transition from one cycle into the next. But it’s a medication to be respected.

Medical need finally tipped the scale outweighing my reservations, and I successfully took the medication for 5 months before the final hurrah. Looking back at my chart, a few positive affects can be noted. ***And I should disclaim this medication has been beneficial for many women undergoing Napro treatment without or with minimal side-effects.***

This month I only made it through 3 days of my 10 day course before having cardiac and neurological symptoms. I ignored the fluttering heart rate and palpitations the first 3 nights before the neurological symptoms hit which were harder to ignore. On night three, I felt a sudden decline in my mental acuity and a heavy mental fog descend, my rate of exhaustion skyrocket, followed by slowed speech and thought, catapulting into decreased balance and increased dizziness. This led to falls, topples, and bashed knees (and a rather scared and confused Hannah.) Two weeks later I regained my mental acuity and the fog dissipated. It took one week to regain my balance in full. My darkened mood hasn’t rebounded yet. I discontinued my med, consulted with my doctor, and spent time recovering. My doctor and I will need to re-evaluate and discern the next steps.

In many ways, I know I am blessed that nothing more severe or life-threatening happened. In other ways, I recognize my medical de-sensitivity played into my ignorance of the severity of my drug reaction. A hard lessen to learn but an important lessen to know when and what your limitations are and when you should seek professional medical help.

I am frustrated by this set-back in my treatment. I am concerned what the next step will be or if there is a next step. I am worried what the ripple affect will be. Already my cycle has changed without the drug treatment. The brokenness is coming back more recognizable and distinct in my charting. The weakness if pouring into where the healing was. I offer up my cup of brokenness and weakness to God. He makes all things good. Everyday He keeps repeating, “Hannah, you are good.” And to that light of love I cling.

“Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever.” – Psalm 73: 26

 

 

 

 

Saint of the Month: St. Mark Ji Tianxiang

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Watching EWTN’s daily Mass with my Mom, we learned about an unique Saint with a profound story and witness. My monthly NFP update involves drug reactions; therefore, I decided to chose a saint of the month that lived heroic virtue in the face of unthinkable odds. St. Mark Ji Tianxiang died a martyr and an active opium addict. How does an active drug addict barred from the sacraments become a canonized saint? Heroic virtue.

A once respectable Chinese Christian with resources and educational advantages during 19th century China, Ji’s successful medical career including caring for the poor pro bono. He was a leader in the Chinese Christian community- respected and admired. He developed a volatile, painful stomach ailment which he self-treated with the treatment of the period- opium. This approved medical treatment turned into a full-fledged addiction. His life circumstances deteriorated under the weight of his addiction.

Ji fought against his addiction. He attended confession regularly. The cultural mindset and misunderstanding of the 19th century that drug addiction was not a disease but rather a lack of will caused his confessor to doubt his intention to sin no more and his resolve to repent (without the resolve to sin no more & repent the confession is invalid.) Since he kept confessing the same sin, the priest doubted his resolve to do better. After a few years, Ji’s confessor instructed him not to return until he could fulfill the requirements for confession. Drug abuse is sinful behavior, but drug abuse also is a complex disease of the mind and body. A concept unknown in the 19th century.

Ji didn’t abandon his faith. He couldn’t remain sober, but he could still be present with Our Lord. For 30 years (yes, you read that right) . . . 30 years Ji went to Mass unable to receive the sacraments due to his opium addiction. For 30 years, he prayed for a martyr’s death for he believed in that way only could he be saved.

The Boxer Rebellion of 1900 broke out. Chinese nationalists known as the Boxers, or the Militia United in Righteousness, expelled missionaries and persecuted Christians across China. Thirty-two thousand Chinese Christians and 200 foreign missionaries were killed. Ji and many of his village’s Christians, including his son, 6 grandkids, and 2 daughter-in-laws, were rounded up by authorities based on their Christian belief. Even while waiting in prison for their execution, Ji couldn’t break his addiction. Still, he was granted a heroic sense of perseverance.

Once taken to their place of execution, he begged his captures to execute him last so none of his family members would die alone. He stood beside all nine members of his family as they were beheaded. He went to his death singing the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was canonized on October 1, 2000 by St. John Paul II.

St. Mark Ji Tianxiang is a beautiful witness to the profound mystery of God’s mercy and how our sufferings can be turned into something profoundly good. His testimony to unwavering perseverance in his faith should kindle a fire in all our hearts. His witness brings hope to those suffering from addictions. May we all rely and believe in Christ’s mercy like St. Mark Ji.

St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, pray for us.

Feast Day: July 9th

 

 

 

 

Monthly Devotion: Our Lady of Sorrows Novena

Mary QuoteThe month of September holds a few special Marian Feast Days:

  1. September 8th: The Birth of Mary
  2. September 12th: The Holy Name of Mary
  3. September 15th: Our Lady of Sorrows

In honor of these Marian Feasts, the Holy Spirit guided me to praying the Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows as Chronically Catholic Blog’s Monthly devotion. I’m less familiar with this Novena and am looking forward to praying this devotion with you all.

Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Doloures, or Mother of Sorrows is a Catholic devotion founded on the Prophesy of Simeon that 7 Swords would pierce Our Lady’s heart: “and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35

  1. The Prophecy of Simeon. Luke 2:34-35
  2. The escape and Flight into Egypt. Matthew 2:13 
  3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem. Luke 2:43-45
  4. The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Via Dolorosa.
  5. The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. John 19:25
  6. The Piercing of the Side of Jesus with a spear, and His Descent from the Cross. Matthew 27:57-59
  7. The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. John 19:40-42

 

HOW TO PRAY THE NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF SORROWS:

Pray From: September 7-15th.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena Prayers

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 1

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 2

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 3

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 4

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 5

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 6

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 7

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 8

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows Novena – Day 9

O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of our Redeemer! remember we are thy children, given to thee by thy Divine Son, when expiring on the cross. Mother of sorrows! by the tears which flowed from thy eyes when Saint John related how the traitor Judas sold thy Divine Son for the vile price of thirty pieces of silver; how, in the Garden of Olives, he was agonized with fear and sorrow, the blood gushing through every pore; by all the anguish that overwhelmed thy heart when thou didst hear that Jesus, the only object of thy love, was condemned to death; by the sorrow that pierced thy maternal bosom, in meeting thy only beloved Son loaded with a heavy cross, spent through loss of blood, fatigue and pain; by that heroic resignation to the divine will, which, triumphing over the sentiments of nature, sustained thee at the foot of the cross; by the excess of grief that would have robbed thee of life, had not God preserved thee for the comfort of his disciples and of his infant church; by the dolors that rent thy desolate heart when beholding thy beloved Jesus, most beautiful in his comeliness above the sons of men, become a prey to death, the ignominious death of the cross; by all the sufferings of thy most afflicted heart, obtain for us, O Mother of Mercy, true contrition for our sins, persevering fervour in the divine service, and the particular favours we solicit in this Novena.

O thou most tender and afflicted Mother, who didst sacrifice thyself on the same altar with thy beloved Son, and whose heart was penetrated by the nails that fastened him to the cross; as it was our sins inflicted those torments on thy Divine Son, we acknowledge that we justly deserve the wrath of divine justice to fall on our devoted heads. But if those very sufferings have proved our defense and protection heretofore, grant that now at least we may participate profoundly in the sorrow of which we have been the unhappy cause; and obtain, that souls hitherto so insensible to the strongest proofs of love, may, by heartfelt contrition, taste one drop of that bitter chalice of which thou didst drink so deeply.

Amen.

 

On the Christian Meaning of Suffering

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Photo Credit: Isaiah Eyre Photography

BE NOT AFRAID. I decided to return once more to the 1984 Apostolic Letter written by St. JP II titled Salvifici Doloris: On the Christian Meaning of Suffering that addressed the ever present question of suffering: why, what, and how? God transformed even something not part of His original design for humanity (suffering, pain, death, dying, etc.) into a means for transcendence: faith, hope, and charity.

We fear suffering. I can emphatically state in my greatest moments of suffering and the  suffering of my loved ones, I felt closest to heaven- the veil was lifted. Our suffering, united with Christ, can become salvific. “Suffering seems to be particularly essential to the nature of man. It is deep as man himself, precisely because in its own way that depth which is proper to man, and in its own way surpasses it. Suffering seems to belong to man’s transcendence: it is one of those points in which man is in a certain sense “destined” to go beyond himself (3).”

We fear weakness. Weakness means vulnerability & lack of control. Christ chooses weakness as the vehicle for salvation. “To Suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God . . . In [Christ], God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering . . . and wishes to have his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self (74).”

We fear the acquisition of virtue. Striving is the key word when acquiring virtue. Virtue acquisition takes hard work and doesn’t always “pay-off” in this life. “Suffering contains a special call to virtue . . . and this is the virtue of perseverance in bearing whatever disturbs and causes harm. In doing this, the individual unleashes hope, which maintain him the conviction that suffering will not get the better of him, it will not deprive him of his dignity as a human being, a dignity liked to the awareness of the meaning of life (75).”

We fear purgation. Purgation leads to heaven. God calls you and I to redeem ourselves and the world in our little way. “The Gospel of suffering is being written unceasingly, and it speaks unceasingly the words of this strange paradox: the springs of divine power gush forth precisely in the midst of human weakness. . . The more a person is threatened by sin, the heavier the structure of sin in which today’s world brings with it, the greater the eloquence which human suffering possesses in itself (89).”

We fear true compassion. Our culture & society throws around the term compassion. What is compassion? Compassion comes from the Latin root com (with) and pati (suffer). Together compatior means “to suffer with.” Compassion means “to suffer with” another person. “We could say that suffering, which is present under so many different forms in our human world, is also present in order to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one “I” on behalf of other people, especially to those who suffer (92).”

In the Gospels, Jesus repeats dozens of times, “BE NOT AFRAID.” It’s time to let go of the fear associated with suffering, death, & dying. And focus on living. Life is beautiful in all its forms & functions. It’s time to relearn how to suffer with each other. In the words of a man who understood and lived suffering: “In the messianic programme of Christ, which is at the same time the programme of the Kingdom of God, suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of human civilization into a “civilization of love (96).” Let us go forth and build a civilization of love . . .

Come What May- The Tears Behind My NFP Story

Compline 2

“I stretch out my arms to you, I stretch out my soul, like a land without water.” Psalm 142-143 is recited during Compline or Night Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours every few rotations. This verse always sticks with me. Sometimes this verse lingers for days. I figured after rejecting writing this post for years, the holy Spirit finally granted me enough courage and wisdom to proceed.

I hope when people read my blog posts involving my personal journey of seeking reproductive health and wellness through Natural Family Planning’s Creighton Method and Naptrotechnology they feel encouraged or dare I say empowered to seek their own health, wellness, and healing too. In my experience, health comes after a journey. A journey which mostly consists of striving, seeking, failing, falling, and struggle with brilliant moments of awe, splendor, joy, healing, and beauty.

On occasion I make fleeting references to “deep spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical pain.” My disposition and cultural upbringing upholds privacy in high regards followed by sucking it up maybe even higher. Before I continue. I disclaim that Creighton NFP and Naprotechnolgy is 100% worthwhile and 100% character and virtue building.

Over the past three years I have practiced Creighton NFP and undergone Naprotechnology treatment, I’ve suffered in ways I never thought imaginable. Even with all my years of chronic illness, pain, and struggles there were moments I didn’t know you could feel so poorly and still be alive. During the height of my precipitous hormonal spikes and plummets coupled with mind-boggling pain, I felt myself slowly slipping into emotional and mental decline fraying at the seams. There were moments I felt out-of-control and one worse moment away from the shreds of sanity I clung onto slipping through my fingers. It was the first time in my life I prayed to God, “even if I loose my mind, you will take care of me and love me.” To this day, those darker moments of my NFP journey taught me a richer humility and gratitude.

The first Valentine’s Day I spent with the dear man I’m courting involved watching the movie “La Vita E Bella” or “Life Is Beautiful” and ended with me crippled over sobbing and shaking in severe pain which would eventually be diagnosed a year and half later as endometriosis. My life became moments between varying degrees of pain, discomfort, bloating, and swelling. I approached my family, work, social, and spiritual life as a calculated measure of energy and health with the possibility of rapid changes. I remember a specific incident at a Diocesan Young Adult Adoration when I laid curled up in the pew wheezing between painful stabs. I have countless similar memories.

Somehow only a being like Our Heavenly Father could have brought so much good into so much pain, suffering, confusion, and hopelessness. Yes, I cooperated with His grace and offered up my suffering gladly. Only a current of grace kept me from drowning. There was a wind beneath my faltering wings that shouldn’t have existed but did. Somewhere in the bleakness I discovered my God-given worth and dignity. There were moments I faltered. Somehow I found God in the darkness shining out His soft, warm, and merciful glow. A light that not only saved me but permeated my being and illuminated how God saw me- BEAUTIFULLY and WONDERFULLY Made. This rocked me to my core. Creighton NFP didn’t just give me a chance at health, wellness, healing, and fertility but saved my view of womanhood and femininity. NFP taught me my dignity as a woman come what may.

The whole learning, practicing, and utilizing Creighton NFP is NOT easy. There rarely is a quick fix, a magic pill or device, or a happy phrase or witty expression to make it all go away. Your vision will eventually blur from trying to decide how to categorize your cervical mucous. Your chart might look like a Christmas display with colors and corrections. You may feel scared, frustrated, angry, concerned, confused, exasperated, exhausted, isolated, etc.  You may even “give up” or “take a break.” You may forget when to start your hormone therapy or pull out your hair trying to decide when to have your P+7 labs drawn. It’s okay to mess up and fail. It’s not about practicing to perfection. It’s simply about practicing, learning, and growing. Take it all one day at a time. Learn how to brush yourself off when you fall down and learn how to move forward in a healthier and kinder manner. Practicing NFP is about trying and not giving up on the method, yourself, God, or you loved ones.

Don’t give up on yourself even when you’re broken- beautifully broken- and feel unlovable and lost. God sees you whole, beautiful, and worthy of love- ALWAYS.

Monthly Devotion: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred-Heart-of-JesusThe 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

Holy Person of the Month: Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, Patron of Chronically Catholic Blog

Photo Credit: cassiepeasedesign.com
Photo Credit: cassiepeasedesign.com

After 11 years of hoping and praying for a child, Ruggero and Maria Theresa Badano welcomed their daughter, Chiara Lucu, on October 29th, 1971. Born in the small Italian village of Sassello, she was considered a beautiful and simple child; Chiara exhibited an acute awareness and compassion for the poor and suffering, especially drug addicts and persons with mental illness. The simple, beautiful child grew into a vivacious and active youth filled with zest and love for life. She enjoyed swimming, outdoor actives, and socializing with friends. In 1980, Chiara became involved in the Focalare Movement and an active member in her local youth group. Chiara, though virtuous and unique, enjoyed being a modern teenager.

In 1988, while playing tennis, Chiara experienced excruciating pain in her shoulder, and soon received the diagnosed of osteogenic sarcoma- bone cancer. During her final two years, Chaira fulfilled her name’s mean “Clear Light” becoming a illuminating presence of joy in the midst of immense suffering. After an excruciating night, she stated, “I suffered a lot, but my soul was singing.” Even in her weakened state, Chiara’s presence touched many lives. One of her doctors remarked, “Through her smile, and through her eyes full of light, she showed us that death doesn’t exist; only life exists.” Intrigued by stories of this heroic teenager, Cardinal Saldarini visited her in the hospital and asked, “The light in your eyes is splendid. Where does it come from?” Chiara replied: “I try to love Jesus as much as I can.”

Chiara in the Hospital
Chiara in the Hospital

Even after she received her terminal diagnosis and during treatment, Chiara keenly understood the value of redemptive suffering. She often repeated the phrase, “If this is what you want, Jesus, so do I.” As Chiara’s beautiful locks fell out due to chemotherapy, she prayed as each strand fell, “For you, Jesus.”  She even refused pain management wanting to remain lucid. She explained, “I want to share as much as possible in His suffering on the cross.” Chiara befriended another adolescent struggling with depression and drug-dependency. Despite how painful walking was because of a large growth on her spine, Chiara walked with this girl; “I’ll have time to rest later.”

As her impending death approached, Chiara encouraged her mother, “When you’re getting me ready, Mum, you have to keep saying to yourself, ‘Chiara Luce is now seeing Jesus.’” With her friends and family present, Chiara Luce died October 7, 1990. Her last words were: “Goodbye. Be happy because I’m happy.” Her family buried her in a wedding dress as requested.

bl. Chiara Luce Badano When Chiara died, I was one year old. Her first confirmed miracle involved a young Italian boy dying from meningitis induced organ failure. His parent’s asked for Chiara’s intercession. A panel of doctors ruled that there was no medical explanation for the boy’s full recovery. On September 25, 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict VXI beatified Chiara Luce Badano- the first blessed from Generation X.

In the words of Chiara: “Previously I felt … the most I could do was to let go. Instead, now I feel enfolded in a marvelous plan of God, which is slowly being unveiled to me.”

Bl. Chiara Luce Badano, pray for us!

Why did I choose Bl. Chiara for my blog patron? I stumbled into her story and witness during a period of intense medical fragility and complexity in my life. I became dehabilitated. I was lost. More doors and windows were shut than opened. Then the Holy Spirit guided me to this young woman who died around the time I was born. I felt an instant connection. I felt hope. When I decided to chose a patroness for my blog, I chose her. I believe in the Communion of Saints. She helped me ad continues to intercede for me. And I want to share her heroic virtue and story with the world- even just a small corner. 

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae: An Encyclical of Hope

 

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July 25, 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the prophetic and controversial Encyclical of Pope Paul VI Humanae Vitae or “On Human Life.”  Most people refer to his beautiful encyclical as the “contraception” encyclical. During a period of social, cultural, and religious turmoil surrounding the purpose and place of family, relationships, and procreation, Pope Paul VI released an reaffirmation of the truth: the Catholic Church would not support the use of artificial birth control or other reproductive technologies that could undermine family life and human dignity. But this was radical for the many influences adamant the Catholic Church would join their Protestant Christian brethren in accepting and normalizing artificial birth control.

What people miss by generalizing this prophetic document are the tenants of what eventually would be known as St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” or “Love and Responsibility.” This document expresses the profound nature of marriage between a man and woman, the marital embrace, and fruits of marital love. Love that is FREE, TOTAL, FAITHFUL, and FRUITFUL. After an exploration into love and marital love, Pope Paul VI warns of the dangers of artificial birth control and the consequences society would reap by accepting it. Towards the end of this document lies a call to action for medical practitioners and researches pleading for medical advancement regarding reproductive medicine, health, wellness. That is where my story with Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae most intimately begins.

Because of Humanae Vitae, we have the Pope Paul VI Institute and Creighton Natural Family Planning Method. We also benefit from NFP spin-offs like the Marquette Method. Because Pope Paul VI had divine inspiration and the guts to swim against the cultural tide, almost fifty years later, I had a fighting chance of health and wellness as a young woman in my mid-twenties. My friends have a fighting chance of healing from infertility. Or my mom from developing reproductive cancer. Or loved ones maintaining a pregnancy after miscarriages. One of the more hidden messages of Humanae Vitae is hope- hope in what seems like impossible odds.

Yes, this encyclical is an encyclical of love, but from that lesson in sometimes a very challenging and difficult school of love bears the fruit of other virtues such as faith and hope. Thinking about the past three years of my Naprotechnology treatment, though riddled with severe physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain, tears flow while I write this in gratitude and joy. I am beautifully broken and my journey of reproductive health and wellness is far from over. Amid the pain, suffering, and uncertainty, I found my dignity instead of loosing it.

Through the lens of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, I’ve experienced a glimpse into the profound nature of my womanhood and femininity and even a deeper insight into masculinity and manhood. My medical treatment is filtered through the lens of Christ viewing me as a good and godly creation. Beautiful in His sight. All because one little man in a white cassock (and a few others) inspired by the Holy Spirit swam against the tide and upheld authentic love instead.

Pope Paul VI, please, pray for us! Amen.