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.

 

Litany of Humility

S. Augustine- pride

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.


[Respond . . . Deliver me, Jesus.]

From the desire of being esteemed…

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

[Respond . . . Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.]

That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I…
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…

AMEN.

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred-Heart-of-Jesus

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us. 
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us. 
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother’s womb, [etc.]
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon You.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

*EWTN

My family and I are Consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you eant to learn more about the devotion and consecration, please, check out my other related blog posts. The Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is June 8th.

Oh most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

Amen.

Catholic Match Blog Post

Please, read my recently published article on Catholic Match Institute’s Blog, by clicking on the link below.

Bargain Less & Embrace More: How to Navigate Love with Chronic Illness

This article shares my personal experience with navigating the highs and lows of life, love, dating, and relationships with chronic illness. Learn how I’ve changed my dating approach, and how I bargain less and embrace more while being true to who God created me and the unique manner in which God calls me to express love and be loved.

Love Quotes (1)

Cultivating the Fruit of Meekness

Does meekness equate to being a Christian doormat? Absolutely, not. Instead Christ exhibits meekness as strength with a tender touch. This word has been misconstrued and turned into a negative in our modern era, because we don’t understand what we reject.

Meekness (1)What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Where does the idea come from?

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness) and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

The Greek language is much more precise than the English language. Words capture a deeper and specific meaning than English words. For example, in English love means a wide variety of types and conditions of love defined by one word. In Greek, four- six different words capture different types and conditions of love: storge, philia, eros, and agape. The same principal applies to the term “meekness” (gentleness).

The apostle Paul uses praotes or prautes— and “meekness” is the closest translation from the Greek. What does meekness mean? To be meek means yielded, teachable, responsive, humble, gentle, patient under suffering, and respectful in our relationships with God and with others. Basically. meekness is an orientation towards God and others and not on ourselves. Meekness is quiet strength- a spiritual force to be reckoned with.

Jesus Christ himself on the Sermon on the Mount outlined, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) and “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Matthew 11:29) Meekness is an attribute of Christ- an attribute of Christian behavior. The meek and humble of heart will find rest. Not a peace of this world but an divine and eternal peace. Meekness is apart of the Christian mission.

How do we cultivate meekness? Most importantly by turning towards Christ in all aspects of our lives and not inwards towards ourselves. Here are some spiritual suggestions:

  1. Ask for the Guidance & Inspiration of the Holy Spirit! Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Awaken in me the Fire of your Love . . .
  2. Read the Bible- Start w/ the Gospels and take notice of Jesus’ behavior and other apostles and disciple.
  3. Reflect on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5)- read and reflect on each individual beatitude and then resolve to practice that Beatitude in your daily life.
  4. Reflect on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23)- read and reflect on each individual fruit and then resolve to practice that Beatitude in your daily life.
  5. Ask for the Guidance & Inspiration of the Our Lady! She is a perfect example of meekness and wants to teach you.
  6. Ask for the Guidance & Inspiration of other Saints and holy persons! Fill your mind and heart with heroic examples of virtue.

Great spiritual ideas, Hannah, but what about some practical suggestions too? Sure. The following suggestions highlight the practice of meekness in daily life.

  1. Practice Gentleness: in thoughts, words, deeds, and actions. If it ain’t gentle ton’t entertain the thought, don’t speak the words, and don’t commit action.
  2. Be respectful: Start by Being respectful with the individuals you take for granted the most (family, spouse, loved ones, friends, coworkers, etc.) Usually, this is your family and/or significant other. Use kind and respectful words especially when you don’t want to. Try saying please, thank you, you’re welcome, and excuse me instead of mhmm, hmmm, or other non-verbal grunting.
  3. Suffer with a smile. When commuting to work and another driver does something irritating, pray for that person. Forgo the largest portion at dinnertime. Restrain yourself from fidgeting in Church. Unite your suffering with Christ’s suffering for the sake of the Church. Speak less and listen more.
  4. Learn about your faith. Dust off the books collecting dust in a stack  by your bed (like mine) and commit to reading at least one chapter per day.Inquire into whether your parish has FORMED or not. Find faith based resources to help you grown and develop your understanding of the Faith.
  5. Integrate a morning and evening prayer routine into your daily schedule. Leave time for silence. God speaks in the silence.
  6. Cultivate gratitude! Make sure you thank God for the many blessing in your life and ask Him to help you recognize more fully those blessing. If it helps, make a list daily of 5 things you are grateful for.
  7. Abstain from having the final say or the first stay in a conversation. Abstain from mean or hateful words. Abstain from cussing, sacrilegious, and indecent words. Abstain from using the Lord’s name in vain or other holy words.

May God bless you and keep you now and always!

Preparing Your Garden

I wanted to share some Lenten Inspiration. My theme for Lent this Year is preparing Your Garden for the Lord- weeding out vice and planting seeds of virtue. May your Lent be transformative and informative!

White Rose
Photo Credit: Isaiah Eyre Photography

In the cool of the day
You come and meet me
All the blue fades away
The stars are winking

Your love’s so strong
I can’t recall
What was this thing
They called the fall?

And You walk with me
You never leave
You’re making my heart a garden

Oh, why would I hide
Away from Your face
When the light of Your love
Illuminates?

Your hand in mine
A steady line
Drawn on my heart
And deep in my mind

And You walk with me
You never leave
You’re making my heart a garden

Lenten Virtue Challenge- Preparing Your Garden

God works in mysterious ways. This Lenten Virtue Challenge came from an Instagram post showing “weeds” and “seeds” or vices and virtues with a caption suggesting which weeds would I pull and which seeds would be planted during the Lenten Season. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, I decided to elaborate on the idea and create a Lenten Virtue Challenge- Preparing Your Garden.
Flowers by the Shore
Photo Credit: Isaiah Eyre Photography
This is a evolving challenge. And as my friend and I work through the vices and virtues each week, we will learn, grow, and modify where needed. Having someone to keep me accountable is a tremendous blessing. Each Morning begins with invoking the Holy Spirit. Deliberately inviting the Holy Spirit into our day/heart/mind/soul and asking for the graces to remove a specific vice and plant a seed.
Holy Spirit Prayer:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. 
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
[Example: We ask you to grant us HUMILITY and turn away from PRIDE, etc.]
Throughout that week, we will focus on living out that specific virtue and removing the taints of vice in our everyday lives: our thoughts, words, and deeds. I’m hoping to find bible verses or saint quotes to help us gain insight into authentic virtue and rejecting vice. Below is the tentative schedule.
 
SCHEDULE
Lent- Week 1 (Feb. 18-24)
Weed: PRIDE
Seeds HUMILITY
Lent-Week 2 (Feb. 25- March 3)
Weeds: GREED & SLOTH
Seeds: GENEROSITY & DILIGENCE
Lent- Week 3 (March 4-10)
Weed: LUST
Seed: CHASTITY
Lent- Week 4 (March 11-17)
Weed: WRATH
Seed: MEEKNESS
Lent- Week 5 (March 18-24)
Weed: GLUTTONY
Seed: TEMPERANCE
Lent-Week 6 (March 25-31)
Weed: ENVY
Seed: CHARITY
Please, join me in this Lenten Virtue Challenge- Preparing Your Garden. I’m hoping and praying this year will lead to more development and guidance in improving this Lenten Reflection. Please, let me know if you have any suggestions. You are all in my prayers!